Today I’m off to the Southern Festival of Books for a presentation and signing, and I made these thumbprint cookies to take with me for about the fifth time this month. So I thought I’d share them with y’all! Lately, I have been really into all kinds of shortbread cookies. They are so simple, but they feel special and sophisticated at the same time.
One important tip when making shortbread is don’t skimp on the butter! The butter is the main ingredient in shortbread, so try using Kerrygold or a brand that is a little higher quality than the store brand. There aren’t many ingredients in shortbread dough, so you’ve gotta make them count!
Instead of the usual sweet shortbread, this savory cookie is unique and absolutely perfect for this time of year. A version of this cookie is also in my cookbook, and I just keep going back to it. I’ve made these for book signings and even for my son’s first birthday. The dough can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, which is great for party planning.
Maverick’s party spread featuring the Cheddar Thumbprint Cookies!
Also, to make these extra special try a local pepper jelly, from a company such as The Nashville Jam Co or Marcy Jams, which you can find at local stores, farmer’s markets, or Whole Foods.
I hope you enjoy these, and be sure to let me know what you think!
Sharp Cheddar Thumbprint Cookies
makes 18-20 cookies
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
¾ cup Sharp White Cheddar
½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
½ cup Pepper Jelly
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixer, beat together butter, flour, and salt until well combined, and then mix in the egg yolk.
Add the walnuts and sharp cheddar and mix just until well incorporated.
Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone.
Press your thumb gently in the center to make a well in each cookie and fill with ½ tsp jelly
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until cookies are golden.
I wanted to share with you a few events I have coming up. If you are interested in getting a signed copy ofThe Outdoor Table and/or attending a fun event this Fall, here are some opportunities to do so! Visit my Speaking/Book Signings page for events and updates.
Sunday October 4th -3:30 pm, Sigourney Cheek Literary Garden
Join us to listen as celebrated local authors share their stories, describe their processes, and offer ‘behind-the-text’ accounts of their work in our intimate garden setting. Cash bar available.
Offered in partnership with Parnassus Books. Space is limited; first-come, first-seated.
There will be more information about this to come, but I’ll be doing a recipe demonstration as well as speaking at the banquet about my personal testimony and story with food. Tickets will be available online. Stay tuned for a link to that!
This is the time of year I always find myself creating at least one new “Buffalo” style dish. A couple from years past would be my fave Buffalo Chicken Tenders and these adorable Buffalo Turkey Sliders. This year I attempted Buffalo Cauliflower. I’ve been eating it at restaurants when I see it on the menu for some time now, and I’m addicted! It’s not too filling, has a little kick to it, and it’s even kind of healthy! Well, sort of, at least when it’s not fried…
In this version, I decided to roast the cauliflower with a light coating to give it some crunch, so no need to fry it, and then the crispy florets get tossed in some delicious buffalo sauce. It’s super easy and a fun appetizer especially for this time of year. I actually made this the other night and ended up eating it for dinner by itself with a little blue cheese dressing and celery. What can I say, with a 1 year old in the house, I’ll take what I can get for dinner, and this did the trick. So, whether it’s a game day party or dinner for one, this one’s got ya covered!
Baked Buffalo Cauliflower
serves 4-5 (appetizer servings)
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup Buffalo Sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot Suace)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon each garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Beat the eggs in a large bowl and toss in the cauliflower florets until they are coated in the egg.
In a separate bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Toss the cauliflower in the crumb mixture, and then place on a large baking sheet.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden and crisp.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the buffalo sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, and butter. Once the cauliflower has finished roasting, gently toss it in the sauce. Serve immediately with celery, blue cheese and/or ranch.
I know, long time, no post…right?! Well, things have been a little crazy over here the past few weeks. I had a whirlwind of a segment last week on Fox and Friends, which was fun but a little crazy, and a TON of work! So, I’ve been recovering/settling back in, and I can’t tell you how good it has felt to be back in my kitchen, cooking regularly again. I suppose, I’m a little odd when it comes to that, but cooking is a sort of therapy for me. Especially, if Zach is home while I’m cooking to watch Mav…
Anyway, in an effort to avoid the “let’s just grab something for dinner” phrase we’ve used so much recently, I’ve been trying to plan our meals ahead. For example, this past Sunday we went to the late church service, so I had time that morning to make this layered casserole and stick it in the fridge. It is sort of a twist on Chicken Cordon Blue, in casserole form, perfect for a make ahead meal. All I had to do was stick it in the oven that evening, and dinner was done!
