Friday, August 29, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Bread

Baby Girl's camp went blueberry picking last month and she brought home a huge container of blueberries. I had already planned to make this Blueberry Lemon Bread that Melissa has been raving about for years.

Blueberry lemon bread

I'm not sure what happened but my bread was very, very moist. When I turned it out onto the cooling rack it cracked and almost fell apart. It was inverted on the rack for only a few seconds, but it was enough time for the wire to leave deep grooves in the top. But, all that aside, this was still a delicious dessert and a great way to use up the blueberries.

Blueberry Lemon Bread
As seen on Alosha's Kitchen

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup + 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons lemon zest (zest of one medium lemon)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Butter and sugar a 9- or 10-inch loaf pan; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon zest. Slowly mix in the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Lightly coat blueberries with a small amount of flour. Gently fold in blueberries into the batter. Spoon batter into loaf pan.

Bake for about one hour, or until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

When the bread has about 5 minutes cooking time left, bring remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and lemon juice to boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Once removed from the oven, pierce the top of the hot loaf several time with a cooking chopstick (or knife) without touching the bottom of the loaf in pan. Pour the hot sugar mixture over the loaf.

Cool for 30 minutes in pan on a wire rack, then turn bread out of pan and cool completely on rack.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Salad

A few weeks ago I received an issue of Cook's Country magazine. I used to be a subscriber, but in an effort to save money I cancelled my subscription awhile back. I'm not sure if this was a teaser issue to try to entice me back, but it doesn't have a date on it so I'm assuming that's what it is. SP went through it and picked out a few recipes for me to make, including this one for Chicken Parmesan Salad.

Chicken parm salad

I made a few modifications - I switched up the breading method since I've found that panko adheres better when you coat the chicken in flour first, and I swapped out arugula for Romaine hearts since I always have a package on hand. If only I could buy arugula that didn't spoil immediately...

Chicken parm salad

This was a great salad. We were all big fans. I mean, what's not to like about crispy chicken and the summer trinity of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil? Because of Baby Girl's nut allergy I didn't make traditional pesto, simply processed basil leaves with a little oil, salt and pepper and then grated in some Pecorino cheese. I have to be honest - I haven't made pesto with nuts in years and I don't notice a difference.

Chicken Parmesan Salad
As seen in Cook's Country magazine

1 large egg
1 cup flour
1 cup panko
salt and pepper
4 chicken cutlets
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup pesto
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
5 ounces baby arugula, mixed greens or finely shredded Romaine hearts
4 ounces bocconcini, halved

Beat the egg in a shallow dish with a splash of water. Add the flour to a second shallow dish. Combine panko, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a third shallow dish. Season each chicken cutlet with salt and pepper. Working with one cutlet at a time, coat the cutlet in flour, then dip into the egg, and finally coat in the panko, pressing to adhere.

Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook 2 cutlets at a time until golden brown and crispy, about two minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken. Tent the chicken loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Whisk the pesto and lemon zest and juice together in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, arugula and bocconcini and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the salad on a serving platter. Slice the chicken into strips and arrange on the salad. Serve.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Buttermilk Scones

Whenever I buy buttermilk for a recipe there's always a lot leftover. Usually I can find ways to use it up but this time SP called dibs on it so he could make Buttermilk Scones.

Buttermilk scones

I woke up on Sunday morning to the smell of these baking. Mmmm. While the second batch was cooking I fried up some bacon and then we all sat down to enjoy the delicious, hot scones and crispy, salty bacon. These were incredible fresh from the oven, so light and flaky. Unfortunately, by the time we got them to my parent's house that evening they were a bit mushy and tough. If you aren't going to eat these right away, definitely freeze them so they don't lose their texture.

Buttermilk scones

I've already asked SP to make a savory version with bacon, cheddar and scallions, modeled after an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives where Guy Fieri had savory scones with a bacon gravy. I can almost taste them.

Buttermilk Scones
As seen on All the Cooks

3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted for brushing
1/4 cup sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 425.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a fork. Add the cold butter pieces and, using your fingertips (or a pastry blender or two knives), work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles course cornmeal. It's okay if you have some larger pieces of butter, it makes the scones flaky.

Add the buttermilk and lemon zest and mix with a fork until the ingredients are just moistened. The dough will be soft. If the dough looks dry, add another tablespoon of buttermilk.

Gather the dough into a ball, pressing it gently so it holds together, and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead it very briefly (about a dozen turns) then cut in half.

Roll one of the dough halves into a 1/2-inch thick circle about 7 inches across. Brush the dough with half of the melted butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Cut the dough into 6 triangles and place the triangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Bake the scones for 10 to 12 minutes, until both the tops and bottoms are golden. Transfer the scones to a rack to cool slightly.

NOTE: These are best served warm or at room temperature. But they do not last long. If you aren't going to eat them immediately, wrap each scone in plastic wrap and put in a freezer bad. They'll stay fresh for one month. To serve, defrost the scones in the plastic wrap, then unwrap and reheat on a baking sheet for 5 minute in a 350-degree oven.
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

You know a recipe is good when it pushes you out of your blogging slump. These Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs did just that. I couldn't wait to share them with you guys and I managed to schedule a few more posts while I was at it.

Mozzarella stuffed meatballs

I saw these meatballs on my friend Jaida's blog and she raved about them, so I figured I'd give them a shot. I've been in a cooking rut lately, remaking a lot of old favorites rather than trying new stuff. We've been on a fresh mozzarella kick lately and I knew you couldn't go wrong stuffing it into a meatball. This was an incredibly easy meal to make, perfect for a weeknight. It took less than 10 minutes to make the meatballs and, bonus, I had frozen sauce in the freezer. It took longer to chop the ingredients for the salad I served on the side.

Mozzarella stuffed meatballs

What I didn't expect was for these to be the most flavorful meatballs I've ever made. We were all blown away. Baby Girl said, "these aren't just good, Mommy. They're amazing, awesome and wonderful." It's been awhile since I've photographed dinner outside, so Baby Girl jumped at the chance to have her plate next to mine for a picture.

Mozzarella stuffed meatballs

Despite the fact that I thought I'd sealed the meatballs well, most of mine broke open while they cooked. Fortunately, the cheese didn't really melt or leak out. Just make sure you really, really seal them well. I had 14 mozzarella balls, but you may want to stick with the 10-12 in the recipe below so there's more meat to fully encase the cheese.

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
As seen on Sweet Beginnings

1 egg
1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 lb lean ground beef
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
10-12 mini balls fresh mozzarella (bocconcini), or fresh mozzarella cut in small pieces
3 cups pasta sauce

Whisk the egg in a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs, ground beef, chili powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, and garlic and mix with your hands until combined.

Divide the meat into 10-12 balls (a couple of tablespoons each). Flatten each section of meat, then wrap it around one mozzarella ball. Squish the edges together to be sure it's sealed. Repeat this process until you've used up all the meat.

Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat (no need to add oil, there's plenty of fat in the meat). Add the meatballs and cook for a couple of minutes on each side, until well-browned.

Add the pasta sauce (enough to coat the bottom and come up about halfway up the meatballs) to the skillet. Simmer for about five minutes, turning the meatballs occasionally to coat them in the sauce.

Serve the meatballs over pasta or rice, as a sandwich, or by themselves.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Breaded Pork Sandwich

SP and I love to watch Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. On one episode, Guy Fieri was visiting a restaurant in Indiana that made these massive Breaded Pork Sandwiches. The pork was lightly breaded and fried until crispy, served on a bun with lots of fresh veggies. I haven't been able to get it out of my head since. I finally decided to put them on the menu and boy, am I glad I did.

Breaded chicken sandwich

Words cannot describe how amazing this was. The crispy pork, the tang from the mustard and pickles, the crunch of the lettuce. Everything came together perfectly. The only way to eat this is to start with the pork that hangs over the edges, but when you finally get a bite of everything together it's incredible.

You want to get the pork as thin as possible. I thought I'd gotten it pretty thin but it puffed a bit while it was cooking. You want a very, very thin pork cutlet for this sandwich.

Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
As seen on The Cooking Channel

4 pieces boneless pork chops
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups Panko
Vegetable oil, for frying
4 hamburger buns, toasted on cut sides
lettuce leaves, tomato slices, red onion slices, dill pickle slices, mayonnaise, mustard

Pound each pork chop with a mallet until 1/4-inch thick and 6 to 8 inches across.

Whisk together the buttermilk, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and sugar in a shallow dish. Add the pork cutlets. Make sure all the pieces are coated well with the buttermilk marinade. Cover and keep refrigerated for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Heat 1/2-inch oil in a large high-sided skillet until shimmering. Set up a breading station of three shallow dishes consisting of the flour in the first dish, eggs in the second and Panko in the third. Sprinkle all three dishes with salt and pepper.

Dredge each cutlet in the flour first, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs. Gently place into the hot oil without overcrowding the skillet. You will need to fry the cutlets in batches. When the cutlets are golden brown on one side, about 2 minutes, carefully flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Drain well on a paper-towel-lined plate.

Build the sandwiches by putting the cutlets between the burger buns and garnishing with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mayonnaise and mustard. The cutlet should hang generously over the bun.
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Chicken Taco Salad

I know, I know. I haven't been a great blogger lately. As I said in my July recap post, I've lost my mojo. I'm not making many new recipes and I've had writers block trying to blog the ones I have made.

But this salad...oh man. I love a good dinner salad and this Chicken Taco Salad from Pioneer Woman fit the bill. Lots of fresh veggies mixed with lettuce and grilled chicken.

