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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Roasted Chicken And Tarragon Salad Tostadas

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Roasting your chicken with skin on and bone in makes such a difference on how moist and flavorful your chicken turns out to be. This roasted chicken and tarragon salad is to die for. It may be the sweet green grapes, or maybe the hint of the anise flavor the tarragon brings to the table. Now tarragon can overpower a dish, especially if you’re using the fresh and not the dried herb. It’s all about the balance of the sweet and the savory in this recipe.

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First, I roast off two large chicken breasts,with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. I let it cool long enough to where I can handle the chicken to remove the bone and skin. Then I just dice it into large chunks. You could shred it also if you like, but I think the chunks look better in the recipe.

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While the chicken is roasting, I get all my veggies and flavorings ready to go in. I have green grapes that I halved, red onions diced small, some large diced celery ( including some of the leafy tops chopped), finely chopped fresh tarragon, and some ruffly chopped pistachios.

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To the diced roasted chicken, I add all the veggies and flavorings, with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Next I add some really good mayonnaise, and gently mix all this together. While the roasted chicken is still warm it will absorb the flavors of everything you add to it even better. That’s all there is to this.

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes ( or until the internal temp of chicken is 165 degrees)
Yields: 6-8 tostadas

Ingredients:
2 large chicken breasts, bone in skin on
Olive oil
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt ( 1 to season the chicken, and 1 for the salad)
2 teaspoons of black pepper ( 1 to season the chicken, and 1 for the salad)
1-1/2 cups of large diced celery ( optional include their leafy tops)
1/2 a cup of finely diced red onion
2 cups of green grapes that have been halved
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup of chopped pistachios
3/4’s of a cup of mayonnaise
1 package of Tostadas

Directions: Oven set at 350 degrees, roast the chicken off with olive oil, salt and pepper for 35-40 minutes or until the internal temp is 165 degrees. Pull the chicken out and let cool long enough to handle to remove the skin, bones an dice the chicken up into large chunks. While the chicken is roasting cut the veggies, nuts, and tarragon up. When the chicken is diced up add all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix together gently. You can place this into the refrigerator until your ready to eat, or scoop some onto a tostada, and eat right away.

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Yorkshire Pudding

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Moving to London in the early ’70s was really a scary time for me. I was from a small suburb in New Jersey where everyday life as I knew it was turned upside down. England was a different world for me and took some time to adapt. We live with my Auntie Joyce and my cousins Gina and Marco. As time went by and I’d adjusted to this new way of life, food seemed to have become my happiness.

During this time in my life, it was only my mom, my sister, and me and we didn’t have much in the way of money but we had each other, and food became more important than I’d ever remembered it being.

I remember having fun watching my mom making dishes she knew as traditional but ones I didn’t recognize. I asked a lot of questions. My mom was born and raised in London and I could see in her face how she loved the style of cooking and the traditional dishes that were familiar to her.

I found this new style of food to be really different but delicious. Now I can tell you, being a kid, there were some foods I just wouldn’t touch, however, Sunday dinners were the best. Yorkshire Pudding  I loved. Roast beef, roasted potatoes, gravy, and Yorkshire Pudding. I do remember this strange looking muffin that was always served roast beef.

I’d watch Auntie Joyce preparing the Yorkshire Pudding and because I loved it, I memorized every step. Yorkshire Pudding is not so much a pudding as we know it here, but a type of bread that’s used to dip into a gravy. I’d say it’s more like a popover. I do remember taking my first bite. Being a bread lover I was hooked. I think the reason I  remembered this recipe is because it took only a few ingredients and the measurements were simple. A cup, a cup, and a cup. Let me show you how I did it.

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I wanted to increase the recipe a bit because I knew when Steve tried this, he would love them as much as I do. I mentioned it was a cup, a cup, and a cup, I’m increasing the recipe to 4 cups of each ingredient.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Equipment: 2 large muffin pans
Yields: 12 Yorkshire Pudding

Ingredients:
4 cups of all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
4 cups of milk
1 block of vegetable shortening (depending on how many you’re making, you’ll need 1 tablespoon in each muffin holder)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450-degrees F.
Start by whisking the milk and eggs together, then slowly whisk in the flour until just combined. DO NOT overmix. The batter may be slightly lumpy, that’s fine. Place the batter in the refrigerator to rest for one hour.

Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable shortening in each one of the muffin holders. Place the muffin pan into the oven until the oil is super hot and bubbly, 2-3 minutes. Remove the muffin tins from the oven and carefully ladle in the batter. Fill each tin about 3/4 of the way full. Place the muffin pans back in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the Yorkshire Puddings from the muffin tins as soon as you’re able to handle them. You want to serve them while they are still nice and hot.

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Pappardelle Alfredo Topped With Blackened Chicken

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I so love Pappardelle pasta. Those wide pasta noodles grab onto the sauce really well, For this recipe, I find the best way is to start is with the chicken.

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I use chicken cutlets for this recipe. They are a thinner cut in comparison to the standard boneless-skinless chicken breasts so they cook a lot faster.

