Archive for June, 2011

June 30, 2011

Chicken Roll-Ups


This dish is quick, easy and delicious!  I used store bought thin sliced chicken breasts.  When buying chicken, I always choose the all-natural with no added preservatives.  By using the thin sliced breast, the chicken was so moist and so easy to roll up with a stuffing.  If you cannot find the already sliced chicken at the grocery, you can slice chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch thickness.  I served the chicken with spaghetti squash and a salad. 


Chicken Roll-Ups  

2 lbs. thin sliced chicken breasts

1 lb. part-skim ricotta cheese

1 (10 oz) package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 T. garlic

1 tsp. basil

2 T. sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

1 cup marinara sauce, your choice (I used Bertoli)

Parmesan cheese, enough to sprinkle on top


Combine spinach, ricotta, salt, pepper, garlic, basil and sundried tomatoes.  Lay chicken flat.  Spoon about 1 T. of spinach  mixture onto each breast.  Spread mixture evenly onto breast.  Roll the chicken and place seam side down into baking dish.  Pour marinara over the top of the chicken rolls.  Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.  Remove foil, sprinkle parmesan cheese over chicken and bake for about 15 minutes.

Try serving it with spaghetti squash.  (read below)


Spaghetti Squash is such a great alternative to pasta.  And a much healthier choice!  Try it!  If you have never bought one before, look for the large, yellow, oval shaped squash.

Cut the squash lengthwise down the center.  Spoon out seeds and lay cut side down on a jelly roll pan.  Put water in the bottom of the pan just to cover the bottom.  Bake at 450 for 45-55 minutes.  Be sure the squash feels tender before removing it.  Let the squash cool.  Once cool, use a fork to scrape out the squash.  It will form spaghetti like strings.  Put those in a bowl and season with a little oregano, salt/pepper, olive oil, and  a sprinkle of parmesan. 

Serve along side of the chicken and enjoy!!






June 28, 2011

Goat Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers


Roasted Red Bell Peppers are a treat!  They have a mildly sweet flavor and are a wonderful addition to sandwiches, salads, pastas, etc.  Once the peppers are roasted and the skin is removed, you can keep the peppers in a jar to use anytime.  In this case, I stuffed them with some goat cheese, pine nuts and raisins.  The flavor was delicious!  These stuffed red peppers can be served as a main dish or as an appetizer or side.     


How to roast of bell pepper

Place whole peppers on pan in oven and broil until all sides are blackened, turning after about 10 minutes.  Once all sides are blackened, remove from over and put into a brown paper bag or covered bowl.  The steam helps to loosen the skins and makes them easier to peel.  When peppers are cool enough to touch, cut off stem and squeeze gently to help remove seeds.   


Goat Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers

4 large red bell peppers, roasted, seeds removed and split down one side

1/4 lb. goat cheese

2 T. basil

2 T. pine nuts

1/4 cup golden raisins

2 T. bread crumbs

2 T. olive oil


Place the peppers peeled side down and flatten them slightly to keep open.  Spread the goat cheese evenly down the center of each pepper, forming it into a log shape.  Top the goat cheese with the basil, evenly distributed among the peppers, followed by the pine nuts and golden raisins.  Fold the peppers to close and press down slightly to hold shape.  Place the peppers on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the bread crumbs and olive oil.  Bake at 450 for about 10-15 minutes, or until the bread crumbs begin to brown.    Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle. 

Serve as a main dish with some pasta or couscous.  Or, try them as an appetizer.  Either way, I hope you enjoy!!

June 21, 2011

Tomato Stack


Many restraunts serve a version of a tomato stack salad.  If you ever see it on the menu, you should order it!  Brad and I have loved every one we can remember.  I decided to create my own version of a tomato stack.  I used fresh tomato, avacado and corn vinegarette, topped with a lemon garlic sauce.  It was wonderful! 


Tomato Stack (serves 4)

2 ripe tomatoes, sliced

1 avacado, sliced

corn vinegarette (recipe below)

lemon garlic sauce (recipe below) 

Arrange one tomato slice on each plate.  Top the tomato with a spoonful of corn vinegarette then 2 slices of avacado.  Repeat tomato, corn, avacado two more times then top the tomato stack with a teaspoon of the lemon garlic sauce.

It’s beautiful and delicious! 


Corn Vinegarette

1 (9 oz.) can low-sodium corn, drained

1/4 c. olive oil

1 T. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. garlic

1 1/2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. creole mustard

1 tsp. thyme

Drain corn well and combine with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, sugar, creole mustard and thyme.  Toss.


Lemon Garlic Sauce

3 T. light mayo

2 green onions, chopped

2 T. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. garlic 

Mix all ingredients.

June 16, 2011

Chicken Pineapple Kebabs


Kebabs are so much fun to make and so healthy too!  The pineapple gives these kababs a sweet, juicy flavor.  I served these Chicken Pineapple Kebabs with couscous and grilled eggplant.  The leftovers are delicious tossed in a salad or reheated for fajitas the next night! 


