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PB&J Muffins

Hi ho, hi ho, it's back to school we go... Well, not me, but students and children everywhere are heading back to school this week and next! Time to get back into routines - quick breakfasts, packed lunches, and after school snacks! I'll admit, my favorite go-to meal when I need something quick and reliable is still the classic PB&J. Crunchy natural peanut butter, tart cherry jam, and a sprinkle of salt on whole grain bread. It's filling, easy, and takes me back to my childhood. IMG_1814 Today's recipe makes a great snack, lunch addition, or quick breakfast. PB&J Muffins take the classic lunchbox favorite and turns it into a portable muffin. These soft muffins are packed with peanut butter flavor, filled with your favorite preserves, and loaded up with the most buttery crumb topping. (I dare you to leave this sitting on the counter and not pick at the crumb topping every single time you walk by.)   To make the batter, combine your dry ingredients in a bowl - flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. Combine your wet ingredients in a bowl - melted peanut butter, melted butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and milk. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet just until combined. IMG_1808   Then, scoop the batter into a greased muffin tin, and place a dollop of your favorite jam or preserves into the center. I love strawberry or cherry. You can always go with the classic grape! IMG_1809 Then, make your crumb topping. Mix together melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and flour until a crumbly mixture forms. Press it into the top of each muffin. You want big crumbs, and LOTS of them! IMG_1810 Bake at 350*F for 18-22 minutes until golden brown. Then try to let them cool before digging in! (As you can see, we had a hard time waiting...) IMG_1813 Voila! PB&J Muffins! IMG_1817

PB&J Muffins

Servings/Yield: 12 muffins

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 cup your favorite jam or preserves
  • For the crumb topping:
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 + 2 tablespoons cup all-purpose flour,

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon set aside. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine butter and peanut butter. Melt in microwave at 30 second intervals, whisking between, until smooth. Whisk in the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour mixture, being careful not to over mix. (Batter might be thick, depending on how quick you are. The peanut butter doesn’t stay melted for a super long time.)

3. Scoop into the prepared muffin tin. Place a dollop of jam or preserves in the center of each muffin tin.

4. Prepare the crumb topping. Combine all crumb topping ingredients and stir together until it is crumb-like and dry, almost like a sludge or paste. Press the large crumbs over and into the prepared muffins.

5. Bake at 350*F for 18-22 minutes until the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool before removing from tins.

Source: adapted from How Sweet It Is

Southern Tomato Pie

Well, I am just all about the tomatoes lately! I just can't seem to get enough of garden-fresh tomatoes... and either can my family. My 9-month old son is going crazy for tomatoes! I just cut him a slice, cut it in half and he goes to town.

Today's recipe for Southern Tomato Pie is a great unique way to use up your tomato bounty. Fresh tomatoes are layered with sweet onions in a flaky pie pastry, and then topped with a cheesy topping and baked to a beautiful, crispy golden brown. It reminds me a lot of pizza! Served alongside a tossed salad and some crusty bread, it makes a great light lunch or dinner.

Start by blind baking your crust. Use your favorite recipe, or a store bought pie pastry. (I won't tell.) Roll out the crust into the pan, prick it all with a fork, and then line with parchment and dried beans or pie weights. This keeps the crust from shrinking all the way back down. Bake at 425*F about 20 minute just until golden.

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While the pie crust is baking, thinly slice and salt your tomatoes. Lay them out on a baking sheet lined with paper towels, let them rest at least 15 minutes. The salt will help draw out the extra water and help you avoid a soggy pie. You can even squeeze out more moisture with paper towels.

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Next, layer up the tomatoes in your pie pastry along with some thinly sliced sweet onion. Top it off with some fresh basil.

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Mix up your cheesy topping (cheddar, Parmesan, and mayonnaise) and spread it over the top.

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Bake at 350*F about 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Wait at least 5-10 minutes to dig in, or you can even serve it room temperature. I made mine in the afternoon and we reheated slices for dinner. So tasty and fresh!

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Southern Tomato Pie

Yield: One 9-inch pie

  • 1 9-inch unbaked pie shell
  • 3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons basil chiffonade
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼-½ cup light mayonnaise

Method

1. Preheat oven to 425*F. Place pie crust in pie shell, and prick the bottom and sides with a fork for venting. Line with parchment paper and place pie weights (or dried beans) in the center. ‘Blind bake’ the crust for 20 minutes, just until golden brown. Remove parchment and pie weights. Reduce the oven temperature to 350*F.

2. While crust is baking, lay tomato slices out flat on a towel-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit 15 minutes to draw out the moisture. Pat dry with another towel or paper towel.

