Well, after another long break, Charm Offensive Cooking is back. There are some recipes that I have tried out over the holiday, along with some fabulous wines.
First, let’s begin with two recipes that will be in the recipe box from now on. The other recipe has already been made successfully over time and has won rave reviews from friends and boyfriend alike. Peppermint Bark is a time honored Christmas tradition, but there are two healthier dishes that won rave reviews.
When I went to visit my parents’ house, Mom came up with a wonderful idea of making Kale Chips and served these along with Turkey Burgers. One day, Mom was watching Rachael Ray on TV and was impressed by the fact that Ray created this awesome recipe out of vegetable that many despise as much as brussel sprouts. The kale chips were filled with flavor, even if it was the simple use of sea salt and olive oil.
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray
1 large bundle of Kale
Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preheat the oven to broil (if you have a broiler, place it on high heat). On a cookie sheet, combine Kale with olive oil and sea salt. Broil chips until crispy (3-4 minutes).
The other recipe is one I tried for my boyfriend’s birthday. This recipe, Garlic Chicken with Creamy Tomato Pasta, came from Paula Deen’s magazine, and it definitely won me over due to its simplicity. It is one of those recipes that you can easily cook in one pot and you can adapt it due to your taste. I served this with Garlic Parmesan bread and ended the evening with Blackberry Cobbler.
Garlic Chicken with Creamy Tomato Pasta
Adapted from Cooking with Paula Deen, March/April 2010
3 C. Cooked Rotini Pasta (you could also try this with Penne or Rigatoni)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in bite size pieces)
1 shallot, sliced
1/4 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 C. baby spinach
In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, shallot, bell pepper, and garlic; saute until chicken is done. Add tomatoes, cream, and italian seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and stir in pasta and spinach. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese and chopped basil.
With every good dish comes a good wine to complement it. For the pasta dish, I served it with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Syrah from Thirsty Owl Wine Company. Thirsty Owl is one of the wineries that I visited during a trip to the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. Located off Cayuga Lake, this winery offered a spectacular views along with good wine. They also had an onsite restaurant, which served an amazing cheese plate.
Across the road from Thirsty Owl was Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery, which also offered spectacular wines. Cayuga Ridge offered an excellent Chardonnay, along with an awesome sparkling Cranberry wine and a great Riesling. I served the Cranberry Frost as a dessert during Election night festivities, but it would have worked well with a Christmas dinner too.