Sunday Sip: Grilled Pineapple Margarita

Fruity, summery, and with just the slightly hint of char and smoke from the grill. You could do a lot worse in your search for a signature summer cocktail. But you can’t do much better.

Ingredients

  • 4.5 oz silver tequila
  • 12 oz homemade margarita mix
  • 3 oz orange liqueur
  • 2 Tbsp juices from grilled pineapple*
  • 1 1-inch thick slice of grilled fresh pineapple, plus more for garnish*
  • Crushed ice
  • Salt for rim (optional)
  • * The pineapple should be grilled and chilled so plan ahead. If you aren’t using a slice of leftover, already-chilled pineapple, give yourself an extra hour in prep time.

Instructions

  1. To grill a pineapple, remove the husk, slice into ~1-inch thick rings, and place on a preheated grill.
  2. Cook ~4-5 minutes each side until nicely caramelized.
  3. Transfer the pineapple (and all accumulated juices) to a bowl and place in the fridge until cold.
  4. Add the tequila, margarita mix, liqueur, the pineapple juice from the bowl, and a slice of grilled pineapple to a blender.
  5. Blend on high for ~1 minutes until smooth.
  6. (You can strain here if light pulp bothers you – I did not.)
  7. Pour over crushed ice and garnish with small chunks of grilled pineapple, if desired.

Recipe of the Week: Herbed Goat Cheese, Roasted Tomato, and Asparagus Quesadilla

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 8 plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lb asparagus (1 medium bunch), cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 oz goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cream or milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 8 flour tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Grease two baking sheets with olive oil. Arrange tomato halves cut side up on one sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  3. Arrange asparagus, onion, and garlic on the second baking sheet in one layer. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place both baking sheets in preheated oven and bake until asparagus and tomatoes are very tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. While vegetables bake, combine the goat cheese with the cream or milk. Add chives and parsley.
  5. To make the quesadilla, spread on herbed goat cheese evenly on one tortilla. Add a layer of roasted tomato halves, asparagus, and onion. Spread a little more goat cheese on another tortilla and place on top of tortilla with vegetables.
  6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a little oil to grease the skillet. Carefully place quesadilla in the skillet. Cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip quesadilla and cook until second side is golden brown. Repeat with remaining tortillas and fillings.

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Balsamic Chicken and Strawberry Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, divided
  • 5 ounces baby greens salad mix
  • 4 ounces goat cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios

Instructions:

  1. Pour 1/4 cup dressing over the chicken, turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Prep grill for indirect heat and heat grill to 350 degrees. Cook chicken 7 – 8 minutes per side or until meat thermometer inserted registers 165 degrees. Remove and allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.
  3. While the chicken is resting place baby greens, goat cheese, pistachios and sliced strawberries in a large bowl. Pour remaining 1/4 cup of dressing over the salad. Toss to coat.
  4. Place sliced chicken on top of salad and serve.

Easter Culinary Creation: Double Chocolate Nutella Carrot Cake Cups with Malted Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake peeps, meet your new friend, the chocolate carrot cake.

These cupcakes, weird or not, are delicious. To be honest, you really don’t know there is carrot in them. And hello, these cupcakes are stuffed with a generous amount of Nutella. What’s not to love about that? You bite in and get the most sinfully awesome surprise.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (may sub canola oil)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 16 teaspoons nutella (1/3 cup)
  • milk chocolate eggs, toasted coconut and or crushed Oreo’s, for decorating

Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons malt powder

Instructions

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard muffin tins with 16-18 paper liners OR line 10-12 small clay pots with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium size bowl combine the flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and coffee. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer) beat together the eggs, buttermilk, coconut oil and vanilla until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low until there are no longer any clumps of flour. Fold in the shredded carrots and chocolate chips.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans, filling each three-quarters full. Bake 20 minutes (closer to 25 minutes for the pots) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, do not over bake. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla and malt powder until smooth.

To Assemble

  1. Use a small paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece from the center of each cooled cupcake. Fill the hole with nutella, then replace the top portion of the cone (you’ll need to slice off the tip). Transfer the Frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe frosting into a swirl on each cupcake (you can also just spread the frosting on with a knife). Sprinkle with toasted coconut or crushed Oreo’s. Top with three milk chocolate Easter Eggs. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Thirsty Thursday… Watermelon Beer

We know it’s not technically watermelon season yet, but the watermelon in the store looked so good it was hard to pass up. We got a quarter of a watermelon and trekked over to the beer section to find the perfect one to go with the watermelon; enter Shock Top Wheat Beer. Both the watermelon and the beer complement each other really well, and one doesn’t outshine the other. This is the perfect drink for a hot day after work when you just need a drink (or two) to unwind.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 watermelon, cut up into chunks
  • 2-4 White Beers or Wheat Beers, we used Shock Top

Instructions:

  1. Place the watermelon chunks in your blender. Puree until smooth, then pour into a sifter over a bowl. Strain until only the juice is left and there is no pulp -chill for at least an hour. Fill a glass with the beer and pour the watermelon juice on top. Serve immediately.