Friday, December 31, 2010

Salmon Loaf

This dish is a delight.  It's very tasty, light, satisfying and simple.  I like to serve it with what we call broccoli rice (see picture below).  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
-14 oz canned salmon, boneless, skinless, undrained
-2 eggs, beaten
-1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
-1 small onion, chopped
-2 Tbs lemon juice
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:Preheat oven to 350 F.  Generously spray 8x8 square pan with PAM. 
In a large bowl combine salmon with liquid and all the other ingredients.  Mix well.  Pour mixture into prepared pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until loaf is golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Cut into pieces and enjoy!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fudge Bars

Fudge is one of the easiest treats to make ever!  Quick and yummy!  I made three types, but you can mix pretty much any kind of chips, nuts and flavors.  Enjoy!
Variation 1:
-1 cup milk chocolate chips
-1 cup butterscotch chips
-1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup chopped walnuts
Variation 2:
-1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
-1 cup mint chips (Andes)
-1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
-1 tsp vanilla extract
Variation 3:
-1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
-1 cup white chocolate chips
-1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
-2 tsp orange extract
Directions:
In a medium saucepan, melt chips over low heat, stirring constantly.  When melted, add sweetened milk and mix well.  Remove pan from heat and add extracts and nuts, if using.  Stir well.  Pour into greased 8x8 pan.  Let cool in the fridge for 2-3 hours.  Cut into bars and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuscan Bean Stew

After all the heavy meals from the holidays, this is such a nice, light dinner.  It's easy to make and very tasty.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 Tbs olive oil
-2 tsp dried oregano
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
-1 (15.5 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
-1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 (15.5 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
-1/3 cup red grape juice
-1 Tbs sugar
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
In large saucepan, heat oil.  Add garlic and oregano and cook for about a minute.  Stir all the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes (the sauce will thicken).  Stir occasionally.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

French Silk Chocolate Pie

Yes, I do love chocolate.  Can't you tell?:)  This pie is divine!  It really is super silky and absolutely delicious.  It's very important to use pasteurized egg product, since the filling of this pie is not cooked.  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
-1 9-inch (the deep type) pie crust
-4 oz unsweetened chocolate, cut into pieces
-1 cup butter, softened (do not use margarine)
-1 cup sugar
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup pasteurized egg product
Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 F.  Bake pie crust for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let it cool completely.
Melt chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir constantly.  Remove from heat and let cool.  In mixer, beat butter until fluffy.  Add sugar gradually.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and cooled chocolate.  Mix well. 
Add egg product, 1/4 cup at a time, beating at high speed for 2 minutes after each addition (it's important because this is what gives it the silky texture).  Pour mixture into cooled pie crust.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.  Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Romanian Cheese Pie (Placinta cu Branza)

This pie is one of the sweetest memories I have of Romania...  I remember going to the pie place and getting a big chunk of this.  It would make me soooo happy!  I've been looking for a recipe to make it for years.  I really thought I was never going to find one.  Then one day I got lucky and stumbled over this blog.  Yes, she did have THE recipe!   I made the pie for Christmas and oooohhh how happy I was!  It really tasted like the one I remember!  Sooooo good!  The even better part is that is super easy to make and all the ingredients are very common here in the US.  I slightly altered it, but it's mainly the same recipe she posted.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1/2 package phyllo dough sheets (about 20 sheets)
-about 1 cup melted butter, for brushing
-24 oz cottage cheese
-5 large eggs
-2 cups crumbled feta
-1/2 cup + 2 Tbs buttermilk
-1 Tbs flour
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Thaw phyllo sheets according to package instructions.
In a large bowl mix cottage cheese, eggs, feta, buttermilk and flour.
Butter the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan.  Lightly butter (one by one) 5 phyllo sheets.  Place them in the pan.  Spread 1 1/2 cups of cheese mixture on top of phyllo sheets.  Butter 5 more sheets and place in pan.  Pour more cheese mixture.  Repeat process again.  At the end, you should have 5 buttered sheets on top.  You can make it up to this point, cover and put it in the fridge for about 2 days (if you want to make it ahead for a party or other festivity).
 Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Greek Shrimp

This is a super easy and tasty dish.  It's a bit spicy, but not too much.  It goes great with the French baguettes.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 Tbs olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, chopped
-1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
-2 medium or 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
-1/4 tsp oregano
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
-1 cup crumbled feta
Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 F. 
Heat oil in large oven proof sauce pan.  Add onion and cook for 6 minutes.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook for about a minute or until fragrant (do not burn). 
Add tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Remove pan from heat.  Add shrimp and feta. 
Bake for about 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