3. Layer sliced tomatoes in baked crust; top with sliced onions. Top with freshly ground black pepper and basil chiffonade.

4. In a small bowl, combine cheddar, Parmesan, and mayonnaise. Spread over the top of pie. Bake pie at 350*F for 40 minutes more, until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Source: adapted from Add a Pinch

BLT Salad

Last week, I shared with you how to make Homemade Croutons. This week, I've got a great recipe to use them! BLT Salad takes your favorite BLT flavors, and combines them with a tangy homemade buttermilk dressing. It's like summer in a bowl. I have been obsessed with BLT's lately. Gimme that thick-cut pepper bacon, crisp romaine, and juicy tomatoes, and layer it all up on artisan bread with some mashed avocado. Mmmmmm, I could eat one of those everyday. I've taken those same flavors, and tossed them all into a salad. Just a bit healthier! The homemade croutons really take this salad over the top, and the buttermilk dressing comes together super quick with kitchen/pantry staples. It would also be pretty tasty with good ole' ranch. Toss together your salad ingredients - chopped romaine, diced tomatoes, crisp bacon, homemade croutons, avocado, and Parmesan cheese. IMG_1644 Mix up your buttermilk dressing, and drizzle over individual servings. YUM! IMG_1645

BLT Salad

Servings/Yield: 2 as a main dish, 4-6 as a side dish

  • 8 slices thick cut pepper bacon
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 cups homemade croutons
  • For the buttermilk dressing:
    • 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
    • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    • juice from 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
    • salt & fresh ground pepper pepper, to taste

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 400*F. Lay the bacon flat on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes until crisp.

2. Meanwhile, prep the veggies by chopping the romaine and dicing the tomatoes. Toss the romaine, tomatoes, Parmesan, avocado, and croutons in a large serving bowl.

3. Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar or tupperware; shake to mix thoroughly.

4. Crumble the bacon into the salad, and toss to combine. Top individual portions with buttermilk dressing and additional croutons.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats

Homemade Croutons

I know... you're probably thinking, "a whole blog post dedicated to making croutons?! I just stock up when the packages are 10 for $10 and I'm set!" While I'm no stranger to the package of ready-made croutons, homemade croutons are where it's at. If you've never had one, you haven't lived. (I can be just a bit dramatic sometimes.) My husband and I often catch each other snacking on these straight out of the container. Who needs salad anyway?! IMG_1549 Homemade Croutons are a great way to use up old bread that would otherwise be thrown away. It's best to use an artisan bread - baguette, ciabatta, focaccia, something that's a bit crusty or has some chew to it. (Though sandwich bread works great, too!) I had half a loaf of focaccia leftover from making paninis earlier in the week. Slice the bread up into 1/2-inch cubes and place in a large bowl. IMG_1539 Pour a mixture of melted butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley over the bread cubes; toss to mix well. I like to go heavy on the seasonings, but you can adjust the taste to your preference. IMG_1541 Bake at 250F for 40-45 minutes, tossing them around with a spatula every 10 minutes. Let cool and devour! IMG_1545 Stay tuned next week for a great entree salad featuring these tasty croutons!

Homemade Croutons

Yield: 6 cups croutons

  • 6 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Method

1. Place the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, stir together melted butter, olive oil, and seasonings. Toss the butter/oil mixture with the bread cubes.

2. Spread the croutons in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 250*F, stirring once every 10 minutes, until the croutons are light golden and crisp and no chewiness remains (be sure to let a crouton cool for a minute or two before testing!) They will bake about 40-50 minutes total but the time may vary depending on the size of cubes and type of bread. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats

Cajun Catch of the Day with Ratatouille

Back in June, my husband and I were able to travel to New Orleans for a conference for his job. We had a blast soaking up the culture of the city - especially the food! We took a cooking class one night at the New Orleans School of Cooking, and learned how to prepare a 3-course feast from a local chef. We dined on Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade, Catch of the Day with Lemon Butter & Capers, Ratatouille, and Pecan Pie with freshly whipped cream for dessert. Not only was it a lot of fun, but the food was some of the best we ate all weekend! IMG_1355 I'll be sharing the Rataouille and Catch of the Day recipe with you today. Ratatouille is a great summertime dish, because it uses up all those garden veetables - zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, eggplant, and onion. Start the ratatouille by heating some olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and cook about 5-7 minutes, just until it starts to brown. Add some diced eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash, and cook another 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season wiht salt & pepper. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and cajun seasoning, and cook another 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are soft. IMG_1344 IMG_1345 I have always struggled with cooking fish in the past... but this recipe was pretty fail-proof. Season the fish liberally with cajun seasoning, lightly bread with flour, and pan fry on each side in some butter. Butter is the secret to restaurant-quality food! IMG_1349 To make the lemon butter sauce, simply melt some butter into the pan where you cooked the fish. Add a bit of heavy cream, some capers, and the juice from half a lemon. Let it simmer until it's reduced by half, and serve over the fish. IMG_1354

Catch of the Day with Lemon Butter & Capers

Servings/Yield: 4 servings

  • lbs tilapia or cod, or any other firm fish, portioned into 4 filets
  • 2-4 tablespoons cajun seasoning
  • 1-2 cups flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, divided
  • ¼ cup capers
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ lemon

Method

1. Rinse fish off with cold water and pat dry. Season as you wish with cajun seasoning, and dredge with flour.

2. Melt 1/4 cup butter over medium-high heat in large skillet. Add seasoned & dredged fish to skillet, and brown on each side 4-6 minutes. Remove fish from skillet and tent with foil to keep warm.

3. Add remaining 1/4 cup butter, capers, cream, and juice from 1/2 lemon to skillet. Simmer until reduced by half. Serve warm over fish.

Ratatouille

Servings/Yield: 3-4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced eggplant
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 cup diced yellow squash
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons cajun seasoning
  • salt & fresh ground pepper pepper, to taste

Method

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook 5-7 minutes until slightly translucent. Add eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash, and season with salt & pepper. Saute another 7-10 minutes, stirring often, taking care not to burn.

2. Add tomatoes, garlic, and cajun seasoning. Stir well and continue to cook over medium heat 5-7 minutes until all vegetables are soft. Taste, and season again with salt & pepper.

Source: adapted from New Orleans School of Cooking

Grilled Basil Caprese Chicken Wraps

Quick weeknight meals are a must in my household. My husband usually gets home from work between 6:30-7pm, and we need to eat quickly before our 8-month old goes into complete cranky mode before bed! For this reason, we love to make variations on sandwiches for dinner. Every once in awhile, it's the typical turkey and cheese, but we like to spice it up with oven-baked subs, quesadillas, grilled paninis, and open-faced flatbreads. IMG_1266 Usually, when we're dong paninis, we find the crustiest sourdough bread we can get our hands on, but I decided to switch it up and try a wrap on the panini grill. It was awesome! I took advantage of the fresh basil in my garden, and whipped up these Grilled Basil Caprese Chicken Wraps. Grilled chicken breast, fresh sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and an herby cream cheese spread are all wrapped up and grilled until warm and melty. The cheese is gooey, the wrap is nice and toasted, and you can never go wrong with the classic caprese pairing. IMG_1257 We used fresh grilled chicken (with a basil herb rub), but you could easily use any leftover chicken or pick up a rotisserie chicken to keep it simple. IMG_1260 To make the herby cream cheese, combine some cream cheese, basil leaves, garlic, and Parmesan cheese in a food processor and give it a whirl. (You could also mix this by hand, just make sure you dice your basil super fine.) IMG_1258 To assemble the sandwiches, spread the cream cheese down the center of a flour tortilla or wrap. (We did a mix of flour tortilla and gluten free wraps for a guest who needed to eat GF.) Top with thinly sliced tomatoes, chicken, fresh mozzarella, and additional basil. IMG_1262 IMG_1263 We love these little fresh mozzarella balls that you can find in the specialty cheese section. They also make a great little salad when combined with fresh diced tomatoes, cucumber, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. IMG_1261 Fold up your wraps and place them on your panini press or griddle. Cook until golden brown, and dig in! IMG_1269

Grilled Basil Caprese Chicken Wraps

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons basil herb rub
  • 3-4 fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 4-6 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, (sliced or balls)
  • 2-3 oz grated Parmesan cheese
  • cup light cream cheese
  • cups loosely packed basil leaves, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4-6 large flour tortillas

Method

1. Preheat grill to medium high. Coat chicken on all sides with basil herb rub. Grill on preheated grill 4-5 minutes until chicken reaches 165*F. Remove from grill and rest 5 minutes before slicing into strips.

2. Preheat panini press or griddle to medium heat.

3. To make the herby cream cheese, combine cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup basil leaves, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until basil is finely chopped and the mixture is pretty smooth. Finely chop or chiffonade the remaining basil and set aside.

4. To assemble each wrap, spread the center with the herby cream cheese. Top with 4-5 thin slices tomato, strips of chicken, mozzarella cheese, and remaining chopped basil. Fold wrap to enclose ingredients.

5. Place wrap on panini press or griddle, and cook 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and cheese is melted. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Source: adapted from Pampered Chef

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

Do you have zucchini out the wazoo?! We actually don't grow any zucchini, but it's always such a good deal in the produce section this time of year! I love to gobble it up every which way... grilled, pan-fried, oven-roasted, and of course, in the form of zucchini bread. I've had a recipe for Zucchini Pizza Casserole bookmarked for quite some time. Zucchini + pizza... what's not to love? This main dish casserole uses grated zucchini and cheese as a "crust", and then it's topped with pizza sauce and all your favorite toppings. IMG_1190 Now... I'll be honest... it won't satisfy a craving for real pizza, but it was definitely a tasty meal to put into the rotation. I did end up serving some garlic bread on the side. Still gotta have my carbs! Start with the crust. You'll want about 6 cups of grated zucchini - that's about 4-5 small zucchinis. I used my box grater, but I'm sure you could use a food processor to make it go a little quicker. Sprinkle the grated zucchini with some salt, and let it sit about 10 minutes. Then, squeeze it out with a dish towel to draw out the extra moisture. We don't want soggy zucchini! IMG_1187 Mix the grated zucchini with a couple eggs and some grated mozzarella, cheddar, and Parmesan cheeses. You can use whatever cheese you have on hand. Spread it into a 9x13-inch baking pan, and bake about 20 minutes at 400*F until golden browned and a little crispy. IMG_1189 Then, top with pizza sauce and all your favorite pizza toppings. I left a skinny portion with just cheese for my 8-month old, and loaded the rest up with pepperoni, olives, and mushrooms. Bake an additional 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. I topped it with some fresh basil from the garden for a pop of fresh flavor. IMG_1191 All the flavor of pizza, with none of the carbs. This is a great dish for those on low-carb or gluten-free diets. Enjoy!

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

Servings/Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 6 cups grated zucchini
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • your favorite pizza toppings!

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400*F.

2. Place 6 cups grated zucchini in a bowl and toss with salt. Let sit 10 minutes to draw out the extra moisture. Squeeze as dry as possible with a hand towel. Combine grated zucchini with pepper, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1 cup cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, and eggs. Spread into greased 9x13-inch baking dish.

3. Bake zucchini crust in 400*F oven for 20 minutes until golden brown. Top with pizza sauce, remaining cheese, and your favorite pizza toppings. Bake an additional 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool 5 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

Source: adapted from Lauren's Latest 

Broccoli Slaw

We are getting ready to go on a family vacation with my parents up to Door County, Wisconsin. We leave for the last week of July, and couldn't be more excited! Door County is a peninsula on Lake Michigan, and full of cute little towns with lots of shopping, dining, and outdoor activities for the whole family. They are known for their cherries, and there are several little markets with all sorts of fresh cherries and cherry goodies available to purchase. One of our favorite markets makes the best cherry salsa, and they also make cherry wine, cherry bbq sauce, cherry marinades, cherry salad dressings, and all sorts of cherry jams & jellies. The employees always send us home with a bunch of recipes that use their yummy products, and this tasty Broccoli Slaw was one we tried out a few years ago. broccoli1 The original recipe called for their delicious cherry poppyseed dressing. Well, I wasn't about to pour the majority of my $7.95 bottle of cherry poppyseed dressing into coleslaw, so I made some improvisations. This slaw is a great combination of crisp veggies & chewy dried cherries, with a sweet dressing & salty sunflower seeds. It seems that my favorite recipes combine the sweet & salty flavors together... what can I say? I think it all stems from mixing my m&m's with the popcorn at the movies when I was a little kid. Mom taught me that one. broccoli2 It's a cinch to make, too. Just dump all your ingredients in a bowl - broccoli slaw, dried cherries, salted sunflower seeds, and green onions. Then, add your favorite creamy poppyseed dressing! Mix to combine, and serve cold.

Broccoli Slaw

  • 1 bag broccoli slaw
  • 5 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ⅔-¾ cup creamy poppyseed dressing

Method

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Stir well. Store in refrigerator.
Source: adapted from Lautenbach's Orchard Country

Red (Velvet), White, & Blue(berry) Trifle

Imagine that... a red, white, & blue-themed dessert for 4th of July! It seems like everywhere I look, I see flag cakes, Jell-O salads, and fruit trays, all using the colors red, white, & blue.

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Independence Day is coming right up, and this Red (Velvet), White, & Blue(berry) Trifle is perfect for your celebration. (And yes, it's totally a mouthful to say.) It's a little more elegant than your traditional flag cake, or angel food layered with strawberries and blueberries. Red velvet cake cubes are layered with a homemade whipped cream cheese mousse, decadent chocolate ganache, and fresh blueberries.

It can be made over the course of 1-2 days, leaving you plenty of time to rest & relax on the 4th.

Start with a red velvet cake. You can do homemade, but honestly, a mix does the trick. Once everything's combined together, you can't even tell!

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Once it's baked & cooled, use a serrated knife to cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. You most likely won't need the whole cake, so as the chef, you get to enjoy the extras. ;)

Then, make the ganache. Bring a cup of heavy cream to a simmer, and pour it over 1 1/3 cups of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips. Let it sit 5 minutes, then stir until smooth and add a bit of corn syrup to give it that glossy finish. (You could also just use a jar of hot fudge sauce.)

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You can do both the cake and ganache a day ahead. When you're ready to assemble your trifle, make the cream cheese mousse. Start by whipping 3 cups of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. (You could also just use a carton of Cool Whip.) Then, blend together some cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Carefully fold in the whipped cream until it's light & fluffy.

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Now for the assembly. In a trifle bowl (or really big bowl), layer the cake cubes, then drizzle the ganache over them. Top with a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips and blueberries. Then, the cream cheese mousse. Repeat until you have used all the ingredients or reach the top of your bowl, whichever happens first. Store in the fridge until serving time!

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This is such a fantastic dessert - the slightly tangy cream cheese mousse is a great contrast to the sweet cake and rich dark chocolate ganache. The blueberries add that pop of freshness (and of course, the blue color!)

Happy 4th of July!

Red (Velvet), White, & Blue(berry) Trifle

Servings/Yield: 10-12 servings

  • red velvet cake
  • For the cream cheese mousse
    • 16 oz cream cheese
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 cups heavy cream, whipped
  • For the ganache
    • 1⅓ cups semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • mini chocolate chips
  • blueberries

Method

1. For chocolate ganache, bring heavy cream to a simmer. Pour over semisweet chocolate chips in a bowl; let sit 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Stir in corn syrup.

2. For cream cheese mousse, beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract. Fold in whipped cream.

3. In trifle dish, layer red velvet cake cubes, chocolate ganache, mini chips, blueberries, and cream cheese mousse.

Source: original recipe

Grilled Caesar Salad (with Buffalo Chicken)

Caesar salad... on the grill! Say what?! Yes, Grilled Caesar Salad is a thing.

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I know it sounds weird, but grilled romaine is seriously one of the best vegetables out there. If you haven't tried it, you're missing out! The lettuce just gets a little bit of char and wilts ever so slightly. It still has a bit of crunch, but all that smoky flavor from the grill.

I whipped up a homemade Caesar dressing to go with it, but you could easily use your favorite bottled dressing. Some grilled bread on the side took the place of croutons, and we added some grilled chicken thighs tossed in buffalo sauce to make it a heartier main dish.

To prep the lettuce for the grill, slice each romaine head lengthwise in half. You want there to be a flat side, so it will stay on the grill easier. Drizzle it with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

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Preheat the grill to medium-high, and throw the romaine halves on the grill for 1-2 minutes on each side. You want it to get just wilted, but still maintain a little crunch.

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Top it off with your dressing (homemade or store bought) and Parmesan cheese and serve immediately. If you're wanting a main dish type salad, throw some chicken on the grill before you add the lettuce, and add that to the salad when it's finished. Yum!

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You can cut the lettuce before serving, but I love the presentation of the whole romaine.

Try it as an appetizer salad, or try it as a main dish... spice up your salad by throwing your lettuce on the grill.

Grilled Caesar Salad

Servings/Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • fresh bread, sliced
  • minced garlic, if desired
  • For the dressing:
    • 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
    • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
    • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • salt & pepper, to taste
    • ½ cup olive oil

Method

1. Prepare dressing by combining all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blend. Blend until smooth and creamy.

2. For salads, cut romaine in half lengthwise. Drizzle each sliced side of the romaine with olive oil. Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill romaine 1-2 minutes on each side, just until slightly wilted.

3. Drizzle bread with olive oil and rub with garlic if desired. Grill until lightly toasted.

4. To serve, place a romaine half on a plate. Drizzle with dressing, and top with shaved parmesan cheese. Serve with grilled bread.

5. (For a hearty main dish, top with sliced grilled chicken. We like ours tossed in buffalo sauce!)

Source: adapted from How Sweet It Is