Fontina, Spinach & Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken

Fontina, Spinach and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken
Thank goodness for tomatoes. Whether in raw, in a sauce or in sun dried form, tomatoes just always seem to put me in a great mood. Now, out of those three options, the last one is the best in my opinion. My favorite recipe to use sun dried tomatoes in is Pasta With Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce. I was very tempted to make this recipe again; however, I decided to skip on the calorie-laden sauce of that recipe and go with something a bit more healthy.

I choose to make Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Fontina, Artichokes and Sun Dried Tomatoes. At first glance, this recipe didn’t seem that much healthier than my pasta option due to the copious amounts of cheese needed; therefore, I decided to use significantly less cheese and substituted out artichokes and put in some spinach instead.

Step 1: Chop Garlic, Sun Dried Tomatoes,
Fontina, Spinach and Basil

Fontina, Spinach and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken

Step 2: Mix Ingredients Together in a Bowl

photo (5)

Step 3: Pound Chicken Breast to Make Thin;
Place Filling on Top; Roll and Bake

Fontina, Spinach and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken

Step 4: Pair with Vegetables or Starches; Eat!

Fontina, Spinach and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken
To be perfectly honest, I was a bit skeptical of this recipe. I was worried that I was going to need a sauce to go with it or that the chicken might end up a bit dry. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The flavor from the sun dried tomatoes, basil and garlic really came through nicely for a mix of bold flavors. I’ll definitely be adding this into the usual rotation from time to time!

Cheers!

Fontina, Spinach and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken

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Brown Butter Raspberry Tart

How I ended up picking this recipe was strikingly similar to how I decide to purchase something when I’m shopping for clothes. How? Well, sometimes when I have shopped, I have purchased something that “I thought I liked” on the spot. Unfortunately, some of these impulse buys have resulted in disappointment after a few weeks because what “I thought I liked” I didn’t actually like at all. So, in order to nix buyer’s remorse, I’ve eliminated impulse buys and instead try to wait a few days or weeks before purchasing something “I think I like”. My rule is that if I still like the item in a few days or weeks, I’ll consider buying based on need, budget, etc.!

Choosing this recipe was no different. I had been eyeing this Brown Butter Raspberry Tart for quite some time. So, yesterday, after thinking about it some more, I realized that I’ve thought about it enough – I had read all of the positive reviews and it looked amazing so I just needed to do it!

And, I’m glad I did.

Step 1: Make Crust and Bake (Let Cool);
Mix Together Eggs, Sugar and Salt 


Step 2: Brown Butter in Pan

Step 3: Mix Egg Mixture and
Browned Butter Together 


Step 4: Arrange Raspberries “Pointy”
Side Up on Bottom of Cooled Crust;
Carefully Pour Liquid Mixture Over; Bake 


Step 5: Cut a Slice and Enjoy!

I absolutely love the rustic feel of this tart. In my opinion, I think the tartness of the raspberry offsets the sweet filling nicely. I’m glad I chose wisely with the recipe, but perhaps I shouldn’t have taken so long. Oh well, at least I picked a good recipe that I’ll have plenty of opportunities to replicate in the future.

Perhaps I’ll start using my “shopping” techniques more often with my selection of recipes from now on!

Cheers!

Roasted Sweet Potato, Rosemary and Garlic Lasagna

Calk me crazy – but even though multiple layers of meat and gooey cheese in lasagna sounds completely appealing and a recipe that undoubtedly will fulfill my taste buds, I was craving something more and different this past weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I love an original lasagna; however, I need variety and the ability to try new options in my life.

As a result, I ditched the usual meat and cheese combo and choose to feature a starch that packs plenty of vitamins instead – Roasted Sweet Potato, Rosemary and Garlic Lasagna (the original recipe calls for squash but I substituted sweet potatoes instead).

Step 1: Peel Sweet Potato, Chop and Roast

Step 2: Sauté Garlic and Add Flour and Butter

Step 3: Add Milk to Mixture and Let Thicken


Step 4: Add Sweet Potatoes to Mixture;

Layer Noodles then Potatoes
and then Cheese; Repeat


Step 5: Bake and Eat!

