Cherry Chocolate Crostini

Cherry Chocolate Crostini

loaf of French bread, sliced

2 3-4 ounce milk chocolate bars, broken into pieces

1 16-ounce bag thawed frozen cherries (pitted), strained

brown sugar

fresh mint leaves

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the second position from the top. Turn the broiler on to 550 degrees.
  2. Place two to three chocolate pieces (depending on the size of bread and the size of chocolate) onto a slice of bread.  Place into the oven and broil for 1 minute, or until the chocolate has begun to melt (this will happen quickly so make sure to watch!).
  3. Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Turn the broiler off. Turn the oven to bake and to 350 degrees.
  4. Place the cherries (three to five cherries, depending on the size of the bread and the size of the cherries) onto the bread.  Sprinkle a generous pinch of brown sugar evenly over each crostini. Place back into the oven and bake at 350 for 5 minutes, or until the cherries are warm.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature topped with fresh mint leaves.

Asparagus and Bell Pepper Couscous Salad

Asparagus and Bell Pepper Couscous Salad

Author note: The cook time for the asparagus will vary depending on its size.

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 cup yellow onion, diced

1 bunch of asparagus (woody end removed), cut into bite sized pieces

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup uncooked Pearl Couscous

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  1. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and onion and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the asparagus and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the bell pepper. Continue to cook for an additional 4 minutes (or until the asparagus is tender, but not soft). Remove from the heat and cool.
  3. Meanwhile, warm a saucepan of 1 1/2 cups of water over high heat. Bring to a boil. Add the 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt to the water and the couscous. Bring to a simmer and cover. Once cooked (about 10-12 minutes) stir in the red wine vinegar.
  4. Pour the couscous onto a sheet pan. Let the couscous cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  5. Combine the couscous and the vegetables. Place into the fridge and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Before service, add the goat cheese, red pepper flakes and basil into the bowl. Toss to combine and serve chilled. Add additional basil, goat cheese and salt to taste.

Prosciutto, Sundried Tomato and Arugula Pizza

Prosciutto and Sundried Tomato Pizza

Author note: There is more to this pizza than just prosciutto, sundried tomatoes and arugula. A faint layer of fresh garlic is the foundation to this pizza and mixed with the mozzarella are bites of goat cheese. The arugula when scattered on top of the pizza is also combined with torn fresh basil. I have been making this pizza non stop for the past five weeks, and frankly I am not tired of it yet. I don’t think I ever will be. One thing to remember when making this pizza, or any pizza at that, be light-handed with the ingredients. Less is more with pizza, which seems counter-culture but I’ve come to realize that the more scant the ingredients the better the pizza. However, with that said, top to preference. I enjoy the Williams-Sonoma pizza seasoning (this is not sponsored content, it’s just what I use and love). There are little to no measurements on this recipe. It all varies to preference.

pizza dough

2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

pizza seasoning (a combination of oregano, dried garlic flakes, red pepper, sea salt)

polpa (or unsalted diced or crushed tomatoes)

grated parmesan

shredded mozzarella

crumbled goat cheese

prosciutto, torn into bite sized pieces

basil leaves, torn into pieces

arugula

  1. Heat the oven to 550 degrees (or as hot as it can go).
  2. Roll out the pizza dough onto a floured workspace.
  3. Evenly distribute the fresh garlic and pizza seasoning onto the pizza dough. Add a few small spoonfuls of the polpa and spread evenly on top of the the dough.
  4. Layer the cheese. First start with the grated parmesan, then add the mozzarella and finally the goat cheese. Finish by adding a last light layer of mozzarella.
  5. Place the pizza into the oven and cook for about 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese bubbly.
  6. Remove from the oven and top with the prosciutto, basil and arugula. Serve immediately.

Candy Kebabs

I love it when I can dive into the imagination of my children. This happens in a variety of ways—stumbling upon their play worlds, coloring alongside them and asking them open ended questions. Their minds are so colorful, cheerful and welcoming.

Cooking and baking is another way to experience their imagination. When I make intentional time to cook and create together, I love to ask them…

“If you could cook anything what would it be?”I’ve received many answers from Cherry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream to Blueberry Cheddar and Ham Grilled Cheese Sandwiches to “Skip-It” Sauce (a condiment that combines ketchup and ranch, developed and named by my six year old). I try my hardest to create what they want to see come to life.

