Friday, March 29, 2013

Spinach-Strawberry Salad with Mustard-Poppy Seed Dressing

A few days ago I had the privilege of helping out with a Relief Society dinner.  I was in charge of the salad.  My friend Julie gave me the recipe for this.  The salad is pretty much whatever you want to have, but the dressing is the key to it.  It is very good and easy to make.  Enjoy!
Mix some spinach, sliced strawberries, crumbled bacon, grated Swiss cheese and toasted sliced almonds.  Toss with the yummy dressing.
Ingredients for the dressing:
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup extra virgin olive oil
-2/3 cup white vinegar
-3 green onions, roughly chopped
-2 tsp salt
-2 tsp poppy seeds
-2 tsp yellow mustard
Directions:
Mix everything into your blender.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Romanian Cake with Fruit (Prajitura cu Fructe)

Oh, the memories this dessert brings for me!  My mom made this for us as often as she could afford it.  It is very easy to make, it's simple, you can use any type of fruit you have (even canned, as long as it's drained) and it's simply delicious!  My mom usually sprinkles some powdered sugar on top after it's done.  I made a topping to add to mine.  It's SO, SO, SO good!  My family loves this one.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For the cake:
-1 cup + 2 Tbs sugar
-2 eggs
-1 cup milk
-1/2 cup + 2 Tbs vegetable oil
-1 tsp rum essence
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 Tbs vinegar
-1 cup + 2 Tbs flour
-2 cups fruit chunks (I used strawberries)
For the topping:
-2 egg whites
-1/3 cup sugar
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat a 13x9 pan with baking spray (the one with flour and butter).  Set aside.
Cream the sugar and eggs.  Add the milk and mix well.  Add the oil.  Gradually stir in the rum and vanilla extracts.
In a little bowl, mix the baking powder and vinegar.  It will immediately become foamy.  Add it to the sugar mixture.  Gradually add the flour and mix very well.
Pour the mixture into prepared pan.  Evenly distribute the fruit chunks.  Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until golden brown and the toothpick comes out clean.
 Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with the sugar until peaks form.  Pour into Ziploc bag, cut a corner and drizzle over hot cake.  Return to the oven for 2-3 more minutes.  Be very careful to not burn it!
Let it cool, cut into pieces and enjoy!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Chicken in Mustard with Buttered Noodles

The picture might not look like much, but trust me; this this is delicious!  It's one of those comfort foods that leaves you happy. :)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For the chicken:
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-salt and pepper, to taste
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
-1 onion, chopped
-8 oz sliced mushrooms
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tomato, chopped
-1 Tbs flour
-1/2 cup apple juice
-1 cup chicken stock
-1/4 cup Dijon mustard
-2 Tbs sour cream
For the Super Buttered Noodles:
-2 chicken bouillon cubes
-1 lb egg noodles
-3 Tbs butter, softened
-1 Tbs sour cream
-chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Heat 1 Tbs of the oil in a Dutch oven or large oven proof pan.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Place in hot oil and brown on both sides.  Remove chicken and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 Tbs oil and the onions.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions are soft.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 4-5 more minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and flour.  Cook for about 3 minutes.  Turn up the heat and add the apple juice and bring to a boil.  Let it boil for about a minute.
Return the chicken to the pan.  Add the chicken stock.  Cover, place in preheated oven and cook for 25 minutes.  Remove the lid and continue cooking for 20 more minutes.
Once done, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.  Add the mustard and sour cream to the sauce.  Blend well.  Return the chicken and let everything sit for about 5 minutes, to allow the flavors to blend.
Meanwhile, bring some water to a boil.  Dissolve the chicken bouillons in it.  Add the noodles and cook according to the package directions.  Drain and reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water.  Mix the pasta water with the butter and sour cream.  Pour over hot noodles and mix very well.  Add the parsley, and season with salt and pepper.  Toss well.
Serve the chicken with the sauce over the noodles.  Enjoy!
Adapted from a recipe courtesy of Melissa d'Arabian.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Roasted Shrimp Enchiladas with Jalapeno Sauce

I don't think you can take a pretty picture of enchiladas.  They are delicious, but not the most beautiful looking. :)  Anyway, these enchiladas are absolutely amazing!  They are packed with so much deliciousness.  I loved, loved, loved them.  I can't wait to make these again.  They are creamy, on the spicy side, and simply awesome.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For the enchiladas:
-1 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tail removed
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1 small onion, finely diced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2 cups shredded cabbage and carrot mix
-3 cups baby spinach, washed and roughly chopped
-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely diced
-1/4 tsp oregano
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-12 (fajita size) flour tortillas
-2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
For the sauce:
-2 Tbs unsalted butter
-2 Tbs flour
-1 1/2 cups chicken broth
-3/4 cup sour cream
-2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Pat the shrimp dry.  Place them on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1 Tbs of the oil and some salt and pepper.  Mix well with your hands until all shrimp is coated.  Place in preheated oven and roast for 6-8 minutes or until shrimp us nice and pink.  Let it cool a little, then rougly chop it.
Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F.  Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
Heat remaining oil in large skillet.  Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the cabbage mix, chopped spinach, diced chipotle peppers, oregano, and cayenne.  Cook, sitrring occasionally until spinach is wilted.  Add the chopped shrimp, mix well and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Whisk in the flour until lightly browned.  Gradually, whisk in the chicken broth and cook, whisking constanly, until well incorporated (about 2 minutes).  Stir in the sour cream.  Add the jalapenos and garlic powder.  Simmer until the sauce has thickened.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.
Lay a tortilla on a flat surface.  Scoop about 1/3 cup of shrimp mixture and place on tortilla.  Roll it and place seam down onto prepared baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.  Top with shredded cheese and jalapeno sauce (make sure all the enchiladas are covered evenly). 
Cover and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until lightly golden and bubbly.  Enjoy!
Adapted from a recipe found here


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

M&M Cookie Pie


Yes, it is a cookie, and yes, it is a pie!  It's a cookie pie or pie cookie!  However you want to name it, it's a giant M&M cookie and it is delicious!  My kids loved this so much and they're looking forward to making it again. :)  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
-3/4 cup margarine
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 egg
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup + 1 Tbs flour
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1 very generous cup of M&Ms
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 F.  Coat a 9"pie pan with baking spray (the one with flour and butter).
Cream margarine and sugar.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Mix well.  Slowly add the flour and baking soda.  Mix well. Gently fold in the M&Ms.
Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. 
Let it cool, slice and enjoy!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Slow Cooker Maple Mustard Chicken

This is seriously some of the best chicken made in the slow cooker.  Even more, it's also super extra easy to make.  Only 4 ingredients that you just dump in.  Can't get easier than that!  The only thing I changed was the chicken.  I like to use chicken thighs (the ones from Costco for .99/lb) instead of chicken breasts.  The breasts tend to dry in the slow cooker.  The thighs, on the other hand, have a bit more fat on them which allows them to get so tender that they melt in your mouth.  Anyway, serve them over rice with lots of the sauce on top (the sauce is awesome!) and veggies on the side.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-1/2 cup maple syrup
-1/3 cup stone-ground mustard
-2 Tbs quick-cooking tapioca
Directions:
Coat slow cooker with cooking spray.  Place chicken on bottom.  Mix rest of ingredients and pour over chicken.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe found here.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Slow Cooker Pork Chops and Gravy

This is a finger-licking, melt-in-your-mouth, comfort food.  It is super easy to make, it's done in the slow cooker and it is simply delicious.  It is a family favorite.  I serve ours with mashed potatoes and veggies.  Enjoy! 
Ingredients:
-2 Tbs grape seed oil (vegetable or canola are fine too)
-3/4 cup flour, divided
-1/2 tsp ground mustard
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
-1/4 tsp ground pepper
-1/4 tsp seasoned salt
-5 bone-in pork chops
-2 cups chicken broth
Directions:
Heat oil in large skillet.
Mix 1/2 cup flour with the mustard, garlic powder, pepper and salt.  Dredge the chops through the flour mixture.  Place in hot oil and brown quickly on both sides.  Transfer chops to the slow cooker.
Mix remaining 1/4 cup flour with the broth until smooth.  Pour over chops.
Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
Remove pork to a serving plate and keep warm.  Whisk the gravy in the slow cooker until smooth.  Pour over chops and mashies.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

PI (E) DAY!!!

Today is one of my favorite days of the year!  It's Pi day, so of course, we pig out on pies today. :)
Make sure you check out my pies, both savory and sweet, by clicking here.  Enjoy!



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

I was sitting in my dentist's waiting room the other day, flipping though a magazine.  This recipe caught my eye because it looked different.   It also won $25,000 from Taste of Home.  As soon as I got home I hopped on the Internet and looked it up.  It took me a while to decide if I should make it or not because the reviews were either loved it or hated it.  No middle ground there.  However, when I looked closer, the ones who hated it did so because they do not like spicy food nor blue cheese!  That's what this recipe is all about.  It mimicks the taste of buffalo wings with the blue cheese dip.  So, if you like that, then definintely try this recipe.  We like that very much in my family, so we loved this recipe.  It really tastes like buffalo wings with blue cheese dip.  Just a warning though: it is time consuming, so plan well in advance.  I made the sauce and assembled the lasagna in the morning, then placed it in the fridge until 1 hour before dinner.  Then I baked it and served it hot out of the oven.  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
-1 Tbs canola oil
-2 lbs ground chicken
-1 small onion, chopped
-1 large carrot, grated
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
-1 (12 oz) bottle buffalo wing sauce
-1/2 cup water
-1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
-1/4 tsp pepper
-9 lasagna noodles
-1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
-5 oz crumbled blue cheese, divided
-2 Tbs dried parsley leaves
-1 egg, slightly beaten
-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
-2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
Directions:
Heat oil in large nonstick pan.  Add the chicken, onion and carrot.  Cook and stir until meat is no longer pink (make sure to crumble it well).
Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.  Stir in drained tomatoes, buffalo sauce, water, Italian seasoning, and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup blue cheese, parsley and egg.
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease 13x9 baking dish.
Spread 1/4 of the chicken mixture on bottom of baking dish.  Layer on top with 3 of the cooked noodles.  Top with 1/4 of the chicken mixture.  Top that with 2/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1 cup mozzarella, 2/3 cup white cheddar, and 1/3 of the remaining blue cheese.  Repeat layers twice (noodles, chicken, ricotta, mozzarella, cheddar, blue cheese).
Cover pan with foil.  Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Uncover and bake for about 25 more minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese is golden. 
Remove from oven, let stand for 10 minutes, cut and enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe found here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

40 Cloves of Garlic and Chicken

There's nothing fancy about this recipe.  You do need patience for it though.  While it is a very simple recipes, you need the patience for peeling all that garlic, then to wait one and a half hours for the chicken to cook.  It is worth it though.  The flavors are amazing and the chicken so tender that it melts in your mouth.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
-1/2 cup + 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-40 cloves garlic, peeled
-salt and pepper
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Heat 2 Tbs of the oil in large skillet. 
Season chicken well with salt and pepper.  Place in hot oil and brown on both sides.
Place chicken in baking dish.  Add the rest of the oil and all the garlic cloves.  Cover tight with foil.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Samoa Bundt Cake

As soon as my friend Danna posted the link for this on FB, my husband's name popped up in my head.  His birthday was coming up and he LOVES Samoa cookies and German chocolate cake.  I thought this would be the perfect combination for a birthday cake for him.  And trust me, this cake did not disappoint.  It is AMAZING and the frosting is to die for!  Some people commented that the cake took all day to make.  That is not true.  Start to finish, including making the batters (there are 2 of them, as it is a marble cake), the frosting, baking, cooling and cleaning everything, took me 3 hours.  If you ever made a cake from scratch, it usually takes about 2 hours, so this one was not so bad.  Also, the original recipe called for cooking the sweetened condensed milk, which is the main culprit for the length of the time.  I substituted that with dulce de leche, which is what the condensed milk becomes after cooking.  I found it at Walmart in the Hispanic Section for about $2.  That's not too bad in exchange for fewer hours spent in the kitchen.  All in all, yes, this cake is worth the time and effort.  It is delicious!  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
For batter #1:
-1 stick butter, softened
-1 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup 2% milk
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-3/4 tsp baking powder
-3/4 cup flour
For batter #2:
-1 cup sugar
-1/4 cup margarine
-1 egg
-1/2 cup 2% milk
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-3/4 tsp baking powder
-3/4 cup + 2 Tbs flour
-1/2 cup + 2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 cup boiling water
For frosting:
-1 (13.4 oz) can dulce de leche
-1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
-2 stick butter, softened
-2 Tbs vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup toasted sweetened coconut flakes
For topping:
-1 1/2 cups toasted sweetened coconut flakes
-1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat bundt pan with baking spray (the one with flour and butter).  Set aside.
Make batter #1:  Cream butter and brown sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  Mix well.  Add the milk and mix well.  Add salt, baking soda, baking powder and flour.  Mix very well.  Set aside.
Make batter #2: Cream sugar and margarine.  Add the egg, milk and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add salt, baking soda, baking powder, flour and cocoa powder.  Mix well.  Add the boiling water.  Mix very well.
Pour some batter #1 in the prepared pan, then some batter #2.  Alternate until both batters are in the pan.  Tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to remove bubbles.
 Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let it cool entirely on wire rack.
Meanwhile, beat dulce de leche, confectioner's sugar, butter, vanilla and salt for 3 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup toasted coconut.  Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Frost the cooled cake with the frosting.  Top with the remaining toasted coconut.  Place melted chocolate in ziploc bag and cut a corner.  Drizzle all over cake.  Let it sit on the counter for a few minutes, until chocolate hardens. 
Cover and store in the fridge.  Enjoy!
Adapted from a recipe found here

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

I felt a bit more ambitious the other day, and not only made my mom's meatballs and a delicious marinara sauce;  I pushed it further and made my own pasta.  However, I will not publish the recipe for pasta yet because I feel like I need to tweak it a bit more.  The pasta was good and definitely edible. :)  I just want to make it even better.
These meatballs are a nice treat and they remind me a lot of my childhood.  My mom would make them as often as she could.  She would make them flat, like a mini burger patty.  They would go perfect on sandwiches.  And we almost always ate them with yellow mustard.  Once in a while she would make a tomato sauce and we would eat that without pasta; we would simply dip pieces of bread in it.  YUM!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For the meatballs:
-1 lb ground pork
-1 lb extra lean ground beef
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1-2 Tbs dried parsley leaves
-3 cloves garlic, pressed
-1 small onion, finely diced
-1 egg
-1 slice bread (stale is better)
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1 Tbs water
For the sauce:
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 small onion, chopped
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-3 ( 15 oz each) cans crushed tomatoes
-salt and pepper, to taste
-a pinch of sugar
-2 Tbs dried parsley leaves
Directions:
Prepare the meatballs.  Place the bread in some water.  Let it soak for about 1 minute.  Squeeze and drain well, then crumble it with your hands in a large bowl.
Mix the baking soda with the 1 Tbs water.  Mix very well, then add to the bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Mix very well with your hands (that's the best part and the kids LOVE helping with that). 
Shape meatballs and fry in batches.  Drain on paper towels.
Make the sauce by heating the oil in large non stick pan. Add the garlic and onion. Give them a good stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth. Cook until liquid is reduced by half.
Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and sugar. Mix well. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  Stir in the parsley.
Add the cooked meatballs and let everything simmer for about 10 minutes.  Serve hot over pasta.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Cheesy Gnocchi Casserole with Ham and Peas

I love, love, love food network because I find lots of delicious recipes such as this one.  It takes LESS than 30 minutes to make!  And it tastes so, so, so good!  It's a perfect combination between the gnocchi, ham, cheese and peas.  Give it a try!  You'll love this one.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 Tbs unsalted butter
-1 small onion, chopped
-8 oz chopped ham
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-3/4 cup water
-1 (16 oz) package potato gnocchi
-1 cup frozen peas, thawed
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
Directions:
Preheat the broiler to high heat.
Melt the butter in  a large ovenproof skillet.  Add the onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the ham and continue cooking until lightly browned.
Add the broth and water.  Bring to a simmer.  Add the gnocchi.  Stir well, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Uncover and stir in peas, cream, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the cheese on top.
Broil in preheated oven for about 3 minutes or until casserole is golden and bubbly.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Mint Chocolate Truffles

These are quick, simple and absolutely delicious!  This is a must make treat!  The inside is very smooth, creamy, rich, decadent, just like velvet.  They are insanely delicious.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (10 oz) package Keebler Grasshopper Mint Chocolate Cookies
-4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-10 oz semisweet chocolate chips
-2 squares almond bark
Directions:
Place cookies into food processor and crush them.  Add the cream cheese and pulse until well mixed.  Form little balls with your hands and place on serving platter lined with wax paper.
Melt chocolate.  Dip balls into chocolate and place back onto wax paper.  Place in the fridge until hardened.
Melt the almond bark and drizzle it with a fork on top of truffles.  Let it harden.  Enjoy!

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