...Add 1 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix well... It is really easy to follow a great recipe. But what do you do when it just turns out all wrong? Don’t just toss it aside — make it your own. I recently stumbled upon what looked like a great recipe on Food Network’s website. Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina.
Fabulous — a little chicken breast, a little tomato, a little pasta, nice and light. Disaster — the chicken was dry, the tomato was sparing and the pasta, well, that was the only good part. I should have read the reviews — most had agreed with my sentiments. I also had a very hard time believing that this was Giada’s recipe, since everything that I make from her books turns out very well. But I really liked the concept, so I decided to give it another go. Here are the recipe directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Here is how I made it MY OWN:
I added the onions first and then the chicken — and I added the salt and pepper to the chicken here, while it was still raw. I did not cook the chicken through, I discovered that is why it is tasting so dry at the end. I cooked the chicken and onions for about 5 minutes total and then added it to the pasta. I love tomatoes so I then doubled the amount of tomatoes. I did add salt and pepper again, but sparingly. I also added olive and capers to add a bit more flavor, but you could really add anything — roasted tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant, spinach, mushrooms, ricotta cheese — make it YOUR OWN. I also on the second go round did not add the bread crumbs or butter — I really didn’t love the crumbly top and the butter didn’t really help the dish.
I still baked it at 400 degrees, but this time for just 20 minutes.
So the next time your dinner recipe goes south, don’t discard it — make it YOUR OWN!
Friday launched the country’s largest Beer Event right here in our backyard — Philly Beer Week. I had the pleasure of attending my first event at Teresa’s Next Door — Thomas Hooker Brewer night. I had their amazing 2007 Old Marley Barleywine which includes Chocolate Wheat Malt and other ingredients that is aged in an oak bourbon-cask to add vanilla tones!!! This was RICH and FLAVORFUL just like it boasts on the label. I got to talking to the brewmaster and the sales director and explained what we do over here at Two Paperdolls while complimenting their fine beer, and found myself wondering — have we ever done branding or a logo for a brewery? I checked with Vanessa, and sadly the answer was no... but I would like to call out some of my favorite beer logos.
I am loving all of the flag banners that I have come across on design and decorating blogs lately.
This is a trend that simply makes me happy! I want to have a party just so I can make some great banners to drape from room to room. What a perfect excuse to buy some pretty mix-and-match fabric.
Our friends over at Eclatante have been putting together monthly color stories on their blog, and they asked for a little help in the stationery department. Of course, we were happy to oblige.
This month's color story was staged in the magical Carousel Room at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. The color palette consisted of shades of purple, lavender, periwinkle and white.
I love office supplies. I guess it's due to my love of all stationery products, but I honestly still get a little excited about a pretty new box of plain ol' thumb tacks. I don't really know why... I guess I'm just weird.
Or, maybe not. Maybe I'm onto something...