Month: August 2015

Chicken with Red Pepper Cream Sauce!

You will definitely be sopping up this sauce with some crusty bread! The red pepper cream sauce takes ordinary, boring chicken to a new level, but the real reason this dish is totally amazing is the cut of chicken. For a flavorful boost, use chicken thighs or legs instead of chicken breasts.  No need to worry about drying out, this chicken falls off the bone!!


To ensure crispy skin, the chicken is browned first in a pan, then roasted in the oven.  You can always pop it under the broiler at the end for an even crispier finish! It looks beautiful topped with fresh basil at the end. Simply serve it out of the pan!


Chicken with Red Pepper Cream Sauce


6-8 chicken thighs
3 tbsp. olive oil +2 tbsp. for sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1- 1-1/2 tbsp. red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
salt/pepper to taste



Preheat oven 400 degrees.

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a large pan to medium high heat.

Add chicken skin side down and brown both sides, approximately 3-5 mins. per side.
Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. (Chicken will be just browned, not cooked through.)

To additional 2 tbsp. olive oil, add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes.
Golden garlic and cook onion while continuously stirring approximately 2-3 minutes or until you smell the red pepper and garlic.

Stir in chicken stock, heavy cream, Parmesan, thyme, oregano, and basil.

Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to simmer until thickened, approximately 5-7 minutes.

Add chicken back to skillet.(Sauce should only cover the bottom of the thighs.)
Roast in the oven until cooked through, 25-35 minutes.


Top with fresh basil and serve!

Best Of Pittsburgh Summer Restaurant Week 2015 & More!

The rules of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week are totally simple.
1.) Try new restaurants.
2.) Order something new at one of your faves.
3.) Familiarize yourself with an unfamiliar part of the city! Who knows? You just might go back to eat, to play, to shop!


WARNING: Plan your summer vacation the week before summer restaurant week! My eating has not slowed down at all, actually, I can’t stop. I am typing to you with my toes in the sand at a resort on Grand Bahama Island. I have one bathing suit that fits and my evening wear consists of flowing, beautiful, amazingly flattering maxi dresses.


Let’s rewind…
It all began with the Summer Restaurant Week Kickoff Party!
Yummy bites are served to guests cocktail party style and participating restaurants go head to head for the “best preview” award.


There were many amazing showings. Here are a few of my favorites!


The Wooden Nickel

Matteo’s – I visited Matteo’s for the fist time during summer restaurant week 2014 and 20 times since! I didn’t even take photos because I love everything at this restaurant. Bold statement? Nope, I mean everything. My all time favorite entree at Matteo’s… The porcini cappelletti!

The Porcini Cappelletti... Wow!
The Porcini Cappelletti… Wow!

Bill’s Bar and Burger



And the winner was Pork Belly! Pan, a brand new Asian fusion restaurant in Lawrenceville. I have not had the pleasure of dining, but the Andora restaurant family’s pork belly preview was awesome! Can’t wait to visit!



My first Summer restaurant week 2015 menu? Sunday Brunch at Verde Mexican Kitchen and Cantina! After visiting for Winter Restaurant Week I knew I had to go back!

I had the chilaquiles…again!!! Definitely worth the trip!

Monday night was the PRW Blogger Dinner at Grand Concourse! Oldie but goodie for sure. Ok, I forgot how good! I enjoyed a delicious meal and and wonderful night out with new and old friends.

I shared the firecracker shrimp with my new blogger friend Briana White of Breelicious Bites. Check out her blog! She just hosted a mac’n cheese contest!

Followed by the Summer Chopped Salad


Roasted Sirloin with Sweet Pepper Chutney and Chili Oil


And finished with the Creme Brûlée…

My next stop on the PRW Train was Paris 66 Bistro I cannot believe I have not visited this French gem.


I enjoyed the wine and French baguette.

French Onion Soup…

Steak and Frites
Cooked to perfection!

And the cholocate mousse …

Perfect for a lunch stop, date night, or family dinner, visit Paris 66 and its surrounding growing community of Eastside Pittsburgh!

Friday I dined at Sarafino’s in Pittsburgh’s Crafton suburb. Papa bear to my Matteo’s in Lawrenceville, Joe Caliguire does not disappoint. It was the restaurant’s first time participating in restaurant week. I invited a few of my faves to join me for a totally awesome smorgasbord. Blog post coming soon!!

I swore I was never eating again, but the kids and I were running errand Saturday afternoon and ended up at Firehouse Subs…super yummy! This franchise was started by firemen…and they have built the most amazing combinations!

Here was my choice the Sriracha Beef…

I guess this post is really saying, try something new! Support your local restaurants!
And in Pittsburgh, we are sooooo lucky to have the best!

Summer Zucchini Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette!

Do you have zucchini coming out of your ears? I definitely do! It is that time of year when I have had enough- totally zucchini breads, zucchini boats, and zucchini breakfast-ed out! What else can you make? There is always the chocolate-zucchini craze of hiding the veggie in chocolate cake, muffins, cookies or brownies. Chocolate is always a great idea, but how about a salad sans lettuce and a smooth and summery homemade vinaigrette? Now that sounds perfectly summer!


Summer Zucchini Salad
(Serves 4)
2 medium zucchini
2 vine ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 lemon
salt/peper to taste


Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dijon mustard
6 lemons- squeezed for juice approx. 1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grapeseed oil or canola oil


Peel zucchini with a vegetable peeler in long strips and place into serving bowl or platter.(I roll-up some of the strips for easy eating and because it adds to the beauty of the dish.)


Cut tomatoes into wedges and add to the salad.

Sprinkle with 2-3 tbsp. crumbled goat cheese.

For dressing:
Whisk all ingredients except oils.


Add oils, lid, and shake vigorously until well mixed.

Top salads with 2 tbsp. of dressing and squeeze a halved lemon over salads.

Add salt and pepper to taste.



Roasted Chicken Salad

For a refreshing summer luncheon or back to school favorite , homemade roasted chicken salad wins the “hits the spot” award. I cannot stand a wet, super mayonnaissy, yogurty, sour creamy (eek!) consistency. So I add the minimum amount ever of mayonnaise to moisten – I know, there is seriously no other word to be used here- some sweet grapes and the crunch of celery to the dressing.


Super short cut. You can totally buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. Take out bones and skin, shred or dice. I like to make a whole roasted chicken for dinner and make this chicken salad with the leftovers. That is why I say 1/2 chicken because that is usually what’s left! Smooth and delicious with a crunch, this roasted chicken salad can easily become your go-to recipe!


Here it is…

Roasted Chicken Salad

1/2 chicken
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2-1 cup mayonnaise
1-1/2 tsp. dill
1 cup grapes, halved
3 stalks celery, chopped


Preheat over 350 degrees.

Rub chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake 35-50 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.


Cool chicken and dice or shred.

Mix the dressing by adding your comfortable amount of mayonnaise, grapes, celery, and dill.

Fold in diced chicken and mix well.

Add more mayo if needed! Remember, I like my chicken salad on the dry side so feel free to add away!

Chill and serve with crackers or on your favorite bread or roll!