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Top 10 Recipes in 2009

Here are the top 10 recipes on Closet Cooking based on page views in 2009:


No Bake Cheesecake

No Bake Cheesecake - Readers appreciate how effortless this cheesecake is to make and it has moved up a few positions since it placed in the top ten recipes of 2008!



Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancake)

Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancake) - This Japanese pancake with a vegetable filled batter is made 'as you like' with whatever fillings and toppings that you want. I like to use vegetables that are in season to make the batter and bacon and seafood make common appearances. Okonomiyaki is often finished off with fruity okonomiyaki sauce and tangy mayo.



Jalapeno Popper Dip

Jalapeno Popper Dip - This dip was a great find and I have made it many times since! It both satisfies my cravings for a warm melted cheesy/creamy dip and for a ~bit~ of Texmex heat from the spicy jalapenos peppers!



Kare (Japanese Curry)

Kare (Japanese Curry) - Another deserving recipe that has made it to the top 10 list two years running! I just can't seem to get enough of this Japanese curry! With winter here I am thinking that my next batch will include some pumpkin/squash.



7 Layer Dip

7 Layer Dip - Another great Texmex dip, only a bit more on the healthy side with its base of refried beans rather than cheese. You will never miss the cheese with the warm and creamy beans topped with all you favorite texmex condiments including salsa, guacamole, etc.



Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie) - There is just something magical about that spinach, feta and dill combination all wrapped up in light and flaky, golden brown phyllo! I just can't get enough of this!



Parmesan Crusted Baked Zucchini Sticks with Marinara Sauce

Parmesan Crusted Baked Zucchini Sticks with Marinara Sauce - If you are looking for a great tasting and healthy snack you can stop right here!



Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip - Another great warm melted cheesy/creamy dip that always disappears really quickly. This dip was also on the top 10 recipes in 2008 list!



Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup - This soup is one of my favorite things to get when ordering Chinese! Some of the ingredients can be a bit hard to find but it is well worth the effort! Once you do find all of the ingredients you can make this amazing soup at home whenever you want! Right now it is perfect for the cold winter days.



Greek Style Zucchini Fritters

Greek Style Zucchini Fritters - I have really been into the zucchini, feta, mint and dill combo and these crispy fried fritters are a perfect example. Enjoy with a dollop of tzatziki.



Similar Posts:
Top 10 Recipes in 2010
My Top 10 Favorite Recipes in 2009
Top 10 Recipes in 2008
Top 10 Recipes in 2007

My Top 10 Favorite Recipes in 2009

2009 went by so quickly! As has become tradition, I like to set aside some time at the end of the year to look back and from what I have seen, 2009 was certainly a tasty year! I wanted to come up with a list of my 10 favorite dishes of 2009 and in my first pass I still had well over 50 recipes and it had been really hard to get it down to that size. I was finally able to whittle it down to the following 10 recipes.


Lasagna

Lasagna - Sometimes nostalgia is hard to beat. This year I finally got around to making my favorite childhood meal, lasagna and it is still number one!



Garides Tourkolimano (Greek Shrimp)

Garides Tourkolimano (Greek Shrimp) - In 2009 I tried several really tasty Greek style shrimp and feta dishes in a tomato sauce and this stove top version was my favorite due to how quick and easy it is to make.



Asparagus and Gruyere Tart

Asparagus and Gruyere Tart - I discovered how easy it was to make amazing tarts using puff pastry and this asparagus and gruyere tart was the first and most memorable.



Singapore Chili Prawns

Singapore Chili Prawns - Another super quick and easy shrimp dish that easily makes it to the top ten dishes this year with its tasty sweet chili gravy that goes great with crusty bread or over rice.



Kimchi Quesadillas

Kimchi Quesadillas - 2009 was definitely the year of kimchi! I really enjoyed experimenting with my homemade kimchi this year and these kimchi quesadillas were my favorite. The spicy kimchi goes surprisingly well with warm melted cheese all wrapped up in crispy tortillas. Add some bacon or shiitake mushrooms to try something new for a change.



Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice - Shrimp dishes certainly are making a showing in the top 10 dishes this year and this Thai pineapple and prawn fried rice has it all! You can't go wrong with fried rice, but add some curry, succulent prawns, sweet and tangy pineapple, buttery cashews, raisins, peas and currents and you have something that is simply amazing! Serve this fried rice in a hollowed out pineapple shell for an impressive tabletop presentation.



Korean Short Rib Tacos

Korean Short Rib Tacos - These tacos were inspired by the tales of Kogi's Korean/Mexican fusion dishes and they turned out great! I am already planning on trying some more Korean/Mexican fusion dishes for the new year!



Mango, Avocado and Grilled Shrimp Salad with a Peanut Dressing

Mango, Avocado and Grilled Shrimp Salad with a Peanut Dressing - You just can't go wrong with juicy shrimp, creamy avocado and sweet mango! Fresh herbs and a peanut dressing with a bit of heat finish this salad off perfectly!



Mango Chutney

Mango Chutney - Mango chutney has been one of my favorite condiments ever since I discovered it but I had always bought it at the store. This year I found out that it is pretty easy to make at home and it tastes just as good!



Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie - Lets not forget about desserts! This pumpkin pie drizzled with salted caramel sauce definitely took the cake, I mean pie!



2009; What a tasty year indeed!

I am now looking forward to all of the tasty adventures awaiting in 2010!

Happy New Year!


May it be filled with good food and friends!

Similar Posts:
My Top 10 Favorite Recipes in 2011
Top 10 Recipes in 2009
My Top 10 Favorite Recipes in 2008
My Top 10 Favorite Recipes in 2007

Medjool Date and Walnut Bread

Medjool Date and Walnut Bread


With all of the chaos that comes with the holidays I wanted to make sure that breakfasts were taken care of. Quick breads like this one keep well in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for even longer so you can easily make a loaf or two and have breakfasts ready to go for a while. I like to cut the loaf into slices and individually wrap them as soon as the loaf has cooled down so that they are even more convenient. You can pull out a slice in the morning and with just a few seconds in the microwave it is almost as good as when it was fresh from the oven.

When the medjool dates were in season and cheap I picked up a bunch of them and I thought that date bread would be really nice for breakfasts for the holidays. I decided to start with one of my favorite quick bread recipes that includes lots of good stuff including: maple syrup, yogurt and a banana that allow you to cut back on the oil. It also includes the goodness of rolled oats and some of the all purpose flour is replaced with whole wheat flour to make it a bit healthier. I could not resist adding a nut to the quick bread and this time I went for walnuts. This quick bread is nice and light and fluffy and moist and full of flavour! The fresh dates worked really well in the quick bread retaining their moisture and added a really nice texture and natural sweetness. I certainly have been enjoying breakfasts these last few days!

Medjool Date and Walnut Bread

(makes 1 loaf)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1 over ripe banana (mashed)
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups medjool dates (pitted and cut into bite sized pieces)
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)

Directions:
1. Mix the brown sugar, maple syrup, yogurt, banana, oil, egg and rolled oats in a bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes.
2. Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients along with the dates and walnuts until just mixed.
4. Spoon the mixture into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan.
5. Bake in a preheated 375F oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 40-70 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread
Pumpkin Bread with Dried Cranberries, Toasted Pecans and White Chocolate Chips
Blueberry Maple Oatmeal Muffins with Pecan Streusel
Peach Bread

Pear Salad with and Bacon, Gorgonzola and Candied Walnuts

Pear Salad with and Bacon, Gorgonzola and Candied Walnuts


After a little over indulging on the holiday weekend I was looking for something on the lighter side and a salad fit the bill perfectly. When I made the candied walnuts last week and I immediatly thought about using some of them in a salad. One of my favorite winter salads is a pear salad and I was thinking that adding candied walnuts to a pear salad would work really well. Gorgonzola and pears are another great flavour combo and I could not resist adding some to the salad. With sweet and tangy taken care of I added bacon for some saltiness and I then finished the salad off with a simple maple dijon vinaigrette that used walnut oil for even more walnut flavour. This pear salad is pretty simple and yet so good! The pear, gorgonzola, bacon and candied walnut combination is really nice and it works well in a salad.

Pear Salad with and Bacon, Gorgonzola and Candied Walnuts

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 pears (cored and sliced)
1 green onions (sliced)
2 slices bacon (cooked and crumbled)
1/4 cup gorgonzola (crumbled)
1/4 cup candied walnuts
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon walnut oil (or olive oil)
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Assemble salad.
2. Mix the lemon juice, oil, maple syrup, dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
3. Toss the salad with the dressing to coat.

