Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tilapia Wontons with Mango, Avocado and Wasabi Sauce

Great appetizer or serve with black beans for a meal.

Wonton cups:
  • 12 (3 1/4 by 3 1/4-inch square) wonton wrappers*
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 tilapia fillets (about 8 ounces total), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted and flesh cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 mango, peeled and flesh cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped baby arugula
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • Kosher salt
Creme fraiche:
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon wasabi powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the wonton cups: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Using a pastry brush, brush each side of the wonton wrappers with canola oil. Gently press the wonton wrappers into the bottom and sides of a 12-count muffin pan. Bake until lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Gently lift the wonton cups out of the pan and cool completely, about 10 minutes.

For the filling: In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Drizzle the tilapia fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the fish in a single layer in the pan and cook until the flesh is flaky and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool slightly.

For the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the lime juice. Season with salt, to taste. Add the avocado, mango, green onions, and arugula. Toss until all the ingredients are coated.
For the creme fraiche: In a small bowl, mix together the creme fraiche, wasabi powder and salt until smooth.

To assemble the tacos: Put the wonton cups on a platter and divide the avocado mixture into the cups. Top each with 3 to 4 pieces of fish. Spoon about 1 to 2 teaspoons of the creme fraiche mixture on top of the fish and serve.

Source: Giada De Laurentis

Bacon-Egg Breakfast Bites

My husband found this recipe in the paper and asked me to make it.  It's from the Pillsbury Bake-off contest and was in the the paper because the contestant, Erma Innis, is from Austin.  I thought it was ok, but I think I may have used the wrong potatoes.  I used hash brown squares based on the recipe below, but I think they really mean tator tots based on the pictures I found on the website.  Either way, I think I'd add some cheese next time.


12 slices precooked bacon (from 2.1-oz package)
1 can Pillsbury® Place 'n Bake® refrigerated crescent rounds
24 frozen potato nuggets (from 2-lb bag)
5 Eggs
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, if desired


 Heat oven to 350°F. Generously spray 24 mini muffin cups with non stick cooking spray. Cut each bacon slice in half crosswise. Unroll one crescent round; cut into thirds, forming strips of dough. Place half slice of bacon on 1 dough strip; top with potato nugget and roll up, stretching dough and pinching ends to seal. Place in mini muffin cup, spiral side up. Repeat with remaining crescent rounds, bacon and potato nuggets. 2 In medium bowl, beat eggs, salt and pepper until well blended. Very carefully spoon scant tablespoon egg mixture around each dough-wrapped potato nugget. 3 Bake 13 to 20 minutes or until light brown on top and egg mixture is set. Remove from muffin cups to serving platter. Garnish with parsley. Serve warm.

Aloha Cocktail

  • 1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes (to yield about 3 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups light rum (optional)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 large limes)
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1 (1 liter) bottle ginger ale
In a blender, combine the pineapple, rum, agave nectar, and lime juice. Blend until the pineapple is almost pureed. Pour the pineapple mixture into a large pitcher. Add the ice and stir. Slowly pour in the ginger ale.
Pour the cocktail into glasses and garnish with lime wedges.

Summer is almost here!

The only good thing about the heat...tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, basil, cantaloupe, green beans, peppers!

  and swimming, of course!

Make Ahead Sunday: Artichoke Gratin

Side dish for the spaghetti - pictures to come later this week

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lb frozen artichoke heart, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup marsala wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
    2. Warm the olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the artichoke hearts, parsley, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and cook until the artichoke hearts are starting to brown at the edges, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and wine and simmer for 3 minutes. Transfer the artichoke mixture to a 2-quart baking dish
    3. Melt the butter in the same skillet used to cook the artichokes. In a small bowl mix the melted butter with the bread crumbs. Stir in the Parmesan and top the artichokes with the bread crumbs. Bake until the top is golden, about 10 minutes.Source: Giada De Laurentis

    Make Ahead Sunday: Buttery Tomato Pasta

    Tatum basically made this sauce himself.  Given that he's 3 years old, I'd say that makes this pretty easy!  Definitely a good week night dinner.  I just stuck the sauce in the fridge and will make the pasta the night of.

