Aug 052011
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deviled eggs never seem to go out of style. They are a great hors d’oeuvre to make for a casual fare or an elegant cocktail party. I like to jazz mine up a bit with bacon and chives. Mmmmm…Recently we served them as an appetizer with our fried chicken dinner. That is an almost perfect combination! Find my easy recipe here.

Where did the deviled egg come from?  (and more fun facts)
  • The origin of the deviled egg is Rome, Italy.

  • Deviled eggs are also called eggs mimosa, Russian eggs, dressed eggs and picnic eggs.

  • The term “deviled” in reference to food, was in use in the 18th century. It came to be used most often with spicy or zesty food, including eggs prepared with mustard, pepper or other ingredients that stuffed the yolk cavity.

  • Deviled eggs are most popular in the United States where they even have custom dishes made just to display them as appetizers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 272011
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pancakes with fresh strawberry sauce! Divinely delicious! So you get to cheat and use Bisquick or whatever your choice of instant pancake mix is. Take these would be ordinary pancakes and make them into something weekend worthy. Strawberries are still in season and can be found easily. So let’s make a homemade strawberry sauce…it’s so easy you can do it with your eyes closed! (okay, don’t try that since we’re using a stove and all)

Strawberry sauce recipe:

1. wash and slice a basket of strawberries

2. squeeze fresh orange juice from a whole orange

3. heat the orange juice in a small sauce pan on medium heat and then add the strawberries stirring often (optional: add 1 tsp sugar or 1 tsp maple syrup to make it sweeter)

4. after about 4-5 minutes shut off the stove and blend the strawberries with an immersion blender (it you prefer a little chunky texture don’t blend too much)

5. pour strawberry sauce into a glass gravy boat or creamer and serve with pancakes immediately

-Don’t forget to sprinkle powdered sugar on top and maybe add some fresh mint to pretty your plate.

-If you’d really like to make it extra, extra special, serve mimosas too! mmmmmm…

 

 

Jul 222011
 

 

Looking for the perfect appetizer for this weekend? I’ve got it, hummus dip with vegetable crudites. If you’ve never made it before you’ll be shocked at how easy it is. You will never buy it pre-made again! Not only is it healthy for you, it tastes amazing, and is so inexpensive to make. ($1 for the beans, $2 for the veggies assuming you have the basic pantry items like olive oil, s&p, etc…) Whether you’ve been asked to bring something to a casual cocktail shin dig or you’re packing a picnic to the beach, this would be perfect. Hummus recipe here.

 

Jul 162011
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need an easy but special Sunday night dinner idea? I’ve got just the recipe for you, shrimp fra diavolo. It’s saucy, spicy and delicious. A perfect meal to end your weekend with. I’ve been making this for years but I really don’t have my own recipe measured out. I found one that is identical to how I make mine. Of course it’s a Giada De Laurentiis recipe. The only thing I do differently is chop my onions instead of slice them. I also add a tsp of butter at the very end to give the sauce a silky, extra yummy touch. Serve with some Pane Rustico Italian bread on the side. (a.k.a. crusty Italian bread, the other name just sounds more appealing)

 

Wine suggestions:

Chilled white wine such as a Ferrari Carano Pinot Grigio for a crisp clean taste or La Crema Chardonnay if you prefer a more buttery flavor.

Fun foodie rumor:

According to Mario Batali (uber famous Italian chef), this is more of an Italian-American dish that you rarely would find in Italy. It tastes so amazing I don’t care who eats it where, just as long as I’m eating in my house!

 

Buon Appetito!!

Jul 062011
 

Okay, this sounds complicated right? I promise it’s not. I found myself wanting to make a recipe with a pea puree. What is pea puree you ask? (okay, you’re probably asking what brodetto is too, but that will have to be another post down the road) Good question and one I wanted an answer to recently. I’m addicted to watching “cooking shows” and it seems like somebody is always making a pea puree. (Remember the Top Chef scandal when Alex was accused of stealing Ed’s pea puree?) So I decided I was up for the challenge of making one. To my surprise there is nothing fancy or hard about making one.  Although there are many versions of pea puree, it is basically what the name implies, fresh or frozen peas and mint, then pureed (not mashed). Of course most recipes add a little more than that. Here is my recipe.

Tips:

-buy fresh halibut if possible

-grow mint at home so you always have some on hand (easy/cheap to grow too)

-keep frozen pea bags stocked in your freezer then you will always be able to whip up a batch of pea puree when you’re looking for a quick side dish to make (without having to run to the grocery store for the 10th time this week)

Buon Appetito! I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did…so fresh and clean!

