Monday, May 30, 2011

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies with Cinnamon Glaze

What's your favorite cookie? For me, that's a no-brainer. It's chocolate chip...crispy on the edges, chewy in the middle, and warm from the oven to be specific. But for Michael? His all-time-favorite cookie is oatmeal-raisin. Can you believe that we've been married for 7 years, and I've never baked a batch of homemade oatmeal cookies for him? I know...not exactly Wife of the Year behavior. So, I decided to rectify this sad state of affairs this holiday weekend! 

I searched high and low for the perfect oatmeal cookie recipe. Michael's only specific requirement was that they couldn't contain chocolate chips as "that's not a real oatmeal cookie." Raisins were a must. I found a great recipe for chewy oatmeal cookies at the King Arthur Flour website. I made a few tweaks, using golden raisins and adding dried cranberries. In addition to upping the amount of cinnamon called for in the recipe, I added a touch of nutmeg to up the spice factor. To make things a bit more interesting, I drizzled a simple cinnamon icing on top of half of the cookies. The rest I left plain for my purist husband!

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies with Cinnamon Glaze
adapted from King Arthur Flour

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat. Add 1 stick softened butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup dark brown sugar to a large bowl. Cream on med-low speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Step 2:  Add 1 large egg and 1 tbs. vanilla extract. Beat on med-low until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes.

Step 3: Add the following ingredients to the batter: 1 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, 3/4 cup golden raisins, 3/4 cup dried cranberries, 3/4 cup chopped pecans, 1 tbs. cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg.

Step 4: Stir well to combine all the ingredients. I used my (clean) hands at the end to make sure all the dry ingredients were fully incorporated. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to shape the cookie into balls. Place them on your lined cookie sheet, then use your hand to press down slightly. For reference, I was able to make two dozen cookies with this recipe. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Turn the baking sheet in the oven about halfway through baking to make sure that the cookies cook evenly.

Step 5:   Let the cookies cool  for at least 30 minutes -- but an hour is better if you can wait. While the cookies cool, make the cinnamon glaze. Combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tbs. cinnamon, and enough milk to make the glaze a good drizzling consistency...approx. 1-2 tbs. Drizzle the cookies with the glaze, and let them sit for about 10-15 minutes to allow the glaze to set. I served these cookies with the perfect accompaniment: ice-cold milk.

The verdict? These cookies definitely passed "the husband test"! We both enjoyed the combo of sweet golden raisins and tart dried cranberries...and we agreed that the nutmeg added a really nice spicy flavor in the background that complimented the cinnamon perfectly. We did differ on one thing: he preferred the "naked" cookies, but I thought the cinnamon drizzle added the perfect sweet touch. Glazing half of the cookies was a lucky decision on my part!

Friday, May 27, 2011

This One's Worth the Splurge...Spaghetti Carbonara with Chicken, Lemon & Walnuts

There’s no denying it -- summer is officially here! Memorial Day weekend may be the mental kickoff of summer for most people, but in Texas? It’s already been downright hot -- with a few short breaks -- for a few weeks now. That means there's been lots of lighter fare on the menu at Casa Garcia: fresh corn on the cob, seafood, and lots of fresh fruit. But sometimes? A girl just needs something that’s off-the-charts decadent. That happened earlier this week -- I was in the mood for some comforting and creamy pasta. I had some of my favorite spaghetti (Rustichella d’Abruzzo) and a bit of diced pancetta in the kitchen, so I decided to try making spaghetti carbonara.

I’d never actually made carbonara before, so I went off in search of a good recipe. A recipe from my go-to pasta gal Giada De Laurentiis immediately caught my eye: it included roasted chicken and was topped with lemon zest and chopped walnuts just before serving. This was my kind of pasta! I made a few adjustments to the recipe. I used seared chicken breast and swapped half-and-half for heavy cream. Yes, I was splurging...but I had to draw the line somewhere. The sauce was still very rich...but feel free to use heavy whipping cream if you want to really really indulge a bit!

Oh. My. Lord. Was this ever an amazing pasta dish! The sauce was velvety, the pancetta cubes gave it a nice smoky-salty flavor, and the chicken sort of pulled it all together. Fresh basil and lemon-lime zest were great additions that really brightened the flavor, and I loved the crunch from the walnuts. I paired this dish with a simple green salad on the side...just to make feel a little less guilty for my evening’s caloric consumption. But truthfully? I wanted this pasta to be the star of the show. Man, was this ever good...

Spaghetti Carbonara with Chicken, Lemon & Walnuts
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Step 1:  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook a half-pound of spaghetti according to package directions. While the spaghetti is cooking, make the sauce.

Step 2:  Add 1-2 tbs. of extra-virgin olive oil to a large skillet with high sides. Heat on med-high for 2-3 minutes, until hot. Add 4 oz. chopped pancetta to the pan. I really wanted the flavor of the pancetta to stand out, so I used a thick slice of pancetta cut into 1/4-inch cubes. After the pancetta has started to brown -- about 3-4 minutes -- add 2-3 minced or grated cloves of garlic. Stir to keep the garlic from cooking too quickly.

Add 1 lb. of sliced chicken breast to the pan and cook until golden-brown.

Step 3:  Combine the following ingredients in a large measuring cup: 1 1/4 cup half and half, four egg yolks, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup chopped basil, and salt & pepper to taste. Whisk well to combine and set aside. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the pan. Turn the heat down to med-low. Toss pasta to combine with the chicken-pancetta mixture, then pour the egg liquid in the measuring cup on top. 

Step 4: Stir well to combine. After 5-6 minutes, the sauce thickens and coats the spaghetti with a velvety sauce. Be careful to keep stirring, and lower the heat if you need don't want to end up with scrambled eggs! Just before serving, sprinkle the top of the carbonara with 1/4 cup chopped walnuts and the zest of one lemon and one lime. Use tongs to serve the carbonara on warmed plates. 

Let’s be honest, here: this rich pasta isn’t exactly "everyday eating"’s sinfully rich and delicious. A once-in-a-while special treat, if you will. The next time you feel the urge for a splurge coming on? I hope that you'll keep this recipe in your back pocket and give into temptation. I promise that you won’t regret it...but maybe you should eat a salad for lunch the next day just to balance things out ;)!

I hope everyone has a truly wonderful Memorial Day weekend! I'm personally looking forward to a nice break from work and a few mornings to sleep in. Before I forget? The winner in the Stonehouse 27 giveaway is #5:

Louanne from Louanne's Kitchen

Congrats...I'll be in touch to get your shipping info!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Homemade Sesame-Olive Oil Granola

One of my favorite things to eat for a weekend breakfast or a healthy evening snack is chopped strawberries layered with yogurt and topped with granola. I usually buy my granola from the bulk section of Central Market, but I decided that I wanted to try my hand at making homemade granola this week. Not only would it be super-fresh, I could experiment to come up with a Weekend Gourmet twist on an old standby! I was thumbing through The Best American Recipes 2002-2003 and found a granola recipe that featured sesame seeds and citrus peel. I knew I was on to something.

I tweaked it a bit to use ingredients that were already in my kitchen...and I came up with some seriously addictive granola! It features toasted coconut, oatmeal, a variety of nuts, lemon/lime/tangerine zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, and sesame seeds. It's flavored with olive oil instead of vegetable oil. While that may sound strange, I discovered that it gave the granola a lovely fruity fragrance and a deep flavor. Since there's just two of us at Casa Garcia, I made a half batch...which is four cups. But you can easily double it to make a family-sized batch. If you make the larger batch, just make sure to cook it on two cookie sheets to ensure it gets nice and crunchy!

Homemade Sesame-Olive Oil Granola
adapted from The Best American Recipes 2002-2003

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 375. Evenly spread 1/2 cup sweetened coconut on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. Cook for 10 minutes, until golden-brown and toasted. Give it a stir every two or three minutes so it browns evenly and doesn't burn.

