Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Basil Infused Vodka



This is my first cocktail post...which is pretty ironic considering how much I adore booze. I have been pretty overwhelmed at work, so I haven't had time to do much other than soak some leaves in vodka. But HEY, it was delicious! I originally intended on making Bloody Mary's with this vodka (which I still want to try), but opted instead out of laziness to use diet ginger-ale to make a nice afternoon spritzer (don't judge me).



So this isn't really a recipe, but it is, in my opinion, still very useful information. Simply take a mason jar or any kind of glass container and add fresh basil leaves. Fill to the top with vodka and steep for 4 days or so. If you are like me and need to drink it right away, just add a little vodka to the basil in the jar, muddle it, and fill up the rest to enjoy insta-basil vodka! Bottoms up!



Monday, September 17, 2012

Balsamic Chicken Tortellini



I pull my inspiration from all over the place. TV, magazines, smells on the street, and my absolute favorites Food Gawker and Pinterest. When I have no idea what to cook, I open up my cooking board and start looking at things I pinned in the past. Tonight was one of those nights. As my day was coming to an end, I quickly scrolled through the board, deciding what I would pick up on my way home from the office. I adapted tonight's recipe from Multiply Delicious. I never actually follow a recipe (unless I am baking), I just read through it once, write down what I like from it, then make up the rest. For this I used the balsamic concept, but I made my own dressing. I bought a precooked chicken from the store, well actually a chicken breast because they were out of whole chickens. I also added garlic, because I love garlic. I also didn't add any basil because apparently Chicago is going through some sort basil shortage. Boo. 


Ingredients: 

For the Salad:

  • Precooked chicken breast on the bone
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 20 oz package cheese tortellini
  • 2 cups tightly packed baby spinach
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes 
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

For the Dressing:

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 gloves garlic


Method:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, add tortellini and cook according to package directions.



Meanwhile pull chicken breast off the bone and shred. Add 1 tablespoon olive and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar to the chicken.


Chop the pepper, spinach and tomatoes into bite size pieces. 


Add to the chicken. Drain the tortellini and add it to the mixture. 



For the dressing: put the olive olive oil, balsamic, dijon mustard and garlic into a food processor or blender. Blend until the mixture has emulsified. 


Pour over tortellini and chicken mixture. Mix well to combine. At this point, it is actually easier to mix it all together with clean hands. A cooks best tool! 

Serve immediately or refrigerate for 2 hours. 



This dish is even better the next day! So if you wanted to make it ahead of time to bring it somewhere, it would be fantastic. You can switch this up so many ways to make it your own. Maybe adding bow-tie pasta, some fresh mozzarella and basil. YUM! 





Friday, September 7, 2012

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls




Stop the presses. I know I have used the phrase amaze-balls a few times to describe my recipes, but these are truly amazing balls! I brought them into my office today and they were a hit! Which makes me believe that the outside world actually likes my food, not just me and my roommates :).

These salty, sweet balls are the prefect thing to bring to the office, a party or especially great to make around Holiday time. I always made Peanut Butter balls with my Mom for Christmas, and these are reminiscent of those, with a twist. The only part that takes a while is to dip all the balls into the chocolate. The original recipe only made 12 (please), so I tripled it. It made approximately 45 medium sized balls. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter 
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 3 cups crushed salted pretzels
  • 16 oz baking chocolate 
  • Cooking spray

Method:


Combine peanut butter, confectioners sugar, butter and pretzels. Mix until well combined. 




Spray hands with cooking spray and grab about a half tablespoon of the dough. Roll into a ball. Continue with this method until all of the dough has been rolled into balls. Spray your hands every 3-4 balls to keep the mixture from sticking to your hands. Place on a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes. 




Once the balls have set, melt 8 oz of chocolate in a saucepan over low heat (I like to melt half the chocolate at a time so it's easier to work with and doesn't get clumpy too fast). Dip the balls into the chocolate with a toothpick, making sure to cover completely. Repeat until all of the balls are covered! Voila! 






Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chicken Drumsticks with Lemon White Wine Butter Sauce



Whew! Finally was able to get back in the kitchen! I cannot believe it has been almost a MONTH since I last posted! This move has been a nightmare, never again! We just got cooking gas yesterday, so needless to say, this experience has been far from good for my culinary adventures. I have A TON of tortillas to make for my Indiegogo Campaign, so thank goodness I am back in action!

The first meal I made in the new place is this amaze-balls chicken dish! I really like legs and thighs, but you could use chicken breasts for this also. Although this does take a little time to cook, the prep work is super easy and so is the clean-up! The lighting in my new apartment isn't as good as the old one, so until I purchase my new camera, please bear with the photography!

Ingredients:

  • 6 Bone-in Chicken Drumsticks
  • 1 small package baby yukon gold potatoes 
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tbs Tastefully Simple Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto 
  • 1 8 oz package baby bella sliced mushrooms 
  • 1 lemon, sliced 
  • 1/2-3/4 cup white wine
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 


Method:

Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters depending on the size and scatter them around the bottom of a 13x9 inch glass pan. You want them to be fairly small and equal in size so your chicken doesn't scorch before these are done.




Combine softened butter, garlic, Old Bay and Dried Tomato and Garlic Pesto seasoning (you can sub any seasonings you like if you do not have these on hand). Rub each of the chicken legs until they are coated  generously with the butter mixture (yes, this part is messy!).




Lay the coated chicken legs on top of the potatoes, sprinkling the mushrooms and lemon slices over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.




Pour over the white wine, cover with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue cooking an additional 15 minutes or until the chicken's internal temperature reads 165°.



ENJOY!