 

 

 

Jun 282011
 

 

This is my easy brie cheese appetizer. As a side note, I don’t eat cheese except for brie and nacho cheese. (the kind you find at the movies) I know it’s a little weird. What can I say? I’m a little weird. Anyhoo, you and your fortunate guests will gobble these up! They’re so easy to make and delicious. One evening I had day old bread and some left over brie. I thought, “Hhhmmm, what can I make besides the obvious just brie and bread?” I had plenty of fresh herbs in my garden and I had a red onion in the fridge. Thats when the brieasy was born…Buon Appetito! Recipe here.

Tip:

These go fast…make plenty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 222011
 

I love Chinese food but it doesn’t really love me. Okay, sorry TMI… The good news is I found a super healthy and easy beef with broccoli recipe. I just made it the other night and even my “picky” 16 year old son said it was better than any restaurant! It’s a simple dinner that is packed full of flavor. I think I’ve solved your “what’s for dinner?” dilema for today. Find the recipe here.

Tips:

-Use brown rice to make it extra friendly on your waistline.

-I used a little more soy sauce then the recipe called for.

-Don’t over cook the broccoli for better texture and flavor.

-Double the recipe and have left overs for lunches or dinner the next night. (that’s what I did)

-I don’t love ginger so next time I will cut the amount in half. However I know it’s needed to add the necessary flavor profiles. If you like it, don’t change a thing!

-Use chopsticks to make dinner seem a little extra special/authentic.

-If you want to make this for company, a party or even a picnic, buy cool Chinese boxes and serve the beef with broccoli in them individually. Attach chopsticks and a cookie on top of the box with raffia/twine. You can find a large variety of patterned and different sizes of Chinese boxes at craft stores such as Michaels and party supply stores like Party City.

 

 

 

 

 

May 232011
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, it’s not really but why can’t we pretend and just do it anyway! Since my “Brown Bag a Free Trip to Hawaii” post, I’ve been getting a lot of requests of what to put in those bags. Here are a few suggestions that are not only healthy, but very tasty! Bon Appetito!

Brown Bag Lunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Pesto Grilled Chicken Sandwich

-bread choice (french or wheat roll, pita, Italian bread)

-grilled chicken breast (make a few grilled chicken breasts ahead, we will use another in a    salad)

-lettuce or sprouts and tomato

-pesto (store bought at Trader Joes or local market)

Put the sandwich together (put a dash of salt and pepper on too) and “Pesto!”, you’ve got a gourmet sandwich!  Pack a mini fruit cup with strawberries and apple slices to round off your meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Not Your Typical Tuna Salad Sandwich

-bread of choice (english muffin for a little twist)

-small can of white tuna packed in water

-light mayo, salt and pepper

- radishes for your crunch and a little spice

-avocado

-lettuce or sprouts

Mix the tuna and mayo together. Season with salt and pepper. Assemble sandwich with tuna, then radishes and then avocado. Pack baked tortilla chips and salsa as your side and a piece of fruit such as a banana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Chicken and Pesto Pasta Salad

-1 cup uncooked farfalle pasta, spiral or penne pasta

-1 cup cut up grilled chicken breast

-1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

-1 tbsp pitted kalamata olives

-3 tablespoons of pesto (remember you still have some from your sandwich earlier in week)

Mix it all together, add s & p to taste and you have a fresh, gourmet tasting salad. Maybe bring a piece of dark chocolate as your treat today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Chicken Pitas

- mix 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar,1 tsp oil packed sun-dried tomatoes and it’s oil, 1 minced small garlic glove and a dash of salt & pepper. (to your liking)

-then add to above mixture, 2 cups shredded chicken, 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato, 1/4 cup asiago cheese and 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil (if you want a little kick of heat add a dash of red pepper flakes)

-this is enough for 2-3 pitas. stuff the pitas with the chicken mixture and some greens of your choice such as a nice Italian mix

-you’re not limited to using pita, it works great in a tortilla wrap or any type of bread

-Pack some fresh fruit such as grapes and you have a perfect meal.

TIP:

A few of the recipes above make more than one serving. Double up and just make 2 or 3 of the recipes for the week. Notice pesto is used twice and chicken 3 times to make it a little easier.

Don’t be surprised if you lost a few lbs by the end of the week. These are very healthy and energy producing meals! Eat and enjoy guilt free.

In case you’re wondering, my favorite is the pesto chicken sandwich. If you don’t have chicken available, substitute turkey from the deli. I try to use wheat bread to be healthy, but once in a while a great Italian roll is soooo good with this recipe!