Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chicken, Avocado & Tomato Wraps - A Scrumptious Farewell to Summer


***Tonight, I want to share a recipe for some delicious (and healthy!) wraps that I made a few days ago.  Brad and I were both craving a light, fresh and healthy dinner this past weekend, so we made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for wraps.

Walking into the supermarket, we didn't really know what kind of wraps we wanted...However, it didn't take long for an idea to start forming.  We picked up a rotisserie chicken, avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, and ranch dressing....we were all set!

I started by removing the breasts from the chicken and cutting them into thin slices.  Next came the prep for the avocados and other ingredients.  The avocados would have been a little bit better had they been a bit more ripe, but they were delicious nonetheless.

I really love the convenience of buying a rotisserie chicken.  They are very versatile, and one chicken can feed Brad and me for 3 nights!  Chances are, you'll end up with extra chicken meat from the rotisserie chicken in this recipe.  You can add the extra chicken to pastas, quesadillas, chicken salad, garden salads, and so many other things.  That makes dinner a cinch to throw together during the week, and you've got to love that!

I hope you enjoy these wraps...They are quite delicious, fresh and filling.  The light ranch dressing adds just the right amount of tart creaminess, and the flavors meld together in a way that will leave you wanting seconds!  I served these with sweet potato fries that I baked in the oven (a healthy alternative to regular fries!).  If you don't mind a few extra calories,  you could even add some chopped bacon to these wraps...I bet that would be delicious, too.

Bon Appetit!***

Chicken, Avocado & Tomato Wraps
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 rotisserie chicken
1 fully ripened avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
1-2 medium tomatoes, sliced
Romaine lettuce, chopped
Light Ranch dressing
4 flour tortillas (10-inch), warmed
Salt & Pepper, to taste

To assemble the wraps:
1. Remove the breasts from the rotisserie chicken and cut into thin slices.  Spread a small amount of ranch dressing in the center of each tortilla.
2. Place chicken slices in the center of each tortilla, dividing evenly.  Be sure to leave about a 1-2 inch border around the filling.  If not, the fillings might come out when the tortilla is rolled up.
3. Top the chicken with the avocado slices, tomato, and lettuce.
4.. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Fold sides over filling, gently roll until tortillas completely wrap around filling.  Place two toothpicks in each wrap, one on each side of the wrap (to help hold the fillings in place).  To serve, cut each wrap diagonally in half and place, seam side down, on a plate.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fresh Basil Pesto...This Stuff is Delicious!


***Back in the spring, I planted my first little herb garden which consisted of basil, chives and parsley.  I was super excited to watch the seeds grow into healthy plants, which I could use in my cooking.  After a little tender loving care, it didn't take long at all for the seeds to sprout.

One of the first things that I thought about when I planted the basil was PESTO!  Well, the day to harvest 2 whole cups of basil leaves off my little basil plant came last week.  And trust me, it takes a lot of basil leaves to make 2 cups!

The results were totally worth it.  The roasted pine nuts in this recipe made all the difference in the world.  They add such a great depth of flavor...nutty and delicious!  The great thing about pesto is that you can use it in SO many dishes.  You can add it to pizza, pasta, chicken, fish, pretty much anything! 

I chose to mix mine with some fresh penne pasta and baked chicken.  It was fabulous!  It was a very easy dinner that I look forward to making again and again.

Bon Appetit!***


Ingredients:
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons lemon juice


Directions:
Into the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic, basil leaves, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped. With the blender still running, slowly pour 1/2 cup of olive oil. Check for a thick, yet smooth consistency, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Birmingham Restaurant Week 2010!


So, I just heard about something that sounds pretty awesome...The FIRST-EVER Birmingham Restaurant Week 2010.  Many of the best restaurants around town are participating and are offering special menus at discounted prices during the event.  Be sure to check it out...I know I'll be there!

www.bhamrestaurantweek.com.

Here's an excerpt from the website:

Bon Appetit, Birmingham!

"BRW 2010: September 17 – 25, 2010


Just a few days now until the start of the first ever Birmingham Restaurant Week. Are you ready to dine (and sip) your way around Birmingham?


Mark your calendars for Friday, September 17th through Saturday, September 25th, when more than 40 participating restaurants and bars in the downtown, Five Points South, Southside and surrounding areas of Birmingham will be offering signature lunch specials and three-course prix fixe dinner menus for a pittance ranging from just $10.10, to $20.10 to $30.10!


There’s never been any thing like it in Birmingham before!


This website was created to help you get every last bite of discounted deliciousness out of this nine day event. Check back often to see who’s serving what and when. Make sure you peruse participating restaurant menus – you can even book your table at participating restaurants!"

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Scuba Diving/Under the Ocean Birthday Cake


"For there is no friend like a sister...”
~Christina G. Rossetti

So my little sisters, Suzanne & Maranne (and yes, they are twins!) recently turned 20 years old!  I am so very proud of them, because they also recently got their diving certification.  I was excited just listening to them describe the experience to me.  They say they have a brand new appreciation for marine life and everything beneath the sea, and I think that's really cool.  It must be an awesome adrenaline rush to drift down lower and lower, while the world up above disappears from view.



I had a blast helping them celebrate their big day down at the beach.  Of course, I told them that I had their birthday cake covered (imagine that!).  I had a fun idea in mind...a scuba diving cake to celebrate their certification!

This cake was so much fun to make.  They requested the Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake, which you might remember from an earlier post.  You can find the recipe HERE.  I've made this cake so many times now, and it always comes out amazing.  It's easily one of my favorites.


I also loved making Marshmallow Fondant the first time that I tried it, so I decided to make it again for this cake.  You can find the marshmallow fondant recipe HERE.   You'll find that it's a lot of messy fun to make!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful sisters, Suzanne & Maranne!  :-)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Great News!

Guess What?!?

Thanks to my wonderful hubby, Sugar & Spice by Celeste will now be a lot easier for you to find!  I'm excited to announce that this blog has a new web address.  :-)

You can now find my blog at the following link:

www.sugarandspicebyceleste.com

Don't worry - The old blogspot link still works, too. 

Have a WONDERFUL Labor Day weekend!!!