Wednesday, June 30, 2010

birthday dinner part 2: sage mozzarella risotto with turkey bacon

i adapted this recipe from cooking light based on what we did or didn't have in the kitchen.  it truly was the perfect pairing for the filet mignon i had made with it. the pan sauce for the steaks snuck over to the risotto on the plate and added even more flavor. i know that a lot of people get scared when they see the word risotto (kim) but i promise it's worth the effort. there is nothing more delicious then a hot bowl of cheesey bacon risotto.


4.5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups arborio rice
1-2 teaspoons dried sage
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
6 slices turkey bacon, cut into small pieces


bring chicken broth to a simmer in a sauce pan, keeping warm over low heat.  in a dutch oven, heat evoo over medium high heat.  cook turkey bacon until crispy. melt butter in bacon renderings. add garlic and onion, cooking for about 4 minutes.  do not let the garlic burn or you will have to start over. add rice and s&p, cooking for 1 minute. add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next ladle. this process will take anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes. once done, stir in sage and more s&p. remove from heat, add mozzarella and top with crispy turkey bacon.

birthday dinner part 1: mustard crusted filet mignon

i made this recipe as part of rae's birthday dinner. to make if even more special, i wrapped the filet mignon in bacon. ooooo bacon. i whipped up a quick herb mustard compote to spread on top and grilled it - that simple. here's how to do it.


4 filet mignon steaks, between 4-6 oz each
4 slices of bacon
1 tablespoon horseradish mustard
1 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup low sodium beef stock 
1 tablespoon butter


preheat skillet over medium high heat with evoo. wrap one piece of bacon around each filet, securing with small toothpick. meanwhile mix together mustard, parsley, thyme, rosemary, garlic, 1 teaspoon evoo and s&p in small bowl. brush tops and bottoms of steaks with mixture. grill for about 5 to 7 minutes per side, depending on how rare you like it. remove steaks from heat and let rest before serving. add beef stock to pan and use a wooden spatula to scrap up the brown bits. let this reduce by half. add butter to get a beautiful glaze to the pan sauce. pour over steak before serving.

as a side note, i read a really interesting article about using the palm of your hand to test the doneness of you meat. try it next time you're cooking!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

this week in the kitchen

we've got a birthday in the house this week and you know what that means - i'll be pulling out all the stops for rae rae's special birthday feast. later on i'll be cooking the chicken tortilla pie i never got around to making last week. (i know you thought i forgot about it).  i also have lots to share about a bridal shower that sis and i catered over the weekend...stay tuned.
  • herb grilled beef tenderloin with sage and bacon risotto
  • grilled chicken and peach salad
  • chicken tortilla pie with fresh spicy salsa

Thursday, June 24, 2010

grilled chicken wings with horseradish mustard sauce

i made this the other night for the gals as part of our low-cal meal plan this week. the prep was easy and a single serving clocks in at about 270 calories (this recipe makes 4 servings). i'm not usually a fan of horseradish, but it gives the dish an extra layer of flavor that combines nicely with the cool creamy mayo. i served it with an easy breezy tomato mozzarella salad.

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon horseradish dijon mustard, divided
1 tablespoon evoo
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 lb chicken whings
3  tablespoons light mayonnaise
2  tablespoons water
garlic powder

preheat grill pan over medium-high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. combine 1 teaspoon mustard, evoo, rosemary, garlic powder (to your taste) and s&p in a small bowl. brush evenly over chicken. grill chicken about 3-4 minutes per side until it's cooked through and has nice grill marks. while the chicken is cooking, combine remaining 1 tablespoon mustard, mayonnaise, s&p and water in a bowl. to serve, drizzle sauce over grilled chicken while its still hot. this is the perfect recipe for your next summer bbq.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

whole wheat pasta with roasted garlic white cheddar wine sauce

i got this recipe from one of my favorite foodies, good things catered.  it was pretty simple to put together and tasted wonderful. the roasted garlic lent a wonderful flavor to the dish and you would never know that there is not milk or cream in it. jazz this dish up however you prefer, using whatever vegetables or proteins you like to make it your own.

16 oz whole wheat rotini
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup roasted garlic paste (how to roast garlic)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 large head of brocolli, cut into florets
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast
2 cups extra sharp white cheddar, shredded
red pepper flakes
grated parmesan cheese

bring large pot of water to a boil. cook rotini according to box directions to only al dente. add broccoli to boiling water 3 minutes before pasta is done to quickly blanch it. drain and set aside. meanwhile, melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. cook for a couple minutes and add garlic paste and some s&p.  add flour and cook until a roux forms and becomes a golden brown color, about 2 minutes. add wine and cook until evaporated. using a whisk, stir broth into pan and simmer sauce until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. using a wooden spoon, add cheddar and stir constantly while returning to a boil. fold in pasta, broccoli and chicken and fold until sauce covers uniformly. season with red pepper flakes, s&p and parmesan cheese.

i'm pretty sure everyone went back for seconds with this one. you probably will too.

