Tuesday, August 7, 2012

food for thought

While uploading my iPhone photos this week I realized that I have been cooking up quite a storm over the past few months and it's well worth sharing with you all. Most of these recipes were sourced via Pinterest and I've provided links, when possible, so you can try them out for yourselves!


Asparagus Gruyere Tart

This delicious asparagus tart was brought to my attention on Cupcakes and Cashmere. Emily on C&C was inspired via Martha Stewart. Oh how lovely (and delicious) sharing on the internet can be!

No recipe to link here... just wanted to share this photograph of some lobster tails being pan fried! We popped them into some pasta with sauce, added red pepper flakes and VOILA! dinner. Quick, easy, and tasty.
Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana Bites

I made the chocolate dipped frozen banana bites as a surprise dessert mid-week. As soon as I came across the recipe I was instantly inspired and knew that I already had everything I needed at home. I enjoyed making this treat almost as much as Ross enjoyed eating it :)

For my toppings I went with crushed Reese's peanut butter cups and peanuts. Also, I added some peanut butter to the melted chocolate so it was a whole chocolate, peanuty, banana-y experience!!
 No recipe for this one either. This is a quick salad thrown together with mixed greens, pears, walnuts, and blue cheese. I think I see some pieces of roasted chicken in there too.

Likely the dressing is a homemade version of a mustard-balsamic vinaigrette that I learned four years ago and am still addicted to. The ingredients include; extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice, honey, dijon mustard, minced garlic, salt and pepper. It's a crowd-pleaser... every time!
 Meatball Parm Subs!

These were HEAVENLY. Not exactly what you would expect to eat in the Spring in DC, but hey - work with what you got on a weeknight.

The prep for this recipe was quite minimal as we already had the ingredients on hand. Thanks to my Dad for a nearly-constant supply of baguettes from Balthazar Bakery! We had a group of meatballs hanging out in the freezer, which I'm fairly sure were a product of this recipe. And the sauce was left over from the lasagna recipe below. Top with some mozzarella and parmesan, and pop that baby under the broiler for a few minutes! Oh, I'm craving one now.
 Barbecue Chicken Pizza

This used to be one of my favorite dishes at California Pizza Kitchen. (That was before my honey wheat crust, I can top a salad on my pizza phase!) And I'm not quite sure where the inspiration for this came, but I used The Pioneer Woman's recipe for guidance. Thankfully the local Harris Teeter supermarket carries whole wheat pizza dough, so we can stretch it out ourselves. We also had some rotisserie chicken on hand and used that to toss with barbecue sauce for easy preparation.
 Lasagna Bolognese

The Smitten Kitchen blog was just teasing me with this recipe for months! So, finally I decided to give it a try. I made the bolognese sauce and the bechamel base  from scratch. I must say, I did not miss the ricotta cheese in my lasagna, not one bit.

The crust on this was delicious. Leftovers certainly didn't last long. And it was quite pleasing to my "meticulous nature" that this was not a sloppy lasagna sliding all over the plate.
 No Sugar Breakfast Bars

As I started training for my Tough Mudder and going on longer morning runs, I knew that I would need more fuel before heading out the door. I needed a quick source of calories that would not make me sick during a run. Or, something that I could eat quickly when I got back and readied for work. These breakfast bars were GREAT! It was a healthy combination of some of my favorite ingredients; oatmeal, raisins, and peanut butter.
Linzer Tart Cookies

I bought my linzer tart cookie cutter during a recent trip to Michael's arts and crafts. It came with six different cutouts for the center shape; heart, circle, diamond, star, triangle, and I cannot remember the last. It sat around for a little while before I had time to use it, but boy am I glad I did!

These little guys were fantastic! I used a Strawberry Rhubarb jam that I had been given for a Christmas gift. And I decided to swap the almonds in the recipe with hazelnuts - a very happy substitution, indeed. Everybody loved these cookies, and my Mom even said they tasted better than the ones from Balthazar Bakery!

Glorious, glorious food! Ross and I received the pasta maker attachment to our KitchenAid mixer as our very first engagement present. (Thank you, again, Dayna and Ken!) It was such an exciting day to open it up and give it a try. And let me tell you, I went for the fences and hit it out of the park! 

My stepsister told me all about this recipe her friends had made last New Years Even and I was instantly hooked. I knew this would be the first recipe I tried with my new gadget. Rolling out the pasta dough was fun, Ross helped as the sheets became longer and longer. 

The outcome was really amazing. The yolk was still runny, as you can see in the photo to the right. And the browned butter sauce with sage leaves was unlike any other sauce I've had. This is definitely a repeater.

Another quick pasta story to share...

I also used the fettuccine attachment for a go at light-wheat pasta. Wheat pasta was exactly the way I remembered it - quite like cardboard. I don't recommend you try it. But now that I have the ingredients, I feel like I have an endless supply of inspiration to use on this gadget, and if one recipe doesn't work out, hopefully the next one will!

Next up on the engagement gift excursions; popsicles! My mom was kind enough to fulfill my summer's desire to make popsicle after popsicle. Last weekend I also made a fudgsicle of sorts with Nutella and chocolate almond milk. It was out of this world! With popsicles, the possibilities are endless and I'm excited to try new ones before the summer is done. 

 Homemade Cheez-Its

These little snacks were devoured almost immediately! They didn't even last a week. The Smitten Kitchen recipe calls them goldfish, but I upped the cheese and sprinkled them with sea salt before cooking - and I feel like they resembled Cheez Its in the end. Whatever they resembled, they were T-A-S-T-Y.
Crunchy Coconut Chicken Tenders

These tasty guys were a great twist on homemade chicken fingers (one of Ross' favorite meals!). I also made the apricot chili sauce to go with them. Plus, this recipe makes enough to store them in a freezer so you can pop some in the oven when you have zero time for dinner prep!

Unfortunately I don't have my own pictures yet but last weekend I also put together some apple apple pies for dessert! They are apple pies served in an apple with a pie crust latticed on top. Heaven in a bowl, on a plate, and on a spoon. Oh they will definitely be coming back to my kitchen again soon!!

Where is your favorite place to find inspiration for recipes? I love using the internet and searching keywords. And as much as I say that I will repeat meals, there are endless possibilities and I love trying new recipes so repeats don't always happen as frequently as expected. Which, I guess is a good thing.


  1. Fun recipes!! I made that same asparagus tart for a brunch not long ago. It was yummy! The chicken tenders look tasty, I might have to try that one soon :)

    1. Thanks, Cindy!! These were definitely a lot of fun to create and eat. We ended up putting some on top of a salad and it added a nice flavor. Plus, I'm huge a fan of one recipe creating enough food for two meals because that means another night you don't have to cook, you just pull them out of the freezer! I hope you're loving Roanoke, looks like Robert is keeping your hands full :)

  2. These look absolutely delicious, great attention to detail on the presentation.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Mike! Cooking is definitely a passion and a great way for me to unwind after a long day at work.