red leaf lettuce salad with prosciutto and goat cheese spirals

Prosciutto & goat cheese spirals

I wasn’t going to serve a salad at Thanksgiving this year.  It’s unnecessary really, with the amount of food that gets served.  My husband would say that it just equals more plates to wash.    But there is a comfort level for me, of sitting down for a few minutes and gathering my thoughts before serving the whole meal.  This year was no different.  I was super organized given how late I shopped for everything.  Maybe it is because I have gotten more comfortable with hosting Thanksgiving over the years.  But inevitably, something goes awry, and this year it was my new oven.  At some point between heating up the cranberry sauce in the microwave (which doubles as a convection oven I have yet to use), and checking on the turkey in the regular oven, the display message on my oven panel decided to change.  It wanted to know what my probing temperature was.  The jokes ensued, but I wasn’t laughing.  We couldn’t shut it off or cancel out of it.  I mean really, now?  My husband and my sister were hovering over the panel, and if I kept hearing that damn beep one more time I was going to lose it.  It was like a button that said ‘press me‘ and that they did – over and over and over again.  So I tried the circuit breaker and shut the oven down, only to be faced with it remembering what it was doing prior to being shut down when I reset the circuit.  So I retreated to my office to look for the stupid user’s manual, but I couldn’t find anything on probing temperatures.  I went downstairs to find my husband and my sister now with their heads in the oven, cracking jokes about looking for probes and if the probe looked big enough….I think the exact term was “prob-y enough”…shoot me now.  I finally found one line in the manual – not on how to cancel out of this mess – but how to enter the non-existent probing temperature and hit bake, then off, and just like that, we were back to normal.  My side dishes then got to finish heating up, and so it was time to sit at the table.  I was so happy to just serve a nice salad that didn’t need to be heated or baked – just served.  And I had my two minutes of sanity back.

prosciutto and goat cheese spirals (adapted from Bon Appetit)

8  oz. plain goat cheese
2  TB, plus 1/2 cup hazelnut oil
1  tsp fresh rosemary, minced and divided
2  tsp freshly grated lemon peel, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
red pepper flakes
10-12  imported prosciutto (aiming for nice 3 inch wide by 7 inches long slices), thinly sliced
1  cup stemmed baby spinach leaves
3  TB sherry wine vinegar
3  TB shallots, minced
1  tsp sugar
10  cups red leaf lettuce, coarsely chopped and cleaned


get started on the salad:

note:  I wash my chopped lettuce in the salad spinner and divide onto the 8 plates.  I have been serving the dressing at the table so people can decide how much or how little they want.  The original recipe calls for you tear the lettuce and dress the salad before serving.  Either way is fine.

Coarsely chop the lettuce and clean in a salad spinner or colander.  Dry on paper towels if needed.  Divide lettuce onto 8 plates.
In a medium bowl, stir together the goat cheese, 2 TB hazelnut oil, 1/2 tsp of rosemary and 1 tsp of lemon peel.  Season with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.


goat cheese mixture
Place a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter.  Place 1 slice of prosciutto in center of plastic wrap.  (If slices are torn or too thin, add a second slice to add stability to the roll – which is a good reason to get more prosciutto than you need).  Spread evenly, about 2 TB of goat cheese mixture over the prosciutto slice, covering as much as you can.  Add a single layer of stemmed baby spinach on top of the goat cheese mixture.  Place another slice of prosciutto on top of the layer of spinach.  Repeat the cheese and spinach and prosciutto layers twice more, ending with a prosciutto slice.  Starting at the long side, lift the plastic wrap up and over the layer to start rolling up jelly roll style.  This can be done with quarter turns.  Add a final slice of prosciutto, if needed, to cover the seam of exposed cheese and spinach.  Wrap up tightly in the plastic wrap.  Proceed with remaining prosciutto, cheese and spinach to make a second roll.  Chill until firm, about six hours.

layerswrapped roll

Whisk together the sherry vinegar, shallots, sugar and remaining rosemary, lemon peel and 1/2 cup hazelnut oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
Unwrap rolls and slice each of the rolls into twelve spirals, about 1/2 inch thick.  Place three rolls onto each of the eight plates of lettuce and serve with the dressing.

prosciutto parmesan egg muffins

egg muffins

I had another post all lined up, but I got sidetracked this morning.  We woke up blessed by overcast skies and threats of thunderstorms, (wait for it…) so my obligation to work the baseball snack bar went POOF!  So I snuck downstairs while my kids were playing, and looked to see if I had any cinnamon rolls to make, but I didn’t.  We are not the breakfast family.  Cereal and oatmeal are really the only two things in my pantry.  Lately, my kids have been getting bored and have been making themselves peanut butter sandwiches or grabbing a snack bar in the morning.  That doesn’t make me all that happy.  But this morning, I remembered seeing pictures online for eggs made in muffin tins.  I know I can at least win my daughter over with them.  I know the same thing can be made scrambled, but now I have convenient  little snacks, or breakfast on the go for the next couple of days.  I love the fact that you can just plop any old topping in them and you are pretty much guaranteed success (within reason of course.)  They took about 25 minutes from start to finish and with a little salsa and my coffee, I was quite happy.  My daughter devoured three of them.  My son had a peanut butter sandwich.