Spread the blackened seasoning on both sides of the chicken cutlets. There are a bunch of different spices in this blend, so I don’t use any extra salt.

In a preheated large cast iron skillet melt a couple of tablespoons of unsalted butter. In batches of 3, sear the chicken on both sides, 3-4 minutes on the first side, 2-3 minutes on the other side. You want to make sure they are cooked all the way through. Some of the cutlets may be slightly thicker so those may need little longer in the skillet. Add more butter for each new batch. When all the cutlets are cooked then slice them on the bias.

Place them on a heatproof plate covered with foil and set into a 225-degree F. oven to stay warm.

Next, is to prepare the Alfredo sauce and asparagus tips. First, blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for just a minute or two. Peas would be great in this dish too. Using a large hand-held strainer or slotted spoon, transfer the blanched asparagus right into a bowl ice water to shock them and stop their cooking. Once they cooled down remove the asparagus from the water and slice on the bias, around 2 inches in length. Set aside.

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In a sauce pot, on medium heat, warm up milk and heavy cream together. Heat up the milk and cream just long enough to where bubbles start to appear around the inner rim of the pot. This is called scalding the milk.

In another large deep sided pan melt butter, then whisk the flour in to make a *Roux. Once all the raw flour is cooked out, pour the hot milk and cream mixture in whisking the whole time.

Add freshly grated nutmeg, garlic powder, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes, or when sauce coats the back of a spoon.

Remove the pan from the heat, change to a wooden spoon, add the grated cheese and stir until all the cheese is combined.

At this point the Alfredo sauce and chicken are done, next is to cook the pasta.

While making the Alfredo sauce, have a 6-quart stock pot of salted boiling water ready on the back burner. Now all you need to do is to cook the pasta.

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Cook the pasta according to the package. Do Not discard any of the pasta water. Reserve (1-2 cups) of the starchy pasta cooking liquid. Note: add the pasta water only after you’ve added the pasta to the sauce and tossed. If the sauce needs thinning out, ladle in small amounts of the pasta water, at a time, then toss. Reserve the rest of the pasta water on the back burner.

After I’ve tossed the pasta through and many any adjustments to the sauce, add the blanched asparagus into the pasta water just enough to heat the asparagus tips before adding it to the finished Pappardelle Alfredo.

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Finish the dish with the sliced blackened chicken on top. Garnish with fresh parsley. This dish is so delicious and comforting that I’m sure once you try it, you’ll be making it again and again.

Serve immediately.

Prep time: 10 minutes (make sure you have all the ingredients pre-measured out, cheese grated, and the chicken seasoned)
Cook time: 35-40 minutes (varies on how much chicken you have)
When doing chicken in batches, cover a plate with foil or set the oven on 225-degrees F. to keep chicken warm.
Equipment: Cast iron skillet, 6-quart stock pot.

Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds of chicken cutlets
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons per batch of chicken
1 package of Pappardelle (substitute Fettuccine)
1 bunch of fresh asparagus (blanched and cut on the bias into 2-inch pieces), optional
1/4 cup of blackened seasoning
2 cups of whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese
1/4 cups of freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, (substitute 2 tablespoons dried)

Directions:
Spread the blackened seasoning on both sides of the chicken cutlets.

In a preheated large cast iron skillet melt a couple of tablespoons of unsalted butter. In batches of three, sear the chicken on both sides, 3-4 minutes on the first side, 2-3 minutes on the other side. You want to make sure they are cooked all the way through. Some of the cutlets may be slightly thicker so those may need little longer in the skillet. Add more butter for each new batch. When all the cutlets are cooked then slice them on the bias.

Place them on a heatproof plate covered with foil and set into a 225-degree F. oven to stay warm.

Next, is to prepare the Alfredo sauce and asparagus tips. First, blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for just a minute or two. Using a large hand-held strainer or slotted spoon, transfer the blanched asparagus right into a bowl ice water to shock them and stop their cooking. Once the asparagus has cooled down, remove the asparagus from the water and on the bias, around 2 inches in length. Set aside.

In a sauce pot, on medium heat, warm up milk and heavy cream together. Heat up the milk and cream just long enough to where bubbles start to appear around the inner rim of the pot. This is called scalding the milk.

In another large deep sided pan melt butter, then whisk the flour in to make a *Roux. Once all the raw flour is cooked out, pour the hot milk and cream mixture in whisking the whole time.

Add freshly grated nutmeg, garlic powder, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes, or when sauce coats the back of a spoon.

Remove the pan from the heat, change to a wooden spoon, add the grated cheese and stir until all the cheese is combined.

At this point the Alfredo sauce and chicken are done, next is to cook the pasta.

While making the Alfredo sauce, have a large (6-quart) stockpot of salted boiling water ready on the back burner. Now all you need to do is to cook the pasta (Pappardelle or Fettuccine) according to package instructions.

Do Not discard any of the pasta water.
Note: Add the pasta water only after you’ve combined the pasta and sauce. If the sauce needs thinning out, ladle small amounts of the pasta water at a time, then toss.
Reserve the rest of the pasta water on the back burner.

