Top 12 of 2012

So we’ve all lived passed the dooms day of 12/21 and we can look forward to what 2013 has to offer! As I bring another year of blogging to a close, here is a look back of my most popular posts of the year.

1. Tortilla Chicken

2. Double Crunch Savory Pork Chops

3. Coffee and Nutella Cupcakes

 

4. Ironman Cake

 

5. Peanut Butter Waffles with Cocoa Whipped Cream

 

6. Zucchini Ravioli

7. Baked Mac n’ Cheese

 

8. Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

9. Asian Lettuce Wraps

 

10. Oven Fried Chicken Tenders with Dipping Sauce

 

11. Italian Grilled Cheese

12. Fajita Pasta

 
 
Here’s to a delicious 2013!

Chicken in Creamy Chive Sauce

Whew, Christmas is officially over. This year was a little more hectic than normal since we’re still getting settled from the move. I hate to say it, but I wasn’t really into Christmas this year. I’m really looking forward to getting into a normal routine!

So here is another edition of the recipe swap hosted by http://tasteofhomecooking.blogspot.com. I was assigned Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations and I settled on the Creamy Chive Chicken recipe. This was SO good, and my husband loved this one too. I took her notes and I added some white wine into the sauce which I think gave it a nice flavor, I also added salt as I thought it was a little bland on first tasting. This one is definitely making it’s way into my recipe box!

 
 
Ingredients
-1 tablespoon EVOO
-2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-3 tablespoons minced shallots
-1 teaspoon dried thyme
-1 and 1/2 cup cream
-1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
-1/4 cup white wine
-2 tablespoons chopped chives
-1/2 teaspoon salt
 
1. Over medium high heat, heat the EVOO and add the shallots and garlic, saute for 2 minutes.
 
2. Add chicken pieces and cook 5 minutes, then add cream, white wine, thyme, and salt, bring to boil and then simmer 5 minutes until chicken is cooked.
 
3. Once chicken is cooked, add the Parmesan cheese and simmer 1-2 minutes. Stir in chives, serve over pasta or rice.


Source: Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations

 
 
 
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Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Cookies

This was my first year participating in a cookie swap with fellow bloggers. I really wanted to make something a little different this year, and also to redeem myself from my gingerbread let down from years past. If you’ve never had the combination of chocolate and gingerbread before, you’ve been missing out. My husband loves these little German cookies that are gingerbread covered in chocolate. We had just gone to a German Christmas market a few weeks ago and it got me thinking to making my own version of these: chocolate chip gingerbread cookies! I knew I wanted to start with a chewy gingerbread cookie instead of a crunchy. I found a recipe on All Recipes and just added in my chocolate chips. I can’t even explain how good these are. The sweet from the chocolate pairs perfectly with the warmth and spice of the gingerbread. I’ll be making these again for Christmas, and I hope the blogger I sent these to liked these as I did!

 
 

Ingredients
-2 1/4 cups flour
-2 teaspoons ginger
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon cloves
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cup butter, softened
-1 cup white sugar
-1 egg
-1 tablespoon water
-1/4 cup molasses
-1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
-Additional 2 tablespoons white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and the 1 cup white sugar. Beat in the egg and then stir in the water and molasses.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Gradually stir mixture into the molasses mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Dip rolled cookies into the additional white sugar. Bake 8-9 minutes.

Gingerbread Source: All Recipes

Baked S’mores

In case you couldn’t tell from my indoor s’mores recipe, I love s’mores! Who doesn’t love the combination of crunchy graham, melted chocolate, and sweet marshmallow? I’ve wanted to take this childhood classic and turn it into something a little more ‘adult’. What better way that to take those elements and bake them in a ramekin? I started by making a simple graham cracker crust and baking it into the bottom of the ramekin so that it would keep the crunchiness that I think this crucial to a good s’more. I then made a small modification to the chocolate goodness of indoor s’more and layered it on top of the graham crust. The last part is a generous topping of marshmallow fluff. Pop that under the broiler and it creates a crisp shell very similar to the crunch of a creme brulee, and then the smooth fluff and chocolate are all melty underneath. My husband loved these, and I’ll be making them again for Christmas Eve dessert!

 
 
 
Ingredients- Yields 3 servings

-2 tablespoons butter, melted
-5 full graham crackers, crushed
-1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
-2 tablespoons half and half
-2 tablespoons cocoa
-1 tablespoon powdered sugar
-1 teaspoon sugar
-marshmallow fluff
 
1. In a small bowl, combine the crushed graham cracker and melted butter. Spoon into 3 ramekins and press down firmly to form crust. Bake in 400 degree oven 6 minutes.
 
2. In a small sauce pot, melt chocolate chips and half and half. Remove from heat and add the cocoa, powdered sugar, and sugar. Spoon over graham cracker crust and top generously with fluff, you’ll want the fluff to cover the entire top.
 
3. Place under broiler for 5-6 minutes, until the top of the fluff is browned. Garnish with a few chocolate chips or crushed graham cracker.
 
A Seasoned Greeting Original Recipe

Baileys Caramel Mousse

For some reason every time my husband and I move it coincides with Thanksgiving. Yes, we’re brilliant people.

Thanksgiving this year fell 4 days after our big move from Charleston, SC to Jersey City, NJ. 14 hours driving a Uhaul was far from a pleasant experience. My neck and shoulders ached so bad from white-knuckling the steering wheel the whole way trying to keep the behemoth of a truck in between the white lines.

Since we were going to his family’s Thanksgiving dinner, I said I would do the desserts, since I figured that would be the easiest items to whip together with a half put together kitchen. I had stumbled across this recipe for a Baileys mousse on the Baileys website. This was so freaking easy and so decadent and rich. Aside from my mom’s chocolate mousse recipe, this goes down as one of the best I’ve ever had. It has just enough kick from the Baileys and just enough sweet from the caramel and chocolate! Might be nice to serve this with a wafer cookie of some kind next time.

Of course, I forgot to snap a photo when I served at Thanksgiving. Guess it gives me another reason to make it again! Don’t let not having a photo deter you from trying this!

Ingredients-Yields 5-6 servings
-3 egg yolks
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup cocoa
-2 tbsp Baileys with a Hint of Caramel
-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
-1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a medium bowl beat egg yolks and sugar until blended thoroughly. Beat in cocoa and Baileys.

2. In a different bowl, whip the cream and vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the Baileys and chocolate mixtures. Divide into servings and chill 1 hour.

Source: Baileys

Hot Crab Dip

I’m keeping this post short and sweet. We are moving on Saturday and virtually everything is packed and I have a TON of cleaning to get done. If there is one thing I despise with a passion, its moving. The big things I can handle, I think its easier to manage the sofa, bed, tables etc. The thing that gives me the most trouble are all the little random odds and ends that need to find a home in a cardboard box for the long haul back home. Grrr!! Hopefully after Thanksgiving is over I’ll get back into the kitchen and bring this blog back to life!

For this edition of the recipe swap, I got this delicious hot crab dip. I absoutely loved this and will be making this again and again! I’ll upload a pic when I get my internet back…but until then this post is pic-less…sorry all! Visit Life and Kitchen for a mouth-watering photo.

Ingredients
-1 pound lump crab meat, cleaned and picked free of shells
-1 8 oz. package cream cheese
-½ cup sour cream
-1 Tablespoon lemon juice
-½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
-1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
-1 teaspoon mustard
-1 Tablespoon Old Bay
-1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
-½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese, sour cream, and lemon juice. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, parsley, mustard and Old Bay. Add 1 cup of the cheddar cheese and all of the mozzarella cheese.

3. Stir in the crab meat and stir well to combine. Spread dip into baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and parsley. Bake at 350°F for 20. Broil 5-6 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Source: Life and Kitchen

Fried Goat Cheese with Bacon and Balsamic Reduction

When I was working as an event planner, I had the pleasure of sampling a wide array of delicious hors d’oeuvres. One that really stood out to me was a goat cheese tart that had little bits of bacon and a balsamic drizzle on top. Oh my gosh it was so good. I had it on my list of things to try and recreate for quite some time. I knew I wanted to make a fried goat cheese with this inspiration, then topped it with extra crispy bacon and drizzled a savory balsamic reduction over top. The result is spectacular. Just the right amount of creamy goat cheese to salty bacon to tangy balsamic. You really must try these!

After this week, things will go dark around here for about 2 weeks. Due to family reasons, my husband and I are moving home to Jersey City, NJ. It has been a whirlwind these past few weeks, but we’ve had amazing support from our family and friends. I have some plans for a few new Thanksgiving dessert treats, but I’ll probably be getting back into a routine of cooking and menu planning in December.

 
Ingredients-Yields 2-3 servings
-7-8 slices goat cheese
-3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-5 slices bacon
-/18 teaspoon garlic powder
-2 tablespoons EVOO
 
1. Place goat cheese in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Cut into desired number of slices. Dredge through egg wash then coat with bread crumbs,
 
2. Pour balsamic into a small sauce pot and bring to a boil, then simmer 20-30 minutes until thick enough to coat  spoon.
 
3. Meanwhile, in a 400 degree oven, cook bacon slices 10-12 minutes until extra crispy.
 
4. Heat EVOO over medium heat, place goat cheese medallions in frying pan and fry 4 minutes per side. To serve, top with crumbled bacon pieces and drizzle balsamic reduction over top.
 
A Seasoned Greeting Original Recipe
 
 
 

Spinach and Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese

There’s a restaurant close by called Crave that I absolutely love. I went there for dinner a few weeks ago and order a Spinach and Goat Cheese grilled cheese and it was incredible! I knew this was something I needed to try and recreate in my kitchen. The only real change I made from the restaurant version is that I used frozen chopped spinach, not flat leaf spinach. While I like the flavor of flat leaf, I found it a little hard to eat when I ordered it. I think it works a bit better to have the spinach easier to bite. I really like this sandwich, the spinach works well with the mild mozzarella and its just the right amount of richness from the goat cheese.

Ingredients-Yields 2 sandwiches
-2 oz goat cheese
-4 tablespoons frozen spinach
-2 slices mozzarella cheese
-4 sliced sourdough bread
-1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
-salt
-butter

1. Cook frozen spinach according to package directions, reserve 4 tablespoons. Mix the 4 tablespoons with the goat cheese, season with garlic powder.

2. Butter all sides of the bread, season with a dash of salt. Over medium heat in a frying pan, brown all sides of the bread.

3. Remove 2 slices of the bread, place on baking sheet and top each with a slice of mozzarella cheese, Broil 5-6 minutes until golden brown. With the remaining bread slices in frying pan, spoon goat cheese and spinach mixture over top. Top each with a slice of the mozzarella bread, and heat until rich and golden brown. Server immediately.

Red Wine Ricotta Ziti

If you’re going to make a list of the top comfort foods, I’d have to say that baked ziti is in the top 5. I’ve made traditional baked ziti before, but this time I wanted to try something a little different. Since I had a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, I decided to add a little into my ricotta mixture. The result is a delicious blend of red wine, cheese, and sauce! It adds a different hint of flavor that you don’t always encounter in ziti, but it doesn’t overwhelm the dish. I highly suggest you try this!

Things around here are going to be getting very busy (more on this later in the week). I’m going to try and be good about keeping up the blog next month, but don’t be surprised if I start to slack. I promise I’ll try and get everything back to normal in December!

 
 
Ingredients
-Penne pasta
-1 jar pasta sauce (or equivalent of homemade)
-1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-4 tablespoons ricotta
-2 tablespoons red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
-1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
 
1. Cook penne pasta. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, red wine, garlic, and salt.
 
2. When pasta is cooked, pour into casserole dish and cover with pasta sauce, stir to coat. Spoon red wine ricotta over top, and then top with shredded cheese.
 
3. Bake in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. The broil 6-7 minutes for bubbly melted Mozzarella.
 
 
 
A Seasoned Greeting Original Recipe

Gorgonzola and Bacon Stuffed Chicken

Well its time for another recipe swap! I apologize for things being a little quiet here lately, things will be getting back to normal soon.

As for the swap, this time I was given this blog. After browsing around, I chose a a bacon wrapped chicken that was stuffed with blue cheese and pecans. I swear my mouth was watering just reading that description! I only made a few slight changes. First, I substituted Gorgonzola for blue cheese, and stuffed the chicken with the cooked bacon instead of wrapping. I will definitely be making this again! This also falls into my “Cooking Comfort Zone” category since this is the first time I’ve made anything with Gorgonzola cheese! Thankfully, there is some leftover and I plan to make an pasta in a Gorgonzola cream sauce very soon.

Ingredients
-2 chicken breasts, butterflied
-3 strips of bacon, cooked and diced
-Salt and Pepper
-1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
-1/3 cup chopped pecans
-1 tablespoon EVOO
-2 tablespoons butter
-2 tablespoons all purpose flour
-1 cup chicken stock
-1/2 cup 1/2 &1/2 or Cream
-2 tablespoons grainy mustard
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Place butterflied chicken breasts on wax paper and pound until even thickness. Sprinkle each with cheese crumbles, pecans, and bacon pieces. Roll chicken breasts and secure with moistened tooth picks.

3. Place chicken in baking dish, season with salt, pepper, and a few dashes of garlic powder. Drizzle with EVOO, and bake 20 minutes, or until fully cooked and no longer pink.

4. While chicken is baking, melt butter in a sauce pan. Add flour and stir, cook 1 minute. Add chicken stock and thicken. Add half & half, mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. To serve, spoon sauce over chicken.

Source: Lynsey Lou’s document.write(”);