This week I have a couple recipes for your Fourth of July barbecue or any of your summer gatherings! The first one is this berry/Lime crostini. So easy and easily can make a couple dozen depending on how thick you slice the bread. The bread can be toasted in your oven or lightly grilled. I used a combination of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, but these would be great with strawberries too, or any combination your family likes. These take no time to make and should be served immediately.
1 French baguette, sliced on a diagonal 1/4 – 1/2 inch
Whipped cream cheese, about 1 Tablespoon per bread slice
Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries – or your choice of berries
Honey to drizzle
Zest of 2 limes
Place your bread slices on a baking sheet and place in the oven on broil, keeping the oven cracked open slightly, DO NOT WALK AWAY…these toast up very quickly! Or place the bread slices on your grill and lightly toast one side. Remove from oven or grill. Top each slice with about 1 Tablespoon of the whipped cream cheese covering the bread slice, top with berries, drizzle lightly with honey and zest lime over the top. Do this for each slice and serve immediately.
A couple weeks ago I told you about taking the train into Boston with our niece Becky and her man Adam and eating our way through Boston. Not only did we go to Haley.Henry wine bar but we also went to Al Dente located at 109 Salem street in the north end of Boston. With Al Dente being our first stop of the day and none of us having much for breakfast, as we knew we were in for some amazing food, we were all hungry and ready to eat!
We decided on three dishes and all share them. It did not take us long to agree on a couple dishes but I will say the menu is fantastic! While we were deciding, we had bread with dipping oil in front of us and of course our drinks! Our first choice was the Bruschetta ($8.95) toasted garlic bread with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. We dove into the dish pretty fast and all enjoyed All,of the fresh flavors. Great start for sure!
Our next dish was one of their specialties, the lobster ravioli ($11.95) This is a lobster and cheese filled ravioli in a light marinara sauce with shrimp, a touch of cream and Romano cheese. I love a good lobster ravioli And this one was excellent. There was no question why this dish is one of their specialties, light, fresh and filled with lobster and shrimp in the sauce.
The last dish we ordered was Pasta Alfredo with freshly made spiral pasta. this dish was hands down a favorite of all of us! If there were not other people in the restaurant, there would have been a fight as to who was going to lick the plate clean. We did contain ourselves but I can say the plate was in fact very clean when we were done…not a drop of that amazing sauce was left. This dish is $14.95 and worth every penny. You can choose the type of pasta you want with it, but oh that sauce, that amazing sauce is made with heavy cream, butter, egg and fresh Parmesan cheese. What a great way to start our day in Boston! Good thing we had some walking to do before we were at our next stop!
I can say ANYTHING you get from Al Dente will be good. This restaurant is not just cozy and casual, it really is like being at your grandmother’s house for Sunday supper. The food choices will please anyone’s taste buds, they even have a kid’s menu. They have many pasta sauces to choose from, along with seafood, veal, chicken and of course some house specialties. Al Dente is open daily starting at 11:30 am. They do take reservations and you can find more information including their full menu online at http://www.aldenteboston.com/
These are some fun pictures I took as we walked through the city. Jim left his cell phone at home so he felt connected to the pay phone on the street!
Thanks so much to Adam and Becky for such a fun day in Boston!
I have seen this cake floating around on Pinterest for sometime now. I pinned it a couple weeks ago and decided to make it as it looked like the perfect summer cake with the mandarin oranges and the pineapple. This cake goes together very simply. This is perfect for any summer gathering you may be having. I shared this with my parents as well as a couple neighbors and we were all in agreement that this is a delicious cake. I think Jim liked it the best! You all know that I’m not a baker and it’s my least favorite thing to do in the kitchen but I will make this cake again! If I can make it, I know all of you can too!
1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 can (11 ounce) mandarin oranges, NOT DRAINED
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can crushed pineapple (8 ounce), NOT DRAINED
1 package (3.5 ounce) instant vanilla pudding
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans.
In a large bowl beat the cake mix, oil, oranges-not drained, eggs and sour cream until well blended.
Evenly divide the batter into the 3 prepared pans. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Mine took about 18 minutes. Let cool in the cake pans for 20 minutes, then turn the cake pans upside down onto a cooling rack and let the cakes cool completely.
To make the frosting beat the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer or handheld blender until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl combine the crushed pineapple, not drained, and the instant pudding powder, mix until combined. Add the whipped cream into the pineapple/pudding mixture and stir to combine.
Place the first cake layer down on your serving platter frost the top of the fiRst cake, add the second frosting on top and finally add the third and final cake layer and frost the cake completely on the top and sides. Serve right away or store in the fridge until ready to serve.
We loved these jalapeño bites! Spicy from the jalapeño and the “hot” sausage cooled slightly with the cheese…with a crisp bite from the bacon! I made two versions, one being bacon wrapped with two kinds of cheese and the second version was gluten and dairy free without the bacon. Robby did not want the bacon on them. But for Robby’s version I used a gluten and dairy free cheese. I made 20 bites (10 jalapeños) and let me tell you both plates were empty in record time. We liked them so much I went to the store the next day and bought more jalapeños. The sausage makes a lot so I had plenty of the filling and bacon left. The filling is also great on nachos or even on pizza. This will be on made many times at my house, even when we hit the road camping! The filling can be made ahead and I would crisp and crumble the bacon and just put the crumbles on top for a camping version. All you would need to do is assemble them, place on a baking sheet and grill until they are heated through! Our family likes spicy food so I use the hot sausage, but you can use the regular sausage as well.
NOTE – one jalapeno will give you two stuffed portions. I made them twice buying 20 jalapeños in total. Depending on how many you want you can purchase as many jalapeños as needed using all of the filling or using the filling for other yummy things!
1 package Jimmy Dean HOT sausage
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Bacon- I used a half slice bacon per sliced jalapeños
NOTE – If making them dairy free/gluten free use dairy free, gluten free cheese. I used Daiya brand.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack on top of the baking sheet, set aside. In a large frying pan fry the sausage over medium heat until fully cooked, crumbling the sausage as it cooks through. Drain any fat from the pan and add both cheeses, cook melting the cheese and mixing it into the sausage making cheeses goodness! Remove from heat and set aside.
Slice the jalapeños in half, using a spoon remove the ribs and seeds from the middle of the jalapeño, do this for each one. To fill, simply fill each jalapeño half with a spoonful of the sausage mixture and wrap 1/2 of a bacon slice around the jalapeño. Do this for each one and place on your prepared baking sheet with the baking rack. When all of the jalapeños are filled and wrapped bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until bacon is cooked through and lightly crisped. Remove from oven and serve warm.
Tucker’s Restaurant just came to Dover, NH and I am excited to tell you about this new breakfast and lunch restaurant! Tucker’s has three other locations that my adorable niece Kelly and her guy Jack have been to. They love it and before the Dover location opened they were telling me about their favorite dishes. Kelly’s favorite dish is one of Tucker’s specialties, the banana bread French toast, house baked banana nut bread grilled in French toast batter and topped with fresh bananas, honey maple glazed walnuts and whipped cream! How amazing does that sound?This is definitely on my need to order list!
Jack’s favorite breakfast is also one of their specialties, the Southwest Sunrise Skillet with two fresh eggs scrambled with onions, piquante peppers, pepper jack cheese, herbs and spices served over crispy hash browns topped with fresh sliced avocado and a drizzle of chipotle sauce. This is served with gluten free bread or the bread of your choice! After hearing all of this I could not wait for the Dover location to open! Thankfully it was only a week till the opening, and I was able to go for their grand opening event that they had prior to the official opening day to the public.
I went to the pre-opening event with my good friend Leanne. We arrived at about 10 am to a crowded parking lot so we knew everyone had already heard about this gem! Tucker’s was certainly buzzing with activity when we walked in. We were each promptly seated with a menu. Every pre-opening is a little different but this opening allowed you to order anything off the menu all free of charge! I have to say it did take us some time to decide as everything looked and sounded amazing. I am a sucker for a good Benedict because I don’t make them at home. To my surprise they had my all time favorite Benedict, a Sausage Benedict. Once I saw that my choice was made! It’s a pretty straight forward dish…English muffin, all natural sausage patty, poached eggs and of course that creamy delicious Hollandaise sauce! It was absolutely cooked perfectly and the sausage had some really great flavor. I most definitely will be back for that again! Let’s not forget those crispy hash browns on the side, those were just as tasty!
Leanne had a cup of coffee and the “Mitch” breakfast sandwich. This sandwich is made with north country smokehouse Canadian bacon, hash browns, fried egg, melted Vermont cheese on grilled sourdough. Delicious, right? I think our conversation slowed way down at this point as we were loving our breakfast. Leanne and I both liked the fiesta dish ware they have as well.
Tucker’s has some other great breakfast choices, some of the usual menu items and some a little different. They have a Brisket Benedict with chimichurri sauce or how about a Mediterranean Omelet with mushrooms, piquante peppers, tomatoes, grilled spinach, feta, cheddar and calamata olives. I told you about a couple of the specialties that Kelly and Jack love but another option are their homemade biscuits and gravy. That’s another dish I don’t make at home but one that Jim enjoys now and then! They also have many gluten free options as well as gluten free toast.
Although we went for breakfast, they are open for lunch as well and after checking out that menu I know we will be going back for lunch as well. Lots of great sandwiches, wraps, soup and salads to choose from, not to mention mac and cheese and couple different types of grilled cheese. If you are looking for something a little healthier they have a couple of quinoa bowls to chose from as well.
Find them online or on Facebook where you can see all the menu options, locations throughout NH and times of operation. If you have a location near you, get there you will not be disappointed! Thank you to my breakfast date Leanne and of course to Kelly and Jack for all of their input and sharing their favorite dishes with me!