After I’ve tossed the pasta through and made any adjustments to the sauce, add the blanched asparagus into the pasta water. Heat the asparagus tips. before adding it to the finished Pappardelle Alfredo, and toss.

Finish the dish with the sliced blackened chicken on top. Garnish with fresh parsley. This dish is so delicious and comforting that I’m sure once you try it, you’ll be making it again and again.

Serve immediately.

*Roux: A mixture of flour and butter (or fat) used to thicken sauces.

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Mini Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders

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Is it just me, or does everybody love a great meatball? Well, I guess I can answer that question. I brought these Mini Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders to a party recently and they disappeared just like that! Serving them on Hawaiian rolls, well need I say more…Simmered low and slow, this tomato sauce is a recipe I’m really proud of. The star, my mozzarella stuffed meatballs.

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Next, dice up the low-moisture Mozzarella cheese into 24 1/2-inch cubes. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop the meat mixture into your hand. Place the cube of mozzarella into the center of the meat mixture wrapping the meat around the cheese as seen in the above pictures.

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
On two rimmed baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, place 12 meatballs on each sheet pan. Spray the meatballs with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes. The meatballs will be a golden brown. You could do this in a frying pan, but I find this way to be a lot easier, quicker, and not as messy.

While the sauce simmering away on top of the stove, the meatballs are browning off in the oven. After the 30 minutes, take the meatballs out of the oven, transfer them into the simmering sauce.

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Let the meatballs simmer in the sauce for another hour. Turn the heat to off and add in some fresh torn basil leaves, gently stir through. Place a lid on the pot to keep everything warm until you are ready to make the mini sliders.

Slice the little sweet Hawaiian buns in half filling each one with a Mini Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball. Bring these delicious sliders to any party, or just have them at home. You won’t be able to eat just one!

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Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Cook Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Yields: 24 meatballs (golf size)
Equipment: Dutch oven, 2 rimmed baking sheets, food processor, large mixing bowl, 2-ounce cookie-dough scoop, 12-inch sautépan

Ingredients For Sauce:
2 cans of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 12-ounce jar of roasted Piquillo peppers, purèed (substitute roasted red peppers)
1 cup of low sodium chicken broth
1 diced onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves

Ingredients For Meatballs:
2 1/2-pounds of ground pork (substitute ground beef, chicken, or turkey)
1/4 diced finely chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
24 1/4-inch diced low sodium Mozzarella cheese
1/2 a cup of heavy cream
1/2 a cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, (1 tablespoon dried parsley)
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of fresh grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese
1 1/4 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
2 packages of mini Hawaiian buns

Directions:
Let’s start with my tomato sauce that the meatballs are going to bathe in. Set the stove to medium heat. Add olive oil to a heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven. Next, add the crushed red pepper flakes. To that diced onion and minced garlic. Sautè for 3-5 minutes until the onions are translucent.

The next ingredient is tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste around and let it bloom in the hot oil. Add the unsalted chicken broth. Bring the broth up to a bubble and let the broth reduce by half. Pour in two cans of crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, and brown sugar, stir to combine.

Next, add purèed Piquillo peppers. These peppers give a nice sweetness and a bright red color to the sauce. Still, on medium heat let this sauce come up to a bubble, reduce the heat to low and let simmer.

Continue to simmer the sauce on low heat for 2 hours before adding in the meatballs. While the sauce is simmering, start on the stuffed meatballs.

First, add olive oil to a sautèpan on medium heat. Add finely diced onion, minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, sautè until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat off and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, add heavy cream, parsley, dried oregano, Kosher salt, pepper, ricotta cheese, Worcestershire sauce, cooled onion and garlic mixture, beaten eggs, and Panko breadcrumbs. Once this is all mixed together, add the ground pork. Using a fork, mix both the ground pork and the flavorings together to combine. Do not overmix. This meatball mixture yields 24 golf ball size meatballs.

Next, dice the low-moisture Mozzarella cheese into 24 1/2-inch cubes. Using a 2-ounce cookie-dough scoop (portion scoop), scoop the meat mixture into your hand. Place the cube of mozzarella into the center of the meat mixture wrapping the meat around the cheese as seen in the above pictures.

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
On two rimmed baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, place 12 meatballs on each sheet pan. Spray the meatballs with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes. The meatballs will be a golden brown. You could do this in a frying pan, but I find this way to be a lot easier, quicker, and not as messy.

At the same time, the sauce is simmering away on top of the stove, the meatballs are browning off in the oven. After the 30 minutes, take the meatballs out of the oven, transfer them into the simmering sauce.

Let the meatballs simmer in the sauce for another hour. Turn the heat to off and add in some fresh torn basil leaves and gently stir through. Place a lid on the pot to keep everything warm until you are ready to make the mini sliders.

Slice the little sweet Hawaiian buns in half filling each with one with a Mini Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball. Bring these delicious sliders to any party, or just have them at home. You won’t be able to eat just one.

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