Monday, December 30, 2013

Grilled Sausage over Basil & Honey Ricotta with Pignolis atop Crostini

          Hey there everyone! Been a while, I know. I don’t have many excuses except that it is Holiday time and I had the Flu, Bronchitis and a Sinus Infection last week. Enough said, right!?? I don’t think I have cooked anything in over two weeks…..wimper wimper….

            Thank goodness for Hubby though. He kept me well-rested and well-fed. He did have some help from Livoti’s, our local Italian market, but he still gets all the credit for making many snacks, side dishes and his 4 course Christmas Feast for us. He is a gem, isn’t he?!? Except for when he kicked my booty in Words with Friends each day and refusing to sleep in the same bed as me all week!
Hubby to the Rescue!!!!

Our Little Christmas Feast for Two...with my medicines in background!
            But enough about that….here’s to coming back and giving you something new to chew on. I might not be back this week again but I hope I’ll have some time in the next few weeks to share more with you soon. I made this recipe on Thanksgiving and boy, it was a wham bam homerun. The ricotta was good enough just to schmear on some crusty bread, but I figured adding sweet sausage would round it out nicely.  

            And even better for now, it is almost New Year’s Eve and who doesn’t like tasty little bites at the party? So go ahead, I say make this appetizer, sneak a bite yourself, ring in the New Year and oh yeah, make sure you wash your hands! Enjoy!

Grilled Sausage over Basil & Honey Ricotta with Toasted Pignolis atop Crostini
Serves: 10-15 people

OBJ: TCW be able to incorporate her kitchen mixing skills with her Hubby’s grilling skills into 1 crowd-pleasing appetizer

1, 15 ounce, whole milk ricotta cheese
3 – 4 TBS honey
10-12 fresh basil leaves, thinly shopped
¼ C pignoli nuts, toasted and cooled
S & P: salt and pepper, to taste
1 sweet sausage ring- grilled and sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 bag Crostini -toasted baguette pieces  ( I used Stacy’s brand Garlic & Herb- I found them at Cost Co. )

1. In a large bowl, mix ricotta, honey (start with 3 TBS), basil, nuts and a heavy pinch of S & P. Taste to see if it is sweet enough, if so- great. If not, add additional 1 TBS honey and stir. Cover and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving. Take out and let chill come off.
2. Preheat grill and cook sausage on both sides so that is cooked through. Slice while warm.
3. Place ricotta mixture in a medium size serving bowl. On a platter, place baguette pieces and tooth-picked sausage pieces. Place ricotta next to platter and plate up a few to show. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Apricot-Mango & Chipotle BBQ Chicken & Gift Ideas...

           I know, I know…..Gina, what the bejingle are you thinking?!? Grilling in December, grilling the week of 2 snowstorms, and grilling when the last thing I want to do is step outside? I hear you, believe me. As most of you know, I’m the type that is cold in July with chilly fingertips all year through… yes, I know this is a silly post.

            But give me one minute of your time (maybe 10 actually) and listen. What I’m really getting at here are gift ideas. Ya know, the tree needs presents in a few weeks and I’m sure there are few people you still have zilch for. For you and for them, here is where you need to go to get them something unique, inexpensive and delicious……HomeGoods or Marshalls. No, not for their cute candles or name-brand sweaters- we all know to get that stuff at the aforementioned spots. But where you can get some nifty presents is way beyond the clothing racks and scented stations….it is in the cooking and baking departments.

            Here is what you do….grab a wicker basket from the "storage" aisle (they usually have a gazillion, poor trees). Head down the cooking aisle with the salsas, jellies, salts, etc. Pick a theme. For example, go Mediterranean and get some imported oil, spices and maybe a nice bag of pasta or couscous. Then, throw a wooden spoon in there and viola- dinner in a box and a perfect present for me. Or maybe, for someone who likes to grill, get them a jar of what I used in this post- a few specialty BBQ sauces, a meat thermometer, and an over-sized spatula. (FYI-best BBQ sauce we've found there is Kozlowski Farms)Or one more idea I’ve done, for the bake-aholic, is filling that basket up with a few flavored sugars, vanilla beans (best place to get them is at HG or Marshalls- best price you’ll find), a whisk and a few mini cake molds.

             So there, great gifts for those who you still can’t seem to pick out the right thing. Of course, they are food-themed but c’mon friends- for one, this is a food blog and for two- I think giving the gift of a quality home-cooked meal is better than anything you could find in a store. Enjoy…
Apricot-Mango & Chipotle BBQ Chicken
Serves: 2-3
OBJ: TCW be able to spice and sweeten up ordinary chicken

½ C Apricot Mango & Roasted Chipotle Grilling and Dipping Sauce(I used Kozlowski Farms, but any BBQ sauce you like would work)
2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 TBS olive oil
S & P: salt and pepper

1. Preheat entire grill on medium-high flame
2. Brush both sides of chicken with oil, then sprinkle decently with S & P
3. Add chicken to hot grill over direct high heat, cook for 5 minutes. Flip, then cook over direct heat for another 5 minutes
4. Place chicken on other side of grill and turn off the flame beneath it. BUT leave the other side on high flame!
5. Use brush to glaze chicken one side at a time. Cook chicken for remaining time on indirect heat- 5 minutes one side, then flip, glaze and cook other side for 5 minutes
6.  Quickly flip once more to caramelize the side you just glazed

** total cooking time should be about 20 minutes, but if you have larger chicken pieces, it may be 6-7 minutes per side (28 minutes total). Always check chicken for doneness- completely white meat, clear juices, and 165 on a meat thermometer**

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Busy Bee....

     Yup, that's my new look?? Well I sure hope you do, if not, oh well....Anyway, I'm sure you can relate, especially this time of year. In case you forgot, there are 20 days until Christmas!! How in the world did that happen? I feel like I was just cleaning off my beach chair and sandy toes...sigh....
     So as you can see, no recipe, review or event to post today. I have been a bit busy.
      Luckily though, the items keeping me buzzing along will benefit you.....not on this site though. As most of you know, I also blog over at Jersey Bites .
       Needless to say, we have some delicious post on the way. I'll let you know when the ones with yours' truly post, but honestly the stuff over there is the bomb diggity dog. hahaha.....see what being too busy does to me?!?
       So with that said, it is time for me to get moving....I'll be back next Thursday with something scrumptious, I promise. Now if only getting some presents under the Tree was that simple....:)