Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dinner at 8pm (September)

We had our "Dinner at 8pm" last night and it was so nice. We had a delicious dinner and watched "The Princess Bride", which is one of our favorites. This meal would have easily cost us around $50 at a restaurant after gratuity, and that doesn't even include paying a sitter to watch 4 kiddos for a 3-4 hours. Here is what we had for dinner, and keep in mind that I try to use time-saving recipes. Sorry about the picture quality, I couldn't find the camera and had to use the one on my phone.
My Version of These Recipes
Garden Salad 
  • Lettuce - my favorites are romaine or Boston bibb but I already had iceberg in the fridge
  • cubed fresh mozzarella (I used up the leftover mozzarella from the chicken)
  • sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • sun sugar (yellow) and regular cherry tomatoes (from my garden)
  • sliced asparagus ends
  • chopped baby carrots
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (6oz.-8oz. each) pounded to 1/2" thick 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small tomato cut into 4 slices, preferably from your own garden, a roadside stand or farmer's market as they actually taste like tomatoes 
  • 4 round 1/4" thick slices fresh mozzarella
  • 4 large or 8 small basil leaves
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Heat oil in a stainless steel or cast iron skillet (so you can put the whole pan in the oven), cook chicken for 8-10 minutes each side (till cooked through). 
  2. As chicken is cooking, pour balsamic vinegar into sauce pan or skillet and cook until reduced by half. Add in butter and stir with a flat whisk until completely combined. Set aside.
  3. Top chicken with 2 mozzarella slices, 2-4 basil leaves, and 2 tomato slices each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place under the broiler for 5 minutes till cheese is nicely melted.
  4. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and serve.
Italian Style New Potatoes
  1. Throw everything, except salt and pepper, in a gallon sized ziplock bag and shake around to coate evenly.
  2. Pour contents into a greased 8x8 Pyrex pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 450 degrees.
Garlic Herb Asparagus
  1. Trim about 1" off the ends of the asparagus. Toss into a medium skillet along with 1/4 cup water and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Cover and let cook for 8-10 minutes. 
  2. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil and oregano. Cover and let sit till butter is melted and herbs have whithered.
I made the cheesecakes ahead of time and set the coffee pot to 'delay brew'.
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 7 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice 
  • 4 whole graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 tablespoons butter, melted
  • fat free caramel ice cream topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 350, and grease 2 - 7 oz ramekins.
  2. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker, butter and 1 tablespoon sugar with a fork. Drop 1/2 of crumb mixture into each dish, press down until compact.
  3. Beat together the cream cheese, egg, remaining sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Beat very well until combined.
  4. Divide the mixture between the cups and bake for 20-25 minutes. Turn off oven and let cakes rest 45 minutes, then refrigerate at least 4 hours. When ready to serve, drizzle caramel topping over each cake.

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