Saturday, March 28, 2015

Quinoa Stuffed Pork Loin with a Bourbon Honey Glaze ~The Kitchen Witch ~ Recipes for Entertaining

With Easter just around the corner I wanted to come up with a new recipe that would be fresher and lighter tasting than our classic meal of ham and scalloped potatoes. This year I've got 8 people coming to dinner and the entire evening promises to be a lot of fun - mostly because I plan to keep things very casual.

I love to gather people around my large island table and serve them cocktails, and small bites as I cook - but I never want to be cooking anything too complicated while I entertain because that defeats the purpose of being relaxed and having a good time with guests. That's why a dish like today's stuffed pork is perfect because it can be entirely made ahead and then just popped into the oven 90 minutes prior to dinner.

Served over a bed of sauteed spinach with a to die for Bourbon and Honey reduction, the only other thing you'll need on the table is your favourite wine, and a beautiful loaf of bread.





















 I like to do a final touch with the bread by making an olive butter.

Here's a link to the olive butter recipe I make (also to die for): Olive Butter - Living Tastefully

Visit the printable recipe here: Stuffed Pork Loin with a Bourbon and Honey Glaze

Learn to make this yourself with my easy to follow step by step video.




Prep Time: 24 hours to brine, 45 minutes to stuff and roll
Cook Time: 90 minutes
Serves: 8

Stuffing Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unsweetened orange juice
  • 1/2 cup tinned mandarin orange slices, well drained
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
Brine Ingredients
(Original brine recipe from Nob Hill Foods)

  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup kosher or sea salt 
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pure liquid honey
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1 tsp coarse pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • leaves from 2 large stems fresh rosemary
  • 1, 3-5 pound boneless pork loin
Immerse the salt in the boiling water to soften and begin to dissolve. Mix all of the ingredients along with the salt water in a large, resealable, freezer bag. Add the loin, seal, refrigerate 24 hours.

Roast Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp each dry thyme, rosemary
Bourbon and Honey Reduction
(Adapted from Fine Cooking)

  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp bourbon
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 clove minced garlic
Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by about one-third, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Directions for Stuffing and Roasting
  1. Bring the dry quinoa to the boil in the orange juice and water. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  2. Drain a small tin of mandarin orange segments and toast a half cup of pine nuts over medium high in a non stick pan until golden. Add to the cooked quinoa along with 1/2 tsp of zest from a fresh orange. 
  3. After the roast has brined 24 hours, rinse it well under cold water and then pat dry with paper towels. 
  4.  Take the roast and cut it in half, opening it like a book. Make vertical slits into the meat to create more surface area (as per the video) Cover with plastic wrap and using a meat mallet or a rolling pin pound out so that the roast is about a half inch in thickness. 
  5. Lay the roast fat side down, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with half the garlic powder and dried herbs.
  6. Spread an even layer of the quinoa stuffing onto the flattened roast, roll, and tie (as per the video)
  7. Brush with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with the rest of the garlic and dried herbs, and pack a little more of the stuffing into the ends.
  8. Place on a roasting rack in a pre-heated 450 oven for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 325. Roast for 60-90 more minutes until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 145-165. (I prefer mine at 165)
  9. Let rest for 10-20 minutes. Carve into 1/2 inch slices and serve on a bed of sauteed spinach with the bourbon and honey reduction spooned over all.

 Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, a former website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada, the $20,000.00 winner of the online competition "The Real Women of Philadelphia" and a finalist on the Food Network Canada show Recipe to Riches. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.  


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Healthy Chicken and Pancetta Alfredo Sauce with Zucchini Pasta ~The Kitchen Witch

I've been curious for a long time about vegetable alternatives to classic pasta like spaghetti, or linguini. I've tried spaghetti squash and loved it, last week I experimented with making "rice" out of cauliflower, so this week I decided to try my hand at zucchini.

As you can see, it turned out great and was the perfect accompaniment to go with my recipe for Chicken and Pancetta Alfredo Sauce.


















This dish is restaurant quality delicious, perfectly seasoned and balanced, and is chock full of healthy ingredients like lean chicken, and spinach.

And like all of my Kitchen Witch recipes this one is easy to make, and doesn't require anything fancier than a kitchen peeler, a non stick pan, and a love of great ingredients to put this together.

Visit the printable recipe here: Chicken and Pancetta Alfredo Sauce with Zucchini Pasta

Or cook along with me using my step by step video:




Ingredients

  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1 cup diced pancetta
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large zucchini 
Directions
  1. Spray a large non-stick skillet with olive oil and bring to medium high heat. Saute the diced onion, button mushrooms, chicken breast pieces, and the diced pancetta.
  2. Continue sauteing until the chicken is cooked through, the vegetables are tender, and the pancetta is just starting to get crispy. 
  3. Add the dried thyme, minced garlic, and de-glaze the pan with a 1/2 cup of white wine, and a half cup of chicken stock 
  4. Bring to the boil and reduce the sauce by at least half.
  5. Add the baby spinach stirring to wilt.
  6. Pour in the evaporated skim milk, stir, and then finish with a half cup of shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese. 
  7. Bring to the boil and simmer on low for five minutes as the sauce thickens. 
  8. Finish with a half teaspoon of your favourite dried chiles. 
  9. In the meantime, peel the green skin off the zucchini and then using the kitchen peeler, start at the top of the zucchini and peel into fettucccini zized strips. Stop when you get to the seeds. 
  10. Stir fry over medium high in a non stick pan sprayed with a little olive oil for 2-3 minutes until the zucchini is tender. 
  11. Drain well and serve with the sauce.

 Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, a former website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada, the $20,000.00 winner of the online competition "The Real Women of Philadelphia" and a finalist on the Food Network Canada show Recipe to Riches. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Skinny Chicken Piccata with Sauteed Spinach and Artichokes

Over the years as a recipe developer, I've noticed that many dishes are loaded with additional fat and calories that don't really provide much to the overall taste and texture of the finished product. In fact, in a lot of instances additional fats can be cut or omitted altogether.

I discovered that is the case with chicken piccata.

Serve this dish over a bed of sauteed spinach and artichokes for a light, healthy, and delicious dinner!




















I have a recipe for chicken piccata that I've been using for years but this winter I've been working really hard at maintaining and achieving a healthier lifestyle for myself and my husband. That said, I couldn't present him with a dish swimming in butter with a clear conscience.

So I set out to make the recipe healthier - starting with the chicken itself which I chose not to bread. I cooked it to a beautiful golden brown in a non-stick pan treated with a little olive oil and no butter. Instead, I planned to indulge in 1 tbsp of butter that would find its way into the final pan sauce.

To keep carbs at bay (I usually serve my chicken piccata with angel hair pasta) I decided to serve it on a bed of spinach and lemony artichokes and, I'll tell you, the dish was a DREAM! clean, healthy, and so full of flavor I actually prefer it to the original recipe.

Best of all, you still know you're eating chicken piccata when you taste this.

Visit the printable recipe here: Skinny Chicken Piccata with Sauteed Spinach and Artichokes

Learn all the tips and tricks for cooking this by watching my easy to follow step by step video.


Skinny Chicken Piccata
 
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Serves: 2-4

Ingredients
  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder, mixed together
  • Extra virgin olive oil to treat the pans
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
  • bouqet garni made with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
  • 5 cups baby spinach
  • 1 8 1/2 oz tin artichoke hearts (not packed in oil), chopped
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes 
  •  1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Directions
  1. Butterfly the chicken breasts and pound until thin.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with the salt, garlic and pepper mixture.
  3. Prepare a large non stick pan with extra virgin olive oil either by spraying the surface or wiping oil onto the surface using a paper towel. Bring the pan to medium high heat and add the chicken breasts to the pan. Cook 5 minutes on one side until golden and then turn over.
  4. Continue to cook for another 3 minutes and then remove briefly to a platter.
  5. Add the lemon juice and chicken stock to the hot pan and using a spatula give it a good stir, scraping any brown bits off the bottom to incorporate all that flavour and then add  a quarter cup of rinsed capers and the bouquet garnis.
  6. Add the chicken back to the pan, cover, and continue to simmer on low for five more minutes. 
  7. While the chicken is simmering, treat another non-stick sautee pan with extra virgin olive oil and add the baby spinach and toss frequently. As the spinach cooks down a bit, add the artichokes and red pepper flakes. Cook the spinach until bright green.
  8. Remove the chicken to a heated plate and stir 1 tbsp of butter into the pan sauce and whisk well. 
  9. Place the spinach on a platter, place the chicken on top, and pour the pan sauce over all. Finish with chopped Italian parsley. 
Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, a former website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada, the $20,000.00 winner of the online competition "The Real Women of Philadelphia" and a finalist on the Food Network Canada show Recipe to Riches. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.