My August event is a lovely Garden Party. I wanted the burrata bar but got out voted for a raw bar. Bahh. That isn’t my thing but I couldn’t get the burrata bar out of my head! I was all too happy to bring home a little buratta-ball-baby to become the star of dinner.
I could have gone on and on with toppings but decided it needed to be somewhat reasonable. This would be so fun for easy prep for happy hour party.
Prosciutto wrapped melon
African blue basil
Mr. J lightly grilled the bread and it was go-time.
Besides the buratta being amazing on its own, I absolutely loved buratta with tomato, basil, and balsamic.
The melon with the prosciutto didn’t really need to go on crostini but the salty and sweet and crunch is so lovely with a schmear of herbed butter.
I mixed butter, garlic, fresh oregano, and fresh thyme. This is also perfect for garlic bread or to jazz up the outside of a grilled cheese.
Woah! A real recipe! I know, I know, contain yourself. I’m back at it…sort of.
For the Superbowl I was wanting to make something that would be do-able with Baby T dictating my schedule. I thought of potato skins and thought they’d be good since they’re sort of football shaped, and I could do most of the prep earlier and just pop them in the oven when it was game-time. I added one not-so-secret ingredient to kick them up a touch and it was great!
Mr. J loooves his sports snacks and I’m really only into the Superbowl for the snacks (and commercials – my fav was the Budweiser Clydesdales and the puppy…I was in tears). We had a spread of these, veggies with ranch, guac & queso with tortilla chips. Perfection!
6 potatoes, baked
4 tbs butter
1 tbs French Onion Soup Mix
6 strips of bacon
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
Half then hollow out the potatoes leaving some potato around the skin.
Melt the butter. Mix the butter and soup mix together.
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Cook the bacon until crisp and drain the excess grease. Chop into small pieces.
Brush the butter/seasoning mix over the potato halves on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle with shredded cheese and top with bacon.
Bake at 375-degrees for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the potato crisps.
I baked the potatoes earlier in the day. I always forget how long they take to bake. I could have gotten them started in the micro to speed it up. I saved the innards thinking it’d become mashed potatoes for a side dish or lunch. Being home everyday and feeding myself lunch has been interesting…these potato skin leftovers became lunch a few times!
I liked the additional seasoning and think it’d be easy enough to use a spice rub or any seasoning mix you have around. I didn’t salt/pepper them since the seasoning had plenty of salt. Next time I’d be sure to brush it on more evenly…some had more flavor than others. I know pre-packed soup mix isn’t the healthiest but I’m considering making (and blogging) something with a newborn to be a win. #winning
Happy almost Halloween! I don’t have a spooky-themed dinner, but this would be easy to whip up before taking little ones trick or treating, or would be quick to throw together between handing out Reeces. I get about 3 trick or treaters but I make sure to have good candy or the ones I get will never come back! And, just like hosting a party, you should serve what you’re happy to have leftover for yourself.
I tell ya. The apples are never ending. These past few weeks I’ve been trying to add them anywhere that made sense. Here they got to provide the crunch and were perfect with the melty cheese. This dinner is quick and easy. It would be great as a panini too.
Ingredients: (for 2 quesadillas)
3 slices of bacon
4 flour tortillas
1 large apple, sliced
6 oz manchego cheese
Pan fry the bacon until crisp, then drain and chop.
Heat a griddle or large pan to medium and spray with non-stick spray.
Lay the tortilla and top with sliced cheese.
Add sliced apple, and chopped bacon.
Top with the 2nd tortillas, lightly spray with non-stick spray and flip once. (this helps it to brown evenly)
Serve with some honey mustard for dipping!
The cheese was more of a splurge but for this very few ingredient dinner, it was worth it. Mixing manchego with cheddar might have enabled these to be cheesier.
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – Manchego + cheddar/brie/gouda/cheese of your choosing
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – apple + pear/roasted sweet potato/other fruit or veggie of your choosing
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – bacon + proscuitto/ham/turkey/other protein of your choosing
Apple, Bacon & Manchego Quesadilla – bacon = vegetarian option
I was inspired to make dinner out of potatoes after seeing lots of potato skin-football food and after making candied sweet potatoes for tacos. A few years ago mashed potato bars were all the rage at weddings costing a fortune for such basic ingredients. I figured with a few toppings it could easily be dinner.
Baked potatoes are so much faster than I really thought they’d take. I spread out a few toppings and it was such a fun dinner. This would be great for guests. Everyone getting to customize their own keeps everyone happy.
frozen creamed spinach
1 cup shredded cheddar
4 strips bacon, chopped
Microwave potatoes for 4 minutes then bake potatoes for 20 minutes at 400-degrees.
Pan fry the bacon until crisp.
Heat the creamed spinach until warmed through.
Rub the potatoes in olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
Lay out the toppings and enjoy!
The potatoes were filling but not super heavy. The creamed spinach was a perfect sauce and took no effort.
Let’s start Monday off gently. This is not going to overwhelm your brain. We had houseguests early last week and I wanted to throw some dinners together on Sunday so we could leisurely visit and not put anyone to work. My thought for these Chicken Parmesan Cups were that it seemed like less work than serving Chicken Parmesan and anything in serving size portions is fun. I was going for a crowd pleaser and something I was pretty familiar with making.
Chicken Parmesan Cups
Yield: 12 muffin cups, ~5 people
Time: prep ~20 min, cook ~20 minutes
1 sheet of puff pastry
sprinkle of flour
5 chicken tenders
1 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees and defrost puff pastry to room temperature.
Cook the chicken until fully cooked through.
When cool enough to handle, chop up the chicken and set aside.
Spray a muffin tin or 12 ramekins with nonstick spray.
Lightly flour a surface to roll out the puff pastry. Roll to about 1/8 inch thick and cut it into 12 squares, about 3×3 inches each.
Lay the puff pastry into the muffin tin.
Divide the chicken into each cup, spoon sauce over, and top with cheeses. (I had some extra puff pastry so I put another mini 1″ square on top)
Bake for 20 minutes, or until puff pastry puffs up and get golden brown.
I loved these. They made serving way easier. I tossed a salad together an poof, dinner was ready. These would be super simple to serve to a crowd since they almost could be eaten by hand.
chicken parmesan cups + baked eggplant = dynamic duo of parm
chicken parmesan cups – tomato sauce – cheese + pot pie fillings (corn, carrots, celery, gravy, etc) = chicken pot pie cups
chicken parmesan cups + ricotta = chicken “lasagna” cups
I love appetizers for dinner. I make pizza all the time but I was thinking of something different and decided on putting the best favors into eggroll wrappers. They’re kind of pizza kind of lasagna, kind of just Italian flavored. I don’t know what box to put them in!
1/2 pound Italian sausage, removed from the casing
1 cup ricotta
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup mozzarella
Pan fry the sausage, crumbling it and cooking it all the way through and sprinkling with dried oregano. Then drain on paper towel.
Lay the eggroll wrappers out and on a diagonal, to opposite corners, top with mozzarella, ricotta, sausage, and sauce.
Fold the opposite corners in and fold the bottom across the filling. Then roll toward the top corner. Be sure none of the filling escapes out the edges.
Pan fry in shallow oil or spray with nonstick spray and bake. (I baked at 375-degrees flipping on all sides).
Let cool 5 minutes. Serve with more sauce for dipping.
These freeze well too, then pop in the oven when you need lunch, dinner, or a hefty appetizer. I should have more of these things prepped & hanging out in the freezer. I really loved having some as a what-to-have-for-lunch on a weekend day. I’m currently working on going through the freezer so I can clear room for ready made stuff, though this babe is just past halfway so I have a little time for January freezer prep.
pizza rolls – sausage + chopped pepperoni = pepperoni pizza rolls
pizza rolls + green peppers + onions + mushrooms = loaded pizza rolls
pizza rolls – sausage + veggies = vegetarian pizza rolls
I love grilling season, and extending grilling season into the other seasons. I do sometimes think that I need to vary it up. This was a good way to do that without turning the oven on. I popped these guys into the toaster oven!
2 sheets of puff pastry dough (or crescent roll dough)
1 1/2 cups (1 package) of frozen creamed spinach, defrosted and heated through
1 – 1 1/2 cups ham, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.
Pan fry the ham until warmed through and crisp.
Cut each puff pastry sheet into four equal squares.
Spoon some spinach into the center from two opposite corners.
Add some ham, then tuck the two opposite corners over one another.
Fill four puff pastry squares with spinach & ham, fill other four with ham and shredded cheese.
Bake 8-10 minutes until pastry is crisp and lightly tanned. (Bake less if you plan on baking them another time to use later or freeze.)
These were so good and so quick. Definitely a good alternative to everyday dinner. I served them with some salad.
They were great as breakfast too. I froze a few we didn’t get to immediately and they just needed a quick defrost before toasting. I’d like them as apps if they were a bit smaller. I would pop them in muffin tins to form their own cups. I had the spinach, ham, and puff pastry in the freezer. These are a great way to use some leftovers.
sliced meatballs + marinara + shredded mozzarella + puff pastry = meatball turnovers
turkey deli meat + crumbled bacon + ranch + cheddar + puff pastry = turkey bacon ranch turnovers
creamed spinach + artichoke hearts + roasted red peppers + provolone = spinach & artichoke turnovers
tapanade + feta + diced tomatoes + chopped peppers + puff pastry = Mediterranean turnovers
raspberry jam + brie + puff pastry = cheese plate turnovers
prosciutto + brie + sliced green apples/pears = Italian appetizer turnovers
‘What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.
Were you missing the #whatiate series from Fridays? I have a few I need to do now that I’ve regained momentum so stay tuned for more!
