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Sweet & Spicy Steak Kabobs

I have finally slipped into a summertime-state-of-mind. With all of the busy 4th of July festivities now but a memory, I find myself yearning to delve into all that summer has to offer. I want to covet the long, lazy, steamy days and saunter through them with a moment by moment mentality. I love to rise with the sun and quietly sip that first exquisite cup of coffee before the rest of the world wakes up. As I move onto my second cup I relish in the ritual of watering my thirsty garden. Watching the cool water bring my beloved flowers back to life I make a mental check list of what I’d like to accomplish in the precious hours that lay patiently before me. More often than not, my mind wanders to food.

What meals will I prepare for my family today?

Nine times out of ten I visualize a meal made for the grill as the perfect way to eventually end the day.

Wouldn’t you agree that grilling is the perfect way to end a summertime day? And in my mind, the less complicated, more flavorful, the better I always say.

Wait until you see how easy these sweet & spicy pepperazzi steak kabobs are to assemble! You’ll need top sirloin steak, hickory smoked bacon, red & yellow jarred pepperazzi peppers, an onion, fresh sage and dried rosemary (and paprika and S & P that didn’t make it into the photo).

You’ll also need some skewers. Can’t make kabobs without skewers. I used wooden hickory smoked skewers for added flavor but you can use whatever you like. (If you decide to use wooden skewers just remember to soak before using). Putting the kabobs together is a breeze. Cut the steak, onions and bacon into 2 inch pieces and pepperazzi peppers in half. Place the steak into a bowl and toss with the herbs, paprika and some salt and pepper. Then assemble the kabobs. Any order will do, however I strongly suggest that you make sure to place the bacon against the steak for extra flavor as the two meld together while grilling. It is magnificent.

Wasn’t that easy? And aren’t they pretty? Just wait until you taste how flavorful they are!

Once assembled, place on the grill and cook (and turn) kabobs until desired temperature.

And while your at it, try throwing some Bush’s Grillin’ Beans into a grill-safe bowl and heat them right beside the steak kabobs on the grill.

I like to take the term “grillin’ beans” literally. And why not? It makes dinner that much easier.

I served Southern Pit Barbecue Grillin’ Beans. The delicious slow-cooked rich barbecue sauce with pieces of red pepper tucked within the beans was a superb compliment for the sweet & spicy steak kabobs.

It was a match made in heaven.

And it was the perfect way to end my summertime state-of-mind kind of day.

Happy grilling!

~Wenderly

Here’s the recipe!

Sweet & Spicy Steak Kabobs

(makes 8 kabobs)

What you’ll need:

1 1/2 pounds top sirloin steak
16 red & yellow jarred pepperazzi peppers
4 slices hickory smoked bacon
1 onion

For the rub:

1 tbsp paprika
1/4 cup dried rosemary – chopped
1/4 cup fresh sage – chopped
salt & pepper to taste

What you’ll do:

If using wooden skewers, soak in water before using.

Cut the steak, onions and bacon into 2 inch pieces and the pepperazzi peppers in half. To make the rub for the meat, mix the herbs, paprika and some salt and pepper and toss with the cubes of steak. Then assemble the kabobs. Any order will do, however I strongly suggest that you make sure to place the bacon against the steak for extra flavor.

Place the kabobs onto a preheated grill and cook until desired temperature. Make sure to turn the kabobs for even cooking.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Bush’s Beans but as always the opinions stated, photos & recipes are my own.

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Balsamic & Rosemary Chicken

If you’re looking for a mouthwatering recipe to serve your guests this 4th of July, look no further. I’ve got a divine balsamic & rosemary chicken that will make any cookout, picnic or party a CELEBRATION indeed!

My Yanni and I have been grilling up a storm this summer and our new all time favorite has to be this balsamic chicken. It’s just bursting with fragrance and flavor and it’s as easy as can be to make.

You’ll begin with a balsamic vinegar & rosemary reduction.

While the balsamic vinegar, rosemary, brown sugar and smashed garlic are simmering their way into a succulent thick sauce, you can get the chicken breasts washed, trimmed and dried.

When the balsamic reduction has reduced by half, pour it into and a bowl and let cool. Once cooled, whisk in some brown mustard and rice wine vinegar. Slather the eagerly waiting chicken with the heavenly concoction then sprinkle chopped rosemary and S&P to taste.

If you could smell all of the vibrant flavors in my kitchen right now!

Swoon.

Marinade the chicken in the fridge for at least and hour to let all of the gorgeous flavors marry one another. Then grill on medium heat until done.

Is your mouth watering yet? And wasn’t that easy?

To complete the perfect 4th of July celebration, pair the chicken with some delicious grillin’ beans. I mean what could be more all American than serving Bush’s Grillin’ Beans on the 4th of July?

I can’t think of a thing.

