I went to Cleveland this past weekend to visit two of my oldest friends, Mike and Sarah, who happen to be married to each other.

I’ve known them since nursery and kindergarten! And now they have the most adorable baby boy.

Here, you can see some pics of us all over the years.

Sarah and her brother used to come stay with my family in Martha’s Vineyard for a week in the summer since we had a house there. Her brother was also in the same grade as my brother. Here are Sarah and me on my dad’s boat :)

Here’s Sarah and Erica (remember her from my bday cake post a month ago?) and me at Sarah’s bachelorette party:

I can’t believe we forgot to take a pice of all of us while I was visiting! I had such a good time with Sarah and Mike, and got the bonus surprise of having her parents visit too, so we had some good catching up :)

Anyway, since Mike typically has to work crazy hours and they’re both busy taking care of the baby, I figured I’d take the opportunity to make them a yummy dinner. Sarah suggested that I take advantage of their grill since I don’t have one in nyc, and that’s exactly what I did.

The weather was so nice. It was perfect for being out on the deck grilling.

Now I have to tell you that I’m not much of a griller. That was always the men’s job in my household (although my mom is pretty good at it). I guess no one ever really showed me how. I can never tell when the meat is cooked.

But that’s what’s perfect about this chicken. You bake it first til it’s fully cooked, so there’s no chance of undercooking it on the grill. The grilling part is basically just used to caramelize the sauce on it and heat it back up. Also, because you bake it ahead of time, you can make it mostly the day ahead and just heat it on the grill the day you’re ready to barbecue. Easy peasy.

Note that I took the pics before flipping the chicken. Yours should have grill marks and crispy skin on both sides when it’s ready.

Come back on Thursday for that salsa recipe I’ve been promising you, just in time for the 4th of July!

Important notes about the recipe:

You have to use skin on, bone-in chicken pieces or it will dry out. If you don’t like the skin, take it off when you’re ready to eat it, not before it’s cooked completely. It holds the moisture in. For this weekend, I used 4 breast pieces and a pack of chicken thighs. The breasts took maybe 10 extra minutes in the oven. You know they’re done when you prick it with a fork and the juices that come out are clear. If you’re worried with the big pieces, you can make a small incision in the thickest part and check that it’s not pink. If it’s a little pink it shouldn’t be a problem since they do end up cooking a bit more while on the grill.


Easy Grilled BBQ Chicken
Recipe from mom

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 lbs chicken pieces, bone-in, skin on
Seasoning: salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, etc
Equal parts of your favorite bbq sauce and Saucy Susan or other Sweet and Sour sauce (found in the ethnic aisle of supermarkets)

Preparation:

Bring chicken to room temperature. Liberally season chicken on both sides. Bake chicken, skin side up, at 350 for 30 min or until juices run clear when pierced with fork. Chicken should be completely, or almost completely cooked.

Cool chicken, or refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temp before grilling.

Mix equal parts of your favorite brand of barbecue sauce and sweet and sour sauce. The amount you use depends on how sauce you like your chicken, but I used about 1/2 small bottle of bbq sauce and had enough left for dipping.

Brush underside of chicken with bbq sauce mixture and place on grill. Grill 5-10 minutes or until grill marks form and sauce is caramelized.

Brush tops of chicken pieces and flip over, grilling skin side. Leave 5-10 min or until other side is crispy. Remove from grill and enjoy!

Remember, the chicken is fully cooked before grilling, so this step is really just to get that lovely caramelization.

Do you ever do/say something to someone and you don’t quite have it in you to apologize with words, so you bake cookies instead? That’s never happened to me 😉

With all of the stress that comes with looking for a new apartment, finding a mover, scheduling time for painters to come, figuring out where the furniture will fit (actually, my mom took care of that- Thanks, Mom!), etc, you can imagine, perhaps, that my behavior over the past week or two hasn’t been stellar. Nate can attest to this.

Luckily, I have a patient man on my hands. He’s put up with my stressing, yelling, and ordering him around. And although he hasn’t helped me to take care of any of the details (except for getting his beloved FIOS set up), I can’t say that he deserves the rage I’ve let loose on him on several occassions.

So I thought that when he got home from work yesterday, I’d surprise him with the sweet smell of cookies wafting from the oven.

