Bruschetta Chicken

Fresh, flavorful, uncomplicated and healthy.  What’s not to love??

It’s always nice to find a new recipe that is different than anything else I make. To find one that we love which is also so easy to prepare is a huge bonus. The combination of fresh tomatoes, flavorful herbs and tangy balsamic vinegar over juicy chicken topped with a combination of Italian cheese is superb. Pair it with freshly baked ciabatta bread and an oaked Ox-Eye Vineyards Pinot Noir and it defies description.

Bruschetta Chicken

1 lb. thin-cut boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup EVOO
2 Tbls. balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Tbls. Italian herb seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 pint diced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Place chicken breasts in a large resealable plastic freezer bag. Combine the EVOO, balsamic vinegar, garlic, Italian herb seasoning, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Pour HALF of the marinade over the chicken, reseal bag, and in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours. (Overnight is fine.)
Preheat your grill to medium high or about 350 degrees F. Combine remaining marinade with diced tomatoes; set aside. Transfer chicken from marinade onto grill surface and discard marinade. Grill chicken for 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through. (It is also okay to fry them in a pan over medium heat.) Transfer the chicken to a serving plate and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Spoon bruschetta mixture over chicken and top with basil; serve immediately.

The Ciabatta Bread is mixed in a bread machine on the Dough Cycle and then baked in the oven. I honestly could make a meal out of just it dipped in a high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil seasoned with real grated Parmesan cheese and some fresh ground pepper. The dough is very sticky. Don’t give into the temptation to add more flour. Treat it gingerly to keep from bursting all the lovely air bubbles that form. It makes two loaves. If you don’t need both immediately, double bag one and stick it in the freezer. Thaw it at room temperature for several hours. It was pretty darn close to fresh baked.

 

Roasted Italian Sausage and Potatoes

True comfort food!! So easy to make and the taste is sublime! Plus, if you are careful with the amount of olive oil and use the turkey sweet Italian sausage instead of pork, it is a comfort-food dish you can indulge in without any guilt!

Using red potatoes versions white or yellow versions cuts down on the roasting time. Make sure to cut your peppers and onions into big chunks or they overcook.

The foil-lined pan makes for super easy clean up as well. I prefer non-stick foil to make sure the potatoes are easy to stir while baking. Leftovers can be made into an easy soup or used as pizza toppings.

Roasted Italian Sausage and Potatoes with peppers and onions

red potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
red bell pepper(s), cleaned, and cut into 1 inch pieces
sweet onion(s), peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
olive oil
1 lb sweet Italian turkey sausage

Preheat oven to 425.
Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a large foil-lined cookie sheet. (There should be space between the pieces or they won’t brown.)
Spray lightly with the olive oil and stir to coat. Place sausages on top of vegetables.
Roast for 45-60 minutes, stirring once or twice. Bake until potatoes pierce easily with a fork and the sausages are browned. Serve hot.

Last Minute Dinner Rolls

Have you ever realized a half hour before dinner time that supper would be so much better with fresh baked bread? This recipe can be a lifesaver! Okay, so really only a meal saver, but you get the idea. I believe the original recipe came from a Taste of Home magazine about 15 years ago. It called for self-rising flour, which I never use. If you do, just omit the baking powder and salt. (By the by, if you haven’t tried the new, at least to me, baking powder without aluminum, you should. It tastes so much better than traditional baking powder. No metallic aftertaste!)

Even though the texture of these rolls aren’t as chewy as a traditional yeast roll, they are lighter and fluffier than a muffin. They are excellent with soups, stews or just with jam on them. I bet they’d be tasty with some herbs added to them as well.

Last evening, I made them buttermilk. It made the batter thicker than usual, so I thinned it down with water. Next time, I’d probably use 1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1/4 cup water. They sure were delicious!

Last Minute Dinner Rolls

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients.
Fill 6 greased muffin tins half full.
Bake at 375°F for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.