I chose to serve the Sweet Mesquite Grillin’ Beans, (my new favorite flavor) alongside the chicken. The black beans are simmered with onions and red peppers in a sweet & smoky sauce. To. Die. For. I tell you. It’s a delicious heat & serve side that packs a big punch. A most perfect compliment to the tangy balsamic & rosemary chicken

So do yourself a flavor …I mean, favor this 4th of July…make your celebrations even more delicious with this easy tasty meal! Your family & friends will thank you!

Have a scrumptious & safe holiday!

~Wenderly

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Bush’s Beans but as always the opinions stated, photos & recipes are my own.
Here’s the tasty recipe –

;

Balsamic & Rosemary Chicken

(serves 6)

What you’ll need:

6 chicken breasts
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp coarse salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp brown mustard
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

What you’ll do:

Press garlic and salt together until makes a paste consistency.
Put balsamic, garlic paste, 1/2 of the rosemary and brown sugar into a pot and simmer until mixture has reduced to about half, then let cool.
Once balsamic reduction has cooled, whisk in brown mustard and rice wine vinegar and pour onto chicken. Sprinkle the rest of the rosemary and let it marinade for at least an hour.
Grill on medium heat until chicken is done.

Enjoy!

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Orange & Aromatic Herbs Marinated Steak

 

Summertime and celebrations just seem to go hand and hand, don’t they? The golden sunshine, gentle breeze filled days are the perfect setting to make just about any occasion a celebration.

But add a birthday to the mix…

and a very large beautifully wrapped box to a warm summer day and you’ve got an occasion to celebrate indeed!

 

Especially when that box happens to be holding a new grill!  My Yanni celebrated his 25 birthday (for the 20th time) this past weekend and boy did we have a ball! After showering him with gifts, cards and plenty of love & adoration all day we were left with no other alternative than to break out the grill and cook up a scrumptious summertime meal.

My Yanni wanted steak so we made a delicious marinade with rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, fresh squeezed orange juice and salt & pepper.

It’s the perfect yummy summertime marinade. Full of fresh mouthwatering flavors.

We paired the steak with Bush’s Steakhouse Grillin’ Beans. The authentic blend of beans with a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar simmered in a robust steak sauce was the perfect side for the steak. You can check out all of the other delicious Grillin’ Beans flavors by clicking here.

It was a meal made in heaven that took no time at all.

Which left plenty of time for more birthday indulgence.

A day full of family, good food and fun…

That, in of itself, is worth celebration in my book!

Happy celebrating!

~Wenderly

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Bush’s Beans. However, my opinions, thoughts and photos are 100% my own.

Here’s the recipe!

Orange & Aromatic Herbs Marinated Steak

(Serves 4)

What you’ll need:

• 1 (1 1/2 lb) boneless round steak (or your favorite grilling steak)
• 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (or store bought orange juice)
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 2 tbsp dried rosemary, crushed
• 2 tbsp dried thyme, crushed
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tbsp kosher salt
• 1 tsp pepper

What you’ll do:

Rinse steak and pat dry with a paper towel.

Place all ingredients except steak in a gallon sized resealable plastic bag and mix by squeezing bag. Add steak and massage meat until all ingredients cover both sides.

Let marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour to overnight. (The longer the better).

Grill steak to desired doneness. Let rest 5-10 minutes. Slice & serve!

Enjoy!

 

 

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Eat Snacks

Aunt Marcey’s Old Fashioned Hard Tack Candy

Old fashioned hard tack candy is a holiday family favorite. The vibrant flavors and marvelous colors delight any age and makes a perfect hostess gift!

I always know that Christmas is drawing near when my sister Marcey gets into old fashioned hard tack candy mode.

She is an old fashioned hard tack candy making guru.

For as long as I can remember in the weeks leading up to Christmas, she has been like a mad scientist in her kitchen whirling around clanking cookie sheets, gathering dozens of tiny glass viles filed with a plethora of scented oils and flavorings. There are pounds of sugar, bottles of corn syrup and did I mention hammers and screw drivers?

Yes, I said hammers and screw drivers.

This year we decided to make it a family affair. My mom, my girls and I got together for a hard tack candy making extravaganza. I am now armed with pounds of colorful, brilliantly flavored candy that I have divided into sweet little Ball glass jelly jars to give as Christmas treats and hostess gifts. Thought you might like to do the same.

Here’s the skinny on how we like to make it.

You’ll need food coloring and scented vials (or drams) of oils and flavorings.

You can find them in your baking isle (some stores still keep them in the pharmacy like they did in the old fashioned days).

I just love these little vials. Aren’t they sweet?

My sister hoards them like they’re going out of style.

O.k. she shares them but she collects them all year round to insure that she’ll have enough of her favorite flavors.

There are two different types of candy & baking flavorings. There are *oils* and there are *flavorings*. We have found that you’ll need 2 of the flavoring vials and 1 of the oil vials in each batch. (With the exception of lemon…you’ll want to use 2 lemon oil vials to ensure the proper lemon-y tongue tantalizing zing).

