Author Archives: Parker

Memorial Day Deals and Delish

PB&JCheesecakeTop

I love an excuse to fire up the grill and entertain friends– and Memorial Day is the perfect holiday– it’s got an awesome theme (Thank you to the men and women who have sacrificed for our country!) and with a few simple recipes, you can really take your party to the next level!

Let’s start with the must-have accessories and then we’ll get to the delish….

I partnered with Lowe’s to showcase their Char-Broil Advantage 4 Burner Stainless Steel Gas Grill.  What I like about this grill is that it is reasonably priced at $269 (and the purchase earns you a $50 gift card, so SCORE!) But it’s also a great size– not so monstrous that it’s intimidating– and it fits on patios or decks easily without taking up too much room.  But there’s plenty of room to fit all of your favorite grilling items with those 4 burners, baby!  While you’re shopping, check out these gas grills ratings and recommendations to get helpful advice. 

GrillLowes

Now that you have your grill ready to go, let’s talk patio accessories…. This is my new favorite patio set!  It’s the Garden Treasures 3 Piece Lunburg Balcony-Height Patio set, on sale TODAY, but not later this weekend, so hurry up and pick it up with the discount!

PatioSet

The set works beautifully on my patio (my pitbull Tom thinks so too!) but it is also the perfect size for balconies in high rise condos.  A lot of my friends have spectacular skyline views, and the raised height of this set is a must so you can take in the scenery!  Plus, Lowe’s has a huge selection of patio pillows to dress up the chairs.  I picked out these blue flower patio pillows that work perfectly with the burnt orange cushions.

Ready for Memorial Day eats?  Let’s kick it off with sausage, y’all!  I’m a huge fan of Johnsonville  and have worked with them on a number of yummy segments over the last year.  If you thought regular old burgers were good enough for your cook out, then hold the phone, y’all.  Can we talk about bacon and cheddar IN the sausage?  Um, yeah.  Johnsonville’s got these new Grillers in the flavors you would normally have to make as a side dish or topping on the sausages….like Swiss Cheese and Onion and Buffalo Bleu.  Hello, delicious!  In full disclosure, I was grilling these up for my Atlanta & Company segment and I had to keep adding to the grill pan because, uh, I was eating them.  More like CRUSHING them.  Alone.  In my kitchen at 2am.  Yeah, that’s how I roll.  So swap out the burgers for sausage– you won’t be sorry!  A fun thing to do when serving your sausages is to set up a “Brat Bar” and have all the toppings your guests will love with their bratwursts and grillers….But honestly, you really don’t need anything else to top them with because the flavor of these new sausages is so freaking good!

JohnsonvilleBar

This adorable family watched my segment live and tried the sausages for the first time….their reactions are priceless!

 My go-to “grilling wine” is Wines of Sicilia DOC, which bring out the smoky, spicy flavors in the sausage.  Sicily’s signature grape, Nero d’Avola is the perfect match for grilling season — as soon as you feel that smokiness with a hint of spice, there’s a surprising fruitiness that hits your palate.  It’s divine and it transports me back to my travels through Italy when I was in college!

WinesofSiciiliaDOC

Now let’s get back to that cheesecake.  One of my most pinned recipes is the Guilt Free Lemon Cheesecake. I decided to take it up a notch and do a layer of peanut butter cheesecake and strawberry cheesecake and make it “no bake,” because let’s be honest.  Who has time for baking on a holiday weekend?  It’s basically the love child of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and cheesecake!  Look at those layers….OMG.

