Cooking on the grill is one of those things that always makes me happy. We grill all year round but seem to amp up the outdoor cooking when the temps rise here in Northwest Ohio. And since summer is in full-swing the bbq is seeing more action than the stove these days.
Chicken is a favorite on the grill and I like to mix up how we grill it by trying new things. I put together these Garlic-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Chicken medallions last week with a few items we almost always have on hand—bacon and garlic. They were a big hit with the family and could be changed-up in any number of ways.
Peel the cloves of garlic and crush slightly with the back of a knife.
If necessary butterfly or pound the chicken breasts so each breast is relatively uniform in thickness.
Lay 6 slices of bacon on your work surface with edges just touching or barely overlapping.
Place one chicken breast perpendicular to and about about an inch from the bacon edge. Bacon slices should be about the same width as the breast so the chicken is completely covered with bacon.
Put a line of garlic along the length and just off-center of the chicken breast.
Dust with fresh ground pepper.
Starting with the bacon edge that was left exposed, roll the bacon/chicken/garlic stack into a tight roll.
Secure by running one toothpick through each slice of bacon starting near the bacon end and straight through to the other side.
Repeat for remaining chicken breasts.
Cook on the grill over medium-high heat—turning to get all sides—until the bacon and chicken are thoroughly cooked. Approximately 20 minutes.
Let chicken rest for 5 minutes and then slice into medallions between each bacon slice. *Don't forget to remove the toothpicks!*
Cooking the whole breast at once and slicing into medallions after cooking keeps the chicken moist while allowing the bacon to get crispy. Try roasting the garlic first for a more subtle and nutty flavor.
You guys, these cupcakes are ridiculous. Just sitting here writing about them makes me want to run to the kitchen and whip up another batch. They may be one of the best treats I’ve ever made. And I’ve made a lot of treats. For this recipe I used a dark chocolate fudge cake mix and cream cheese frosting but you could mix flavors up to your liking. The star of this show is the cheesecake center. Creamy. Speckled with dark chocolate chips. Divine.
How can you say no to this?
And the best part is that they look really fancy but they aren’t hard to make at all. I promise.
Inspired by this post written by Daisy over at Curvy Girl Guide (you are reading CGG, right? You know I also write there, correct?), I decided to make a batch of my own bark.
The results were fantastic.
In my opinion, the beauty of bark is that you can throw pretty much whatever you want in the chocolate and create some pretty delicious results. In addition to the dried cranberries, almonds, and cashews, I sprinkled some kosher salt on the top of the chocolate before it set. I highly recommend doing this. I do the same thing when I make almond clusters. I don’t use salted nuts and the addition of the kosher salt at the end is a great contrast to the creamy sweet chocolate.
Place chocolate chips and shortening in a double boiler—I use a small metal bowl set inside a small pan filled with a little water—over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the chips melt being careful to not get any water in the bowl.
Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup each of the almonds, cashews, and dried cranberries.
Pour the chocolate mixture onto a rimmed cookie sheet lined with wax paper and spread out with a spatula.
Top the bark with a few more cranberries, almonds, and cashews and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Refrigerate to set. Break apart set bark with a butter knife.
5–6 ounces of chips is about half a bag. I just eyeball it and don’t worry about measuring out the chocolate.
Dry off the bottom of the bowl you melt the chocolate in before pouring the mixture onto the baking sheet so no water drips into the chocolate.
In a moment of seasonal inspiration the other day, I concocted what might be my new favorite holiday cocktail. The cranberry margarita. The cranberry and key lime juices are great together. And while I’m usually a regular-on-the-rocks-with-salt sort of girl, the sugar is a perfect contrast to the tartness of the juices. Bonus is that the sugared rim looks a little like fallen snow.
1 1/2 oz. tequila
1 oz. triple sec
1 oz. cranberry juice
1/2 oz. lime juice
Mix in a shaker with crushed ice. Serve in a sugar rimmed glass. Serves 1.
I used a cranberry juice cocktail. If using an unsweetened cranberry juice you may need to add a bit of sugar or simple syrup.
My lime juice of choice is currently key lime juice leftover from the key lime pie my mom makes me for my birthday. Fresh squeezed limes would be excellent and I’m sure Rose’s Lime Juice would be good as well.
Tiny grape tomatoes all from one little plant. I thought I would be safe by just planting one grape tomato plant this year—along with two varieties of large tomatoes. I’m the only one that will eat the grape tomatoes but one can only eat so many of those little gems before they bad.
So what’s a girl to do with quart after quart of grape tomatoes?
Dehydrate them of course.
Turn them into little tomato candies that can be tossed in the freezer and used anytime you need some tomato flavor in your dishes.
Plump them back up in some hot water and add them to soups and sauces.
Chop them up and mix them with some basil, mozzarella, and olive oil to spread on a baguette.
Eat them on a cracker with a smear of cream cheese.
The possibilities are endless.
And the process? Super easy. All you really need is some time and an oven. Well, and tomatoes.
Oven Dried Tomatoes
Set oven to about 150°.**
Cut tomatoes in half and spread cut side up on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper.
Bake for 8–10 hours until dried.
Toss in the freezer for long term storage or cover with olive oil and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
**My oven shows the lowest number as 200° but will heat up in the little section of white between the OFF and the 200° mark. I’m estimating that it is around 150°. What you want is a very low setting.
These are seriously yummy right off the baking sheet. Give them a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Why? Because she is responsible for this OMG IT’S SO GOOD recipe.
Seriously, look at this thing.
Bubbly cheesy goodness and enough to feed a crowd. That is if you want to share. One bite and you may want to horde it all to yourself.
It is a Cheesy Ham and Hashbrown Bake and I cannot wait to make it for a family gathering. I made it (7.1.11) for JQ, G-tot and I and never got sick of eating the leftovers—which there were plenty. I’m seriously salivating over this just thinking about it.
What’s in it you ask?
Cream of Potato Soup.
LOTS of Cheese.
Basically you mix it all together and bake it.
So very good.
And you end up with this.
Want the recipe?
Wait, let me answer that for you—YES, you want the recipe.
The first recipe I chose for the 1 Year/100 Recipes challenge was Shish Tawook Chicken and Garlic Sauce (made 6.30.11). When I pulled this recipe out of my Entrees folder and looked it over, one thing that caught my eye was the date printed at the bottom—12.14.06. I have had this recipe in my possession for almost 5 years and had never made it. That is exactly why I’m doing this challenge. If I’m never going to make it—or if it doesn’t taste good—why am I hanging on to these recipes for years and years?
Pretty sure from the recipe that there is nothing authentic about it but it was still really good. Good enough that both my husband and my 4 year old son really enjoyed it and agreed that it should be put in the “keep” pile.
I did alter it slightly from the original as I made it and that alteration is what I’m going to share with you today.
I served it with yellow rice and some fresh veggies. If you give it a try I’d love to hear what you thought of it.
Shish Tawook Chicken and Garlic Sauce
For the Chicken
3 TB vegetable oil
2 TB plain yogurt
2 TB ketchup
2 TB mustard
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp curry powder
boneless skinless chicken breasts—in bite size pieces (Recipe called for 3 pounds. I used what I felt was appropriate for a family of 3. Use what you need.)
For the Garlic Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp salt
For the Chicken
1. Mix together first 9 ingredients in a medium bowl (vegetable oil through curry powder). Add chicken pieces, coat thoroughly, and refrigerate for several 1. hours or overnight.
2. Sauté in pan for approximately 12 minutes (Until chicken is cooked through. No extra fat is needed in pan.)
For the Garlic Sauce
1. Mix together mayo, yogurt, garlic, and salt in a small bowl.
2. Cover and refrigerate to allow flavors to meld.
I love to cook. I’m not afraid to experiment in the kitchen and even better is that I’m actually pretty good at it. If I have no real plan and I’m not sure what to make for supper? Let me see what we have in the refrigerator and the pantry and I’ll whip something up with what is on hand. Chances are it will be tasty.
There aren’t too many things that I don’t like to eat either. Bologna? No, thanks. Olives? I keep trying but I just don’t like them. Head Cheese or tripe? Not a chance. But for the most part I’m willing to try new things.
New recipes included.
I hate to get in a food rut. I don’t want to make the same stuff over and over when there is a world of delicious food out the to experience. Mmm…food.
So…I set a challenge for myself.
100 Recipes in 1 Year.
That might be a little enthusiastic with a baby on the way and life in general. But, it is just about two new recipes a week on average. Plus, I like the way it sounds. It sort of rolls of the tongue. One year, one hundred recipes.
Over the next 52 weeks I will attempt to make 100 new to me recipes—entrees, sides, salads, marinades, drinks, desserts, etc.—in order to broaden my arsenal of awesome eats. Anything goes. I’m pushing through the stacks of recipes I’ve cut out over the years and never made. I’m finding a ton of yummy looking new ideas and pinning them on my Pinterest boards to try. I’m modifying them as I see fit and I’m using my family as guinea pigs and taste testers.
I’ll share the results—and the recipes—with all of you.
I started this little venture on June 30th and have tried 6 new recipes so far.
Put them all together and you get a treat for your taste buds that will have you shoving these babies in your mouth as fast as you can chew. I’m not kidding. My husband and I devoured 24 of these tongue-tantalizing morsels last night and are both seriously considering making them again for dinner tonight. We cannot get enough of them.
Almost as good as they taste is how easy they really are to make. Three ingredients. A small amount of prep work. One awesome appetizer that you will love making for yourself or for a crowd.
Obviously eating them was much more important than taking a decent photograph.
Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños
1 block of cream cheese
1 pound of bacon
*Each pepper will make two appetizers. I usually grab 10–12 whole peppers for my and my husband’s voracious appetite. Twelve to twenty—depending on the size—will accommodate the other ingredients no problem.
Cut the top off each pepper and then cut the pepper in half lengthwise and remove seeds.
Spread cream cheese in each pepper half.
Wrap with 1/2 to 1 whole slice of bacon (depending on how large the pepper is).
Bake in oven on a rimmed cookie sheet at 425°–450° for 20–25 minutes or until bacon is cooked and crisp.
I recommend draining briefly on paper towels to remove a bit of the excess grease from the bacon. Serve warm and enjoy the tasty goodness!
That hot mess is just a portion of the many loose recipes I have floating around my kitchen. Entrees, desserts, cocktails, salads and more all mixed together in a pile that mocks me every single time I try to find a recipe. Not to mention the countless recipes in there that I have yet to make. The “oooh, that sounds good, I’ll print that out and make it later” recipes.
The madness must stop.
So…I’ve decided to try and organize that debacle into something a little more manageable. Ideally they end up in a neat 3-ring binder organized by sections. But let’s face it, I’ve been meaning to organize that folder full of recipes since I was pregnant with G-tot and he is four now. I wouldn’t hold your breath that it will be done anytime soon.
I have, however, started the process. Over the last week or so I have sorted every one of those recipes from that raggedy folder into manila folders organized by types of food.
OMG, this was time consuming.
They will probably be in that state for awhile.
Along with organizing them I’m going to try making some of the recipes that have never graced my stove top before. As I was sorting the recipes I was practically drooling over the possibilities my palette has missed out on.
The cocktails section will sadly have to wait until September.