Step 2:  While the coconut is toasting, combine the following ingredients in a microwave-safe measuring cup: 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup agave nectar, zest of one lime, zest of one lemon, zest of one tangerine, and 1/3 cup dark brown sugar. Stir well to combine and microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes...until it's bubbly.  Set aside to cool while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.

Step 3:  Add 2 cups oatmeal, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 1 cup chopped nuts of your choice (I used a combo of pecans, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and slivered almonds), 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. allspice (or nutmeg), and the toasted coconut. Add the syrup mixture in the measuring cup and stir well to evenly combine the ingredients. 

Step 4:  Evenly spread the granola onto your lined baking sheet. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes. The granola will be golden brown, but won't appear to be crunchy. Don't crisps up as it cools! Let the granola cool for about 20 minutes.

Step 5:  Transfer the cooled granola to a large mixing bowl Add 1 cup dried fruit of your choice. I used golden raisins since that's what I had in the kitchen, but I think dried cranberries or cherries would be really nice additions as well. Stir well to combine. Store the granola at room temperature in an airtight container. The original recipe says it'll stay fresh for up to 1 month.

I really love this granola! It was so simple to make and tastes much fresher than the store-bought stuff. It's light and crispy...not the least bit hard. Here's a close-up so you can see how well all the components blend together.

The sesame seeds gave the granola a subtle nutty flavor in every bite, and the golden raisins gave it nice chewy bite. Next time, I'll likely double the zest so the citrus flavor is a bit more pronounced. The combo of agave nectar, brown sugar, and olive oil gave the granola a perfectly balanced sweetness and depth of flavor. This recipe is definitely a keeper and something I'll be making regularly so I can have it on hand all the time!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Stonehouse 27 Ready-to-Use Indian Sauces

Do you love Indian food, but are a bit intimidated by the thought of cooking it at home? If so, then you'll LOVE the product that I'm introducing you to today...Stonehouse 27 ready-to-use Indian sauces. The company was kind enough to send me a six-pack of their sauces so I could try them out in my kitchen and see how easy they are to use. This is my kind of product, people: all-natural ingredients, delicious, and so simple to use. The sauces are even vegan/veg-friendly! With these sauces, you can have a yummy, healthy meal on the table in about the time that it takes to cook a pot of jasmine rice.

Stonehouse 27 sauces come in six exotic and yummy flavors:
  • Tamarind & Garlic with Creamy Coconut and Cumin
  • Tomato & Chilies with Cinnamon and Agave Nectar
  • Cilantro & Coconut with a Hint of Lemon and Ginger
  • Dates & Tamarind with Roasted Chilies and Garlic
  • Mild Cashews & Cream with Sweet Paprika and Sesame
  • Spicy Cashews & Cream with Chilies and a Touch of Lemon

Sharon Fernandes is the founder of Stonehouse 27. She grew up in Bandra, India, a waterside village that's influenced by Portuguese and British settlers. She lives in the U.S. today, but carries a lifelong connection to the cuisine of the area. She founded Stonehouse 27 in 2008. I used the Spicy Cashew & Cream sauce to make a delicious chicken curry a few nights ago. It couldn't have been easier! I put a pot of jasmine rice on to cook, cut chicken breast into cubes, seasoned them with salt & pepper, browned them, added the sauce, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. I simply served it over rice with some chopped cashews sprinkled on top, and dinner was ready.

The sauce was so tasty...the seasoning was complex and flavorful...I kept wanting to eat more. The chilies provided just enough heat, and the lemon gave it a brightly citrus background flavor. I really liked this sauce, and I loved that I could make such a delicious dinner in about 30 minutes.

I also sampled the tomato & chilies and tamarind & garlic varieties as dipping sauces for warm-from-the-oven naan bread. Both were very tasty as well. The tomato & chilies was spicy and slightly sweet from the agave nectar. It was so good that I had a hard time not eating the entire bowl! The tamarind & garlic was a bit tangy, and the cumin gave it a smoky heat in the background.

Is your mouth watering yet? I hope so, because Stonehouse 27 has offered to give one of YOU a six-pack of their sauces so you can try them out as well! To enter, simply visit the Stonehouse 27 website and learn more about their sauces and the wide variety of ways that you can cook with them. Then come back here and leave me a comment. Simply tell me which flavor you're most excited to try and how you would use it in a recipe. 

For a second entry, you can Like Stonehouse 27 on Facebook. For a third entry, you can become a follower of The Weekend Gourmet...or just tell me you're already a follower. Don't forget to include your e-mail with one of your posts so I can easily find you if you're the winner!! Good luck...the contest will run through 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25th. The winner will be announced on Thursday. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Adventures in Bread Baking...or How I Finally Conquered My Fear of Yeast!

In my experience, every cook has a food or cooking technique that intimidates them, so they tend to avoid it out of fear of failure. For some cooks, it's making a pot of risotto. For others, it's making the perfect souffle. For me? I've always been intimidated by cooking with yeast, so I've never made a loaf of bread with my own two hands. I used to have a bread machine years ago, but I mostly buy my bread from the superb bakery at my beloved Central Market.

Yeast has been my nemesis for as long as I can remember. And it's sort of sad since my Great Gramma Buckholt is legendary in my family for making THE best-ever homemade rolls and bread. She taught my Mom how to make them, but I never have taken the time to learn. Until now? She must have been looking down from The Great Kitchen in the Sky and shaking her head at me. One of my 2011 Foodie Resolutions was to make a loaf of bread -- from scratch -- and slather it with real butter before gobbling it up. I finally got up the nerve to do just that thanks to my dear friend Erin. She's an excellent baker, and she assured me that she'd turn me into a bread baker in the course of my visit last weekend. 

She recently found a really great recipe that's so easy that even I wasn't intimidated by it. The dough is simple to whip up, makes enough for four loaves of bread, and lasts in the fridge for up to two weeks. Best of all? No kneading is required. This sounded like the PERFECT recipe for me to get started with! The recipe is from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The authors are Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois. Zoe just so happens to be a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher...her website is Zoe Bakes, so go by and check out some of her other fantastic recipes and stunning photos!! Their website Bread in 5 Minutes has a great video that demonstrates their simple bread-making technique in specific detail, so go check it out!

If I can do this? Then I promise that ANYBODY can do this and get the same amazing results!! This is the first time I've ever made a loaf of homemade bread, and this recipe was just the confidence-booster that I needed. I decided to start with a basic French boule. It came out golden and crunchy on the outside, and the interior was moist and flavorful. We tweaked the original recipe just a smidge based on Erin's experience using this recipe in the Texas humidity. We upped the yeast just a tad and reduced the salt just a tad. Otherwise? We followed the recipe exactly.

Lickity Split Artisan Bread
adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Step 1:  Gather your ingredients and a five-quart plastic container with a removable lid. You'll need Kosher salt, all-purpose flour, yeast, and warm water. That's it! The original recipe calls for using a pizza peel and a baking stone to bake the bread. However, a sturdy cookie sheet and parchment paper is a perfectly good substitute.

Step 2:  Add 3 cups of lukewarm water to your plastic container. Add 2 level tbs. of yeast and 1 tbs. of Kosher salt to the water. Give it a stir, then add 6 1/2 cups of flour. Stir well to combine. I started out with a wooden spoon, but ended up using my hands to get it to combine completely.

Step 3: Place the lid on top of the container, but leave it partially open on one side to allow gas to escape. Set the container on the counter for 2 hours. The dough will rise during this time. Don't punch it down at the end of the rise. Instead, place it in the fridge -- with the lid open on one side -- for up to two weeks. You can make a loaf of bread immediately after the rise, but the dough is easier to handle once it has chilled for a few hours.

