Friday, July 27, 2012

Recipe Swap: Magic in the Middles

This week's recipe swap was Blogger's Choice.  See the roundup at A Taste of Home Cooking.  I was assigned the blog Cookies on Friday.  I bet it comes as no surprise to you that Nicole, the voice behind this blog, primarily posts cookie recipes.  But, she doesn't just make or post them on Fridays :).  In fact, I was impressed that she has OVER 500 different types of cookies on her blog.  I didn't even know where to begin!  Somehow I narrowed it down to Peanut Butter Nutella Sandwich CookiesMomofuku's Compost Cookies (my cousin Laura's favorite!), and Magic in the Middles before letting my husband, the resident sweets connoisseur  make the final decision.  He believed in magic.

This cookie is basically a soft chocolate sugar cookie with a surprise peanut butter center.  Think of it as cookie stuffed with a buckeye candy filling.  Oh and as you can imagine, it is extra MAGICAL when you eat them warm from the oven or zapped in the microwave for a few seconds so that the filling gets nice and gooey.  *Drool*.  I'm embarrassed to say that I ate two of them straight from the pan.  I just couldn't help myself!  And this is exactly why we decided that sadly, the cookies had to go for the sake of our health and off to work they went.

To say my co-workers LOVED these cookies would be an understatement.  One had one for breakfast (yes cookies are the breakfasts of champions don't ya know?) and then subsequently came back throughout the day for two more, another messaged me and said they were "awesome!!!" (yep, it warranted 3 exclamation points), and one stopped by my desk after their cube neighbor "came back drooling" over the cookies.

Looks like my husband picked a winning recipe.  Thank you so much Nicole for sharing and can't wait to go back and try more cookies from your blog!

Magic in the Middles

Magic in the Middles


For the Chocolate Cookie Dough

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
For the Filling

  • ¾ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • Additional sugar for dipping
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
  2. To make the filling, combine the peanut butter and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Shape the mixture into 26 level teaspoon-sized balls.  Put shaped peanut butter balls in refrigerator while you make and shape the chocolate dough.
  3. In a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; Set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat together sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.   Mixture should not be dry/crumbly.  If it is, add a small amount of milk to smooth it out (it will continue to dry as it sits).
  4. Shape the chocolate cookie dough into 26  level Tablespoon-sized balls. Make an indentation in the dough and press one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation. Mold the chocolate cookie dough around the peanut butter ball, sealing completely and rolling the dough back into a ball shape.  Do not worry if some peanut butter is showing...unless you're a perfectionist then by all means take the extra time and labor to make sure the peanut butter is totally secretive!  Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  5. Roll the dough balls in sugar and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Using a drinking glass, flatten the cookies to about ½ inch thick. Bake for 7-9 minutes, until they are set. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Source: King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion as seen on Cookies on Friday

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pasta with Grilled Plum Tomato Sauce

Who has fresh vine ripened tomatoes ready to be eaten?  Or, have lots of green tomatoes that are soon to be ripe?  My tomato plant is looking rather sad.  It got burned up by the 100+ degree heat wave that we had recently and despite my daily watering, the leaves are rather crisp.  But, I did get a few good tomatoes off of it and also am getting some lovely heirloom tomatoes from my Cedarmore CSA share.  And my oh my what lovely flavor these home and farm-grown tomatoes have when compared to their tasteless grocery store counterparts!

This recipe is very simple and relies on the grilling to add depth.  I'd only consider making this with farm fresh Summer tomatoes and the highest quality ingredients.  It's the simple pleasures in life that you have to come to appreciate :).

One Year Ago: Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Three Years Ago: Honey Lime Grilled Chicken - to this day still one of my favorite grilled chicken recipes!

Pasta with Grilled Plum Tomato Sauce


  • 10 medium plum tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
  • 4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (add more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbs minced fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound pasta (I used Angel Hair)
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving
  1. Prepare grill. Lay the tomatoes on a large baking sheet and brush with 1 tablespoon of the oil.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the tomatoes on the grill and cook, turning once, until the flesh is streaked with dark grill marks and the skins are charred and blistered, about 8 minutes. 
  2. Transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board and cool them slightly. Peel and discard the tomato skins, and chop the tomatoes.  Transfer to a large bowl, and combine with the garlic and oil, basil leaves, parsley leaves, and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until al dente, and drain.
  4. In a small skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat, and add the garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook until just fragrant and beginning to turn golden-brown, one to two minutes.  Remove from heat.
  5. Toss the pasta with the tomato sauce and mix well.  Divide evenly among serving plates, sprinkle with Parmesan, and serve immediately.
Source: Originally from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, by Jack Bishop as seen on and adapted by Pink Parsley.

Monday, July 23, 2012

SRC: Pineapple "Ice Cream"

It's that time of the month again!  This month for Secret Recipe Club (SRC) I received Erin's blog, A Tale of One Foodie's Culinary Adventures.  Erin started her blog much for the same reasons that I did.  And that's to document the cooking and baking that we do.  When I was browsing Erin's blog, I was greeted by some pretty delicious looking cupcakes in her header and found lots of drool-worthy desserts.

Because my husband and I are watching our weight and we absolutely LOVED the 5 Minute (Healthy) Chunky Monkey Banana "Ice Cream" that I made last year, I thought I'd give her pineapple version a try.  It was very simple to make and definitely tasted of summer.  Not as custard-like and creamy textured as the banana version but I think adding more yogurt could help with the creamy taste.  Or, leave it out entirely for a vegan sorbet treat.  I did leave out the booze in this instance since we ate it right away but you can add it back in if you're into that or plan to save for later.  I hollowed out a pineapple half and scooped the "ice cream" inside it for serving.  It also serves as a great freezer mold :).

Thanks Erin for this healthy recipe and I look forward to going back to try some of your more unhealthy treats like the Frozen Reese's Peanut Butter and Oreo Pie, Peanut Butter Toblerone Cheesecake, or Truffle Filled Chocolate Cupcakes.

As usual a special thank you to April of the blog Angel's Homestead, SRC ring leader and Angela of the blog Big Bear's Wife, our Group C Hostess!

Pineapple "Ice Cream"

  • 1 whole pineapple, cut up into bit size chunks and frozen
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp spiced whiskey (omitted)
  • 3 heaping Tbsp non-fat Greek yogurt
  1. Combine ingredients in food processor until smooth and combined.  Scrape down as needed.  Enjoy!
Source: A Tale of One Foodie's Culinary Adventures

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cold Avocado Soup with Sweet Corn and Bacon

I don't know about you but for us in Ohio, it's been hot hot HOT outside.  Generally this summer it's been over 90 degrees most days.

When I saw this recipe, I kept going back and forth on whether or not to make it.  I love avocados but have never made a cold soup before and knew my husband would reject it because's green.  But, I went with it and am so glad that I did.  This soup is plain addicting.  I loved the creamy texture and light avocado flavor.  The corn and bacon topping just brings it to a whole new level.  I mean really.  How can you go wrong with bacon?  Don't skip the topping because it gives the soup life but I personally enjoyed it more when that too was chilled vs. warm.  This soup was so refreshing to eat after a hot day and stayed good in the fridge for a few days afterward making a wonderful post-workout meal.

This post was bumped up by request of Whitney and I hope you all enjoy it!  If there are recipes you'd wish to see on my blog or want to help me prioritize what's posted next, come join the discussion on my facebook fan page.

Cold Avocado Soup with Sweet Corn and Bacon

For the Soup:
  • 2 ripe Haas avocados
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream, creme fraiche, Greek yogurt, or milk (optional if you’re vegan)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water
For the Topping:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 ears fresh corn, sliced from the cob
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, de-seeded and diced
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped (optional if you’re vegan)
  • small handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. To make the soup, place avocado flesh in a blender along with vegetable broth, lime juice, sour cream (if using), cayenne, and salt.  Blend until the avocados are creamy.  Remove the center from your blender lid, and while blending, slowly add the water.  Soup will be done when smooth, with your desired consistency.  Feel free to add a touch more water if you prefer a thinner soup.  Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.  Place in a container in the fridge while you make the topping.
  2. To make the topping, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until translucent and browned, about 5 minutes.  Add corn and jalapeno and cook for 3 minutes more.  Add sliced bacon and parsley.  Cook until everything is warmed and just browned.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If desired, chill the topping before serving.
  3. Pile about 1/2 cup of warm topping into a bowl.  Pour cold soup around the topping.  Serve and enjoy.  Soup lasts up to three days in and airtight container in the fridge. 
Source: Joy the Baker

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Spicy Beans and Rice Burritos

This recipe is for my facebook fans Lauren and Sara who requested that this be my next post.

I really enjoyed this vegetarian meal and Chris called it like homemade Chipotle but better.  This was a light and refreshing meal that came together easily.  It made a lot of burritos (6) so I had many burritos for lunches that week.  I also saved some of the extra beans and rice mixture to serve with taco salads that we had for dinner that same week.


