Chicken Milanese with Spicy Tomato Peach Salad

I find the best inspiration for cooking isn’t found in endless recipe searches on the Internet nor through a quick scroll through Pintrest. Going to the market and seeing what’s in season really gets my wheels turning. It’s like I’m a contestant on Chopped but without the stressful time limit. I have a few basic recipes in my head that I can alter to whatever I’m feeling for that day. I don’t need to get my Iphone greasy by trying to read a recipe as I go. This is cooking from the soul, my friends. (more…)

Chicken Milanese is an Italian classic that leaves you with a blank canvass with what to place next to it. To keep it on the lighter side, a salad seems to be the best option. I love combining sweet with savory so this Chicken Milanese with Spicy Tomato Peach Salad was a no brainer. Make sure your tomato and peach are perfectly ripe and you got yourself a show stopper. Spicy frisee pulls all of the elements together. Did I mention this is incredibly quick? Oh and butter.

Our chicken breasts are traditionally breaded and cooked in some olive oil and butter for good measure.

While our chicken cooks, our salad is combined. Capers are necessary here. Look at that cute peach peeking through. I’m soooooo glad it’s (almost) Summer!

I also pan-fried some prosciutto for one last crunch. So glad I did! A lot of people don’t enjoy prosciutto but when you fry it, its flavor changes. Check it out! I know there are a few more steps I didn’t picture but this recipe is very easy and ideal for a hectic week. Happy dinner or lunch making!

Winter Stuffed Shells

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Saturday and Whole Foods are the only two words that will make Chris get out of his comfy sweatpants and brave the crowds with me to grocery shop. Whole Foods will have tons of samples out, I guess making his trip more enjoyable (and mine too! Who am I kidding?). Last year, they had this interesting Gouda titled, “Winter Gouda.” I didn’t need to know what was in it, I was already intrigued. The cheese was a salty and mellow Gouda, studded with flecks of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. The combination was out of this world! It also inspired me to take those flavors to the next level. What could be better than a beef and tomato stuffed shell, bathing in a glorious spiced Gouda sauce? Not much. This recipe might be for a little more than two people but no one hates the idea of easy leftovers! Winter Stuffed Shells is warm, comforting with a spicy edge, and something you probably don’t normally have on your menu.

Herbed Chicken Parmesan

I think one of the most difficult aspects of Winter is the lack of “fresh.” My windows have to stay shut from the months of December to March so I desperately try to avoid that stale smell by using the air freshener plug-ins. Man, are they a life-saver! But they are nothing like the crisp, clean air that is found outside of my doorstep. I also miss the produce that is offered so abundantly in the warmer months. As much as I love cozy, hearty food, sometimes it makes me feel like I’m stuck in a box. Whenever I get into a cold weather funk in the kitchen, I try to incorporate fresh as much as I can. For me, this means herb overload! Herbs are a great way to add a burst of fresh to any dish so you aren’t gasping for air after eating your 100th bowl of chili this Winter season. (more…)

Chicken Parmesan will forever be one of my favorite dishes. I don’t know if it’s the crispy, crunchy crust, or the ooey, gooey cheesy goodness, or the tart, sharp tomato sauce. All components seem to work double time, satisfying all the things I crave in one bite. But even Chicken Parm can get old or outdated. Inspired by recent posts by other food bloggers, I decided to give the Chicken Parmesan a wonderfully fresh face lift. Also, I think there is something romantic about having Italian food for Valentine’s Day (just an idea). I’m not selling this as the best Chicken Parmesan you will ever have (there are plenty of legit Italian restaurants that could put me to shame) but it’s pretty delicious for a home-cooked meal. Pesto is added to the delicious toppings of this classic, enhancing the flavor by offering a burst of herby freshness. I also swap out regular Mozzarella (no hurt feelings) with a delightfully smoked Mozzarella (the obsession is real). Salty parmesan isn’t only added to finish this masterpiece off but it is combined with Panko breadcrumbs to give you the crunchiest, cheesiest, Chicken Parmesan you will ever cook! Did I mention this great classic is a one pan plan? We flour, dredge, and bake! It doesn’t get any easier, friends! Also, I think I used my monthly quota of the word “fresh” in this one post. Let’s do this thang!

Our ingredient line up! It doesn’t take much to enhance your pantry items. Here, it’s all about easily accessible ingredients and the seasonings in your spice drawer. We have eggs, flour, chicken cutlets, smoked Mozzarella, pesto, marinara (the jarred stuff), then a delectable mixture of Panko breadcrumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powder, salt, and pepper.

