Friday, June 25, 2010

Mounds Bars

Mmmm, these dessert bars were so easy to make and so delicious. The hardest part was crushing the graham crackers! I did that by putting them in a large Ziploc bag and running my rolling pin over them until they reached the consistency I wanted.

The end result is a chocolate, coconut deliciousness on a buttery graham cracker crust. You really can't taste the peanut butter in the chocolate layer, so if you like the peanut butter flavor, I would definitely recommend adding more. Additionally, you can see my chocolate layer is pretty thin - I was actually worried there wouldn't be enough to cover the whole dish - so if you want a thick layer you may want to double the topping amounts.
Otherwise, I didn't change anything from the original so I will link you right to it on Priscilla Bakes!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Chicken Spinach Alfredo Ziti

This is a great dish for a casual dinner party because you can make it in advance and throw in the oven when needed; but it's also elegant enough to impress. My guests loved this - a creamy, cheesey pasta dish complete with chicken, spinach, and red peppers. This takes a little bit of time to prep, including cooking the chicken, but once it's done just keep in the fridge until about an half hour before you are ready to bake it. Take out so it comes to room temperature and bake according to the below directions. Served with a green salad and garlic bread, it's sure to be a hit!

Chicken Spinach Alfredo Ziti
Makes about 8 servings

1 pound ziti, cooked to slightly underdone, drained
4 tablespoons butter
2 large shallots, diced
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1/3 cup flour
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
small jar roasted red peppers, sliced (about 6-7 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray.

Place the cooked ziti in a large mixing bowl or pot and set aside. Heat the butter in a large skillet on low heat and add the shallots. Saute for 3 minutes, then add the chicken pieces, salt, and red pepper flakes. Turn the heat to medium and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring to brown the chicken evenly on all sides. Stir in the flour and cook on low for another 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheese and milk and cook on medium heat until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add to the bowl with the pasta.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in another large skillet on medium heat. Saute the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the spinach, salt, and nutmeg. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until spinach is heated, then add the red peppers and cook a few minutes more. Add to bowl with pasta and chicken.

Pour pasta mixture into prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Berry Crumbles

I apologize that this post has no pictures. I was so busy getting things on the table for our Thank You Dinner that I neglected to take any decent shots of the food I was serving. But trust me when I say it was a very pretty dish, both to prepare with the fresh berries, and to eat with the crumble and whipped cream on top.

This originally comes from one of my favorites, Ina Garten in Barefoot Contessa at Home. I adjusted a few of the ingredients, most notably taking out peaches and adding more berries; as well as the amounts of things like the crumble to account for the extra fruit. This resulted in a tart dessert with a buttery crust on top - perfect for summer! I would recommend baking this no more than 24 hours in advance, otherwise the crumble will get a little soggy. Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream - yum!

Summer Berry Crumbles
adapted from Ina Garten
Makes about 8 servings

4 pints mixed berries, washed, dried and sliced if necessary (I used a 2 pints strawberries, and 1 pint each blueberries and blackberries)
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of one lemon)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray (with baking cooking spray) and 13 x 9 baking dish.

Combine all of the berry ingredients in a large bowl. Gently mix until blended and allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Transfer the berry mixture into prepared baking dish.

Combine all of the crumble ingredients in a medium bowl. Rub mixture with your fingertips until it is in big crumbles (so that the butter is evenly distributed and not in big chunks). Sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Bake in oven for 45-50 minutes, until top is browned and juices are bubbling.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thank You Dinner (Summer)

Chuck and I are having both sets of parents over this weekend to thank them for watching Abbie so much over the past few months. We have had a crazy amount of plans that required babysitting for a few hours all the way up to a whole weekend. And of course Abbie's grandparents love spending time with her, but we still wanted to let them know that WE appreciate them.

So I wanted the menu to be pretty special with a lot of fresh summer produce as well as short on prep time. A pretty tall order, but I think I have found a menu that reflects all of these things. It helps that a lot of it involves grilling, which happens 'day of' and is Chuck's department!

Thank You Dinner (Summer)

  • Red pepper pesto dip with flatbread
  • Deviled eggs (an oldie but goodie!)
  • Grilled sweet & spicy sausage bites


  • Grilled Florentine steak
  • Shrimp skewers with chili-lime marinade
  • Grilled potatoes and tomatoes
  • Corn and zucchini salad with honey-lime vinaigrette
  • Herbed crescent rolls