Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Scott Turns 30!

Even though we're a week into February, I have to recap Scott's 30th birthday, which was officially January 29.  It's a milestone birthday, so we had to toast the birthday guy and celebrate a few times over.  After all, he is a wonderful friend to all and I am blessed every day with his love and support.  In my eyes, he certainly deserved lots of well wishes and birthday fun.

A week or so before Scott's birthday weekend, I sent an email to a bunch of his friends and family, asking them to send me a note for Scott.  After receiving about 30 messages that covered the whole spectrum from serious to funny, I compiled them all in a bound book as a keepsake for the birthday boy.  He was so surprised and touched, and he really loved hearing from everyone.  Thanks to all who sent messages!

The festivities started on Saturday the 28th.  Scott wanted to get a group together for a flag football game.  Despite the freezing temperatures, a bunch of people gathered for a chilly afternoon game.  (I acted as cheerleader and photographer!)

That night, we met about 20 friends at Giordano's for lots of pizza and beer (plus the Funfetti cookies and Reeses bars I'd made for dessert).  Scott loves to capture big group pictures, so we made sure to get one of those before heading to the bars for a few drinks.  What a fun night of catching up with friends and celebrating my 30-year-old hubby!

Last weekend, we continued the birthday partying with two dinners.  On Friday, I served up a fancy dinner at home.  A couple weeks back, I had asked Scott where he wanted to go out to eat, and he suggested making dinner at home.  It was a little more work than heading to a restaurant, but it was definitely less expensive and much cozier.  We also got a chance to pull out our china and crystal... for the first time since we received them as wedding gifts. 

On Saturday evening, we joined Scott's family at Gibson's for a fabulous steak dinner.  It's an annual tradition, as Gibson's is one of Scott's favorite dining destinations.

Of course, I have to share the menu for our dinner on Friday.  All the recipes I selected were easy to put together.  The toughest part was timing everything to be ready at once.  I basically prepped everything to the point of cooking it and then attempted to cook everything at the same time.  Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Dates
from greens and chocolate

2 lb medjool dates, pitted (I used most of a package)
1 package bacon (I only used as much as I needed)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
2) Cut each slice of bacon in half. Wrap each date in a half slice of bacon, and secure with a toothpick.

3) Place on rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. The bacon will release oil while being baked, so make sure the baking sheet is rimmed.
4) Bake in oven 20-25 minutes and serve.

Crispy Chicken with Creamy Italian Sauce and Bowtie Pasta
from Jamie Cooks It Up

3 large chicken breasts (I made four, so we had leftovers)
5 C corn flakes
3/4 C flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 C milk
6 T olive oil
1 12 oz package bowtie noodles (farfalle)

1 10 oz container Philadelphia Cooking Creme (Italian Cheese and Herb Flavor)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 C chicken broth
1/2 C milk
fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

1) In a small food processor, crush cornflakes into crumbs.
2) Add the 1/2 t salt to the 3/4 C flour. Stir to combine.
3) Place the flour, milk, and cornflakes each into their own separate pan. (You can use loaf pans, pie tins, round cake pans, etc.)

4) Place chicken breasts in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and seal the top. Pound the chicken flat with a meat mallet. Cut each breast in half with a pair of sharp kitchen scissors. (I skipped this step since the chicken breasts were fairly thin and even and I wanted to keep them whole.)
5) Dredge the chicken in flour, covering both sides. Lay the floured chicken on a small cookie sheet and slide the sheet in the freezer for about 5 minutes. (I skipped the freezer step since ours is too small and stuffed for a cookie sheet.)

6) Start cooking your pasta.
7) Remove the chicken from the freezer and dredge each piece in the milk and then immediately into the corn flake crumbs. Be sure both sides are covered well.
8) Add the olive oil to a hot skillet. Carefully lay each piece of chicken into the hot oil. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown.

9) Turn the pieces over.  If the bottom of the pan is dry, add more oil to the side of the pan and swirl the pan around to let the oil coat the sides. Cover the pan and reduce heat to medium. Let the chicken cook for about 7 more minutes.
10) When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate. Cover with tin foil.
11) Into the same pan, pour the broth, Philadelphia Cooking Creme, cream of chicken soup, and milk. Whisk the sauce until warm and bubbly (should only take a few minutes).

12) Slice the chicken into strips and serve over the cooked pasta and sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley if you choose.
Roasted Asparagus
from Ina Garten

2 pounds fresh asparagus
Good olive oil
Kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
Freshly ground black pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Break off the tough ends of the asparagus and, if they're thick, peel them.
3) Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, then toss to coat the asparagus completely. Spread the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
4) Roast the asparagus for 25 minutes, until tender but still crisp.

No-Bake Cake Batter Truffles
from Chef in Training, originally from The Girl Who Ate Everything

*Warning: these are AMAZING and addictive!  Though the appearance reminds me of cake pops, their interior is actually a bit different... very rich and sweet... and in Scott's opinion, they taste better than cake pops.

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup white sugar
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup yellow cake mix (dry mix only, no additional ingredients added)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3-4 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons sprinkles

Truffle coating:
16 ounces (8 squares) almond bark (or white candy melts) (I used green & yellow candy melts since I had them on hand)
4 Tablespoons yellow cake mix
1) Beat together butter and sugar using an electric mixer until combined. Blend in vanilla. Add cake mix, flour, salt, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add 3 Tablespoons of milk or more if needed to make a dough consistency. Mix in sprinkles by hand.(Dough will be crumby!)

2) Roll dough into one inch balls and place on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet. Chill balls in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up.

3) While dough balls are chilling, melt almond bark in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Stir between intervals. Once melted, quickly stir in cake mix until incorporated completely. Using a fork, dip truffles into almond bark and shake of excess bark by tapping the bottom of the fork on the side of your bowl. Place truffle back on the cookie sheet and top with sprinkles. Repeat with remaining balls until finished. {Note: for smoother looking truffles, don't add cake mix to melted chocolate, just leave it by itself}

Chill cake batter truffles in the refrigerator until serving. Makes around 24-30 truffles.


  1. oh my goshhhhh I want all of that!

  2. Andy is making me bacon wrapped dates for dinner tonight! They smell great!


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