Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

My sweet friend Dawn served a similar salad to this about a week ago.  I loved it so much that I wanted to make it for my family.  I forgot all the ingredients Dawn had in hers, so I tweaked it a bit according to my taste and added some of the things I remembered and some ingredients I really like.  I absolutely love what resulted!  YUM! :)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lb cooked pasta (I used garden rotini, but you can use any type you want)
-1 lb small shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined,with tails removed
-1 small red onion, cut in small chunks
-1 red/yellow/orange red pepper, diced
-1 handful of green or black olives (I prefer green)
-1 jar (7.5 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
-about a cup of crumbled feta
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Directions:
Mix everything together.  The marinade from the artichokes plus the olive oil will give it a very nice flavor.  Enjoy! 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mama's Pasca

Pasca is another traditional Romanian dessert type of dish for Easter.  It has a cheese mixture filling and it's very yummy.  Because the dough raises a lot during the baking process, use a large non stick oven proof sauce pan.  It does the trick. :)  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
-6 eggs
-2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese
-32 oz plain yogurt
-16 oz sour cream
-1 cup flour
-1 cup semolina flour
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup raisins, optional
-1 Tbs rum extract
-1 Tbs vanilla extract
-lemon zest from a lemon
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix eggs and sugar.  Add yogurt, cheese and sour cream.  Mix well.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Spray the large sauce pan with the baking (with flour) cooking spray.  Be generous. :)  Add batter to pan.
Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.  Lower the heat to 250 F.  Continue baking for another 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Balsamic Pork with Gnocchi and Green Beans

This is probably the quickest and easiest to make dish ever.  It was ready well under 30 minutes.  It's also very yummy!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-14 oz fresh or frozen green beans (do not use canned)
-1 lb mini gnocchi
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-2-3 boneless pork chops, cut into chunks
-salt and pepper
-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Directions:
Place green beans in a pot of boiling water.  Cook for about 7 minutes.  In the last 2 minutes of the cooking, add the mini gnocchi.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in large saute pan.   Season pork chunks with salt and pepper.  Cook pork in oil until no longer pink.  Remove pork from pan.  Add vinegar to pan and cook for about a minute, or until reduced by half.
Drain gnocchi and beans.  Divide among plates.  Add pork chunks.  Drizzle with just a bit of the vinegar reduction (the taste is very strong) over the entire dish.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Careylyn's Cream Cheese Lemon Pie

My sweet dear sister, Carelyn, brought this wonderful pie over for our Easter feast.  Besides being super easy to make, it was also very light and refreshing.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-Oreo cookie pie crust
-1 1/2 packages cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 cup sweet condensed milk
-2 Tbs lemon juice
Directions:
Mix cheese, milk and lemon juice.  Pour into pie crust and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until set.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Waffles of Insane Greatness

My husband had a Church meeting a while back that also provided a brunch.  The host served these waffles, and my husband came home raving about them.  Ryan, his friend, was kind enough to share the recipe, so we had them for a breakfast for dinner meal.  They were insanely great!  Very aromatic, puffy and delicious!  Of course, there's also a homemade syrup that goes with it and I posted that recipe as well.  Yummy!  Enjoy!
Waffles
Ingredients:
-3/4 cup flour
-1/4 cup cornstarch
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp spices of choice (apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, or any kind you like)
-chopped pecans, slivered almonds, walnuts or sunflower seed kernels (optional)
-1 egg, beat it until frothy
-1 cup buttermilk
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
-1 1/2 tsp sugar
-1 Tbs vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp almond extract
Directions:
Mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spice.  Add the egg.  In a separate bowl, mix together buttermilk, oil, sugar and extract.  Add to flour-egg mixture.  Stir until combine, but do not over mix.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  Heat waffle iron, cook them and enjoy!
Buttermilk Syrup
Ingredients:
-2 cups sugar
-4 Tbs Karo corn syrup
-1/2 cup margarine
-1 cup buttermilk
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 Tbs vanilla extract
Ingredients:
In a large saucepan, add sugar, syrup, margarine and buttermilk.  Bring to a boil, then continue cooking for 3 minutes.  Add baking soda and cook for only 10 seconds.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Stir and serve warm.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Quick Drob

