September 1, 2014

Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad

by Shannon

Happy Labor Day! I hope you are all enjoying a nice warm day off and the last unofficial hours of summer! This weekend, I went to the Jersey shore for the first time all summer (and last) and had an amazing day at the beach followed by a fun relaxing night on the deck with my friends. Yesterday I enjoyed the a little party at my friend’s house and because I love making food for such get-togethers, I threw together this quick Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad which was perfect on such a hot and sometimes sunny (and sometimes stormy) day.

Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls and basil are combined with a simple vinaigrette of white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. So simple. I doubled the recipe for the party and used both red and yellow cherry tomatoes instead of heirloom tomatoes but chopped vine-ripened, grape, or plum tomatoes would work too. Also, use whatever vinegar floats your boat. The white wine vinegar has a nice acidity and subtle flavor but red wine or balsamic vinegar would be great too. I have a flight to Atlanta this afternoon so instead of partying, I’m soaking up the sun on the balcony with a cold iced tea and great book but if you have somewhere fun to be and need a quick dish, this will be a winner no matter where you go!

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Combine vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

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Add halved cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and mozzarella balls.

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Toss to combine.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

August 27, 2014

Asparagus with Red Pepper and Manchego

by Shannon

I might as well chalk my diet up to a lost cause this week. I only have two more days at my current job and I can’t help but take advantage of my favorite Philadelphia eats (like the obsessive chicken over rice from the Halal food truck on the corner, the peanut butter cup popcorn at Go Popcorn, and the chicken tinga tacos at El Vez) while I still work downtown. Since I’ll be moving to Atlanta, I’m trying to get this great food in while I still can (luckily Go Popcorn ships nationwide!). While my taste buds are in heaven, my belly is feeling like a fat puffy gray cloud. Since I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a bite of anything green, it’s time to make some veggies. Both asparagus and red peppers were on sale at the grocery store this past weekend so this Asparagus with Red Pepper and Manchego seemed like the perfect recipe to make in between my not-so-healthy meals.

Asparagus is cooked with red pepper slices, smoked paprika, salt and pepper before being topped with thin shavings of buttery Manchego cheese. Amazing! The asparagus is perfectly crisp, the red pepper is slightly sweet and the smoked paprika is a smoky little cherry on top. Smoked paprika is my favorite thing in my kitchen but I’d never considered using it to jazz up some vegetables. I knew I would like this recipe because what’s not to like but I seriously didn’t expect to inhale it the way I did. This doesn’t feel like a side dish but a healthy little meal in itself. It may not be Halal’s chicken over rice but I think it’s a new obsession.

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil; swirl to coat. Add asparagus; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Add bell pepper, paprika, black pepper, and salt; cook 2 minutes.

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Top with Manchego cheese.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

August 25, 2014

Quick Banana and Milk Chocolate S’Mores

by Shannon

A little over three years ago, I bought my first home, a condo. A month later, this blog was born. I was so excited to finally own a place after renting so many apartments. I searched design blogs and poured over websites looking at furniture and paint colors. Well, this past weekend, I spent every minute cleaning every nook and cranny because I’ll be putting my sweet little condo on the market. I accepted a job in Atlanta about three weeks ago which I’m really excited about but getting a home ready to list for sale is purely exhausting. I passed up on a concert, barely ate any meals and drank way too much coffee. Late Saturday after realizing I’d eaten nothing all day, I picked up Chinese food and almost fell asleep eating it. Yesterday I decided I needed to make something for the blog so instead of making something healthy and sustaining, I made these Quick Banana and Milk Chocolate S’Mores. Only because they were quick.

Graham crackers are topped with milk chocolate, banana slices and marshmallow which is then toasted under the broiler for a quick minute and a half when everything becomes soft and gooey. Eating these s’mores reminded me of when my friend Lori and I used to make s’mores in the toaster oven at work. The smell would waft throughout the office and at one point our CFO came over and asked what we made that smelled so good. Everything about these s’mores takes me back to that time. The milk chocolate is creamy, the marshmallow is oozing, and the banana is toasted and mellowed out. Yes, this was my dinner last night. And considering I still have a little more to do, it just might be my dinner tonight.

Have some left over marshmallows? Try this Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake!

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Preheat broiler to high. Place graham cracker squares on a foil-lined baking sheet. Divide chocolate evenly among 4 squares; top evenly with banana slices. Spread 1 tablespoon marshmallow crème (or place 1 marshmallow) on each of 4 remaining squares.

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Broil 1 1/2 minutes or until chocolate just begins to melt and marshmallow creme lightly browns.

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Carefully top banana with the marshmallow-topped squares.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Whole marshmallows

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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