Photos and reviews of the best places to eat and have fun in the Valley of the Sun! Great recipes for the whole family! Heather Walker, GMAZ Foodie, shares her award-winning dishes with you on the Phoenix Family Foodie Blog!
Upon walking into the new Scottsdale Babbo Italian Eatery, my husband and I are immediately impressed with the photos of local families, eating, smiling and laughing. I feel as if I'm coming home.
The Babbo restaurants are all family owned and operated, with the idea of family being "central to everything" (Babbo means "Daddy" in Italian). The staff acts as the heart of all their restaurants and delivers exemplary service. During our visit, I notice all the staff members enjoying their jobs and working together as a team. I soon realize that after 15 years in business, 8 local restaurants, and events like their Children's Hospital "Day of Giving," it's very obvious that this company genuinely cares about its community, its customers, its products, and its staff.
That being said, this isn't a place where snobby servers walk around with wheels of Parmesan cheese to grate onto your $30 pasta dish. The new Scottsdale location has beautiful and modern decor, but Babbo is a casual, family friendly atmosphere...and the grated Parm is in a glass container on the table. Shake to your heart's desire without feeling like a gluttonous pig in front of the snobby server. Come as you are, bring the kids, and Parm away, baby!
Now, let's talk about value. Value is the big take away for me at Babbo. Their signature dish, a classic spaghetti and meatballs is always $6.99 on Mondays and Tuesdays. But, the rest of the menu has exceptionally reasonable prices with large portions and big flavors! The home-made, warm focaccia that's served upon your welcome arrival is a perfect example. The olive oil and balsamic vinegar accompaniment is an additional bonus!
The restaurant has a fully stocked bar with a diverse cocktail menu of classic and signature cocktails. The Babbo-tini is DELICIOUS, with a fruity and refreshing flavor. The flavors of coconut rum, amaretto, pineapple and orange juices are all blended together perfectly. I could finish 5 or 6 more of these and then would need to be wheeled out on a gurney!
There's an inviting appetizer menu with the traditional Italian Bruschetta, Crostini and Mozzarella dishes, but one dish, the Firecracker Rolls, really stands out. There are three flavor options: Steak, Italian Meat and Buffalo Chicken. You can request one of each, as the dish comes with three servings. None of them are disappointing.
Babbo has done an excellent job of trying to make everyone in the family happy. They've got everything from healthy, gluten-free "zoodles" and protein bowls, to traditional pasta dishes, to $7 children's dishes that no kiddo can resist. The Chalkboard menu is a great choice for customizing your own dish. It allows you to choose your own salad, protein and pasta or vegetable sidekick. If you're on a not-so-traditional food kick, and you're looking to create something just a bit different, this option is the one for you.
On our visit, my husband and I decide to go with some of the regular pasta menu items. My hubby opts for the Italian Sausage Pasta ($13.50) with sausage, peppers, mushrooms, Marsala wine and Parmesan cheese served over penne. It's a simple, traditional dish with no surprises and is very well executed. The spicy Italian sausage has the right amount of heat, and the big chunks of peppers, tomatoes and mushroom give the dish perfect pops of savory flavor.
My pick for the night is something a little lighter and more refreshing. I'm always thinking of my kiddo, and he LOVES capers, so I choose the Chicken Limone Pasta ($12.95) with asparagus (additional $2). Roasted chicken breast, artichoke hearts, capers, FRESH lemon butter sauce and garlic make my mouth SING with a glass of their Villa Pozzi Moscato. This is very much a "mommy" dish, and I'm pleasantly surprised to find large wedges of fresh lemon in the dish, to keep it light, fruity and flavorful. I'm glad I added the asparagus, as I now feel that I'm eating my vegetables while I STUFF myself with delicious, buttery pasta!
Now, in my world, there's ALWAYS room for dessert. It's what I do best when I cook and compete, but more than that, it's what I absolutely LOVE to eat. Needless to say, I sign right up for any chance I have to let someone else make dessert for ME! Babbo's tiramisu is HEAVENLY. It helps that tiramisu is my all time favorite dessert dish, but theirs is mild, creamy, sweet and LARGE! I had no intention of eating more than a bite or two, and every intention of sharing it with my husband, getting several photographs, and a video. This is the result of those efforts. Can you see my problem here?!
All in all, Babbo made us feel like we were part of the their family. We walked out with full tummies and full hearts. I hope if you visit any of their locations here in the valley, you experience the same thing. Visit their website for locations, menus and more information:
Memorial Day always marks the arrival of ungodly heat here in Phoenix. This is the time when the kids usually get out of school and everyone starts to hit the road!
I spent most of my life in San Diego, and I always knew why so many Arizona license plates would show up on the freeways between June and August, but I never really completely understood until I moved to Phoenix. It's dangerous here! We're the opposite of most places in the country. We hide inside from June to October, when most people are enjoying the outside. And when everyone in the North and East are hiding inside during the winter months, we're outside loving life! Needless, we can get pretty creative on ways to beat the heat.
If you're hosting a get-together for the coming holiday weekend, get ready for some sunshine, and get ready to beat the heat with some of these cool, ice cream cocktails!
2 oz. Margarita Mix1 oz. Silver Tequila1 large scoop Lime Sherbet1 slice of lime
Place the scoop of lime sherbet in a large margarita glass.Fill a shaker with ice and add the tequila and Margarita Mix. Cover and shake. Pour the mixture into the glass with the lime sherbet. Garnish with a slice of lime and serve immediately.
1 oz. Whipped Cream flavored Vodka2 oz. Heavy Cream1 large scoop Dreyer's Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Ice Cream1 tbsp. caramel syrup1 tbsp. golden sugar sprinkles
Dip a martini glass rim in water and then into the golden sugar sprinkles.Drizzle the caramel syrup around the inside of the martini glass.Place the scoop of ice cream into the bottom of the martini glass.Fill a shaker with ice and add the vodka and cream. Shake and pour into the martini glass with the ice cream. Serve immediately.
1 oz. Whipped Cream Vodka1 oz. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur1 oz. Kahlua Coffee Liqueur3 scoops chocolate ice cream1 tbsp. chocolate syrup1/2 cup whipped cream1 tbsp. chocolate sprinkles1 Maraschino cherry
Drizzle the chocolate syrup around the inside edges of a tall mug.In a blender or food processor combine the vodka, chocolate and coffee liqueurs with the chocolate ice cream. Mix on high speed for about 20 seconds until smooth and pour into the mug.Top with the whipped cream, sprinkles and a maraschino cherry. Serve immediately.
It's almost summer and Arizona is already heating up with temps in the 100's! The warmer weather always makes me want dishes with fresh fruits that remind me of tropical getaways!
This was one of the first recipes I ever created, and it still SINGS to my tastebuds every time I make it. You can substitute the rice for any other variety, but I highly suggest getting all the ingredients for the mango chutney. It's definitely the star of the show in this recipe!
Jerk Pork Tenderloin with Mango Chutney and Coconut Basmati Rice
1 cup Basmati Rice 14 oz. (one can) Lite Coconut Milk 2 Mangoes, peeled, seeded and chopped2 Red Bell Peppers, seeded and chopped 4 chopped Scallions 1/2 cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice 1 lb. pork tenderloin 1/4 cup Golden Raisins 1/4 cup Cilantro 1/2 cup crushed Macadamia nuts 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil 3 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar 1 tsp fresh grated ginger (I used my zesting tool) 1 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice 1 tbsp ground allspice 1/2 tsp Cloves (ground) 1/2 tsp. red chile flake salt and pepper
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil on high heat. Add 1 cup Basmati rice and toast the rice for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup light coconut milk, and 1/2 cup water. Season with salt, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and continue to cook until rice is soft and liquid is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.In a separate, medium saucepan, add mangoes, red bell pepper, chopped scallions, grated ginger, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, 1/4 tsp. red chile flake and 1/2 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice. Season with salt and pepper and stir until all ingredients are combined. Cook on medium heat until fruits and vegetables are soft, and juices are reduced, about 25 minutes. Stir in golden raisins and Macadamia nuts in last 2-3 minutes of cooking.Cut the pork tenderloin into cube size pieces. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat. Add pork and season with salt and pepper. Brown the meat for about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the meat to a crock pot and add 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, 1 Tbsp. ground allspice, 1/2 tsp. Ground cloves, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice and 1/4 tsp. red chile flake. Stir until ingredients are combined. Cook the meat on high in the crock pot for about 3 hours, until meat is ready to be shredded with a fork.Remove the meat from the crock pot, shred with a fork and transfer it back to the crock pot. Adjust seasoning and add another 1/2 cup chicken broth if necessary. Continue to cook in crock pot for an additional 30-40 minutes. To serve: shape 1/2 cup coconut rice in a 1/2 cup measuring cup. Place on plate. Spoon the shredded pork tenderloin onto the plate over rice. Spoon the mango chutney on top of the pork. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
4 vegan sausages, cut into 4 pieces each1/2 large onion, cut into 8 pieces1/2 large green bell pepper, cut into 8 pieces8 cherry or grape tomatoes6-8 large kale leaves, ribs removed1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
Heat a large grill to medium heat.Place the kale leaves and salad dressing in a large bowl and massage them together with your hands until combined.Build the skewers by wrapping a tomato in a kale leaf and placing it on the skewer. Follow up with a piece of the sausage. Wrap a piece of the onion in the kale and a piece of green pepper in the kale and skewer each of them, alternating with pieces of the sausage.Grill the skewers on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes per side, until the kale is charred and the sausages are browned.
Arizona Cardinals Bacon Wrapped Steak on a STEEECK!
Prep Time: 20 minutes / 10 minutes / Servings: 4
4 large avocados, cut in half and seeded16-20 slices of thick cut bacon2 tbsp. Loot N Booty BBQ rub (I used the What's Your Beef flavor)3 lbs. Open Nature Australian Grass-Fed Top Loin NY Strip Steak, cut into 2" cubes1 cup flat leaf parsley1 cup cilantro2 large cloves of garlic1 tbsp. red wine vinegar1/2 tsp. red chili flakes1/2 cup olive oil1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
Heat an outdoor grill to high heat. I used my Grilla Grill and set it to 450 degrees.Make the chimichurri: Combine the parsley, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, chili flakes, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Pulse until finely chopped and combined. Drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until combined. Transfer to a serving bowl until ready to use.Combine the BBQ rub and the beef in a large bowl and mix with your hands until combined.Wrap each piece of beef in 1/3 slice of bacon, just covering the outside of the meat.Place each piece of bacon wrapped beef on a skewer (about 4 pieces per skewer).Grill on high heat for about 4 minutes per side, until the bacon is browned and fairly crispy.Add the avocado to the grill with the meat. Grill for about 4 minutes, face down. Remove from heat and hollow out the middle to make a bit more room for meat!To serve: Place the avocados on a serving dish. Remove the meat from the skewers and stuff inside the avocados. Drizzle with chimichurri and serve immediately.
If you've been to a trendy restaurant lately, you've probably noticed that "bowls" are the newest, hottest way to serve your favorite dishes! These are easy to re-create and make a beautiful presentation! The key is to use lots of fresh, colorful vegetables and include a lean protein and a delicious or exotic grain as the base.
2 cups forbidden rice, fully cooked1 avocado, thinly sliced1 cup edamame1 medium beet, peeled and shredded1 cup green peas1 cup micro greens or fresh watercress4 small radishes, thinly sliced1 tbsp. each black and white sesame seeds1 cup Asian sesame salad dressing
Cook the forbidden rice according to package directions.Set out four serving bowls and spoon 1/2 cup of forbidden rice into the bottom or each bowl. Evenly arrange the avocado, edamame, beets, peas, watercress and radishes on top of the forbidden rice..Drizzle with the Asian sesame dressing and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
2 cups short grain rice, fully cooked2 chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes2 scallions, finely chopped1 cup shredded carrots1 cup chopped, fresh pineapple chunks1 cup shredded purple cabbage1 1/4 cups Mr. Yoshida's Teriyaki Saucesalt and peppernon-stick cooking spray
Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat to medium heat. Add the chicken and 1/4 cup of the teriyaki sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Cook the rice according to package directions.Set out four serving bowls and spoon 1/2 cup of rice into the bottom or each bowl. Evenly arrange the chicken, scallions, carrots, pineapple and purple cabbage on top of the rice.Drizzle with the remaining teriyaki sauce. Serve immediately.
2 cups frozen, shredded hash browns1 lb. New York Strip steak4 eggs15-20 stalks of pencil asparagus15-20 small cherry tomatoes1 cup Hollandaise sauce (link to recipe follows)non-stick cooking spraysalt and pepper
Heat the oven on broil (500 degrees). Arrange the asparagus and cherry tomatoes onto a cookie sheet and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper. Broil the vegetables for 5-6 minutes until the asparagus and tomatoes are charred. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before serving.Bring a small saucepan filled with water to a simmer. Add 2 tbsp. white vinegar. Swirl the water into a circle with a large spoon or ladle. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Use the ladle or large spoon to gently drop one egg into the swirling, simmering water. Cook for 2 1/2 minutes and remove with the spoon. Set aside until ready to serve. Repeat with the other eggs.Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat on medium heat. Add the hash browns and season with salt and pepper. Heat on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, until browned and crispy. Re-spray and re-heat the same skillet and add the steak. Season with salt and pepper and cook on medium heat 4-5 minutes on each side, until medium rare (135 degrees internal temperature). Remove from the skillet and allow the steak to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.Set out four serving bowls and evenly spoon the hash browns into each bowl. Evenly add the sliced steak, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and poached eggs.Drizzle with warm Hollandaise sauce and serve immediately.
Every year, my family does the Pat Tillman run in Tempe, AZ. My son started doing the race when he was 6-years-old. He beat me that year. The next year, I trained a little harder. He was seven. He beat me that year too. Now he's eight, and I've realized that matter how much I train, no matter what I eat to prepare for the race, he's going to beat me. He's growing up and getting faster, and I'm growing older and getting slower. I give up.
Training for the Tillman run isn't a big deal. It's only a 4.2 mile run, so there's no need to carb-load a week before the race. But it is hot, so you do need to hydrate and be conscious of what you eat the day before and the day of. Plan to drink about 20 oz. of fluids before the race. Coconut water is good, you can also make your own electrolyte water with 1/4 tsp. salt to 1 qt. of water and add things like cucumber, fresh mint, lime, lemon or stevia as a sweetener,
For food, think "light lunch" for dinner the night before. Low-fat, fresh foods are great with lots of fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid alcohol (save the tacos and margaritas for after the race!). The morning of the race, have some energizing foods like nuts, granola, oats, and fruit for breakfast. Running on an empty stomach or a dehydrated body is never a good idea!
2 large chicken breasts, chopped1 orange bell pepper, chopped2 scallions, chopped1 tbsp. Sicilian Spice blend (or 1 tbsp. Italian Seasoning and 1/2 tsp. red chili flake)1 cup white rice, cooked2 tbsp. olive oil1 Roma tomato, chopped5 fresh basil leaves, chopped1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese2 Pita bread rounds, cut in half1/2 cup warm marinara sauce or ranch dressing (for dipping)
In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil on medium heat. Add chicken, bell pepper and scallions. Season with spices and salt and pepper. Stir until combined and cook on medium heat for 7-10 minutes until veggies are soft and chicken is browned and cooked through.Stir in rice and cheese and cook until cheese is melted and stringy, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in fresh tomato and basil until combined. Stuff mixture into four open pita halves. Serve with warm marinara and/or ranch dressing.