French Bread

This is the recipe I always go to when I want hot bread in less than an hour.  It's super easy to make and very tasty.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 1/2 cups warm water
-1 1/2 Tbs active yeast
-2 tsp sugar
-3 1/4 cups flour
-2 tsp salt
Directions:
Preheat oven at 450 F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix warm water, sugar and yeast.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes, or until foam forms on top.
In mixing bowl combine flour and salt.  Add the yeast mixture gradually.  Mix until  dough becomes a smooth ball.  Knead for about 5 minutes.
Remove dough from bowl and divide into 2.   Shape into loaves.  Place bread on prepared sheet.  Cover and place on top of stove (it should be warm from the preheated oven).  Let rise for 30 minutes.
Place small pot of water on bottom of oven.  With serrated knife, cut slits into loaves.   Brush bread with melted butter or spray with PAM.    Bake loaves for 15 minutes.  Enjoy them hot!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Phillippino-style Ramen Noodles

While my husband served a mission for our Church in the Philippines , he was introduced to this simple, yet delicious dish.  Yes, ramen noodles can taste quite yummy.  We like to eat this with hot rolls.  This is always a winner at our house, being liked by even the pickiest eater.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 packages ramen noodles, chicken flavor
-1 Tbs olive oil
-1 Tbs soy sauce
Directions:
Bring about 6 cups of water to a boil.  Add noodles to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes.  Drain.  Toss noodles with seasoning (from the package), olive oil and soy sauce.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chocolate Cherry Bars

This is quick and soooo delicious!  The bars are super moist and chocolaty.  I found this recipe in a Pillsbury cookbook.  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
For the bars:
-1 (1 lb 2.25 oz) package pudding-included devil's food cake mix
-1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
-1 tsp almond extract
-2 eggs, beaten
For the frosting:
-1 cup sugar
-1/3 cup milk
-5 Tbs butter
-1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients for the bars.  Spread in prepared pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar, milk and butter.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips, until smooth.  Pour and spread over the warm bars.  Cool completely and cut into bars.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Asparagus and Pepper Side Dish

This is amazingly simple and very tasty.  It's my mother in law's recipe.  I make it as often as I can because it's so good!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 bunch fresh asparagus
-2 red bell peppers cleaned and cut into strips (I used 2 cups of frozen pepper strips)
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Break off and discard the stems (the hard part) from the asparagus.  Break the rest of the asparagus in bite size pieces.  Place on prepared sheet.  Add the bell pepper, oil, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Simply Perfect Omelet

I did not realize that many people don't know how to make a basic omelet, so here's my way of making a very simple, yet perfect omelet.  Sure you can add peppers, onions, mushrooms, bacon, sausage, or whatever you want to it.  This is just the basic recipe for a simple omelet.  Enjoy!

Spray generously a saute pan with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat.
Break 2 large eggs in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Beat well.  Add about 1/4 cup milk and beat some more.  The milk will make the eggs nice and fluffy.  When pan is hot, pour the eggs in it.  Cook for a couple of minutes, then flip on the other side.  Cook for a couple minutes more, or until done.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Alsatian Tarte Flambe

I absolutely love this lady's blog.  All the recipes I've tried from her have been absolutely amazing.  This one is no exception!  We ate the whole thing in one sitting!  We just couldn't stop eating!  This is a must try.  It's also extremely easy and fast. Just don't count the calories.:)   Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed and kept chilled
-1 onion, thinly sliced
-4 oz bacon, chopped
-1/2 cup cottage cheese
-1 Tbs flour
-1/2 cup creme fraiche (I substituted sour cream)
-salt and pepper
Directions:
Preheat oven at 425 F.
Roll the pastry dough on a floured surface and fir into a 9x12 baking sheet.
Saute the bacon until the fat is rendered.  Add onion and cook for about 3 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix creme fraiche (or sour cream), cottage cheese and flour.  Mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Lay mixture on pastry.  Smooth it out.  Add the bacon and onion.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lowcountry Smothered Pork Chops

I love foodnetwork.com!  There are so many delicious recipes there.  That's where I found this recipe.  It's easy and yummy.  I served it with some mashed potatoes.  Enjoy!


