Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Two for Tuesday

Happy Thanksgiving! Well I may be a couple days late, but I was busy stuffing my face with pie. Hope you had a day filled with family, friends, and food! My parents came down to visit me for the first time here in Charlotte so I had to bring out the southern hostess in me. I was throwing around the “ya’lls” and the pecan pie like it was my job. Some of you may still have leftovers, especially if you got one of those gigantic turkeys that weighs more than a large toddler. So here is a recipe that I whipped up today for a Turkey Salad Sandwich. It can’t get much easier.

This recipe is less measuring and more just searching your fridge. Here is what I pulled out of my fridge to throw in the bowl.

Shredded turkey
Mayo
Lettuce
Pecans (or walnuts)
Celery
Lemon juice to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

You can also top it with some left over cranberry sauce or dijon mustard!

xoxo,
Laura

Advertisements

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Two for Tuesday

Happy Turkey Week! I hope everyone is all ready for Thursday! My family is flying down here to Charlotte to visit me for the fist time. So I have been cleaning and baking like a mad woman. The groceries are bought, the laundry done, the floors cleaned. So to treat my self I made these bad boys: Brown Sugar Oatmeal Coconut Chewies. I know I rave on here about recipes that I have tried, but if you were to combine the deliciousness and the scrumptiousness of every recipe I have done on here…you may get a slight idea of how AMAZING these cookie are. They are seriously like crack cookies. So if you’re on a diet…click away from this page.

Ingredients
1 cup butter, slightly softened
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Directions
1.) Preheat oven to 350°. Cream together butter and sugars, until they are well-combined.
2.) Add one egg and mix until it’s fully incorporated. Then add the second egg, and the vanilla, and mix until everything is evenly incorporated.
3.) Add baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the wet mixture. Mix until well-distributed.
4.) Add about 1/2 your flour, and mix until the flour is JUST incorporated. Scrape down the sides of your bowl, and then add the second half of your flour, mixing until just incorporated. You don’t want to overmix here, or you’ll end up with tough cookies.
5.) Add oats and coconut, mixing until they’re (say it with me) JUST incorporated.
6.) Roll dough into balls, or use a cookie scoop to evenly portion out the dough (I have no idea what size the cookie scoop is that I use, in terms of ounces or tablespoons or anything – but it’s about 1.25″ across, and makes a cookie that’s about 2.5″ across). If you are rolling the dough by hand, you’ll want a ball that is a little over an inch in diameter, and this should give you about 6 dozen cookies.
7.) Place the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat liner, leaving about 2″ between each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are veeeery lightly brown, but the center is still light in color and puffy. This will result in a very moist, very chewy cookie.
8.) Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack. Once they’re fully cooled, they can be stored in a ziploc bag or airtight container for up to a week.

xoxo,
Laura

p.s. It says these cookies last a week. NOT. My fiance and I ate two bag fulls in a couple days. They are THAT good.

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Healthy Two For Tuesday

I am thoroughly enjoying this brisk and sunny fall day. I have a crock pot full of homemade spagetti sauce simmering away, a sleepy puppy on my lap, and a candle burning that smells like Christmas. I’ve been feeling really good lately due to my pre-wedding work out routine and the fact that I have been trying to eat a little better! I made this delicious Crock Pot Beer Chicken last night and it was killer! Not only does it taste amazing but it’s only 143 calories per serving (one breast). It’s from a Weight Watcher’s recipe blog and I was blown away by how moist and scrumptious this chicken was without all the calories. The site says it’s only 3 points, if you speak WW points. I prepared it with rice and corn and my fiance and I ate it all up. I’m not really beer drinker but I love the way food tastes when cooked with beer. So here is a way to enjoy a brew without the guilt!

Ingredients

2lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used 8 breasts, 4oz ea)
1 bottle or can of your favorite beer (I used Guinness)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

Place all ingredients in the crock pot, and cook on high for 4-5 hrs, or low for 6-8 hours. Feel free to change out the spices and herbs and use whatever you’d like.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 6 hours

xoxo,
Laura

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Two For Tuesday

My wonderful sister-in-law just moved back to North Carolina from Prague on Saturday! After picking her up from the airport I knew we would have to have a comfort food filled weekend. Saturday we made my fiance’s famous chili in the crockpot to last us the whole weekend and last night we made these amazing Stuffed Shells. Holy moly…these things were SO DARN GOOD! These are a classic Italian comfort food. Chop it all up, stuff those shells, dump on some sauce, sprinkle on some cheese and TA DA! I cut the recipe in half, as usual, and had enough for lunch today. I just ate 4 more shells and am now in a state of bliss. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry ziti pasta
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

 

Directions
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
2. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
4. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.

xoxo,
Laura

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Two for Tuesday

HOLY MOTHER OF CHEESE. I made this Cheesy Broccoli with Chicken and Rice Casserole yesterday and OH LAWD. It was seriously delicious. My fiance’s (southern) grandparents came over for dinner last night and I knew I had to make something scrumptious. I found this recipe and it just screamed southern comfort food. Needless to say, his grandmother was throughly impressed with my cooking and made sure that I emailed her the recipe today! This recipe can serve 8-10 people so I cut it in half like I do with most recipes. We had just enough left over for the two of us to have lunch today! Perfect!

Bread Crumbs:
2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter, melted; plus two tablespoons chilled
1 garlic clove, minced

Casserole:
2 pounds broccoli (about 3-4 medium heads of broccoli), florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stems chopped
4-5 Cooked and shredded chicken Breasts
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups long grain white rice
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9X13-inch baking dish.
2. Pulse bread, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and melted butter in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add garlic. Set aside.
3. Microwave broccoli florets (save stems for later), covered, in a large bowl until bright green and tender, 2 to 3 minutes (no need to add water). Be careful not to overcook or they will become soggy and discolored.
4. Melt remaining butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onion and broccoli stems until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is translucent, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, half-and-half, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Off the heat, stir in cheddar cheese, cayenne, remaining parmesan, broccoli florets, and cooked chicken.
6. Pour the mixture into prepared baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Serve.

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Two for Tuesday

What do get when you combine Marinara sauce, Alfredo sauce, and a dash of some red pepper? This amazing Spicy Chicken Rigatoni! Carbs and I are very very good friends. I could eat pasta pretty much every day and this dish totally hit the spot. I made with my boo one night a couple weeks ago and we scarfed it down! It was easy and delicious ..I think you should try it tonight!

Ingredients
1/4 cup oil
1/2 Tbs crushed red pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbs chopped garlic
6 oz chicken, sliced
3/4 cup. Marinara sauce
1/2 cup Alfredo sauce
2 tsp butter
1/4 cup peas
1 lb Rigatoni pasta, cooked according to package directions
additional 1/2 t crushed red pepper (for garnish)

Directions
In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper and garlic and sauté just long enough for garlic to caramelize and red pepper to release flavor into the oil. Add sliced chicken and sauté briefly to coat in spices and garlic.

Add Marinara Sauce first and then Alfredo Sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce thickens slightly and chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°. Turn off flame, add butter and peas and incorporate into sauce.

Drop cooked pasta in boiling water for 3 seconds. Let drain for 15 seconds. Toss with the sauce. Place pasta and sauce in pasta bowl, reserving the majority of the chicken to be placed on top of the pasta. Using a rubber spatula, scrape any remaining sauce from the pan to the pasta. Garnish with crushed red pepper and serve.

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Two for Tuesday

Today’s recipe comes with fond memories for me of growing up in Northern New Jersey. There are Italian restaurants on every block in my neighborhood, each boasting delicious menus. But one of my favorite dishes was alway Chicken Piccata. The saltiness of the capers and the juiciness of the fresh lemon was just perfect. It’s making my mouth water right now!

This dish was super easy, only took us about 30 minutes start to finish to make. It was super light and fresh and I’m already looking forward to making it again!

2 boneless, skinless Chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise, to form 4 thin cutlets
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
4 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
8 ounces Angel hair pasta
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Pour the bread crumbs in a shallow plate or dish. Pour the beaten egg in a seperate shallow dish. Take one chicken cutlet and dredge in the egg, and then in the breadcrumbs. Shake off any excess breadcrumbs and place on a plate. Repeat with all cutlets.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Place two of the coated chicken cutlets into the skillet. Cook on each side, for 4 minutes. Once thoroughly cooked, place on a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Let butter melt and then cook the other two pieces of coated chicken, for 4 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and keep warm with other chicken.

Pour the lemon juice, chicken stock and capers into the warm skillet. Stir and scrape up any of the loose brown bits. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and let sauce simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook angel hair pasta according to package directions. Drain water and add 2 Tablespoons butter to pasta and 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Serve chicken with sauce and pasta. Garnish with fresh parsley and more grated Parmesan cheese.

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Two for Tuesday

 

 

What do you get when you combine a childhood favorite with bar food? Today’s Two for Tuesday! This is a super easy dinner that my fiancé and I made a couple weeks ago: Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich. It’s comfort food with a kick! It’s all the flavors of buffalo chicken wings rolled up into a golden brown grilled cheese sandwich. It was easy to make and seriously delicious…we had no leftovers! Recipe makes two sandwiches.

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup cooked shredded chicken, warm

2 tablespoon hot sauce

1 tablespoon mayo (optional)

2 tablespoon carrot, grated

2 tablespoon celery, sliced

2 tablespoon green or red onion, sliced or diced

2 tablespoon blue cheese, room temperature, crumbled

1 cup cheddar cheese, room temperature, grated

4 slices bread

2 tablespoon butter, room temperature

 

 

Directions

Mix the chicken, hot sauce, mayo, carrot, celery and onion in a small bowl.

Butter the outside of each slice of bread, sprinkle half of the cheeses on the inside of one slice of bread, top with the buffalo chicken salad, the remaining cheese and finally the other slice of bread.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.

Add the sandwich and grill until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2-4 minutes per side.

 

 

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Two for Tuesday

Hola amigos! I love making tacos at home for my boytoy and my self, but I get tired of using the boxed stuff. This recipe was a miracle find from Pinterest that I made for dinner last night. IT WAS DELICIOUS! This recipe serves 12 people, or 6 chicken breasts. I cut it down to 2 breasts in order to have dinner and lunch for the next day for just two of us. It’s a crock pot recipe, so I threw it in that afternoon and…TA DA, dinner!   The chicken falls apart thanks to the crock pot and is so moist and juicy! It was just the right spicy and perfect when toped with sour scream, guacamole, lettuce, and cheese.

 

Enjoy this little taste of fresh Mexican!

 

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Recipe from Tasty Kitchen

Serves: ~12 people

 

 

1 envelope Taco Seasoning (I use Old El Paso Reduced Sodium)

6 pieces Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 16-ounce jar Salsa (I switch between brands, but Newman’s Own is my favorite)

 

Dump everything into a crock pot and give it a little stir to blend the seasoning with the salsa. You do not need to add any water to the taco seasoning. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. When done, the chicken should shred easily when stirred with a fork. For tacos, serve the chicken with soft flour tortillas, guacamole, lettuce, shredded cheese and/or sour cream. This is very versatile and can be used for enchiladas, nachos, tostadas, quesadillas, etc. Any leftover chicken can then be used for tortilla soup (make it the next day or freeze the chicken to use at a later time).

 

xoxo Laura

 

 

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Super Bowl Food & Drink

 

First off…I can hardly believe that it’s February and that the weather is FANTASTIC.. if you’re planning on having people over to watch the Super Bowl, you can entertain them outside!  While you’re entertaining your guests…why not show off your culinary skills with a few easy recipes…and new fun ideas.

 

Artichoke Dip ::

 

Ingredients ::

2 can(s) (14 ounces each) artichoke hearts in water, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup(s) light mayonnaise

1/4 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon(s) grated Parmesan cheese

1      tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice

1 clove(s) garlic, coarsely chopped

1  scallion, plus more for garnish

Crudites (such as raw pepper wedges) or whole-wheat pita chips, for serving

 

Directions ::

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a food processor, place half the artichokes, the mayonnaise, 1/4 cup Parmesan, lemon juice, and garlic. Process until smooth.
  2. Add scallion and remaining artichokes; pulse once to combine. Transfer mixture to a 1-quart baking dish. Top with remaining tablespoon Parmesan.
  3. Bake until golden and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Garnish with scallion, and serve with crudites or pita chips.

 

 

Buffalo Chicken Sliders ::

Ingredients ::

2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter

1/2 cup(s) Buffalo wing sauce

3 cup(s) shredded rotisserie chicken

8 mini   white rolls, split and toasted

4 ounce(s) (1 cup) blue cheese, crumbled

Celery stalks and leaves, for serving

 

Directions ::

  1. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the wing sauce and chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 2 to 4 minutes.
  2. Dividing evenly, form sandwiches with the rolls, chicken mixture, blue cheese, and celery leaves (if desired). Serve with the celery.

 

Meatball a la Pizzaiola ::

 

Picture of Meatballs a la Pizzaiola Recipe

 

Ingredients ::

Vegetable oil cooking spray

2 large shallots, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained (5 or 6)

1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 pounds 20-percent fat ground beef

1 pound ground pork

6 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into 36 (1/2-inch) cubes

1/3 cup olive oil

3 cups marinara sauce, warmed

 

Directions ::

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

 

In a food processor, pulse together the shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and salt. Process until blended. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the beef and pork and, using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Form the mixture into 36 equal-size meatballs (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter).

 

Insert 1 cube smoked mozzarella cheese into the center of each meatball and form the meat around it, completely enclosing the cheese.

 

In a large nonstick skillet, heat half the oil over medium heat. Add half of the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining oil and meatballs.

 

Place the browned meatballs onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes for medium doneness. Set aside to cool slightly, and serve with warm marinara sauce.

 

Something New ::

 

And of course you can’t have a football party without something to sip on…I saw on the TODAY Show to “throw a wine tasting party” with while the Super Bowl is going on…what a great idea, especially for those people who just like to watch the commercials…not naming any names…

 

“Winemaker Joe Bastianich shows TODAY’s Matt Lauer how you can switch from beer to wine at your Super Bowl party this weekend, and shows some fun foods to pair with his suggestions.”

 

Here is the segment from their website…click here to see more!

1st quarter white: Hermann J. Wiemer Vinyards 2010 Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York, $14-$17
Pair it with Wisconsin cheddar cheese cubes.

 

2nd quarter white: Hess Select Monterey 2010 Chardonnay, California, $13
Pair it with pigs in a blanket.

 

Madonna’s halftime performance: Bellini

Try Flor Prosecco, Italy $15-$16, which is 100 percent prosecco, from the Veneto region. For the Bellini mix, you need ripe pears, lemon juice and sugar syrup. Peel, core and chop some nice ripe pears with some lemon juice (so they don’t turn brown) and sugar syrup. Use a blender to liquify, then strain.

 

2nd half: Switch to red — the red wine is more serious business for the second half.

 

3rd quarter red: Allegrini Valpolicella Classico, Italy, $10-$15 (depending upon the state)
Pair it with pizza bagels or pizza bites.

 

4th quarter red: Henry’s Drive Pillar Box Reserve 2009 Shiraz, Australia, $18
This is a heavier red, for pairing with protein dishes like chili.

 

 

What’s your favorite part of the Super Bowl??

 

Game…Half time…Commercials?