PB&JSide

Peanut Butter and Jelly No Bake Cheesecake
The love child of cheesecake and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
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For the crust
  1. 1 stick salted butter
  2. 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  3. 1 tsp cinnamon
For the peanut butter cheesecake layer
  1. 1 (8oz) package of full fat cream cheese
  2. 1 tub of Cool Whip
  3. 1/3 cup sour cream
  4. 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  5. 1 Tb vanilla
  6. 1 cup powdered sugar
For the strawberry cheesecake layer
  1. 1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
  2. 1 tub cool whip
  3. 2 cups frozen strawberries
  4. 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  5. 1 Tb vanilla
For the topping
  1. Whole strawberries (with the tops cut off)
  2. Blueberries
For the crust
  1. Melt 1 stick butter in pan.
  2. Add graham cracker crumbs and vanilla.
  3. Stir to combine.
  4. Cut out a circle of parchment paper and put it on the bottom of a springform pan.
  5. Spoon out the graham cracker crust on top of the parchment and press down (I use the bottom of a mug or measuring cup)
For the Peanut Butter Layer
  1. Mix ingredients in food processor with paddle attachment until smooth. Pour over graham cracker crust.
  2. Freeze for 30 minutes before adding strawberry layer.
For the strawberry layer
  1. Pulverize frozen strawberries in food processor until they are a puree consistency and set aside.
  2. Mix the rest of ingredients in food processor until smooth.
  3. Scoop out 1 1/2 cups of batter and put in fridge (this will be the top layer of the cheesecake.)
  4. Add frozen strawberry puree to batter and mix until smooth.
  5. Pour strawberry layer on top of peanut butter layer and wrap entire springform pan in tin foil.
  6. Put in freezer for at least 2 hours.
When ready to serve
  1. Take cheesecake out of freezer 30-45 minutes before you want to serve it. Spread the 1 1/2 cups of topping on top of strawberry layer and decorate with strawberries and blueberries.
Notes
  1. Freezing the peanut butter layer is not totally necessary, but it helps keep the layers separate.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Now let’s talk about appetizers, because chips are not the answer!  This peanut curry dip is another recipe I worked with the Georgia Peanut Commission on and I am so excited about it.  Everyone on set who tried this was blown away!   Peanuts are a great way to power your day, keep your energy levels up (and your hunger levels down.) Peanut butter is easy and fun to incorporate into recipes because it’s “eat it out of the jar with a spoon) kinda good!

PeanutCurryDip

Peanut Curry Dip
A high protein, delicious dip for entertaining
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup greek yogurt
  2. 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  3. 2 tsp fresh ginger (I love the tubes of fresh ginger from Gourmet Garden)
  4. 1 tsp fresh roasted garlic smashed
  5. 1 tsp kosher salt (plus more to taste)
  6. 2 tsp curry powder
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients until smooth.
  2. Serve with fresh veggies or pita chips.
  3. For the roasted garlic, preheat oven to 375.
  4. Slice off the top 1/3 of a head of garlic. Put cut side (face side down) in a small baking pan with about a cup of water. Cover with tin foil.
  5. Bake for an hour.
  6. Let cool and squeeze out garlic-- it will come out like a paste!
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
 Happy Memorial Day, y’all!

Check out my Memorial Day Deals and Delish video with Christine Pullara on Atlanta & Company!

HappyMemorialDay

Meatball Lollipops

lollipopmeatball

Can we talk for a minute about meat on a stick?  This is not the carnival style version or boring old shish kebabs.  These are meatball lollipops, people!  And they will make everyone at your party come back for seconds– including the kiddos.

My grandma Ronnie taught me the best trick for tender meatballs while avoiding those chunks of onion and garlic and parsley that can sometimes ruin the mouth feel of the best bite.  Instead of doing the work to chop and dice, simply pop the onion, garlic and the parsley together into the food processor (or blender) and pulverize it.  You get a savory puree that gives the ground beef all of the flavor without all the chunks.  Brilliant!  Granda Ronnie was a baller in the kitchen– she LOVED making Italian food and I’m still working to replicate her sauce recipe.

You can sear off the meatballs in a fry pan before putting them in the oven, but I’ve found baking them is easiest and super low maintenance.  You can also make a larger portion of the meatball batter and freeze it for a later date. Or add some variety to the menu and pop the meatballs into slider rolls to serve at your next party.  They’re always a hit!

