Yum Peaceful Cooking: February 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Black and White Olive Cheese Puffs for #SundaySupper

There's been a lot of red carpet buzz going on lately. If you're all about that buzz and are attending or hosting a party, then you're in the right place. The Sunday Supper team has put together some amazing appetizers, main course dishes, desserts and beverages that are sure to impress even the A listers.

Black and White Olive Cheese Puffs

Inspired by What Can I Bring? Cookbook by Anne Byrn

40 large black olives, pitted
10-15 cloves of whole garlic in brine
8 oz white cheddar cheese*, shredded
8 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400' F.

Cut the garlic into strips that can fit inside the olives. Stuff each olive and set aside

In a large bowl, mix together the butter and cheese with an electric mixer for about 2 - 3 minutes or until creamy. This can also be done in a food processor, which will take about a minute.

Add the flour, salt and paprika (and optional cayenne pepper) and blend well. You might have to get your hands in there in order to get all the flour incorporated.

I divided the dough into 8 equal sections. Each section was then divided into 5 equal parts. This was to help insure that I had enough dough for all 40 olives.

This photo should give you an idea of what sizes I was working with. The wads on top were part of the initial 8 sections and the bottom wads are smaller parts, which are about 1 heaping teaspoon size.

Mold the dough around an olive,

Roll it in your hand and place on an ungreased, rimmed baking sheet.  Repeat until all of the olives are wrapped in dough.

Bake until lightly browned, about 13- 16 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool or serve warm.

Delicious little, easy-to-pop-in-your-mouth appetizers. A little too easy if you ask me. Every time I walk past the plate, I'm popping another one in my mouth. The mildness of the garlic in brine was perfect inside the olives. It didn't overwhelm any of the other flavors going on.

*Now I have to confess a little something here. I didn't use just any ole white cheddar cheese. I happened to stumble upon, quite innocently, a brick of horseradish flavored white cheddar cheese.

Say what?!

Say yum!!

It was spicy, and horseradishy and quite honestly, amazing! I omitted the cayenne pepper all together. If I had used regular white cheddar, of course I would've kept it.

Btw...If you want to save time, buy some olives that are already stuffed.

Now check out what else is walking down the red carpet and hopefully into your party!

Nominees for Best Supporting Appetizers:
Nominees for Best Course in a Leading Role:
Nominees for Best Supporting Sips:
Nominees for Best Delectable Desserts:
Nominees for Best Dressed Table:
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Cool Margarita Mule for #NationalMargaritaDay

Happy happy haaappy 

National Margarita Day

Wooot wooot! 

Welcome to our paaaartay! 

And do I have a margarita for you! Ever since my experience with tzatziki last weekend, I am all over cucumber. And then recently I enjoyed my first ever Moscow Mule. You know...that vodka drink with ginger beer? Omg...ginger beer! Now that's some good stuff. And I don't even like beer! Ok, let me rephrase that. I really like beer margaritas. As in....that's my go to marg. And then there's this German beer that I've discovered called Hefeweizen that works for me.   

Anyways, back to the cucumber and ginger beer. Ya....that's where we're going. It's cool, refreshing and snappy. 

There's a little prep work that needs to be done first but this is the best part of my Cool Margarita Mule. You must infuse your tequila with cucumber.

1 cup silver tequila
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

Muddle the cucumber in the bottom of a medium bowl. Add the tequila, cover and refrigerate for a least an hour, or over night.

With a fine mesh sieve, strain the tequila, squeezing as much of the liquid out of the cucumber as you can.

I let mine sit in the fridge over night and was shocked at how strong the cucumber flavor and aroma had become. squeeeee!!!

Now squeeze a bunch of limes and lets get started!

Cool Margarita Mule

1 part cucumber infused tequila
1 1/2 parts ginger beer
1/2 part fresh lime juice
1/2 part simple syrup
thin cucumber slices and lime wedges to garnish

Combine all of the ingredients and pour into a chilled margarita glass, rimmed with salt if desired, and filled with ice. Garnish with cucumber slices and lime wedges.

Let me just say....this is one refreshing margarita! The coolness of the cucumber, the tang of the lime and it's all balanced with the snappy ginger. I have to say I'm in love with my new margarita!

Now its time to go mingle and see what everyone else is up too. Between margaritas and margarita-inspired foods....I have a feeling this party will be an all nighter!


Margarita-inspired food:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mixed Berry Gluten-Free Parfait and a #VansSimplyDelicious #Giveaway

Whether you're gluten-free by choice or by necessity, I'm sure you're thankful for the progress GF products have made. Both in quality and versatility. There has never been a larger selection than there is today.

Van's Simply Delicious has just widened that selection with a few more products added to their already delicious line-up. I'm talking about Van's Soft-Baked Whole Grain Granola Clusters and a variety of Van's Whole Grain Pastas Sides.

And I'm here to tell you a little about them and how I used them.

First...the Soft-Baked Granola.....omg...YUM! Like seriously. There are two varieties: Blueberry Walnut and Cranberry Almond. Both are equally delish and only lasted 2 days in my house. They're soft, chewy and crunchy with hints of cinnamon.

I made a delicious Mixed Berry Parfait with with Blueberry Walnut granola. The next day the bag was empty. So I grabbed the unopened Cranberry Almond bag and took it to work (to guarantee that I'd get some, otherwise my girls would've gobbled that bag up in no time as well). One day...poof...all gone. Not only did I have some for breakfast but munched on it all day long and then I let my co-workers have some. They also fell in love with it. So much so that one gal found it at the store that night and brought the bag to work the next day!

The parfait was very basic, simple and absolutely delish! All I did was layer the following ingredients in my glass:

Greek Yogurt
Sliced Bananas
Sliced Strawberries
Whole Blueberries
Van's Soft-Baked Granola Clusters of your choice.

Grab a spoon and enjoy. If you're in a hurry and not worried about presentation, toss it all in a bowl and have at it. Either way it's good!

The granola, like I said, is GF plus it's free of artificial flavors, colors and high fructose corn syrup.

Now for the Pasta selections: There's Rotini & Red Sauce, Creamy Herb and Garlic and Ultimate Cheddar Penne.

I used the Creamy Herb & Garlic Whole Grain and Lentil Pasta Side as a base for a casserole by adding a bit more milk to the sauce, Well, let me just give it to you in recipe form:

Chicken with Creamy Herb & Garlic Casserole

1 box of Van's Creamy Herb & Garlic Whole Grain Lentil Pasta
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted - divided
1 cup cooked chicken cut into bite-sized chunks
1/4 diced tomatoes
1/4 gluten free bread or cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil or flat leaf Italian parsley to garnish

Preheat the oven to 350' F

Following the directions on the package, prepare the pasta.

Heat a large, oven-proof skillet (I used a cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add the seasoning packet contents, then whisk in the milk, until smooth. Reduce heat to low.

Add the cooked pasta, chicken and tomatoes, stirring to combine. Top with crackers and drizzle the final tablespoon of melted butter over the crumbs.

Bake for about 20 - 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Garnish with fresh chopped basil if desired.

Quick and easy and very tasty. I had one serving. No one else was home when I made it but the when I woke up the next morning, it was gone (I was hoping to have some leftover for lunch...but no such luck). I'd say it was a success!

I also had fun with the Rotini & Red Sauce Whole Grain and Lentil Pasta Side and made it into a meal in itself by topping it with some ground beef, sauteed onions and mushrooms then added cheese and  diced tomatoes. If I still had fresh basil or even green onions, I would've add those as well.

Another great dish for hectic nights when you need a quick, healthy and delicious meal.

I haven't made the Ultimate Cheddar Penne Whole Grain Rice Pasta Side yet, but when I do, I'll be adding some chunks of ham and topping it with cheddar cheese. I just have to get to the market to buy some ham.

I've had various kinds of gluten free pasta over the years. Some good. Some not so good. I am thrilled with this pasta, both in flavor and texture. It held together wonderfully, had great flavor and texture.

What I would really love, is to see Van's package the pasta on it's own. I think it would be a huge success, especially coming from an established brand that is already known for its quality gluten free products.

For more information on Van's Simply Delicious and their products, you can visit them:

Van's Food Website
Van's Food Facebook Page

And yes, I did mention a 
didn't I? 

How would you like to win 3 coupons for 
FREE Van's Simply Delicious products 
and a few $1.00 off coupons as well? 

You could be the lucky winner by entering below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US residents only. This giveaway will run from Monday, February 16, 20145 through Sunday, February 22, 2015 (11:59 pm PT). A winner will be notified within 48 hours of the close of the contest and given 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. 

I was not compensated for this post, however Van's Natural Foods supplied me with samples. They are also supplying 3 coupons for free product and $1.00 off coupons for the giveaway.  All opinions are my own.

** Have you heard of Yummly? Did you notice the little "Yum" button at the very top center of my blog? It's a great way to collect your favorite recipes....quick click of a button. You can find me and my recipes on my Yummy Profile.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lemony Grilled Chicken for a Heart Healthy #SundaySupper

Today's Sunday Supper is all about heart healthy dishes. Whether it's a way of life, a new choice, a "sometimes" choice, or you're just trying to maintain that New Year resolution, we have some wonderful options for you.

The dish I've prepared is a Greek dish called Lemonatie Kota sta Karvouna aka Lemony Grilled Chicken using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, marinated and grilled then served with a delightful sauce of your choice. The recommendations are Summer Peach Salsa or Tzatziki. Peaches aren't in season right now and since I drooled over all of the ingredients in Tzatziki, well....that's what my taste buds forced me to use.

Now let me confess a little something about my grilling skills. I'm learning. I know how to start the charcoal but I never really know how many coals to use. This chicken only grilled for about 10 minutes and I really felt guilty using all those coals. Is that typical? A starter full of coals for a 10 - 20 minute grill session?!

And I struggle with exactly when the coals are hot enough. Since Sir Sportsalot wasn't home when I tackled the Weber, I had to leave it up to my own judgement. I'm getting there...but I'm not a confident grill master by any means. Sure I could've used a skillet in the kitchen but it was over 80' outside. I really had no excuse other than my own insecurities. Therefore...I did it. And I didn't burn the chicken. I didn't over cook it. It was tender and juicy and oh so wonderful. Slowly but surely I'm getting there. The grill and I are forming the foundations of a beautiful friendship. I'm actually starting to look forward to my little grilling adventures.

Back to heart healthy. Low fat, low sodium and low cholesterol. I believe this dish covers that. Even with the Tzatziki which is made with Greek yogurt, olive oil and seasonings.

Lemony Grilled Chicken

Recipe from the It's All Greek to Me cookbook
Printable Version

1/4 fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
5 green onions, thinly sliced, green parts reserved.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
4 cups loosely packed fresh greens
Tzatziki (recipe to follow)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and white parts of the green onions. Set aside

Rinse and pat dry the chicken. If the breasts are really thick, I recommend butterflying them. Season with salt and pepper. Place them in a zip lock baggy and pour the lemon juice mixture over them. Seal the bag and place in the fridge for at least one hour or up to over night, turning once.

Get your grill nice and hot. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill for about 4 - 6 minutes on each side. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve over a bed of greens accompanied by Tzatziki spooned over the chicken and garnish with the greens from the onions if desired (I forgot).


Recipe from the It's All Greek to Me cookbook
Printable Version

1/2 cucumber, peeled
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 cups Greek yogurt
3 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

Grate the cucumber and place in a fine mesh strainer. Toss in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and let set over a bowl for 10 minutes.

Working in small batches, squeeze the cucumber in your hand to get out as much liquid as possible. Place the strained cucumber in a medium bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients in with the cucumber, along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix well.

Place in the fridge to chill for 2 hrs or more. The longer it chills, the more intense the garlic flavor will become.

Store for up to 5 days.

The chicken was extremely tender and juicy! How could it not be after marinating in fresh lemon juice?! I've discovered that I absolutely love Tzatziki! Bursting with flavor, fresh and cool, the ideal accompaniment. This meal was light and satisfying. Perfect for a "pretend" summer day in the middle of winter.

Better for you breakfasts:
Jump start your health with these appetizers and snacks:
Soups that'll win your heart:
Veggies, Sides, & Salads your heart will thank you for:
Healthy is the center of attention in these main courses:
Staying healthy doesn't mean giving up desserts!
We heart wine.
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Strawberry Love Bombs for a #SundaySupper Valentine

I'm so excited to be teaming up with Sunday Supper and Gallo Family Vineyards to celebrate Valentine's Day.

This year Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday which is kinda fun. It can be an all day event and not limited to just a nice special dinner. Valentine's can start with a lazy morning of brunch in bed along with a glass of sweet wine.

I'm not talking about a full fledged brunch. Sometimes it's nice to have a delicate treat that doesn't require utensils. Finger food can make us feel indulgent and decadent. We all deserve to experience that every now and then.

These aren't doughnut holes and they aren't cream puffs. These little gems are deep fried biscuits, that once bitten into expose a delightful filling of cream cheese and strawberries.

When you deep fry biscuit dough, it becomes a wonderful thing indeed. Crispy, crunchy on the outside and delicious and puffy on the inside. The perfect little host for tasty surprises.

Strawberry Love Bombs 

makes 6
Printable Version

Biscuit recipe:
1/3 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup shelf rising flour - sifted
1/4 cup shortening

3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup strawberries, finely chopped
about 1 teaspoon sugar

Powdered sugar
1 oz bittersweet chocolate - melted (I add a smidge of shortening to make it thinner and easier to drizzle)

Oil for frying.

Heat oil to 325' F in a deep fryer or tall, thick bottomed pot.

To make the biscuit dough, in a small bowl, combine the milk and baking soda.
In a medium bowl, cut the shortening into the flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the milk mixture just combined.
Knead about 3 or 4 times or until dough forms.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4 thickness. Using a 3" cooking cutter, cut out 6 circles.

Now for the assembly:
Gently smear a heaping teaspoon of cream cheese in the center of each round. Heap a teaspoon or so of the strawberries in the center. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of sugar. (now wipe your fingers off if they're a little messy so they don't interfere with the next process). Pinch the edges together to form a half moon (you may need a bit of water run along the edges to help this happen) and gently roll into something that resembles a ball, without disturbing the pinched seam.

Repeat until all 6 balls are formed.

Carefully place the balls into the hot oil, but don't over crowd. You may need to do this is batches, depending on how large your fryer or pot is.

Fry for 2 - 3 minutes, until a deep golden brown.

Carefully remove to cooling rack. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with melted chocolate.

Let cool slightly before enjoying.

Tips for tubed biscuit dough: If you are biscuit challenged, time restricted or just aren't in the mood to make the dough yourself, you will need to make the following adjustments:

Reduce the heat of the oil to 300' as these take a bit longer to fry and will burn before the inside is fully cooked. The tubed dough puffs up more and you don't want the inside to be doughy.

Split the biscuit rounds in half, and smash them flat until they're about 3" in diameter.

Just to give you an idea of the difference between homemade and tube results: The tubed dough is on the top and the homemade is on the bottom.

I personally prefer the homemade. The crust is slightly crispier and the ratio of fruit, cheese and biscuit is a bit nicer as well.

Now let's pair our brunch with some wine to complete our morning of leisure:

The two I have in mind are Gallo Family Vineyard's Riesling and Sweet Red.

The Riesling has a hint of honeysuckle, peach and citrus.

The Sweet Red is fruity, with a fresh fruit acidity and a soft velvety finish.

Both wines are versatile and pair nicely with an array of dishes. I chose the Riesling for my Strawberry Love Bombs because of it's slightly effervescent charm and citrus notes. The dish isn't as sweet as it looks, which is perfect with this wine.

For more information about Gallo Family Vineyards and the wines they have to offer, visit their website. You will also find the store locator there.  I recommend that you follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for more ideas and updates.

Did you know that GFV also has a blog? Check out their Valentine's Day post that includes the round-up of today's Sunday Supper recipe links.

I hope you enjoy this delightful treat on such an indulgent day. Whether or not you have a significant "other" in your life, make sure you spend Valentine's Day with someone you love, be it a spouse, your children, sibling, or best friend.

Be sure to check out the other Sunday Supper recipes for more inspiration to help make your day special.

Alluring Appetizers and Brunch:
Magnificent Main Dishes:
Dazzling Desserts and Sweets:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.