This weekend I was in major need of some comfort after a long string of holiday parties and maybe a few too many glasses of champagne (shh!).  My usual go-to comfort food is a bowl of pasta, but I decided to mix it up this time and try a savory chicken dish with a creamy sun-dried tomato sauce, lots of sautéed mushrooms and shallots, and a little crispy bacon and goat cheese just to amp up the richness. Full recipe below if you’re in need of comfort food too!
Cream Sun Dried Skillet Chicken Creamy Sun Dried Skillet Chicken 1 Creamy Sun Dried Skillet Chicken 2 Creamy Sun Dried Skillet Chicken 4 Creamy Sun Dried Skillet Chicken 3

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large chicken breasts
  • 2 large Portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 small shallots
  • 2-3 slices of thick cut bacon
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil (reserve oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup of light cream
  • 1 tbsp of goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan, plus extra for garnishing
  • 2 sprigs of fresh tarragon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  • Heat a large cast iron skillet on high and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and brown in the hot pan on both sides.
  • While the chicken is browning, roughly chop mushrooms, shallots, bacon and sun-dried tomatoes; mince garlic.
  • Remove chicken from pan when cooked through,  add 1/2 tbsp of the sun-dried tomato oils  and 1 tbsp of butter to the pan, then toss mushrooms, shallots, bacon, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and sauté mixture. (Scrape the pan to loosen any browned bits from the pan).
  • Lower heat to medium and stir in 3/4 cup of light cream, 1 tbsp of goat cheese, and 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese; stir continously to break down the cheese and incorporate the tomatoes flavors with the cream.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan while the sauce cooks and thickens.
  • Remove from heat, garnish with fresh parmesan cheese and torn tarragon leaves.
  • Try serving over pasta or a bed of spinach.

From the time that  I first heard about Farm and Fable’s Cookbook Book Club,  I was sold — what is better than hanging out with a group of friends and chatting about cookbooks? Oh right, eating the recipes from them! I finally was able to join one of the meet-ups this weekend and it was a ton of fun. This month the book was Huckleberry, the new cookbook from the famed Santa Monica bakery. While I love cooking, I’m actually not the most skilled baker (sticking to proportions and instructions can be tough for me, I always want to add more butter, oops!), so I ended up picking one of the more savory recipes from the book, a tomato goat cheese cobbler. It was really tasty, and so were the 10 other recipes that book club attendees made. My favorite? The chocolate banana bread bundt cake — holy yum. I loved getting to hear their experiences with the recipes and even got a few new tips and tricks to use next time! IMG_5217.JPGIMG_5226.JPGIMG_5227.JPGIMG_5234.JPG

Guys! We’re one week out from my very favorite holiday (because it’s all about food and family, my two favorite things!). Being as food obsessed as I am, I’m already thinking about delicious leftovers. The day after Thanksgiving at my family’s house is usually a continuation of the festivities, we dig into leftovers and friends and family pops in to visit. Of course no one would turn down a post-Thanksgiving leftover turkey sandwich, but I thought I would mix it up this year and try to repurpose some leftover side dishes to make a festive appetizer to enjoy while family is still visiting at the end of the holiday weekend. Leftover mashed potatoes, stuffing, and sweet potatoes got a little dressed up and repurposed as filling for stuffed mushrooms — the taste of Thanksgiving in a bite sized snack! Full recipe below.
Thanksgiving LeftoversThanksgiving Leftovers A Thanksgiving Leftovers B Thanksgiving Leftovers C Thanksgiving Leftovers D Thanksgiving Leftovers E Thanksgiving Leftovers F Thanksgiving Leftovers G Thanksgiving Leftovers H
Ingredients:
  • Mushroom caps
  • Leftover mashed potatoes
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Leftover baked sweet potatoes (1 potato)
  • 1 tsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • Leftover stuffing
  • Cooked italian sausage
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley (for garnish)
  • Green Onions (for garnish)
  • Crispy bacon (for garnish)
Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Clean the mushroom caps and remove stems.
  • Using a small spoon or melon-baller, scoop out the inside of the mushroom caps to make room for filling (cup the mushrooms in your hand to keep them from breaking.
  • For Mashed Potatoes: fill mushroom caps with leftover potatoes, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  • For Sweet Potatoes: combine sweet potatoes with a drizzle of honey and melted butter; fill caps with mixture.
  • For Stuffing: combine leftover stuffing with cooked and chopped italian sausage, fill caps with mixture.
  • Arrange filled mushroom caps in a baking dish, salt and pepper to taste, and bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
  • Remove and garnish: add green onions to the top of the mashed potato stuffed mushrooms; chopped crispy bacon to sweet potato stuffed mushrooms, and minced parsley to the top of stuffing filled stuffed mushrooms.

The other day at work the topic of Thanksgiving foods came up, and while it’s not a traditional Thanksgiving food, I mentioned that we always have a mac and cheese at ours because my siblings aren’t big on turkey. One of the best mac and cheese dishes that I’ve ever eaten was on our honeymoon, and the dish came served with a side of homemade applesauce — delicious. My wheels started turning for how I could combine these flavors in a new way, and I came up with this cute little idea for a savory and sweet side dish: mac and cheese baked apples. I love the idea of offering these in small apples as an appetizer, or as a bigger portion for a side dish at dinner — either way, they’re a super tasty treat. Full recipe below!

Mac and cheese baked apple Mac and cheese baked apple1 mac and cheese baked apple2 mac and cheese baked apple3 mac and cheese baked apple4 mac and cheese baked apple5 mac and cheese baked apple6Ingredients:

  • 4-5 large apples (honey crisp apples worked great)
  • 5 cups of cooked pasta (elbows work great!)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (plus extra for garnish)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

Cook pasta as directed, removing from water when still al dente. Clean apples and slice their tops off; using a melon-baller, scoop out the insides of the apple leaving a half-inch rim around the edges. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and begin to whisk in flour until a roux forms, then slowly whisk in the cup of milk and heat until the sauce thickens. Next, mix in the cheeses and combine until the sauce is a consistent texture. Remove from heat fold in pasta until fully coated; salt and pepper to taste. Fill the hollowed-out apples with macaroni and cheese mixture, and top with additional sharp cheddar cheese. Bake in a baking dish in a 400 degree pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes.

 

I’ve been trying to be better lately about not wasting food. Cooking for two means we unfortunately sometimes end up tossing out lots of leftovers, so I’ve been challenging myself to be creative with what’s in the fridge and use as much as I can. We had a roasted chicken for dinner this weekend so I was brainstorming ideas for what to make with the extra meat. I whipped up a batch of chicken stock with the bones from the chicken and decided it would make a pot-pie, but in order to use more of the stock and chicken, I made it into a soup instead. I even added a fluffy biscuit for dipping to get the crust flavors. Full recipe below:

Chicken Pot Pie Soup 1
Chicken Pot Pie Soup 3 Chicken Pot Pie Soup 4 Chicken Pot Pie Soup 5

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 small red potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 yellow onion
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 1.5 cups roasted chicken, shredded
  • 1 cup of fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas

Instructions:

Dice red potatoes, carrot, and onions. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Add roasted mixture to a large pot with 1 tbsp of olive oil. As the mixture heats up, stir in flour until it dissolves and coats the vegetables. Add chicken stock and half and half and bring the soup to a low boil. Reduce to medium heat and add in chicken, corn, and peas. Simmer for 15 minutes to blend flavors; add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a warm biscuit for dipping.

On a recent trip to the farmer’s market, I spotted the cutest little mini eggplants (I learned they’re called fairy tale eggplants) and had to scoop some up to experiment with. Given the warm weather recently, I decided to use them in a summer-temperature-friendly appetizer — eggplant caprese bites. I washed the eggplants and sliced them into thin, 1/4 rounds, then dunked them in a whisked egg batter and dredged them lightly in Italian bread crumbs. Using a large skillet, I browned the eggplant in olive oil, and then let them come up to room temperature while resting on a clean paper towel to remove some of the oil. Then comes assembly time — on a toothpick I stacked up tomatoes, eggplant rounds, halves of mini-mozzarella balls, and fresh basil leaves. Right before I served them I sprinkled the bites with sea salt for a little extra flavor. Aren’t they so bright and cheery?

