Sunday, May 31, 2015

Blackberry Peach Sparkling Soda

I search for a new refreshing drink every time the weather heats up.  Usually they involve blackberries.  This year I combined it with another favorite ~ peach juice.  The simple syrup takes about 20 minutes to make.

Blackberry Peach Sparkling Soda

1/4 cup blackberry peach simple syrup (recipe below)
1 cup sparkling water ~ I used Perrier

Blackberry Peach Simple Syrup

1/2 cup sugar
2 cups peach nectar (juice)
1 cup blackberries (I used frozen since they release more juice)

Stir and combine the peach juice and sugar.  Add in the blackberries and heat over medium heat until the berries release their juice which will be about 20 minutes.  Let cool down and strain out the berries.

In a tall glass, add in the blackberry peach syrup, ice and sparkling water. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Yogurt Chicken

Savory and moist chicken that makes you forget the gray skies outside threatening another round of rain and makes you glad that you made this for dinner.  So easy to make and I used a non-stick aluminum foil at the bottom of the pan for a no mess clean up.

Yogurt Chicken

2-3 chicken breasts (I used bone-in)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (you can use Greek if you want a it tangy)
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp paprika

Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts before placing in the non-stick lined pan.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.  Brush evenly over the chicken breasts.  Place in the oven for an hour at 350°.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Grilled Italian Potatoes

This is a tasty side for the grill that you can make along side whatever meat you choose to grill.  My picture would have looked a little bit better but I had a tong mishap and my foil packet ended up upside down.  Darn tongs.  

Grilled Italian Potatoes

4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 medium onion, peeled and chopped (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 tsp oregano
2 slices Prosciutto, cut into small strips
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp water

Take a 12" piece of heavy duty aluminum foil and place shiny side down.  Layer sliced potatoes, onion, seasonings, prosciutto and Parmesan.  Wrap the foil up into a package and steam bake on the grill or in your oven.

Servings: 4

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Frozen Strawberry Mascarpone Pie

This pie is a great dessert for your long holiday weekend.  It's easy to make and it's one of those desserts that you can make as sweet as you want by adjusting the amount of sugar you use in the strawberry sauce.  I chose to make mine not so overly sweet.  Plus it was a way to use up the rest of my container of Mascarpone that I used for the Cardamom waffles that I made. Tip ~ to get the pie crust to release from the pan, run a warm cloth on the bottom and sides for a minute before removing slices.  

Frozen Strawberry Mascarpone Pie

Crust ~

4 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Melt butter in a small saucepan.  Stir in graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon.  Pat into a greased pie pan to form a crust.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350°.  Let cool.

Filling ~

1/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup Mascarpone
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup strawberry sauce 

Whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form.  Add in Mascarpone and powdered sugar.  Beat again until combined.  Add in the strawberry sauce.  Pour into the cooled pie crust and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cardamom Waffles

Torrential rains yesterday meant the thought of going outside seem very unappealing.  Time for a little plate of sunshine for brunch with fresh strawberry sauce and a crispy waffle.  

Cardamom Waffles

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs, separated
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

1/2 cup room temperature mascarpone or sour cream
1 1/44 cup milk

Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl.  In a small bowl, beat egg whites until light and fluffy.  Gradually mix milk, egg yolks, butter, mascarpone and vanilla into dry ingredients.  Gently fold in the egg whites.

Bake per your waffle makers instructions.

Makes 7 waffles

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dr Pepper Shredded Pork Chops

It was supposed to start raining/storming early today so I decided to try making the recipe for shredded pork chops that I tried a few weeks ago but with Dr Pepper this time.  It was as good as I expected it to be.  I did happen to have some Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce on hand ~ Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce recipe to top it with.  Double win.

Dr Pepper Shredded Pork Chops

3-4 pork chops
1 cup Dr Pepper
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place pork chops at the bottom of your crock pot.  Season with salt and pepper.  In a bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.  Pour over the top of the pork chops.  Cook on medium heat for 4 hours and then turn down to low for 3-4 hours.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Italian Au Gratin Potatoes

Nothing like a lot of rain and wind, some good music and a Sunday afternoon with no Wild hockey game to send me into the kitchen to make some comfort food.  I had cleaned my refrigerator and found 3 packages of Fontina cheese so I needed to make something with at least one package.  I also had some Prosciutto in the freezer so I took that out and used it to make this dish.

