Stone Fruit Eton Mess

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Over the summer I was reading book about a woman who was visiting a fictional town based off Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. In the story, the woman visits a bakery and the bakery owner has all of these delicious desserts and always seems to know how to make something to put you in a better mood. One day she asks the woman what her favorite dessert is and the woman replies that it is Eton Mess, an English dessert that not many people know how to make. The bakery owner ends up making an eton mess for her that she thinks is wonderful.

Of course, I was instantly intrigued. I'd never heard of Eton mess before so that obviously meant that I wanted to make one right away. I ended up forgetting about it for a few weeks until I received the September issue of Cooking Light magazine and there was a recipe for Eton mess inside.

Traditionally Eton mess is made with strawberries or bananas and mixed with freshly made cream. I definitely plan on trying the original version, but I rarely remember to cook (bake) with stone fruits such as nectarines and plums so I wanted to give this version a try.



Stone Fruit Eton Mess
Source: Cooking Light
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 1 ripe plum, diced
    • 1 ripe nectarine, diced
    • 3 tbsp. sugar, divided
    • 1/2 cup plain, reduced-fat Greek yogurt
    • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
    • 1/2 cup crushed meringue cookies 
Directions:
1. Combine the plum, nectarine and 1 tablespoon of sugar together in a small bowl. Toss to combine and set aside.
2. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar together with the Greek yogurt, heavy whipping cream and almond extract in the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat on medium high speed until soft peaks form.
3. Divide the whipped cream mixture into four bowls and top with the fruit. Sprinkle the meringue cookies on top.



Making meringue cookies takes a pretty long time and are not always easy to find in a grocery store. You can opt to leave them off or substitute another light and airy almond or sugar style cookie.

I don't cook with almond extract very often and I didn't expect Tom to like this at all but we bought thought this was an absolutely incredibly dessert. The Greek yogurt really lightened up the dish and the fruit added just the right amount of sweetness.

#handcraftededibles Libations: Amaretto

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Can you believe we're just under 13 weeks away from Christmas? Thinking about that makes my head hurt. I'm desperately holding onto flip flops and t-shirts and pretending like the cooler weather isn't sneaking in, making those two things a distant memory for next 180 or so days.

But why am I talking about Christmas in September? Because Camilla, the writer behind Culinary Adventures with Cam, decided to make all of her Christmas gifts this year and figured some other bloggers might want to join in, so she created an event called Hand-Crafted Edibles. There is a category for each of the next 12 weeks leading up to Christmas. We have a choice to post for all 12 weeks or just the ones that appeal to us. I have quite a few recipes in mind for the other categories, so expect to see quite a few more posts from me with the tag, #handcraftededibles



This first week we are sharing those good old libations with you. I actually debated on sitting this round out because I'd already made limoncello a few years ago and didn't think there were any other libations that would be easy enough to make for the sporadic drinker like myself. But then I found recipes for amaretto.


One of the first mixed drinks I ever had was an amaretto and coke. Sweet with an almond flavor, you can hardly even tell that you're drinking alcohol. I hadn't had one of those drinks in ages and of course, now immediately wanted one after seeing just how easy it is to make amaretto.



Amaretto
Source: Bellalimento
Servings: 3 1/2 cups
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Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp. almond extract
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups good-quality vodka

Directions:
1. Add water, sugar and brown sugar to a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the mixture begins to boil. Stir with a wooden spoon, cooking until the sugars have dissolved.
2. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
3. Stir in the almond extract, vanilla extract and vodka. Transfer to containers and store in a cool place.



This is the easier of the two ways to make amaretto and provides you with amaretto that is ready to drink immediately. The flavors will improve with time, if you're able to keep it around that long. So check out what the rest of us made below!

#HandCraftedEdibles -

In an effort to make all of her holiday gifts this year, Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla invited some of her favorite foodie bloggers to share recipes for hand-crated edibles. Over the course of the next twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes from libations (this week's theme) to cookie platters. Hope you'll follow along for inspiration.

libation (noun li·ba·tion \lī-ˈbā-shən\) - beverage; especially a drink containing alcohol

Cheers to these gals and their lovely libations!

Chicken Basil Rice Bowl

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This recipe is from the March 2014 edition of Cooking Light magazine, so I've had it saved for quite some time. I didn't think it was something that Tom would like so I decided to make it for myself for lunches one week.

My recipe doesn't look anything like the picture did in the magazine, but it still had great flavor and was more than filling enough for a lunch portion. Plus, because it's from Cooking Light, the whole recipe came in under 420 calories.


Chicken Basil Rice Bowls
Source: Cooking Light, March 2014
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 1 cup long-grain white rice 
    • 1/2 tsp. lime zest 
    • 1 tbsp. canola oil, divided
    • 1 tsp. dark sesame oil
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
    • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce, divided
    • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp. ginger, minced
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper 
    • 1 1/2 cups asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces
    • 2 bell peppers, diced
    • 2/3 cup low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
    • 2 tsp. cornstarch
    • 3/4 cup fresh basil, torn
    • 2 tbsp, fresh lime juice
    • 2 tbsp. unsalted cashews, chopped
Directions:
1. Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and butter. Stir in the lime zest and set aside.
2. Combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper in a bowl. Heat a large skillet with 1/2 tablespoon canola oil and dark sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and soy sauce mixture and cook for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is browned and cooked through.
3. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm in a bowl/on a plate. Add the remaining canola oil to the skillet and add the asparagus and bell peppers, cooking 5-7 minutes or until softened.
4. Combine the remaining soy sauce with the chicken broth in a bowl. Whisk into the cornstarch until a slurry forms. Return the chicken to the pan and add in the slurry. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens, stirring frequently.
5. Add in half of the basil, stirring until it wilts, then remove the pan from the heat and add in the lime juice, stirring to combine.
6. Divide the rice mixture into four bowls and then divide the chicken and vegetable mixture on top. Garnish with remaining basil and chopped cashews.


I altered this recipe a little bit, switching out the broccoli for asparagus and adding in another bell pepper because I had two left in the fridge. The flavors are strong, but not overwhelming, the lime juice taking away the heaviness of the dish. 

BoilerMaker Chili

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My husband is probably the pickiest person I've ever met when it comes to chili. He doesn't like turkey chili or chicken chili, it has to be made with beef. It can be spicy, but not too spicy and not from a spice liked chipotle chili powder. There also can't be too much chili powder or cumin in it, because that is all he ends up tasting.

So, with those kind of requirements, I've basically given up on making chili that he'll find completely acceptable. :) I made this, assuming that he was really going to like it but he told me all he could taste was chili powder. Knowing that, I cut back on the amount the original recipe called for and even then, I didn't taste any, so who knows what he's talking about. Of all the chili recipes I've tried, this is actually my favorite one. It has the perfect amount of heat and flavor to it.


Boilermaker Chili 
Source: All Recipes
Servings: 12
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Ingredients:
    • 2 lbs. ground beef
    • 1 lb. Italian sausage
    • 1 1/2 cans kidney beans, drained
    • 1 can spicy chili with beans 
    • 2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes, with juice
    • 6 oz. tomato paste
    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 3 stalks celery, chopped
    • 1 red pepper, diced
    • 1 green pepper, diced
    • 1 Anaheim chile, seeded and diced
    • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
    • 1 tbsp. bacon bits
    • 4 beef bouillon cubes
    • 1/2 cup light beer
    • 1/8 cup chili powder
    • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp. oregano, dried
    • 2 tsp. hot sauce
    • 2 tsp. cumin 
    • 1 tsp. basil, dried
    • 1 tsp. cayenne
    • 1 tsp. paprika
    • 1 tsp. sugar
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. black pepper
    • shredded cheddar cheese, for topping
    • diced jalapenos, for topping
    • Fritos corn chips, for dipping 
Directions:
1. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and sausage and cook until browned. Drain excess grease.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, from kidney beans to black pepper, and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for at least 2 hours.
3. Taste, and adjust chili powder, salt and pepper as needed.
4. Remove from the heat and serve immediately. The chili will increase in flavor the longer it cooks or sits. If not serving immediately, allow to cool slightly, then transfer to containers to refrigerate or freeze.
5. When serving, add optional toppings.



I did alter the recipe a little bit. It calls for 3 cans of kidney beans plus 1 can of spicy chili with beans. As a kid I used to pick the beans out of my chili and I've come a long way with liking beans in chili, but I knew this was going to be too much for me. I'm also not a fan of Fritos or any corn chips really, so I opted to eat mine without it. As a kid, we always ate chili with buttered Saltine crackers, which is how I enjoyed mine.

