Monday, July 25, 2011

Grilled Bratwurst & Pierogies

I saw this in the Food Network magazine and immediately knew we would love it. My only complaint is I should've waited to cook it on an outdoor gas or charcoal grill. Currently we live in an apartment so I used our griddler machine which can go from a panini press to a flat top griddle as well as a flat top grill. Although it tasted great, it took a lot longer to make than expected since the temperature of an indoor grill is lower and my grilling space was very limited. I used Brawrust instead of Kielbasa and I added zucchini to try and make it a little healthier. This dish is a German / Polish girl's ideal dinner :)

Adapted from July / August Food Network Magazine

1 Package Johnsonville Brats - Beer n' Bratwurst
1 Package Mrs. T's Frozen Potato and Cheddar Flavored Pierogies
2 Tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Large White Onion - Cut into Chunks
1 Large Zucchini - Sliced Thin
1/4 Cup Roughly Chopped Fresh Parsley
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Pam Grilling Spray
Prep all of your veggies (Onion & Zucchini). Preheat your grill to medium for an outdoor grill or high / sear for an indoor grill. Spray with Pam for grilling. If you are using the indoor griddler I suggest defrosting your pierogies in the microwave on a shallow dish with a little bit of water, if you are not you can put them directly on the grill frozen when directed. Put the bratwurst, onion and zucchini on the grill, seaon everything with salt and pepper. While they are cooking you can make the dressing and chop your parsley.
In a large bowl whisk together the mustard and apple cider vinegar. Slowly add the olive oil whisking until smooth and well combined. Cook the veggies for about 10 minutes, flipping once half way through. When they are tender put them aside. Keep an eye on the brats turning them every few minutes to make sure the pink middle is gone, they are plump and have grill marks on all sides. Re-spray the grill with Pam and add the pierogies. If you are outdoors and the pierogies are frozen close the top of the grill and let them cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping them half way through.
By now your brats should be done cooking so take them off the grill and let them rest for 2-3 minutes before you slice them into pieces. Once the pieorgies are finished cooking they will be crisp on the outside and have grill marks. Transfer everything into the large bowl with the mustard vinegar dressing, sprinkle with parsley. Toss well to coat all veggies, brats and pieorgies with the dressing. Serve immediately in shallow bowls, maybe even with a cold beer!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hummus Veggie Wrap

 Our 100th post on a day that it's going to be 100 degrees outside. I know the first part makes Nicole a very happy girl. This recipe is not only in honor of our 100th post and it being perfect for such a hot summer day it's also in honor of Samantha becoming a fake vegetarian for the time being.

Adapted from Lunchbox Bunch

whole wheat wrap
red pepper hummus
baby spinach
shredded carrots
edamame soy beans
sliced avocado
lemon juice

Spread hummus on wrap then spread ingredients on top in any order you wish. I went with the spinach first then carrots, soy beans, avocados, and then finished it up with a few splashes of lemon juice. I of course am an over stuffer (thankfully all the ingredients are healthy) so rolling it up was hard. Cut into pieces if desired.

This couldn't get easier and it was sooo good especially because it has two of my favorte this red pepper hummus and avocado. So light, summery, and perfect to wrap up and bring for lunch.

Sorry I really need to work on my picture skills. These pictures aren't too great.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vegetable Frittata

Sometimes when it's hot like it has been lately I like to make something that's light and quick.  My husband's garden has all of its vegetables ready for picking except tomatoes and this was a good recipe to use all the vegetables I had.  The purple peppers are something new this year instead of the usual green ones. Its adapted from Ina Garten's How Easy Is That.  

1 small zucchini, diced
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 purple pepper, diced (orange, yellow or red can be substituted)
1 onion, diced
1 small eggplant, diced
1/3 cup grape tomatoes cut in half
2 tsps garlic minced
3 tbsp olive oil
10 large eggs
3/4 cup 2% milk 
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Drizzle olive oil in a frying pan and add onion, eggplant, peppers, squash, zucchini and garlic. Saute until all veggies are tender.   Add grape tomatoes at the last minute. 

Meanwhile whisk together eggs, milk, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

In a oven safe pie plate or other baking dish spray with PAM to prevent sticking.  Add vegetables and pour egg mixture over the vegetables.  Transfer to oven and bake the frittata for 25 to 35 minutes until puffed up and set in the middle.  Cut into wedges and serve hot. 

Enjoy!! Susan

Friday, July 15, 2011

Grilled Blueberry BBQ Salmon

I'mmmm BACK! Yes I haven't blogged for a very long time but I have a very good reason-I GOT MARRIED! I revolved my life around wedding planning and my husband would definitely agree. For the last 6 months I haven't cooked anything blog worthy, most of the time we would just throw together something to eat with what we had in the house- but now that has come and gone and its BBQ season, my favorite! When I saw this recipe I knew I needed to try it. Salmon is one of my favorite fishes and I never even thought about putting barbecue sauce on it and it just so happens that blueberries were on sale at the food store-so I decided to try it.

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

4 6-oz salmon filet's
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Olive oil

1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/3 cup ketchup
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs grated onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp of red pepper flakes

In a sauce pan on low-medium heat, add blueberries and cook until they begin to soften and burst about 10 minutes. After they have cooked for a bit use the back of a wooden spoon and mash them.  

Add ketchup, both vinegars, brown sugar, garlic, onion, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and red pepper flakes. Whisk until well combined, then increase heat to medium. Continue stirring often, once sauce begins to bubble lower heat, cook for another 15-20 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

Meanwhile pat dry the salmon and season with salt and pepper.