Chicken Pineapple Kebabs

1  lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1 in. cubes

2 medium vidalia or purple onions

1 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. cumin

3 T. olive oil

1 lb. pineapple, cut into bite size chunks


Peel onions and cut into wedges.  In bowl, combine chicken, onion, ginger, salt, pepper, cumin and olive oil.  Toss to coat and let marinate for at least 2 hours.  Thread the chicken, onion, and pineapple onto skewers.  Heat grill to medium high heat and grill kababs for about 15 minutes, turning occassionally, until chicken is cooked through. 


For the grilled eggplant, slice an eggplant lengthwise into 1/4 in. slices.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Place on grill for about 12 minutes. Flip and continue grilling until tender.   

Serve the kababs with a side of couscous and grilled eggplant. 

***Try this with a lemon garlic sauce.  Mix 3 T. mayo, 2 chopped green onions, 2 T. lemon juice and 1 tsp. garlic.


June 14, 2011

Homemade Croutons

This is a quick, easy idea to add a little something extra to your salad.  You can make these croutons with all types of bread.  I usually use a couple slices of regular 100% whole wheat sandwich bread since that seems to be what we always have on hand.  They really give a fresh kick to the regular, traditional salad.  Make a batch and store what is left in a zip lock for another nights dinner.  They stay tasting fresh for about 5 days. 


Homemade Croutons

4 slices bread, torn into bite size pieces


garlic powder


olive oil

Spread torn bread in single layer on jelly roll pan.  Sprinkle bread evenly with parsley, garlic powder and basil.  (Add any other of your favorite seasonings!)  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.  Toss and continue baking until crispy. 


**Try these croutons on a caesar salad using romaine lettuce, your favorite kind of caesar dressing, black pepper, parmesan cheese and homemande croutons!!!

June 10, 2011

Baked “Smokey” Salmon

This is Brad and I’s favorite salmon recipe!  Brad reminds me of  how good it is every time I make it.  It is very basic and comes out perfect every time.  The key ingredient on this salmon is paprika.  It gives the fish such a delicious smokey flavor.  Brad once saw me pull out paprika to sprinkle on his deviled eggs one day, he stopped me and said, “None of that.  I do not like that stuff!”  I had to laugh!  I said, “Oh yes you do!  You actually love it!  This is what I use all over your favorite salmon.”  He didn’t say anything else!


Smokey Salmon

Salmon fillets (I prefer to use fillets with the skin removed)

Garlic powder


little pepper


olive oil


Wash the salmon fillets and pat dry with paper towel.  On plate, season fillets with garlic powder on both sides, enough to cover.  Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper, enough to taste.  Next, cover both sides of salmon with paprika.  Place salmon in baking pan and drizzle with olive oil, about 1/2 tsp. per piece.  Bake salmon at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Salmon should be slighly flaky when finished. 

Try this salmon with a side of sauteed spinach (see link) and Quinoa salad.(see link)  


June 7, 2011

Herbed Trout with lemon and sauteed spinach

Just last weekend, the Culotta family went on a fishing trip out of Myrtle Grove, Louisiana.  We had a blast!!  This is our dinner one night after a day of fishing.  It is an extremely simple meal to make along with a really great flavor.  The flavor of the fresh trout really stands out with the simple seasonings and the lemon.  It works perfectly served over the sauteed spinach which has a mild sweet taste.     


Herbed Trout

6-8 trout fillets

lemon, sliced

2 T. olive oil

seasoning (we used salt, Louisiana seasoning blend, thyme, garlic powder)

Wash trout fillets and pat dry with paper towel.  Place trout on sprayed cooking sheet.  Sprinkle seasonings over trout.  Drizzle olive oil over seasoned fillets.  Top each fillet with lemon slice.  Squeeze any extra lemon over the fish.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.   Serve the trout over the sauteed spinach.


Sauteed Spinach

1 1/2 – 2 lbs. fresh spinach leaves

5-6 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

2 T. olive oil

1 splenda or 1 tsp. sugar

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat.   Add garlic and cook unil browned.  Slowly add spinach and toss as it begins to wilt.  Continue adding spinach.  Add splenda or sugar and continue tossing.  Remove from heat and serve.


Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

June 2, 2011

Spinach Balls


These spinach balls are absolutely delicious and a huge hit at any party!  They are one of the many specialties from Mrs. Pam, my mother in law.  She is always great at throwing together a quick party, a dinner, or anything else that takes planning.  One trick I have learned from her is to always be prepared.  She is always able to pull something out of the freezer and serve it like she has been working in the kitchen all day.  This is one of those perfect appetizers to keep on hand.  They are easy to make and can be frozen before they are cooked.  Then, when you have a last minute get together, thaw them out and pop them in the oven.  I promise, everyone will love them! 

Thanks Mrs. Pam, you know how much I love these spinach balls!!!


Spinach Balls

2 pkgs. of frozen chopped spinach (we use the 9-10 oz. boxes)

2 c. herbed bread stuffing mix

2 onions, finely chopped

6 eggs, beaten

3/4 c. margarine, melted

1/2 c. parmesan cheese

1 T. garlic salt

1 tsp. thyme

1/2 tsp. pepper

tabasco to taste, optional

Cook spinach and drain well.  Mix together all ingredients.  Shape into bite-size balls.  Place on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Serve them hot and enjoy!