quick fire challenge: bruschetta with a twist

>> Monday, August 31, 2009

need an appetizer in a flash? i was at the point of starvation last week and needed something to hold me over until dinner. i turned to my mishmashed fridge and had to work with whatever was in there -

fresh diced tomatoes
mozzarella cheese wrapped with prosciutto (check out the link just in case you're confused)
sliced sour dough bread
fresh basil

toast bread in oven for 5 minutes. once bread is toasted, cut clove of garlic in half and rub cut side down all over top of bread. in bowl, mix together tomatoes, the meat-wrapped cheese, evoo, and s&p. spoon on top of warm bread. place back in the oven and broil for 1-2 minutes...until cheese is melted. sprinkle with basil and you're done. how simple is that?

take that top chef.


the other white meat: panko crusted pork chops and sis's zuchinni cakes

>> Tuesday, August 25, 2009

pork chops were on sale this week so i indulged in a little pork fun. i don't eat pork that often so this was a pretty new adventure for me. i turned to my trusty cooking light for a recipe and voila, i found panko crusted pork chops with creamy herb dressing. to compliment the other white meat, i also whipped together some zucchini cakes with what i had on hand.

my zucchini cakes
1 zucchini, grated
couple tablespoons of parmesan cheese
1 egg white
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, grated

grate zucchini and place in dish towel. squeeze all juice out until completely dry. in small bowl, mix together cheese, egg white, bread crumbs, s&p, parsley & garlic clove. form into little patties, should form about six in total. heat pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook cakes for 3-4 minutes per side. flip and cook on other side.

oh one other thing - when i plated up my meal, i topped off the my cakes with the creamy herb dressing too. eat up!


party of 40: chicken salad bites, blt stuffed tomatoes, roasted garlic shrimp, fried mac and cheese bites, and mini pesto burgers

>> Thursday, August 20, 2009

this past weekend, my roommates and i were ready to play hostesses with the mostesses. ready to party, we opted for a rooftop party and our invitation promised our 40+ guests sunsetting views of our nation's capitol, tunes that make you wanna dance, and of course, tasty treats. my sparky sous chef (ashley) and i got to work in the kitchen with a mission to impress our guests.

so for a little party, our menu:
- chicken salad bites in phyllo cups
- blt stuffed tomatoes
- roasted garlic shrimp with spicy cocktail sauce
- fried mac and cheese bites
- and mini pesto burgers (courtesy of sister leonard)

...and our outcome:

believe it or not, everything was actually really simple, so get on board. here's how we did it:

chicken salad bites in phyllo cups:
cook and dice two large chicken breasts. mix together with s&p, light mayo, light sour cream, craisins, and celery. bake pre-made phyllo cups in oven. when done, individually scoop chicken salad into cups. sprinkle with parsley.

blt stuffed tomatoes:
cut small circular hole in top of large cherry tomatoes. scoop out seeds and juices. in ziploc bag mix together light mayo, s&p and a couple dashes of hot sauce. cut corner of bag and pipe into tomatoes. garnish tomatoes with small piece of bacon and lettuce.

roasted garlic shrimp with spicy cocktail sauce:
place peeled and de-veined shrimp on baking sheet. liberally season with evoo, s&p and minced garlic. cook at 400 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes. serve with jarred cocktail sauce. kick it up a notch by adding extra teaspoons of horseradish. can be served hot or cold.

fried mac and cheese bites:
cook package of velveeta mac and cheese add a couple slices of chopped bacon. place in casserole dish and let sit in fridge overnight for best results. cut mac and cheese into in bite-size square pieces. prepare three dunking bowls: panko bread crumbs, egg whites, flour. first dunk in flour, then egg, then panko. let set for a couple of minutes to let bread cup really stick to bites. when oil is ready, place three mac and cheese bites in at a time. let cook for 4-5 minutes, depending on size. serve immediately.

sister leonard's mini pesto burgers:
combine ground beef with s&p and form mini beef patties. grill 3 minutes per side, depending on how you like it. add provolone cheese and let melt. add dollop of pesto and place on miniature bun. (sorry we didn't take a pictures of these delicious treats...)

special thanks to my little sous chef. she's still learning.


two sisters, cupcakes, and a dream

>> Monday, August 17, 2009

once upon a time, two sisters dreamed of owning a signature cupcake shop where their daily wardrobe featured blonde ponytails, batter-splattered tees, and sugar-coated blue jeans. they even began to name their not-yet famous cupcakes after specific family members.

this weekend i stumbled upon georgetown cupcake and remembered that long lost dream. the cupcakery shares a similar story. two sisters longing to do something they love, together.

if they can do it, we can do it. sis, you still in? will you move back to dc?

oh sis, and did i mention one of the sisters drives a range rover?

(photo credit - expressnightout.com)


real simple: stuffed chicken breasts with tomato salad

>> Thursday, August 13, 2009

i'm not even through lunch and already thinking about dinner tonight. my theme this evening - simple, please. i'm a little tired from the smokey robinson concert last night and need a recipe that requires minimal effort and thought.

who better to turn to then real simple magazine? they're showcasing a perfect summer meal with fresh ingredients. it's also clocking in at a measly 310 calories. makes it even better.

and don't run away - it's much easier than it looks. meet you in the kitchen...let me know how it turns out.
stuffed chicken breasts with tomato salad
- 1 6.5-ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 2 tbsps. grated parmesan
- 2 tbsps. fresh thyme leaves
- 4 6-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsps. plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- s&p
- 2 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 8 baguette slices, toasted (i'm using sourdough)

mix the artichokes, parmesan, and 1 tbsp. of the thyme in a small bowl. cut a 2-inch pocket in the thickest part of each chicken breast. stuff a quarter of the artichoke mixture into each pocket. rub the chicken breasts with 1 tsp. of the oil and season with 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. heat grill pan to medium. grill the chicken, turning once, 6 to 7 minutes per side. mix the tomatoes, shallot, vinegar, s&p, and the remaining oil and thyme in a large salad bowl.

and some quick sis tips:
- don't have fresh herbs on hand? use 2/3 tbsp. of dried thyme instead.
- don't dig artichokes? sub with olive tapenade, pesto, or chive/garlic cream cheese.
bon appetit, friends.


get yourself one: skinny girl margarita

>> Thursday, August 6, 2009

do it. it would make me so very happy to know you're on the way to have one as well. and if not, ok fine. whip up the skinny girl margarita at home.

