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Appetizers, Breakfast, Brunch

Quinoa Jalapeno Popper Tartlets

August 5, 2017

Quinoa Jalapeno Popper Tarlettes

I have been experimenting a bit with different Quinoa recipes, and made Quinoa Jalapeno Popper Tartlets.   Quinoa is gluten-free and it much healthier than other options.


I like the Trader Joe’s Organic Quinoa that you get in the frozen section.   However, you can find organic quinoa in other brands as well that require cooking it on the stove.

Quinoa Jalapeno Popper Tarlettes

You need a mini tart pan which you can find almost any where these days.

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Quinoa Jalapeno Popper Tartlets
Quinoa Jalapeno Popper Tartlets have just the right amount of spice.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
  1. If you buy the quinoa that needs to be cooked, follow the package instructions. Usually it takes about 15 minutes to cook. If you buy the organic quinoa that is already cooked from Trader Joes, just heat up according to box instructions.
  2. Once the quinoa has been cooked or heated up, place in a large bowl and immediately add the cream cheese so it melts and mixes easier.
  3. Add all the other ingredients except the eggs and mix together.
  4. Beat eggs together and then pour into quinoa mixture and mix well. The eggs help bind the mixture together so that it does not fall apart.
  5. Spray your mini tart pan with cooking spray and then fill with the quinoa mixture.
  6. Cook at 350 in the over for 20 minutes and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  7. Use a knife around the edges to help get the tartlets out without breaking them and serve on a platter.
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Appetizers, Breakfast, Brunch, Desserts, Gift Ideas

Fig Jam

August 3, 2017

Gourmet Girl Does Real Estate

Fresh figs can be found this time of year in the produce section at some gourmet groceries stores or farmers markets.  Believe it or not there are about 6 different types of figs:  Black Mission Figs, Brown Turkey Figs, Adriatic Figs (also called white figs), Calimyrna Figs, and Kodota Figs which are less sweet than the other figs.

Figs in basket

I found the Brown Turkey Figs, and they are very sweet.  Figs are one of those fruits that can be used for so many things.  You use them in a salad, on a cheese platter freshly cut or in jam form like this recipe.  you can also use it to baste on a pork tenderloin or chop.  It would also be really great with lamb.  And of course my original intent when I bought the figs was to braise them in a port and serve over ice cream, but I decided I would make this jam instead.

Figs with Sugar for Jam

I hope you enjoy this recipe!  If you like it, I would love to have you comment on my blog post for this recipe.


Print Recipe
Fig Jam
Fig Jam
Gourmet Girl Does Real Estate
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Gourmet Girl Does Real Estate
  1. Cut the top part of the stem off of the figs and dice.
  2. Place the figs in a large bowl with the sugar and mix. Set in the refrigerator for one hour.
  3. Place the fix and sugar mixture in a sauce pan and turn on medium to medium low heat.
  4. Add the zest of the 2 lemons along with their juice.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Frequent stir until done.
  6. I personally like to keep the jam chunky, but if you wanted it more smooth you could put the jam in a food processor to puree if you wanted.
  7. Once done, you can store in mason jars and refrigerate. The jam should last like most other jams because of the acidity of the lemons and balsamic vinegar.
Recipe Notes

Ways to use my fig jam:

  • Serve with a cheese platter
  • Serve over ice cream
  • Serve on toast
  • Make PBJs
  • Baste over pork or lamb
  • Great gift idea in mason jars
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Appetizers, Desserts

Grilled Peaches Marinated in Chocolate Balsamic

July 12, 2017

Grilled Peaches with Buratta Cheese

Every year my husband and I go to Lake Arrowhead for the 4th of July weekend with our family.  My sister-n-law has a beautiful house there overlooking the lake.  We spend our time on the lake, but we also spend a fare amount of time cooking, eating, drinking and hanging out on the patio.

I love to experiment with new foods together, so I came up the this yummy appetizer where I grilled peaches marinated in chocolate balsamic vinegar.

Fresh Peaches

What can go wrong when you put fresh peaches in anything right?  I served the grilled peaches with buratta cheese and candied pecans with a small amount of honey drizzled on top.  I served it with some cranberry and pumpkin seed crackers, but you can pretty much serve this with any type of cracker and it would taste great!

I love buratta cheese because it’s creamer than traditional mozzarella cheese and it has a richer flavor.  If you have never tried it, I highly recommend it.  I use it a lot when I make my Caprese salad as well.

Buratta Cheese

You can find buratta cheese in most stores, but if you cannot find it traditional mozzarella would taste great with this too.  Or if you are feeling more adventurous you could also try ricotta cheese which I almost tried.  I will save that for another time.

Cranberry Crackers

These raincoast crisps are one of my favorite crackers.  This particular brand is harder to find, but you can usually find similar ones in most stores.

Print Recipe
Grilled Peaches Marinated in Chocolate Balsamic
Grilled Peaches are good without anything added to them at all, so just imagine yummy chocolate balsamic on them!
Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
  1. Cut peaches in half and pit.
  2. Place peaches in a bowl and pour the chocolate balsamic over it and mix well. Let soak for about 10 minutes or so.
  3. When the grill is ready grill the peaches on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes. Make sure to check frequently so that they don't get too mushy.
  4. When the peaches are done, take off grill and place on a platter.
  5. Add the buratta cheese to the platter, and then drizzle the honey and add the candied pecans.
  6. You can add the crackers to the platter or put in a separate dish.
Recipe Notes

How to make your own candied pecans:

I have done them a few different ways using either regular refined white sugar, raw sugar and brown sugar.  I have also made them with and without butter.  If you don't use butter, using the refined sugar because it melts much better than brown sugar.  All you do is add the pecans in a skillet at medium heat and sprinkle whatever sugar you want to use in the pan (usually about a cup).  If you decide you want to use butter, add the butter first.  I usually use about a tablespoon of butter for a full bag of pecans.


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Appetizers, Breakfast, Brunch

Chilaquiles with Chicken

March 27, 2017

I made my own version Chilaquiles with chicken for brunch yesterday, and everyone loved it.  I hope you will enjoy as well!

Chilaquiles 2Chilaquiles 1


  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1/4 to 1/2 a bag of frozen corn (optional)
  • 1 can or black beans, drained
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 jalapenos, thinly sliced
  • cilantro (optional)
  • 1 to 2 packages of shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 large can of enchilada sauce or make it homemade
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • homemade salsa (see below recipe)
  • scallions to garnish
  • avocado and sour cream to serve on the side
  • 1 bag of tortilla chips


  1. Preheat over to 350.
  2. Place the enchilada sauce, chicken broth and some of the homemade salsa in an iron skillet or other large skillet and mix on stove at medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Turn heat off and place 1/2 to 3/4 of the tortilla chips in the skillet and mix well.
  4. Top with black beans, onions, corn, jalapenos, chicken and any other ingredients you decide you want.
  5. Top with the cheese.
  6. Cook in the over for approximately 35 minutes.
  7. Garnish with chopped scallions.
  8. Serve in skillet with a side of sour cream, avocado and more of the homemade salsa.

Homemade Salsa:

  • Ingredients:  about 12 roma tomatoes, 5 jalepenos, 5 fresno peppers, 5 or 6 habenero peppers, and 1 clove of garlic with the top sliced off.
  • Preheat over to 400.
  • Place parchment paper over a cooking sheet.
  • Place all the ingredients onto the cooking sheet and use a brush to coat a small amount of olive oil over all the veggies.
  • Bake for approximately 45-60 minutes or until done.
  • Let the veggies cool down.
  • Cut stems of peppers off as well as the top part of the tomato and place in food processor.
  • Dig the garlic out of the casing as well and place in the food processor.
  • Add a small amount of chicken broth and mix well.

Note:  Some people like to peel the skin off of the peppers and tomatoes, but I like to leave them on to get that burnt flavor.






Caprese Skewers

January 6, 2017

Caprese skewers are really easy to make, and they look beautiful and colorful as well. Here are two different types I made over the holidays.  If you are in need of an easy appetizer, this one is for you!

caprese skewers BEST caprese skewers 2

The first one is with cherub tomato’s, the smaller mozzarella balls which I got at Nugget, and fresh basil.  Put them on skewers and drizzle olive oil over the top with a bit of salt.  You can also drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top, but I opted to leave it out for this one.

The second one is cherub tomatoes, small mozzarella balls, basil and salami.  I made a homemade pesto with fresh basil, olive oil and pine nuts to drizzle over the top.

Appetizers, Dinner, Entrees, Gluten Free, Pasta

Traditional Meatballs

January 6, 2017

I am a little behind on posting my recipes as always.  I made my traditional meatballs over the holidays for a party.  They are great as an appetizer, or you can throw it over some spaghetti.



  • 1 pound of ground grass fed beef
  • 1 pound of ground veal
  • 1 pound of ground pork (you can get the spicy one if you want)
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup day old bread crumbs finely crumbled, or you can buy seasoned bread crumbs (if you eat gluten free, they do sell gluten free bread crumbs at Nugget and Whole Foods)


  1. Mix the meats together using your bare hands and then mix all the other ingredients with it.  I usually mix the eggs first then add the breadcrumbs and everything else afterwards.
  2. Roll meatballs into the size of a golf ball.
  3. Put meatballs in a large skillet over the stove with a bit of olive oil on the bottom and cook on all sides until all sides are browned.
  4. Place in a large pan and put in the oven at 250 for about 1 to 2 hours along with your favorite marinara sauce.  See below for my fast and simple marinara sauce.

Fast and Simple Marinara Sauce


  • 2 large cans of tomato puree (there are gluten free options at the store)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons garlic powder or 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

Cook on medium to low heat for about 20 minutes and then you can put the sauce over the meatballs when you put them in the oven.

Appetizers, Dinner, Party Food, Side Dishes

Muffin Tin Potatoes Gratin

October 10, 2016

I decided to make muffin tin potatoes gratin using sweet potatoes.  There are so many cool things you can cook in a muffin tin, and it makes for a better presentation if you have guests.



  • 4 to 6 sweet potatoes
  • 1 block Gruyere cheese (about 6 cups)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • nutmeg to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Peel the potatoes and then use a mandolin to cut the potatoes into thin slices.  If you do not have a mandolin, use a knife to get the potatoes as thin as possible.  Mandolins are so worth the money, so I would recommend getting one if you don’t already have one.
  2. Place potatoes in a bowl and fill with water and salt.  This will ensure that they don’t brown before you are ready to put everything together.
  3. Shred the Gruyere cheese and set aside.
  4. Cook the milk and heavy whipping cream on medium heat, and add all the spices.  I usually do equal amounts of nutmeg and cayenne pepper.
  5. Add 1/2 of the shredded cheese and stir until the cheese is melted, and then set aside.
  6. Grease muffin tin.
  7. Drain the potatoes and pat down before putting them into the muffin pan.
  8. Layer the potatoes into each muffin tin slot.
  9. Pour the milk, cream and cheese mixture into each tin.  Be careful about pouring all the way to the top because it will overflow.  Leave a bit of room at the top.
  10. Add remaining Gruyere cheese to the top.
  11. Heat oven to 350.
  12. Place the muffin pan onto a cooking sheet to ensure it doesn’t spill into your oven.
  13. Cook approximately 40-45 minutes.
  14. Cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.  I put two servings onto each plate right on top of each other.
  15. Potatoes gratin pretty much goes with any type of meat (chicken, pork, beef or fish)!



Appetizers, Party Food

Pulled Pork Nachos

September 30, 2016

Ok, so now that I have some time I am catching up on my cooking blog with all the recipes I didn’t post!  This pulled pork nachos dish I made a few months back because I had so much left over pulled pork from a party, I decided that pulled pork on nachos would be a great combination.



  • Your favorite tortilla chips
  • Homemade or store bought pulled pork
  • Refried beans (optional)
  • 1 to 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • Sliced jalapenos (fresh or from jar)
  • chopped scallions (optional)
  • Roma or Grape tomatoes (optional)

As you can see from the picture, I was missing some of the optional ingredients because at the time I didn’t have them.  They would have made these nachos taste so much better!!!!


  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Spread tortilla chips in a large baking dish.
  • Add the refried beans first if (if you are using them)
  • Add the pulled pork, and then the cheese and other ingredients.
  • Bake about 12 to 15 minutes.

Easy Cheese and Fruit Platter

May 18, 2016

If you are in need of a quick appetizer that looks great, but is really easy try this easy cheese and fruit platter!


Platter Options:

  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Dried Apricots
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Candied Pecans or Walnuts
  • Marcona Almonds
  • Crackers
  • Brie Cheese
  • Cambazola Cheese

You could also add Fig jam or some other kind of chutney that would go well with cheese, fruit and crackers.   Just put it in a cute little dish and add it to the platter.  You could also get some harder cheeses and cut them into cubes and place on the platter as well.  There are a lot of options that are easy and can look nice on a platter.

Appetizers, Lunch, Pasta, Side Dishes

Thai Noodle Salad

May 6, 2016

I recently had a broker open at one of my listings, and I decided to make my famous Thai Noodle salad that I have perfected over the years.  I served it in Chinese Food Boxes that I got at Michaels and put my logo on it.  This could be a great appetizer though for any party.



  • 1 package of spaghetti noodles (this time I tried the short spaghetti noodles because I thought they would be easier to eat as an appetizer)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 package julienned carrots
  • 1/3 to 1/2 package of sliced red cabbage
  • fresh cilantro to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 full cup of peanuts
  • 1 to 2 red bell peppers cut into thin julienned slices
  • 3 to 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce or sriracha sauce (more if you like really spicy)
  • 1/2 to 1 full cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Bragg’s Amino Acid or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey


  1. To make the sauce, whisk the peanut butter, chili/sriracha sauce, rice vinegar, honey, soy sauce and sesame seed oil.  Set aside.
  2. Cook the spaghetti noodle per package instructions; drain and then place in a large bowl.
  3. While the pasta is still warm add the sauce along with all the other ingredients and mix well.
  4. Garnish with Cilantro and/or more peanuts.

This can be made a day before.  The noodles end up soaking up the liquid, so you can make more sauce or what I have done when I am in a hurry is just put some rice vinegar in it and mix right before you are ready to serve.