Similar Recipes:
Pear Kimchi and Blue Cheese Salad
Pear and Maple Pecan Salad
Grilled Pear Salad With Port Vinaigrette
Pear and Gorgonzola Risotto
Granny Smith Apple and Gorgonzola Pizza
Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Omelette with Bacon and Pecans
Caramelized Pumpkin and Gorgonzola Salad
Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche
Gorgonzola Cheesecake with Vanilla Pear Compote

Happy Holidays!

The next few days are going to be pretty busy with family and food. Before all of the activities get started I wanted to make sure that I got the chance to say: Happy Holidays! And may they filled with lots of tasty food! :)

Cranberry and Pistachio White Chocolate Bark

Cranberry and Pistachio White Chocolate Bark


I have been seeing recipes for bark since I started food blogging and I have always wanted to try making some. Bark seems to be pretty simple in concept, being chocolate that is melted and then topped with goodies. After the chocolate has cooled it is broken into pieces that I guess resemble pieces of bark. With the cranberry, pistachio and white chocolate combo still fresh on my mind I figured that it was the perfect time to try making some holiday bark. I decided to mix the cranberries and pistachios into the melted chocolate rather than just sprinkling them on top as I figured the bark would hold together better. The cranberry, pistachio and white chocolate bark turned out great! I used some good quality white chocolate that was nice and creamy and it felt like it was just melting in your mouth and it went perfectly with the cranberries and pistachios.

Given the simple concept of bark, there are near endless possibilities. Peppermint or candy cane bark seems to be another popular bark recipe around the holidays. A while ago when I was having trouble finding the bacon chocolate bar that I had heard about I was seriously considering melting down some good dark chocolate and making some bacon bark! Bacon bark aside, I am looking forward to experimenting with bark some more.

Cranberry and Pistachio White Chocolate Bark

(makes 24+ pieces)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound white Chocolate (chopped)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pistachios

Directions:
1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
2. Mix in the cranberries and pistachios.
2. Pour the chocolate into a parchment paper lined baking sheet and smooth it out.
3. Let cool and set completely on the counter or in the fridge.
4. Break into pieces and enjoy.

Similar Recipes:
Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti Dipped in White Chocolate
Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Hot Caramelized Onion Dip

Hot Caramelized Onion Dip


When entertaining over the holidays it is a good idea to have some tasty appetizers on hand. Although the holiday cookies are always welcome it is also nice to have something savoury and it is hard to go wrong with a melted cheesy dip! A while ago I made a hot sweet onion dip that was so good! The sweet onion went surprisingly well with the melted cheese! While I was enjoying the hot sweet onion dip I thought, why not caramelize the onions first? I had to try the caramelized onion version of the dip so I filed the idea away for later and now was the time to finally try it. Properly caramelizing onions can take a bit of patience as it takes several hours to slowly cook them down until they have turned a nice golden brown colour but the final result is so worth the effort. After cooking for all of that time the onions that started out pretty pungent mellow out and in fact become quite sweet. These sweet caramelized onions worked amazingly well in the savoury, creamy dip covered in melted cheesy goodness! I enjoyed the hot caramelized onion dip on a sliced fresh whole grain baguette but chips or even vegetables would also make for some great dipping pleasure.

Hot Caramelized Onion Dip

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil
4 large sweet onions (sliced)
1/2 cup water
4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated)
pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, add the onions and water and cook until completely tender and caramelized and golden, about 40-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, adding more water as needed.
2. Mix everything and place it in a baking dish.
3. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the top is nice and browned, about 30-50 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Hot Sweet Onion Dip
Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Hot Cheesy Spinach and Crab Dip
Reuben Dip
Onion Chutney
Artichoke Bread
French Onion Soup
Chipotle Caramelized Onions
Apple French Onion Soup
Roasted Cauliflower and Aged White Cheddar Dip
French Onion Soup Dip

Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti Dipped in White Chocolate

Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti Dipped in White Chocolate


Cranberries and pistachios are a great combo that and it is the perfect combo for the holidays with the red and green colours. White chocolate is the third component of this amazing flavour combination and I often enjoy making it in chocolate chip cookie form. While I was making the chocolate and pistachio biscotti I was thinking about a cranberry and pistachio version. I figured that I already had some biscotti on my holiday cookie platter and that I did not need a second one but days later I was still thinking about it so I had to whip up a batch. Normally I would just add the white chocolate chips or chunks to the biscotti but this time I thought that I would change things up a bit and dip the biscotti into some melted white chocolate. I could barely wait for the white chocolate to cool before photographing and digging into the biscotti. The cranberries and pistachios work really well in biscotti form and I am certainly glad that I made them. I also really liked the white chocolate dip and I look forward to experimenting more with chocolate dipped biscotti. My holiday cookie tray is looking more complete every day now!

Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti Dipped in White Chocolate

(makes 12 biscotti)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
6 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pistachios
4 ounces white chocolate

Directions:
1. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
2. Slowly mix the sugar into the eggs and oil in another bowl.
3. Slowly mix the dry and wet ingredients until they come together.
4. Mix in the cranberries and pistachios.
5. Form the dough into a rough oval about 8 inches by 3 inches on parchment paper. Note: The dough will be very sticky but you will be able to shape it.
6. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 30 minutes.
7. Cut it into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.
8. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes per side at 325F.
9. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler.
10. Dip the biscotti into the white chocolate and set aside to cool.

Similar Recipes:
Chocolate and Pistachio Biscotti
Cranberry, Orange and Pistachio Biscotti
Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Apple Pie French Toast

Apple Pie French Toast

I often find myself looking forward to breakfasts on the weekend. During the week breakfasts are always rushed and I don't usually have the time to do anything special. On the weekend however I like to take the time to make a real breakfast and one of my favorites is french toast. Although plain french toast is always nice I often like to play around with french toast by adding different flavours and I am always on the lookout for new ideas. Recently I came across this apple pie french toast on Judy in here Natural Habitat: The Kitchen that sounded so amazingly good that I just had to try it! This apple pie french toast uses apples in a caramel sauce along with candied walnuts as a topping. You just can't go wrong with the apple and caramel combo and having it for breakfast sounded decadently good and it was! Caramel sauce can sometimes be a bit tricky to make but the one in this recipe was nice and easy and it tasted great! Of course, with all of the caramel sauce there is certainly no need for syrup and I even licked my plate clean to make sure that none of it went to waste. This is easily my favorite french toast so far and it is just like eating apple pie for breakfast!

Candied Walnuts

Candied Walnuts


A recipe that I wanted to make called for some candied walnuts which sounded really good. I have candied pecans in the past and I was looking forward to candying a new type of nut. A quick search brought me to this recipe for candied walnuts on Simply Recipes that candied the walnuts in nothing less than a simple caramel! You pretty much just melt some sugar, let it caramelize, mix in the nuts, pour them onto a baking sheet and let them cool. After that it is just a matter of breaking them apart and then its time to start enjoying them. Candied nuts have many uses from simply snacking on them to using them as ingredients in other recipes and they go well in sweets like ice cream and even in salads.

These candied walnuts are so good! They remind me of caramel popcorn and they are disappearing almost as quickly! Just like a pinch of salt in caramel sauce works well, it also works really well in these candied walnuts where the salt contrasts with and balances the their sweetness nicely. I have been snacking on them since they cooled enough to eat, though I will have to stop soon if I want any left for tomorrow to use in the recipe that I made them for.

Candied Walnuts

(makes 1 1/2cups)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups walnut halves
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (optional)

Directions:
1. Spread the walnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
2. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until nice and toasted, about 5 minutes, and set aside. (Watch them carefully.)
3. Melt the sugar in a sauce pan and wait for it to turn a nice shade of amber.
4. Add the walnuts and mix to coat.
5. Pour the walnuts onto a sheet of parchment paper, quickly separate them, sprinkle them with the salt and let them cool.

Similar Recipes:
Maple Candied Pecans
Caramel Sauce

Use in:
Apple Pie French Toast
Pear Salad with and Bacon, Gorgonzola and Candied Walnuts
Caramelized Apple and Cheddar Omelette with Bacon and Candied Walnuts
Strawberry Bruschetta with Bacon, Candied Pecans and Goat Cheese with a Balsamic Drizzle

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Apple Chutney

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Apple Chutney


I did not mean to brig you another grilled cheese sandwich so soon after the last one but as I was cleaning out the fridge, like I do every Friday night, I came across some of the apple chutney that I made a while ago. Since it had been busy day I had been looking for something simple for dinner anyways, a grilled cheese sandwich with apple chutney was a perfect fit. I really like the way that sweet, tangy, hot and spicy chutneys work with the melted cheese in grilled cheese sandwiches and I enjoy them fairly frequently. I also enjoy adding apple slices to grilled cheese sandwiches so adding some of the apple chutney sounded like a win win situation and it was! I think that this apple chutney grilled cheese sandwich is now my favorite chutney style grilled cheese sandwich so far. It is always fun to find things that you had forgotten about when cleaning out the fridge and this time it turned into a quick and easy meal on a busy Friday night.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Apple Chutney

(makes 1 sandwich)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 slices bread
1 tablespoon butter (room temperature)
2 slices cheese (cheddar, gruyere, etc.)
2 tablespoons apple chutney

Directions:
1. Assemble the sandwich and grill until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted.

