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!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Louisiana Fish with Okra and Corn

This is a nice and light dish on a busy night.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 cups fresh or frozen sliced okra
-1 3/4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
-1 medium onion, chopped
-2 tsp PLUS 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
-2 tsp Cajun seasoning, divided
-about 5 fillets tilapia
Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 F.
In a baking dish, combine okra, corn, 2 tsp oil and 1 tsp Cajun seasoning.  Mix well.  Place in preheated oven and roast for 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of the fish with remaining seasoning.  Heat remaining oil in large skillet.  Add fish and cook for about 4 minutes per side, or until easily flaked with a fork. 
Serve fish with roasted veggies.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Slow Cooker Garlic Lime Chicken

Easy, quick and tasty!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-1/4 cup lime juice
-1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
-2 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp dry mustard
-1/2 tsp black pepper
Directions:
Coat slow cooker lightly with cooking spray.  Layer chicken in.  Mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl and pour on top of chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Super Easy Rolls

Unlike other rolls that require the dough to rise for a few hours, this is a piece of cake to put together.  Once all is mixed, you only need about one hour until you can sit down and enjoy them hot with some butter on top!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 cup warm water
-1/3 cup sugar
-1 package yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
-1 cup warm milk
-1/3 cup oil
-1 egg
-1/2 Tbs salt
-about 5 cups flour
Directions:
In a mixer bowl combine water, sugar and yeast.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
Add milk and mix well.  Add oil, egg and salt.  Mix well.  Add the flour, half of cup at a time, until dough comes away from side of the bowl.  Cover and let rise in mixing bowl for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Form rolls as desired and place on prepared sheets.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Potato Latkes

I cannot believe I haven't tried making these before.  Not only are they insanely easy to make; they are sooooo good!  This is one of the most famous Jewish dishes.  It can be served as an appetizer or as a side dish.  You can complement them with some applesauce, sour cream, or even sprinkle powdered sugar on top.  They are amazing!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 lbs potatoes
-2 large eggs
-salt and pepper
-about 1/4 cup chopped onion, optional
-oil for frying
Directions:
Peel the potatoes and grate them.  Place grated potatoes in large colander and wash well with cold water.  Using your hands, squeeze them as much as possible.  This will remove the starchy liquid which would make the latkes soggy otherwise.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly.   Add salt, pepper and onion.  Mix well.  Add shredded potatoes and mix well. 
Heat oil.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop some of the potato mixture and drop into hot oil.  Flatten a bit, for more even cooking.  Once one side has browned, flip to the other side to brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve hot with the topping of your choice, or just plain.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

One Ingredient: Banana Ice Cream

This is probably the last warm day we'll have for a long time, so I took advantage of this and made this insanely easy and delicious ice cream.  I mean, you seriously can't get it any easier than this.  And it's just ONE ingredient!  Super easy, creamy and delicious!  You're supposed to smooth it in a food processor, but a blender will do just fine (that's what I used).  You can also drizzle some chocolate or caramel sauce on top.  Yum!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 large bananas
Directions:
Peel and cut bananas in 1 inch slices.  Place slices in single layer onto plate lined with parchment paper.  Freeze for 2-3 hours, but no longer than that.  Place frozen banana slices into food processor and process until bananas form a smooth paste.  Scoop and serve immediately.  Enjoy!
Recipe originally found here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Paula Deen's Chicken Casserole

I found this recipe on foodnetwork.com and immediately thought that it would taste great.  I tweaked it a bit according to my family's liking and the results were fabulous!  It's very easy to put together and oh, so delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on
-salt and pepper, to taste
-4 Tbs butter, melted
-4 slices Swiss cheese
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
-1/4 cup white grape juice
-1 cup herb-flavored stuffing mix
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Butter a casserole dish.  Season the chicken well on both sides with salt and pepper.  Add the seasoned chicken in prepared dish.  Layer cheese slices on top.
In a separate bowl, mix soup and grape juice.  Season with salt and pepper and pour over cheese.  Sprinkle the stuffing mix on top and drizzle with melted butter.  Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes.  Enjoy!

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