Penne with roasted grape tomatoes and capers

1 box penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
2 Pints grape tomatoes
½-3/4 cup capers (depending on how much you enjoy the taste of capers!)
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
sea salt and black pepper
crushed red pepper flakes

 Tomatoes are still all around – and when I passed by these perfectly sized grape tomatoes in the store I couldn’t resist.  Roasting the grape tomatoes really brings out the sweetness in this recipe, and it couldn’t get any easier to make.  I adapted this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis

  •  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Rinse grape tomatoes.  If they are large, cut in half.  If you are lucky and find smaller ones, leave them whole, and this makes it even easier! 
  • Place tomatoes in a medium sized oven proof glass roasting pan. 
  • Rinse capers and add to the tomatoes. 
  • Drizzle with olive oil. 
  • Crack some fresh pepper and sea salt over top and give a good mix. 
  • Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes.  You will see the tomatoes wrinkle up and release their juices.

When the pasta is done, drain, but be sure to reserve bout ½ cup of pasta water (just in case).  Place penne in a large bowl.  Top with tomato mixture, which usually has enough of its own juice so you probably won’t need the pasta water.  Mix.  Add the parmesan cheese and mix again.  Sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes. 

 Now here is where I went wrong – I forgot to buy parsley.  I usually always have parsley on hand, but not this time.  At this point I would add about a cup of chopped parsley, or any fresh herb you have on hand.  It is good with it, it is also good without it.  I haven’t cooked this in so long, and I asked myself “why?!” last night, because it is really that simple and that good!


So long summer

This week I have been watching summer drift on over the hill.  Truly, summer is ending, errr, well possibly ended.  I feel like it is finally official.  My relationship with summer is over and I’m ready to flirt with fall, and I do love fall.  But, to bid farewell to summer 0 I have been soaking up the last of the sunshine – on my bike and in the kitchen!

Fresh basil is always in abundance in the summer months – I read complaints on food blogs – but what is there to complain about?! This super star herb owns a very large part of my heart.  I eat it like lettuce.  Seriously.  It isn’t attractive to have a dark green piece of basil stuck in your teeth – but I take the good with the bad.  In honor of this herb, I made pesto last night, and not your average run of the mill pesto – I used sunflower seeds, both roasted and raw.

Plate full of pesto

Sunflower Pesto

1 box of linguini, capellini, rotini (or whatever your heart so desires)  – cooked according to package directions
2 cups of fresh basil leaves
2 large cloves of garlic
1 cup of quality olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
¼ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds
seasalt and black pepper (to your hearts desire)
crushed red pepper flakes (also to your hearts desire)
½ cup pasta water, reserved

  • Combine basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, walnuts, sunflower seeds, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper in a food processor.  Pulse until well combined and it turns into a beautiful thick paste.  The magic of this little machine – really, couldn’t live without it.  Mine is my mom’s old school version, looks early 90’s, but still does the trick. 
  • Use a flat spatula to scoop out the pesto, and plop on top of the cooked pasta.  Pour some of your reserved pasta water on top to help thin it out, and using a pair of tongs, mix, mix, mix some more – until your pasta turns green with envy!

If you like things spiced up like me, go ahead and sprinkle some more red pepper on top.  I served this with a side of fried zucchini – another bountiful summer star.  This is so easy you hardly need instructions.  Just slice, dip in a beaten egg, dip in bread crumbs, and fry on both sides in a pan of olive oil until browned.   Also with a side of the easiest salad – baby spinach leaves, dried cranberries, crumbled feta, and chipotle sunflower seeds.  That’s right, more sunflower seeds.  Drizzle with your favorite dressing.  Mine happens to be a cinnamon pear vinaigrette – all the way from Naples Florida.  BJ’s mom got this for us – it was the find of a lifetime.  I think this balsamic is life changing, i’m aware that sounds slightly dramatic. 

Fried green zucchini


This dinner was so simple, so fresh, so satisfying – BJ disclosed to me today that he wished there was an extra serving of just pesto left over to spread on his lunchtime sandwich.  Next time I may have to double this recipe!

You say tomato, I say tomato pie!

The words “tomato” pie may throw some of you Utica natives off.  I’m not talking the similar to pizza without cheese version.  I’m talking about a quiche like version.  I think it is (equally) deserving of the name “tomato pie”.  I saw this recipe at and tweaked it to my liking.  In an attempt to be health conscience, instead of using mayonnaise, I used plain Greek yogurt and nayonaise (vegan mayonnaise). 

Tomato Pie
1 pie crust
4 tomatoes, sliced in half and squeezed to release juice and seeds
½ red onion, chopped
½ cup basil leaves, cut into ribbons (Did I mention I love basil? You may not want as much as I used)
2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup nayonaise (or mayonnaise – your choice!)
Crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Bake piecrust for 10 minutes.  In a medium-sized bowl, mix the grated cheese, yogurt, nayonaise, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Remove from oven, and place chopped red onion on the bottom.  On top, layer the tomatoes.  Make sure to squeeze the excess juice out as much as possible.  Next add the ribbons of basil.  Top with the cheesy mixture.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown.  I topped mine off under the broiler.  Please have more self-control than me, and let the tomato pie set for about 15-20 minutes and cool.  I couldn’t wait, and I cut through and served myself a big slice – some of the juices were still running – it was still great though.

Squeeze them - natural stress reliefmy photo does not do the taste justice

I’m looking forward to fall – cooking some fall favorites in the next couple of weeks and will be sharing the recipes.  Going apple picking with my family, going to visit a possible wedding destination and start planning for a fall wedding, attending a friends wedding, going to my very first (professional) hockey game, and making a long overdue trip to visit my very best friend (and hopefully the Brooklyn Brewery!).  Oh, and I do love apples, apple pie, apple crisp, apple cider, baked apples, and apple theme week is coming up at school.  I’m getting ready to return to boots and cozy sweaters.  Ok fall, I’m ready!

So long sweet summer - riding into the fall!

Boom Chakalaka

A non-successful hike - but never miss a photo op with B

I began Saturday with the intention of taking a little fall hike – the weather was beautiful, the sky was bright… the ground was still muddy from the aftermath of Irene and continued rain this week.  About 100 feet into the hike, we had to turn back around – my relatively new Nikes were already a muddy mess.  Ah well… what is a girl to do after walking 100 steps?!  Shop and eat.  We made a trip over to Stuvesant Plaza and grabbed lunch at one of my favorite spots – Bountiful Bread.  I ordered the usual – roasted Portobello salad, with cranberries, goat cheese, and pumpkin seeds. Mmm.  Make it – it’s easy, or go and order it, equally as easy, but in all reality I make this on my own all the time and it’s the perfect fall salad.  

Decided to do a night out for dinner with some friends – and BOOM – the food was amazing.  We went to the New World Bistro in Albany.  We had our own giant wooden table, and felt very special about it. 

Giant table for four


Dinner with (the soon to be) Mr. and Mrs. Jones

Our first order of the night included cucumber gin cocktails, a margarita, and something along the lines of a grapefruit Italian stallion.  We swapped sips and the verdict for all was good – so good that round two followed soon. 

Pour me up another round

For appe-teas-ers, we ordered the calamari, which has the perfect spicy kick, seared tuna, mini sliders, and butternut bisque.  Hands down, the butternut bisque takes the cake.  There was an extra special sweet flavor from the addition of some liquor, and I will be attempting to recreate this sometime next week.  Post to follow!

butternut bisque


Blue steel and seared tuna

For dinner, we ordered a few different things, but my favorite was the no crash brown rice risotto, filled with sautéed mushrooms.  We decided to go big with the dinner course and order a bottle of wine.  We chose the African Spice Route “Chakalaka” – “boom” was heard around the table, which means we really enjoyed it.

Anyone have a pen? Must add "boom"


I decided to make use of a Sunday football afternoon.  Football Sunday’s mean cooking for me, and football for B.  I decided to use this time to prep my lunch for the week.  No microwave at work so trying to get creative with some cold lunch salads.  This week – orzo pasta salad with grape tomatoes, artichokes, cannellini beans, dressed with a lemon basil oil. 

