Recipes

Dutch Oven Bread

Who doesn’t love the smell of bread baking? 

Even if you’ve never made homemade bread before, this homemade crusty bread is for you. It’s the perfect beginner recipe because it only requires 4 ingredients, there’s no kneading, and 95% of the work is hands-off. This recipe delivers delicious flavor, and a slightly crisp crust.  Not to mention the loaf is as big as your head… Brian and I had some fun taking pictures of how big it turned out. LOL

You can also add herbs and seasonings such as garlic, rosemary, dill, chopped onion, jalapeño, shredded cheese, chopped nuts, dried cranberries, etc. Get CREATIVE!

So let’s get right to it!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups warm water 105 degrees F

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. 

Optional: If you are using herbs and seasonings add them to the bowl and combine with flour mixture

Add the water and mix until the dough forms a ball.

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel.

Let dough sit covered at room temperature for 18-24 hours.

After 18-24 hours (or at least 1 hour before you want to serve) preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place a 5 quart dutch oven (or a baking dish) with a lid in the oven while it is preheating. 

While the oven is preheating, transfer the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface.

Form the dough into a ball, adding a few tablespoons more flour if needed. The dough should still be slightly loose. Then cover it with a floured towel while the oven is preheating.

Carefully remove the hot baking dish from the oven. Remove the lid and spray the dish with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.

Gently put the dough ball into the baking dish so it’s evenly distributed.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown.

Remove the loaf from the dutch oven and let it cool on a rack before slicing.

Recipes

NUTELLA SWIRLED BANANA BREAD

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread is the ultimate banana bread recipe. It is extremely easy and moist with swirls of nutella spread throughout. It’s perfect at breakfast served with your morning coffee or for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

The best bananas for this recipe are ones that are over-ripe. The peels should be at least half brown and easy to remove. The insides should be squishy and browning. I find myself buying bananas and never eating all of them so this recipe is a great way to save the bananas and my wallet. 

There is no need for a mixer. You can mix everything together in one large  bowl. The first step is to mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl! I use the back of the spoon or you can use a potato masher. Then, I just throw everything else into the same bowl and mix it together. I told you it was easy!

Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Grab your Nutella jar and microwave it for 10-20 seconds. Pour half of the banana batter into the loaf pan, and drizzle two spoonfuls of the warm Nutella over the banana batter. Add the rest of banana batter and repeat with the drizzle of warm Nutella. To achieve the marble look, take a knife and swirl it through the loaf pan.Bake in your pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes until golden on top and a knife or toothpick comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the loaf pan and serve in slices. I like to cut mine into thick slices but that is totally up to you! 

ENJOY!!!

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 overripe bananas, mashed (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup Nutella

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. Lightly grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add the sugar, butter, egg & vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  4. Gradually add the flour and baking soda, mixing until all combined.
  5. Pour half the batter into your pre-lined loaf pan and smooth into the corners.
  6. Warm your Nutella in the microwave for about 10-20 second to soften it slightly. 
  7. Drizzle a couple of spoonfuls over the batter in the loaf pan before adding the remaining batter on top.
  8. Drizzle the remaining Nutella to the top of your loaf before stirring the batter with a knife to create the marbled effect.
  9. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 40 minutes until golden on top. 
  10. Leave to cool in the loaf pan and serve in slices.

Recipes

Jerk-spiced Chicken with Roasted Sweet Plantain Salad and Mango Chutney Yogurt

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved going to Disney World. It is definitely my happy place!

I have so many amazing memories, from camping at Fort Wilderness to birthday celebrations at Epcot’s Food & Wine festival. 

Epcot is my favorite park to visit especially when they are hosting one of their festivals; Food & Wine Festival, Art Festival or the Flower & Garden Festival. 

Epcot’s festivals combine my love for Disney, food and wine. Honestly, what could be better than hopping around the World Showcase and sampling new foods, drinks and rubbing elbows with Disney fans? 

Brian and I always enter Epcot, in the back by the United Kingdom. We have a beer at the Rose and Crown while I flip through the festival’s passport, which contains the menus for each World Showcase Booth and a sticker to use to mark off that you have visited. Yes, I am a complete passport geek, every time we stop at a World Showcase booth, I have to check off the foods and drinks we have tried. 

So when I saw Disney had a cookbook with recipes from all their festivals including the festivals at Disneyland, I couldn’t resist. I had to have it. 

After purchasing the cookbook, Brian and I took a margarita break in Mexico like we normally do. I’m a huge fan of the Three Caballeros ride and the margaritas in Mexico. As we sipped our margaritas, we looked through the cookbook. I was so excited to see so many of our favorite dishes from the festivals and some new ones I couldn’t wait to make at home! 

During the Food & Wine festival, we absolutely loved the Jerk-spiced Chicken with Roasted Sweet Plantain Salad and Mango Chutney Yogurt at the Islands of the Caribbean booth. And guess what the recipe was in the cookbook! And here lays the inspiration for the recipe below! 

My parents are retired and love to travel. They recently bought me a Island Jamican Jerk Spice seasoning back from one of their cruise vacations. So this is the Jerk seasoning, I used but you can find a number of different types of Jerk seasonings at your local grocery store. 

In a large ziploc bag, toss chicken, 3 tablespoons of the Jerk seasoning and 1 tablespoon canola oil until chicken is completely coated. Refrigerate for one to two hours, the longer you allow the chicken to marinate the more flavor you will have. After the chicken has marinated, preheat the grill to medium-high heat, and remove chicken from the ziploc bag. Place chicken on grill grates and grill for approximately 10-12 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Rest for 10 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate, cover lightly with foil, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Mango Chutney

You can use a store bought Mango chutney or you can make your own. It is simple and turns out delicious. Chutney is made much the same way as you would make a fruit jam, but with vinegar to offset the sweetness, making it more appropriate for savory dishes. This chutney is spicy from ginger, garlic, and red chili pepper flakes. It gets its tangy-ness from the acidity in the mangoes and added vinegar, and it gets its sweetness from the mangoes and sugar. It pairs great with almost anything from his chicken, to a spread on a cheese board.

To make the sugar vinegar syrup, combine sugar and vinegar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add the peeled chopped mangoes, and chopped onion, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Leave the saucepan uncovered and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until syrupy and slightly thickened. Stir occasionally during cooking.

Mango Chutney Yogurt

Whisk 1 cup plain yogurt and 2 ½ tablespoons of the Mango chutney with chopped cilantro. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Place in the refrigerator until dinner time. 

Sweet Plantain Salad

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and brush a baking sheet with canola oil. 

Your plantains have to be ripe. The best thing to do is buy them a few days before you are going to make this dish. Plantains may look like bananas but they do not peel like one. Ripe plantains are a lot easier to peel. To peel a plantain, you will need to cut off the ends of the plantain, run your knife lengthwise through the skin of the plantain without cutting into the flesh, and finally, use your hands to pull the skin off. If some of the skin doesn’t peel off, use a vegetable peeler to remove the “stuck” skin. Place your peeled whole plantains on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, then flip and roast for an additional 15 minutes. After a total of 25-30 minutes, plantains should be lightly golden brown and soft. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Cut into bite-size chunks. 

While the plantains are roasting, prepare the rest of the salad. In a small bowl, combine Apple Cider Vinegar and chopped garlic, whisk together. Slowly add the canola oil, whisking as you add it to the bowl. Chop your red onion, peppers, cilantro and place into a large bowl with the plantain chunks. Pour the dressing over the top and toss until everything is well combined. Refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the meal. 

Once everything is done, it’s time to plate it up! In true Epcot fashion, take a scoop of the Sweet Plantain Salad and place it in the middle of a plate. Lay the grilled chicken on top and serve with a dollop of the Mango Chutney Yogurt. I also drizzled some of the Mango chutney over the top of the chicken and sprinkled chopped cilantro on top. 

During the Stay at Home Order, I have definitely been missing trips to Epcot but this meal made me feel like I was taking a trip around the World Showcase. 

This is a great recipe to make for a summer cookout yet it’s easy enough for a weeknight dinner. Trust me, you will love it!

