Tag Archives: fresh spinach

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

MUSHROOM AND BRIE QUESADILLAS (makes 16 “slices”)

  • 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!

MARMALADE AND SMOKED SALMON BRUSCHETTA (about 3 dozen)

  • 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!

Cheesy Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

13 May Cheesy Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

One of the things my parents taught me was to always have certain things stocked in my freezer and pantry. If you open my freezer you will always find chicken breasts. If you’ve been following me for a while you’ve probably noticed all the chicken dinners I make using a chicken breast. They are very versatile when it comes to cooking and they’re fun to experiment with. And that’s what I did one night for dinner. I had baby potatoes that were starting to sprout eyes so I knew I wanted to roast them. Once those went in the oven I had to figure out what to make for a protein. There wasn’t much in my fridge so I knew I had to get creative for dinner. I wasn’t going to blog about this (which is why I don’t have any of the potatoes before they went in the oven), but then I realized that it’s these dinners that I create on the fly that are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy my cheesy chicken too!

Spinach and Mozzarella Cheese, Chicken breast, salt, pepper, dried rosemary

Spinach and Mozzarella Cheese, Not pictured: Chicken breast, salt, pepper, dried rosemary

CHEESY CHICKEN WITH ROASTED POTATOES (serves 2)

  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • About 1/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh or Dried Rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • About 1/4 Cup Fresh Spinach Leaves
  • About 1 Pound Baby Potatoes

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While you’re waiting for it to warm up, cut your potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the potatoes. Spread out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and some of the rosemary. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender.

While your potatoes are baking make your cheesy chicken. If your chicken is frozen defrost in the microwave. Then slice up in about 2 inch long pieces.

Cut up your chicken breast into about 2 inch pieces

Cut up your chicken breast into about 2 inch pieces

In a small to medium size fry pan, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, place your chicken pieces in the pan and season with salt, pepper and rosemary.

Saute your chicken breast and season with salt, pepper and rosemary.

Saute your chicken breast and season with salt, pepper and rosemary.

Let cook for about 5 to 7 minutes then turn them over and sprinkle with cheese. After about 5 minutes add fresh spinach and finish cooking for another minute or two. The cheese should melt nicely and the spinach will wilt and combine with the cheese. Remove from heat.

cheesy chicken, mozzarella cheese, fresh spinach, chicken breast

Turn the chicken, add cheese, let it melt then add spinach

Roasted rosemary baby potatoes.

Roasted rosemary baby potatoes.

Once potatoes are finished, remove from oven, serve with your chicken and enjoy!

Cheesy Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

Cheesy Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

Simple Green Salad

7 Jan Mixed Green Simple Salad

Sometimes the best meals are the simplest. I made this salad last November, on a warm (yes, Los Angeles is warm in November) Saturday. I walked down to my local Ralph’s grocery store (and boy did it feel good to get out and go for a walk!), wandered the produce section and returned excited for a simple, yet delicious lunch.

The thing I love most about salads is you can add pretty much whatever you want and you can add whatever dressing you see fit. You can top it with cooked salmon, chicken, beef, tuna, whatever protein your heart desires. Don’t like tomatoes? Don’t add them! Throw in some mushrooms or squash instead! Make the salad the main course, or make it your side dish, you decide! Leave a comment with what you like in your salad!

Mixed Green Simple Salad Ingredients L-R: 50-50 Blend, Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette, Hard Boiled Egg, Avocado, Feta Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes

Mixed Green Simple Salad Ingredients L-R: 50-50 Blend, Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette, Hard Boiled Egg, Avocado, Feta Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes

SIMPLE GREEN SALAD (serves 1)

  • 50-50 Blend of Spring Greens and Spinach
  • 1/2 Hard Boiled Egg
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 4 to 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Feta Cheese (enough to sprinkle on top)
  • Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette (or other dressing of your choosing)

Start by chopping your hard-boiled egg into small chunks. Set aside and chop your avocado as well. I saved the other half for lunch the next day! Be sure to save the half with the seed still intact as it will slow the browning process down a bit. Chop up your cherry tomatoes (or half of a Roma tomato) into bite site pieces. Some people like to just eat cherry tomatoes whole, but because I have sensitive teeth, I need my tomatoes in smaller form so my teeth don’t freak out on me.

Hard Boiled Egg

Hard Boiled Egg

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

avocado

Fresh avocado! Yum!

Since this was my lunch, I pulled out a shallow pasta plate to use as my dish. I grabbed a large handful, plus a little bit more, of my 50-50 blend (make sure you wash yours if it doesn’t come pre-washed) and placed in the plate. I sprinkled the tomato slices, egg and avocado pieces around the entire bed of greens. Then I sprinkled some feta cheese on top, making sure to break up the extra-large chunks. Make sure everything is evenly distributed so you get a little bit of everything in each bite. I then dressed my salad very lightly, then put a little more in a little dipping bowl and dipped my fork in it every now and then. The dressing was from Trader Joe’s and is also a great marinade for chicken. It was a great lunch and so healthy too!

Mixed Green Simple Salad

Mixed Green Simple Salad

Mixed Green Simple Salad

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