Italian Au Gratin Potatoes

7 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 oz prosciutto cubed, cooked and drained
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp Italian seasonings
8 oz Fontina cheese, grated
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.  Stir in the flour and allow to cook for a couple minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.  Gradually stir in milk, allowing to thicken and then stir some more in.  Add in spices and then the cheese and allow to melt completely.  In a greased casserole dish, layer the potatoes, onions and prosciutto in 3 layers.  Pour cheese mixture over potatoes.  Place in the over for an hour (depending on the thickness of the potatoes at 350°.  Remove from the oven, top with an additional 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan and bake for another 10 minutes.  

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Raspberry Chicken Salad

I know I have two raspberry chicken recipes in a row but they are very different.  This salad has a combination of sweet, tart and crunch.  The dressing is super easy to make in a food processor.  The candied pine nuts only took a few minutes to make but they add so much to the salad (and for snacking).  I added in some sliced grapes because I had them in the refrigerator and I like the little bursts of sweetness in the salad.

Raspberry Chicken Salad

Lettuce (your choice ~ washed & dried)
Fresh raspberries
Red grapes, cut in half
1 chicken breast, cooked, cooled slightly and sliced
Candied pine nuts

Dressing ~

3/4 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup raspberry wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra light virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp honey

Put all the ingredients together in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Candied Pine Nuts

1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup sugar

Place together in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat.  Stir until the sugar melts and coats the pine nuts evenly.  Remove and cool on a plate or in a bowl.  Crumble to separate when cool.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Raspberry Chicken

As you might have figured out, I love chicken and I'm always trying something new with it.  I tried a pomegranate molasses baked on top of a chicken one time.  It tasted great but turned the chicken into the most unbecoming shade of gray.  Not appetizing.  Not at all.  Spring cleaning found two opened jars of seedless raspberry jam in my refrigerator.  Not sure how that happens but it did so I wanted to at least get down to one.  This is a nice sauce that you basically put all the ingredients in a pan, stir and let it slowly simmer.  Easy.  It has the raspberry flavor but not the sweetness due to the vinegar and the Ancho Chili Pepper.  I buy my Ancho Chili Pepper from Penzey's.

Raspberry Chicken

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 tbsp. raspberry wine vinegar
1 tsp Ancho Chili Pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mix together all of the ingredients above in a small saucepan.  Stir and simmer over a low heat.  Stir occasionally but allow it to thicken.  Pound 2-4 boneless chicken breasts until they are an even thickness.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides.  Place in a heated frying pan with extra virgin olive oil.  Brown and fully cook on both sides.  Place on a serving dish and allow to rest for a few minutes before topping with the raspberry sauce.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Banana Coffee Cake

It's Sunday morning.  My refrigerator has 1 egg in it. Oops, grocery shopping error.  I also have 1 very ripe banana.  It was time to be creative and come up with breakfast.  I chose a coffee cake because it's Sunday morning and time to splurge a little.  It smells just like banana bread when you cut into it but the bonus is you get the cinnamon streusel topping.

Banana Coffee Cake

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour


1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
6 tbsp cold butter

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add in vanilla, banana and sour cream.  Gradually add in the dry ingredients, alternating with adding in the milk.  Place the dough in a greased 9 x 9 pan.  In a bowl, add in the flour and dark brown sugar (you can use light brown sugar).  Blend together.  Gradually add in pieces of cold butter by using a blending tool or fork.  When all incorporated, sprinkle over the top of the cake batter.  Bake for 50 minutes at 350°.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Honey Teriyaki Chicken Skewers

It's grilling season but sometimes red flag warnings make that a little difficult.  My Saturday dinner became lunch in order to beat the wind gusts.  After you make the sauce, save some in a separate dish for dipping later. 

Honey Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp sea salt

1 cup pineapple chunks
1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

Combine all the ingredients in a large measuring cup or bowl and allow to sit a half hour.  Lightly toast the sesame seeds while you are waiting for the sauce.  Alternate pieces of chicken and pineapple on skewers.  I used steel ones but if you use bamboo, remember to soak them so they don't start on fire.  Brush on glaze and place on your grill.  Turn once and reapply the glaze.  When done cooking, allow to sit for 5 minutes on your serving dish covered with aluminum foil and sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top before serving.