meatballslider

Meatball Lollipops
Tender, savory meatballs dressed up with sauce and lollipop sticks for easy eating.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds ground beef
  2. 1/2 large sweet onion
  3. 3 garlic cloves
  4. handful of parsley (about a cup loosely packed)
  5. 3/4 cup grated parmesan (not the bottled fake stuff)
  6. 1/4 cup tomato pesto (sub tomato paste if you can't find the pesto)
  7. 1/4 cup cream
  8. 1 egg
  9. 1 Tb Italian seasoning
  10. 1 Tb garlic powder
  11. 1 tsp kosher salt and pepper, plus more to taste
  12. 3/4 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  13. Lollipop sticks (you can find them at your nearest craft store like Michael's or Hobby Lobby)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Put onion, garlic and parsley in food processor or blender and pulverize until pureed.
  3. Add puree to beef mixture and fold in the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Shape into golf ball sized meatballs.
  5. Spray a rimmed baking pan with cooking spray and bake meatballs for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Flip over half way through cooking.
  6. Insert lollipop sticks and lay out on a tray.
  7. Spoon your favorite tomato sauce on top of meatballs lollipops (and more cheese if you'd like) before serving.
  8. Garnish with chopped parsley.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/

Ground Beef and Spinach Mini Quiches

groundbeefquiches

There’s nothing like a meat pie for breakfast…I mean, hello delicious!  I’m on a “small bites” kick lately because, well, frankly, I want a taste of everything, and the smaller portions make it easier to do just that.  These mini beef and spinach quiches are perfect for entertaining and also for breakfast on the go.  You can make them ahead of time and freeze them– then pop them into the oven when you need breakfast on the run.  And, you can swap out whatever kinds of veggies or cheese you want– I personally am a fan of ground beef and sharp cheddar, but brie is rich and fabulous– or swiss cheese, or a combination that suits your fancy.

What’s also great about these is that because the little pie shells are pre-made and frozen, you can make individual quiches or an entire party portion!

quiche close upjpg

Feel free to change up the seasoning of the ground beef as well– for a Mexican twist, add taco seasoning to the beef and swap out the spinach for roasted chiles, or if you’ve got Greek on the brain, keep the Spinach and add feta.  The options are limitless!  This is another one of the recipes I’ve developed while on my tour with The Georgia Beef Board.  Stay tuned for more delish while I’m on the road for National (and Georgia) Beef Month!

Ground Beef and Spinach Quiches
Serves 12
A perfect "small bite" breakfast on the go or a no-hassle dish for easy entertaining.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1/2 sweet onion diced
  3. 2 cups spinach chopped (fresh or frozen- if frozen, cook and drain)
  4. 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  5. 12 eggs
  6. 3/4 cup heavy cream
  7. 1 tsp smoked paprika
  8. 1 tsp garlic powder
  9. pinch of kosher salt plus more to taste
  10. 1 tsp ground black pepper
  11. Mini frozen pie shells
Instructions
  1. Saute ground beef and onion until beef is cooked through.
  2. Add spinach and stir until wilted.
  3. Add smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt.
  4. Drain fat from pan and set aside.
  5. Whisk eggs and cream together, add pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper.
  6. Set out mini pie shells and first spoon some cheddar on bottom of shell, then a spoonful of beef/onion/spinach mixture.
  7. Pour egg on top and then sprinkle with a little more cheddar
  8. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes until egg is cooked through.
Notes
  1. If making individual portions, one egg with 2 Tb cream is about the perfect amount per mini pie shell.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/

Beef Burrito Bowls

beefbowltortillaGet out of the taco box and INTO THE BURRITO BOWL, y’all!  

These are my new favorite dish because they’re simple, but the homemade burrito bowls make your guests feel special– and you can eat the whole thing without a fork, a knife or a plate!

This month is National Beef Month and Georgia Beef Month, and I’ve partnered with the Georgia Beef Board and the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association to create some outstanding beef recipes in May.  Twist my arm, why don’t you….you know I’m a low-carb lover and beef is something I crave for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Believe it or not, 3oz of lean beef only has 160 calories so you can power your day with protein and won’t get that dreaded snack attack mid-morning.  

For the burrito bowl, mix and match your favorite toppings– from sour cream to guacamole and black beans.  If you have a crowd coming over, it’s awesome to set up a “burrito bar” and let people help themselves and build their own bowls.  I cooked New York strip medium rare and then diced it up into bite size pieces for the mini burrito bowls, but feel free to change it up with another cut of steak– or even ground beef with taco seasoning.

Click here for a look at the burrito bowls live on WTVM in Columbus, GA!

Beef Burrito Bowls
Layers of burrito delicious inside an edible tortilla bowl.
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Ingredients
  1. taco size flour tortillas (corn tortillas don't hold their shape as well)
  2. sliced New York strip steak, cooked medium rare
  3. Mexican rice
  4. black beans
  5. guacamole
  6. roasted corn
  7. chopped cherry tomatoes
  8. chopped jalpenos (seeds removed)
  9. cotija cheese (or Mexican crumbling cheese)
  10. Hellman's Chipotle mayo
For the bowls
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray and press tortillas into tins. Sides of the tortillas will fold inward a little-- just press them to the side and they'll end up in a cool shape.
  2. Bake for 10-12 minutes until hardened and slightly browned.
To build the bowls
  1. Layer with rice, beans, corn, guacamole and assorted toppings in whatever order you prefer.
  2. Drizzle with chipotle mayo.
  3. *To make your own chipotle mayo, mix 2 Tb adobo sauce from a can of chipotles into 3/4 cup mayo. Add 1 Tb honey and stir to combine.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/

Peanut Butter Oreo “No Bake” Cheesecake

PBPieSlice

You know you want to dive into this, don’t you?  Which part of the description got you?  Peanut Butter Oreos?  Cheesecake?  Or “No Bake?”  How about a combination of all of them?!!

This is another one of the yummy recipes I created for National Peanut Month with the Georgia Peanut Commission.  I’m obsessed with No Bake cheesecakes….Like my pumpkin no bake cheesecake.  Or my Cranberry Grand Marnier no bake cheesecake.

I don’t always see Peanut Butter Oreos at the store– the ones I picked up were from Walmart and they were the minis.    You could of course, swap out any type of Oreos– I recently spotted the new Red Velvet flavor and I’m curious how that would taste!  If you want a thicker more “authentic” looking cheesecake, triple the recipe and put it in a springform pan.  You can get the Oreo crumbs and make the crust yourself.  In this version though, I used the ready-made Oreo crust and it was super easy.  And beyond yum!  Plus, it looks so purty when you put the Oreos around the edge of the cheesecake!

PBOreoPie

Peanut Butter Oreo No Bake Cheesecake
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (8oz) package of full fat cream cheese
  2. 1 tub of Cool Whip
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 2 cups smashed Peanut Butter Oreos
  5. Oreo Crust
Instructions
  1. Mix together ingredients and fold into a ready-made Oreo Crust. Chill until ready to serve.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/

Chipotle Lime Peanuts

chipotle lime peanuts

If you’re like me, when it hits 2pm, I’m dying for something crunchy, salty and satisfying.  I love taking something that basically can’t be improved upon and then you do just that.  With the addition of a few simple ingredients, salty roasted peanuts are taken to Flavor Town, y’all!  I’m a huge fan of spicy, so adding in the chipotle chili powder gives the peanuts a kick without blowing your sinuses out, LOL.

A new study shows that kids who snack on peanuts and peanut butter at least 4 times a week are less likely to be at risk for obesity.  So this is a game changer when you pack it in their lunches! 

Chipotle Lime Peanuts
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups roasted, salted peanuts
  2. 2 Tb chipotle chili powder (if you don’t like it too spicy, just do 1 Tb)
  3. 2 Tb olive oil/canola blend or 1 Tb of each
  4. Juice from one lime
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix ingredients together until thoroughly combined.
  3. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet for 15 minutes.
  4. Let cool.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/

Peanut Butter, Banana & Bacon Monte Cristo

montecristoLadies and gentlemen…Elvis has left the building.  With this Peanut Butter, Banana and Bacon Monte Cristo.

elvisLet’s talk peanut butter, banana and bacon, y’all.  It was Elvis’ favorite combination, and I assure you, once you taste this show stopper sandwich, it’ll be yours too!

I’ve been having so much fun coming up with peanut recipes during my month long tour with The Georgia Peanut Commission!  And, any excuse I have to combine bacon and peanut butter— I mean, hello!  Adding peanut butter to your morning routine is an awesome way to get your day started because it’s packed with protein and fiber, which means you’ll stay fuller longer and won’t be as inclined to hit the vending machine mid-morning!  If you want to reduce the calorie count, substitute turkey bacon and don’t sprinkle the powdered sugar.  A little drizzle of honey would be sublime.  Just sayin’.