Our dredging station is complete with flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs! It’s as easy as 1,2,3!!!

After the chicken is breaded, we generously grease a baking pan to ensure the crust gets, well, crusty. We also turn over our cutlets half-way through cooking so both sides get crispy! I’m pretty proud of this crispiness if I do say so!

Once the chicken cutlets are done, we get the topping party started. Each cutlet gets a healthy dose of marinara and smoked Mozzarella. The sky is the limit here. Don’t stop until it feels right.

Next, the chicken is dotted with the lovely pesto. Not to go there but it totally looks like Christmas here! Again, you can add as much pesto as you want! Don’t hold back! This amount was definitely not enough for my pesto-loving husband.

The only thing standing between you and a yummy chicken dinner is Parmesan cheese. It IS Chicken Parmesan so now isn’t the time to be frugal with your Parmesan use. It’s as if these cutlets got a little snow dusting (ugh, it’s been Winter for way too long!). These guys get baked until everything is melted. You need to emotionally prepare for the next picture. Your mind is going to explode by all of the deliciousness about to be pictured.

BAM! Now, who wouldn’t be ecstatic to have this made for them for Valentine’s Day, let alone any other day of the week! Enjoy, friends! Happy Chicken Parm making!

Clementine Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Disclaimer: I made these cookies for Christmas and even had a Christmasy blog post ready for you. BUT, I didn’t get the chance to post so can we just act like it’s 2 weeks ago? Thanks in advance! (more…)

When we were kids, my siblings and I saved the stockings on Christmas morning for last. Although the items inside of them were much smaller than our gifts under the tree, I looked forward to “opening” my stocking the most. When the depression of all the gifts have been opened sets in, it was great to have another something to look forward to. There was never anything of too much value except for some candy and random little gadgets and knick knacks but one thing I always looked forward to was the chocolate orange. You know what I’m talking about. It was an orange, made completely out of chocolate with a hint of orange flavoring. Being a kid with too much adrenaline on Christmas morning, the best part about the orange was that you had to keep it in its orange foil and wack it against something hard. What happened after that was magic. When you tenderly peeled back the foil to reveal the chocolate orange, the orange literally split into clean, perfect slices, like a real orange! Pure, blissful, chocolatey magic!

Maybe that wonderful orange is why I naturally feel inclined to combine refreshing citrus with creamy chocolate at Christmas time. Like citrus, these clementine dark chocolate chip cookies are delicious all year round and you can change which citrus you use! But for me and this holiday season, it’s all about the heavenly combo of clementines and dark chocolate. These cookies are best enjoyed at any party or by a cozy fire.

Our ingredients are gathered. Our basic chocolate chip cookie recipe but with dark chocolate chips and clementine zest. We can hang with this!

Eggs,vanilla, flour, sugar, baking soda, clementine zest (you could use orange here, too!), dark chocolate chips, brown sugar (my nickname for my husband), salt, and butter.

The zest is combined with the granulated sugar first. We really want the oils from the zest to infuse the sugar. This reminds me of a sunset on a snowy winter day. Too much?

The butter is creamed with the sugars. My favorite part!

We add our eggs and vanilla. Keep mixing!

I mean….

Now, our flour! It’s ok if we make a mess; it’s the way of the cookie.

Chocolate chips are added and stirred in manually. This also allows for you to incorporate any left out flour from the edge of the bowl.

Instant gratification.

These cookies are so good! I can’t believe I didn’t make these many Christmas moons ago! They are crisp but chewy. They have some body but are completely soft. Everything you want in a cookie! Try the clementine dark chocolate chip cookies! There are plenty of snow days ahead to enjoy them! Happy cookie making!

Maple Bacon Drop Biscuits

We just got back from the most Christmasy (only a word this time of year) experience in Williamsburg, Virginia. I will fill you in with cozy details later but after this weekend, I need to go on a no carb, no sugar, no fun detox. Of course, I will probably only make it to the no carb part but at least that’s something! I thought a warm, salty sweet biscuit would be the perfect start to this detox. Just kidding! I totally made this biscuit for Thanksgiving but wanted to save the recipe for you until a time like now. So, as you’re enjoying these amazing biscuits, I’ll be over here downing my salmon spinach salad in hopes of getting rid of this Christmas bloat before the actual Christmas bloat gets here. Wish me luck! And enjoy these delectable, easy biscuits! (more…)

Our ingredient line up:

Bacon, fresh thyme, flour, nutmeg, maple syrup, baking powder and soda, sugar, cold, cold butter, and salt for good measure.

