Monday, December 31, 2012


My awesome mother in law gave me a beautiful immersion blender.  Of course I immediately thought of ways to use it.  I've been wanting one for some time now.  :)  So, I made this soup.  It was very, very, very good.  You can serve it with some hot rolls or French baguettes.  This soup would also make for a great appetizer for tonight's New Year's Eve feast.  It's easy, quick and delicious.  Vichyssoise is a wonderful soup made from leeks and potatoes.  It is supposed to be served cold, but luke-warm is just as wonderful.  Top it with some chives and bacon bits.  Enjoy!
-2 Tbs butter
-3 medium leeks, well washed and sliced
-3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
-4 cups chicken broth
-2 cups half-and-half
-1/2 tsp salt
-chopped chives, to top
-bacon bits, to top
Melt butter in large saucepan.  Add leeks and cook until tender.  Add potatoes and broth.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
With your immersion blender, process mixture until nice and smooth.  If you don't have an immersion blender, you can simply pour mixture into a normal blender or a food processor.  Return mixture to pot.
Remove pot from stove.  Stir in half-and-half and salt.  Mix well.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Ladle into bowls and top with chives and bacon bits.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

As soon as I saw this on Karen's blog, I knew I had to make it.  Not only was it a great gift for teachers and friends, but it's also an amazing treat.  It's super easy to put together, quick and you can finally use that powdered milk in your food storage. :)  It's also nice because it's in the crockpot, so you can have a cup of hot goodness as soon as you come home from the freezing weather outside.  Enjoy!
-1 1/2 cups powdered milk
-1/2 cup + 1 1/2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 cup + 1 1/2 Tbs sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
Fill slow cooker with 9 1/2 cups water.  Add all the ingredients.  Stir well.  Turn slow cooker to low and let it get hot.  Ladle into cups and top with some extra marshmallows and crushed candy canes, if desired.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Panfried Tilapia with Caper Sauce

This is a light, yet filling dish.  I just love how good the sauce is: not salty or lemony, but just perfect.  I served ours with some broccoli rice and it was delish.  Enjoy!
-1 Tbs lemon juice
-1 tsp dried dill weed
-1/4 tsp pepper
-4 (6 oz each) tilapia filets
-1/3 cup flour
-4 Tbs butter
For sauce:
-1 Tbs flour
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 cup milk
-2 Tbs capers, drained
-1 Tbs lemon juice
-2 tsp dried parsley flakes
In a shallow bowl, mix lemon juice, dill weed, salt and pepper.  Dredge fish through mixture, then through flour.  Melt butter in large skillet.  Place fish in hot butter and cook until golden brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side).
Remove fish onto plate and cover to keep warm.
In the same skillet, stir in the 1 Tbs flour and 1/4 tsp salt.  Stir until smooth and bubbly.  Gradually add milk and cook until it thickens and boils, stirring constantly.  Stir in the capers, 1 Tbs lemon juice, and parsley flakes.  Serve over fish.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gourmet Mint Brownies

There's a bit of work involved with these brownies, but every second is so worth it!  Every bite is like heaven in your mouth.  It's the perfect mixture of decadent chocolate and a mint cream cheese filling.  Simply decadent and delicious!  Enjoy!
For filling:
-1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 egg
-1 tsp mint extract
-4 drops green food color
For brownies:
-1 cup margarine
-4 oz unsweetened chocolate, cut into pieces
-2 cups sugar
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-4 eggs
-1 cup flour
For frosting:
-2 Tbs margarine
-2 Tbs light corn syrup
-2 Tbs water
-2 oz  unsweetened chocolate, cut into pieces
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven 350 F.  Coat a 9x13 pan with the baking spray. 
In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar.  Beat until smooth.  Add 1 egg, mint extract and food color.  Mix well and set aside.
In a large sauce pan, melt 1 cup margarine and 4 oz chocolate.  Stir constantly until smooth and melted.  Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes.  Pour into your mixer bowl.
Stir 2 cups sugar and 2 Tbs vanilla into the chocolate mixture.  Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in the flour and mix well.  Spread in prepared pan.  Carefully spoon the reserved filling over brownie mixture.  Lightly swirl filling into brownie mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely.
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 Tbs margarine, corn syrup, and water.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Add 2 oz chocolate and stir until melted.  Add 1 tsp vanilla and powdered sugar.  Mix until smooth.  Frost over cooled brownies.  Place in the fridge for 1 hour, then cut into bars.  Store inthe fridge.  Enjoy!
Recipe slightly adapted from a Pillsbury Family Cookbook.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Zacusca (Romanian Vegetable Spread)

I love, love, love this dish!  The flavors are unbelievable, as there's roasting and slow cooking involved.  My awesome sister made this and I truly appreciate all of the effort she put into this.  Zacusca is an excellent dish, but it takes an insane amount of time to make it (it took her 12 hours!).  My sister did this while she cared for her very young family, so this deseves a super extra A plus!  You can eat it warm, but cold, straight out of the fridge is probably the best way of enjoying it. The recipe below makes A LOT of it, but that's OK because it stores nicely in the pantry, at room temperature.  It's a great way of enjoying veggies during the cold months.  Enjoy!
-11 lbs eggplants
-8.5 lbs bell peppers (red, yellow, green, all work just fine)
-6.5 lbs tomatoes
-4.5 lbs onions
-about 2 cups vegetable oil (start with 1 cup as you may need to use less-use your own judgment on this one :)
-salt, black peppercorns, bay leaves, according to your taste
Place eggplants and bell peppers on hot grill.  Roast until done.  As soon as they're done cooking, put the peppers in a large bowl and season generously with salt.  Cover them tightly and set aside for about 30 minutes.
Once the eggplants are done, score the bottom (but don't cut it completely) and place them in a colander-this will allow the bitter juice to come out of them.
Peel the charred skin off the peppers and cut them into chunks (size is up to you).  Peel the eggplants as well and mush them well, but don't turn them into liquid (you may use the blender, if wanted).  Set all of these aside.
Boil the tomatoes, peel them and put them in blender, until you get a nice puree like juice.
Heat up the oil in a large skillet.  Dice the onion and cook in hot oil.  Add the eggplants and stir well.  Let it simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the pepper chunks and cook for 5 more minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes.  Simmer until the oil reaches the surface and it looks clear.  Season with salt, peppercorns and bay leaves.  Let it simmer for 5 more minutes.
Remove mixture from the stove and divide it between glass jars, as hot as it is.  Cover jars with lids.  Place the jars into a large dish with boiling water.  The water is supposed to cover the top of the lids.  Boil everything for 5-10 minutes.  Remove jars and place on a large towel.  Let them sit for 24 hours.  Remove peppercorns and bay leaves before eating.:)
Recipe courtesy of my awesome sister, Irina.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fried Scones with Cinnamon Honey Butter

