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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quick, Tasty, Pretty Holiday Cheese Ball

This was a HIT!  It took only 5 minutes to make, it looked beautiful and holiday-ish with the red craisins and green pistachios.  Such a great hors d'oeuvre!

2 Tbsp roasted pistachios, chopped
2 Tbsp dried cranberries (or craisins), chopped
1 8- to 10-ounce log fresh plain goat cheese (not the flavored herb kind)
Crackers for serving (I use cracked pepper Carr's water crackers)

1.  On large plate, combine the pistachios and cranberries.
2.  Roll the goat cheese log in the mixture to coat. 

Date, Walnut and Bleu Cheese Ball

My mom has a fantastic recipe for a homemade cheeseball, but this one sounded so good I wanted to try a new one for Thanksgiving.  It was a MAJOR hit!  I found the recipe in Cooking Light magazine.  I also served it with Triscuits - it seemed to be just the right taste and texture for the cheeseball combination.

1 C (4 oz) crumbled bleu cheese
1 Tbsp nonfat buttermilk
8 oz lowfat cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp minced and pitted Medjool dates (about 3 dates)
1 Tbsp minced shallots
1/2 Tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 Tsp kosher salt
1/4 Tsp black pepper
1/4 Cup minced, fresh, flat-leaf parsley
2 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped walnuts, toasted

1.  Place first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy.  Add dates, shallots, lemon rind, salt and pepper; beat at medium speed until well blended, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.
2.  Spoon cheese mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap.  Form into a ball using a rubber spatula.  Wrap cheese ball in plastic wrap; chill overnight or 4 hours if making the day of.
3.  Combine parsley and walnuts in a shallow dish.  Unwrap cheese ball; gently roll in nut mixture, coating well.  Place on a serving plate; serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pistachio Crusted Chicken and Lemon Pepper Linguine

Okay, you're gonna have to be patient with me on this recipe.  I kind of "winged-it", but I'll do my best to write down the exact measurements and details.  But you can "wing it" too, if you trust yourself!  Also, the chicken and the actual pasta were purchased at specialty stores, so try to find something similar, or improvise.

Serves 2


2 Butterflied chicken cutlets, pistachio crusted, from WHOLE FOODS
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Cups (when cooked) homemade Lemon Pepper Linguine (I bought mine from a farmer's market.  You can probably find a fresh pasta at Whole Foods as well).
1 Tbsp margarine
1/2 Cup dry white wine
1/2 of a Lemon, fresh squeezed
1 Shallot, chopped
1 Garlic clove, crushed
1 Tsp dried basil
1/2 Tsp sea salt
1/2 Tsp black pepper
Sprinkle of parmesan cheese

To Make:

In small saucepan, melt margarine.  Add shallots and garlic.  Saute on low-med heat until shallots are almost transparent.  Add wine, lemon, and remaining seasonings.  Simmer on low heat.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan on med-high heat.  Once it gets hot, place both chicken breasts in.  Cook on each side about 6 minutes until done, flipping every so often to avoid burn. 

Cook pasta, set aside without rinsing to drain.  Toss pasta in lemon butter sauce until thoroughly coated.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  YUM!