Monday, November 12, 2012

Ideas for Turkey Day

I was sitting on my couch contemplating a lovely butternut squash that is sitting on my kitchen counter (scouring Pinterest, of course) and my thoughts wandered to Thanksgiving.  It will be here before I know it and I have seen a lot of yummy ideas on Pinterest lately.  There are 2, in particular, that I want to try. 
Combined with some of the standard favorites, I think this could be a delicious (and beautiful) meal!

One of the Pinterest finds I definitely want to try are these cranberry and brie cups.  There are only 4 ingredients in this one, and they look so yummy.  I love cheese and fruit, and warm brie... mmmmmm.  I don't think you can go wrong with warm brie.

One of my favorites every year is green bean casserole.  I literally just make it from the recipe on the container of French's Onions, and, actually, I haven't even looked at the recipe since I was a kid.  I just know what goes in it.  I like it to be on the drier side, with lots of crunchy onions.

Every year we always have POUNDS of mashed potatoes (and gravy).  My BF and his brother are usually in charge of that.  We make them do the mashing.  

Another of my favorites (one of my very favorite foods actually) are the sweet potatoes.  This year, though, I really want to try this sweet potato dish I saw on Pinterest.  Roasted grape, goat cheese and honey stuffed sweet potatoes....umm, yes please!!

We'll definitely have a turkey, but once in a while we also have ham.   Now, as I may have mentioned (haha), I'm no chef, or even much of a cook. The sauce for the ham comes from my Nana. It's just a small jar of grape jelly mixed equally with mustard. It might sound strange, but TRUST ME, it's sooo good!   What I've done in the past is buy a precooked (but not flavored) ham, lay a bunch of slices out on a baking sheet, cover them in the sauce, and bake for a few minutes, just to warm the meat and carmalize the sauce a bit. 

And of course, DESSERT!  I have never made a pie... maybe next year.  But I will buy one, or three. Pecan pie (my fave), pumpkin is always good, and the BF likes apple.  

Did I miss anything important??  
Hope you guys are having a good autumn!
I have a few posts coming up about foods I've made recently, and maybe a restaurant or two.  
Thanks for following along!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Caprese Salad Bites

OK, so I admit, to call this a "recipe" is a bit of a stretch.  

But this snack/appetizer is so so so easy, and really delicious, too! 
In this case, I can 100% guarantee anyone can make it successfully.   :-)

There are just 4 ingredients. 
Grape tomatoes (I think cherry tomatoes would be too big)
FRESH mozzarella balls.  (I bought them at the store in a tub, in water. I'm sure a big chunk of mozzarella cut into small pieces would work.)
Fresh basil
Balsamic dressing (or dip or sauce)

A knife
A bowl to "drain" mozzarella in. 

Trim all of the large leaves off the basil stems, try not to rip them.
I found that a whole mozzarella ball and a tomato were too big to wrap the basil leaves around.  So I cut the mozzarella and used half a ball for each bite.
Poke them all with a toothpick, sticking the basil leaf on either side to hold it together.

And.... yep, that's about it! 
Pour some balsamic dressing or dip and dig in! 

 These are delicious and refreshing and (obviously) super easy. 
Also, hardly any clean up! Bonus.
Perfect to bring to a summer BBQ, or a work potluck, or...
anytime you need something quick and easy.   
I've made them twice, once at home just for the two of us, and once to take to a BBQ.  They were a big hit both times.   

Thanks Pinterest!
[ HERE is the original pin that inspired me. To be honest, I never even clicked through to the "recipe" but whoever first though of this is one smart cookie!  :-)  ]

Friday, October 5, 2012

End of Summer Grilling

We have had a few BBQs with friends to round out the end of summertime, 
and I've been trying to make something new each time!  
I found all of these recipes on Pinterest
and the links to the original recipes are below the photo collage.     
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A couple of weekends ago we did some more of the grilled artichokes I mentioned here.  I'm thinking of making them again this weekend actually.  I love artichokes and they always seem to be a hit with guests.
The same evening we had blue cheese stuffed burgers.  They were SO GOOD!  My boyfriend actually made them.  He basically made two thin patties and piled blue cheese between them before sealing the edges. Warning: hot, melty cheese awaits your mouth!  Take the first bite over a plate!  ;-)
Along with the artichokes and burgers I made a cucumber and tomato salad.
It was so easy and so refreshing! 

Refreshing Cucumber and Tomato Salad
You only need: 
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced  
1 ripe tomato, cut into bite sized pieces (I used one small tomato, from our garden!!, and a handful of grape tomatoes)
½ medium onion, diced
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon milk (I left this out, it was already quite watery, I think from the cucumber)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the sugar and may, pour over cucumber/tomatoes and stir until coated. Salt/pepper... That's it!  Easy, yummy, refreshing, perfect for a picnic or BBQ. 

The following weekend, we cooked again!  We had a few friends over and ate: hot wings, more (the rest of the) artichokes, grilled halloumi and watermelon salad, and grilled strawberries (again, soooo good!) to top it all off.   YUM!

 I saw the halloumi/watermelon recipe in my Blogger feed one day, via The Cozy Kitchen.  The picture (featured below) made my mouth water!  Oftentimes I don't click on food blog recipes, as they tend to be WAY above my skill level.  But...I had just recently gotten an amazing heirloom tomato and watermelon (with balsamic) salad from a food truck so this caught my eye.  I Pinned it and just a few days later we were at Sprouts for some groceries and I saw Yanni Grilling Cheese.  While it wasn't actually labeled "halloumi" it sure sounded like the same thing to me!  So I threw it in the cart, and then grabbed a watermelon. It's very simple...

Watermelon and Grilled Cheese Salad
You need...
(I carried ) A watermelon, cut up and rind removed (keep in fridge until ready to assemble)
Halloumi or other "grilling cheese" (mine was an 8oz package)
Balsamic (1/4 cup or more depending on how many people/how big your watermelon is...?)
Honey (1 Tablespoon or more... as above)
Fresh Mint leaves (a few)
Olives (I actually  did not do the olives but they look good in the pic!)

Heat the balsamic vinegar and honey, whisking it along the way, until it simmers for a few minutes, then let it cool so it will thicken up!  As it is cooling you want to grill the cheese.  The way I cut the cheese did not work perfectly with our grill (which has pretty large spaces between the rungs/bars/whatever they are called on the grill...) but it was still kind of fun grilling cheese.  I finished the last few pieces in an egg pan on the stovetop while I was putting the salads together.  The edges of the cheese get nice and brown, and it gets really soft but doesn't lose it's shape. Then you basically just stack pieces of cold watermelon and hot cheese, drizzle some of the balsamic reduction over the top, garnish with a torn up mint leaf and dig in!  Nobody at our place was sure what to think of this when I presented it...aaand EVERYONE loved it.  :-)  I really loved it.  The cold, sweet watermelon offsets the warm and salty cheese perfectly.  And the balsamic somehow brings it all together.  Ah-maze-ing!!

The artichoke and strawberry pics are mine.  
The salads are from Pinterest/original sources. 
            1) Grilled artichokes (yep, again)
                                                       2) Cucumber and Tomato Salad                      
             3) Watermelon and Grilled Halloumi Cheese Salad (OMG)
         4) Grilled Strawberries (yep, again!)

What new dishes did you try making this summer?

I loved this watermelon salad so much I am going to share it all over the place.  :-)  Linking up with these ladies for this week!