Rock Star Chicken Caccitore ~ Yum!

I never really liked Chicken Caccitore.  My recipe was kind of boring, but that was the way I was shown how to make it.  It was your basic tomato sauce, chicken, onions, garlic, potatoes and ..... yawn.  I stopped making it years ago.  No one in my family really loved it and I didn't care for it at all!

Fast forward to this year and a friend told me I had to try this recipe for Chicken Caccitore..   She told me that I will love this one and I needed to try it soon.  I'm so glad I took her advice.  It's outstanding and I mean rock star good. It has such a depth of flavor, not too tomato-y at all.  You have to trust me on this one.... just look at the picture here. 

Adapted from The Sweet Basil Restaurant ~

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 lb mushrooms, thickly sliced

1 cup chopped bottled roasted red peppers

2 cups chicken stock

1 3/4 cups port

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 can (28 ounces) imported whole tomatoes, crushed in a bowl

1 bay leaf

1 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta, cooked until tender and drained

1/4 cup of grated Parmesan

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. In a large ovenproof dish, arrange the thighs in one layer, skinned side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 20 minutes.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Cook the garlic, carrots, onions, celery, mushrooms, and roasted peppers over medium heat, stirring often, for 20 minutes.

3. Add the stock, port, balsamic vinegar, crushed tomatoes, and bay leaf to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Pour this over the chicken thighs, cover with foil, and return the dish to the oven.

4. Cook the cacciatore for 1 1/2 hours. Toss the pasta and cacciatore and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

Enjoy ~

I'm joining Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm today!


Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup ~

Most of us have a recipe for this soup in our repertoire, so I won't elaborate on how easy and good this one is.

Like most, I've been making it for years.

I adapted this one from somewhere many years ago, probably from The Joy of Cooking in the 80's.   Recently I wanted to try and lighten it up, but didn't want to lose any of the flavor .  So I tweaked it a bit and here is my updated version, loaded with flavor too.

1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 small cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups of fresh broccoli, chopped small
5 cups of milk
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1-2 teaspoon(s) black pepper
1 teaspoon of red crushed pepper
A pinch of fresh nutmeg
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons of flour
4 ounces of good cheddar cheese, grated

In a large Dutch Oven on low heat, melt butter.  Add onion and saute for a few minutes, add garlic.  Cook for another minute.
Add flour, stir for a minute.  Add milk, stir and bring to a low simmer.  You do not want soup to boil, so keep an eye out.  Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and red pepper and stir again.  Add chopped broccoli, stir.  Cover at this point, but leave the lid ajar.

Cook on low for about 20 minutes, when you should be able to slide a knife through your broccoli stems easily.  Turn stove off and move soup from burner.

At this point I use my immersion blender to cream my soup.  Just be careful, because splashing can happen and you don't want to burn yourself.  I suggest that you cool the soup a little before using the blender.

Return soup to burner and turn stove on low heat.  Add cheese a little at a time so it will melt into your soup. Stir and voila, you are done and it is yummy, creamy and cheesey too.  I adjust my seasonsings here, because I have found that all cheese(s) have different flavors and salt content. 

Enjoy ~

Happy Easter ~

I don't claim to be a pastry chef, or even a great cake decorator.  But with these home made Ice Cream cakes, you don't need to be.  All you need is a little love and some very good ingredients. 

I have posted this recipe here before, so if you want it, feel free to grab it.

It's easy, delicious and if you look beyond the imperfections of my decorating, you will be like my grandchildren and think it's perfect.

To them, I am a superstar.  And now that is really what matters to me.....

This one is mint chocolate chip with gourmet sprinkles and jelly beans.  Easy peasy too.