Sep 22

Fresh Figs with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto

Ever looking for a VERY impressive no bake app that you can whip up in minutes?  Well, look for further friends, Ive got you covered!  My sister-in-law would always have this as an appetizer when we would go over for drinks or dinner.  Every time it was the first thing to go.  EVERY time I was always impressed by this “dish”.  Her father has a fig tree in his back yard and so she grew up eating them and really nailed it with this pairing!  Lucky, for the rest of us, we don’t need a fig tree on our back yard to make this app! From July to late September  you can find fresh figs in most grocery stores (no need for a specialty food store here).  These sweet soft, yet semi firm fruit pair so beautifully with salty, tangy blue cheese (I used may tag) but any good quality blue will work here and then making the marriage perfect top with a piece of thinly sliced prosciutto!! Im mean talk about HEAVEN!!!  Thats it. Three ingredients. No bake, no fuss!

 

Heres what you need:

Fresh figs

blue cheese

prosciutto

 

Done and done!  Cant wait for my husband to get home from work so we can dive into these!!!

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Aug 11

BKT Pasta (bacon, Kale, Tomato)

I may say this often but sometimes the best meals come when you least expect them to.  I am growing what I now call a garden forest in my back yard.  My husband and I may have go a little over board on our cherry tomato plants (read WAY TO MANY).  So now I’m caught looking for things to make with all of these sweet, yummy tomatoes.  My original plan was to make linguini with clams and roasted cherry tomatoes.  Im sure if I went that route it would have been awesome, but this mama of two could not get her act together, with two kids, to make it to the fish store, after already tackling the supermarket today.   I said to myself I was just going to make a cherry tomato pasta (read boring).  But this was my plan.  As my tomatoes began to roast I started thinking about what else I could add. I had bacon in the fridge for a future recipe later in the week.  Bacon makes everything taste better taste better, right?  What else… Kale!  I have so much kale growing that would be delish and now I had a playful dinner, a spin on a BLT!

BKT Pasta (bacon, Kale, Tomato)

1 pint cherry tomatoes

a large bunch of Kale, stems removed and chopped

6 slices thick cut bacon, diced into cubes

1/2 lb of pasta, linguini

3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup or three spins around the pan of dry white wine

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon butter

salt

pepper

crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

 

Place your cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet, sprinkle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast at 325 for 15- 20 minutes or until your tomatoes just begin to pop.

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Now start the sauce.  In a cold pan add oil and minced garlic and cook on medium for 5 minutes.  Add white wine.  Cook for another 3 minutes  Add chicken broth,  salt, pepper and cook for 10-12 minutes.  Until the sauce comes together and has reduced a bit.  At this point you can add the crushed red pepper flakes!

Cut bacon into cubes and fry in a pan until crisp.  Remove to a paper lined plate and pour bacon fat into a heat proof container.

Remove your kale  from its stem and chop into large chunks.

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Return 2 tablespoons of reserved bacon fat to pan you cooked bacon in and add the kale.  Season with pepper.

Boil pasta water.  Once boiled add a tablespoon of salt to the water (this will season your pasta). Cook based on package instructions, usually 8-10 minuets.

Drain.

Ok now for the fun part.  Put drained pasta back in the pot and add your sauce.  Add your tomatoes, along with all the juices from the pan.  Add your Kale and mix to combine, careful not to break up the tomatoes.  Add parmesan cheese and bacon and serve!

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At the table have extra cheese for those that want it (ME)!

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Enjoy!

 

 

Jun 22

Homemade Strawberry Jam

I love it when my two world collide!  I run a local website with a friend featuring children activities and this food blog!  Hardly jobs! .  Today I was doing a little research on one of the places we are featuring on our children’s blog, a local farm.  I took my girls strawberry picking, their featured summer activity and of course I came home with pounds, upon pounds, of freshly picked gorgeous summer strawberries.  I had never been to a strawberry patch before, the smell is something incredible; something I will always remember.  With so many strawberries I had to start thinking of thing to make, naturally. My mind went in 100 directions.  pies, jams, bars, I mean I really couldn’t stop.  I should have come home with 10 pounds of strawberries at this rate.  But we will start here. Homemade strawberry Jam!

 

Homemade Strawberry Jam

2lbs (4 cups hauled strawberries)

3 cups white sugar

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

half of a green apples peel (our natural pectin)- what makes it jelly like!

Wash and hauled strawberries and place them in a large pot

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With a potato masher mash strawberries to your liking (I personally like a little berry in my jam so I dont make them sooth)

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Add sugar and lemon juice

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Bring mixture to a boil

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Heat till jam reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer

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during this process add peel of half a green apple.  This acts as natural pectin and will allow the jelly to solidify.  Otherwise it would just be strawberry soup!

Turn off heat.  Let cool for AT LEAST 10 minutes.  You can tell the pectin process worked when you put in a wooden spoon and run your finger down the back (MAKES SURE IT HAS COOLED THIS IS HOT HOT HOT)

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Place in jars!

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Use within two weeks if you are not sealing these (follow canning processes)

Im using mine to make home made peanut butter jam bars!! Yum!!

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Enjoy!

 

Jun 16

Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad

Ok, you may not know this but Im slightly obsessed with brussel sprouts.  Roasted, pan seared, simply with salt and pepper or with bacon, and balsamic they are the perfect vegetable!  This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite steak houses in New York City, close to where my husband and I lived for several years.  This shaved salad is warm, a little crispy, salty, and bitter; a wonderful combination.  I recreated it to only use 3 ingredients and cooks in about 15 minutes with minimal intervetion.  Not sure how they do it but this taste pretty darn close!  Hope you try it!

Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad

1 lb brussel sprouts

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tbls parmesan cheese

1 tbls olive oil

salt and pepper

Wash your whole brussel sprouts under water and remove any leaves that look damage or discolored

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Cut brussel sprouts in half, length wise

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Lay cut side down

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With a sharp knife begin cutting, almost shaving brussel sprouts

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Heat large skillet over medium high heat with oil.  Place shaved sprouts in pan

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Season with salt and pepper and try not to disturb them to much, once you have coated them in the oil allow them to create a crust.  Stir every few minutes and let them sit again.   This process takes about 12-15 minutes.

One the crust as developed and the sprouts have soften they are done.  Sprinkle with parmasan cheese and serve!

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We had cedar plank salmon with ours tonight ( I made these last night as well and served them with roasted chicken) Yup, they pretty much go with everything!

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Enjoy!

 

Jun 04

Mini Pancakes

My three year old requested (hear demanded) pancakes for breakfast this morning.  No big deal, they are super easy to whip up and I always have everything I need for them in my fridge and pantry…until we moved.  I threw away a lot of stuff thinking, “Im not moving over this or that, Ill buy new…” and then I didn’t buy new… yet.  So here I am, milk, eggs, flour all measured out and then….no baking powder.  BAKING POWDER!  A KEY ingredient in pancakes, its what makes them so light and fluffy.  So I started to think of other things that make things light and airy…vinegar.  I mean it was actually guinness!  So here are my no baking powder, vinegar pancakes…intrigued enough to try?  Promise you won’t be disappointed!

Mini Pancakes

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

2.5 tablespoons vinegar

1/5 tablespoons sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1/5 tsp baking soda

 

Mix milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for 5 minutes (your basically making homemade buttermilk).  The vinegar will begin to separate the milk (it will look weird, and almost like its soured…if this has happened, you’ve done it right!).

Mix dry ingredients together.

Add egg to milk and vinegar.  Whisk to combine.

Stir into dry mixture.

Now time to make your pancakes!

 

My daughter likes “mini pancakes, so I make them the size of silver dollars (a tablespoon).  Add berries or bananas if you’d like and your all set!

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Enjoy!

 

May 28

Turkey Meatballs with Homemade Pesto and Sauce

Yes its summer.  Yes we are looking to wear bathing suits soon, and yes it was 87 degrees today (not including Connecticut’s humidity) and YES I planned, and went though with  making meatballs for dinner.  Why?  Because they’re awesome!  Yes,  really that awesome.  I had these meatballs at a restaurant I LOVE and have been trying to perfect them for months…and guess what, I DID!  Oh and they are TURKEY so Im not feeling super guilty!  There are a few secrets to these meatballs and I promise, whether you use turkey or another meat you will want to use at least one of these secret in yours too!

Turkey Meatballs with Pesto and Sauce

1 lbs ground turkey thighs (yup, thigh meat TONS of flavor in it)- Secret 1

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small yellow onion, diced

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs, depending on texture and how loose you made need to add another tablespoon

4 tbls grated parmesan cheese

1 beaten egg

1/3 cup cold water (yup, you read that right…WATER)- secret 2

Pesto

2 cups freshly packed basil

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup cashews (not traditional, pinenuts are but its what I had)

2/3 cups (give or take) olive oil (I use extra virgin)

Salt

pepper

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Sauce

1 tbls olive oil

3 cloved smashed garlic

1 28oz can whole san marzano tomatoes

1 8oz can of tomato sauce

1/3 cup chopped basil

2 tsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Ok LOTS going on here, Ill start with the meatballs.  In a large bowl add all your ingredients and mix lightly not to compact the meat.  The water makes them so tender, they literally fall apart in your mouth, while still staying in tact, if that makes sense…Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes flipping once.  While your meatballs are in the oven you can make your sauce.

Sauce:

In a large pot add oil and smashed garlic.  Let cook for 1 minute.  Add whole tomatoes and sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, sugar, and basil. (note, the sugar doesn’t make the sauce sweet just balances out the acidity in the tomatoes).  At this point  your meatballs should be done.  Add them to your sauce and let finish cooking for 20 minutes.

Pesto:

Add all your ingredients, minus the oil to a food processor.  Slowly stream in your oil until combined. FYI, as it sits it will begin to separate.  Its totally fine and will mix back together easily!

Sorry for the lack of pictures.  My three year old was helping me make these and we were having way to much fun to stop and gab the camera!

 

You will just have to feast your eyes on the final product!  I top them with ricotta, totally not necessary, but why not!!??

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Hope you Enjoy these!!

 

 

 

May 20

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Some of the best food ideas come surrounded by friends! This Mexican street corn salad falls into that category.  A classic street food dubbed salad has been something Ive made every week since it was created.  Creamy, cheesy, crunchy, tangy, it truly hits every note on your taste buds.  Ill just say it, your welcome!  Yup, that confident  you will flip over this salad!

 

Mexican Street Corn Salad

4 ears of corn

Half of a lime

1/2 tsp red pepper

1 tsp coriander

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced

1/3 cup shredded cheese (you can use Mexican blend, monetary jack, or queso fresco- Ive done it with all three and all amazing).

salt

2-3tbls mayo (based on how big your ears of corn are

cooking spray (coconut oil or regular cooking spray work)

 

Husk your corn, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with coriander.  Grill for 10-12 minutes, flipping as you hear it pop until all sides are chard and smells like popcorn!

 

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Let cool for a few minutes, but while still warm scrap corn off the cob with a sharp knife.  Try and grab all the “milk” from the corn as well (the milk is all the liquid that comes off the cob when you scrap the cornels off).

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Transfer to bowl.

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Now add your lime juice, mayo, coriander, red pepper and cheese and mix to combine.  The warm corn will melt the mayo and cheese and make a light sauce.

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Now add your cilantro

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Thats it!  Couldn’t be more simple or more delicious!  Truly a masterpiece!  Serve with tacos, grilled chicken, steak, kabobs or simply with a spoon!

 

Enjoy!

 

Apr 13

Parchment steamed Cod filets

I posted a picture of this dinner a week ago on my Facebook feed and it got so many likes I knew I needed to write up the “recipe” when I made it again to share with you all.  This dish is so simple, so delicious and so healthy.  I mean the trifecta of food we want to be eating as the weather starts to get a little warmer and were spending more time under less layers of clothes.  Whats so great about this dish is you are not sacrificing flavor while trying to keep that waistline in check.  Once you have the method down for this you can really add all things you love.  You can swap out the fish, Im using cod today as it looked amazing at the fish store, but any firm white  fish would work (halibut is amazing prepared this way).  If you love olives you could make a Mediterranean version and pair with with sundries tomatoes, and sprinkle some feta on it as it comes out of the oven.  You could use fresh tomatoes and basil, capers and lemon, the list could go on and on.  Today Im using meyer lemons, red onion and thyme; an amazing pairing.

 Parchment Steamed Cod Filets

4-6 oz cod filets (per serving)

1 meyer lemon (two slices for each filet)

1/4 of a thinly sliced red onion

fresh thyme

white wine

salt and pepper

parchment paper

Thinly slice your red onion and place strips 1/3 of the way in on your parchment paper

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Top onions with two sliced of meyer lemon (I use meyer lemons because they cook down and you can pretty much each the whole thing, they are delicious)

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Top the lemon with your cod filet and season with salt and pepper

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add your thyme sprigs

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Best part is you can make one of these or enough for a dinner party

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Now its time to wrap this gorgeous packet up.  Start by folding paper in half

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Take one of the corners ( I find working the the corner closest to you is easiest) and start crimping the edges into one another

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leave a little hole at the end and pour about 2 tbls of wine in the pocket

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Now finish crimping it to the end.

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So confession, I love to cook.  More than anything.  But at 5:30pm its meltdown central in my house and dinner needs to be ready for the kids to eat around 6-6:15pm.  While this doesn’t take a lot of time, it does require both hands so I usually make this at nap time, put them on a plate and leave them in the fridge until Im ready to make cook  them.

