Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce – #GreatAmericanCookIn

Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce |TheBachelorBasics.com
Food Stylist: Johanna Lowe

Here’s a simple and quick dish that doesn’t feature a lot of ingredients. If you love Italian food and want to start gaining experience with what I’d argue is one of the best cuisines, this Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce recipe is a great entry point.

Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce |TheBachelorBasics.com
Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce - #GreatAmericanCookIn
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Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce |TheBachelorBasics.com
Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce - #GreatAmericanCookIn
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Instructions
  1. Lay zucchini noodles in a single layer on paper towels. Lightly salt and let sit for 15 minutes to draw out moisture. Pat dry with additional paper towels.
  2. In a medium sauté pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in fresh oregano and simmer five minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium sauté pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in fresh oregano and simmer five minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer zucchini to serving bowls and pour sauce over the top. Sprinkle feta cheese and fresh oregano over each dish. Add freshly ground black pepper, if desired. *If you don’t own a spiralizer machine, cut zucchini into 1/2 inch rounds
Recipe Notes

Tips

  • Craving carbs: This sauce tastes great over pasta
  • Stay seasonal: In the winter months, serve this sauce with spaghetti squash
  • Extra flavor: Simple grilled shrimp makes for a yummy add-on to this recipe
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Bechamel | Mother Sauce

Bechamel sauce is one of the mother sauces. It’s pretty easy to make, but requires nearly constant whisking. It adds a richness that cheese simply can’t match.

bechamel recipe
Bechamel | Mother Sauce
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Bechamel is one of the mother sauces. It's pretty easy to make, but requires nearly constant whisking. It adds a richness that cheese simply can't match.
Cook Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
bechamel recipe
Bechamel | Mother Sauce
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Print Recipe
Bechamel is one of the mother sauces. It's pretty easy to make, but requires nearly constant whisking. It adds a richness that cheese simply can't match.
Cook Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Medium heat.
  2. Heat milk in a separate sauce pan over low-medium heat.
  3. Once it starts to bubble, add the flour in batches. Whisk vigorously.
  4. After all the flour is added and smooth, start adding the warm milk 1/2 cup at a time. Continue whisking.
  5. Once all the milk is added, you can slow down whisking. The mix should be lightly bubbling/boiling. Whisk occasionally for 7-10 minutes.
    bechamel recipe
  6. Turn off the heat. Add nutmeg.
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Chicken Piccata with Asparagus

Chicken piccata

 

Chicken Piccata can seem a daunting dish to new cooks. There are a few steps that may be new to you. Butterflying. Dredging. Searing. Deglazing. But those are just words. Hopefully, this walkthrough removes the fear and helps you unlock some advanced skills to add to your arsenal. Worst case scenario: you burn the food and end up going out for pizza. Sounds like either way you win.

If you’ve never had chicken piccata, it’s a breaded piece of chicken that’s lightly fried. Then the sauce is a rich, thick mix of garlic, lemon, white wine and capers. There are some extra ingredients most recipes call for. They are nice to haves, but not essential. I always hated buying new ingredients for a new dish that now sit in a cabinet.

The key to executing this dish well is prepping your ingredients before your start frying the chicken. As you get more comfortable, you can condense some steps and multi-task. I start heating my pan on low heat before cutting and breading the chicken. If you’ve never made chicken this way, focus on doing one thing at a time. I am fortunate to have a stellar sous chef who assists me with chopping. If you have a friend or date, a lot of meal prep can be done together. This dish is great because we made asparagus as the side dish. So my girlfriend prepped that while I focused on the main dish.

Prep Steps for Chicken Piccata

Depending the size of your chicken breasts, you may need to trim them to a more manageable size. The purpose for this is even cooking and to expedite the nom nom in your mouth. If the chicken is too thick (more than 3/4 inch), it will take longer to cook to temperature (aiming for 165). So what are you going to do if your hormone-filled bird is too big? Place the chicken breast on your cutting board, then, press your flat palm down on the chicken. With a sharp chef’s knife in your other hand, run the knife parallel to the cutting board halfway up the height of the chicken. This will create two thinner fillets of chicken.

Want to skip this step? Cool. To best cook the chicken without burning it on the stove, use an oven-safe pan. After your fry the chicken, pop the pan into a 350 degree oven. Let the chicken cook for 20ish minutes.

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The rest of the steps are pretty straight forward.

The asparagus dish was really good and pretty quick. Again, for new cooks it can seem tough and there are pitfalls to boiling the eggs (optional, but tasty addition) and creating the vinaigrette. If you missed the recipe earlier this week, head over here for the full instructions.
IMG_8138.JPG

Chicken piccata
Chicken Piccata with Asparagus
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Servings Prep Time
4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30-40 minutes
Chicken piccata
Chicken Piccata with Asparagus
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Servings Prep Time
4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30-40 minutes
Ingredients
The Meat
The Sauce
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Butterfly the chicken breasts if greater than 3/4 inch thick.
  2. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a big dinner plate.
  3. Beat one egg in a shallow bowl.
  4. Dip chicken into egg. Turn to coat the other side.
  5. Place chicken into flour mixture. Press chicken evenly to coat the entire side. Flip chicken to coat the other side. Shake excess flour off chicken and set aside. Repeat for remaining breasts.
  6. Heat a non-stick pan to medium heat. Allow 3-5 minutes. Then add olive oil and butter. Once the butter is melted, add chicken to the pan. You should hear a distinct "TISSS" sizzle.
  7. Leave the chicken alone for about 5 minutes. Then flip and do the same. Be sure not to crowd the pan. To best crisp the chicken, it needs room in the pan. I used a 12-inch pan and worked in two batches.
    chicken piccata
  8. Add garlic as the chicken nears completion (about 15 minutes in)
  9. You can finish the chicken in the oven. The breasts need to reach 165 degrees. Either way, once the chicken is done, set aside on a clean plate or platter.
The Sauce
  1. In the pan you cooked the chicken, add mushrooms and shallot (or onion). Cook for 3-5 minutes/until mushrooms and shallot soften.
  2. Add white wine, lemon juice, capers and chicken stock. If you splurged on fresh thyme, add it now. Scrape the bottom of the pain as the liquids bubble up.
  3. Continue cooking the sauce over medium heat. The sauce will eventually thicken. Continue intermittently scraping the bottom of the pan.
    piccata sauce
  4. Once the sauce is thick, plate the chicken and spoon over the sauce.
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Basic Carbonara Recipe with a Twist

carbonara recipeIt’s been a while since the summer of carbonara. Enough time has passed to make me crave the salty, silky goodness that is carbonara.

The dish is relatively basic once you get the procedure down. See the carbonara recipe below. After that, you can make this repeatedly and easily. It isn’t the healthiest of dishes, so fight the urge to have it every night.

I tried whole wheat noodles last year, but found the familiar regular/processed pasta paired better with the flavors in the sauce. I lean toward linguine or other long, hearty noodles with a good chew.

So what’s the twist, you ask? Last night, while frying up the bacon in a skillet, I added chopped hot capicola. I put it in too early and some of it dissolved into nothingness.

Add capicola toward the very end of frying bacon to get the heat and preserve the capicola’s existence.

The extra twist was to add fresh, torn leaves of basil. I had some leftover from making pizza at my grandma’s. Other variations would be to use pepporoni or other italian meats in combination with bacon. Let’s not get crazy and ditch the core ingredient that makes this great.

Carbonara is a quick dish that can make turn your humdrum weeknight dinner into a transporting feast on the streets of Trastevere outside of Rome.

Carbonara Recipe

carbonara
Basic Carbonara with a Twist
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Perfecting the texture of the carbonara sauce took a few test runs. I've found this ratio of yolks to whole eggs near the mastery of the chefs in Italia.
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
carbonara
Basic Carbonara with a Twist
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Print Recipe
Perfecting the texture of the carbonara sauce took a few test runs. I've found this ratio of yolks to whole eggs near the mastery of the chefs in Italia.
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Start a pot of water to boil. Add pasta once water is boiling. Cook as directed, reserving some of the pasta water.
  2. Sautee bacon for 5-7 minutes, adding capicola in the last minute.
  3. In a bowl, whip egg yolks, whole egg, cheese, 1 tsp bacon fat.
  4. Add drained pasta to egg/cheese mixture.
  5. Add bacon/meats and toss with tongs.
  6. Garnish with torn leaves of basil.
  7. Serve and enjoy. It's best to dish this up quickly before the eggs clump and make this a sticky mess.
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