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20-Minute Chicken Florentine Pasta

Everybody loves a quick & easy dinner, right? I was watching an episode of the Pioneer Woman on Food Network a few weeks ago, and she had an episode devoted to 16-minute meals. 16 minutes?? Really? This Chicken Florentine Pasta was one of them, so I decided to give it a go. It's a light pasta dish filled with tender chicken pieces, fresh spinach and tomatoes, and dressed with a light sauce of white wine, butter, and Parmesan cheese. It really hit the spot on a warmer summer day. IMG_6878 Now, I'll be honest... it took me closer to 25 minutes start to finish. However, I was also cooking up a homemade ice cream base and garlic bread at the same time. (Multi-tasking at its finest!) So, I will compromise and call it a 20-minute meal. The meal goes so fast because you do multiple things at once. Start cooking the pasta at the same time you start browning the chicken pieces. Once the chicken pieces are brown on both sides and cooked through, add garlic to the pan. Let it cook about 30 seconds; then add the chicken stock and white wine to deglaze the pan. IMG_6875   IMG_6876 [A little tip about cooking with wine: definitely pick a wine you also like to drink! Or else what are you going to do with the rest of the bottle? You do, however, want to pick a dryer white wine for this recipe. Chief has a great system in their wine section, where the wines are labeled based on sweetness. 1 (very dry) to 5 (very sweet). I would choose either a 1 or 2 for this recipe. We went with a solid Chardonnay.] IMG_6877 Once the sauce is reduced by half, combine the cooked pasta, chicken pieces, spinach, tomatoes, and sauce. Let is sit a minute or two until the spinach wilts; then stir in the Parmesan and heavy cream. Serve with additional Parmesan and garlic bread, of course! IMG_6879 ---

Chicken Florentine Pasta

Servings/Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 12-oz penne pasta
  • 1-lb boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into chunks
  • salt & fresh ground pepper pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 6-oz bag baby spinach
  • 1-2 pints halved grape or cherry tomatoes, (optional: roasted)
  • 1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Method

1. Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and brown for 4-5 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Remove to a plate.

3. Add garlic to skillet; cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add chicken broth and white wine to deglaze the pan. Simmer until reduced by half.

4. In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, spinach, tomatoes, chicken pieces, and sauce. Let sit until spinach wilts. Add Parmesan cheese and heavy cream; mix thoroughly. Serve with additional grated Parmesan.

Source: adapted from the Pioneer Woman

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Build-your-own Brat Bar

Have you ever tried the Chief Smokehouse Brats? If not, then what are you waiting for??! Get yourself to the nearest Chief store and pick up a package. PicMonkey Collage.jpg To be honest, I was a brat-hater until last summer. We had people over for a cook-out, and I decided to pick up some brats to go along with the burgers. I managed to take a taste, and I was converted! The Chief Smokehouse brats are like no other. Juicy & crisp, they are handmade with hand-cut premium beef, pork and poultry in a smokehouse in Celina. They're delivered fresh to each store within 24 hours of being made. Smokehouse_Logo2012 They cook up super quickly on the grill, making them a great weeknight dinner option. I've got a couple ways to jazz up the basic brat today - wouldn't it be fun to have a build-your-own-brat bar for your next cook-out or gathering? Option 1: Fried Peppers & Onions I was first introduced to this brat topping by my husband's family. It's the only way they eat brats! Simply fry up some sliced green peppers & onions in some olive oil until they're tender. IMG_6861 IMG_6864 Option 2: Guacamole Creamy guacamole with the snappy casing of the brat makes an excellent combination. You can pick up a tub of ready-made guacamole in the deli section, or make a 'lazy man's' guacamole. I simply mashed up an avocado with a bit of lime juice, salt, and fresh ground pepper. (If you're feeling domestic, you could even make up a batch of Mango Guacamole.) IMG_6859 IMG_6868 Option 3: Apple Slaw I've seen lots of variations of coleslaw-topped burgers and pulled pork sandwiches, so I thought, "why wouldn't it work with a brat?" And it did! Of course, you could pick up a pint of deli-made coleslaw, but I decided to whip up a quick batch myself. This version is a vinegar-based coleslaw, with the addition of crisp, sweet apple slices. IMG_6860 First, whip together the dressing - Miracle Whip, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and salt & pepper to taste. Then pour the dressing over a bowl of cabbage mix, julienned apple slices, and diced green onions. Let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two before serving. Bonus part about this recipe - now you have a side dish as well! IMG_6866 While the brats are great with any of the above toppings, sometimes you can't beat a good ole' classic - lots and lots of ketchup! IMG_6869 ---

Fried Peppers & Onions

Yield: tops 4-5 brats

  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 Vidalia onion, sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add pepper and onion slices; fry 10-15 minutes until golden brown and tender.

 

Lazy Man's Guacamole

Yield: tops 4-5 brats

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • juice from 1 lime
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Mash avocado in a bowl, mixing in lime juice and salt & pepper.

 

Apple Slaw

Yield: 6-8 servings

  • 1 bag coleslaw mix
  • 3 sliced green onions
  • 1 julienned crisp apple
For the dressing
  • 2 tablespoons Miracle Whip
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Combine coleslaw mix, green onions, and apple pieces in a large bowl. Pour dressing over top; mix thoroughly. Chill 1-2 hours before serving.

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Spicy Peanut Chicken Noodle Salad

Lunch can sometimes be the most frustrating meal of the day. I work from home (which is great!), but I don't always want to take the time to cook myself lunch. If I take too long of a 'lunch break', I have a hard time getting back into the groove of working. So, usually I whip up a quick sandwich or salad. But a girl can only eat so many turkey sandwiches before going crazy! IMG_6829 Today's recipe makes a great lunch option - Spicy Peanut Chicken Noodle Salad. With just a little prep time on the weekend, you can have a quick and healthy meal ready to scoop and serve. It's got a great mix of carbs, protein, veggies, and a little fat from the peanut sauce. The creamy sauce is full of nutty and spicy flavor, perfect for coating the noodles and the chicken. Get started by boiling the fettuccine noodles according to the package directions. Then, slice your bell peppers, one each of the red, yellow, and green varieties. I like to slice them very thin so they are similar texture to the noodles. IMG_6815 Then, prep the chicken. If you have leftover chicken from a recipe, use that! I grilled up some chicken tenders, but you could just as easily pick up a rotisserie chicken or the ready-grilled chicken strips in the refrigerated section. IMG_6816 Now, the sauce. In a food processor or blender, combine peanut butter, water, sesame oil, soy sauce, white vinegar, honey, half a jalapeno, and a few garlic cloves.Whirl it around until it's completely smooth. Then add a handful of roasted peanuts, whirling until it's a consistency you like. I like mine a little chunky. PicMonkey Collage.jpg All that's left to do is toss everything together! Noodles, peppers, chicken, and sauce. IMG_6819 Store it in the refrigerator for a quick lunch option or an easy dinner side. IMG_6820 ---

Spicy Peanut Chicken Noodle Salad

Servings/Yield: 8-10 servings

  • 12-oz fettuccine noodles, (about 3/4 of a 1-lb box)
  • 1-1¼ lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked & diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ¼-½ cup fresh basil, minced
  • ¼-½ cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • For the peanut sauce:
  • 5 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½-1 jalapeno pepper , minced
  • ½ cup peanuts

Method

1. Boil fettuccine noodles according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water after draining.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the peanut sauce. Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, sesame oil, honey, vinegar, minced garlic, and minced jalapeño in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add in 1/2 cup peanuts and pulse until it reaches your desired consistency. (I like mine a little chunky.)

3. In a large bowl, combine cooked noodles, chicken, sliced peppers, peanut sauce, basil, and cilantro. Mix thoroughly. Store in refrigerator 1-2 hours before serving. Serve chilled.

Source: adapted from Pinch of Yum

 
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BBQ Turkey Burgers

It's grillin' season! There's nothing quite like a Chief smokehouse brat or burger fresh off the grill. While I love beef burgers, sometimes it's fun to mix it up a bit with turkey or chicken. BBQ Turkey Burgers are a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and full of flavor. Topped with gooey cheese and sweet caramelized onions, they were a hit with my family. The trick to making a moist (not dry) turkey burger, is to use ground turkey (not turkey breast, which has practically no fat to it), and not to overcook it. IMG_6680 Before you start the burgers, get the onions going. They take about 20 minutes. Just add some sliced onion with some olive oil and a pinch of a salt to a saute pan and cook over medium heat until golden brown. onions.jpg For the burgers, combine a pound of ground turkey, a little cheddar cheese, your favorite BBQ sauce (for me, it's Sweet Baby Ray's!), cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix it all up and form into four patties. IMG_6678 Grill over medium-high heat about 8 minutes on each side until cooked through. If you like your cheese melty, add it during the last 1-2 minutes. Top the burgers with additional BBQ sauce and the caramelized onions, and serve up on your favorite buns. IMG_6679 Looking for other burgers recipes? Check these out! ---

BBQ Turkey Burgers

Yield: 4 burgers

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • ¼ cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½-1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup BBQ sauce
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • BBQ sauce, for topping
  • sliced Havarti or mozzarella cheese, for topping

Method

1. To start the onions, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onions with pinch of salt about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the burgers. Combine ground turkey, grated cheddar, spices, and BBQ sauce in a large bowl. Mix and form into four patties. Grill over medium-high heat about 8 minutes on each side until cooked through.

3. Top with cheese, caramelized onions, and additional BBQ sauce.

Source: Adapted from How Sweet It Is

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Lightened Up Broccoli Salad

There's nothing quite like the spring time... and I think spring is actually finally here! One of my favorite parts about the warmer weather is rolling out the grill and having a few people over to hang out on our patio. Last night, we had a few friends over, and I whipped up a few of our summer favorites - Chipotle Chicken Kebabs and BBQ Bacon Jalapeno Poppers. I knew I wanted a lighter side to go with the meal, and a crisp and fresh broccoli salad sounded great. However, most broccoli salads are loaded with excess fat, calories, and sodium. (All those yummy ingredients... mayonnaise, bacon, cheese!) I decided to create a new version of Lightened Up Broccoli Salad - swapping plain Greek yogurt for some of the mayonnaise, subbing crunchy sunflower seeds for the salty bacon, and cutting down on the amount of cheese. And ya know what? It was just as good as the original! All our guests gave good reviews. IMG_6701 Start out by blanching the broccoli. This just takes the raw taste out of it. Simply drop the broccoli into boiling water for 1 minute, and then plunge it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Spread it out onto a towel to drain the liquid. IMG_6695 IMG_6696 Meanwhile, make the dressing. A little plain Greek yogurt, light mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. IMG_6697 Then it's time to assemble the salad. Combine the cooled and dried broccoli, a few sliced green onions, raisins, sunflower seeds, cubed cheddar cheese, and as much of the dressing as you need to coat the broccoli. I used almost all of it. IMG_6698 Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before serving. IMG_6700 ---

Lightened Up Broccoli Salad

Yield: Serves 6-8

  • 2-lbs broccoli florets
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • ½-¾ cup raisins
  • ½-¾ cup sunflower seeds
  • 4-oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise
  • 5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Method

1. Drop broccoli into boiling water for 1 minute. Plunge into ice bath to stop the cooking process. Lay out on a kitchen towel to dry.

2. For the dressing, combine Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir until smooth.

3. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, green onions, raisins, sunflower seeds, and cheese. Pour dressing over mixture, adding enough to coat. You might not need it all.