Orzo pasta salad

1 ½ cups of orzo, which yields about 3 cups of cooked orzo
1 15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups grape tomatoes
1 cup of artichoke hearts marinated in oil, chopped
1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste

For the lemon basil oil:
½ cup basil leaves
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon of oil from artichoke hearts
1 garlic clove
1 lemon, juiced

  • Cook orzo according to package directions, drain, and rinse under cold water to cool. 
  • In a large bowl, combine orzo, grape tomatoes, cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, and feta cheese. 
  • In a small food processor, combine basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, oil from the artichoke hearts, and lemon.  Blend until you see a liquid dressing.  Pour over the orzo salad and stir until well incorporated. 
  • Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Don’t be afraid to drizzle some additional olive oil over top.  Store in airtight containers and serve chilled or at room temperature.

The Dirty Dozen and the Dirty Martini

I’ve been basking in a little last minute Labor Day laziness before the first day of school on Wednesday.  I went home for the weekend with my sister to be. No cooking on my part this weekend – but some dining out at a restaurant in Utica I’ve wanted to try for some time now, called The Willow.  Although a very late dinner (we were the last to leave at 11 pm!) it was well worth the wait.  Utica is known for a dish called chicken riggies (I’ll post a recipe sometime soon – when I cook it and can take a picture of the finished product).  This restaurant had seafood riggies, a different take on the classic, and I substituted linguini for riggies and was so glad I did – maybe not the lightest meal but 

Seafood Riggies – indulgent

We saw the movie “Crazy, Stupid, Love” – I highly recommend it, if you are a female, and like those quality love/family movies that might just pull a tear or two from your eye.  Yes, I did bring my market tote – filled with goodies from my favorite Utica health food Store – Peter’s Cornucopia. Every time I go to my fiancé’s home, his family indulges me (sometimes on a daily basis – they are wonderful) by taking me to this health food store.  My sister to be took me this time – and I snagged a local health magazine which listed the “dirty dozen” foods containing high amounts of pesticides, and therefore organic versions are highly encouraged  – I’m going to list them for my fellow health conscious eaters!

Sweet bell peppers

Carrot, apple, ginger juice and raspberry smoothie


Peter's juices make me happy


 Now that we have discussed the dirty dozen, let’s take a moment to celebrate the dirty martini! Our drink of choice, because sometimes a good girl likes to get a little dirty – at least in the cocktail arena.  Sip and savor. 


Enjoying my martini


Krissy enjoying her martini


Ready for a dinner date...

with my sister!

Almost every time I visit Utica – I leave with this Loubyeh, also known as green beans in tomato sauce. There are a few different spelling versions so I went with my gut and took the spelling from my favorite Lebanese restaurant.  I did the prepping of the pole beans, but my mother in law (to be!) did the cooking.  It is delicious and nutritious, served over rice, or even standing on its own.  Recipe goes something like this…

 ½ yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Olive oil
Large bowl full, maybe 8 cups, of fresh green beans, or pole beans (If you are desperate, perhaps in the winter months, frozen green beans will do… but are not as tasty…)
16 oz can of tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
crushed red pepper and allspice (optional)

  •  Heat some olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan – maybe two turns of the pan. 
  • Saute chopped onions and minced garlic until translucent. 
  • Pour in the can of tomato sauce. 
  • Add salt and pepper, I personally like the addition of crushed red pepper flakes and a sprinkle of all spice.  Stir to incorporate. 
  • Add the green beans – cover the pan and cook on low for about 30 minutes. 

    Pretty Pole Beans Before...


After... happiness!!

What I haven’t done a lot of this week is cooking – my goal is to get back on track with lots of cooking, juicing and exercising this week – hoping that will zen me out from this busy week of starting school.  I’ll be posting some new recipes – and as soon as I have some extra time I plan on fulfilling my promise of delivering a kiddo friendly recipe for my friend Amy and her little ones!  I’ll also be looking forward to a special fitting on Wednesday, and a Friday night out for a friend’s birthday bash.

Full Plate

My plate has been full this week, and not just with food.  I have been getting ready for the school year to start back up and setting up my classroom/prepping/trying to get everything I can into order.  I still sometimes feel like I’m missing or lacking so much – but I’m excited for the year to start with some new kiddos and to enjoy myself doing what I love, besides cooking, teaching. 

