Monday, November 24, 2014

Reinventing Leftovers: Chicken Bruschetta

I will be the first person to admit that I do not like leftovers; life is way too short to eat food that tastes half as good as it originally did.  That being said, I am a fan of converting leftovers into dishes that taste like they were just prepared by adding a few fresh ingredients to brighten up the older flavors.  It's so quick and kind of fun seeing what I can concoct with random ingredients I have on hand...practice for Chopped once I'm on Food Network?!  Tonight, I was put in the perfect scenario to re-use leftovers: it was 6:30 pm, my stomach was growling, I was really thinking hard about driving up to Chipotle, and, on top of it, felt super lazy and drained from a busy day at work.  Did I get the burrito bowl I was craving and completely ruin my pre-thanksgiving diet?  No way!  Instead took a leftover piece of grilled chicken from last night, some day-old french bread (because who ever really finishes the whole baguette?), some leftover baby spinach, and a few standard pantry items to make grilled chicken bruschetta!  It tasted like a restaurant meal and only took 15 minutes from start to finish!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Turkey Day Favorites

I'm thankful for my family, my friends, the coolest boyfriend in the world aka Howie Hayden, loyal blog followers like yourself, and for the fact that America has a national holiday completely dedicated to cooking and eating with the people you're thankful for.  BEST DAY EVER.  Though many people consider cooking the all-important meal a daunting task, my mom and I have a system down pat that guarantees our dinner will be on the table by 3:30 p.m., with a little time for watching the Rockettes perform in the Macy's Parade, test tasting and maybe even a quick workout (if we're feeling extra ambitious) too.  Even if you're just in charge of bringing a single dish to the meal you're attending, these 3 sides are always some of the biggest hits at our dinner!  Happy Turkey Day!  And don't forget to use my super simple pie crust recipe if you're in charge of the pumpkin pie this year!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Roasted Cheesy Potato Soup

I love Sundays!  It's my hands-down favorite day of the week for cooking or baking because I have the entire afternoon to relax and move at my own pace...a.k.a. experiment with new recipes and do things like bake focaccia bread for the second time in a month!  Howie and I have been testing out soup recipes all fall, and were really in the mood for a creamy, hearty potato soup to get us through the cold day.  It may not be our healthiest creation, but it was definitely one of the most delicious!  Actually, it was so delicious that I felt the need to box twice in 24 hours and consume green smoothies and kale salad for the majority of the next day.  Worth it?  Duh.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cleveland Restaurant Week - Spice Kitchen & Bar

Attention people who are A) trying to save money, B) interested in gourmet food and fresh ingredients, or C) extremely sick of the burgers, sandwiches and fries that seem to be ubiquitous around the Cleveland food scene.  It's Cleveland Restaurant Week 2014 through this Sunday!  It's one of my favorite times of the year because it's an opportunity to sample multiple courses at expensive restaurants that I normally would not step foot into unless it was a special occasion or for a happy hour cocktail.  You get 3 full-size courses, an appetizer, entree and dessert, for $33.  A glass of wine isn't included, but I consider it mandatory.  This past Saturday, Howie and I went to Spice Kitchen & Bar, and amazing doesn't even begin to describe our experience!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Panko Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Now that the weather is starting to cool down and the grills are getting put into storage, it's time to start looking for new ways to reinvent everyone's go to dinner: chicken.  It's definitely one of the healthiest, cheapest, fastest and most versatile cuts of meat to prepare, but it also tends to be boring if it isn't prepared well.  I've been making this panko parmesan crusted chicken since last winter, and I still don't get sick of it!  Tender boneless, skinless chicken breasts coated in a flavorful panko and parmesan spice mixture, then sauteed until golden brown on the cooktop and finished in the oven to give it an added perfect.  And still versatile.  I've served this chicken over a mixed green salad with apples and walnuts, with some pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese on top for an awesome chicken parmesan, and I've even coated it in buffalo sauce to make buffalo chicken sandwiches.  This past weekend, I served the panko parmesan chicken with sweet potatoes and a side salad with freshly toasted walnuts.  It just never gets old!

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Although 97% of the recipes I post on this blog are things I've invented or family pass-downs, I still try other people's recipes too.  I probably should more often, but I never seem to make it all the way through the recipe without modifying ingredients and spices to make it perfectly suited to my own taste.  Another problem is that I also don't really believe in measuring when I cook because each time the ingredients I'm using might need different amounts of salt or spices depending on the season.  Regardless, I hate following recipes word for word.  I blame it on my creativity and stubborn personality.  This past week, however, I did follow a recipe by Rachel Ray for jambalaya, which I had no idea how to prepare myself.  I did some tweaking, but only for the spices that I thought I had at home while I was at the grocery store, and then they weren't there when I got back.  The substitutions I made might have made the recipe even better than hers...sorry Rachel, I'm coming for Food Network!  I knew it was a hit when I wasn't allowed to bring the leftovers home from Howie's house!  Mmmmmm!