Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Easy Cheesy Bacon Biscuits

August 19th marked our two year anniversary of wedded bliss! As you may expect, part of the celebration involved an elaborate man-pleasing meal. You know the kind—with steak, fancy potatoes, an elegant vegetable and Pillsbury biscuits from a can.

Yes, you heard the last part right. I spent so much time and energy figuring out how to cook a perfect steak, piping duchess potatoes through my dessert decorator pro, and wrapping the asparagus in bacon, that when it came time to think about bread, it was all I could do to pop open a can of biscuits.

Ok ok, it's true that I fried up a little bacon and shredded some cheese to go along with it, but I really took it easy on the bread, I did. And you would have never known it. Because these bacon cheddar biscuits were super delish. I dare you to try them in a pinch!

Start with TA DA, some Pillsbury biscuits. I like the big and buttery kind. Please don't buy generic—we're already cheating as it is gals. And guys. Are there any guys reading this?

Anyway. Here's your cast of characters.

Easy Cheesy Bacon Biscuits
Adapted from Picky Palate 

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • One roll refrigerated biscuit dough, 8 count
  • 6 thin slices fresh mozzarella
  • Crumbled bacon (5-8 slices)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (please please shred yourself)
Rub some soften butter on the bottom of your cast iron skillet. Be generous! We're talking around 2 tablespoons-ish. Then pop open your can of biscuits and place them in the skillet. They should fit perfectly with a little room in between.

Preheat the oven to 350. Top with thin slices of fresh mozzarella (you can use shredded if needed), bacon crumbles and shredded cheddar. As always, buy it by the block and shred it yourself please. The difference is night and day! 

Then just stick them in your oven and bake for 15 or 20 minutes, until biscuits are cooked through and cheese is melted.

Since our anniversary fell on a Sunday, and we stay in on Sundays, Gradon whisked me away for a romantic dinner at the Ivy Inn on Saturday evening. I was so impressed that he found such an amazing place. We had a truly unforgettable night there! They really fussed over us—I couldn't believe how they mastered all of the tiny details. From customizing our menus to giving us complimentary appetizers and desserts, every little aspect was perfect. They even poured us complimentary champagne before we could tell them that we don't drink, and when we said so, our waiter mixed us up special non alcoholic strawberry daiquiris. My entree was a plate of humungous gnocchi with chicken and the most delectable sauce. Gradon got a monster steak, of course!

The whole dining experience was just over the top! I loved every minute. With full bellies, we wandered around the garden a bit and marveled at the huge rosemary and basil bushes. Then we headed home and watched the Hunger Games. Gradon got up early on Saturday and reserved it during the first couple of hours that it was available on Red Box. He knew I was dying to see it! We snagged it just before it went out of stock.

On Sunday, we broke out the china and had a lovely dinner. We opened presents too! Gradon got me some pretty Paula Deen oven to table bakeware that I've been wanting and I got him some UVA gear and compiled a photo book documenting our first year in Charlottesville. I always know I've succeeded in gift giving when he gets a little teary eyed. Oh boy, do I love that guy.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I am obsessed with this bread. Straight up obsessed.

I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of my life. One bite and you will find yourself marveling at the complex array of flavors that it delivers. Something about the combination of toasted cheesy, garlicky ciabatta bread and red ripe fresh roma tomatoes gets my heart singing. And that tiny hint of balsamic vinegar...oh boy, you just have to taste it to believe it.

Do yourself a favor and run out to the grocery store to pick up these few simple ingredients! Start with good quality ciabatta bread from the bakery section and you can't go wrong from there. This recipe is quick and easy, but delivers memorable results!

Make this for someone you love today. I served it to my parents when they came into town a couple of weekends back and it was a big hit with my dad! He dubbed it “Freschetta,” and I think it's the perfect name! It tastes both indulgent and fresh!


  • 5 firm Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 10 large fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled then thinly sliced (chiffonade)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf Ciabatta bread
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s Garlic Salt
  • 1- 1/2 cups mozzarella (buy a block and shred yourself)
Take a stick of unsalted butter out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a half hour or so before you begin. Start by dicing your roma tomatoes, peeling and mincing the garlic and shredding the cheese. Be sure to buy an 8 oz block of mozzarella and shred a cup to a cup and a half yourself. It will make all the difference in the melty goodness! Preheat your broiler on the oven.

To prepare bruschetta topping, place diced tomatoes, garlic, sliced basil leaves, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to a large mixing bowl, stirring to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Cut your bread in half and place cut side up on a large baking sheet. Spread with softened butter and season with garlic salt. Top evenly with mozzarella and then bruschetta mixture. 

Place under broiler for about 5 minutes or until bread is toasted and golden brown. Remove, cut diagonally into pizza-like slices and serve immediately. It tastes amazing warm!

Grades and I were lucky enough to tag along with my parents to Busch Gardens and Williamsburg a little while back. Unfortunately I haven't snagged the exciting theme park pictures off of my dad's camera yet, so we'll have to settle for some shots of our educational experience instead! You'll have to take my word for it that I rode the big scary roller coasters. At least until I got sick and had to sit the last couple of them out!

We were totally mesmerized by all of the colonial people, the girls dressed in heavy dresses with petticoats underneath, the men in stockings and pantaloons—in the heat of summer! They all acted perfectly in accordance with the time period and really gave us a sense of what it was like back in the day.

 We stayed in a marvelous hotel called the Crossings where there was a free breakfast and freshly baked cookies waiting for us each morning. We also took advantage of the game room and wandered around poolside a bit—although we didn't get to go in because it stormed. Which reminds me, by far the most memorable moment of our trip was getting caught in a torrential downpour just as we were wrapping up the day in Williamsburg. We tried to take shelter under a tree but got completely soaked anyway!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Honey Lime Enchiladas

Prepare to be stunned by these enchiladas. 

They are knock-your-socks-off amazing. I first made them in college a few years back and my life has never been the same. 

I think the stars aligned when I decided to make them, because I found them on a random blog, and the picture did nothing for the dish. Still, the flavors sounded interesting, so I gave it a go. And when I took my first bite, it was true love. 

You know these are incredible because they were approved my my mexican-loving dad on his birthday this past year. My whole family was lucky enough to be together at the beach for his special day, and we all pitched in to throw him a little mexican fiesta. My sis made a yummy taco soup and I whipped up these enchiladas and a mexican salad. And my mom topped it all off with her famous cheesecake.

Dad loved these and I know you will too! The honey-lime flavor combined with green enchilada sauce is the stuff that dreams are made of.

One of these days I'll roll up my sleeves and make my own tortillas, but for now I use the most authentic mexican tortillas I can find in my local grocery store.

Honey Lime Enchiladas
Adapted from The Sisters Cafe

  • 1.5 lbs chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1/4 c lime juice
  • 1 Tb chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 (10 oz) cans green enchilada sauce
  • equal parts of mozzarella cheese, shredded & cheddar cheese, shredded (I use about ¾ of each 8 oz block)
  • flour tortillas (8-10)
Start by shredding your blocks of mozzarella and cheddar cheese. It is so important to shred your own cheese in dishes like enchiladas when you want it to melt nicely. Mix together sauce ingredients (honey through garlic powder) and then add to shredded pork or chicken. Let the sauce soak into the meat for about 30 minutes, mixing around a couple of times to coat.

Lightly spray 1 or 2 pans with olive oil spray. You may need a 9 x 13 pan plus another small one, depending on how big you stuff your enchiladas.

Pour green enchilada sauce into pans to coat the entire bottom. Fill tortillas with shredded meat and desired amount of cheese. Roll and place seam side down in dish. Pour remainder of sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle more cheese on top. 

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes on the middle or top rack. Then crank on your broiler and let them cook for another 2-5 minutes (watching to prevent burning) until cheese is slightly brown and crispy. 

Enjoy them with beans, mexican rice, a green salad, or taco soup!

Lover and I celebrated getting in-state tuition last weekend! (Hello cheaper medical school!) We splurged a little and treated ourself to an awesome evening at Bonefish Grill. Wowie was my steak and crab cake dish delicious. I need to figure out what was in that mystery dipping sauce.