Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you're still not sure of which type of cookies to make for Santa, look no further!  These are seriously the best chocolate chip cookies ever.  They stay nice and fluffy (not flat anymore), and they are simply delicious.  This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 cup white sugar
-1 cup brown sugar
-1 cup cold margarine (straight from the fridge)
-2 eggs
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt
-3 cups all-purpose flour
-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In your mixing bowl add white and brown sugar, margarine, eggs and vanilla.  Mix well for about 1 minute, scraping the bowl halfway through.  Turn mixer to low and gradually add baking soda, salt and flour.  Mix for about 2 minutes.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Scoop though with spoon onto prepared sheets.  Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes (mine took 11 minutes).  Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 10-15 minutes.  Remove onto serving plate and enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Extreme chocolate cake

This cake is so chocolaty, decadent, delicious, moist and the list can go on forever.  It's also very easy to make.  The batter will be very runny.  Don't think you've ruined it.  That's what will ensure the moisture of this cake.:)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For cake:
-2 cups sugar
-1 3/4 cups flour
-3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 1/2 tsp baking soda
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-2 eggs
-1 cup milk
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup boiling water
For chocolate glaze:
-1 cup confectioner's sugar
-2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
-2 Tbs milk
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat a bundt cake pan with baking PAM.
In your mixer's bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  Add the rest of ingredients, mixing it on medium speed for about 3 minutes.  Pour in prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let it rest in the pan for about 10 minutes.
While cake is resting, mix the glaze ingredients.  When the 10 minutes are up, flip the cake onto serving platter and pour glaze all over the top.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Crepes (Clatite)

This was one of my favorite desserts growing up.  So simple, yet so delicious!  The fun part is that you can fill them with anything you want to.  I sometimes had mine with just a little plain sugar!  They're just delicious!  You can enjoy them warm or cold, as a dessert or yummy breakfast, or simply as a snack.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 eggs
-1 1/3 cups milk
-2 Tbs vegetable oil
-1 cup flour
-your favorite preserves (cherry, raspberry, strawberry, apricot, etc), nutella, sugar, etc
Directions:
Beat the eggs.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until smooth.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  If you have a really good non-stick pan, leave it alone.  If it's not the best, spray it generously with cooking spray before pouring each crepe in.
Pour about 1/4 cup batter into hot pan, tilting it until batter covers bottom.  Cook until edges start to dry and center is set (about 1 minute!)-They cook FAST!  Flip the crepe on the other side for about 30 seconds.  Set onto plate, fill with desired filling and roll, as nicely shown by my sweet hubby.:)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Slow Cooker Lemon Artichoke Chicken

I know the picture doesn't look that appetizing, but trust me this is an awesome dish!  The flavors are amazing!   I served ours over some white rice, but you can serve it with pasta as well.  Also, the amount recommended for lemon juice is 2 Tbs.  However, I found that to be a bit too strong (and I love lemon!).  So, try it with just 1 Tbs and if you feel like it needs more, you can always add that second Tbs.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-1 onion, diced
-6 garlic cloves, minced
-1 Tbs tomato paste
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on and bone-in
-salt and pepper
-2 Tbs red wine vinegar
-1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, chopped
-1 (10.5) can cream of chicken soup
-1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
-1-2 Tbs lemon juice
-2 Tbs Dijon mustard
-1 cup sliced mushrooms
Directions:
Heat oil in large saute pan.  Add onions and garlic.  Cook for 5-10 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and stir well.  Remove from heat.
Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Place on bottom of slow cooker.  Pour onion mixture over chicken.  Also, add the red wine vinegar.  Cover and cook on slow for 4 hours.
In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients.  Pour over chicken, cover and cook for an extra 30 minutes.  Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ketucky Hot Brown

