Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Girl's Night Shenanigans

I got a phone call about a week ago from my best friend, Brittany, asking if I'd like to co-host a Thirty One Gifts party with her. I love hosting, so of course I agreed! In a weeks time we had planned our soiree and had a great little menu put together. I must say we were an awesome team in the kitchen and of course I had to share it with you all!

First up, 

Marinated Cheese


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 (2 ounce) bottle diced pimento, drained
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons minced green onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (8 ounce) package Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cold


  1. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the olive oil, wine vinegar, pimento, parsley, green onion, garlic, sugar, basil, salt and pepper. Shake vigorously to blend. Set aside.
  2. Cut the block of Cheddar cheese in half lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices to form squares. Repeat with cream cheese. Arrange cheese squares alternately in a shallow baking dish with slices standing on edge. You can arrange in a single long row, or 2 parallel rows depending on the size of your dish. Pour the marinade from the jar over the cheese slices, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
  3. To serve, remove slices to a serving platter so they are still arranged in an alternating pattern. Spoon some of the extra marinade over the cheese, and serve with crackers.     

We were both really excited to see how these came out......think it was a pretty good 1st attempt, but I will add a couple minutes cook time next time!

(makes 12)
12 oz raw ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2  teaspoon pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried oregano, divided
1 tsp dried basil
1 ½ cups part skim ricotta cheese
24 small square wonton wrappers (the kind near the tofu in the refrigerated section of the produce department)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey, onions, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Crumble the meat and saute the mixture for about 10 minutes, or until the turkey is cooked through. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
Add the crushed tomatoes and 2 tsp of oregano. Bring the pan to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add to turkey mixture.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, a pinch of salt and pepper, the remaining teaspoon of oregano, and the basil. Stir to mix well. Set aside.
Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 wonton wrapper into each of the 12 cups, pressing firmly in the bottom of the cup and up the sides.
Using half of the ricotta mixture, divide it among the 12 muffin cups. Next, using half of the turkey tomato sauce, spoon it evenly over each of the ricotta filled cups. Sprinkle with 2 tsp of mozzarella.
Gently press another wonton wrapper on top of the mozzarella layer.
Repeat the process by distributing the remaining ricotta, then the remaining tomato sauce, and finally the rest of the shredded mozzarella.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
Let the cups cool, remove them from the pan, and serve! 

Grilled Zucchini Roll-Ups With Herbs and Cheese


  • 3 small zucchini (about 1/2 pound each), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/16 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces bagged baby spinach (2 cups lightly packed)
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves


  • 1. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium.
  • 2. Discard the outermost slices of zucchini; brush the rest with oil on both sides. Sprinkle the zucchini slices with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, about 4 minutes per side. You can prepare the zucchini a day ahead and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • 3. In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, parsley, and lemon juice, mashing together with a fork.
  • 4. Put 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese mixture about 1/2 inch from the end of a zucchini slice. Top with a few spinach leaves and a small (or half of a large) basil leaf. Roll up and place seam side down on a platter. Repeat with remaining zucchini slices. You can make these up to a day in advance; store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

And for dessert......

Apple Nachos

4 large Granny Smith apples, sliced 
35 large marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
35 caramels
1 Tbsp evaporated milk (or half and half)
1/4 cup peanuts
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet morsels
2 Tbsp chocolate syrup
Slice apples and arrange on platter.

In saucepan, melt marshmallows and butter until creamy. Set aside.

In microwave dish, melt caramels with milk (cooking in 30 second intervals, and stirring). Set aside.

Pour marshmallow cream over apple slices, followed by caramel sauce. Drizzle chocolate syrup and sprinkle with peanuts and mini chocolate morsels. Serve immediately and enjoy!
These are SOOOOOOO yummy! Perfect caramel apple fix! We dipped our apples in Sprite so they wouldn't brown....I wouldn't recommend it, as all the hot toppings seemed to squeeze it out and we were left with a gooey soup by the end of the night. (However, the sloppy soup was just as delicious.) 

