Weekend Fare: Carrabba’s Chicken Bryan

For my birthday this past year, Jeremy took me to Carrabba’s Italian Grill for supper. I mmmed over my chicken dish and have thought about it several times since that meal. Imagine my delight when I spied a recipe for that very dish while flipping through a cookbook I wouldn’t normally peruse (Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3). I finally got around to making it myself. Still delicious! With chicken, goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes topped with a basil lemon butter sauce, what’s not to love?!

While the recipe includes lots of ingredients and quite a few steps, I was able to pull this all together in around 30 minutes, not bad for a fancyish dish. As I didn’t have any heavy cream or fresh basil, I successfully used whole milk and dried basil instead.

If you’re staying in to cook a special Valentine’s dinner for you and your honey, this recipe would make a perfect addition to the menu served alongside a green salad, some steamed vegetables, and dessert.

(from Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3)
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Basil Lemon Butter Sauce
1/2 c. butter (confession: I only used 1/4 c.)
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp white wine
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/4 c. heavy cream
6-7 basil leaves, sliced

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets
olive oil
1/2 oz sun-dried tomatoes (1/3 c. when reconstituted and sliced)
4 sliced of goat cheese

If grilling chicken, preheat grill on high. Broiling works fine, as well.

Make the basil lemon butter sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and slowly saute it for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, wine, salt, pepper, and cream. Reduce the heat to low. Cook the sauce for 15-20 minutes over low heat until thickened, stirring often.

Use a kitchen mallet to flatten the thick part of the chicken (or you can just cut the breast in half to make to thinner pieces). Rub each chicken breast with oil, then sprinkle each with salt and pepper. Grill or broil chicken for 3-5 minutes per side, until done.

While chicken is cooking, simmer sun-dried tomatoes in small pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Strain, then slice in strips.

Place chicken on the plate, top with a slice of goat cheese and tomatoes. Stir the sliced basil leaves into the sauce and spoon over the chicken. Serves 4.

Market Fresh: Fall Salad

The delicious toppings for salad during the fall season make some of the best salads. Recently I tried a new dressing on a bed of mixed greens, sliced apples, chopped walnuts, craisins, and goat cheese. It was wonderful! And really, the whole salad was brought together with the creamy, tangy, richness of the goat cheese (don’t skip it!). Everyone enjoyed the combination of flavors and the large salad bowl was empty at the end of the meal.

HONEY DIJON VINAIGRETTE (I doubled this for a great big salad)
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1 Tb. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 minced garlic clove
2 Tb. extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except the olive oil. Gradually whisk in  the oil.

Market Fresh: Arugula

Arugula is a peppery leafy green. It’s often put in the herb section. The tasty leaves are a wonderful addition to pasta or salad (I think this recipe looks awesome!). It is also known as rugola, rucola, roquette, garden rocket, Mediterranean rocket, salad rocket, Roman rocket, or Italian cress (http://www.ochef.com/151.htm).

This week, I made two different appetizers with arugula. We enjoyed both, though I can take or leave prosciutto – I don’t care much for the texture. These were so quick to put together and so pretty!

(adapted from Ina Garten)
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1 loaf country white bread, French bread, or Italian bread, sliced and toasted if desired (I did not) 
4 oz. goat cheese
4 oz. baby arugula
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Lay out the bread slices and spread them with the goat cheese. Place the arugula and sliced tomato on top of the goat cheese, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Serve.

(adapted slightly from Rachael Ray)
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1 bundle arugula leaves (about 1 c. or a little more)
1 ripe bosc pear
1 lemon
1 Tb. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices prosciutto di Parma

Place arugula in bowl. Quarter the pear lengthwise and remove the core. Cut each quarter in half again so you have 8 pieces. Dress the pear with the juice of 1/2 lemon, thyme leaves, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place a few leaves of dressed greens on each slice of prosciutto with a slice of pear and roll up into a tight bundle. Cut each bundle in half, to make 16 pieces (I didn’t bother as there were only five of us but I would for entertaining).