I've been wanting to try this recipe for a long time, yet I backed out every time.  I'm not sure why.  Well, with all the turkey leftover from Thanksgiving I knew that this was my chance to finally go for it.  Oh, it was well worth it!  So delicious, creamy, filling and tasty.  Absoutely amazing.  The only down part is that one serving is huge!  You might consider splitting it with someone.  Other than that, this is a great dish!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1/2 cup butter
-6 Tbs flour
-3 1/2 cups milk
-1 egg, beaten
-6 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
-1/8 cup heavy cream
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1 cup sauteed mushrooms
-1 tomato, thinly sliced
-roast turkey
-8 slices toast
-8 strips of bacon, cooked
Directions:
Melt the butter in large saucepan.  Add the flour to make a thick roux.  Add milk and 6 Tbs Parmesan.  Mix well.  Add the egg.  Bring mixture to a simmer, but do not allow it to boil.  The sauce should be nice and thick now.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the heavy cream.  Season with salt and pepper (you might want to taste to make sure that the seasoning fits your taste).
Heat up the broiler.
Assemble each hot brown the following way:
Place 2 pieces of toast on a metal or flameproof dish (I just used small skillets).  Cover the toast with sauteed mushrooms and slices of the tomato.  Cover liberally with roast turkey.  Pour a generous amount of sauce over the turkey and toast.  Sprinkle with additional Parmesan.  Place dish under broiler until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly.  Remove from broiler, add 2 pieces of bacon (you can cross them for a nicer arrangement) and serve immediately.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe found on foodnetwork.com

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Romanian Hearty Stew (Tocăniță)

I always love a nice bowl of stew on a cold winter day.  This is nice and hearty; perfect for the winter.  It goes perfect with either polenta/mamaliga or some nice hot rolls.   Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 Tbs oil
-1 small onion, chopped
-8 oz mushrooms, sliced
-4 cups water
-1 lb chicken gizzards and hearts, well rinsed and roughly chopped
-3-4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
-1 Tbs cornstarch
-3 Tbs tomato paste
-salt and pepper, to taste
-dried parsley
Directions:
Heat oil in large stockpot.  Add onion and mushrooms.  Saute for about 5 minutes. 
Add the water, gizzards and hearts, and potatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Scoop a little liquid from the mix and mix in the cornstarch.  Pour cornstarch mixture back in the pot.  Give it a good stir.  Add the tomato paste and mix well.  Simmer for 10-15 more minutes.  Season well with salt and pepper, to taste.  Sprinkle some dried parsley.  Serve hot.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cranberry Pomegranate Salad

Such a delightful dish this is!  My friend Careylyn made it for us a while back and we loved it.  It's light and tasty.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (12 oz) fresh cranberries
-2/3 cup sugar
-1 (1 lb 8 oz) can crushed pineapple
-1 large can mandarin oranges
-1 pomegranate
-1 (8 oz) container cool whip
-sliced bananas, optional
Directions:
Chop the cranberries in a blender or food processor.  Drain the pineapple, reserving half the juice.  Combine crushed cranberries, sugar, drained pineapple and the reserved juice.  Mix well and refrigerate over night.
Before serving, add the mandarins, seeds from the pomegranate, cool whip and bananas.  Stir well and enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients:
For filling;
-3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (I baked them, then peeled and mashed them)
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup melted butter
-2 eggs, beaten
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup milk
For topping:
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup flour
-1/3 cup melted butter
-1 cup chopped pecans
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients.  Transfer to a buttered casserole dish.
In another bowl, combine all topping ingredients.  Mix well and spread evenly across the sweet potato mixture.  Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is nice and golden.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Green Bean Casserole

This is another Paula Deen recipe.  It's probably the best green bean casserole I've had.  All fresh ingredients, what's not to like.  Amazing!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1/3 stick butter
-1/2 cup diced onions
-1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
-2 cups sliced green beans
-3 cups chicken broth
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
-1 (2.8 oz) can French-fried onion rings
-salt
-pepper
-garlic powder
-1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a baking dish.
Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Saute onions and mushrooms for about 10 minutes. 
While that's cooking, bring the broth to a boil in a sauce pan.  Add the green beans and boil them for about 10 minutes.  Drain.
Add the green beans to the onion mixture.  Stir in mushrooms soup and onion rings.  Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Stir well.
Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Top the casserole with the cheese and bake for 10 more minutes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing

This is a very simple, easy and tasty recipe.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 Tbs butter
-2 onions, chopped
-about 10 cornbread mini-loaves, cubed
-1 egg
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-1/4 cup chicken broth
-salt and pepper
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Coat a baking dish with butter flavored cooking spray.
In a medium skillet, melt the butter.  Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the cornbread pieces.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Mix well. 
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, heavy cream and chicken stock.  Pour the mixture over cornbread.  Mix well. 
Place mixture into prepared baking dish.  Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until hot and crusty on top.  Enjoy!
Adapted from a Tyler Florence recipe.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Pie

