Eli was desperate to go for a car ride today, so we appeased him. Since it was too hot to leave him in the car by himself, The Husband waited in the car with him and the AC while I ran into the stores we stopped at. Eli was quite the happy camper. Note the paw carefully tucked into the door handle.
I am convinced that I angered the Humidity Gods with my post yesterday waxing rhapsodic on my loves for the Fall season, because boy, did they fight back today! Although it was only in the low- to mid-80s in temperature, the humidity was pretty atrocious for much of the day. Heavy, thick air just hanging – yuck!
It finally got a bit better in the early evening, which was perfect because our neighbors stopped by, and we got to try out my anti-gravity chairs for the first time. LOVE THEM! LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM! So, so comfortable – as long as these are available, I will never buy another type of lawn chair again, and if it wasn’t for Tami in AZ helping me out, I wouldn’t have these (thanks again!). Our neighbors came bearing Mudslides, and we had a nice relaxing time sitting in the yard, watching the kids play. A perfect evening.
Dinner tonight was very simple to pull together. For yesterday’s chicken recipe, I bought two really big packages of thighs and drumsticks (cheaper that way), and had half of the chicken leftover after making dinner last night. Instead of my usual MO of throwing the rest of the package in the freezer, I decided to be more conscientious about it, and set out to find a recipe to use up the chicken today. Conveniently the recipe I found also managed to use up the rest of the buttermilk I had bought the other day for those disastrous Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.
Southern Living has an Easy Entertaining cookbook that they put out a few months ago (limited time available), and the recipes for tonights’ meal all came from there – three new recipes: Buttermilk Chicken, Smoked Mozzarella Pasta Salad and Easy White Chocolate Macaroons. Two out of three will be definite repeaters, and if I can get Anna over at Cookie Madness to help me out, maybe the third recipe will become a repeater too.
OK, first the chicken. It marinates for a couple hours in an herbed buttermilk dressing. I wasn’t sure about the addition of the fresh mint in it, so cut that back a bit, but the end result was delicious nonetheless. Very flavorful, moist chicken. Instead of using chicken breasts, as the recipe called for, I used thighs and drumsticks and The Husband fired up the grill.
The Smoked Mozzarella Pasta Salad was another hit for us. I’ve actually never had smoked mozzarella before. When a recipe calls for it, I usually just buy the regular stuff, mostly because it’s cheaper and I wasn’t too sure about the strong smell of the smoked version. Today, I went for it. I bought the smoked stuff and am glad I did. The dish was really quick to make (longest part was boiling the pasta water) and it was quite flavorful. A perfect summertime accompaniment for the chicken.
Lastly, the cookies. Simple, simple recipe, and I had all the ingredients on hand, so that was a bonus. They taste great, but they’re really, really soft. So soft, they crumble when you hold them in your hand. Cooking a few extra minutes more than the recipe calls for might help that, and with the taste and the ease of preparation, it’s worth another shot.
All for tonight. Hitting the Farmer’s Market tomorrow, so tune in to find out what stash I come home with. Until then…
Smoked Mozzarella Pasta Salad
1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 (8-ounce) package rotini pasta, cooked
1 (7-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and cut into strips
1/2 pound smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes*
1/2 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Drain artichokes, reserving marinade. Cut artichokes into strips, and place in a large bowl. Add pasta and next 4 ingredients, and gently toss. Stir together reserved artichoke marinade, mayonnaise, and next 3 ingredients until blended. Add to pasta mixture, stirring to combine. Cover and chill.
*1/2 pound smoked Gouda or Cheddar cheese may be substituted for smoked mozzarella, if desired.
Yield: Makes 6 servings
8 skinned and boned chicken breasts (about 4 lbs)(I used thighs and drumsticks)
1-1/2 cups Buttermilk-Herb Salad Dressing (see recipe below)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place chicken in a Ziploc plastic freezer bag. Pour Buttermilk-Herb Salad Dressing evenly over chicken. Seal and chill ast least 2 hours or up to 8 hours. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat until done. Remove chicken from grill; cover with foil and let stand ten minutes before serving.
Buttermilk-Herb Salad Dressing
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind (I skipped)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped (I used about 1/8 cup)
Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl until blended. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Easy White Chocolate Macaroons
Makes about 3-1/2 dozen (I got about 2 dozen)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg white
1 (14 ounce) package sweetened shredded coconut
1 (4 ounce) bar white chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghirardelli White Chocolate Baking Bar)
Stir together sweetened condensed milk and egg white until well blended. Stir in shredded coconut and chopped white chocolate. Drop mixture by rounded tablespoons on greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake at 325 for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.