Spicy Beans and Rice Burritos


For the filling:
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Several dashes cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked rice (brown rice, if desired)
  • 1/4 cup fresh salsa of preferred spiciness
For serving:
  • 6 burrito-sized tortillas, warmed (we like to use Flatout Flatbread Wraps)
  • 8 ounces shredded cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Fat-free Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  1. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, chili powder, chipotle, adobo sauce, cumin, and cayenne. Cook briefly until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add in drained and rinsed beans, and water. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to medium-low and cook for 8 minutes, mashing the bean mixture slightly. Remove from heat, and stir in rice and salsa.
  2. Divide mixture evenly among the center of each tortilla. Top with cheese, lettuce, green onions, and greek yogurt. Roll up and serve!  Make extra burritos and wrap in foil for an easy future meal :).
Source: As adapted by and seen on A Bitchin' Kitchen from Cooking Light

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Product Review: Graeter's Ice Cream

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Fellow foodies and ice cream enthusiasts, believe me when I say you haven't lived until you've tried Graeter's ice cream.  Seriously, if I could only eat ONE type of ice cream for the rest of my life, it'd hands down be Graeter's Black Cherry.  There's a reason Oprah named Graeter's her favorite ice cream and has it shipped to her to eat.  It is just sinful.  Velvety, creamy texture with flavors that just dance on your tongue.  Fresh, wholesome, REAL ingredients that you can pronounce.  The quality shines through and through.

The awesome people at Graeter's said they'd send me some of their homemade, hand-packed, small batch French pot process ice cream to review.  I felt a little silly having them ship me their ice cream (on dry ice which isn't cheap, mind you!) when there's a scoop shop just down the road from my house but they insisted.  And who am I to turn down FREE ICE CREAM?  No, not me.  Thank you!

Believe me when I say I tried to secure some to giveaway to you, too.  Unfortunately, they're not doing giveaways at this time :(.  So live vicariously through me for now and enjoy the "food porn".  Once you've realized you can't take it anymore (oh...say in a couple photos from now...) and simply must have your own Graeter's ice cream to eat, consider stopping by your local scoop shop, grocer (they're not available nationally!), or order online to enjoy this irresistible treat!  Visit their website for more details on where to find it.

The ice cream arrived by UPS Next Afternoon Air packed in a nice Graeter's brand styrofoam cooler with dried ice.  No worries about the ice cream melting even in the record hot summer heat.  Opening the cooler was literal Christmas in July.  I didn't know what amazing flavors would be sent to me or how many.  This is what greeted me:
Hellooo four pints of amazingness!
A chip assortment: Mocha chocolate chip, Mint chocolate chip,
Vanilla chocolate chip, and Black rapsberry chocolate chip.
For those unfamiliar with Graeter's ice cream, their signature flavor is their Black Raspberry Chip, which was included in my shipment.  And when they say "chip", they mean "CHUNK"!  Don't be surprised when you find literal whole pieces of rich, dark chocolate candy bar in your scoop.  Sometimes, it seems almost as if someone added some ice cream to your chocolate ;).  Oh and the best part?  Somehow they manage to keep the chunks the perfect texture/hardness.  It's easy to scoop and melts oh-so-silkily in your mouth but the ice cream is still nice and hard.  How do they do that??  Graeter's does not skimp on quantity or quality here and I was excited to try all these different "chip" flavors that they're so famous for!

Oh yeah!  THAT's the stuff.  Check out those chunks!
To be honest, my husband and I actually had not tried most of the flavors they sent us so it was a nice change from the norm.  Here's what we thought about each flavor:

Vanilla Chocolate Chip:
We decided to start with the most basic flavor that was sent to us.  You can always judge the quality of a good ice cream by their vanilla because there's nothing else to hide or mask it.  As is the case with all Graeter's ice cream bases, this was really rich and creamy.  Divine, really.  All their ice cream use real cream free of artificial growth hormones.  The strong vanilla flavor, made from Madagascar vanilla beans, was authentic and the bittersweet chocolate chunks were very plentiful and the "right size" according to my husband.  This flavor didn't disappoint!

Black Raspberry Chip
THIS is the stuff that dreams are made of.  Who can resist the beautiful (and natural!) vibrant color of this gorgeous ice cream?  But just wait until you have a bite...sensory overload!  Smooth fruity black raspberry flavor made from hand-picked Oregon black raspberries is complemented by the bittersweet of the chocolate.  With just one taste, you'll understand why this is their signature flavor.  And with each additional bite, you'll fall in love over and over again.  

Mocha Chocolate Chip: 
Neither Chris nor I are much of coffee people but we found this to be pretty enjoyable and coffee lovers I'm sure would go ga-ga.  Keeping with using only the highest quality ingredients, they use 100% real Arabica coffee beans.  It's like a creamy, chocolate flavored iced coffee and of course, filled with Graeter's famous chocolate, chunks.

Mint Chocolate Chip
We chose to save this flavor for last because mint always seems to have a way of transferring itself to other flavors and we didn't want to taint the rest of our tasting experience.  Unlike most mint chocolate chip ice cream, Graeter's mint chocolate chip is white, not artificially colored green.  It used to be green but in an effort to make the ice cream 100% natural, the food coloring was removed.  I have friends that swear it's not as minty anymore (let's face it, visual cues are huge and we do eat first with our eyes!) but I found the amount of mint to be just right.  Plus, I appreciate Graeter's taking out unnecessary ingredients so the good stuff can really shine!

So there you have it folks, our review of four different popular Graeter's ice cream flavors.  Did you make it through reading this far or have you already run off to get your own scoops or pints?  My other favorite flavors when I visit the scoop shop?  Besides Black Cherry, which we already discussed, I can also highly recommend Elena's Blueberry Pie and Cookies and Cream.  I didn't realize it until now but I guess I'm an ice cream purist and actually prefer the non-chip flavors!  My husband, the peanut butter-aholic, almost always gets the Buckeye Blitz.  That's not to say that he won't ask for the occasional free sample taste spoon of the Peanut Butter Chip (surprise, surprise) or Cookie Dough justtt in case he changes his mind ;).

I'm curious, Which flavor of Graeter's ice cream is your favorite or would you most like to try?

PS: If you are fortunate enough to have a Graeter's nearby, you can stop in and get a single dip of your favorite premium ice cream in a sugar cone for just $1.42 today in celebration of 142 years of Graeter's and National Ice Cream Day.  What a deal!  And husband and I are totally stopping by to take advantage of this offering despite the fact that Graeter's already stocked our home freezer with 4 pints.  Gotta get my Black Cherry and he his Buckeye Blitz!  There's a reason why their slogan is "Irresistible since 1870".  They really are just that irresistible!

Disclosure - This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Christine @ Christine's Kitchen Chronicles. The owner(s) of this blog was compensated with free products to provide an opinion on the products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

WINNER of the Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese Giveaway

Before I jump straight into announcing the winner I just wanted to say thanks to Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese for sponsoring this fantastic giveaway.  May it be the first of many sponsored opportunities on this blog!  Also, HUGE thank you to my readers who follow along and enter.  We do this all for YOU!

Time to announce the WINNER!  Drum roll please....

Today's winner is...

Lucky commenter #15!  And that commenter is Renata!

Renata now gets to try that delicious sounding combination!  Please email me at with your name and address by 12:00PM (noon) on Monday, 7/16/12 so we can get you your yummy biscuits right away!  If I don't hear back from you by the deadline stated, I'll be forced to draw another name.

Congratulations, Renata!

For everyone else, stay tuned because Daelia's also sent me some of their latest products to review and giveaway!  Hint: Who likes BEER?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Recipe Swap: Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Portabellas

The theme for this Recipe Swap was Vegetarian.  I submitted my favorite veggie meal - Sauceless Garden Lasagna and received this recipe from Jenna's Cooking Journey.  See the full round-up at Taste of Home Cooking.

I love mushrooms and I love spinach artichoke dip so I thought this recipe would be a no-brainer home run for me.  But I have to admit that it fell a little bit flat in terms of flavor.  I'm not sure where it went wrong since most others that have made it had raved about it.  Maybe I didn't put enough salt?  Or maybe it was my substitution of Greek yogurt for the mayo?  Whatever the reason, something just seemed to be missing from this recipe for me and I probably won't be making it again as written.  Possibly I'd consider trying the concept with my favorite Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip, though.  At least I got my veggies in for the day!

One Year Ago: Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries - So good!
Three Years Ago: Jamie's Minestrone - Still one of my absolute favorite soups to date!

Remember, last chance to enter my Daelia's Biscuits with Cheese Giveaway.  It ends at midnight and your chances of winning are pretty good!

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Portabellas

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 4-5 medium-large portabello mushrooms, wiped clean and stems removed
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (I used Greek yogurt)
  • 1½ teaspoons dried Italian Seasoning
  • 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 small jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup coarse Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Asiago cheese 


  1. Preheat the oven to 450˚ F.
  2. In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with two thirds of the minced garlic. 
  3. Scrape the gills from the inside of the mushroom caps.  Set the mushroom caps on a baking pan, gill side up, and brush lightly with the garlic-oil mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the filling.  Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, remaining garlic, ½ teaspoon of the Italian Seasoning, and the spinach in a medium bowl.  Stir together until evenly blended.  Gently stir in the artichokes.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon the filling mixture over the roasted mushroom caps.
  5. In another small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, Asiago and remaining 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning.  Stir with a fork to blend.  Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the filling mixture on each mushroom.  Bake for 10 more minutes or until golden and warmed through.  Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted and submitted by Jenna's Cooking Journey from Annie's Eats

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Grilled Steakhouse Pizza

This pizza is a man's dream.  It is pizza.  And it has steak.  With lots of sauce.  Don't tell me your husband or other men in your life wouldn't go crazy for this.

And, a leftover repurposer's, fast meal, too!  It was a great way for me to use up leftover steak that I had already grilled on a previous night, used pizza dough that I always have frozen on-hand, and made use of the Heinz 57 steak sauce that I bought for the Pulled Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches.  Win for the husband and win for me!  Of course, if you don't have leftover steak, you can just throw one on the grill, just before/while the pizza grills, too.

I loved all of the flavors in this pizza.  Very bold and manly.  Pioneer Woman originally baked this but I wanted to try grilled pizza and figured why not try it with this recipe since it was like 110 degrees outside.  It worked out fantastically.  Grilled pizza has a little extra oomph of char flavor and will be my cooking method of choice during the hot dog days of summer.  Try it!

By the way, just a couple more days to enter my Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese giveaway!  My husband ate the remainder of my Almond Raisin ones last night and I was so upset when I went to snack on them only to discover they were no more.  It was only in this moment that I realized how much I really loved them!

One Year Ago: Persian Turkey Kofta Kebabs and Tomato Basil Orzo Salad
Two Years Ago: Fajitas
Three Years Ago: Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs

Edited 7/15/12: A really awesome thing happened on Friday the 13th.  This post was listed as #3 on the FoodBuzz Top 9 list!  What a total honor and thank you!

Grilled Steakhouse Pizza

Grilled Steakhouse Pizza


  • 1/2 Recipe pizza crust
  • 1 Skirt steak or flank steak, grilled to medium rare and cut into thin slices
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Red onions, sliced thin
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup steak sauce (more if desired)
  • Green onions (optional)
  1. To Bake: Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Arrange rack in the bottom half of the oven.To Grill: Heat grill to medium-high heat (450F) and generously oil the grate (I use a paper towel wad soaked in oil and held with tongs).
  2. Saute red onions in butter and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat until dark and caramelized, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Combine marinara sauce with 2 tablespoons balsamic and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside.
  4. Roll out pizza dough until very thin. If grilling, make 2 smaller individual sized pizzas so that it's easier to handle.  
  5. To Bake: Top with marinara mixture and spread to coat dough. Lay caramelized red onions all over the sauce, then top onions with slices of mozzarella cheese. Bake pizza for 12-15 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly (but watch to make sure it doesn't burn.)
    To Grill: Carefully place dough rounds onto the grill and cover.  Allow to cook until nicely browned on bottom and large bubbles form on the surface (about 3-4 minutes).  Carefully remove the dough from the grill and with the cooked side facing up, top each pizza with marinara mixture.  Lay caramelized red onions all over the sauce, then top with mozzarella cheese.  Carefully return the topped pizzas to the grill and cook until the bottom is browned and cheese is melted (about 4-6 minutes).
  6. Remove pizza from the oven or grill, then drape slices of steak all over the surface. Drizzle the top of the pizza with steak sauce (use squirt bottle if you have one) and top the whole thing with Parmesan shavings. Garnish with sliced green onions, if desired.  Cut and serve immediately.

Source: Pizza recipe from Pioneer Woman.  Grilling directions from Annie's Eats.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Parmesan Crusted Goat Cheese with Basil Oil

Remember that goat cheese ball that the girls were raving about at my spa party last week?  They claimed it was the perfect accompaniment to all flavors of Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese that we sampled and I promised to share the recipe with you all.

It has a tangy flavor from the goat cheese and a little bit of sharp nuttiness from the parmesan.   The ball sits in a pretty bright green pool of basil oil for presentation.  If I had a good crusty bread I'd dip it in there but otherwise you could simplify and do without missing it too much.

By the way, have you entered to win your own Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese yet?  The giveaway ends on Friday, 7/13 so don't miss your chance!

One Year Ago: 7 Layer Taco Pie with Cornmeal Crust
Two Years Ago: Sauceless Garden Lasagna

Parmesan Crusted Goat Cheese with Basil Oil

Parmesan Crusted Goat Cheese with Basil Oil
Photo Credit: Emily H.
For the Goat Cheese:
  • ½ oz. Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 oz. semi-firm plain goat cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ tsp. coarse salt, plus more to taste
For the Basil Oil:
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Place the parmesan in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until finely ground.  Add the panko to the bowl and pulse a few more times so the cheese and crumbs have an even, fine texture.  Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.  Transfer to a shallow plate or bowl.  Wipe out the bowl of the food processor.
  2. Place the goat cheese in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the salt over the minced garlic and smash the mixture together with a fork or the side of a chef’s knife until it forms a paste.  Add the garlic paste to the bowl with the goat cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir the mixture together until smooth and well blended.  Form the goat cheese mixture into a round ball.  Roll the ball in the Parmesan-panko mixture until well coated.  Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  3. To make the basil oil, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.  Add the basil leaves to the pot and boil for 30 seconds.  Drain and rinse immediately with cold water.  Blot the basil leaves with a towel to remove all of the excess water.  Add the basil leaves and the garlic to the bowl of the food processor.  Pulse until finely minced.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  With the food processor running, add the oil through the feed tube in a steady stream.  Continue processing until the mixture is well blended and the oil takes on a green hue.  Strain the oil mixture through a fine mesh sieve onto a serving plate.  Place the ball of goat cheese in the center of the basil oil.  Garnish with additional fresh basil if desired.  Serve with any flavor Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese (recommended!) or baguette slices.
Source: Annie's Eats

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Macadamia Lemon Bars

One thing that I have always wanted to make is lemon bars (see my 23 in 2011 list).  But, I'll be honest.  I just never got around to it.  I had asked my friend Emily if she needed any help prepping for our friend Jackie's shower.  Call it a challenge by my friend Emily to hold me to my ambition or just plain fate but this past weekend finally forced me to finally make those lemon bars.  And, she couldn't have picked a better recipe.

These were a total hit at the bridal shower.  The bride loved it, the bride's mom, the groom's sister, my mother-in-law (who got some leftover treats), even my normally fruit-hating husband.  Everyone LOVED this recipe and I was asked twice in a single day today to please post this recipe (hence this last night posting!).  

The macadamia nuts in an already buttery and delicate crust really transformed them into something especially delicious.  I added an extra tablespoon of lemon juice (reflected below) because I like a strong lemon flavor.  Feel free to adjust it back down two tablespoons instead of three if you desire less tang.  You really can't go wrong either way with this recipe!

One Year Ago: Summer Pasta Bolognese
Two Years Ago: White Chocolate Strawberry Parfaits

PS: Have you entered to win 6 free packages of Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese?  If not, you're totally missing out and there's still time!

Macadamia Lemon Bars

Macadamia Lemon Bars


For the Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped
For the Filling:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (preferably organic)
  • 2 Tablespoons macadamia nuts, chopped
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.  (Or, double the recipe and bake in a 9x13 pan.)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and melted butter.  Stir in the nuts.  Press into the bottom and 1/2" up the sides of prepared baking dish.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  (If you're making a larger pan, 20-25 minutes ought to do it.)
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.  Beat in the eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest until light and fluffy.  Pour filling over hot crust then sprinkle with nuts.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned (Again, for a larger pan, bake it longer until it sets and doesn't jiggle in the center, about 20-25 minutes).  Cool completely on a wire rack.  Dust with powdered sugar and cut into bars.  Chill until ready to serve.
Source: Slightly modified from All Recipes

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Product Review and Giveaway: Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese

Well it has certainly been awhile since I've had a giveaway, huh?  The last one I did was an autographed copy of Pioneer Woman Cooks and that was paid for out of my own pocket because I love my readers.

Imagine my excitement when I received my first sponsored giveaway offer!  It sure does make me feel like a more special blog in this big worldwide web.  Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese found me through FoodBuzz and offered to send me a sample pack (six packages total - two of each flavor, 15 biscuits per pack) of their gourmet biscuits in exchange for a review of their products.  But it gets even better, they also offered to mail one of my lucky readers the same box of deliciousness!  The cherry on top is that they are locally based Cincinnati company - my beloved hometown!  Of course I had to say yes!

About the Product

They say that you eat with your eyes and these Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese are certainly a visual treat with their large chunks of fruit and nuts in every bite!  Totally amazing and not sure I can go back to plain old crackers again.  Photo Credit: Emily H.

Here's a bit more about their company, in their own words:
Daelia’s Biscuits for Cheese were created to enhance the cheese eating experience, whether the cheese is made locally or imported from around the world. Launched in 2009 at the American Cheese Society Conference in Austin, Daelia’s Biscuits for Cheese is still a new company. We currently offer three biscuits – Almond Raisin, Hazelnut Fig, and Pumpkin Seed Rye. All biscuits are twice baked and made in small batches to guarantee the perfect texture.  They also contain carefully selected fruits, seeds, and nuts, and pair well with a variety of specialty cheeses. Our biscuits are all natural, high in fiber, low in sodium and crunchy – the perfect addition to any cheese plate.
Our biscuits are available in Whole Foods nationwide and various independent cheese shops. They can also be purchased online at

Putting the Product to the Test 

I served my Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese at a spa and chick flick girls night.  My girlfriends and I had a blast and you really can't go wrong getting pampered with a mani while you have biscuits, cheese, and let's not forget the wine in hand!  

Based on suggestions from Daelia's, I provided 4 different cheeses: Baby Brie, Sharp Cheddar, Blue Cheese, and Parmesan Crusted Goat Cheese with Basil Oil (stay tuned for the recipe!) to pair with the biscuits.  I had originally wanted to do all different types of cheese balls (including Blue Cheese and Caramelized Balsamic Onions as well as Cheddar with Pecans and Bourbon) but decided to keep it mostly classic for this tasting...perhaps next time!  It's a good thing I kept the Goat Cheese ball in the mix though because it quickly became the favorite, almost stealing the show!

Gotta know the recommended pairings!  Photo Credit: Emily H.
Mmmm say "cheese" (and wine!...served in hot pink glasses!)!  Photo Credit: Emily H.
The now famous Parmesan Crusted Goat Cheese with Basil Oil AKA Goat Cheese Ball.  Seriously, come back soon to get the recipe because you'll be kicking yourself otherwise!  Paired well with...well, everything!  Photo Credit: Emily H.

So What'd We Think?

The crowd favorite seemed to be the Almond Raisin biscuits (by a hair!) and while those were pretty darn delicious, I actually found myself having a slight preference for the Hazelnut Fig.  Of course, all three were pretty darn delicious!  Here's what my girls and I had to say:
"I loved the sweetness and chewy texture of the fruit contrasting with the crunch of the nuts, seeds, and biscuit itself.  Eaten alone (and it's definitely worthy of that!) it's much like a biscotti.  When you pair it with cheese a symphony of flavors and textures come together in your mouth making it very very happy.  I mean really, if you think about it, these biscuits are quite genius.  Fruits and nuts are already typical cheeseboard accompaniments and Daelia's has taken the liberty to combine them into a single sturdy biscuit DESIGNED to complement all kinds of cheese!  These aren't going to break from the weight of the cheese or knife like a regular cracker sometimes does (I hate that!).   My favorite was the Hazelnut Fig paired with Blue Cheese (I LOVE a pungent blue!).  Almond Raisin was a close second and I did appreciate how versatile that particular biscuit flavor was (by the way, was I the only one that detected a slight hint of cracked pepper in it??).  Speaking of versatility...and shameless plug...but that Parmesan Crusted Goat Cheese Ball worked on everything, too!!  Last but not least, Pumpkin Seed with Rye had a more subtle flavor than the others and no sweetness...which I missed after tasting the other two but you really can't go wrong with any of the three flavors.  Overall I recommend Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese and am not sure I can go back to regular crackers after tasting these!" -Christine
"The biscuits were a great twist on boring crackers. I love cheese and crackers, but the cracker is usually just a way to deliver the cheese to my mouth. These biscuits changed things. The biscuits pair perfectly with the cheeses suggested - especially the Almond Raisin with Christine's goat cheese ball (Christine you should post that recipe too)!"  -Vanessa
"My favorite was the Almond Raisin with the cheddar. The Salty cheese and sweets cracker is a good contrast.  I think they were complimentary to the cheese but not overwhelming. The cheese is definitely still the main star of the show when they are paired together." -Tinlee
"I guess my favorite was the Almond Raisin -- It was delicious with all of the cheeses ;).  For me, I just like the cheeses in general -- the delivery device is more or less irrelevant. Lol. Overall, however, I don't think I'd ever buy these -- we discussed that they were reminiscent of biscotti, and quite frankly, I just like biscotti better." -Anonymous
"I thought the biscuits paired beautifully with the cheese.  Each biscuit had a very distinct flavor and you could definitely taste the ingredients.  My favorite was the Hazelnut FigThe biscuits reminded me very much of thinly sliced biscotti. They are definitely a classier upgrade to traditional crackers :)" -Jackie
Is your mouth watering yet?  Because it should be.  Now, time to learn how to WIN some biscuits of your own!  (That is why you're here after all, right?)

How to Enter

To enter to win a set of six (6) packages of Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese (two of each flavor: Almond Raisin, Hazelnut Fig, and Pumpkin Seed with Rye; Retail Value approximately $36):

MANDATORY: Follow them on twitter @DaeliasBiscuits and leave a comment here on my blog letting me know that you did.

You can receive UP TO THREE ADDITIONAL ENTRIES to win by doing any or all of the following:
  1. Follow me on Twitter @ChrissesKitchen.  Come back to let me know you've followed me in an additional comment to score an extra entry.  (The additional comment part is really important!).  If you're already following me, let me know too so my loyal readers get credit!
  2. Tweet the following about the giveaway: “RT @ChrissesKitchen @DaeliasBiscuits: #Win Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese #giveaway: #biscuitsforcheese #noms”.  Come back and let me know you've shared in an additional comment.
  3. Tell me which Daelia's Biscuit you look forward to trying the most and what type of cheese you'd pair it with.  Leave me an additional comment for another entry.
Last but not least, Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese and I would love if you'd follow us on Facebook too but we can't give you a credit for entry for that because it's now against their terms and conditions.  So, you'd follow us out of the kindness of your heart ;).  Follow Daelia's Biscuits for Cheese.  Follow Christine's Kitchen Chronicles (I just passed over 100 fans - THANK YOU!).

Deadline: Friday, July 13, 2012 at 11:59pm EST.

Eligibility and Winner: Sorry, this contest is only open to those in the Contiguous 48 United States and Canada.  The winner will be chosen at random using and announced in a blog post by 12:00PM (noon) EST on Saturday, July 14, 2012.  To claim the prize, the winner must email me at  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours of being announced, another winner will be selected.

Thanks for reading (and tell all your friends)!

Disclosure - This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Christine @ Christine's Kitchen Chronicles. The owner(s) of this blog was compensated with free products to provide an opinion on the products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches

These dainty little tea sandwiches were delightful at my friend Jackie's bridal shower and though very simple, would make the British Royals proud.

At first when I looked at the recipe I had to do a double take on the butter for a couple of reasons: 1) 1 teaspoon per slice of bread?? and 2) unsalted?  Well, after some thought, the reason for the latter was clear to me - smoked salmon is salty so you don't need any from the butter, too.  As for the entire teaspoon of butter on each bread slice...I just couldn't bring myself to do that.  When I researched the rationale, tea sandwiches are usually heavily buttered because it supposedly provides structure for the bread.  For the calories though, I was willing to take my chances and am happy to report that I was able to get away with using about 1/2 teaspoon per slice of bread.

If you're making a lot of sandwiches like I did (13 in total!), you will probably want to do it assembly line style buttering all the bread first, then moving on to the cream cheese, then finally the salmon and cutting.  After taking a couple sandwiches all the way through from start to finish I realized it was a mess and not so effective since handling the salmon made my hands pretty slimy.

I'm a little anal and actually weighed out my cream cheese and salmon as I put them on my bread slices (mostly because I didn't want to run out before I had made enough sandwiches because I bought just enough!).  If you're trying to stretch your dollar, you can get away with using less of both (about 0.8 oz cream cheese and 1.3 oz salmon seemed okay to me).  The end product will not suffer as there is plenty of flavor to go around.  Oh, and I couldn't resist but to add fresh cracked pepper and a few squeezes of lemon juice to brighten the flavor.

Three Years Ago: Peanut Butter Cookie Treats

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches
Photo Credit: Emily H.
  • 2 small slices bread (I used white and wheat sandwich breads for variety and less waste on cutting since the edges are straight instead of round on top)
  • 1 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1 ounce low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1.3-2 ounces smoked salmon
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Pepper (optional)


  1. Spread one teaspoon of butter on one side of each slice of bread. 
  2. Mix the dill into the cream cheese. If desired, add a few squeezes of lemon juice and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Spread the cream cheese on the buttered sides of bread. 
  3. Layer the salmon on the cream cheese on one slice of bread, and cover with other bread slice. 
  4. Cut the crusts off the sandwich and then on the diagonals to create four triangles.
Source: Slightly modified from