Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Oh it's ladies night...

Once a month myself, 2 of my bridesmaids, and my matron of honor get together at one of our homes and do dinner, drinks, and lots of girl talk! Instead of us going out every month, the person who hosts that month, also fixes the meal! Not so shabby!

This month it was my turn and I used Ms. Rachael Ray as an inspiration! I went on my quest to find something quick, easy, tasty to make, and impressive (of course!). I stumbled upon Rachael's Chicken Brasciole that she served with Lemon Pepper Cappelini. SWEET! Then the question was, "what veggie to serve alongside?"... how about some simple steamed squash?! FAB! And to drink... well, even I impressed myself with this one! I dubbed it "Semi-Homemade Sangria". So delish & perfect!

The crowning jewel of my meal was dessert... a Bailey's Irish Cream Cake with Bailey's glaze. O. M. G. SO GOOD. It was such an incredibly simple recipe and absolutely one I will make again.

This meal was incredible from start to finish and I got raves from all three of my lovely gal pals!

Now go... Enjoy it yourselves :)

Chicken Brasciole
(adapted from Rachael Ray)

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1/2 cup hot water
Handful raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, a few sprigs, leaves chopped

Pour very hot tap water into a small bowl. Add raisins and plump 5 minutes.
Drain raisins and pat dry. Place raisins, nuts, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, bread crumbs, and cheese into processor and pulse into a stuffing.
Butterfly the chicken open by cutting into and across the breast but not all the way through. Pound out the cutlets and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Fill the breasts with stuffing, roll and secure with toothpicks.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Brown the brasciole all over 7 to 8 minutes, remove and set aside. Deglaze pan with wine, scraping up the drippings. Stir in tomatoes and tarragon, add chicken back, cover and simmer 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

Lemon Pepper Cappelini
(adapted from Rachael Ray)

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2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 pound capellini
1/2 cup shredded or torn basil leaves
Grated cheese, to pass at table

Place water on to boil for pasta.
In a large skillet combine olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add garlic, pepper and the lemon zest.
Salt water when it boils then cook cappellini to al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Add a ladle of cooking water to lemon pepper butter and stir in the lemon juice. Drain pasta and toss with lemon-pepper butter and salt, to taste. Add the basil to the pasta and serve a small bundle alongside your entree or serve as a delicate first course.

Semi-Homemade Sangria

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2-750 ml bottles of Arbor Mist Sangria wine
Splash of peach schnapps
Splash of Cointreau
Splash of brandy
Fruit of your choice (I used 1 lemon, 1 lime, 1 apple, 1 peach, 1 orange and sliced them all into 8ths)

Place sliced fruit into the bottom of the pitcher.
Pour liquids over top.
Muddle the fruit & liquors together & serve on ice.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cake

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1 c. nuts
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 (3 oz.) pkg. Jello instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c. cold water
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. Bailey's Irish Cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a tube or bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts on the bottom of pan. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Pour over nuts. Bake 1 hour. Cool cake completely. Remove cake and pour glaze over top and sides.

1 stick butter
1/4 c. water
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. Bailey's Irish Cream

Melt butter. Stir in water and sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. REMOVE from heat. Stir in Bailey's Irish Cream.

*Note: I poured and repoured the glaze over the cake about 5 times to get it to really soak in. I then took the remaining glaze and put it into a tupperware container and drizzled it over top with each piece I served!

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