Monday, November 24, 2014

Quick Shrimp Tortellini Toss

Quick and easy!  This is another tasty dish in under 30 minutes for one of those crazy busy nights.  Enjoy!
-9 oz refrigerated cheese tortellini
-1 cup frozen peas
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
-12 oz shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1/4 tsp dried thyme
Cook tortellini pasta according to package directions.  Add the frozen peas during the last minutes of cooking.  Drain.
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbs of the oil in a large skillet.  Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes or until shrimp is cooked through.
Add the drained pasta and peas.  Season with the salt, pepper and thyme.  Drizzle remaining oil.  Give it a good stir.  Serve and enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Devil's Food Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting

One of my kids had a birthday last week.  He wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and I knew just the cake I would make for him.  He LOVED it!  We all did and devoured it in less than two days!  Yes, we're that bad. :)  This cake is rich, moist and fluffy.  The frosting is seriously to die for!  There's also quite a bit of it, so be generous when you spread it between the cake layers.  Yum!  Enjoy!
For cake:
-1 cup buttermilk
-2 cups flour
-2 cups sugar
-2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 large eggs
-1 cup vegetable oil or sour cream (oil works better, but the sour cream makes a good substitute)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup boiling water
-1 tsp baking soda
For frosting:
-1/2 cup butter
-2 Tbs vegetable shortening
-1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-3 cups powdered sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat VERY well the bottom and sides of two round 9 inch pans.  I use the baking spray (the one with flour and oil).  Set aside.
In your mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, eggs, oil and vanilla.  Mix very well.
In a small bowl, mix the boiling water with baking soda.  Once nicely dissolved, pour into cake batter.  Mix well.  The batter should be very thin.  
Pour evenly into prepared pans.  Bake in preheated oven for about 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let it cool in the pans for about 10 minutes.  After that, carefully flip it over onto wire racks and let cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.
Melt the butter and shortening.  Pour into mixing bowl.  Add the cocoa powder and mix until smooth.  Let it cool for a couple of minutes.
Add the cream cheese and mix until smooth.  Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Mix very well.
Put one cake layer onto serving plate.  Top with a generous portion of frosting and spread it evenly.  Cover with second cake layer.  Frost remaining cake.
Cut into slices and enjoy!  Refrigerate leftovers, if any. :)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Orange Chicken

This is quick and delicious!  Yet another awesome, easy meal for a busy week night.  Enjoy!
-3 Tbs salted butter
-2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into bite-size pieces
-1 cup orange juice, pulp-free
-zest from 1 orange
-6 Tbs oyster sauce
-4 Tbs honey
-2 tsp ground ginger
-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Melt butter in large skillet.  Add chicken and cook until nice and crisp (you might need to work in batches).  Remove chicken with slotted spoon and let it drain on paper towels.
While chicken is cooking, mix remaining ingredients into a bowl.  Mix very well.
Once chicken is done and onto paper towels, add the sauce to the skillet where you cooked the chicken.  Give it a good stir to include all the goodness left by the chicken. 
Simmer the sauce until slightly thickened.
Return the chicken, toss to coat and cook for a couple more minutes.  
Serve on top of rice.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Roasted Jalapeno Soup

What a delight this soup is!  True food for the soul!  Just a heads-up: this recipe only makes enough for two people.  So double or triple it, if you are going to serve more.   Otherwise, expect an amazing blend of flavors from the roasted jalapenos, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms and other goodies.  Oh, and it is NOT spicy, despite all the jalapenos.  It has an amazing flavor and texture.  Enjoy!
-4 medium jalapenos, halved and seeded
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
-1 small onion, chopped
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-3 Tbs salted butter
-1/4 cup flour
-2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
-1/2 cup milk (2% or whole)
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 Roma tomato, chopped
-3 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Place each prepared jalapeno face down on the sheet. Roast in preheated oven for about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Chop and set aside.
Heat oil in saucepan.  Add the carrots, onion and garlic.  Cook for5 minutes.
Stir in the butter and cook until melted.  Sprinkle the flour and mix very well.
Add the chopped roasted jalapenos and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in the milk and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to another boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until soup thickened.
Using an immersion blender or working in batches, process soup until smooth.
Add the chopped tomato and sliced mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Banana-Date-Walnut Cookies

These cookies don't look like much, but let me tell you that they are DELICIOUS!!!  I could not stop eating them!  It's such a perfect combination of flavors.  Absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
-2 ripe bananas, mashed
-1 cup chopped dates
-2 cups quick rolled oats
-1/2 cup walnut chips
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line one cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.
In a bowl, mix bananas, dates and oats.  Mix well.  Add the walnuts, salt and vanilla.  Mix.  Add the melted margarine and give it a good stir.
Using a spoon, scoop onto prepared sheet-you should have 12 cookies.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Let cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes.  Remove onto plate until cooled completely.  Enjoy!


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