Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chicken Cheese Steak Panini

Thanks to my Dad, who sometimes fills paninis with the weirdest combination of food, came up with this idea.  It was so good I have made it a couple times since.  The recipe is for one panini, so it is easy to double or triple it to make more.

2 Slices of bakery whole wheat bread
2 tsp olive oil
1 small chicken breast
2 slices of American cheese
1/4 of a red onion
Salt and Pepper

First, heat a pan to medium-low heat and add 1 tsp of olive oil.  Slice the onion in about 1/4 inch slices.  Add the onion to the pan with a pinch of salt.  Cook for about 10 minutes, until they have some color and are soft.  Set them aside.  Salt and pepper the chicken, then cook in the same pan as the onions.  Once the chicken is cooked through, set aside for 5 minutes allowing it to cool.  Then chop the chicken into desired size, you could shred it or chop it into tiny squares.

Now just build the panini, put the chicken on one slice of bread, then the onions, then the cheese.  Place the other slice on top, and brush with half of the remaining olive oil.  Place it on the panini press or simply in a pan heated to medium oiled side down.  Then brush the other side with olive oil.  If you're using a pan, press the sandwich down with a spatula for about 1-2 minutes then flip it and cook another 1-2 minutes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bean Soup with Garlic Croutons

Last Sunday night we wanted a cozy, warm dinner, so I wanted to try this bean soup.  The recipe serves 4.

For the Soup:
2 (15 ounce) cans of cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups of Chicken Broth
4 garlic cloves
1/2 of a medium red onion
1/4 cup of fresh sage leaves
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

First, roughly chop the onion and smash the garlic.  Heat a soup pot on medium heat and put in the olive oil, onion and garlic.  Cook together for 5-10 minutes, until the onion begins to look transparent.  Now add the beans, chicken broth, sage leaves, pepper flakes and salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes.  Then, either with an emersion blender or a regular blender, puree the soup until smooth.  Taste for additional salt and pepper. 

The soup tastes great alone, but I added these croutons on top and it was delicious.

For the Croutons:
4 Slices of whole wheat bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder (add more if you like a stronger garlic flavor)
2 pinches of salt
1 tsp dried parsley

Preheat the over to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, add olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley.  Then add the bread and mix until the cubes are lightly coated.  Put on a baking sheet and cook for 5 minutes, then stir and flip them, and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes, until they are golden brown.

To serve, top the soup with croutons and some Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

First Post!

Welcome to my first blog!  To begin, I wanted to say the purpose of starting this site.  As you may know, I am super famous from my recipe published on allrecipes.com, and also for my brief appearance on Ina Garten’s show.  I cook things on a daily basis and sort of make it up as I go.  I would like to start paying attention to what I put into dishes, so I can share with family and friends. 

Aside from simply cooking, my goal is to include nutrient rich foods where I can and naturally enhance their flavor.  I try to add as little oil, butter and sugar as possible yet maintaining flavor.  I will attempt to post recipes on here as I create them.  Thanks for checking out my site!