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white pizza
Mini White Pizza with Ham
and Olives

chicken with Mascarpone
Chicken with Mascarpone
and Shallots


cauliflower paprika
Cauliflower with Paprika

Menu Plan for the week of Feb. 8, 2013:  Saturday's Recipes

 Mini White Pizza with Ham and Olives
Chicken with Mascarpone and Shallots
Cauliflower Paprika

Cooking time:  45 minutes for menu     Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

       This is a rich chicken dish and, with the pastry to start, we're just having a simple quinoa.  We use the other half of the puff pastry for dessert on Thursday, along with the last bit of mascarpone.

Mini White Pizza with Ham and Olives           Preparation and cooking time:   25 minutes  
     White pizzas are common in France, usually with a crème fraiche base and often topped with potatoes, cheese and bacon. 

1/2 sheet of puff pastry
1/2 cup green olives
2oz (60gr) baked ham
1/4 cup mascarpone
1/4 cup shredded cheese

Thaw the puff pastry, if needed. Cut 2 rectangles out of 1 half, reserve the other for another day.  Slice the olives in thirds and cut the ham into small pieces. 
Lay the cut pastry on a baking sheet. With a dull knife (butter knife) lightly etch around the pastry, 1/3" (.75cm) from the edge. Divide the mascarpone and spread evenly within the etched lines. Arrange the ham and olives on the mascarpone and sprinkle the cheese on top.
Bake, 425F (215C) for 12 - 15 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove and serve.

Chicken with Mascarpone and Shallots          Preparation and cooking time:   45 minutes
     I occasionally find a chicken recipe that leans more toward the decadent than the healthy and reserve it for a Saturday dinner (rather than a Monday).  This is loosely based on a recipe I saw years ago in Cooking Light magazine. I cut the chicken breasts in half, but you can leave them whole if you prefer.

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
3 tbs Dijon-style mustard
2 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
2 tbs white wine
1 tsp dried thyme
2 slices Prosciutto (1.5 oz, 45gr)
4 shallots
4 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried parsley
2 bay leaves (laurel)
3/4 cup (6oz, 180ml) chicken broth
1/2 cup mascarpone
2 tsp cornstarch (maizena, corn flour) dissolved in 1 tbs water

Mix mustard, vinegar, wine and thyme.  Cut chicken breasts in half, the short way, and put in a small dish or larger zip-lock bag.  Add mustard mixture and allow to marinade for at least 10 minutes, but up to an hour. Peel shallots and garlic, leave whole.  Slice the Prosciutto. 
Heat oil in nonstick skillet.  Add Prosciutto, shallots and garlic.  Sauté over medium heat until all is slightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Remove chicken from marinade and add to skillet.  Reserve marinade.  Sauté the chicken 5 minutes per side.  (They won't really brown, but it starts them cooking.)  Add the reserved marinade, parsley, bay and chicken stock.  Stir to combine, cover, reduce heat slightly and simmer for 20 minutes.
To finish:   Remove chicken, shallots and garlic to a small platter and keep warm. Remove and discard bay leaves.  Dissolve cornstarch in water.  Stir cornstarch into stock to thicken.  When hot and bubbling again, turn off heat and add mascarpone, stirring well.  Spoon sauce over chicken and shallots, serve.

Quinoa                                                                      Preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes
    Quinoa is very high in protein and "contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete food" according to Wikipedia.  It's also easy to cook and tasty - what more could we want? You can substitute Basmati or Jasmine rice.

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken stock (or the amount of liquid your package recommends)

Rinse quinoa if needed (most comes washed).  Combine quinoa and stock in small saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until done, about 15 minutes  (or whatever your package says).   Serve.

Note: Quinoa comes in black, red and tan.

Cauliflower with Paprika                                  Preparation and cooking time:   25 minutes
    A bit of smoky paprika makes an interesting finish for cauliflower.

1/3 head cauliflower, enough for 2 people
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs chicken stock
1 tsp dried chives   or 1 tbs fresh, snipped
2 tsp paprika  (sweet, smoky or hot - or a bit of each)

Cut cauliflower into pieces, put in steamer and steam over water for 10 - 15 minutes until fork-tender.  Remove from pan and empty water.  Put oil into same pan.  Add paprika and chives and sauté 1 minute.  Add stock and heat through.  Pour over cauliflower.  Toss to coat and serve.

Cooking Schedule: 45 minutes for menu
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
medium skillet with lid, medium saucepan / steamer
basket and lid, small saucepan with lid,baking sheet,
small dish or bag

Turn oven on 425F (215C)
Thaw puff pastry if needed
Mix marinade for chicken
Cut chicken in half, add marinade, set aside
Peel shallots, garlic
Slice Prosciutto
Sauté shallot, garlic, Prosciutto
Cut puff pastry in half, refrigerate half.
Cut rectangles, place on baking sheet, score edges
Spread mascarpone on puff pastry
Sauté chicken, reserve marinade
Slice ham, arrange on mascarpone
Slice olives, arrange on mascarpone
Sprinkle with cheese, bake

Turn chicken
Cut cauliflower
Add marinade, stock, herbs, etc to chicken
Cover, simmer
Dissolve cornstarch in water, set aside
Cook quinoa
Steam cauliflower
Remove pastries when done, serve
Relax, enjoy...
Done? Remove quinoa from heat when done
Remove cauliflower, empty pan
Sauté paprika, chives in oil
Add stock, heat
Remove chicken, shallots and garlic, keep warm
Increase heat under skillet
Add cornstarch, stir until thickened
Add mascarpone to sauce, stir
Pour sauce over chicken
Pour paprika sauce over cauliflower
Fluff quinoa, serve 

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