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Light Tasty Baked Lemon Chicken

Here is a wonderful low calorie chicken dish with a pleasant zing of lemon.
Before getting to the recipe though… listed below are some interesting facts and tidbits about lemons that I found while searching a variety of fun facts on the internet.
Benefits of Lemons in cooking?  Rather then go straight to a simple and delicious recipe that includes lemon, I thought I’d share so interesting facts and benefits of this citrus that go beyond adding the welcoming flavor enhancement that lemons bring to both main meal entrees and dessert recipes. Lemon Leaves  Lemon leaves are not eaten, freshly picked lemon leaves (from trees that have not been sprayed with pesticides) can be used to add flavoring by wrapping meats in leaves before roasting. Add lemon leaves to olive oil or vinegar to impart a fresh, lemony flavor. Use whole lemon leaves in recipes that call for lemongrass then pull them out and discard them after cooking (similar to how you may cook with bay leaves and toss them after cooking.  Add a few leaves to fish stews for a fresh light flavor. 

Limoncello In Italy the Femminello St. Teresa lemon trees happen to contain a high oil content in the outer peel/zest.  These lemons are used to make Limoncello a delightful lemony liqueur. I have made this liqueur successfully… after getting a tutorial from a lovely fellow RV traveling friend Helen.  Helen and Dave bring small bottles of this delightful evening delight to campsite potlucks or a hostess gift when visiting other campers.  Delightful! 

 

Lemon Facts

Lemon trees are thought to have been present by 2 AD in Ancient Rome. The citrus fruit lemons gives flavor to baked goods, sauces, salad dressings, marinades, drinks, and desserts, and  a good source of vitamin C.   Lemons are 5% citric acid.  Ph 2.2.  An average lemon contains 3 tbsp. of lemon juice and the calorie count is 15 calories.

Add a squeeze or two of lemon over some freshly cut fruit to keep the fruit from browning.

Lemons are a good source of Vitamin C  Vitamin C is essential for health, and a deficiency can lead to health problems.

The British Navy carries enough lemon onboard their ships to provide the sailors with 1 ounce of lemon juice a day.  The early explorers also knew the value of citrus and took lemons on their long voyages to help prevent or treat scurvy, a life threatening condition that was common among sailors.

Lemons are an excellent source of flavonoids, which are antioxidants which help remove free radicals that can damage cells in the body.  Other benefits include boosting your immune system.

Preventive health benefits

Lemons and lemon juice have antioxidants that may help prevent free radicals from causing cell damage that can lead to cancer. However, exactly how antioxidants can help prevent cancer remains unclear.

Boosting the immune system

Foods that are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants may help strengthen the immune system against the germs that cause the common cold and the flu.

One review found that, while vitamin C supplements do not appear the reduce the incidence of colds in a population, they may help reduce the length of time a cold lasts. Vitamin C may also help boost immunity in people who are undergoing extreme physical activity.

Squeezing a whole lemon into a glass of hot water with a large spoonful of honey, this makes a soothing drink for someone with a cough or cold and the lemon has antibacterial properties.

Scurvy Prevention

Although not common in modern day life, it is worth noting that if a person does not consume enough vitamin C, they will develop a deficiency which is known as scurvy. It is rare in the United States, but it can affect people who do not have a varied diet that includes Vitamin C.  Symptoms can start to appear within a month of not consuming vitamin C.  Symptoms include tiredness, inflamed gums in the mouth, joint pain, slow wound healing.

The British Navy carries enough lemon onboard their ships to provide the sailors with 1 ounce of lemon juice a day.  The early explorers knew the value of citrus and took lemons on their long voyages to help prevent or treat scurvy, a life threatening condition that was common among sailors in the era of the early explorers.

 

Lemons are a good source of Vitamin C  Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and antioxidant.  One lemon weighing 58 grams and contains 30.7 mg of Vitamin C.  This is approximately 1/3 of the daily Vitamin C requirement so adding other foods with Vitamin C into your daily intake is a good idea.

 

When is a lemon ripe? Unlike many fruits, lemons do not ripen or improve in quality after picking. People should harvest lemons when they are ripe and store them at room temperature away from direct sunlight.

Food Fact  Lemons pair well with both savory and sweet dishes.  Add a squeeze fresh lemon juice over fish, shrimp, scallops, chicken.

Easy Salad dressing   A squeeze of lemon and small amount of olive oil with herbs is a great healthy alternative to bottled salad dressings as these dressings often contain additional salt, sugar, and other additives, and they can be high in fat and calories,

Although it is true that the nutrients in lemons offer several health benefits, it is difficult to obtain all the necessary nutrients from lemon due to the small amount of lemon typically recommended and consumed… so eat a varied diet and include of foods rich in Vitamin C in your food choices.

Recipe

Lemon Chicken

This is a super lemony RV that can be prepared easily on a stovetop, toaster oven or convection oven in your RV or a heavy weight cast iron pan on an outdoor grill at the campsite and the lemon sauce is amazing!

Ingredients

1                                                chicken breast, large boneless skinless, cut in half lengthwise

1                                                egg, white only

1/4 cup                                    all-purpose flour or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten free 1 to 1 baking gluten free flour

1/4 tsp                                      cayenne pepper can be added to the flour

2 tbsp                                      vegetable oil (if saute’ method is used rather than baking)

 

 

Sauce

1/4 cup                                      sugar

2 tbsp                                        corn syrup

1/3 cup                                      chicken broth

1 tsp                                           lemon zest

3 tbsp                                         lemon juice

2 tbsp                                         cornstarch

2 tbsp                                         rice wine vinegar

1/4 tsp                                        salt

1 clove                                         garlic, minced

 

Thickener

2 tsp                                             cornstarch

2 tsp                                              water

Garnish

1/2                                            lemon cut horizontally in full thin slices

1                                                 green onion, rinsed, chopped

Directions

  1.  To bake: Preheat toaster oven or convection oven in your RV to 425 F.  Note:  If you like you could saute’ the chicken in a heavy skillet on the RV galley stove or grill. .. just heat the skillet over direct high heat when you are ready to cook.
  2. Rinse produce, pat dry.  Mince or chop as directed and set aside.
  3.  Prepare the lemon sauce.  Zest and juice the lemon, combine sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Do not add the thickener yet.  Place saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat.
  4.  Stir the sauce until it comes to a soft boil then lower heat to medium/low.
  5.  Whisk thickener (cornstarch and water) add thickener to sauce while whisking. Continue whisking until slightly thickened then take the saucepan off heat.
  6. Rinse chicken, pat dry and cut the chicken in to 2 lengthwise pieces.
  7. Pound the chicken on a cutting board placing the chicken between 2 pieces of wax paper or placing a ziplock bag over the chicken on the cutting board.  Use a small iron skillet to pound the chicken to 1/2″ thickness.
  8. In a medium bowl add egg white and whisk until frothy.  Add pounded chicken and let it rest in the egg white for 10 minutes.
  9. Place flour on a cutting board or in a medium bowl.  Dip chicken in the flour a piece at a time then let the chicken air dry for 10 minutes.
  10. Bake the chicken in an oven safe pan or baking sheet in a preheated oven for approximately 14 – 15 minutes.  Chicken is ready when the internal temperature is 165F.  If you saute’ the chicken instead of using an oven…med/  Place skillet over high direct heat, add 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil, when oil is warm, add chicken and saute’ to the advised internal temperature above.  If chicken is browning too quickly lower the heat a little to medium.

Want more RV Recipes? My cookbook Small Kitchen Big Flavors! is available at a great Introductory Price on eBay and my blog site at: https:/smallkitchenbigflavorsblog.wordpress.com

Spicy Tacos Tonight

Most everyone loves a good taco but I’ll share a recipe with you that will walk you through how to make a basic ground beef taco that has fantastic flavor and great texture… With Thanksgiving coming this week… try using some of the leftover turkey in place of the beef in the recipe below….hould be totally bueno!

Before we get to the recipe, here are some interesting beef taco facts!

If you are one of the many people out there who loves tacos, chances that you love these tasty hand held delights and know they are yummy ‘grab and go’ foods that you can eat in most any setting, including camping!

But… there is more to tacos than just great taste. In fact, here are some interesting fun-facts about tacos that most people are likely unaware of.

If you want to up your taco knowledge and be a true taco expert, here are some fun facts to get you started.

Tacos have been around forever!

While there is some debate over when exactly the first taco was created, most experts state that the first taco was actually invented somewhere between 1,000 and 500 B.C. At the time, the taco was more about having an ‘edible spoon’ using the tortilla to cradle the food from a bowl or plate to the consumers mouth. 

The name’ taco’ came much later on. The first recorded reference to the word taco came about in the 19th century. The first mention of the word taco in the United States was first noted in 1905!

Where does the phrase Taco Tuesday come from?

‘Taco Tuesday’  is thought to have been a phrase that was introduced by the Snow White Drive-In in South Dakota on August 20, 1973 when the restaurant ran a promotion: ‘Stop in on Taco Tuesday!’

Americans Eat a TON of Tacos

According to National Taco Day.com, Americans eat billions of tacos every year.  4.5 billion to be more specific!

