4 to 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves Garlic powder to taste Salt and pepper to taste Olive oil 5 tablespoons butter, divided 8 ounces fresh mushrooms 1 (16-ounce) bag fresh spinach 3 cloves minced garlic 1 can low-sodium cream of mushroom soup

Chicken Florentine
4 to 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Garlic powder to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
5 tablespoons butter, divided
8 ounces fresh mushrooms
1 (16-ounce) bag fresh spinach
3 cloves minced garlic
1 can low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup bacon bits
2 cups shredded Provolone cheese
Chopped chives or parsley, for garnish
Sprinkle chicken breasts with garlic powder, salt and pepper and sautampé in olive oil until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet and sautampé mushrooms 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until spinach is just wilted. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same skillet, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat and, stirring constantly, mix in garlic, mushroom soup, Italian seasoning, lemon juice and half and half, stirring until heated through. Add Parmesan cheese and stir to blend.
Arrange spinach and mushrooms in bottom of a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Pour half the sauce over all. Arrange chicken breasts in dish and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with bacon bits and top with Provolone cheese. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven until brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Serve with your favorite pasta or rice. Garnish with chopped chives or parsley.
Creme Brulee
1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
Hot water
Fresh berries, for garnish
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place cream and vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove vanilla bean, rinse and let dry for another use.*
In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and egg yolks until well blended and just starting to lighten in color. Add the hot cream, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Strain the brulee through a fine strainer. Pour mixture into 6 ramekins. Place ramekins in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the creme brulee is set, but still jiggles a little in the center, about 40 to 45 minutes. Carefully remove roasting pan without splashing water into the brulee. Let cool for 1 to 2 hours, wrap tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
Remove creme brulee from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to torching the sugar. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar on top of each creme brulee. Use a propane torch (available at hardware stores or smaller ones available at kitchen specialty shops) to caramelize the sugar by moving the torch in a circular motion to prevent sugar from burning. Serve once sugar has hardened. Garnish with berries.
*Note: A rinsed and dried vanilla bean can be used to make vanilla sugar. Place 2 cups sugar in an airtight container, bury the vanilla bean and in 1 to 2 weeks, you’ll have vanilla sugar. Use on cereal or in coffee.
Steamed Shrimp Cocktail
Emeril’s Rustic Rub
8 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne
5 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons onion powder
21/2 tablespoons dried oregano
21/2 tablespoons dried thyme
Shrimp, with tail on (plan for at least 6 per person)
Boil Mixture
1 bottle of beer or 12-16 ounces water
2 tablespoons Zatarain’s liquid shrimp and crab boil
1 lemon or lime, cut in quarters
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
Combine ingredients for Emeril’s Rustic Rub in a mixing bowl. Blend well. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. To prepare shrimp, toss them with a liberal amount of the rustic rub and set aside.
In a Dutch oven or other large pot, combine beer, shrimp boil, lemon, bay leaf and garlic. Bring mixture to a boil and place seasoned shrimp in a steamer basket. Cover and steam for 3 to 5 minutes, or until bright pink. Cooking time will depend on the size of the shrimp. Do not overcook. Place shrimp in a bowl and chill until ready to serve.
To serve, fill a martini or margarita glass with cocktail sauce and perch the shrimp along the rim.

Ginna Parsons