Ingredients:

-4 center-cut pork chops, 1-inch thick
-salt and pepper
-cayenne pepper
-2 Tbs butter
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour, spread on a plate
-2 medium green bell peppers, stemmed, cored, and membranes removed, cut into strips
-2 yellow onions, trimmed, cut lengthwise
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 cups chicken broth
-2 to 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Trim the excess fat from the chops and season well with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Lightly roll the chops in flour, shake off the excess, and slip them into the pan. Brown well, about 3 minutes per side, and remove them to a plate.
Add the bell peppers and onions, to the skillet, and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about half a minute longer. Push the vegetables to the side of the skillet. Add chops to pan and place vegetables on top of pork chops. Pour in the broth and sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce. Cover pan with foil and allow to simmer for 45 minutes or until chops are tender.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Slow Cooker Asian Chicken Barbecue

I found this recipe on my friend Karen's blog.  I've adapted it a little bit.   It's super easy, quick and yummy!  I like to serve this over rice and with some veggies.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh tenders (do not use chicken breasts)
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-2 Tbs sesame oil
-3 cloves garlic, minced
Directions:
Place thighs on bottom of crockpot.  Combine the rest of the ingredients in a smal bowl.  Pour sauce over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 2 hours.  Turn chicken over and cook for 2 more hours.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lime Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

This was a quick recipe for a nice, light dinner.  It's a Paula Deen recipe that I found on foodnetwork.com.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
-3 Tbs lime juice
-3 Tbs vegetable oil, divided
-2 Tbs soy sauce, divided
-3 Tbs grated ginger
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
-1/2 red bell pepper, diced
-2 green onions, diced
-1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
-1 head iceberg lettuce, cored, cut in half
Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine lime juice, 2 Tbs oil, 1 Tbs soy sauce, ginger and garlic.  Add shrimp and let marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Heat 1 Tbs oil in skillet.  Add pepper, onions and chestnuts.  Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add shrimp and marinade, and cook for 3 more minutes, or until shrimp gets pink.  Stir in 1 Tbs soy sauce.
Divide lettuce into leaves.  Spoon about 1/4 cup shrimp mixture in the center of lettuce leaf.  Fold bottom edge and sides up and over filling.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Leeks, Mushrooms and Olives Dish

This is another nice, comfort food.  It's super easy to make, tasty and quite healthy too.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 Tbs vegetable oil
-2-3 leeks, cleaned and sliced
-2 onions, sliced
-1 lb sliced mushrooms
-6 oz boneless pork chop, cut in bite size pieces
-1 large can sliced black olives, drained
-3/4 cup apple juice
-1 cup water
-2 Tbs tomato paste
-salt and pepper, to taste
Ingredients:
Heat oil in large nonstick stock pan.  Add leeks, onions, mushrooms and pork.  Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Add apple juice, water and tomato paste.  Stir well.  Add olives.  Season with salt and pepper.  Continue cooking for about 10 more minutes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chocolate Chip, Pecan and Cranberry Cookies

I think I may have found the recipe for THE best cookies ever!  These things are to die for!  The flavors are unbelievable!  I found the recipe here and I've adapted it a little.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 1/2 cups brown sugar
-3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool
-1 large egg
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-3/4 tsp baking powder
-1 1/4 cups flour
-1 1/4 cups rolled or quick oats
-1 cup pecans, chopped
-1 cup dried cranberries
-1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven at 350 F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Add salt, baking powder, baking soda and flour.  Switch mixer setting to stir, and add oats, pecans, cranberries and chocolate chips.  Scoop mixture onto baking sheets. 
Bake for 12 minutes.  Cool and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Poppy Seed Chicken

This is one of those super easy, quick and 'don't count the calories' meals!  I love this dish.  It's definitely a family favorite.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
-1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup
-1 cup sour cream
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp onion powder
-1 Tbs soy sauce
-1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
-1 tube crushed Ritz crackers
-2 Tbs poppy seeds
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place chunks of chicken on bottom of baking dish.
In a bowl, combine soup, sour cream, garlic and onion powders, and soy sauce.  Mix well and pour over chicken.  Separately, combine butter, crackers and poppy seeds, and top the casserole.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.  Serve over rice.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lemon Poppy-Seed Cookies

