Caprese Chicken with Balsamic and Red Quinoa

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By Corinne

Summer is the season for tomatoes and basil and caprese everything! While we are heading into fall here, my basil plants growing out on my deck are still doing well, though I think this meal will probably be the last harvest I get from them.

Chicken breasts these days seem obscenely large. If you’re using gigantic ones, half is certainly enough for a serving.

Time: 30 min or less

You will need:

  • 1C red quinoa
  • 2C chicken or vegetable broth or bouillon
  • 2 large chicken breasts, halved, or 4 small chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 3C cherry tomatoes halved
  • 3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
  • 1/2- 3/4C balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 4 generous slices of mozzarella

Thoroughly rinse quinoa and add to a medium pot with 2 cups of the broth of your choice. While quinoa is regularly touted as a super food, it’s also super bland, so don’t just cook it in water! Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. It will take about 20 min to cook. Stir occasionally. It’s finished when all liquid is absorbed.

If your chicken breasts are quite large, hold flat on a cutting board with your non-knife hand. Using a sharp knife, slice horizontally into two even pieces.

Place chicken breasts in a large frying or sauce pan that you have a lid for. If you don’t have one with a lid, you can probably cheat and place a dinner plate over top. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat 6-7 minutes on each side until cooked through, then remove from pan.

While chicken is cooking, halve cherry tomatoes. After chicken has been removed from pan, add the cherry tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes until tomatoes have just begun to soften. Add the 1/4 C chopped fresh basil, 3 cloves of minced garlic, and 3/4C balsamic. Stir for an addition 1-2 minutes.

Add the chicken breasts back to pan, and place mozzarella on top. Cover pan with lid or plate for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted.

Divide quinoa between 4 plates. Top each with a generous amount of tomatoes and sauce and then with one of the cheesy chicken breasts. Top with additional basil for garnish if desired.

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Baked Harissa and Honey Chicken Wings

 

20170923_193853By Corinne

I love chicken wings. They are one of those things that I can somehow manage to keep eating far past the point where I should have stopped. These wings are spicy and a bit sweet. Both the spiciness and the sticky sweetness can be easily altered to taste.

Time: 1 hour

Makes: 2lbs chicken wings

You will need:

  • 2lbs chicken wings
  • 1 tbsp harissa spice*
  • 2 tbsp honey

Lay wings in a single layer on a stoneware baking pan, or on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle harissa spice over top, then flip wings and sprinkle remainder of harissa spice on the other side.

Bake in a 400F oven for 45-55 minutes, flipping every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and drizzle 1 tbsp honey over wings, flip and drizzle with remaining honey. If you like them sweeter and stickier, use more honey. Return to oven for 5 more minutes.

*I’ve been using the PC brand Harissa Spice Blend. I would say it’s fairy spicy, but 1 tbsp over 2lbs of wings results in no more than sort of a ‘medium’ spice level. You can of course increase this to taste!

Split Pea and Ham Soup

By:  Julie

Serves:  Makes 8 cups

Time:  1 hour 15 min

It’s fall here.  The leaves are starting to change, kids are back at school, there is that earthy smell that makes me want to rake leaves and jump in them.  Also earthy, is this very delicious soup.  Every time I cook a ham, I throw the bone, with a generous amount of meat on it, in the freezer until I need some comfort food and guess what?  Today is the day!

My grandma only ever served one thing from a can, and that is Habitant Pea Soup with Ham.  It was the only thing that my grandfather considered edible that was processed.  I loved it as a kid.  She used to serve it with fresh homemade bread and for desert, black tea in a small dish with brown sugar and more bread.  Habitant Pea Soup is a staple here, and is a favourite with everyone I asked.  Not from Canada? Sorry friends, I have learned it’s only available here.  But don’t be sad, this soup takes split peas to a new level.  If you don’t have a ham bone, you can just add some diced ham at the end.

 

You Will Need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot – diced
  • 1 celery stalk – diced
  • 1 small onion – diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1/8 tsp cayanne
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups of yellow split peas
  • 1 ham bone – with 1 1/2 cups of meat still on or extra on the side to equal 1 1/2 cups.
  • 6 cups of stock or water or a combination of the two.

My leftovers came from a glazed ham that favored a sweet spicy glaze.  Some of that translated to the soup.  If I was using a ham with no glaze I would add nutmeg and 1 tbsp of brown sugar.

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Preparation:

In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot.  Add onion, carrot, celery, and cook until soft, about 5 min, stirring frequently.  Add seasoning and cook for another minute. Add split peas and stir, toasting peas for about 3 min.  De-glaze pan with 1 cup of the broth and scrape any brown-bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add remaining broth, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  When peas is soft, remove pot from heat.  Remove the ham bone and the bay leaves. Discard the bay leaves.  Using a fork and knife, pull and shred all the remaining meat of the bone and set aside.  Moving back to the soup, use a hand blender to carefully puree the soup.  If it’s too hot it may splatter so use caution.  Add the ham and stir.  Garnish with parsley or cilantro (my favourite).  For extra creaminess add a dollop of sour cream.

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Peach Crisp with Maple Cream

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By Corinne

I adore peaches. They are so sweet and juicy and just ooze all the goodness that is summer. I don’t do a lot of baking with peaches, usually I’m either eating them raw or making jams with them.  I really, really love is peach pie, but unlike Julie, I’m still not in love with making pie crusts- though she’s getting closer to converting me. I do love a crisp though!

This crisp came to fruition (get it? pun totally intended) because I bought a case of peaches. I made vanilla bean peach jam, peach pie jam, spicy peach salsa and hot peach mostarda. Annnnd… then I still had 6 peaches left. I had already taken the skin off them to make jam, and decided that a crisp they would be.

I love nuts in my crisp topping, 1/4 cup of chopped pecans or slivered almonds would be awesome in this, unfortunately I didn’t have any in the pantry. I prefer my crisps to be light on the sugar as I like to be able to have a good excuse to have leftovers for breakfast 😉 You could of course increase the sugar in the crisp topping or add 2 tbsp of sugar to the peaches if you like things sweeter, though remember that the creamy maple drizzle will also add sweetness

Time: 15 min prep (possibly longer, depends on how you skin your peaches or if you choose to do so) 50-60 min cook

You will need: 

  • about 6 large peaches
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup flour (whole wheat flour is nice here too)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp room temperature butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans if desired
  • 6 tbsp whipping cream (heavy cream)
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350F. Peel peaches (if desired), remove stones, half and slice. Layer in a 9 inch deep dish pie pan or into another over proof dish of your choice (if you use a rectangular pan you may need to increase the amount of topping and decrease the cook time). Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the peach slices.

For the crisp topping, mix together oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Drop butter by tbsp into topping. If you have a pastry blender you can use that to mix in the butter, if not, just use your fingers (what I did since mine seems to be MIA) until butter is mixed in, and you have pea sized ‘chunks’ (you may want to add another 1/2 tbsp of butter, but to be honest, I never worry too much- crisp is forgiving) Put topping on your peaches.

Bake crisp for 50-60 minutes in a 350F oven. Crisp is finished when topping is golden and you can see the peaches have released some of their juices, it should be all bubbling on the outside. This can be served warm or cold.

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Whisk together 6 tbsp whipping cream with 4 tbsp maple syrup, set aside. While you could drizzle this on the whole crisp, I prefer to put it on individual servings to preserve the crispness of the topping. Scoop out your crisp, top with a few tsp of creamy maple sauce and serve. It would also be delightful with ice cream, because really, what isn’t?

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