Chicken taco salad

I opted to grill the chicken rather than cooking it in oil and butter. I also made a quick rub with various spices (chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper) rather than use taco seasoning. And since I had some tortillas leftover I decided to make some cheese queadillas as a side dish. Man, there is just something about a plain cheese quesadilla paired with a flavorful salad. Yum.

Chicken Taco Salad
As seen on The Pioneer Woman

3/4 cups ranch dressing
1/4 cup salsa
3 tablespoons finely minced cilantro
2 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
cooking spray
2 ears corn, shucked
2 romaine hearts, shredded thin
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup grated pepper Jack cheese
2 whole avocados, diced
3 scallions, sliced
1/2 cup cilantro
Tortilla chips, crushed slightly

Combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir together. Cover and refrigerate.

Generously season both sides of the chicken breasts with the taco seasoning or spices. Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from the grill pan and set aside to cool slightly, then cut it into cubes.

Place the ears of corn on the grill pan. Cook until the corn is browned in spots. Remove from the pan and cut off the kernels with a sharp knife. Set aside.

To assemble the salad, pile the chicken, corn, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, scallions, cilantro, and crushed chips on a big platter. Drizzle the dressing all over the top, or serve it on the side so everyone can dress their own salad.
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Monday, August 04, 2014

July Re-Make Recap

I know, I know. You're looking at the calendar and thinking "it's August 4. Why is she posting a July recap now?" As you may have noticed, I've been a little lax about blogging lately. Honestly, my heart's just not in it these days. I haven't gone through a phase like this in awhile so I guess I was due. I'm not making a lot of new dishes and I can't find the time or energy to blog the few new things I have made. I'm sure I'll snap out of it soon.

So...July. It was another busy month for us. Baby Girl is still taking swim lessons and this month she finally decided she wasn't scared of jumping in the pool. SP and I ran a 5K race on July 4 and had a great time. Work has been busy for both of us. The weather has been a bit on the cool side, not very summery, so we haven't spent as much time at the pool. And that's about it in a nutshell. On to the food!

Hawaiian chicken sandwiches

Whenever I get a craving for pineapple I turn to these Hawaiian chicken sandwiches. There is just something about the combination of the marinade that makes these delectable.

crispy potatoes

And, of course, I can't serve the sandwiches without roasted potatoes on the side. Such a foolproof method. They come out perfect every single time.


I decided to combine a few individual servings of spicy pork and asparagus stir fry I had socked away in the freezer for dinner one night. I served edamame and egg rolls on the side and we relived the height of asparagus season.

I rediscovered my love for this antipasti pasta salad this month. I've made it at least three times. It's so good and so easy.


I brought these sopapilla cheesecake bars to my friend MaryEllen's house for dinner. She loved them so much she didn't fight me about keeping the leftovers and ended up serving them to her parents for breakfast the next day.

Crunchy baked tacos

These crunchy baked tacos are our new favorite beef taco. We all love the crispy shell and I love how easy they are to make.

Refried beans

No Mexican night is complete without these homemade refried beans.

crispy fish

Once again, I made this recipe into fish sticks. I was never a fan of the frozen kind as a kid but these are head and shoulders above those. Positively addicting.

We've been loving cheesy zucchini rice now that zucchini is in season. I need to get this made a few more times before Fall.


I was cleaning out the freezer and found a package of meat sauce bolognese tucked away. Perfect for an easy weeknight meal.


Now that it's warmer I'm alternating making burgers and these flatbread pizzas on Fridays. I love roasting the tomatoes so they get super sweet. And the flatbreads are such a perfect vehicle for the tomatoes and cheese.


When I was cleaning out the freezer I made an amazing discovery - a lone package of homemade chorizo. I thought I'd used it all up, which was very sad since it meant no more chicken chorizo patty melts. Of course I had to make them and they were just as divine as ever. One of our all-time favorites.


I was stumped for an easy sandwich idea for dinner until Baby Girl turned on The Pioneer Woman. She was making these hot roast beef sandwiches so I added them to the menu for the following week. Yum!

citrus chicken burrito

These citrus chicken burritos require a lot of work, but are so, so worth it. Another all-time favorite recipe around here.

Taco Rice

As much as we love regular tacos, taco rice is a nice change of pace. We all love mixing all the ingredients together in the bowl.

I wanted something healthy, bright and flavorful and SP said we hadn't had black bean patties in awhile. I decided to make these black bean patties with corn and avocado cream because I love, love, love the corn salsa and the avocado cream (and the patties, too. The whole meal is great).

Chicken tacos

I wanted an easy chicken taco recipe and remembered how much we liked these grilled chicken tacos with spiced mayo. I love how easy these are to make. I turned the leftovers into a quesadilla for lunch the next day and I think I may make them that way from now on.

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