4. Store in refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours before serving.

Source: adapted from Aggie's Kitchen

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Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

Happy Cinco de Mayo! What better way to celebrate than with a Mexican fiesta? I am definitely a fan of Mexican food... as you can see by going through the blog archives! If you're hunting for some yummy food to make to celebrate, here are a few of my favorites from the past: I figured to round out all the Mexican goodness above, I'd share with you a Mexican-inspired dessert - Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars. They are a riff on a popular Mexican dessert, sopapillas, which are fried pastries coated in cinnamon-sugar.

IMG_6508

This version has flaky pastry dough layered with a creamy cheesecake filling. It's all topped with cinnamon-sugar, and is the perfect cool treat after a hot & spicy meal. It's SO easy to make, too. First, mix up the filling. Just a couple blocks of cream cheese, sugar, an egg yolk, and some vanilla extract. IMG_6493 To assemble, pop open a couple cans of crescent rolls. Unroll one into the bottom of a greased 9x13-inch pan, pinching to seal. Spread with the cream cheese mixture, then top with another can of crescent rolls, pinching to seal. Sprinkle the whole thing with cinnamon-sugar.

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

Bake at 350*F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and refrigerate several hours before serving.

IMG_6509

Question: What's your favorite food to serve on Cinco de Mayo? --- Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars Yield: 9x13-inch pan
  • 2 8-ct. packages crescent rolls
  • 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • cinnamon-sugar
Preheat oven to 350*F. Spread one package of crescent rolls into the bottom of a 13x9-inch pan. Cream together cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla. Spread evenly over crescent rolls. Cover cream cheese mixture with other package of crescent rolls.  Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cool, and refrigerate. Serve cool. Source: family favorite
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Flaky Egg Bake

Brunch. It might just be the perfect meal. You don't have to get up super early to prepare the food, it's usually accompanied by some sort of cocktail (mimosa anyone?), and it is a meal that never seems to be rushed. I think I could eat brunch everyday. Flaky Egg Bake would make the perfect addition to your next brunch celebration - flaky phyllo dough is layered with scrambled eggs, veggies, sausage, and a creamy spinach-ricotta mixture. It's baked to a golden brown and makes for a beautiful presentation. It's actually quite easy to make, just a little time consuming. I would recommend prepping the casserole the day or two before you will actually serve it. On the morning you are serving it, all you have to do is pop it in the oven! (Which leaves more time for mimosas...) Start by making the egg mixture. Saute Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, and peppers until tender. Then scramble in some eggs until set. Stir in some shredded Havarti cheese. (Or whatever's your favorite!)

IMG_6434

For the spinach-ricotta filling, combine some ricotta cheese, Parmesan, chopped spinach, another egg, and some basil. Now you're ready to go!

IMG_6435

To assemble the casserole, you will need 30 sheets of phyllo dough and about 3/4 cup melted butter. The trick to working with phyllo dough is to leave any unused dough covered with a damp towel. This keeps it from drying out. The basic method with phyllo dough is to layer it in the pan, brushing each sheet with butter, and then topping with another sheet.