All of our dry ingredients are thrown in first and whisked together. I always thought biscuit making was so much harder than this. We got this!

Our butter is broken up with our bare hands then the cream is added. The dough comes together fast! I like fast, especially if it means I’ll be eating a biscuit faster.

These lovelies are baked until golden perfection. We drizzle some maple syrup on them and we are done! These are perfect for brunch or alongside your Christmas ham but they are absolutely divine all by themselves! Don’t let intimidation stand before you and this yummy biscuits! They are all butter and bacon so really, what could go wrong? No one ever complained about their biscuits being too delicious! Happy biscuit making!

Thyme Chicken Pasta Bake with Mushrooms and Fennel

Pasta bake. I think it sounds a little bit more dignified than just a “casserole”. Not that there is anything wrong with a good casserole, they have just gotten a bad rap through the years. I don’t know if it’s because of the less than fresh contents inside of the casserole or just the thought of making it for one dinner and having leftovers for days. Growing up, my mom made a simple casserole we always looked forward to. It was mini pasta shells, canned tuna, a dash of cayenne pepper, and the liquid gold itself, velveeta cheese. I loved the spiciness and comfort of the dish. I also long for the days where the taste of velveeta overrides the guilt of eating something that isn’t actual cheese. Casseroles are great for the colder months but also great for families on the run. I’m all about the Make Once Get Two out of the deal meals where you make one for dinner and freeze the other. Just pop it in the oven whenever you get the hankering for a cozy but quick meal. Now, doesn’t that sound better? (more…)

Instead of opening a can of this, a container of that, and dumping it into a pan to be baked, I opted for a fresher take here. This pasta bake is inspired by one of our favorite dishes in Colonial Williamsburg. It consists of crepes stuffed with chicken and mushrooms and baked in a creamy sauce. It’s the perfect cure after a long and cold day of walking the cobblestone streets. Instead of making crepes, I substituted with pasta. I also added some licoricey (not a word, sorry!) fennel that sweetens as it cooks. Thyme makes everything a little bit better with it’s lemony yet slightly smokey flavor. It’s perfect for the cold months ahead and even more perfect with a glass of your favorite white wine!

The ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Parmesan, garlic, shredded chicken (don’t get me started on my rotisserie chicken rant, it’s a life saver), milk, nutmeg, fresh thyme, breadcrumbs, onion, flour, fennel, cream, butter, and mushrooms. Somewhere in there is the pasta too. You just can’t see it. But it’s there. I didn’t forget it.

We make a rich, creamy sauce with our onions and fennel. Then, we just throw everything in. You won’t miss that canned stuff one bit!

Throw in our pasta. It doesn’t get easier. I love how the farfalle look here.

After a little oven time, the top gets brown and crunchy. Sprinkle with parsley to add a little color. I didn’t have any parsley… This is warm, comforting, and so simple to throw together. Perfect for the rainy, cold weather we will be having this weekend! Happy pasta making!

Oatmeal Cookie Apple Crisp

I know you’ve been apple picking and I know you are up to your ears in apples. I’m trying to help you. Just hear me out. Apple crumbles all day. Or apple crisps if you like. Or apple cobbler. Or apple brown betty. It’s up to you! One thing I want to put to rest today, though. The difference between the desserts I just mentioned. When I began my blogging adventure, I wanted to make sure I was being “politically” correct when titling my recipes. I know I wasn’t the only one confused so here ya go! It is one of those things that will be debated until forever but I’m going to stick to this explanation: The difference between cobblers, crisps, and crumbles. But in all seriousness, if you are baking delicious fruit with warm spices and making your house smell amazing, no one gives a rip what you call the thing. Just be sure to serve with ice cream. (more…)

This crisp was such a pretty lady. I took waaay too many pictures but she’s just so photogenic. Like, do you really want anything else? I know this crisp isn’t too original, except for its topping. Instead of the usual streusel topping we all know and love, I decided to melt my butter and make more of a cookie topping. Oatmeal cookies are so comforting and full of flavor, I thought nothing could be better atop bubbling, juicy apples. I had all of the pure intentions in the world of adding dried cherries (instead of raisins) to the topping but realized I had forgotten said cherries on my grocery list. Next time dried cherries. Next time.