This pie is quite decadent and rich with all the chocolate and delicious pecans.  A perfect dessert!  Don't forget the whipped cream to top it off!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (9 inch) deep dish pie crust, frozen
-4 eggs
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup dark corn syrup
-3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
-2 cups pecan halves
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place frozen crust on top of aluminum foil.
Beat eggs, sugar and syrup with your mixer.  Add the melted chocolate and mix well.  Stir in pecans.  Pour mixture into pie shell.
Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, or until set.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe found in Kitchen Aid Baking Basics.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Perfect Cranberry Sauce

I'm not a big fan of the canned cranberry sauce.  I mean, it tastes ok, but it's lacking something.  This year for Thanksgiving, I decided to try and make it from scratch, with fresh cranberries.  Oh, I was not disappointed!  This sauce came out so good!  I also love how simple it is.  It truly is the perfect cranberry sauce.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
-1 cup sugar
-zest from 1 lemon
-2 Tbs water
-extra sugar, salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Reserve 1/2 of cup of cranberries.  Place the rest into a medium saucepan.  Add the 1 cup sugar, lemon zest and the water.  Stir well and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Increase the heat and cook for about 7 minutes.  Add the reserved fresh cranberries and continue cooking for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add a pinch of sugar, some salt and pepper, to taste.  Remove mixture from heat.  Pour into serving bowl and let it cool to room temperature.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

BLT Deviled Eggs

Paula Deen strikes again with this incredible appetizer!  We all absolutely LOVED these eggs.  So creamy and full of flavor.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-6 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
-1/4 cup mayonnaise
-4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
-2 cherry tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
-1 Tbs dried parsley leaves
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Halve the eggs lengthwise.  Remove the yolk and add them to a bowl.  Mash the yolks with a fork.  Stir in the mayo, 3 slices of the bacon, tomatoes and parsley.  Mix well and season with salt and pepper, to your liking.
Fill the eggs evenly with the yolk mixture.  Garnish with the extra slice of bacon.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I just can't wait!  Make sure you check out my recipes to enjoy some delicious dishes on this special day.
Check out my appetizers:

Of course, don't forget the turkey.  This recipe is a sure guarantee for a suculent, juicy, delicious turkey.

You have to have some cornbread or rolls at your feast.

The green bean casserole, of course.


 stuffing
home made mashed potatoes,






potato salad


Definitely check out my pie section.  I have many pie recipes posted.
 













I hope you have a wonderful feast with your loved ones.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Baked Whole Trout

This dish is a bit fancier, but extremely easy to put together.  It's very simple and packed with flavor.  Very nice and delicious.  I have been eyeing the whole trout at Costco for months.  I love fish, but I have never cooked a whole one.  So, while drooling over it I tried to think what could I do with it.  By the way, did you know that buying the whole fish is way cheaper than the fillets?  Anyway, this recipe seemed perfect and it did not disappoint.  I served it with polenta (mamaliga) and they made a perfect match.  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
-2 whole rainbow trout fish, cleaned, scaled and gutted
-1 lemon
-salt
-lemon pepper
-garlic powder
-onion powder
-dried parsley leaves
-butter-flavored cooking spray
-paprika
-1 cup white grape juice
Directions:
Preheat oven to 475 F.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Place a baking rack in the prepared sheet.
Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry. 
Slice the lemon as thin as you can with a very sharp knife.
Sprinkle lightly the inside of the fish with salt, lemon pepper, garlic and onion powder.  Sprinkle a little parsley as well.  Place a couple lemon slices inside each fish.
Spray the fish on both sides with the butter cooking spray.  Place the buttered fish on the rack in the cooking sheet.  Spread more parsley leaves on top of the fish.  Top them with the remaining lemon slices and sprinkle some paprika on top.  Pour juice on the bottom pf the pan.
Place pan in preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes.  The fish should come right off the rack.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ioana's Fried Chicken

Yes, I do LOVE fried chicken!  I make it as often as I can.  What's not to like about it?  It's easy, tasty, juicy, crunchy, simply delicious.  I love doing different variations on it.  Here's my latest.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in (you can use any kind of frying chicken you want)
-2 eggs
-2 Tbs seasoned salt, divided
-2 Tbs garlic powder, divided
-2 tsp black pepper, divided
-1 cup Panko crumbs or all-purpose flour
-oil for frying
Directions:
Place chicken in a large stock pot.  Cover chicken with water and boil until cooked through.  Pour into colander, drain it well and let it cool for about 10 minutes. 
While chicken is cooking, start heating up the oil. 
In a shallow bowl beat the eggs with 1 Tbs seasoned salt, 1 Tbs garlic powder and 1 tsp black pepper.  In another bowl, mix the Panko crumbs or flour and the rest of the seasonings.  Once chicken cooled down a bit, dredge each piece through the egg mixture, then through the Panko/flour mixture. Place immediately in the hot oil and cook for a couple of minutes on each side, or until skin is nice, crisp and golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Simple, quick and delicious.  They go perfectly with any entree or simply as an appetizer.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 cups baking mix (Jiffy, Bisquick, etc)
-2/3 cup milk
-1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
-1/4 cup margarine, melted
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine baking mix, milk and cheese until soft dough forms.  Beat at high speed for about 30 seconds.  Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the melted margarine with the garlic powder.  Once biscuits are baked, brush this mixture on top.  Serve the biscuits hot.  Enjoy!
(makes about 10-12 biscuits)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

This is a perfect dinner on a cold night.  The taste is amazing, with the flavors combining perfectly.  Absolutely love this one.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 Tbs butter
-1/2 cup diced onion
-1 1/2 cups diced frozen Southern-style hash browns
-about 6 green onions, cleaned and chopped
-1 red bell pepper, chopped
-1 (4 oz) can chopped fire-roasted green chilies, undrained
-3 Tbs flour
-1 1/2 cups milk
-1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp ground cumin
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 can sweet corn, drained
-12 oz medium shrimp, peeled, deveined with tails removed
-1 pinch of sugar
Directions:
Melt butter into large sauce pan.  Add onions and potatoes.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the potatoes start to brown.  Add green onion and red pepper.  Saute for about 2 minutes.  Add canned chilies and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Stir continuously.  Add milk, broth, salt, cumin, pepper and corn.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in the dash of sugar and cook for about 5 more minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook until pink (about 2 minutes).  Remove from heat and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Banana Bread

This is very simple and delicious.  My kitchen smelled wonderfully as this was baking.  Really yummy!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 ripe bananas, mashed
-1/2 cup sour cream
-2 large eggs
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups flour
-3/4 cup + 2 Tbs sugar
-1 tsp baking soda
-3/4 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup + 2 Tbs butter
-1 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat a large loaf pan with butter non-stick cooking spray.
In your mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas with the sour cream, eggs and vanilla.  Slowly add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Mix well.  Add butter and mix for about 30 seconds.  Fold in the nuts.
Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.  Slice and enjoy!
Adapted from an Emeril Lagasse recipe.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Salami-Mozzarella Calzone

This is super easy to put together and super delicious.  You can have it plain like this or add steamed or pickled vegetables.  Either way is amazing!  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
-2 eggs
-1 Tbs dry parsley
-1 tsp grated lemon zest
-1/4 lb shredded mozzarella
-extra virgin olive oil for brushing
-1 (13.8 oz) tube refrigerated pizza dough
-about 16 slices salami
-about 6 slices smoked provolone cheese
Directions:
Place a baking sheet upside down in the oven.  Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs, parsley and lemon zest.  Pour a half the egg mixture into a bigger bowl and stir in the mozzarella.  Reserve the remaining egg mixture for brushing the crust.
Spread a piece of parchment paper on your counter and brush with extra virgin olive oil (not too much).  Unroll the pizza dough and shape into a rectangle.  Spread mozzarella mixture on half of it, leaving a 1-inch border along the edge.  Top with salami and provolone cheese.  Fold the other half and cover the filling.  Crimp and roll the edges, then pierce the top of the dough a few times with a knife.
Slide the parchment paper with the calzone on top of the hot baking sheet inside the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Brush with remaining egg mixture and bake for 5 more minutes.  Remove from the oven, let rest for about 5 minutes, slice and enjoy!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Flank Steak Stuffed with Spinach, Feta and Garlic

What a treat this dish is!  The flavors are simply amazing!  I served ours with my homemade mashies.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (2 lbs) flank steak
-8 oz crumbled feta cheese
-10 oz fresh baby spinach
-6 cloves garlic, minced
-8-10 slices bacon
For marinade:
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-1/4 vegetable oil
-1 Tbs brown sugar
-2 tsp ground ginger
-2 tsp dry mustard
-2 tsp garlic powder
Directions:
Combine all marinade ingredients in large ziplock bag. Place steak in marinade. Seal and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Preheat the oven at 425 F.
Heat about 1 cup water in large sauce pan. When boiling add spinach and cook for 10 minutes. Drain VERY well. Mix wilted spinach with crumbled feta and minced garlic.
Remove steak from marinade (discard marinade). Place stake on cutting board. Place spinach mixture in the middle of steak, spreading it evenly lengthwise. Carefully roll the steak and secure with one toothpick. Slowly wrap the steak log with the bacon strips, securing with toothpicks as you go.
Heat large oven-proof skillet over stove. Place steak log in it. Cook for about 5 minutes, so that the bacon on the bottom has time to sear nicely. Place skillet in preheated oven and cook for 30-45 minutes, or until steak is done to your likeness.
Remove from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hot Caramel Apple Cider

