Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed

My absolute favorite mornings are the ones where we don't have anywhere to be or anything specific to do and we can just hang out in bed. Just my baby, husband, dog and me :) There's nothing better.

That's why all I want for my first Mother's Day is brunch in bed! What could be better than pancakes and snuggles all morning?!

When I was a little girl, I would make my mom breakfast in bed every year for mother's day. I would tip toe out of bed and into the kitchen and make my mom some unfortunate hodge-podge of unappetizing food (my earlier days in the kitchen were pretty lame), and she would stay in bed pretending to be asleep so I could "surprise" her as I clattered and clashed around the kitchen making a huge mess. I think the most memorable year was when I was about seven or eight. She was sitting there crunching on her eggs...yes crunching...and I was sitting there grinning, very pleased with myself, when she asked what the date on the eggs was. They had expired over a month ago! Whoops!

Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed Ideas

So in honor of Mother's Day, I'm sharing all of my favorite breakfast/brunch recipes on Pinterest:   

Consider it a handy dandy guide to all of my favorite brunch recipes! (**wink wink husband...don't forget to check the date on the eggs ;) **)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Baked Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers & Chicken

Sprinkling in a little Flashback Friday! I am trying to add some articles that I have written elsewhere to my Search for Yum and stumbled across this little GEM! Over the course of about 10 years, I have scattered my writing over dozens of websites and blogs. Now that I have found my permanent home here at S4Y, I want all of my work home :)

Hope you enjoy...this is a good one!....

Baked Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers & Chicken


Not to toot my own whistle or anything (Toot! Toot!) but this little creation is fun, easy and full of warm goat cheesy goodness.
What you'll need/want:
~Boneless chicken breast (You can easily make this a herbivore only friendly dish but just leaving this out!)
~Goat cheese log
~Roasted Red Peppers (If you are in Boston, Golden Goose in the North End has my vote for fresh RRPs!..as well as many other things!)
~Fresh baby spinach
~Fresh baguette (1 more shout out to the North End - Bova's!)
~Fresh Thyme
~Olive oil
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 - put your desired amount of goat cheese (log) in an oven safe dish and throw it in! -This should be fine warming up while everything else is done, but make sure to keep an eye on it - especially if using less than 8oz of goat cheese. You can season the goat cheese, but I prefer not to - I love love love just good ole' goat cheese!
1 1/2. Slice the baugette fairly thinly, place on a cooking and coat in olive oil (don't be shy with this). Then sprinkle with fresh thyme. You will want to put this in the oven about 8-10 minutes before everything else is done.
Then, you're on to the rest:
3. Cube boneless breast of chicken and cook thoroughly in a deep pan coated with canola oil. Season to taste with your favorite seasonings - My go to seasonings are pretty much always garlic powder and onion salt.
4. When the chicken is just about thoroughly cooked, throw in some thinly sliced roasted red peppers and place spinach on top of roasted red peppers and chicken - cover until spinach is cooked.
Lastly, place everything in fun serving dishes and pair with a full bodied red wine* (My favorite is Gabbiano Chianti 2010 (Hanover Wine & Spirits in Boston sometimes has these 2 for $14!)
This is kind of a -make your own bites as you go dinner- Its fun to sit around a large table or coffee table and load up pieces of baguettes with warm goat cheese, chicken, spinach and rrp's, sipping on wine and enjoying good company!




!!!!!!Enjoy!!!!!!
***Disclaimer: When I talk about wine or pairing wine, I really have no idea what I'm talking about. I just like to throw out those buzz words you always hear people say: full bodied is my favorite and the only one I can usually think of :)
Also, I just moved from Boston, but many of my suggestions will most likely be coming from there for a very long time. You just can't beat the North End (Boston's Little Italy) for most ingredients. I dare you to prove me wrong.
One more thing - I have never been crazy about exact measurements or exact recipes - which if you think about it, could pose quite a problem if I am going to be posting a lot of recipes. To me cooking and baking is about having fun and learning as you go AND TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR MOUTH WATER. So if I have left any lingering questions that beg answering, please feel free to post me a comment or shoot me an email and I will get back to you with some sort of answer! :)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Turkey Burgers with Avocado and Tomato Salad

It's finally starting to warm up here in Connecticut! It feels so great to open the windows and finally get some fresh air! The best part about Spring this year is I can finally get the baby outside! After spending his first 3 months indoors, he is loving the new experience of being outside!

