Friday, October 2, 2015

Easy Apple Strudels (Strudele cu Mere)

I was born and raised in Europe, so to me, when I see apples, the first thought that comes to mind is strudels!  I love them and taught my family to love them as well. :)  This recipe cheats a little because it uses pre-made pastry sheets.  However, the result is still that flaky, buttery crust that makes this dessert truly a delight.  Enjoy!
-2 puff pastry sheets (an entire package of about 17 oz), thawed according to package directions
-2 Tbs unsalted butter
-4 apples, peeled and grated
-1/4 cup PLUS 1 Tbs sugar, divided
-1 tsp cinnamon
-2 Tbs plain bread crumbs
-3 Tbs chopped walnuts (make sure it's very finely chopped, like walnut topping)
-butter flavored cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Lightly coat a baking sheet with butter flavored cooking spray.  Set aside.
In a small saucepan, start melting the butter over medium heat.  Add the shredded apples and 1/4 of the sugar.  Mix well and cook until butter is melted and sugar dissolved.  Stir in the cinnamon, crumbs and walnuts.  Mix well and continue cooking until all the liquid is absorbed.  Remove pan from stove and let it cool a little.
Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, place your thawed pastry sheets.  Using a rolling pin, rolls the dough until nice and thin.  Scoop the apple filling evenly onto the 2 prepared pastry sheets. Spread all over.  Gently, roll each dough with the filling, flattening it a little as you go.  Place seam down on the prepared sheet.  Cut 3-4 slits into each strudel.  Coat each of them with a little butter flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 tsp sugar onto each strudel.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes.  Gently, cut each strudel into slices and enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bacon-Cheddar-Zucchini Bread

Easy and delicious, this is the perfect combination of goodness!  Enjoy!
**This recipe yields 2 (9x5) loaves.
-6 large eggs
-2 Tbs sugar
-1 cup vegetable oil
-3/4 cup milk
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-2 tsp pepper
-3 cups flour
-2 cups shredded zucchini, drained very well
-8 oz shredded Cheddar cheese
-1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
Preheat oven to 325 F.  Coat 2 (9x5) loaf pans with baking cooking spray (the one with flour and butter).  Set aside.
Cream your eggs and sugar in the electric mixer.  Add the oil and mix well.  Stir in the milk, baking soda, baking powder, salt, pepper and flour, half of cup at the time.  Mix well.  Stir in the zucchini, cheese and bacon.  Mix until well combined.
Pour batter evenly into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour and 15-20 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place pans on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove the bread from pans and place back onto the wire rack.  Cool completely.  Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Salmon Chowder

This truly is a bowl of absolute goodness!  It's hearty, quick and super delicious!  The leeks are soft and sweet, combining perfectly with all the other delicious ingredients, while the salmon gives it that perfect touch.  Great, great dish!  Enjoy!
-3 Tbs salted butter
-2 leeks, cleaned well and finely chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp celery salt
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
-1 Tbs flour
-4 cups chicken broth
-1 lb salmon, skinless, boneless, cut into chunks
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, drained
-1 Tbs dried chives
In a large pot, melt the butter.  Add the leeks, garlic, celery salt, salt and pepper.  Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the potatoes and flour and give it a good stir.  Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring once in a while.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Toss in the salmon chunks and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in the cream, corn and chives. Simmer for a couple more minutes.
Laddle into bowls and enjoy!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This is easy and delicious, perfect for a simple dinner.  Enjoy!
-4 slices bacon
-2 large chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
-8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 tsp seasoned salt
-1 tsp garlic powder
-4 green onions, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
In a large skillet, cook the bacon for only 3 minutes per side.  Yes, it will not be cooked through.  Remove onto plate lined with paper towels and let it cool.
Meanwhile, cut each chicken breast in half.  Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken until nice and thin.
In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, seasoned salt, garlic powder and chopped green onion.  Mix very well.
Place a generous portion of the cream cheese mixture in the middle of each chicken breast.  Roll the chicken carefully, then wrap a piece of the partially cooked bacon around the breast.  Place in baking pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Leave the chicken in, but the off the oven and switch it to high broil.  Broil the chicken for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Regina's Cheesecake Dreams

My friend, Regina, has been making these delicious gems for like forever!  I absolutely LOVE them! They are super moist and literally melt in your mouth!  Regina's been very nice and shared her recipe with me.  They're actually quite easy to make.  Enjoy these pieces of heaven!
-1/3 cup packed brown sugar
-1 cup flour
-1/2 cup walnut topping (the really finely chopped walnuts in the baking section)
-1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
-8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 large egg
-3 Tbs milk
-1 Tbs lemon juice
-1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan.  Set aside.
In a bowl, mic the brown sugar, flour and walnuts.  Add the melted butter and mix until nice and crumbly.  Save 1/3 cup of the crumbly mixture.  Place the rest in the prepared pan.  Press it gently into the pan, on the bottom.  Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until edges are golden.
Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese and sugar in your mixer until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients. Pour over hot crust.  Sprinkle on top with the saved 1/3 cup of the crumbly mixture. Bake for 25 more minutes.
Remove from oven and place (in the pan) on wire rack.  Cool completely.  Cut into pieces and enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe courtesy of Regina G.


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