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

For the casserole, here's how it goes: 10 phyllo sheets --> half of egg mixture --> 10 phyllo sheets --> spinach-ricotta mixture --> 5 phyllo sheets --> remaining egg mixture --> 5 phyllo sheets. Whew! The biggest thing to remember is to brush each and every sheet with the melted butter. (I know it seems excessive... but that's what makes it so good!) IMG_6466 If you're prepping ahead, pop the casserole into the fridge until you are ready to bake. Just be sure to pull it to room temperature about 30 minutes before going into the oven. Bake at 350*F for 40-50 minutes until golden brown! YUM! --- Flaky Egg Bake Yield: 9x13-inch pan; about 12-15 servings
  • 1-lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 9 eggs, divided
  • cups shredded Havarti cheese
  • 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced basil, (or 2 teaspoons dried basil)
  • 30 sheets phyllo dough, thawed (about 3/4 of a package)
  • ¾ cup butter, melted
1. In a large saucepan, cook sausage, mushrooms, onion, and peppers over medium heat until sausage is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Drain off fat. Whisk together 8 eggs; add to pan. Cook until just set. Stir in Havarti cheese. 2. In a small bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, basil, and remaining egg. Set aside. 3. To prepare casserole, brush a 9x13-inch pan with melted butter. Layer 10 phyllo sheets in pan, brushing each with butter before adding the next. Top with half of sausage-egg mixture. 4. Repeat with 10 additional phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter. Top with spinach-ricotta mixture. 5. Top with 5 additional phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter. Top with remaining sausage-egg mixture. Top with 5 remaining phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter. 6. Cut casserole into 12-15 rectangles. (This helps make it easier to cut once it is baked.) Bake at 350*F for 40-50 minutes until golden brown and heated through. **Casserole can be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Remove casserole from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Thaw completely from frozen before baking. Source: adapted from Taste of Home
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Easy Stuffed Ham & Cheese Biscuits

Hope you all had a happy Easter weekend! We had both my family and my husband's family in town, and spent lots of time outside in the sunshine. One of the highlights of the weekend was definitely our Easter feast - cheesy potatoes, deviled eggs, baked beans, and of course, a Chief Smokehouse spiral ham. So glad that we hosted... that means we get all the leftovers! This week's recipe is a super simple supper from my childhood - Stuffed Ham & Cheese Biscuits. My mom always whipped these up on a school night when we needed something filling and fast. Buttery biscuits are sandwiched around a cheesy ham filling. Perfect with a bowl of soup, side salad, or some tater tots. It's definitely a budget friendly meal, too. Canned biscuits, canned ham (or leftover Easter ham), sliced cheese, and a little bit of onion and mushroom (if you're feeling it.)

IMG_6447

Start by making your ham filling. Place a can of smoked ham (or equivalent amount of leftover ham) into a bowl and add some diced onion, diced mushroom, and a bit of mayonnaise or butter spread to hold it all together. Season with salt and pepper.

IMG_6450

To assemble the sandwiches, pop open a can of biscuits. You will use two biscuits for each sandwich. Flatten each biscuit to about a 4-inch circle and place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Distribute the ham filling between the biscuits, and top with a slice of your favorite cheese. Top with the remaining flattened biscuits and seal the edges.

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

Bake at 350*F for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. So easy and so delicious!

IMG_6455

This recipe is also pretty versatile... you could sub canned chicken for ham or use leftover Easter ham instead. You can always switch it up the veggies and cheese as well. ---

Ham & Cheese Biscuits

Yield: 4 sandwiches
  • 1 can refrigerated biscuits
  • 1 can smoked ham
  • cup finely diced onion
  • cup finely diced mushrooms
  • 1-2 tablespoon mayonnaise or butter spread
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices cheese, (Swiss, American, Co-jack)
Method 1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Combine ham, onion, mushrooms, and mayonnaise or butter spread in a bowl. Season to taste with salt & pepper. 2. Flatten each biscuit to a 4-inch round. To assemble sandwiches, place 4 flattened biscuits on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Evenly distribute the ham mixture onto each biscuit. Top with cheese slices. Top with remaining flattened biscuits; pinch edges to seal. 3. Bake at 350*F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cheese has melted. Source: family favorite recipe from my mom, Patty Schlink
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Buffalo Blue Cheese Deviled Eggs and Compound Herb Butter

Easter is less than a week away, and I've got two more fabulous recipes for you to whip up for your Easter celebration! First up - Buffalo Blue Cheese Deviled Eggs. These are a twist on traditional deviled eggs, with a touch of heat and the tang of blue cheese. If you like hot wings, you will love these deviled eggs.

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  [Funny story: I cannot make hard-boiled eggs for the life of me. Seriously. Over the course of the last few months, I tried making hard-boiled eggs on three separate occasions. They either were gooey on the inside, or completely overcooked. My solution? The pre-made hard-boiled eggs in a bag. They make life so much easier!] IMG_6385 To make the deviled eggs, start by cutting all your hard-boiled eggs in half, and removing the yolks to a bowl. Mash the yolks up with a bit of buffalo sauce, chopped pickles, green onions, mayonnaise, and blue cheese. Spoon it back into the egg halves, or get fancy with a ziploc bag and pipe it in. Top them with additional hot sauce and blue cheese for garnish.   IMG_6388 Second recipe for the day - Compound Herb Butter. This is a super simple way to jazz up your butter to serve with fresh-baked bread. Simple combine softened butter with a combination of minced fresh herbs - basil, thyme, and dill. Add some minced garlic, salt, and pepper, and you've got quite the tasty spread! IMG_6401 We spread it on a loaf of Italian bread from the Chief bakery, and it was delicious. It'd be great on dinner rolls, too. Or even on the outside of a grilled cheese sandwich. It also keeps really well in the fridge, for several weeks. Happy wishes for a smooth and stress-free Easter dinner! :) ---

Buffalo Blue Cheese Deviled Eggs

Yield: 20 appetizers
  • 10 hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • cup finely chopped dill pickles
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • tablespoons hot sauce
  • ½ cup blue cheese crumbles, divided
Method Slice each egg down the center lengthwise; remove cooked yolks to a bowl. Mash yolks with green onion, pickles, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, hot sauce, and 1/4 cup blue cheese. Spoon filling back into cooked egg whites. Garnish with remaining 1/4 cup blue cheese and a drizzle of hot sauce. Source: adapted from Lauren's Latest ---

Compound Herb Butter

Yield: 1/2 cup
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely minced
  • ½-¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼-½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Method Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix together until well-combined and all ingredients are evenly incorporated. Serve with your favorite bread or rolls. Source: adapted from Annie's Eats
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Roasted Asparagus with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Easter is just around the corner, so the next couple weeks will be devoted to simple and easy recipes for your Easter feast. Chief has a great spiral-sliced ham... so all you need is the side dishes! Asparagus has always been one of my favorites vegetables in the springtime - something about the green crispiness and fresh flavor makes it perfect for these warmer days. It's also a healthy superstar. It's a great source of fiber, folate, and Vitamin K, and it's packed with antioxidants. (source) IMG_6425 Now, if you have already formed an opinion on asparagus, I ask that you just try it one more time. There's a huge difference between limp, soggy, steamed asparagus and roasted asparagus packed with flavor. Add some goat cheese, walnuts, and a balsamic glaze, and what's not to love? It's really easy, too. Ready from start to finish in about 15-20 minutes. Place your asparagus on a foil-lined baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and roast at 400*F about 10-12 minutes until tender. IMG_6421 While your asparagus is roasting, make the balsamic glaze. Just add some balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and simmer until it's reduced and has become thick and syrupy. IMG_6422 When the asparagus is done, let it rest a few minutes. Transfer it to your serving platter, and then drizzle it with the balsamic glaze. Top with goat cheese crumbles and candied walnuts, and you're ready to enjoy! There's a lot of great textures here - crispy, creamy, crunchy. The tangy sweetness of the balsamic glaze makes the dish. IMG_6423   ---

Roasted Asparagus with Goat Cheese

Yield: 4-6 servings
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2-oz crumbled goat cheese
  • cup candied walnuts or pecans, chopped
Method 1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Rinse asparagus and break off the bottom of each stalk. 2. Place the asparagus in a single layer in a baking dish or on a sheet pan. Brush with olive oil; season with salt & pepper. Roast in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until it reduces by half and becomes thick and syrupy. 4. Let asparagus sit a few minutes after roasting; transfer to serving platter. Top with crumbled goat cheese and candied walnuts. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.