Techniques for Making the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Similar Recipes:
Caramelized Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Onion Chutney Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Mango Chutney
Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich with Apple Chutney
Roast Pork Sandwich with Apple Chutney
Caramel Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich (with Bacon)

The 10 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Chocolate and Pistachio Biscotti

Chocolate and Pistachio Biscotti


Biscotti is a cookie that I tend to associate with the holidays. Perhaps that is because I generally only see it during the holidays but none the less I wanted to make some this year. Biscotti is a twice baked cookie where you form the simple dough into a long oval and bake it. Once it has baked long enough to cut it you pull it out and slice it into long fingers and bake them until they are nice and crisp and golden brown. One of the things that I like most about biscotti is that there are so many different thing that you can put in them form nuts, to chocolate, to dried fruit to spices, etc. This year I was thinking that a chocolate biscotti with pistachios would be nice. I often like to combine green pistachios with red dried cranberries but with the cookie being chocolate you would not be able to see the cranberries too well so I decided to double up the chocolate with some chocolate chips. With the chocolate biscotti, my holiday cookie platter is now starting to look more complete!

Biscotti, by its nature it a hard and dry cookie which makes it perfect for dipping into warm drinks like coffee, tea or a mug of hot chocolate which is perfect for getting into the holidays.

Chocolate and Pistachio Biscotti with Hot Chocolate


Chocolate and Pistachio Biscotti

(makes 12 biscotti)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
6 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
2. Slowly mix the sugar into the eggs and oil in another bowl.
3. Slowly mix the dry and wet ingredients until they come together.
4. Mix in the pistachios and chocolate chips.
5. Form the dough into a rough oval about 8 inches by 3 inches on parchment paper. Note: The dough will be very sticky but you will be able to shape it.
6. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 30 minutes.
7. Cut it into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.
8. Bake the slices in the oven for 10 minutes per side at 325F.

Similar Recipes:
Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti Dipped in White Chocolate
Cranberry, Orange and Pistachio Biscotti

Mushroom and Prosciutto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Mushroom and Prosciutto Grilled Cheese Sandwich


With the holidays quickly approaching my days have been busy and I have been looking for quick, easy and light meals. When I think about quick and easy meals one of the first things that always comes to mind are sandwiches and recently I have been enjoying playing around with grilled cheese sandwiches stuffed with more than just the cheese. I have not have a mushroom fix in a while and I had been craving them! The two ideas collided to form something magical in my mind. I decided to cook the mushrooms in my favorite way, to saute them along with some onions, garlic and thyme until they are nice and golden brown and caramelized. From there of course came adding the to a sandwich with some cheese for which I went with a mild cheese, mozzarella, so as to not steal the show from the mushrooms. I also happened to have some leftover prosciutto on hand and you can never go wrong by adding salty cured ham products to a grilled cheese sandwich. The mushroom and prosciutto grilled cheese sandwich, or the mushroom melt, turned out really well! The crispy, buttery, lightly toasted bread wrapping the ooey, gooey, melted cheese and caramelized mushrooms was amazing! These mushroom melt sandwiches certainly satisfied my mushroom cravings.

Mushroom and Prosciutto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

(makes 1 sandwich)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 small onion (sliced)
4 ounces mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon thyme (chopped)
2 tablespoons broth (or white wine)
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped, optional)
2 slices bread
3 slices prosciutto (optional)
2 slices mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon butter (room temperature)

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onion and mushrooms and saute until caramelized, about 20-30 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
4. Add the broth, deglaze the pan and saute until the liquid has been absorbed.
5. Remove from heat and mix in the parsley.
6. Assemble sandwich and grill until golden brown on both sides.

Techniques for Making the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Similar Recipes:
Mushroom Quesadillas
Wild Mushrooms Sauteed in Butter, Sherry and Lemon
Burgers Smothered in a Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Blue Cheese Sauce
Grilled Roast Beef and Cheese Sandwich
Eggplant and Mozzarella Panini
Onion Chutney Grilled Cheese Sandwich

More Amazing Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies


Other than cooking bacon with a little maple syrup I never really thought about combining it with sweet things. Shortly after I started food blogging I heard about bacon chocolate bars and I immediatly had to hunt them down to try! Eventually I did find them and I really enjoyed the subtle salty and smokiness that the bacon added to the dark chocolate. Shortly after that I came across a post about bacon chocolate chip cookies! Since I was already sold on the bacon and chocolate combo I knew that I would have to try making chocolate chip cookies with bacon but I kept putting it off. Since then the bacon chocolate chip cookies seem to have taken the food blogging world by storm with new posts appearing every few days.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies


With the holiday baking season in full swing I found myself thinking about lots of holiday cookies and I realized that I had unknowingly been discounting cookies that I did not think really had a holiday feel to them. This included the humble chocolate chip cookie. But chocolate chip cookies are Santa's favorite cookies! I just had to make some! But, could I really just leave Santa some plain old ordinary chocolate chip cookies? It was the perfect time to try making the bacon chocolate chips cookies and I am sure that Santa will appreciate the extra effort, and flavour!

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies


My first idea was to start with my standard chocolate chip cookie recipe and just add some crumbled cooked bacon but I figured why not take the opportunity to make candied bacon and use that in the cookies. Fats are often interchangeable in baking and I was thinking that I could get even more bacon flavour by replacing some of the butter with some bacon grease. One of the things that I like most about chocolate chip cookies, other than eating them, is that they are super easy to make and adding the bacon did not change that. The bacon chocolate chip cookies turned out amazingly well! The bacon pieces in the cookies added a really nice subtle salty bacon flavour that went really well in the otherwise sweet cookies. I also topped the cookies with a nice big piece of the candied bacon for even more bacony goodness. I will definitely be making these cookies again! In fact I will have to make another batch before Santa arrives as this batch will be long gone. I am sure that Santa will really enjoy these chocolate chip cookies!

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

(makes 12+ cookies)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (softened, feel free to replace some with bacon grease)
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/8 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
5 strips bacon (I used candied bacon)

Directions:
1. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl.
2. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
3. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl.
4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet.
5. Mix in the chocolate and the bacon.
6. Place the dough onto a cookie sheet one table spoon at a time.
7. Bake in a 350F preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Bacon Maple Shortbread
Peppermint White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Chunk and Pecan Cookies
Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
White Chocolate Chunk and Macadamia Nut Cookies
Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Candied Bacon

Candied Bacon


I have been wanting to try making candied bacon ever since I first came across the idea a long while ago. Candied bacon is essentially bacon that is coated in brown sugar and then baked until the brown sugar has melted, wrapping the salty bacon in its sweet embrace. Of course I immediatly thought of trying a maple version and I knew that both versions would be great. When I was in scouts when I was a kid, we always used to make pancakes with bacon at least once every time we went camping. When you've got a plate full of pancakes all covered in maple syrup it's kind of hard to keep the bacon from getting syrup on it and the combo is really good! That got us to thinking and the next time we made pancakes with bacon we sped things up a bit by adding the maple syrup to the pan while the bacon was frying and the results were so good! It's hard to go wrong with salty bacon covered in sweet, slightly caramelized maple syrup!

When the bacon is the star of the show like in this candied bacon, it's time to get the good stuff, a nice thick cut of bacon fresh from the butcher rather than the shrink wrapped grocery store variety. Since I could not decide whether to go with the brown sugar version or the maple syrup version I just decided to go with both and I made half with each. The candied bacon was super easy to make and the results were nothing short of amazing! The crispy and salty bacon went so well all covered in the caramelized sweetness! I am looking forward to making this again and again! I was thinking that you could also experiment with adding other flavours such mixing some mustard in with the maple syrup.

Candied Bacon

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound thick bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar (or maple syrup)

Directions:
1. Line a baking sheet with foil and set a cooling rack in it.
2. Spread the bacon out over the cooling rack.
3. Rub the brown sugar onto the bacon.
4. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the bacon reaches the desired crispiness, about 15-20 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes and then enjoy.

