Thursday, April 28, 2011

Garlic Toasted Balsamic Chicken Bruschetta Sandwich

I expected a stronger balsamic taste to the chicken but it was pretty mild. If you like a strong vinegar taste try letting the chicken marinate a little in the oil and vinegar.
Garlic Toasted Balsamic Chicken Bruschetta Sandwich

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts from above recipe
Pinch of salt
¼ Cup balsamic vinegar
¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil

4 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced
8 fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and thinly sliced
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

8 thin slices fresh mozzarella
4 ciabatta rolls, or other rolls of choice

1. Preheat a grill pan over medium heat on the stove top. Spray with cooking spray. Combine balsamic and olive oil in a bowl. Season both sides of chicken with pinches of salt and place on grill. Brush top sides of chicken with balsamic mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes and flip chicken. Brush with additional balsamic and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until cooked through.

2. In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, basil garlic, salt and balsamic. Toss gently to combine. Set aside.

3. Preheat same grill pan over medium heat and spray with additional cooking spray. Place 2 slices of cheese on bottom rolls then layer with chicken breasts, spoonfuls of tomato mixture and 2 more slices of cheese. Place top rolls to close sandwich and grill both sides on hot grill pan until toasty and warm. Serve warm.

Recipe Source: Picky Palate

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Romano's Macaroni Grill Penne Rustica

The is a copy cat recipe that is so good and so easy to make at home there is no reason to go out to eat.

Romano's Macaroni Grill Penne Rustica

Grantinata Sauce
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. Marsala wine (you can find this in the grocery store in the vinegar section)
2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

1 lb. penne rigate pasta, cooked
12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets
1/2 c. (about 2 oz.) thick sliced smoked prosciutto, chopped

3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 tsp. paprika

12 sliced pimentos
4 sprigs fresh rosemary

Preheat grill to high.

Prepare gratinata sauce by melting 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat. Add garlic and sweat it for about 5 minutes. Be sure the garlic doesn't brown. Add the Marsala wine and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and whisk will until smooth. Bring mixture to a simmer and keep it there for 10 minutes or until it's thick. Cover sauce and remove from heat.

Cook pasta following directions on the package (7 to 9 minutes). You want the pasta tender, but not mushy (just al dente). Strain pasta and set it aside.

Pound the thick end of your chicken breast with a kitchen mallet to make them a uniform thickness. Rub chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper. Spear the shrimp on skewers (6 per skewer), then rub them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill chicken for 5 to 6 minutes per side. Grill shrimp 2 minutes per side. When chicken in done, slice each breast into strips.

Preheat oven to 500. You can make this in one large ceramic dish or you can serve individually in smaller dishes. To serve in a big dish just combine the pasta, chicken, prosciutto, shrimp and sauce then place in a large oven safe dish. Combine 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese with 1 1/2 tsp. paprika, sprinkle over the top and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until top begins to brown.

For smaller dishes, use 9-in glass or ceramic pie plates. Load 3 cups of pasta into each baking dish. Add one quarter of the chicken, 3 shrimp, and 2 tablespoons of prosciutto on to each serving. Spoon 3/4 cup of gratinata sauce on each serving and toss to coat. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of Parmesan/paprika mixture over top of each serving. Bake the dishes for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tops begin to brown. Arrange three pimentos on the top of each serving, then add a sprig of rosemary in the the center for garnish. Serve.

Recipe Source: Top Secret Recipes

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gnocchi with Balsamic Reduction

Gnocchi with Balsamic Reduction
serves 2

1 pound gnocchi (fresh or packaged)
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 pepper, chopped (any color will do – I used red)
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
3 tablespoons garlic basil butter

Heat a small saucepan over high heat and add balsamic vinegar. Allow vinegar to come to a boil them immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer until vinegar reduces by half of the amount – about 8-10 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Heat a skillet on medium-low heat and add 1 tablespoon garlic butter. Add chopped peppers, onions and mushrooms and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. While veggies are cooking, boil water for gnocchi and cook according to directions – they only take a few minutes, so make sure the veggies are almost finished cooking.

Drain gnocchi and add to veggies in skillet. Add vinegar reduction and garlic butter and stir to combine. Top with Parmesan if desired. Serve and devour!

Garlic Basil Butter
1/4 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon freshly chopped basil
1 teaspoon minced garlic (or however much you want)
Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.

