Prosciutto and Mozzarella Panini

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My godmother and uncle have a house in Bethany Beach and we go to visit them as much as possible in the summer. My cousin and I were there for a weekend and one night they had hosted a dinner party. One of the dishes my aunt had made was a salad with prosciutto. We went out for our own dinner and came back right as they were finishing dinner. My cousin and I decided to clean everything up and I nearly had a panic attack seeing all of the prosciutto left in the bowl.

Seriously. My eyes went wide and my breathing went all shallow just thinking about how much of that delicious salty, cured meat was going to be thrown away. I even said something to my godmother later on about it and she laughed saying she felt the same way when she saw it in the bowls.

So to avoid freaking me out, eat all your prosciutto!




Prosciutto and Mozzarella Panini
Adapted from: Cooking Light
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 12 oz. loaf french bread
    • 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
    • 4 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
    • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
    • 1 jar roasted red pepper
    • 6 oz. prosciutto
Directions:
1. Heat a griddler or grill plate over high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Slice the loaf of french bread in half to fill with ingredients.
3. Spread the mayo on both sides of the bread and then sprinkle the chopped basil on top. Follow with the mozzarella cheese.
4. Pat the roasted red pepper dry, then finely dice and place on top of the mozzarella. Layer the pieces of prosciutto on top and close the sandwich.
5. Slice in half and place on the griddler or grill plate. Cook 5-7 minutes or until toasted and the cheese has melted. Slice each sandwich in half again and serve.



The original recipe called for using tomatoes instead of roasted red peppers but even roma tomatoes, which have a lower water count than others, can still make a sandwich soggy when its heated up so I opted to use roasted red peppers instead. I also doubled the amount of prosciutto to really bring out the flavor of it in this dish.

Honestly, it could have used more. The bread was a little overwhelming in comparison to the other ingredients, but overall it was still an absolutely delicious sandwich. You could also hollow out the top and bottom of the bread if you wanted to reduce the bread to other ingredient ratio. 

Welcome to the New Layout!

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Hi there!

If it's your first time visiting in a while, you'll notice I have a completely new layout! It's much more simple and concise and I hope you love it as much as I do. It's also responsive on mobile and tablets which is kind of necessary in this world.

I am currently reworking the Recipe Index, now that I can have an awesome drop down menu so please bear with me through the mini construction process. You can still find all of my recipes by using the Recipe List link at the top, the Labels on the right sidebar or the Blog Archive, also located on the right sidebar.

I've went through each page and a variety of posts to check them, but if you find anything that is no longer working (a link, image, entire post, etc.) please email me or leave a comment and I'll get it resolved as soon as I can.

Huge thanks to Luca from LucaLogos for the redesign!


Asparagus and Gruyere Tart

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I've had this recipe saved to make for I don't even know how long. Tom is not a big fan of asparagus so I rarely get to try out new recipes with asparagus as the star unless it's a holiday, we're having people over, or something I can make for lunches.

He really surprised me with this recipe. I didn't think he would even try it, but he did and said that he really liked it. I think that's because of the gruyere cheese. It pairs so nicely with the asparagus and flakiness of the puff pastry that you really can't eat just one serving of this appetizer.



Asparagus and Gruyere Tart
Source: Closet Cooking
Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients:
    • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
    • 2 tbsp. dijon mustard
    • 2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
    • 1/2 lb. asparagus
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • olive oil 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Roll out the puff pastry to a 16x10 rectangle.
3. Use a sharp knife to score a line 1-inch from the edge of the pastry. This will create a raised edge of puff pastry when it cooks. Use a fork to prick the center of the pastry. This will stop it from rising too much in the oven.
4. Spread the dijon mustard on the inside of the cut, then sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese.
5. Rinse the asparagus and remove the woody ends. Pat dry, then arrange in an even layer down the length of the pastry.
6. Season with salt and pepper. Use the oil to brush around the outside edge of the pastry.
7. Bake for 15-25 minutes or until the asparagus is roasted and the puff pastry is golden brown.
8. Let rest for a few minutes before slicing into squares and serving.



I'm kind of sad that I only managed to get one piece of this. It was a delicious piece but I really would have loved to had another. I love this kind of recipe because it looks fancy and like you took a lot of time preparing it, but that's not true at all. Aside from the baking, the longest part about this recipe is waiting for the puff pastry to thaw!


Improv Challenge: Ham and Cheese Wafflewiches

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Despite my best intentions, I do not have a good track record of participating in Improv Challenges this year. I actually made recipes for the January and February ingredients but just could not manage to get them posted in time to share for the challenge.

I actually scheduled this post back in January and the title was "April Improv Challenge: Ham and Cheese MUST PARTICIPATE!!" Why the excess punctuation and capitalization? Well, because last year we were asked to think up some ingredient combinations and submit them for this year. 

I submitted ham and cheese so naturally, it would just be wrong not to participate in a challenge of the ingredients I picked, right? That still didn't make picking a recipe easy. Ham and cheese is such a classic combination that trying to find a recipe that wasn't obvious was harder than I thought. 

I eventually decided on this waffle version because I like to occasionally serve breakfast for dinner and this fit the bill. Well, for Tom it did. I added scrambled eggs into his waffle sandwich but not my own. (I can't stand scrambled eggs)



Ham and Cheese Wafflewich
Source: Southern Bite
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
    • 1 can refrigerated biscuits
    • 8 slices deli ham
    • 8 slices cheddar cheese
    • 1 cup scrambled eggs (optional)

Directions:
1. Heat up your waffle iron and spray with non-stick cooking spray. 
2. Remove the biscuits from the can and separate each biscuit into 2 pieces. Use your fingers and press down on the dough, rotating in a circle until the biscuit is even and flattened. Repeat with all biscuits. 
3. Place a slice of ham and a slice of cheese on one side of the biscuit. Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of scrambled egg on top if using. Place the other half of the biscuit on top and press to seal the edges, folding them under or crimping them. 
4. Repeat with remaining biscuits, then place your biscuit sandwich on the waffle iron and cook until golden brown. (About 3 minutes using a Cuisnart Griddler with waffle plates)



I put the scrambled egg in Tom's wafflewiches and left mine just ham and cheese. I think I could have spiced mine up a bit by adding a dollop of grainy or brown mustard, but they were still delicious as is. Tom said he really liked adding syrup to his, but that's a combination my brain can't get around. 



What's Baking: Crustless Caprese Quiche

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Quiche is a very hit or miss recipe for me. Either I like it and I want to devour the entire plate of it, or I don't like it at all. I blame this entirely on the eggs, which is unfortunately a necessary ingredient in making quiche.

I don't like scrambled eggs at all and quiche reminds me of them, even when they are full of other ingredients. However, I keep trying out new quiche recipes because there are a few that I've had and really liked.

And it just so happens that the theme for What's Baking this month is quiche. The hostess of What's Baking for April is Liz, over at Books and Cooks. There will be a round up towards the end of the month with all of the quiche recipes we've created, but don't wait that long, go check out her blog now!

I love caprese. You can never go wrong with the classic combination of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. I love these three flavors so much I couldn't wait to put them together in a quiche.



Crustless Caprese Quiche
Source: Food Network
Servings: 8
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Ingredients:
    • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp. breadcrumbs
    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
    • 4 plum/Roma tomatoes, divided
    • 2 eggs + 2 egg whites
    • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced + 1 sprig for garnish
    • 4 oz. shredded mozzarella 
    • salt and pepper 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a deep 9-inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Chop 2 of the plum/Roma tomatoes and set aside. Thinly slice the other 2 tomatoes and pat dry with a paper towel or dish towel to remove excess liquid. Set aside.
3. Evenly sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs all over the plate.
4. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet and cook the onion over medium heat until softened and translucent, about 15 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat.
5. Add the 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, eggs, egg whites, ricotta cheese, milk and 1/4 cup basil to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Stir in the onion and tomato mixture.
6. Pour the mixture from the blender into the prepared pie plate. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella on top, then arrange the tomato slices in overlapping layers.
7. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the center is set (no longer jiggles when you move the pie plate) and the cheese has lightly browned.
8. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing into 8 wedges. Garnish with additional basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.



I thought this quiche was pretty good. I think a drained, diced (canned) tomato mixed into the blender mixture would probably work better than using fresh tomatoes because of their high water content. I would add a bit more mozzarella cheese to this, but overall the flavors were delicious and I ate a whole slice!


Broccoli Bacon Salad

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I've always loved salad. Even as a kid, I was thrilled to have a big old pile of lettuce with carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and ranch dressing. As I got older, I began to branch out and add additional things to my salad and change up the type of dressing I used.

Broccoli was never a big part of salad for me. As a vegetable, it's just okay. I don't really like or dislike broccoli. But then there was this salad that changed everything.

Seriously, I'm not joking. I made this salad on Easter because I wanted a lighter dish to go along with the ham and potatoes au gratin. I think I've mentioned before that when I host holidays and serve some type of green salad for dinner, my family tends to pass it up. Guess what?! They ate this!

I'm now convinced this broccoli and bacon salad contains some sort of magical properties, because not only did I eat it on Easter, I finished off the leftovers throughout the week.