Another way I try to make “food dreams come true” is by taking them to Market Street. I ask them what sounds good, give them a little grocery cart and let them “shop.” *I do guide them to select certain ingredients to help make their recipe ideas a reality and to prevent a cart full of goodies.*Recently I gave them freedom in the candy aisle to create a certain sweet treat: Candy Kebabs.

Candy Kebabs are a child’s dream come true: wooden skewers, loaded from end to end with bright sour gummy candy. This sweet treat is a magical and a sugary extravaganza; one that your children can easily participate in.These sweeties are perfect for an end of the school year celebration. Load the kids up in the car (or let them shop online!) and take them to Market Street’s most sugary location: the candy aisle.

Allow your children to select gummy sour candies like sour patch kids, gumdrops, apple rings and gummy worms. Then, pop over to the utensil aisle and grab wooden skewers and plastic treat bags. Once home, you and your kids will be adding patterns of mulit-colored and multi-shaped candies to the skewers.Bag them all up and prepare to use them in a variety of ways from teacher and neighbor gifts to last-day-of-school celebration fun.

These Candy Kebabs are the perfect way to let your children create in the kitchen and to show you how magically sweet their little worlds can be.

Candy Kebabs

Author note: Part of the fun of this sugary treat is a choosing a variety of candies to use. Be sure to select a variety of shapes and sizes. Be careful when placing the candy on the skewer. The pointed end can hurt. Don’t feel obligated to fill then entire skewer with candy. Sometimes I only work with half to a quarter of the skewer. If you want to place all the kebabs in one bag, wrap each individual skewers in parchment paper. This prevents them from sticking to one another.

wooden skewers

Air Heads Xtremes Rainbow Berry Bites

Apple Rings Candy

Dots

Sour Gummi Worms

Sour Path Kids “Strawberry”

  1. Hold the blunt end of the skewer. Using the pointed end as the starting point, place one piece of candy on the pointed end and pierce the candy. I prefer to start with a flat and wide piece of candy, like the Rainbow Berry Bites.
  2. Pull the piece of candy towards your hand. Leave about 3 inches of space between the end piece of candy and your hand. Continue this process alternating between shapes and sizes of candy.
  3. Leave one to two inches at the top of the skewer. When the skewer is full of candy, slice off the pointed end. Place the candy in a plastic bag. Remove when ready to serve.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Market Street. All opinions are my own.

Mushroom and Brie Grilled Cheese

Mushroom and Brie Grilled Cheese

Author note: The mayonnaise in this recipe is used to coat the exterior of the bread, not the interior. Mayonnaise is the perfect ingredient to promote browning on the outside of the grilled cheese sandwich.

2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 1/2 cups of a variety of mushrooms (crimini, shiitake, portabello)

pinch ground ginger

1 teaspoon kosher salt

French bread (or thick white bread), sliced

mayonnaise

whole grain mustard

brie, with the outer layer removed

fresh basil leaves, torn

unsalted butter

  1. In a skillet, heat the extra-virgin olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Once the pan is hot and the garlic fragrant, add the mushrooms. Add the ginger and salt. Stir well to coat. Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. If the mushrooms begin to stick to the pan, add a splash or two of water to deglaze the pan. Remove the mushrooms from the heat.
  2. Cut the brie into thin slices. Set aside.
  3. Take one piece of bread. Smear a generous portion of mayonnaise on one side and a generous smear of whole grain mustard on the other side. With the mayonnaise side facing down, add a layer of brie on top of the mustard. Place a spoonful of mushrooms on top of the mushrooms. Top the mushrooms with the torn basil. Repeat this step until the amount of sandwiches desired is constructed. These sandwiches should be “open-faced” at this step. The top piece will be added later in the cooking process.
  4. Meanwhile, in a cast iron skillet, melt a thin slice of butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, swirl the butter in the pan to evenly coat the skillet.
  5. Once the pan is hot, move the opened-face sandwiches to the skillet (two to three pieces of bread at a time, depending on the size of the pan).
  6. Add another layer of brie to top each sandwich on the skillet.
  7. Take the second piece of bread and add a generous layer of mayonnaise to one side. Place this slice on top of the “open-faced” sandwich that is now cooking in the skillet. The mayonnaise side should be facing up. Repeat this step until all sandwiches are now topped with a slice of bread.
  8. Continue to cook the sandwich until the bottom side is golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Gently flip the sandwich and cook the remaining side until golden and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Instant Pot Jasmine Rice

Instant Pot Jasmine Rice

Author note: The ratio for jasmine rice is one part rice to one part water. Keep in mind that brown jasmine rice will take a longer time to cook. If you want to cook a smaller serving using 1 cup water and 1 cup of jasmine rice.

2 cups water

2 cups white jasmine rice

  1. Rinse off the jasmine rice with cold water. Immediately place the rice into the Instant Pot. Be sure to evenly spread out the rice in the pot. Cover with 2 cups of water. Seal the lid.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, release any remaining pressure. Remove the rice from the Instant Pot and serve immediately.

Strawberry Arugula Poppy Seed Salad

Strawberry Arugula Poppy Seed Salad

Author note: There are no measurements on this salad recipe. The amounts should be adjusted to how many are being served and the desired preference for each ingredient. Let the arugula and spinach ratio be 1 part to 1 part.

arugula

spinach

strawberries, quartered

shallot, finely diced

honey poppyseed dressing (use your favorite store bought or homemade variety)

pine nuts (optional step: toast the pine nuts)

zest from an orange

  1. Add the arugula and spinach into a mixing bowl. Toss to combine. Add the strawberries, shallots and dressing to the greens mixture. Toss to combine.
  2. Plate the salad and then top each serving with pine nuts and orange zest.

Easy Chicken Dinners

Winner, winner here’s your chicken dinner!

Now, for the next few weeks, you won’t have to think about what chicken recipe to put on your dinner menu because the list is right here. Below are five of my favorite chicken recipes that yield delicious, memorable meals. I hope you enjoy the variety– from tamarind marinades to slow cooking comfort, these recipes will hit all your cravings.

Enjoy,

Rebecca

Tamarind Chicken Thighs

Roasted Saffron Yogurt Chicken Drumsticks with Cilantro Garlic Vinegar

Slow Cooker Mustard Marsala Chicken

 

Gochujang Chicken Caesar Salad

Whole Grain Mustard and Herb Chicken Salad

 

 

 

Pickled Shrimp with Mississippi Comeback Sauce

Pickled Shrimp with Mississippi Comeback Sauce

Author note: I have found myself enjoying the pickled shrimp with not only Mississippi Comeback Sauce, but also with ruffled potato chips. The three seem to work very well together. The shrimp tends to toughen after a few days, so consume within 48 hours.

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup white distilled vinegar

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon mustard seed

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes  (or more to taste)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 fresh bay leaves, torn in half

2 garlic cloves, rough chopped

1/2 cup onion, rough chopped

Mississippi Comeback Sauce, for serving (recipe below)

ruffled potato chips, for serving

  1. Bring a large pan of water to boil. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Quickly drain the shrimp from the water and submerge in an ice bath. Let chill for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile combine the vinegar, water, celery seed, mustard seed, red pepper flakes, salt, mustard seed, bay leaf, garlic and onion in a large bowl. Stir well.
  3. Add the cooked shrimp. Stir to combine. Place in the fridge and let sit for at least six hours. Serve by itself or with Mississippi Comeback Sauce (recipe below).

for the Mississippi Comeback Sauce

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons hot sauce

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

juice of 1 lemon juice

2 garlic cloves

  1. Combine the ingredients into a medium sized bowl and stir well. Place into the fridge to chill until ready to use.

ASPARAGUS FEED

Asparagus season is one of the brightest AND hoorah! it is currently happening. Besides it’s bright green color and earthy, nutty flavor there are a few other reasons why I appreciate asparagus.

Quick Cook Time: Whether roasting, sautéing or grilling asparagus cooks quickly: 10-12 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees, 5-10 minutes on the cooktop in a skillet, 6-8 minutes on the grill.

Long Refrigerator Life: If stored properly, asparagus can last up to a few weeks in the refrigerator. To store asparagus properly, wash the asparagus and throughly dry. Place in a plastic bag with the bag opened. Asparagus can also be stored in a glass jar with 2 inches of water, loosely cover with a plastic bag.Grab a few bundles of asparagus and plan to enjoy once of the brightest vegetables of the spring season with the recipes below.

Asparagus and Bacon Frittata

Grilled Shrimp and Asparagus Kebabs

Asparagus Tarragon Soup

Asparagus Radish Salad

Broiled Asparagus with Pickled Red Onions and Soft Boiled Eggs

Browned Butter Asparagus

Asparagus Tart

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