Recipe Source: How Sweet It Is

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


You will want to be careful when you rub the garlic on the bread, don't rub too much or you will have garlic breath for a day and you won't be able to get rid of it.


2 C diced tomatoes (squeeze out seeds before dicing)
1/3 C diced red onion
1/2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
a few cracks black pepper
1/4 C chopped fresh basil leaves
1 french baguette or bread of your choice
additional olive oil
1 large garlic clove
optional- fresh mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine tomatoes, onions, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and 1 tsp olive oil in a bowl and mix to combine.  Add basil and gently toss to distribute.  Give it a taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.  Cover and chill. 

Slice baguette into half inch slices and place on a baking sheet.   Drizzle or brush some olive oil on top.  Place in oven for 8-10 minutes until just lightly toasted.  Remove pan from oven.  Slice garlic clove in half and rub cut side down on each piece of bread.  Top with about a tablespoon of the tomato mixture.

If desired, place one slice of mozzarella cheese on the bread before topping with tomato mixture.

If preparing ahead of time, wait to add basil until right before serving.

Makes about 24 bruschetta.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dream Bars

If you can't find cream of coconut at the store, look on the baking isle or actually I have found it with the drink mixers for making margaritas and stuff.

Dream Bars

2 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c. pecans
1/4 tsp. salt
10 Tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled

1 1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut
1 c. cream of coconut
2 large eggs
3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. pecans, toasted and chopped rough

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 350. Line at 9x13 inch baking pan with foil, allowing excess foil to hang over pan edges. Coat foil lightly with cooking spray.

To make the crust, process flour, sugar, pecans and salt in food processor until pecans are coarsely ground. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture firmly into prepared baking pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes.

To make the topping, combine coconut and cream of coconut in bowl. In another bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla, and salt, until smooth. Stir in pecans, then spread filling over cooled crust. Dollop heaping tablespoons of coconut mixture over filling, then spread into even layer.

Bake until topping is deep golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack, about 2 hours. Using foil overhang, lift bars from pan and cut into 24 pieces. Serve.

Recipe Source: Cook's Country Magazine April/May 2009

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cashew Chicken

This is the second time posting a Cashew Chicken recipe. I was not impressed with the first recipe so I tried a new one. It turned out much better.

Cashew Chicken 

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup raw cashews, toasted
Salt and pepper, to taste
White rice, for serving (optional)

In a medium bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch until chicken is coated.  Season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, tossing often, for 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic and white parts of scallions to the skillet. Continue cooking until chicken is browned, about 3 minutes more. Add vinegar and cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Stir in hoisin sauce and 1/4 cup water. Cook and stir until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat. Stir in scallion greens and toasted cashews. Serve immediately over white rice, if desired.

Recipe source: Let's Dish

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bread Balls and Sauce

This is a good alternative to meatballs. Just make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to make this dish. It is definitely worth the time though. It makes a ton so just freeze any leftovers.

Bread Balls and Sauce

Bread balls:
1 c. water
1 large egg
2 garlic gloves, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (you can used dry just use less)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil (or dry, use less)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 (16 oz.) loaf Italian bread, torn into small pieces
1 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
6 Tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, minced
Salt and pepper
2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 c. water
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Combine water, egg, garlic, parsley, basil and pepper in large bowl. Add bread and Parmesan and mix with hands until well combined. Using wet hands, form mix into 1 1/2 inch bread balls (you should have about 30). Set aside.

Heat 1/4 c. olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook half of bread balls without moving until well browned on bottom, 2 to 4 minutes. Continue to cook, turning gently, until well browned all over, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to bowl. Repeat with remaining oil and bread balls.

Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. oil from pot. Add onion and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, sugar, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook until tomato paste begins to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Add water, tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

Carefully add browned bread balls to pot and continue to simmer, covered, until sauce is slightly thickened and bread balls are tender, about 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve, sprinkling with Parmesan and parsley if desired.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats

Just a little twist to a classic.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats

1/4 c. (1/2 stick) margarine or butter
6 c. miniature marshmallows
8 1/2 c. Cocoa Pebbles Cereal
1 c. Reese's Pieces Candy

Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Place cereal and candy pieces in a large bowl, set aside. Melt butter and marshmallows in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Pour marshmallow mix over cereal and candy and combine well. Press into baking dish and allow to cool.
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