I think I'll make this again with just two tablespoons of chili powder and see if Tom likes it. I can always stir more into my bowl before serving. 

Improv Challenge: Apple, Oat and Walnut Biscotti - Happy 5th Anniversary

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The two ingredients for the Improv Challenge these month are apples and oats. There are tons and tons of recipes that you can make with these two ingredients, especially since apples are all over the place in the grocery stores right now.

While the rest of the world is flailing over Pumpkin Spice Lattes and winter boots, I'm over here mourning the loss of hot, sunny days and flip flops. But the one thing that really does help me with the changing season is apples. Especially honeycrisp apples. Personally, I think there is no better apple in the world than a honeycrisp and I will gladly pay whatever amount per pound to enjoy one a day. I actually found that a local produce stand has them for $1.89/pound which is pretty impressive since they range from $2.39 to $3.69 in the grocery stores. Of course, I had to use my favorite apple in this biscotti recipe.

But before I get to the recipe, I have one more thing to share that you might have noticed in the title. Today, is my 5th wedding anniversary. I really have no idea how time has passed so quickly. It feels like it was just the other day I was wedding planning and then we were saying our vows and serving people lots and lots of alcohol.



Apple, Oat and Walnut Biscotti
Source: Home Cooking Adventure
Servings: 30
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Ingredients:
    • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt 
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 2 medium honeycrisp apples, peeled and juliened
    • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Then add in the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined. Add in the vanilla and once incorporated, slowly add in the flour mixture, then the apples and walnuts.
4. Drop the dough onto the baking sheet lengthwise and form two long logs, running the length of the baking sheet.
5. Bake for 25 minutes then remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Slice the cookies diagonally, about 1/2 inch thick and place onto a wire rack. Place the rack on top of the cookie sheet and return to the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cookies are dry and crisp.
6. Allow to cool completely.



I increased the second round of cooking time by 5-10 minutes because my cookies were still pretty soft. If yours are still soft after the revised times I used, keep them in the oven in 5 minute increments until they're dry and crisp. The cooking time will really vary on how high of a log you made with the batter; the higher the log, the longer the cooking time.



These little cookies are great to dip into coffee or tea or enjoy on their own. The apple, oat and walnut is definitely not your typical biscotti choice but that's what I really like about it! These cookies will also freeze nicely wrapped in foil then placed in a seal-able bag for up to a month. Thaw by allowing to come to room temperature.


Pretzel-Coated Chicken Tenders

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Months ago when I was searching for a recipe for the Improv Challenge, I found this recipe coating chicken tenders in pretzels and was desperate to make it, but knowing my lack of wisdom teeth would make this terribly hard to eat. I've actually made something similar to this before, a Rachael Ray recipe, that turned out so terribly it involved blackened pretzel bits, the smoke detector and ordering pizza for dinner instead.

It was years since I tried that recipe, back in my tiny kitchen of our first apartment and I'd like to think that I've gained some knowledge on frying foods and using thick batters that could easily burn, however, this one doesn't actually involve frying the chicken but instead, baking it. Which is much safer for anyone with a temperamental oven and not a lot of cooking experience.


Pretzel-Coated Chicken Tenders
Source: Sally's Baking Addiction
Servings: 2
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Ingredients:
    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tbsp. hot sauce 
    • 1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels 
    • non-stick cooking spray 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire cooling rack on top. Spray with rack with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a shallow dish, combine the flour with salt and pepper. In another shallow dish, combine the eggs and hot sauce. (I can't have a egg dip without adding hot sauce) Pour the crushed pretzels into a third dish.
3. Dip the chicken pieces into the flour, then egg dip, then the crushed pretzels and place gently on the prepared rack. Repeat until all chicken is pretzel-coated and on the rack. Lightly spray the chicken with non-stick cooking spray so the coating will stick better.
4. Place the rack in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Flip each piece over and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is golden.

As always, I eat mine with a honey mustard dipping sauce and Tom always make some type of spicy concoction to dip his in. I think he went with a Sriracha BBQ sauce for these.


SRC: Strawberry Cream Cheese Danish

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It's Secret Recipe Club time again! 

This month I was assigned to The PinterTest Kitchen, which is a blog written by Sharon and her two daughters, Allison and Jessica. They go through the popular recipes we all see pinned over and over again on Pinterest and make them, letting us know if its really worth our time and effort to try something out.

