Italiano Chicken in Basil Sauce

Hello my fellow travellers,

Today, I stood out of my comfort zone and tried my first non-pasta Italian dish. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. This chicken in basil sauce recipe is so easy and delicious that I think it will now become one of my staple recipes for how to cook chicken breast. The flavours meld together in a swirl of parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and chicken broth with a hint of pepper. Amazing, amazing, amazing!

I found the recipe on Big Oven and tweaked it slightly.

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Chicken in basil sauce with a side of quinoa salad

I’m extremely pleased with the way this dish turned out and just love all the flavours that work so wonderfully together. This chicken recipe is definitely going into my recipe box!

IMG_7604A wonderful close up in case you’re not hungry enough 😛

Ingredients

Serves 4

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1 pound boneless chicken breast; 4 halves (generally 2 pieces of breast sliced horizontally)

4-5 tbsp butter

1 cup heavy cream (35%)

1/2 medium tomato, chopped

1/4 cup basil, chopped

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

Chicken Broth (recipe calls for 1/2 cup, this makes about 3-4 cups – leftovers are good!)

1/2 purple onion, chopped

1 chicken thigh

0.75-1 liter water

pepper, to taste

salt, to taste

Method

  1. First make broth – add water to a sauce pan, add chicken, pepper, salt, and onion. Let the water come to a boil and then place it on medium-low heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked. I love using the chicken for chicken sandwiches. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Put milk and bread crumbs in separate shallow dishes. Soak chicken breast pieces individually in milk and then coat in crumbs.
  4. Fry in a skillet with butter on medium heat – 5 minutes each side or til the chicken is golden brown and crisp/spring to the touch. Remove from skillet and wrap in foil placed on a baking dish. Put the chicken in the oven for 10-15 more minutes to cook thoroughly.
  5. For the sauce, pour the broth in a sauce pan over high heat till the broth boils. Lower heat to medium and add heavy cream, tomatoes, and stir for a 1-2 minutes. Reduce to medium-low heat and add parmesan cheese, fresh basil, salt, and pepper.
  6. Pour sauce over chicken and serve with a side of rice or salad.

Enjoy!

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Affy’s Grill Review

We arrived at Affy’s in Mississauga around 9:00 pm. Our table was reserved for 8:45 and there is only a 15 minute hold but after making a mad dash, we made it in time. Fortunately, our table was still reserved despite the hoards of people inside. There was even a family of 6 at the front of the restaurant waiting to be seated. Keep in mind, always get a reservation at Affy’s even if it’s for two people. We went on a Thursday night and it was packed like a can of sardines. Apparently, Thursday is the new Friday.

Affy’s is a premium grill and steakhouse and first opened in Pickering (people flocked there from all over the GTA) and I guess the owners realized how successful their restaurant could be if they expanded to other parts of Ontario. Even the Mississauga location of Affy’s is a tad bit off the road, almost bordering Brampton. The bright, shiny spotlight bulbs and black panelled walls attest to Affy’s brand new opening.

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Comfy-in-bed homemade chocolate chip macadamia cookies

Hello my fellow travellers,

There are some days — rainy days like today — when you just feel like curling in bed with a good book, a glass of milk, and some warm cookies. Homemade chocolate chip cookies are the best comfort food around. The cookies are easy to whip up and just as easy to finish. These cookies are oh-so-addictive! I just keep reaching in the jar for more and more until I realize I’ve eaten five or six. But that’s the thing about cookies, you don’t bake them everyday but when you do make em’, it turns into an automatic party at your house.

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I like to dunk my cookies in milk and eat them. Though there is a level of perfection one must reach when dunking otherwise one of two things can happen: 1. Not enough soakage – Cookie tastes okay but did not absorb enough milk. You have to grab another cookie and try again. 2. Too much soakage – The cookie falls apart in the cup and you are standing in the kitchen spooning out bits of cookie crumbs from your milk. I hate when that happens. Yuckeh.

So tell me, what’s your favorite way to eat a cookie? Let me know in the comment section below.

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Waiting to be eaten

The texture of these choco chip cookies is great. They’re soft and chewy on the inside and slightly crisp around the edges. Best of both worlds!

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups butter, softened

1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

4  eggs

3 tsp Frontier all natural vanilla extract (without alcohol)

3-4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (My favorite brand is Enjoy Life chocolate chips)

1-2 cups macadamia nuts, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour and baking soda in a bowl. 
  2. In bowl of stand mixture with paddle attachment (or with spatula and bowl), cream together butter, white, and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Slowly incorporate flour till well combined. Finally, add chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
  3. Drop individual cookie dough balls onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can use your hands or a spoon but what works best is a cookie scooper which makes consistently sized cookies.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes (I usually put it in for 10) until edges are golden brown.

Enjoy!

Delectable Raspberry Cheesecake

Hello my fellow travellers,

Since my last post, I promised a cheesecake recipe. I don’t go back on my promises. This recipe was adapted from Kraft and All recipes. I ran into a bit of a problem when I realized I needed 5 bricks of cream cheese and only had three but I made do. Later on, I scoured through my kitchen pots and pans looking for my 9-inch springform pan. I finally found it but it was broken as in it would not sit on the base. I ended up using the 10-inch pan. So keep in mind, this recipe will make a perfectly thick cheesecake in a 9-inch pan and a flatter cake in a 10-inch pan.

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Raspberry cheesecake purdyfied

This is my third time making cheesecake at home. The previous two times I made Oreo cheesecake and it was a hit with my family. My sister remarked, “Did you get this from the store?” My biggest issue with cheesecake is the cracks though I am working my way around this and slowly getting better. I’ll mention some tips later to avoid cracking.

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Slice of cheesecake. New York style.

I’m not the biggest fan of different fruity flavours in my cheesecake (I prefer chocolate) but this was awesome! The raspberry jam provides the perfect tang to the cake and the fresh fruit and whip creams pairs perfectly with the cream cheese. Give this a go and let me know what you think.

Recipe

Crust

1 1/4 cup Honey maid graham crackers, crushed

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoon sugar

Cheesecake body

3 (8 oz.) bricks cream cheese, softened

3 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp sour cream

3 tbsp raspberry jam + 1 tbsp water

Garnish

35% cream, whipped

2 tbsp sugar

Fruits (blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degree c. Draw the base of the springform tin pan onto parchment paper. Cut out circle and place onto the base of the pan.
  2. Crush graham crackers in a mini food processor (or place the crackers in a large sandwich bag and crush with rolling pin). In a small bowl, combine melted butter, crushed cookies, and sugar. Mix until you get a wet sand like consistency.
  3. Press the cookie crust gently in the pan with your hands and even out in all places. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer with paddle attachment (or manually use spatula or handmixer), drop in cream cheese and beat on medium speed till combined. Drop in 1 egg at a time and mix well. Incorporate sugar and sour cream. Combine well and pour into springform pan.
  5. In a saucepan on low heat, add raspberry jam (seedless jam recommended) and water to thin out the jam. If you use Smuckers or another brand it might be thin already so skip this step. I used an organic brand and the jam was a lot thicker.
  6. Once raspberry mixture is prepared, drop 3 tbsp of mixture onto the cheesecake in different spots. Use the tip of a knife to create marble swirls.
  7. Bake in oven for 50-60 minutes.

Ways to avoid cracking: Water bath – in a pan bigger than your cake pan, add hot water (enough that it reaches half way to the springform pan) and bake in oven.

Do not over bake. If bake time is 50-60 minutes, check on your cake sooner and make sure if its cracking you lower the heat. To test and see if cake is done: Shake pan lightly and if center jiggles then your cake is done. You can poke a skewer in the center and check. It will not come out clean but the cheese will be slightly airy/bubbly but not wet.

Garnish

  1. Place glass or metal bowl and whisk in freezer for 30 minutes
  2. Whip 35% cream and 2 tbsp sugar on medium speed in bowl until stiff peaks form. Do not overbeat or you will get butter!
  3. Scoop cream into a disposable icing bag and choose a decorating tip (I used star tip). Pipe icing onto cake in whichever style you desire.
  4. Get fresh blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries and garnish.

Enjoy!

Dine Halal, Work, and Cheesecake things

Hello my fellow travellers,

I hope you are all having a wonderful week!

I have some exciting news…I am now working with a wonderful group called Dine Halal! They’re an awesome resource for finding out where your favorite halal restaurant sources their meat from. They also post reviews and recipes on their website and have a bi-monthly magazine that circulates in the GTA.

I wrote a review for them recently on one of my favorite restaurants: Zem One

Link here: http://dine-halal.com/zem-one-review

Link for Dine Halal’s website:  http://dine-halal.com

Dine Halal is also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dinehalal.ca

Do check them out and share their website with your family and friends. I honestly didn’t know about a lot of restaurants until I scoured the Dine Halal facebook page and all the scrumptious pictures they posted.

Onto other matters of business.

I won’t be posting for a week or so because I’m finishing up university, insha’Allah, and I’m barely in the kitchen these days unless out of necessity (have to cook to survive :P) but I am not baking for fun (which I miss so much!)

Which brings me onto my last point. Cheesecake. I am a cheesecake LOVER. Die hard fan. I prefer it above most desserts. Its so light and fluffy and ever since I made Oreo Cheesecake (recipe up some day, iA) I don’t like buying the boxed stuff anymore. However, I make exceptions for La Rocca Cake. So anyways, I am planning to make a strawberry cheesecake to mark the end of exams and assignments and will put it up here first! I also made some chocolate cupcakes a few weeks back but need to find the pictures to upload the recipe but will soon.

Thanks everyone for your support so far!

Sincerely

Fatima

P.S: Check out my Facebook page www.facebook.com/travelsizedbites which I update frequently (these days I’m on an anti-GMO campaign)