dinner party blondies

I’m happy to report that our very first dinner party at our new apartment was a success!  I use the word “party” loosely since it was just Todd and I and his parents but, dinner party sounds much more fun than just plain dinner.

I snapped this picture while I was preparing dinner.  I love the colors all together, so pretty!

I made Lemon Fresh Summer Pasta  with grilled chicken and served it will watermelon and bread.  Nothing too fancy but it was just right for a casual meal outside on the deck.

The night was perfect for eating outside, that magical temperature where you don’t feel warm or cool.

For dessert we had the Pink Lemonade Cookies that I baked yesterday plus a second treat that I made last night, White Chocolate Chip Blondies.

I find a lot of recipes online but when I decided to make blondies, I did something crazy: I consulted a cookbook.

The Joy of Cooking was my book of choice and the recipe was great.  Easy peasy and it turned out deliciously.

Blondies from the Joy of Cooking

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Grease an 8×8 pan.  Whisk together thoroughly:

          1 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour again, 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons)

          1/4 teaspoon baking powder

          1/4 teaspoon baking soda

          1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large heavy saucepan, melt, then boil, stirring constantly, until light golden brown, about 4 minutes:

          1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Remove from heat and stir in until well-blended:

          2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

          1/4 cup sugar

Let cool until barely warm.  Stir in until well-combined:

          1 large egg

          1 large egg yolk

          1 tablespoon light corn syrup

          1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Stir in flour mixture and, if desired (I desired!):

1 cup chopped, toasted pecans, chocolate chips or 2/3 cup shredded coconut (I went with 1 cup of white chocolate chips but you could add in anything: Heath, chocolate chunks, butterscotch chips, peanut butter cups, anything you’d like!)

Scrape into pan.  Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.

These blondies are so delicious, even Todd was scarfing them down!  I can’t wait to try them with different mix-ins.

Do you normally get your recipes online or from a cookbook or family recipe?

hmp: lemon fresh summer pasta

This morning I woke up bright and early to make it to a 6:00 am yoga class.  For once I didn’t hit snooze (well, maybe once or twice) and actually got up to go to the class.  It was so nice to have my workout done by 7:00 am and I even squeezed in a little nap before getting ready for work.

Since my workout was done before work, I got to come right home and had plenty of time to make a real dinner.  I decided to make a light pasta dish which I’m calling Lemon Fresh Summer Pasta.  I was inspired by and almost completely followed/referred to a recipe for Sweet Corn Pasta from Baked Bree.

Without further ado, here’s the adapted recipe for this delicious, light, fresh summer pasta:

Lemon Fresh Summer Pasta

6 oz. (1/2 bag) lemon chive fettucine

2 ears of fresh corn

2 cloves garlic

1 T. + 1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup chopped of fresh basil, parsley and oregano blend

Juice of one lemon

1 Tablespoon lemon zest

A block of Parmesan cheese

Soak corn in water then grill the ears in their husks later exposing them to slightly char the kernels.

While the corn cooks, heat 1 T. olive oil in a pan then add garlic, cooking and turning it until golden brown.  Cook pasta.

Remove kernels from the cobs and place them in a medium size bowl.  Add remaining olive oil, herbs, lemon juice and cooked garlic.  Zest lemon over the mixture and then stir to combine all ingredients.

When pasta is cooked, place in serving bowl.  Top with olive oil/corn mixture.  Toss all ingredients together and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

We had our pasta with chicken breasts for a kick of protein and ciabatta bread and it was so good.  Neither of us felt overly full like we sometimes do when we have pasta and the lemon just gives it such a refreshing taste.  The lemon chive pasta was really good but if you can’t find it, you can use any long noodle or really any pasta you like.

This meal will definitely be making another appearance on our table.

As a bonus, it was the first time I used our new pasta pot for two, one of our serving bowls, our brand new box grater and our mini prep bowls.  New tools making cooking even more fun!

I’m really going to try to do more morning workouts.  This summer I’ll be working earlier, think 7:00am so it will be a good transition into that.  The mornings won’t feel so early if I’m used to getting up anyways, right?

Do you workout in the morning?

How do you lighten up pasta (or other dishes) for summer?

hmp: grilled chicken pesto orecchiette

Oops, I skipped yoga in favor of a good meal and time spent with my man.  I’d call it a good choice.

Todd and I made dinner together tonight which is always fun.  We decided to make the grilled chicken pesto orecchiette that we abandoned on Sunday in favor of quesadillas.  I’ve been wanting to try orecchiette pasta for ages but can never seem to find it at the store.  Fortunately, our little neighborhood grocer happened to have it when I was there a few weeks ago and I bought it on the spot.  Orechiette means “little ear” in Italian which I think is just so cute.

While Todd grilled up the chicken I boiled the pasta and got the pesto ready.  Oh, and I made oven fries just to make sure we had enough starch today.  I love potatoes and the Alexia line of products never disappoints.  We went with Olive Oil and Sea Salt fries tonight.

I used a store bought pesto sauce made by Bella Terra, it’s not homemade but at least it’s organic!

After the pasta was cooked and pesto was warmed, we added the chicken and a sprinkle of parmesan and voila, dinner!

Man that pasta was good.  We had some leftovers so I’m looking forward to eating it for another lunch or two this week.  And the fries, awesome – I’ll never feel bad about loving French fries.

Do you buy pasta sauce or make homemade?

When you cook dinner do you make extra so you’ll have leftovers or try to make just enough?