That's genius. I mean, really. I can't tell you the number of recipes I've pinned simply because they looked good and then went to make them, only to realize the recipe didn't include steps for most of the ingredients or the comments said that the recipe didn't turn out at all. Now, I've been cooking for a while now and I can usually figure out what needs to be done without instructions, but not everyone is like that, and having this great group of ladies testing recipes out for you and saving you that hassle, is totally worth it.

I had a really hard time figuring out what to make, mainly because I wanted to make everything. Finally I decided on danishes because I realized I've never made them before.



Since I love peaches, I really wanted to make this with peach jam but I didn't really want to end up with another partially used jar of jam or jelly that would live in the back of my refrigerator for an indeterminable amount of time before I finally figured out something to do with it or it passed the expiration date. I had just a tiny amount of strawberry preserves left in a jar so I decided to switch this to a strawberry version to use them up.



Strawberry Cream Cheese Danish
Source: Sharon of The PinterTest Kitchen
Servings: 12
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Ingredients:
    • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
    • 4 oz. cream cheese
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 tbsp. heavy cream (or milk)
    • 2 tbsp. strawberry jam (or your preferred flavor)
    • 1 large egg + 1 tbsp. water
    • sugar, for sprinkling 
    • for the icing:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1-2 tbsp. water (or milk)
    • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Unfold the puff pastry and cut into 3 sections at the folds. Cut each section into 4 equally sized parts, for a total of 12 pieces.
3. Use the tip of a sharp knife to score a rectangle about 1/2" from the edges. Be careful not to cut all the way through the pastry or it will not rise.
4. Combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract together in the bowl of your stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) and beat together until smooth. Spoon a teaspoon of the cream cheese filling into the center of each puff pastry rectangle.
5. Add a small dollop of the strawberry jam on top of the cream cheese filling and swirl with a toothpick.
6. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and water and brush the egg wash on the outside square of each pastry. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. (Regular sugar is fine, sanding sugar or sugar in the raw will give it a crunch when baked)
7. Bake for 13-14 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
8. Meanwhile, prepare the icing by adding the powdered sugar to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of water or milk and the vanilla and stir with a fork until it has thickened and formed a glaze. If the glaze is too thick, add the remaining tablespoon of water or milk drop by drop until the right consistency is reached.
9. Drizzle the glaze over the danishes with a spoon.



These are delicious! Like really, really good! I don't know why I remember store-bought danishes to just be an "okay" tasting breakfast option because you might have a really hard time only eating one, or two or lets be real, three of these.


Hula Joes

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For years I have tried to like sloppy joes and have never managed to succeed. I would make them for dinner, take two bites and then not want to eat anymore. I tried toasting the bun and adding cheese, thinking it would help, but it maybe got me to 4 bites before I decided I couldn't eat any more of it. No matter what recipe I used, I always found them to be too saucy, too tomato-y and just not pleasant enough to really enjoy.

As I've mentioned before, ground pork has been on sale at the grocery store for extremely low prices and I have a habit of buying things in bulk. With 4+ packages of the ground pork in the freezer, I knew I needed to find recipes to use it up.

When I came across this one, I hesitated, knowing it was a variety of the sloppy joe and how that typically ended for me, but after reading the ingredients I decided it was just different enough that I could give it  a try. Honestly, it was the pineapple that convinced me. In case you hadn't figured it out, the Hula Joe is the Sloppy Joe's cousin from Hawaii.


Hula Joes
Source: Taste and Tell
Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients:
    • 1/4 lb. bacon, diced
    • 1 lb. lean ground pork
    • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 8 oz. tomato sauce 
    • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
    • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 cup canned pineapple, diced
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • hamburger buns
    • shredded cheddar cheese
Directions:
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel and pat off excess grease.
2. Add the onion to the skillet and cook in the bacon grease for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Then add the pork and cook until browned, breaking into crumbles with a spatula or wooden spoon, around 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.
4. Drain the grease from the skillet, then pour in the sauce. Stir in the pineapple and bacon and stir until coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer, the meat absorbing the sauce.
5. Toast the hamburger buns in a toaster oven or under the broiler.
6. Divide the meat mixture between the hamburger buns and top with some shredded cheese. Serve immediately.



I liked it! I even ate two sandwiches! I'm guessing the combination of the pineapple and bacon and using pork instead of beef is what made the difference for it. Granted, it's not going to replace my favorite meal or anything, but I love that I have another quickly made dish to use up that ground pork. 

Peach-Raspberry Galette

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Every summer I have this huge arsenal of peach recipes that I want to make. I don't think I'll ever make all of them because each year more and more recipes are added to it and I can't keep up with the pace.

Which is fine, I like knowing that despite the fact that I've made 1-2 peach recipes every single weekend in August, I'll never deplete my supply of them.

Galettes are by far one of the easiest things you can ever make. They require only a few ingredients, a decent amount of time in the oven and come out looking rustic and beautiful with very little work on your end. Really, everyone should serve galettes at the holidays instead of picking up a store bought pie or testing their baking skills and making their own.


Peach Raspberry Galette
Source: Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 6
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Ingredients:

    • 1 store-bought pie crust, thawed
    • 2 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
    • 1/3 cup fresh raspberries 
    • 1-2 tbsp. sugar 
    • pinch of cardamom
    • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water
    • sanding sugar or sugar in the raw, optional 


Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 (or as listed on the box). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
2. Roll out the pie crust on the baking sheet.
3. Add the peaches to a medium bowl and sprinkle with sugar, 1 tablespoon if they're very ripe and sweet, 2 tablespoons if they aren't. Add the pinch of cardamom (cinnamon works as well) and gently toss to combine.
4. Arrange the peaches in a layer on the pie crust, leaving a 2-inch ring around the edges that will be folded up. Pile the raspberries in the center of the peach ring. Gently fold up the ends of the pie crust, over-lapping it to make a rippled look.
5. Brush the outside of the pie crust with the egg wash and sprinkle the edges with sanding sugar/sugar in the raw.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden on the top and bottom. Allow to cool slightly on the baking pan, then carefully transfer to a plate.

Galettes are best served the day they are made, but can be refrigerated for 2-3 days.


Isn't it gorgeous? I could easily devour one of those all by myself if left alone with it long enough. Luckily Tom loves these as much as I do and doesn't give me that option. Although I may have ate almost half of it myself.


Sweet & Tangy Jerk Chicken with Caramelized Pineapple

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I don't know what it is lately, but the only recipes I've made that have been worthy of blogging have been chicken recipes. So just be forewarned that in the next couple of weeks, there's going to be at least one chicken recipe per week until I get this backlog of them shared with you.

Although, it's not really a bad thing. Chicken is probably the most commonly cooked with protein the US and likely some other countries. It's so versatile, you can do so much with it, that it's really not surprising.


Sweet and Tangy Jerk Chicken with Caramelized Pineapple
Slightly Adapted from: Averie Cooks
Servings: 2
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Ingredients:
    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil 
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1/8 cup pineapple juice (from 16 oz. can pineapple rings)
    • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar 
    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp. jerk seasoning, divided
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 6 pineapple rings, from can, drained
    • 1 tsp. coconut oil
    • pinch of salt 
Directions:
1. Combine the honey, pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of jerk seasoning to a bowl. Stir to combine.
2. Season the chicken with the remaining tablespoon of jerk seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Heat a skillet over medium heat and olive oil. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked 3/4 of the way through.
4. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place on a plate.
5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and carefully pour in the sauce mixture. (It will bubble up) Once the bubbling has subsided, return the chicken to the skillet and cook for 10 minutes, flipping the chicken over every few minutes.
6. When the chicken has cooked through and the sauce has thickened and darkened, remove from the heat.
7. Meanwhile, melt 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the pineapple rings with a pinch of salt and place into the hot skillet, cooking for 1-2 minutes on each side or until the fruit has caramelized.



The original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of jerk seasoning for 4 chicken breasts, but I taste tested the honey pineapple sauce and found it very sweet. I increased the jerk seasoning to take away from that sweetness and I think it worked well.


The rice I served with this was steamed and then had 1/2 tablespoon of jerk seasoning mixed in, along with a yellow and red bell pepper that was diced and sauteed in coconut oil. 

Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce

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There is A LOT of pork in my deep freezer. I mean, a lot. I blame this on the store having those gigantic lengths of pork on sale too many times in a row. I can't pass up buying that gigantic piece of meat and cutting it down into tenderloins for two. Especially since the cost of the prepackaged pork tenderloins are hovering around $12 right now and we only eat half of a loin with the two of us.

I can usually get that big piece of pork cut down into 6-8 2-person sized tenderloins and then 3-4 of the larger ones which I'll use if we have company or if I'm making pork for lunch for the week.

Anyway, with a ridiculous amount of pork in the freezer, I knew I needed to start going through my recipes and finding new ways to prepare it. This recipe, with a plum sauce was too good to pass up, especially with plums on sale right now.


Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce
Source: Our Best Bites
Servings: 2-3
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Ingredients:
    • 3/4 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
    • kosher salt
    • pepper 
    for the sauce*:
    • 1 tbsp. canola oil, divided
    • 1 cup onion, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup ketchup
    • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
    • 2 tsp. dry mustard
    • 1 tsp. ground ginger
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
    • 1 1/2 lbs. ripe plums, pitted and quartered 
Directions:
1. Season the pork with kosher salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Prepare the sauce by heating 1/2 tablespoon of canola oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more or until fragrant.
3. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer, partially covered for 30-40 minutes, or until the plums break down.
4. Stir occasionally and if plums are still intact, break down with a potato masher or fork until the mixture is a thick sauce. Taste, and adjust with either salt or sugar to reach your desired flavor.
5. Preheat the oven to 450.
6. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the pork to the skillet and brown on all sides, then transfer to a foil lined baking sheet with a lip.
7. Pour the sauce over the pork and spread to coat. Roast for 10 minutes, then flip over the pork and brush with more of the sauce. Roast for another 10-15 minutes or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees.
8. Remove pork from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with additional sauce.

*I made the full amount of sauce for this recipe; enough for 2 1-pound tenderloins. I froze the rest to use again.

The sauce was delicious, like a fruit sweetened barbecue sauce. It complimented the pork really nicely and had a ton of flavor. I served this with smashed potatoes and green beans.

I can't wait to use up the rest of the plum sauce in the freezer on another tenderloin!

Fried Green Tomato BLT Sandwich

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As I mentioned yesterday for the Tailgating Themed Secret Recipe Club reveal, I found a ton of recipes on Sue's blog, Palatable Pastime, that I really wanted to make right away. Now that it's been revealed I had her blog, I can finally go back through and pin all of those recipes.

One recipe that stood out to me right away was this one. When searching through her recipes, I currently had a green tomato hanging out on my counter. I intended to make fried green tomato slices with it, but this recipe allowed me to take that and turn it into a meal.

Now yesterday I said there wasn't any bacon in the house when I made the American Potato Salad and that maybe, possibly, could have been because I used the last of it for this sandwich.


Fried Green Tomato BLT Sandwich
Source: Palatable Pastime
Servings: 3
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Ingredients:
for the fried green tomatoes:
    • 1 medium, green tomato
    • 2 large eggs, beaten with 1 tsp. water
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1 cup cornmeal
    • 1 tbsp. cajun seasoning + more to taste
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • 1 tbsp. hot sauce
    • canola oil, for frying
for the sandwiches:
    • 3 hearty rolls (ciabatta, kaiser, etc.)
    • 6 slices bacon, cooked 
    • 6 leaves green-leaf lettuce
    • 3 tbsp. mayo 
Directions:
1. Pour oil into a skillet or Dutch Oven to come up about an inch in the pan. Heat over medium-high heat.
2. Slice the tomato into 6 evenly slices, about 1/8th inch thick each.
3. Line up 4 shallow dishes. Add the buttermilk and hot sauce to one, stirring to combine. Add the flour and cajun seasoning in the second, stirring to combine. Add the eggs to the third and the cornmeal to the fourth.
4. Dip the tomato slice in the buttermilk, then flour, then egg, then cornmeal. Place on a plate and repeat with remaining tomato slices.
5. Carefully drop the tomato slices into the hot oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. (I usually do 3 slices at a time.) Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
6. Remove from the oil, sprinkle with additional Cajun seasoning to taste and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
7. Slice the rolls in half and toast both sides lightly in a toaster oven, broiler or grill.
8. Spread the mayo on each side of the roll. Place two lettuce leaves on the bottom of each roll, top with two slices of bacon and then with two slices of the fried green tomatoes. Put the other half of the roll on top.



I think I found my new favorite summer sandwich. You really can't go wrong with a BLT to begin with, but switching out a ripe, red tomato for a fried green one adds a new layer of crunch and deliciousness to this simple sandwich. If you have an abundance of tomatoes in your garden, you could easily add in a slice or two of a ripe tomato as well.

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