Thursday, January 19, 2017

Pasta Inspired by Barnelli's Pasta Bowl Chicken Al' Diavolo

Our featured guest cook this time is our cousin Sinisa.  As you have seen in some of our previous posts, he loves to cook and he always has some delicious new recipes to show us.  This time, he made a tasty Italian dish inspired by Barnelli's Pasta Bowl Chicken Al' Diavolo and we loved it!  He brought some fresh bread that we got to dip into the tasty pasta sauce.  So here is the recipe! :)

  • 1.5 lb Chicken Breast Tenderloins
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 red jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • fresh basil leaves 3/8 oz or to taste, chopped
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 package of Farfalle pasta
  • 16 oz. of half & half cream milk
  • 1 brick of 8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • red hot pepper flakes to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh loaf of bread for dipping

  • chop the peppers
  • mince the garlic
  • grate the cheddar cheese 
  • chop the mint 
  • set all of these ingredients to the side

  • boil water in a large pan and add Farfalle pasta 
  • cook pasta according to instructions
  • drain and set aside to cool

  • wash the chicken tenderloins and season with salt and pepper on both sides
  • heat the oil in a large pan and sautee the chicken on both sides until golden
  • move chicken to a plate and let it cool

  • In the heated oil left from chicken, add the chopped peppers, garlic and hot pepper flakes and sautee for a couple of minutes making sure that the garlic doesn't brown too much
  • add butter and stir 

  • in the meantime, cut up the chicken into bitesize pieces
  • add the chicken to the peppers, garlic and butter mix and continue cooking for a few more minutes, mixing well all of the ingredients 

  • add cooked pasta, half and half cream milk and grated cheddar cheese and mix well 
  • keep cooking until the cheese melts 

  • transfer to serving plates and sprinkle with basil 
  • add more hot pepper flakes if you prefer spicier food

  • cut up the fresh bread and serve with pasta 

  • This pasta would go well with your favorite wine or beer.  We decided to have some beer with it.  Enjoy!! :-P  
  • Thanks Sinisa for this delicious new recipe on our blog!  
  • Don't forget to let us know if you tried the recipe and how you liked it.  We would love to see some of your photos as well!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bosnian Pita Pie: Zucchini (Tikvenjaca) and Cheese (Sirnica) With Store-Bought Filo Dough

After taking a break from my blog, I decided to post a new recipe.  This time it is a variation of a previous post that you can see here:

Since the original homemade Bosnian Pita can be very time consuming and takes practice to master, here is another easier version that skips over the entire process of making the filo dough from scratch. Instead you can use store-bought filo dough and the Pita will be just as traditional and tasty.  

This has been my obsession lately, trying to perfect the Bosnian Pita using different fillings.  One of my favorites was always Tikvenjaca (filled with zucchini) and of course Sirnica (filled with cheese).  It takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, you will be able to make it quickly for dinner or a party and it is always a hit! :)

I actually made Tikvenjaca with zucchini for this post, but both are very similar.  For Sirnica with cheese, just omit the zucchini.  The cheese mix depends on your taste, so you will get to add your favorite feta cheese, cottage cheese, farmers cheese, ricotta, etc, some salt & pepper and get to try it before adding the eggs and putting it all together.  For a more traditional taste, it is important to use good full fat feta cheese, cottage and farmer's cheeses, but if you would like a light version, low fat cheeses will be fine as well.  You can even reduce the amount of eggs and they will still taste fine. After you try making it a few times, you will develop your own taste and that's what's great about making Pita.

If you would like to make your Tikvenjaca or Sirnica to be straight and not a swirl, you can simply place it in a rectangular baking dish and arrange in straight lines.  This way it will be easier to cut up and serve for a party.  See photos below.

  • mix of different cheeses according to your taste (full fat recommended, but light is fine too): 
    • some crumbled feta cheese (I ran out of feta cheese, so I did not use it this time - its taste gives the Pita a nicer flavor)
    • 16 oz cottage cheese
    • 8 oz - 16 oz farmer's cheese
    • 8 oz ricotta and/or cream cheese
  • couple of tablespoons of sour cream (to taste)
  • sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1 package of store bought Filo Dough (see image of the package below - I used 12"x17" sheets this time) - take out of the freezer the night before and leave in the fridge until ready to use
  • 3 medium zucchinis cut up into small cubes - see photo below (if making Tikvenjaca - Zucchini Pita)
  • salt & pepper to taste

  • Heat up the oven to about 435 F.
  • Grease the baking pan with oil
  • In a medium bowl mix cheeses and salt/pepper until you reach your desired taste
  • Add eggs and mix well
  • Add zucchini if using and mix well 

  • In a glass, mix oil and water to make about 1/2 cup 
  • I use cling wrap to cover my work surface for easy cleanup (see photo below)
  • Carefully open up the filo dough and save the bag in case you have any left over (you can freeze it again and use again next time) 

  • You will need to work quickly so that the filo dough sheets do not dry up and harden.  If you leave them out too long, they will become hard and fall apart. 
  • Start by taking two filo dough sheets and placing them on the work space.
  • Brush the top sheet with oil and water mix

  • Place another filo dough sheet on top of  the two brushed with oil and place a good amount of the cheese (or zucchini) filling on top (see photo below)

  • Roll up the sheets with the filling like shown in the photos below

  • Start by placing the roll in the middle and rolling into a swirl (see photo below - mine broke :D but if this happens to you, don't worry, once the Pita is done, you will not be able to notice it)
  • Keep repeating the same procedure for each role and adding to the swirl until you are done

  • When you are done, combine the left over filling and water/oil mix and pour over the Pita and brush so that it is evenly spread 

  • Place Pita in the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes until golden (see photos below)

When your Tikvenjaca or Sirnica is done, take it out of the oven, let cool and cut into desired portions.  Serve topped with sour cream.  

Enjoy! Prijatno! :)