Pesto Crisps

The family and I were heading over to our family friends’ house for the annual Holiday Eve party.  Exciting things were going to happen, and I’m not talking about the flooded downstairs bathroom!  We always enjoy their gatherings and are so fortunate to be considered part of their family.  But first, what was I going to bring for everyone to nosh on??  It had to be something quick and easy (see above about the flooded downstairs bathroom, I wasn’t kidding) because so much of my time had been used.  Hmmm, thinking, thinking . . .  And now, looking, looking through my Food Network Magazine.  Food goodness always comes from my Food Network Magazine.  Bingo!  These did not disappoint and were gobbled up ridiculously fast!


1 pkg wonton or egg roll wrappers (I used egg roll and was able to get 2 cutouts per wrapper)
1 small container prepared pesto
Salt for seasoning


Preheat oven to 350 °.  Using holiday cookie cutters (for any holiday, or just round ones), punch out shapes from the wrappers.  Place on parchment lined backing sheet.  Brush lightly with prepared pesto and season with salt.  Bake until golden around the edges, about 8 minutes.  They can be enjoyed by themselves or with any variety of dips.

Total time: 20 minutes

Pesto Crisps

Pesto Crisps

*From Food Network Magazine

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Chicken Under a Brick

I will not like it under a brick. I will not like it on a stick. I will not like it here or there. I will not like it anywhere. I will not . . . Nom, nom, nom. I do, I do like it under a brick. I will, I will like it on a stick. Sorry, my son read Green Eggs and Ham to me this evening, so I’ve got Dr. Seuss on the brain. Or on a train. Maybe with a cane? Here I go again! I know that when they say chicken under a brick, they don’t mean a real brick. Or do they? I decided to take the recipe to heart and ran out front to get a brick. How cool is that?? I’m cooking under a brick! Let me just say, though, that chicken under a brick is so amazing I began to wonder what else I could cook under a brick . . .


2 tsp olive oil
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 ½ lbs)
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs fresh rosemary (about 2 sprigs)


Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.  Place chicken, skin side down, in skillet and sprinkle with rosemary.  Put a large sheet of aluminum foil on top of chicken, take a second skillet and place it on top of the chicken, use something heavy (I used an actual brick from the garden) such as a large can of tomatoes, to weigh the skillet down.  Cook chicken until golden brown and crisp (about 10-12 minutes).  Turn chicken over, weigh it down again with the skillet and “brick”, continue to cook until cooked through (3 – 5 minutes).

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Pinot Grigio
Pinot Noir
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 6 large portions

Prep time: 5 minutes; Total time: 25 – 30 minutes

Chicken Under a Brick (1)Chicken Under a Brick (2)

*Derived from Do It Delicious

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Stone fruit Cake

From the first bite, I had visions for this cake. I envisioned myself sitting on the deck, drinking my coffee, reading the Sunday paper, eating this cake still warm from the oven. Also, I envisioned myself inviting my best girlfriends over for brunch and serving this cake with a mimosa. Dust it with powdered sugar instead of the cinnamon and sugar and inviting friends over for the last BBQ of the season just got a little easier. No matter how you slice it (did I just really say that??) this cake deserves to be on your regular rotation. Oh, and don’t let me forget to me mention, my first bite of this cake was Thanks to my good friend Michele O. I’ve switched it up a little (because that’s what I do), but you can try her version, it was amazing!

photo (2)



1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar + 2 T divided
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
3-4 sliced peaches (or other ripened stone fruit, MO used nectarines)
1/2 cup raspberries
1 tsp cinnamon (MO used fresh grated nutmeg)


Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together butter and 3/4 cup of sugar; add 2 eggs, blending one at a time; add vanilla and beat until fluffy.

In separate bowl, whisk together flour with baking powder. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, beat until just blended.

Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray (MO buttered her pan). Spread dough into pan. It’s going to look like there isn’t enough dough. Believe me, there is.

Top dough with fruit. In a small bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over top of cake.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Either serve immediately, or whenever the mood guests arrive.

Cook time: 45 minutes; Total time: 1 hour


Derived from: Michele Oeberst recipe

Slow Cooker Chicken with Cashews

Sometimes I think the slow cooker is a working family’s best friend. Or, almost like a built-in chef. You just have to do the prep work. What I like to do is get everything prepped the night before and put in zip lock bags in the refrigerator. Then, the next morning before I leave for work or the gym, I just have to put it all in the slow cooker and set the timer. There is nothing better than coming home and your house smells like dinner! It’s also nice if no one knows you are making dinner in the slow cooker, beat them home, and hide the slow cooker evidence. Everyone is so thrilled with all of the hard work that went into this wonderful meal that YOU get to put your feet up with a glass of wine while they do the dishes! But that’s our little secret

Cashew Chicken - Serving Bowl


1 lb skinless boneless breasts, cut into 1″ pieces (I used thighs, it was what was in the freezer)
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (I also replaced the water in the rice cooker with chicken broth, it added some creaminess to the flavor)
2 cups peeled baby carrots
4 Tbs ginger-flavored soy sauce (or reduced sodium soy sauce)*
8 oz snow peas, trimmed
2 (8 oz) cans pineapple tidbits, drained, with 2 Tbs juice reserved
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
3 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 cup roasted cashews
3 cups hot cooked rice (optional)


In a 4-5 quart slow cooker, combine chicken, carrots, broth, and 2 Tbs of the soy sauce. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5 hours. Stir in snow peas, pineapple, and bell pepper. Cover and cook for additional 20 minutes

During that last 20 minutes, in a small bowl combine remaining 2 Tbs soy sauce, the reserved pineapple juice, and the cornstarch. Stir into slow cooker. Stir in cashews, Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until liquid is thickened. If serving with rice, this is the perfect time to get the rice cooker going.

*Try to get the ginger-flavored if you can, it is really worth it and adds a wonderful dimension to the dish

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 minutes, Slow Cooker time: 3 1/2 – 5 1/2 hours

Cashew Chicken - Served

*From Family Circle via magazine