TWD: Creme Brulee

Oh. My. Goodness.

I made creme brulee, and if I didn't know better I would think it was made by a restaurant. Yes, that's right, folks, I mastered creme brulee! I can't tell you how excited I am. I feel like I need to add some exclamations to get my point across!!!!

Creme brulee is my favorite dessert. I have a "Best Of" list.. best cupcake in town, best bagel, best crab cakes, and the list goes on, including best creme brulee. As of yesterday, my best creme brulee now has the distinction of being made by me. Thanks, Dorie.

I don't know why I am so excited. It was so easy that I just knew it was going to flop. Not only was I impressed, but I invited the MIL to show off. She devoured it! Yea, me. Well, enough of my incessant raving, stop by the TWD blogroll to see if everyone did as well as I did. Oh, yea, thank you, thank you, thank you to Mari of Mevrouw Cupcake for making my day and picking this recipe.


World Day of Bread

I have never, ever, made bread. I have bread recipes, but they have never been dusted off. I don't know why I am intimidated of making bread, but I am. Heck, let's be honest, I am down right scared. So, in order to get over my fear, I have decided to participate in World Bread Day.

Yep, there is such a thing as World Bread Day. Who knew. It's on October 16.

So, on that day, I will make bread. Don't worry, there won't be any smack-talking about how great my bread is going to be. If I can get it to rise, that's gonna be a success. Who cares what it tastes like...I will have made bread.

Want to join in the dough-rising fun. Click on the link in my sidebar for all of the specifics. Goooo, Yeast!


TWD: Plum Cake

Last week, I sat out the chocolate chunkers. This week, I was determined not to sit on the side lines. There were a lot of reasons that I wanted to make Dorie's recipe, but my main inspiration were the plums. I haven't had any all summer. Not because they didn't look good, but because I am horrible at picking out good plums. My mom is a master at picking delicious plums. Me, not so much.

I wouldn't say that I loved this recipe. It was good, but that's about it. I can't blame it on the plums -- they tasted good. I tried hard to love it, in fact, I had big plans for the plum cake to make some rounds during the holidays. No such luck. If anyone asks me to make a dessert with plums, I got one. I'll let you know if anyone request such a recipe.

Now, back on a high note. I love next week's recipe...creme brulee. Yum. I know all the restaurants with the best creme brulee in town. Boy, wouldn't it be nice if I could make it at home and save some money. I have the dishes, a blow torch and lots of spoons.

Thanks to Michelle at Bake-En and go find out what everyone else thought of this recipe at the TWD Blogroll.


Parmesan Chicken

I love cheese and parmesan cheese is one of my favorites. So, when I found this recipe by Barefoot Contessa on the food network for parmesan chicken, I had to save it immediately. Tonight was the night for it to tempt my tastebuds. It was so moist and I loved the yummy goodness. I have become a master at making dinner in about 30 minutes and tonight I didn't let myself down. The only flaw -- and it's a big one -- I forgot to take a photo. I was so impressed with myself that I had dinner on the table in exactly 30 minutes from the time I walked in the door, I completely forgot. Don't let my lack of photo stop you, go make this recipe.

P.S. I will say it again, I am in love with Barefoot Contessa.

Parmesan Chicken
4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
Unsalted butter
Good olive oil

Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. Serve with extra grated Parmesan.


Menu Plan Monday

I'm keeping it simple this week. Seems like my week is going by faster than it takes to make dinner at night. I ended having to work every night after work and we ate out like you wouldn't believe. Hoping this week goes better, but who knows...

So, without further adieu, here's what I have planned:

Sunday: BBQ Pork
Monday: Parmesan Chicken
Tuesday: Brown Sugar Ham
Wednesday: Working Late
Thursday: Chicken & Broccoli Pasta
Friday: Mojito Mama's Night
Saturday: Eating Out

Make sure you visit I'm an Organized Junkie to see what others are making.


Apple Turnovers

Yum, yum, yum. Oh my goodness. Wow. My mouth just won't stop watering.

I made apple turnovers tonight, thanks to Anne over at Anne Strawberry who chose this month's Barefoot Bloggers bonus recipe. It was so easy to make that I will never buy frozen apple turnovers again. I only made four -- baked two and put two in the freezer for this weekend. Yep, I am a smart one. I am pleased with myself for thinking to do that.

My husband isn't a big turnover fan -- blasphemy, I say -- so I am going to share one with my son tomorrow morning.

Have I mentioned how glad I am that I joined Barefoot Bloggers? Ina's recipes are amazing. I am in love.

Apple Turnovers
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice1
1/4 pounds tart apples, such as Empire or Granny Smith (3 apples)
3 tablespoons dried cherries
(1/4 Cup)3 tablespoons sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on top
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
(1/2 teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (just a pinch)
Pinch kosher salt
1 package (17.3 ounces, 2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the orange zest and orange juice in a bowl. Peel, quarter, and core the apples and then cut them in 3/4-inch dice (I will cut mine a little bigger next time, around 1 inch, so they stay a little firmer when baking). Immediately toss the apples with the zest and juice to prevent them from turning brown. Add the cherries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Flour a board and lightly roll each sheet of puff pastry to a 12 by 12-inch square. Cut each sheet into 4 smaller squares and keep chilled until ready to use.

Brush the edges of each square with the egg wash and neatly place about 1/3 cup of the apple mixture on half of the square. Fold the pastry diagonally over the apple mixture and seal by pressing the edges with a fork. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the top with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, make 2 small slits, and bake for 20 minutes, until browned and puffed (about 25 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature.


I'm A Tuesdays With Dorie Slacker

Sorry, guys. No baking this weekend. Just too much on my plate right now. I normally bake when my little one is asleep. When he slept this weekend, I slept. Sleep has been eluding me and I couldn't keep my eyes open. Got some pretty bags under my eyes. I am looking forward to the plum cake. Don't count me out...just sitting the bench for this one.

Go check out Claudia of Fool for Food and everyone else at the TWD Blog.


Menu Plan Monday

Another week, another menu. Got some good stuff planned.

Sunday: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Monday: Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli
Tuesday: Working
Wednesday:Brown Sugar Ham
Thursday: Crockpot Chicken and Biscuits
Friday: Dinner Out
Saturday:Teriyaki Beef Kabobs

Make sure you visit I'm an Organized Junkie to see what others are making.


Barefoot Thursday: Grown Up Mac & Cheese

Today is my very first Barefoot Thursday. I have been a lurker for about two months and finally decided to join Barefoot Bloggers. I am so glad that I did because Heather at Randomosity and the Girl chose a great recipe. I love, love, love mac and cheese. I look forward to Thanksgiving every year because my grandmother makes mac and cheese that is to die for....with hoop cheese. Yum. This recipe by the Barefoot Contessa was good, just not better than good 'ole grandma's. I did love all the cheese. In fact, I had a few slices of each while I was making the casserole. It was really easy to make too. That's a plus with me.

Can't wait for my next Barefoot post... it's Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup.

Grown Up Mac and Cheese
4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven - there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.

Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

My Very First Barefoot Bloggers...

And I am late. Yikes. I wrote it on my calendar, went to the grocery story, but am missing one ingredient. I told myself I would go to Fresh Market, pick it up and I would be set. Then, I got busy and it completely slipped my mind. Darn it. I am going to try and make it tonight. I'll hope you will check back and sign hi....still can't believe I messed up my very first bb post.


Dijon Chicken in a Skillet

Awesome. Easy. Yum.

I frequent a board on the Nest called What's Cooking. It's a really fun board, lots of fantastic bloggers and a wealth of information. There's great camaraderie among these ladies and I enjoy visiting it every night. Lauren recently hosted a recipe exchange and I quickly jumped on board. The only requirement was that the dish had to be simple. On Saturday, I received my recipe to try, and boy was it good. My husband is often a picky eater but he cleaned his plate tonight. Yea!

I can't wait to find out what nestie submitted the recipe so I can thank them for a new favorite.

Dijon Chicken in a Skillet
1/4 c prepared ranch dressing
1 T Dijon mustard
4 boneless chicken breasts halves
2 Tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 Tablespoons white wine or chicken broth

In bowl combine dressing and mustard and set aside. In skillet cook chicken in butter and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add wine/broth and simmer another 20 minutes. Whisk in mustard/dressing mixture until blend with liquid in skillet and heated through. Serve over rice.


No Whoppers for Me

Let me apologize in advance. I don't like whoppers. Ick. I decided to opt out of this week's challenge. But, I can't wait until next week when we are making Chocolate Chunkers. I have already checked out a ton of blogs and most everyone like this week's cookie fix. So, visit Rachel over at Confessions of a Tangerine Tart for the recipe. If you like whoppers, this is the recipe for you.


Menu Plan Monday

I think it's gonna be a good week, filled with lots of new recipes. Wanna search for other menu ideas? Make sure you visit I'm an Organized Junkie to see what others are making.