When your ready to bake, place your fish in parchment on a baking sheet and bake them at 400 for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish.  I usually serve this dish with roasted green beans and garlic (they cook at the same time and temp, how easy is that!) and mashed cauliflower or rice.

These gorgeous packets are sitting in my fridge waiting for dinner time, but I know what its going to look like when it comes out…

THIS!

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Hopefully I gave you some inspiration for dinner tonight!  Please share this recipe if you tried and liked it!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 24

Pulled Chicken

This dish was inspired after a trip out west to California.  My husband was raised out there and the food has influenced a lot of our cooking here today (fresh, local, etc).   For anyone who lives in California or has visited California, the Mexican Food is pretty incredible. The tacos…oh.my.god. the tacos.  For my mainly vegetarian husband he about stopped in in tracks for this dish.  Yup, that good.  Once you have this base down, you can use it is so may ways, tacos, burritos, rice bowls, on top of a salad, just plain on a fork…the list goes on and on.  If you love Mexican food, heck, if you somewhat even just like Mexican food you NEED to try this dish!

Pulled Chicken

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 small red onion, or half a medium, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 minced jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed

1 tbls olive oil

2 cups veggie broth (you could also use chicken)

1 8oz can of tomato sauce

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

salt and pepper

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

cayenne pepper (optional)

 

Dice your onion and place it is a large pot over medium high heat with 1 tbls of oil in it.  Season with salt.  Stir for one minute and had minced garlic. Cook for 3 more minutes.

 

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Season chicken with salt and pepper

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Place season side down on top of onions.  Season other side.

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cover chicken with veggie broth and tomato sauce

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Add spices and minced jalapeño

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Let it come to a boil then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover for 2 hours.

When its done it literally pulls apart with a wooden spoon!  At this point I test for seasonings and usually add a little more spice (insert cayenne pepper).  Season to your taste buds!

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Turn the heat off and cover again for 20 minutes allowing all the juice to soak into the pulled meat

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Right before you serve, mix in some fresh chopped cilantro.

Top it with a little more cilantro and your all set!  Better yet, top with sour cream and a little cheddar cheese and you will be in heaven!  OH WHAT better yet pair with my home made guacamole…DELISH!

 

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Enjoy!

 

 

Feb 23

15 minute Pasta Sauce

Ever have those days that just get away from you?  Rushing home from work, or been home with the kids all day and just didn’t get it together enough to get to the store?  This is kind of my life!  I usually do a shopping trip once a week with meal plans and if I miss that window Im almost lost.  Needless to say, this was my day today.  I came home from a play date at 5pm which is notoriously melt down central time and was faced with what to make for dinner.  My go to usually is pasta on nights like this.  Boxed pasta, jar of sauce, done.  But instead of the trusty old standby I went to my go to homemade 15 minute sauce.  Heres what you need (and all of this is adaptable to what you have on hand).

15 minute Pasta Sauce

3 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 medium red onion diced (you could use yellow or white as well)

1 15 oz can of tomato sauce

3 tbls spoons (or a healthy splash of red wine) -TIP: I save wine that we don’t finish and keep them next to the stove.  Wine is a great flavor booster, especially when your only working with a few ingredients!

a good pinch of sugar

a good pinch of salt

3 tbls olive oil

Slice your garlic cloves in thin rounds and place in large sauce pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Turn heat on to medium heat and lightly brown your garlic slices (think of it as making garlic chips) about 4 minutes.  Remove garlic to a plate keeping as much of the oil as possible in the pan.  Add diced onion, season with salt.  Sauté for a few minutes until translate (about 3 minutes).  Add red wine, cook for 1 minute.  Add tomato sauce and then add your sugar.  The sugar just helps take away some of that canned tomato flavor while also making the tomatoes taste just a little sweeter.  It will not by any means make your sauce sweet.

The red wine, sugar and salt really add a great balance.  That, with the garlic oil, starting out this perfect marriage of foods makes this sauce so tasty! Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes and then stir in the garlic chips.  And your done!

Now if you want to jazz it up a bit you can take it here….Which is where I went tonight!

I was making a shrimp dish (as I say always keep frozen shrimp in your freezer.  Its a great protein, defrosts in minutes and cooks so fast).  I made this sauce as my base.  Before I added the garlic chips I added some raw shrimp and poached them in the sauce.  This way my sauce was benefiting from the yummy shrimp and my shrimp were bathing is this delicious sauce!  I removed the shrimp and added some torn basil and 2 tbls heavy cream ( I mean what doesn’t taste better with heavy cream?).  Added pasta, shrimp and garlic chips and BAM!  Best part it took about 20 minutes total!

 

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Enjoy!

 

 

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