What's Cooking This Week?

tinyboxwoodsgrilledch.JPG
Photo by Brooke Viggiano
Taking inspiration from Tiny Boxwood's killer Pesto Grilled Cheese.
Last week I spiced up the menu with Moroccan Inspired Burgers & Wasabi Salmon. With the weather warming up, I want to use my oven before it's too late. So this week, I'm making a roasted chicken and going back to my roots with some more of my Italian favorites.

Here's what I'm making:

  • Lemon Roasted Chicken & Vegetables
  • Pesto Tortellini
  • Italian Chicken Soup
  • Sausages w/ Kale & White Beans
  • Fontina & Pesto Grilled Cheese

    Pantry Items
    Olive oil (regular and extra virgin)
    Cooking spray
    Butter
    White wine vinegar
    White cooking wine
    Chicken stock (you can try making homemade!)
    Flour
    Parmesan cheese
    Garlic powder
    Dried thyme
    Crushed red pepper
    Salt
    Pepper

    Grocery List based on servings for 2 w/ leftovers
    1 3-5 lb roasting chicken
    ½ lb hot or sweet Italian sausage
    4-6 oz fontina
    2 heads garlic
    2 medium yellow onions
    1 lemon
    4 carrots
    2 stalks celery
    1 bulb fennel
    1 bunch fresh basil
    1 head escarole or kale
    1 tomato
    1 package fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
    1/3 cup pine nuts
    6 slices crusty sourdough or whole-grain bread
    1 can cannellini beans
    Marinara for dipping (optional)

    Day 1 - Lemon Roasted Chicken & Vegetables
    *Makes leftover Roast Chicken for us in Italian Chicken Soup

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

    Remove chicken giblets, rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry. Season the inside cavity with salt and pepper.

    Stuff the chicken cavity with a halved lemon and halved head of garlic.

    Mix together butter, dried thyme, salt and pepper. Rub the chicken with the butter mixture, being sure to also get under the skin of the breasts. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wing tips under the body.

    Slice an onion, 2 carrots, and fennel bulb. Toss in roasting pan with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.

    Place chicken on top of the vegetables, breast side up and roast until juices run clear or when an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees, about 1½ - 2 hours.

    Remove chicken and vegetables from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

    Place roasting pan on stovetop over medium-low heat and use a large spoon to remove excess fat. Add a splash of white cooking wine and scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan. Mix in a bit of flour to form a gooey paste. Gradually add in chicken broth to make a gravy. Season with salt and pepper.

    Slice chicken and serve with vegetables and white wine gravy.
    *Reserve leftover chicken for use in day 3.
    *Freeze or use leftover bones and meat to make a stock.

    Day 2 - Pesto Tortellini
    *Makes leftover Pesto for use in Pesto & Tomato Grilled Cheese

    Cook two servings of tortellini according to package instructions.

    Meanwhile, prepare pesto.
    *Reserve half for use in day 5.

    Toss hot tortellini with fresh basil pesto and top with freshly ground black pepper.

    Day 3 - Italian Chicken Soup
    *Uses leftover Roast Chicken
    *Uses extra Tortellini

    Heat a large pot over medium heat and coat lightly with olive oil.

    Chop 1-2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, and a medium yellow onion. Add to pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook to soften, about 5-10 minutes before adding 2 cups of good chicken stock.

    Wash and roughly chop ½ head of escarole/kale and add to pot, reducing heat to low and simmering for 10-15 minutes.

    Remove skin from leftover chicken and add shredded chunks of leftover chicken to the pot. Simmer to warm through and add a few handfuls of tortellini, cooking for another 2-3 minutes.

    Serve soup hot with a hunk of crusty bread and topped with freshly grated parmesan.

    Day 4 - Sausages w/ Greens & White Beans recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
    *Uses extra Escarole/Kale.

    Heat broiler.

    Pierce sausages with a fork, place on broiler-proof rimmed baking sheet and cook, turning to brown on all sides, for 8-10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and lightly coat with olive oil. Add washed and chopped greens, 2-3 cloves sliced garlic, and ¼ cup water. Season with salt and crushed red pepper. Cook until greens are tender and wilted, about 10-12 minutes.

    Add ½ cup white beans, drained and rinsed, and 1 tbsp white-wine vinegar. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.

    Plate and serve with halved sausage links.

    Day 5 - Fontina & Pesto Grilled Cheese
    *Uses leftover Pesto
    Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray.

    Spread pesto onto 4 slices of bread. Add sliced fontina and tomato to two of the slices.

    Cover with other slices, pesto side down to make sandwiches.

    Butter top slice and place sandwiches, buttered side down, into skillet. Grill until golden brown, pressing down with spatula to flatten.

    Butter top side of bread before flipping and grill other side until golden and crisp, pressing down to brown.

    Slice and serve with marinara dipping sauce.

    Enjoy!



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