The Biggest Taco Ever

The largest taco ever made was is thought to have been constructed on November 20th, 2011 in Queretaro, Mexico. It was 246 feet long (WOW) and was made with carnitas as the filling.

There is a National Taco Day

Did you know there is a national day to celebrate tacos? National Taco day is October 4th.  

The Word Taco Means “Light Lunch”

Roughly translated, the word taco means “light lunch”.  

First US Taco Truck is noted to have been in New York

Today, you can find taco trucks all over the country.  However, the first taco truck originated in New York in 1966. The truck didn’t have a full kitchen and was mostly used for catering

There is a Right Time of Day to Eat Tacos

For most people, any time of day is the right time of day to eat tacos, but there is actually a specific “taco time.” According to Mexican tradition, seafood tacos are meant to be eaten at lunch, while antojitos (snacks) are to be eaten at dinner time.

Although taco fillings can include a wide range of main ingredients (fish, shrimp, chicken, pork, steak, beef, turkey or other proteins) as a the main ingredient, heck I’ve even made a scrambled egg taco topped with cottage style French fries, cheese and tomatoes.

Look below for the simple, tasty, basic ground beef taco filling but with a twist on the seasoning choices and the wrapper or shell used to hold the taco fillings.

Taco Wrap

Parmesan cheese FolioWraps. I found these wraps in the refrigerated section at Costco.  The photo below shows what the parmesan wrap looks like after heating the wrap in the microwave.

RV Recipes: Start your beef taco with this shell

                                                                   Parmesan Folio Wrap

Taco Recipe

Ingredients

Taco meat

1 1/2 lb ground beef 90%/10% or perhaps, ground turkey or pre-cooked carnitas

Spice blend

2 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

Saute’

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 small red or sweet onions, diced

3 clove garlic, minced

Simmer

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 tsp brown sugar

2 tsp vinegar

Taco garnishes ideas to top cooked seasoned meat

grated cheese

sour cream

diced avocado or guacamole

diced tomato

diced onion

chopped lettuce

salsa or hot sauce of choice

 

RV Recipes: Doesn’t this beef taco look scrumptious?

 

Taco Shell – Wrap

Parmesan Folio Wrap (COSTCO refrigerated section)

Alternate Wraps

Taco shells (pick your choice)

Soft or crispy taco shells

Iceberg lettuce wraps

Indian fry bread or even naan bread

 

Picture of a prepared Parmesan Folio Wrap Taco

RV Recipes Directions for Seasoned Beef Tacos

  1.  In a small bowl combine spice mixture ingredients, set aside.
  2.  In a large saute’ pan add olive oil, turn heat to medium.
  3.  When oil is hot add diced onion to the saute’ pan.  Stir over medium heat for 1 minute then add minced garlic.
  4.  Lower heat to medium/low.  Continue stirring another 2 minutes.
  5.  Add the ground beef, turkey or carnitas to the saute’ pan.  Increase heat to medium.  As the ground meat mixture cooks, break the meat into a small sized crumble, chopping the meat to a small crumble texture.
  6.  Add chicken broth, tomato sauce brown sugar and white vinegar to the meat mixture.  Continue stirring over medium heat until the meat is cooked and most of the moisture in the pan has been absorbed.
  7.  Take the meat mixture off heat.
  8. Set up the toppings you like for your taco(s).
  9. If using Parmesan Cheese Folio wraps.  The directions advise placing 1 wrap in the microwave at a time.  The wraps come stacked in a package and have a paper wrap under each cheese folio.
  10. Place the Parmesan Folio in the microwave paper side down (cheese folio facing upward).
  11. Microwave on HIGH for 60 – 75 seconds until most of the cheese is showing little bubbles within the cheese.
  12. Remove the cheese and paper together as one piece from the microwave.  Peel the cheese off the paper wrapper and fold the cheese into a taco shell shape.
  13. Add the cooked meat and toppings to the center of the taco. Note: move quickly with the forming and filling of the taco shell as the cheese firms up within 15 – 20 seconds or less.

 

Want more RV Recipes? My cookbook Small Kitchen Big Flavors! is available at a great Introductory Price on eBay and my blog site at: http:/smallkitchenbigflavorsblog.wordpress.com

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Comfort Soup for Fall weather

When September rolls around each year I start thinking of warm comfort foods and Chicken Tortilla soup is right up at the top of my list!  A nice bowl of soup for lunch or dinner when we’re camping and the weather is brisk or rainy seems just right.

Make it simple

When planning a week of menu plans prior to camping I include some ‘Make Ahead’ meals and some Pantry meals in addition to a few grilled meals.  Not only does this free up some of my time to hike and explore the destinations we are visiting, it ensures variety.  I found doing these few planning steps keeps me from grabbing food on the go from a fast food drive through or struggling with raiding the fridge or pantry for a make do kind of meal.

I like to have staples onboard that are are planned and follow the recipe I’m going to follow.  Chicken Tortilla soup is one of my must have items on my planning list.  I like the versatility of the dish as much as I enjoy the warm spicy flavors.  This soup makes a great lunch or dinner and the leftovers (need to be refrigerated) but are wonderful to heat up as a repeat menu item in a day or two.

Since the soup ingredients listed in the primary recipe are all pantry stable if unopened, you’ll be able to pretty much ‘heat and eat’.

Note:  ‘Canned food’ tend to have excess sodium, so read the labels.  Purchase low sodium chicken broth, rinse the canned chicken and canned beans well under running water, washing off some of the excess sodium.

Now if you feel like ‘kickin’ this recipe up a notch while camping or at home… you can definitely enhance and add some fresh substitutions and additional condiments…

Consider substituting rotisserie or leftover cooked chicken.  Other toppings can be added perhaps a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of shredded cheese, a few sprigs of cilantro and/or diced avocado.

If you want to keep it simple just follow the basic ‘pantry’ recipe and it will actually taste homemade and delicious.

Adapt this recipe as needed to fit your particular food program.  If you are vegetarian, eliminate the chicken, and chicken broth by substituting vegetable broth and adding some canned or frozen vegetables.  The dairy products (cheese and sour cream in the additional topping suggestions can be omitted and the soup will still be flavorful and make a nice meal.

 

Basic Ingredients

28 oz                    low sodium boxed chicken broth or bone broth

10 oz can             cooked chicken breast

15 oz can              white navy beans or black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained

10 oz can             diced tomatoes with diced green chilis

8 oz  can             salsa of choice (I used Paul Newman pineapple salsa)

1/2 tsp                 cumin

1/2 tsp                 chili powder

Topping

1 cup                    tortilla chips

 

Directions

  1.  Rinse and drain canned: chicken and beans.  Add to a large saucepan.
  2.  Pour in broth, diced tomatoes and juices and salsa into the saucepan and stir,
  3.  Cook over medium heat until the soup is warmed to desired temperature.
  4.  Pour or ladle the soup into large coffee mugs or individual serving bowls.
  5.  Add a squeeze of lime juice to each bowl, stir.
  6. Top with crumble tortilla chips and serve.

Additional Toppings (totally optional)

1/2 cup      grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese

1/2 cup      sour cream

1                  diced avocado

1 lime         cut a small wedge of lime per person; when ready to serve the soup, add a squeeze of lime and stir.

 

My cookbook Small Kitchen Big Flavors! is available at a great Introductory Price on Ebay and my blog site at: http:/smallkitchenbigflavorsblog.wordpress.com

Chicken Parmesan… on the Light Side

My cooking style changes with the seasons and Fall has officially arrived!  I love to see the weather a little brisker and watching the leaves change to gold, crimson and orange on the trees and shrubs.  Our RV trip to the ‘Porkies’ in Michigan in the Fall a couple of years ago was a fabulous RV trip.  We enjoyed the travel time and exploring various sites between California and Michigan but meeting up with fellow RV travelers added to our excitement while experiencing the fall leaves in Michigan is definitely a memory that will also stay with us forever.
The Fall weather changes the type of food I tend to prepare.  When it’s Fall I think comfort food!  I decided to prepare the following dish as it fit the criteria I was looking to bake and enjoy for dinner…  This recipe is warm gooey and a delicious main meal dish that actually cuts back on calories by slightly altering the typical ingredients, for some lighter alternatives.
This version of chicken parmesan is just over 300 calories for a 5 oz. serving.  No guilt just yummy food.  You can prepare this dish in an RV convection oven, toaster oven or even transform your outdoor campsite grill into an oven by elevating a cast iron skillet on a couple of bricks placed in the center of your grill rack.
The prep time for this dish is about 10 minutes.  The cook time approximately 30 minutes total.
If you have x-tra time on your hands and want to tenderize the chicken prior to prepping and baking, I’ve listed some tips in the next paragraph that you can follow.
Rinse the chicken breasts, pat them dry then place in a gallon ziplock bag.  Add a cup of buttermilk or plain or fruited yogurt that will compliment the chicken parmesan; some ideas for flavored yogurt to use include vanilla, lemon or key lime.  If you want to use the traditional buttermilk marinade to tenderize the chicken but only have milk on hand – just add 1 – 2 teaspoons of vinegar to a cup of milk, let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes until the milk curdles just a bit.  The buttermilk gives a milder taste, yogurt leaves a slight astringent type taste.  The yogurt may fit well in tenderizing chicken you plan to transform into a luscious curry dish.
Once you have selected the marinade, pour the buttermilk or yogurt over the chicken in the ziplock, burp and seal the    bag and place it in the fridge 1 – 12 hours, then prep and bake the chicken recipe.  After marinating time is up, remove the chicken from the ziplock bag, pat it dry, set aside.
On a cutting board, cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise, remove the chicken from the cutting board, set aside.
Place a long piece of saran wrap on the cutting board.  Place chicken pieces in a single layer over the saran wrap then cover the chicken with another long piece of saran wrap.
Using a meat tenderizer hammer or the base of a heavy skillet, pound the chicken into an even thickness.
Set up a breading station using 2 medium bowls that are large enough to dip and coat the chicken pieces.
Add egg whites to 1 bowl and the bread crumb mixture and spices to a 2nd bowl.
See the Directions listed below for the breading and 2 step baking process.
Serves 2 – 4
Ingredients
Marinade
1 cup         buttermilk or yogurt
Chicken Parmesan
2               6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup    Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup    Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup    grated parmesan cheese
1/3            tsp garlic powder
1/3 tsp      pepper
2 large      eggs, whites only
4 oz           part-skim mozzarella
1 cup         seasoned tomato sauce (homemade or readymade in a jar)
1 small      package of fresh basil leaves

