March 31, 2014

Lemon Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

One of my favorite fishes is Salmon.  I love it.  I don't think I've ever had it and not liked it.  My husband however, not a huge fish fan.  When we first got married, I couldn't even cook it for myself because the smell was too much for him.  He got around to not minding that, which slowly led to trying a bite here and there just to test a new recipe.  Now, he's progressed to being able to eat it (and actually liking it) every couple of months or so.  Progress!

My recent lemon surplus led me to this recipe which we both enjoyed.  Lemon and salmon are a classic flavor.  The lemon flavor is noticeable but not overpowering.  The dill sauce sends this over the top.  Make sure to mince the garlic very small since it is raw in this sauce.  I happen to love garlic so that wasn't a problem for me. The combination of the dill sauce and the salmon was pretty great.

This is one of those 30-minute or less recipes, great for a busy weeknight.

Lemon Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce
Recipe from Cooking Classy

  • 4 - 6 ounce salmon fillets
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
Dill Sauce
  • 1/3 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400º
  2. In a small bowl combine the oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Whisk together. 
  3. Place the salmon in an oven proof dish (9x13) and drizzle the lemon juice mixture over the top, rub it in. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  4. Leave at room temperature for 10 minutes. 
  5. Bake for 12-16 minutes.  This will depend on the thickness of the salmon fillets. 
  6. While the fish is baking, make the dill sauce. 
  7. Combine all the ingredients in a small dish and whisk together until smooth. Can be refrigerated but if you do that, remove it from the refrigerator and let come up to room temperature for about 20 minutes. 
  8. Serve along side or over the top of the fish.

March 28, 2014

Lemon Chicken

Happy Friday!  Are you ready for the weekend? I sure am.  I don't have anything planned for the most part but we're supposed to get some nice warm weather so I'm excited to get out and enjoy it.

I've been on the lookout for some yummy lemon recipes so if you have any, send them my way!

Here is one I found on Pinterest.  What would we do without Pinterest?

Probably starve and have a dirty house.

Anyways, this one looked tempting for a lot of reasons but I especially liked how quick and simple it was.  There wasn't any need to marinate for hours or anything along those lines.  Basically just pour the sauce over the chicken and coat it well, then cook it.  I love easy recipes.

The chicken was super tender and juicy.  I used bone-in chicken so it took a little longer but I just kept checking it.  I left the skin on the chicken and if you're going to do that you might want to broil it quickly at the end just to crisp up the skin, otherwise you might want to peel the skin off or buy skinless so the flavors can really get into the meat.

Speaking of sauce, it's delicious spooned over some rice!  Good lemon flavor but it also has a lot of other flavor components.

Great easy weeknight dinner idea!

Lemon Chicken
Recipe from Shutterbean

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken thighs or 3 pounds of bone in chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil + more for pan
  • 1 1/2 large lemons, juiced and about 5-6 lemon slices
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh Italian parsley, chopped for garnish
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º
  2. Use a 9x13 inch glass dish or enamel pan, drizzle olive oil lightly on the bottom.
  3. Place the chicken thighs in the pan and set aside.
  4. In a small dish, combine the oil, lemon juice, onion, garlic, thyme and oregano. Mix together well and pour over the top of the chicken. Turn the chicken several times to coat well.
  5. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes for boneless chicken, About 40 minutes for bone-in.  Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. 
  7. Cover the pan and let sit for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with rice.  Make sure to pour some of the juice over the rice. 

March 26, 2014

Lemon Brownies

In case you couldn't tell, I have some lemons I need to use up.  Not only did I buy a bag of regular lemons I also bought a bag of Meyer lemons, this recipe I used regular lemons.  I wanted the clean crisp taste that I think only a real lemon can give.

This brownie is more of a "caky" type of brownie with a subtle but totally necessary lemon glaze on top.  The combination of the sweet tart lemon flavor is so refreshing. The lemon flavor is definitely the outstanding flavor but it's not going to give you lemon face.  The glaze hardens just slightly on top so when you bite into it you get a little texture right away, then the brownie itself is soft and delicious.

Lemon is always a favorite flavor to bring to summer events so keep this one handy.  I don't think you'd want to let them sit outside if it's too hot because the glaze will heat up and sort of melt away, and that would be a shame. 

Lemonies (Lemon Brownies)
Recipe from Sweet Pea's Kitchen

Brownie Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Glaze Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Spray an 8x8 inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
  3. In a small bowl combine the flour and salt.
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the butter, sugar and lemon zest and beat until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes.
  5. Add one egg at at time, mixing after each addition.
  6. Add the lemon juice.
  7. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until smooth.
  8. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test the center for doneness.
  9. Let cool in the pan until it is room temperature.
  10. To make the glaze, mix all of the ingredients in a small dish until smooth.  Pour over the brownies and let harden about 10 minutes. 
  11. Cut and serve

March 24, 2014

Hair Bow Giveaway


Mommy Love - Ashlyn!  Ashlyn I will contact you via Facebook and give you the info you need to claim your prize!  Congratulations!

For those of you with daughters you're going to love this giveaway. What little girl doesn't love to get all dressed up and wear pretty bows in their hair? My friend just started her own business making hair bows and they are so cute and adorable.

Here are some examples of what she can do.

I have personally worked with my friend to design a bow to go with the dress above that my daughter wore to a Father Daughter dance.  She is easy to work with and has great input on design.  I just showed her my daughter's dress and she came up with a really cute bow that matched!

This drawing is for 5 bows of any combination of the type's shown above. You will get to work directly with "Three Beauties Bowtique" as far as colors, patterns and bow type.

Here is her Esty page and here is her Facebook page.

There are 2 options for you to enter (United States residents only please):

**I know that sometimes it's easiest to just post anonymously on this blog, if you choose to do that I will need you to put your first name and last initial so I can indicate you were the winner**
  1. "Like" Alissamay's on Facebook and then leave a separate comment on this page that says you liked it. 
  2. If you already like my Facebook page, you can leave a separate comment indicating you have already liked it.
  3. Leave another comment on this post (not the Facebook page) with an answer to this question:
"What are your plans for Easter?"

Only the comments on THIS blog will be counted, Facebook comments will not be counted. Winners will be randomly chosen by a Non-Alissamay's affiliated party. The winner will announced on this website and also on my Facebook page by Friday March 28th.  I will leave an email address for the winner to contact me so we can get you in contact with Three Beauties Bowtique to create your bow's. 

March 21, 2014

Lemon Velvet Cake

I'm sure you've all heard about this thing that we're supposed to be seeing soon.  Sometimes it's called the sun.  You know, the bright thing in the sky that makes your world brighter? Sometimes it teases us a little here and we see it for a day and then it hides again.

Anyway, something else you might have heard of.  Red Velvet Cake.  Sound familiar? Well this recipe was developed from a Red Velvet Cake recipe and turned into a lemon version.  When you begin to see that elusive sun you might want to make this.  To celebrate.

I happened to have some Meyer Lemons on hand so I made this cake with those, but the original recipe calls for regular lemons. It was delicious.  We used a different frosting recipe from the one on the original post because my husband wanted the contrast in flavors from the lemon cake so we just used a vanilla frosting.

OK, let me tell you a little about this frosting.  If you have ever watched "The Pioneer Woman" on the Food Network then I'm sure you've heard about this recipe.  It's a very unusual frosting because first of all, it has flour in it.  Don't let that scare you away.  Second of all, it does NOT have confectioners sugar in it!  I know, right? Be brave and trust me.  This recipe will change your life.  It has the texture of a thick whipped cream or a very light buttercream frosting.  Even though there is butter in it I don't think it's classified as a buttercream frosting.  Apparently it used to be the original Red Velvet frosting before people got fancy and started using a cream cheese frosting for that type of cake.  Anyways, if you're in the market for a new, totally delicious vanilla frosting.  You gotta try this one!

Overall the cake and frosting were a success.  The cake isn't over the top lemon-y but you can definitely taste the lemon. My husband was right, the contrasting flavors are wonderful.  Especially if you're not really in the mood for something very lemon flavored. Great Spring/Summer cake!

