PROSCIUTTO-CHICKEN-MELON SPINACH SALAD

When one of my lovely girlfriends visited me awhile back, I made this salad for lunch. It’s quite easy, and the combination of cantaloupe, avocado, prosciutto, and pine nuts is amazing. Gone, gone, gone!

6 cups baby spinach

1 lb grilled chicken tenderloins, sliced thin and chilled

4 cups diced cantaloupe

2 avocados, diced

4 oz prosciutto, chopped

1/4 cup diced red onion (optional)

2 oz pine nuts

Dressing suggestion: Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette (yes, I’m recommending it again)

1) Prepare each salad as follows: spread spinach on plate and top with chicken, cantaloupe, avocado, prosciutto, red onion, and pine nuts; serve with dressing of your choice

Now wasn’t that easy?

Servings: 4

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 07/05/12–the one that disappeared into a black hole (which is the reason WordPress and I met up).

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POLENTA MOZZARELLA STACK

Goodness gracious, this is gooood!  Granted, I had to add a bit of meat in honor of my guys–proscuitto–but it would be just as good (maybe better) minus the meat. Truly, I could eat this once a week. Though my guys would probably balk at enjoying it that often, they agree that it’s a “keeper.”

1 tbsp olive oil

18 oz pre-made polenta (I bought the tubular kind), sliced into 12 rounds

sea salt

ground black pepper

1-1/2 cups marinara sauce (store bought)

12 oz fresh mozzarella (again, the tubular kind), sliced into 8 rounds

1 large tomato, sliced into 4 rounds

8 slices prosciutto

4 cups baby spinach

1 tbsp parsley

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2) Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat; add polenta slices and cook 3-4 minutes each side until a light crust forms; lightly sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, remove from heat, and set aside

3) Pour marinara sauce in 8 x 8 baking dish; place 4 polenta slices in center of baking dish (close together so that when they are fully stacked they will remain upright throughout the baking process)

4)  Stack each of the 4 servings on top of the first polenta slice as follows: 1st round of mozzarella cheese, tomato, 2nd polenta slice, prosciutto, 2nd round of mozzarella cheese, 3rd polenta slice; bake in oven 15-20 minutes until mozzarella melts

5) Meanwhile, place 1 cup baby spinach in center of each of four plates

6) Remove polenta stacks from oven and carefully transfer one stack to the center of each mound of spinach; spoon marinara sauce over each stack; sprinkle with parsley; serve and enjoy!

Makes: 4 servings

PROSCIUTTO-GOAT CHEESE-AVOCADO GRILLED SANDWICH

Lunch time! But what to whip up? Though my guys would have been happy with basic grilled cheese sandwiches served with a squirt of ketchup (er, hmm), I decided to make it special. They were skeptical when I started loading the kitchen counter with prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese, but when all was grilled and done… No crumbs.

8 slices sourdough bread

4 oz goat cheese, softened

3 oz prosciutto ham

1 avocado, sliced thin

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 tbsp butter, softened

1) Assemble four sandwiches as follows, dividing ingredients between each: sourdough bread slice, goat cheese, prosciutto, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, sourdough bread slice

2) Over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter in large skillet (I used a grill pan); place sandwiches in skillet and grill 3-5 minutes on bottom; spread remaining butter on top slices; flip and grill 3-5 minutes; serve!

Makes: 4 sandwiches

BRUSCHETTA-PROSCIUTTO CHICKEN

Given a choice of six dinners, Junior chose this one and was not disappointed. This chicken entree is similar to chicken cordon bleu but stands deliciously apart with the addition of bruschetta tomatoes and prosciutto ham. Good choice, Junior!

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

1/8 cup olive oil

12 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp minced parsley

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp salt

pinch of pepper

olive oil cooking spray

6 slices prosciutto ham, halved to make 12 pieces

6 slices mozzarella cheese, halved to make 12 pieces

1) In  large bowl, mix 1/8 cup vinegar and oil; add chicken tenderloins and turn several times to coat; set aside

2) In medium bowl, mix tomatoes, 1 tbsp vinegar, parsley, basil, salt and pepper; set aside

3) Heat large grill pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray; turn tenderloins to coat again and place in grill pan; cook 3-4 minutes and turn; while opposite side is cooking, top tenderloins with prosciutto and cheese; cook 3-4 minutes until chicken is no longer pink in the middle; remove grill pan from stove top

4) Place three chicken tenderloins on each of 4 plates; mix bruschetta mixture and spoon over each serving; grab a fork and knife and eat!