4 large Braeburn, Gala or Fuji Apples1 cup raw oats or crushed granola bars1/4 cup dried cherries1/4 cup chopped dates1/4 cup crushed pecan pieces1/4 cup peanut butter1/2 cup good quality maple syrup1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Cut the apples in half and use a melon-baller to scoop out the seeds and insides. Leave about 1/4" of fruit attached to the skin. Discard the core and seeds, but keep the rest of the apple and roughly chop it. Transfer it to a large mixing bowl.Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the chopped apples. Stir until combined.Evenly spoon the granola mixture into the emptied apple halves.Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Mediterranean Watermelon Salad
3 cups watermelon, cut into 1" cubes1 cup chopped fresh strawberries2 cups cooked pearl cous cous1 large cucumber, chopped½ cup crumbled Feta cheese2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint2 tbsp. Balsamic Viniagrette dressing
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until combined. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
1 large pineapple, peeled and chopped into large chunks2 bottles clear, filtered sake
Prepare the pineapple and place it into a large, sealable container.Pour the sake over the pineapple chunks and seal the container.Place it in the refrigerator for 48 hours.If you prefer not to have any pulp or fruit in the served sake, run it through a strainer or a cheesecloth before serving.
Alright, so after last weeks game I came to this realization...it's going to be a tough season. I always try to stay positive, but after losing several of our most coveted players to injuries, our Cards are going to have to work twice as hard to get their wins.
So, this week, I'm starting to implement the sabotage rule. I officially reserve the right to SABOTAGE the opponents recipes if I feel the opposing team has a chance at winning. ESPN is currently predicting that the Eagles have a 76% chance of winning this weekend! This is unacceptable, so I'll give you the REAL recipe here, but watch out on the air for the live segments. There will be FOUL PLAY!
2 lbs. Open Nature Australian Grass Fed Ground Beef (15% fat)1/2 medium green bell pepper, finely choped2 green onions, finely chopped2 large cloves of fresh garlic, minced or pressed2 tbsp. mustard2 tbsp. ketchup2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley2 eggs1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbssalt and pepper2 jars Organics marinara sauce (25 oz. each)1/4 cup brown sugar1/4 cup red wine12 slices Provolone cheese6 large, fresh sub rolls4 tbsp. butter, melted
In a large pot or dutch oven, combine the red wine, brown sugar and marinara sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat on medium heat until it comes to a simmer. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, chopped bell pepper, green onions, garlic, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, eggs and bread crumbs. Season with 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands until combined. Roll the meat into 2" meatballs and place them into the marinara sauce. Cover the pot and allow the sauce and meatballs to simmer on low-medium heat for about 45 minutes.Split the sub rolls down the middle and brush them with the melted butter. Lightly toast them in the toaster oven for 2-3 minutes or under the broiler for a 1 minute.Place 2 slices of cheese into the center of each of the rolls. Spoon 3-4 meatballs into the center of the sub and top with some of the marinara sauce. Serve immediately.
2 lbs. Organics Grass Fed Strip Loin Steak, thinly sliced2 medium green bell peppers, thinly sliced1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced8 oz. sliced baby crimini mushrooms1/4 cup olive oil6 whole wheat sub rolls6 slices reduced fat provolone cheesesalt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large skillet on high heat. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high heat for 5-6 minutes until mushrooms are brown and liquid is cooked out. Transfer the mushrooms to a large bowl.Add the peppers and onions to the skillet. Cook on high heat for about 5 minutes, until slightly browned and softened. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms.Add the steak to the skillet. Cook on high heat for about 2-3 minutes on each side until browned. Remove from the heat, slice into strips and set aside.Return all the meat and vegetables to the skillet. Toss them all together until combined.To serve: Cut the wheat rolls down the center. Cut a slice of cheese in half and place it in the center of the roll. Divide the meat/vegetable mixture amongst the rolls and serve immediately.
It feels good to turn the oven off, let the stove cool down and NOT do the dishes once in a while. I have to admit, the more I cook, the more I don't like restaurants. But, there are a few places in Phoenix where I know I can get consistently good food, eat in a child friendly environment, and watch the game with fellow Arizona sports fans.
I remember visiting Oggi's a LOT when we lived in San Diego. I think I pretty much LIVED on their Waldorf salad when I was working in the stressful and extremely corrupt mortgage industry (don't even get me started on that story). When we moved to Arizona, I was delighted to see an Oggi's just off 67th Avenue on the 101 in Glendale. Little did I know, it was the ONLY location in the entire state of Arizona! It's been more than 10 years since they opened their doors, and they're STILL packing in the people for parties, sports and fun.
Flatbread pizzas seem to be a big restaurant trend right now, but Oggi's has done something different and AMAZING! I stopped in yesterday to explore their new feature "Flatbread Frenzy" menu, and let's just say I had to DOUBLE my running time later that afternoon to burn off the calories!
Think about breakfast. Think about high-end Italian food. Think about healthy eating. And think about DESSERT! I can imagine these are all the things Oggi's was thinking about when they came up with these recipes!
After seeing initial photos, I was sure the "Feeling Eggcellent" flatbread was going to be my favorite. Garlic olive oil brushed flatbread, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, bacon, fresh jalapeño, red and green onion, and FRIED EGGS. Breakfast gone bonkers! The Chicken and Prosciutto Flatbread however, gave the breakfast baby a run for its money! More flatbread with Alfredo and Mozzarella (you had me there), herb marinated portobello mushrooms, grilled chicken, prosciutto cubes, peppery arugula, feta and a DELICIOUS, sweet balsamic glaze!
If you love healthy veggies, but also LOOVE pizza and flatbread, then the Roasted Butternut flatbread is your go-to with more garlic olive oil brushed flatbread, mozzarella, parmesan, roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries (YUM!), crispy bacon and crunchy fried kale!
But get a load of this...a BANANA SPLIT DELIGHT Flatbread for DESSERT! I made sure to save LOTS of room for this one, even after deciding to order some of the short rib nachos. I couldn't resist after seeing the drool-worthy photo on their appetizer menu! The cinnamon sugar topped flatbread is covered with a homemade chocolate ganache, fresh cut bananas, vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, cashews, cherries, whipped cream and powdered sugar! The best part of this for me though, is that they cook the bananas with the flatbread, so you get these DELICIOUS, roasted banana flavor with all the other ice cream sundae fixings!
My favorite turned out to be a tie between the banana split and the chicken prosciutto. My eight-year-old LOVED the "Eggy Pizza," as he called it.
Whichever flatbread you choose during this "frenzy," you're sure not to be disappointed. Check out Oggi's off 67th Avenue during the March Madness tournament where they'll be ready with the perfect beer pairing for all of these amazing dishes!
About Oggi’s Sports | Brewhouse | Pizza
For 26 years, Oggi’s Sports|Brewhouse|Pizza has continued to define craft brewing, fresh pizza and brewpub favorites in Southern California and Arizona. Oggi’s has 16 full-service locations and one Oggi’s Pizza Express location, all with sports-themed atmospheres. The menu features signature pizzas, pasta entrees and desserts alongside their original beer pairings. Each location has 10 original brews on tap at a time, including one seasonal and one barrel-aged. Oggi’s boasts award-winning brews, which have over 60 medals in international, national and regional beer competitions. Oggi’s is the exclusive pizza sold at the Angels Stadium in Anaheim. For more information, including franchising, visitwww.Oggis.com.
Every year we host our "Spring Fling," or Easter Sunday Brunch. I tell myself every year I'm not going to slave over the oven and stove with complicated dishes to serve. So this year, I've compiled a few of my favorite easy, yet impressive Easter Brunch dishes, so you can enjoy the company of your guests too!
The grapefruit and avocado smoked salmon salad is PERFECT with mimosas, and if you're not an orange juice person, just skip it and have a glass of champagne with the shrimp wontons!
The pork tenderloin can easily be substituted with beef or chicken, and the pasta primavera dish is easily made with gluten-free pasta for a healthier alternative.
Regardless of how you make ANY of these dishes, your guests will be sure to compliment your cooking, AND you'll have time to enjoy!
1 pkg Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls (8 ct)1 tablespoon butter (melted) or olive oil8 medium vine ripened tomatoes8 eggs 1/2 cup(s) finely chopped fresh basil1/2 cup(s) shredded mozzarella cheese2 teaspoon(s) Italian seasoningsalt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut off the top 1/8 of the tomato and hollow out the interior using a melon baller or spoon. Discard the top, center and seeds. Pat the inside dry with a paper towel. Crack and place 1 egg into the center of each of the tomatoes. You may need to spoon out just a bit of the egg whites if the tomato isn't big enough to hold the entire egg.Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the eggs. Reserve about 2 tbsp. for garnish at the end. Sprinkle basil evenly over the cheese on each of the stuffed tomatoes. Lightly season each with 1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper.Unroll the crescent dough and place on a flat sheet. Separate each of the triangles. Set one of the tomatoes on top of each of the triangles. Stretch the three ends of the crescent triangle out so they meet at the top of the tomato and twist around the center. Lay the twist on top of the tomato. Place all the wrapped tomatoes onto a non-stick cookie sheet.Brush each of the wrapped tomatoes with the melted butter or olive oil, coating the tops and sides of the crescent dough. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the wrapped tomatoes. Place in the oven on the center rack and bake at 350 degrees until the eggs are soft set and crescent dough is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before serving.
1.5 lb. pork tenderloin3 garlic cloves, pressed4 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary2 tbsp. olive oil10 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms1/2 red bell pepper, sliced1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper, sliced2 cups raw green beans1 tsp. onion powdersalt and pepper
Place the pork tenderloin in a large, sealable plastic bag. Add 2 tsp. each of ground sea salt and cracked black pepper. Add the pressed garlic cloves and the 3 tbsp. of the fresh rosemary. Drizzle in about a tbsp. of olive oil. Seal the bag and massage all the ingredients into the meat for about 1 minute. Place the sealed bag in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large skillet to high heat with about 1 tbsp. olive oil. When the oil is heated, add the pork tenderloin and ALL the oil/juices from the marinade bag. Sear the pork for about 3 minutes on all sides, until it has a nice, dark brown color. Remove the heat from the pan, reserve the heated pan and its drippings. Wrap the meat tin foil and place it in a casserole or glass baking dish. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until inside temperature reaches 135-140 degrees. Remove from the heat and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before unwrapping, slicing and serving.While the meat is cooling, re-heat the large skillet to medium heat and add the peppers and mushrooms. De-glaze the pan with about 1/2 cup water or chicken broth and stir the juices into the veggies. Season the veggies with the onion powder, the remaining tbsp. of fresh rosemary and salt & pepper to taste. Cook the mushrooms and peppers on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to brown. Add the green beans and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until the green beans are softened, but still slightly crunchy.To serve: Arrange the pork tenderloin on a serving dish. Slice it on a bias to create 1" thick slices. Pour the veggies and the drippings from the pan around the sides and serve.
1 large ruby red grapefruit, sectioned1 large avocado, peeled, seeded and sliced4 oz. Alaskan smoked salmon5 oz. baby spring mix salad greens, roughly chopped1/2 cup pomegranate seeds1/2 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)2 tbsp. yellow mustard1 tbsp. agave nectar1/2 tsp. garlic powdersalt and pepper to taste
Section the grapefruit by cutting off the top and bottom, then slicing next to the inner endocarp (edible fruit section), removing all the white pith around the edges. Next, slice inbetween the white membrane sections, removing ONLY the edible fruit sections. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.Peel, seed and slice the avocados into 1/2 inch slices, set aside. Roll the salmon slices into 1" rolls, set aside.Arrange the slices of the avocado, grapefruit and salmon onto a large serving dish around the edges of the plate.In a separate mixing bowl add the chopped spring mix, pomegranate seeds and pepitas. Toss to combine.In a separate small bowl, combine the mustard, agave nectar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and add to the salad mixture. Toss the salad and dressing together until combined.Place the salad into the center of the serving dish with the salmon, avocado and grapefruit. Garnish with a light dusting of salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
4. Baked Wontons with Lemon Shrimp & Champagne Pesto
2 cups fresh basil1 cup Italian parsley2 cloves garlic1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheesezest of 1/2 lemon2 tbsp. Brut champagne1/4 cup olive oil1/4 cup pine nuts1/4 tsp. each salt/pepper
In a food processor, combine all ingredients except for the olive oil. Pulse until combined, scrape down sides with a spatula, and mix again on high speed for about 10 seconds. Drizzle in olive oil and mix for about 1 minute until smooth.