These are not your typical baked scones.  They are fried and super extra delicious!  I absolutely love them!  Make sure you eat them hot with the special butter or some powdered sugar.  Yum!  Enjoy!
For scones:
-2 Tbs active yeast
-1/2 cup warm water
-1 Tbs + 1/2 cup sugar, divided
-1 cup boiling water
-1/2 cup margarine
-2 tsp salt
-3 eggs
-4 1/2 cups flour
For butter:
-4 Tbs butter, at room temperature
-2 tsp honey
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
Make the butter by  mixing all the ingredients together.  Store in the fridge.
For the scones: Mix warm water with the yeast and 1 Tbs sugar.  Set aside.
In your mixer bowl, stir boiling water, remaining sugar, margarine and salt.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add yeast mixture and 2 cups of the flour.  Beat until smooth.  Add the rest of the flour.  Mix well.  The dough will be sticky, but that's ok.  Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour.  After that, place it in the fridge until cold (you could refrigerate it over night). 
Roll out very thin on a floured surface.  Cut into strips or squares.
Fry into hot oil until golden brown and puffy (a couple of minutes per side).
Serve hot with cinnamon honey butter or powdered sugar.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Athenian Orzo and Shrimp

This dish is very comforting and it has a little kick to it, which I love.  It's a wonderful combination of orzo, capers, shrimp, feta cheese, onion, garlic, and other goodies.  Go ahead and try it.  Enjoy!
-1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
-1 small onion, chopped
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 cup apple juice
-2 (14.5 oz each) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
-1 tsp dried parsley
-1 Tbs drained capers
-1/2 tsp dried oregano
-salt and pepper, to taste
-a pinch or two of crushed red pepper
-1 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
-1 cup orzo
-1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat oven to 450 F.  Coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Put a pot of lightly salted water on to boil.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan, over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook for about 3 minutes.  Add apple juice and cook 1 more minute.  Stir in tomatoes with their juice, parsley, capers, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes. 
While that's cooking, add the orzo to the boiling water and cook for 9 minutes.  Drain and place in prepared baking dish.
After the tomato mixture has simmered for 5 minutes, drop in the shrimp and cook for only 2 minutes, or until the shrimp is barely pink.  Pour shrimp mixture on top of cooked orzo and mix well.  Sprinkle with feta cheese and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pumpkin-Apple Bread

I found the original recipe for this in an old Weight Watchers cookbook.  The combination intrigued me and I was anxious to try it.  The aroma was great, so I had high expectations.  However, the bread was quite bland.  It had potential though and I had to redeem it. :)  So, I went to work and added a lot of stuff to it.  The result was great, with an amazing taste, full of yummy flavors.  I'm glad I didn't give up on it! :)  This bread is just perfect for the fall.  Enjoy!
-2 cups flour
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 egg
-1/4 cup sour cream
-1 cup buttermilk
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 apple, cored and grated
-1 cup canned pumpkin puree
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, combine the flour with sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spice, and cinnamon.
In a smaller bowl, beat the egg.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour egg mixture over flour and mix with wooden spoon until well combined.  Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 65-75 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Easy Italian Chicken Tenders

This recipe is super easy and quick.  The chicken is very tender and juicy, and of course, tasty.  You can serve it as is, with your favorite sides, or you can dip the tenders in your favorite sauce.  Enjoy!
-2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the eggs mixture:
-2 eggs
-1 tsp seasoned salt
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese
For the breading:
-1 cup Italian style bread crumbs (or panko crumbs)
-1 Tbs seasoned salt
-1/2 Tbs garlic powder
-1 tsp pepper
-2 Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients.
In another shallow bowl, mix all the breading ingredients.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. 
Cut chicken breasts into thin strips.  Dip in egg mixture, then through breading.  Cook in heated oil until nice and golden brown on both sides.  Drain on paper towels and enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friganele (Romanian Toast)

This is one of my favorite childhood dishes.  It is so tasty and comforting.  I just love it!  It's super simple, easy and very quick to make.  You can eat it plain or topped with your favorite preserves.  Also, it can be served as breakfast, as a snack or as dessert.  Enjoy!
-2 eggs
-1 cup milk
-1 Tbs sugar
-4-5 slices bread (stale is preferable)
Heat a very good nonstick skillet over medium-low heat (don't go higher than that as the egg mixture will not cook thoroughly).
In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the milk and sugar and mix well.  Dip the slices of bread, one at a time in the egg mixture for 3 second per side.
Place into warm skillet and cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
Enjoy them hot!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