Once you’ve got all of your flavorings and colorings in a row you’re ready to make your first batch! Remember  how I mentioned my sister being a mad scientist? While I jest…it isn’t too far from the truth. Making this candy IS a science. Which to be honest makes me break out into a cold sweat. So I’ve kidnapped my sister and all of her years-of-candy-making-trial-and-error-wisdom to help me write this post.

Grab a saucepan, a wooden spoon (not a plastic spoon) and set the stove to medium heat.

You’ll begin by pouring sugar,

light corn syrup,

and water into a pan. Next attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pan and make sure that it isn’t touching the bottom.

Stir constantly until all of the sugar has dissolved. Takes about 15 minutes so make sure you’re fully caffeinated before you begin.

Once sugar is completely dissolved set your spoon down and let the heat take over.

Allow mixture to come to a boil. It should look like this…

A happy rolling boil.

Watch the candy thermometer as the mixture continues to boil,

until it reaches 260°.

Then the excitement begins! Time to add some color and pizzaz.

 

Add one teaspoon of food coloring to the boiling pot.

Again, don’t mix with a spoon.

Let the boiling do the mixing.

Now you’ll want to pay very close attention to the temperature.

The minute you see it reach 300° it’s time to take it off the heat, (some people test the candy mixture consistency in cold water to see if it’s ready but we just go by the candy thermometer).

Now grab the flavoring or oil that you want the candy to taste like. My girls wanted to confuse the taste buds of our recipients so they mixed up the color/flavor combinations. (Yes, our lemon flavor was red).

Allow the mixture to stop boiling before adding the flavoring. Note: My sister has learned that it is imperative at this point in time to carry the pot outside before adding the flavoring to the candy mixture because it will smoke profusely (and smell divine) but be careful not to inhale the vapors. Back in college my sister’s dear friend and candy making cohort went into a full blown asthma attack AND they set off the smoke alarm. Not exactly the way they wanted to spend the day. *Hi Amy!*

Once outside add the flavoring and stir.

Isn’t that purdy?

It’s a good idea to divide and conquer while making this sweet treat. Time is everything and remember it’s a science.

While someone is mixing in the flavoring, if possible, have someone else spray the pans with cooking spray or spray them yourself beforehand so that they are ready to go. You don’t want the candy to harden in the pot.

My sister uses non-stick pots and pans for her candy making and she has found that 9 x12 cake pans work the best.

Note: You may want to use old pots and pans or buy some inexpensive ones because they do take a beating.

So quickly pour the mixture into the cake pans.

Dividing the batch into 2 cake pans insures the right thickness for your candy-eating-enjoyment.

Let the candy sit until it is completely cool on the counter top (not the fridge), to ensure that you will get a hard crack not a sticky crack.

This is where the hammer and screwdriver come in. One of my sister’s expert tips – THIS is the very best candy breaking technique and it’s FUN TOO!

Grab a clean screw driver and hammer. Take the pans of candy back outside, (trust me on this) and place the screw driver in the center of a pan…

Give it a whack!

This is very therapeutic and gratifying. Feel free to wear safety goggles for the full mad-scientist effect. Just a thought.

Continue whacking until you’ve got as many pieces as you see fit.

You will have a few flying pieces but it’s worth it.

You may need to take a little break from time to time and do a little bonding.

Nana and her granddaughters. *sniff*

Check out this gorgeous sheet of molten sugar.

Is that nifty or what?

Don’t these look like little emeralds? Seriously. I may just have to make some jewelry out of them…

but I’ll have to remember not to wear them when it’s raining.

Ignore me.

So the next step is the cerimonial coating of the candy with powdered sugar  Once again my sister has a very specific technique for this.

Grab a gallon plastic bag that zips. Vedy important. Zips and stays zipped. Write the flavor of the candy on the bag. Especially if you’ve mixed up the flavor to color combination.

Sprinkle in a heaping tablespoon, no more than a heaping tablespoon, of powdered sugar.

Then pour the broken pieces of candy into the bag.

Make sure to leave the teenie tiny pieces behind. They get sticky and messy and almost sandlike. Totally takes away from the beauty of the candy and its magical glass-like effect.

I’m sure that Chihuly would agree.

Gently roll the bag around with the bag zipped,

until you’ve got an even coating of powdered sugar on all of the pieces.

Don’t you just want to reach in and grab a handful?

Can you guess what flavor this is?

Cinnamon! HA! And it’s SO YUMMY!

I must admit that this candy making business is really enjoyable once you know what you’re doing. The flavors burst, the colors are gorgeous and it really is some great old fashioned fun.

Hope you give it a try.

Wishing you and yours a Christmas full of sweet memories!