Lemon Velvet Cake
Recipe from RockRecipes

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon extract (I used lemon juice)
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • zest of two small or one large lemon, finely grated and chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 325º
  2. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans and flour.  Cut out two pieces of parchment paper to line the bottom of each cake pan.
  3. In a large bowl combine and sift both flours, baking soda, salt and sugar.  Set aside
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the oil and shortening and mix on high until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and lemon extract. 
  5. With the mixer on low add the eggs one at a time and combine after each addition. 
  6. Fold in the lemon zest.
  7. Alternatively add the flour and the buttermilk, folding in by hand. Begin with the flour and end with the flour.  Three additions of flour and two additions of buttermilk, folding in after each addition. 
  8. Don't over mix, as soon as the batter is smooth, pour it into the prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Test it with a toothpick to make sure it's done. 
  9. Let cool in the cake pans for 10 minutes before removing from the pans to a cooling rack. 
  10. Let cool completely before frosting. 
That's The Best Frosting I've Ever Had
Recipe from Tasty Kitchen

  • 5 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. In a small saucepan combine the flour and the milk, use a whisk to stir while heating. You want the mixture to become very thick, like brownie batter. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Add the vanilla extract and stir to incorporate.
  2. While the flour mixture is cooling, combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix until the sugar is no longer grainy.
  3. Once the flour mixture is cool, add it into the butter/sugar and mix well.
  4. If it begins to look like it's separating it means you haven't mixed it enough. Keep mixing and it will soon become light and fluffy.

March 19, 2014

Crock-Pot Pork Chops

If you like garlic you're going to love this recipe.  If not, you can always cut back or exclude the garlic altogether.  I love crock-pot recipes because you basically can set it in the morning and then just eat when you're ready in the evening.

The sauce is always my favorite part of a recipe.  I like something on everything, It's hard for me to eat a plain piece of chicken.  Cooking in a crack-pot also helps with the moistness of the meat.  I don't eat very many pork chops because they all end up to dry for me when cooked traditionally.  Not true in a crock-pot though, very moist and the meat just falls right off the bone.

There was plenty of leftover sauce so if you serve this one up with some egg noodles, rice or some bread it would be delicious!

Crock-Pot Pork Chops
Recipe from Key Ingredient

  • 7-8 pork chops, bone-in, frozen
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/3 cup honey
Cooking Directions
  1. Sprinkle the pork chops with some dry rub or some Chicken Montreal Seasoning. Place in the crock-pot.
  2. Mix the other ingredients together in a small bowl and then pour over the pork chops.
  3. Cook on high for 3 hours, then low for the last hour.
  4. The last 15 minutes of cooking time, mix together 2 Tbsp of corn starch into 1/2 cup of cold water. Remove the pork chops to a plate and then pour in the cornstarch mixture, stir and then add the pork chops back in. The sauce will thicken.

March 17, 2014

Irish Soda Bread

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!  I hope your weekend was fun, safe and green!  I made this on Saturday for a party we attended at a friends house.  It was excellent.  I used raisins instead of currants because I already had raisins.

 It sort of reminded me of Panetone bread, not texture wise but taste wise. It was slightly sweet because of the raisins and orange zest, the texture was similar to the crusty bread you might get from a bakery.  It was easy to put together and super fast because there wasn't any yeast that needed to rise.  I think that this would be wonderful made into french toast or just toasted and smeared with butter.  I loved it.

If you're having your traditional corned beef and cabbage tonight for dinner, give this bread a try.  Fast, easy and delicious!

Irish Soda Bread
Recipe from Ina Garten

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for currants
  • 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 4 Tbsp) cold butter cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 3/4 cup cold buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 cup dried currants or raisins
  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 375º
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add 4 cups of flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix until blended. 
  4. Add the cold butter and put the mixer on low until the butter is well incorporated and it looks like wet sand. 
  5. In a small bowl add the buttermilk, egg and orange zest.  Slowly pour into the flour mixture with the mixer on low.  The mixture will be very wet. 
  6. Add 1 Tbsp of flour to the currants or raisins until they are fully coated. 
  7. Add the currants or raisins into the dough until well dispersed. 
  8. Dump the dough onto a well floured surface and knead a couple of times until you can form the dough into a circle.  Place the dough round onto the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes. 
  9. The dough will sound hollow when thumped and should be a nice golden brown color. 

March 14, 2014

Easy Cream Cheese Truffles

This isn't the first time you've seen this recipe here.  I say that because I posted about it here, where I originally had it at a dinner club we had recently. I loved them and knew I'd make them again soon.