Even though this isn’t a traditional lasagna, I liked the variety of the savory and sweet favors that this surprisingly hearty meal provides. A must try recipe and one that is great if you do not eat meat!

Cheers!

Baked Macaroni & Cheese With Garlic Bread Crumbs

“It tastes so good, it must be bad.” This thought kept reverberating through my mind while both making this dish (no judgments — I had to sample!) and during consumption. Sometimes, I just get the itch to make comfort food and this past Saturday was no different.

The idea to make macaroni and cheese dawned on me when I happened to peruse down the aisles of the grocery store and spotted one of my childhood favorites in a box: Macaroni & Cheese. Although some of the boxed kinds of Macaroni & Cheese are too die for, I decided to forgo the powdered cheese and unknown-mysterious-overly-processed-can’t pronounce ingredient combination in order to try the “real deal”. However, in making this decision, I knew I would be consuming exorbitant amounts of butter, cream, milk, and cheese in order to delight my taste buds. But, every now and then, I truly believe these types of good (but, oh-so-bad) foods are just absolutely necessary. My final response? Dig in!

Macaroni & Cheese With Garlic Bread Crumbs.

Step 1: Grate Cheeses; Chop Garlic


Step 2: Melt Butter; Whisk Flour &
Mustard; Pour in Cream & Milk




Step 3: Add Sauce to Noodles and Cheese


Step 4: Melt Butter; Add to Olive Oil,
Bread Crumbs and Chopped Garlic


Step 5: Add Bread Crumbs to the Top
of Macaroni; Bake and Enjoy!

“It tastes so good, it must be bad.” Wait, I have a correction: “It tastes so good, it must be bad – but, I’m going to enjoy it anyway!”

The moral of the story: indulge every now and then — it’s a good thing!

Cheers!

Rhubarb Tart

Rhubarb – the wonder plant. Despite it’s terrifying and quite strange appearance (that might just be my opinion), rhubarb (rhubarbs?) is (are?) actually quite delicious (when done right). All right, I’ll nix the parantheses from now on, but I just wanted to make that quick exclamation about this odd plant/vegetable/fruit wannabe.

I’ve only had assorted rhubarb concoctions a few times. In fact, I think it’s pretty safe to say that when I think of desserts, rhubarb is not among the first few choices, let alone the top twenty. But, I am glad that something will trigger my memory and like of it every now and then. It is definitely an odd plant/vegetable/fruit wannabe that I am happy to use in my cooking!

Nonetheless, I became reminded of rhubarb a few weeks ago when I happened to stumble upon it in the vegetable aisle while grocery shopping. On a whim, I decided to purchase some and figured that I would go home and find a recipe. I found a recipe from Epicurious titled Rhubarb Tart With Orange Glaze. It looked absolutely delicious and I liked the fact that it combined rhubarb with another fruit for different flavors.

Step 1: Zest Orange and Cut Rhubarb


Step 2: Stir Orange Juice and Sugar Together

Step 3: Mix Rhubarb and Orange Juice
Mixture Together; Let Stand for 10 Minutes



Step 4: Roll Out Thawed Pastry Dough;
Place Rhubarb Onto Pastry in Rows 


Step 5: Bake Pastry 


Even though I still think rhubarb looks absolutely silly and I’m confused as to why it’s classification is technically a vegetable, I do love it’s tart yet sweet taste. This dessert was perfect for a summer day. Next time, I’d recommend pairing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cheers!

Happy 2011! New Year’s Sunday Brunch

 This year my friends and I decided to host a New Year’s Sunday Brunch. We thought this would be a perfect time to get together, catch up on each other’s lives, and cheers to a Happy New Year.

Naturally, I awoke too early on a Sunday and had plenty of time to mosey around the house before everyone arrived. With the extra time, I conjured up a few items that I think no casual Sunday brunch should be without.

Sunday Morning Paper

Different Coffee Mugs

Vanilla Candles

Flowers 

Non-Traditional Holder for Utensils

New Year’s Sunday Brunch included a Spinach and Bacon Quiche and Belgian Buttermilk Waffles with Glazed Bananas.

I chose to make a quiche for several reasons:

1. Can easily alter/modify/add ingredients

2. Option to pre-buy the crust or make from scratch

3. Simple and I have never made one before!

That being said, for this quiche, I altered the ingredients to cater to certain food preferences and allergies of my friends (I substituted cheddar cheese for swiss cheese (on one-half of the quiche only), nixed the bacon, and added mushrooms and roasted red peppers). I also chose to make the dough/crust the day before in order to avoid waking up too early to make it the day of brunch. Despite the fact that I had to bake the quiche for 20 minutes longer than the recipe suggested, the quiche turned out well and next time I’d like to experiment with other ingredients such as chicken, asparagus, and gruyere!

Step 1: Use a Blender/Food Processor
to  Make Dough; Fill 9-inch Pan with Dough

Step 2: Chop Dry Ingredients; Place in Crust


Step 3: Blend Liquid Ingredients;
Pour Onto Crust

Step 4: Bake, Cut, Serve!

The waffles seemed like the easy, go-to choice to complement a savory dish for this brunch. Plus, I couldn’t remember the last time I actually ate waffles and almost had forgotten what they taste like. That fact by itself solidified this choice as a done deal. These were very crunchy and the bananas provided a great flavorful kick in combination with maple syrup!

Step 1: Mix Dry Ingredients Together; Mix
Liquid Ingredients Together; Combine


Step 2: Preheat Waffle Iron and Pour
Batter (3 minutes each round)

Step 3: Heat Butter Until Foam Subsides;
Place Bananas on Pan for 1 Minute Each Side

Step 4: Add to Waffles, Drizzle Syrup, Enjoy!

I’m hoping that we can make New Year’s Sunday Brunch a tradition for next year too!
Cheers to a Happy 2011!

 

Christmas Dinner

This year, I wanted to experiment with a few new and non-traditional recipes (for example: berry pie instead of pumpkin pie). The following highlights some interesting recipes I made from Real Simple and Epicurious.

Caramelized Onion Tart With Apples: I chose to make this because I liked the fact that this recipe was a mix of a savory and sweet flavors. Specifically, caramelized onions add a perfect flair to any recipe. Plus, this recipe called for Pastry Sheets which means I didn’t have to make the dough! Simple, easy, few ingredients, and delicious! What’s not to love?

Step 1: Chop Onions and Apples

Step 2: Caramelize Onions;
Add Apples and Other Spices

Step 3: Thaw Pastry Sheets, Add
Sour Cream, Apples and
Caramelized Onions, Bake!

Mustard-Crusted Pork Roasted With Shallots and Wine Sauce: This recipe just LOOKED amazing from it’s picture so I decided on a whim to make it. Good thing I wasn’t dissappointed! The addition of mustard made the pork juicy and very flavorful.

Step 1: Toss Shallots in Olive Oil

Step 2: Mix Mustards and Chopped
Sage; Add to Pork

Step 3: Bake at 400 Degrees for 95
Minutes, Cut, Serve!

Now, this next concoction was a mix of two recipes: Classic Sour Cherry Pie With Lattice Crust (crust) and Mixed Berry Pie With Ginger, Orange, and Almond Streusel (filling). Every time I make pie, I always end up with too many leftovers that do not get eaten in time. So, this time, I opted to make individualized berry pies. Plus, I found a super good deal at Kitchen Kaboodle ($2.95 each for Ramekins!).

Step 1: Make Dough With Flour, Butter,
and Other Ingredients; Chill Slightly

Step 2: Use Rolling Pin to Roll Out
Dough, Spread onto Ramekins,
Cut Off Border

Step 3: Use Pastry Wheel to Cut Lattices

Step 4: Stir Filling with Berries,
Sugar, Cornstarch, and Lemon Juice

Step 5: Fill Dough, Place Lattices, Bake!

The dessert definitely took the longest hands-on time to make, but it was definitely worth it. I hope your Christmas was fabulous!

Cheers!