Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs, Pears, Apples, Fontina & Gruyère

I  love, love, love cooking for friends and family. It is such a release to me and a great excuse to have a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand with the music blasting (and not the TV).

Last night we had some friends over because I planned to cook this week’s Food Matter’s Project dish “Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs & Bleu Cheese.”

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Twisted Chick Parm ::: Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Pesto


:::Twisted Chicken Parmesan w/ Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Pesto:::

We ate really well last week. Well we had a  few good excuses with Peter’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, and I was home for a week from work travels.

It started with Jambalaya for Peter’s birthday.

We have been making Sarah’s TO DIE FOR jambalaya recipe  since she posted it a year ago, if you love spice please make this ASAP. You should also visit her fabulous blog to wish it a happy 2nd birthday!

Then we had filet, lobster (that we caught ourselves in the Keys!), and whole artichokes for Valentine’s Day…

…and then what I am calling “Twisted Chick Parm” with the Roasted Red Pepper Walnut “Pesto” from the Food Matters Project. {The pesto recipe was chosen by Heather from girlichef this week and can be found on her blog post today.}

I first made the “pesto” from scratch on Valentine’s day, with hopes it would be a nice dip or sauce for our steak. It is really red peppery and rich, so I decided it would taste better with chicken and whole wheat pasta the next day.

The FMP is expanding my ideas for cooking fresh veggies, but I will say we are still eating a lot of meat and non whole wheat carbs. Hopefully once we are through a few months of the recipe book I will be able to combine some of the favorites for more full meals.

Twisted Chicken Parmesan & Pasta     serves 2

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup parmesan and mozzarella mix, shredded
  • 3- 4 cups of whole wheat pasta (we use rigatoni)
  • 1/2 recipe of previously prepared Roasted Red Pepper Walnut “Pesto”
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Prepare Roasted Red Pepper Walnut “Pesto” and set aside at room temperature.  I roasted the red peppers myself and still used 2 cloves of garlic even though I only made half of the recipe.
To see other uses for this flavorful pesto head here to see recipes from the other Food Matter Project members.
***After seeing many of the posts this morning I think I found MONSTER sized red peppers at the grocery store.  I can see how a little less red pepper and adding cannellini beans or chickpeas might balance the flavors even more than just adding parmesan cheese as I did in this recipe. 

Pre-heat over to 350°F. Crack the egg into a prep bowl and whisk. Mix bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt & pepper in separate prep bowl.

Wash and clean chicken breasts. Place each in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumbs, and then on a nonstick or greased baking pan/sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes. Top with parmesan and mozzarella cheese and bake for 5 more minute.

Cook pasta as directed on box. Drain and set aside.

In a food processor, blender, or mixer; mix the parmesan with the Roasted Red Pepper Walnut “Pesto.” Then in a saucepan on medium heat, sauté 1/2 of the pesto with whole wheat pasta until warm. Pour the second half of the pesto over the chicken and serve.


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keely marie

The Food Matters Project ::: Chipotle-Glazed Squash Skewers


Interrupting your :::Super Bowl Hangover Monday::: with your new favorite butternut squash dish.

When I saw that Sarah chose Chipotle-Glazed Squash Skewers as the first recipe for The Food Matters Project I was really curious to see what’s used to make the “Chipotle-Glaze.”

The glaze is pretty simple, made using a mix of chili peppers in adobo sauce (canned at your grocery store), olive oil, honey, and garlic. These squash skewers are a great dish to bring to a BBQ or potluck and a fantastic main dish if you are eating more vegetables and less meat.


Head over to 20somethingcupcakes for the full recipe.

The glaze is a blend of smoky, spicy, and sweet. I added an extra tablespoon of honey after tasting. I was a little worried because there are not many dishes I make that call for so much olive oil for, but a lot if it drips off while you roast the skewers. The recipe calls for the glaze to be muddled, but somehow I am without a muddler (makes no sense with  my love of mojitos!). I used the chop option on a food processor for a few seconds.

{TIP: I had a hard time getting the bamboo skewers in the squash without breaking them, I think I soaked the skewers in water too long. So instead I used metal skewers. They were long enough to sit on the sides of my baking sheet which was perfect for roasting the squash cubes. The skewers suspended in the air above the baking sheet, which made it easy to turn them once in a while.}

Next time I make these I will add some pineapple and green bell pepper to the skewers for color & variety in flavor. Since I’m not used to eating only vegetables for a meal (especially not just 1 type of vegetable), adding something else to the skewers would make it more interesting and I think the flavors would go really well together.

You can also head here to see how the other members of The Food Matters Project fared.

::: Chipotle-Glazed Squash Skewers Recipe :::

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keely marie

New Year’s Eve Balcony Bash ::: Party Menu

I’m back! And don’t worry, I have a New Year’s Resolution to blog as-often-as-possible and I am going to do everything I can to stick to it.

Since my last post I traveled to Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, San Francisco, and San Diego for work. It’s so great to see such fantastic cities for my job, but of course it doesn’t always leave time for my own passions like photography, cooking, and blogging. On top of this Peter and I traveled to Fort Myers and  Orlando for Thanksgiving  and Christmas to see our families.

I finally had a week off last week and I had some time to myself to get back to this lovely blog of mine.

So how did we kiss 2011 goodbye? Jelena and I hosted a small party for New Years Eve at my house. Living in Miami means lots of options for parties on South Beach, but we didn’t want to deal with the crowds and chaos.

We had an amazing time partying out on the balcony in crisp 70 degree weather with lots of champagne and great music (play list à la Peter). It was a “finger food” type menu and of course all homemade. {The Merritt boys even made me substitute the canned chicken in the buffalo chicken dip!}

I actually had a whole crew helping me Saturday. Thanks Jelena, Jennifer, Peter + Justin! The Southwestern Egg Rolls and Champagne Cream Puffs were the biggest hits.

And yes you read that right…the cream puffs had champagne in them! I am obsessed in a sick way with champagne and sparkling wine (so much that I have kept myself up at night thinking of names for this blog including the word champagne), so this was an obvious pick when I saw it on TasteSpotting.

Click below each picture for the recipes.

::: Cocktail Meatballs :::

::: Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls w/ Avocado & Spicy Sour Cream :::

::: Baked & Boneless “Daytona” Wings :::

::: Buffalo Chicken Dip :::

::: Roasted Chickpeas :::

::: Champagne Cream Puffs :::

Happy New Year!

I have a feeling it will be a good one…

::: keelymarie :::

*** On a side note, my Shumai recipe is featured on! Check it out: 10 Darling Dumpling Recipes

Dim Sum Party ::: Char Siu Bao + Shumai

Dim Sum-5488


I have an obsession with dim sum. Strange right? Maybe it’s the way they are served in cute stacked bamboo steamers or maybe it’s the wide variety of bite size pieces…either way I’m obsessed.

And you too will be if you try these recipes. Promise.

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