Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Want: Trio Beverage Dispenser

Forget this.

Now I want this:

In it I would serve mojitos, pepper-mint limeade and a third beverage that I would decide on through an online poll. 

Here is a link to the original post at Outblush.com and a link to the product at ZGallerie.com.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Recipe: Grilled Chicken Parmesan

Last night we cooked our first meal in our new kitchen!  First of all, I want to share photos from our kitchen.  It is gorgeous.  It is perfect for us.  I love it.

Our new kitchen!
Alphabetized spices!

On to the recipe...

Grilled Chicken Parmesan.

Yes, it is covered in cheese but this is still a healthier alternative to a breaded and fried chicken parmigiana.  It is based off a Rachael Ray, 30 Minute Meal recipe.

Basil ready for a chiffonade.

Tomato sauce simmering.

Slices of smoked mozzarella.

Grilled Chicken Parmesan

Serves: 6

  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (~ 2 pounds)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • A few pinches crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 large handful of basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 large handful of shredded Parmesan
  • 8 ounces smoked mozzarella, sliced


  1. Heat indoor or outdoor grill.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and grill until cooked through.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the tomato sauce. 
  3. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Add garlic, onion and red pepper and cook until onion is translucent, approximately 10 minutes. 
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently. 
  6. When chicken is ready, remove the tomato sauce from the heat and stir in the basil. 
  7. Slice each chicken breast into three pieces and arrange in a single layer in the bottom of a baking dish.  Pour tomato sauce over the chicken.  Sprinkle parmesan over the sauce and top with smoked mozzarella slices.  
  8. Place the baking dish under a broiler set on high for 3 - 5 minutes until the cheese is nicely melted and begins to brown. 
We enjoyed this main dish with a side of farfalle pasta with butter and parmesan and delicious shredded brussels sprouts.  

Thursday, June 23, 2011

On the Move

Please pardon any blog posting delays as my honey and I are smack in the middle of moving into our new house. (Woohoo!) This whole house thing is exciting, fun, (a bit) overwhelming and exhausting all at the same time. We should be all moved in by the end of the weekend and I promise to post lots of good stuff as soon as I break in our new gas stove.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Recipe: Pear and Brie Puffs

Today is my 31st birthday!  As part of the celebrating, I wanted to share a yummy appetizer recipe.  I made these for birthdaysnacks and karaoke fun times with friends on Saturday night.  They are delicious warm or room temperature or straight out of the fridge.

Pear and Brie Puffs.


If you don't have two mini-muffin pans, you can make these in two batches.

Sliced up puff pastry.

Puff pastry pressed into mini-muffin pans.

Caramelized onions!

Caramelized onion and pear mixture.

Filling the puff pastry cups.


Serves: 16 (3 each)

  • 2 pears, diced
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 1 box frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
  • 8-ounces brie
  • 1/4 cup butter

  1. Caramelize the onions: melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until deeply browned, 30 - 40 minutes.  Stir often to prevent burning. 
  2. While onions are caramelizing, prepare the puff pastry cups. 
  3. Preheat oven to 400º F.  
  4. Coat two mini-muffin pans with nonstick spray.
  5. Unfold a puff pastry sheet and cut into 24 even pieces.  Stretch each piece out a bit and press into the mini-muffin pan to form a cup.  Make sure that the bottom and sides are covered.
  6. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry. 
  7. Mix together the caramelized onions and diced pear in a medium bowl.  
  8. Spoon the mixture into the puff pastry cups.  
  9. Top each cup with a small slice of brie.   Make sure the cheese does not hang over the sides of the puff pastry. 
  10. Cook in the 400º F oven for 15 minutes or until puff pastry begins to brown. 
  11. Remove pans from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.  Carefully remove the cups to cooling racks until ready to plate.  
We have made this on puff pastry triangles but I find the cups are easier to make and eat.

These are also good with bleu cheese.   

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Recipe: Fruit Dip

    Although I prefer savory foods over sweet ones, this fruit dip recipe is too easy and delicious not to share.


    • 1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
    • 1 8-ounce container cream cheese, softened
    • Fruit for dipping


    1. In a medium bowl, mix together the marshmallow cream and cream cheese until fully combined.
    2. Serve with fresh fruit. 

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Four Minute Break

    I am a huge fan of Adele -- her voice is beautiful, powerful and she makes it all seem so easy.

    This song is one of my favorites from her new album, 21.  I love the beat, the melody, the lyrics.  I would sing this at karaoke if I thought I could do it...

    wait for it...


    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Recipe: Orzo with Spinach & Tomatoes

    We are in the process of buying a house (ahh!) and one of my goals is to play Iron Chef with what we have in our fridge and pantry.  I figure that whatever we are able to consume now is that much less that we have to pack and move later.

    What we had:
    Orzo, black olives, green onions, parmesan cheese, ricotta, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper
    What I picked up: Fresh spinach and tomatoes

    The dish was easy, fast and turned out really tasty.  I have to give my honey credit for the idea to add in some balsamic vinegar.  Yum. 

    Orzo with Spinach and Tomatoes

    • 1 pound orzo pasta
    • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
    • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (I used mini heirloom)
    • 1 can black olives, halved
    • 2 green onions -- white and green parts, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • Salt and pepper to taste 
    • Ricotta (optional topping)
    • A handful of fresh parsley, chopped (optional topping)


    1. Cook the orzo to al dente according to the package instructions. 
    2. While pasta is cooking, combine the spinach, tomatoes, olives and green onions in a large bowl.  Set aside.
    3. When the pasta is done, drain and immediately pour into the bowl with the vegetables.  Stir until the spinach begins to wilt.  
    4. Drizzle in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine.
    5. Stir in the parmesan. 
    6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    7. Top each serving with a dollop of ricotta and a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley (if using).   

      Sunday, June 12, 2011

      Being a Leader

      "Being a leader is like being a lady.  If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."

      -- Margaret Thatcher

      Friday, June 10, 2011

      Photos: Stella in Boxes

      Stella in the "I ♥ My Pet" box.  (The day I got her!)

      Stella in a sunny box.
      Stella in a small box that is in a medium box that is in a large box.

      Stella in a pie box.
      Stella in a pink elephant box.
      Stella in a big box.
      Stella in a tall box.
      Stella in a too small box.
      Stella in a box...on top of a box...in a box.

      Thursday, June 9, 2011

      Recipe: Onion Smashed Potatoes

      Serves: 4

      • 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes 
      • 1/4 cup butter
      • 1/3 - 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
      • 2 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
      • French fried onions 
      • Salt and pepper


      1. Quarter the red potatoes, place in a stock pot and cover with water.  
      2. Bring pot to a boil and cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, 15 - 20 minutes.
      3. Drain potatoes and return to the pot. 
      4. Add the butter and smash the potatoes until butter is melted. 
      5. Add the buttermilk slowly while continuing to mash to desired consistency. 
      6. Stir in the sliced green onions.  Salt and pepper to taste. 
      7. Serve with french fried onions as an optional* topping.
      * But really, who is going to pass up french fried onions?!

      Wednesday, June 8, 2011

      Tuesday, June 7, 2011

      Recipe: Jamie's Brussels Sprouts

      If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may remember this Brussels Sprouts recipe.  Just for the record, I was going to call that recipe "Emily's Brussels Sprouts" but I didn't want anyone to think that I was talking in the third person.

      My friend Jamie recently shared with me another brussels sprouts recipe and I immediately bookmarked it in my brain for the near future.  Tonight I cooked them up as a side dish with sun dried tomato and chicken sausages and green onion smashed tomatoes.   I wanted to share the deliciousness.  Enjoy!

      brussels sprouts + sun dried tomatoes + pancetta + bleu cheese = goodness

      Jamie's Brussels Sprouts with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Pancetta and Bleu Cheese


      I found all the ingredients for this dish at Trader Joe's.


      • 1 pound brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and cut in half
      • 4 ounces julienne sliced sun dried tomatoes
      • 4 ounces chopped pancetta or bacon (optional)
      • 2 tablespoons crumbled bleu cheese
      • Olive oil


      1. Preheat oven to 400º F.  
      2. Place brussels sprouts on a jelly roll pan (baking sheet with sides) and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to coat.
      3. Bake brussels sprouts in oven for 10 - 15 minutes until they just start to brown.  
      4. Remove pan from oven, reduce temperature to 350º F. 
      5. Add the sun dried tomatoes to the pan and stir to combine with brussels sprouts.
      6. Return pan to oven and bake for an additional 20 - 25 minutes, until the brussels sprouts are softened and browned. 
      7. While the brussels sprouts and sun dried tomatoes are baking, cook up the pancetta or bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  When slightly crispy -- remove from pan, drain on paper towels and set aside.
      8. Remove brussels sprouts and sun dried tomatoes from oven and pour into a serving dish.  Stir in pancetta and bleu cheese. 

      9. Brussels sprouts with olive oil.
      Cooking the pancetta.


      Jamie shared that this is good with or without the pancetta/bacon so if you want a vegetarian dish, simply leave out that ingredient.  Easy peasy.

      I like bleu cheese and two tablespoons was plenty for my taste buds.  However, if your love bleu cheese, go ahead and add a bit more.  Easy cheesy.