White Hot Chocolate

This is such a nice treat, a different version of the classic winter drink.  It's perfect for these cold days.  Enjoy!
-3 1/2 cups milk, divided
-1 cup white chocolate chips
-whipped cream
-blue sprinkles
Heat 1/2 cup milk and chips over meadium heat.  Whisk until chocolate melts.  Stir in remaining milk and heat to warm.  Pour into cups.  Garnish with whipped cream and sprinkles.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Navy Bean Soup

I love, love, love this soup!  It is packed with so much flavor.  It's a very rich soup, so you don't need much of it.  The combination of fresh lemon juice, beans, garlic and herbs is definitely a big winner in this one.  Enjoy!
-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 (15 oz) can navy beans, rinsed and drained
-1 Tbs dried parsley leaves
-the juice of one lemon (about 2 Tbs)
-1 Tbs dried chives
-1/2 tsp pepper
-2 cups chicken broth
-salt, to taste
In a large nonstick sauce pan, heat the oil.  Saute the garlic for 1 minute.  Add the beans, parlsey, lemon juice, chived, and pepper.  Give it a good stir.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes. 
Pour soup into blender and puree.  Return soup to pan and season with salt, to taste.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Lisa's Orange Rolls

This recipe comes from my sister's mother in law, Lisa.  These rolls are simply amazing!  They  are soft and fluffy, and packed with so much flavor.  Make sure you eat them hot with a nice glass of milk.  Enjoy!
For the rolls:
-2 cups milk
-1 tsp salt
-6 eggs, well beaten
-1 cup sugar
-6 Tbs butter
-2 (0.6 oz each) yeast cakes OR 4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
-8 cups flour
For the filling:
-1 cup or 2 sticks butter, softened
-1 cup sugar
-zest from 2 oranges
Scald the milk.  Add butter and cool.  When lukewarm, add yeast and salt. 
Add the sugar to the well beaten eggs.  Pour into yeast mix.  Add 2 cups of flour and mix well.  Let rise for 1 hour.
Add the remaining 6 cups of flour and mix well with a spoon.  Do NOT knead!  Cover and let rise 1 hour.
While that's rising, make the filling by combining the butter, sugar and zest.
Divide the dough into 4 portions and roll oblong 1/2 inch thick.  Spread with filling, roll up and cut into 1 inch sections.  Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Let rise 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pecan Pie 2

I seriously love pecan pie.  This recipe is a little different than my first one on this blog.  In this one I used brown sugar as opposed to corn syrup.  The result was fantastic!  The pecans simply melt in your mouth in a delicous concoction of flavors.  Just enjoy! :)
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup white sugar
-2 eggs
-1 cup chopped pecans
-1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
-2 Tbs milk
-1 Tbs flour
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup pecan halves
-1 (9 inch) deep frozen pie shell, unbaked
Preheat oven to 325 F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place frozen pie shell on top and set aside.
Cream sugars and eggs.  Add chopped pecans, melted butter, milk, flour, and vanilla.  Pour mixture into prepared shell.  Arrange pecan halves on top.
Bake in preheated oven for about 55 minutes or until the pie has a slight jiggle in the center.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Curried Turkey Salad

If you still have some Thanksgiving leftovers, here's a great way to use them.  This salad is just wonderful, with the flavors combining beautifully.  I love the mixture of the curry with the mayo and heavy cream, the crunchiness of the green onions and walnuts, and the great taste of the roasted turkey.  Enjoy!
-1/4 cup mayonnaise
-2 Tbs cranberry sauce
-1 Tbs curry powder
-1 1/2 Tbs heavy cream
-1/3 cup dried cranberries
-2-3 green onions, chopped
-3 Tbs chopped walnuts
-1 1/2 cups roasted turkey (warmed up and skinned), diced
-toast (about 10 slices)
In a medium bowl, mix mayo, cranberry sayce and curry.  Add the heavy cream and mix well.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Spread on toast.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I just love these cookies.  You can definitely taste the pumpkin in them, and they are super moist, fluffy and soft.  Just delicious!  Enjoy!
-1 cup butter
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-3/4 cup white sugar
-1 egg
-1 Tbs vanilla extract
-1 cup pumpkin puree
-1 cup quick oats
-2 cups flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugars.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add pumpkin, oats, flour, baking soda and cinnamon.  Fold in the chocolate chips. 
Drop by spoonful on prepared sheets.  Bake in preheated oven for 13-15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

This is another serious comfort food.  So creamy, so savory, so delicious!  You have to try this one.  I did not make the biscuits from scratch, as I do not have much time on my hands.  However, the biscuits were absolutely perfect with the gravy.  I used sage pork sausage, which gives the gravy even more flavor.  Enjoy!
-8 buttermilk biscuits
-1 lb sage pork sausage
-1/4 cup finely chopped onion
-2-3 Tbs butter, if needed
-6 Tbs flour
-1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
-1/4 tsp salt
-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
-2 dashes Tabasco sauce
-4 cups whole or 2% milk (don't go lower than that-you need the fat for the creaminess)
Crumble the sausage in a large saucepan and cook until no longer pink.  Stir in the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. 
If there are less than about 3 Tbs drippings in the pan, add enough butter to equal that much.  Sprinkle the flour over the sausage.  Stir and cook for about 6 minutes, until the mixture starts bubbling and turns slightly golden brown.
Stir in poultry seasoning, nutmeg, salt, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce.  Cook for 1 minute. Slowly, add  the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened (about 15 minutes).
Pour gravy over biscuits.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken

Quick and delicious; just my kind of dinner.:)  This goes perfect with some mashed potatoes.  Enjoy!
-7-8 chicken drumsticks
-salt and pepper
-1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained and divided
-1/2 cup sliced pittet ripe black olives
-1/4 cup chopped onion
-2 tsp dried parsley
-1 tsp oregano
-2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 cup chicken broth
-1 cup red, green and yellow pepper strips
Score chicken and season with salt and pepper.
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray.  Add the chicken and cook about 10 minutes or until lightly browned on all sides.
Add 1/2 cup of the tomatoes and the olives, parsley, oregano, lemon peel, and garlic.  Cook 1 minute.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the pepper strips and the remaining tomatoes with juice.  Simmer, covered, for about 10 more minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fluffy DinnerRolls

Quick, easy and absolutely delicious!  I love how fluffy and yummy these rolls are.   Enjoy!
-1 1/2 cups milk
-1 stick butter
-1 1/2 cup hot water
-8 Tbs sugar
-2 tsp salt
-8-9 cups flour
-2 heaping Tbs yeast
Heat the milk in a saucepan.  Add the butter and stir until nice and smooth, but do not boil!
Preheat oven to 170 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pour hot milk mixture into your mixer bowl.  Add the hot water.  Add the sugar, salt, and 4 cups of flour (1/2 cup at a time).  Mix for 1 minute.
Add the yeast and the rest of the flour, again 1/2 cup at a time.  There's enough flour when the dough scrapes the side of the bowl clean.  Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes (the dough might look a bit more sticky at this point, but do not add extra flour!).
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 5 minutes.  The plastic wrap will trap the heat in, which will make the rolls rise and be fluffy.
Shape the dough into 24 rolls and place them on prepared sheet. 
Place rolls in preheated oven and let them rise for 20 minutes.  Leave them in the oven and increase the temperature to 350 F.  Bake for 15 minutes (this includes the time it takes the oven to increase in temperature) or until golden brown.
Brush with a little siftened butter and serve warm.
Adapted from a recipe fround here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chili con Carne

I absolutely love this chili.  It's quick to put together and super tasty.  You can top it with shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, onions, or whatever you want.  Enjoy!
-1 lb lean ground beef
-1 small onion, chopped
-3/4 cup water
-1 small bell pepper, chopped
-2 Tbs chili powder
-1/4 tsp ground pepper
-1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-2 (14.5 oz each) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed tomato soup
-3 Tbs  tomato paste
-1 (4.5 oz) can diced green chiles
-1 (15.5 oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Combine ground beef and onion in a large non-stick  saucepan.  Cook until beef is no longer red.  Add all remaining ingredients, except beans.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Stir in kidney beans and simmer until thotoughly heated.  Top with favorite toppings.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Steak with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce

I love blue cheese and the sauce in this recipe makes it shine.  The blue cheese is perfect with the onion and the rest of the ingredients and they go really well on top of the steak.  Enjoy!
-4-6 nice steaks (any kind you like)
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1/2 stick + more ro rub butter
-1 large onion, sliced
-1 cup heavy cream
-4 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
-3-4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Rub butter all over the steaks.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place on hot grill and cook until done to your likeness.  Set aside and keep warm.
Meanwhile, melt 1/2 stick butter into large skillet.  Add onion and saute until golden brown, about 8 minutes.  Pout in the cream, a dash of pepper, and the Worcestershire sauce.  Bring to a boil and add the blue cheese.  Stir until nice and smooth.  Spoon sauce over steak.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a Ree Drummond recipe.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Broccoli and Shrimp Chowder

I love, love, love this chowder!  It's quick, easy and simply delicious!  It goes pretty well with some hot rolls.  Enjoy!
-2 cups chicken broth
-1 large potato, peeled and diced
-2 cups broccoli florets
-1 small onion, diced
-1/2 cup sour cream
-1/2 cup milk
-salt and pepper, to taste
-14 oz cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
Place broth, potato, broccoli, and onion in large pot.  Bring to a boil, partially cover and cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.  Pour soup into blender and puree.
Return mixture to pot on low heat.  Add sour cream and milk.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the shrimp and cook for about 3 minutes, or until hot.  Do NOT boil.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dirty P's Garlic-Ginger Chicken Thighs

This chicken is insanely tender and juicy!  It just melts in your mouth.  I also love that there's very little preparation with this, and the results are amazing!  Enjoy!
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-1 small red onion, thinly sliced
-4-5 cloves garlic, minced
-2 tsp ground ginger
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1/4 cup orange juice
-1 tsp ground pepper
-oil, for the grill
In a large non-reactive bowl,  combine onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, orange juice, and pepper.  Stir in the chicken, making sure is coated all over.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (ideally over night).
Brush oil on grill.  Preheat grill.
Take chicken out of marinade and place on hot grill.  Cook until done to your likeness.  Let rest 5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe courtesy of Guy Fieri.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Caramel Apples

Happy Halloween!  These apples are just perfect for today.  They are super easy and quick to make.  Of course, dipping them in caramel is just the basic stuff.  You can roll them in chopped nuts, sprinkles, or whatever your heart desires.  Enjoy!
-4 tart apples, such as Granny Smith
-9 oz caramel candies
-1 Tbs water
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-non-stick cooking spray
-candy sticks or craft sticks
Scrub apples in hot tap water.  The wax needs to be removed in order for the caramel to stick, so you need to scrub them.  The hot water works best in removing it.  Dry apples and place in the fridge while making the coating.
Coat a piece of wax paper with a little cooking spray and set aside.
In a small sauce pan, melt caramel candies with the water.  When nice and smooth, add the vanilla.
Insert sticks into apples and roll immediately through caramel.  If you want other toppings, roll the apples into that as well.  Set on prepared wax paper.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Mmm, mmm, mmm!  This is super delicious, filling, and extremely quick to put together.  It's absolutely perfect for a busy night.  Enjoy!
-2 hearts romaine lettuce, broken in small pieces
-1 cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
-1 cup ranch dressing
-1 cup blue cheese crumbles
-about 1 lb of cooked crispy chicken strips, frozen
-cooking spray
-1/4 cup hot sauce
Coat large skillet with cooking spray.  Place chicken strips in the microwave for 1 minute, then cut into small chunks.  Place chicken chunks into prepared skillet and warm them up.  Stir in hot sauce (make sure all the chicken gets some).
Meanwhile, mix the ranch with the blue cheese crumbles and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix lettuce with cucumber.
To serve, place some salad mixture onto plate.  Top with hot chicken chunks and blues cheese dressing.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Broiled Tilapia with Mustard-Chive Sauce

This dish is delicious, light and super quick.  I love how well the flavors combine.  I served ours with some mac & cheese (to make the kids happy) and some veggies, but you could serve it with some rice as well.  Enjoy!
For the fish:
-cooking spray
-6 (4 oz each) tilapia fillets
-extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
-salt and pepper
For the sauce:
-1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
-2 tsp honey
-1 tsp Dijon mustard
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1 Tbs freeze-dried chives (or 2 Tbs fresh)
-salt and pepper
Preheat broiler on high.  Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.  Set aside.
Drizzle tilapia on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Arrange fillets in single layer on prepared baking sheet.  Broil until cooked through, for about 6-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, honey, and mustard.  Mix until smooth.  Whisk in lemon juice and chives.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve the tilapia with a little sauce on top.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Crescent Chicken Roll-ups

This is such comfort food!  The filling is so tasty and it goes just perfect with the crescent rolls. The sauce is nice and creamy and complements the dish beautifully.  I served ours with some plain rice and a green salad.  Enjoy!
-6 oz cream cheese, softened
-1/4 cup melted butter
-1/8 tsp ground pepper + a pinch more, divided
-2 cups cooked chicken, cut into chunks
-1 (4oz) can mushrooms
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
-2 cans crescent rolls
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
-half of the can of soup filled with milk
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix cream cheese, melted butter, 1/8 tsp pepper, chicken, mushrooms, and walnuts.  Unroll crescent rolls and fill each of them with chicken filling.  Place in ungreased baking pans. 
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until rolls are golden brown.
Meanwhile, mix soup with milk in saucepan and cook until smooth and simmering.  Sprinkle a dash of pepper on top.
To serve, place a scoop of cooked rice onto plate.  Top with a few filled rolls and spoon a little sauce over it.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cheesy Shrimp Shells

This is a pretty quick dish and I love that is also a bit more on the healthy side.  The flavors are great together.  Enjoy!
-15-16 uncooked jumbo shells
-1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
-2 egg whites, lightly beaten
-15 oz ricotta cheese
-6 oz small cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails removed, cut into small pieces
-a handful fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp Italian seasoning
-3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
-1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cook the shells according to the package instruction.  Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.  Drain and set aside.
Coat a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.  Spread 1/2 cup of sauce evenly over bottom of pan.
In a large bowl, mix together egg whites, ricotta cheese, shrimp, spinach, garlic powder and seasoning.  Stir in 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup parmesan.
Spoon cheese mixture into cooked shells, and place in prepared baking dish.  Spread remaining sauce on top.  Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. 
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Orange Carrot Cake

This cake is quite a treat.  It's full of flavor, moist, and simply delicious.  The orange is a nice twist which enhances the flavor of the cake.  However, the orange flavor is not overpowering at all.  Enjoy!
For the cake:
-1 large orange, peeled and seeded (no white part, as that is bitter)
-4 eggs
-2 cups flour
-2 cups sugar
-2 tsp baking soda
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-2 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp nutmeg
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-1 1/2 cups oil
-2 cups grated carrots
-1 cup chopped walnuts
For frosting:
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-8 oz cream cheese, softened
-1 lb powdered sugar
-1 Tbs orange puree (reserved from the cake ingredients)
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray 2 round 9 inch pans with baking spray (flour and butter).  Set on baking sheet lined with foil.
Puree orange in blender.  Set aside 1 Tbs for the frosting.
In your mixer's bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Mix well.  Add the orange puree and oil.  Stir in carrots and walnuts.  Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for about 50 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.  Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.  Blend butter and cream cheese in a large bowl.  Add powdered sugar and reserved orange puree.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate and frost.  Add the second layer and frost the top and sides.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fiesta Chicken

This is super extra easy and delicious!  Perfect for a busy night!  Enjoy!
-2 (10 3/4 oz each) cans cream of chicken soup
-1 can corn, drained
-2 cups instant rice
-2 cups water
-1 cup medium salsa
-2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a 9x13 baking pan, mix soup, corn, rice, water, and salsa.  Cut each breast into 3 pieces.  Place chicken in the pan and cover with the rice mixture.  Sprinkle some paprika on top. 
Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

I love this type of meals, perfect for those crazy busy days when you don't even have time to breath!  You just add the stuff to your slow cooker, go on about your day, and voila!  Dinner is ready for you at the end of the day.  This goes perfectly with some mashed potatoes, seasoned rice or even some noodles.  The meat cooks perfectly in the slow cooker and it just melts in your mouth!  Enjoy!
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-1 (3 lbs) boneless chick roast
-garlic powder
-1 onion, thinly sliced
-3 bay leaves
-4 beef bouillon cubes, crushed
-2 garlic cloves, crushed
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
-1/2 cup red grape juice
-2 cups water
Heat oil in large skillet.  Season generously all sides of the roast with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Sear roast until brown on all sides.  Carefully, place roast (without the oil) in the slow cooker.  Layer on top  with the onions, bay leaves, crushed bouillons, garlic, and soup.  Add the juice and water.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
Adapted from a Paula Deen recipe.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Chocolate Pudding

This is super quick and way, way better than the store bought.  Top with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy!
-1 cup half and half
-1 cup 2 % milk, divided
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-4 tsp cornstarch
-3 large egg yolks
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/4 tsp salt
Put half and half, 1/2 cup milk, sugar, and the cocoa in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, whisk the rest of the milk, cornstarch, salt, yolks, and vanilla.  Gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture.  Return to the saucepan, and cook over medium0high heat whisking constantly, until the pudding comes to a full boil.  Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and continue whisking until thick (about 2-3 minutes). 
Pour the pudding into 6 small cups.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until set.  Serve each pudding with a dollop of whipped cream.  Enjoy!
Adapted from a Tyler Florence recipe.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Slow Cooker White Bean and Chicken Chili

This is just perfect for dinner on a cool fall evening.  It simmers in that slow cooker while you do what you have to do, then it's ready for you to enjoy.  Make sure to have some yummy cornbread to go with it.  Enjoy!
-1 lb dried navy beans
-5 cups chicken stock
-4 Tbs (1/2 stick) butter
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-3/4 cup diced onion
-2 (7 oz each) cans chopped green chiles
-1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped
-1 Tbs ground cumin
-1 tsp black pepper
-1/2 tsp white pepper
-a pinch of red pepper flakes
-shredded cheddar cheese, for topping
-sour cream, for topping
Rinse beans well, cover with cool water and soak for 2 hours.  Drain.  Put the beans in the slow cooker with the chicken stock.
In a skillet, heat the butter.  Add the onion and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and chiles and continue cooking for about 3 more minutes.  Transfer mixture to the slow cooker.  Add remaining ingredients.   Stir well.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.  Laddle into bowls.  Top with cheese and sour cream.  Enjoy!
Adapted from a Paula Deen recipe.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Classic Cornbread

Quick, super simple and delicious.  This is the perfect companion for a nice bowl of chili.  Enjoy!
-1 cup flour
-1 cup cornmeal
-2 Tbs sugar
-3 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup milk
-1/4 cup oil
-1 egg, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 425 F.  Grease 8x8 pan.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Mix well.  Stir in remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.  Pour batter into greased pan.
Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cut into squares and serve warm.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gold Medal Sizzling Fajitas

This is a great and quick recipe for some amazing fajitas.  You can use any kind of meat you would like (steak, chicken, shrimp).  I chose chicken for ours, but I'm excited to try steak and shrimp as well.  The flavors are great together.  Enjoy!
-4 Tbs vegetable oil, divided
-3 Tbs lemon juice
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1 tsp ground cumin
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp onion powder
-dash of hot sauce
-1 1/2 lbs meat (boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, steak, or peeled and deveined shrimp), cut into chunks (except for shrimp)
-1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
-1 green bell pepper, sliced
-1 red bell pepper, sliced
-sour cream, for topping
-salsa, for topping
-guacamole, for topping,
-shredded cheddar cheese, for topping
Combine 2 Tbs oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, hot sauce, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Add meat chunks or shrimp and toos around to coat.  Cover and let sit in the fridge for about 1 hour.
Spray a large skillet with cooking spray.  Place the meat in hot skillet, discarding the marinade.  Cook until meat is cooked through.
While the meat is cooking, heat the remaining oil in another large skillet.  Add the onion and bell peppers.  Cook until crisp-tender, seasoning with some salt and pepper.
Warm up the tortillas.
Place meat, veggies, and toppings on tortillas.  Wrap up and enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a Paula Deen recipe.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Smoked Salmon and Chipotle Chowder

My wonderful mother in law sent me some delicious gourmet smoked salmon and some recipes to use it in.  I chose this one as the weather has started to cool down a bit and I thought it would be perfect for a nice, warm dinner.  Of course, it goes perfectly with some hot rolls.  The chowder is very simple, but packed with so much flavor!  Everything combines just beautifully.  Of course, to my liking, it's also spicy.  Make sure to remove the seeds from the chipotle pepper, otherwise your tongue will literally be on fire!  Enjoy!
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 small onion, chopped
-1 can (14.5 oz) vegetable broth
-1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
-1 cup half and half
-2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
-1 can (15 oz) sweet corn, drained
-6.5 oz gourmet salmon, drained and flaked
-1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped
Heat oil in large pot.  Add onion and saute for about 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in broth, milk , and half and half.  Add potatoes.  Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.  Stir in corn, salmon and chopped pepper.  Cook for 5 more minutes.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tunnel of Brownie Ice Cream Cake

I have only one word for this dessert: DECADENT!  This is seriously and insanely amazing!  You so have to try this.  It's very easy, but make sure you either make it the night before or early morning if you want to serve it that night, as it has to sit in the freezer for 6-8 hours.  You can use any flavor ice cream or frozen yogurt you like.  I used the blueberry pomegranate dark chocolate chunk ice cream, which is a big favorite at our house.  Enjoy!
-1 box brownie mix and related ingredients (I used Duncan Hines fudge brownies)
-1 1/2 to 2 quarts ice cream or frozen yogurt, softened
Bake brownies in a 9x13 pan for 20-25 minutes only (they have to be soft and pliable, so that you can work with them).  Let cool completely.
Line a 5x10 loaf pan with plastic wrap (not the sticky kind).  Cut pieces of brownie to fit the bottom and sides, but make sure you leave enough for the top as well.  Arrange the pieces on the bottom and sides of prepared loaf pan.  Scoop ice cream into the pan, filling to about 1/2 " below the top.  Top with the remaining brownie piece.  Cover pan with aluminum foil and freeze for at least 6-8 hours.
Remove from the freezer and gently flip it onto serving plate.  Remove plastic wrap, cut into slices and enjoy!
Immediately freeze the leftovers.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chicken Paprikash

This dish is very quick, simple, and absolutely delicious!  I put it together in under 30 minutes!  How's that for fast?  It has a bit of a kick to it and the chicken is super moist and tender.  The flavors are absolutely amazing together.  Enjoy!
-6 slices bacon, diced
-1 medium onion, chopped
-1 red bell pepper (green is fine too), chopped
-1/4 cup flour
-2 Tbs paprika
-1 tsp salt
-1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut in half
-2 cups chicken broth
-8 oz egg noddles
-1/2 cup sour cream
-1 Tbs dried parsley leaves
Start boiling the water for the noodles.
Meanwhile, in a separate pot, cook the diced bacon for 2 minutes over medium heat.  Add the onion and pepper, and cook for 3 more minutes.
While that is cooking, mix the flour, paprika, and salt in a shallow bowl.  Dredge the chicken through that.
Push the bacon and veggies to the side of the pot and increase the heat to medium high.  Add the chicken and any remaining flour mixture to the other side, and cook, turning, until browned (about 6 minutes).  Stir together the chicken, bacon and veggies, and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Stir, the reduce the heat to medium low.  Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through (about 10 more minutes).
While that simmers, add the noodles to the boiling water and cook as the label directs.  Drain and set aside.
Uncover the pot with the chicken, increase the heat to high and cook for 2 extra minutes.  Reduce the heat to low, stir in the sour cream and parsley, and cook for 2 more minutes.  Serve over the noodles.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a Food Network Recipe.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Smoked Salmon Hash with Sunny Side Up Eggs

This dish is very addictive.  Once you start eating it you simply cannot stop!  It's also a bit on the spicy side, which is always a plus for me.  If you don't like spicy, simply omit the cayenne or add only a little bit.  Enjoy!
-oil for frying
-2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 small onion, chopped
-cayenne pepper, to your liking
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-6.5 oz gourmet smoked salmon, flaked
-cooking spray
-4 eggs
Heat frying oil.  Add potatoes and cook until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the onion and season with salt and cayenne.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and salmon.  Season with a bit more cayenne, if desired.  Stir and cook for 1 minute.  Add the potatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, gently stirring.  Set aside and keep warm while you make the sunny side up eggs (use the cooking spray to make them).
Divide salmon hash onto 4 plates, and top each with 1 sunny side up egg.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!
Adapted from an Emeril Lagasse recipe.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pecan Chicken with Blackberry Sauce

As soon as I saw this recipe on my friend, Haylee's blog, I knew I had to try it.  I sure am glad I did, because my family and I LOVED it!  The sauce is absolutely incredible!  It has such an amazing flavor!  I tweaked the recipe just a little bit.  A plus is that it's also super easy to put together.  The longest time is for cooking the chicken, so make sure you plan this in advance.  I served ours with some mashed potatoes.  Enjoy!
For the chicken:
-4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
-1/2 cup pecan chips
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
-1/4 tsp ground pepper
-1/2 cup buttermilk
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
For the sauce:
-1/4 cup diced onion
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 tsp sumbol (or crushed red pepper)
-10 oz blackberry preserves
-1/4 cup chicken broth
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1/8 tsp Tabasco sauce
-1/8 tsp salt
-1/8 tsp ground pepper
-1 Tbs cornstarch
Preheat oven to 300F.
In a shallow bowl, mix pecans, salt, crumbs, and pepper.  Pour buttermilk in another shallow bowl.  Heat the oil in an ovenproof large skillet.
Dredge chicken in buttermilk, then through the crumbs mixture.  Fry in hot oil until lightly brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side).  Move skillet into preheated oven and bake for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the sauce.  Heat oil in skillet.  Add the onion and saute for about 4-5 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.  Simmer until nice and thickened.
Once chicken is done, pour sauce over chicken and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Buttermilk Pie

This pie is truly a treat!  So creamy, sweet, smooth and delicious!  Enjoy!
-1 (9 inch) deep dish frozen pie crust
-1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
-1 cup sugar
-3 Tbs flour
-3 eggs
-1 cup buttermilk
-1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 450 F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Place crust on top of that.  Line crust with double thickness foil.  Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for about 4 more minutes or until lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 F.
In a saucepan, melt butter.  Stir in sugar and flour.  Mix well. Remove from heat and set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, beat the eggs until nice and fluffy (about 1 minute).  Add the buttermilk and vanilla.  Gradually add the butter mixture.  Pour into cooled pie shell. Carefully tent whole pie with foil.
Bake in preheated oven for 55-70 minutes or until center is set when gently shaken.
Cool on counter for 1 hour.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hour before serving.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Simple Fried Shrimp

This is super quick and super delicious!  It goes really well with a side of mashies or broccoli rice, or you can serve it by itself with some cocktail sauce or even ketchup.  Although there's some Tabasco sauce in it, there really isn't any spiciness to it.  The Tabasco simply gives it a bit more flavor, but no kick.  Enjoy!
-1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
-1/2 cup flour
-1 egg
-2 Tbs milk
-4-5 dashed Tabasco sauce
-1 cup Panko crumbs (you may need to add a bit more)
-oil for frying
Heat oil in large skillet.
Place flour in a shallow bowl.  In another bowl, beat the eggs, and add milk and Tabasco.  Mix well.  In a third bowl add Panko crumbs.
Dip shrimp in flour, then in egg mixture, then in Panko crumbs.  Make sure it's coated on all sides.
Place in hot oil in batches.  Do not overcrowd.  Cook for a couple of minutes on both sides, or until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Smoked Salmon Wraps

This is not really a recipe.  It's more a suggestion for serving some delicious smoked salmon.  It's super quick and very tasty!  Enjoy!
-4 small tortillas
-cream cheese
-2 eggs, hard boiled, sliced
-smoked salmon
-1 cucumber, peeled and cut into thin strips
Spread cream cheese on tortillas.  Top with sliced eggs, cucumber strips and pieces of salmon.  Wrapped tightly, secure with toothpicks, and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Garlicky White-Bean Dip

This is a nice change from the regular dips.  It's also healthy and very quick to put together.  It goes perfectly with pita chips or tostidos scoops.  Enjoy!
-2 (15.5 oz each) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, divided
-2 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
-2 Tbs lemon juice
-1/4 cup + 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
-1 roasted red pepper, diced
Reserve 1/2 cup of the beans in a small bowl.
Place the rest of the beans in a blender.  Add garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Puree.  With the motor running, add the 1/4 cup oil.  Puree until nice and smooth.  Pour into serving bowl.
Mix the reserved beans with the rest of the oil, roasted pepper, and a little salt and pepper.  Pour on top of dip.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Slow Cooker Stewed Chicken and Sausage

This is serious comfort food.  The flavors are truly amazing in this dish.  There's also a little kick to it, which makes it even nicer.  It goes absolutely perfect with mamaliga.  Enjoy!
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
-Creole seasoning
-1/2 cup flour
-1/2 lb smoked sausage, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices
-2 onions, thinly sliced
-3 cloves garlic, chopped
-6 cups chicken stock
Heat oil in large skillet.
Season chicken on both sides with Creole seasoning.  In a bowl, mix the flour with some more Creole seasoning.  Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour, coating each side completely.
Add chicken to hot oil.  Turn to brown on all sides.  Remove chicken and place it in the slow cooker.
To the skillet, add the sausage and onion.  Season with salt and cayenne.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Transfer everything (including oil) to slow cooker over chicken.  Add the garlic and chicken stock.  Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 3 hours.  Serve on top of mamaliga.  Enjoy!
Adapted from an Emeril Lagasse recipe.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

I do not have enough words to describe this cheesecake!  It truly is decadent!  It's so chocolaty, rich, creamy...oh, so good!  You have to try it!  It's absolutely incredible.  Enjoy!

For the crust:
-1 (9 oz package of chocolate cookies-chocolate wafers, graham crackers or teddy grahams)
-1 Tbs sugar
-6 Tbs butter, melted
For the filling:
-10 oz semisweet chocolate chips
-4 (8 oz each) packages cream cheese, room temperature
-1 1/4 cups plus 2 Tbs sugar
-1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-4 large eggs
For the topping:
-3/4 cup heavy cream
-6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
-1 Tbs sugar
For crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch-high sides (or use a 10-inch springform pan with 2-inch sides). Process the chocolate cookies until they are finely ground. Transfer them to a small bowl and mix in the sugar. Add the melted butter and mix until well combined. Press the crumbs evenly onto the bottom only of the prepared pan. Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filling. Keep the oven heated at 350 degrees.
For filling:
Melt the 10 ounces of chocolate.  Cool the chocolate until lukewarm but ensure that it is still warm enough to be pourable. In a large bowl (or with a stand mixer), blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Mix in lukewarm chocolate. Pour the cheesecake filling over the crust; smooth the top. Bake until the center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
For topping:
One hour before serving (or up to 3 days ahead of time), stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over the center of the cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks. Chill until the topping is set, about 1 hour.
When ready to serve, release the springform pan sides. Transfer the cheesecake to a platter. It is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving.  Enjoy!
Recipe slightly adapted from here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Weight Watchers Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

I had this recipe for a long time, yet I just now made it.  I love how tasty it was with half the calories of a normal Philly Cheese Steak!  It is super easy to put together and absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
-cooking spray
-1 large onion, thinly sliced
-1 Tbs sugar
-1 lb flat iron steak, cut into strips
-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-4 burger buns
-3/4 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or pepper jack)
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray.  Add the onion and sugar.  Mix and saute until onion is tender and golden brown (about 10 minutes).  Remove onion from the pan and set aside.
Return the skillet to stove and add the strips of steak.  Saute until browned and cooked through.  Add the Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and cook until liquid is absorbed.
Divide the steak between the burger buns.  Top with onion and cheese.  Wrap in foil and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is nice and melted.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Chicken with Quince Jam

Quince is a big, hard fruit that tastes kind of tart.  However, processed as jam it is unbelievably sweet and delicious!  If you happen to have some in your home or find it at the store, try it with this simple recipe.  Enjoy!
-4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
-3 Tbs butter
-salt and pepper
-1 cup quince jam
-1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 300 F.
Melt butter in large ovenproof skillet.
Score each thigh and season well with salt and pepper.  Add to melted butter, skin side down.  Cook for about 7 minutes or until the skin is nice and golden.  Flip to the other side and cook for 5-7 more minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the jam with the water.  Pour over chicken.
Place skillet in preheated oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Serve over rice.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 31, 2012


If you read the Harry Potter series, you'd know that his favorite beverage is butterbeer.  While this drink is simply the author's imagination, Potter fans (including me :) have been trying to figure out how it would taste like.  So, based on Rowling's little hints of how it's supposed to taste, here's a recipe that claims to come close to that.  However, be aware that this is not a drink to have with dinner or any other meal.  This is more like a dessert, as it is very sweet and heavy.  You pretty much make a butterscotch like base that you top with cream soda and a heavenly whipped topping.  It is absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
-1 cup + 2 Tbs brown sugar, divided
-2 Tbs water
-6 Tbs butter
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
-3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
-1/2 tsp rum extract
-4 (12 oz each) bottles cream soda
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup brown sugar and the water.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Cook for a few minutes until frothy.  Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar, and 1/4 cup heavy cream.  Mix well, remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the rum.
To make the whipped topping, combine 2 Tbs brown sugar with the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream.  Beat with the electric mixer until thickened, but not completely whipped (about 3 minutes).
To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses.  Add about 1/4 cup cream soda to each glass and mix well.  Fill each glass to the top with additional cream soda.  Spoon a little whipped topping over each glass.  Enjoy!


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