Posts Tagged ‘sun-dried tomatoes’

Slow Cooker Chicken and Broccoli Sauce

Summer cooking is made easy with your slow cooker – it’s not just for cold weather. This chicken and broccoli sauce is great on top of your favorite pasta.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Broccoli Sauce 1

Yesterday I was sucked into the gloriousness that is McKay’s used books. Not only do they have an expansive selection of books to rival any of the larger chain bookstores, but there was an entire aisle of cookbooks. Unfortunately I was only there for a short stop before heading off to the movies and didn’t have enough time to fully commit to the search but you better believe I will be going back sometime this week to take over that aisle. There are all kinds from the latest cookbooks to those gems with contributed recipes which were made for bake sales, fundraisers, etc. I cannot wait to see what I find!

In truth however, I bookmark so many recipes daily from my fellow food bloggers that I really should not be thinking about buying cookbooks, used or not. There are simply not enough meals in the day for how many recipes I want to try. I expressed this problem to Joanne (Eats Well With Others) and decided that somehow we all need to get together, cook two recipes we’ve been dying to try, and then have a fat-kid field day. What I would give to live closer to make that happen. Guess I could always venture back up to the NYC area again. Or maybe Kita (Pass the Sushi) and I could convince everyone to venture to Seattle with us to visit Peabody (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody) and all the root beer deliciousness that awaits.

But back to all the food I want to cook. This is one such recipe that I have been wanting to make and the best part is that it doesn’t take any time at all to prepare because your slow cooker does all the work and doesn’t heat up your house. Well okay you have to steam the broccoli and cook the pasta but the hard parts are taken care of, giving you more time to focus on whatever else. Like daydreaming about foodie-travels.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Broccoli Sauce 2

One year ago: Cherry Vanilla Almond Overnight Oatmeal

Three years ago: Jalapeno Cheddar Hummus with Homemade Pita Chips
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Creamy Pesto with Mini Ravioli, Asparagus and Sun Dried Tomatoes

On one of my most recent adventures to Nashville, I (of course) stopped in to Trader Joe’s to stock up on old and new favorites. This particular journey I found myself flinging all kinds of newly found items into my shopping cart. One item that became a projectile happened to be dried mini cheese ravioli. Just like a girl, I got all excited over their small cuteness.

Once I got them into my kitchen I found I couldn’t just throw them into just any old sauce – they were just too special. So I made a creamy pesto sauce by mixing pesto and Greek yogurt together and tossed in some roasted asparagus, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes. Roasting vegetables has become my go-to vegetable cooking method and the combination definitely did the mini raviolis justice. But feel free to use regular (less exciting) sized ravioli if you cannot find minis.

Creamy Pesto with Mini Ravioli

Two years ago: Guiltless Cajun Chicken Alfredo
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Sun-Dried Tomato Ravioli with Basil Cream Sauce & Jumbo Reese’s Heart Stuffed Cookie

Happy Valentine’s Day!! What do you have planned today? I am going to the Brooks Museum with some friends for a visiting internet cat video film festival! It’s going to be absolutely ridiculous and I cannot wait. After all, I don’t need to do anything mushy today because I already celebrated Valentine’s Day over the past weekend when I was visiting my boyfriend. We actually made the ravioli I am sharing with you today!

I packed my ravioli press in my luggage, but unfortunately my stand mixer + pasta rolling attachments were unable to come with me. So the BF used his muscles to roll out this dough by hand with a rolling pin. Serious dedication. He even got creative and made a little heart ravioli for me out of the last pieces of dough (which you can make out on the top of the pile).

So stay at home tonight with your favorite person, and make this dish for/with them. Serve with some roasted brussels sprouts and a nice glass of wine. Oh and don’t forget dessert! How about an easy jumbo cookie stuffed with a 5 ounce heart-shaped Reese’s? Scroll down for that lovely treat.

In mom news, her MRA had to be postponed yesterday due to some minor things and as a result was not able to go home yesterday. But I talked to her and she sounds good although still tired. Best part is her vision has already started to improve!

Sun-Dried Tomato Ravioli

One year ago: Raspberry Hugs Cheesecake Blossoms

Two years ago: Sweet Swirl Cookies
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California Quesadillas with Honey-Balsamic Dipping Sauce

Tonight marks the end college football until fall. The BCS National Championship Game is my version of the Superbowl, since I don’t have a pro team that I am completely faithful to (I tend to lean towards the Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys). Although both are great reasons to bust out a lot of great food, which I definitely am faithful to.

Unfortunately, my Ohio State Buckeyes were ineligible for any BCS bowl game this year. If this were not the case, the 12-0 season would’ve lined up Ohio State to battle for the title against Notre Dame instead of Alabama. Boo hiss. Hopefully they will continue to play well next season when the ban is lifted. Until then… down with the SEC tyranny!

For those of you looking for a less glutinous choice while watching football tonight, try these quesadillas. The whole wheat tortillas are packed with chicken, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado and mozzarella cheese. Then dip to your hearts content into the honey-balsamic sauce and be prepared to not want to share.

California Quesadillas

Two years ago: Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies
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Arugula Pesto Pasta

Time for November’s Secret Recipe Club! This month I was assigned to K&K Test Kitchen, a blog run by a mother-daughter pair where they document the results from recipes they have collected over the years.
Secret Recipe Club Pesto seems to make everything better. And with the ease at which it can be made, all kinds of variations have popped up. Since I had yet to try pesto made with arugula I decided to try it out, despite the copious amount of regular pesto I have stocked up in my freezer. The peppery bite of the arugula was a great change from traditional pesto and I especially loved the addition of sun-dried tomatoes. I am very glad that there is some leftover from this recipe to use later on.

Check out some more great K&K Kitchen recipes such as Blueberry Quinoa Breakfast Salad, and Tart Cranberry Doughnut Glaze to use up any leftover cranberry from Thanksgiving.

Two years ago: Caramel Apple Pie
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Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce

I have a confession to make. There are recipes sitting my my drafts that have been patiently waiting for their moment in the spot light since August, from when I stayed in Knoxville for a month. Since August people! I thought I wasn’t going to have much time to cook or bake while I was there, so I had guest posters lined up once a week. Only to realize it wasn’t really necessary at all. And with the coming of fall I’ve gotten into the groove of baking and cooking fallish things. I really am trying to cook less in order to get all those saved recipes out the door, but a girl’s gotta eat!

But today I am bringing one out of the vault because it really does deserve some love. My dad and step-mom thought it was so good, that they said it was like eating at a fancy restaurant. It’s always fun when a fairly simple recipe tastes amazing. Of course now I want to remake this, especially since my basil plant is still going strong with the revival of 80 degree weather here. Wasn’t I just wearing boots a week ago?

One year ago: Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes
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Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pizza

Today, I am going to remedy a serious problem. The problem is that I have not seen my dad since March last year and we live in the same state (and even worse, my stepmom since Christmas a year ago)! Granted we are on opposite ends of a very long state, but still unacceptable. So today I am venturing off to pay them a visit. Did I mention there will be also cookies at the end of the yellow brick road?

Speaking of things I haven’t seen in awhile, after I did my best of 2011 recipe round-up I started to crave the lighter cajun chicken alfredo on that list which despite it’s awesome-ness I have neglected to make again. But since I sometimes like to change up recipes into new creations, I decided to get rid of the pasta and throw it on top of a pizza crust instead!

Ok ok, now bear with me on this one and enjoy the cheesy point I’m about to make because it’s the reason I bought this… The plate says it all. You can start making fun of me now, I give you permission. But you know what? I won’t care because it’s fun and truly was yummy.

