Monday, June 29, 2009

Yummy Chicken w/ Parmesan


This is one of those weeknight dinners that will feel like something much more involved and fancy than it is. I love this recipe because 99% of the time these are all ingredients I keep "in stock" here at the casa, so this requires no stoppin at the store~ molto bene!! This would go brilliantly with the "glorious salad" ala Kelle I posted last week, or just some simple steamed veggies with a little whole wheat pasta.

Chicken w/ Parmesan
serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, rinsed & patted dry
about 1-2 cups bread crumbs or panko
1 T each; dry crushed basil & oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
Kosher salt & cracked back pepper
3/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese + some for topping chicken before serving
2 eggs
2 Cups tomato-based pasta sauce (I keep homemade on hand via the freezer, yay Pyrex!!) but this would be about the same as one small jar from the store...

Heat a large skillet, add about 2 T olive oil (to lightly coat the bottom of the pan, I usually add just a thin coat then spray some non-stick spray)Mix the breadcrumbs, herbs Parmesan in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat the egg in a separate shallow bowl.
Dredge chicken breasts in egg, then coat in the herb,cheese, breadcrumb mix~ place crusted chicken in heated pan with oil. Cook about 7 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook about 7 minutes on the second side...cook about 3-5 minutes more on each side, until the chicken is cooked through (165-175 degrees) and golden brown on each side. Meanwhile heat the pasta sauce in a small sauce pot and when the chicken is on it's last flip spoon a sauce over the top, sprinkle with Parmesan and serve w/ salad or steamed veggies~ This is a SUPER easy weeknight dinner that is great for leftover pasta sauce or chicken breasts you are wondering what the heck to do with.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Key Lime Blackberry Tart


Key lime anything makes me feel like summer all over. It's fresca and yummy and tart and I LOVE IT!! Instead of going full-on pie with whip cream, etc...I thought of how delish this filling would be topped with sugar-tumbled blackberries. Yup, it rocked.
I don't know if just assembling what is pretty much a key lime pie in a tart pan is what makes it a tart, but in this case, it does for me! I highly recommend you try this ASAP~ it's a perfect summery desert, especially after dinner featuring a GLORIOUS SALAD and grilled goodness!!


Serves 12-14
20-30 key limes (about 3/4 c juice)
1 1/2 T zest
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp sugar

1 1/4 c crushed graham cracker
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 T sugar 1 T brown sugar

2 pt fresh black berries
1 key lime for garnish

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Grease a tart pan and , mix the crumbs, sugars and butter in a bowl, evenly moistening the crumbs and sugar. Press the graham cracker crust into the tart pan & bake 8 minutes...let cool. You can also just buy a crust, but I like a super thick crust and it always tastes best when you make it fresh!!
Mix the lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, lime zest, sour cream and sugar in a medium bowl with a hand mixer (or stand mixer with whisk attachment).
Pour key lime filling into cooled pie crust. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes, but don't let the top brown at all. Cool to room temp, then place some plastic wrap over the top so it doesn't form a skin, refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until chilled thoroughly.
Toss the blackberries with a few teaspoons of sugar in a medium bowl, and pour over chilled tart.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Glorious Salad~ inspried by Kelle


We always had a garden in our back yard while I was growing up. I am really looking forward to a living situation where we have more than just a teeny little patio so we can do some gardening of our own! Someday... Anyhow, salad was a very common accompaniment to anything we were eating (or grilling, more specifically) during the summer time. My parents would make what we liked to cal "Glorious Salad"...I believe I've talked about this before, because there is just salad and there's Glorious Salad, and there is a big difference!!

A few months back one of our favorite couples invited a group of us over for a Thursday night dinner...They were servin up the best tri-tip you've ever had with homemade herb butter and a salad that was seriously off the chain. I brought the BLACKBERRY KEY LIME TART (coming soon...) and we were all so full we had just enough energy for one round of Apples to Apples after our indulgence fest.

Since a few of the invited guests couldn't make it that night, we decided to do it again the following month on a Thursday at our place. Nate and I made poison cru, flank steak and insisted that Kelle bring her amazing salad (which she made with fresh strawberries that time!!) This month it is the third consecutive month our little group has met up for dinner, this time at Brian's house, and Kelle & Manos are in GREECE!! So what of the salad??! We could not do our dinner with out it!! I hesitantly volunteered, not sure if my version of Kelle's awesome salad could live up to our expectations, but I have to say, she would've been proud!

Kelle Salad
Serves 10

1 large container organic mixed greens (this comes in a plastic box at my market)
3 large, ripe avacados
2 giant handfulls slivered blanched almonds
6oz herbed goat cheese
2 tomatoes
2 handfulls of dried cranberries

2 lemons
Olive oil

I mixed up the dressing first (you want a jar or bottle with a secure lid). Add the juice of 2 lemons and a few pinches of Kosher salt, then add about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of oilve oil and SHIMMY SHAKE THAT BAD BOY until it is totally combined...give it a taste and if it is knock-you-on-your-tush lemon still, you could add a bit more olive oil to mellow it out..just mess with it a bit, until you are lovin' it. Set aside.

