Thursday, June 25, 2009

Grilled Turkey, Brie & Apple Sandwich

So I've told you about Lindsay, right? Well she keeps me sane during the day. Lots of times it's with recipes she finds on other blogs. Well, the other day she found this one. Wowsa. I love simple things like this once in awhile since I'm home alone most weekdays. This was the perfect dinner for me tonight! Thanks Lindsay! And thank you Food Alla Puttanesca for blogging this lovely combination!
Turkey, Apple, and Brie Paninis
High-quality bread (I used homemade.)
Sliced turkey breast deli meat
Thinly sliced green apple
Dijon mustard
Thin slices of Brie

Spread a thin coat of Dijon mustard on each slice of bread. Layer turkey, Brie, and then apple. Heat George Foreman with panini plates or panini press. Spray with cooking spray and cook until bread is browned and cheese is melted. Cut diagonally in half and serve.

*My notes: I just grilled mine since I don't have a panini press- worked wonderfully. Also, be sure to not use too much dijon, it's a powerful flavor and can easily mask the brie.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cherry Chicken Salad

I really love chicken salad, and if it has dried cherries in it, that is a huge bonus! I wanted to make my own, so I searched and found this one. I just love Mostly because you can search by ingredient.

Anyway, what a great basic chicken salad! I will definitely make this again. I'd love to experiment with it in the future. I think it could be modified just a tad and be spectacular!!


* 3 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, diced
* 1/3 cup dried cherries
* 1/3 cup diced celery
* 1/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans
* 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
* 1 tablespoon buttermilk
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1/3 cup cubed apples (optional)


1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, dried cherries, celery, nuts, mayonnaise, milk, salt and pepper and apple if desired. Toss together well and refrigerate until chilled. Serve on toasted cracked wheat bread or croissants.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

When it comes to cake, I love a light and moist white cake with a fresh strawberry filling and fluffy whipped white icing. Carl would rather have a decadent chocolate cake with something just as rich for the frosting. It's his birthday week, so guess what kind of treat I made. Yep, Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter frosting, Ina style. They are for dessert tomorrow, but I had him taste test one. He's impressed. Perfect!


* 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 2/3 cup granulated sugar
* 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
* 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
* 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
* 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup good cocoa powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows
* Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate, optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing:

* 1 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1 cup creamy peanut butter
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bourbon Braised Chicken & Apple Sausage with Onions

I bought Emeril's Chicken & Apple Sausage yesterday, but rather than just grilling them, I decided to follow the recipe on the back. To be honest, I felt it was a bit time intensive for sausage. Don't get me wrong, it was really good. The flavor was definitely not what I was expecting, in a good way! Although, the next time I make them, I will try simply grilling them.

* 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
* 4 links Emeril's™ Chicken & Apple Sausage, whole
* 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced (about 4 1/2 cups)
* 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
* 2 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
* 1/2 cup dark beer
* 3 Tbsp. Bourbon

Serving size:

2-4 servings

Heat medium-size skillet over medium-low heat for 30 seconds. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter and add onions and brown sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally for 20-25 minutes until onions are partially browned. Season with salt and pepper and place thyme sprigs in skillet. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until sausage is browned, about 15 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add beer; reduce heat and cook, covered for 15-20 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in remaining butter and bourbon. Remove thyme sprigs before serving. Serve sausages and onions in toasted French or Hoagie roll. (I served mine on a pita)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chicken Penne Al Fresco

I had full intentions of making a completely different pasta dish tonight, but after I hit my third strike with the ingredient list, it was out. I decided to just go with the trusty and found this one. I wasn't expecting much and boy was I surprised. What a great, light, easy pasta dish! I HIGHLY recommend you try this! I kind of cut the recipe in notes are below.

* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 4 cloves garlic, sliced (2 cloves)
* 2 cups cherry tomatoes (1 medium tomato, chopped)
* 3 cups penne pasta (1 cup)
* 3 3/4 cups chicken broth (1 can, about 1 3/4c)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
* 1 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves, (1/2 tsp dried +5 small fresh leaves)
* 2 cups diced cooked chicken (1 x-large breast cooked in olive oil)
* 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I probably used even more than that)

1. Coat a microwave-safe casserole dish with olive oil; stir in the garlic and tomatoes. Cover and microwave on High until tomatoes begin to burst, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Remove garlic and tomato mixture from the microwave and crush the remaining tomatoes with a fork. Stir in pasta, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.
2. Cover and return to microwave. Cook on High until pasta is tender, 16 to 18 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Remove pasta from the microwave, then stir in the basil, chicken, and Parmesan cheese.

*1st cook time only took about 3 minutes for me. Second cook time took about 13.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I had my two oldest nieces over on Saturday, and the original plan was to make chocolate chip cookies, but I found this recipe in the back of the newest Everyday Food magazine, and we agreed we definitely needed to try them! They were easy and really yummy!

1/2 c old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole-wheat flour
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 c light-brown sugar
1 large egg
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate cut into 30 squares (I used semisweet)
15 large marshmallows halved horizontally

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse oats until finely ground. Add flours, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; pulse to combine. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter an sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, scraping down side of bowl. With mixer on low, beat in flour mixture just until combined.

2. Drop dough by tablespoons, 1 inch apart, onto two baking sheets. Top each with a chocolate square. Bake just until lightly golden, 11-13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Remove sheets from oven; heat broiler. Top each cookie with a marshmallow. One sheet at a time, broil until marshmallows are lightly browned, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool. Makes 30 cookies.

Chicken Quesadillas

I love love love quesadillas. I used to order them all the time at restaurants, but I decided to give them a go at home. One thing to know is that I love I loaded that up!

2 tortillas
1 large chicken breast
1/4 red onion- chopped to 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 green pepper- chopped to half inch pieces
1/2 package of taco seasoning
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese

Cook the chicken in a little olive oil. Add the taco seasoning as instructed on the package- usually includes adding water. Add the green pepper and onion and simmer until liquid evaporates and vegetables soften.

Heat a skillet to medium-high. Spray one side of the tortillas with non-stick cooking spray. Lay a tortilla in the pan, spread 1/4-1/2c of the chicken mixture on one side of the tortilla, sprinkle with desired amount of cheese and fold the tortilla over. Repeat on other side of pan with the second tortilla. Allow each side to cook for 1-2 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

I actually preferred these the second day. I also really liked them with taco sauce as opposed to salsa- yum!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lemon Parm Pasta with Chicken

I tend to keep dinner simple when Carl is gone...which is often, but I wanted something better than a sandwich tonight. Luckily I have Lindsay on emergency standby, and she recommended this recipe! And remember...I always trust Lindsay...or at least her taste buds :) It was originally from Spark People.

This was the perfect quick, light and fresh recipe for this warm spring night! I'll definitely keep it in my rotation!

* 1/2 lb. angel hair pasta (I used about a 1/4 lb)
* 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces (I used one regular sized chicken breast)
* 2-3 cloves garlic, minced (I used 2 cloves)
* 2 tbsp butter (1 tbsp butter)
* 3 tbsp lemon juice
* 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (It's know I still doubled it!)
* 1 cup reserved pasta water (I used about 1/2 c)


1. Bring large pot of water to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, heat butter in large skillet. Saute chicken and garlic until cooked through.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
4. Add lemon juice and Parmesan to chicken shortly before pasta is done.
5. Toss the cooked pasta with the chicken mixture.
6. Ladle in 1 cup of pasta water to extend the sauce.

*My suggestion is to wait until the water is boiling and the pasta is in the pot to start the chicken. Mine cooked up pretty quickly, even with the heat on low.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Prize Winning Baby Back Ribs

I've been dying to make our own ribs as that is something we've never tackled before. I bought a 2.5 lb slab, and followed this recipe.


* 1 tablespoon ground cumin (1/2 tbsp)
* 1 tablespoon chili powder (1/2 tbsp)
* 1 tablespoon paprika (1/2 tbsp)
* salt and pepper to taste
* 3 pounds baby back pork ribs (I used 2.5 lbs.)
* 1 cup barbeque sauce (I used 1/2 c Baby Rays- it was plenty for basting and dipping)


1. Preheat grill for high heat.
2. In a small jar, combine cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Close the lid, and shake to mix.
3. Trim the membrane sheath from the back of each rack. Run a small, sharp knife between the membrane and each rib, and snip off the membrane as much as possible. Sprinkle as much of the rub onto both sides of the ribs as desired. To prevent the ribs from becoming too dark and spicy, do not thoroughly rub the spices into the ribs. Store the unused portion of the spice mix for future use.
4. Place aluminum foil on lower rack to capture drippings and prevent flare-ups. Lightly oil grate, and lay ribs on top rack of grill. Reduce heat to low, close lid, and leave undisturbed for 1 hour. Do not lift lid at all.
5. Brush ribs with barbecue sauce, and grill an additional 5 minutes. Serve ribs as whole rack, or cut between each rib bone and pile individually on a platter.

*We actually should have brought our time down just a touch, but these were still really really good! I will definitely follow this recipe again!
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