LEMON-BLUEBERRY BLINTZE SOUFFLE

Our family enjoys cheese blintzes, but making a dozen or more crepes to stuff with delightful cheese is a bit time-consuming. Enter the Blintze Souffle. It tastes just like beautifully stuffed crepes but–surprise, surprise–is easier to make and serve. Gone. All gone 🙂

Lemon Blueberry Blintze Souffle1

Lemon Blueberry Blintze Souffle2

1-8 oz pkg reduced-fat cream cheese

2 cups small-curd cottage cheese

6 eggs, divided

2/3 cup + 2 tbsp granulated white sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup lemonade

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp lemon zest

1 cup water

2 tbsp cornstarch

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 cups frozen (or fresh) blueberries (or other berry/fruit)

2 tbsp lemon juice

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly oil 13×9 baking dish

2) To large mixing bowl, add: cream cheese, cottage cheese, 2 eggs (reserving 4 eggs), 2 tbsp sugar (reserving 2/3 cup), and vanilla extract; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes; set aside

3) To large mixing bowl, add: reserved 4 eggs, sour cream, lemonade, and butter; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes; gradually beat in flour, 1/3 cup reserved sugar (reserving 1/3 cup), baking powder, and lemon zest

4) Pour half the egg-sour cream batter into bottom of prepared baking dish; gently spoon cream cheese mixture over batter; gently pour remaining egg-sour cream batter over cream cheese mixture; bake in oven 45-50 minutes until souffle puffs, is lightly golden, and just firm in the center

5) 10-15 minutes before souffle is ready to come out of the oven, add to a medium-sized saucepan: water, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, blueberries, and lemon juice; cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, 8-10 minutes until berry mixture thickens; remove from heat

6) Remove souffle from oven, spread berry mixture over top (or you can serve on the side), and enjoy!

Servings: 6-8

Cover Reveal: THE KINDLING: Book Four in the Age of Faith Series

For two months, I’ve been on pins and needles waiting to reveal the cover of THE KINDLING, Book Four in the Age of Faith series. Though I have yet to commit to an official release date (first draft nearing completion but oh, those edits), I anticipate Abel and Helene’s story will be available by mid-Fall. Here’s a peek at its oh-so-lovely cover:

CoverKindlingFinal060513BN

To read a hefty excerpt, visit my website at www.tamaraleigh.com

ALMOND-SCATTERED SCALLOPS OVER CORN-TOMATO RELISH

I don’t always get scallops right, but more on that in a moment. This dish is perfect summer fare–tasty, light, and quick and easy to prepare. As for getting scallops right (a lovely sear), the trick is to remove excessive moisture before cooking by setting them on a paper-towel-lined plate in the fridge for an hour or so. It makes all the difference. So yum!

Almond Scattered Scallops over Corn Tomato Relish

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

3 scallions, sliced thin

1-1/2 cup frozen kernel corn, thawed (or fresh, of course)

1/4 cup white cooking wine (or non-cooking wine, naturally)

1 tbsp butter

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 cup diced tomatoes

sea salt

ground black pepper

12-16 extra-large scallops, patted dry

1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)

lime or lemon wedges

1) To large skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil (reserving 1 tbsp); heat over medium-high; add scallions and corn and cook, stirring a time or two, 3 minutes; add the cooking wine and, when it boils, reduce heat to low; stir in butter, parsley, and tomatoes and lightly season with salt and pepper; let simmer while preparing scallops

2) To large skillet, add 1 tbsp reserved olive oil; heat over high, add scallops, and cook 2-3 minutes each side (to achieve a good sear, move only when flipping to opposite side); remove from heat

3) Divide corn-tomato relish between 4 plates; arrange 3-4 scallops on top and scatter with almonds; serve with lime or lemon wedges and enjoy!

Servings: 4

ASIAN SESAME CHICKEN SALAD

One of Junior Too’s favorite salads is Panera Bread’s Asian Sesame Chicken Salad. Several years ago, I set out to duplicate it and this recipe resulted. Granted, Junior Too still puts his thumb a bit higher for Panera Bread’s version, but my version is a close second. Note: Senior and I like the addition of Craisins, whereas Junior prefers to stick with the original non-Craisin version.

Asian Chicken Sesame Salad

Asian Chicken Sesame Salad with Craisins

1 tbsp olive oil

2 chicken breasts, sliced into thin, bite-sized pieces

sea salt

ground black pepper

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp sesame seeds (I used duo–white and black mix)

8 cups chopped romaine lettuce

1 cup rice noodles

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup Craisins (optional)

1) 60 minutes before assembling salad, add olive oil to large skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken pieces, lightly season with salt and pepper, and cook 2 minutes each side until lightly golden and cooked through; transfer chicken to paper-towel lined plate and chill in refrigerator

2) 45 minutes before assembling salad, prepare dressing: whisk vegetable oil, rice vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds in small bowl and chill in refrigerator

3) Assemble salad, dividing ingredients between 4 plates in this order: romaine lettuce, chicken, rice noodles, sliced almonds, and Craisins (optional); serve with dressing

Servings: 4 dinner-sized portions; 8 side-salad portions

ASIAN CHICKEN-ASPARAGUS-SNAP PEA-NOODLE SOUP

Yes, soup in summer, but only if it’s relatively light and tastes as good as this Asian Chicken-Asparagus-Snap Pea-Noodle Soup–and the air conditioner is up and running, of course. To top off this tasty meal, sprinkle with cashews and sunflower seeds and those thumbs will definitely be up, up, up.

Asian Chicken-Asparagus-Snap Pea Noodle Soup1Asian Chicken-Asparagus-Snap Pea Noodle Soup2

8 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp Thai Chile sauce

juice of 1 lime

1 minced red chile, divided

4 oz rice sticks

8 asparagus spears, touch ends snapped off, cut into 1″ pieces

2 cups sugar snap peas, cut into 1″ pieces

1/2 cup corn (I used frozen)

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 cup cashew halves

3 tbsp sunflower seeds

3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

sea salt

ground black pepper

2 cups chopped spinach

1) To large soup pot, add chicken broth and heat over medium-high; add soy sauce, Thai Chile sauce, lime juice, half the minced red chile (reserving half for topping), and rice sticks; reduce heat to medium low and cook 5 minutes; add asparagus, sugar snap peas, and corn and cook 10 minutes

2) Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp olive oil (reserving 1 tbsp) to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat; add cashews and sunflower seeds and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes; transfer to a plate

3) To same skillet, add reserved 1 tbsp olive oil and heat over medium-high; add chicken, lightly season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often until just cooked through; remove from heat

4) Add chicken and spinach to soup, stir, and immediately remove from heat

5) Ladle soup into bowls and top with cashew-sunflower mix and reserved red chile; serve!

Servings: 6-8 dinner-sized portions

CUBAN PORK QUESADILLAS

There’s something about cuban sandwiches that makes one’s tastebuds sit up and take notice, but place those ingredients between flour tortillas, crisp them up and–oh, yes–even yummier.

Cuban Pork Quesadillas

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 large red onion, sliced thin

3/4 lb pork tenderloin, sliced thin into bite-sized pieces

sea salt

ground black pepper

4 large flour tortillas

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

6 oz baked ham (about 1/8″ thick)

4 dill pickles, sliced thin

8 oz grated provolone cheese

1) To large skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil (reserving 2 tbsp) and heat over medium-high; add onions and cook 3 minutes, stirring often; add pork tenderloin pieces, lightly season with salt and pepper, and cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until pork is just cooked through; remove from heat

2) Lay out 4 flour tortillas and assemble quesadillas as follows: spread mustard on half of each tortilla, top mustard with ham, pork and onion mixture, pickles, and cheese; fold tortillas over

3) To each of 2 large skillets (or 1, though you’ll have to cook in batches), add reserved 2 tbsp olive oil and heat to medium; carefully place quesadillas in skillets and cook 3-4 minutes each side until golden brown and crispy; remove from skillets, cut each quesadilla into 4 pieces, and serve

Servings: 4

CHICKEN LASAGNA SOUP

This Chicken Lasagna Soup is another family favorite, and though I served it up in the middle of summer, it was worth cranking up the air conditioning to enjoy the amazing flavors of pan-baked lasagna in an easy-to-prepare soup. So very delish!

Chicken Lasagna Soup

1 tbsp olive oil

1-1/4 cup grated carrot

1-1/4 cup diced red onion

2-13 oz cans chicken breast (do not drain)

3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1-15 oz can diced tomatoes

1-8 oz tomato sauce

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp basil paste

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

5 oven-ready lasagna noodles, broken into pieces

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup fresh shaved parmesan cheese

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1) To large soup pot, add olive oil and heat over medium-high; add carrots and onions and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes

2) Stir in undrained chicken, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, basil paste, black pepper, and lasagna noodles; bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and, stirring occasionally, cook 20 minutes

3) Drop ricotta cheese in soup by spoonfuls and, stirring often, cook additional 5 minutes; remove soup from heat, ladle into soup bowls, scatter mozzarella, parmesan cheese, and parsley over top, and serve

Servings: 4 dinner-sized portions; 8 side portions