Broccoli Bacon Salad
Source: Recipes for Our Daily Bread
Servings: 8
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Ingredients:
    • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
    • 2 1/2 tbsp. honey
    • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice 
    • 1 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 
    • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
    • 2 large bunches broccoli, florets chopped
    • 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
    • 1/2 cup Craisins
    • 1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
Directions:
1. Add the mayonnaise, honey, lemon juice, pepper and salt to a bowl. Stir together until fully combined. (I made this in advance and transferred to a mason jar to keep in the fridge.)
2. In a large bowl, toss together the broccoli, carrots and red onion. Stir in the chopped bacon and Craisins.
3. Pour half of the dressing over the mixture and stir to fully coat everything. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.

I put all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl the day before and refrigerated it. I wanted to dressing to soak into the broccoli without it getting mushy so I poured it over the salad 2 hours before serving.



I plan on making this again soon to take for lunch! 

SRC: Bourbon BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Fried Rice

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Usually when a Secret Recipe Club reveal falls around my birthday (yesterday, if you're curious) I tend to make a dessert recipe and enjoy it as part of my birthday celebrations. But some crazy combination of planets and stars aligned and...get this...I didn't want dessert.

Yeah, I know. I should probably see my doctor about this. Who doesn't want dessert on their birthday?

I was assigned to 2 Cookin' Mamas for April's reveal and I simply could not choose one recipe. I pinned a good ten of them, something I usually hesitate to do as to not out myself. But we had both recently participated in SixteenCheesecakes which I thought could explain my pinning spree.



2 Cookin' Mamas is written by mom and daughter duo Linda and Christina. There are so many good recipes! I couldn't choose between an appetizer recipe and a side dish recipe so after hemming and hawing for a minute or two, the idea to just combine them into a main dish finally came to me.

It's not a classic pairing, but I promise you can never go wrong with Bourbon BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Fried Rice. In the original recipe the Bourbon BBQ Chicken is grilled, but third floor apartment life doesn't exactly allow for that to be an easy task. And this is an actual bourbon and barbecue marinated chicken, not like bourbon chicken stuff you'll get at the mall.  Instead I cooked mine on my Cuisinart Griddler. If grilling, you'll want to cut the chicken into strips and slide onto wooden skewers.



Bourbon BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Fried Rice
Source: 2 Cooking Mamas
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
for the bourbon bbq chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
8 oz. BBQ sauce
1/8 cup bourbon
4 slices bacon, diced
1 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
for the pineapple fried rice:
3 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
1 red pepper, diced
1/3 cup sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup carrot, shredded or matchstick
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup pineapple chunks, chopped
1/2 cup roasted cashews, chopped
3 cups day-old cooked rice (jasmine, brown rice, etc.)
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
2 green onions, thinly sliced
fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish

Directions:
for the chicken:
1. Combine the bacon, brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder together in a blender or food processor and pulse until a paste is formed.
2. Smooth the paste over the chicken pieces (or strips) and place on a hot grill or grill plate. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, stir together the BBQ sauce and bourbon. After chicken has finished cooking, brush onto both sides of the chicken and grill for 1 minute more. Serve remaining sauce on the side.
for the fried rice:
1. Prepare the dish by combining ingredients together in bowls. In the first small bowl, add red pepper and onion. In the second, garlic and crushed red pepper. In the third, the carrots and peas. In the fourth, combine 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil with the rice, pineapple and cashews. In the final bowl, stir together the soy sauce and curry paste.
2. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add in the red pepper and onions first, cooking for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the garlic and crushed red pepper, cooking for 1 minute more.
3. Crack the eggs into the pan and scramble until no longer wet, then stir in the carrots and peas, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
4. Stir in the rice/pineapple/cashew mixture along with the soy/curry mixture and cook for 5-8 minutes, until all vegetables are cooked/warmed through.
5. Divide fried rice among plate and top with green onions and cilantro. Serve along with the Bourbon BBQ chicken.


I haven't had good fried rice in a really long time and this totally hit the spot. I had the leftovers for lunch the next couple of days. The pineapple adds just a hint of sweetness to the dish and goes really well with the chicken.  



#SixteenCheesecakes: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes

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Last year Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla rallied some blogging friends to help her celebrate her 15th wedding anniversary. She was only looking for fifteen cheesecake recipes. But we posted waaaaaay more than #FifteenCheesecakes.

It was such a hit and we all had so much fun that she decided to see if she could get enthusiasm for another round of cheesecakes. Yep. This is an encore performance by some of her favorite foodie bloggers.


To celebrate her anniversary once again, I'm sharing another cheesecake recipe with you. This one is of the salted caramel and chocolate chip variety. Salted caramel was a huge blogging trend a few years back and I never managed to hop on the bandwagon. Of course this means I have a ton of salted caramel recipes saved to make.



Maybe I'll bring back the salted caramel trend on my own. ...Yeah right.