Prepare grill at its highest setting. Take olive oil and grease the grates on the grill- you can do this 2 ways: tongs and a paper towel or how we did it - a basting brush. Lay salmon on the grill flesh side down. Cook for about 5 minutes, then flip carefully.

Brush salmon with half the BBQ sauce then cook an additional 3-5 minutes or until it looks done. Our salmon cooked very fast-so keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. Remove from grill, brush with remaining sauce and serve.

ENJOY!!!!! Kelly

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pulled Pineapple Chicken

We hadn't used our crock pot in long time so I decided to find something summery to make in it. I had chicken and canned pineapple already in the pantry so I was half way there. It was perfect for a hot summer night and it couldn't get any easier. 

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen Blog

1 package chicken
1 bottle of barbecue sauce
1/2 white onion 
1 can of pineapple

Put chicken (I put it in frozen), pineapple chunks, and the cut up onion into the crock pot. 

Pour Barbecue sauce over and cook for 8 or 9 hours on low. (4 to 5 hours on high) Take chicken out of crock pot and place on cutting board. Shred with a fork. 

Place shredded chicken back into crock pot with the sauce and let cook on low for about another 30 minutes.  Serve warm on bread or a roll. 


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Bites

These are amazing, my favorite new buffalo chicken recipe. I brought these with me up to Connecticut for a friends house warming party last month, they were gone within minutes, everyone was raving about them! Unfortunately, I can't take credit for finding this because my friend Lindsay made these for a different house warming party a few weeks before.  They are a bit tedious but certainly worth it!

12 oz Cream Cheese - Softened
2 Tbsp Frank's Hot Sauce
1/3 Cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
1 Cup Cooked Chicken Breast - Shredded
2 Cans Pillsbury Place N' Bake Refrigerated Crescent Rounds
1/3 Cup Butter - Melted
1 1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of finely chopped celery, I didn't put it in because celery is my arch nemesis. I refuse to eat it and pick it out of everything that it is in, I'm not sure why but it is the only food I feel that way about.
Combine the softened cream cheese with the hot sauce. Then add the crumbled blue cheese and celery if you choose to do so, mix well. Add the shredded chicken and continue mixing.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls you should be able to form between 30-32 balls. Place them on the cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
While the balls are in the fridge preheat the oven to 350F. Take the crescent rounds out of the packaging. Seperate each roll and flaten it down to make a 3 in diameter circle. With a sharp knife slice it down the center making two semi-circles. Take each ball and put it in the center of a dough piece. Form the dough around the ball, most of the dough pieces will be to small to cover the ball entirely but do your best.
 Make you self an assembly line with a bowl full of melted butter, a bowl full of Panko breadcrumbs and an ungreased baking sheet. Dip the balls into the butter, than roll in the breadcrumbs and place on the baking sheet 2 inches a part. Bake 20 minutes until they are golden brown and flaky with a creamy center. Let them cool for 5 minutes, serve warm.
Enjoy!! - Nicole

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Coconut Cupcakes

I love these cupcakes for two reasons.  One - I love coconut.  Two - I love almond flavor.  These cupcakes have both.   Unfortunately some of my family members (dad, sister, daughter) really hate coconut.  I guess it has something to do with the texture.  Anyway I only made 1/2 a batch so I didn't have to eat too many myself.  The recipe is from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  

Cupcakes - makes 22-24
3/4 lb. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra large eggs 
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp almond extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
8 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

1 lb cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 lb (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (you can use 2 sticks)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp almond extract
1-1/2 lbs confectioners sugar
8 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut (you can add more if you like alot of coconut)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy about 5 minutes.  With the mixer on low add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Fold in 8 ounces of coconut. 

Line muffin pan with paper liners.  Fill each liner to the top with batter.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.  Remove to a baking rack to finish cooling.

Meanwhile, make the frosting.  In the bowl on low speed cream together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extracts.  Add the confectioners sugar and mix until smooth.  Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Enjoy!  Susan

Monday, July 4, 2011

Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Since everyone is currently in their backyards cooking on their grill for the end of the July 4th holiday weekend, I thought it was perfect to post this salad. I've obviously had most of the traditional grilled foods: hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, vegetables etc. but I've never considered grilling a head of romaine lettuce. This was delicious and is something different you can make to impress your guests.
Adapted from Food Network Magazine June 2011 &

Serves 6 (1/2 Head of Romaine per person)

Ingredients for Dressing:
1 Clove Garlic - Minced
2 Tsp Honey
2 Tbsp White Vinegar
1/4 Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Ingredients for Salad:
3 Heads of Romaine
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Red Onion - Diced
3 Slices of Bacon - Crumbled
Start by making the vinagrette. In a small bowl whisk together garlic, honey, white vinegar, salt & pepper.
Add in the blue cheese crumbles, smush the crumbles into the dressing until it is mostly smooth. It is ok to keep a few small crumbles in tact. Whisk until everything is well combine and thick.
Slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl, whisking the whole time as it combines. Set aside. Next you can make the onion / bacon topping. Dice the onion and cut the bacon in to small pieces. In a small pan, saute the bacon and onion for 5 minutes. When they are done cooking transfer them to a dish using a slotted spoon so the grease drips out. I also blotted it all with a papertowl to adsob some more of the grease.
Wash all of the romaine heads and then using a sharp knife cut them down the center. Make sure to leave the root end in tact to hold the romaine together. Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Brush the entire cut side with olive oil and place heads down ontop of grill.
Grill for 4 minutes until you can see the grill marks and the leaves have begun to wilt slightly. Sprinkle the romaine with the bacon and onion topping. Drizzle the vinaigrette on top and serve immediately.
Enjoy!! - Nicole
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