Monday, July 26, 2010

Main Dish: Cashew Chicken

I have to say that when I first saw this recipe nothing amazing stood out other than the Cashews (Which I happen to LOVE with ALL my heart!). We had a long day at the lake last week and I had everything to make this that evening. I figured it wouldn't take too I got the white rice going and this whole dish came together in less than 30 minutes!!! I have to tell you that this was the first time I have ever cooked with Hoisin sauce and boy was this dish YUMMY!!!!! I LOVED the flavor and the toasted cashews were delicious. I think next time I just might steam or saute' some veggies to go in this! OH!!! I just might even put together some Salad rolls with sweet chili sauce to go along with it too. So many choices so little time! :)

Cashew Chicken

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup raw cashews, toasted
Salt and pepper, to taste
White rice, for serving (optional)

In a medium bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch until chicken is coated. Season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, tossing often, for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and white parts of scallions to the skillet. Continue cooking until chicken is browned, about 3 minutes more. Add vinegar and cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Stir in hoisin sauce and 1/4 cup water. Cook and stir until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat. Stir in scallion greens and toasted cashews. Serve immediately over white rice, if desired.

Dessert: Kiwi-Lime Bars with Macadamia Nut Crust

I found this yummy recipe and knew I had to try it. I LOVE lemon bars and the combination of lime, kiwi and macadamia nuts sounded wonderful! I threw these together for a dinner party we were invited to last week and they were great! Nice and cool on a hot day and packed full of flavor! I hope you get a chance to make these...Enjoy!!!

Kiwi-Lime Bars with Macadamia Nut Crust
adapted from Bon Appetit


•1 c macadamia nuts
•1/4 c sugar
•1 1/4 c all purpose flour
•1/4 tsp salt
•13 Tbs chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


•2 c plus 2 Tbs sugar
•5 large eggs
•1/4 c fresh lime juice
•1/2 c kiwi puree (about 2 good sized kiwi)
•1/3 c all purpose flour
•1 Tbs lime zest
•3/4 c (packed) sweetened flaked coconut (about 3 ounces)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Blend nuts and sugar in processor until nuts are finely ground. Add flour and salt; blend 5 seconds. Add butter and process until well blended. Press dough evenly onto bottom of 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Bake crust until golden brown, about 28 minutes; cool completely in pan on rack. Maintain oven temperature.

Whisk sugar and eggs in large bowl until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Whisk in lime juice, kiwi, then flour and lime peel. Pour filling over crust in pan.

Bake lime bars 25 minutes (filling will not be fully set). Sprinkle coconut evenly over. Bake until filling is completely set, about 10 minutes longer.

Cool bars in pan on rack. Chill uncovered until cold, at least 2 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled. Cut around pan sides to loosen bars; cut into 24 pieces. Using small spatula, transfer bars to platter; serve chilled.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Main Dish or Side Dish: Cold Spinach Linguine Pasta Salad & Lavender Infused Lemonade

Well, It's not every day that you meet a dear friend who LOVES food and LOVES talking about it as much as you do!!! My sweet friend Marta is JUST THAT! We can talk about anything under the sun...but get us talking about food and the hours fly! She was so sweet to have our family of four over for dinner last week and she seriously made some AMAZING dishes. I asked if she would be interested in being my guest blogger this week and sharing a few of the recipes she made. Lucky for us, she gladly excepted! I hope you enjoy her and her two delicious recipes! I am wishing I had a plate of her yummy pasta and a cup of lemonade RIGHT NOW!!! Enjoy!

One of our favorite pasta dishes to make for family and friends is the Cold Spinach Linguine Pasta Salad. It always hits the spot with the prosciutto for crispiness and the feta cheese for some tartness and creaminess! We made it this past weekend for our great friends, The Sorensens. We also sipped on some Lavender Infused Lemonade, which I don't have a picture of. These are just a few recipes we enjoyed last weekend, we hope you enjoy them too!

Cold Spinach Linguine Pasta Salad

1 # (box) of Linguine

1 bag of fresh baby spinach

6 oz – thinly sliced prosciutto

2 Tbsp – finely chopped garlic (I use the whole bunch on mine!)

2 Tbsp – fresh basil

2 Tbsp – fresh oregano

¾ cup – olive oil

½ # tomato basil feta cheese (crumbled) or Gorgonzola cheese (crumbled)

½ cup – pine nuts or almonds (toasted golden)

Boil linguine. Slice spinach in thin strips. Cook prosciutto, garlic, basil, oregano in ½ cup olive oil on medium heat until browned, about 3 minutes (you can make this dressing ahead, I usually make it a night ahead).

When pasta is drained, add remaining ¼ cup of olive oil and toss the dressing and the remaining ingredients.

Garnish: fresh basil and grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Lavender Infused Lemonade

2 1/2 cups of water
1 cup sugar

Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Add four lavender tops (just the Flowers) and cover for one hour.

Then add the remaining ingredients below.

1 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 cups cold water

I doubled the recipe to make enough for 4-6 guests. You can leave the lavender in lemonade and add sliced lemons to make it look pretty!

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Main Dish: Chicken Divan & Egg Noodle Casserole

I have to tell you that since my little guy is 11 months old now, he is sooo OVER baby food! He only has 6 teeth though, so there are a lot of things he still can't eat. Lately I have been making a LOT of casserole dishes since they can contain almost every food group & are easy for my little turtle to eat. The left overs are perfect for freezing and then pulling out on the nights we have a "grown up" dish! So I saw a recipe by Rachel Ray and I KNEW we would love it! I of course had to put my own spin on things and we all LOVED this dish. Both of my boys had seconds tonight and I would have...but these days I am running out of room!!!! :) I hope you make this for your family & friends. This is DEFINITELY company worthy!!! Eat well!

Chicken Divan & Egg Noodle Casserole
Adapted from Rachel Ray

For the cream sauce:
1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 turn of the pan
4 tablespoons butter, plus additional to coat dish
2 Shallots, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons flour
2 cup chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1 (15oz can) cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup dry white wine

1 pound broccoli florets
1 pound extra wide egg noodles
3 chicken breasts, cooked & diced
2 1/4 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/4 cups fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
Yields: 8-10 servings

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the broccoli and egg noodles. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To make the mushroom sauce, heat a medium-size sauce pot over medium heat. Add EVOO and the butter. When butter melts, add in sliced shallots and cook 3 minutes, until just tender. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock & white wine, bring up to a bubble, then stir in the cream. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer. Season sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper. (Be sure to taste the sauce and add the seasoning to your liking!!!)

Drop the egg noodles into boiling salted water in a separate pot and cook to al dente (usually 8 minutes) according to package directions. When there are 5 minutes left until the noodles are finished, Cook broccoli florets in the same water as the noodles. Drain the noodles and the broccoli, then return them to the hot pot. Add the creamy mushroom sauce, 2 cups of the mozzarella, 1 cup of the Parmesan, and the chicken to the pot and toss the noodles & broccoli to coat in the sauce mixing well.

To prepare the casserole, lightly coat a 9x13 casserole dish with butter then transfer the cream-of-mushroom noodles to the dish and top with the reserved shredded cheeses. Bake for about 15 minute or until bubbly, then turn your broiler on and make the cheese golden! ENJOY!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Main Dish: Cilantro-Lime Chicken Fajitas with Grilled Onions

We LOVE to grill and I came across this awesome fajita recipe from epicurious. I changed a few things and actually marinaded the veggies & chicken overnight. These were sooooo flavorful and the cilantro added so much to these. Don't be afraid of the jalapenos either, it wasn't spicy as long as you deseed and rib them. I have a lot of this leftover and I'm going to try and make a Cilantro lime fajita grilled pizza..we will see how that goes! :) Enjoy!

Cilantro-Lime Chicken Fajitas with Grilled Onions
adapted from epicurious


1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder

6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 large jalapenos, seeded, cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
3 large yellow bell peppers, cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
2 red onions, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

12 8-inch flour tortillas


Optional toppings: purchased salsas, guacamole, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced green onions, and chopped jalapeno peppers Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Puree first 5 ingredients in processor. Season marinade with salt and pepper.

Place chicken in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour 1/3 cup marinade over; turn to coat. Arrange jalapenos, bell peppers, and onions on large rimmed baking sheet. Pour 1/2 cup marinade over; turn to coat. Sprinkle chicken and vegetables with salt and pepper. Reserve remaining marinade.

Grill chicken until cooked through, about 7 minutes per side. Grill vegetables until tender, turning frequently, about 15 minutes for onions and 12 minutes for jalapenos and bell peppers. Grill tortillas until charred, about 1 minute per side.

Transfer chicken to work surface; slice crosswise into strips. Fill tortillas with chicken and vegetables; drizzle with reserved marinade. Serve with toppings.

Side Dish: Rigatoni alla Caprese

This summer I have been CRAVING a Caprese salad (Fresh tomato, mozzarella & Basil) but I have also been looking for a great pasta salad recipe. I finally decided to just put two recipes together and make my own! This pasta salad was great for our 4Th of July BBQ! The balsamic vinegar gives it an awesome flavor...fresh & light! I have to make this again...I loved it!!!! Bon appetit!

Rigatoni alla Caprese

1 lb Rigatoni pasta
3-6 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 pints cherry tomatoes, rinsed & dried
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
16 oz Fresh Mozzarella, diced
1 ½ Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a large baking sheet drizzle about 3 Tbsp. EVOO. Place all the cherry tomatoes on sheet and then top with another drizzle of EVOO on top of the tomatoes. Top with the 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper to the tomatoes; also top with the minced garlic. Shake baking sheet back and forth to be sure the tomatoes are covered in oil. Bake until tomatoes are shriveled or have burst.

While the tomatoes are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to bite. Stirring occasionally about 8-10 minutes. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water; set aside.

Take a potato masher and gently crush any tomatoes that remained whole to make a chunky sauce. Poor all the crushed tomatoes & any drippings in the pan over your cooled pasta; mix and place in fridge. (You can go up to this point up to a day before serving)

Dice your mozzarella & chop your basil; add to the pasta dish. Then add the balsamic vinegar & mix well. TASTE your pasta and then salt and pepper to your liking! Make sure this is very cold at serving time. It pairs perfect with any grilling! Happy SUMMER!!!