Saturday, September 19, 2015

Weekend Round-Up

Some of the Week's Best 
Book Alert: Available October 10th 
Join Pete the Cat in a brand new story about bedtime in "Pete the Cat and the Bedtime Blues" by New York Times bestselling authors James and Kimberly Dean! 
Pete the Cat and his friends are having so much fun playing and surfing in the sun, they don't want the day to end. Pete has an idea—how about a sleepover? Groovy! As the night gets later, it's time for bed. This cool cat needs to catch some ZZZs, but Pete's friends aren't ready to go to sleep just yet. Then Pete has another idea. . . . Will it work? 
Best Salad Recipe of the Week

Tex-mex Grilled Chicken Salad in Creamy Avocado Salsa Verde Dressing
A Tex-mex themed taco grilled chicken salad with corn, black beans, tomatoes, avocado and bacon in a creamy salsa verde dressing! Serves 4 from
6 cups lettuce, sliced
1 pound taco lime grilled chicken or cilantro lime grilled chicken
1 cup tomato, diced
1 cup corn, optionally grilled
1 cup black beans
1/4 red or green onion, diced or sliced
1 avocado, diced or mashed
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup cotija, queso fresco or feta, crumbled
1/4 cup sour cream or greek yogurt (optional)
1/4 cup creamy avocado salsa verde dressing
1/4 cup cilantro, torn or chopped
Assemble the salad, toss in the dressing and enjoy!
Best Meal Recipe of the Week
Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage with Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Cook's notes: This pesto pasta with chicken sausage and roasted Brussels sprouts is a hearty and delicious meal, made healthier with (lighter) chicken sausage and lots of Brussels sprouts. 
recipe from
  • 1 lb fresh brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and any yellowed/browned outer leaves removed, then sliced in half
  • 3 TB. olive oil or Lemon Olive Oil,  divided
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 3/4 lb (10-12 oz.) orecchiette (or any pasta)
  • 4 chicken sausage links (I used spicy Italian), sliced into 1/4" thick coins
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or chicken stock
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together Brussels sprouts, 2 TB. olive oil, salt and pepper. Gently stir until well-combined.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the Brussels sprouts on it evenly. Roast for about 20-30 minutes, stirring once partway through, or until they are crispy on the outside and cooked on the inside. (My batch of tiny sprouts only took about 12 minutes to cook.) Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until nearly-browned, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and the sausage is browned.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions. (I begin heating my water while preparing the Brussels sprouts, and added the pasta to the boiling water just after beginning to cook the sausage.) Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water and then toss together the pasta, pesto, cooked sausage and garlic and Brussels sprouts. Add in broth only as what is needed for extra moisture.
  • Serve warm, and sprinkle with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese. 
Best Dessert of the Week
Pear, Apple, Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble 
Cook's notes: Anjou and Bartlett pears are the best for baking because they remain firm and smooth when cooked. When choosing pears for baking, select those that are firm but not rock hard, have a good fragrance, and are smooth and unblemished with stems still attached. Autumn is the best season for Anjou and Bartlett pears.
Recipe adapted from
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup  sugar
  • 3 TB. dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup gingersnap crumbs about 16 cookies 
  • 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice mix 
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 5 TB.butter, melted and cooled
  • 3-4 large ripe pears (I used Anjou, suggested in the original recipe) peeled, halved, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 Granny Smith apple. peeled and cut into small chunks 
  • 1- 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 TB. lemon juice
  • 1 TB. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 TB. cornstarch
  • Preheat the oven to 350°degrees.
  • Stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, gingersnap crumbs, spice mix cinnamon and salt. Stir in the melted butter until large crumbs form.
  • Place crumb mixture in freezer while cutting up apple and pears for about 20 minutes. 
  • In a 1-1/2 to 2 quart baking dish or a 8 x 8 glass baking dish, mix the pears, cranberries, apples, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch together then toss it with the fruit mixture in the pan. 
  • Sprinkle the gingersnap crumble over the fruit. Set the crumble on a foil-lined baking sheet (in a 2 quart dish, mine didn’t come close to bubbling over but I see no reason to risk it) 
  • Bake the crumble for about 45 minutes, until it is a shade darker and you see juices bubbling through the crumbs. 
See how long you can wait before digging in :)

Best Last Minute Photo- Just After Sunset 
a rainbow captured and there wasn't even any rainfall???

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