This truffle recipe is so easy to make.  You do need to allow about an hour of refrigerator time so they will be easier to roll into ball shapes. I decorated them for a Saint Patricks Day party I am attending this weekend but you could decorate them for any holiday party, cookout, intimate gathering, or just for yourself.  Not that I would EVER make a batch just for my own consumption.  Never.  Nope. Not me.

Well anyway, basically you just cream together some cream cheese, confectioners sugar and chocolate and refrigerate.  Then have fun decorating. Easy.  You could use any topping you like, since I'll be at a Saint Patrick's Day party some of my toppings were mint flavored.  Make them your own, use the flavors that you like.  You made them and therefore you can choose.  That's an unwritten rule in candy making.  :)

Easy Cream Cheese Truffles
Recipe from MyRecipes

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 1/4 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 5 (1 oz) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint candies (optional)
  • vanilla almond bark, melted and dyed green if desired. (optional)
  • 1/4 cup toasted flaked coconut (optional)
  • 1/4 chopped nuts (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy.
  2. Slowly add 4 cups of powdered sugar.
  3. Beat until smooth.
  4. Add the melted chocolate and beat until blended.
  5. Chill for approximately 1 hour.
  6. Shape chilled mixture into balls and roll in 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, some in cocoa powder, some in nuts and some in coconut. Or use holiday toppings and sprinkles to make them extra festive. 
  7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

March 12, 2014

Baileys Hazelnut Caramels

My attempts to make an original dessert for Saint Patrick's Day has, of course, lead me to caramel.  I have an addiction that I think I'll need professional help to overcome.  If I want to overcome it, which at this point I don't.

There are several different flavors of Baileys Irish Cream and I'm sure all of them would be delicious but I especially thought Hazelnut would be good.  Boy was I right.  These caramels didn't last very long in my house.  I had to give some of them away to my neighbors because I was eating them hand over fist and it was getting a little embarrassing.

These caramels are pretty soft so I refrigerated mine.  Wrapping them in individual pieces of wax paper is recommended.  They will just stick together if you don't.

Soft and creamy caramels with the added deliciousness of Baileys was a great idea.  The recipe was not hard to make, all you need is a good candy thermometer (or a glass of cold water, see link below for instructions).  Have your dish and ingredients ready before you begin so you don't have to stress about it. 


Baileys Hazelnut Caramels
Recipe modified slightly from Simply Kierste

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 - 3 tsp Baileys Hazelnut flavored Irish Cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts or pecans (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Butter a 9x13 inch glass dish and set aside
  2. Add all the ingredients except the Bailey's and the chopped nuts to a large saucepan.
  3. Turn the heat to medium low and let everything melt, stir to combine and use a candy thermometer to let it come up to 244º
  4. Remove from the heat and add the Baileys and the nuts if you are using, stir well to combine.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and let sit until cool enough to handle.
  6. Turn the dish over and let the caramel fall onto some wax paper.
  7. Cut into the desired sized squares and wrap in small pieces of wax paper, twist the ends to seal.
  8. Enjoy

March 10, 2014

30-Minute Mongolian Beef

Back on my Asian kick, I can't seem to get enough.  I saw this on Pinterest and decided to give it a try when a friend came over for dinner.  We both love to try new recipes and luckily she's also on an Asian kick.

We both loved this recipe.  The flavors meld so nicely and the sauce that is created on the beef is sweet,  with a little garlic and ginger flavors.  The onion adds a nice little crunch and onion flavor and the rice soaked up all that yummy sauce.  I think I'll be adding this to my dinner rotation.

It's hard to believe it only took 30 minutes but it went relatively quickly.  I recommend having the beef sliced and waiting.  I sliced mine while the sauce was cooking.  My friend also cut up a few snow peas I had in my refrigerator to add a little more crunch, I think some water chestnuts would also be fantastic.  Apparently this recipe is a knock off of a PF Chang recipe.  I've personally never had this at PF Chang's but it certainly is delicious!

