Posts Tagged ‘sun-dried tomatoes’

Pesto Chicken Pizza with Mascarpone, Spinach, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This pizza may have a long name but it’s nothing to be afraid of and if you haven’t tried mascarpone on pizza before, you are seriously missing out!

Pesto Chicken Pizza 2

Most of the people in my life are not huge bakers/cookers and to some, food blogging is an exquisite realm full of weird ingredients and crazy techniques. And stories. I had to laugh when one of my best friends expressed her dislike for scrolling down a post to get past the story and to the recipe, because it’s true. When people use Google to find a recipe they want the recipe, myself included. Yet here I sit not writing about this pizza with its long name and unusual ingredients like “mascarpone” and “caramelized onions” and I’m okay with that because I started this blog to chronicle my food adventures and to share those recipes to anyone who wants to try it for themselves. I cannot tell you how many of my parents’ friends have been directed to my blog for the recipe for “X”. People besides my friends and family reading beyond the recipe is just a bonus (heck even my friends and family reading is a bonus). So whether or not you read this, leave a comment, or skip over it all to the recipe I appreciate you being here :-).

P.S. After trying this recipe you’ll want to put mascarpone on every pizza you make from now on.

Pesto Chicken Pizza 1

One year ago: Lattice Chicken and Sweet Potato Potpie

Two years ago: Apple-Cranberry Oatmeal
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Spinach and Feta Chicken Rollatini & Cookbook Giveaway

Chicken rollatini is easier to make than it looks. This version is stuffed with spinach, feta, and sun-dried tomatoes and coated with almond flour.

Prevention RD Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour

I’ve been following Prevention RD for awhile and had the pleasure of reviewing Nicole’s first cookbook, Everyday Healthy Cooking, and was excited to get my hands on her second installment, Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour. Although I do not have a gluten allergy/intolerance I do have some close friends who are and I find myself playing with almond flour more often. In her newest cookbook, Nicole provides gluten-free recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and between-meal snacks. Recipes include honey-almond granola clusters, banana nut waffles, caprese quinoa bake with balsamic reduction, cranberry pumpkin bread, meyer lemon–raspberry cupcakes, key lime pie bites, and many more.

Similar to her first cookbook, Nicole also includes Cook’s Comments, Fun Facts, and Nutrition Notes that teach readers how to adjust portion sizes, make heavy recipes “light,” and convert recipes for non-gluten-free friends. In addition, each recipe includes nutrition information including the amounts of calories, carbohydrates, and fats.

And guess what? I’m also giving away a copy of her cookbook to one lucky reader! Enter using the Rafflecopter located at the end of this post.

Spinach and Feta Chicken Rollatini

The first recipe I tried was the lemon bars. I was super excited because I have never made regular lemon bars, let alone gluten-free. Unfortunately the crust floated to the top when I poured the filling over it and although it still tasted wonderful it was not very pretty. I’m not entirely sure what I did wrong except maybe I did not bake the crust long enough.

The second recipe I tried is the one I am sharing with you. Chicken breasts are stuffed with spinach, feta, and sun-dried tomatoes then coated with an almond flour-Parmesan mixture. It was a no-fail recipe both in execution and flavor. I am a huge fan of nut-crusted chicken and the nutty flavor that it adds – so much better than regular bread crumbs.

One year ago: Lighter Chicken Parmesan

Two years ago: Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Three years ago: Apple Butter Granola
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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 ClubPesto 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

CAJUN CHICKEN ALFREDO PIZZA

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

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)

Directions:

  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!

FLANK STEAK STUFFED WITH SUNDRIED TOMATOES, GOAT CHEESE AND BASIL

Serves 2

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  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.

SPINACH POTATO CAKES

Makes one dozen

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  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.

AMARETTO CHOCOLATE MASCARPONE CHEESECAKE BARS

Makes 9 bars

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  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.



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