Serves: 4

SUPER STACKED SALAD

Yes, salad for dinner again, and much appreciated by three out of four since Junior far prefers meaty meals. Junior aside, this salad-as-dinner was gone in no time at all. Delicious!

Super Stacked Salad

2 heads of iceberg lettuce, cored and horizontally sliced into 4 thick stacks each (total of 8 slices)

1/4 cup matchstick carrots

12 slices prosciutto, sliced into thin, bite-sized strips

1/3 cup feta cheese

1 stalk celery, diced

1 cup grape tomatoes, diced

2 scallions, sliced thin on the diagonal

4 large radishes, diced

4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1) On each of four large plates, stack 2 pieces of lettuce as pictured; scatter remaining ingredients over lettuce and serve with your favorite dressing; easy!

Servings: 4

CRAB-PROSCIUTTO-BRIE MAC AND CHEESE

Yes, macaroni and cheese again but this time with crab. And Brie. Not that I alerted Senior and Junior Too to the addition of that particular cheese since they react to its mere presence as if it’s radioactive. Junior and I, on the other hand, adore a good Brie, and this was the perfect dish to make Brie lovers out of our dissenters. Praise, praise, and more praise–not a single word of complaint. Am I good or what?

Crab-Prosciutto-Brie Mac and Cheese

10 thin slices prosciutto

2-1/2 cups heavy cream

5 cups cooked (al dente) ditalini pasta

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

6 oz Brie, cut into small cubes

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

10 oz cooked crab meat

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp minced fresh chives

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) Arrange prosciutto slices on a baking sheet and bake in oven about 10 minutes until just crisp; remove from oven (don’t turn it off), cool 3 minutes, and chop coarsely; set aside

3) To large skillet over medium-high heat add cream and, stirring often, bring to a boil; lower heat to medium, add pasta, and, stirring often, cook about 5 minutes until cream thickens a bit

4) Season cream-pasta mix with salt and pepper to taste; stir in Brie and Parmesan cheese and cook 3 minutes until cheeses melt; stir in crab and cook 3 minutes until warmed through; remove from heat

5) Spoon macaroni mixture into a medium-sized casserole dish, scatter prosciutto and shaved Parmesan cheese over top, and bake in oven 3-5 minutes until cheese melts; remove from oven, sprinkle with chives, and serve to your very hungry and soon-to-be-happy diners

Servings: 4

CAPRESE-Y EGGS ON A BED OF SPINACH AND PROSCIUTTO

I don’t have personal taste experience with this dish since I had already met my morning calorie quota by the time my guys were ready for breakfast, but the plates were wiped clean in no time and, when Senior came up for air, he said to Junior Too: “Can you imagine what this would have cost at a really nice restaurant?” Darn. Calories and willpower aside, I should have elbowed my way in and snagged a bite.

Caprese-y Eggs with Prosciutto and Spinach

4 thin slices prosciutto

1 tbsp butter

4 eggs

1 cup baby spinach

4 slices fresh mozzarella (about 1 oz each)

8 thick slices Roma Tomatoes (2 tomatoes)

1) In skillet over medium-high heat, cook prosciutto slices until slightly crispy; remove prosciutto from heat and drain on paper towel-lined plate

2) In skillet over medium heat, melt butter; crack eggs into skillet and cook to your preference (mine were over easy); remove eggs from skillet and set aside

3) Return prosciutto to skillet and top with the following, dividing equally between prosciutto slices: baby spinach, mozzarella slice, tomato slices, and egg; cook until cheese melts (you might want to pop a lid on the skillet for a minute or so); slip two caprese-y eggs onto each of 2 plates and serve with fresh fruit

Servings: 2 (or 4 if your diners aren’t voracious)