Sunday, September 30, 2012

Southern Sundays & Pinon Crusted Grilled Chicken


Welcome to Southern Sundays!

Since my mini vacation I've been remiss in posting any recipes.  So I thought I'd bring a little something to the party this week!

It's time for a Southwestern Fiesta.  The combination of chips, pine nuts and salsa turns chicken breasts into a dish with Latin flair!  The best part?  The chicken is grilled!


Crusted chicken usually involves an egg wash and flour, and messy fingers.  This technique skips all that by grilling the chicken briefly and then dipping the grilled side in salsa (a smooth version works best) and then in the pine nut and tortilla mixture.  Finish it up on the grill.  



The end result is that you have a wonderful one-sided crusted Southwestern dinner!  Oh, and don't forget to make the guacamole, it's a perfect compliment to this dish.  All this can be made in less than 30 minutes!  What a deal!

I served this with my jazzed up Refried Beans.  That recipe is coming up next!


Pinon Crusted Grilled Chicken

Serves 4

Guacamole:
2 large avocados, pitted and chopped
2 T fresh lime juice
2 T cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
Salt

For the chicken:
¼ c chopped pinons (pine nuts)
½ c crushed tortilla chips
½ c salsa (use your favorite)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt & pepper

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Mash the avocado, lime juice, cilantro, and jalapeno in a medium bowl using a fork just until chunky.  Add salt to taste.  Cover and chill until use.

In a flat dish add pinons, and tortilla chips.  Stir to combine and set aside.  In another dish add salsa.  Set aside.

Salt and pepper both sides of your chicken.  Grill on medium high heat, covered, on the first side for about 5 minutes or until browned.  Take the chicken breast and dip the “cooked” side into the salsa.  Then dredge that same salsa side into the pinon crumb mixture. 

Return chicken to the grill with the crust side up.   Grill until cooked through, another 5-6 minutes.  Serve chicken over the guacamole.  


recipe shared at these parties:  Weekend Potluck
On the Menu Monday


Last week's party was filled with great dishes.  One dish stood out....way out from the crowd

Congratulations on being this week's featured dish!


by Flour Me With Love

This looks awesome and reminds me of the tropics!

So let's party!  I can't wait to see what you all bring this week.  Make sure to tell all your friends so they can join the party as well!

Guidelines:
Please become a follower by joining my site with Google Friends Connect in the right side bar.
Link back to your specific recipe and not to your main site.
Link back to Southern Sundays either in your post, or grab my Southern Sundays Button located in the right side bar.
Please visit a few of the links in the post and say hello to your fellow bloggers!
Enjoy, have fun, cook lots of food, and relish your Southern Sunday!










Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Southern Moments from Nashville


I just spent a wonderful few days just south of Nashville, TN visiting family.

The south is filled with such charm that I had to share some wonderful moments with you that depict the southern charm that abounds all around you.

Leaving LA, bye beach!

Hello Nashville!!!
See how green...so many trees!

The town of Franklin, TN is a quaint old town founded in 1799 and was the site of the the Battle of Franklin during the Civil War.  Downtown Franklin has such character I love strolling down the main street window shopping.  The house in the picture above is a wonderful old historic home built in the Folk Victorian style.  Isn't it beautiful?  The area has many historic homes and all are exciting to see.


First off Mom greeted me with her Famous Pot Roast.
This is the BEST dish.  You must make this if you love pot roast!

So on my last day there, my sister, suggested  that my mom and I go to a place she'd been to for breakfast., down the road.  "Down the road"...became 20 miles down the highway and out in the country to a little re-purposed Mercantile Store turned restaurant/bakery.  Enter Marcy Jo's.




My sweet Momma!

The place was cute, and the food homemade and delicious.  Oh, and they serve you a LOT of food!  Just take a gander at this breakfast special.  Fluffy, heavenly biscuits and gravy to DIE for, eggs, and bacon.  I had to walk the 20 miles back home just to walk off this indulgence!


One of the nicest parts?  The weather!  Wowee!  It was like Fall there.  Loved it, especially after the continual desert heat followed by monsoonal heat then desert heat again I left back in LA.
Look, fall colors are starting to appear!!!  So exciting!


So bye for now to my family that lives in such a quaint "Southern" town, and back home to LA.
Maybe I can bring some fall weather with me.  Fingers crossed!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Southern Sundays


Welcome to Southern Sundays!

I'm taking a little time out to visit my family, so I won't be posting for a few days.  I'll be back mid-week with some great recipes for you!


In the meantime I wanted you to enjoy your Southern Sunday linky party while I'm gone.



Last week was a blast!  We had such a variety of dishes that I wanted every one of them.  




Congratulations to the featured dishes!


by Flour Me With Love

and...

by Katie Kate's Kitchen




Excellent dishes!


I've pinned all your recipes and pictures to Pinterest!!  Woohoo!


Congratulations to all of you for your featured recipe!!!

So let's party!  I can't wait to see what you all bring this week.  Make sure to tell all your friends so they can join the party as well!

Guidelines:
Please become a follower by joining my site with Google Friends Connect in the right side bar.
Link back to your specific recipe and not to your main site.
Link back to Southern Sundays either in your post, or grab my Southern Sundays Button located in the right side bar.
Please visit a few of the links in the post and say hello to your fellow bloggers!
Enjoy, have fun, cook lots of food, and relish your Southern Sunday!













Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Flatbread



I know it's tailgating season...

Sorry to say we don't really tailgate in Southern California.  Shhh! I know, crazy huh?  Not that we wouldn't like to mind you, but we don't even have a football team in LA.  Tailgating at a Laker game?  Not so much.  It's just not a thing that's done out here.  BUT...we still love the food!  

Tailgating food is it's own category now!  I mean, who wouldn't love something cooked outdoors, celebrating your favorite team?  All that finger food, yummy down home snacks and hearty dishes make you enjoy the game even more.

So we can tailgate (or pretend to) at home watching the game on TV!  Eating good food is a great reason to watch the game (in my book at least!).



So this recipe is just perfect for tailgating, or eating at home in front of the TV.  You can prepare it on a grill, or in the oven, works both ways.  It a perfect snack that you can cut up in appetizer portions.  Or make a double batch and just have this for a light dinner.  It's perfect, simple, and tastes great!

Who wouldn't want Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Flatbread to snack on?  I don't know any man that wouldn't!  The flatbread is light and crispy and the topping is full of flavor.  Even the hot little tomatoes burst in your mouth when you bite it.  Heaven!

The key for making this outdoors would be to make the dough ahead and prebake the flatbread.  Then just place on your toppings at your location and finish heating on the grill.  

(I just noticed that this one doesn't have any basil on it!  I left the basil off of one of the flatbread and put it on the other...my brilliant self took a pic of the wrong flatbread....oh well, you get the idea!)

Make sure to whip this up at your next tailgating session, at the stadium, or at home!  It is sure to make an impression.

Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Flatbread

makes 2 flatbreads (8 slices)

Flatbread dough:
1 to 1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 t salt
1/2 c warm water
1 T olive oil

In a mixing bowl combine 1/2 c flour, the yeast, and salt.  Add the warm water and oil and beat with a hand mixer for about 3 minutes.  Using a sturdy wooden spoon stir in a much of the remaining flour as possible.

Put dough on a slightly floured surface.  Knead dough for about 6-8 minutes.  You are looking for a dough that is smooth and elastic, and slightly stiff.  Divide dough in half and allow to rest 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet by brushing some olive oil on the sheets.  Roll each dough into a 9x6 rectangle.  Roll edges up slightly to form a ridge.  Transfer dough to the baking sheet.  Repeat process with remaining dough.  Prick dough with a fork to deter the dough from puffing.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until dough is browned.  Remove from oven.

Topping for Flatbread
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 1/2 c red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 fresh basil, roughly chopped
Coarse ground black pepper

To assemble and bake the flatbread:  Top each flatbread evenly with cheese, tomatoes, and garlic.  In a 400 degree oven. Bake for about 5 minutes until cheese is melted. (If using a grill, cook with the lid closed over medium-high heat for 5 min.)  Sprinkle with basil and black pepper.  Cut each flatbread into 4 slices and serve.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Grilled Green Beans



With all these great grilled dishes you need a great grilled "side dish"!

Something quick and tasty will do!

I've made this side dish a couple of times lately and they turned out really well.  They are a good compliment to grilled food.

Grilled green beans!  They are easy to do, just make sure to grill the beans crosswise on the grates so they won't fall through.  Grilling them on the stove in a grill pan works well too.

You can use either haricot verts or some nice string beans.  Both work well.  I used haricot verts in two dishes recently cause our string beans were looking a little puny.  As you can see I made them with my Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu... (make sure to drizzle some of the vinaigrette from the chicken on this version)



And my Grilled Turkey with Balsamic BBQ Sauce (Thanksgiving in August meal!)



So if you love green beans, these will float your boat!  Grab your beans and get grilling!


Grilled Green Beans

serves 4

1 lb green beans, trimmed if desired
3 T olive oil
salt & pepper
2 T butter, melted
1 T lemon juice

Grill green beans crosswise on grate over medium high heat 5-6 minutes or until done, turning frequently.
Remove from heat and toss with butter and lemon juice.



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Southern Sundays


Welcome to Southern Sundays!

Time to enjoy some beautiful site of Southern California.

People eager to go out sailing on a beautiful day...

Million dollar homes sitting on a canal in Venice, Ca

A Greek style auditorium built for concerts and plays.

A wonderful courtyard garden.


Hope you have a wonderful week and took time out to enjoy the beauty around you!

On to the party.

We had some wonderful entries.  Here's what you all liked best.

by The Chic Geek

by With a Blast
I see a trend...

by Mimi's Magic Apron
Yum!


I've pinned all your recipes and pictures to Pinterest!!  Woohoo!


Congratulations to all of you for your featured recipe!!!

So let's party!  I can't wait to see what you all bring this week.  Make sure to tell all your friends so they can join the party as well!

Guidelines:
Please become a follower by joining my site with Google Friends Connect in the right side bar.
Link back to your specific recipe and not to your main site.
Link back to Southern Sundays either in your post, or grab my Southern Sundays Button located in the right side bar.
Please visit a few of the links in the post and say hello to your fellow bloggers!
Enjoy, have fun, cook lots of food, and relish your Southern Sunday!






Friday, September 14, 2012

Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu



It's over 100 degrees here...every...single...day...and I'm still gonna grill.

When I was 13 years old I had my first taste of something I thought was the most elegant dish, Chicken Cordon Bleu.  I mean, even the name alone sounds so elegant.  Doesn't it?  One bite of that moist chicken stuffed with ham and cheese, all rolled in bread crumbs...heaven!  I just love the flavor combination.  For a chicken dish this is my Filet Mignon!  (and I'm a deep Filet Mignon lover, so that's saying a lot!)  

So when I came across this recipe from Cuisine Grilling for a new twist on my favorite "elegant' dish I knew immediately that I had to make it.  The best part is that it has a summertime twist...it's grilled!  So that helps in beating this never ending heat that we are having for the past month.  



This recipe still has all the flavors I love.  The ham and cheese inside with a new addition of a Dijon vinaigrette.  This vinaigrette just pulls it over the top!  Make sure to drizzle it over your vegetables too, it's that good!

The original dish has a chicken breast rolled with the ham and cheese inside and then coasted in bread crumbs.  To grill this dish without losing all the cheese you need to create a deep pocket down the middle of the chicken and then stuff it.  It works brilliantly!

MGG just about died and went to heaven when he took a bite of this dish.  The flavors are so comforting, and the grilling gives it a new slightly smokey flavor which enhances the taste.  I served along with some grilled green beans, and grilled red potato wedges.  Recipes for the side dishes will follow soon.  This is a meal the whole family will love and perfect for company.


So, fire up your grill and make yourself and "elegant" summertime dish with this Grilled chicken Cordon Bleu!




Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu

adapted from Cuisine Grilling
serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 slices of thinly sliced deli ham
4 slices of Swiss cheese
Dijon mustard
salt and black pepper

For the vinaigrette:

2 T white wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T honey
2 T olive oil
1 T minced fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Cut a pocket into each chicken breast by inserting a knife blade into the thick end of the breast.  Sweep the blade back and forth, cutting the opening larger, being careful not to cut through the end, top, or bottom.

Layer a slice of ham with a slice of cheese.  Roll them up together and insert into the pockets.  Brush each breast with Dijon mustard, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill chicken 6-9 minutes per side, with the lid down, or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, whisk together the white wine vinegar, Dijon, honey, olive oil, and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper. 

To serve, drizzle vinaigrette over chicken.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cinnamon Toast Crescent Rolls


Time for a little tasty bit!

Sometimes you just want something.  A little something sweet, maybe a little after school snack for the kids, or just a little something with your coffee or tea.  A little tasty bit!

MGG always loves to have a little sweet with his coffee.  Today's dish would be perfect, but I haven't made these for him yet.  They are my secret...at least for a little while longer.

A really fond memory of a favorite food growing up was cinnamon toast.  Didn't you just love it too?  Of course we had the regular kind where you toast the bread, butter it when it's hot and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top.  It will do in a pinch but my true favorite way was when mom broiled it....OMG!

She would take some bread and butter it and sprinkle on the cinnamon and sugar and then place it under the broiler.  Magic! It turned out all bubbly, and caramelized...OMG...sorry, but I'm just having a moment here.



This has to be the BEST way.  Now that I'm all grown up (snickering) I still love cinnamon toast but, I just don't really make it anymore.

So the other day I saw some Crescent Rolls in the can...yes, the can...and BAM! I knew I had to make Cinnamon Toast Crescent Rolls.  I did tweak the flavors just a little by adding some brown sugar, just to help the caramelization along since that's what really draws me to my mom's broiled version.  They came out fantastic!  All ooey, gooey, and caramelized goodness...I can smell them now.



So I hope you try these.  Not really a recipe of sorts, but they are a good little tasty bit to make!

Cinnamon Toast Crescent Rolls

Yield: 8 rolls

1 can of crescent rolls (such as Pillsbury)
softened butter or margarine
2 T brown sugar
1/4 sugar
2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove crescent dough from the can and unroll.  Separate into 8 individual triangles and place the rolls on a working surface.

Smear one side of each triangle with softened butter.  Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter.  Just a small amount on each one.  In a small bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon until combined.  Sprinkle some cinnamon-sugar mix over each triangle, using desired amount.

Starting at the large end roll dough toward small point until a crescent is formed.  Place on a baking sheet.  Continue until all dough is rolled in crescents. 

Bake for 8-12 min or until golden brown.  Serve hot.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Southern Sundays



Welcome to Southern Sundays!

So sorry the party post is up late...I lost my internet connection, but now it's back!

Quick and simple.  Look at this gorgeous sunset we had the other day....I just wanted to share.





On to the party.  The most popular dishes by most clicks were:


by Love Bakes Good Cakes
Yum!


by Twirl and Taste 
Just LOVE this name!


by Carissa's Food Blog
I LOVE this one!

Congratulations to all of you for your featured recipe!!!


So let's party!  I can't wait to see what you all bring this week.  Make sure to tell all your friends so they can join the party as well!

Guidelines:
Please become a follower by joining my site with Google Friends Connect in the right side bar.
Link back to your specific recipe and not to your main site.
Link back to Southern Sundays either in your post, or grab my Southern Sundays Button located in the right side bar.
Please visit a few of the links in the post and say hello to your fellow bloggers!
Enjoy, have fun, cook lots of food, and relish your Southern Sunday!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins



It's breakfast time!

It's been awhile since I brought a new muffin to the table.  I grew up with mom making muffins on the weekends (if biscuits and gravy weren't being served that day!) and we had a favorite muffin that we just loved.  I still make it to this day and have posted it here, Basic Muffin Recipe.  

These days I like to experiment with my muffins, changing up the flavors.  I especially love to add fruit to my muffins.  Fruit or berries lend a sweet and tart flavor.  When they are warm, they are hard to beat!



Today's breakfast I wanted a bit of tart and a bit of warmth.  So I added blueberries for the tart and cinnamon for the warmth.  What a great combination.  These are light muffins, and served warm with a dab of butter they are scrumptious!  All you need is a tall glass of milk, or some hot tea and your are set.  To round out the meal some scrambled eggs and turkey bacon will do the job.

These muffins freeze well so you can take any leftovers and freeze them for another time, or grab one to take to school or work.  It will thaw and be just perfect as a quick on the go breakfast.



Here are some other muffins recipes you may like:

Chocolate Cinnamon Muffins
Blueberry Muffins
Strawberry Banana Muffins
Marshmallow Muffins



There's nothing better than a basket of hot, fresh muffins! 

Enjoy your weekend!!


Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins


Makes 6 muffins

2 T butter, softened
1/2 c sugar or 1/2 c Splenda
1 egg
½ t vanilla
1 c flour
½ t baking soda
¼ t baking powder
¼ t salt
¼ t cinnamon
½ c 2% milk
½ c fresh blueberries
Vegetable cooking spray

Mix softened butter and sugar until light and well mixed in a large bowl.  Add egg and vanilla, blend well.

Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, ending with flour mixture. Gently stir in blueberries. Spoon batter into muffin pans coated with cooking spray, filling two-thirds full. Sprinkle evenly with oat mixture.

Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are golden. Cool muffins in pans 5 minutes; remove from pans, and cool on wire racks.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Veggie Gyro Salad



Boy do I have a salad for you!

Still in the grilling mode, I saw this meatless, Greek flavored salad in a favorite cookbook and just fell in love with the flavors.  It has all the flavors of a meatless, or veggie Gyro Sandwich!  Have you ever had one?  No, well you should try one right away.  They are just fabulous!

This salad is a take on that sandwich, using the flavors, but mixing them up a bit.  It has grilled vegetables, the flavors of tzaziki (cucumber, dill, and feta) and is all mixed with a wonderful grain, quinoa.  Do you know about quinoa?  It a little round grain that is full of protein and fiber.  Once cooked it turns a little curly and has a slight bite to it, sort of an al dente bite.  I've made several dishes with this hearty grain.  It's my new fad and I've made many dishes with it over the past year.  Make sure to grab a box of this and use it as you would rice or couscous.  It really takes well to additions and to dressings.




Back to the salad...like I was saying it has wonderful ingredients such as tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, and it is dressed with a wonderful red wine vinaigrette.  The only thing missing is the flatbread or pita that holds the sandwich fillings.  Not to worry, I have that covered.  You just serve this with some grilled pita wedges so you don't miss out on that flavor!

Salads are wonderful meals during this hot season.  Great as a main course for a "meatless" dinner, or a nice lunch.  I made this and had leftovers which were just as good the next day.  So I was a happy camper to have this for my lunch at work.  If you want to make this meal with meat, I would suggest grilling a nice piece of chicken and then cubing it.  It will go great with the other salad ingredients.





I hope you give this a try.  Enjoy!