I say my plate is full – but what I really mean is… my new lunchbag is full! Last weekend on a family trip to Lake George, my mother in law (to be!) got matching lunchbags for me and my sister in law (also to be!).  Go figure… I could never find a lunchbag big enough to hold all of my snacks – until now.  To put the size into perspective, it is not called a lunchbag, but dubbed a “market bag” as the description stated “fits most watermelons”. I have taken it with me every day this week, and it has served me well.

I love you lunchbag

Fill me up buttercup

I frequently visit many cooking blogs and came across a chicken tender recipe that sounded great – I added the flax seeds and Asian stir fry oil to make it my own, and I was not disappointed. 

Sesame Tenders

 Chicken tenders (I used 8 for 2 people)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup ground flax seeds
olive oil (or Asian stir fry oil)
soy sauce for drizzling at the end

  • Heat oil on medium heat in a large sauté pan.  I used an Asian stir fry oil infused with ginger – makes all the difference – but you could use olive oil as well.
  •  In a large bowl, mix together panko, sesame seeds, and flax seeds.  Clean and dry chicken tenders.  Dip tenders into the egg batter and then dredge into panko mixture. 
  • Drop tenders into the pan, sauté on each side for about 4 minutes or until cooked through.  Drizzle with soy sauce.

    Side of Soba

     Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles
    1 small red pepper, cut into thin strips
    1 large carrot, grated
    2 green onions, diced
    1 package of wheat soba noodles
    ½ cup peanut butter
    ¼ cup soy sauce
    ¼ cup chicken stock
    crushed red pepper flakes (eye-ball – depending on how spicy you like your food)
    1 garlic clove, minced
    ½ cup peanuts, roughly chopped

  •  Slice the pepper and green onions, grate the carrot, and place in a large bowl.
  • Cook the Soba noodles according to package directions.  Drain and run under cold water to cool to room temperature.  Pour into the bowl with the pepper mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together minced garlic, peanut butter, soy sauce, chicken stock, and pepper flakes.  Remember you can always add more pepper flakes but can never remove them!  Pour the peanut sauce over the noodles and mix together.  Top with chopped peanuts. 

Someone (I won’t name names, but I only live with one person so if you know me you can probably figure this out) seemed to turn his nose up at the “room temperature noodles” for just a second.  No, it’s not exactly pasta, so it is not served hot.  He ate and enjoyed them all the same.  “Different, but tasty” was the verdict.  I think they are worth a try.

One more recipe before I go… This is another recent favorite – very quick, very easy – I can’t stress how easy.  It’s like chicken parm, minus the marinara sauce and add the roasted red pepper. 

Roasted pepper parm with a side of wheat pear couscous

Red Pepper Chicken Parm (sort of – because it’s really mozzarella!)
chicken cutlets
Olive oil for sauteing (about two or three turns of the pan)
1 cup of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg beaten
Good quality fresh roasted red peppers, sliced
Fresh (I stress fresh) ball of mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

  • Heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Set the oven on broil.
  • Clean and dry chicken cutlets.  Use a meat pounder to pound chicken to desired thinness.  Dip in egg mixture, then dredge in bread crumbs.
  • Saute chicken in oil until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
  • Place chicken cutlets on a pan.  Top with slices of roasted red pepper.  Top with mozzarella.
  • Broil until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
  • Top with pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, or basil – or like me, all three!

If you are wondering what was for dessert, I was a repeat plum dandy offender.  My ever so sweet, understanding of my needs/picky food compulsions, handsome fiance drove me all the way to Saratoga to indulge on my last night of summer vacation. 

vanilla fro yo topped with fresh fruit


My view while savoring my frozen yogurt - proof that fall is here when the sky turns this shade of dark at 7:45

With all the prepping for school, I have purchased some Melissa and Doug (I’m newly obsessed) food toys for the class.  I love food – including the wooden toys for children type!  I got the doughnuts, tiered cake, and fruit cutting kit – so adorable I could almost eat them up.  Check them out online if that’s your thing!

Horsing Around is Just Dandy

I didn’t cook anything today for the first time in a while, but the day was full of tasty delights nonetheless. 

Started my day with a run on the bike trail which was so flooded from Irene.  I was in my own world with my ipod blasting tunes into my ears and giving my feet a beat to run with, when a trooper approached me and told me I was to leave.  I didn’t realize but at the time they were blocking off this road so nobody could drive through – oops – not sure how I sneaked through before, but it was tricky getting out.

Irene created a flood smack in the middle of a wooded area


Just a week ago this water was covered in lilly pads from being stagnant - now its flooding up the bike path!

Post run, I was famished.  I decided it was a good idea to make a mini trip up to Saratoga for some Plum Dandy healthy frozen yogurt with fresh fruit toppings I’ve been itching to try.  Walking to Plum Dandy, I passed the all natural health food store which had a mini lunch buffet – I obviously couldn’t resist the beets… or the pesto…

Love beets - on my plate or in my juice!

Ok, moving on to Plum Dandy – my new favorite place, I wish it wasn’t in Saratoga.  All natural frozen yogurt.  Some delicious looking flavors – but I choose 1/2 vanilla (my favorite) and 1/2 traditional plain yogurt (very healthy).  You serve yourself at the fixings bar – I choose fresh berries, kiwi, dark chocolate, and these little passion fruit/tea balls that pop in your mouth and spill out their juice.  Amazing.

My new favorite treat - I hope someone will take me there VERY soon


Hanging with the Saratoga horse while eating my yogurt!

 As I was sitting outside “horsing around”, eating my yogurt on a bench, BJ called me and told me that 87 South was closed due to flooding.  I had to fend for myself and find an alternate, much longer road home.  With nothing to do and nowhere to be, I didn’t mind all that much.  Not looking forward to my summer coming to a close – next week I will be in full swing when school starts back up.  Ah I love the summer – and now certainly an advantage of being a teacher – many more summers off to look forward to – just have to get through this dump of a teaching economy first!

We decided this Long Island wine is buttery, buttery, oaky - we are true wine spectators.

 On my drive home I found out our good friends were faced with evacuating their apartment because they live right on the river and the water was rapidly rising.  Thankfully the water did not reach their apartment – but they stayed with us and we had a fun dinner out to one of our local favorites, Yoshi Sushi.  With some encouragement from our friend, I tried some new sashimi that I wouldn’t usually order (eeeek) may have looked frightening but tasted delicious.   Oh, and the wine from Long Island was a delight – such a delight in fact that I wrote about it in my wine journal (given to me by Tara ❤ ) and the restaurant owner informed me that it is a good thing I have a future husband on my hands because keeping a wine journal, in her opinion, is just crazy.  She seemed very pleased and relieved to find that BJ knows of this “crazy wine journal” and still wants to marry me anyway. 

I love wasabi


I know some of you my gasp - mom especially - but these raw slabs of fish were surprisingly delicious


Come on Irene

Chocolate peanut butter cups for breakfast

Steel cut oats are a vehicle for chocolate peanut butter cups for breakfast! Well, not exactly, but sort of.  You will think you are eating peanut butter cups for breakfast – just the super healthy, stick to your ribs, and give you lots of energy kind of version

 For one serving:
½ cup steel cut oatmeal – cooked according to package directions
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

 Combine peanut butter, honey, and cocoa powder together, stir, eat.  You won’t be disappointed.

PB cup oatmeal


Peach Scones

I had some delicious looking peaches just ripened to perfection sitting on my table.  What beautiful peach scones these would make, I thought to myself.  I looked out my window feeling discouraged because of the rain/wind storm from Tropical Storm Irene and feared I would be giving up my Sunday trip to the Fresh Market.  Lucky for me, BJ has a truck, is a great driver, and wanted to explore the flash flooding.  Off to Fresh Market I went – I was one of the only people in the store, crazy – No, excited – yes.  Like a kid in the candy store I had the whole place practically to myself.  I grabbed a few necessities, a few non-necessities, and was off.  Back to our tiny kitchen to create the scones – smeared with some of the lemon curd I picked up at Fresh Market this morning.  My belly feels happy. 

These scones are just peachy

2 small ripe peaches (about a cup worth)
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cane sugar
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
½ cup of vanilla yogurt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup half and half
2 tablespoons cane sugar

  • Preheat your over to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper you could grease your baking sheet. 
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and baking powder.  Cut in the butter – I used a fork to do this.
  • In another bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla.  Add to the dry ingredients.  Finally, add the peaches and mix until combined. 
  • The texture is somewhat sticky, so I decided to make drop scones instead of the fancy triangles.  Drop large balls of dough onto the baking sheet (lined with parchment paper).  Using a pastry brush, brush some half and half onto each of the scones, and sprinkle with cane sugar.  The half and half, I learned from my Mom, allows the tops of the scones to turn golden brown. 
  • Bake for 15-16 minutes. Watch for the tops to be golden brown.  

Like Mother, Like Daughter

I was partially inspired to create these peach scones because in my Mom’s kitchen, she had already been busy in her kitchen creating one of our all time favorite recipes – blueberry raspberry scones with lemon drizzle.  They are to die for.  One of the first things I tried cooking when I decided I wanted to learn to cook eight years back – they have been one of our most loved breakfast treats ever since.  I’m pretty sure my mom makes a better version than me – she is hands down the best cook I know. 

My mom's amazing scones

Blueberry/Raspberry Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
1 cup half and half, plus more for brushing the scones
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen raspberries
(The frozen berries don’t bleed when mixed into the dough – if you use fresh, you may have a pink/purple version of these scones)

Lemon Glaze
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 lemon, zest finely grated
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

  • Sift together the dry ingredients.  Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients (I don’t have as many fancy kitchen tools as my mom, so I use a fork for this part!).  The mixture should look like course crumbs.  Make a well in the center and pour in the half and half.  Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.  Fold the blueberries and raspberries into the batter.  Take care not to mash or bruise the berries because their strong color will discolor the dough.
  • Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 10 x 5 x 1″.  Cut the rectangle in half then cut the pieces in half again, giving you four squares.   Cut the squares in half on a diagonal to give you four triangle shapes.  Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the tops with a little half and half.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.  Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.
  • Place the lemon juice, lemon zest and butter in a microwave-safe bowl.  Heat in microwave on high for 30 – 45 seconds or until the butter is melted and the mixture is warm.  Add the confectioner’s sugar and whisk until sugar dissolves.  Add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken glaze if desired.  Drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones.  Let scones set for a few minutes before serving. 

Middle Eastern Inspired Chicken Meatballs

These meatballs were inspired by the Middle Eastern, specifically Lebanese food I love to eat.  BJ is Lebanese/Italian so I try my best to cook some of the recipes – falafel, tzatziki, kibbeh, moujadara (I still struggle to pronounce this), and I’ve even tried my hand at grape leaves.  Some of our favorite ingredients incorporated into those recipes are pine nuts, lemons, cumin, all spice, onion, garlic, and parsley.  I combined these things, with a few extras to make these meatballs – which were sooo good – I watched most of the plate disappear before my very eyes, and the rest were gobbled up for a late night snack.  I will definitely be making these again.  The lemon version of tzatziki was a must for dipping and drizzling.    

Just a side note – I’m thankful that Irene only knocked out our power for a total of three minutes.  With the scones baking and the meatball making – I would have had a total meltdown if the power went out.  It is not unnatural for me to have a mini melt down and be upset if I mess up a recipe, it wasn’t as good as I had hoped, or I spill something in the kitchen – but this would have been different altogether because it would have meant: A. No dinner, at least not the one I wanted, and I really did not want PB&J and B. It would have also been a wasted trip into the flooding roads to pick up these items at the Fresh Market.  THANK GOODNESS that did not happen, nobody wants to see a meatball meltdown.  The lights flickered throughout the entire time we cooked dinner – but luckily stayed on!

Into the pan you go!


One pound ground chicken – I may try ground turkey next time!
½ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped basil
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
½ cup toasted pinenuts
3 or 4 sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil, chopped up
½ yellow onion diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
½ cup golden raisins, chopped up
sea salt and pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon allspice
Olive oil, for sautéing

  • Heat olive oil on medium heat in a heavy bottom sauté pan.
  • Combine all ingredients, except for the olive oil, into a large mixing bowl.  If you aren’t afraid of getting dirty, use your hands and mix together.  Roll into small balls, about the size of golf balls.
  • Drop, one by one, into the pan and watch them sizzle and turn golden brown.  Flip to cook on each side.  Cook for about 12 minutes, or until cooked through.  Drizzle with lemon tzatziki – recipe below.

 Lemon Tzatziki
2 containers of plain greek yogurt
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
pinch of sea salt
2 small garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper