Monday, June 27, 2011

Appetizer Made Easy - Pinwheels

I have thought about making something like this for quite a while.  The opportunity finally arose to create a special appetizer when I had a bunch of my girl friends over for a jewelry party.  This recipe is great if you are in a rush and need something quick to throw together.

I debuted my very first "pinwheel" recipe over the weekend at the party.  There are many more pinwheel recipes to come.  Pizza dough is a blank canvas - you can put almost anything on a pizza crust and turn it into a work of art.

Give this a try along with your typical cheese and cracker plate.  The appetizer is meant to be light but packed with flavor.  It was a major hit with my ladies.

Prep time = 10 minutes
Cook time = 15 or 20 minutes

Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Pinwheels
- 1 cup sun dried tomato, diced
- 1/3 cup fresh basil
- 1 roll of thin crust pizza dough (not baked)
- 1 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Garlic salt
- Pepper

Spread the dough over a greased baking sheet.  Leave an inch open on each long side of the dough... this will help with rolling.  Spread the EVOO over the dough and season.  Apply the rest of the ingredients evenly to the the dough.  Roll tightly and seal both ends.  Bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes.  Cut and serve.

Tip 1:  Freeze the dough first.  I completely lost track of time with this and did it the opposite way.  My suggestion is to freeze the pizza dough, build the the pinwheel and THEN cut it before baking.  It is difficult to cut dough that is not firm; which is why I cut it after baking.  It's up to you and your preference though.  Keep in mind that cutting before baking will decrease the cooking time to about 10 minutes.

Tip 2:  Look for sun-dried tomatoes in a jar of oil and use some of that oil on the dough instead.  The flavor will be even more bold. 

Wallet Alert:  Sun-dried tomatoes can be a little pricey.  An 8 oz. jar of these delicious treasures will run you about $4.99 depending on where you shop and where you live.  But you can also use this on sandwiches or in a pasta dish.  A little goes a long way.

I hope that your friends and guests enjoy this as much as mine did.  Keep reading... there is more where that came from!  Thanks for reading... have a fantastic week.

We could all use a hint of more time!
Copyright 2011 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Grilling Desired, Family Inspired

Can you smell that?  You know that it's summer when you catch the fragrance of charcoal grills and burgers in the air.  It's a scent that is associated with relaxing and enjoying warm weather. 

Over the Father's Day weekend, I took a trip back to my home town of Milwaukee to visit and get some much needed family time.  I was even more excited to do one of my most favorite activities.... cook with my Mom. 

We started planning the menu only a couple days before the "Father's Day Party" at my parents house.  I was craving something grilled but wanted anything other than the typical burger or brat.  We decided to make vegetable skewers, BBQ chicken and salads for the sides.

Here are a few recipes that would be great for a 4th of July party.  It's quick, easy and probably more "figure-friendly" than burgers.  We hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we did.

Mara and Denni's Sweet Broccoli Slaw
- 2 packages of broccoli slaw, rinsed and drained (usually found by the pre-packaged lettuce)
- 1 cup of dried cranberries
- 1 cup of scallions, sliced
- 1/2 cup of sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/2 TBSP celery seed
- 1/2 cup EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper

In a separate bowl... whisk the sugar, EVOO and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing and almonds over the broccoli slaw right before serving (otherwise you will have a soggy slaw).  In a large serving bowl, mix the broccoli slaw, cranberries, scallions and celery seed.  Serve and enjoy.

Balsamic BBQ Chicken Skewer (courtesy of Cuisine At Home)
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar (regular... not aged)
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 2 TBSP Dijon mustard (not yellow.. trust me on this one)
- Salt and pepper

It has been a while since I've followed a full recipe, but this one looked too good to change.  I found the recipe for "Balsamic Sauce" in the Cuisine At Home magazine - "Cuisine Tonight: Grilling".  It will impress the heck out of your guests.  Plus, you're allowed bragging rights to say, "I made the BBQ sauce myself". 

It was very easy.  Mix the ingredients together and stir.  Brush the chicken after it has grilled about 10 or 15 minutes and is no longer raw.  If you put the chicken on a skewer... be sure to leave space between the chunks of chicken so that they grill evenly.

My sister, Megan, helped to skewer the chicken.
She was a good helper.

We also made vegetable skewers; which included red onion, zucchini, green and red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, mini Yukon gold potatoes, and mushrooms.  My Mom suggests brushing a mixture of balsamic vinegar and olive oil on to the vegetables after they have been grilled.  Delicious!

On the side, we served a bean and veggie salad made by my aunt.  I also found an amazing loaf of cheese bread at the bakery in Wal-Mart.  We all loved it, so it's highly recommended. 

Mom and I grilling together on Father's Day.

It was a fantastic day filled with quality family time and delicious summer food from the grill.  I hope that these recipes will be included in your summer memories too.  Have a great weekend, readers.

We could all use a hint of more time.
Copyright 2011 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Flashback Friday - Thai This

Flashback Friday

In college and while I was first living on my own, Thai rice became a staple in my diet.  It was quick, cheap and easy.  My love for this salty, sweet and spicy meal has continued into my late 20's and even my husband enjoys it now.  This recipe is also a family favorite... my Mom and sister, Megan, will often request this if I offer to make them dinner.

I shared my recipe late last summer and gave some tips on delicious sauce options.  This recipe is perfect for any single people or anyone living alone.  It can also feed up to 4 people and the leftovers aren't too shabby either.

It's not fancy and it's certainly not expensive to create.  You can pick your favorite vegetables or meat to mix with the rice.  The given recipe is definitely not the one and only way to make this dish.  So if you are a fan of pineapple, cilantro or water chestnuts... feel free to incorporate those to your liking.

Here is your "Flashback Friday" pick of the month... Spicy Peanut Thai Rice from September 2010. 

Enjoy and thank you for reading.  Have a great weekend.

We could all use a hint of more time.
Copyright 2011 Hint of Thyme.  All right reserved.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summery Salmon Glaze

Well here we are... in the beginning of summer.  Our farmers market is open and the grills are cranking in northern Wisconsin.  If you are looking for a great summer time recipe, I definitely recommend this glazed salmon.

A friend from my old job, Sarah, suggested using orange marmalade as part of a glaze on salmon.  She sent me a recipe and, of course, I decided to take my own direction with it.  Thank you for the recommendation, Miss Sarah! 

The glaze recipe below will be enough for 6 to 8 regular sized salmon fillets.  I had a large whole fillet and cut it in half.  There was still enough glaze left over for post-cooking.

Prep time = 10 - 15 minutes
Cook time = 25 minutes

Summer Orange Glazed Salmon
- 3 TBSP orange marmalade
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 1 TBSP EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- 1/2 TBSP dry dill (add another 1/2 if you decide to use fresh)
- (Optional) 1/2 TBSP fresh cilantro
- (Optional) 4 to 6 drops of liquid smoke
- (Optional) 1 to 4 drops of hot sauce
- Salt and pepper

Place the salmon fillets on a greased baking sheet.  Preheat the oven to 400.  This would also be delicious on the grill.  On the grill... wrap the salmon fillets in aluminum foil or cook over a grill pan.

In a bowl, mix all ingredients together.  Use a spoon to distribute the glaze to each individual salmon fillet.  Cook in the oven (or grill) for 20 to 25 minutes.


A quick and easy summer time pasta or rice salad would go very nicely with this salmon recipe.  I was in the mood for gnocchi (small potato dumpling) that evening and also wanted to use herbs from my garden.  This simple recipe can be used with any pasta or wild rice.

Summer Garden Gnocchi
- 1 package of gnocchi (or pasta)
- 1 fresh tomato, chopped
- 1/4 of a medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 TBSP fresh basil, diced
- 1 TBSP butter
- Salt and pepper

Boil the gnocchi in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat.  I haven't quite figured out how to gracefully lower the gnocchi into boiling water without splashing myself.  They are done boiling when the gnocchi float to the top.  Drain and set aside.  Add the EVOO, butter and onion to the pan.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook through.  Add the basil at the end so it doesn't lose color.  Serve and enjoy!

It's a very simple side dish that can be added to almost any meal.  Your family will love these recipes.

We could all use a hint of more time!
Copyright 2011 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.