30-Minute Mongolian Beef
Recipe from  Taste

  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 (1 pound) flank steak
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 3 scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
  1. Add about 2 tsp of vegetable oil to a small saucepan and add the ginger and garlic.  Cook over medium low heat until golden. 
  2. Add the water and soy sauce.  Add the brown sugar and mix in and then turn the heat up to medium and let boil for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. 
  3. Slice the flank steak into 1/4 inch strips against the grain.  Sprinkle the corn starch over the meat and stir to coat evenly.  Lift up the piece and shake off any excess.  Let sit for about 10 minutes. 
  4. In a large skillet or wok, heat to medium high and add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil.  Add the meat in batches and cook only until brown on each side and NOT cooked through.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate until all the meat is cooked.  Discard any remaining oil. 
  5. Add the soy sauce mixture to the hot pan, it should come up to a boil almost immediately. Add the meat back in with the sauce and let cook for about 2 minutes stirring consistently. Stir in the sliced scallions and serve over rice or noodles. 

March 7, 2014

Alfresco Bean Salad

If there is one thing that is almost always in the refrigerator lately, this is it.  The great thing about it is that you can change it up to fit your mood or personal preference and the longer it stays in the refrigerator the better it tastes.

I had another very similar recipe that I made quite a few years ago that I referred back to in order to get this  recipe in line with my tastes.  Feel free to mix the veggies up to your liking and if you top it with cilantro right before serving, well it's just that much better.

I did a month of vegan eating in February and I practically lived on this recipe.  It's easy to throw together and have in the refrigerator when the snacking urge hits you.  I love anything with that vinegar tang to it and the crunch of the onion is perfect.  Not to mention the fiber and vitamins you get, I noticed that I felt less bloated and more energetic.  I attribute a lot of that to this salad, after all I did eat it at least once a day.

If you're feeling like you need a little healthy snack to improve your life, or just a quick side at dinner then you will love this salad. Oh, and it is bound to warm up sooner or later so this recipe is great for outside parties.

Alfresco Bean Salad
Recipe modified slightly from Taste of Home

  • 1 can (16 oz) red beans (kidney), rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 1/4 oz) whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small container cherry tomatoes, quartered and seeded
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
Modified from here
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Franks Red Hot
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Top with the vinaigrette. Stir to incorporate thoroughly.
  3. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving for best taste. 

March 5, 2014

Dinner Club - Theme: Cheese

A big thank you to Lynn for hosting this months dinner club!  What a great theme "cheese".  How can you go wring with that? The dishes were beautiful and tasty.  Lynn really knows how to entertain!  Not to mention she also had two dishes for everyone to try.  I instantly fell in love with the truffles you see above and the tart you see below.
The truffles were so delicious, creamy and decadent.  There were several different coatings which completely transformed the flavor of each.  I loved them.

Easy Cream Cheese Truffles
Recipe from MyRecipes

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 1/4 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 5 (1 oz) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
Cooking Directions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy.
  2. Slowly add 4 cups of powdered sugar.
  3. Beat until smooth.
  4. Add the melted chocolate and beat until blended.
  5. Chill for approximately 1 hour.
  6. Shape chilled mixture into balls and roll in 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, some in cocoa powder, some in nuts and some in coconut.
  7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Another dish made by our host Lynn.  So tasty.  I am a huge dill fan and this tart had me right from the start because of the fresh dill taste.  So refreshing and cheesy.

Zucchini and Ricotta Tart
Recipe from Rachael Ray 

  • 4 zucchini (2 1/2 pounds) thinly sliced crosswise
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Layer the zucchini into a colander with salt sprinkled in between.  Set in your sink and let drip for about 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. 
  3. While the zucchini is dripping, on a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out and seal up the seams.  Press the pasty into a 9" pie plate and cut off the excess, leaving the top even with the top of the pie plate.  Use a fork to poke the bottom so it won't create bubbles.  Refrigerate. 
  4. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the zucchini and cook until golden brown on both sides.  About 5 minutes. 
  5. Stir in the dill and remove from the heat.  Let cool to room temperature. 
  6. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan and the half and half.  Season with the salt and pepper to taste and add the nutmeg. 
  7. Stir in the zucchini.  Pour the mixture into the chilled pastry crust and sprinkle with more Parmesan. 
  8. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  9. Cool slightly before slicing. 

We have Shannon to thank for this one.  It was one of my favorite's from this night's dinner, mostly because I'm a self admitted Macaroni and Cheese addict.  This was creamy and smooth and delicious.  One of my favorites!  I'm already planning the next time I can have it.