Brittany picked up some Flip-Flop Wines for us to enjoy. I love these wines! They are cute summer wines that are pretty inexpensive, yet incredibly tasty! And for each bottle purchased, Soles4Souls will distribute a pair of shoes to someone in need. :)

We had a great evening! It's so nice to share the night with some great friends, have some good laughs and good food. I also fell in love with Thirty-One Gifts! If you haven't heard of them yet definitely check them out. They have a product to organize just about every part of your life! My Mother-in-law and I are hosting another party on August 13th in the mark your calendars and come join us.

I also have to brag a little bit.....Ladies, I am so lucky to have such a spectacular husband! Not only did he allow me to host this Girl's Night with no complaints whatsoever (which included smelling all the aromas of cooking food,) but he also was a huge help with clean up! You rock babe! Thank you and I love you!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Over the Border Shrimp Enchiladas

I've had a very stressful summer so far, so when my sister said she was coming to stay with us tonight I was so excited for some sister time! :) She tends to be our bad influence and we usually end up at Taco Bell sometime during her stay, but tonight we all decided to keep our Mexi food fix at home and cook up some of her famous Over the Border Shrimp Enchiladas!

Over the Border Shrimp Enchiladas

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 lb. shrimp; shelled and devained
1 can chopped green chilies
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
8 whole wheat tortillas
1 1/2 c.  think and chunky salsa (we prefer hot)
6 oz. Mexican Style cheese **We used Reilly's Best Beer Cheese instead...delicious!**
As well as, any other toppings you may want....fresh jalapenos are our family's favorite! The hotter the better!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Warm tortillas in oven for 5 minutes.

In the meantime, saute onions in oil on medium high until tender. Add shrimp, green chilies, salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder cook for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turns pink.

Add cream cheese to shrimp mixture until melted.

Grease a 9x13 casserole dish. Fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup of the shrimp mixture. Once all filled tortillas are in the casserole dish, spread the salsa over the top followed by the cheese. Bake in oven for 20 minutes; uncovered.

We enjoyed them with some Jalapeno Lemon-Lime Margaritas!  Ole!

(Please excuse the picture camera...)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Star Spangled Strawberries

 I hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th of July! My oh my, is summer flying by! We had a great weekend with the family (that was much needed after the week we had.) Spent our time kayaking, playing yard games, BBQing, and ended with a concert and fireworks!

I thought these strawberries were too cute to pass up.......

And so easy too! I was able to make my weekly batch of Friendship Bread at the same time. 

What you need:
2 containers of organic strawberries
white chocolate chips
blue sprinkles 

Today's Playlist:

You and I- Ingrid Michaelson
Bird Song- Florence & The Machine
Sex of Fire- Kings of Leon

Don't fireworks just make you happy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Blackberry Peach Cupcakes

There is nothing more that I love then summer fruit (well, other than my Michael, of course!) I start every morning with a yummy bowl of greek yogurt and ripe berries :) So when I saw this recipe on Sunshine and Carousels Blog and just so happened to pick up blackberries and peaches at the store the same day...I knew I had to make these ASAP.

Blackberry Peach Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour                                                                                                                                      1 Tablespoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature 

1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs

1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1  cup of milk

5 quartered and peeled fresh peaches
1 cup of blackberries

Mix (sift) your dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl cream your butter and sugar.  Add in your eggs one at a time and then add your vanilla. Add your flour mixture into your butter mixture, slowly, one part at a time.  

Put your peaches and ONLY 5-7 blackberries into your food processor.  Let it pulse a few times until the mixture is chunky but not liquefied. You want some texture.  Then fold the fruit into your batter.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-21 minutes. 

 Blackberry Buttercream Icing:

1/2 cup of butter
5-6 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Large handful of blackberries

Puree a large handful of blackberries in your food processor.  Set it to the side.

Cream your butter.  Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time.  Add your vanilla and your blackberry mixture.  Beat until smooth and fluffy. You only need a little bit of blackberry puree so don't put more than just a handful of blackberries into your mix.  Add more powdered sugar to reach your desired consistency.

I had to rush them over to the hubby's work, so I didn't have time to take a great picture...but I know I will be making them again soon!

I also decided to start something new for the blog. Whenever I'm baking I always put on music that puts me in a baking mood. So from now I am going to post a couple songs that inspired me during my kitchen session. 

Here are today's:

Not Fair- Lily Allen
Whatever You Like -Anya Marina
I Think I Like You- Donora