Anyway, mini chocolate chips + salted caramel + cheesecake is like my idea of heaven.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes
Source: Sally's Baking Addiction
Servings: 16-18 cups
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Ingredients:
for the crust:
    • 18 Oreo cookies
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
for the filling:
    • 16 oz. (2 bricks) cream cheese, softened
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp. vanilla 
    • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
for the salted caramel:
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 6 tbsp. salted butter, cut into pieces
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1 tsp. salt 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. Add Oreos to a food processor and pulse until they turn into fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and pour the melted butter on top. Stir until the crumbs are moistened.
3. Press a heaping tablespoon of the Oreo mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down with the back of a spoon or another flat surface. Bake for 5 minutes, then set aside.
4. Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed until completely smooth. Add in the sugar and yogurt and beat until fully combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Mix in the vanilla and mini chocolate chips until just incorporated.
5. Fill each cupcake liner with the cream cheese batter until nearly full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until just set with the center still slightly jiggly.
6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 1 hour, then transfer to the fridge and allow to cool for at least 2 hours.
7. Meanwhile, prepare the salted caramel sauce by putting the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Stir with a spoon until the sugar is a thick, amber-colored liquid.
8. Add in the butter, stirring until fully melted then very slowly drizzle in the heavy cream while stirring constantly. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute then remove from the heat and stir in the sauce. Allow to cool before using.
9. Once cheesecakes and salted caramel have cooled, drizzle the salted caramel into the center of each cheesecake.

So whip up some cheesecake and join me in wishing Camilla a happy 16th wedding anniversary! 



More than #SixteenCheesecakes


Easter Dirt Cake

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I saw an image of this cake appear on Pinterest and I knew that I needed to make it. How could I pass up making something so adorable?

The problem came when I couldn't find an actual recipe anywhere. I managed to find two sites that listed out supposed ingredients, but all links back to the supposed source of the recipe came up without any results. So I decided to take matters into my own hands.

How difficult could it be to make a cake?



Easter Dirt Cake
Inspired by: Pinterest images
Servings: 8-10
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Ingredients:
    • 2 3.4 oz. packages instant chocolate pudding (4 1/2 servings each)
    • 1 3/4 cup milk 
    • 16 oz. container Cool Whip, thawed
    • 1 package oreos, crushed
    • 1 bag sweetened shredded coconut 
    • 6 drops green food coloring
    • peeps bunnies
    • egg shaped candy
Directions:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the instant pudding and milk until thickened. Stir in the Cool Whip until fully combined.
2. Spread in an even layer in a 9x11 or 9x13 baking dish.
3. Evenly sprinkle crushed Oreos on top of the pudding layer.
4. Transfer the shredded coconut to a zip top bag. Add the green food coloring, seal to close and shake around, massaging the coconut until it is tinted green. Spread in a layer over the Oreo crumbles.
5. Separate Peeps bunnies and press into the cake. Arrange eggs on top to look as though they are hiding in the coconut "grass".
6. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.

To make in advance, spread the pudding layer into the dish and refrigerate. Crush cookies and color coconut. Assemble before serving.



It definitely wasn't difficult at all to make this cake, although I am wondering from some of the pictures whether or not they included the Cool Whip into the pudding. If you aren't a Cool Whip person, you're more than welcome to leave it out. The "mud" layer will be a much darker brown.

I brought this cake into work and thoroughly confused my coworkers. I guess working with all guys I should have realized cute food wouldn't go over so well. Anyway, they ate it and said it was good so that's really all that matter isn't it?



I plan on making a smaller version of this (halving the recipe) for the Easter dinner I'm hosting.

Cardamom Glazed Carrots

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Cardamom is probably one of my favorite spices. I absolutely love the smell of it, with its slightly hints or orange and I really, really wish that they would make it into a candle or even a Scentsy cube.

But until then, I'll just have to continue cooking with it to get that lovely aroma.

For years I never really liked the taste of cooked carrots and preferred to only eat them raw. In my attempts to find other side dishes that we like, I thought carrots could be a good starting point. Tom likes them most of the time and I just had to get over preferring them in their raw state.


Cardamom Glazed Carrots
Source: Cooking Light
Servings: 6
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Ingredients:
    • 1 tbsp. butter
    • 1 tbsp. canola oil
    • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
    • 1 tsp. cardamom
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
    • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into rounds 
    • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
    • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Directions:
1. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and oil and swirl until butter has melted and coated the skillet.
2. Add the ginger and cardamom to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the water, brown sugar and carrots. Bring to a boil and cover with a lid.
3. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until carrots are tender-crisp and liquid has boiled away. Remove the lid and divide among plates, seasoning to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.


I ended up making this recipe not in time with the rest of the meal. I prepared it on the stove first and then ended up warming it back up in the oven. The cardamom flavor was there, although mild and mixed perfectly with the sweetness of the carrots. 

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