Sunday: Baked Chicken Breasts with Parmesan Garlic Crust
Monday: Home Late, Playing Golf
Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Wednesday: Chicken and Spinach Quesadilla
Thursday: Dijon Chicken in a Skillet
Friday: Working
Saturday: Dinner Out

Baked Chicken Breasts with Parmesan Garlic Crust

I am always on the lookout for yummy recipes that look like they will be easy to make. I hit the jackpot with this one, thanks to Made by Melissa. I love Parmesan cheese and garlic. Mix the two and I am in heaven. This recipe is incredibly simple and according to Melissa, it is from America's Test Kitchen.

Sorry about the crazy photo that doesn't look so good. My little one hurt himself, wouldn't leave my side and I realized I hadn't taken a picture as I was putting the last bite in my mouth. This was still in the baking dish, so I took a quick photo. It is now in the fridge waiting to be devoured tomorrow. Yum yum. Enjoy.

Baked Chicken Breasts with Parmesan Garlic Crust

1 cup bread crumbs, preferably fresh (see note) (I used Panko)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1/4 cup mayo (I used light mayo)
Lemon wedges for serving (optional)

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl.Pat chicken dry with paper towels and transfer to 9×13-inch baking dish.

Combine basil and mayonnaise in small bowl and spread mixture evenly over chicken. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over mayonnaise, pressing lightly to adhere.Bake until crumbs are golden brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees, 18-22 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.Check Spelling

Note: To make fresh bread crumbs, process 2 slices of hearty white sandwich bread in a food processor until coarsely ground.


Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

My friend's husband owns a BBQ restaurant. Imagine my self-induced pressure when I decided to host dinner club at my house (six couples) earlier this year and without thinking I decided it should be a BBQ. Yep, stupid, stupid, stupid, on so many levels. I searched and searched for a pulled pork recipe that could compete with the food that he cooks every day. I found success with this recipe. The meat was devoured and now I make it about every six weeks.

You guessed it -- pulled pork was on the menu tonight. I highly recommend this recipe. It won't disappoint!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
1 pork tenderloin
1 can or bottle of root beer
1 bottle your favorite
BBQ sauce

Place the pork in a slow cooker and pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or until the pork shreds easily. Drain Well. Stir in BBQ sauce. Serve over hamburger buns.


TWD and Operation Baking Gals

Whew. Tuesday is almost over. Thank goodness. Seems like I am short on energy, short on time and short on sleep. I had big baking plans this weekend but scraped them when it hit me that I had planned to make two batches of cookies. One to send overseas for Operation Baking Gals and one for Tuesdays with Dorie. Yep, you guessed it. I only made one batch -- saving myself a lot of time and dishes.

This week, Stefany of Proceed with Caution choose Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters. Lemme tell you they are good. The recipe made so many that I sent a big 'ole batch overseas, took some to work and have a stash at home. I loved all the ingredients, especially the sugar, brown sugar and butter. Mmmmmm...my tastebuds are watering just thinking about it.

I had planned to make the NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie for Operation Baking Gals but thought the TWD cookie was a nice departure for their taste buds. I still have plans for the NY Times cookie, just not sure when.

Next week: more cookies. Can't wait.


Priscilla Gave Me Some Love

A few weeks ago, Priscilla at A Peek in Priscilla's Kitchen gave me some blog love with a Yum Yum Award. It made my day and I immediately posted the award on my blog. So, who is Priscilla? Well, she is this talented young lady who makes fantastic desserts. I don't remember how I discovered her, but I am sure glad I did.

Now, back to the lapse since way back when to today. It has been crazy ever since and I just haven't had the time to pass the award on to anyone else. Well, in honor of Labor Day, I am going to pass on this award to some bloggers that spend a lot of time in their kitchen making recipes that tempt my tastebuds and I can't wait to try.

So, without further ado, here's my shout out to some fantastic ladies and their own "labor of love."

Annie at Annie's Eats: One of the very first blogs that I came across. Her recipes are right up my ally and her blog, along with others, gave me the inspiration to start my own.

Carrie at Carrie's Sweet Life: She is a meal planner like me. Gotta love it. She also has a ziti that I hope to make next week.

Jenny at Picky Palate: Love her, love her, love her. I wish she lived next door to me and would invite me over for dinner.

Stephanie at Stephanie's Kitchen: Everything she posts goes immediately into my google reader to try.

Thanks, Priscilla, for the love. Happy Labor Day!