Over The Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe from Mangio da sola

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb box elbow macaroni, or other small shaped pasta
  • 8 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Muenster cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Velveeta
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Lightly grease a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the oil and the pasta. Cook the noodles for about 6-7 minutes but do not overcook.
  4. Drain and return to the cooking pot.
  5. In small saucepan, melt 8 ounces (1 stick) of butter and combine with the macaroni.
  6. In a large bowl still the Muenster, mild and sharp cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheeses together.
  7. Add the half-and-half and 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheeses to the cooked macaroni. Cube the Velveeta and add all of it to the macaroni and also the eggs.
  8. Transfer to the buttered casserole dish, salt and pepper and top with the remaining shredded cheese and then dot with 1 Tbsp of butter.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the sides are bubbly.

This is one of mine, it was already posted about here

Spicy Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Barbecue Sauce
Recipe modified slightly from Ring Finger Tan Line

  • 8 slices bread (your choice but I used sourdough)
  •  sharp cheddar cheese, sliced (about 1 slice per sandwich but it depends on bread size)
  •  pepper jack cheese, sliced (depends on bread size)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup or more of your favorite barbecue sauce
Cooking Directions
  1. Slice the onion thinly and place into a large skillet with about a Tbsp of oil or butter.
  2. Cook on medium low for about 15 minutes or until the onions are soft and turning golden.
  3. Remove the onions to a small bowl and top with barbecue sauce, stir together until coated. Add more sauce depending on how saucy you want it.
  4. Butter one side of each piece of bread and lay on piece of bread on a hot skillet or griddle.  Lay both the cheeses on top of that slice of bread, top the cheese with the saucy onions and place another piece of bread (butter side up) on top the onions. 
  5. Repeat with the remaining bread, cheese and onion mixture.  
  6. Watch the sandwiches carefully so they do not get over brown on the bottom, when golden flip them over and cook the other side until golden over medium heat.  Takes about 4-5 minutes on the first side and 2-3 minutes on the second side

This was the other dish that I brought, I've already posted about it here.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Recipe from Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

  • 1 (8 ounce) package pitted dates
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 (16 oz) package bacon
Cooking Directions
  1. Slice each date in half length wise.
  2. Scoop in a small amount of goat cheese, close the date around the cheese.
  3. Cut the bacon in half length wise and wrap one slice around the cheese filled date. Place in a foil lined baking dish or rimmed cookie sheet, seam side down.
  4. Bake at 400º for 20-25 minutes.

Pepperoni Pizza pull apart bread made by Wendy, no recipe submitted.

Pizza with Artichokes, chicken and pesto made by Lisa, no recipe submitted

Broccoli and cheese casserole made by Lisette, no recipe submitted

March 3, 2014

White Bean Soup

You are looking at the soup that helped make my vegan attempt during the month of February, doable. It is totally delicious and creamy.  I would eat this soup any day of the week, the fact that it's vegan just makes it that much more appealing to me.

You can choose to mash the beans a lot or a little to give the texture that you prefer.  I happen to love beans whole so I just left them that way. I didn't have much experience with fennel before this soup but I plan to use it much more now.  I loved the flavor and texture that it added.  Same goes for the Rosemary, don't skip it!

I have nothing bad to say about this recipe.  It makes quite a bit but it keeps very well in the refrigerator.  I ate it every single day until it was gone and I never got tired of it.  Loved it!

White Bean Soup
Recipe from Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist 

  • 2 whole shallots, sliced
  • 1/2 pound carrots, sliced thin on the diagonal
  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced (I couldn't find one so I left it out)
  • 4 celery ribs, sliced on the diagonal
  • Olive Oil
  • Rosemary, chopped
  • 6 cans white beans in liquid (cannelloni or great northern(
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large stockpot, add some olive oil and soften the shallot over medium heat. 
  2. Add carrots, fennel and celery and cook for about 10-15 minutes. 
  3. Add the beans with their liquid and some chopped rosemary (to taste) 
  4. Cover and cook for 20 minutes at a gentle boil. 
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
  6. Cook for an additional 20 minutes or longer.  Just before serving use a potato masher or the back of a spoon to squish some of the beans.  You can also puree it in a blender if you want it smoother. 
Some optional toppings: 

Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette: Spoonful of Dijon, a few Tbsp of balsamic and about 1/4 cup of olive oil with some salt and pepper to taste.  Shake and drizzle over soup. 


Cut some ribbons of Prosciutto, Parmesan curled into strips and chopped Rosemary.