Cave Tools, Stainless Steel Grill Brush

Cave Tools, Stainless Steel Grill Brush

Barbeque grill brushes are a critical element to the life of a grill and an essential tool after any grill cooking. Over the years, we’ve tried many grill brushes and found them to be inadequate for the job of thoroughly cleaning. Cave Tools recently introduced a grill brush that might be the best we’ve ever owned.

Cave Tools Stainless Steel Grill Brush

Cave Tools Stainless Steel Grill Brush

This brush features an 18” handle with a very sturdy grip. The materials are rustproof so you don’t have to worry about leaving it outside with the grill.

Cave Tools grill brush features an 18” handle with a very sturdy grip.

Cave Tools grill brush features an 18” handle with a very sturdy grip.

The bristles are thick and stiff making it heavy duty for getting off even the toughest, stickiest baked on charred sauces.

The bristles are thick and stiff

The bristles are thick and stiff

The grill brush head features stainless steel bristles that wrap all the way around the top allowing you to clean from the flat, broad and narrow angles. Plus it is gentle enough not to scratch the grill grates.

The grill brush head features stainless steel bristles that wrap all the way around the top.

The grill brush head features stainless steel bristles that wrap all the way around the top.

The Cave Tools Stainless Steel Grill brush is sold online at their website, or you can purchase it on Amazon (15% off coupon code V9BW75DN). Currently, it is on sale for $12.99 plus there is a 10% discount code on the Cave Tools’ website. This is another great item for the grill master at your house.

 

Do you find cleaning the grill a messy job?

Have you been able to find a grill brush that lasts?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Cave Tools Grill Brush, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

Rufus Teague Barbecue Sauces

Rufus Teague Barbecue Sauces

Barbeque is not just for summer cookouts any more. It’s becoming a major part of the modern cook’s weekly meal rotation in any season. With what was once viewed as ordinary charred meats with a sauce now appealing to a broader palette, consumers are experimenting with inventive condiments to enrich the dining experience. From steaks to chicken and fish, Rufus Teague is a Kansas City barbeque sauce that you can put on anything you’re cooking!

Rufus Teague is a Kansas City barbeque sauce that you can put on anything you’re cooking!

Rufus Teague is a Kansas City barbeque sauce that you can put on anything you’re cooking!

The company founder, John McCone, created the Rufus Teague barbecue sauce recipes. He and a buddy also fashioned the Rufus Teague character, a serious-looking old west man, the brand’s personality. They’ve also continued to carry out that style with the product’s packaging. The 16-ounce barbecue sauce bottle resembles a pint-size whiskey flask.

The Rufus Teague character, a serious-looking old west man, is the brand’s personality.

The Rufus Teague character, a serious-looking old west man, is the brand’s personality.

I received a sample of Rufus Teague’s barbecue sauces. Included in my shipment were the whiskey maple, honey sweet, touch o’heat, blazin’ hot and apple mash flavors. I enlisted my husband and son to help with this tasting on a few upcoming dinner dishes.

We tried the blazin’ hot and honey sweet on burgers.

We tried the blazin’ hot and honey sweet on burgers.

First, we tried the blazin’ hot and honey sweet on burgers. The barbecue sauces were dark and thick. Their flavor was a great combination of sweet, smokiness and spice. The burger’s toppings didn’t overpower them. The blazin’ hot sauce lived up to its name. It had a good kick of spice to make your nose run.

The blazin’ hot sauce lived up to its name.  It had a good kick of spice to make your nose run.

The blazin’ hot sauce lived up to its name. It had a good kick of spice to make your nose run.

Next, we tried the remaining three flavors on grilled chicken breasts. The touch o’heat sauce has a small bit of spice that leaves a little tingle on your tongue. We also enjoyed the chicken with the whiskey maple and apple mash sauces. I want to try using the apple mash sauce on pork. I think the apple and pork combination will be a big hit. We also made another observation about the sauces – if you use them as a condiment or dip their flavor is milder than if you marinate the meat with it and cook it on.

We tried the remaining three flavors on grilled chicken breasts.

We tried the remaining three flavors on grilled chicken breasts.

Rufus Teague also makes dry rubs and steak sauces. You can purchase Rufus Teague products either online, through their website or Amazon, or at many national grocery stores. I’ve noticed them at my local Stop & Shop grocery store.

 

Do you like to barbecue all year round?

What’s your favorite barbecue dish?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Rufus Teague barbecue sauces, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

Little Bird Confections – Fire Bites & Bark Candy

Little Bird Confections – Fire Bites & Bark Candy

Within the last six plus years, the boom of popularity for sriracha has opened consumers’ eyes to the wonders of spicy peppers and started the movement to spice up everything. It was only a matter of time for this trend to infiltrate over to chocolate. Some prefer sweet and some like it hot. For those looking to enjoy the best of both worlds, let me introduce you to Little Bird Confections’ Fire Bites and Bark Candy.

Little Bird Confections’ Fire Bites and Bark Candy

Little Bird Confections’ Fire Bites and Bark Candy

Little Bird Confections, owned by Corey and Sara Meyer, is a small, family-owned chocolate business based in Queens, NY. They specialize in candied jalapenos covered in chocolate. This original idea is the brainchild of Sara who began candying everything in the house, starting with orange peels, and covering them in chocolate. She decided to attempt jalapenos. Sara tried them out on co-workers who thought they were awesome and began placing orders. That’s how Little Bird was hatched.

Fire Bites come in original, milk, white and dark chocolate flavors

Fire Bites come in original, milk, white and dark chocolate flavors

I received a sample of Little Bird’s candy. Included in my shipment were the original, milk, white and dark chocolate bites flavors as well as the bark. I enlisted my hubby and son, along with a few friends who love spicy foods with a good kick to help with this tasting.

Fire bark consists of finely ground jalapenos that are added to dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt.

Fire bark consists of finely ground jalapenos that are added to dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt.

Little Bird’s confections are made in small batches using sustainable cacao. The candy is made with all natural ingredients and no preservatives. The bark consists of finely ground jalapenos that are added to dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. Upon tasting, you notice the deep chocolate and are then surprised by a subtle kick of fire.

Fire bark has a deep chocolate taste and then you are surprised by a subtle kick of fire.

Fire bark has a deep chocolate taste and then you are surprised by a subtle kick of fire.

The fire bites candy consists of seed-in jalapenos dipped in the variety of chocolate flavors. The heat of the jalapenos, coupled with the chocolate’s sweetness, delivers a delectable flavor explosion. We found the fire bites to be spicier than the bark. Our favorite bites flavors were the dark and milk chocolates.

The fire bites are spicier than the bark.

The fire bites are spicier than the bark.

You can purchase Little Bird’s fire bites and bark candies either online, through their website or Amazon, or at specialty retail stores.

 

Do you like rich chocolate with a fiery kick?

What’s your favorite kind of chocolate?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Little Bird’s confections, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

Moon Rocks Gourmet Cookies

Moon Rocks Gourmet Cookies

Almost everyone I know appreciates a little sweet treat after a meal. Whether it’s a brownie, piece of fruit or a scoop of ice cream our habits, brain chemistry and diet makeup haunts us to satisfy the craving. With more consumers looking to make “smarter/ healthier” choices, small portions of these sweet treats allows us to appease the “everything in moderation” tactic and not desert dessert. Over the last two years, there’s been an increase in cookie sales, likely due to consumers quantifying it as a “mini-portion” dessert. Bakeries have recognized this trend and are capitalizing on the popularity by expanding the product varieties by exploring creative flavors with a variety of innovative ingredients.

Moon Rocks is located in Hamden, CT

Moon Rocks is located in Hamden, CT

Moon Rocks Gourmet Cookies is the fruit of Cynthia Rae’s, mamma Moon Rocks, labor. During her culinary training, Cynthia’s professor challenged her to create a chocolate chip cookie recipe that tasted the way she thought they should taste. This is where the “secret recipe” was born. Recently, Cynthia and her daughter decided to make Moon Rocks cookies available for retail purchase, because “the world needed them.” I received a sample of a few of their cookie varieties.

Moon Rocks Gourmet Cookies come in a variety of flavors!

Moon Rocks Gourmet Cookies come in a variety of flavors!

From the top of the plate and moving clockwise, the cookie flavors included were: Lemon Cheesecake; Orange Cranberry; Ugly Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip; Chocolate Chocolate Chip; Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip; and Peppermint (center). The cookies don’t resemble your typical looking and shaped cookies, but they do look like rocks, hence their name. Upon tasting you’ll notice that the unique decadent flavors shine through and don’t get overpowered by an excessive amount of sugar, like many store bought cookies. Our favorites were the dark chocolate chocolate chip and the ugly salted caramel chocolate chip.

Moon Rocks offers a variety of gourmet cookies that you can purchase by the half dozen or in greater quantities. You can purchase Moon Rock’s gourmet cookies either on their website or at their retail location on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden, CT.

 

Do you look for a sweet treat after your meal?

What’s your favorite kind of cookie?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Moon Rock’s gourmet cookies, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

Casa Visco Sauces

Casa Visco Sauces

Being 100% Italian and with most of my family having grown up in Italy, I’m upfront in admitting that I am a bit of a spaghetti sauce snob. In all honesty, I had never eaten jarred sauce until my early 20’s and typically I don’t like most because they are too sweet or don’t use quality ingredients. However, for those instances when you don’t have time to make your own, I’ve been searching for a legit sauce that doesn’t have a pound of sugar or unrecognizable ingredients.

Casa Visco is a national manufacturer of pizza and pasta sauces. It started 70 years ago when Carmella and Joseph Viscusi began as wholesale grocers in Schenectady, NY. They sold grocery staples like flour, tomatoes and cheeses. Carmella, like many Italians, picked tomatoes from her garden and gave out her sauce as gifts to friends, neighbors and customers who always asked for more to purchase. Working out of the basement of their home, the couple started bottling and selling Carmella’s homemade spaghetti sauce to their grocery customers.

Casa Visco is a national manufacturer of pizza and pasta sauces.

Casa Visco is a national manufacturer of pizza and pasta sauces.

I was introduced to Casa Visco’s sauces at the Newport Mansions Wine and Food show where the team was making creative pizzas and presenting their line of sauces.

The Casa Visco team was making creative pizzas and presenting their line of sauce at the Newport Mansions Wine and Food show.

The Casa Visco team was making creative pizzas and presenting their line of sauce at the Newport Mansions Wine and Food show.

Shortly thereafter, the company contacted me and I received a sample of their “Sensational Six” package of sauces to try. The package included three jars of their “Awesome Sauce,” both the original and global spice flavors, and three jars of their pizza sauce.

The “Sensational Six” package of Casa Visco sauces.

The “Sensational Six” package of Casa Visco sauces.

I was pleased to notice that Casa Visco’s sauces use all natural ingredients with no added salt or sugar. Before you open the jar, you’ll notice the bright color of the tomatoes and there’s plenty of real onion and garlic flavor from the real thing instead of using powered dried spices.

Casa Visco’s sauces use all natural ingredients with no added salt or sugar.

Casa Visco’s sauces use all natural ingredients with no added salt or sugar.

While the company is a national manufacturer, its sauces are not mass-produced. They are slow cooked in small batches to ensure the original flavors. But the “proof of the pudding, or sauce, is in the eating.” Here’s how we tasted the sauces:

Warmed pizza sauce was great for dipping my family’s homemade focaccia bread!

Warmed pizza sauce was great for dipping my family’s homemade focaccia bread!

I warmed the pizza sauce and used it for dipping my family’s homemade focaccia bread, which I sliced in sticks. The sauce was a nice compliment to the bread.

The original flavored pasta sauce as a topping for homemade chicken cutlets.

The original flavored pasta sauce as a topping for homemade chicken cutlets.

I used the original flavored pasta sauce as a topping for homemade chicken cutlets. The sauce was rich and flavorful.

The original and global spice flavored pasta sauces became part of an Italian meatloaf that I made for dinner with friends.

The original and global spice flavored pasta sauces became part of an Italian meatloaf that I made for dinner with friends.

The original flavored pasta sauce became part of an Italian meatloaf that I made for dinner with friends. The recipe calls for topping the meatloaf with marinara sauce and allowing it to bake in. When serving the meatloaf, I warmed some original and the global spice flavored sauces for guests to add to their slice. The guys loved the heat in the global spice sauce. It comes from Korean pepper powder, sirichi from China and Japanese soy sauce. It’s an interesting Asian combination that rounds out this Italian spicy sauce.

Casa Visco’s sauces come in a variety of flavors.  You can purchase Casa Visco’s sauces either online, on their website or Amazon, or at grocery stores nationwide. You can find out the grocery stores in your area that carry the sauce using the product locator on their website.

 

Do you make your own homemade pasta sauce?

What’s your favorite brand of jarred pasta sauce?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Casa Visco’s sauces, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

Blue Sky Family Farms Eggs

Blue Sky Family Farms Eggs

Periodically you’ll hear a news story touting eggs are bad for us or vice versa, with the confusion centering on its cholesterol content. In many cases, eggs are getting the bad rap because of the high-fat foods they’ve often consumed with – bacon and sausage. Eggstra! Eggstra! Recent research found saturated fat in foods has a bigger impact on blood cholesterol and heart disease. Eggs are only 70 calories each. They also are rich in nutrients and contain almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by humans.

John Brunnquell founded Egg Innovations (Blue Sky Family Farms parent company) in the 1990’s, specializing in enhanced value shell eggs. He saw early on that the more natural you made a hen’s environment, the happier and more productive they were. Putting what he learned into practice, he now leads the largest free-range and pasture raised egg originator in the country. Blue Sky Family Farms raises ethical eggs for the humane race.

Blue Sky Family Farms Eggs

Blue Sky Family Farms Eggs

Their chickens are 100% free range and pasture raised with care in America on local family farms. Their eggs contain no additives (hormone, antibiotic and GMO free).

Blue Sky Family Farms eggs contain no additives (hormone, antibiotic and GMO free).

Blue Sky Family Farms eggs contain no additives (hormone, antibiotic and GMO free).

I received a sample of Blue Sky Family Farms eggs. Included in my shipment were a dozen cartons of organic and brown eggs.

I received a dozen cartons of organic and brown Blue Sky Farms eggs to sample.

I received a dozen cartons of organic and brown Blue Sky Farms eggs to sample.

First, I tried the eggs in their purest form and made a Havarti cheese and dill omelet.

Havarti cheese and dill omelet made with Blue Sky Family Farms eggs.

Havarti cheese and dill omelet made with Blue Sky Family Farms eggs.

The eggs were light and fluffy and paired well with the delicate cheese and fresh herbs. I coupled it with a slice of rosemary bread, fresh baked by a friend, for a hearty and satisfying lunch that kept me filled until dinner.

It made for a hearty and satisfying lunch that kept me filled until dinner.

It made for a hearty and satisfying lunch that kept me filled until dinner.

Quiche is all about the eggs. So it made sense to try them in my broccoli and ham quiche recipe. The quiche was delicious and seemed to puff up more than usual.

Broccoli and ham quiche made with Blue Sky Family Farms eggs.

Broccoli and ham quiche made with Blue Sky Family Farms eggs.

I love this recipe because it is quick and easy, and makes enough for two meals or plenty of leftovers.

Since it is the holiday season and I am baking frequently, I used the eggs for several sweet treats. They were used in my cookbook club “take home treat” chocolate currant cookies.

Chocolate currant cookies

Chocolate currant cookies

Also, the eggs were used in baking a batch of decadent peanut butter and chocolate bars. These are a family and friend favorite.

Peanut butter and chocolate bars

Peanut butter and chocolate bars

Most recently, I used them in making blueberry lemon biscotti. I am packaging these cookies into treat bags with a tea bag for a homemade holiday gift and sharing with friends.

Blueberry lemon biscotti made with Blue Sky Family Farms eggs.

Blueberry lemon biscotti made with Blue Sky Family Farms eggs.

You can find Blue Sky Family Farms pasture-raised organic and non-GMO brown eggs at over 750 grocery stores in the following states: IL, IN, WI, OH, KY, IO, AL, GA, MS, NC, SC, AR, AZ, CO, ID, KS, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, TX, UT, WA, and WY. You also can find them in Whole Foods Markets south and mid-Atlantic stores. With their expanding distribution, I’m hoping we will begin seeing them in the northeast states. So don’t be a chicken when it comes to eating eggs!

 

What’s your favorite egg dish?

Have you tried free-range, pasture-raised eggs?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Blue Sky Family Farms eggs and compensated for the post, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

McCrea’s Caramels

McCrea’s Caramels

When I think of caramel, I associate the candy with sticking to my teeth and gums long after eaten. So even though I enjoy the flavor, I tend to shy away from it for this reason. Northeast-based McCrea’s Candies makes an innovative caramel product that uses a proprietary recipe that eliminates corn syrup and uses quality natural ingredients so their caramel won’t stick to your teeth. They combine cane sugar, fresh local milk and cream, local butter, molasses, salt and natural flavorings to create the slow-cooked, handcrafted caramels.

McCrea’s Caramels

McCrea’s Caramels

McCrea’s Caramels was founded by husband and wife team Jason and Kate McCrea who were dedicated to making the best caramel in the world. Building upon backgrounds in biology and chemistry, the McCrea’s transitioned into the science of caramel making after double layoffs. Starting in a home kitchen with a wooden spoon, pot and candy thermometer, the McCrea’s business has expanded and now offers a full line of caramel varieties to retail outlets throughout North America. I was introduced to them at the Newport Mansions Wine and Food show where the team was handing out samples.

I was introduced to McCrea's Caramels at the Newport Mansions Wine and Food show where the team was handing out samples.

I was introduced to McCrea’s Caramels at the Newport Mansions Wine and Food show where the team was handing out samples.

Shortly thereafter, the company contacted me and I received a sample of their innovative flavors to try. I received their “Flavor Family” and a few pillow boxes that each contains 5 pieces.

McCrea's Caramels came packaged in a "Flavor Family” or pillow boxes.

McCrea’s Caramels came packaged in a “Flavor Family” or pillow boxes.

The Flavor family includes McCrea’s flagship product featuring Hawaiian black lava sea salt. McCrea’s also offers such classic flavors as vanilla, Highland single malt scotch, dark roasted mocha, ginger fusion, Cape Cod sea salt, rosemary truffle sea salt, tapped maple and deep chocolate.

The company also produces provocatively flavored caramel combinations such as curried butternut, cinnamon clove and café noir.

The company also produces provocatively flavored caramel combinations such as curried butternut, cinnamon clove and café noir.

They also offer some additional flavors using striking seasonings to produce provocatively flavored caramel combinations such as curried butternut, cinnamon clove and café noir. I enlisted some friends to help sample the caramels. Everyone loved the soft texture and appreciated the non-stickiness. The group was intrigued by the extraordinary flavor pairings. The vanilla, deep chocolate and cinnamon flavors rose to the top of their taste buds. Some even suggested pairing the cinnamon flavor with a slice of apple pie for the ultimate fall dessert.

McCrea's curried butternut caramel

McCrea’s curried butternut caramel

You can purchase McCrea’s Caramels either online, on their website or Amazon, or at small boutiques, specialty shops and retail chains in the US and Canada. The McCrea’s website has a listing of retailers that carry the product. Personally, I think it would make a great holiday stocking stuffer, or grab bag and hostess gift.

A few other special facts to note about McCrea’s Caramels – recently the company was named as a 2016 Good Food Awards Finalist, a Martha Stewart Living American Made 2015 Food Finalist, and voted number 3 on the USA Today “10 Best for Foodies” list. In addition, these caramels were awarded the Yankee Magazine Editor’s Choice Food Award in 2014 and Best Candy honors at the 2012 New England Dessert showcase.

 

Have you ever tried McCrea’s Caramel candies?

What’s your favorite flavor of caramel candy?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of McCrea’s caramels and sauce, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

O’live a Little Specialty Gourmet Oils and Vinegars

O’live a Little Specialty Gourmet Oils and Vinegars

I am excited to have recently won O’Live a Little’s “Best Garlic Recipe” contest with my original recipe for Holy Matrimony Minestrone soup. O’live a Little is a specialty gourmet shop that imports extra virgin olive oil and vinegars from around the world. Similar to a wine shop, you can sample any of the oils and vinegars, creating a deliciously unique tasting experience while having some fun. In addition to winning the contest, I also was asked to select a few of their oils and vinegars and see what fun things I could create.

O’live a Little is a specialty gourmet shop that imports extra virgin olive oil and vinegars from around the world.

O’live a Little is a specialty gourmet shop that imports extra virgin olive oil and vinegars from around the world.

Olive oil is one of the fastest-growing segments of the global food industry. The associated tasting rooms/ shops are popping up as a result of the trend. Foodies, like me, enjoy them as much as fashionistas enjoy clothes shops.

I recently visited the shop. After tasting many varieties of oils and vinegars, I decided to take home two flavored balsamic oils and two vinegars. Included in my samples package were: Meyer lemon extra virgin olive oil; rosemary-infused extra virgin olive oil; green apple white balsamic vinegar; orange white balsamic vinegar and the store manager also suggested I try the Tuscan blend seasoning. I created these recipes: Mediterranean Farro Salad and Orange Chicken Skewers. Both recipes are detailed below.

I created these recipes: Mediterranean Farro Salad and Orange Chicken Skewers.

I created these recipes: Mediterranean Farro Salad and Orange Chicken Skewers.

As for the other samples, here are what delicious dishes they landed into. The rosemary-infused extra virgin olive oil and the Tuscan blend seasoning were mixed together and made for great dipping oil with some beautiful bread from the Italian bakery.

Rosemary-infused extra virgin olive oil

Rosemary-infused extra virgin olive oil

Tuscan blend seasoning

Tuscan blend seasoning

I used the green apple white balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing. It’s so flavorful that I don’t even use any oil. It turns any ordinary green salad into a seasonal fall favorite.

Green apple white balsamic vinegar

Green apple white balsamic vinegar

Each dishes’ flavors were greatly enhanced with the specialty oils and vinegars. So if you’re tired of supermarket olive oils and vinegars that have little taste or are trying to imitate the real products, head on over to O’Live a Little for the real deal. O’live a Little has stores in The Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor, CT, and a newer location at The Shoppes at Farmington Valley in Canton, CT. If you’re not near the store locations, you can purchase items through their online store.

O’live a Little has stores in The Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor, CT, and a newer location at The Shoppes at Farmington Valley in Canton, CT.

O’live a Little has stores in The Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor, CT, and a newer location at The Shoppes at Farmington Valley in Canton, CT.

 

Mediterranean Farro Salad

1 ½ c Farro

6 cups water

1, 14 oz can of petite diced tomatoes (drained thoroughly)

1 can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

½ c fresh parsley, finely chopped

½ c fresh basil, finely chopped

½ c chopped red onion

¼ c scallions, chopped (both white and green parts)

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. Meyer lemon extra virgin olive oil

Meyer lemon extra virgin olive oil

Meyer lemon extra virgin olive oil

Combine the farro and water in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes until the farro is tender. Drain the farro in a fine mesh strainer and allow cooling slightly.

While the farro is cooking, combine the tomatoes, chickpeas, parsley, basil, red onion, scallions, vinegar, oil, salt & pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Add the cooled farro to the tomato mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend with the farro.

Mediterranean Farro Salad

Mediterranean Farro Salad

I served this salad as a side dish to many meals but it can also be a great vegetarian entree. It yields 4-6 servings.

I served this salad as a side dish to many meals but it can also be a great vegetarian entree.

I served this salad as a side dish to many meals but it can also be a great vegetarian entree.

 

Orange Chicken Skewers

¼ c. orange marmalade (sugar free is okay to use)

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

6 fresh sage leaves, rough torn

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

Red onion, cut into chunks

2 skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks

1-cup fresh pineapple cut into chunks

1 zucchini, cut into chunks

3 tbsp. orange white balsamic vinegar

Orange white balsamic vinegar

Orange white balsamic vinegar

Whisk together the marmalade, vinegar, olive oil, basil, garlic, sage, salt and pepper together in a bowl until the marinade is smooth.

Orange chicken skewers marinade.

Orange chicken skewers marinade.

Pour one quarter of the wet marinade into a re-sealable plastic bag. Add the vegetables and pineapple. Squeeze all the air out of the bag and seal. Pour the remaining marinade into a separate re-sealable bag. Add the chicken. Squeeze all the air out of the bag and seal. Marinate the vegetables and chicken bags in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Marinate the vegetables and chicken bags in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Marinate the vegetables and chicken bags in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Remove the vegetables and chicken from the bag and discard any excess marinade. Thread the vegetables, chicken and pineapple onto the skewers.

Thread the vegetables, chicken and pineapple onto the skewers.

Thread the vegetables, chicken and pineapple onto the skewers.

Preheat the grill. Cook the skewers once the grill is heated, turning every 3-4 minutes. Kabobs are cooked when the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Transfer to a plate. Serve warm. Yields 4 servings. I served the kabobs with black bean quinoa, cherry tomatoes and onion rings.

I served the kabobs with black bean quinoa, cherry tomatoes and onion rings.

I served the kabobs with black bean quinoa, cherry tomatoes and onion rings.

 

Have you been to an olive oil tasting bar shop?

What’s your favorite flavor of olive oil and vinegar?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of O’live a Little oil and vinegars, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experiences.

Cave Tools, Kabob Skewers Rack set

Cave Tools, Kabob Skewers Rack set

Before the weather becomes too cool, we are taking advantage of outdoor grilling whenever possible. There is nothing like the mouthwatering smell of fresh ingredients sizzling on the grill. A rack of kabobs is easy to prepare and cook. Whether you like steak, chicken, pork, lamb or a completely vegetarian option, you pick the items to thread on the sticks – there are no wrong choices and the possibilities are limitless. Pairing your piercings with a range of marinades – representing any of the continents – is a fun idea for barbecuing.

Cave Tools, Kabob Skewers Rack set

Cave Tools, Kabob Skewers Rack set

Cave Tools offers high quality barbecue and cooking tools. We were provided with their Kabob Skewers Rack set and asked to give it a try.

The Cave Tools kabob skewers set includes the rack and five, 12-inch skewers.

The Cave Tools kabob skewers set includes the rack and five, 12-inch skewers and is made of stainless steel.

This set includes the rack and five, 12-inch skewers. The set is made of stainless steel, which means easy cleaning and all is dishwasher safe. The rack has a two-inch height clearance – just enough space so your food doesn’t stick to the grill, but close enough for perfect cooking.

The skewers are flat, allowing your food to stay in place and cook using a complete rotisserie effect.

The skewers are flat, allowing your food to stay in place and cook using a complete rotisserie effect.

The skewers are flat, unlike many other sets that have round skewers. This is important because with the flat design it allows your food to stay in place and cook using a complete rotisserie effect. It won’t spin around when your turning it, making it difficult to cook each piece completely. Each skewer is sharp enough to penetrate thicker meat pieces and has a stopper on the end that doubles as a slider, making the removal of the cooked foods easy. Each skewer also has a handheld tab to make turning easy, but be careful because they do get hot so you will need to wear an oven mitt.

The rack allows the skewers to sit above the grate so they don’t stick and make a mess – and it makes for an impressive presentation.

The rack allows the skewers to sit above the grate so they don’t stick and make a mess – and it makes for an impressive presentation.

The Cave Tools Kabob Skewers Rack set is sold online at their website, or you can purchase it on Amazon. Currently, the set is on sale for $15.99 plus there is a 10% discount code on the Cave Tools’ website. If you purchase on Amazon, use coupon code LHWJZQMZ for 15% off. It’s the perfect item for your home’s reigning “grill master” to cook just like the cavemen did, only more civilized and with propane!

 

Have you ever made grilled kabobs?

What are your favorite items to thread on kabobs?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Cave Tools Kabob Skewers Rack set, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

Speck Alto Adige Prosciutto

Speck Alto Adige Prosciutto

I am very excited to be selected as the October “Speckulator” food blogger for Speck Alto Adige. Speck Alto Adige is a dry-cured, lightly smoked ham (or as Italians say “prosciutto”), produced in South Tyrol, northern Italy. Initially, it was made to preserve the meat for a long time, allowing poorer families to have access to protein throughout the year. Over time it became one of the main courses for feasts, and today is known as the gold star in Italian cold cuts.

Speck Alto Adige Prosciutto

Speck Alto Adige Prosciutto

Being raised in an all-Italian family, I am very familiar with this product as well as many other traditional Italian cold cuts. That’s right, I was the kid who had a salami and provolone sandwich instead of peanut butter and jelly in their lunch box. Having knowledge about the product, it is very important to slice it very, very thin. Why? Because it has intense taste so you don’t need a large amount to get the full flavor and be overpowered by it. Also, the product can be chewy when cut thickly, but in a thin slice it will melt in your mouth. Helpful hint: To cut it, use a very sharp, non-serrated knife or request it be sliced “paper thin” at the deli counter and laid out like shingles with little overlap.

It is very important to slice it very, very thin.

It is very important to slice it very, very thin.

In the Speculator role, we are asked to create a recipe using the Italian ham. Looking beyond its functionality in sandwiches or on a charcuterie board, I sought to highlight the product both in a main entrée, as well as in a side dish that I served together for delicious dinner. The recipes I created are: Baked chicken rollatini with roasted tomatoes, Speck Alto Adige prosciutto, cheese and sage; and Pan roasted balsamic green beans with Speck Alto Adige prosciutto and shallots.

I created two recipes:  Baked chicken rollatini with roasted tomatoes, Speck Alto Adige prosciutto, cheese and sage; and Pan roasted balsamic green beans with Speck Alto Adige prosciutto and shallots.

I created two recipes: Baked chicken rollatini with roasted tomatoes, Speck Alto Adige prosciutto, cheese and sage; and Pan roasted balsamic green beans with Speck Alto Adige prosciutto and shallots.

Both recipes are detailed below. Each dishes’ flavors were amazing. It was a perfect weekday meal or Sunday supper. The leftovers reheated beautifully the next day and were just as delicious as the first night.

 

Baked Chicken Rollatini with roasted tomatoes, Speck Alto Adige prosciutto, cheese and sage

4 – 6 thin boneless, skinless chicken cutlets

8 – 12 fresh sage leaves

4 – 6 slices of Speck Alto Adige prosciutto

8 – 12 slices of Italian sharp or mozzarella cheese

Honey roasted tomatoes (recipe available on Juliedible site)

½ cup Italian-flavored breadcrumbs

Rinse the chicken cutlets off in water and dry on paper towels. Using a meat tenderizer mallet, flatten each cutlet to equal thinness. Layer on each cutlet (in this order) a slice of Speck Alto Adige prosciutto, the cheese, roasted tomatoes and two sage leaves.

Layer on each cutlet (in this order) a slice of Speck Alto Adige prosciutto, the cheese, roasted tomatoes and two sage leaves.

Layer on each cutlet (in this order) a slice of Speck Alto Adige prosciutto, the cheese, roasted tomatoes and two sage leaves.

Roll up each cutlet, carefully tucking in the stuffing items. Secure with a toothpick. Place on a non-stick sprayed baking dish. Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and a roughly torn sage leaf.

Roll up each cutlet, carefully tucking in the stuffing items. Secure with a toothpick.

Roll up each cutlet, carefully tucking in the stuffing items. Secure with a toothpick.

Place the chicken in a 400-degree pre-heated oven and bake for 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve warm. Yields 4-6 servings, depending on the number of chicken cutlets.

Baked Chicken Rollatini with roasted tomatoes, Speck Alto Adige prosciutto, cheese and sage

Baked Chicken Rollatini with roasted tomatoes, Speck Alto Adige prosciutto, cheese and sage

 

Pan roasted balsamic green beans with Speck Alto Adige prosciutto and shallots

2 lbs green beans, washed and trimmed

1 ½ tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

4 slices of Speck Alto Adige prosciutto cut into tiny chunks

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss together. Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes or until the beans are tender.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss together. Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss together. Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Transfer to a bowl. Serve warm. Yields 4-6 servings.

Pan roasted balsamic green beans with Speck Alto Adige prosciutto and shallots

Pan roasted balsamic green beans with Speck Alto Adige prosciutto and shallots

 

Have you tried Speck Alto Adige prosciutto?

What’s your favorite use for prosciutto?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Speck Alto Adige prosciutto, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.