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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Happy Birthday to My Ben!

I can’t believe my sweetheart is 25! It seems like just yesterday we were only two silly 16-year olds :) Of course, we still act that way a lot, so it’s okay ;) Originally I was supposed to be on call tonight for OB/GYN, but thankfully another student wanted to switch call nights with me. I’m so happy that worked out because I was able to spend all evening with my wonderful hubby!

I did my best to make him a special dinner, and we both really loved all of it – especially dessert. We had baked apple and brie canapés as an appetizer, chicken stuffed with spinach and goat cheese as a main dish with baked garlic rice pilaf on the side, and molten chocolate cakes for dessert. All the recipes are below with my comments. I would highly recommend all of them!

Baked Apple and Brie Canapés
serves 6-10

Ingredients:
3 tart apples, cored and sliced into eighths
1 tbsp. melted butter
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 (400 gm) wheel Brie
24 baguette slices

Directions:
Toss apple slices with melted butter and brown sugar. Bake or microwave until tender. Arrange the Brie evenly over the bread slices and top with the apple slices. If desired, broil briefly to melt the cheese and brown the apples.

My comments: I made a third of the original recipe. I’m not sure how much brie I ended up using, but it was probably half as much as the recipe actually calls for. I zapped the apples in the microwave to make them tender and it worked great! It only took about 45 seconds. Then I just popped the assembled pieces in the oven at 375 for about 3 minutes to melt the cheese.

Source: Whole Foods

Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf

Source: Jessica’s blog
I made this exactly as she did in her blog, so I have nothing to add except that it is awesome!

Chicken Stuffed with Spinach and Goat Cheese
Ingredients:
1/3 cup goat cheese, softened
1/3 cup frozen spinach, thawed
1 tbsp. chopped basil
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tbsp. minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
3 chicken breasts
milk
bread crumbs

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine goat cheese, spinach, basil, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Butterfly the chicken breasts. Evenly divide the spinach mixture between the chicken breasts and stuff between the two halves. One by one, dip each chicken breast in the milk and then bread crumbs. Let sit for 5 minutes to help bread crumbs stick. Use toothpicks to secure the open edges of the chicken breasts.

Bake at 375° for 35-38 minutes.

My comments: The recipe above is with my modifications. The only real changes I made were to bread the chicken, and butterfly to stuff, rather than roll the chicken. I also changed the dimensions slightly because I wanted a little more stuffing in each chicken breast. This is absolutely delicous.

Source: unknown Nestie from the What’s Cooking? board on The Nest (tell me who you are and I will credit you!)

Molten Chocolate Cakes
yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. cake flour

Directions:
Melt butter and chocolate in double boiler. Whip eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla with a mixer for about 10 minutes on high speed. Fold melted chocolate and butter into the egg mixture. Fold in flour until just combined. Butter and sugar four 6-oz. ramekins, then spoon the mixture into the ramekins. Bake at 450° F for 9-10 minutes. The center will be quite soft, but the top and sides will be set. Let sit out of the oven for about 5 minutes, then unmold onto a plate. Serve with a few raspberries and whipped cream.

My comments: Go buy the ingredients, and make these NOW! This recipe is easily halved so I made two cakes instead of four. I think this may be a recipe where a stand mixer is essential – it definitely came in handy.

Source: Ghirardelli

  • MrsSisler

    Everything looks great!! I’m sure Ben loved it

  • Jigginjessica

    The whole dinner sounds amazing! I’m so glad you were able to do it!

    Happy Birthday Ben!

  • Renea

    It all looks so great. And Happy Birthday to Ben!

  • Ally
  • DeborahSW

    I’ve always wanted to try making molten cakes, they look wonderful! :)

  • Valli

    What a great dinner to celebrate a special occasion. Happy birthday to Ben!!!!

  • Valli

    Annie I have also tagged you for a MEME because your name begins with the letter “A”. There are only so many hours in the day for blogging so participate only if you wish. Check out my answers when you have time!!!

  • Amber

    What a wonderful birthday dinner. I am sure he enjoyed every bite of it.

  • Kristen Ramirez

    Would love a link to your weekly menus!

  • http://moneymindedmom.wordpress.com money Minded Mom

    that looks good! :)