I’m usually not much of a casserole kind of gal, but I like the simplicity of this one and the use of real ingredients (for the most part). You won’t find any “cream of … soup” in this bad boy. It’s full of protein and low on carbs, a nice change from the traditional, carb loaded casseroles. The easiest way to make this is to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go. At that point, it’s just a matter of assembling!
Layered Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
For the Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups lowfat milk
2 smashed garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
For the Topping
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
For the Layers
2-3 cups cooked and chopped chicken breasts (I used a rotisserie chicken from the store, but leftovers works too!)
2 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
6-7 slices of thinly sliced ham
6 slices provolone, swiss, or mozzarella cheese
For the Sauce
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour, allow this to cook for a cook of minutes while whisking. It will seem gummy, but this will thicken the sauce.
Slowly whisk in the the milk, making sure to break up any lumps. Add the smashed garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. Allow this to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes, or until thickened. Remove garlic cloves once this is finished.
For the Topping
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and toss it with the bread crumbs until they are moist, set aside.
To Assemble the Casserole
Place chicken in a single layer in a 13×9 inch baking dish. Top evenly with the broccoli. Cover the broccoli with the slices of ham, followed by the cheese.
Pour the sauce over the layers and then top evenly with the breadcrumb mixture. A this point, you may refrigerate for later baking or bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Baking may take longer if the casserole is coming straight out of the fridge.
Sometimes wonderful recipes just happen by accident. Yesterday, I had planned to make a roasted chicken breast recipe from Ina Garten. The recipe calls for fresh garlic and herbs to be sautéed in olive oil. Well as soon as I got started, and the air began to fill with that delicious garlicky aroma, I realized I hadn’t actually bought any chicken breasts. Oops…it was a classic case of “mom brain,” and I certainly wasn’t dragging Maverick back to the store at that point.
However, I really didn’t want to let that garlicky goodness go to waste, so I started looking to see what else I had on hand. I noticed the garden fresh cherry tomatoes on the counter that my mom had brought me, and then I remembered the orzo pasta I bought on a whim, and bingo!
That’s how this recipe came about, and let me tell you as simple as it was, it was so flavorful. I boiled the pasta and added some lemon juice to the garlic and oil. As soon as the pasta was cooked, I drained it, and coated the pasta with the lemon-garlic oil. Divine! Instead of just using raw garlic, the pasta was infused with the garlic oil, which didn’t overpower the delicate flavor of the tomatoes. This is going to be staple at our house until those delightful fresh tomatoes go out of season!
Garlicky Summer Tomato Orzo
1 cup orzo pasta (most any pasta will work)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (use the freshest ones you can find!)
2 tablespoons fresh basil
Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional but why not?!)
Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water after the pasta has cooked.
While the pasta cooks, sauté some garlic in the oil, in a large skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute. Be careful not to let it burn. Remove the garlic from the heat once it has softened and add the lemon juice.
Add the warm pasta and the reserved pasta water to the garlic and lemon oil. Toss this around until the pasta is completely coated. Toss in the tomatoes and basil, and serve warm or at room temperate.
I am thrilled to announce that my first cookbook, "The Outdoor Table," published by Thomas Nelson Published is available to purchase wherever books are sold! This beautiful book includes 175 EXCLUSIVE recipes, not found on this site, perfect for all of your outdoor entertaining! Find out more and order your copy here...
Hey Y'all! Well I'm a southern gal, raised in Tennessee, where I still live with my husband and baby boy! Creating fresh and simple recipes with a southern flare, while sharing bits of my life with y'all on camera is what this site is all about. Also, my very first cookbook with Thomas Nelson Publishers will be out Spring of 2015, and I just can't wait to share it with you all! Read more about April...