Friday, May 29, 2015

Pan-Seared Salmon on Garlic Mashed Beans

Super quick, easy and DELICIOUS!  This meal is so amazing!  It's hearty, yet delicate and the blend of flavors is unbelievable!  Enjoy!
For garlic mashed beans:
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
-1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
-2 (15.5 oz each) cans cannelloni, white or navy beans, rinsed very well and drained
-salt and pepper, to taste
For salmon:
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-4 (5-6 oz each) salmon fillets
-salt and pepper
-4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
-1 jalapeno, seeded, halved and sliced
Make the garlic mashed beans first, by heating the oil in a medium saucepan.  Add the garlic and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes (make sure the garlic doesn't brown).  Add the broth and beans, along with some salt and pepper. Let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes.
Transfer to your food processor and puree until just smooth. *If you don't have a food processor, mashing the mixture by hand works just fine.
Adjust seasoning to your liking and set aside.
Make the salmon, by heating oil in large skillet.  Season salmon with salt and pepper on both sides.  Add to hot oil and sear until golden brown-about 5 minutes per side.  Remove salmon onto plate.
Return skillet to stove and add the tomatoes and jalapeƱo.  Season with a little salt and pepper.
To serve, scoop some garlic mashed beans onto plate.  Top with salmon and tomato-jalapeno mixture.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Chicken Salad Wraps in a Bbq-Ranch Sauce

Easy, simple and delicious!  You can have this as a wrap or simply add some seasoned croutons and make it a true salad.  Enjoy!
-2 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, cut into chunks
-1/2 cup bbq sauce (I prefer Sweet Baby Rays), divided
-1/3 cup buttermilk
-2 green onions, finely chopped
-1 tsp salt
-1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
-1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
-1 (15.5 oz) can corn, drained
-1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
-soft tortillas to wrap
Preheat oven to 425 F.  Toss chicken chunks with 1/4 cup of the bbq sauce.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken from baking dish onto a plate and let it cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in your salad bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup bbq sauce with the buttermilk, green onions, salt and vinegar.  Mix until smooth.  Add the red pepper, corn, black beans, lettuce and cooked chicken.  Mix very well.
Wrap in soft tortillas or eat it with seasoned croutons as a salad.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Tortellini with Tomato-Kalamata-Artichoke Sauce

Sometimes I just have stuff in my pantry and fridge that I need to get rid of.  That's when creativity usually strikes.  So, why not make a sauce for my tortellini?  This came out super delicious!  You can control the spiciness according to your taste.  I like mine on the really spicy side, so this was quite the treat.  However you like it I'm sure you'll enjoy this delicious sauce.  Enjoy!
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 large onion, chopped
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1/8 cup dried basil
-1/2 Tbs dried oregano leaves
-1 Tbs dried parsley
-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (you can do 1/2 tsp or none, according to your taste)
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-2 (28 oz each) cans crushed tomatoes
-1 (14 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts
-1 cup kalamata olives, pitted, drained and roughly chopped
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1 (24 oz) bag 5 cheese tortellini (or whatever kind you like)
Heat oil in large saucepan.  Add the onion, garlic, basil, oregano, parsley and pepper flakes.  Stir well and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add salt, pepper and tomatoes.  Give it a good stir, cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes (stirring occasionally).
Meanwhile, drain the artichokes in a bowl.  This should give you about 1/2 cup marinade.  Do not throw it away!  Also, go ahead and roughly chop the artichokes.
After the 30 minutes of simmering, add the artichoke marinade to the pan.  Stir and cook, covered, for another 10 minutes.
Toss in the chopped artichokes, cover and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the olives and cheese.  Give it a good stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook tortellini according to package directions.  Drain and toss with the sauce.  Serve and enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Romanian Individual Cakes-Savarine(2nd version)

While the first version of savarine came out real nice and yummy, this one is definitely better and much closer to the taste I remember growing up.  The batter is different.  There are no bread crumbs in this, but there is a batter of flour and yeast.  Give it a try.  You'll LOVE it!  This is one of the reasons I always looked forward to my birthday.  I never had a cake growing up, but I almost always had savarine.  It truly is a feast for the mouth and belly!  Super, super delicious!
For the batter:
-2 cups flour
-2 Tbs yeast
-1 1/2 cups milk
-2 eggs
-3 Tbs sugar
-1/4 cup oil
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp vanilla extract
For the syrup:
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-2 cups water
-1 Tbs rum extract
-1 tsp vanilla extract
To decorate:
-whipped cream
-your favorite jelly (cherry, strawberry, raspberry, etc)
Mix batter ingredients.  Spray 8 ramekins with non-stick baking spray and place them all on baking sheet.  Pour batter mixture equally into prepared dishes.  Cover with towel and set in warm spot.  Let batter rise for 2 hours or until doubled in bulk. 
Preheat oven to 300 F.  Once batter is doubled, place baking sheet with ramekins into the oven.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean and top of savarine is light golden brown.
In the last 10 minutes of baking, start preparing the syrup.  Mix sugar and water in small sauce pan, and place over medium heat.  Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.  Remove from heat and add rum and vanilla extracts.
Once the savarine are cooked, remove from oven and ramekins and place on clean baking sheet.  Pour syrup generously over all of them (use all the syrup) and let them cool for at least an hour.  Right before serving, cut the top off and fill with whipped cream.  Place top back on and spread a little of the jelly on top.  Enjoy!
If not using all the savarine in one sitting, place the remaining ones (without the whipped cream and jelly on them) in the fridge.  You may keep them for up to 48 hours.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pan Seared and Baked Chicken with Spinach, Onions and Artichoke

Delicious, delicious, delicious!  True soul food! I served ours on some yummy homemade mashies.  Enjoy!
-1 Tbs salted butter
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-salt and pepper
-1 onion, halved and sliced
-1 red onion, halved and sliced
-1 (14 oz) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
-1 medium zucchini, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-6 oz baby spinach
-1/2 cup vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Heat butter and oil in large oven proof skillet.  Generously season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.  Add to hot skillet and sear for about 5 minutes on each side-just until golden brown, although chicken won't be cooked through at this point.  Remove chicken from skillet onto plate.
Return skillet to stove and add the onions, artichoke hearts and zucchini.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until veggies start to get tender.  Add the garlic and spinach and cook for 1 more minutes.  Season with a little more salt and pepper and add the broth.  Give it a good stir.
Remove from stove and add the chicken.  Place in preheated oven and bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Serve on top of mashies or by itself.  Enjoy!


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