Our crisp ingredients (pun intended):

From Top Left to Right: Apples (make sure they are full of flavor and are sweet), sugar, melted butter (maybe my guilt was trying to crop the butter out of the picture), spice mixture #1, walnuts, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, fresh orange juice (trust me), spice mixture #2 (can we pretend I didn’t say #2 on a food blog? K, thanks), and oats.

We mix our apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, sugar, flour, orange juice, and vanilla. That’s it for the filling! Wasn’t that easy peasy? You could just bake this if you wanted to without the cookie topping but why would you want to? Why? Oh and do you like how I didn’t peel my apples? I had a hungry husband and mother in law giving me the “if you take one more picture of food…” stare.

Our dry ingredients are mixed then made undry (sooo not a word), by our butter. I use salted butter whenever butter is needed so I didn’t add more salt here. If you use unsalted, add some salt for balance. The dried cherries would want it that way.

Then, all we do is use bowl A to top pie plate B. Get those clean paws ready for some dirty work!

Voila! Isn’t that so dazzling? It was right here I realized I didn’t use the full amounts of brown sugar and granulated sugar the recipe calls for. Wanna see what happens next? Click this link! Jk. Just scroll down.

I literally sprinkled the dang sugars over the cookie topping. What’s a desperate girl to do? Don’t be like me. Use the full amount of everything. Please and thank you. Isn’t it prettier, though? It looks as if it was kissed by a snow angel. Sorry I just said snow. Too soon?

We bake until, you guessed it, hot and bubbling. Use the sharp point of a knife to make sure the apples are soft. Serve in ridiculously adorable plates.

Do you know they make salted caramel ice cream that is sold in grocery stores? Well, I do. Happy crisp making!

Cheddar Crab Sliders with Old Bay

Summers on the East Coast and more specifically in Maryland, are quite a special thing. There are more traditions than just the usual cookouts with burgers and hot dogs. Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine a long, rectangle table with newspaper rustically draped to keep it covered. The table is studded with paper towel rolls, non strategically placed and are accompanied by little wooden hammers. Ice cold beer bottles, little bowls of melted butter, and a spice in a red and yellow can are the finishing touches. There aren’t any plates or utensils laid out. Just crabs, paper, and two hands are all you need. Oh and good conversation because you might be sitting there for a long time. (more…)

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Since it’s National Burger Day, I figured I should have another burger on here other than this gem. Also, my husband is allergic to shellfish (a crime, I know), so I don’t cook with it much. But to keep my “I’m from Maryland” badge, I wanted to put up a recipe that involved crab in some way. These sliders are topped with a fresh crab salad then drizzled with a cheddar, Old Bay sauce. The burger is seasoned perfectly, the sweet crab salad adds a bite of freshness, and the cheddar sauce is sharp with a little bit of spice. They are the perfect balance of surf and turf but they will make you miss Summer a little bit more than you already do. And just in crab eating fashion, all you need are your two hands, and if you have any common decency, a paper towel to enjoy.

Our Surf ‘n Turf ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Ground beef, cheddar, milk, garlic, Dijon mustard, red onion, red bell pepper, dried oregano, Worchestire sauce, rolls, flour, lump crab meat, and that purdy little can is Old Bay. I totally forgot the butter in this pic. Sorry! Also, if you don’t have access to Old Bay in your supermarket (it’s our God given right!), Amazon sells it.

That may look like a lot of ingredients but the good news is most of them are thrown into a bowl with the beef and most of them are probably in your pantry. They make for a very tasty burger! We make little patties that match the size of our buns! Aren’t they cute?

The crab, red onion, and red bell pepper are tossed in a bowl together. They get a healthy sprinkling of Old Bay. Perfect! Make sure you taste for seasoning here. I don’t know how much Old Bay you like to get down with.

Now, what should be here is a picture of the cheddar Old Bay sauce. But it’s not and I’m sorry I forgot to take a pic by itself. Just a quick encouragement about mornay sauce aka the cheese sauce. Stir that milk until it’s thick. About 3 minutes in, you might start doubting yourself. Stick with it and keep stirring. It WILL thicken.
Our delicious sliders are assembled. Bottom bun, patty, crab, cheese drizzle, top bun. These sliders are incredibly flavorful but make you hardly work for it. EAT THESE TONIGHT! If you don’t, you know you will be thinking about them until you do. Happy sliders making!

Chicken Jalapeño Enchiladas with Chipotle Cherry Sauce

My body feels like a 100 tons. My eyes could close forever. Fridays always seem to be my last push before the weekend. I’m trying to relax on our car ride home but thoughts of endless grocery lists and to do’s for the weekend race my mind. A simple question from my husband like “what’s for dinner” can simply throw me into a never ending rant of my exhaustion and how I’m too busy to worry about something so miniscule. But instead he asks if I would like to go to Mi Casita, our favorite neighborhood joint. All of a sudden, my mind switches from how many eggs I need to endless tortilla chips and salsa. My mouth starts to water at the thought of salty steak fajitas topped with fresh guac and tangy sour cream. This is all I need. Can I stay in this moment forever? Please? (more…)

It’s funny but before we moved to our new home a couple of months ago, I rarely made anything Mexican. A simple beef taco would be lucky to make it into the dinner rotation. Since we eat Mexican often now, it’s always on the brain.  Plus, Mexican dinners can easily fall under the simple and quick dinner category. This recipe could also be a freezer friendly meal: make, eat half, freeze half. What I love about this dish is that we make simple chicken enchiladas but by adding a special homemade enchilada sauce, these enchiladas are undoubtedly set apart. How many times can we say enchiladas in a sentence?

Our fiesta-esque ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: chipotle pepper, corn tortillas, shredded chicken, monterey jack, salt, sugar, dried oregano, garlic powder, olive oil, flour, pickled jalapeños (I’m addicted), chicken stock, dried cherries, and tomato paste. Let’s just ignore that cute little cup I left out on the right. Thanks…

We make a smoky, slightly sweet enchilada sauce with dried cherries. Feel free to experiment with raisins, figs, or I bet cranberries would be fun. I might have to dabble with enchiladas: Thanksgiving edition. Just make sure you put enough salt in this beauty.

While our sauce is simmering, we will make our filling. I want to tell you something. I used rotisserie chicken from my grocery store here. I wanted easy so I got easy. I hope you understand. Mix that chicken with our pickled jalapeños, cheese, and sauce.

All that’s left is assembling! Fill a tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll.

Place seam side down in a baking dish. Once you make one, you will feel like you could make a hundred. But I hope you don’t have to. Here is the moment where I forgot that I needed more corn tortillas and didn’t pick any up from the store. Whole wheat tortillas with flax seed it is! Just fill up your pan with the rolled enchiladas. Make sure they are nice and snug. Give ’em a kiss goodnight for good measure.

Top with the remainder sauce and cheese. Take those cuties to the oven.

When they come out, they should be cheesy and bubbling. Yes, please.

Can we be honest? It’s really hard making enchiladas look pretty for pictures. I want you to know exactly what you are getting yourself into here: cheesy, saucy, chicken enchiladas. These are so easy and even easier with the rotisserie chicken. Making your own sauce feels more personal and special. We ate these while watching the most glorious sunset. Perfect! Happy enchilada making!

Brie Mac and Cheese with Figs

Remember that time I told you that I absolutely love pasta dishes here? Well, I wasn’t kidding. Mac and cheese is a dear favorite of mine but sometimes, it needs a face lift. (more…)

 The cheddar original is always fun but I enjoy feeling like an adult sometimes. And we all know eating figs and brie cheese means we are adults! Figs are in season right now and are delicious raw, stuffed, or made into an elegant sauce for pork, chicken or even a burger topped with goat cheese. I thought this would be semi-vintage and a change of pace to serve as an appetizer.

Our ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: elbow macaroni (duh!), onion, fig, butter, balsamic, milk, white wine, nutmeg, flour, brie, gruyere, and parmesan.

We begin with our onions and figs. Cook the onions until golden brown then add the precious figs. Meanwhile, your pasta should be cooking to just below al dente. You can also be horrible at multi-tasking like me and forget about your pasta, as the boiling water overflows onto your cook top. Which ever works for you!

Add the wine and reduce. Keep that wine around; it will be lovely with the mac and cheese later on. Finish with the balsamic vinegar. Look at that dark color! This is simply elegant!

We make our bechamel sauce (milk sauce), season, and add our cheeses. Taste for seasoning and by taste, I mean a few spoonfuls. You can never be too careful. Add your cute macaroni. I was having a party (your invite totally got lost), and thought serving mac and cheese in a portion friendly muffin tin would be more appealing and casual. Just fill up the holes and top with the onions and figs.

Bake until hot and bubbly! This is all cheese and it’s glorious!

Perfection. I’m sorry if that fig weirds you out. They’re delicious. Happy mac and cheese making!