Summer Stuffed Tomatoes

June 28, 2013 Appetizer, Menu, Salads No Comments

Earlier this month, my daughter Julianna’s softball team made all of the cheering parents proud when they battled it out in extra innings and took home their division championship trophy. This, of course, was followed up last week with a celebration barbecue hosted by the coaches. What started out simply as “burgers, dogs, beer, and whatever you would like to contribute” quickly spiraled into a full-blown Hawaiian-themed luau….coconut bras and grass skirts included.

My first intentions were to bring a nice seasonal appetizer, planning to somehow use tomatoes, which are one of my favorite summer foods. When the party turned Hawaiian, my thought was “how do I add a Hawaiian spin to this?” The answer…add some pineapple! Borrowing some inspiration from Hawaiian-style pizza, I came up with cherry tomatoes stuffed with pineapple, feta and prosciutto, drizzled with a balsamic reduction.

I am happy to say that this appetizer went over really well. The dish is very easy to make (ok, you are putting in some effort when stuffing, but the end result is worth the time), and it compliments any summer cook-out. We enjoyed them so much, that we also made them a few days later for our annual family birthday cook-out.

So if you are looking for a fun recipe to bring to a cook-out this summer that is both delicious and impressive, give this one a try! The ingredients are listed below without actual measurements, you can easily adjust according to how many you are planning to make.

Summer Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients
(adjust the ingredients according to amount needed)
Cherry Tomatoes (not to be mistaken with the smaller grape tomato)
Crumbled soft cheese (such as bleu cheese, feta or gorgonzola)
Prosciutto
Chopped pineapple
Balsamic vinegar

Directions
Cut the stem off of the tomatoes. Using a small knife, gently scoop out the pulp of the tomato, being careful not to tear or puncture the skin. Next, slice a piece of prosciutto into quarters. Use one of the quarter pieces to wrap around a small amount of cheese and a small piece of pineapple. Gently stuff the wrapped cheese and pineapple into a tomato. As you stuff more tomatoes, you will get a better feel of how much cheese and pineapple will fit into a tomato without tearing the tomato skin. Secure each tomato with a toothpick (this will serve a dual purpose: to help keep the tomato from falling apart, and to allow your guests to easily pick up the tomato). Plate the stuffed tomatoes, then drizzle with a balsamic reduction.*

*To make a quick balsamic reduction, simply pour 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vinegar has reduced to 1/4 cup. Set aside, and cool to room temperature.

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Grilled Beer Soaked Honey Lime Chicken Breasts

June 6, 2013 Entrees, Menu No Comments

If you are a beer advocate and live in the Philadelphia area, you would know that Philly Beer Week is as celebrated as Christmas vacation. Philly Beer Week is once again upon us, and countless brewers and beer fanatics will be taking part in hundreds of special events and tastings throughout our entire city. Being that we are also now in prime grill-out season, I thought it would be fun to put together a dish for this week’s post that incorporates beer! After doing some fun research, I found a tasty recipe for chicken breasts marinated in a beer, lime and honey mixture. The original recipe also called for cilantro, although a few people who rated the original recipe felt that the cilantro wasn’t flavorful enough. They substituted the cilantro with other herbs and spices, such as thyme and coriander. I used my favorite go-to jar of Herbs de Provence. You can use whatever additional herbs and spices you prefer, and don’t be afraid to be liberal with the spices either! One 12oz can or bottle of light beer works fine for this recipe. If you have one of the summer light beers that are flavored with lime, all the better! Use the better beers that you have on hand as your drink of choice with this meal. With just 4 hours of marinating and 15 minutes of grilling, the chicken breasts were loaded with flavor in every bite. This dish will definitely be a regular part of my grilling menu this summer.

Grilled Beer Soaked Honey Lime Chicken Breasts
Inspired by the Beer Lime Chicken recipe at allrecipes.com

1 12oz bottle or can of light beer (lime-flavored light beer will also work well)
zest plus juice of 1 lime
1 tspn honey
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbspn herbs (such as cilantro, thyme, coriander, Italian seasoning or Oregano)
1-1/2 tspn salt
1/2 pepper
4 single serve boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix the beer, lime juice and zest, honey, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Place the chicken breasts in a container and pour the marinade over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat grill to medium heat, making sure to oil the grates. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding the remaining marinade. Grill the chicken approximately 7 minutes on each side, until juices run clear.

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