(photo credit - yumsugar.com)


inspector gadget: avocado-cucumber toss

i was walking through williams sonoma the other day and found this gadget. what gal (or guy) wouldn't want to pit, slice, and smash an avocado within seconds? hint hint.

feeling inspired? i thought so. try out this scrumptious side dish:

avocado-cucumber toss
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp evoo
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 12 tomatoes)
1 cup avocado, peeled (about 1 medium)
2 cup cucumber, chopped

combine first 4 ingredients in a jar - cover tightly - and shake vigorously. place tomato, avocado and cucumber in a bowl; add vinegar mixture, and toss gently to coat. serve immediately. makes for you and three amigos.

(photo credit - williamssonoma.com)


dough-girl: lemon filled doughnuts

>> Wednesday, August 5, 2009

book club is tonight and we always plan a meal around the theme of the book. lucky for us, the book we read this month, she's come undone, chronicles the disappointing life of an overweight teen, dolores, as she ventures into adulthood. in one part of the book, sweet tubby lil' dolores buys a dozen lemon-filled doughnuts and eats the entire box during a road trip up to the cape.

so guess what's on the menu tonight, loves? homemade doughnuts. i googled around and found a recipe that seemed easy enough. here's how it went down:

quick sidebar: this is not a diet recipe. but it's for the spirit of book club.
dolores' lemon filled doughnuts
1 package of buttermilk biscuit dough from the refrigerated section
2 cups of canola oil
granulated sugar
1 package of instant lemon pie filling
2 cups of cold milk

combine instant lemon pie filling and cold milk in bowl. whisk for 2 minutes. place in zip lock bag and put in the fridge to cool until doughnuts are done.

place granulated sugar in brown bag. heat oil in pan until it reaches 350 degrees. (if you don't have a thermometer, place a small drop of dough in the pan and see what it does. if it rises to the top quickly, the oil is too hot. if it sits at the bottom and doesn't move, the oil is too cold. if it sinks to the bottom and then slowly rises to the top, you got 350 degrees.) roll the biscuit dough into small balls, about 1-2 inches in diameter. fry in oil for about 5-6 minutes. turn constantly so they never burn on one side. once the doughnuts are the perfect toasty brown, drop in paper bag and shake up with the sugar.

cut corner of ziplock bag while holding the lemon pudding. once doughnuts have cooled, cut small slit in side of each pastry and squeeze in the pie filling mixture.

your toosh might not thank me. but your belly will.

(photo credit - castsugar.blogspot.com)


spices are like purses...

>> Tuesday, August 4, 2009

....i can never have too many.

i recently visited target and felt my heart skip a beat. literally. it was love. often during my lunch hour, i aimlessly walk through different aisles of target but my recent trip was different than all the others. i came across this heavenly sight.

it got me thinking - i can't wait until my kitchen pantry looks like this one day. spices make a meal and i can't live without them. i love just about any kind (well, except curry).

so a gift from me to you - a compilation of my favorite flavor accents that should bless even the meekest of spice racks - both fresh and dried.

fresh herbs
1. basil - this sweet treat is an essential in italian cooking. i love making fresh pesto with it. i also recommend sprinkling it over hot pasta with cheese and butter.

2. dill - THE main ingredient in ranch. ranch = the must-have condiment in my life. if you got the dill, you can whip up homemade ranch dressing - toss it with pasta, chicken, and spinach.

3. chives - i am a big fan of the onion flavor. but i don't necessarily like the texture of your typical onion. chives are a great substitute and can really kick up the flavor in just about anything. check out ina's chive risotto cakes - feel free to make a batch and share with me.

4. parsley - this seemingly average herb gets a bad rap. i remember growing up as a kid and wondering, "what is this leaf doing on my plate?" parsley really can wake up regularly dull flavors. i suggest mixing in a load of parsley to blend of couscous, chick peas, tomatoes evoo, s&p, and feta cheese. easy, summer salad for you.

5. cilantro - many people don't like cilantro because they think it tastes like soap. fear not. i adore this herb and my mexican meals are not complete without it. check out this dish where my friend, cilantro, truly makes your summer corn on the cob.

dried herbs
1. garlic powder - it's no secret. i often have garlic breath because i love it so much. if i dont have a clove on hand, i always throw in some of the dried stuff. roast potatoes with s&p and LOTS of garlic powder. yummy for your tummy.

2. crazy salt (preferably jane's krazy mixed up seasoning) - when my dad was first learning to cook, my aunt told him all he needed was a little crazy salt. to this day, it is still his go-to seasoning. his specialties - perogies and grilled fish - all seasoned with some evoo and jane's.

3. chili powder - perfect amount of heat when i'm feeling a little spicy. it will kick up your soups, stoups, and stews.

4. blackened seasoning - my favorite brand is chef paul prudhommes. i sprinkle it on when grilling fish, chicken & vegetables. another suggestion - shower some foccacia bread with cheese & blackened seasoning. toast it up then eat up.

a girl can dream...

(photo credit - hgtv.com)


  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP