Category: Cooking

Sweet Potato Hummus

I don’t know about you, but even though there are tried and true foods that I love to make and eat during this time of year (sausage stuffing, anyone) – I always like to expand my repertoire with a new recipe or two.

And with so many yummy calorie laden dishes on the table as it is, I always try to include a dish that packs a lot of flavor without being calorie budget buster.

That’s why I was so happy when I received a recipe for Sweet Potato Hummus from Chef Anthony Stewart of the Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa.

I know that this easy and delicious recipe (Yes – I made it over the weekend) will be a great addition some of the upcoming gatherings and parties I will be attending.  And what’s even better is that this recipe requires minimal ingredients and won’t break your calorie budget bank

Served with some sliced vegetables and you have a new and healthy appetizer for this holiday season or any time of the year.

Enjoy!


Sweet Potato Hummus

 1 15 Ounces Can of Garbanzo Beans
¼ Cup Lemon, Juiced
1 Tablespoon Garlic, (Fresh) Minced
1/8 Cup Parsley, (Fresh) Chopped
¼ Bunch Dill, (Fresh) Chopped
1 Cup Sweet Potato, Roasted and Peeled
1 Dash Tabasco (Optional)
1/8 Teaspoon Pepper
½ Cup Celery, Chopped
Kosher Salt To Taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wrap a scrubbed, rinsed and sliced sweet potato in aluminum foil and bake for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until soft.
  3. Allow potato to cool.
  4. Puree all ingredients together in a food processor or Vitamix.
  5. Add water if hummus is too thick.
  6. Serve with sliced vegetables.Bowl of vegetarian spread or dip

About Chef Anthony Stewart, Executive Chef, Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa

Pritikin Staff Headshots.

Educated at Cornell University and at the University of West Indies, Chef Anthony for years owned and operated three thriving restaurants in the Caribbean and now brings his brilliance, as well as his infectious love of cooking, to the Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa.

When not in the kitchen, Anthony is in the classroom, and has inspired thousands of Pritikin guests “to have some fun!”  Explains Chef Anthony, “For most people, cooking is a burdensome affair. Not so, I say! Our Pritikin guests leave our cooking classes amazed at how simple and delicious healthy cooking can be. Our classes are designed to make life easier, and to bring out the creative side in everyone.

 

2nd Annual Simsbury Chili Spooktacular – Recap

simsbury-chilichili-7Although it’s been a little over a month since  I had the pleasure of being a judge for the 2nd Annual Simsbury Spooktacular Chili Challenge, I did not want to let any more time pass without recapping this great event.chili-ii

Arriving about 30 minutes before the event began, I headed back to the “judges” tent where I met everyone involved.  ALL (professional and non-professional judges) were given a tutorial as to the specifics of judging a chili competition as THIS competition was sanctioned by the International Chili Society.

We learned that one has to look for a combination of flavors AND that not one flavor should dominate the dish.  To be a valid entry none of the entries could contain beans or pasta, something that I always have associated with chili.  Beans, which are considered a filler, make the chili “homestyle” and were excluded from the competition.

In addition, each competitor would provide their entry in an official International Chili Society Cup, which would be numbered by Mike Kropp and his wife, so the entries would be tasted blind.  chili-iii

We were to use the “1 spoon, 1 taste” method so as not to cross contaminate the flavors  of each entry AND lastly, because there were a lot of judges we were asked to only judge 2 of the 3 competitions that were in play that day – salsa, green chili, and red chili.  Which ever category(ies) which were chose, it was asked that the judge did not taste any before the “official” judging so as 1) not to fill up and 2) not to give any entrant an unfair advantage.

BUT if those were not enough directions to make my head spin – we were told that THIS competition was a Regional International Chili Competition.  Therefore the winner of each category had an automatic entry to the World Chili Championships, which took place the previous weekend in Reno, NV.

PHEW – no pressure, right???

After careful consideration, I  decided to judge the entries in the Salsa (whose only restriction is that the entry cannot be bought) and Green Chili categories.

With some time before the Salsa entries were ready to be tasted, I wandered throughout the event which was hoping with couples and families.   In addition to all the great chili for participants to taste, the event also had a costume contest and a opportunity for younger kids  “trick or treat” at the various booths.  It was a great idea for kids to get their Halloween treats with their parents nearby.chili-i

I headed back to the judges tent where I had a very nice conversation with Mitch H. – a chili judge for over 30 years.  From him I received a very informative and educational learning session on the ins and out of not only making chili but also judging.