Directions

1.        Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.        Lightly coat an ovenproof dish or skillet with olive oil or cooking spray if baking in            the oven.
            * If using a cast iron skillet if cooking in a make shift oven on the grill.  Place the                     skillet of prepared chicken onto 2
             flat bricks placed on the grill just under the sides of the skillet but not extending                  beyond the skillet.  In this a way                   the skillet is supported and elevated                    allowing  heat to flow over, under, side to side and front to back of the skillet.
             Cook over direct medium/high with grill lid down except for checking the chicken              process occasionally.  Note:  Viola, you have created an oven on the grill!
3.        The following directions are listed below and mentioned in the Introduction                         above: Rinse chicken breasts,
            pat dry and place on a cutting board.  Slice each breast in half lengthwise.  Cover                 the cut breasts  with saran wrap
            and lightly pound the chicken to an even 1/2″ thickness.  Create a breading station             using a couple of bowls.  Add dry
             ingredients to 1 bowl and stir to combine.  Add egg whites to the 2nd plate and                    whisk lightly with a fork.
4.        Slice or grate mozzarella into 4 portions, set aside.
5.        Dip chicken a piece at a time into the egg white mixture using 1 hand then with the             opposite hand dip and 1 to coat
            the chicken in the seasoned bread crumb mixture.
6.        Lightly coat the baking dish or skillet with olive oil or other baking spray, add your             chicken in a single layer, lightly
            spray the top of the chicken, add 1 – 2 tablespoons of seasoned tomato sauce.                         Repeat process for remaining chicken.
7.        Place the chicken in the oven.  If using convection oven place the dish on the metal            convection rack. Bake the chicken for 15 – 20 minutes until the internal                                  temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees F and the bread
           crumbs are lightly browned.
8.        With oven mitts, remove the chicken dish from the oven, set on a cool stovetop.
9.        Add a couple tablespoons of tomato sauce over each chicken breast and top with                 grated or sliced of mozzarella.
10.      Return the dish to the oven for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
11.       Remove the dish from the oven (using your mitts), place the dish or skillet on a                    cool stove top and sprinkle with
            freshly chopped basil.
If you have leftovers… all the better, simply cover and refrigerate to enjoy the next day. Heck why not make a gourmet chicken parmesan sandwich the following day or top a salad with diced chicken parmesan.
Another option would be to package and freeze some chicken parmesan that you have prepped but not baked.  Place  partially prepared chicken breasts in a single layer in a ziplock freezer bag after they are dipped in whisked egg whites and dredged in the breadcrumb mixture.  Simply slide a single layer of coated chicken into the freezer bag, burp the air out of the bag, seal the bag then using a permanent marker write the ingredients (Chicken Parmesan) on the bag, the date you prepped the entree and the cooking instructions to follow after you defrost the chicken in the fridge.
Enjoy within 3 months.

Pure Vanilla Extract

 

The Thanksgiving and Winter holidays will be here in less than 4 months.  Here is a homemade gift idea that you can prepare whether you are currently at home or RV’ing.

Having a simple affordable thoughtful gift that you can prepare with ease…is wonderful and truly appreciated by anyone that will be doing some baking.

The cost of pure vanilla extract has skyrocketed and making your own high quality pure vanilla extract is simple and fun.