This is a recipe I came across online, although I’ve seen several variations in recent months and have been intrigued- Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I was skeptical at first. How could 5 ingredients create such a moist, tender and delicious cookie? But one bite of the final product and I was a believer.

Try these for when you want to surprise someone special…or even to treat yourself. They take 25 minutes max from start to finish. Give them to the appropriate person and all will be forgotten…right, Nate :)


Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Southern Living

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Makes 2 dozen

1 cup chunky peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate morsels

 Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together peanut butter and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Stir in chocolate morsels.

 Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Bake at 325° for 15 to 20 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets on a wire rack 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack, and let cool 15 minutes.


I’ve been so busy these days. Between deadlines at work, apartment hunting (in NYC it’s an expensive pain in the butt), trying to keep up with my blog, getting a little exercise and making dinner semi-regularly, I barely have time to think!

It’s times like these that it’s good to have a collection of recipes on hand that are quick, don’t take many ingredients, are fairly healthy and taste really good. Among my hoard of recipes, I found one for a Potato Crusted Sausage Quiche.

The crust on quiche is usually the most fattening part, so I liked the fact that this used potatoes instead. Potatoes are fairly high calorie for a vegetable (because they’re a starch), but in comparison to a butter-filled pastry dough, I knew it would result in a fraction of the calories that the typical crust would be. Plus, the idea of a crispy potato crust sounded pretty yummy.

The potatoes on the sides came out looking really pretty, and they got nice and brown and crispy. The ones on the bottom of the quiche tasted really good as well, but they don’t crisp up like the sides. It was definitely a nice variation on a typical quiche.

I put sausage, scallions and cheese in mine, but other meats/veggies would work just as well! I used precooked chicken sausage so all I had to do was chop it up. Easy peasy.

Make this for dinner this week and you can thank me later for the extra time you save to catch up on your DVR 😉


Potato-Crusted Sausage Quiche

Adapted from a recipe I found in my collection, but I don’t know where it’s from

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Serves 4-6

5 large eggs (or 1 cup egg substitute)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp flour
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp tabasco
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or more if desired)
2 precooked turkey/chicken sausage links (about 6 oz),diced (I used Italian flavor but any would be delicious)
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, or enough to cover bottom and sides of dish

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine eggs, ricotta, flour, pepper and tabasco in a large bowl. Whisp to mix well.
Stir in cheese, sausage, and scallions. Set aside.
Coat a 9″ deep dish pie pan with cookin spray.
Slice unpeeled potatoes 1/4″ thick.
Arrange potato slices in single layer over bottom and sides of pan. You don’t have to cover every inch of the bottom but I actually cut some slices into pieces to have more full coverage on the bottom.
Pour egg mixture into crust.
Bake uncovered for 45 min or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 5 min before cutting. This step is important! It will be firmer and easier to slice cleanly after cooling.

Note: I’m still working on another Passover recipe or two, so check back next  week!

When I was growing up, my mom used to have company over fairly often. Whether it was a casual dinner party, a holiday meal, or small catering job, there were certain foods that were her entertaining staples. One of her favorites was a pass-around spinach ball hors d’oevure, both because of its simplicity and its popularity.

My brother and I were usually given the task of rolling the mixture into balls before putting them in the oven, and then later arranging the cooked ones on a platter and sticking a decorative toothpick in each one for serving. I don’t think that there was ever a time during this process that my brother and I didn’t eat at least 2 spinach balls ourselves for every dozen we nicely arranged on the tray.

Whenever I smell them baking in the oven, I am instantly transported back to those special occasions. Start making these now and I bet they’ll soon be making memories for you as well.


Spinach Balls

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Makes 32 pieces

6 eggs, beaten
2- 10 oz. pkg frozen cooked chopped spinach, thawed & well drained
2 medium onions, minced
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1/2 tsp or more salt, to taste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups herb stuffing mix

Combine all but stuffing, mix well. Add stuffing, mix, and set aside for 1/2 hour.

Form heaping teaspoonfuls into balls. Bake at 350 for 20 min on a greased baking pan. Serve hot.

*Can be frozen raw
**I didn’t feel like rolling them ALL into balls, so I put about half in a small casserole dish and just cooked it for a little longer and it came out just as good, although a little greasier since the oil couldn’t run off anywhere. But if you get lazy, this is another option.