Step 4:  When you're ready to bake a loaf of bread, sprinkle your pizza peel or parchment with cornmeal -- this will keep the dough from sticking. Sprinkle the surface of the dough in your container with flour. Pull up and cut 1/4 of the dough from the container. Place the dough in your hands and add more flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Move the dough under as your turn it in your hands, until a ball is formed. This takes about 30 seconds.  Place the dough on the pizza peel or parchment. 

Step 5:  Let the bread rest for about 30 minutes. While the bread is resting/rising, preheat your oven and pizza stone to 450 -- place the stone on the top rack of the oven. Place a pan on the lower rack as well. After the bread has rested and the oven and stone are hot, cut an X in to top of the bread with a serrated knife. Dust liberally with more flour.

Step 6:  Transfer the bread to the pizza stone. Add 1 cup of water to the pan you placed on the rack underneath the bread. Immediately close the oven door so the steam stays inside. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, until it's golden and the crust is firm to the touch.

Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for at least 15-20 minutes before cutting with a serrated bread knife. Serve warm, with real butter. Bread this good deserves the real deal!

This bread is truly fabulous -- it's full of flavor, and the crust is nice and crunchy. I could hardly believe that I made it with my own two hands! It was so simple to make that I can see myself having a container of this dough in my fridge at all times so I can whip up a loaf of bread or dinner rolls in no time flat. I plan to buy the cookbook so I can try more of the five-minute bread doughs that are in the book.

So...I can officially cross bread making off my list of most-feared culinary experiences. I'd like to think that Gramma Buckholt is smiling down at me and my first bread-making adventure!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program: Pollo Confetti Salad Featuring Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I received a coupon for a free package of Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast to create an original recipe. The chicken is pre-cooked, which makes it easy to whip up a quick and tasty meal in no time flat! Even better? It's also delicious and versatile. I immediately decided to feature this chicken in a Mexican-themed salad that's reminiscent of Cobb salad. I was planning a visit with my oldest and dearest friend this weekend, so I wanted to come up with a special recipe for us to share.

What I came up with was a salad that's as pretty to look at as it is to eat: Pollo Confetti Salad. I chose this name because all the colorful components remind me of festive confetti at a party. This salad is bursting with flavor, and it's healthy to boot! It features spiced chunks of Tyson Grilled & Ready chicken breast, avocado, homemade black bean-corn salsa, shredded Mexican blend cheese, and garlicky flour tortilla "croutons." When it was time to serve the salad, I topped it with a chipotle-infused Ranch dressing.

Pollo Confetti Salad
A Weekend Gourmet Original Recipe

Step 1:  Make the black bean-corn salsa by combining the following ingredients: 1 cup frozen corn kernels, 1 cup drained black beans, 1 seeded and diced roma tomato, 2 sliced green onions, 2 grated garlic cloves, the juice of one lime, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. coriander, and salt & pepper to taste. Stir to combine and set aside in the fridge while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Step 2:  Dice three of the thawed chicken breasts into bite-sized cubes. Place them in a bowl and add a squeeze of lime juice, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. coriander, 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, 1 tsp. garlic powder, and salt & pepper to taste. Stir to evenly coat the chicken pieces with the spices. Set in the fridge to keep the chicken cold until it's time to serve.

Step 3:  Using a sharp knife, cut half a head of romaine lettuce into ribbons. Then make the dressing by combining 1/2 cup of your favorite Ranch dressing with the sauce from a can of chipotle chiles. How much you use depends on how much spice you want, but I think 2 tsp. should do the trick. Stir well to combine.  Place the lettuce on your serving platter, then put the platter and the dressing in the fridge until you're ready to assemble.

Step 4:  To make the garlic tortilla "croutons," stack three flour tortillas and cut into small can discard the round ends to do this. Put them in a bowl, along with 1 tbs. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and 1 tsp. garlic powder. Stir well to combine, and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake in a 375 oven for about 10 minutes...until the "croutons" are golden and a bit crisp. 

Step 5:  To assemble the salad, arrange ingredients in rows down the ribbons of lettuce on the platter. I used the following order: the garlic tortilla "croutons," the black bean-corn salsa, the seasoned chicken chunks, the Mexican blend shredded cheese, and one diced avocado topped with a squeeze of lime juice and some salt. Drizzle the chipotle Ranch dressing over the top. To serve, use salad tongs to place a bit of each ingredient onto salad plates. Toss to combine the dressing with the ingredients. 

This salad is literally bursting with flavor! The seasoned chicken is juicy and tender, the avocado and cheese are creamy and cooling, the black-bean corn salsa is tangy and spicy, and the garlic tortilla "croutons" and shredded romaine provide the crunch. It's all tossed with that delish just-spicy-enough Ranch dressing. Add it all up, and you've got the perfect meal for your next fiesta. It's a perfect dish for entertaining on warm summer evenings! 

To save even more time, you could easily substitute broken tortilla chips for the garlic flour tortilla "croutons." By the way, you'll most likely have some of the black bean-corn salsa left once you've assembled your salad...the leftovers are great served with small scoop-shaped tortilla chips. I hope you'll give my Pollo Confetti Salad a try and let me know what you think!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Fish Tacos With Cilantro-Lime Crema...

It's been another hectic week here at Casa Garcia, so I haven't gotten into the kitchen to cook a proper meal since last weekend's paella feast. But...I've decided to share another one of my favorite recipes that I've posted in here since starting my blog last August: fish tacos made with spicy pan-seared tilapia and topped with a tangy cilantro-lime crema. This was one of the very first recipes that I posted when I started this blog, so many of you likely missed this the first time around. It's so good that I wanted to share it again!

This is a great recipe for a weeknight meal, because it tastes great and can be whipped up in no time. I do recommend letting the crema sit in the fridge for about an hour before serving to let the flavors mellow and combine. But if you only have 30 minutes? That's fine too! You can also use the homemade spice mixture on shrimp for a great variation on these tacos. These fish tacos have a fair amount of heat from the spicy mixture you rub onto the fillets...and the cilantro-lime crema is tangy and cooling. Together? It's a really fabulous combination of flavors and textures!

Fish Tacos With Cilantro-Lime Crema
adapted from Cooking Light

Step 1:  Make the cilantro-lime crema by combining 8 ounces light sour cream, the juice and zest of one lime, 2 tbs. chopped cilantro, 2 sliced green onions, 1 tbs. dried minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.  Set the crema aside in the fridge while you prepare the tacos.

Step 2: Make the seasoning rub for the fish by combining 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. paprika, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Mix to combine and sprinkle evenly on both sides of two large tilapia fillets (about 1 lb. total). Rub the mixture into the fish and let it sit for about 10 minutes at room temperature.

Step 3:  Heat 1 tbs. olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Heat the pan for about 5 minutes so it's nice and hot. Add the fish fillets and cook until seared on one side -- about 3 minutes. Turn and sear on the other side. When the fish is cooked, use a spatula to break the fish into bite-size chunks. 

Step 4:  To serve, place a few pieces of fish into steamed white corn tortillas. Add a bit of the cilantro-lime crema, some finely shredded cabbage, and shredded Mexican-blend cheese. I buy the angel-hair cabbage mix from the produce department at my local grocery store. You you can use flour tortillas if you prefer, but I really like the corn flavor with these tacos! 

I usually serve these tacos with guacamole and tortilla chips on the side. One pan means that cleanup is really quick too...perfect for those on-the-go summer evenings!! I hope you'll give these a try and let me know what you think about them.

I have a couple of exciting posts coming up that I can't wait to share in here! I'm headed out of town tomorrow morning to visit my best girlfriend overnight -- we go all the way back to 8th grade together! She's going to help me get over my fear of cooking with yeast, so we're going to bake some bread! And be sure to come back here Sunday evening to see my entry in the Foodbuzz Tastemaker recipe contest featuring Tyson Grilled & Ready chicken breasts. I'm making a fun salad that's perfect for a Girls' Night dinner...I'm very excited about it and can't wait to share it with y'all!!