    • Kosher salt
    • 6 tablespoons butter
    • A few leaves fresh basil, torn
    • 1 large clove garlic, grated or pasted, optional
    • 1 small onion, halved
    • One 28-to-32-ounce can crushed Italian tomatoes
    • 1 pound spaghetti
    • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

    Heat a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.

    Melt the butter in a saucepot over medium heat. Add the basil, garlic, if using, onions and tomatoes and season with salt. Bring to a simmer and let reduce 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 12 to 13 minutes in, drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook to al dente.

    Remove the onion halves from the sauce and add a ladle of starchy pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Toss to combine. Serve the pasta topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

    Soure: Rachael Ray

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    More Surf Party Decorations: Banner

    Supplies needed:
    • Scrapbook paper
    • 8x10 photos printed in black & white (cropped for face only) - I just printed them on regular paper
    • scissors
    • ribbon for shorts
    • pom poms for tops of party hats
    • string/rope
    • clothes pins
    • zots to stick on pom poms or you could use glue
    • double sided tape
    • hole punch
    • card stock to put behind pictures/hats to make them more sturdy (if desired)
    All you do is cut half of the scrapbook paper in the shape of shorts and hole punch two holes at the top and line with ribbon.  Cut the other paper in the shape of hats.  I used scraps from the shorts for the border on the hats.  Top with a pop-pom and tape onto a picture.  Tape the entire hat/face combination to a piece of card stock for extra support then arrange everything on a rope with clothespins.  If I have time I'm going to try to spray paint the clothes pins to make them stand out more.  Cute, cheap and easy!  I think I'm more excited about his birthday than he is!

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 2 cups milk
    • 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
    • 8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
    • 1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
    • 3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers
    Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.
    Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Source: Ina Garten

    Make Ahead Sunday: Tortilla Soup

    • 1 rottiserie chicken, meat removed and coursley chopped
    • Olive oil
    • 1 large onion (chopped)
    • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
    • 1 cup baby carrots (sliced)
    • 4 large cloves garlic (chopped)
    • 2 quarts chicken stock
    • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
    • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
    • 10 corn tortillas - cut in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying tortilla strips
    • For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated  white cheddar cheese
    Heat 1-2  tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapenos, coriander, half the tortillas and salt/pepper to taste. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken  and cilantro. While the soup is cooking, fry the remaning tortilla strips in a small amount of vegetable oil until golden and crispy - about 3 minutes stirring midway.  Let drain on a paper towel.  Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, cheese and the tortilla strips.

    Based loosely on a recipe by Ina Garten.

    Make Ahead Sunday: Turkey Spinach Meatballs & Pasta w. Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

    pictured here as an appetizer
    • 1 1/3 pound (1 package) ground turkey breast
    • 1 box frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/4 cups milk
    • 3/4 cup bread crumbs, 3 handfuls
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 2 palm fulls
    • Coarse salt and black pepper
    • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    Combine all and mix well. Form into 36-40 1 inch balls and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Arrange on a nonstick cookie sheet and roast 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

    1 Tbsp butter
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 1/2 Tbps flour
    2 cups chicken stock (I like to use the broth from the canned chicken I used to make the chicken salad, it makes the best sauces)
    2 cups heavy cream
    6-8 oz crumbled gorgonzola (I like Stella)
    s& p to taste
    1 1/2 lbs pasta if you're serving as an entree (cooked according to package directions) - penne, rotini or something similar - SERVES 8-10

    Melt butter.  Add garlic and saute 30 seconds.  Add flour and stir to combine - about 30 seconds.  Slowly whisk in chicken broth and cream.  Let simmer until thickened (about 5 minutes).  Watch closely so that it does not boil over.  Add cheese to melt.  Remove from heat.  You can serve over meatballs as an appetizer or serve over pasta with meatballs as a meal.  Spoon over the meatballs/pasta then top with chopped parsley and parmesan.

    served as an entree

    Chicken Salad

    3 - 14 oz. canned chicken (drained, reserve liquid for later use - it is the richest chicken broth!)
    4 stalks celery (finely chopped)
    1/2 bunch green onion (finely chopped)
    1/2 c slivered almonds (toasted)
    1 - 1 1/2 cups mayo
    Combine all and enjoy!

    Sunday, April 15, 2012

    Pork Milanese & Creamy Orzo

    Pork Milanese

    • 1 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
    • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
    • 1 cup flour
    • 2 large eggs
    • 6 boneless pork loin chops, pounded thin to 1/3 inch-thick (~1 1/2 pounds total)
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 6 lemon wedges
    Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
    Coarsely crush the panko into a large shallow bowl. Stir the cheese into the panko. Lightly beat the eggs in another large shallow bowl. Sprinkle the pork generously with salt and pepper and then coat with flour. Dip the pork, 1 piece at a time, in the egg, allowing the excess to drip off, then dredge the pork in the crumb mixture, patting to coat completely. Place the pork on a small baking sheet.
    Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the pork to the hot oil and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then transfer them to a clean baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and fry the remaining pork.
    Transfer the pork to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

    Creamy Orzo

    • 1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, juices drained
    • 1 1/4 cups whipping cream
    • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
    • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Bring a heavy large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

    Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream and peas. Add the orzo and toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the Parmesan to the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency. Season the orzo with salt and pepper, and serve.

    Source: Giada DeLaurentiis

    Make Ahead Sunday: Cream of Chicken & Leeks on Buttered Toast

    Cream of Chicken & Leeks on Buttered Toast
    Source: Rachael Ray Magazine

    • 3 small pieces chicken breast (1 1/4 lbs.)
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
    • 1 small onion, peeled and halved, root kept inact
    • 1 lemon, sliced
    • 1 bay leaf
    • a few sprigs thyme and parsley
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 tablespoon EVOO
    • 3 medium leeks--trimmed, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick and thoroughly rinsed
    • 1 tablespoon flour
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 2 - 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
    • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
    • 4 slices good-quality white bread--toasted, lighly buttered and halved into triangles
    1. Place the chicken in a deep skillet and season with salt. Add the carrot, celery, onion, lemon, bay leaf, thyme, parsley and just enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a low boil and poach the chicken for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and shred or slice. Strain the stock.
    2. Meanwhile, in another deep skillet, heat the butter an EVOO over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the flour and stir for a minutes. Add the wine and ladle in 1 cup of the chicken poaching stock. Stir in the cream for about 5 minutes to thicken. Stir in the parsley and mustard. Add the chicken. Store if making ahead.
    3. On the night of, reheat the chicken and make the toast.  Align the toast triangles on plates point to point, with the cut sides facing out. Top with the chicken mixture.
    Source: Rachael Ray Magazine

    Make Ahead Sunday: Pea & Carrot Soup

    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1/3 cup orzo
    • 1 cup white rice
    • 6 cups chicken stock
    • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. EVOO
    • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
    • 2 leeks--halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise and thoroughly rinsed
    • Salt and pepper
    • 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen organic peas
    • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
    • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
    • 1/4 - 1/3 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
    • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
    • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, halved
    1. In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the orzo and toast until deep golden and fragrant. Stir in the rice, add about 2 cups chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and adding a bit more stock if the rice begins to stick, until the rice is just tender, about 18 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat 2 tbsp. EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and leeks; season with salt ad pepper. Cook stirring, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the remaining stock and the fresh peas (if using frozen, stir in just before serving). Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
    3. Using a food processor mix the parsley, mint, cheese, pine nuts, garlic and about 1/4 cup EVOO into a pesto. Stream in more EVOO iuf needed. Stir the pesto into the rice pilaf.
    4. Serve 1/2 cup of the prepared rice in each of 4 soup bowls. Top with the peas and carrots in broth. Stir to combine.

    Source: Rachael Ray Magazine



    My mom always served this on Christmas morning growing up so it's a meal that carries lots of memories for me. 

    1 lb hot ground sausage
    18 eggs
    splash of milk
    1 green bell pepper (chopped)
    1 onion (finely chopped)
    1 tomato (seeded and chopped)
    2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
    8 oz colby jack cheese, shredded
    7 oz bag of corn tortilla chips, crushed
    flour or corn tortillas for serving
    avocado and salsa for garnish

    Brown sausage in large skillet.  I like to really brown the meat.  I think the carmelization adds extra flavor so be sure to cook it 5-7 minutes past the point where the meat is "done".  Watch closely and stir often to avoid burning.  Once you get it to the point where it's crispy on the outside, add the onion and bell pepper.  Saute until the veggies are tender (about 10 minutes).  Put aside in a large bowl.  Stir in tomato & cilantro and season with salt and pepper (easy on the salt since the chips usually have them).  Meanwhile, beat the eggs with a splash of milk and add to the same skillet.  Cook eggs until they are done to your liking then add cheese to melt.  Fold eggs and chips into sausage mixture.  Serve on tortillas with salsa and avocado.  This makes enough to feed a large crowd.

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

    Tilapia Filets on Ciabatta with Tarter Sauce

    2 large tilapia filets (cut into large chunks)
    1/2 bottle beer
    1 cup flour plus extra flour for dredging
    1 Tbsp old bay seasoning
    1/2 egg, beaten
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    4 ciabatta rolls, buttered and toasted
    Shredded iceburg lettuce or cabbage
    1 tomato sliced
    Oil for frying
    Combine beer, 1c flour, egg, old bay and baking powder to make batter.  Fill a small skillet with 1 inch vegetable or canola oil.  Turn to medium high heat.  When water splatters the oil is hot enough.  . Season fish with salt and pepper then coat in flour.  Dip in batter.  Fry until you have a dark golden crust (about 4 minutes per side).  Drain on paper towels.  Meanwhile, butter and toast buns.  Top each bun with tarter sauce, lettuce, tomato and fish. 

    Tarter Sauce
    3/4 cup mayo
    1/2 lemon, juiced
    2 Tbsp dill relish
    1/4 of a shallot grated or very finely chopped (about 1 Tbsp)
    1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
    1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
    2 Tbsp chopped flat leaf italian parsley
    1/2 tsp hot sauce
    1/2 tsp worcestershire
    salt & pepper to taste
    Combine all.  Let stand in refrigerator at least 1 hour prior to serving.

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Party Favor: Butterfly Nets and Personalized Bug Boxes

    So planning for Tatum's bday and my spring to do list (catch a butterfly) reminded me of the favors from Tatum's last party.  For some reason I've always had this weird fascination with bug boxes.  I think it's because my grandfather loved the outdoors and I have fond memories of spending summers catching butterflies, lightening bugs, locusts, frogs and lizards with him.  He even put lizards on leashes made of string and lightening bugs in glass jars so we could watch them light up in our bedrooms at night.  I found the boxes and nets at Target in the Dollar section and just personalized them with paint pens (I wrote butterflies instead of bugs for the girls).  I notice Target has them again this year. I hope Tatum and Kaylee (and all the other kids that attended Tatum's party) will get as much joy out of them as I did as a child.

    Cardboard Surfboards

    Tatum's 4th birthday is coming up...oh how time flies!  We're doing his party at the pool so I thought a surfing theme would be fun. I am pretty darn proud of these decorations made out of a cardboard box and some left over paint.  The cutting took a little more arm muscle than expected (thankfully my mom was in town to help).  If I had to do it over, I'd probably invest in a good exacto knife.  But overall it was pretty easy and the price was right - free!  I have a few other ideas in mind so I'm anxious to see it all come together!

    Sunday, April 8, 2012

    Flank Steak Pinwheels with Carrot Salad w/ Toasted Hazelnuts

    Flank Steak Pinwheels
    • 1 large flank steak, butterflied along the grain ~ 2 lbs
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 6 ounces Asiago, shredded
    • 8 ounces baby spinach leaves
    • 6 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled
    • 1/4 cup choppen chives or scallions
    • 8 metal skewers
    To butterfly the flank steak, start with the meat grain running up and down in front of you. With your knife, begin cutting the meat in half. Essentially, you want a thinner, larger flank steak. Continue cutting the flank steak in half until you reach about 1 inch from completely cutting through. Lay the cut flank steak open and even out the middle so there is not a thicker piece in the center. Or just ask the butcher!
    Spread the flank steak out so that the grain is running left to right. Begin layering the flank steak with salt and pepper, the Asiago, then the spinach, the Gorgonzola and scallions. Begin rolling the flank steak tightly and away from you. Evenly insert the skewers 1 to 2 inches along the seam of the pinwheel to hold it together on the grill. Cut in between each skewer but not against the skewer; you want the same amount of meat on either side of each skewer. I put 2 pinwheels together on 2 criss crossed skewers (see pics).  Grill the pinwheels on each side for about 3 to 4 minutes or until your desired doneness.

    Carrot Salad w/ Toasted Hazelnuts
    • 1 lemon, juiced
    • 1/2 hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 pound shredded carrots
    • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup raisins
    • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, a couple of handfuls
    Place a small skillet over medium heat, add the chopped hazelnuts and toast until golden, stirring and flipping them about for about 5 minutes. While the nuts are toasting, juice the lemon into a salad bowl and add the mustard and some salt and pepper. Whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil in a slow steady stream. Add the onion and let marinate 5-10 minutes to take the edge off.  Then add the carrots, raisins, s&p. Toss to coat in the dressing and sprinkle with the toasted hazelnuts.

    Based on recipes by Rachael Ray.

    Key Lime Pie

    5 egg yolks (beaten)
    14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
    1/2 cup key lime juice
    1 9" prepared graham cracker crust
    Cool Whip
    Preheat oven to 375.  Combine eggs, juice and sweetened condensed milk - mix well.  Add green food coloring if desired (it will be yellow otherwise).  Pour into pie crust and bake 15 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Refrigerate and top with cool whip before serving.
    Easiest dessert EVER!

    Make Ahead Sunday: Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders with Sage & and Mustard Cream Sauce Served with Rotini with Lemon Cream, Peas & Mint

    Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders with Sage and Mustard Cream Sauce
    4 chicken breasts (sliced into 5 pieces each for a total of 20 pieces)
    7 slices of bacon (cut into 3 pieces each for a total of 21 pieces)
    20 sage leaves
    salt & pepper to taste
    1/2 c heavy cream
    1 tsp dijon mustard

    Preheat oven to 425.  Season chicken with salt & pepper.  Put a sage leave in the middle of each bacon third and wrap around a piece of chicken.  Place chicken on baking sheet (seam side down, sage leaf up). Bake 20 minutes.  Then broil for an additional 10 minutes to crisp bacon.  Just before serving, heat cream in small sauce pan over medium heat 5 minutes to thicken and reduce slightly.  Whisk in mustard.  Season with salt & pepper and spoon over chicken.

    Rotini with Lemon & Peas
    1 lb rotini pasta
    2 Tbsp butter
    1 shallot finely chopped
    1 lemon (zested and juiced)
    1 cup good chicken broth (I save/freeze the liquid from canned chicken when making chicken salad and find that it is the very best for making rich sauces)
    1 cup heavy cream
    1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano
    2 cups frozen peas
    1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
    salt and pepper to taste
    Cook pasta al dente according to package directions.  Drain and add peas to hot pasta to cook.  Melt butter in sauce pan.  Add shallots and lemon zest.  Cook over medium heat until shallots are soft (about 5 minutes).  Add lemon juice and chicken broth.  Reduce by 1/3.  Add cream and simmer to thicken (about 5 minutes). Stir in cheese.  Coat pasta with sauce then add mint, salt and pepper to taste.  Top with additional cheese when serving if desired.  Sauce will be loose, but this is good for making ahead.

    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    Easter Eggs

    Egg Hunt!

    Easter Brunch

    Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast w/ Grand Marnier Strawberry Sauce
    12 slices french bread, sliced 1 1/2 inches thick
    8 oz cream cheese, softened
    2 Tbsp sugar
    1.2 tsp nutmeg
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1 cup half & half
    6 eggs
    Preheat oven to 350.  Make a horizontal slit in the tops of the bread slices to form a pocket.  Beat cream cheese, sugar and spices until creamy.  Spread about 1 1/2 Tbsp of the mixture into each pocket.  Arrange in a buttered 9x13 baking dish.  Beat the half and half with the eggs and pour over the bread slices, turning to coat.  Can make to this point and store ahead for up to 24 hours.  Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown (bring to room temp before baking if you are making ahead).
    1 cup powdered sugar
    2 Tbsp cornstarch
    1 stick butter (1/2 c)
    1/3 c Grand Marnier
    3 cups sliced fresh strawberries 
    Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add sugar and corn starch.  Stir until smooth then add Grand Marnier.  Let simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add strawberry and combine to coat.  Remove from heat and serve warm over french toast.

    Brie & Gorgonzola Egg Casserole
    1 Tbsp butter
    20 oz frozen hash brown potatoes
    2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
    8 oz bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    18 eggs
    2 1/4 c heavy cream
    2 1/4 c milk
    1 tsp salt
    2-4 dashes tabasco sauce
    pepper to taste
    8 oz gorgonzola, crumbled (I like Stella)
    8 oz brie, cubed (rind removed)

    Preheat over to 400 degrees.  Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Spread hashbrown in a thin layer and bake until crispy, about 30 minutes, turning occasionally.  Remove and reduce oven to 350.
    Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet until very crisp, drain.  Whisk the eggs, cream and milk in a bowl.  Stir in salt, pepper and tabsco.  Spread hashbrown into a 9 x13 baking dish lined with cooking spray.  Top with half the rosemary, half the bacon, half the cheese and pour 1/2 of the egg mixture to coat.  Repeat: half the rosemary, half the bacon, half the cheese and pour 1/2 of the egg mixture to coat.  Bake covered for 50 minutes on 350 then uncovered an additional 20 minutes until brown and bubbly.  Can be made 24 hours ahead if desired.  Bring to room temp before baking. 

    Based loosely on recipes from the Dallas Dish

    Spinach Artichoke Dip

    1 Tbsp Butter
    1-2 clove garlic, minced
    8 oz cream cheese
    1 cup frozen artichokes, thawed and chopped
    2-3 cups fresh baby spinach, tightly packed
    1/2 cup fresh parmigiano reggiano

    Melt butter in sauce pan, add garlic and saute 30 seconds.  Add cream cheese and stir to melt.  Add artichokes and spinach.  Stir to combine and cover.  Cook until spinach wilts slightly (about 5 minutes).  Add parmesan and stir until melted.  Add s&p to taste.  Serve with tortilla chips, bread or pita chips.

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

    Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin and Corn Pudding

    2 Pork Tenderloins, tough lining removed
    6-8 slices of bacon (I like the bacon crispy so I prefer to use to use the pre-cooked bacon.  If you use raw, it can come out undercooked for my taste.)
    Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
    1/2 bottle of Texas on The Plate Soppin Sauce  
    Preheat oven to 425.  Season pork generously with salt and pepper.  Wrap each piece of pork in 3-4 pieces of bacon.  Place on greased baking sheet and bake 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a piece of foil.  Top with soppin sauce and wrap tightly in foil.  Let rest 10-15 minutes and serve. 

    Corn Pudding
    1 corn bread mix (any brand will do)
    2 cans creamed corn
    1 can whole corn, drained
    1 stick butter, melted
    1 16 oz container of sour cream
    1 cup cheddar cheese
    2-3 scallions, chopped
    chopped jalapenos (if desired)
    Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients.  Place in greased 9x13 baking dish and bake 1 hour or until top is browned and bubbly.


    Make Ahead Sunday: Turkey & Artichoke Stuffed Shells w/ Arrabiata Sauce


    • 1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 pound ground turkey
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
    • 1 (8 to 10-ounce) package frozen artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped
    • 1 (15-ounce) container cottage cheese
    • 3/4 cup grated Parmesano Reggiano 
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 5 cups Arrabbiata Sauce, recipe follows
    • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)


    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta.
    Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is slightly golden and cooked through. Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.
    In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with the cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
    To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of Arrabbiata sauce. Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of turkey mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full, about 24 shells. Drizzle the remaining Arrabbiata Sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 day and up to 1 month.
    To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes (20 minutes if shells are unfrozen.)

    Arrabbiata Sauce:

    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 6 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
    • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 5 cups jarred or fresh marinara sauce
    Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.
    Yield: approximately 6 cups

    Source: Giada DeLaurentis