Lemon Shrimp Ingredients:
1 lb. shrimp, roughly chopped2 tbsp. olive oiljuice of 1/2 lemon (score the peel and save for garnish)2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (plus 12 small sprigs for garnish)1/4 tsp. each salt/pepper
Heat the olive oil on high heat in a large skillet. Add the thyme and chives and stir until combined. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat, add the lemon juice and allow it to steam to finish cooking for about 3 minutes.
12 wonton sheets1/2 cup olive oil or non-stick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.Place the wontons on a cookie sheet and brush the wontons with olive oil or spray with cooking spray on both sides.Bake in the oven for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.
Place a wonton sheet onto an individual appetizer dish. Spoon about 1 tbsp. of the pesto into the center. Place 3-4 pieces of the shrimp on top of the pesto. Garnish with a few pieces of scored lemon peel and a small sprig of thyme.
8 oz. rotini pasta2 tbsp. olive oil 1 large carrot, sliced2 small zucchini, julienned10-12 stalks pencil asparagus, ends trimmed and cut in half1 cup frozen English peas1/2 red bell pepper, julienned1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned1 cup grape tomatoes1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil 1/4 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese1 tsp. herbs de provence (more or less to your taste)1/2 tsp. garlic powdersalt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and stir. Boil for about 7 minutes until the noodles are soft. Drain and set aside.Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or wok on medium heat. Add the carrots and bell peppers. Stir and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the zucchini, asparagus and peas. Season with herbs de provence, garlic powder and salt & pepper to taste. Cook for another 4-5 minutes. Stir the pasta back in and add the grape tomatoes. Stir until combined. Adjust seasoning if necessary. To Serve: Place the desired amount on a serving plate. Top with fresh basil and a dusting of Parmesan cheese.
In San Francisco, it's probably a crime not to get some clam chowder in a bread bowl at Fisherman's Wharf. It SHOULD be a crime not to eat this Buffalo Chicken and Bacon Mac and Cheese, because it's so darn good! Wherever you're celebrating football this weekend, I think its time for a little comfort food!
2 six inch Sourdough bread bowls, hollowed out2 tbsp. butter3 tbsp. flour2 stalks celery, chopped1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped2 cups vegetable stock1 cup heavy cream2 fresh bay leaves3 medium potatoes, cut into 1" cubes2 ten oz. cans of whole baby clams2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, combine the butter, onions and celery. Cook on medium heat until veggies are soft and butter is melted, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the flour to create a roux with the veggies. Add the vegetable stock, cream, bay leaves and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and stir until combined.Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Stir in the clams and allow them to heat through, about another 5 minutes. Transfer to the bread bowls, top with fresh parsley and serve.
**Note: This tastes better the longer it rests. It's even better the next day!
Arizona Cardinals Red Bird Buffalo Bacon Mac N Cheese Bowls
2 six inch Sourdough bread bowls, hollowed out2 large, bone in chicken breasts, grilled and chopped1 lb. penne pasta8-10 strips center cut bacon, chopped4 cups heavy cream16 oz. shredded four cheese blend4 tbsp. buffalo wing sauce2 tbsp. marinara sauce1/2 tsp. onion powder1/2 tsp. garlic powder1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper2 large scallions, chopped
Heat a grill or grill pan to high heat. Grill the chicken breasts on high heat until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from the heat, allow the meat to rest about 7 minutes, de-bone and chop the meat. Set aside to cool until ready to use. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the penne, cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain the water and set the pasta aside until ready to serve.Heat a large skillet to high heat. Add the bacon, cook on high heat for about 7-10 minutes until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl that's been lined with a paper towel. Discard the drippings, but use the same pan to cook the cheese sauce.In the same skillet, add the heavy cream and the shredded cheese. Stir in the wing sauce, marinara, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk on medium heat until the sauce is smooth and creamy.Using a large pot (I used the pot from the pasta) combine the cheese sauce, chicken and pasta. Stir until combined and allow the mixture to rest for about 5 minutes, so the pasta can absorb some of the sauce and finish cooking. Transfer the mixture to the bread bowls and top with the bacon and chopped scallions. Serve immediately.
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