Drob is a traditional Romanian dish, served at Easter time.  It's usually made out of lamb organs, but since where I live that's comparable to looking for the needle in the haystack, I tried to figure out a different way to make it.  I found a recipe that gave me an idea, and then made it my own.  It's really good and it sure satisfies that craving. :)  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
-1 lb liver sausage, case removed
-1/3 cup cooked rice
-3 green onions, sliced
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 Tbs dried parsley
-2 eggs
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Butter a small loaf pan (I used the cooking butter spray).
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients until well mixed.  Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Cook in preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until nice and browned on top.  Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Symphony Cookies

Ingredients:
-1 cup butter
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1 small box of instant vanilla pudding
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 eggs
-2 1/2 cups flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 (4.5 oz) Symphony chocolate bar with almonds and toffee bits, chopped
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream butter, sugar, pudding mix and vanilla extract.  Add eggs and beat until creamy.  Add baking soda and flour.  Mix well.  Gently stir in chopped chocolate.  Drop by spoonful into prepared baking sheets.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Savory Chicken Hash

Ingredients:
-2 cups frozen Southern style hash browns
-2 Tbs butter
-1 medium onion, finely chopped
-1 red bell pepper, chopped
-1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 tsp cayenne
-salt, to taste
-pepper, to taste
-1 Tbs smoked (or regular) paprika
-1/4 tsp dried oregano
-2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
-1/4 cup chicken broth
-1 Tbs dried parsley
-1 Tbs lemon juice
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Bring some water to a boil.  Add hash brown and cook for about 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt butter in large oven proof skillet.  Add onion, bell peppers and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes.  Add cayenne, salt, pepper, paprika and oregano.  Stir in the chicken and cook through.  Once chicken is cooked, add broth, parsley and lemon juice.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes.  Add the cooked potatoes.  Bake in preheated oven until potatoes are crunchy, for about 10-15 minutes.  Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Aaron McCargo Jr.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Penne with Salmon and Asparagus

Simple, tasty and healthy!  This is such an awesome meal!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lb penne pasta
-1 lb asparagus, ends removed; broken into 1 inch pieces
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 small red onion, finely chopped
-1 (14.75 oz) can salmon, drained with bones removed
-2 Tbs lemon juice
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to label directions.  Add asparagus 3 minutes before pasta is done.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet.  Add onion and cook until tender.
Once pasta is done, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.  Drain the rest.  Add salmon, cooked onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Stir in the reserved cooking water.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Olive Oregano Chicken

I seem to be on a Mediterranean kick lately.  :)  This is such a flavorful dish!  You don't need any salt to it, as the capers and green olives provide plenty of it.  I served ours with mashed potatoes, and that seemed to go quite well.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-2 lbs chicken wingettes
-pepper, to taste
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped
-1/4 cup capers, drained
-1 Tbs dried oregano
-1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
-2 garlic cloves, minced
Directions:
In a large skillet, heat the 2 Tbs oil.  Season chicken wingettes with pepper.  Place chicken in hot oil and cook until brown on all sides (doesn't have to be cooked through at this point).  Remove chicken onto a plate.
In same skillet, add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Return chicken to skillet, cover and lower the heat.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Greek Salad with Pork

Sometimes I need a light dinner, like a salad.  This was perfect for that reason.  Of course, the carnivore in me needed some meat, so I had pork.:)  It's simple and delicious.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For the dressing:
-1 cup plain yogurt
-1/2 cup sour cream
-1 tsp lemon juice
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1/4 tsp dried oregano
-4 Tbs milk
-salt and pepper, to taste
For the salad:
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-2 thick boneless pork chops
-seasoned salt
-garlic powder
-ground pepper
-1 bag baby spinach
-cherry tomatoes
-1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
-1/2 red onion, sliced
Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine all dressing ingredients.  Cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
Heat oil in large skillet.  Cut pork chops into large chunks.  Sprinkle with seasoned salt, garlic powder and black pepper.  Cook in hot oil.  Remove from heat on plate layered with paper towels.
Toss spinach with tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, pork and dressing.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mexajita Chicken

This dish has a nice, spicy flavor.  I love the mix of the chicken, tomatoes and beans.  It's really yummy.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 Tbs canola oil
-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4
-salt and pepper
-2 (16 oz each) cans pinto beans, undrained
-2 (19 oz each) cans fire roasted texmex style diced tomatoes
-1 Tbs fajita seasoning
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. 
Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Place in skillet and sear about 2 minutes per side (it doesn't have to cook all the way through).
Place undrained beans on bottom of 9x13 baking dish.  In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes and fajita seasoning.  Remove chicken from skillet and place in baking dish over beans.  Pour tomato mixture on top of chicken.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and tender.  Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Sandra Lee.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Carp Roe Spread (Icre)

Carp is a fresh water fish.   Is sweet to the taste.  I have lots of fond memories of it since I had it a lot growing up.  Roe is basically fish eggs, but it's not really caviar.  Anyway, this is a very common Romanian appetizer.  It's very yummy.  You can spread it on bread and top it with black olives, pickled sweet peppers, tomatoes, or dill pickles.  It is VERY important to whisk the roe in the same direction.  If you don't then the spread will fall apart, not being homogeneous at all.  Don't worry though, I'll add the remedy for it if you do whisk it both ways.:)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 Tbs carp roe
-about 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil (might need more than this)
-1-2 Tbs lemon juice
-1 Tbs grated onion (optional)
-1-2 Tbs water, if needed
Directions:
Place roe in a shallow bowl.  Whisk with a fork in same direction, just until roe is broken (do NOT beat with a mixer).  Add the oil and lemon juice a little at a time, until it becomes white and fluffy.  If the spread is too thick, add the water (a little at a time, as well). 
If you did whisk both ways and the mixture is not together, then add about 1 Tbs of warm water.  Then continue whisking the same way.  If using onion, stir it in at the very end.
Spread some on bread and top with olives, pickled sweet peppers, tomatoes, or pickles.  Enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of my mom.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Crispy Salmon on Orange and Bacon Spinach

This was such a lovely, light and tasty dinner.  It goes perfect with the mashed white beans.  The salmon is crisp and light, and everything just blends together.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 bag baby spinach
-5 slices bacon, cut into thin strips
-4 (4 oz) fillets salmon
-salt and pepper
-1/2 cup orange juice
-1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Directions:
In large nonstick skillet cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove bacon on plate lined with paper towels.  Pour off all but 1 Tbs of the bacon fat. 
Season salmon with salt and pepper on both sides.  Place fillets into skillet with bacon fat.  Saute salmon until cooked through (about 4-5 minutes per side).  Transfer salmon to a plate.  Pour off all fat from skillet.  Add the orange juice and spinach immediately to skillet.  Cook stirring frequently until spinach wilts.  Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Return cooked bacon and spinach to skillet.  Simmer until salmon is reheated.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Almond Chicken & Rice Casserole

This is another quick dinner for a busy night.  I love the combination of textures, from the creaminess of the cheese to the crunchiness of the chips and almonds.  Yum!
Ingredients:
-2 cups cooked  chicken, cut into chunks
-2 cups cooked rice
-1/2 cup slivered almonds
-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
-1 cup chicken broth
-3/4 cup mayonnaise
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1-2 cups of crushed potato chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a bowl mix together the almonds, cheeses, soup, broth, mayo, salt and pepper.  Mix chicken and rice in a 9x13 casserole dish.  Pour soup mixture on top and stir to blend everything together.  Top with crushed chips.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Romanian Cottage Cheese Dumplings (Papanasi)

My mom never made these when I grew up, but I had a neighbor who made them a lot and loved to share.:)  I haven't had them in probably over 20 years, so  I don't really remember the taste.  This recipe here is combined from several I found.  I really like what came out!:)  Very yummy!  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
-4 cups cottage cheese
-1 cup sugar
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-2 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-5-6 cups flour
-sour cream
-your favorite jelly/preserves
Directions:
In your mixer bowl beat cheese with sugar and baking powder.  Then add eggs and vanilla.  Add the flour half a cup at a time, until it looks like a soft dough, but not sticky.  Take a bit of dough, form a small ball, then squish it a bit and with your finger dig a little hole in the middle (just like a doughnut).  Fry until golden brown, then drain on paper towels.
Top with sour cream and jelly/preserves.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Grilled Butter-Garlic Chicken Drumsticks

This is a quick and yummy way to enjoy some nice, grilled drumsticks.  The flavor is not overpowering at all.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-10-15 chicken drumsticks
-1 cup butter, melted
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp ground black pepper
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp onion powder
-1 tsp dry chopped onion
-2 Tbs lemon juice
Directions:
In a shallow bowl, combine melted butter, spices and lemon juice.  Score each drumstick on each side to allow even cooking.  Dip each drum into butter mixture and place on grill.  Baste the drums while grilling with remaining mixture.  Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from the Food Nanny reescues dinner.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tropical Cheesecake

This cheesecake is so amazingly delicious!  The crust is made of coconut and the filling is a perfect mixture of lime and other yummies.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
-4 Tbs flour
-4 Tbs margarine, melted
-1 envelope unflavored gelatin
-1/4 cup water
-2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, at room temperature
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 tsp grated lime zest
-1/4 cup lime juice
-a few drops green food coloring
-1 tub (8 oz) whipped topping, thawed
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Mix melted margarine with coconut and flour.  Press firmly onto bottom of 9 inch springform pan.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan.mix gelatin into water.  Place pan on low heat.  Cook until gelatin is completely dissolved, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.
With the electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until well blended.  Add dissolved gelatin, lime zest, lime juice and food coloring.  Mix well.  Stir in the thawed whipped topping.  Pour mixture over coconut crust.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  When ready to serve, run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake.  Remove rim of pan.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Tilapia with Green Beans and Tomatoes

This is a super light, filling and delicious dinner.  It's also very quick to put together.  Yum!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 Tbs flour
-2 tsp dried oregano
-2 tsp dried parsley flakes
-salt and pepper, to taste
-6 (4 oz) tilapia fillets
-4 Tbs butter or margarine
-1/2 lb fresh green beans (not canned)
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-about 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
-1 Tbs lemon juice
-1/4 cup water
Directions:
Ina large skillet, melt 3 Tbs of the butter.  Meanwhile, combine flour, oregano and parsley in a shallow dish.  Season with salt and pepper.  Dredge the fish in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.  Add fish to melted butter and cook until golden brown and cooked through.  Remove fish from skillet and cover with foil to keep warm.
To the same skillet, add the green beans and garlic.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, and add the tomatoes.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add the lemon juice and water.  Cover and cook until beans are tender-for about 3 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat and stir in remaining 1 Tbs butter until just melted.  Divide the fish and vegetables among plates and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Roasted Corn Chowder with Lime Cured Shrimp

Robert Irvine is one of my favorite chefs from Food Network.  The man can cook!  Every single recipe I have tried from him turned out excellent.  This one is no exception!  It is by far the BEST chowder EVER!  I am soooo glad I have leftovers and I am already drooling anticipating tomorrow's lunch.  Yeah, it's that good!:)  This is definitely a MUST TRY.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lime
-1 lb shrimp, shelled, deveined with tails removed
-2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (do not use canned corn)
-1/4 cup + 1 Tbs vegetable oil, divided
-6 slices raw bacon, cut into chunks
-1 red onion, diced
-1 green pepper, seeded and diced
-1 red pepper, seeded and diced
-6 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 cup flour
-2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
-6 cups chicken stock
-1/2 lb red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
-3 Tbs lime juice
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-scallions, chopped, for garnish
-oyster crackers, for garnish
Directions:
Zest the lime and spread it over shrimp.  Squeeze lime juice over shrimp placed in a bowl.  Stir to coat, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 F.  On a baking sheet coat the corn kernels with the 1 Tbs oil.  Roast for about 10 minutes.
Heat oil in large sauce pan.  Add bacon and cook until crisp.  Add onions and cook for 5 minutes.  Do not brown it!  Add green and red peppers, garlic and toasted corn.  Cook for 5 more minutes.  Lower the heat.  Stir in flour and cook for about 6 minutes, or until thickened.
Add cream, chicken stock and potatoes.  Cook until potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Remove shrimp from marinade and discard liquid.  Stir in shrimp, the 3 Tbs lime juice and cayenne pepper.  Cook until shrimp is pink.  Spoon soup into bowls and top with scallions and oyster crackers.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a Robert Irvine recipe.

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