I had a kitchen emergency this past weekend – a ball of fresh mozzarella that I had in my refrigerator was about to go bad. Fresh mozzarella is amazing and I could not let this beauty go to waste, so I made Shells w/Grilled Chicken Cutlets & Fresh Mozzarella
. This dish was simple, but tasted delicious with all the fresh ingredients… adding a little butter to the pasta shells also helped too. Enjoy!
Guess who turns 1 today??? The cutest baby in the world… my niece!
Happy Birthday, Little Mama!!!!
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1 box of medium pasta shells
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta. Meanwhile, heat grill pan to medium; lightly oil grates with cooking spray or vegetable oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and grill until cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from grill, and cut into thin strips. Set aside.
- Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot. Add chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, Parmesan, and butter. Toss to combine. Add reserved pasta water a little at a time to create a sauce that coats shells (you may not need all the water). Serve with more Parmesan and basil.
*Adapted from Martha Stewart
Filed under Uncategorized
I hope you enjoyed your weekend… I did! I was in Savannah celebrating a close friend’s wedding. It was a beautiful wedding, and Savannah is a gorgeous, historic city. Now, it’s back to reality. Good news is that this heat wave finally broke, and what better way to celebrate then with this delicious Caramelized Onion Hummus
. I caramelized onions and then pureed them with garlic, chickpeas, tahini, fresh rosemary, and lemon juice. This hummus is creamy and full of flavor. Enjoy and enjoy your week!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
- In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and turn heat to low, caramelizing onions until translucent. Add onions to food processor.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and process until the hummus is pureed. Add more water or liquid from chickpeas until desired smoothness. Serve hummus with toasted pita or bread.
*Adapted from Food Network
Filed under Uncategorized
I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July!!! These Chocolate Potato Chip Cookies are delicious because they have potato chips and chocolate chips in them. I know that sounds like a strange combo, but trust me when I say that they are amazing. The salty from the potato chips and the sweetness from the chocolate chips really give these cookies a wonderful flavor that is sure to please everyone’s palate. The hubby craves salty after dinner while I crave sweet so these cookies are the perfect after-dinner treat for both us. Enjoy!
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup crush potato chips
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, sugars, and vanilla extract until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and potato chips. With a cookie scoop, drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. C ool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Yield: 3 dozen cookies
You may have seen on the news that this past weekend, Northern V.A. and D.C. were in states of emergency. Let me be honest… it stunk! Friday night our power went off around 10pm and came back on Sunday at 3pm. And as I’m writing this, a few of my co-workers still do not have power. Not only was it 100 degrees all weekend with no power, but most of the gas stations ran out of gas, grocery stores were closed, stores that were open could not take credit cards, etc. It was/is a mess. Fortunately, our basement is redone and two guest bedrooms are down there, so we were able to sleep down there and stay cool. My sister and brother-in-law never lost power, so we were also able to soak up some of their AC. They adopted our cooler full of frozen meats and even made us delicious margaritas that inspired me to make these Watermelon Tequila Coolers. These coolers are not only cold and refreshing, they are red and blue and perfect to celebrate the 4th! Hopefully everyone’s power will be restored, this heat will break safely, and we’ll all be able to enjoy the 4th with these delicious drinks!
I also have to wish my very special, big sister a Happy Birthday!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIS!!!! Love you!
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 8 cups diced seedless watermelon (about 1 pound)
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, about 2 limes
- 1 3/4 cups blueberries
- 3/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, plus extra for garnish
- 1 1/4 cups tequila
- In a small saucepan, bring the water to a simmer with the sugar and stir over moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute; let the sugar syrup cool.
- In a blender, puree the watermelon until smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and strain the watermelon juice, pressing gently on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the pulp.
- In a large pitcher, combine the sugar syrup with the lime juice, blueberries and mint leaves. Using a wooden spoon, lightly muddle the blueberries and mint. Add the watermelon juice and tequila. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
- Pour the cocktail into tall ice-filled glasses. Garnish with the mint sprigs and serve.
*Food and Wine
Filed under Uncategorized
Guess what I did this past weekend???? I went blackberry picking! Ok, maybe that’s not the coolest thing to do, but it’s fun and it supports our local farmers. I read a Washingtonian article entitled 61 Hidden Gems. One of the “Hidden Gems” was to go strawberry picking at Homestead Farms in Poolesville, MD. Strawberry picking season is over in my neck of the woods, but blueberry and blackberry picking season isn’t! For $2.49 a pound (not pint!), you can pick blueberries and/or blackberries. That’s a great deal, so I decided to drive the 30 minutes out there – what a great drive through the Maryland countryside too!