One year ago: Black Cherry Vanilla Almond Smoothie


Serves 3-4


1 recipe pizza dough

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning, divided

1 cup 2% milk

1 oz. reduced fat cream cheese

1 Tbsp flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 Tbsp light butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, diced

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/2 cup frozen broccoli, thawed and chopped

1 cup Mozzarella cheese

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees for at least 10 minutes with a pizza stone* on the middle rack.
  2. Meanwhile, roll pizza dough onto a corn meal dusted pizza peel*.
  3. Heat oil in a medium skillet. Season both sides of the chicken breast with 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning. Brown for 5 minutes on one side, flip, and cover the skillet. Continue cooking until the chicken is done. Remove the chicken and allow to cool slightly before cutting into strips, or bite-sized pieces.
  4. In a food processor or blender, combine milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt. Process until smooth and set aside.
  5. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 2-3 minutes until the sauce begins to simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a couple minutes more. It should become thicker.
  7. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan until melted, then add the sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning, basil, and cayenne and cover the pan immediately.
  8. Let stand for at least 10 minutes prior to using. It will continue to thicken to desired consistency. Then spread sauce over pizza crust, and top with chicken, broccoli and cheese.
  9. Shimmy the pizza from the pizza peel onto the pre-heated pizza stone and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until it the crust turns golden brown and the cheese starts to bubble. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then cut into slices.

*If you do not have a pizza stone or peel, roll dough out on a corn meal dusted baking sheet/pizza pan.

Source: Adapted from The Spiffy Cookie.

Steph’s Virtual Bridal Shower: Stuffed Flank Steak with Potato Cakes and Amaretto Chocolate Cheesecake

Kita, from Pass the Sushi, contacted me about contributing to Steph’s (from Steph’s Bite by Bite) surprise virtual bridal shower and I definitely knew I wanted to be a part of it. Even though some of us (myself included) are already donating desserts to her dessert bar for the big wedding day, this was a fun idea to do in addition since it is after all, a surprise! Who doesn’t love surprises?

Another thing that I really liked about this idea, is that even though I am very aware that Steph is fully capable of pleasing her soon-to-be-hubby’s belly, she will now have a big new list of great date-night meal ideas to play with. I don’t know if that was the original intention behind this masterful plan, but I think it makes sense.

I decided to go all the way and do a full meal. Naturally, I created a huge mess in my kitchen making everything for this, but I drank a glass of wine in the process so it make it not seem so bad. And had another glass after cleaning up after myself. And then maybe I invited Katie over and we finished the whole bottle while watching Project Runway and being amused by my cat playing with a rubber band. Maybe… yes. Yes, I am getting sidetracked.

I prepped the potato cakes first, then let them sit for a few minutes while I prepared the flank steak. Once the steak was in the oven, I cooked up the potato cakes. The timing was just perfect and I can’t believe how well it all went together. The juicy flavorful steak was served curled up on top of the crunchy potato cakes that were super moist and heavenly. It is a fancified (I may have just made that word up) meat and taters!

As for the cheesecake, it was the logical choice for the end of this meal. With the Italian-ish feel of the steak, having a dessert with Amaretto and mascarpone just seemed right. And it is made one day in advance so the kitchen mess gets spread out between two days. But the dessert really doesn’t make much of a mess. Except maybe a mess of your diet, because I decided it needed a drizzle of Nutella on top while I was at it. Go ahead and try to tell me I was wrong.

Happy surprise virtual bridal shower, Steph!


Serves 2


10 oz. (ish) flank steak

2 oz. goat cheese, brought to room temperature to soften

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped

3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Salt and pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Butterfly the flank steak, and then pound is to flatten it slightly. Sprinkle both sides of the steak with salt and pepper.
  3. In a bowl, combine the softened goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, basil, a few grinds of pepper. Spread the mixture on top of the flank steak, and then roll it up to form a log. Secure the steak with kitchen twine or toothpicks.
  4. Heat a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the flank steak and brown it on all sides. Place the flank steak in the oven to finish cooking to your desired level of doneness (about 1o minutes for me). Place the steak under a foil tent to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.


Makes one dozen


1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup packed fresh spinach, stems removed

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 large Idaho potato, boiled and mashed

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup dried bread crumbs

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup canola oil


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter, melt, then add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Squeeze the spinach dry and finely chop; place in a large bowl. Add the egg and stir until well combined. Add the mashed potatoes, Parmesan, and lemon zest, and season with more salt and pepper; stir until well combined. Stir in the bread crumbs and flour until the mixture holds together. Pat into 2-inch by 1/2-inch-thick cakes.
  2. Pour Panko bread crumb into a shallow bowl. Coat each potato cake and press down slightly to adhere. Gently shake off any excess and transfer to a plate.
  3. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the cakes and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side.


Makes 9 bars


1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

1 cup + 2 Tbsp flour, divided

1/4 cup powdered sugar

8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature

8 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

3 Tbsp Amaretto

3 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Nutella, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8″ x 8″ square pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang, and set aside.
  2. Cut the butter into 1 cup of the flour and powdered sugar until crumbly. Press evenly  into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until light brown.
  3. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth. Add mascarpone and 2 Tbsp flour; beat until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl with rubber spatula.
  4. Gradually add sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in Amaretto. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
  5. Divide the batter in half. Add cocoa powder to one of the batters and mix until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour chocolate filling into pie shell. Carefully spoon plain Amaretto batter on top. Scatter chocolate chips if using.
  7. Bake cheesecake until top is golden and cake is almost set (center 2 inches will still move slightly when pan is gently shaken), about 40-50 minutes. Cool cake on rack 1 hour before refrigerating uncovered overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
  8. Before serving, lift out of the pan using the overhanging parchment paper before cutingt into 9 squares. Drizzle melted Nutella over the top is desired.

Source: Flank Steak from Elly Says Opa. Potato cakes adapted from Epicurious. Cheesecake adapted slightly from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. Cheesecake shortbread crust from King Arthur Flour.

Feta, Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomato and Pine Nut Pizza with Sourdough Crust

Well, isn’t that the longest pizza title ever? I couldn’t come up with a good title and also felt like I couldn’t leave out the star toppings. I got the idea for this pizza from one of my favorite pizza places, The Mellow Mushroom. Several of their pizzas are quite delicious, and I really enjoy the diversity of toppings that stray from the traditional but their Kosmic Karma pizza I order the most. Even the name sounds appealing, as if eating it will send you into a peaceful state – which it does. And what better than to recreate that experience at home?

Using my sourdough starter to make a sourdough pizza crust, this pizza was spread with pesto as the underlying sauce, then topped with Mozzarella and feta cheese, followed by a good helping of spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts. I may have gotten a little zealous with the pine nuts, but they add such a great texture!


1 recipe sourdough pizza crust

1/2 cup pesto

1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture

4 sun-dried tomatoes, julienned

2 heaping Tbsps pine nuts, toasted


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees for at least 10 minutes with a pizza stone* on the middle rack.
  2. Meanwhile, roll pizza dough onto a corn meal dusted pizza peel*.
  3. Spread pesto over crust. Top with Mozzarella and feta followed by spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts.
  4. Shimmy the pizza from the pizza peel onto the pre-heated pizza stone and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until it the crust turns golden brown and the cheese starts to bubble. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then cut into slices.

*If you do not have a pizza stone or peel, roll dough out on a corn meal dusted baking sheet/pizza pan.

Source: The Spiffy Cookie original, inspired by the “Kosmic Karma” Pizza from Mellow Mushroom.

Homemade Whole Wheat Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Tomato-Pancetta Butter

A couple years ago, a group of friends and I went to a hands-on Viking Cooking School one-night class. It had to be one of the best meals I’ve ever had, but I may have been biased due to the complimentary wine they kept pouring in my glass while we cooked. This is everything we made/ate:

  • Marinated Roasted Red Peppers and Olives
  • Homemade Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Tomato-Pancetta Butter
  • Veal Scaloppini with Prosciutto and Sage (Saltimbocca alla Romana)
  • Chocolate Gelato with Cherries rolled in Bittersweet Chocolate (Tartufo)
  • Sparkling Wine with Fresh Strawberry Puree (Rossinis)

Seriously, we ate all of that and I should’ve been rolled home.

Thankfully we were provided with all the recipes, because I have remade several of them already for various occasions or just for dinner again. Unfortunately, I had never fully recreated the ravioli (until now) because I lacked the tools necessary to do so. (I’ve been using frozen pre-made ravioli instead and just making the Tomato-Pancetta butter – which I welcome you to try if making homemade pasta isn’t up your alley.)

But guess what? I own the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer Pasta Roller attachments now! Hooray!! So I decided to make these lovely things, but attempted them in whole wheat. Unfortunately the texture wasn’t quite right, but the saving grace is that they still tasted wonderful. I’m not sure anything stuffed with ricotta, Romano and spinach, covered in butter, sun-dried tomatoes and pancetta could ever be unpleasant.

If you’re lucky I may make more of the others recipes from that night and post them soon ;-).



3 eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for rolling dough (or all-purpose for the original recipe)

1 tsp kosher salt


  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse the eggs and oil to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and salt. While the machine is running, add the flour mixture through the feed tube. Process until the mixture holds together and forms a ball. (Note: If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of warm water and process briefly. If the dough is too sticky, remove it from the processor and knead it with just enough flour to make it smooth and elastic.)
  2. Remove the dough from the work bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let rest for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Cut the pasta dough into fourths. Wrap three of the pieces in plastic wrap, then set aside until needed. Flatten the remaining piece into a rectangle, approximately the same width as the pasta machine rollers. Adjust the pasta machine rollers to their widest setting.
  4. Roll the rectangle of pasta through the rollers one time. Then, fold the rectangle into thirds and feed it through the rollers 6-8 more times, folding the dough into thirds each time. Dust lightly with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking. Tighten the rollers of the pastas machine one notch, and feed the dough through the rollers without folding. Continue to feed the dough through the rollers without folding, tightening the rollers one notch each time, until the pasta is the desired thickness.
  5. Repeat the rolling process with the remaining three pieces of dough. Allow the pasta sheets to dry for 5 minutes before filling.



2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-10 oz. bag spinach, tough stems removed

Salt and black pepper, to taste

7.5 oz. ricotta cheese

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano

1 pinch nutmeg


Heat a large saute pan over medium heat; add the oil and heat through. Add the garlic and cook until it just begins to sizzle, about 15-20 seconds. Then, add the spinach in large handfuls, stirring to wilt before adding more. Cook until wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes; season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool completely.

When cool enough to handle, finely chop the spinach. Place the chopped spinach in the center of a large, square, dampened piece of cheesecloth folded double. Draw up the sides to form a pouch, then twist and squeeze to extract the excess moisture; transfer the chopped spinach to a medium bowl.

Stir in the ricotta cheese, egg, Pecorino Romano and nutmeg; mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, the set aside until needed.

Using a ravioli form, lightly coat with nonstick spray and lay a sheet of pasta over it. Place the top of the form on the pasta sheet, pressing gently to make impressions for the filling. Remove the top of the form, and place 1 tablespoon of filling in each impression. Lightly moisten the border of the pasta sheet and in between the filling with water, using a pastry brush. Cover the filled impressions with a second sheet of dough. use a rolling pin to roll over the top of the form to cut and separate the ravioli. Push the finished ravioli out of the form. Transfer the ravioli to a flour-dusted baking sheet or a clean kitchen towel; let dry for 5-10 minutes. (Meanwhile, prepare butter – below)

Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil. Add the pasta and immediately stir to separate the individual pieces. Cook the ravioli, stirring once of twice during cooking, until al dente, about 2 minutes, or until they float. Remove from the water using a slotted spoon, then transfer to paper towels or a clean kitchen cloth to drain.



3 oz thinly sliced pancetta (3/4 cup chopped)

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

4 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and diced

1/2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

Black pepper, to taste


  1. Place the chopped pancetta in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat; cook until crisp and brown, about 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined dish to drain; allow to cool to room temperature. (Meanwhile, cook the pasta – above)
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all but 2 tablespoonfuls of the cooked pancetta with the butter, diced tomatoes and thyme. Season to taste with pepper, then set aside until needed. Reserve the remaining pancetta for garnish.
  3. Gently melt the tomato-pancetta butter. Place the cooked ravioli in a warmed serving bowl; pour the butter over the ravioli, and toss to coat. Garnish with grated Pecorino Romano, the reserved pancetta and the thyme sprigs; serve immediately.

Source: Viking Cooking School – Girl’s Night Out: In Rome

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