We’ve had some hot days, and I’m so thankful for everyday that isn’t a thousand degrees or humid. Some nights dinner’s theme is “how to cook without turning on the oven”. That’s where this came in. I had an event at work and was lucky enough to take home some of this salsa. The food demo encouraged cooks to use these raw salsas over fish, poultry, and beef. Done!
Oranges, peeled, chopped
Fennel bulb, chopped
Parsley (to add at the end)
Chop & combine everything except the parsley.
Let sit 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Add parsley just before serving.
I marinated & grilled some chicken and served it all over brown rice. Dinner is done.
I love the crunch and tartness of the pomegranate seeds with the oranges. This is great as a salsa to dip with or as a sauce. I know I get stuck thinking summer sauces are BBQ or teriyaki but a cool raw one is really fun. I’ll have to mess around with some other salsa ingredients!
This was the year to mess with bread. I figured the worst that could happen would be a bread flop, and it may take a few attempts. I decided that focaccia would be the first attempt, since it wasn’t critical to the meal. It came out great, not perfect, but delicious nonetheless. It made a lot. I didn’t want to mess with halfing the recipe. Maybe next time!
I used Anne Burrell’s focaccia recipe and topped it with fresh rosemary. It was good. I wonder if it would have raised a bit more if I had given it a bit more time. You can’t rush yeast. It does it’s thing slowly, but surely.
1 3/4 cup warm water
1 package yeast
1 tbs sugar
5 cups flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt + 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Leave lots of time, focaccia needs about 2 hours to rise.
Combine water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Let it sit for about 15-minutes in a warm place until frothy & foamy.
My warm space was the oven on low, venting on the stove top where the yeast was resting.
With a dough hook attached to the stand mixer, mix flour, 1/2 cup olive oil, salt, and yeast on low until combined. Then mix on medium for 5 minutes.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and need by hand a few times.
Drizzle olive oil into the sides of a bowl. Put the dough ball into the bowl, turn over once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour, doubling in size.
Add the 1/2 cup olive oil to a sheet pan. It seems like a lot, but Anne Burrell says that’s what makes focaccia so good. Add the dough in and stretch the dough to the edges of the pan.
Turn the dough over to coat well with oil.
Poke finger marks into the dough each an inch away from the other holes and sprinkle with salt and rosemary.
Let it rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake 20-25 minutes.
I cut the rise-time a bit short and would have liked it to be more airy. It was a bit dense.
I loved the rosemary flavor. It was crunchy and moist. I really liked it and will try it again, when I’m not trying to rush it for dinner time.
I served it with gnocchi with tomato sauce.
These are the PERFECT appetizer. There’s crunch! There’s bacon! There’s freshness in the greens! There’s warmth with cool ranch! Soooo good! Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls are not “spring rolls” in any traditional sense, but are such a fun treat that I’m sure everyone would like. They’d be easy to prep and cook partially and then warm in the oven when the big game starts.
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 oz dry ranch mix (1 packet)
2 cups arugula
4 green onions
3 slices of bacon
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
In a large pan, fry the bacon until crisp, then remove to paper towels to drain. Leave the bacon drippings in the pan over low heat.
Warm the chicken in the bacon dripping pan.
Add in 3/4 of the dry ranch mix to the chicken, mix well, and then remove from the heat.
Chop the arugula, green onions, and bacon.
Mix in the chicken once it has cooled a bit also adding the cheese to the arugula and bacon. (if the mixture is too hot, the cheese will melt and get all stringy)
Sprinkle in the rest of the dry ranch mix, then stir well.
Lay out the wonton wrappers. Spoon about 3-4 tablespoons of filling onto the wrappers, across the middle at an angle.
Roll them up, folding the bottom point up across the filling. Fold the sides in towards the middle. Roll towards the far point, tucking the edges in as you roll away from you.
Lay the rolls on a sheet pan with the point facing the pan. Spray, drizzle, or brush with olive oil.
Then bake for 10 minutes.
Flip over and bake another 10 minutes to ensure all sides get crisped. Pan frying in oil is an alternative.
Serve with ranch dip or dressing.
I used some of a roasted chicken for this, which really made this app really easy to whip together. I grabbed a deli roasted chicken and used half for a chicken pot pie. Then I took the rest of the chicken off the bone and froze it, to bring it to life for this! I used the bones to make broth for the chicken pot pie with some leftover too. For this spring rolls I used all the filling and most of the wonton wrappers I had. I figured any we didn’t eat could easily freeze or reheat in the oven.
This uses a surprisingly small amount of bacon so I warmed the chicken in the bacon drippings for some more bacon flavor and to get some moisture into the chicken. The chicken was already cooked but I wanted to warm it to better incorporate the ranch flavor.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls – wontons + croissant dough or puff pastry = Chicken Bacon Ranch Rolls with less crunch but more doughiness
Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls – ranch + smokey dry rub + BBQ Sauce for dipping = Chicken Bacon BBQ Spring Rolls
Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls – arugula + spinach/cabbage/sprouts = Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls with more mild fresh flavor