Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December Daily 15 ~ Sweets and Spice and Everything Nice + Chicken Bellagio Recipes

Grandpa Don is home and settled in. We have hired a person to watch over him as he sleeps (or attempts to sleep) so that we can make sure he is okay all night. Unfortunately, the pain medication that he is on effects the part of the brain that reminds you to breathe. This way we can make sure he is as safe as he can be 24/7 and Ethan can get some rest.

My help was not needed, so I spent the evening with Ellie. She loved the Chicken Bellagio that she had at the Cheesecake Factory on Saturday, so we tried out a copy cat recipe. The Parmesan Chicken was wonderful, but the creamy pesto pasta was not exactly what we were looking for. I've included the recipe we tried out below, as well as another one that might have a better pasta recipe.

I also finished up the gifts that I am giving to the people on my team at school. I am giving them a Christmas Potpourri and a jar of Spiced Cherry Jam. I think the presentation of both is lovely and they were fun to make.

Thanks to Pinterest, I was also able to find some nice labels. Here and here are the chalkboard style labels that I used on the top of the jars (as well as coordinating gift wrap, too). Here are the tags that I used to label the jam and the labels for the Christmas Potpourri.

I also worked on the gifts that I am creating for the kids. I'd love to share them, but I cannot at this time, of course.

Tonight I think I will try to find time to create a necklace for a person who has asked me to do a custom job for her. I need to get it done in time for Christmas. It will be nice to shift gears for that project. Perhaps I will get to the Christmas cards, too.


We tried this for dinner. The chicken was great, but the pasta with pesto cream sauce was just a little off.

Copycat Chicken Bellagio
via: Confessions of a Foodie Bride

A copycat recipe for the Cheesecake Factory's Chicken Bellagio. Make it at home and skimp on the calories, not the flavor.


For the pasta:
8 oz uncooked thin spaghetti
1/3 cup pesto
1/4 - 1/2 cup cream, optional*
For the chicken:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
1 cup panko
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
For the salad:
4 slices prosciutto
Your favorite dark salad greens (I had a baby spinach-kale mix on hand)
Olive oil
Lemon wedges
*I was looking to lighten the dish and didn't want anything as heavy as cream in the recipe. The restaurant obviously uses a cream-based sauce - so if you want to go big, stir in a bit of heavy cream.
Make Loaded Ranch Potato Skins for Gameday


Bring water to boil in a large pot.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
Whisk egg with 1 Tbsp water and pour into a plate or small pan (I used an 8-inch sq baking dish).
Mix together the panko, Italian seasoning, a generous pinch of salt, pepper, and cheese in another plate or small pan (I used a dinner plate).
Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally and place in a large zipper bag (or between sheets of plastic wrap) and lightly pound a few times to even and thin them out (thin enough so that they cook quickly but not thin enough that you can see through them).
Add flour to the zipper bag and shake to coat the chicken.
Shake off the excess flour and dip the chicken into the egg mixture, flipping to coat.
Press the chicken into the panko mixture and flip and press again. Transfer to another plate or pan and set aside, repeat for the remaining 3 pieces of chicken.
Put the pasta into the boiling water at the same time you start the first two pieces of chicken in the frying pan.
Cook the chicken two pieces at a time, for 2-3 minutes on each side, decreasing the heat a little if it browns too quickly.
Before draining the pasta, pull out ~1 cup of the pasta water and set aside.
Drain the pasta and return to the pan with half of the pasta water and the pesto. Toss until a creamy sauce forms, adding additional pasta water, as necessary.
Divide the pasta between 4 plates and top with the chicken cutlets as they come out of the pan. Season with additional salt and pepper.
Top each piece of chicken with a slice of prosciutto.
In a medium bowl, toss 4 handfuls of salad greens with a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt, a squeeze of 2 lemon wedges, and a small handful of grated parmesan.
Divide between the 4 plates and enjoy. Without mascara. Pants also optional.


Perhaps this one is worth trying for the pasta pesto cream recipe:

Chicken Bellagio ~ Cheesecake Factory
via: Oh So Deliciouso blog
Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serving Size: 5-6 Adults

Pasta and Sauce
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 tsp Minced Garlic
1/2 C Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
5-6 Fresh Basil Leaves Minced
Juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 pkg. Spaghettini (thin spaghetti)

3-4 Chicken Breast
1 C Flour
2 Eggs
1 C Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 C Parmesan Cheese
Oil {Vegetable oil works great, but olive or grape seed oil is a nice alternative}
Prosciutto at room temp.
Arugula Lettuce washed and dried (Pictured is baby Arugula)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 Lemons

Pasta and Sauce
Whisk heavy cream and garlic in sauce pan over medium-high heat until it begins to thicken.
Lower heat to medium-low careful not to scorch.
Add in Parmesan cheese and whisk til incorporated.
Add in basil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
Whisk thoroughly and reduce to a low heat to keep warm. When ready to serve toss with Spaghettini that has been cooked at pkg directs.
You will need 3 bowls. In first bowl place flour. The second whisk the eggs and third combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
If chicken is frozen, allow to thaw completely.
Butterfly the cutlets, or cut them in half by cutting through the middle of the meat so you have 2 thinner pieces.
Then place in a large sturdy zip-lock bag and with a meat mallet gently hammer chicken so that the piece is an even and thickness.
About this time, begin to heat your oil in a large skillet over medium -medium/high heat. You will want to fill your skillet about 3/4 inch deep with oil. You will know when ready if you flick a few drops of water on the oil and it crackles.
Take each piece of chicken and first coat them with flour, then dip in the egg, then last coat with bread crumb mixture. Do this to each piece.
Then place 2-3 pieces of chicken at a time in skillet. This will depend on how big your skillet is. Don't over crowd.
Allow to cook a few minutes, sides will start to turn a golden brown. Then flip and cook the other side. When finished remove and place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Repeat with remaining pieces.
To assemble this dish in true Cheesecake Factory Style..
Place generous serving of pasta in middle of plate.
Layer with two pieces of chicken side by side.
Ribbon 1-2 pieces of Prosciutto over top of chicken.
Then place a generous handful of arugula over prosciutto.
Drizzle a little evoo over arugula followed by juice of a lemon half.
Oh lovely lemons. Can't get enough!

No comments: