7/10/14

Fruit-Filled Virgin Sangria




A few months ago, I attended a food blogger event at the City Creek Harmons. They served a delicious non-alcoholic basil sangria. I loved the drink and thought it would be fun to recreate my own version at home when fresh fruits were in season!

Sangria is traditionally served in Spain and Portugal and made with wine, sweetener, fruit and a bit of brandy. I'm not a drinker, but love drinks made with fresh fruit.






Last week, we watched the fireworks, soaked up the sunset and enjoyed a pitcher of this colorful drink from our patio. The kids and adults loved the fruit-filled pitcher. When it was empty, we just added more of the liquid base, mixed and enjoyed. This is a perfect addition to any summer party. It travels well- just take the cut up fruits, canned juice, soda and ice in a cooler and mix when the party starts.
Hope you're keeping cool this summer!




Fruit Filled Virgin Sangria
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 frozen can of Welch's (or other brand) White Grape and Peach concentrate (not mixed up), thawed a bit*
one 2 liter bottle Ginger Ale or Sprite, sugarless is fine as well
ice, about 2-3 cups
a cup of water, if desired
Approximate fruit (for one pitcher)
2 limes, washed, sliced
1 orange, washed, peel on, sliced
1-2 cups strawberries, washed, a few sliced, a few left whole
handful of cherries
1 peach, peeled and sliced
mint leaves

Using a large glass pitcher, pour in half of the can of concentrate. Add half of a 2 liter bottle of Ginger Ale or Sprite. Add ice, about 2-3 cups. Mix a bit. Add chopped fruits and mint and stir lightly with large wood spoon.  If needed add a bit of water. You may leave the spoon in the pitcher if you wish to help scoop out the fruit while serving.
When the liquid is empty from the pitcher, simply add the remaining juice concentrate, ginger ale and more ice to the remaining fruit in pitcher. Stir and enjoy. You may also add more fruit if needed.
Serves 8

Tips:
-I used a white grape and peach blend but you can use any type of juice. I suggest white grape, pineapple, apple, grape, cranberry, peach, mango. The possibilities are endless.
-Most instructions for Sangria will advise to let the mixture to sit in the fridge for at least two hours before serving. Since I was using a carbonated liquid (and I was short on time), I made it right before serving. Either way works fine.
-If you would like the fruit to sit at the bottom of the pitcher, place the fruit in first, then the ice and the juice and carbonated beverage last. The weight of the ice will help the fruit to sit at the bottom instead of float on the top.
-You may use any combo of fresh fruit in season. I liked the look of the orange and green and red together with a splash of dark green.
-This recipe would also work well in a punch bowl.


6/27/14

Red, White and Blueberry Tart







Are you planning a 4th of July bash?
This is one of my favorite desserts, reinvented. Remember when fruit pizza was all the rage years ago? Sweet cookie crust, with cream cheese and powdered sugar icing, topped with fruit and glaze. Sometimes the fruit was arranged beautifully, other times it was dumped on top of the crust and cream cheese layer.
That was the 80's. Time to update this classic dessert.




First, I headed to Harmons to buy the sweetest, most plump, fresh berries. If you live in Utah, you're in business!  Harmons consistently has the best produce in the state. With the exception of picking berries yourself, Harmons is as fresh as it gets.




How do you update a classic? I decided switching from a pizza pan to tart pans made a big difference in presentation. Other subtle, but game changing differences- a little lemon flavoring, fresh fruit only (nothing canned) and no sugary glaze.
When you break this dessert down, it's a sugar cookie crust, lemon-cream cheese icing, topped with fresh fruit. So simple, a kid can make it.
I know you're going to love this for your summer gatherings!
Happy Fourth, and happy baking :)





Red, White and Blueberry Tart
A Bountiful Kitchen

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon flavoring or lemon emulsion*
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Individual tart pans or 9-10 inch tart pans

Cream together butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add the lemon flavoring or emulsion and egg, beat until combined and smooth, about 1 minute.
Add the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar all at once. Mix just until flour disappears and wet and dry ingredients are combined,
Using individual tart pans (14-16  4-inch pans), or
2-3  9-10 inch or equivalent tart pans, lightly grease the pans with cooking spray.
Scoop the dough into the pans, and press into the pans lightly with hands.
If the dough gets too soft, place the dough in the refrigerator for a few minutes to help the dough firm up.
After all of the tart pans are filled, pre-heat oven to 375 and set the racks in the middle of oven.
When oven is pre heated, bake the tarts for about 10-12 minutes or until tarts are golden brown. For a
9-inch tart pan, bake about 15 minutes. Remove and set on rack to cool. Let cool completely. This step may be done up to two days ahead if kept covered after baked and cooled.

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling:
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature (1 1/2  8 oz blocks cream cheese)
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
dash of salt
splash of milk (if needed to thin)

Beat all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth and blended well. The filling should be the consistency of  frosting.
Set aside in refrigerator until ready to use. If making ahead, refrigerate and cover.  Remove from refrigerator  about 30 minutes before ready to use.

Fruit topping:
fresh blueberries
fresh strawberries
fresh raspberries

Wash and drain the fruit thoroughly before using on the tarts. If the fruit is still wet from washing, it may bleed onto the cream cheese filling. I usually wash the fruit, let sit in a colander, then place on paper towels and pat lightly.

When ready to assemble:
Spread the cream cheese filling onto the tarts using a small spatula. Spread the filling almost to the edge of the tart. Arrange the fruit on top of the filling. Place tarts in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
May be prepared early in the day and covered until ready to serve.

Tips:
-Lemon emulsion and lemon extract are found in  most bakery supply stores or stores that sell cake decorating supplies.  Do not use lemon juice as a substitute in the tart shell. Fresh lemon juice is called for in the lemon cream cheese filling only.



6/23/14

Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad




Have you tried Panera's most popular salad? According to the girl who helped me last time I was there, it's the Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad. She promised I'd love it. She was right.
I loved all of the fruit in this salad: fresh pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges. As I was eating the salad, I knew it was going to end up on ABK...




If you're a Panera purist, you're probably wondering if a homemade salad is really going to taste like Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad. This recipe comes via  Panera's website. They demonstrate the recipe online through video (as far as I could find, only the dressing is in print).  I followed the recipe for their dressing (tweaked it just a bit reducing the Stevia and Dijon mustard) and made a note of the salad ingredients. They didn't disclose the recipe for their chicken, but it seems to have an herb/citrus type flavor. I came up with a version that has a nice herb crust that is flavorful, moist and easy to prepare in a home kitchen.

Herb-Crusted Chicken
I made this for dinner last week- twice, and guess what?
Don't tell our friends at Panera Bread, but it tasted  even better at home.
Every thing is better homemade.
Promise.


Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

Chicken:
3 chicken breast halves, about 1 1/2 lb total skinless, boneless
salt
*Mrs. Dash seasoning
olive oil
Lay the chicken on a plate. Generously salt and season one side of the chicken breast with Mrs. Dash seasoning.
Heat a heavy pan over medium to medium-high heat. Pour the olive oil in the pan while it's heating up and place the chicken, seasoned side down in the pan and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, season the side facing upward. If needed, add a little more oil to the pan when turning chicken. After the chicken has cooked for a total of ten minutes ( 5 minutes on each side), remove the pan from heat and cover loosely with foil. Let sit for an additional 5-7 minutes in pan. Remove the chicken from the pan and let cool completely on a cutting board.
Slice thin and set aside for salad. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Poppyseed Dressing:
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon stevia sweetener (or two additional tablespoons sugar)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

In a blender or food processor, combine the sugar, stevia, vinegar, orange juice, salt, mustard, and onion, and process for 20 seconds. With the blender on high, gradually add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Remove from the blender and stir in the poppy seeds. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use. Shake well before using on salad.

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, washed, chopped
1- 6 oz bag spinach or spring mix
(greens combined should equal about 15 cups total)
1 can mandarin oranges, drained well
1/2 lb strawberries, washed and sliced
1 pint blueberries, washed and patted dry
1 cup pineapple, sliced into chunks, then thinly sliced (about 1/2 of a medium size pineapple)
1 cup pecans, toasted and cut in half 

To prepare salad:
Using a large bowl or platter, arrange the greens on the platter. Sprinkle with a few pieces of fruit. Layer additional greens. Place the remaining fruits and chopped pecans on the greens. Top with sliced chicken. Drizzle about half of the dressing on the salad. Toss before serving. you may also plate the salad individually. In this case, toss the greens with the dressing and place on plates. Top each plate with fruit, nuts and chicken. Serve immediately. 
Yields about 15 generous side servings. 


Tips:
-*Mrs. Dash is found in most grocery stores near the spices.



6/12/14

Best BBQ Chicken Thighs with Honey-Orange BBQ Sauce

Chicken topped with Honey-Orange and Fresh Grated Ginger BBQ Sauce



























How do you feel about chicken thighs? Before you make a face, or tell me they're too high in calories, or you only eat all-white chicken meat, hear me out. It's Father's Day on Sunday, and I have a feeling Dad wants you to keep reading...

Here are my "Top five reasons why you should barbecue thigh-meat for Dad on Sunday" :

1. All of the cool kids are eating thighs. Not really, but they are regularly found on menus at upscale restaurants.  Wait. What did Dad tell you about the cool kids? 
Disregard this reason. Go on to reason #2...

2. It's about 10 times more delicious and flavorful than a piece of white breast meat. 
I am not lying.  Don't look at me that way. Do I sound like your dad? 

