ARF/5-A-Day #38

by Cate on September 21, 2006

Feeling a bit better today, just a dull ache and a headache; thanks for all the well wishes!

The boys were out tonight at soccer practice, so I took advantage of a quiet kitchen and got to work. On Monday, Rachael Ray debuted her new daytime talk show and made a Seven Minute Dinner. Hard not to gravitate towards a meal you can get on the table in seven minutes, right? She made Balsamic Chicken with Pesto Gravy and Bitter Greens, as did I tonight. Making the salad part brought back fond recipe memories … it was the first Rachael Ray recipe I made, some 6-7 years ago, just simple greens dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, perfect in its unadornment. The chicken was delicious; as soon as Nicholas came home from soccer practice, he polished off a whole portion on his own. He’s pretty picky about eating meat, so that’s quite an accomplishment for him.


Diane Sawyer was a guest on Rachael’s episode on Monday and as I mentioned earlier in the week, she brought Rachael a few of her “favorite things,” and they also did a recipe swap. Diane admitted that she doesn’t cook very much, so she brought Charlie Gibson’s “go-to” dish, his Put-Everything-In-It Mexican Surprise. I saw that it had beans in it, so added it to the menu tonight. As I was making it, a number of thoughts raced through my head… “Charlie Gibson makes THIS as his go-to dish?” “I need to introduce Charlie Gibson to some Sweetnicks’ cooking” and “Nicholas is going to LOVE this!” The recipe has Doritos both in it, and on top of it, and that’s one of Nicholas’ (and my) favorite chips. How can he not like Dorito Casserole? This dish is one of those things that while you’re eating you think, I can’t believe I’m eating something so trashy, followed immediately by “I need another helping.” The Husband went back for thirds. Of course, those that know him know that he has the kind of metabolism that lets him get away with it. Lucky man.

Alright, enough about me, onto the roundup. Until tomorrow…

A year ago today … gone crabbin’.

Cooking Dabauchery kicks us off this week with a unique twist with her Blueberry-Buffalo Stew:

Kalyn’s Kitchen bakes up a delicious Twice-Baked Cauliflower:

Stacey from Just Braise in New York relives some fond memories this week with her Zucchini Pancakes:

Zucchini also pops in at The Chocolate Lady’s place in New York, complete with a little bit ‘o history:

Claire from Cooking is Medicine in Mississippi has been busy baking Low-Fat Strawberry and Blueberry Muffins:

5 Recipes a Week thinks pink with her Chilled Cherry Plum Soup:

Patti from Adventures in Food in Indiana kicks off soup season with her Fall Harvest Soup:

Albion Cooks goes international with her Pattypan Squash Stuffed with Chickpea Curry:

A Transition to Vegan cooks up a very hearty Red Garbanzo Stew:

FatFree Vegan Kitchen in Mississippi is up next with her Potato Pizzas – I am SO making these!

Traveling to Pennsylvania, it’s The Cookbook Junkie’s not spicy Spicy Vegetable Quesadillas:

Pat from Up a Creek Without a PatL keeps it light with her Cucumber, Mango and Black Bean Salad:

Meeta from What’s for Lunch, Honey in Germany spices things up with her Spicy Beef and Potato Curry:

Balsamic Chicken with Pesto Gravy & Bitter Greens
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray

2 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 bunches arugula, thoroughly washed
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Parmigiano Reggiano shavings
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4 cup homemade or store-bought pesto

Heat a large skillet over high heat with a little drizzle of EVOO. Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using the bottom of a heavy pot or small sauté pan, give each chicken breast a good smack to make them even thinner. Peel back the top layer of plastic wrap and drizzle the balsamic vinegar over top and season with a little salt and pepper.

Transfer the chicken to the hot sauté pan, seasoned-side down, and cook on each side for about 2 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, combine the arugula, with the juice of half a lemon, a drizzle of EVOO and a little bit of salt in a bowl. Remove chicken from the skillet and reserve on a plate while you make the sauce.

To the sauté pan add butter and melt. Add flour and cook for about a minute or so. Whisk in chicken stock and cream and bring up to a simmer to thicken. Remove from heat and add the pesto to the skillet. Stir to combine. Pour pesto gravy over the chicken and then top with the arugula. With a peeler shave some Parmigiano over the greens, season with a little salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Yields 4 servings

“Put-Everything-In-It” Mexican Surprise (In the Sweetnicks’ house, this will be forever known as Dorito Casserole)
Diane Sawyer admits she’s not a great cook … so she brings one of Charlie Gibson’s favorite recipes to share with Rachael.

1 can chili with beans
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 large 12-ounce package Doritos (save 2 cups for casserole topping)
10-15 oz. enchilada sauce
8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 tbsp. onion, grated
1 1/4 cup sour cream

For the topping, set aside sour cream, 1/2 cup of the grated cheese and 1/3 of the Doritos bag. Grate a small onion and measure 2 tablespoons and set aside.

Take remaining 6-cups Doritos and crumble with your hands into mixing bowl. Mix the onion, and all the other ingredients, except those for the topping, and place into an 8 1/2×11-inch casserole dish.

Bake for 20 minutes at 375°F. Remove casserole from oven. Spread on sour cream, cover with Doritos and sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese. Bake for an additional 5 minutes and serve.

Yields 4 servings (Sweetnicks’ Notes: that’s crazy! We have tons leftover! More like serves 8 (assuming this is not a main course).

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kalyn September 21, 2006 at 4:31 am

Great round-up as usual. Even though I pretty much hate winter, it’s kind of fun seeing the soups and stews starting to show up.

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SusanV September 21, 2006 at 11:58 am

Nice round-up! I see several recipes that I want to try.

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stacey September 21, 2006 at 3:54 pm

Excellent round up and good to hear you’re doing better. I’m not too sure of Gibson’s dish either– chip casserole? But everyones’ dishes look fabulously delicious!

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Cate September 22, 2006 at 3:06 am

Kalyn – I agree… I l-o-v-e soup season!

Susan – my printer always goes into overdrive Tuesday nights. ;)

Stacey – I love Charlie Gibson, but I certainly hope he gets better stuff than Dorito Casserole, as good as it was!

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