Monday, April 29, 2013

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Roasted Tomatoes & Goat Cheese

This meatless dinner was incredibly scrumptious.....I literally gobbled it up! I served it with a side of Whole Foods' fresh angel hair pasta tossed in butter and a side salad. The stuffed portobello was simple, fresh and full of flavor. The recipe for the roasted cherry tomatoes was out of this world! I will be making them again and again! Yum! The whole meal was yum! Enjoy!

Thank you to A Food Centric Life blog for this delicious recipe! Here it is verbatim:

Portobello Mushrooms:
4 large Portobello mushrooms, about 4″ across
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon finely chopped shallot (optional)
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 ounces of plain goat cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
1 recipe of oven roasted tomatoes (recipe below)

If you have not made the oven roasted tomatoes ahead, do them first (recipe is below). They take just a few minutes of prep time and 20-25 minutes in the oven.

While the tomatoes are roasting, clean the mushrooms by gently wiping the outside of the caps with a damp paper towel or brushing any dirt off with a soft brush. Next, pop out the stems by pushing them from side to side until the snap out. Then with a teaspoon (I use a grapefruit spoon), scrape the gills out until the underside is mostly clean. Place them on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet (gill side up).

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot and garlic.  Brush mushroom caps inside and out with the olive oil mixture (or plain olive oil). Sprinkle each cap with salt and pepper.

Pre-heat the broiler. With the oven rack on the second to the top level, broil the mushrooms for 3-5 minutes until they are hot and the edges are starting to brown. They will start to release moisture and get juicy. Remove from the oven. (I drained off the excess water before continuing)

Pre-heat the oven to 375 (190C). Fill the caps with the roasted tomatoes and dot with the goat cheese. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs (I used basil).
Bake for 12 minutes or until hot and the cheese has softened. Brush with a little extra olive oil on the edges to make them shine. Serve.

Roasted Tomatoes:

12-16 ounces sweet baby tomatoes such as Sugar Plum or Grapeseed, halved
1 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely minced or squished through a garlic press
1 generous tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves (I used basil)
salt and pepper to taste


Pre-heat oven to 375F
Cover a quarter sheet or half sheet rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil. Toss halved tomatoes with oil, garlic, thyme (I used basil), salt and pepper. Spread tomatoes on the baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until shriveled and edges are just starting to turn a bit brown. Timing will depend on your oven. I let mine go about 25 minutes on the convection setting.
Serve warm, or cool. They will keep a few days in the refrigerator, if they last that long.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Baked Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

I am actually eating these right now as I am blogging this recipe. A delicious treat to have on a beautiful Sunday morning! These "pancakes" are so worth the effort. They are fluffy and sweet and produce shouts of "YES!" and "MY FAVORITE!" from my kids as they run into the kitchen as see them sitting on the counter!

PLEASE note I have made these multiple times and every time I have made them I used a 9 x 13 inch pan and baked them for 18 minutes. The original recipe says a 11 x 17 inch pan and to bake for 8-9 minutes....I just don't have a pan that large! So, if you are using a standard pan like me, go for 18 minutes! So go ahead and make these for no reason or for a special occasion because no matter what your family will sing your praises and shout "hurray" and love you all the day long! :)

This recipe is coming to you verbatim from the blog Big Red Kitchen:

Baked Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
1 1/2 cups milk
4 T. melted butter
2 large eggs
2 T. sugar
2 cups flour
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 11×17 inch jellyroll pan [please note I used a 9 x 13 inch pan and baked them for 18 minutes]. In a large mixing bowl, beat together milk, butter and egg. Add sugar, then gradually beat the flour in. Carefully stir in the baking powder and salt. Pour batter into prepared pan. Squeeze out swirls of Cinnamon Roll Filling over pancake batter- 4 swirls across, 3 down, for 12 pancakes. I used wooden skewers laid across the pan as a guide [I didn't do this- I totally just eye-balled it]. You can vary the size if you like.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 8-9 minutes until center is set and does not give when pressed with your finger [**Please note that I use a 9 x 13 inch pan and I bake them for 18 minutes]. Remove from oven and drizzle with Maple Cream Cheese Drizzle. Serve immediately. Makes 12 large pancakes.

Cinnamon Roll Filling
4 T. melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 T. cinnamon

In a small bowl mix filling ingredients together until blended well. Place in a pastry bag or plastic ziptop bag and snip corner to swirl over pancake batter.

Maple Cream Cheese Drizzle
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 T. good maple syrup

Mix the first three ingredients in a bowl until smooth, dripping in small amounts of milk until mixture is a drizzling consistency. I like to place mine in a pastry bag and drizzle that way.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Baby Shrimp Salad on an Avocado

This meal was extremely easy to whip up! I think the hardest part about this meal is finding two perfectly ripe avocados- because the avocado can make or break this dish! It's always a roll of the dice when I slice open an avocado- I'm praying for light green with no black spots, no "strings" and that perfect creamy texture.....I've been disappointed so many times! Thankfully, the two avocados I used as the bed for this shrimp salad were absolutely perfect! Happiness!

I usually use fresh baby bay shrimp when I make these. Strangely enough, Whole Foods didn't have any behind their seafood counter! I was told their 360 brand carried a canned tiny shrimp and that it was just as good. I was very dubious! But, much to my surprise, the canned tiny shrimp worked great! The only difference that I noticed using canned shrimp was the shrimps' shape fell apart when I folded them into the mayo sauce. Other than that, it was fine. So, all that to say, if you happen to be at Whole Foods, try their canned tiny shrimp! Otherwise, go for the baby shrimp you find behind the seafood counter!

