Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

 Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

If you love Chicken Bryan at Carrabba’s you will love this dish, its my little copy cat recipe. To make it even more authentic add Sun dried tomatoes to the sauce, either way it is delicious.

Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 T Italian Seasoning

Salt and Pepper

2 T Olive Oil

1 large shallot chopped fine

8 oz white wine ( I used Pinot Grigio)

2 oz Lemon Juice ( About 1 lemon)

1 T heavy Cream

12 T cold unsalted Butter cubed ( 1 1/2 sticks)

1 T chopped fresh basil

4  1 ” slices of goat cheese

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large pan then add chicken cooking about 4 min on each side. turn to low and cover until chicken is cooked all the way through, use a meat thermometer to check doneness. Remove chicken from pan.

Heat a small sauce pan over high heat. Add Shallots, wine and lemon juice, bring to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced to about 2 T. Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

Reduce heat to med high. Whisk in cream. Add Butter 1 T at a time whisking constantly and removing from heat as needed. Continue adding each tablespoon of butter and whisking until all have been added and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper

and stir in basil.

Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

To plate chicken breasts, top with goat cheese, drizzle with lemon sauce, garnish with more basil if desired. Serve immediately.

Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

My husband recently had to go to Minneapolis for a business trip and seeing that I have a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and I am trying to visit all 50 states before I am 50, I flew up and met him after his meetings on a Friday evening. We only had until Sunday to see what the city had to offer but if you know me, that fact wasn’t going to stop me from seeing everything on my to do list, which when I travel is usually beer, food, and anything I can take a picture with. Sure I may miss out on some of the so called must sees but I always have fun and Minneapolis was no exception, in fact it was one of the best weekends we have had in a long time.

First stop : Beer. I was thirsty after traveling and we needed to come up with a game plan, we were staying downtown and there was a bar called The Local (931 Nicollet Mall) that was close by and served craft beer, sold. We stopped in here for an appetizer and a few pints. They had a decent beer selection as well as a full bar. It’s an Irish Pub and the food while decent was nothing to write home about but we met some locals and talked to the bartender, they were all friendly and gave us some suggestions on what to do and see while we were there.

I had googled and locals had suggested Butcher and The Boar, so we knew this had to be on our list and that we may need a reservation, we called from The Local and the only time we could get in was in about an hour. No problem we are nothing if not adaptable when we travel, time for a quick change and a brisk walk and a picture with the Mary Tyler Moore statue.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

Luckily our table was not quite ready when we got there, this gave us a chance to check out their Beer Garden out back.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours. Butcher and the Boar Beer Garden

 We had a local beer while waiting for our table, they also serve house made sausages if you need a bite. We waited for the real thing inside and I am glad we did, the menu is divine and the food is awesome. We ordered way too much, but loved all of it. Some highlights were the Beef Long Rib, House Pickle Plate, Homemade Braunschweiger, Blackened Cauliflower, oh and anything on the menu.

Butcher and The Boar Minneapolis, Beef Long RibIButcher and the Boar House Pickle Plate and Smoked Olives

With our bellies full of beer and food we walked back towards our hotel and checked out the sights. We had big plans of maybe going somewhere else but we were tired and did I mention full, so we decided to get some sleep and get an early start on tomorrow.

We woke up and headed down to the local Mill City Farmer’s Market. I think this is always a great way to get to know a new city and this was no exception. Quirky food trucks, local produce and flea market finds, I even got a cool vintage apron for only $10. The nice thing about this market is that it is right outside the Mill City Museum and has views of the Mississippi.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hoursA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Mill City Farmers MarketA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Mill City Museum A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

From there we walked along the Mississippi, across the Stone Arch Bridge and down Main Street. Great sites, relaxing parks, and lots of history. Again now we are thirsty and what is a girl to do? Find a local Brewery. The closest one according to our map app was Dangerous Man Brewing, it was a bit of a hike but it was a beautiful day so we did it and it made our liquid reward that much sweeter or should I say hoppy. There was a line to get in when we arrived so we knew we mad a good choice. We tried several different brews and they were all great and the staff and atmosphere was friendly and inviting.

Dangerous Man Brewing MinneapolisA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Dangerous Man BrewingA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

Guess what, I’m hungry again, big surprise. So we are off to try the legendary Jucy Lucy. We decide on Matt’s Bar, their are local disputes on who invented it or who has the best one. Well I am not sure if this is the best one because it is the only one I tried but I can tell you that it is delicious. So simple, yet so good. Who knew just putting the cheese inside the hamburger would change it into a must have before you die food. This place is cash only and small so if you go right at a meal time be prepared to wait. Also please heed the warnings of letting your Jucy Lucy cool before biting into it, yes it is torture, but will save your mouth from 3rd degree burns.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Matt's BarA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Matt's BarA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours:Matt's Barr Home of the Jucy Lucy

Ok now I have to admit my biggest disappointment with Minneapolis is that there is no Prince Museum or Purple Rain Park, no purple motorcycle tours, or no Morris Day and the Time Grill. Being a child of the 80’s and from Florida my only images of Minneapolis are from that movie. So my only opportunity to recreate some “Doves Crying” magic is to check out First Avenue (your downtown danceteria since 1970). So we get down there and of course the show is sold out which happened to be Tina and the B-sides, so I didn’t get to go in but did get to see it and all the stars on the wall with the bands that have played there which is a most impressive list. Bonus, I found the one of my favorite band ever and there is a bar right next door.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: First AvenueA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: First AvenueA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: First Avenue

So now the only place left is Nye’s Polonaise, I will admit we had actually been here earlier in the day and had a great discussion with our bartender, I instantly fell in love. This place was opened in 1950 and hasn’t changed one bit. The decor, the people, the piano bar are all amazing. I knew I had to come back that evening when they were serving food, had the polka band that dresses up like Kiss playing and the sing along piano bar was full of locals crooning out the hits. I was expecting greatness and I got it, it was everything I had ever hoped for. It was like stepping back in time, well except for the college aged hipsters in fedoras, but even they seemed to work in this atmosphere. Also while your there, try the Polish Sampler Platter, great homemade food including locally made sausages. This is a national treasure and should not be missed.

Nye's Polonaise:A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Nye's PolonaiseA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Nye's Polonaise

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Nye's Polonaise, Polish Sampler A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Nye's Polonaise

We stopped at another couple of bars before calling it a night, there was great karaoke at Otter ‘s Saloon and a sign that beckons, You Otter Stop Inn.

We had to leave early the next morning to catch our flight so we just grabbed breakfast at the hotel. Now I know we probably missed tons of cool places, in fact we didn’t even get to see everything on our list but I have to say that Minneapolis was a great time and I think we utilized all of our time wisely. Now I dare you to have more fun than that in less than 48 hours, good luck and have fun trying.

Sausage with Red Wine and Smoked Paprika

Sausage with Red Wine and Smoked Paprika

 

These are an easy and great little snack for football, cocktail parties or the holidays.

1lb Kielbasa or other sausage ( Andouille or smoked sausage would be great)

2 T olive oil

1 T chopped fresh oregano or parsley

2 t chopped garlic

1 t smoked paprika

1/2 c dry red wine

Cut sausage into 1/2 in rounds. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over med high heat. add sausage and cook until browned. stir in oregano, garlic and paprika. cook for 1 minute. Add red wine and stir. reduce heat to low and cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve with toothpicks.

 

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

 

Mashed Potatoes are my favorite food and these are one of my favorites. These would be a perfect side for Thanksgiving, an alternative to the traditional mashed potatoes, or a weeknight meal.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

6 large Gold Potatoes peeled and quartered

1 1/2 c peeled baby carrots

1/2 c cream or milk

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

4 T butter

1/2 t dried thyme

1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese

Add potatoes and carrots to a pot of boiling salted water, cook until fork tender ( your fork should be able to mash them easily). Drain and return to the pot, add cream/milk, salt, Pepper, butter, and thyme. Use and electric mixer or mash by hand until smooth. Stir in cheese and serve. These also make a great topping for Shepherds or Cottage Pie.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Shredded Chipotle Chicken

Shredded Chipotle Chicken

 

This chicken is great in tacos, enchiladas, burritos  or rice bowls.

