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!
-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
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!
-1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
-1 cup sugar
-zest from 1 lemon
-2 Tbs water
-extra sugar, salt and pepper, to taste
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!
-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
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.

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!
-2 whole rainbow trout fish, cleaned, scaled and gutted
-1 lemon
-lemon pepper
-garlic powder
-onion powder
-dried parsley leaves
-butter-flavored cooking spray
-1 cup white grape juice
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!
-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
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!
-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
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!
-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
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!
-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
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!
-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
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!
-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
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!
-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
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!
-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
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!


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