Thursday, April 3, 2014

5 ingredients & 15 minutes - Amber and Heather - February 2014

Heather and Amber hosted in February.

The invites were so cute, leave it to Amber!  We all got a darling colorful watch inviting us to a 5 ingredients & 15 minutes dinner!

They hosted at Heather's and had appetizers set up in the family room
along with tables for us to sit at and eat.  It was really fun the variety of clocks they had displayed.

Appetizers were: pomegranate salsa,
crostini with feta, artichokes and arugula
and tomato tarts.
There were three different lemonades for us to try.  Blueberry lavender, ginger and watermelon mint.  They were so good!
We all dished up and headed over to munch while we played gourmet bingo.
Pretty sure we all learned a bunch cause they were some tuff questions. 
After we moved into the kitchen and it was adorable!
The tissue ball banner was so fun and 
the confetti one as well.  Simple ideas that added a fun pop of color and detail!
Amber had made the number pinatas! She was killing us.  They were so cute for the center piece and multipurpose, even better!

Place settings were on a fun silverware print paper with
 little clocks for our name tags.
Now, don't be fouled be the 5 ingredients & 15 minutes for one second!  To think that it meant the food was anything but delicious that is.  The grilled chicken and corn salad with avocado was light and refreshing.
The Chicken Parmigiano Soup with Panini Grilled Cheese Croutons was awesome!  Seriously why didn't I think of that brilliant combo before?!?
Main course was: Beef Filets with Orange Cream, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes and Pears.  Yes pears!  And it was good.  Garlicky Green Beans with Pine Nuts and Easy Bread.  Delicious and we bathed everything on our plate in the amazing orange cream sauce!
We were so excited to have Shelly back with us for the evening!  And it was her birthday!  So of course we sang to her over an amazing assortment of desserts.
Strawberry & Chocolate Nachos, Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes Coconut Macaroons, Choc-Peanut Bombes and Frozen Chocolate Brownie Pops! Seriously.
Take homes were recipes,
macaroons to go,
and Amber made these darling calendars with an insert page for each month including a recipe!  
Such a fantastic job and who can't use some delicious and recipes that don't take hours in the kitchen to make?!  Thanks ladies for the goods!

Pomegranate Salsa
3 cups of cherry tomatoes chopped in half
2 pitted pomegranates
2 bunches of green onion cut almost to the end
sprinkle 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper 
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 accent seasoning
Combine all ingredients except avocadoes. Add 3 really firm avocados chopped when you are ready to serve. Serve with chips or crostini’s.
Tomato Tarts
4 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, quartered, seeded (I like roma better!)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ sheet frozen, thawed puff pastry

Preheat oven 425 F.  Combine tomato, sugar and vinegar in small baking dish; roast, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until tomato is soft.  Meanwhile, cut pastry sheet in half lengthways, cut each half into 4 squares; cut each square into triangles (you will have 16).  Place pastry triangles on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Coast the bottom side of another baking sheet with cooking spray and place on top (the second stops the pastry from puffing up).  Bake pastry, alongside tomato, about 10 minutes or until crisp.  Place a tomato piece on each pastry triangle.
Tip: These tarts are best made immediately before serving to prevent the pastry from becoming soggy.  You can pre-roast the tomatoes ahead of time, but don’t assemble the tarts until just before serving.
Recipe courtesy of Quick & Easy Recipes
Crostini with feta, artichokes & arugula
1 small loaf French bread
5 marinated artichoke hearts, drained
4 ounces marinated feta cheese
1 cup baby arugula

Preheat oven to 350 F.  To make crostini, slice bread into 3 inch thick rounds; lightly spray both sides with olive-oil spray.  Place on baking sheet; toast in oven turning once, until lightly browned on both sides.  Place crostini on serving platter.  Cut each artichoke into six wedges.  Drain cheese, reserving  2 tablespoons of the oil; crumble cheese.   Top crostini with arugula then artichokes; sprinkle with cheese.  Serve drizzled with reserved oil.
Recipe courtesy of Quick & Easy Recipes
Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad with Avocado
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
kosher salt and black pepper

2      ounces Parmesan, shaved
Heat grill to medium-high. Once it is hot, clean the grill grate with a wire brush. Just before grilling, oil the grill grate.  Whisk together the lemon juice, rosemary, garlic, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Transfer half the dressing to a small bowl; set aside. Add the chicken to the remaining dressing and turn to coat.

Rub the corn with the remaining tablespoon of oil and season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Grill the corn and chicken, covered, turning occasionally, until the corn is tender and lightly charred, 4 to 6 minutes, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in each pieces of chicken registers 165ยบ F, 8 to 10 minutes.  Cut the kernels off the cobs and slice the chicken.  Toss the spinach, chicken, corn, and avocado with the reserved dressing and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Recipe courtesy of Real Simple

Panini Grilled Cheese Croutons
4(1/2 inch thick) slices country white bread (or whatever bread you want)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

Heat a Panini grill.  Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and brush lightly with the melted butter, being sure to butter the corners.  Turn the slices over the pile Gruyere on two of the slices.  Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the Gruyere, buttered sides up.  Grill the sandwiches on the Panini grill for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned.  Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute and cut into 1 inch cubes.

Chicken Parmigiano Soup
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for drizzling
4 chicken breasts, pounded out and cut into bite-size pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4  cloves garlic (3 chopped, 1 for rubbing bread)
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 can chunky tomatoes (28 ounces)
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup basil, chopped
8 thick slices Italian semolina bread
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.  Heat a large pot over medium-high heat with two tablespoons of EVOO, about two turns of the pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to pot. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove from the pot and set aside. Add the other two tablespoons of EVOO along with the chopped garlic, onions and red pepper flakes.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes and the stock, bring to a simmer and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add chicken back to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped basil and stir to combine.
While the soup is cooking, drizzle the sliced bread with some EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and toast until lightly golden, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oven, rub each piece with the garlic clove and top with parmesan cheese. Place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes.
Serve soup topped with 2 pieces of parmesan toast or, if you prefer, put the bread on the bottom and the soup on top.
Recipe courtesy of Rachel Ray.
Easy Bread
1 pkg of yeast
2 C warm water
1 T. sugar
2 t. salt
4 C flour
Butter, melted
Place yeast, water, sugar and salt in a warm bowl and salt until dissolved.  Add flour and stir until blended.  Do not knead.  Cover and let rise one hour or until doubled in size.  Spray a cooking sheet with a no-stick spray and sprinkle with corn meal.  Flour hands, remove dough form the bowl and place in 2 rounds on a cookie sheet.  Let rise an additional hour.  Brush the top with butter and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and cook an additional 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush again with butter.  Serve warm.
Beef Filets with Orange Cream
4 (6- to 8-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks $
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper (optional)
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
Garnish: orange rind curls 

Sprinkle steaks with cracked pepper, if desired.  Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 4 to 6 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness.  Bring whipping cream, marmalade, and horseradish to a boil in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, 5 minutes or until thickened. Serve immediately with steaks; garnish, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Southern Living.
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes & Pears
1 lb mixed small potatoes, quartered
2 Bartlett pears, chopped into 1-inch chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 sprigs fresh Rosemary*
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet (or 2 if needed) with aluminum foil.  Lay potatoes and pears in an even layer on cookie sheet.  Combine melted butter and olive oil and drizzle over potatoes and pears.
Break off the individual leaves from 2 sprigs of the rosemary and sprinkle over the pan, along with some salt and pepper.  Use your hands to mix and make sure everything is evenly coated.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring a couple times through to brown all the edges.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with remaining leaves from the last sprig of fresh rosemary.

Recipe courtesy of Stew or a Story Inspired by Sunny Anderson's recipe in O Magazine.

Garlicky Green Beans with Pine Nuts
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Drain the green beans and transfer to the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Strawberry & Chocolate Nachos
Baked Cinnamon Chips (see recipe below)
Diced strawberries (tossed with granulated sugar and left to sit for 10 minutes)
Melted chocolate chips
Sweetened Whipped cream (see recipe below)

Place Cinnamon Chips on a platter and top with diced strawberries.  Drizzle with melted chocolate and top with whipped cream. Proportions are up to you- make to taste!
Recipe by

Baked Cinnamon-Sugar Tortilla Chips
Flour Tortillas (I like the little 6
Melted Butter
Cinnamon Sugar

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly brush one side of each tortilla with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly brown and crisp.  Cool on a cooling rack and serve.
Sweetened Whipped Cream
1 c. whipping cream
1/3 c. powdered sugar
Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine whipping cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl. With an electric hand mixer, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Serve immediately with pie, cake, ice cream sundaes, etc.
If desired – add Orange Syrup
Orange Syrup
1 Orange
2 tbsp brown sugar
Grate zest from orange (you need 2 teaspoons); juice orange (you need 2 tablespoons).  Stir sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan, over low heat, until sugar dissolves; bring to boil.  Boil uncovered, without stirring, about 3 minutes or until syrup thickens slightly.  Remove from heat.

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes
 42 Oreos, 30 left whole and 12 coarsely chopped
2 pounds (32 ounces) cream cheese, softened
 1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
 1 cup sour cream
 pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 275°. Line standard muffin pans with liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each liner.  Beat cream cheese at medium speed using an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar, beating until combined. Beat in vanilla.  Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.

Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving. Best served really cold! You can garnish with fresh whipped cream and crumbled Oreos if desired.

Source: Recipe found on The Girl Who Ate -  Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes Source: original recipe by Martha Stewart ; via Cookin' and Kickin'

Coconut Macaroons
1 egg, separated
1 egg yolk
¼ cup sugar
1 2/3 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 300 F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Beat egg yolks and sugar in small bowl until creamy; stir in coconut.  Beat egg white in small bowl until firm peaks form; stir gently into coconut mixture.  Drop heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto baking sheets.  Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 250 F ; bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown; loosen macaroons. Cool on trays.
Tip: Store in airtight container for up to three weeks.  Macaroons are suitable to freeze for up to three months.
For chocolate dipped coconut macaroons, melt your favorite chocolate and drizzle or dip macaroons in chocolate.

Choc-Peanut Bombes
2 cups heavy cream
6 ounces dark chocolate, melted
½  cup coarsely chopped unsalted peanuts
3      snickers bars, finely chopped

Beat cream in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form; add cooled chocolate, beat until combined.  Fold in remaining ingredients; refrigerate 2 hours.

Frozen Chocolate Brownie Pops
2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
½ pound brownies, finely chopped
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Grease two ice-cube trays.  Line small baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place 28 mini muffin paper cases on another small baking sheet.   Working quickly, combine ice-cream and brownies in medium bowl; press into ice-cube trays.  Freeze about 2 hours until firm.  Unmold onto tray; freeze a further 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt chocolate in medium heatproof bowl above medium saucepan of simmering water.  Remove from heat; stand 5 minutes.

Using small cocktail toothpicks, dip ice cream blocks one at a time into chocolate to cover; place in paper case.  Freeze until ready to serve.