My favorite time of the day during the spring is the evenings. We go for our family walk (which now consists of 4...daddy, Colin, puppy and mommy!) And while the air is still warm enough to keep the windows open, we come home, turn on some jazz music and whip up a simple, yet delicious dinner to be enjoyed out on the deck or in the dining room depending on just how warm it is!

This is the perfect dinner for one of those nights. It's simple, healthy and delicious. My 3 favorite things in a recipe :) This light recipe will easily become one of your go-to dinners!

Turkey Burger with Avocado and Tomato Salad

What You'll Need 
Ground Turkey
Italian breadcrumbs
Grated Parmesan cheese
Olive Oil
Tomatoes, diced
Avocado, diced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Optional: Mix in some feta or goat cheese or sprinkle over the top!

How You'll Do It 

1.Sprinkle the ground turkey with Italian breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.
2. Shape the ground turkey into burger shaped patties and cook either on the grill or on your stove top in a little olive oil.
3. While the burgers are cooking, dice up your tomatoes and avocado. Mix them together with a few dashes of olive oil. Salt & pepper to taste!
4. Enjoy the turkey burger in a bun or without with the avocado & tomato salad as a topping and/or side!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sweet Sweet Potato Side Dish

No, there is not a typo in the title. This sweet potato side dish is sweet!
I actually had a really hard time coming up with a name for this dish...it was so hard to capture the sweet potato goodness in a title! So if you have any ideas, please feel free to leave a comment! 

On Easter, I was looking for a side dish recipe to contribute to our family meal. We weren't sure what the main dish was going to be yet, so I wanted to come up with something that would go with anything. And this delicious and extremely easy side dish can go with anything! Chicken, turkey, lamb, steaks, fish....anything!

And easy is so important with a 3 month old. The more steps there are lately, the more chances there are for me to get distracted while I am cooking and entertaining my happy baby. Cooking anything has turned into a show at my house! And honestly, I have had more failed recipe attempts than successes lately so I was determined to make something delicious.

If you look at the ingredients, you might think this is more of a Fall dish with the warm hints of comfort of the ground nutmeg and cinnamon I admit it makes me think of Thanksgiving - but that's a good thing if you ask me!

Ever since Easter, this has been my go-to side dish so I always have at least 2 sweet potatoes in the kitchen at all times!

Sweet Sweet Potato Side Dish


What You'll Need:
2 Large Sweet Potatoes (peeled and cubed)
2 tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup of Brown Sugar*
A dash of Cinnamon
A dash of Ground Nutmeg

How You'll Do It:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix everything together in a casserole dish.
3. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft and golden (time may vary based on how small you cube).

Could it be any easier?! Could it be any more delicious?! Nope!

*The second time I made this I was out of brown sugar, so I sprinkled just a little regular sugar on it and it was still delicious! (just a little tip in case you run out of ingredients as much as I do and don't realize it until it's too late to go to the store before dinner!)

**Bonus - my dog got really sick a few days after Easter. She wouldn't touch her food. She wouldn't even eat the chicken and rice I made for her. I was just about to take her in to the vets when I thought I would try one last thing - sweet potatoes! She LOVED it! I had to make more! So, dogs are also a fan of this recipe :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Whiskey Maple Syrup

I am obsessed with syrup! I want to eat it, I want to make diy syrup, I even have learned how to tap a maple tree and collect sap so I can make the real stuff! (Coming soon to S4Y!)

I kind of remind myself of that scene from the movie Elf. ..
Just call me Buddy!

Needless to say, I have been going through bottles and bottles of maple syrup lately... I'll put syrup on just about anything.

The exciting news is I have a quick and easy DIY syrup recipe to share. ..that includes whiskey! What could be better than Syrup + Whiskey + Bacon?! Pair this whiskey maple syrup with some delicious bacon (or spaghetti) and your day is made!

It's so easy, my husband and I actually made a huge batch and gave it to our friends and family for Christmas a few years ago. It was a hit!   



What You'll Need:

1 cup water
1 and 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp Whiskey (I used Bushmills)
1 tsp maple extract or imitation maple flavoring

yields about 1.5 cups of syrup!







 How You'll Do It:

In a saucepan, whisk all ingredients together and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Whisk occasionally and simmer for 20-25 minutes until syrup has thickened.

Serve warm or store in an airtight container in the fridge!

Real Maple Sugaring is coming soon to the search for yum! You won't want to miss this! But for now this diy syrup recipe should hold you over!  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fusilli with Chicken, Asparagus and Tomatoes

Happy Spring! Although, if you live in New England like me, it doesn't feel like Spring quite yet with all of this snow and cold weather! But warmer days are just ahead (let's hope)!

I'm ready for warmer weather, but not ready to give up those one pot comfort dinners that I love so much during the Winter. So I wanted to share one of my favorite one pot Spring dinners that brings together comfort and fresh seasonal produce: Fusilli with Chicken, Asparagus and Tomatoes.

It comes from the cookbook Simple Fresh & Healthy, A Collection of Seasonal Recipes by Linda Hafner. Where I grew up, Hafner's Farmer's Market is a staple for the best locally grown, farm fresh, seasonal produce. My friend got this cookbook for me one summer when I was feeling especially homesick. I might not have the fresh upstate NY produce at hand, but with the recipes in this book I can have a little taste of home whenever I need it.

What You'll need:

8 ounces fusilli pasta
1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, finely cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 cup asparagus,  sliced in 1 inch pieces
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil
2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Prepare fusilli according to package directions, timing it so that pasta is ready to drain when chicken and vegetables are cooked.

2. Sprinkle chicken strips with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and asparagus and sauté for 5 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute and remove from heat.

4. Drain cooked pasta and add to skillet. (When draining pasta, reserve a cup of cooking water. Add a little at a time if the final mixture seems too dry). Stir in basil, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Divide into four portions and garnish each with a tablespoon of cheese. This recipe is best cold or at room temperature.

Serves 4.
Each serving supplies:
Calories(kcal) 438, Protein 36 (g), Carbohydrates 49 (g), Dietary Fiber 4 (g), cholesterol 72 (mg), Fat 11 (g), Sodium 406 (mg)

For more great Spring recipes, + Summer, Fall and Winter recipes, inspired by seasonal upstate new york produce, check out Linda Hafner's Simple Fresh & Healthy, A Collection of Seasonal Recipes!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cheesy Potato Soup - 5 Ingredient Crockpot Soup Recipe

We are stuck in a never ending winter here in New England! Record snow and record cold temperatures have me constantly craving warm, hearty meals. And what's heartier than a good potato and cheese soup?! And since it's always fun to have a reason to use the crockpot, I whipped up this easy, five ingredient recipe using mine!

Cheesy Potato Crockpot Soup

What You'll Need:
1 carton (32 oz) chicken broth (4 cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped onions (about 1 large onion)
5 cups diced peeled potatoes (I used about 6 russet potatoes)
12 slices of yellow American cheese (8 oz)
3 tablespoons cornstarch

optional toppings: scallions and crumbled bacon bits 

How You'll Do It:

1. Place 1/4 cup broth in separate container and refrigerate. In crockpot, mix chopped onions, diced potatoes and remaining broth.

2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.*

3. Increase heat to high. In small bowl, mix cornstarch and reserved broth until smooth. Add to cooker, stir. Cover, heat to simmering and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer or until thickened.

4. Break sliced cheese into pieces and stir in  crockpot until well melted.

5. If desired, top with bacon bits and/or scallions - Enjoy!


*if you are looking for faster results, I'm sure this recipe would be just fine cooking at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time. But since I only made it the painfully slow way, you'll have to play around with the timing yourself! But if you do, I'd love to hear how it goes!