This is seriously the perfect treat for this wintery kind of weather that hit us lately.  It is simply delicious and hot!  Love it!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1/2 gallon (8 cups) apple cider
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
-whipped cream, for topping
-extra caramel ice cream topping, optional
Directions:
In a large sauce pan, combine cider, sugar and caramel topping.  Cook on low until simmering.  Stir frequently.
Pour hot mixture in mugs/ cups and top with whipped cream and caramel topping, if desired.  Enjoy!
Recipe from here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Simple and delicious!  I served ours with rice and added some more salsa and sour cream on top.  Very yummy dinner!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-1 cup salsa
-1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, drained
-extra salsa and sour cream, for topping, optional
Directions:
Heat oil in large skillet.  Season thighs with salt and pepper.  Add to hot oil, skin side down and cook for a few minutes, until skin is brown and crispy.
Mix salsa, beans and corn together.  Pour on bottom of slow cooker.  Add chicken on top.  Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.  Serve on rice.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Banana Chocolate Cream Pie

I had a lot of ripe bananas and I needed to figure out what to do with them.  While banana bread is nice, I like to try out new things from time to time.  This seemed like a no-brainer to me, since I had all of the ingredients in the house, and chocolate pudding goes perfectly with bananas.  The result was simply delicious!  We loved it very much.  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
For the crust:
-1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
-3 Tbs sugar
-1/3 cup margarine, melted
For the filling:
-1 (4 serving size) package instant chocolate pudding
-3 bananas, sliced

-whipped cream, for topping
Directions:
Mix the crust ingredients.  Press firmly onto bottom of 9-inch pie plate.  Place in the fridge and cool for 1 hour.
Prepare pudding mix according to package directions (for the pudding, not the pie filling).  Place sliced bananas all over the chilled crust.  Pour pudding on top.  Place in the fridge for about 1 hour.
Slice and top with whipped cream.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Malasadas

This was my always "go-to" treat while we lived in Hawaii.  I mean, you can't go wrong with them: they're sugary, fluffy, light texture, sweet, buttery, and I can go on forever.  I just LOVE malasadas!  They are actually Portuguese doughnuts.  You gotta try them!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
-1 tsp sugar
-1/4 cup warm water
-6 eggs
-6 cups flour
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/4 cup butter, melted
-1 cup evaporated milk
-1 cup warm water
-1 tsp salt
-vegetable oil for frying
-about 2 cups sugar, for coating
Directions:
Dissolve yeast and the 1 tsp sugar in 1/4 cup warm water.  Set aside.
In a bowl, beat eggs until thick.
In mixer bowl, mix flour, yeast mixture, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, melted butter, evaporated milk, 1 cup water, and salt.  Beat well until it forms a soft, smooth dough.  Cover and let it rise until doubled (about 2 hours).
Heat oil.  Drop dough by big spoonfuls.  Fry until golden brown on both sides.  Drain on paper towels for about 1 minute.  Coat with sugar and serve hot.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Szechuan Shrimp

You seriously cannot get a simpler and quicker delicious meal than this!  I mean, you can have an amazing dish in less than 15 minutes (depending how fast you can clean and chop green onions and garlic!).  This is so good!  Wonderful flavors!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-12 oz cooked large shrimp, with tails removed
-4 Tbs water
-2 Tbs ketchup
-1 Tbs soy sauce
-2 tsp cornstarch
-1 tsp honey
-1/2 crushed red pepper flakes
-1/4 tsp ground ginger
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-6 green onions, sliced
-4 garlic cloves, minced
Directions:
In a small bowl, combine water, ketchup, soy sauce, cornstarch, honey, pepper flakes and ginger.  Mix well and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat oil.  Add green onions and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add cooked shrimp and heat up for about 1 minute.  Add sauce and cook for 2 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and bubbly.  Serve immediately over rice.  Enjoy!
Original recipe found here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mama's Rice Pudding (Orez cu Lapte)

I have been craving this for a while now and finally got around to make it.  This is one of those ultimate comfort foods, you know?  It was quite a treat when I grew up and I remember savoring every single bit of it when we were privileged enough to have it.  YUM!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 1/2 cups rice
-3 cups water
-2 cups milk
-1 cup sugar
-zest from 1 lemon
-1 tsp rum essence
-cinnamon
Directions:
Combine rice and water in large stock pot.  Cook until water is gone, stirring occasionally.  Add the milk and bring to a boil.  Stir in sugar, zest and rum.  Stir constantly.  When rice is fully cooked, remove from heat and pour into serving dishes.  Sprinkle with a little cinnamon.  It can be served hot or cold.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crispy-Skinned Chicken a l'Orange

Quick, simple and delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
-salt and pepper
-1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
-4 Tbs honey
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Heat oil in large oven proof skillet.  Season thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.  Place in hot oil skin down and cook for about 5 minutes, or until skin browns and gets a little crisp.
While skin is getting brown, mix orange juice concentrate, honey and salt and pepper to taste in small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and cook for an additional 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour a little over chicken.  Flip thighs on the other side (skin side up) and pour the rest of the glaze on top.  Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  Enjoy!
Adapted from a Melissa d'Arabian recipe.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

This soup is heavenly!  So creamy, delicious and amazing.  I love the sweetness of the tomatoes which blends perfectly with the rest of the ingredients.  Of course, in our family we love to have hot rolls with our soup.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (9 oz) package refrigerated spinach cheese tortellini
-2 (10 3/4 oz each) cans condensed tomato soup
-2 cups vegetable broth
-1 cup milk
-3 cups half and half
-1/2 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
-1 tsp onion powder
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp dried basil
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Directions:
Prepare tortellini according to package directions.  Drain.
While tortellini is cooking, mix the rest of the ingredients, except for the cheese, in a large stock pot.  Bring to a slight simmer.  Gently pour in cooked tortellini and Parmesan cheese.  Stir well and serve hot.  Enjoy!
Recipe slightly adapted from here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Tacos

These tacos are insanely delicious!  I just couldn't get enough of them!  They are quite addictive.  The spiciness of the sauce goes perfectly with the blue cheese dressing and the sweetness of the tomatoes.  Oh, what a treat this dish is!  You can have it as a snack, side, or plain main dish.  You also can choose how spicy your sauce will be by the type of sauce you use.  I love spicy food, so I used Louisiana hot sauce, which gave it quite a kick.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 large chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into 1 inch pieces
-oil, for frying
-1 cup flour
-2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
-1 egg
-1 cup milk
-1/2 cup hot sauce
-2 Tbs butter
-1 package fajita size tortillas
-sliced romaine lettuce
-chopped tomatoes
-shredded cheddar cheese
-blue cheese dressing
Directions:
Heat oil.
In large bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  In a medium bowl, combine egg and milk (beat until well mixed).  Take chicken chunks one by one and dredge through flour mixture, then into egg mixture, then back into flour.  Add to hot oil and cook in batches.  Drain on paper towels.
While chicken is cooking, in a large saucepan, mix hot sauce and butter.  Cook until butter is melted.  Transfer sauce into large bowl.  Toss chicken bits into hot sauce until fully cooked.
To assemble the tacos, place a few buffalo chicken pieces onto the bottom of a flour tortilla, top with lettuce, tomato, cheddar and blue cheese dressing.  Wrap and enjoy!
Recipe from here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Zuppa Toscana

Some people claim that this soup tastes like the one found at Olive Garden.  Well, I have never had that soup, so I can't compare it.  But I CAN say that this soup is delicious!  The flavors go very well together.  It's also very easy to make and pretty quick too.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 small onion, chopped
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 lb bulk Italian sausage
-8 cups chicken broth
-2 cups water
-3 large potatoes
-1/4 cup bacon bits
-1 cup heavy cream
-2 cups fresh baby spinach
- grated Parmesan cheese
Directions:
Coat a large sauce pan with cooking spray.  Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook an extra minute.  Add sausage and cook until browned, breaking it apart.  Add broth and water.  Peel the potatoes and cube them. Add them to the soup.  Simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.  Add bacon bits, heavy cream and spinach (torn in smaller pieces).  Cook for a couple more minutes.  Serve hot and sprinkle a little cheese on top.  Enjoy!

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