Eggplant Caprese BitesEggplant Caprese Bites 1 Eggplant Caprese Bites 3 Eggplant Caprese Bites 4 Eggplant Caprese Bites 5 Eggplant Caprese Bites 6

After what feels like dozens of hot nights in our apartment, it finally cooled down enough this week that turning on the oven was an option. Getting back into the kitchen was such a good re-charge for me this week, especially with all of the amazing seasonal produce available to play with! I needed some comfort food after a long weekend of partying it up at a friend’s wedding so I went with a pasta dish — something quick and simple. I roasted a small eggplant, a container of quartered grape tomatoes, and two heads of garlic with some EVOO and salt and pepper at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. While that cooked, I made angel hair pasta and tossed it with half a lemon’s juice, torn basil leaves, about a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter, and some parmesan cheese. Once the vegetable mixture was well roasted, I pulled the cloves out of the garlic heads and smash them up with the tomatoes and eggplant, and tossed all of the ingredients together with the pasta and a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water. It totally hit the spot — the roasted garlic infused the eggplant and tomatoes with so much flavor, and all of the ingredients came together for a fresh but hearty meal. 20140729-075547-28547218.jpg20140729-075543-28543386.jpg20140729-075545-28545209.jpg20140729-075544-28544309.jpg20140729-075546-28546026.jpg20140729-075548-28548272.jpg

 

 

A  few weeks back I popped into Olives & Grace in the South End and stumbled upon Sfoglini pastas in the shop. My siblings and I essentially considered everything bagels our main food group for most of our childhood, so I had to grab a bag when I saw they made an everything bagel-flavored pasta. Fast forward to my crawl along the Vermont Cheese Trail a week later when visiting the Cabot tasting room I secured some everything bagel cheddar cheese. It was carb and cheese kismet — frankly it would have been irresponsible not to dream up a way to combine these two everything-bagel-flavored treats.  Sometimes a great idea just presents itself to you, and Everything Bagel Mac & Cheese was one of those great ideas. I modified my usual mac and cheese recipe, and just swapped in the everything bagel flavored ingredients (and just because that wasn’t enough, I crushed up bagel chips in lieu of bread crumbs). I’m a certified crazy person for even thinking something like this up, but oh man was it tasty. (Full disclosure: next time I’d probably hold back on the bagel chips because it tasted a little bit like mac and cheese combined with stuffing due to their texture — not that mac and cheese stuffing sounds like a bad thing). So, there you have it. In case you thought making donuts into s’mores was the fattest idea a person could ever have — I’ve topped myself once again. 20140625-193739-70659660.jpg20140625-193737-70657713.jpg20140625-193740-70660538.jpg20140625-193738-70658704.jpg20140625-193741-70661319.jpg

There’s something a bit funny about me posting a recipe for a fish dish because  I never really had a taste of seafood until a few years ago. My husband loves fish and slowly got me to taste it when we would go out to eat at restaurants. Now I’m a seafood lover –I’m thankful he broke me of that picky-eating-habit — but cooking fish at home has been intimidating for me! I’ve experimented though and finally cracked a good basic recipe of baked cod that I then mix up with different toppings (kalamata olives and tomatoes is a favorite!). We saw some sweet yellow corn at the market this weekend and I decided to experiment with a baked cod dish that has a summer spin: corn, tomatoes, shallots and thyme — full recipe below!

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Ingredients:

  • 1lb of fresh cod
  • 2 tbsp of white wine
  • 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 thinly sliced small shallots
  • 2 ears of corn
  • Fresh thyme
  • Lemon
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and in a shallow baking dish arrange the pieces of cod. On top of the fish, pour 2 tbsp of white wine, and then sprinkle 2 tbsp of grated Parmesean cheese. Next, arrange 1/2 cup of quartered grape tomatoes, 3 thinly sliced small shallots, and corn kernels from two ears of corn. Top all of the ingredients with a generous amount of salt and pepper, 6-8 fresh thyme sprigs, the juice of one lemon and 1 tbsp of melted butter. Pop that tasty summer dish into the oven and let it bake for 15-20 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Serve over rice with fresh thyme.

Lemon and basil are one of those flavor pairs that I just can’t get enough of. I had a bunch of leftover lemons from a photo shoot last weekend, so I decided to dig through the pantry and make up something tasty to use them in.  My tasty result was a lemon basil pasta with skillet chicken and shallots. It was tasty, and you can  make it too — recipe below!

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Boil water and cook pasta to al dente, reserve a few tablespoons of pasta water for sauce. In a skillet, heat olive oil and sauté two thinly sliced shallots. Once they begin to soften, add in chicken breasts that has been seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence. When the chicken is browned and cooked through, remove to a plate and let rest. Add 1/4 cup of white wine to the pan, scraping up the shallots and browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Then add in 1 tbsp of butter, the juice of one lemon, and the reserved pasta water and let the sauce reduce for 4-6 minutes. Chop up the chicken into bite-sizes pieces, and toss back into the sauce with the pasta to combine. Then sprinkle the dish with freshly chopped basil and parmesan cheese before serving! Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset