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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mini Fruit Tarts

This recipe has two HUGE shortcuts...but not on flavor! I love homemade tart (not store bought, eww...) but I don't love slaving away in the kitchen to make it. One day I put this together and it was so good that I've dubbed it my mini tartlet recipe!

These taste best when eaten the day they are made, otherwise the cookie gets really soft. Bake the cookies so that they are more crispy than soft.

Makes 24 tarts.

-1 package break and bake sugar cookies (24 pieces)
-1/2 package vanilla pudding
-1 cup milk
-Optional: 1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
-5 kiwis, peeled and cut into rounds (5 slices per kiwi)
-2 cups strawberries (stems removed and cut into slices)
-optional: chocolate chips for melting (I used semi-sweet and white chocolate)

-Arrange cookies on baking sheet and bake to package instructions. (Congratulations, you've just made the crust of your tarts)
-Mix pudding mix and milk according to package instructions. Stir in optional lemon or orange zest and place in refrigerator to set. (That's your custard!)
-Once cookies have cooled, flip them upside down. This gives a slight elevation to the cookie and allows for more surface space.
-Spread 1 tablespoon of pudding onto each cookie. Place one slice of kiwi and one sliver of strawberry on each cookie.
-Optional: Melt chocolate and drizzle over tarts.
-Serve and indulge!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Butternut Squash Salad

This recipe is very appropriate for the fall (I know its technically winter, but the weather in California has been bipolar lately) and the colors are just BEAUTIFUL! Red, green, orange, festive. The vinaigrette and butternut squash are served warm, and they slightly wilt the arugula and make everything taste so good.

Serves 6.

-2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
-1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste
-4 cups loosely packed arugula
-1/4 cup dried cranberries
-1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
-1 avocado, peeled and cut into cubes
-1/3 cup toasted almonds or walnuts

-3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
-2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
-2 tablespoons diced shallots
-1/3 cup oil
-2 tablespoons dijon mustard
-salt and pepper

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread nuts on a baking pan and toast for 8-10 minutes. Chop coarsely.
-Toss butternut squash with olive oil, honey, salt and pepper and bake for 25 minutes or until roasted. Add the cranberries during the last 5 minutes of baking.
-While the squash is roasting, heat the apple cider, vinegar and shallots over medium heat until the mixture is reduced to 1/2 a cup. Turn off the heat and whisk in oil, dijon nustard, salt and pepper.
-Toss the arugula with the dressing, and layer the butternut squash and cranberry mixture, avocado, toasted nuts and Parmesan cheese.
-Serve warm or cold and enjoy :)

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Olive and Garlic Cheese Dip

I made this as a spur of the moment appetizer for some guests, and it was a hit! Everyone loved it and I was surprised at how quickly it came together. It's ready in less than 5 minutes!

-8 ounce package cream cheese
-1 cup ricotta cheese
-1 1/2 cups green olives with pimento
-4 peeled garlic cloves
-a couple splashes of hot sauce
-1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

-Toast the chopped walnuts in a skillet or oven until lightly browned.
-In a food processor, puree the garlic cloves, then add the olives, cream cheese, ricotta and hot sauce. Pulse until combined.
-Transfer dip into a serving bowl and garnish with toasted nuts. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, veggies or baguette slices.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


To my fellow chefs,

I know its been a while, and I haven't forgotten about you guys! I promise a bunch of yummy recipes are coming your way soon.

Its raining here, and this type of weather always gets me craving soup. To keep your creative juices flowing, check out my favorite soup recipes:

Tortilla soup...receives RAVE reviews every time!

Chicken Gnocchi made this blog famous on Google!

Enjoy :)