Rinse the greens and pat dry with paper towel, then toss them into a BIGASS bowl. Line the tray of your toaster oven (or normal oven, use a cookie sheet) with foil and spread the almonds out on it. I put them in the toaster oven at 350 for about 7 minutes...maybe a bit longer~ you want them golden brown, deep golden color is key to the brilliant flavor!
While the almonds are toasting, dice up the avocado, tomato and goat cheese (lil' bite size pieces of each of those items) and sprinkle over the salad...give it a few tosses to start incorporating the ingredients. Add the crazins, then the almonds and toss the salad well to fully incorporate EVERYTHING glorious. The almonds will melt the cheese a bit- which is AWESOME. Give the dressing another strong furious shake and pour over salad, toss it again, then I like to add fresh cracked black pepper individually to each serving! GLORIOUS INDEED.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shayne's Perfectly Chocolatey Birthday Best Cake Ever...


Gooey dulce de leche filling combined with intense chocolate cake, frosted with a combo of Cool Whip and cream cheese, topped with mini chocolate chips and toffee bits. Really, that can not NOT be delicious, right?! Right. It's awesome!!
This is the marriage of two pretty famous recipes that is truly exceptional. I first made this back in 2007 for Naomi's birthday, and per Shayne's request, made it for her b-day party...

Shayne's Perfectly Chocolatey Birthday Best Cake Ever.
Serves 12

2 C. Sugar
1 3/4 C. Flour
3/4 C. Hershey's Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
1 C. Milk
1/2 C. Oil
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 C. Cup Boiling Water
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Jar of Caramel (Ice Cream Topping)

1 container of Cool Whip & 8oz softened cream cheese for frosting
1 C. Heath Toffee Bits & Mini Chocolate Chips for topping


Prepare a 15 cup bundt pan by spraying with baking spray (with flour).
Pre-heat oven to 350, and sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix in eggs one at a time, add milk, oil, vanilla, mix well. Add Boiling water and mix. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan, then cool 10 minutes on wire wrack- transfer to plate covered in wax paper.
Mix milk and caramel in a bowl.
Using a straw poke holes evenly spaced in the cake and using a spoon fill the holes and pour over the cake until it soaks in, I usually don't quite use it all...about 3/4 of the mix does the trick..then, let the cake cool completely.
In a large bowl combine softened cream cheese and thawed Cool Whip, & frost cake, top with Heath toffee bits & mini chocolate chips!



Friday, June 19, 2009

Mango Flank Steak Tacos


This was an improv dinner that turned out better than I could have imagined. The steak was amazing, this marinade rocks the heezie.
We made this after work and work-out and still ate before 8pm, it was fabulous. This will be a go-to recipe for us from now on, easy to make in large scale for get togethers too!!

Mango Flank Steak Tacos
By Beth & Nate
Serves 4

1 lb flank steak
1 mango
1 lime
1 tomato
1/4 red onion
Fresh cilantro
Kosher salt
Soy sauce
1-2 T fresh grated ginger
garlic powder
crushed red pepper

Chop the mango into little cubes, toss them in a medium sized bowl...put the flank steak in a freezer bag and throw the mango core and a a few of the mango cubes. Add soy sauce, a lil less than 1/4 cup, ginger a few dashes of garlic powder, the juice of 1/2 a lime and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Seal the bag and massage it all together- let marinate 30min-1hour.
Dice up the tomato, onion and cilantro and toss with the mango. Add a pinch of salt and juice of 1/2 a lime. Toss together, cover & refrigerate 1 hour or more.
Grill marinated flank steak on medium heat for about 3 minutes each side...longer if you prefer medium to well meat. Take the meat off, add tortillias and grill for about 1-2 minutes. Add steak to tortilla, top with salsa and additional onion or cilantro if you'd like~ YUM!! Amazing taco heaven.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back in the Kitchen~

My blog is officially TWO YEARS OLD!! I can barley believe it!! While I have definitely been away from this fantabulous webpage quite a bit, and sometimes (like recently) for months at a time, this space of mine is always on my mind.
I've still been cooking away, baking a little less and will begin updating from where I left off in February...NOW. Life is still certainly very sweet around here and with a beautiful 2-year wedding anniversary celebrated, a 1-year anniversary of our family growing with Arthur joining the bunch, and so many activities~ SEE BELOW~ Ya know, like a BeerFest, a WineFest, Medieval Times, lots of snow(boarding for Nate/Skiing for me), some them parties, dinner parties (more to come on that!)and still working & sleeping from time to time. It's been hard for me to hunker down and keep the Sweet Life Kitchen current with the real-life sweet life!

So welcome back to the internet, we go!