Can you tell that it's almost Christmas?  I've been in such a baking mood lately!  Anyway, these are some of my favorite cookies ever!  I found the recipe here.  It's super easy and the results are amazing!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:For the cookies:
-1½ cups all-purpose flour
-½ tsp. baking powder
-¼ tsp. salt
-1 tbsp. poppy seeds
-8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
-2/3 cup sugar
-2 tbsp. lemon zest
-1 large egg

For the glaze:
-½ cup confectioners' sugar
-1-2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds.  Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the lemon zest and egg until blended.  Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until incorporated.
Drop balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are set and just beginning to brown at the edges (do not let the tops brown).  Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack set over wax paper to cool a bit before glazing. 
To make the glaze, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.  Add more lemon juice if necessary, just until the glaze has reached a consistency good for drizzling over the cookies.
Glaze the cookies and let the glaze set before serving.  Store in an airtight container.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Homemade Granola

This was my first time making homemade granola.  It came out quite tasty!  I kind of combined a bunch of recipes I found on foodnetwork.com.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 1/2 cups quick oats
-1 cup dry roasted peanuts
-1 cup raisins
-1 cup sunflower seeds (just the kernels)
-1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
-1 stick unsalted butter, melted
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 F.  Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray (the foil) with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with wooden spoon.  Pour onto prepared sheet.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden (make sure you don't burn it!).  Let it cool some.  Remove the foil and cute granola into bars.  Enjoy!

Liver with Feta and Cucumbers

I don't know why people are so scared of eating liver and other organs.  Growing up in communism, meat was quite scarce.  Whenever we could find bones (yes, you read that right) or organs to buy, it was like hitting the jackpot!  So, people learned how to prepare them, and they are quite tasty.  Well, I had this liver from my Thanksgiving turkey and I had to use it.  It's really easy to prepare.  I hope you enjoy it!
Dip the liver in milk.  This will help remove any of the bitterness.  Heat 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil in saute pan over low-medium heat.  Saute liver, turning once, until cooked- about 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.  Lightly season with salt and pepper. 
I served mine with feta cubes and baby cucumbers.  Slice the cucumber in quarters, but not all the way down (see picture below).  Sprinkle salt inside of it and rub it.  Break it in spears and enjoy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, I love mint and I love chocolate.  And I love the two of them combined.  This is a Betty Crocker recipe and it's definitely a winner!  The cookies came out moist, minty and chocolaty.  Just perfect and very Christmassy too.:)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 pouch sugar cookie mix
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1/4 tsp mint extract
-8 drops green food color
-1 egg
-1 cup creme de menthe baking chips
-1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven at 350 F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix cookie mix, butter, mint, food color and egg, until soft dough forms.  Stir in creme de menthe and chocolate chips.  Scoop dough onto cookie sheets (place cookies 2 inches apart).
Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Let cool to set.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Individual Potato Gratins

These are probably the best potatoes I've ever had!  So creamy and delicious!  Yum!  I adapted the recipe from Melissa d'Arabian from foodnetwork.com.  She uses Swiss cheese, but I'm not that big of a fan, so I like to use good old shredded mozzarella. I like to eat these potatoes with my fried chicken and some veggies.  This last time I've had them I used Melissa's recipe for a bed of spinach.  I posted the recipe below.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
-1 cup shredded mozzarella
-3 green onions, finely chopped
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1 cup heavy cream or half and half
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.  Layer potato slices, cheese and green onion into each muffin cup.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour 1-2 Tbs heavy cream on top of each gratin.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for 20 more minutes.  Scoop them out with a spoon and enjoy!

Bed of Spinach

Ingredients:
-1 bag spinach
-3 Tbs water
-1 Tbs butter
-1 Tbs lemon juice
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Place spinach and water in a microwave-proof dish.  Microwave on high for  5 minutes.  Drain.  Toss with butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Chocolaty chocolate banana bread

I love having ripe bananas in the house, because I have an excuse to make banana bread.  Now, if you are a chocoholic, like me, you have to add chocolate to anything, including your banana bread, right?  Well, this bread is so decadent, rich, and absolutely delicious, that you feel like you've died and gone straight to heaven.  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
-4 medium ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
-1 cup sugar
-2 eggs
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 1/2 cups flour
-1/2 cup cocoa
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven at 350 F and spray large loaf pan with cooking spray.
Beat sugar, eggs and oil in mixer.  Add mashed bananas and vanilla.  Add cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix until well combined.  Add the flour, half of cup at a time.  Remove mixing bowl from mixer, and stir with a spoon, to make sure that all the flour is mixed in.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Pour mixture into loaf pan.  Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let rest for 10 minutes in the pan.  Transfer to wire rack and wait until completely cooled, if you can!:)  Enjoy!

Tomato Soup (Supa de Rosii)

I love tomato soup.  It's super easy to make, healthy, delicious and filling.  Here's my version of it.  You can eat it just like this, or with a nice grilled cheese sandwich.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 quart (4 cups) water
-1 carrot, peeled and finely grated
-1 small onion, finely chopped, or a handful of dehydrated onion
-1 small bell pepper, finely chopped, or a handful of dehydrated pepper
-2 quarts (8 cups) tomato juice or about 10 cups fresh over ripe tomatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
-1/2 cup uncooked rice
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Bring water to boil.  Toss veggies and tomato juice in it.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add rice and cook for about 30 minutes, or until rice is cooked through.  Enjoy!         

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Shrimp stir-fry

This is an easy recipe for a nice, light dinner.  Of course you can add any veggies you would like.  The ones I posted is what I had on hand.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 Tbs brown sugar
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1 Tbs rice vinegar
-1 cup chicken broth
-1 1/2 Tbs cornstarch
-2 Tbs vegetable oil
-1 small onion, sliced
-1 cup red, yellow and green pepper strips
-1 can baby corn, drained
-2 cups sliced mushrooms
-1 cup broccoli florets
-10 cloves garlic, minced
-1 lb large cooked shrimp, thawed with tails removed
Directions:
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, broth and cornstarch.  Mix well and set aside.
In a large saute pan or wok, heat up the oil.  Add garlic and saute for about a minute-make sure it doesn't burn!:)  Add veggies and cook for 10 minutes.  Pour sauce and cook for about 4 minutes, or until thickened.  Add shrimp and stir to coat and heat up.  Serve over rice. Enjoy!

Mint Chocolate Cookies

On Monday night, before FHE, I was struggling (as usual) to come up with a dessert. Those of you who know me, know that I have a thing for mint chocolate.  So I went searching for a recipe to make mint chocolate cookies.  This recipe looked like a winner, especially that it doesn't call for eggs, which of course I was out of.:)  I found the recipe here.  I know, the cookies look like a disaster (I don't know why they spread so much), but the taste was absolutely delicious!  We devoured them in no time! :)  The recipe calls for mint chips, which I didn't have.  I substituted that with some chocolate mints and mint extract.  Enjoy!
 These are the chocolate mints I used.
 Ingredients:
- 1 1/4 cups flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-2/3 cup cocoa
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cubed
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla
-1/3 cup milk
-1/2 tsp mint extract
-6 oz chocolate mints, chopped
Directions:
Preheat oven at 325 F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa.  Set aside.  Place cubed butter in mixer and beat until light.  Add white and brown sugar, and cream well.  Add vanilla and mint extract.  After well mixed, add half of the flour mixture, then the milk, then the rest of the flour mixture.  Mix well.  Fold in chocolate mint chunks.  Chill dough for at least 15 minutes (up to 2 days).
Scoop the dough onto parchment paper. 
 Bake for 13-14 minutes.  Let cookies set on cookie sheet (they'll set as they cool).  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mici

This is another Romanian food that I grew up with.  It literally translates as "little ones".  It can be served as an appetizer, with some yellow mustard to dip in, or as the meat on a main dish with mashed potatoes and veggies on the side.  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
-1 lb ground beef (or ground lamb)
-1 lb ground pork
-6 (or more) cloves garlic, pressed
-salt, to taste
-pepper, to taste
-1 Tbs dried savory
-1 tsp baking soda, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
Directions:
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients (using your hands is the best way to mix this).  Shape mixture into rolls, like this:
Spray grill with cooking spray, then heat it up.  Place rolls on hot grill and cook until done to your liking.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

I just love this pie.  It's super easy to make and so delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (9 inch) deep-dish pie crust, frozen
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 (16 oz) can pumpkin
-1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
-2 eggs, beaten
Directions:
Preheat oven at 425 F.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Place pie crust on top.  In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients.  Mix well.  Pour into crust.  Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 350 F.  Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pecan Pie

I love to read good books.  A while back I got to read some of Betsy Brannon Green's mystery books.  At the end of it I found this recipe for a pecan pie.  I gotta admit that pecan pie is probably my favorite type of pie, so I was really excited to try it out.  I was not disappointed at all.  It was soooo good!  Betsy calls for 1 1/4 cups pecan halves, but I put 2 whole cups in my pie.  It wasn't overdone.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 eggs
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup light corn syrup
-2 Tbs butter, melted
-1 tsp vanilla
-2 cups pecan halves
-1 (9 inch) unbaked or frozen deep-dish pie crust
-pinch of salt
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Place pie crust on top.  In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly with a fork.  Add sugar, syrup, butter, vanilla and salt.  Stir until blended.  Stir in pecans.  Pour into pie crust.  Bake for 50 minutes.  Let it sit for about 20 minutes for it to thicken.  Let it cool completely before serving.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sausage, Dried Cranberry and Apple Stuffing

I like to do my stuffing on the side, like a casserole.  I found this recipe on foodnetwork.com.  It came out real good.   Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 pound mild bulk breakfast sausage
-4 tablespoons butter
-3 cups sliced leeks, white and pale green parts only, cleaned well (about 2 large leeks)
-2 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
-1 Tbs poultry seasoning
-1 cup dried cranberries, rehydrated in boiling water for 15 minutes and drained
-6 cups boxed bread cubes (croutons)
-2 to 3 cups chicken stock
-1 Tbs salt
-2 tsp ground black pepper
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Saute the sausage in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling coarsely with the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage and drippings to a large bowl. Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, apples, and poultry seasoning to the skillet and saute until the leeks are soft, about 8 minutes. Mix in the drained cranberries. Add the mixture to the sausage, then mix in the croutons. Next add the chicken stock a little at a time until the stuffing is very moist. Be sure not to overdo it; it shouldn't be mushy. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a casserole dish. (The stuffing can be made to this point 2 days before Thanksgiving, refrigerated.)

Bake in a casserole dish and place, uncovered, in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the top is crispy and the center piping hot. Remove and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Green Bean Casserole

This is just the French's recipe, but it really is so good that I have to make it every year.:)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3/4 cup milk
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
-2 cans green beans, drained
-1/8 tsp black pepper
-1 1/3 cups French's fried onions
Directions:
Mix milk, soup and pepper.  Add beans and 2/3 cup onions.  Pour into casserole dish.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle the rest of onions and top.  Bake for 5 more minutes.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Juicy Roasted Turkey

I know the whole turkey brine is now in fashion, but I seriously don't have the time, energy, nor space to do my turkey like that.  So I followed Bobby Flay's advice and roasted my turkey by varying the temperature.  Oh, the results were amazing!!!  The turkey came out super moist, so flavorful and absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
 Thaw turkey in the fridge about a week before roasting it.  Wash it and pat it dry with paper towels.  Generously rub it with olive oil, seasoned salt, garlic powder and black pepper.  Don't forget the cavities and under the skin!  Place roasting rack on top of roasting pan.  Place rubbed turkey on rack.  Bake at 450 F uncovered for 1 hour.  Lower heat to 325 F and continue roasting covered with aluminum foil for 1 1/2 hours.  Uncover and cook for 1 more hour.  Let it rest for 30 minutes.  Carve and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pork Chops Casserole

This is another super quick and yummy dinner.  The flavors are nicely combined, the chops are juicy and tender, what's not to like!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 boneless pork chops
-3 cups chicken broth
-1 can cream of mushroom soup
-1 cup uncooked rice
Directions:Brown pork chops.  When done, drain on paper towels.  Mix broth and soup well.  Pour into casserole dish.  Pour rice into broth mixture and mix well.  Place pork chops on top.  Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes ir until rice is done.  Make sure to stir the rice once half way through.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Best Chocolate Pie

There are many reasons I love Thanksgiving day, one of them being all the pies we get to have.:)  This is seriously the best chocolate pie I've had.  Not only does it taste divine, but it's also extremely easy to make.  You only need 3 ingredients and 5 minutes!  And since it's a freezer pie you can make it a few days ahead.  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
-pie crust (any type you want: chocolate, graham cookies, shortbread, etc)
-1 tub cool whip, thawed at room temperature
-6-8 oz chocolate (I like milk chocolate, but you can use any type you want)
Directions:
In a large microwavable bowl, break the chocolate in small pieces.  Add 1/4 cup water and microwave for 1 minute.  Mix well and add cool whip.  Mix well.  Pour into pie crust.  Cover and freeze for at least 3 hours before serving.  Enjoy!

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