From him I learned that the participants only have 3 hours, from prep to service to tenderize and impart flavor in the meat.  It’s the combination of aroma, flavor, and texture that makes a standout chili.  Things such as the size and cut of the meat as well as how the tomatoes are prepped (fresh is better and they should ALWAYS be de-seeded and de-veined) can make or break a chili.

Pretty soon it was time for – Salsa judging!

chili-iiii

I admit that I rarely make salsa on my own and as I stirred and dipped my spoon into the first entrant, I realized probably had a preconceived notion on what salsa was “supposed” to taste like.  It boggled my mind that until a few years ago, the International Chili Society did not have a rule about entering a jar of Pace Mild Salsa and calling it a day.

Tasting the entries, though, reconfirmed the notion that fresh is always better.  Yes – there were some entries that were better than others – some needed more spice and some had too much; some were too hot and some were too sweet.  I made sure to give each a fair taste, cleansing my pallet with Seltzer between each entry (Thanks for the tip Mitch!).  Judging done – I turned my judges sheet in and am happy to say that I picked one of the three winners.  Not bad!

Again three was a bit of a break while the set up for the second category – Green Chili or Chili Verde.chili-5

This category had more entries – which uses “lighter” meats, like chicken and turkey.  Again, I went around the table, cleansing my pallet with seltzer and a tortilla before each entry.  This category was a bit harder for me and I will admit that I had to “revisit” a couple of entries before handing in my sheet.  I ended up tasting 14 entries –  and some of the differences were stark.  From entries with over cooked-meat to those with meat so tender and flavorful that I wanted to take the entry cup home with me.  There was even one that I mustered to swallow because it was “no bueno”.  Once ballots were tallied I am happy to report that one of my entries placed!

Even though my judging duties were done, I hung around for the chili red category – which had 20 entries.  I watched as the judges went round and round – taking special consideration to watch the Mitch H. as he tasted, tested, and smelled each entry.chili-6

It was a great day, although a bit windy and by the end I came away with a great appreciation for chili judging.  In only it’s second year – the Simsbury Chili Spooktacular brought out some stellar and serious competitors from the region.

Some of the more seasoned judges even commented on how well run this event was – there was enough food for the patrons as well as a smattering of local businesses throughout the event.  It was truly a community endeavor.

Thanks to the Simsbury Chamber of Commerce for putting on this great family, friendly event at the Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center.  If you did not have a chance to make it out to this year’s event – make sure you check out their Facebook page to be “in the know” for next years event.

Lastly, thank you to Lisa Grey for this opportunity, I look forward to see what is in store for next years event.

Campfire Cuban Sandwiches

Two Fridays ago – the keywords of the afternoon was Camping and Cuban Sandwiches.

Cuban Sandwiches
Working up an appetite for Lunch!

Mark and I love to camp, especially at Salt Rock Campground, and although we can’t do it as often as we would like, when we go we make the most of it.   Two weeks ago we hosted about 25 friends, but we had a nice bit of time beforehand on Friday to relax before the masses showed up. In preparing Friday’s lunch menu, and looking to mix it up a bit, looking to prepare something besides “burgers and dogs”.   I suggested foil wrapped Ham and Swiss Cheese sandwiches, which I thought would be a great campfire food option.

As we set to prepare the sandwiches, Mark suggested adding some pickles to the mix.  As a self-proclaimed pickle lover, how could I say no.

As soon as the pickles were added, what were once Ham and Cheese Sandwiches instantly became Cuban Sandwiches before our eyes.  Wrapped and nestled in the coals, still hot from breakfast, we each had a toasty, gooey and delicious sandwich in about 20 minutes.  Rounding out the meal were a couple of side salads I picked up at the grocery store and some fresh fruit, but the stars of lunch were those Cuban Sandwiches.

Easy to make and delicious to eat – I think these are going to become part of our regular camping menu rotation.

Campfire Cuban Sandwiches

20160624_142748

Enjoy!

