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.

IMG_1016

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!

IMG_1006

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.)

IMG_1007

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.

IMG_1009

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!

IMG_1010

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.

IMG_0993

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.

IMG_0988

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.

IMG_0989

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!

IMG_0991

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

Bang Bang Shrimp with Slaw

One of my husband's favorite appetizers at pretty much any restaurant is Bang Bang Shrimp. It's served at several different chains (though usually with a slight variation on the name.) Crispy shrimp are tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce with an Asian kick. If you've ever had these shrimp, you know how easy it is to eat just one more!

IMG_0806

My homemade version is on the healthier side - the shrimp are dusted with cornstarch and pan-fried in just a bit of canola oil, rather than deep-fried.

IMG_0802

They're then tossed in a sauce made of light mayo, Asian chili sauce, and sriracha (for that spicy kick).

IMG_0796

IMG_0804

I served up the shrimp over an Asian-inspired slaw, with napa cabbage, green onions, cilantro, and cashews. This added a little extra veggie heft (healthy, yay!) My husband and I actually made an entire meal out of this, but it could easily serve as either an appetizer or main dish.

IMG_0800

So delicious!

IMG_0810

Bang Bang Shrimp with Slaw

Servings/Yield: 2-3 main dish servings, 4-6 appetizer servings

  • 5 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sweet Asian chili sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha chili sauce
  • 5 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
  • 2 cups thinly sliced butter lettuce
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped cashews
  • 1-lb raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 2-4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-2 tablespoons canola oil

Method

1. For shrimp sauce, in a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, and sriracha. Set aside.

2. For the slaw, combine napa cabbage, butter lettuce, red cabbage, and green onions in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey until thoroughly combined. Set aside until serving time.

3. Toss shrimp with cornstarch. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and coat with canola oil. Add shrimp in single layer, and cook 3 minutes until pink, flipping halfway between. If you don’t have room to cook all the shrimp at once, do it in two batches.

4. Toss shrimp with as much as the sauce as you desire. (I used about half and served with the remaining sauce on the side.)

5. To serve, top slaw with shrimp. Sprinkle with cilantro and chopped cashews.

Source: adapted from Skinnytaste

Blueberry Muffin Smoothies

Every time I go grocery shopping at Chief, I have to very carefully weave my way from the produce section through the specialty cheese & wine section to get to the rest of the store. (Avoiding the bakery!) You'd think that since I am a baker by trade, that the Chief bakery wouldn't hold any temptations... but have you ever seen the giant rack of JUMBO muffins?! They are so irresistible! Moist and soft, and full of mix-ins. My favorite is the Blueberry or Lemon Poppyseed, and my hubby loves the Pistachio. (I can't get past the green color of that one...) IMG_0679 Anyway, we splurged this week and picked up a few packs to share with our Sunday School class at church... and unfortunately (fortunately?) we ended up with a 4-pack to take home. While I love these muffins, they probably aren't the best choice for my intentions to eat healthier. IMG_0681 Luckily this Blueberry Muffin Smoothie is a great choice! While I can't say it replicates those bakery-style muffins exactly, it surprisingly tastes like a blueberry muffin, and is very filling as well. With over 16 grams of protein and a serving of dairy and two servings of fruit, this smoothie is a great way to start your day. Frozen blueberries are combined with milk, Greek yogurt, banana, oats, and lemon zest and whizzed to a frosty perfection. IMG_0680 It's super easy to make - just plop all your ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth! Drink up! IMG_0683

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie 

Yield: 1 smoothie

  • ½ cup milk
  • 4-6oz container vanilla Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ frozen banana
  • ¼ cup oats
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 5-6 ice cubes

Method

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until very smooth.

Source: from Iowa Girl Eats

Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos

My husband and I have decided to start eating a bit healthier... we have been both lacking energy, and too often we turn to sugar for quick fuel. Which gives us energy for a short period, but then CRASH! We looked into doing the Whole 30 plan, but I'm not sure I can completely give up all grains, dairy, and sugar! So, our solution is simply this - incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and whole foods into our diet on a daily basis, and get rid of as much processed stuff as we can. I stumbled upon a recipe for Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos, and decided to give it a try. Sweet potato rounds are roasted until crispy, then topped with all your favorite nacho toppings. We kept it meatless, and went with black beans, cheese, avocado, green onions, and cilantro. IMG_0616 I'm not going to lie, I was pretty hesitant. We both figured we'd be looking for a bowl of cereal or a grilled cheese after this meal. But it was a hit! The sweet potatoes are seasoned with Mexican spices, and while they don't get as crispy as regular tortilla chips, they're pretty darn close! If you like sweet potato fries, you'll love this version of nachos. Start with your sweet potatoes. Slice them as thin as you can, and toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne. Spread them into a single layer on a baking sheet or two. [caption id="attachment_4602" align="aligncenter" width="331"]Before roasting Before roasting[/caption] Roast them at 400*F for 20 minutes; then flip and roast an additional 10-15 minutes, until the potato rounds are crispy. [caption id="attachment_4603" align="aligncenter" width="310"]IMG_0614 After roasting[/caption] Top with the cheese and black beans, and roast another 5-7 minutes until the cheese melts. (Seasoned ground beef or pulled chicken would also be really good here.) [caption id="attachment_4604" align="aligncenter" width="288"]Lots of cheese please! Lots of cheese please![/caption] Top with green onions, cilantro, and avocado. Serve with salsa and sour cream! [caption id="attachment_4606" align="aligncenter" width="360"]IMG_0618 Salsa & sour cream[/caption]

Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos

Yield: 2-3 main dish servings

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 2-3 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½-1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½-1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1½-2 cups freshly grated cheese, (cheddar, mozzarella, or monterey jack)
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 2-3 green onions, diced
  • ½ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • sour cream, for serving
  • salsa, for serving

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and seasonings. Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet (or two). Roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Flip; roast an additional 10-15 minutes until crispy.

2. Combine all sweet potato rounds onto one baking sheet. Top with black beans and cheese; roast another 5-7 minutes until cheese melts.

3. Remove from oven, and top with avocado, green onions, and cilantro. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

 Source: adapted from Two Peas and their Pod

 

Colossal Stuffed Burger

Summer is right around the corner, and that means it's time to bust out the grill! My husband and I went for a nice walk  around the neighborhood and it seemed like EVERYONE was grilling something... steak, burgers, hot dogs, etc. You name it, we smelled it! IMG_0510 We christened our grill for the season last week with this Colossal Stuffed Burger. This is a fun twist on a traditional burger - it's actually a giant 2-pound burger designed to feed everyone. (Well, around 4-6 people.) What a fun way to entertain! IMG_0514 It's got a bit of Italian flavor, as it's stuffed with caramelized mushrooms and mozzarella cheese and served up on a giant loaf of sweet bread. I wouldn't normally think to pair Italian with a burger, but it really worked, and we "mmmm'd" through the whole meal. Start with your mushrooms. Simply sauté a package of sliced mushrooms in some butter until golden brown. While your mushrooms are cooking, prepare the beef mixture. Just a mix of ground beef, grated Parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and soy sauce. Divide it in two, and then shape each into a jumbo patty. It should be 8-10 inches in diameter and about 1 inch thick. To assemble the giant burger, spread a bit of tomato paste over one patty. Top with the mushrooms and some grated mozzarella. Then, cover with the remaining patty and pinch the edges to seal. PicMonkey Collage Very carefully, slide the patty onto a grill preheated to medium. Cook 25-35 minutes, until the meat is done to your liking. (I used a meat thermometer and pulled it off once it hit 155-160*F.) IMG_0503 IMG_0507 Let it rest for a few minutes, then serve it up on a split round loaf of sweet bread with some mixed greens. Cut into wedges and serve. IMG_0509 Check out that cheese! YUM! IMG_0516

Colossal Stuffed Burger

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 8-oz package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 round loaf Hawaiian sweet bread
  • torn mixed greens

Method

1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and salt; cook 5-10 minutes until golden brown and caramelized.

2. Meanwhile, combine beef with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and soy sauce in a bowl. Mix until combined. Divide into two equal portions. Pat each into an 8-10 inch jumbo burger patty about 1-inch thick.

3. Place one of the burger patties on a plate. Spread tomato sauce over center of patty, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with sautéed mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. Cover with remaining burger patty, pinching edges to seal.

4. Grill over medium heat, 25-35 minutes until meat is done (cooked to 160*F). Remove from grill.

5. Meanwhile, split Hawaiian loaf in half and broil until lightly toasted. Assemble burger, topping with mixed greens. Cut into wedges to serve.

Source: adapted from Better Homes & Garden 'Our Best Recipes'

Italian Chopped Salad

Happy late Mother's Day to all the moms and mom-like figures out there... hope you enjoyed your day! I celebrated my 1st Mother's Day with my little family. My hubby got my favorite breakfast (chocolate sprinkle donuts!) and we spent a lot of time outside in the gorgeous weather. I'll admit, it was almost a bit hot outside, though I won't complain. (I complained so much during the cold winter that I told myself I'm not allowed to complain about any amount of heat. Bring it on!) IMG_0382 Salads are a nice refreshing meal when it's warmer outside... something about the crisp veggies and tangy dressing is perfect when the temps start to climb. Italian Chopped Salad takes your favorite Italian ingredients and flavors - cheese, salami, roasted peppers - and combines them all in a crisp salad tossed in a homemade vinaigrette. There are a few elements to the salad, but once you have them all prepped, it's a really quick meal. Here's a run-down of the prep work.
  • Prep the chickpeas. (Toss with oil, lemon juice, oregano, and red pepper flakes.)
  • Shred the cheese. (Gouda is an excellent choice here.)
  • Slice/dice the red onion, peppers, and salami.
  • Make the dressing.
Then just toss the dressing with the lettuce, and top with the fun stuff! IMG_0379 Perfect served with a loaf of crusty bread. (Because eating a salad justifies eating a whole loaf of bread, in my opinion...) IMG_0380

Italian Chopped Salad

Yield: 2-3 servings as a main dish; 4-6 servings as a side dish

  • For the chickpeas:
    • 14-oz can chickpeas
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    • ½ teaspoon oregano
    • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • For the dressing:
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • For the salad:
    • 4-5 cups baby spinach
    • 4-5 cups chopped romaine
    • ½ cup diced red onion
    • 1 jar roasted red peppers, thinly sliced
    • 1-2 cups freshly grated smoked gouda cheese
    • 4-5 oz Italian salami, thinly sliced and/or diced
    • seasoned chickpeas (from above)
    • dressing (from above)

Method

1. For chickpeas, combine chickpeas with olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, red pepper, and salt & pepper. Toss to combine.

2. For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small container or jar and shake until smooth.

3.

For the salad, mix together spinach and romaine in large bowl. Toss with dressing. Top with red onion, peppers, gouda, salami, and chickpeas.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats

Spring Veggie Lasagna Skillet

Mmmmmm, lasagna. One of the world's best comfort foods. Carbs, cheese, need I say more? From a self-proclaimed carb-a-holic, this is my type of meal! Last week, I ran my 5th marathon, first one since having my baby boy. (Yes, I might be crazy. There's something about training for a distance event that keeps me coming back for more and more.) Marathon training requires lots of carbs - and this lasagna definitely fit the bill last week when I was loading up for the big race. IMG_0341 Spring Veggie Lasagna Skillet is a shortcut lasagna - no need to make all the layers. The veggies are all cooked in one skillet, then tossed with a creamy sauce and broken up lasagna noodles. The whole thing is covered in grated cheese and baked for just a short while. (Not the usual 60-90 minutes that lasagna requires.) Bonus? It's packed with LOADS of veggies! Asparagus, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and spinach. Even my mushroom-hating husband gobbled this meal. Start by par-boiling your lasagna noodles. You want to cook them a couple minutes shy of al dente, because they will continue cooking in the oven. Then work on your veggies. Pour some olive oil in an oven-safe skillet, and add your onion and mushrooms. Cook about 10 minutes or so, then add the garlic and spinach. It seems like a TON of spinach, but it cooks down. At the end, add your asparagus. PicMonkey Collage Meanwhile, make your white sauce. It's just a simple white sauce made of milk thickened with a roux of butter & flour, and a little Parmesan cheese. (I somehow missed a picture of this. Picture a slightly thickened white sauce.) Pour the sauce over the veggies, add the noodles, and toss everything together to coat. Top it with ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese. Pop the skillet into the oven and let it bake 15-20 minutes at 425*F until golden & toasty. IMG_0338 For the ultimate carb-feast, serve it up with some toasty garlic bread! ---

Spring Veggie Lasagna Skillet

Yield: 3-4 servings

  • 6-8 lasagna noodles, broken into 3-4 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 8-oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • tablespoons minced garlic
  • 6-oz bag baby spinach
  • 10-12 asparagus spears, ends removed & cut into 1-inchpieces
  • salt & fresh ground pepper pepper, to taste
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • cups milk
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Method

1. Preheat oven to 425. Cook pasta according to package directions, shaving 2-3 minutes off cooking time. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook for 8-10 minutes until onions are softened. Add garlic and spinach, stirring well. Cook until spinach is wilted and cooked down. Add asparagus, stirring well. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

3. For the sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly, until it turns golden brown & nutty. Whisk in milk and whisk continuously until mixture is thickened. (It won’t get super thick.) Stir in Parmesan cheese. Season with salt & pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg.

4. Pour the sauce over the vegetables in the skillet and turn off the heat. Add in the partially cooked lasagna noodles, and toss to distribute evenly. Cover with dollops of ricotta cheese and cover with grated mozzarella.

5. Place skillet in 425*F oven for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is golden & bubbly and noodles are tender. Remove and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from How Sweet It Is

Blackberry & Havarti Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Have you ever tried Havarti cheese? If not, make sure you put it on your grocery list ASAP! It's so creamy and smooth, with a mild buttery taste. We love to eat it with crackers, on sandwiches, or simply by the slice. It pairs really well with fruit, so when I saw a recipe for a chicken sandwich using blackberries & Brie cheese, I thought I'd switch it up using my favorite Havarti. Blackberry & Havarti Grilled Chicken Sandwiches layer freshly grilled chicken breasts with a fresh blackberry compote and Havarti cheese all on a toasted Ciabatta bun. It's a quick 30-minute meal that is fresh and flavorful. IMG_0092 First off, get your chicken going on the grill. I like to use boneless skinless chicken breasts because they are quick and easy (and healthy.) I just season mine with a bit of salt & pepper. IMG_0090 While the chicken is cooking, make the blackberry compote. Mash a container of fresh blackberries (which are SO good this time of year!) with some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, and fresh thyme. IMG_0086 Once the chicken is done, get the buns ready. I found some delicious Ciabatta buns in the bakery section of my Chief, but you can use your favorite type of bun. Layer the bottom of each bun with a few slices of Havarti cheese, and place them under the broiler until the bread is toasted and the cheese melts. IMG_0091 Now, it's just assembly time! Layer up the chicken, blackberry compote, and some fresh spinach leaves. Serve up with some potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, or go the easy route with a bag of chips. ;) IMG_0097

Blackberry & Havarti Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Yield: 4 sandwiches

  • 6-oz package fresh blackberries
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • salt & fresh ground pepper pepper, to taste
  • 1-1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 4 ciabatta buns
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 4-6 oz Havarti cheese, sliced

Method

1. In a small bowl, combine blackberries, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and honey. Season with salt & pepper; mash to combine.

2. Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness, or butterfly to make thinner. Season with salt & pepper. Grill over medium heat 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked through.

3. Preheat oven to broil. To assemble sandwiches, cut rolls in half and place on a baking sheet. Cover the bottom half with sliced Havarti cheese. Broil 2-5 minutes until golden brown and cheese is melted. Place a piece of grilled chicken on the bottom of each bun; top with blackberry mixture and baby spinach. Top with remaining bun and serve.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats 

Strawberry Nutella Bruschetta

When it comes to cooking, I love to work with seasonal ingredients. Fresh fruits are one of my favorites, but it's hard to get through the winter with just citrus fruit! Now that spring is here, I'm going crazy with berries, especially strawberries. IMG_0109   Strawberry Nutella Bruschetta is a tasty little bite perfect for a Mother's Day brunch, afternoon tea, or baby or bridal shower. Crusty bread is brushed with melted butter and toasted, then topped with a creamy Nutella mixture, fresh strawberries, and fresh mint. Get started with your bread. I picked up a loaf of crusty French bread from the Chief bakery, but you can grab whatever strikes your fancy! Cut it into small rounds, and brush with some melted butter. Pop it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. IMG_0103 While the bread is toasting, mix up your Nutella mixture. Just equal parts whipped cream cheese and Nutella. IMG_0102 To assemble the bruschetta, spread each toasted bread slice with a spoonful of the Nutella mixture, and then top with finely diced strawberries and fresh mint. Mmmm, such a great contrast of textures. The Nutella gets a little melty on the warm bread, and the mint adds a nice touch of freshness.   IMG_0107  

Strawberry Nutella Bruschetta

Yield: 6-8 servings

  • 1 loaf French bread, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ cup whipped cream cheese
  • ½ cup Nutella
  • 1 pint strawberries, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, roughly chopped

Method

1. Preheat oven to broil. Place bread slices on baking sheet; brush with melted butter. Toast 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

2. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and Nutella. Spread over each toasted bread slice. Top with diced strawberries and chopped mint.

Source: adapted from Floating Kitchen