It will take 4 – 6 months for the vanilla extract to fully develop into a full delightful flavor so… order up some vanilla beans and get you pure vanilla extract started soon.

I use grade A  – Whole Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla beans, you can use a less expensive Grade B vanilla bean… but if I’m going to the effort of making a quality vanilla extract…    I want Grade A.

This recipe has 2 ingredients and no cooking is required.

Feel free to double or tripe the recipe.

 

Ingredients

1 pint                   good quality vodka, rum, brandy or bourbon

6                           vanilla beans

 

                                 

 

Directions

  1.  Rinse vanilla beans, pat dry.  Cut the ends of the beans and toss into a clean glass jar that has a lid that will seal well as you will rotate the vanilla in the jar at least once a week for 14 – 26 weeks.
  2.  Cut the vanilla beans down the center using the side of a paring knife.   Gently tease the bean pod open to expose the tiny vanilla beans.  Scrape the beans from the vanilla bean with the side of the paring knife and transfer on the tip of the knife to a pint or larger size of vodka, rum, brandy or bourbon.
  3. Drop the split vanilla beans in next and seal the bottle.
  4. Gently turn the bottle over a few times then store in a dark pantry area.
  5. Continue to gently turn the bottles once a week as noted above.
  6. Vanilla should be ready in 4 – 6 months but gets even better up to a year.
  7.  Strain the vanilla through a fine strainer or cheesecloth into a large measuring cup then pour into clean 4 oz. gift jars (4oz Ball jars).  Label and date the jars.

Bruschetta

 

Summertime is perfect for making Bruschetta.  Enjoy these fresh ingredients as an appetizer or even as a light main meal.  This is delicious and only requires a bit of prep work that can be easily done at the campsite.

Here is the combination of ingredients I put together to make this dish last night.  I served this as an appetizer to a group of 8 people and have leftovers to enjoy later today.

Farmers markets, farm stands and grocery stores have vine ripe peaches and tomatoes and they are at their peak of freshness so I was determined to prepare this.  Everyone loved the combination of ingredients and gave this recipe a WOW!

Serves  8  (Increase or decrease the ingredients for the amount of Bruschetta you decide to make)

Ingredients

5                       tomatoes, vine ripened if available

3                       peaches, fresh ripe or canned with water drained and discard

1/4                    red onion, fine diced

14                      fresh basil

4                        garlic cloves, fine minced

1/2 – 2/3 cup   Kalamata olives, medium diced

3 tbsp                olive oil

1 1/2 tsp            balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste (go light on the salt)

1 loaf                  French or sourdough baguette, sliced 1/4″ slices (lightly butter and grill if you wish or serve untoasted

4 oz                    butter for drizzle over baguette slices prior to grilling

Directions

  1.  Rinse produce and pat dry.  Peel peaches, cut in half, discard seed then medium chop and add to a med/large bowl.   Note: I find chopping is easier when using a flexible plastic cutting mat/board.
  2.  Peel and chop onion, peel garlic, mince add to the bowl with peaches.
  3.  Pat olives dry, rough chop and add to the bowl.
  4.  Rinse tomatoes, remove stem and seeds then medium chop and add to the bowl.
  5.  Rinse fresh basil leaves.  Stack the leaves on top of each other starting with the largest leaf.                                                                                                                              Roll cigar-like into a tight bundle and cut finely (chiffonade) with a sharp knife then add to the bowl.
  6.  Drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt & pepper over the bruschetta and lightly toss the ingredients to combine.
  7.  Slice baguette in 1/4″ slices.  Lightly butter and grill (if you like) or serve as soft slices.                                                                                                                                              Note:  I prefer to lightly butter and grill the bread slices for since the bruschetta is moist.
  8.   Serve with soft or lightly toasted baguette slices.

Fresh Peach Cobbler

Peaches are marvelous right now so I bought a case at Costco and made a simply delicious peach cobbler I wanted to share with you.

This recipe can adapt to make other berry and fruit cobblers depending on what is available locally and fresh.

Heck you can even improvise and use canned fruit or berries… just drain the liquid or in a pinch – use readymade pie filling and delete the 1 cup of sugar that is called for in the saucepan seeing as pie filling already has the sugar added – you would just bring pie filling up to a boil and pour that over the cobbler batter in the casserole dish.

Be sure to follow the directions in the order listed.  You will be pleasantly suprised to see the cobble batter rise to the top of the casserole dish as the cobbler bakes and turns a nice golden brown.

Enjoy!

 

Serves 8

 

Ingredients

4 oz                        unsalted butter

1 cup                      all purpose flour

3/4 cup                 sugar

1/4 cup                  brown sugar

1 tbsp                     baking powder

pinch                      sea salt

1 cup                       whole milk

4 cups                     sliced peaches (skin removed) * 4 – 5 peaches

1 cup                        sugar

1/2                           lemon (juice only)

sprinkle                  cinnamon sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Melt 4 oz. (cube) of butter, pour into a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish, set aside.
  3.  In a large bowl combine flour, 1 cup of sugar, the baking powder and a pinch of salt.
  4. Add milk, stir to combine then pour over the melted butter in the casserole dish, set aside.
  5.  Rinse peaches then remove and discard peach skin.
  6. Cut peaches in half, discard seed, slice peaches and place in a saucepan with 1 cup of sugar.
  7. Stir to combine, continue stirring until the peaches come to a boil along the outer edges of the saucepan.
  8. Pour hot peach mixture over the batter in the casserole dish.  Sprinkle the top with some cinnamon sugar.
  9. Bake 38 – 42 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
  10. Using hot pads, remove baked cobbler from the oven, set casserole dish on a cool stovetop.
  11.  Sprinkle the top again with cinnamon sugar.

Enjoy warm or cold.  Cover and refrigerate leftovers in the fridge or place portions of the cobbler in freezer ziplock bags.  With a permanent marker, label bag ‘peach cobbler’ and write date prepared.  Enjoy within 3 months.

Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup

This recipe is TASTY, so I can’t wait until Fall to share this “knock you socks off” delicious one pot meal with            fellow RV travelers!

This is not your traditional Italian wedding soup but the flavor profile is one that will not disappoint.

Whether you are cooking for a crowd or making a batch of this soup to package and freeze – to have some make-ahead meals readily available, your investment in time and ingredients are sure to reward you ten fold.

I realize summer is grilling season however I tend to enjoy a great tasting soup most any time of … year whether it is a brisk night huddled around a campfire or sitting in my camp chair while soft summer evening breezes gently drift by.

Enjoy!

Instant Pot 6 quart

Serves 10 – 12

Ingredients

19 oz                mild Italian sausage

19 oz                 hot Italian sausage

8 oz                   uncooked, bacon

64 oz                 organic chicken broth

1/2                     red onion, diced (or substitute 1 tsp onion powder)

2 cloves             garlic, minced (or substitute 1 tsp garlic powder)

1/2 – 2/3 tsp    red pepper flakes

1/2 – 2/3 tsp    Montreal steak seasoning (or substitute black pepper and a few dashes of sea salt)

1/2 – 2/3 tsp    dried basil flakes or spice

1/2 – 2/3 tsp    dried oregano or spice

4                         6″ (med/large) russet potatoes, rinsed, peeled, diced

5 oz bag            baby spinach, prewashed

1 cup                 heavy cream or half and half

1 cup                 shaved or freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions

  1.  Remove sausage from casings.  Cut or divide each link into 6 pieces, set aside.
  2.  Cut each strip of bacon into 4 equal slices then place in Instant Pot on SAUTE’  mode.  Stir as needed for a minute or 2 then add diced fresh onion, stir again for a  minute then add freshly minced garlic. Stir for a minute.
  3.  Add sausage pieces and seasonings, stir until lightly browned.
  4.  Add chicken broth, stir.  Turn IP off.
  5.   Peel rinsed potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise then slice into 1/4 inch (half            moon) slices.
  6.  Add potatoes to the IP but DO NOT stir.
  7.  Close IP lid and steam vent.  Set heat to MANUAL 5 minutes.  Allow the IP to natural  release for 10 minutes, then open the steam valve for a quick release of the  remainder of steam.
  8.  Open the IP, remove 1 – 2 cups of potatoes from the pot and lightly puree using the  back of a fork.  Return the   potatoes to the IP and stir.
  9.  Add the baby spinach and stir.
  10.  Add the heavy cream or half and half, stir.  The mixture may thicken ever so  slightly due to the starch of the potato but this soup is actually more broth like.
  11.  Pour individual servings into bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan.

 

Key Lime Pepper Jelly Pie

 

 

This is a super easy creamy key lime pie with a little zing of red pepper jelly  that folks can add to their personal slice as they wish!

Whether you are looking for an easy week night dessert or a camping dessert that is no fuss… consider this recipe.

If you don’t have an oven available, make this pie as directed but omit the baking process but follow the directions to refrigerate the pie 3 or more hours and until serving time.

Scoop the yummy pie ingredients (which will be a little loose like pudding), place portions of the dessert in individual    6 oz. clear cups.  Garnish suggestions in the recipe that follows!

Ingredients

Crust

1 pie shell            pre-made walnut/graham cracker crust

Filling

28 oz                    sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup                sour cream

3/4 cup                key lime juice

1  zest                   from a lemon or lime

Topping

1 rounded tbsp.   pepper jelly

whipped cream – optional

Directions     Preheat oven to 350 F

  1.  In a medium bowl whisk together the filling ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2.  Pour filling into a pre-made pie shell.
  3.  Bake for approximately 8 – 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 350F or until custard is slightly set.                                                                                                         Note:  Pie is ready when small air bubbles on the surface begin to pop.  Note:  Do not overcook.
  4.  Let pie cool to room temperature then refrigerate for 2 – 24 hours prior to cutting and serving.
  5.  Just prior to serving, top the pie with a whipped cream border (optional). Garnish the center of the pie with a dollop of whipped cream and a rounded tbsp. of red pepper jelly.
  6.  Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Note:  If you do not have an oven… skip #3 the baking.  The pie needs to be refrigerated 3 – 24 hrs. to thicken and hold its shape and may be somewhat loose like pudding, but still delicious.

Alternate garnish:  Rather than adding a dollop of red pepper jelly to this pie… you could make an easy Raspberry Coulis:  Rinse a small pkg. of fresh or frozen raspberries and half a lemon.  Add the juice of the lemon and the fresh raspberries to a small saucepan.   Cook and stir the mixture over mediumium low heat.  Add 1/3 – 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, stir and continue to let the sauce cook and reduce to a sauce consistency.  Strain the thickened sauce if desired.  Drizzle 1/2 tsp. over each slice of pie.

If you are looking for other tips, food pairings or over 105 recipes that are designed for those who travel in an RV, check out:
My cookbook Small Kitchen Big Flavors! – available at a great Introductory Price on Ebay and my blog site at : https:/smallkitchenbigflavorsblog.wordpress.com

Stuffed Sourdough Bread

 

This is really a meal in a loaf that can be prepared in the RV or made ahead of time and brought along with you on a camping adventure.

Add a side salad and your dinner is complete.  I have made this delight baking it in the convection oven for 30 minutes at 375 F and have had equal or better success simply microwaving a few slices at a time on a paper plate lightly covered with a paper towel.  Heat on high for 1 minute, let it rest for 30 seconds, remove paper towel and enjoy!

Is this recipe versatile… you bet feel free to switch up this idea from a dinner main meal or side to a breakfast option, an appetizer or a welcomed Potluck item you bring to the table.

 

Ingredients

1 loaf           grocery store day old baguette of sourdough bread

1 leek           rinsed well then thinly sliced

1 shallot       peeled, thinly sliced

1/2 lb             thinly sliced ham, prosciutto, or european style bacon (optional)

1 1/2 tbsp.   olive oil

4 oz              crème fraiche

1                    uncooked egg

1                    fully cooked russet potato, cooled then medium sliced

1 1/2 cups   freshly grated gruyere cheese

grated nutmeg, moderate sprinkling

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1.  Clean and slice shallot and leek as noted above.
  2.  In a medium saute’ pan over medium heat saute’ shallots for 2 minutes while stirring.  Add the leeks and diced ham, euro bacon or prosciutto to the saute’ pan and continue cooking and stirring for another 2 minutes then set aside.
  3.  Cut day old sourdough loaf vertically in 1/2″ slices to 3/4 way through the loaf (top to near the bottom) while keeping  the base of the loaf intact.
  4.  In a small bowl, lightly mix together crème fraiche, nutmeg, salt and pepper and egg, incorporating the egg into the crème but leaving some small lumps of the crème for texture.
  5.  Add a few cooked potato slices and some leek/shallot mixture between each slice of sourdough bread to create a nice opening to nestle the rest of the filling.
  6.  Place the crème fraiche mixture in a liquid measuring cup to creat a spout as you drizzle 1/2 of the mixture evenly between the bread slices.
  7.  Stuff grated cheese evenly between each slice.
  8.  Pour remaining crème fraiche between the slices and lightly evenly rub any crème fraiche that is on the top of the loaf as an egg wash finish.
  9.  Wrap the loaf in baking parchment baking paper and then foil.
  10.  To bake the bread: Ssee the baking options listed above in the introductory paragraphs.  You want the finished stuffed bread to be warm with the ingredients melty and cooked.
  11. If baking the entire loaf, I’d opt for the convection option, but when heating/cooking  just a few slices few slices, I’d unwrap the foil and use the microwave (placing the bread on a paper plate and lightly cover with a paper towel).  Heat the bread on high for a minute then let the bread rest for 30 seconds before removing the paper towel and enjoying the cooked stuffed bread.
  12.  Cover and refrigerate any leftovers and enjoy within a few days.