3. Thighs are more difficult to over-cook than white meat. Always moist and delicious. I have never overcooked a piece of thigh meat. Not. one. time. It may be impossible to overcook thigh meat. Ask Dad about this. Most dads have a PHD (or equivalent) in grilling. 

4. A thigh costs about 1/2 the price of white chicken meat. I paid about $4 for 8 thighs.  
Dad loves it when you save $$$!!!  He'll be so proud. 

5. And finally, reason #5 why you should cook thighs for Dad on his special day...He'll love it. 





Best BBQ Chicken Thighs with Honey-Orange BBQ Sauce
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

Sauce:
4 tablespoons  OJ concentrate (from a frozen can, thawed)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce ( I prefer Very Teriyaki brand)

8 thighs, bone in, skin removed
salt and pepper

Whisk all sauce ingredients together in small bowl.  Remove about 1/2 cup of sauce and set aside.
Place thighs in a dish and salt and pepper generously on both sides. Spoon the 1/2 cup of reserved sauce over the chicken to coat well. The chicken may be stored in refrigerator up to two days before cooking in sauce.
When ready to cook, remove chicken from refrigerator, and place on counter for about 1/2 hour.
Coat grill with a light layer of oil or  cooking spray. Heat grill to medium high heat. Place chicken on grill and cook for about 8-10 minutes per side. You may baste the chicken with the remaining sauce (that has been set aside and not used on the chicken) or drizzle the sauce over the chicken after it is cooked, or serve it on the side.
About 4 servings.




6/6/14

Southwest Summer Wraps




After a May that went something like this: baseball,school,baseball,school,baseball school, baseball trip... we landed back at home yesterday. Of course, no thought had been given to what we would eat our first day back. I did know one thing. It was time to cook.
The fridge held loads of yogurt, some moldy fruit and half eaten plates of who-knows-what?
I ran to the store and saw that Harmon's had ground turkey on sale, which sounded much more healthy than all of the pork, ribs and fried everything (including catfish, hush puppies and frog legs) we had  been eating for the past week on our visit to the South.  I threw some corn on the cob, onion, red pepper and cilantro along with the ground turkey in my cart for a quick dinner.
Twenty minutes after I started cooking the turkey, we were eating. This recipe is perfect for dinner or lunch, when your kids are tired of cereal, ramen, deli meat or whatever else they've become accustomed to eating while at home, instead of the school cafeteria. This dish is so simple the kids can help cook and assemble.  Southwest Summer Wraps are the best kind of summer meal.
Simple. Quick. Fresh. Delicious.
Happy June!


Southwest Summer Wraps
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

2 ears corn, husk and silk removed or about 2 cups frozen kernels
1 lb ground turkey (my package was 1 1/3 lbs)
1 medium size onion, preferably sweet
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
a few drops of hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon each, salt and pepper or more to taste
2 cups or one large red pepper, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
8-10 large wraps or flour tortillas
grated monterey jack cheese, about 2-2 1/2  cups, optional

Wrap the cobs of corn in dampened paper towels and cook in microwave on high for 3 minutes. Let sit for another couple minutes in microwave and remove. Cut the corn off the cob and set aside.
In a large pan, cook the ground turkey, chopped onion, minced garlic, chili powder, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes or until turkey is cooked and the onion is softened a bit. Break up the turkey and stir the mixture as it is cooking.
Add the chopped red pepper and corn.  Toss the chopped cilantro into the mixture and remove from heat.
Spread about 1/4 cup of the grated cheese down the center of the wrap. Spoon the ground turkey mixture ( I used about 3/4 to 1 cup per wrap) on top of the cheese and roll up the wrap. Cut in half on the diagonal. Serve immediately or place in refrigerator covered tightly (so the wrap doesn't dry out)  until ready to serve.
The wraps may be served hot, room temperature or cold.
Yields about 8-10 large wraps


Tips:
-I used a wrap that was about 12-14 inches in diameter. The brand name was "Tumaro's, it was a "New York Style Deli Wrap" . I found it at Harmon's near the bread. It was a very thin and pliable wrap that mimicked the flavor of an Everything bagel. You may use any large, soft wrap. If you use a tortilla in place of a wrap, it needs to be soft enough to hold its shape after rolling. If the tortilla is made with little or no fat, it will probably break as it is rolled. If you are having trouble getting your wrap to stay closed, use a toothpick to secure the end.
-You may make the filling and fill the wraps as you are ready to eat. Heat the filling in a bowl or on a plate for about a minute, covered. Fill wrap and roll as directed.
-If you want to heat after wraps are assembled and refrigerated, place on paper towel and wrap the paper towel around the wrap :)  microwave for about 30 seconds.
-I used cheese in the wraps I fed to the boys, but preferred mine without cheese. You could also add some shredded leaf lettuce on top of the filling, before rolling.
-This filling would also make an excellent topping on a bed of greens and tortilla chips for a taco salad.