Chicken Asparagus Roll-Ups


An All-In-One dish, perfect served with fresh baked bread and a mandarin orange spinach salad .

4 six ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb lightly steamed asparagus
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 medium onion, minced
dried spices of your choice (or one of the Mrs. Dash blends)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place chicken breasts between layers of plastic wrap and using a rolling pin or meat mallet, pound until flattened out to about 1/4″ thick. Spread layer of minced onion on inside of chicken breast, then on one end, place 5-6 asparagus spears, and cheese. Roll chicken breast up like a jelly roll, and place in a 9″x13″ baking dish. Repeat with remaining breasts. Sprinkle tops lightly with dried spices.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink.

Serves: 4.


Creamy, Cheesy Shrimp Florentine Linguine


You can use fat-free half and half, and reduced fat Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses. Serve with a green salad and/or garlic bread. – Wannabe Gourmet Jonathan

2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 pounds fresh shrimp without shells or tails, deveined
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup fresh basil, cut in a chiffonade
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp paprika
16 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 lb cut whole leaf spinach
2 cups half and half
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded

cooked pasta water
1 lb linguine pasta

Heat a large skillet until hot – add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and immediately add garlic and shrimp, cook on one side for about 1 minute until pink on one side, on medium-high heat. Flip the shrimp to the other side, sprinkle the top of cooked side of shrimp with basil,  and paprika, cook for another 1-2 minutes, occasionally stirring, until shrimp is pink on both sides. Remove the shrimp from skillet. If shrimp is a little undercooked – it’s fine because you will continue cooking it in the sauce.

To the same skillet add sliced mushrooms. Add more olive oil if necessary. Cook on high heat for about 2 minutes, occasionally stirring, until mushrooms become soft and release juices. Salt midway through cooking. To the skillet with mushrooms, add cooked shrimp. Immediately add spinach, half and half and all of the cheese – bring to boil, then reduce to simmer, and cook, constantly stirring, until all cheese melts. Cover with lid and remove from heat.

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve some of pasta water. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water. Add pasta to the skillet with shrimp and mushrooms and cream sauce. Stir well, season with more salt and add more crushed red pepper flakes and basil, if desired.
If the cream sauce is too thick and you want it creamier – add some pasta water in small amounts until you reach desired consistency.


Cranberry Citrus Fig Sauce for Pork and Chicken


Finally! A return to cooking and new recipes! – Jonathan (The Wannabe Gourmet)

1 1/2 cups of dried cranberries (divided)
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
4 slices naval orange (including rind)
4 slices lemon (deseeded but including rind)
4 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
14 fresh figs, quartered and pulp scooped from outer rind

Place 1 cup dried cranberries in a saucepot. Cover with 2 cups water, adding cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Add sugars, citrus slices, orange juice and vanilla extract. Return to boil, reduce to simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will cause the pulp from the orange and lemon to cook away from rind. Remove rinds and cinnamon stick. Allow to cool slightly, then process until almost smooth in a food processor fitted with a chopping blade.

Return to saucepot, add cardamom and ground cinnamon. Add fig pulp and remaining 1/2 cup of dried cranberries. Return to boil, and reduce to simmer and stir occasionally for 5-10 minutes until lightly thickened and dried cranberries have plumped. The figs will have dissolved into the sauce, and the seeds will be floating on the surface. Stir to combine completely and allow to cool slightly (sauce will continue to thicken as it cools).

Use on pork chops, ham steaks, or even grilled chicken. Use leftover sauce within 2 days, or freeze for up to a month.