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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Plum Crunch

(please excuse the horrid picture!)

On Friday afternoon, while I was working VERY VERY hard, like I always do on Friday afternoons :), I came across this recipe for Plum Crunch in my Google Reader from Sing for your Supper. I immediately knew I had to make this. ASAP. As in, that night. I emailed Matt to see if he had time to pick up the ingredients I was missing, and thank goodness he works as hard as I do on Friday afternoons. I put this together while Matt made us dinner, and the smells that were coming out of the oven while this was baking were out of this world! I was a little worried because my plums weren't super ripe, but the baking pulled all of the flavor into those little suckers. These will definitly go into the dessert rotation. Perfect in ramekins for little personal crocks of yummy goodness. I didn't make any changes, so here you go:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back on the Wagon...

(please excuse the bowl- this was from our first set of "china"- thanks Aunt Christine and Uncle George!)

Summer's coming to an end (moment of silence...), and it is time for us to get back on the wagon. We have been having a blast this summer, spending a ton of time with family and friends at the beaches of the East Coast. And of course, being completely indulgent in our eating habits- crab balls, lobster rolls, ice cream sundaes, the list goes on. Matt actually had a two day FOOD hangover this past week! So on the way back from our final trip to the beach this summer, I stopped and picked up the latest Cooking Light magazine. I planned out our week's meals using some ideas from the mag and some recipes I have saved from the past.

For the first night of our healthier eating, I chose an Ellie Krieger recipe, Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie, that I had stashed in my recipe book. I love Ellie and how she rounds out all of her recipes with yummy nutritious ingredients. This recipe is creamy and comforting, but the fresh veggies keep it light with a crunch. I would recommend making this on a weekend (this is a perfect Sunday dinner), as it is a bit time consuming for a work night. I did not make any changes, so I will link you directly to the original recipe:

Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Perfect Loaf of Meat

Having just returned from an amazing week at the beach, I wanted to make a nice comforting homemade meal for Matt and I before we have to face the reality of work tomorrow....and the return to eating healthy foods after the past days of glutteny. To top off our vacation, Matt suggested I make one of his favorites, Paula Deen's Barbecue Meatloaf. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of meat loaf overall. But this recipe that I discovered a couple of years ago on is fabulous! Hearty with a touch of sweetness, super juicy, and delicious. Paired with some fluffy mashed potatoes and roasted tomatoes and broccoli, it was the perfect end to an awesome week.

1.5 pounds ground beef (1.7o pounds)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (Italian bread crumbs)
1 onion, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
3 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup water, to thin, if necessary (I did not use)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix together the beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Form this mixture into a loaf and place it in a shallow pan. Stir together the remaining tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and water (if too thick). Pour this sauce over the meat loaf. Bake for one hour, basting every 15 minutes with the pan juices.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

My sister, the hostess :)

For the past four years that Matt and I have been together, we have taken advantage of the long weekend that Memorial Day brings, and gone out of town for the weekend, to either Maine or Cape Cod. Since we had such a big event in the city this Memorial Day weekend, that wasn't possible. Which meant that we could attend my sister's big Memorial Day party for the first time in years! Her town has a parade that goes right by her house in the morning. Friends and family park their lawn chairs on the curb, and head to the backyard afterwards for water fights and a TON of food.

I wanted to bring something festive, and chose Red Velvet cupcakes. I have never made them before, but have read some rave reviews on my friend Courtney's blog, The Preppy Chef, for Paula Deen's version, and have wanted to try this recipe out for a while.

Matt's mom said that they were the best cupcakes that she has ever eaten in her life! Can't really get much better than that review. And I listened to my sister Danielle refuse a bite of hers to my sister Michelle, telling her that it was worth it to get her own, no matter how full she already was!

I thnk the best part of this particular recipe is the copious amount of icing that the recipe yields, as the icing is my favorite part of any cupcake, and the more that I can plop on top, the happier I am :) I did not make any changes to the original recipe, besides using about half of the amount of food coloring called for, because I ran out, so I will link you directly to Courtney's site:

from Paula Deen via The Preppy Chef

Monday, May 31, 2010

dinner with the Vances

We set our table with our new china for the first time!

This weekend one of my best friends (and my sister-in-law!) Erin, married her love, Joey, at a phenominal penthouse in the city. The weekend was amazing, filled with a TON of laughs and some sweet dance moves. The weekend started off with Matt and I hosting a dinner party for all of Matt's aunts that had traveled to town for the festivities. And naturally, I forgot to take ANY pictures of the food. I got a couple of good ones of the family and toasts being made though!

The beautiful Vance ladies (and Maya and I)

dinner party turned dance party!

toasting the bride and groom!

Vance Dinner Menu

Assorted cheeses and crackers
Cold spinach dip from (The only change I make is to use two packages of frozen spinach instead of one) with carrots
Brie and Carmelized Mushroom Mini Tarts from "For the Love of Cooking" (I made the musrooms the night before, then heated through and assembled for serving)
Roast Chicken with Pancetta and Olives from Cooking This and That (I assembled everything the night before, just basted with the wine while cooking)
green salad
Roasted Vegetable Napoleons from (I omitted the potatoes and assembled the night before)
Everything was delicious. This was the perfect spring menu for entertaining on a work night. Everything was able to be prepared beforehand. The day of, I just had to throw it all in the oven! I wish I had some pics, because everything was really great, but I just had to share these recipes!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lady Date Night (with Matt)

I treated myself to these beautiful mums for our date night!

One of my great friends Megan (above, author of the super fun blog Failed Attempts at being Fabulous) and I have periodic "Lady Date Nights". They are always fantastic. We have dinner, the wine is plentiful, and we catch up on life. I hosted the last date night, and we let Matt stay and play for a little while (though he could not keep up and headed off to snooze while we continued to gab). We wanted to have Megan over this time, as Matt and I have planted our first "urban oasis" (Matt's name for our new container garden). Megan is a phenominal landscape architect, and had given us tons of tips for picking out the types of plants to get. We were very proud of how we did and wanted to get Megan's approval!
Our pup Maya chillin with her toy next to our herbs!

lovely, eh?

I know Megan loves Salmon Caesar Salad, so I decided to try a Williams Sonoma recipe for the Ceasar Salad. I have made the Blackened Salmon with a Parmesean Potato Pancake from Two Peas and their Pod before (a phenominal recipe by the way), and love the way the salmon turns out cooked this way. I hit the nail on the head with this combo, and it was very simple to put together the meal on a Friday night. Matt had gotten home early from work, and made the dressing and croutons, and I prepped the salmon coating and dessert the night before.

Caesar Salad
(I did not make any changes to the original recipe, so I will send you straight there!)
from Williams Sonoma

Blackened Salmon

2 cups Italian bread crumbs (I used 1 cup)
2 tablespoons Italian herb mix (1 Tbsp)
1 tablespoon garlic chopped in olive oil (I used 1 clove fresh garlic chopped)
1/4 tablespoon paprika (I omitted because we were out)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (I used 1/2 tablespoon dried)
2 tablespoons blackened red fish mix (1 Tbsp)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesean cheese
fresh salmon fillets (I used 4 pieces)

Coat salmon fillets with mixture. Saute on each side 3 to 4 minutes over high flame. Place in preheated 400 degree oven 6 to 12 minutes or to your liking (we kept them in the full 12).

Pound Cake
(no changes made, so here's the link!)

Cinnamon Ice Cream
It was SO SO SO SO SO good. But I don't know where I got the recipe. I think I threw it out. UGH. But I promise you that I will find it, make it again, and post it. It is my new mission. Stay tuned, as it was deluxe.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Salmon Pesto Pasta

Check out the beautiful bowl my parents just brought me back from their trip to Ireland!

Lent. A time of preparation for the holiest day of the Christian calendar. And a time to try all sorts of new seafood dishes :) Matt picked this out for a Friday night that we are spending alone together. Since I love his input (and most importantly, because I am AWFUL at making decisions), on nights like this, I email him a list of recipes I am considering, and ask him to choose. This time, I knew what he would pick. Pesto is Matt's favorite sauce. This was a fairly simple recipe, came together nicely, and could easily be prepped beforehand (perfect for entertaining). According to Matt, even the leftovers were wonderful!

Salmon Pesto Pasta
from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

8 oz pasta (I used the full pound)
12 oz salmon (again, I used a pound)
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (I used about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice (I forgot this- oops, too much vino...)
5 oz evaporated milk
1/2 cup pesto (recipe follows)
grated parmesean

Bring large pot of water, add some salt and the pasta; stir to separate. Cook the pasta to al dente, drain. Pour evaporated milk into empty pot and simmer over medium high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup. Add cooked pasta to pot and stir to combine.

Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil (we were out that night, so I skipped this :). Season skinless side of salmon liberally with salt and pepper, sprinkle with zest, then rub with olive oil. Broil until salmon is no longer translucent and is firm when pressed, about 10 minutes. Remove from broiler and sprinkle with lemon juice (forgot). Use fork to flake into bite size pieces.

Add salmon to pasta mixture and stir over medium heat until hot. Remove from heat and stir in basil. I would add a little reserved pasta water to this as well to moisten it a tad. Top with Parmesean.


1/4 cup pine nuts
5 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed thoroughly (I didnt measure, just used all of the leaves on a grocery store plant)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, Italian (optional- I opted out)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch table salt
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesean cheese

Toast nuts in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the nuts to bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade.
Add the unpeeled garlic to empty skillet and toast, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant and the color of the cloves deepens slightly, about 7 minutes. Let the garlic cool, then peel and add to the food processor bowl.

Place basil and parsley in heavy duty, quart size, zip lock baggie. Pound with flat side of meat pounder until all leaves are bruised.

Process nuts and garlic until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients except cheese; process until smooth, stopping as necessary to scrape down bowl with flexible spatula.

Transfer mixture to small bowl, stir in cheese, and adjust salt. (can be covered with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly over the surface or filmed with oil and refrigerated up to 5 days)