Tag Archives: brie

Oscar Party: Quesadillas, Pinwheels and Bruschetta!

10 Jul Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas
Host Ellen DeGeneres took a selfie that broke Twitter

Host Ellen DeGeneres took a selfie that broke Twitter

The final items that were made for my 2014 Oscar Birthday party were some of my favorites! Mushroom Brie Quesadillas, Spinach Pesto Pinwheels and Smoked Salmon Bruschetta. Now, the smoked salmon was actually smoked by my dad before he came down to Los Angeles. And the marmalade was also homemade by my dad. (Do you see where I get my love of cooking from now?) So the only “real” recipes in this post are for the quesadillas and the pinwheels. Both were fun to make and perfect party food. The quesadillas were a real hit as they were quite unique. Hope you enjoy too!

Ellen was a gracious host and ordered pizza for her guests.

Ellen was a gracious host and ordered pizza for her guests.

Host Ellen DeGeneres ordered pizza for her friends, but I prefer making snacks for parties. What are your party favorites?

Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas Ingredients L-R: Honey, Brie, Mushrooms, Rosemary, Tortillas, Parsley

Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas Ingredients L-R: Honey, Brie, Mushrooms, Rosemary, Tortillas, Parsley


  • About 8 oz Cremini Mushrooms
  • 1/2 Tsp Fresh Rosemary
  • 4 Large Tortillas
  • 8 oz Brie
  • Olive Oil
  • Warm Honey
  • Salt & Pepper

This was a recipe I found on a blogger’s website when googling appetizers. I saw brie. I saw mushrooms. I was satisfied and knew this was something I wanted on my party table. This was super easy and you can easily make more or less, depending on your crowd. These were a huge hit with my friends. When slicing your brie it’s okay to keep the rind on. It won’t affect the taste and it’s a pain and hassle to cut it off.

sliced brie cheese

Slicing up the brie.

Sliced Mushrooms

Slicing up the mushrooms

Sauteed Mushrooms

Sauteing the mushrooms

Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas

After warming the tortillas lay out the insides.

Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas

Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas just need honey drizzled on top!

After they’re finished cooking in the oven, slice drizzle with warm honey. The drizzled honey on top really made this dish extra special. Make sure you have extra napkins though, as they are a tad messy!

Spinach and Pesto Pinwheel Ingredients L-R: Parmesan Cheese, Fresh Spinach, Puff Pastry Sheets, Pesto Sauce

Spinach and Pesto Pinwheel Ingredients L-R: Parmesan Cheese, Fresh Spinach, Puff Pastry Sheets, Pesto Sauce

SPINACH PESTO PINWHEELS (makes about 2 dozen)

  • 2 Puff Pastry Sheets
  • About 1 Cup Pesto
  • About 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • About 2 Cups Fresh Spinach
  • Salt & Pepper

There was no specific recipe for this, but there was another pinwheel recipe and because we had already decided to make the mushroom quesadillas we thought about other pinwheel options and came up with this idea. Pinwheel appetizers can be customized to anything that you want it to be, just pick your favorite flavors and have at it!

Rolling out the puff pastry and layering with all the ingredients.

Rolling out the puff pastry and layering with all the ingredients.

Roll out your pastry sheets on a flat surface. Spread your pesto on each sheet, leaving about an inch from the edges. Lay out your fresh spinach leaves covering the pesto. Sprinkle with your mozzarella cheese and then season with salt and pepper.

Spinach and Pesto Pinwheels

Rolling the pastry sheets very carefully

Spinach and Pesto Pinwheels

The rolled pinwheel ready for the fridge

Very carefully roll the sheets on the long edge. Be sure to tuck in the edge and wrap tightly. Pat down the edge to seal the roll. Lay your rolls on a jelly roll pan and stick in the fridge for about 20 minutes to harden. Remove from the fridge and preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Using a sharp knife slice the roll into about 1/2″ to 1″ pieces. Lay out the pinwheels on their sides on baking sheets. Bake about 12 minutes and serve warm.

Spinach and Pesto Pinwheels

Spinach and Pesto Pinwheels ready for the oven!


  • 1 or 2 Baguettes
  • Smoked Salmon
  • 1/2 Cup Whipped Cream Cheese (approx)
  • 1/2 Cup Goat Cheese (approx)
  • About 1 Cup Marmalade
  • About 1/4 Cup Honey

Heat your broiler to low. Slice your baguette into about 1/2″ slices and lay out on a jelly roll sheet. Stick in your broiler for about 3 minutes, just enough to lightly toast them. If you don’t have a broiler  heat your oven to about 200 degrees and toast in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Smoked Salmon

My dad’s smoked salmon that was used for the bruschetta and laid out on the table.

In a small pot over low heat, heat your marmalade and honey and mix together. Don’t let it burn, just heat it enough to mix together and then remove from heat. Mix your cream cheese and goat cheese together. Spread some of your cheese mixture on each toasted piece of bread, top with some of your marmalade mix and then place a piece of smoked salmon on top of that. (We made some with salmon and some without for my vegetarian friends.) Serve and enjoy!

Marmalade Bruschetta

Marmalade bruschetta. You can’t eat just one!


Stuffed Chicken With Friends

12 Oct

Angel is very excited!

Cooking is fun. Cooking for others is even more fun. Food is communal, but with more and more of us on the go these days a sit down dinner can be rare. Even rarer, home cooked meals with friends. It’s easier to go out somewhere with friends, and you can be sure I’ll be sharing those events as well, but today I want to share my dinner with my friends Angel and Eric (their son gave me my first award). Angel and I struck a deal, I cook them dinner and she dyes my hair. (I’m a natural blonde, but am loving being a red-head these days!) This was my third time over and the previous times I cooked two of my favorite dishes that I’ve been cooking since college, Chicken Vallarta and Chili Mac (both of which I’ll cover in future posts). This time I decided to try something I had only done once, Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Caramelized Onions and Brie. Doesn’t that just sound yummy?

Stuffing chicken is not easy. It’s not difficult, but it’s something that takes practice. Well this girl needs more practice. Because you have to create a pocket in the breast, many times you’ll cut in too far. For us home cooks that’s okay because we’re not being reviewed by the LA Times, but I still want to perfect it. So don’t fret if you cut through accidentally, the stuffing will still be in the chicken and give it a delicious flavor!

For a side dish I made oven fried rosemary potatoes. Super easy and they cook while you’re working on the chicken (which takes time). Before I get into the recipes, be sure you have the time to do this one, it took about an hour from prep to dish, but worth every minute of waiting (and smelling).

The final product-yum!


  • Four 4-6 oz. boneless chicken breasts
  • Half a small to medium onion
  • 4 oz of brie
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • Fresh Sage (a few leaves)
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan heat about a teaspoon of oil on medium heat (I always make sure the bottom of the pan is coated). Slice the onion and toss 3/4 of it into the pan. (Set the other 1/4 of it aside as you will chop up for the sauce.) Stir occasionally. While you wait for the onions to cook down (they should be getting glossy and almost translucent), take 4 garlic cloves and slice finely. Be sure to remove the skin first! Use a small paring knife and be very careful-I don’t want you slicing your finger off! Side note: easy way to remove the skin, cut off the butt end of the clove and the skin will peel off easily. Stir in 1/3 cup wine and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 4-6 minutes depending on the heat of your stove). Take your brie and cut the rind off and stir into the pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Once the brie has melted down pour the mixture into a soup bowl. It will be easier to spoon into the chicken this way.

Take your small paring knife (make sure it’s sharp) and cut about a two inch slit in the thickest part of the chicken breast, just don’t cut through

Chicken breasts stuffed with caramelized onions and brie mixture before cooking

(hard, I know).  Keep the chicken on a cutting board and be sure to cut parallel to the board. You want to create a pocket to put your stuffing mixture into, so use the knife to carve out that pocket. If you do cut through, don’t stress, I promise it will still work, it just might be a little messier in the pan. Spoon as much of your onion-brie mixture as you can fit in the pocket. If you did cut through any of the sides by accident, try to use other pieces of the breast to “plug” the hole. When you cook it, it will “fuse” so it won’t leak. Weird sounding, I know, but trust me. Once they’re all stuffed put another teaspoon of oil in the pan over medium-high heat and place the chicken in the pan. Cook each side about 5-7 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, chop the sage finely so you have about a tablespoon of fresh sage. Next, take the other 2 garlic cloves and chop those finely as well. Side Note: a trick to chopping garlic, cut the butt end off (like above), then take the flat side of your knife and place on the large side of the garlic so it sits on the chopping board. Press down with the heel of your hand so the clove “opens”, then chop finely. Take the rest of your onion and chop finely. Once the chicken is done, remove to a plate and cover to keep warm, then pour in the other 1/3 cup of wine, chopped sage, onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, again over medium-high heat. (If you have any extra of the onion-brie mixture, throw it into the pan to be part of the sauce-double yum!) Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a boil and let it reduce to about 3/4 to 1 cup. Put your chicken back into the pan and reduce heat to low. Let the chicken warm up again while you prep your plates (and probably your side dish). Serve with sauce and enjoy!


  • 1/4 lb per person of small red potatoes
  • Fresh Sage or Rosemary
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Eric enjoyed his dinner the following night and was ready! Leftovers are yummy too!

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Get out an oven safe pan (I use a cookie sheet, you can also use a cast iron pan) and spread the fresh sage/rosemary around along with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cut the potatoes in half (or in thirds if especially large) and spread out with the cut side down. If you like garlic you crush some up and add that to the pan. Kosher salt, white pepper or herbs de provence also work really well! Stick them in the over and cook for about 30-40 minutes depending on how crunchy you like them. With the above chicken recipe, I put the potatoes in after I started the onions.

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