~Wenderly

Aunt Marcey’s Old Fashioned Hard Tack Candy
Author: Wenderly | Wendy Hondroulis
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 batch
Old fashioned hard tack candy is a holiday family favorite The vibrant flavors and marvelous colors delight any age and will make a perfect holiday or hostess gift!
Ingredients
  • 3 3/4 sugar cups
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon food coloring
  • [i]Don’t forget: [/i]There are *oils* and there are *flavorings*. We have found that you’ll need 2 bottles if you’re using the flavorings and 1 bottle if you’re using the oils in each batch. (One or the other, not both).
Instructions
  1. In a 3 quart non-stick sauce pan, pour in sugar, light corn syrup and water. Continuously stir liquid over medium heat until sugar has completely dissolved. Let mixture come to a boil, without stirring, and when candy thermometer reaches 260° add food coloring. Once again don’t stir let food coloring mix itself into the liquid by the boiling motion.Watch the candy thermometer, once it reaches 300° immediately remove from heat and allow the boiling to come to a stop.
  2. Take pan outside and add your choice of flavorings (or oil) to the mixture. Stir without inhaling the potent vapors. Quickly pour into 2 greased cake pans, divide liquid equally into the pans. Let cool completely to the touch.
  3. Once candy is cooled, take outside and insert a clean phillips head screw driver into the center of the pan and give a good whack. Continue until all of the candy is broken to your liking.
  4. Next, grab a gallon plastic bag that zips closed. Pour a heaping (no more) tablespoon of powdered sugar into the bag. Pour both cake pans of broken candy into bag and zip closed. Make sure to leave the tiny pieces out. Gently turn and flip the bag until the candy is covered with powdered sugar. Candy will stay nice and crunchy when stored in a container that is airtight.
  5. Helpful hint: For clean-up ease, soak your pots and pans in hot soapy water to dissolve the candy because we have found that scrubbing doesn’t work.
  6. ENJOY!
  7. Note :: LorAnn Gourmet Flavoring Recipe

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Nana’s Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are a tradition to last the test of time. Decorated with colorful icing and sprinkles, weather eaten or hung on the tree, will warm everyones heart.

Ever since I was a wee little nipper, sugar cookies dressed with icing have been a Christmas time tradition.

My sister, Marcey, & I would put on our little aprons, push up our sleeves and bake our little hearts out.

We would adorn our family tree with the cookies that we had baked and decorated along with candy canes, bows and strings of cranberries & popcorn that we had strung by the fire…

…dressed in our matching stretch & sew outfits that mom had so lovingly made for us.

Just kidding, we didn’t always sit by the fire.

I can still remember the thrill of unwrapping the precious cookies from past years. We would eagerly tear their tissue paper cocoons open and hang them on the tree. The cookies became a growing collection…a connection of the past to the present – an ongoing documentation made of sugar and flour and each precious year frozen in time .

These memories will be forever baked into my sappy nostalgic mind and my sister’s too. We still remember those special moments as if they were yesterday. Marcey can probably remember the time, temperature and exactly which stretch & sew outfit we happened to be wearing. I can still remember the colors of the icing, how many dragees I snuck into my mouth and what outfit I painted onto each cookie.

We both have the minds of an elephant. It can be both a blessing and a curse.

In honor of nostalgia, I decided to rally the troops for a day of memory making, baking, icing, decorating and just plain fun.

My mom, sweet baby sister and darling little *ahem* (they’re taller than my sister) girls couldn’t wait to get started. It doesn’t take much to create a day full of sweet confections and memories that will last a lifetime.

Just gather some sugary bobbles to decorate with,

cookie cutters and baking sheets,

paintbrushes for painting the icing onto the cookies,

and straws for making holes in the cookies to thread ribbon through.

Our day started with Nana and Sweet Cheeks diligently

making the icing.

Sassafrass got busy making the cookie dough.

After the dough chilled, we all took turns rolling,

and cookie cutting.

Nana was in charge of making the straw holes in the tops of the cookies before they went in the oven.

And then after the cookies cooled…

the creativity began.

Paintbrushes make a fabulous tool for applying icing to your cookies.

My sister has Celiac Disease so she wore rubber gloves to ensure that she didn’t absorb any gluten.

Perhaps next time we’ll make a gluten-free version as well.

Imaginations can run wild with a rainbow of icing and a few sprinkles at your finger tips.

A little ribbon tied through a cookie can make a most adorable ornament.

And a day spent in the kitchen making a big ‘ol mess with those you love can make a most lasting memory to enjoy for years to come.

What are you waiting for?

Go bake some memories!

Warmest holiday wishes to you!

~Wenderly

Nana’s Sugar Cookies
Recipe Type: cookies
Author: Wenderly | Wendy Hondroulis
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3 dozen
Sugar cookies are a tradition to last the test of time. Decorated with colorful icing and sprinkles, weather eaten or hung on the tree, will warm everyones heart.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F
  2. Sift dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. With *hands* mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add sifted flour, baking powder and salt and mix with hands until incorporated.
  4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  5. When ready to use dough, sprinkle falt surface with flour and roll dough with a rolling pin until it’s a 1/4 of an inch. Cut into dough with cookie cutters, (poke hole with straw if you want to hang cookies on tree) place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet or silpat baking mat. Bake in a pre-heated 400° oven for 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Repeat process until all of the dough has been used. Let cookies cool completely before icing them.
  6. *Note: For the icing we just followed the recipe on back of confectioners sugar bag and added food coloring.
  7. ENJOY!

 

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Spicy Brat-Kabobs

Last Saturday My Yanni and I hosted a tailgate at home to cheer on the Buckeyes on as played (and beat) Illinois. It was a splendid sunny day despite the crazy winds and we all had a ball eating, cheering & chatting and eating some more.

I mean what’s game day without delicious food after all?

I spent the morning setting the scene with some festive and easy DIY decorations  while My Yanni also known as My Grillmaster, got busy preparing the food for the grill. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to tailgating, whether I’m at home or at the stadium, I like great food without the fuss. So that’s exactly what we did, made great food that came together in no time flat.

We served Spicy Brat-Kabobs that were as simple to put together as they were delish.

All you need are spicy Brats, red peppers and onion. We decided to use red & white to keep the theme of the buckeye colors but you could use any peppers or veggies that you fancy.

My Grillmaster used one brat per kabob, cut into five pieces and alternated a piece of brat-pepper-onion-brat, for a yummy and eye pleasing ratio of veggies and meat.

What can I say, he’s an a Renaissance man. That’s why I love him so much.

Make sure to cut the peppers and onion the same diameter as the brat so that they will cook evenly. We used wooden and metal skewers (if using wooden make sure to soak them for at least an hour before using to ensure that they don’t catch on fire.)

And that’s it for the prep. Now that’s what I call no fuss.

Once your brat-kabobs are assembled it’s time for the grilling. Grill the kabobs for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through.

While the kabobs were grilling, I got busy preparing the side.

*wink*

We served Bush’s Country Style Baked Beans.

The Bush’s® Country Style baked beans are slow-cooked with extra brown sugar, in true country fashion, and infused with the robust taste of hickory smoked bacon.

Which meant that all I had to do was open the can and heat the beans.

I’d say that keeps with my theme of great food and no fuss, wouldn’t you?

Just look at that gorgeous piece of hickory smoked bacon. Um…yum.

The Country Style paired perfectly with the spicy brat-kabobs.

It’s a game day dream.

Stress-free & delicious. This is my kind of tailgating.

Which left plenty of time for what’s really important….enjoying good company and…oh yeah, watching some football too!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you’ll come back for the succulent Greek Fetish Burgers and a fun giveaway from Bush’s Beans!

Happy Tailgating!

~ Wenderly

Disclamer: The tailgate and giveaway are in partnership with Bush’s Beans. However my opinions, thoughts and photos are 100% my own.

Spicy Brat-Kabobs

Makes 12    Cook Time: 30 minutes

What You’ll Need:

12 Spicy Bratwurst Sausage
3  red peppers
2   large sweet onion
12 metal or wooden skewers

What To Do: 

Cut each bratwurst into 4-5 pieces. Clean red peppers and onion, cut into square pieces the same diameter as the brats to ensure that they will cook evenly.

To Assemble:

You’ll use one bratwurst per skewer. Start with the end piece and assemble end-to-end placing a piece of onion and pepper between each until you’ve used all of the pieces.

Place kabobs over medium-high heat and cook, turning occasionally, for 30 minutes or until brats are cooked through.

ENJOY!

 

  

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Eat Main Courses

Greek Style Chicken & Potatoes

Greek style chicken and potatoes is a one-pan, no fuss, soul satisfying meal that your family will devour any day of the year.

Greek Style Chicken and Potatoes

As the daylight hours grow shorter and my schedule grows busier, I find myself craving savory meals that tantalize all of my senses. It’s amazing how the stress of a hectic day can melt away as the house fills with the fabulous aromas of a sumptuous meal cooking in the oven. But let’s face it, who has the time and energy to whip up a fancy meal on a weekday?

YOU do! With this easy, delicious, one-pan meal you’ll enjoy the snuggly feeing of a Sunday night dinner any day of the week.

Recently I have fallen in love once again with the Greek style chicken and potatoes that dates back to my first Sunday night dinners with My Yanni. After drying a plethora of herbs from our garden that were practically screaming at me to make chicken and potatoes, I decided that I could wait no longer. I forgot just how easy and delicious this meal really is, wait until you see!

You’ll need one lemon, olive oil and some dried oregano, thyme and rosemary (and salt & pepper that didn’t make it into my photo).

Greek Style Chicken and Potatoes

 

My mother-in-law says that it’s best to put all of the dried herbs, salt and pepper together into a small bowl.

Greek Style Chicken and Potatoes

 

So I did.

Next you’ll need six peeled potatoes…

Greek Style Chicken and Potatoes

 

and one whole chicken pre-cut into pieces. Now you could use a whole chicken if you’d like, I just happen to be very wimpy when it come to raw chicken and it’s easier for me to work with the pieces. As a side note, I have found that the pieces are more flavorful when seasoned individually.

Trim the fat and wash your chicken pieces in cold water,

Greek Style Chicken and Potatoes

 

and pat them dry. This wasn’t exactly easy for me, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with chicken fat. I do believe that it started when I was just a wee little nipper dancing to my beloved “Chicken Fat” song. Oh how I loved the chicken fat song. Ever since then, it’s been downhill in the chicken fat department. I just wash my hands about 346 times while working with it, shudder and gag a few times and then it’s all over and life is good.

O.k. moving right along…

Nestle the chicken and potatoes into a roasting pan, cut your lemon in half, squeeze the juice all over every single inch and then to add even more flavor, rub the cut side of the lemon all over the chicken too. The little pieces of pulp fall off and really give an extra added punch. (You can thank Yaya for this handy tip as well). Next, pour olive oil all over the chicken and potatoes and give a good rub with your hands to make sure every knook & cranny is slathered. Lastly, sprinkle the dried herbs, salt & pepper mixture all over the chicken making sure to rub the herbs with palms of your hands as you go to release all of the fabulous oils.

Greek Style Chicken and Potatoes

 

Bake uncovered at 375° for 1 1/2 hours, flipping the chicken every 30 minutes.

WARNING…the aroma that will fill your house will be intoxicating.

The end result will be gorgeous golden chicken and potatoes.

Greek Style Chicken and Potatoes

 

It is a perfect meal every time.

Greek Style Chicken and Potatoes

 

One-pan, no fuss, soul satisfying goodness.

Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Bon Appetite!

Wenderly

Greek Style Chicken & Potatoes
Author: Wendy Hondroulis | Wenderly
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Greek style chicken and potatoes is a one-pan, no fuss, soul satisfying meal that your family will devour any day of the year.
Ingredients
  • One whole chicken cut into pieces
  • 6 peeled potatoes- cut into wedges
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 Tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
Instructions
  1. Trim fat from chicken, wash in cold water and pat dry.
  2. Peel and cut potatoes into wedges.
  3. Place chicken and potatoes into a roasting pan.
  4. Cut lemon in half, squeeze juice all over chicken and potatoes, then rub cut side all over chicken as well.
  5. Pour and rub olive oil over both sides of chicken and potatoes.
  6. Mix all herbs, salt & pepper together in a bowl then rub into palm of hand as you sprinkle the mixture all over (both sides of chicken) and tops of potatoes.
  7. Place into a pre-heated 375° oven and bake uncovered, for 1 1/2- 2 hours, flipping the chicken every 30 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

Categories
Desserts Eat

Paximathakia the Greek Biscotti

Sometimes life just calls for milk & cookies.

So plain and simple. So comforting and nurturing.

The past few weeks have been wild and wooly… filled with too much to do in too little time and I find myself whirling. I start at point A and somehow manage to spend a day that takes me over-the-river-and-through-the-woods then dumps me on the doorstep weary and tired.

And what better way to wake the weary than a pretty plate filled with delightful little cookies and a cold cup of milk or pipping hot coffee.

And not just any cookies will do.

These beautiful, crunchy, cinnamon-y, clove-y, delightful cookies are the Greek version of biscotti. They have the uncanny ability to melt away stress and comfort my soul in ways I cannot explain.

A traditional Greek cookie called “paximathakia” (say it with me, pa-ksi-ma-tha-kya), they are easy to make and are to die for.

I finally got my mother-in-law to slow down long enough to teach me how to make them. She has “tweaked” the original traditional Greek recipe, changing little things here and there through the years that has made this sweet treat perfection. 

For as long as I can remember, she would make batches of these gorgeous cookies every week to have on-hand for impromptu visits from family and friends. One can always find paximathakia waiting in the cookie jar at Yaya’s house. Maybe that’s why I find so much comfort in the little guys. There’s something so rich and wholesome about family tradition and recipes that stand the test of time.

Now it’s my turn to make batches of these soul satisfying sweet treats.

Cookie therapy.

Who’s with me?

Love & cookies,

Wenderly

Greek Biscotti – Paximathakia

(makes 48 cookies)

Ingredients:

1 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
zest of 1 orange (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup white Zinfandel wine
3 teaspoons baking powder (heaping)
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup slivered almonds or walnuts (chopped)
2 1/2 cups wheat flour
2 1/2 cups white flour

What To Do:

Briskly whisk oil & sugar in a bowl for 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl mix orange juice & baking soda until incorporated, slowly pour into oil & sugar mixture and beat until creamy.

Add wine and orange zest mix well.

Next add baking powder and spices and mix with hands. Slowly add flour about a 1/4 of cup at a time and continue mixing with hands until batter becomes a dough-like consistency.

Add almonds or walnuts (or you can make without any nuts at all) mix with hands until incorporated.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and shape into a round ball. Take a knife and cut a cross into the top of the dough, making four equal sections of dough.

One by one, roll each section into a 12 inch loaf, place two loafs onto a cookie sheet. Pat loaf until even and flat on top and cut 1/2 inch wide marks down loaf being careful not the cut all the way through. (Each loaf makes 12 cookies.)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until they start to become golden brown. Take cookie sheet out of the oven, let cool, cut all the way through and then bake for 15 more minutes.

Let cookies cool completely before eating. Cookies can be stored for up to a month in a sealed container.

ENJOY!

Categories
Eat Snacks

The Joy of Apricot Jam

 

Apricot jam brings me great joy.

I can take one lick of the sweet, tangy, golden goodness and be immediately transported to another time and place. I’m taken back to our honeymoon spent in Greece. I’ve been sharing My Yanni’s scrumptious Greek family recipes this summer and Yaya’s simple apricot jam has to be one of my favorites. Isn’t it fascinating how food can instantaneously connect us to our past through our sense of taste? The *ahem* older I get the more I become aware of the things that really matter in life.

I’ve realized that some of the most important things in life are actually the simplest of things.

Family & friends, love & laughter and the memories that are woven out of them…those are the things that bring me the greatest joy.

Remembering something as simple as the early morning walks with My Yanni to fetch a fresh loaf of bread for Yaya’s apricot  jam, can bring a smile to my lips. Finding the photo of My Yanni climbing Yaya’s apricot tree…now that makes me smile ear to ear.

Yaya’s apricots were like tasting golden sunshine packed inside a soft, fuzzy orb. And the jam that they made…that Yaya Eftehia made…was like nothing I’ve ever tasted.

Pure perfection.

Even better yet, Yaya’s name Eftehia, means joy. And boy, if that jam didn’t bring joy to all who tasted it. For years My Yanni & I have fondly talked about that apricot jam. We  laugh about sneaking bites out of the sweet boiling pot before it was time, and how yaya would scold us and chatter to herself as she shooed us out of her kitchen. I still to this day have the recipe I scribbled down as My Yanni translated Yaya’s instructions but until recently, I’ve never attempted to make her golden goodness.

Until now.

This simple bowl of apricots inspired me to dig out Yaya’s apricot jam recipe.

Isn’t that funny that a simple bowl of apricots could quietly encouraged me to make Yaya’s jam?

And boy am I glad I did.

Let me show you how easy it is…

Wash, cut and remove pits from apricots.

Place apricots in a pot with a tiny bit of water- I put in one teaspoon.

Cook apricots over a low heat, stirring occasionally soft.

Keep an eye on the pot as they cook down and eventually soften. I had a pound of apricots and it took about an hour.

Once soft, squash them with a wooden spoon or fork and measure the amount of gooey deliciousness in a measuring cup. For every one cup of fruit add one cup of sugar. Isn’t that easy? That tip demystified making jam for me.

I shall never be afraid to make jam again. 

Add sugar.

The addition of sugar will make the consistency of the jam temporarily thinner, so continue to cook over low heat, (for about 30-45 minutes) stirring occasionally until jam starts to thicken.

I have another easy tip from Yaya that put the joy into making jam for me.

Simply drip a drop of jam into a bowl of water. If the dripped drop stays…

the jam is ready…if the drip dropped melts away it needs to cook longer. How fun is that?

Once the jam is drip-drop tested, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice (I used half a lemon for the one pound of apricots) and a few drops of good vanilla. Let cool, spoon jam into a covered jar or even a bowl and keep refrigerated.

Or better yet…

Grab a spoon and dig in.

Ahhh, the simple joy of apricot jam.

Pure perfection.

Wenderly

Easy Homemade Apricot Jam

(makes about 2 small jars)

What You’ll Need:

1 pound apricots
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon water
Juice of half a lemon
2 drops good vanilla

Note: Ratio of apricots to sugar is one to one. Measure the fruit after it is cooked down and soft.

What You’ll Do:

Wash, cut and remove seeds in the apricots.

Place apricots in a pot with 1 Tablespoon of water.

Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about an hour until apricots cook down and become soft.

When apricots are soft smash them with a fork or wooden spoon.

Add one cup of sugar and continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about another 30-45 minutes until jam starts to thicken.

To test for correct consistency, drip a drop of the jam into a bowl of water, if the drip stays in a ball in the water the jam is ready.

Add juice of half a lemon, 2 drops of vanilla, stir and let cool.

Place in your favorite container and store in refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Categories
Eat Main Courses

Ham & Cheese “Souffle”…It’s What’s for Brinner

I had the pleasure of being invited to host an Eggland’s Best “Brinner” the other night. I’m certain that you’ve heard of Eggland’s Best Eggs but you may be asking yourself “what in the world is a “Brinner”?  A Brinner is breakfast for dinner…brinner. Get it? Clever isn’t it? Wish I could take credit for the clever term however, I cannot.

I mean who doesn’t just love breakfast for dinner?

My nephew Fritz sure does…

If that doesn’t say happy camper than I don’t know what does.

I decided that the perfect scene for our Brinner would be our dining room.

The evening began with family and friends gathering around the table to enjoy each other and a delicious meal.

Henry couldn’t wait to dig in.

There were cousins full of fun and mischief,

followed by tender moments,

that turned into,

tickle fingers,

and uncontrollable giggles and grins.

There were precious moments.

Followed by million dollar smiles,

and delightful conversation,

while dining on fabulous food.

It was a night to remember.

Even Oakley wanted to join in on the fun.

Unfortunately, he was told that Brinner is for humans.

So he curled up at our feet in defeat instead.

I decided to make a cheese and ham “souffle” that my mother in law has made for years. It. Is. To. Die. For. Heavy on the calories mind you, but the perfect hearty dish to serve for a Brinner. We’ve also had much debate on whether or not this delish dish is actually a souffle or not. But for the sake of many years or it being referred to as such, I have chosen to keep the name.

The star of the dish is of course our Eggland’s Best Eggs.

We just love eggs at our house. They are delicious, nutritious and pocketbook friendly. What’s not to love?

Here’s how I make this delectable dish.

The recipe begins with the crust.

Melt *ahem* 1 1/4 sticks of butter (I told you it wasn’t calorie friendly) and pour it into a casserole dish.

Next add 4 ounces of Feta (because everything is betta with feta) and a half cup of Parmesan cheese and mix with a fork.

Once incorporated add 8 Tablespoons of flour one Tablespoon at a time.

Pat the crust with a fork until even, cover the dish and let it sit on the counter for an hour. I do realize that this sounds like a strange request, but my mother in law said to do it, so I did and it turned out to be incredible. So now I’m telling you to do it too.

Trust me.

After an hour cut some honey baked ham into rectangles.

Cover the entire crust with one layer of the ham. Then place Swiss cheese in a single layer on top of the ham.

I know. Decadent, right? But so worth it my friends. So worth it.

Now it’s finally time for the eggs. Crack 7 Eggland’s Best Eggs into a bowl (make sure that there isn’t any shell left behind)

beat the eggs until they are mixed together.

Continue beating as you pour in heavy cream…

this is a rich, creamy heavenly dish y’all. And no I’m not from the south but it just seemed appropriate to say y’all.

Place into a pre-heated 350º oven for 45 minutes until golden brown on top and a fork comes out clean.

It’s heaven in a dish.

I served mine with a mescaline mix salad and rolls. Really, this dish doesn’t need much as a side, a fruit salad would pair nicely as well.

And there you have it!

Brinner.

I highly recommend it. You should try it. You’ll love it.

Wenderly

Disclamer: I was not compensated to do this post. Eggland’s Best sent me a Brinner Box and paid for the groceries that were enjoyed for the brinner.  And as always, my opinions, thoughts and photos are 100% my own.

We have a WINNER!

A big thanks to all who joined in the fun and to the nice folks at Eggland’s Best Eggs!

Congratulations to Star who said…

Yum!! Looks delicious! And such a handsome family too!!! I might do a brinner at my house, I feel inspired! I think I’d make creme brulee french toast…it’s been on my list for a while.

Star I will be contacting you with details!

Happy Brinner!

A Giveaway! ****Closed*****

The nice folks at Eggland’s Best sent me this fun “Brinner Box” to help me out while participating in this fun event and they are also offering one as a giveaway for one lucky reader.

The Brinner Box will include:
* 2 Free EB Dozen coupons (Any variety- classic, cage-free, or organic)
* 1 Free EB Hard Cooked and Peeled variety coupon
* 4 EB ramekins
*  1 EB apron
* 1 EB whisk
* 1 EB spatula
* 1 EB egg timer
* 1 EB eco bag
* 1 EB plush egg

Just leave me a comment below telling me what YOU would serve at Brinner and you are entered to win.

Giveaway starts today Tuesday June 21, 20011 and will end Friday June 24, 2011 at noon. One person will be randomly selected and will be announced sometime Friday.

Here’s the recipe:

Ham & Cheese Souffle

Adapted from my mother in law

(serves 8-10)

Here’s what you’ll need for the crust:

1 1/4 sticks salted butter (melted)
4 ounces feta (crumbled)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
8 Tablespoons flour

How to make the crust:

Melt the butter and pour into casserole dish. Add feta and Parmesan mix with a fork until incorporated. Add flour one tablespoon at a time mixing between each addition. Pat mixture flat with fork. Cover and set aside on counter for one hour.

Here’s what you’ll need for the souffle:

7 eggs
6 ounces of thinly sliced honey baked ham (cut into rectangles)
4 ounces of sliced Swiss cheese
1 pint heavy whipping cream

Here’s what you’ll do:

Place ham rectangles in one layer on top of crust. Then layer Swiss cheese on top of ham. Beat eggs until incorporated in a bowl. Slowly pour heavy whipping cream into eggs while continually whipping the mixture.  Pour egg and cream mixture over top of crust, ham and Swiss cheese. Bake at 350º uncovered for 45 minutes until golden brown and a fork comes out clean.

Serve and enjoy your Brinner!