Chicken Paillard with Tomato-Olive Salad

I don’t know about where you guys call home, but it’s definitely starting to warm up around here. I try to keep the A/C off as long as I can, have the windows open – we live in an old home that gets great cross-breezes. On those evenings a really light dinner is a welcome change, not to mention one that can be cooked outside on the grill, to not add any more unwanted heat to the house.

This is another recipe that I came across and tried in the second edition of the Sopranos cookbook. I can just envision Carm, Rosalie, and Adriana sitting around gabbing over something at Vesuvios eating something similar to this. It’s doesn’t really get simpler – basically, a grilled seasoned chicken breast that’s served with a quick salad tossed with a vinaigrette on top.

Figure-friendly, yet still tons of flavor and delicious. Fills you up without bogging you down. And, is super quick. All of those things are welcome in the summer months around here!

Chicken Paillards with Tomato-Olive Salad

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme or basil, chopped

For the salad:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and ground black pepper
6 cups salad greens
2 ripe medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup black olives(such as Gaeta or Kalamata), pitted and coarsely chopped

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Place a chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound the chicken until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with remaining chicken. Place the pieces in a bowl and toss them with the oil, thyme, salt, and pepper.

In a large salad bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the salad greens, tomatoes, and olives to the bowl on top of the dressing – but do not toss until ready to serve.

Place the chicken breasts on the grill and cook for about 7-9 minutes on each side, depending on their size. You want an internal temperature of 165 and the juices should be clear. Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes. You could also certainly cook the chicken breasts on a grill pan or skillet inside.

Arrange the chicken on plates. Toss the greens, tomatoes, and olives with the dressing. Place the salad on top of the chicken and serve immediately.

Source: barely adapted from Entertaining with the Sopranos

Skillet Baked Ziti

It’s been a pretty crazy past few days around here. Baby #3 (we’ve decided to call him Nathan from here on out!) ended up being a week overdue before he finally arrived late Thursday afternoon. He is a big boy, born at 9 lbs 11 ounces and a whopping 21 inches!

nathan

We didn’t home until Saturday night, and are using this week to really get into our new routines and the general “swing of things” with a new baby around. The boys are adjusting just fine, very interested and inquisitive about every detail of Nathan’s life. I feel so lucky to have all these boys to take care of!

Back to this pasta – a cheesy “baked” pasta that’s ready in just a few minutes and only uses one pan – is pretty much a gift sent from the Gods for the crazy nights we have coming up in our future. It was so darned good too, I found myself picking off pieces of pasta for “one more bite” before we packed the leftovers away!

The pasta sauce is easy to bring together, using pantry staples. It gets a heavy dose of flavor from the addition of pork sausage, and richness from the addition of a bit of heavy cream. And I’d imagine that any pasta shape would be fine – although I happen to be partial to the tubular pastas like ziti and penne for these kinds of applications. The pasta is cooked in the sauce on the stove, then when it’s al-dente it’s topped with a good amount of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese that gets melted and browned with a quick trip to the hot oven.

Served with a quick salad and a crunchy piece of garlic bread, it’s too good to be such a delicious and easy weeknight meal. Make this one soon, guys!

Source: ATK’s Pasta Revolution, via Pink Parsley

Peppered Pork Tenderloin

A month or so ago I treated myself to a cookbook that I’ve wanted for quite sometime – the “other” Sopranos cookbook. It’s full of great recipes, stories, tips and tricks from my favorite Italian mafioso family. I really love the first one, and figured the second rendition had to be just as good.

The first recipe I tried was this peppered pork tenderloin, and I was completely blown away. If you’ve been visiting the site regularly, you know that I make many different versions of pork tenderloin. But, the simplicity of this one is just wonderful. A quick marinade made up of basic ingredients, then it’s tossed on the grill to cook. It doesn’t have a sauce, or anything like that – which really allows the grilled pork flavor to shine. This was the first meal we enjoyed outside this year, so it made it all the more special.

Between the two tenderloins I cooked that night, there was just enough leftover for Cuban paninis the following night. The pork was perfect for the sandwiches, as it doesn’t have any other overpowering flavors. I love the meals that I can turn into something completely different the next night!

So, if you’re looking for something quick and easy…as well as delicious, add this one to the menu soon. We all loved it, and I’ve already made it twice since then!

Source: adapted from Entertaining with the Sopranos

Broccoli & Cheese Soup

A good recipe for a soup that doesn’t take all day to make is a real lifesaver. Especially one as hearty and filling as this broccoli & cheese version. It takes only a few short minutes to throw together, and the flavors are just out of this world.

It’s rich and hearty, but still doesn’t weigh you down the way many dairy-based soups do. The addition of fresh broccoli really adds a freshness to the flavor, and you can never go wrong adding plenty of cheddar cheese to anything in my book.

My girlfriend came over for lunch about a month ago or so, and I made this served with some crusty bread and a salad. We both loved it, and I’ve been thinking about making it again ever since. It reheats great as well, which is always a plus. Would also be great for a last minute, easy dinner!

Source: slightly adapted from Yammie’s Noshery