I filled two large tupperware containers full and spent around $14 on 5.5 pounds of blackberries. I froze the majority of my blackberries for smoothies and future backed goods. I also set aside a small amount to eat throughout the week. The last 2 cups were reserved for these Blackberry Hand Pies
. These hand pies are delicious and the perfect treat for a summer BBQ. Enjoy and if you’re in the DC Metro area, I highly recommend the trip to Homestead Farms
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup chilled shortening (Crisco)
- 7 tbsp. ice cold water
- 2 cups blackberries
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat flour, salt, butter, and shortening until crumbly. Add cold water and mix until a ball forms.
- Divide the dough into two balls and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Chill dough for about 30 minutes.
- Remove dough from plastic wrap and roll out first round on a floured work surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Roll dough to a 12″ diameter. Using a 4″ cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out 6 dough rounds, re-rolling dough scrapes together to get 6 rounds. Lay dough rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat process with the second dough round. Set aside the other 6 dough rounds on lightly floured surface.
- In a bowl, toss together the blackberries, cornstarch, cinnamon, sugar, and salt. Divide the blackberries among the 6 dough rounds on the baking sheet. With a pastry brush, dampen the edges of the first round with cold water and lay another dough round on top. Gently press down the dough over the blackberries. With the tines of a fork, press the outer edge of the two dough rounds together. Repeat with the remaining 5 pies.
- Refrigerate the hand pies, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375. Back the hand pies until they are golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm.
Look who turned 3???? I can’t believe my “puppy” is growing up! Winston is 3 and it seems like only yesterday that we brought him home from the animal shelter. (He’s not happy with me in this photo since I woke him up to take it!)
(This is when we first brought him home.)
About a month after we got married, the hubby and I visited the Alexandria Animal Shelter. We knew we wanted a puppy and we were both adamant about getting a dog from an animal shelter. Animal shelter dogs need homes!!! The first time we visited the shelter we saw Winston. He was actually named “Robot” (what an awful name to give a dog). The shelter found Winston on the street when he was 3 months old. They told us that it is very unusual for a puppy that young to run away from home, so they think that he was abandoned. Unfortunately, this happens a lot; people get a puppy thinking it’s all fun and games and then realize it is a lot of work and will selfishly turn these little guys onto the streets to fend for themselves. Because Winston’s awesome, he had a waiting list of people who wanted to adopt him. We put our name on the list def not expecting to get him. Low and behold, the hubby went back to the animal shelter about 2 weeks after our initial visit to look for another dog. Winston was available and had been brought back to the shelter by the first family because it was too much work for them (no comment). The hubby immediately called me, and I drove down there within minutes. We were able to take Winston out of his crate and play with him outside. He was so tiny and cute… we instantly fell in love.
(His reaction after I gave him his first Berry Oatmeal Dog Muffin.)
The people at the animal shelter told us that Winston was very aloof and would not be an affectionate dog. They could not be more wrong (what do you expect when you name a dog Robot?). Winston instantly took to my hubby and I. He became our little shadow who followed us everywhere and yes, even climbed into bed with us. I’m convinced that Winston didn’t receive enough love/attention during those first few months, so was making up for lost time. He instantly became our “baby” and definitely taught us quite a few lessons about waking up at all hours of the night, cleaning up messes, etc. Today, Winston still loves to cuddle and yes, he still sleeps at the foot of our bed. He’s a 30 pound lap dog who thinks he’s a chihuahua. He loves to cuddle and steal slippers for attention. In other words, he’s the best! That’s why I made him these Berry Oatmeal Dog Muffins
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 cup old-fashioned roll oats
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
- Combine all ingredients (except blueberries) together and beat until combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Fill muffin tins to rim. Bake for about 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
Yield: 16 mini dog muffins
*Adapted from Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook
This Summer Bean Salad
is healthy and can be eaten as a side with your favorite grilled protein, as a salsa with tortilla chips or as a delicious salad by itself. I love the fresh cilantro as well! I recently bought several herbs at the farmer’s market. Fresh herb plants are convenient to have because it seems like whenever I need them, I don’t have the right ones or they’ve already gone rotten in the refrigerator. What better way to store all of your herb plants than with a potting bench… did I mention that my hubby recently bought me one?
I love this thing! It organizes all of my gardening gadgets, pots, plants, etc. It looks really nice too. I used to have my tomato plants sitting on top, but they were not getting enough direct light, so I moved them. My tomato plants are not looking good this year either. Funny thing is that last year I bought my tomato plants from Home Depot and they did awesome – this year, I bought my tomato plants at the farmer’s market and they are doing awful! I really don’t have a green thumb (just pretend to), so any tips you have for my struggling tomato plants would be appreciated! I’m hoping I can make this Summer Bean Salad again, but with my homegrown cherry tomatoes!
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can sweet corn, drained
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 avocado, diced (add after salad has refrigerated)
- 3 tbsp cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus extra for seasoning
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- In large bowl, mix salad ingredients, except avocado. In another small bowl, mix dressing ingredients with wire whisk until blended.
- Pour dressing over salad; toss to mix. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to blend flavors.
- Carefully mix in diced avocado and serve.