Brie Bites with Fig Jam

Brie and figs…my two favorite things! The cheesy sweetness of this appetizer goes so well together and is such an easy last-minute dish to put together. I bought already cooked phyllo shells, and didn’t melt the brie cheese to make this even quicker. Next time I will put it in the oven for a bit to melt the cheese and I bet it will be that much tastier!

Brie Bites with Fig Jam

baked brie bites

1 package of already cooked mini phyllo shells
6 oz. brie cheese, about 1 wedge
¼ cup fig preserves
¼ cup chopped walnuts

Place a cube of brie cheese in each shell. Add a dollop of fig jam on top of the cheese. Sprinkle each shell with some walnuts. Put on a pretty platter and serve!

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Lemon Cumin Chicken with Homemade Pesto

I love finding recipes that turn chicken into something spectacular. This dish does just that! The homemade pesto is so delicious, and what I love about pesto is you can use it on absolutely anything! I love to make pesto in abundance and use it throughout the week.

Lemon Cumin Chicken with Homemade Pesto

lemon cumin chicken with homemade pesto


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Four 4- to 6-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 packed cups fresh mint leaves (about 1 large bunch)
1 packed cup baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Cook’s Note)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 a large lemon)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Vegetable oil cooking spray

For the marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper flakes until smooth. Add the chicken and toss until coated with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. (Can also be made in a resealable plastic bag.)

For the pesto: In a food processor, blend the mint, spinach, cheese, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper until chunky. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until smooth.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Spray the grill lightly with vegetable oil cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Grill the chicken until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Place on a platter and serve with the pesto.

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Pasta with Spicy Pesto

Anything pesto I love (you will see that in posts to come). Pesto is an easy, healthy sauce that keeps well in the fridge. You can make pesto in batches and use it on pasta or use it as a spread on sandwiches! Again, since my husband is a fan of spicy food, I kicked my love for pesto up a notch and added a special ingredient that gives it a nice kick.

Fusilli with Spicy Pesto

spicy pesto pasta


1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 (~2-inch long) jalapeño pepper, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 cups grated (4 ounces) Asiago cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces baby spinach
3 ounces arugula
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound fusilli pasta


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

For the pesto: In a food processor, combine the walnuts, garlic, jalapeño, cheese, salt and pepper. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add the spinach and arugula and process until blended. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil.
(If you don’t like things spicy, remove the seeds from the jalapeño pepper. If you like it more spicy, add more than just 1 jalapeño).

Place the cooked pasta and pesto in a large serving bowl. Toss well and thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with Asiago cheese and serve.

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