Rainy Day Dinners

Parmesan Chicken Sticks
(from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/parmesan-chicken-sticks-recipe/index.html )

Ingredients
1. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into strips or cubes, as per your convenience
2. All purpose flour
3. Kosher salt, to taste
4. Freshly ground black pepper
5. One egg, well beaten
6. A cup of seasoned bread crumbs (I used some left over croutons)
7. Grated Parmesan
8. Unsalted butter
9. Good olive oil

Method:
1. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate.
2. Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan on another plate.
3. Dredge the chicken breasts on both sides in the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg and roll in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly to coat.
4. Preheat the oven to 350F and spread a sheet of foil/cookies sheet on your baking tray. Line up the chicken fingers and bake for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, till they’re cooked through and golden brown.
5. Serve with marinara sauce.

Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Infused Olive Oil
(from: several sources)
Ingredients:
1. A dozen or so cloves of garlic, unpeeled
2. A tablespoon olive oil for roasting
3. A half cup of extra virgin olive oil
4. 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
5. A couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
6. Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place unpeeled garlic cloves in baking dish. Add a tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about half an hour.
2. When cool, squeeze garlic between fingertips to release cloves.
3. Transfer garlic cloves to blender. Add vinegar and rosemary and puree herb mixture until smooth. Whisk the misture into the oil, till the flavours get infused in the oil.
4. Serve with your choice of bread, warm.

Tomato Soup
(from: http://www.formerchef.com/2009/08/02/how-to-make-fresh-tomato-soup/ )

Ingredients:
Yields 4 cups.
1. 1 cup chopped carrots
2. 1 cup chopped celery
3. 2 cups diced onions
4. 4 cups diced tomatoes
5. 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
6. Olive oil
7. 1 cup water
8. Salt and pepper, to taste
9. A couple of teaspoons of sugar, optional

Method:
1. Chop the vegetables to more or less equal sized pieces.
2. Heat some oil in a large pot.Add the onions and cook until they are soft. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Now add the carrots and the celery and cook for a few more minuutes, ensuring that the vegetables do not stick to the bottom of the pot or get burnt. This will take anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes.
3. Add in the tomatoes and the water and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point, the tomatoes should have broken down and the carrots should be soft.
4. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
5. Puree the soup, with a hand blender.
6. Strain the soup through a stainless steel sieve, possibly a few times, so that you can get the fibrous portions of the veggies out of the way.
7. Put all the strained soup back in the pot and add the salt and pepper (and the sugar, if you must).
8. Serve the soup in a bowl (d-uh!) and garnish it with a dollop of cream and a sprig of basil.

Notes:
1. I didn’t have cream. And I used all the croutons up for the parmesan chicken. I’m a loser.
2. All of this was part of an attempt at making a simple, yet yummy, dinner from whatever I had at home. I was pretty pleased with the results.

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