Appetizers

Recipe—Steak & Goat Cheese Crostini with Pesto

Steak and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pesto

Last weekend I hosted a wine tasting party, which is so much fun by the way! Each person brought an appetizer and a bottle of wine so it was minimal preparation required on my part and didn’t break the bank. Thanks to all my amazing friends that came if you are reading this! It was such a blast! We had a total of 13 bottles of wine and an amazing spread of food.

Since I was holding the party around dinner time I knew I needed an appetizer that was hearty and filling. Steak came to mind since it would pair so nicely with a good hearty red blend. These appetizers may look very simple but the flavors were so amazing. The goat cheese is whipped together with cream cheese, olive oil, and red pepper so it is creamy and smooth with a mild kick. I was able to prepare everything earlier in the day and then assemble right before anyone arrived. And let me tell you, they were pretty darn popular among the ladies.

Steak and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pesto

Note: These can be served hot or cold. I served them cold for the sake of convenience. I was able to do all the prep in the morning, stored the cooked steak and goat cheese spread in the fridge, and put the toasted crostini in an unsealed Ziploc bag. I then assembled them right before the party.

INGREDIENTS
1 baguette, cut into 1/4 slices
10–12 ounce New York strip steak
4 oz goat cheese, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
olive oil
salt & pepper
chili powder
garlic powder
1/2 c pesto

STEPS

  • Preheat the oven to 425º.
  • Place the baguette slices on a parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  • Brush each slice with olive oil and season with a light sprinkle of salt. Flip each slice over and repeat.
  • Toast the baguette slices for 12–15 minutes or until they are a nice golden brown.
  • While the baguette slices are toasting, season both sides of the steak with salt, pepper, a sprinkle of chili powder, and garlic powder.
  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add the steak.
  • Cook the steak for 4–6 minutes, flip, and continue to cook for an additional 4–6 minutes.
  • Remove the steak from the pan and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
  • While the steak is resting, use a hand mixer to whip together the goat cheese, cream cheese, red pepper flakes, and two tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Thinly slice the steak and set aside.
  • To assemble, spread about one teaspoon of the whipped goat cheese on a slice of toasted bread, top with a slice of steak, and a dollop of pesto.
  • Enjoy!

 

Recipe adapted from Domesticate Me.

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Brunch, Sweet Treats

Recipe—Cherry Cream Cheese Danishes

Cherry Cream Cheese Danishes

You know what is great about breakfast? It is the one meal during the day where it is acceptable to eat a dish that can be classified as dessert as the main dish. You can’t do that for lunch or dinner. While I typically prefer savory items when it comes to breakfast, I can not pass up a well done danish or doughnut. And if you recall from my Cherry Cheesecake Bars or Sweet Cherry Chip Dip, cherries and cream cheese are like totally my jam.

We were hosting Mother’s Day at our house this year and since I was going to be in the kitchen cooking for all the amazing women in my life, I decided I was going to make all of my favorite things, these danishes being one of them. Now don’t go tell anyone, but these are so quick and easy to make. You can whip these up in less than 30 minutes and look at how beautiful they are!

Note: I have a weak spot for cherry danishes but you can mix things up and use your favorite type of pie filling.

INGREDIENTS
1 package puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp Sugar
21 oz can cherry pie filling
1 egg
1 tbsp water

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • On a lightly floured cutting board, unfold the puff pastry sheets.
  • Cut each sheet into 9 equal squares so you have 18 total.
  • With a butter knife, gently score a 1/2 inch border around the edge of each piece of puff pastry
  • Using a fork, poke each pastry square 3–4 times in the middle.
  • Combine the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until well combined.
  • Place a heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture in the center of each square and spread it evenly, ensuring it stays within the border.
  • In the middle of each square, place a large spoonful of the pie filling.
  • Transfer the squares to a parchment paper lined baking sheet as you finish each one up.
  • Beat the egg and water together in a small bowl.
  • Brush the edges of each pastry with the egg wash.
  • Bake for 15–20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove the pastries from the baking sheet and allow to cool.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Blackberry Ice Cream

Blackberry Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream is so easy to make and yet people hardly ever do it. I mean look, 4 ingredients and 3 steps. There is really nothing quite like homemade fresh churned ice cream. As a kid I grew up with an old school hand cranked ice cream maker. My mom would add all the ingredients to the metal container and then we would put it in a wooden bucket and surround that with ice and salt and my sister and I would take turns churning it by hand. Best. Summer. Memories. Ever! Anyone else do that growing up?

Now I have evolved with the times and have a wonderful electrical ice cream maker. You just add in the ingredients, plug it in, and watch it go! I have this one by Cuisinart and LOVE it!

My favorite time to use it is during the summer when we have friends over for a BBQ. The kids always love watching it and they think it is so cool to make their own homemade ice cream!