Jarlsberg® Cheese & Mother’s Day

 Mother’s Day is just around the corner (I mean, I really can’t believe that it’s May already) and what better way to show her how much you love (and appreciated all those home cooked meals growing up) than whipping up a tasty brunch using two delicious recipes from Jarlsberg ®Cheese.  Serve mom muffins, filled with Jarlsberg® Cheese, or a fresh quiche, hot from the oven, easily baked when you mix eggs with cream and shredded Jarlsberg® Cheese.  

I love cheese, and especially love a good Swiss, and Jarlsberg® Cheese always seems to make it way into my shopping cart.  With its characteristic mild and nutty taste and large round holes, it stirs many great childhood memories for me.   So when I received these recipes from Jarlsberg® Cheese I knew that one (or both) recipes will be making their way into the mother’s day brunch I have planned this weekend. 

And what’s even better is that Jarlsberg® Cheese has a Lite variety that has the same mild, nutty flavor as regular Jarlsberg® Cheese with 50% less fat and 30% fewer calories, than regular Swiss cheese. This low-fat variety of Jarlsberg® Cheese original has the characteristic large round holes, with a lower fat content – perfect for those days when you crave the sweet, nutty delights of Jarlsberg® Cheese but need to watch your diet.

Try these mouth-watering Jarlsberg® Cheese recipes for Mother’s Day brunch or really for any meal because really – cheese, especially Jarlsberg® Cheese is good anytime of the day.


Jarlsberg® Corn Muffins

Muffing with Jarlsberg® Cheese

Muffins

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 1/3  cups cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 4 tbsp. softened butter
  • 1/2 cup Jarlsberg® cheese

NUT PESTO

  • 5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 pack fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts
  • salt and pepper

MAKES 4 PORTIONS

To Make the corn muffins

Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Whisk together the milk and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and butter. Add the liquid and stir. Spoon the mixture into muffin cases. If possible, use stiff paper cups, so the muffins stand up better. Cut the cheese into cubes and press them down into the mixture. Bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes. This cornbread can also be baked in a large round baking tin, about 8 inch diameter. Combine the ingredients for the nut pesto in a blender or using a hand blender. Pulse or blend until coarsely chopped. Serve the corn muffins with extra Jarlsberg® Cheese, nut pesto and thin slices of cured ham, if desired.


Jarlsberg® Quiche

Jarlsberg® Cheese Quiche

CRUST

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • Salt

FILLING

  • 1 cup pork, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 leek
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Jarlsberg®
  • 3 tbsp. parsley
  • 4 tbsp. cream

MAKES 4 PORTIONS

TO MAKE THE QUICHE

Start with the crust. Mix butter, flour, water and salt together in a large bowl. Knead thoroughly until you get a firm dough. Pack the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Press dough into the full surface of the pie plate and cover with aluminum foil. Prebake in oven at 400°F for 10 minutes, before you remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 10 minutes. While waiting for the crust, sauté bacon in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the leek at the end of cooking time. Whisk the eggs and cream together in a bowl and add grated Jarlsberg® Cheese, parsley and the sautéed bacon and leek. Pour the filling into the crust and top with grated Jarlsberg®. Bake in oven at 400°F for 15 minutes or until edge is golden brown and center is set. Serve with a fresh salad and in the company of others.

Asian Kale Salad with Grilled Steak

After a pretty indulgent weekend (Mark and I attended Savor CT this weekend – blog recaps to come), I knew dinner tonight needed to be on the simple side.  I did not want anything too heavy so I decided to prepare one of my “go to” recipes – a light but hearty Asian Kale Salad with Grilled Steak.

I don’t know about you, but there is nothing worse then waking up on Monday morning – knowing you have to run and having that “too full” feeling before you head out the door.  This dinner would be a good way to “get back on track” for the week ahead.

What’s great about this salad is that I can prep (aka massage) the salad in the early afternoon and let it “marinate” for a couple of hours.  Then all that needs to be done is to have Mark fire up and grill the steak.

What I also love about this salad is that it makes both Mark and I happy – I get a large and in-charge salad and Mark gets steak – it’s a great compromise and really isn’t that what marriage is all about :)

The version of the kale salad I made tonight is one that I have made numerous times and my methodology has gotten to the point where I can add “a little bit of this” and a “little bit of that” and it still comes out great.  I really love recipes like that.

Half Marathon Fuel
Asian Kale Salad With Grilled Steak
Print Recipe
This easy and healthy salad can be eaten all by itself or with some protein added to it.
Prep Time
10 minutes
Passive Time
2-4 hours
Prep Time
10 minutes
Passive Time
2-4 hours
Half Marathon Fuel
Asian Kale Salad With Grilled Steak
Print Recipe
This easy and healthy salad can be eaten all by itself or with some protein added to it.
Prep Time
10 minutes
Passive Time
2-4 hours
Prep Time
10 minutes
Passive Time
2-4 hours
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Take kale and destem each leaf. Once all the Kale is destemmed, tear the leaves into bite size pieces. Add to a large mixing bowl
    Asian Kale Salad
  2. In a small mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Whisk together what will become the dressing and add to the kale
    Asian Kale Salad
  3. Massage the dressing and the kale together - really making sure that the dressing is rubbed and massaged along all its nooks and crannies. Add red onions.
    Asian Kale Salad
  4. Cover the salad and let it "marinate" for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
    Asian Kale Salad
  5. When ready, remove the salad from the refrigerator and adjust the seasonings if necessary
  6. Portion the kale salad into individual serving bowls. Top with remaining vegetables, sesame seeds and and steak (optional)
    Finished Product
Recipe Notes

Note - this makes a pretty large salad so feel free to divide this up for lunches throughout the week.

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Pinterest Challenge 2016 – Ground Lettuce Turkey Wraps

As this weekend comes to a close – many of us (myself included) have spent time with family and friends – making (if not preparing) some delicious meals.  However, on the eve of another work week I want to share with you a quick, easy, and light recipe put in your meal rotation – Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps.

Having had company over this past Friday – I was looking for a recipe that would not have me slaving in the kitchen for hours on end.  

I love tacos but was looking for something a bit lighter knowing that this was a holiday weekend and also that Mark and I were going to do some heavy home renovation the next day.  Heading to Pinterest, I came across this recipe for Ground Chicken Lettuce Wraps – a copycat recipe of a certain famous Chinese Restaurant Chain.

Not having Ground Chicken and looking for a less hot version – I modified the one that I found and viola – Ground Turkey Lettuce wraps were created.

Ingredients for Turkey Lettuce Wraps

When all was said and done (and served with a side of long grain rice and roasted green beans – it was deemed a success.  I did not take a picture BUT there might have been some discussion on who got the last bit of ground turkey.

Pre plated meal

I will warn you (as Mark found out) – make sure you don’t overfill your lettuce wraps or you will have to make quick work of shoving the entire wrap into your mouth.

Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Enjoy! 

Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps

**Recipe modified from Eat.Drink.Love

Ground Lettuce Turkey Wraps
Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4-5 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-5 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ground Lettuce Turkey Wraps
Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4-5 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-5 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Take a saute pan, spray with PAM. Add diced onions along with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Saute over medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and ginger
  3. Turn heat to medium high and add ground turkey. Continue to saute ground turkey , making sure to break up the turkey as it cooks.
  4. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, and water chestnuts. Stir to combine.
    Ground Lettuce Turkey Wraps
  5. Once turkey is cooked, add hoisin sauce. Stir to combine. Pour turkey mixture into a serving dish and top with green onions.
    Ground Lettuce Turkey Wraps
  6. To assemble - Scoop turkey mixture into a lettuce leaf. Add more hoisin and or soy sauce to taste.
    Ground Lettuce Turkey Wraps
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Foodie Friday: Cookshop Plus

A “Cookshop Plus” for Every Occasion

Even though I have been away recently for a little R&R (more on that in another post), 2 weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend an event at Cookshops Plus at 977 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford.

Before I go any further – special shout out to Mark (aka running czar and my plus one at a lot of these events).  The event was on the 21st of February, which was his birthday, but he was so sweet and accompanied me.  It was a good thing as he (and I) were greeted by a bountiful tray of pastries from Hartford Baking Company.

And lest we have nothing to wash it down with, he was able to order a hot chocolate AT THE STORE.  I know, crazy, but Cookshop Plus has a coffee bar located in the middle of the store.  Genius if you ask me – coffee and cooking – what a perfect combination.

Coffee Bar Coffee Bar Barista Espresso Machine

I on the other hand opted for a perfectly made latte, made from beans sourced and roasted at Neat Coffee, a Connecticut based artisan coffee bar (in Avon).  I have been to some other “local” coffee roasters but these beans (being single origin) made an exceptional latte.  I enjoyed it so much that before I left I “lost” my latte and had to get another.  Thanks to the baristas for taking such good care of the attendees.

Latte and Morning Glory Muffin Latte and Cranberry Scone Hartford Baking Company - Cranberry Scone and Morning Glory

Coffee and pastry in hand, I had the opportunity to meet the co-owners of Cookshop Plus, Samantha and James Hines.  Super affable and welcoming, I was surprised to find out that this is the second location, the first being in Australia.  I have to say after hearing this I am happy that they decided to open their second location in West Hartford.

The interior of the store is clean and airy, with a variety of American and International products for the cook, wannabe cook or baker in your life.

And what’s great (in addition to the Kitchen in the basement which they want to utilize for cooking classes in the future) was the huge demo table located behind the coffee bar.  It was there that James did a quick knife demo, to highlight his knife skills (which were pretty sweet) but to also emphasize that Cookshop Plus is looking to get locals involved, whether it be through demonstrations or highlighting local artisians.

Knife Skills Demo

I also learned (or re-learned) that my knives should never go in the dishwasher (whoops) but that if they do – Cookshop Plus offers Global, Savannah, Messermeister and Wustof knives to replace any of my damages knives.  I am in love with my Santuko knife but James reminded me that my bread knife is usually the most underutilized knife as it can be used from everything from cutting bread (duh) to carving meat.  Good to know!

Pretzel Making Demonstration

And just when I thought we were done (and my shopping could begin), Scott Kluger, owner of Hartford Baking Company came demonstrate how they form their (wonderfully addictive) brioche pretzels.  I had thought that Hartford Baking Company was just going to be providing the delicious cheese danishes, morning glory muffins and cranberry scones, I got to learn how he makes them.

It’s not as easy as it looks (as you can tell from the pictures below).

Hartford Baking Company HBC - Pretzel Demo Hartford Baking Company - Pretzel Demo 2 Hartford Baking Company - Pretzel Demo 1

Long story short, I am glad that I was blessed with long arms as you have to roll the pretzels dough out 6 feet, cross the ends of the dough, twist the end one time (bringing the twist up toward the inside middle, and then press the end of the dough lightly on the sides creating the pretzel shape.

Keep Rolling Rolling out the pretzel wide Twisting the pretzel Hartford Baking Company - Twisty pretzel Hartford Baking Company - Finished Hartford Baking Company - FInished Pretzel Finished Brioche Pretzel

Phew – it’s hard work, so I think I will stick to purchasing them for the time being.

That is until the upcoming cooking class that Hartford Baking Company is putting on called Brioche, Brioche, Brioche which is going to take place on April 3, 2016.  I know tickets just went on sale and are sure to sell quickly.

What better way to spend a Sunday morning then seeing a working, local baking facility, having breakfast and making brioche (some of which I hope we can take home).

Check out their Facebook Event page (link here) for more information and tickets

After the pretzel making demonstration (sadly we were unable to bake them at the store) we had the opportunity to browse around Cookshop Plus)

I might have bought a couple of items (both approved by my plus one), and had to hold myself back from all the fun (and useful) items that Cookshop Plus sells.

Cookshops Plus Wall

I have to say, that this store is a great addition to West Hartford Center.  If you have not had a chance, check it out, they have something for everyone.

Cookshop Plus Cookie CutterIn the meantime, check out Cookshop Plus’ Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts, which will be updated with events and specials in the future.

Creamy Pasta with Chicken Sausage – Pinterest Recipe of the Week

Pinterest Challenge – Valentine’s Day Edition

February is a crazy month.  My birthday is on the 7th and his is on the 21st (Happy pre-birthday!!!) and smack dab in the middle is Valentine’s day (or Black “fill in the blank day” when I was in college).

Don’t get me wrong – we still celebrate Valentine’s Day but in order to keep our wallets in check, we usually keep it low key.  That does not mean, however, that we don’t try and keep it special, so our tradition for years has been making a meal together.

Since the weather has been so, so cold the past couple of days, I thought making the ultimate comfort food (pasta) would be a great way to make dinner together while not losing too much time away from our marathon binge watch of Tyrant (YES – i that we had planned.  So, I suggested purchasing fresh pasta from DiFiore Ravioli Shop in Rocky Hill, a good (read: not Wonder Bread texture) loaf of bread, and making our own sauce to go along with it.  We had some garlic and broccoli rabe chicken sausage in the fridge and since Mark usually likes some meat with his pasta dish, our meal was set.

It was not until we were in DiFiore Ravioli Shop that my idea for what type of sauce to make came together.  We usually get fresh ravioli but when I saw the fresh rigatoni in the refrigerator case, a lightbulb went off.

Can't beat fresh pasta1
Can’t beat fresh pasta!

I had some roasted tomato sauce that I canned last summer (those who train for a marathon lead pretty boring lives) and a quick search of my “Pasta Pizazz” Pinterest board revealed I had pinned a recipe that was perfect for the pasta we purchased.  

Those who train for a marathon can tomato's on Friday evenings.
Those who train for a marathon can on Friday night’s

It also helped that DiFiore Ravioli Ship also carried the goat cheese and we were able to pick up a good loaf of Italian bread to round out the meal.

Goat cheese for the win!
Goat cheese for the win!

Pinterest Challenge Recipe – Creamy Pasta with Chicken Sausage

In between one of the episodes I was able to easily cook the chicken sausage in the skillet and boil the salted pasta water.  I have not cooked fresh pasta in quite some time so I had forgotten how fast it cooks.  Luckily – the sauce just needed to be warmed after the sausage was cooked.

Within 30 minutes we had a piping hot meal, a glass of red wine and we were comfortably back on the couch watching the remaining episodes of Tyrant – seriously a great show, can’t wait for Season #3.

Mark popping bottles.
Mark popping bottles!

This recipe was super easy (and customizable – I substituted goat cheese and a thick pasta sauce)and even if you did not have fresh pasta – the recipe could easily be made with your favorite boxed variety.

Creamy Pasta with Chicken Sausage
Print Recipe
Servings
4 people
Servings
4 people
Creamy Pasta with Chicken Sausage
Print Recipe
Servings
4 people
Servings
4 people
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. 1. Take the chicken sausage and prick with a fork. Place in a skillet with water and cook until done. The pricked sausage will release the fat which can be drained with the water when the sausage is cooked. NOTE: If your chicken sausage is pre-cooked, this step can be skipped.
  2. Once the chicken sausage is done cooking, drain the water and slice the chicken sausage into small rounds. At the same time, boil a pot of salted water for the pasta to be added to.
  3. Once the chicken sausage is cut, add back to the skillet and on medium high heat brown slightly.
  4. Once the chicken sausage is browned, add the diced tomatoes, goat cheese, and pasta sauce. Stir to combine, lower the heat to medium, cover and let heat through.
  5. Once the pasta water is boiling add your pasta and cook according to the directions. NOTE - fresh pasta cooks very fast, so do not leave it unattended.
  6. Once the pasta is cooked, drain, making sure to keep some of the pasta water to thin the sauce if necessary.
  7. Serve in one of two ways. 1 - Add pasta to individual bowls and cover with the sauce. 2 - Add the pasta to the sauce, combine and serve in individual bowls.
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Pinterest Challenge 2016 – Garlic Parmesan Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice

This week’s Pinterest Challenge Recipe was chosen out of necessity.

It was a Wednesday afternoon, it was my turn to make dinner (I am blessed to have a husband that is willing to make dinner a couple of nights a week).

We had some chicken in the fridge so I knew my protein and I had picked up some limes and cilantro and limes in an impulse “I’m going to make guacamole” purchase.

 

Quick Guacamole Recipe

The guacamole did not happen BUT it provided me with the ingredients for not one but two new recipes to try.

Normally I not very confident in attempting to create more than one recipe at a shot but this week I decided to bite the bullet.  What came together was a simple weeknight meal that was done – start to finish in about 40 minutes (it took a bit of time to mince the garlic and cilantro)

The dinner consisted of Garlic Parmesan Chicken and a side of Cilantro Lime Rice.   What I also liked about these two recipes are that they can be modified pretty easy depending on how many people you are cooking for (and whether or not you want you want enough for leftovers the next day)

I did cheat a little and used boxed Rice a Roni as I could not find our brown rice container, and the countdown to dinner had begun.

It turned out to be a quick weeknight meal that was full of flavor and made with the ingredients I had on hand.

This week’s two recipes also gave me a confidence boost – confirming that as long as I have all the ingredients ready to go – I can bang out more than one “new” recipe.

Enjoy and if you do try and make these dishes, let me know how they turn out!

THE RECIPES

Garlic Parmesaun Chicken
Print Recipe
Quick and Easy Weeknight Meal
Servings Prep Time
2 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Garlic Parmesaun Chicken
Print Recipe
Quick and Easy Weeknight Meal
Servings Prep Time
2 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Season cut up chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Set aside and let "marinate" for 15 minutes
  2. Add olive oil to a saute pan. Heat on medium high and add garlic. Saute garlic for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Add chicken breasts in a single layer. Do not disturb for 3 minutes. Then saute chicken until cooked about 3/4 of the way through (The chicken should have a little pink remaining)
  4. Add parmesan cheese and roughly chopped spinach. Cover the pan and let sit for 5 minutes or until spinach wilts.
  5. Season with additional cheese and/or salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with you favorite side dish (Such as Cilantro Lime Rice)
Recipe Notes

Share this Recipe
CIlantro Lime Rice
Print Recipe
Servings
2
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings
2
Cook Time
25 minutes
CIlantro Lime Rice
Print Recipe
Servings
2
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings
2
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Prepare the Rice a Roni as directed (I omitted adding the butter - I never think it needs it)
  2. While Rice is cooking, mice your cilantro and juice your lime. If you want a little extra kick - remove some of the zest from the lime
  3. When the rice is fully cooked, fluff with a fork. Add lime juice, zest (optional), and cilantro to the rice.
  4. Stir to combine. Cover and let sit for about 5 minutes to let the flavors combine.
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Pinterest Challenge 2016 – Rosemary Garlic Salmon

This week’s Pinterest Challenge Recipe comes courtesy of the Salmon that was on sale when the Husband and I went grocery shopping together last weekend.  At $4.99 a pound it was hard to pass up and therefore my only “challenge” (which I will admit is sometimes harder) was to find a recipe to let the salmon shine.

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I am really a fan of simple salmon recipes.  It’s a protein that really shines on its own.  I find that many times those recipes that douce salmon in sauces and creams really do salmon a disservice.  I hate leaving a meal saying – “I really loved the sauce” when in reality the sauce was only supposed to be the accompanying feature.

In keeping with simplicity I went with a simple Rosemary Garlic Salmon recipe I found on Pinterest.

Using this simple recipe and a few key high quality ingredients it’s an easy meal to make on a weeknight when many of us (myself included) just do not have enough time to spend hours in the kitchen putting a meal on the table.

In reality – this meal took me about an hour and a half.  I added salt, pepper, fresh garlic, and fresh rosemary to the salmon and let it “marinate” for about an hour.

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While the salmon was doing its thing, I halved some brussel sprouts, tossed in some olive oil, salt, garlic.

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The sprouts were roasted in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes, after which I flipped the sprouts, added the salmon and roasted the entire pan for about another 15 minutes

While the sprouts and salmon were roasting, I cooked up some brown rice (to which I added some sliced green pepper and tomato) for a simple side dish.

And Voilá
– a simple, flavorful and delicious weeknight meal.

I was not sure that the flavors of the rosemary and garlic were permeate through the fish in such a short period of time – but I was able to taste those flavors from the first to the very last bite.

This recipe was definitely a success and will be added into my “Easy (but Tasty) Weeknight Meal” rotation, so this week’s Pinterest recipe was a success!!!

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Enjoy!


Garlic Rosemary Roasted Salmon
(Adapted from Steelehouse Kitchen)

1 pound fresh salmon
2 Garlic Cloves, diced
2 fresh 6″ rosemary sprigs, chopped
1/2 teaspook kosher salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

 – Pre-heat oven to 450

– Place salmon skin side down on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt, pepper

– Add rosemary and garlic, making sure to press and rub into the salmon

– Cook salmon for 15 minutes or until the salmon is flakey