Peanut Butter, Banana and Bacon Monte Cristo
The Elvis Special! A melty, yummy mix of peanut butter, banana, bacon and french toast.
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Ingredients
  1. Peanut butter (crunchy or
  2. 1 banana thinly sliced
  3. 4 slices of thick bread (Texas Toast or Country White)
  4. 8 slices cooked bacon
  5. Egg wash (3-4 eggs beat together with a ¼ cup cream and a dash of cinnamon)
  6. 2 Tb butter
  7. Powdered sugar for garnish
Instructions
  1. Spread peanut butter on slices of bread
  2. Layer with sliced banana and bacon and make into a sandwich.
  3. Heat up the butter in a frying pan on medium heat.
  4. Whisk together the egg wash ingredients.
  5. Dip the sandwiches into the egg wash, making sure to soak the entire thing.
  6. Fry on medium heat until cooked through and browned on both sides.
  7. Garnish with powdered sugar.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/

Easter Entertaining Part 2

onset

First of all, how awesome does this set look?  Big shout out to Party City for the Egg-celent Easter decorations!  Now, let’s talk about what I like to call “deceptively delicious” menu planning.  I don’t have kids (yet!) but I do know from my experience with children that sometimes you have to get them to be creative when it comes to eating the “good for you” stuff.  It’s as easy as swapping out milk for Premier Protein in this delicious recipe.  They come out thin and crispy and super delish!  I added just a touch of Grade B maple syrup.

proteinpancakes

Then, the whole family gets a boost of energy without all the sugar.  The recipe calls for Premier Protein’s Vanilla Shake – which is packed with 30g of protein, only 1g of sugar and 160 calories.  It’s a yummy and healthy option for your family’s Easter brunch.

In the mood for a smoothie instead?  You can make a Carrot Cake smoothie that you, the kids (and the Easter Bunny) will rave about!

Carrot Cake Smoothie
A healthy alternative to carrot cake all packed into a smoothie with 30 grams of protein
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Premier Protein vanilla shake
  2. 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  3. 1/2 frozen banana
  4. 1 cup spinach
  5. 1 1oz box of raisins
  6. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  7. Dash of ground nutmeg
  8. Dash of ground cloves
  9. Splash of honey
  10. 3 ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Blend until smooth and enjoy!
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Filling the kiddos’ eggs with sweets?  Swap out junk food for scrumptious, healthy Honey Bunches of Oats Crunch O’s.  Fill your kids’ Easter basket with colorful eggs stuffed with the cereal. It makes the perfect snack — as well as traditional cereal.

honeybunchesoats

New Honey Bunches of Oats Crunch O’s is made with the addition of whole grain O’s to to the traditional mix of flakes and bunches, which adds more crunch, texture and variety in every spoonful.  My favorite is the Honey Crunch O’s!  You know when you finish a bowl of cereal and then there’s milk left over that the cereal has been soaking in?  OMG. Creamy, yummy sips of honey! 

hellmansonset

Now let’s talk Farm to Table Sandwiches with Hellmann’s Organic Original Mayonnaise.  Specifically, Asiago & Prosciutto Toasts with Hellmann’s Organic Garlic Mayonnaise and an Open-Faced Salmon Sandwiches with Herb Cucumber Relish.  Can anyone say, Easter Brunch?  

Hellmann’s just introduced 2 new products – the first-ever organic mayonnaise and plant-based, eggless spread – both of which make great bases for lighter twists on classic spring and summer recipes– from salads to dips.  The organic mayo is USDA-certified with no artificial flavoring or preservatives and is available in 3 delicious flavors: Original, Roasted Garlic, and Spicy Chipotle.  This creamy delish from Hellmann’s, free from cholesterol, eggs, and artificial colors and flavors.

asiagoclose

This is going to be my new GO-TO entertaining appetizer– I was literally licking the melty mayo cheese off the toasts after the segment on Atlanta & Company!  

Asiago & Prosciutto Toasts
A creamy, melty, savory topping with asiago, prosciutto and garlic mayo on crostinis.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup grated Asiago cheese
  2. 1/3 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Organic Garlic Mayonnaise
  3. 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, about 5 slices, chopped
  4. 1 loaf (12-in.) French baguette, sliced into 18 pieces
  5. 3 Tbsp. balsamic glaze
  6. 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Combine Asiago, Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Organic Garlic Mayonnaise and prosciutto in small bowl.
  2. Spread cheese mixture evenly on baguette slices, then arrange on baking sheet.
  3. Broil until golden, about 3 minutes. Arrange toasts on serving platter, then drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with basil.
Notes
  1. Tip: To make your own balsamic glaze, simmer balsamic vinegar over medium heat until thickened and it coats the back of a spoon.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
 The open faced salmon sandwich has an herb cucumber relish that takes it to a whole new level of awesome.  It’s so refreshing and tastes like spring!

salmon open faced

Open-Faced Salmon Sandwiches with Herb Cucumber Relish
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods Organic Original Mayonnaise
  2. 1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
  3. 3 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
  4. 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh herbs, (dill, tarragon or parsley)
  5. 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  6. 4 slices pumpernickel bread, toasted
  7. 1 cup lightly packed arugula
  8. 4 slices beefsteak tomato
  9. 8 ounces salmon fillet, broiled or poached, cut into 4 pieces
Instructions
  1. Combine Hellmann's® Organic Original, cucumber, onion, herbs and mustard in small bowl.
  2. Spread 1 tablespoon cucumber relish on each toast slice. Evenly top with arugula, tomato, salmon, then remaining relish.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Now that the little ones have had their fill of the Easter candy, it’s time to get them to brush their teeth!  The dreaded before bed task!  Hello Toothpaste has flavors the kids will LOVE: choose from hello’s bubble gum, blue raspberry or fluoride free natural watermelon.

hello

When I was a kid, my parents would always give us stockings filled with toiletries, like toothpaste, toothbrushes and shampoo.  Easter is the perfect opportunity to do a “Clean and Healthy Teeth” basket!  And, hello’s flavors not only get the kid’s teeth clean (after eating that chocolate Easter Bunny) the flavors tastes so good that they won’t argue with you!

Each toothpaste is as natural as can be with products free from dyes, parabens, microbeads or artificial sweeteners.

Just don’t be surprised when they start going through the tubes faster than normal!  On that note, hello and Happy Easter!

*This is a sponsored post by Premier Protein, Honey Bunches Of Oats, Hellman’s and hello toothpaste, but all opinions are my own.

Easter Entertaining Part 1

tomatoplate Easter was never my favorite food holiday because I’m not a huge fan of ham.  The thick, spongey, salty ham that everyone serves?  Not my jam, ham.  So now that I’m hosting the holidays (most of them, anyway) I get to pick out what I want to cook!  And that means changing it up a little and getting creative.  I partnered with some really awesome brands this week to showcase scrumptious ideas you can bring to your Easter table.  

Minute Rice’s Mutli-Grain Medley includes 4 gluten free grains including quinoa that is so easy to make!  Try substituting chicken stock for water in this recipe for a boost of flavor!  (Try using apple cider or juice instead of water and then adding fresh fruit and nuts for a yummy breakfast idea too.)

StuffedTomato

What I love about this dish is that there is so much flavor and texture– little bits of feta and mint totally elevate the Mediterranean vibe.  

Minute Rice Greek Stuffed Tomatoes
A Greek inspired rice combination with garlic, feta, currants and mint.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 bag Minute® Multi-Grain Medley, uncooked
  2. 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth, optional
  3. 6 large tomatoes, ripe but firm
  4. 1/4 cup olive oil
  5. 1 each fresh garlic, chopped
  6. 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  7. 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  8. 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  9. 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  10. 1/4 cup dried currants or raisins
  11. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  12. salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly oil a 2 quart baking dish. Prepare Multi-Grain Medley according to package directions, substituting chicken or vegetable stock for water, if desired.
  2. Place a mesh strainer over a medium-sized mixing bowl. Cut the tops off of the tomatoes (as you would a jack-o-lantern), reserving the tops, and scoop the flesh out into the bowl using a spoon. Using the same spoon, press as much of the tomato mixture through the strainer as you can and discard the remains. Add the cooked rice into the tomato mixture as well as the garlic, oregano, parsley, mint, feta, currants or raisins and cinnamon and stir to combine.
  3. Lightly salt and pepper the insides of the tomatoes, stuff each one with the rice mixture and place into the prepared baking dish. Put the tops back on each of the tomatoes, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and bake for about 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are almost collapsed. Serve warm or at room temperature.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
 Instead of traditional ham, beef up your Easter dinner with tenderloin.  I partnered with the Georgia Beef Board to showcase this showstopper dish- beef tenderloin in a shiitake mushroom cream sauce.  It tastes so exotic and it couldn’t be easier to make!  Plus, 3oz of beef has less than 200 calories and is packed with protein, B12, zinc and iron.   

BeefTenderloinShiitake

The shiitakes give the sauce an earthy, rich flavor, and the cream is thickened over medium heat until it’s velvety smooth!  I always keep Dairy Pure cream and half-and-half in my fridge– not just for my coffee, but for cooking, y’all!  Dairy Pure’s Purity Promise means that there are never any artificial growth hormones in their products and they’re cold shipped from your trusted dairy.

Beef Tenderloin with a Shiitake Mushroom Cream Sauce
Tender beef tenderloin with an earthy, sherry cream sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 2 beef tenderloin filets
  2. 2 Tb butter (to cook filets in)
  3. 2 cups shiitake mushrooms (stems removed, sliced)
  4. 1 Tb butter (to saute mushrooms)
  5. 1/4 cup dry sherry
  6. 2 cups Dairy Pure heavy cream
  7. 2 Tb tamari
  8. kosher salt to taste
For the tenderloin
  1. Dry off beef tenderloins and sear on both sides with melted butter. Make sure the pan is very hot.
  2. Cook off in a 425 oven for 15-20 minutes until meat is medium rare.
For the Shiitake Cream Sauce
  1. Saute shiitakes in 1 Tb butter on medium heat until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add sherry and crank up the heat-- coat mushrooms and cook down sherry until almost completely absorbed.
  3. Add cream and tamari and bring to a simmer. Turn down heat to medium and let sauce thicken.
  4. Serve with steaks.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
When you’re whipping mashed potatoes, add in some half-and-half for super smooth, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes!

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For dessert, look no farther than the iconic Lindt’s Gold Bunny.  It’s the perfect centerpiece to any Easter celebration, for favorite traditions, whether filling baskets, decorating tablescapes, or creating new holiday memories with family and friends with a Gold Bunny Easter Egg hunt!

Even more awesome, this is the only bunny that gives back…Lindt has partnered with Autism Speaks for the 8th year to raise funds for the cause, and now through Easter (March 27), Lindt will donate 10 cents to Autism Speaks for every 3.5 oz Bunny bought.

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How cute are those little gold bunnies?  They make a great table decoration for your Easter spread as well….not to mention, they’re EGGceptionally delcious!  Happy Easter!

 

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Truffle Pops

peanutbuttertruffles

Did I have you at Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffle?  Thought so…  These are ridiculously easy and obscenely delicious.  Like, the kind of yum that has you sneaking down to the kitchen late at night for “one more bite.”  I’ve made this base recipe many times, but the addition of peanut butter just makes it, well, peanut butter perfection. I used creamy peanut butter, but if you want more crunch inside the truffle, you can substitute crunchy.  Personally, I prefer my crunch on the outside– and it looks so pretty!

I’ve partnered with The Georgia Peanut Commission this month to celebrate National Peanut Month, so I’m even more inspired to come up with new recipes that feature the most delish nut on the Planet!  Stay tuned for more decadent recipes in the coming weeks!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles
Creamy peanut butter chocolate truffles that melt in your mouth!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 package of Double Stuff Oreos
  2. 1 (8oz) package of full fat cream cheese
  3. 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  4. Dark chocolate melting wafers
  5. crushed peanuts
  6. lollipop sticks (optional)
Instructions
  1. Mix Oreos in food processor until smooth, then add cream cheese and peanut butter. Continue mixing until the batter is whipped together.
  2. Scoop out batter into a bowl and freeze for 2 hours.
  3. After 2 hours, take out of freezer and ball up batter into golf ball sized truffles.
  4. If so desired, put in lollipop sticks and then dip into melted chocolate wafers and place on wax paper.
  5. Sprinkle peanuts on truffles before chocolate dries.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/