2 Tbl mayo
2 Tbl plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbl lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Sriracha
1/2 tsp dill
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 oz baby bay shrimp, rinsed
2 perfectly ripe avocados, sliced in half lengthwise, pit & skin removed

Mix mayo through pepper together in a bowl. Carefully add baby shrimp and fold into mayo/yogurt sauce. Chill for an hour. Scoop shrimp mixture onto avocado halves. Enjoy!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Stuffed Green Pepper with Brown Rice, Chicken Sausage & Parmesan

I'm thinking about adding a new category to my blog: "Stuffed Peppers".  I'm just totally and completely obsessed with stuffing peppers ! And although eating stuffed peppers is generally a healthy thing to do, I don't make them for that reason alone......I make them because they are absolutely delicious and this recipe is no exception! I used two Italian chicken sausages for a real savory flavor, but you can use any type of chicken /turkey sausage you like - apple, bell pepper, feta & spinach, etc., etc.....Tailor your foods to suit the likes of your family.

Let me also add, I used only two peppers when making these....I made as much filling as she suggested, but I really packed the filling in and had hardly any left over!!! 

This recipe comes from Kayln's Kitchen and here it is verbatim:

1 C long-grain brown rice (I used Uncle Ben's Brown Rice, but any long-grain rice will work.)
4 large green bell peppers, cap end cut off and diced, and seeds removed
1 large onion, diced
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
2 links (about 8 ounces) turkey or chicken Sweet Italian Sausage (or other sausage of your choice. Use diced mushrooms instead of sausage for vegetarian version.)
1/2 tsp. ground fennel
1/2 tsp. dried Greek or Turkish oregano
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375F

Cook rice according to package directions, or using a rice cooker. (Rice can be cooked ahead and used in this recipe later.)

Trim bottom of bell peppers so they have a flat surface to stand on. Cut off a fairly generous amount of the stem end of peppers, then remove seeds. Place hollowed-out peppers in a baking dish that you've sprayed with non-stick spray or olive oil. (A dish that's close in size to the peppers will work best.)

Remove stem part from the pepper caps and trim off any white membrane, then dice pepper caps and the onion into fairly small dice. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet, then saute diced pepper and onion for 3-4 minutes, until they are starting to soften but aren't browned. Remove pepper-onion mixture to a bowl, add 1 tsp. more olive oil to the pan, then squeeze sausage out of the casing and cook until it's lightly browned, breaking apart with the back of a spatula (or use my favorite tool, Pampered Chef's Mix & Chop).

Put the onion-pepper mixture back into the pan with the sausage, add the dried spices, and saute 2-3 minutes to blend the flavors. Then add cooked rice and Parmesan cheese, season the mixture with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and cook just long enough to warm, about 1-2 minutes.

Stuff the filling mixture into the hollowed-out peppers, using a spoon to press the mixture down so it's tightly packed into the pepper shell.  If you have any extra filling, you can put it in a small ramekin and bake along with the peppers. Bake peppers for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and put a generous pinch of grated mozzarella on top of each pepper. Put peppers back into the oven and bake about 10-15 minutes more, until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Fresh Apple & Cinnamon Scones

These scones were BEYOND.....just BEYOND delicious! My husband ate three of them the first night I made them (okay, I ate three, too....I just couldn't stop myself!!!). I have often found scones to be dry and bland......I hardly ever go for a scone when I'm at a bakery because I'm always disappointed. Enter these fresh apple & cinnamon scones from the King Arthur Flour website. They were moist and flavorful....the freshly diced apples and cinnamon chips were just little bursts of yummy-ness with every single bite! I will make these again and again - for no reason whatsoever (except that I get a huge kick from seeing my husband devour them) and I will also make them for a brunch or a luncheon, to give to neighbors, friends, get well goodies, teacher appreciation get the idea right?

Here is the recipe straight from the King Arthur Flour website:

  • 2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice or ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh apple, in 1/2" pieces; leave the skin on, if you like (*I peeled my apple and diced it so that the pieces were finely chopped)
  • 3/4 cup cinnamon chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened preferred


  • 3 tablespoons coarse white sparkling sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 1) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spice.

2) Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated. (*I just used my hands to do this- it's easier for me to get messy than to mess with used utensils/pastry cutter)

3) Stir in the chopped apple and cinnamon chips.

4) In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce. 

5) Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.

6) Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan. 

7) Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Gently pat and round each half into a 5" to 5 1/2" circle about 3/4" thick.

8) To make the topping: Stir together the coarse sugar and cinnamon. Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with the topping.

9) Using a knife or bench knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges. 

10) Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.

11) For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F

12) Bake the scones for 18 to 22 minutes, or until they're golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the say through; the edge shouldn't look wet or unbaked. 

13) Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they're completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Homemade Beer Bread

I immediate "pinned" this copy cat recipe when I saw it on Pinterest and declared, "I must bake this tomorrow!" Have you ever had Tastefully Simple's Bountiful Beer Bread in a box? If so, you know why I was so quick to make this. It's absolutely delicious! I have given it as gifts it is so yummy! But, it is also expensive. It's one of those things you might hoard in the cupboard.....waiting and waiting until that perfect meal comes along before you actually use it because you know you won't be able to easily buy it again!! Well, there will be no more hoarding of the expensive boxed bread mix, folks! Because this recipe was mind-blowingly easy. I couldn't believe how much this bread tasted like the boxed version! The recipe comes from the Short Stop Blog and I thank the blogger greatly for sharing her copy cat recipe with the world!

Here is her recipe verbatim:

3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 5" x 9" loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Add beer* and mix until combined (Dough will be sticky). Place dough into loaf pan. Pour melted butter over top of loaf.

Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 50-60 minutes**, or until top is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean from center.

Serve warm or cold.

*If desired, you can substitute a 12-ounce can of soda for the beer in this recipe.
**From The Wooden Spoon Diaires- I baked mine for only 50 minutes and it was perfect!