INGREDIENTS

Jerk Chicken

  • 4 Chicken thighs and 4 Chicken drumsticks or 8 Chicken Breast
  • 3 tablespoons of your favorite Jerk Spice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Sweet Plantain Salad

  • 3 medium or 2 very large ripe plantains (they should have some black spots and be slightly soft) 
  • ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil, plus more for roasting the plantains
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • ½ cup red pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Jalapeno, chopped (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Mango Chutney, or you can buy the jar stuff

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 4 cups mangoes (2 to 3), peeled and cut in 3/4-inch pieces 
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped 
  • ½ tablespoon ginger
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes 

Mango Chutney Yogurt

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 ½ tablespoons Mango chutney
  • 2 ½ tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Jerk Chicken Instructions

  • Toss chicken, jerk seasoning and canola oil in a large ziploc bag, until chicken is coated. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. 
  • Remove chicken from the refrigerator and let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before grilling. 
  • Preheat the grill to medium- high heat. 
  • Remove chicken from the jerk marinade and place on a medium to high lightly oil grill. 
  • Grill chicken for approximately 10-12 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You may also broil, or roast the chicken in a hot oven (425 degrees F).
  • Rest for 10 minutes. Remove chicken thighs to a plate or serving tray, cover lightly with foil, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Sweet Plantain Salad

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and brush a baking sheet with canola oil. 
  • To peel plantains, cut off the ends from both sides. Then cut a long strip down the length of the plantain without piercing the fruit. Remove the fruit from the peel. 
  • Place peeled whole plantains on the prepared baking sheet and roast until tender and golden brown on both sides, about 25 to 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through. 
  • Combine Apple Cider Vinegar and chopped garlic, whisk together. Slowly add the canola oil, whisking as you add it to the bowl. 
  • Chop your red onion, peppers, cilantro and place into a large bowl with the plantain chunks. Pour the dressing over the top and toss until everything is well combined. 
  • Refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the meal. 

Mango Chutney, if not using store bought

  • Combine sugar and vinegar in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  • Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, until syrupy and slightly thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir occasionally during cooking.

Mango Chutney Yogurt

  • Stir together yogurt, mango chutney and cilantro. 
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve. 
  • Serve Jerk Chicken on top of Sweet Plantain salad with a scoop of Mango Chutney Yogurt and garnish with chopped cilantro. 
Recipes

PAN-SEARED CHICKEN PAILLARD WITH ARUGULA AND SHAVED PARMESAN

When the weather starts to warm up, I like to make lighter dishes. But I never sacrifice flavor! I love to use citrus in my recipes during the spring and summer.

This Pan-seared Chicken Paillard with Arugula and Shaved Parmesan embodies light and flavorful perfectly.
Paillard is when you take a piece of meat that is pounded out thin and cooked quickly.

This recipe keeps the seasonings simple. You top the lemon marinated chicken with delicious, peppery arugula drizzled with a truffle balsamic vinegar dressing. It’s fresh, and full of flavor. It’s the ideal spring or summer lunch or dinner. Pair it with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc (my favorite white wine), and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal!

First you want to start by pounding out the chicken. Place the chicken onto a cutting board and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Now take out all your aggression and pound the chicken with a mallet or you can use a rolling pin, that’s how my Meme used to do it. Pound the chicken until it is about ¼ inch thick.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.

In a mixing bowl combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder. I love using lemon zest in my dishes, especially homemade rubs or salad dressings.
Grab your zester, if you do not have a zester, you can use a box cheese grater on the fine side.
Zest half of a lemon, and juice half of a lemon in the bowl with the spices. Whisk all ingredients until well combined. Rub the mixture all over both sides of the chicken. Let the chicken marinate while you make the salad dressing.

The salad dressing calls for truffle oil which can be a strong flavor. I love truffle oil, but I know it’s not a favorite for all. So if you are not a fan of truffle oil, you can replace it with EVOO.
In a small bowl, add 1 chopped shallot, zest and juice of half a lemon, ½ teaspoon truffle oil, 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar and salt & pepper, whisking until combined. Set aside.

Drizzle about a tablespoon of EVOO into the hot skillet. Place each flattened chicken breast into the hot oil. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes or until fully cooked and golden brown.

Now for the plating!
This turns into a fresh beautiful plate!
Place the cooked chicken breast onto a plate and pile on the arugula. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan cheese over top of the arugula and chicken. Drizzle the Truffle Balsamic Vinegar over the arugula.

Enjoy!!

INGREDIENTS

For the Chicken:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Zest of ½ of a lemon
  • Juice of half a lemon

For the Salad:

  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • ½ teaspoon truffle oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 6 cups arugula
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS
Place the chicken breast on a cutting board and top with plastic wrap.
Pound out the chicken breast until it’s about a ¼” thick.
Place the chicken on a platter and brush a little olive oil on each side.
In a small bowl combine salt, pepper and garlic powder. In the same bowl add the zest and juice of half a lemon.
Generously rub the seasoning on each side.
Preheat your skillet with a swirl of EVOO. Turn down heat to medium-high and cook chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes on each side or until fully cooked.

