Tomato Basil Tart

You know those dishes that just make you feel like you are back at home? As I mentioned we hosted a Friendsgiving recently, and I was so focused on finding new recipes to make, I forgot about some of my favorites from home. Thats when I realized that one of my favorite dishes, that is a staple in the Quinn household, I have actually never made! My grandmothers tomato basil tart!

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Now of course mine did not taste as good as hers, but it was a close second.  It is super simple and such a crowd pleaser! If you are looking for an appetizer that will impress this holiday season this is the recipe for you 🙂

Tomato Basil Tart

Ingredients: 

  1. Frozen pie crust- thawed
  2. 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  3. 5 roma tomatoes – de-seeded, drained on paper towel, and quartered
  4. 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  5. 2 cloves garlic
  6. 1/2 cup mayo
  7. 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  8. Salt and pepper

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 450
  2. Bake thawed pie crust for 10 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle crust with parmesan cheese. Turn oven down to 375 degrees F and let crust cool.
  3. Arrange tomato wedges on top of the cheese in the pie shell. In a food processor combine the basil and garlic until chopped then sprinkle over the tomatoes.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine mozzarella cheese, mayo, salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture over the basil.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F for 35-40 mins or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving 🙂

Fettuccine with brussel sprouts in a creamy sauce

When it comes to cooking, I have my few staples that I can cook by heart without looking at a recipe. But when it comes to being adventurous and trying new things, I always have a recipe I follow. Sometimes I vary here and there  and add my own touch, however I usually follow 90% of the recipe.  Recently I got inspired by 2 different recipes, but then after thinking about what I had in my refrigerator,  I completely changed both to make my own! Our Bible study group was the guinea pig, bless their sweet hearts, and PF Changs was on speed dial  because lets be real this could have been a disaster…….

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BUT to my surprise, it turned out really tasty!! I saw a recipe that had Brussel sprouts in a pasta dish. I love brussel sprouts and I am always looking for a new way to cook them. My fridge was stocked full of veggies that needed to be used so I figured why not make a pasta dish that incorporated all of the things I already had on hand. This meal came together so quick and was super simple to make! I did not add any meat to the dish but this dish would be great to add chicken or steak.  While it isn’t the healthiest dish I have made (especially if you have two heaping bowls as the husband did) it is way better then eating a pasta dish out at a restaurant (or so I tell myself 😉 ).

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I am very happy with my first non recipe dish and it was widely approved by my brave guinea pigs :).

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Fettuccine with brussel sprouts in a creamy sauce: 

Ingredients:

  1.  1lb brussel sprouts quartered
  2. 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  3. 1 chopped  medium onion
  4. 1 cup mushrooms
  5. 1 chopped red pepper
  6. 2/3 cup heavy cream
  7. 1/3 cup 1/2 & 1/2
  8. 1 cup parmesan cheese
  9. Salt and pepper to taste
  10. 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions: 

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and prepare according to directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium high heat. Add brussel sprouts and sprinkle with brown sugar and salt (to taste) and let sit for 1 min. Then saute for 5 mins. Add onion, mushrooms, and red pepper and cook until tender. (Can adjust the heat to med if needed, you just want a nice golden brown color on the brussel sprouts)
  3. Add heavy cream, 1/2 & 1/2, paremsan cheese, and salt. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5-10 mins.
  4. Add the pasta to the sauce mixture and combine and serve!

*If sauce is to think you can save some pasta water and add it to the sauce to adjust the thickness

Friendsgiving

We hosted a friendsgiving this past weekend. I cooked my very first turkey ever. I was sure it was going to be an epic disaster! I read lots of recipes, watched multiple videos on how people cooked their turkeys, and no lie I even had my computer set up in the kitchen, watching a youtube video while trying to truss the turkey. Luckily no one was around to witness how comical this all really was. To my surprise, it actually turned out really good! I was kinda shocked….

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I am not going to lie, I was totally intimated by cooking a turkey. The ways I could royally screw this up were endless, and I kept picturing the scene from Christmas Vacation where they go to cut the turkey and it deflates. But to my surprise this did not happen! It was actually quite tasty and not near as hard as I was expecting, messy yes, but a fairly easy process.

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I am so blessed and thankful to have the group of friends we have down here. I love that they can enjoy my organized chaos in the kitchen and while it was a lil hectic at the end, I would say Friendsgiving was a success and a tradition we will keep alive for years to come! Thanks Kaitlyn and JD for ensuring we got pictures to document this 🙂

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Friendsgiving Turkey:

Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients: 

– 13lb. Turkey

– 3/4 cup butter, softened

– 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

– 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage

-2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme – plus extra stems for stuffing the turkey

– Salt and pepper to taste

– 1 carrot

– 1 celery stalk

– 1 medium onion

– 32oz chicken broth

Instructions: 

(If you turkey has been in the fridge ensure to set it out an hr before you want to cook it)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. Mix together softened butter, parsley, sage, and thyme

3. Remove the neck and other innards from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Place the carrot, celery and onion quarters into the cavity of the turkey.

4. Truss your turkey (this is the video I attempted to follow)

5. Starting at the neck end, slide your hands under the breast skin to loosen. Smear 3 tablespoons of the herb butter underneath the breast skin. Smear another 4 tablespoons of the herb butter over the entire topside of the turkey.

6. Place the turkey in the roasting pan, breast side up. Pour the chicken broth into the roasting pan.

7. Cover the breasts with foil and place the turkey in the oven. Roast the turkey for 2 hours, basting every 30 mins.

8. Remove the foil from the breast. Roast the turkey until the thermometer registers 165 degrees F. (For us this only took 45 more mins) Continue basting every 30 mins.

9. Once turkey reaches 165 degrees F remove from oven and let rest for at least 30 mins before carving. – We let our rest for over an hr while we used the oven to cook other things and it was still warm when we carved it!

Enjoy 🙂

Happy Birthday to a best friend

Growing up I was very shy, I still am to a certain extent. We moved into a new neighborhood when I was in the 5th grade and I had to start riding the bus with people I did not know. My brother never had a problem making friends or talking to strangers, but to me this was a terrifying situation (I am pretty sure I pitched a huge fit over having to do this.) I will never forget as I climbed onto the bus and stared into the crowd of talking children, a good looking boy slid over and asked me to sit next to him. That moment of kindness will be one I will never forget and that boy soon became one of my best friends.  Today is his birthday.  We had this tradition every year for each others birthdays, he would make me brownies for mine and I would make Mimis famous strawberry cake for his.

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He was taken from us unexpectedly and is now in heaven, something that still doesnt seem real many years later. To this day I still bake a cake on his birthday and its a tradition I will keep alive until I am no longer able. He has forever impacted my life and I am so blessed to have known him, and have his family in my life. Happy Birthday Drew, you are dearly missed!

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Who doesn’t love a one pot meal?!

Anyone who has seen me in the kitchen before knows I am not a clean cook. I get sucked into a new recipe, making sure I get the timing of each component correct, or the taste just right. I want it to be perfect so sometimes I over look the disaster I am turning my kitchen into. In the Gabriel household we have a system, I plan, shop and then prepare the dinner, so naturally the husband cleans up after…..  Lets just say sometimes I get a little grief over how messy my cooking adventures can be. When I came across this one pot meal that not only looked delicious but sounded super simple and an easy clean up after a long Monday, I knew it would be the perfect choice for our dinner. I was half way correct….

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I found the original recipe from http://www.joyfulhealthyeats.com/. I made some changes to the dish I prepared. I did not use chicken thighs like the recipe called for, instead I used thin chicken breasts.   I knew they would not take the whole 1hr 15min the recipe called for so I started the veggies 30 mins before.  I also switched up the veggies based on what I had in the house.  I added a little olive oil to the veggies and why I did this I do not know, but it was a mistake. I could definitely taste to much olive oil!  However the chicken was cooked perfectly and tasted delicious! Also I hate rosemary so I didn’t use it at all but I still think the dish had great flavor (minus the olive oil soaked veggies).

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This is a dish I would do again but I think next time I will stick to the original recipe and try it with chicken thighs and definitely will not add more oil to the veggies! Eh you live and you learn, at least it was an easy clean up ;).

Mustard Balsamic Baked Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

Recipe adapted from: Joyful healthy eats

Ingredients:

– 4 chicken breasts

– 1/2 head of cauliflower chopped into larger florets

– 1 zucchini chopped

– 1/2 red onion quartered

– 5 red potatoes quartered

Marinade:

– 1 tablespoon of spicy mustard

– 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar

– 1/2 cup of olive oil

– salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, add spicy  mustard, minced garlic clove, balsamic vinegar, and salt & pepper. Whisk to combine, slowly add in olive oil.

  2. Place chicken breasts in bowl with mustard balsamic marinade. Toss to coat with marinade. Let sit for 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 375º

  4. Place all the veggies in a 13×9″ baking dish. Bake for 30 mins

  5. Add chicken breasts and marinade to the top of the veggies for 45 mins or until chicken is done and vegetables are soft. Remove from oven and serve!