Veggie Gyro Salad

Serves 4

¾ c quinoa
3 T olive oil
1 ½ T red wine vinegar
2 tsp minced garlic
1 t Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper
½ zucchini, halved
2 pitas
½ c grape tomatoes, halved
½ c diced cucumber
¼ c diced yellow bell pepper
¼ c fresh dill fronds
¼ c crumbled feta cheese
2 T diced red onion

Preheat grill to medium-high, brushing grill pan or grate with oil.

Prepare quinoa according to package directions.

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, and Dijon.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Brush zucchini and pita with some of the vinaigrette.  Grill zucchini cut side down about 7 minutes, covered.  Grill pitas until toasted.  Slice zucchini halves in thin slices.

In a medium to large bowl combine tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, dill, feta, and onion.  Add quinoa, zucchini, and remaining vinaigrette, tossing to coat.  Cut pita into wedges and add to the salad.  Serve.

adapted from Cuisine Grilling

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pineapple Grilled Pork Tenderloin


Don't put away the grill yet!

It's still summertime here.  It's 100 degrees...every day...so I would say that it's still grilling season! 

In Southern California we can pretty much grill all year round.  That's a great perk.  But during the summer months, grilled food just tastes so much better!  Maybe it's the fresh fruits and veggies, or maybe it's my imagination.  Either way, I like it!  I'm gonna keep grilling till the cows come home...hehe!...which may be a long time in LA!

So I got a great recipe for you that the whole family will love.  The main protein is pork tenderloin, you know the "other" white meat.  I like to think of it as the filet mignon of pork.  It is sooo tender.  It takes flavor very well either through a marinade or a rub.  A completely versatile meat the you can turn in to many, many, dishes of any international flavor....or just a wonderful American flavored home style dish!




This dish is Asian inspired.  The basting sauce has pineapple juice and some other great Asian flavors, that make a nice thick sauce.  Make sure to save some of the sauce for serving along side the pork!  Another great feature of this dish is the grilled pineapple.  Grilled fruit is fabulous!  If you haven't tried it, you just HAVE to!  Grilling brings out the sweetness in fruit, and gives it a nice smokey depth of flavor.  Brilliant as a side to the grilled Asian flavored pork!

I served this dish with a side of roasted baby white potatoes, laced with a little garlic and some grilled focaccia.  Another side dish that would be equally good are roasted sweet potatoes!  A nice rice would do well too.


(see the minced garlic in this sauce?....YUM!)

Any way you make this dish it's full of flavors that everyone will love.  So don't dawdle on this one!  Make it! Make it! Make it!  It deserves making...the sauce makes the dish, so don't forget it!


I'd love to hear how you like it, so come back and let me know. 
Enjoy your grilling!




Pineapple Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Serves 4

1 pork tenderloin, about 1 ½ lbs.
salt & pepper
6 slices of pineapple, from an 8 oz can, save 3 T juice
1 lime
2 T low-sugar orange marmalade
1 ½ T hoisin sauce
1 ½ T lite soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
½ t Dijon mustard
½ t ground ginger

Preheat grill medium heat.  Remove the silver skin from the tenderloin.  Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Zest 1 whole lime and squeeze juice from lime and place in a small saucepan along with the zest.  Add 3 T pineapple juice from the can to the saucepan, along with the marmalade, hoisin and soy sauces, garlic, Dijon, and ginger.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Boil 3-4 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Pour ½ of the mixture in a small bowl for serving.

Grill the pork, covered with the grill lid, 10 minutes on each side.  When you turn the meat the first time baste that side with some of the remaining pineapple mixture.  Turn the meat after another 10 minutes and baste again.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes and turn, and cook for a final 2-3 minutes, being careful not to let the marinade burn.  A thermometer inserted in a thick part of the meat should read 155 degrees.   Remove from grill and cover with foil, allow to stand 10 minutes.

While the meat rests, grill the pineapple slices 1 to 2 minutes on each side.   Slice the tenderloin against the grain in ½” thick slices.  Serve with grilled pineapple and drizzled with reserved pineapple sauce mixture.  


shared with:  Weekend Potluck
Foodie Friends Friday
Full Plate Thursday

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