I’ve tried several different recipes, mint chip, vanilla, strawberry, mocha almond fudge, cookies and cream, vanilla, and then this blackberry ice cream recipe. I think blackberry has been my all-time favorite! It is truly the flavor of summer.

Blackberry Ice Cream

Notes: I use fresh blackberries but you can always get frozen ones and defrost them. This recipe is for a 2 quart maker so if you have a 5 quart you may want to double it.

INGREDIENTS
3 c blackberries
1 1/2 c sugar
1 pint half and half
1 pint heavy whipping cream

STEPS

  • Combine the blackberries and sugar in a large bowl.
  • Mash all the blackberries and sugar by hand until they are all juicy and syrupy. (You can also place the berries and sugar in a blender if you prefer.)
  • Pour the blackberry mixture, half and half, and heavy whipping cream into your ice cream maker and churn until it is desired thickness.
Dinners

Recipe—Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Summer is coming… but the warm weather is already here! Time to fire up the grill!

I love when I can find recipes that are almost all done on the grill so I can keep the kitchen cool during hot months. I may also love recipes like this because it means I do the easy prep work and then the hubby does all the hard work out in the heat at the grill while I stay cool inside with a margarita. It’s all about team work, right? 😉

Okay, onto the dish. Each of these components is delicious on it’s own but when brought together you get some amazing tacos! You have the grilled chili lime chicken which is so tender and has so much flavor, a little zest from the lime paired up with all those delicious seasonings and a tad of heat. Then you have this delicious chunky salsa made up of a sweet caramelized pineapple with a nice smoky flavor from the grilled red pepper and jalapeño. And is if that isn’t enough, (yes, it gets better!) then you add this refreshing avocado crema. Just give me a bag of tortilla chips and I will go to town on that sauce!

Another thing I love about this recipe is how pretty it is! Look at all those amazing colors! I truly love everything about this recipe! I hope you will too.

Chunky Pineapple Salsa

Chunky Pineapple Salsa

Chunky Pineapple Salsa

Note: If you want to cut down on the amount of preparation at dinner time, you can marinade the chicken for as long as 24 hours in advance and the crema can be made up to four hours in advance. Having a chunk of the leg work done in advance makes this a perfect recipe to make for dinner guests. All you have to do is grill the chicken, pineapple, and peppers, and warm up some tortillas.

CHILI LIME CHICKEN INGREDIENTS
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp lime juice

PINEAPPLE SALSA INGREDIENTS
20 oz can pineapple slices
1/2 red onion, sliced
red bell pepper, deseeded and quartered
jalapeno, deseeded and halved
olive oil
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

AVOCADO CREMA INGREDIENTS
1 avocado
1/2 c sour cream
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder

OTHER INGREDIENTS
tortillas
pepperjack cheese, shredded
lime, cut into wedges

STEPS

  • Place the chicken breasts in a large Pyrex dish.
  • Whisk together all the additional chili lime chicken ingredients in a small bowl and slather all over both sides of the chicken breasts.
  • Cover the Pyrex with plastic wrap and set aside to marinade for 30 minutes.
  • While the chicken is marinating, begin preparing items for the salsa. Skewer the red onions and then drizzle them, the bell pepper, and jalapeño with olive oil and set aside with the pineapple.
  • Preheat your grill to 375–425º.
  • Grill the chicken for 8–10 minutes on one side and then flip.
  • Add the pineapple and peppers to the grill and cook for 4­–5 minutes before flipping and then continue to grill them for another 4–5 minutes.
  • Continue to cook the chicken until a thermometer reads 160º when inserted into the thickest part of the meat, the pineapple until it is nicely caramelized, and the veggies until they have some nice grill marks.
  • Transfer everything from the grill to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
  • While all the grilled items are resting get started on the avocado cream. Add all the crema ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth and well blended, set aside.
  • Chop up the pineapple, onion, and peppers and place them in a bowl.
  • Add the cilantro, lime juice, ginger, cumin, salt, and pepper to the bowl and stir.
  • Chop up the chicken and set aside.
  • Everything is finally ready! Time to assemble the tacos!
  • Heat up your tortillas and top each one with meat, cheese, pineapple salsa, and avocado crema.
  • Devour!

 

Recipe adapted from Carlsbad Cravings.

Dinners, Side Dishes

Recipe—Jalapeño Popper Mac N’ Cheese

Jalapeño Popper Mac N’ Cheese

My name is Rebecca and I am a cheesy jalapeñoholic. I will literally devour anything with cheese and jalapeños. I HAVE NO SELF CONTROL!

If it has popper in the name, I am game. Mac n’ Cheese with a crispy top is involved. No holding me back. I will literally fall off of any diet wagon for some good mac n’ cheese. That is a universal thing, right? Like, that goes for everyone?

Come on, you start with a creamy white sauce base, add in gobs of pepper jack cheese until it is thick, and creamy, and cheesy, and then add in cooked pasta. It could be perfect as is, but no. It gets better. You add a buttery panko topping that once crisp will replicate that of the exterior of deep-fried jalapeño popper. And then the sliced jalapeños on the top is literally the icing on the cake. SO. DAMN. GOOD!

This recipe goes fantastic with any sort of grilled meat but is totally sufficient as a standalone dish. What says comfort food more than a big ol’ bowl of spiced up mac n’ cheese? Nothing. Absolutely nothing people.

Note: If you do not have an oven safe skillet you can make this in whatever large skillet you have, and then transfer the noodles and cheese sauce to a baking dish before topping with the panko and sliced peppers. 

MACARONI INGREDIENTS
8 oz macaroni pasta, uncooked
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 c milk
3 c pepperjack cheese, crated
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers

TOPPING INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c panko
1/4 c jalapeño slices

STEPS

  • Preheat the oven to 400º.
  • Cook the pasta per the package instructions.
  • Drain and allow to sit.
  • Melt the butter in a large oven safe skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Whisk in the flour and cook it for about a minute while stirring continuously until it starts to lightly brown and is well combined.
  • Gradually whisk in the milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, making sure it is nice and creamy and starts to thicken after each addition. Continue this until the milk is finished.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and then reduce heat to low.
  • Whisk in the cheese, salt, pepper, and crushed red peppers and stir until it is all melted and creamy.
  • Add in the cooked pasta making sure all the noodles are evenly coated and remove skillet from heat.
  • Now for the topping!
  • In a small bowl mix together the melted butter and panko.
  • Evenly distribute the topping over the mac n’ cheese.
  • Top with sliced jalapeños.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes or until the panko starts to turn a nice golden brown and the sauce is simmering around the edges.
  • Allow to rest for about 5 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Mini Key Lime Pies

I have never eaten nor have I ever made key lime pie. However, I always think it looks beautiful and absolutely delicious! You may recall in one of my last posts that I mentioned for Easter I went with a tea party theme and did small bites. I wanted something very festive so I decided to finally wing it and do something totally different. I ended up with the cutest and most delectable little key lime pies. They were amazing! They were perfectly tart and had just the right amount of creaminess. And they were just so cute! If you follow my lead and get the premade crusts and whip cream this recipe takes no longer than 3 minutes to make and 15 minutes to bake. Who doesn’t have time for that? With summer warming up this really is the perfect refreshing dessert to enjoy on a warm day.

Note: I opted to make mini pies but you can just as easily make one big pie with this recipe. Adjust the baking time to 23–25 minutes.

INGREDIENTS
12 mini graham cracker pie crusts (I found Keebler ones in the baking aisle)
4 egg yolks
3/4 c key lime juice
zest from one lime
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c sour cream
whipped cream
1 lime sliced and then cut into quarters (optional)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a medium bowl combine the egg yolks, lime juice, zest, condensed milk, and sour cream and whisk until well smooth.
  • Place the pie crusts on a large baking sheet and top off each with the filling.
  • Bake pies for 18–20 minutes and allow to cool before moving to the refrigerator.
  • Chill the pies in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.
  • When ready to serve top each pie with a dollop of whip cream and a little slice of lime.
  • Enjoy! (And good luck eating just one!)
Salads

Crunchy Apple Bacon Coleslaw

Sweet + Salty+Tangy + Crunchy = Delicious and Unique Coleslaw

I am always looking for new and tasty side dishes to serve up throughout the summer. One day on Pinterest I stumbled upon a recipe for apple bacon coleslaw. I did some more poking around and actually found that there were lots of variations of this type of recipe out there. In true Diva form I pulled from several of the recipes and came up with this one. It, of course, is the best. 😉

Not only did the flavors compliment each other well but so did the textures. Coleslaw usually tends to all be the same consistency but the sweet apples added a really nice crunch to the mix and went so well with the salty bacon and tang from the dressing. I really like to enjoy this dish with some BBQ chicken or ribs for a perfect summer meal.

INGREDIENTS
1/4 c cider vinegar
1 c mayonnaise
1/4 c sugar
1/4 orange juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1 fennel bulb, shredded
1 cabbage head, shredded
6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c parsley leaves, chopped
4 firm apples, chopped

STEPS

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the vinegar, mayonnaise, sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, salt and pepper until most of the sugar is dissolved.
  • Place the fennel, cabbage, bacon, green onions, parsley, and apples together in a bowl and mix together.
  • Pour the dressing over the coleslaw and toss to coat.
  • Cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve.

 

If you think this recipe looks great then check out these ones too!

Kohlrabi Dill Coleslaw

Crunchy Pea Salad

Broccoli Salad