prosciutto parmesan egg muffins

egg shellsred bell peppers

get started on the egg muffins:

nonstick spray
8  large eggs
1/2  cup low-fat milk
kosher salt
crushed red pepper
1/3  cup red bell pepper, diced
3  slices prosciutto, sliced thin
1.5 oz. shaved parmesan cheese (about 3-4 TB)

egg mixtureinto the tin

Preheat oven to 350.  Coat muffin tin with nonstick spray.  In a mixing bowl, add eggs, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper and stir with a whisk.  Pour mixture equally into muffin tins.  Do not over fill.  Divide red pepper among the twelve cups.  Tear prosciutto into each cup and top with parmesan cheese.  Bake in center of oven for 15 – 20 minutes.   They will deflate after you take them out of the oven.  You can check it with a toothpick to be sure level of doneness.

prosciutto toppingshaved parmesan

egg muffin plate

chicken roll ups

chicken roll ups

I have long given up on stuffing a huge pork loin.  I have tried too many times and  failed, and I get mad just thinking about it.  The thing is that it looks so damn pretty in the magazines and seems like it should be easy.  I have packed those loins (stop laughing) with juicy stuffing and it still came out with some areas of the pork being leathery and other areas being undercooked.  The stuffing usually lived to make it onto the plate, but I’m already too upset to eat it at that point, so into the trash it goes.  I am not a fan of fruit in my savory meals, but maybe those apples are the secret to pork staying moist?  Or maybe my thermometer is taking a reading where the stuffing is rather than the layer of pork I should be testing.  I don’t know.  Either way I’m done.  Every time my grocery store runs the special on the huge loin that you probably should portion and freeze, I just close my eyes and try to forget the delicious spinach and italian sausage stuffing that went to waste, or the sun dried tomato and broccoli rabe round two version that was sacrificed, and of course – the time spent on expertly butterflying the meat.
So I stuff chicken now instead.  Although this one takes a little time to assemble, once it is in the oven, you’re golden.  Make a little rice, or boil up some pasta, and you have a complete meal and one that will satisfy anyone (who likes chicken).  Plus, it isn’t like you have to prepare a stuffing ahead of time.  You just find ingredients you like and roll them up!  I tend to tweak the recipe depending on what is in my fridge.  The basic components are chicken, cheese, and tomatoes.  My kids like the assembly aspect of preparation – chicken, salt and pepper, prosciutto, basil, tomato and mozzarella cheese.  I have done this with other combinations as well, such as ham and Fontina cheese, leftover grilled vegetables with smoked gouda or even asparagus and provolone.  Everything added on top is optional.  I tend to throw in extras to flavor up the juice in order to serve over rice.  Make it your own and I promise it won’t disappoint.

chicken roll ups:

2 packages of chicken scallopini – check to see if there are about 5 breasts each package
kosher salt and pepper
crushed red pepper
10  slices of imported prosciutto
10  large basil leaves plus 1/4 cup for garnish
4  plum tomatoes, sliced
2  large balls fresh mozzarella, halved and sliced (about 20 slices)
olive oil
1  can diced tomatoes
1  cup white wine
1/2  onion, halved and sliced thinly
1/2  cup olives


get started on rolling them up:

Preheat oven to 375.  Arrange your ‘stuffing’ ingredients so that you can easily lay each of them on the chicken.  Halve and slice the fresh mozzarella.  Slice your tomatoes so that you get the amount needed to stuff your chicken (about 10-12).  You want to be able to taste the tomatoes so don’t cut them too thin.  Pick off the best 10 basil leaves.  Get out the salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.  Lay out as many chicken breasts as your board allows.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.  Lay a slice of prosciutto to cover the breast.  Add a basil leaf, slice of tomato and then a slice of mozzarella in the lower third of the chicken breast.  Roll up the chicken from the bottom, by placing your fingers over the stack of ingredients to keep them in place.  Place the roll up with the seam side down in an oiled 11×17 glass dish.  I don’t use toothpicks but if you choose to, remember to take them out!  Continue rolling up remaining chicken.  You should have about 10-12 roll ups.  Try not to squeeze them too tightly together in the dish or they will cook unevenly.

assembly linehelping hands

Drizzle more olive oil over the chicken and season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.  Top each roll up with slices of mozzarella.  Add the canned tomatoes, sliced onions, olives and white wine.  Sprinkle with chopped basil.  Place dish in oven and cook for 30 minutes or until temperature of chicken reaches 155.  Take dish out and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

roll uptopped with cheese

roll ups readyroll ups done

note:  this dish serves 4 with obvious leftovers!