Shredded Chipotle Chicken

6 chicken thighs

3-4 chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce chopped, plus 3 T of the Adobo sauce

1 yellow onion cut into eighths

1 T chopped garlic

1 tomato chopped

1/2 c tequila (optional)

2 limes juiced plus 1 t of zest

2 T cumin

3 c chicken broth

Add all ingredients to a crock pot / slow cooker.  Cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 on low. Move chicken to a platter and shred with 2 forks, spoon 1/2 c cooking liquid over the chicken and serve or fill tortillas.

Shredded Chipotle Chicken Tacos

 

 

Roll Out the Barrel: Oktoberfest Party

Oktoberfest Party: Photo Booth

It was one of my best friends birthday recently so we decided to throw her a birthday party with an Oktoberfest theme. Whats not to like, beer, costumes, and German food.

To start I decorated with some beer and fall things I had around the house, empty bottles, beer steins, burlap runner, dried wheat and fall leaves. I also bought a blue and white harlequin tablecloth ( the official Oktoberfest pattern) from a party store and hung it over a curtain rod in my family room to make a back drop for a ” photo booth”. I had props like steins, lederhosen, German signs and Oktoberfest bibs from the party store. I set my camera on a tripod in front of it and tried to get shots of all the party goers.

I am also very lucky that I have some home brewing friends who made a keg of beer especially for our party, delicious!  But this is a great time to taste some of the fall varieties of craft beers like Oktoberfests and Pumpkins.

For appetizers I set up a “Pretzel Stand” I had assorted flavors, shapes and sizes of pretzels and dips to go with them. I even made some homemade Pretzel Bites by following this recipe. http://www.snixykitchen.com/2012/10/24/pretzel-bites-with-four-distinct-dipping-sauces/. I made the dough a day ahead of time and covered it tightly with plastic wrap. then boiled and baked the pretzels the next day. I also found that I needed to add about 3/4 c more flour than the recipe called for to get the dough to be the right consistency but I live in Florida and baking here can be weird.

Oktoberfest Party: Homemade Pretzel Bites

Oktoberfest Party: Pretzel Stand

For dips I made a Sweet and Spicy Mustard Sauce

1 c mayonnaise

3/4 c coarse mustard

2 T  jarred grated horseradish

2 T honey

Oktoberfest Party: Sweet and Spicy Mustard

a Chocolate and Toffee Dip

1 brick cream cheese softened

1/2 c brown sugar

1/4 c white sugar

1/4 c cocoa powder

1/2 c toffee chips (Heath)

1 t vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a mixer on low until combined.

Oktoberfest Party: Chocolate and Toffee Dip

I also made Beer Cheese Dip using an Oktoberfest Beer instead of an IPA.

To make all of the food seem more festive I labeled them with German names on the tables.

For the main course we had Brats braised in Beer, Rouladen, Oma’s Potato Salad, Saurkraut with beer and apples, and Homemade Cucumber Salad

Oktoberfest Party: Rouladen

Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers peeled and sliced thin

1 cup sour cream

2 T sugar

2 T white vinegar

1 t dried dill

1 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

Slice cucumbers and place in a colander to drain for 20 minutes, then mix all ingredients together in a large bowl

Oktoberfest Party: Cucumber Salad

Last but not least, everyone’s favorite, cupcakes. My friend made 3 different kinds for our Oktoberfest themed party. Apple Strudel, German Chocolate and Bavarian Cream. ( I will try to get the recipes to post on here)

Oktoberfest Party: Cupcakes

Fun was had by all, the food, beer and company was all delightful. Go on try some of these ideas at your next Fall party and share your tips below.

Roast Beef With Creamy Peppercorn Sauce

Roast Beef with Creamy Peppercorn Sauce

 

 

Roast Beef with Creamy Peppercorn Sauce

2 lb top round roast

1 T Montreal Steak Seasoning

1 T Black Peppercorns ( Add to a ziplock baggy and crush slightly with a meat mallet)

2 t olive oil

3 garlic cloves minced

1/4 cup minced shallot or onion

1/4 c brandy

2 T corn starch

3/4 c heavy cream

1 t Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 325, place in roasting or broiler pan, sprinkle all sides with Montreal Steak seasoning. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until it reaches 150 degrees. Remove from oven and cover with foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing ( * slice this cut of beef thin to avoid toughness)

In a lage pan heat oil over med high heat add onions and cook until soft, add garlic and peppercorns and cook 1 more minute. Deglaze pan by adding brandy while still over med high heat. Add beef broth and bring to a simmer. Combine cold cream with cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk into pan with broth and cook over low until sauce thickens, add mustard . Serve over sliced meat.

Roast Beef with Creamy Peppercorn Sauce

Roast Beef with Creamy Peppercorn Sauce

Hungarian Beef and Pepper Stew

Hungarian Beef and Pepper Stew

 

Hungarian Beef and Pepper Stew

2lbs Beef Stew Meat

1/2 onion cut into chunks

1 T olive oil

1 t salt

1/2 t black pepper

2 T Sweet Hungarian Paprika

2 T flour

2 garlic cloves chopped

2 T tomato paste

10-12 oz beef broth

3 bell peppers sliced

1/2 t caraway seeds

2 T balsamic vinegar

Add  1 T paprika, flour, salt and pepper to a large bowl or plastic bag. add meat and toss or shake to coat. Heat olive oil in a large pan add beef and onion and cook until browned. add garlic and caraway seeds and cook 1 minute more. add beef broth (enough to cover meat), remaining paprika, tomato paste and vinegar, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook over low heat for 45 minutes-1 hr, sauce with thicken and meat will become tender. Add peppers and cook 20 minutes more over low heat or until peppers are soft. Serve over buttered noodles or mashed potatoes.

Hungarian Beef and Pepper Stew

 

Greek Pasta Casserole

Greek Pasta

 

Think of this as a Greek Bolognese Sauce, it is a hearty and comforting dish. I served it with a salad of lettuce, radishes and beets and toasted pita with garlic.

Greek Pasta Casserole

16 oz of cooked pasta ( I used rigatoni)

1 lb ground Turkey (you could use lamb, beef or chicken)

1 can diced tomatoes (Undrained)

2 c chopped fresh spinach

2 T greek seasoning

2 cloves garlic chopped

2 T red wine vinegar

1 c cream

1 c crumbled feta

1 c mozzarella cheese

in a large skillet saute ground turkey until no longer pink, add 1 T greek seasoning, garlic, and spinach, cook over med until spinach is wilted and add tomatoes and vinegar.

Greek Pasta

Mix together with drained pasta and add to a large 9×12 baking dish. Add cream and feta and mozzarella cheese and remaining Greek Seasoning.

Greek Pasta

 

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so pasta on top doesn’t get dry. Sauce will thicken and cheese will melt.

Greek Pasta

Greek Pasta

 

 

 

Cheesy Chipotle Chicken and Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Salad

Cheesy Chipotle Chicken

 

Cheesy Chipotle Chicken

4 chicken breasts

1 c mexican creama, found in the dairy section  ( or 3/4 c sour cream and 1/4 c mayo mixed)

2 chipotle chilis in adobo chopped

1 1/2 c queso fresco (mexican cheese found in the dairy section), crumbled

 

Preheat oven to 350, mixed chopped chipotle chilis with crema in a shallow bowl/dish. Crumble queso fresco onto a plate or shallow dish. Dredge chicken breast in creama mixture, then dredge into cheese and place in a baking pan.

Cheesy Chipotle Chicken

Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken in no longer pink ( use a meat thermometer)

Cheesy Chipotle Chicken

 

A great accompaniment to this dish is a Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad. Mix one bag cooked frozen corn with 1 c chopped cherry tomatoes and 1/2 chopped avocado. Add 1 T chopped cilantro. Squeeze the juice from half a lime over the top and add salt and pepper.

Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad