Loving my veggie garden this year because with all of the rain – comes a huge harvest of tomatoes! For Labor Day weekend, I made a few different recipes using tomatoes. Bruschetta was at the top of my list! So easy to make and you don’t need plum tomatoes. I used the large juicy big boy-type tomatoes!
Slice a baguette thin and place on a cookie sheet in one layer. Place under a hot broiler for just a minute or two until they start to brown. Flip to the other side and repeat.
When they come out of the oven, drizzle with olive oil and rub the top surface with a sliced garlic clove.
Using 3 or 4 large tomatoes, slice a tomato side ways (so that the top half of the tomato has the vine) and squeeze the juice and seeds over the kitchen sink. Repeat with the bottom half to remove seeds.
Dice the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, S&P to taste.
Fresh basil! Pull 10-12 fresh basil leaves, roll them up together and slice thin. Add to the tomato mixture and stir.
Scoop the tomato mixture on each toasted baguette slice.
A fresh tomato appetizer perfect for late summer. Ready to serve or transport to a party!
Sweet Stackers are reusable, stackable trays that insert into a container your already own. The classic Tupperware 9×9 inch container and 8×8 inch Sweet Stackers tray set is pictured. Two layers of bruschetta in one container without a soggy mess. Ready to transport to a party or picnic!
Good morning! Wouldn’t you like to wake up to this homemade breakfast?
I love muffin tin recipes because they bake quickly and make cute individual portions….especially for kids! This is a delicious recipe for the weekend, but next time I am going to make an extra batch of muffin tin French toast and refrigerate it. Then zap it in the microwave to heat through for a quick homemade breakfast before the kids head off to school! (Plus the syrup made enough for another batch of French toast.)
Muffin Tin French Toast
adapted from the book Muffin Tin Chef by Matt Kadey
- 6 sliced whole-grain bread
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (or any choice of berry)
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt together. Stir in the bread cubes and let sit for 5 minutes to absorb.
Preheat the oven for 350°. In a small sauce pan, combine the berries, maple syrup and cinnamon over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the cornstarch and simmer for 1 minute. The syrup should start to thicken.
Divide the bread cubes in a 12-count muffin tin. Bake for approximately 22 minutes, until they are golden on top and the egg has set.
Serve warm with the berry syrup on top.
Refrigerate the leftover syrup.
Old world recipes can be very difficult to pass on from generation to generation. Back in the day, recipes were not written down and made from memory. Since they weren’t written down, you just add a little of this and a little of that until you get the “right consistency” and if not you add a little more of this and that.
As I grew older and took interest in cooking, I wanted to learn from my Grandmas how to cook their traditional meals. I didn’t want to see these recipes lost forever. Funny thing, as I look back it seemed like some recipes were a big family secret.
Today I made one of my favorite main Czech dishes and transcribed the recipe with measurements. Measurements are a bonus because some of the old cook books that my Grandma owned listed ingredients without measurements. I think you were just supposed to know what to do!
This recipe is so easy and the gravy is absolutely delicious! Gravy always seemed to be so daunting to make from scratch…but really it is easy!
Czech Chicken Paprika
- 2 TB cooking oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 8 pieces of chicken (breast & thighs with skin on)
- 8 cups of water
- 2 TB paprika
- S & P
Chicken Paprika Gravy
- 1 cup flour
- ¾ cup water
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 TB paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
In a large dutch oven or stock pot, add cooking oil and onions over high heat. Cook until the onion softens. In the meanwhile, salt and pepper chicken pieces. Place in the pot, skin side down. Cook until the skin is browned scraping the bottom of the pot, then flip and brown the other side. Add 8 cups of water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil. Cook chicken in boiling water for one hour. Reduce the heat, transfer chicken to a platter and strain the juice. (I use a slotted spoon to get little pieces out)
For the gravy, whisk flour and water in a small mixing bowl, getting all of the lumps out. This will create a paste. Whisk the paste into the large pot of chicken juices, constantly whisking until the gravy comes to a boil and it will slightly thicken. Add sour cream, continuing to whisk to get any lumps out. Then season with paprika and salt. Let gravy simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Place the chicken back in the pot to heat through.
Serve chicken pieces on a large platter with a gravy boat filled with hot gravy. Traditionally this would be served with dumpling. But it is also delicious with egg noodles.
…and for the The Triscuit Summer Snackoff – Challenge 2! Triscuit – check! Peas – check! and at least one other ingredient – check!
This time I am even more determined that it would be great to meet Martha Stewart!
My inspiration for this recipe came to me as I was making a batch of homemade hummus. I actually get cravings for hummus! It wasn’t until I started working after college that I was enlightened about a little family owned mediterranean restaurant in my neighborhood. I remember having hummus for the first time and I will admit that I was not impressed. But I loved the rest of the food and after trying hummus a few more times, I became addicted. It is a great healthy snack – and yes, I do crave it! Always wondered if I am the only one?
I’ll be honest…this is totally my creation, I didn’t even check the web to see if there were recipes already like this! So here is a basic hummus recipe with the addition of green peas! The green peas sweetened and “freshened” the hummus. Traditional hummus does not have the most eye-appealing color, so the bright green from the green peas really made for a beautiful presentation!
Green & Chick Pea Hummus
1 large clove garlic
1 – 15 ounce can of chick peas
½ cup frozen green peas; thawed
¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
In a food processor, add garlic clove to mince. Add remaining ingredients, one at a time while blending. If the mixture is too thick, gradually add up to 1/4 cup of water until you reach a preferred consistency.
Today I entered the Triscuit Summer Snackoff and a chance to meet Martha Stewart! Why not…she is someone I would love to meet and I always have Triscuits in my pantry.
This recipe was inspired by my Star Spangled Tartlets – a bite-sized dessert that I made for the 4th of July. Instead of using pie crust to make tartlets, the similar ingredients could be used as a spread or topping on the Triscuit. These would make a great savory-sweet appetizer or dessert to make up in a pinch! The sweet berry pie filling and cheesecake spread paired nicely with a savory Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuit. My husband even said it was like a party in his mouth with all of the different flavors. It actually take a lot to impress him.
Ha! So wish me luck!!
Triscuit Berry Cheesecakes
• 2 cups fresh mixed berries (strawberry, blueberry)
• 1/3 cup water
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 TB corn starch
• 2 TB butter
• 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
• 2 tablespoons butter , softened
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
• Box of Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits
• sliced almonds to garnish
Place the first 5 ingredients in a heavy saucepan, bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and cool.
Using an electric mixer, on high, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Lower the speed and add vanilla, then gradually add the sugar.
To assemble: Place Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits neatly on a serving platter. Spread cream cheese mixture on each cracker and top with a dollop of berry filling. Place a few sliced almonds on top to garnish.
The spring fairies must be visiting my garden! The flowers are blooming and my daughter has been busy building fairy houses in our yard. She just turned 7 and to celebrate, I wanted to make a fairy house cake for her party.
A few years ago, I bought a beautiful story book called Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane. It was about a little girl who went into the forest on an east coast island to build fairy houses made only out of natural things. My daughter enjoys the idea so, that we still go on walks to collect sticks, bark, rocks and even seashells on vacation. You may not collect anything living. She then builds these cute little homes for the fairies, tucked into hidden places in our gardens. I thought it would be very fitting if she had a fairy house cake for her birthday!
The idea was to make the cake look like a tree stump fairy house. It had 4 layers of chocolate cake, two 9″ layers of dark chocolate boxed cake mix and two 9″ layers of german chocolate cake mix. The layers were alternated light and dark to add interest when you cut into it.
The chocolate ganache frosting was very simple to make. I was inspired by a recipe from Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman).
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 24 ounces bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Heat the heavy cream until very hot (not boiling) and add the chocolate chips. Stir over heat until completely melted. The mixture will turn smooth deep chocolate color. Remove from heat and pour into an electric mixer bowl. Refrigerate until completely cooled, but do not let harden. After 2 hours, the bottom of the bowl was just slightly warm to the touch. I added the vanilla and started to beat the chocolate using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
The chocolate ganache frosting filled between each 9″ chocolate cake layer and the sides of the cake. I covered the sides of the cake and then stroked from the bottom up to create the look of bark. The door and windows were a graham cracker, cut with a knife to shape. They were trimmed with a tube of orange decorative cake icing. The vines were piped using a tube of green decorative cake icing. The edible sugar flowers were packaged by Wilton.
To vary the color of the top of the cake, I made a box of butterscotch pudding and spread this over the top of the cake to look like the inner part of a tree. The fairy figurine that adorned the top of the cake was purchased at a local craft store. A piece of wax paper was placed down underneath to separate her from the cake. The fairy figure will make a neat keepsake on my daughter’s bedroom shelf after her party. The springy butterfly party plates napkins matched perfectly!
Happy Birthday! Stop growing so fast!!
There is something about spring that brings on a cravings for lemon!
These Double-Lemon Cheesecake Bars were perfect for an adult Easter dessert. Double lemon because the cheesecake had a hint of lemon and topped with a lemon glaze. Delish! Cut into individual portions, stacked, stored and ready to transport to a party without a mess using Sweet Stackers.
Hope you had a nice Easter and enjoy this recipe!
Double-Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- 2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
- 1 ¾ cups sugar, divided
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/3 cup lemon juice, divided
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 4 eggs, 1 separated
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ cup water
Preheat oven to 325° and line a 9×13 inch pan with foil. Mix wafer crumbs and butter. Press into the bottom of the pan and bake 10 minutes.
With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, flour, lemon zest, 2 TB lemon juice and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add 1 egg white (reserve the egg yolk for later use) and 3 whole eggs, adding one at a time while beating.
Pour batter over crust. Bake 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool 1 hour. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
Glaze: Mix cornstarch and remaining sugar in saucepan, gradually stir in water and remaining lemon juice. Bring just to boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until clear and thickened. Lightly beat reserved egg yolk and stir in 2 TB hot cornstarch mixture. Return to remaining mixture in saucepan. Cook and stir 1 minute or until thickened. Cool.
Spoon glaze over cheesecake. Refrigerate 1 hour. Use foil handles to remove cheesecake from pan before cutting to serve.