Simple Quintessential Cuisine

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Tonight I decided it was time to treat my husband to one of his favorite meals.  I’ve been making him and the rest of my family sweet and sour chicken for many, many years now, and not until a PF Chang’s China Bistro opened up in our area have I ever experienced a sweet and sour chicken meal that rivals mine.  Anyway, since my husband tirelessly cleans up the kitchen after every one of my meals and since he also rewards me with a hot delicious cup of java every single morning without fail, I decided to make one of his longtime favorites.  I promise you it’s every bit as good as PF Chang’s version, and when you realize how easy it really is to make yourself, I’m sure it will be one of your favorites as well! Give it a try and let me know what you think..

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Simple Bruschetta with Roma Tomatoes and Basil

I have long been a lover of Italian food including everything from appetizers to desserts. One of my favorites has to be Bruschetta. There are so many variations and options but I am especially fond of the traditional tomato basil topping. This is a simple recipe to prepare, is exceptionally delicious and a wonderful beginning to any meal. The one ingredient that sets this recipe apart from some others you may have tried is the white balsamic vinegar. It adds a nice sweet/tart element that really works.  If you enjoy Bruschetta give this easy to prepare recipe a try and tell me what you think….

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White Chicken Chili

If you asked the average person where “Chili” originated from, most would probably guess Mexico. I think much of that is due to the dish’s typical ingredient list of beans, meat, and spicy flavors which are found in many Mexican recipes.  Oddly enough however there is no real proof of that. On the contrary, legend has it that the dish was created by a Spanish nun during the 17th century right here in the United States. Apparently she created the dish because the ingredients were cheap and easy to feed those in need. You can learn more about the history of “Chili” by clicking on this link http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Chili/ChiliHistory.htm. We are avid fans of chili in my home and I have several recipes that I have created and come to love over the years but I think my “White Chicken Chili” is definitely the front runner.  I serve it with plenty of heat, cilantro and a big hunk of corn bread on the side! 

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Creamy Parmesan Noodles with Sugar Snap Peas

There are few things I enjoy more than a steaming dish of hot pasta! Although these days I am trying to resist the urge to indulge as I am striving to shed a few pounds in preparation for summer.
Tonight was one of those nights when I caved, but on the up side I substituted light cream for most of the heavy cream.  I was somewhat worried thinking that the lighter cream would not produce the level of creaminess within the sauce I was looking for.
To my surprise it worked out really nicely! The sauce had great consistency and flavor and the addition of the crispy snap peas against the noodles added a nice element of texture to the dish.  Bon appetite!

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Creamy Carrot Risotto

This past Friday night was date night and in celebration Craig and I selected a local restaurant where the food is prepared by a chef we’ve had the privilege of meeting on a few different occasions.  The menu was unique and seemed to have a French influence.   The only difficulty was having to choose, because I honestly wanted to try a bite of everything!

Through much deliberation I landed on the seared skirt steak which was served on top of a wonderful carrot risotto.  I’d have had a lot of risotto but never with carrots. Let me tell you, it was a wonderful treat.  But even better, my husband who is not exactly a carrot lover, actually enjoyed the risotto too, so of course I was determined to mimic this dish to the very best of my abilities.  I have to say while it does not taste exactly the same, I feel I’ve created a dish that represents the typically underrated carrot quite wonderfully.  Now I know risotto has the reputation of being laborious but I promise you it’s really not that difficult and the end result will be worth every ounce of your effort. Give it a try and you’ll see!

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