For the salad dressing
In a small bowl, add chopped shallots, truffle oil, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in the middle of a plate. Squeeze the other half of the lemon over the top of the chicken.
Top the warm chicken with a nice big portion of the dressed arugula.
Take a block of Parmesan and, using a vegetable peeler, shave pieces right on top of the arugula.

Drizzle the truffle balsamic vinegar dressing over top.
Serve immediately.

Recipes

Springtime Chicken Meatballs with Garlic Yogurt & Chimichurri sauce

Today’s recipe is all about a vibrant Chimichurri sauce and creamy garlic yogurt that perfectly complement these flavored meatballs. You can serve this as an appetizer for Easter or as a light dinner. Trust me you are going to love this recipe!

I love making meatballs, it always brings me back to being a little girl, watching my mom and grandma, Meme in the kitchen. I loved helping roll the meatballs and watching them sizzle when they were added to the pan with hot olive oil.

First, you want to make the yogurt sauce and the Chimichurri sauce. The longer these two sauces have to marinate the better.

The garlic yogurt sauce is super easy. In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, garlic and some salt and pepper. That’s it! 

For the Chimichurri sauce, you are going to want to use your food processor, no worries if you don’t have one, a blender will get the job done too. If you do not have either of those, a sharp knife and some muscle will work too.

To the food processor or blender, add the cilantro, basil, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and a pinch of salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Pulse until combined but still slightly chunky, adding more olive oil as needed to loosen. 

I absolutely love this sauce, I have a small jar of it in the refrigerator at all times. It compliments just about anything from these meatballs to an omelette or as a dip with some chips.  

Now for the meatballs!

Chop ½ of a yellow onion,4 cloves of garlic and one cup baby spinach. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and slowly add the onion and cook until translucent and just starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the spinach, garlic and some salt, cook until the spinach is wilted. Next sprinkle in the fennel seeds and cook for another minute, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the chicken, breadcrumbs, basil, cayenne, onion powder, dried parsley, paprika, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and some black pepper and mix with a rubber spatula. Make well in the middle of the chicken mixture and crack one egg into the middle of the well. Here’s the fun part, using your hands mix the egg and chicken mixture until well combined. Using your hands, roll into golf ball-sized balls. 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

In the same skillet, heat up a ½ inch of olive oil. Add the meatballs to the hot olive oil but make sure not to overcrowd the skillet, and brown the meatballs on each side about 6 to 10 minutes total. The meatballs should be a nice golden brown. Remember you are not cooking them all the way through, we will finish them off in the oven. 

Place the skillet into the oven and bake for 6 minutes, take the skillet out of the oven and slowly pour ¼ cup white wine into the skillet. Place back into the oven and continue cooking, 5 to 7 minutes.  

You can serve these meatballs as an appetizer or the main dish with a side of jasmine rice or even on a salad with Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Chimichurri.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking meatballs
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped 
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped 
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds 
  • 1 pound ground chicken 
  • 1/2 cup Italian Panko breadcrumbs 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • 1 large egg
  •  ¼ cup white wine

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chimichurri:

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed 
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper  
  • Crushed red pepper

DIRECTIONS 

Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and cook until translucent and just starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the spinach, garlic and some salt and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the fennel seeds and cook for another minute, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the chicken, breadcrumbs, basil, cayenne, onion powder, dried parsley, paprika, thyme, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and some black pepper and mix. Roll into golf ball-sized balls.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with about 1/2 inch of oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the skillet, 6 to 10 minutes total. 

Place the meatballs in the oven, and set a timer for 6 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and slowly pour ¼ cup white wine into the pan.

Place back into the oven and continue cooking, 5 to 7 minutes. 

Serve with Yogurt Sauce and Chimichurri.

Yogurt Sauce

Add the yogurt, garlic and some salt and pepper to a small bowl. Mix to combine.

Chimichurri

To the food processor or blender , add the cilantro, basil, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and some salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Pulse until combined but still slightly chunky, adding more olive oil as needed to loosen. Taste and adjust the seasoning.