Category Archives: Artichoke hearts

Kat’s Fantasy Elegant New Year’s Eve Dinner

individual beef wellington

Individual Beef Wellington

Alas, there will be no New Year’s Eve dinner for me this year. Things have been quiet in Kat’s kitchen, mainly because I’m still battling a cold and then have had a headache for four days on top of it. When I’m not feeling good I lose the desire to eat anything good for me (except, maybe soup) and gravitate to Christmas cookies and microwave popcorn. This may be a portent of things to come; I’ve heard that the sweet and salty taste buds are the last to go and that’s why elderly folk prefer sweet and salty food. It’s not a pretty thought, sigh!

Back to blogging and the dinner I wish I was cooking…actually I did cook this dinner a few years ago and it was then the culinary highlight of my cooking experience. As background, I joined a local group called Table for Six. The moderator cooked a five course meal for herself and five carefully chosen guests…but she only did this four times a year. I was blown away by the experience and offered to cook a dinner the following month. I’m flattered to say that this was the only time that her group dined outside her home. I still feel all warm and gushy when I think about it. However, after hosting a six course meal I can see why she only did this four times a year. I cooked all six courses from scratch and spent two full days in the kitchen. As a matter of fact, I was still whisking the gravy as the guests were pulling up. I also had to purchase and borrow extra dishes so that I could individually plate each course. Oh, but what a night!

In actuality if I were going to do it again, I would change a few things. Even though I spent weeks researching the perfect pairings, I’ve expanded my culinary repertoire so a few changes might be in order.

Champagne cocktail – I chose a dry champage which, ironically, tends to be slightly sweeter that Brut or Extra Brut. I dropped a raspberry in the bottom of each class for color instead of the lemon wedge.

Appetizer – Shrimp ceviche (served in martini glasses)

Soup – Cream of broccoli soup (served in Grandma’s crystal fruit cocktail bowls)

Salad – Tossed salad with artichoke-Parmesan crostini (served on salad plates)

Main course – Individual Beef Wellingtons, garlic mashed potatoes with green beans amandine to which I added a small amount of diced pimento for Christmas color (served on dinner plates) garnished with fresh rosemary sprigs

Dessert – Chocolate Cavity Maker cake with mint-infused whipped cream (served on dessert plates) garnished with fresh raspberry and mint leaves

Coffee with homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream and port. I had never been a huge fan of port until I had it alongside the coffee and chocolate cake.

It was a great night. Even though I won’t be cooking this year I enjoy reminiscing. Don’t feel too sorry for me though. I am going out tonight with friends where someone else will be serving me.

I hope your New Year’s Eve is filled with good food and good friends.







Tags: ,

A Summer of Salads

A summer's worth of salads

An endless variety of ingredients to keep you satisfied all summer long

There’s something about 100+ degrees that makes me want to avoid the kitchen altogether. Alas, a gal has to eat. So, when summer hits I start getting creative with salads. Salads are healthy, cheap to make and can be quite filling.

Variety is the spice of life. You’ll often find me in the kitchen re-creating flavors and food combinations from cold-weather dishes into cool combos for summer salads. If it works in a soup or stew, it’ll work in a salad. Adding protein in the form of eggs, meat, poultry, fish or beans to your salad can change it from a side dish to main dish in a flash. Adding grains like wheatberries, barley or rice means you have a complete meal in a bowl that will sustain you for hours. Bon Appétit!

Here are some salads that are easy to pull together to help you get started:

Black & bleu salad
Steak strips
Bleu cheese crumbles
Red onion
Vine-ripened cherry tomatoes
Blue cheese dressing
Greek salad
Canned tuna – white beans
Feta cheese
Artichoke hearts
Sundried tomatoes
Caesar dressing
Honey mustard chicken salad
Chicken breast strips
Cheddar cheese
Crispy bacon
Vine-ripened cherry tomatoes
Honey mustard dressing
Mexican salad
Taco chicken
Tortilla chips
Beans – red or black
Ranch dressing
Grilled Shrimp and Spinach
Grilled shrimp
Hard boiled egg
Red onion
Warm bacon dressing
Mediterranean Salmon
Wheat berries
Artichoke hearts / red peppers / grape tomatoes
Feta cheese
Italian Dressing

Photo credit: Fotoosvanrobin on Flickr. CC Licensed. A much better picture than I could ever take!


Tags: ,

Greek-Inspired Quiche

Artichoke hearts taste great in this quiche

Here is another variation on my favorite breakfast recipe…quiche! This time I’m adding Greek-inspired ingredients ala artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and Feta cheese. For herbs I’ll be adding some fresh basil and lemon thyme from my garden. If you’re just tuning it, note the addition of brown rice in the recipe in lieu of a crust makes this dish much healthier than traditional quiches.

 I’m hosting the Father’s Day brunch. My sister is bringing an appetizer of hummus and pita breads which matches our theme. I will round out this dish with some fresh fruit, perhaps garnished with fresh mint from my garden. Not necessarily Greek, but Mediterranean nonetheless.


2 Tbls olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 Tsp dried herbs
1/4 Tsp ground pepper (I prefer white pepper)
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, diced
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, slivered
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup low fat milk
2 cups cooked brown rice
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 egg
1 cup egg beaters
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Heat olive oil in a large frying pan
  • On medium heat, sauté onion, garlic and spices, cooking until onions are slightly browned
  • Add artichoke hearts and cook until most of the water is removed
  • Add sun dried tomatoes
  • Add flour and stir until combined
  • Slowly add milk; Cook to a simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened slightly (usually 2-3 minutes)
  • Remove pan from heat and blend in rice, eggs and feta cheese
  • Pour mixture into 9″ x 9” Square Baker
  • Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top
  • Bake at 400 degrees for about 35-40 minutes or until set. Broil 2 minutes until top is golden brown

Serves six

Nutritional information – values per serving are approximate:

Calories 238.4 Total Fat 9.5 g  Cholesterol 53.4 mg  Sodium 535.9 mg  Potassium 304.0 mg  Total Carbohydrate 23.5 g   Protein 13.4 g


Tags: ,

Chicken Piccata Pasta

One pot cooking

Lemony chicken piccata

Creamy and lemony, this dish is a fresh take on piccata and is made in a fraction of the time! Although this can be made from boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you can also save money by cooking a whole chicken in the Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker and using the resulting juices instead of canned broth*.

Regardless, with cooked chicken and broth on hand, you can whip up this dinner quickly. It’s an impressive crowd pleaser and elegant enough to serve to guests. If pairing with wine, a Pinot Grigio will go well with the flavor of the lemon and artichoke hearts.


  • 15 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 12 oz uncooked angel hair pasta
  • 6 cups chicken broth (or 3 14.5 oz cans)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 oz (not 2 blocks) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained
  • ¼ cup capers, drained and rinsed
  • Chopped fresh parsley and grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Cut chicken into 1-in. pieces on Cutting Board. Combine chicken, 1 tbsp of the oil and rub in Stainless Mixing Bowl; toss to coat.
  2. Heat remaining oil in 12-in. Skillet over medium-high heat 1–3 minutes or until shimmering. Add chicken to Skillet; cook and stir 10 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and centers are no longer pink. Remove chicken from Skillet; set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, pour broth into Large Micro-Cooker®; microwave, covered, on HIGH 8–10 minutes or until broth comes to a boil. On clean cutting board, chop onion using Food Chopper. Add onion to Skillet; cook 10–20 seconds or until onion is fragrant. Carefully add broth and pasta to Skillet; cook, uncovered, 7–8 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Zest lemon with Microplane® Adjustable Grater to measure 1 tbsp Juice lemon withJuicer to measure 2 tbsp.
  5. Add zest, juice and cream cheese to Skillet; stir until cream cheese is fully incorporated.
  6. Add chicken and artichokes to Skillet. Cook, covered, 1–2 minutes or until heated through. Remove Skillet from heat; stir in capers. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Kat’s tip: If you use the pan drippings from a whole chicken, just add enough water to measure out 6 cups. The chicken stock is rich enough that this will work.

Kat’s second tip: Two of those cute little bags of cut pasta from the Latin Foods aisle would work great in this recipe. It’ll be off 2 oz of pasta but as I’ve already proven, the extra 2 oz won’t even be noticable.

Serves six

Nutritional information – values per serving are approximate:

Calories 367.3 Total Fat 8.3 g Cholesterol 56.5 mg Sodium 1,369.1 mg Potassium 662.7 mg Total Carbohydrate 43.8 g Protein 29.2 g

Inspiration: Pampered Chef Season’s Best Recipe Collection – Fall/Winter 2010


Tags: ,

Artichoke Tapenade

Artichoke and green olive tapendade

Once a month my wine club goes out for a food/wine pairing dinner. My heart sings with delight when a dish is perfectly paired with the wine we’re drinking. Whilst preparing this dish, I was inspired to pull out a bottle of Pinot Grigio to go with it and the results were delicious. Lemon adds a refreshing lightness to this dish which paired *really well* with the wine pictured in the background. I used the olive salad left over from this weekend’s mini muffalettas and omitted the capers because I’m not fond of them. My taste tester couldn’t wait to get her hands on this appetizer.

This delicious, savory spread is a simplified version of a classic French recipe, which is served as a condiment or appetizer.


  • 1 lemon
  • 1 can artichoke hearts in water
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 1 tbls capers
  • 2 tbls olive oil


  • Zest lemon until you have 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Juice lemon until you have 1 tablespoon.
  • Drain artichokes in mesh strainer and rinse with water.
  • Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until blended completely.
  • Serve on toasted baguette slices.

Toasted Baguette Slices

  • 20 slices French bread cut in 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 2 tbls olive oil (I used the oil reserved from the olive salad)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bread rounds on stoneware or cookie sheet. Lightly brush bread with olive oil. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Adapted from The Pampered Chef Season’s Best Recipe Collection – Spring/Summer 2011

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 28, 2011 in Appetizers, Artichoke hearts, Pampered Chef


Tags: ,