Sunday, February 26, 2012

Baked Pears

One of the many wonderful desserts my mother made when I was a kid was baked pears.  The best part about this dish is that it is incredibly easy, yet it looks rather elegant and complex.  The homemade caramel sauce does step up the complexity level a bit, so feel free to use store bought if you are not ready to make your own.  (I don't even know how many times I've seen someone burn their caramel on Cupcake Wars, so keep a watch on it if you do decide to do your own!)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Skillet Pot Pie

After months of saying, "ugh, I wish I had a cast iron skillet" I finally have one!  Rather than doing a traditional skillet meal, I decided to try chicken pot pie.  The idea of only using one pan rather than several makes me dance with joy.  It's the little things, right?  In addition to switching up the cooking method on this southern classic I am giving some ingredients an overhaul, too.  I added bacon because my first use of a cast iron skillet needed to be cooking wonderful cripsy heavenly bacon.  Hope you enjoy the new rendition of this oldy but goody.
Skillet Pot Pie is Served

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore

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Growing up there was an Italian restaurant we often went to as a family.  My 10 year old self LOVED this place.  I had the chicken cacciatore every time...with extra olives and 3 or 4 garlic rolls alongside.  I'm not entirely sure if I would still swoon for Alfonzo's as an adult, and unfortunately I cannot return for a true taste test.  At some point in the 90's, the restaurant closed and a Lowe's went up; I'm more of a Home Depot girl, so I was even more depressed about the change.  Luckily after a few tries, I have created my own chicken cacciatore similar to what I remember from Alfonzo's.  I'm pretty thrilled about it, and hope you are too!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Poached Pears Over French Toast

Everything about French toast fills me with happiness.  The Challah bread, the cinnamon, the vanilla, and...the SYRUP.  I absolutely love all foods with syrup...well sugar in general; however, my husband is not a huge fan.  "Sugar juice" is just a little too sweet for his taste.  I thought if I made my own syrup and cut it with something less sweet, I could perhaps make something to his liking.  Since I usually use a little orange juice in my French toast mixture, I thought it was just the right ingredient to add to syrup.  In my opinion, it was perfect...husband said it was still sweet, but much improved from the store bought junk.  

If you are not familiar, Challah bread is the ideal bread for French toast.  It is a yeast-risen egg bread that is typically braided using multiple "strands" of dough, and it is often served at many Jewish holidays.  The dense consistency perfectly soaks up and holds the egg mixture used in French toast.  The kind I bought from Trader Joe's also has a light honey flavor that is simply divine.  This is the kind of bread that carboholics LIVE for.  If you aren't sure what to do with the remaining loaf it is wonderful as cinnamon toast and also the classic sandwich of peanut butter and bananas.

The below brunch pairs nicely with a crisp mimosa.  

Poached Pears over French Toast
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