Use in:
Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Granny Smith Apple and Gorgonzola Pizza

Granny Smith Apple and Gorgonzola Pizza


I have really been into the butternut squash and gorgonzola combo lately and it all started with the roasted butternut squash and caramelized onion pizza with gorgonzola and crispy fried sage that I made a while ago. While I was enjoying that pizza I thought that gorgonzola would also go really well with apples and I thought that an apple and gorgonzola pizza would also be really nice. The idea has been percolating in my head for a while and now that the apples are in season it was the perfect time to turn it into a reality. I figured that the soft gorgonzola dolce would melt really nicely and work as the 'sauce' of the pizza but it felt a little bare with just he cheese and the sliced apples. I borrowed the idea of adding the caramelized onions from the butternut squash pizza and I went with red onions to add a bit of colour. I also added a splash of balsamic vinegar to the onions for a kick of extra flavour. While researching apple pizzas on the web I came across one that used walnuts and the pizza was now complete. The apple and gorgonzola pizza with caramelized onions and walnuts turned out amazingly well! The gooey melted tangy gorgonzola worked really well with the tart apples and sweet caramelized onions and the walnuts added a great contrasting texture. Overall I was really pleased with the way the pizza turned out and I will definitely be making it again and again. Pear and gorgonzola is also a great combo and I think that a pear version of this pizza would also work really well.

Granny Smith Apple and Gorgonzola Pizza

(makes 1 pizza)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil
1 red onion (sliced)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 pizza dough
1 cup gorgonzola cheese (crumbled)
1 granny smith apple (cored and thinly sliced)
1/4 cup walnuts (chopped)

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onion and saute until tender and caramelized, about 15-20 minutes.
3. Mix in the balsamic vinegar and cook until it has evaporated.
4. Spread the onions, gorgonzola, apple and walnuts out on the pizza.
5. Bake in a preheated 500F oven until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Gorgonzola and Crispy Fried Sage
Thai Chicken Pizza with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Apple Pie Pizza
Pear and Gorgonzola Risotto
Pear Salad with and Bacon, Gorgonzola and Candied Walnuts
Curried Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola
Caramelized Apple and Cheddar Omelette with Bacon and Candied Walnuts
Caramelized Apple and Gorgonzola Omelette with Bacon and Pecans

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Omelette with Gorgonzola and Sage

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Omelette with Gorgonzola and Sage


With the hustle and bustle of the holidays it is always nice to be able to sit down and relax while having a nice warm home cooked breakfast. Lately I have been enjoying playing with omelettes which are always nice for a slow weekend breakfasts. I have also been thinking about the roasted butternut squash with caramelized onions, gorgonzola and crispy fried sage side dish ever since I made it and I thought that an omelet version would work out really well. Instead of roasting the butternut squash I was thinking that I could just add it to the pan after caramelizing the onions. Once the squash was tender I could add the sage and gorgonzola and let it start to melt before pouring in the eggs. A nice one pan omelette! The butternut squash and caramelized onion omelette with gorgonzola and sage turned out beautifully! The sweet caramelized onions and butternut squash went really well with the tangy gorgonzola and sage and the warm just set eggs wrapped everything up really quite nicely. Once again I was reminded of how amazing this flavour combination really is! While I was enjoying the omelette I was daydreaming about new flavour combinations that I would like to try in omelettes...

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Omelette with Gorgonzola and Sage

(makes 1 serving)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion (sliced)
1 small clove garlic (chopped)
1/2 tablespoon sage (sliced)
1/2 cup butternut squash (cut into small pieces)
1/4 cup gorgonzola (crumbled)
2 eggs (lightly beaten)

Directions:
1. Melt the butter in a no stick pan.
2. Add the onions and slowly caramelize, about 20-30 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and sage and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
4. Add the butternut squash and saute until tender, about 5-8 minutes.
5. Lower the heat and and sprinkle on the crumbled gorgonzola and let it melt just a bit.
6. Pour the eggs into the pan and let them cook without disturbing them until they have set, about 2-4 minutes.
7. Slide the omelette onto a plate and garnish it with more sage and enjoy.

Similar Recipes:
Roasted Butternut Squash with Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola and Crispy Fried Sage
Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Gorgonzola and Crispy Fried Sage
Mushroom, Spinach and Feta Omelet
Curried Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola
Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Omelette with Bacon and Pecans
Mushroom and Thyme Omelette with Gorgonzola
Kimchi, Bacon and Shiitake Mushroom Omelette
Caramelized Apple and Cheddar Omelette with Bacon and Candied Walnuts
Pumpkin Gnocchi in a Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce

Presto Pasta Nights #143

Presto Pasta Nights #143


Has it really already been over a year since I hosted Presto Pasta Nights #67? The time is just flying by... but once again I am pleased and honoured to be hosting Presto Pasta Nights, the weekly food event that rounds up as many tasty pasta dishes that it can get its hands on to share with the world. Without further adieu, on to the pasta:


Our first entry by Kait from Pots and Plots shows us just how easy it is to make a really tasty pasta with her mozzarella and roasted garlic sausage spaghetti.

Mozzarella and Roasted Garlic Sausage Spaghetti



Next up is one of my favorite meals, a tasty lasagna by Mahala from Halo's Homemade. Lasagna can be a bit time consuming to make but it is always worth it! I like that this lasagna uses Italian sausage as the meat to add even more flavour.

Lasagna



Pasta dishes don't have to be so heavy and this creamy pasta with bacon and peas brought to us by Amy of very culinary is a perfect example. You just can't go wrong with a creamy pasta with sweet peas and salty bacon!

Creamy Pasta Bacon Peas



Pastas come in so many different wonderful shapes and sizes and one that I often forget about is Israeli couscous. Allie of Yum in Tum brings us this chickpeas and Israeli couscous (risotto style) that includes some amazing Mediterranean flavours including eggplant, olives, preserved lemons and pomegranate molasses.

Chickpeas and Israeli Couscous (Risotto Style)


One of the things that I like about pasta is that there are so many different ways to use it and I always enjoy coming across new ways. George from A Nod Is As Good As A Wink to a Blind Horse... introduced me to a new way of using pasta with his entry, a really tasty sounding chicken frittata.

Chicken Frittata



Erica of piExperiment brings us something new and exciting in the form of an Italian Stew-erole. I really enjoy a nice and hearty and tasty Italian style stew with Italian sausage, lots of vegetables and of course some pasta!

Italian Stew-erole



Lasagna is being well represented in this roundup with this one being brought to us by Joanne from Eats Well With Others whom had to make lasagna after loosing a drinking game. I am a little glad that she lost because we all get a chance to see her lasagna.

Lasagna



Chaya of Sweet and Savoury Says it All sends us these tasty sounding crabby cheese won tons. It is always nice to have some won ton wrappers in the freezer for making quick and tasty stuffed parcels and frying them until they are crispy is always good!

Crabby Cheese Won Tons




The genius behind Presto Pasta Nights, Ruth of Once Upon A Feast serves up this super quick and tasty sounding mustardy rotini with chicken and mushrooms. This pasta dish is just packed with flavour and I really like the sound of a grainy mustard based 'sauce'.

Mustardy Chicken & Mushroom Rotini




How about a spicy take on manicotti in the form of manicotti in chorizo sauce brought to us by Ben from What's Cooking? This amazing looking manicotti uses spicy Mexican chorizo in the sauce and it is tempered by some creamy ricotta and cheese filling!

Manicotti in Chorizo Sauce




The first soup of the roundup, a longevity noodle soup comes to us come Ching of Little Corner of Mine. This light and tasty looking soup uses long noodles that signify a long life.

Longevity Noodle Soup



I always enjoy cooking with seasonal ingredients and this roasted butternut squash pasta with bacon lardons brought to us by Ann of Pig Pig's Corner certainly uses the in season butternut squash really well. Who could resist a creamy pasta with roasted butternut squash and bacon?

Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta with Bacon Lardons



NĂºria from Spanish Recipes serves up not one, but two tasty looking pasta dishes; a black linguini with artichokes and green garlic and a spaguetti with mussels and red pepper! Using coloured pastas is always fun and that black linguini is definitely on my list of things to look for at the market this weekend.

Black Linguini with Artichokes and Green Garlic


Spaguetti with Mussels and Red Pepper



My contribution to this weeks Presto Pasta Nights is this spanakopita inspired spinach and feta lasagna.

Spinach and Feta Lasagna (aka Spanakopita Lasagna)


I hope that you have all enjoyed Presto Pasta Nights #143 as much as I have! There are a lot of tasty looking pasta ideas in this weeks roundup and I discovered some tasty new ways of enjoying pasta. I have already bookmarked more than a few of the pasta dishes to try!

Reeni from Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice will be hosting next weeks Presto Pasta Nights and you can find the details on submission and who's hosting future Presto Pasta Nights here.