Monday, June 21, 2010

this week in the kitchen

the jcrew 30% off summer sale has begun today and there are lots of bikinis on my wish list.  i've planned this week's menu around the fact that these bathing suits are tinnnnnny and i'll need to be fitting into my new purchases. the theme is simple and low in calories. here's what we got.
  • chicken tortilla pie with fresh spicy salsa
  • grilled chicken with rustic mustard cream sauce
  • whole wheat pasta with roasted garlic white cheddar wine sauce
here's to hoping i fit into that bikini...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

a sick girl's guide to leftovers

on top of everything that has been going on lately, i got sick this week with some sort of summer cold that needs to go away in time for our trip to the cape. to soothe my soul and my sniffles, last night i whipped up some chicken noodle soup with some leftovers i had in the fridge. i had made a roast chicken a couple nights before that ended up being a great time-saver for the dish! {to make the chicken - mix together equal amounts of minced rosemary, garlic, thyme, parsley and sage with some evoo and s&p.  rub herb mixture under skin of bone-in chicken breast.  cook for 30-45 minutes on 425 until skin is golden brown and juice run clear.}

2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup minced onion
1 to 2 carrots, diced
2 springs of fresh thyme
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
couple cups of roasted chicken
1 tablespoon dried dill
any pasta noodle you like - we had leftover angel hair

there's no real recipe to chicken noodle soup. it's pretty simple and you can add or substract things to your liking. but here's how i did it. heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat with evoo. add carrots, onion, thyme springs and garlic. let it cook for about 10 minutes until the carrots have begun to soften and the onion is translucent. {there is no need to remove the thyme leaves from the springs. they will fall off naturally throughout the cooking process.} i would have added celery at this stage if i had some. add chicken stock, water, dill and s&p. reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, letting the flavors meld together. add chicken and noodles and cook just until everything is heated through. 

i know that soup doesn't sound to appealing in the summer heat, but it sure did cure my cold. well that, coupled with the fact that i've been ODing on tylenol cold and honey sore throat lozengers.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

escape to the cape

tomorrow, we venture up to the cape.  sis and the rest of the crew arrives on friday.  it's gonna be happy little irish reunion with the family and we've all been looking forward to it for quite some time now.  it's going to be one of those weekends where you go away to relax and you end up needing serious daily naps to catch up afterwards.

anticipating this, be and i are headed to martha's vineyard for a few days to recharge the batteries after the weekend. 

the idea came to me while combing through my june issue of elle decor.  oh meg ryan's home on the vineyard is delicious.  we won't be staying at a dreamhome quite like hers but a much more quaint, hob-knobby b&b.  it's going to be our own version of fabulous.  in the meantime, welcome to her home.

i'm particularly taken to pher affection for blossoming branches and the color purple.

(photo credits -

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

'talk to me' necklace

i wanna say i spent about 20 minutes in anthropologie over the weekend trying on statement necklaces. so vain i was hogging up the mirror.  oh well...there are just too many choices.

snagged this lil girl up.  i had a hard time choosing between colors but i'm in love with this one's minty freshness.

janet, sally, and ellen - i'm channeling you!  i can see you now in your sailor stripes and statement necklaces. so chic!

Monday, June 14, 2010

wonderful wanderlust

lusting for wanderlust {for madewell}.  and now you can shop online for all the goodies too.

and these bits and pieces from wonderlust’s website sums it all up.

“this is a true story.

girl lives in new york. girl loves fashion, color, art, 5 inch heels and travel.  girl works at big fashion mags and later, huge global fashion design companies. girl travels around the world in search of the cool and the new.

girl resolves to open a shop someday in some cool place that carries only clothes that speak a global language, stuff that translates everywhere and anywhere.

girl goes to cambodia, and falls in love. she is head over 5" stiletto heels with the colors of this country, the smell of lemongrass, the sunset warming the verdant rice paddies, the yves-klein-blue shade of the sky.

girl goes back to new york, ditches her job, sells her furniture, packs a few inappropriate but necessary heels, and heads back to cambodia. spends golden dawn to glowing dusk working side-by-side and hand-to-hand with leng and her master seamstress team, tripping through the local markets to find prints and cottons that shout, “happiness!”

and the result is wanderlust, a lifestyle concept dedicated to giving girls gorgeousness, beautiful things handmade by the beautiful people of this beautiful country, beauty that easily translates to budapest, boston, battambang, bolivia, brighton or any beautiful place they call home."

lets go shopping now?

(image credits -,

going coastal

a whole crew of fagans are hitting up cape cod in the coming days and we can't wait to get up there.  the thought of biking through yarmouth has me yearning for my own lil beach cottage someday.  a girl can dream, right?  maybe for now, maybe combing through etsy and some beach-inspired housewares will have to do.

porcelain sea urchin bud vases - i lined a bathroom shelf at miss peg's with these guys

waverly coral pillows

sealife in a shadowbox

vintage vase full of budding coral

small scalloped bowl

i'm inspired.  but i still want to go to the beach already.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

lights out?

keeping up with a blog is much like a being in a new relationship. in the beginning, everything is so bright and cheery.  you have so much to talk about with each other. each day is an exciting new adventure. the laughs never slow down.  then you get close to the one year mark and reality sets in. to keep the thing going or commit head on?

there's no hiding it and you know it - we have been capital m to the capital i to the capital a.  we've got some great excuses - moving into a new home sweet home, wedding weekends, traveling across the country, work woes - you name it and we've done it over the past month.  but at the end of the day, excuses only get you so far and you have to make a decision.

so we're communicating again, we're listening to one another, and we've made a decision...

we've got a good thing going on here and it would be silly to call it quits so early. 

(photo credits -,,