Monday, March 31, 2014

Roasted Chicken with Spring Vegetables

We instantly fell in love with this dish.  I cannot even describe how good this stuff is and really low in calories too!  Yes, even with the skin on the chicken!  Yum, yum and more yum!  This is a must try!  The vegetables and chicken are roasted to perfection in a simple concoction of olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Perfection!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 chicken thigh, bone-in, skin-on
-1 lemon
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
-salt and pepper
-1 lb fingerling or other small potatoes (spring baby potatoes)
-2 bunches radishes
-1 bunch of green onions
-2 cups baby carrots
Directions:
Preheat oven to 500 F.
Pat chicken dry and cut each thigh in half (you might have to cut through the bone).  Place skin-side up onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Squeeze half of the lemon over the chicken.  Drizzle 1 Tbs of the oil over the chicken.  Generously season with salt and pepper.
Roast in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the potatoes (skin-on) and radishes in half.  Place in a large bowl.  Cut the green onions into thirds and place in the bowl.  Add the carrots, remaining oil, salt and pepper (to taste).  Toss well.
Once chicken is done, remove from the oven and drizzle on top with remaining half lemon.  Scatter the vegetables around the chicken.
Return to the preheated oven and continue roasting for 20 more minutes.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Simple Homemade Granola

We are big granola fans around here.  It is so versatile and delicious.  The one from the store though is so expensive and not as healthy as it claims to be.  This version is super simple (just basic), but you can add many things to it, such as nuts, dried or fresh fruits, chocolate chunks, etc.  I personally like mine with some yogurt.  However you want to enjoy it, it is simply delicious! You house will also smell AMAZING as you're making this!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1/2 cup honey
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-7 cups quick oats
-1 tsp cinnamon
-2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Coat 2 rimmed cookie sheets with cooking spray.  Set aside.
In a small saucepan, mix the sugar, honey and oil.  Bring to a boil and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
While that's cooking, pour the oats into a large bowl.
Once the sugar mixture is done cooking, remove from the stove and add the cinnamon and vanilla.  Mix well and pour over oats.  Mix very well until oats are evenly coated.
Divide the oat mixture evenly into prepared pans and lay it flat.  
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven.  Turn the oven off.  Stir the oats and return to the off oven.  Let granola sit there for about 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven, stir and let it cool completely.  Store into air tight container.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Slow Cooker Lemon-Pepper Chicken

This is super simple (only 3 ingredients!) and soooo delicious!  I served ours with some cooked rice and veggies.  So good!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 Tbs salted butter, melted
-lemon-pepper seasoning
-3-4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
Directions:
Pour 1 Tbs of the melted butter on the bottom of your slow cooker.  Sprinkle about 2 tsp of the lemon pepper on top of that.  Add the chicken on top of the pepper.  Pour remaining butter on top of the chicken.  Season the buttered chicken with a generous amount of the lemon-pepper.   Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This dish is so simple and so delicious!  You can assemble it in advance and set it in the fridge until ready to bake.  Super easy!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 medium onion, finely diced
-12 oz medium salsa verde
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
-1/2 cup milk
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp ground pepper
-10 small flour tortillas
-2 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, cooked and shredded
-1 lb shredded fiesta cheese blend
-sliced black olive, for garnish
-chopped green onions, for garnish
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the onion, salsa, soups, milk, garlic powder and pepper.  Mix until well combined.
Spread a thin layer of the soup mixture on the bottom of the prepared dish.  Layer half of the tortillas on top of that (break each tortilla into quarters).  Top with half of the shredded chicken, followed by half of the soup mixture.  Sprinkle with half of the cheese. 
Repeat layers: tortillas, chicken, soup mixture and cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.  
Remove from oven and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Top with olives and green onions.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Orange Cheesecake Pie

Yes, I do love orange flavored food!  It's so yummy!  And this, this dish is a cheesecake AND a pie!  Can't get better than this!  The flavor is wonderful and the filling is rich and creamy.  Wonderful dessert!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 refrigerated pie crust
-1 tsp sugar
-12 oz whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
-2 (6 oz each) containers Yoplait Original 99% Fat Free orange creme yogurt
-1/4 cup powdered sugar
-6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
-1 (11.2 oz) box no bake cheesecake mix (only the cheesecake, not the crumbs)
-8 oz whipped topping, thawed
This is the box I used for the cheesecake part:
Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Place pie crust on the counter and let it sit for 15 minutes.  Unroll it and sprinkle the sugar all over it.  With rolling pin, roll the sugar into the crust.
Place a pie plate on a cookie sheet.  Carefully, place the sugared pie crust into the ungreased pie plate.  Arrange the edges carefully.  Prick pie crust on bottom and sides with a fork. Be generous with the poking! :)
Bake in preheated oven for 11-12 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Set aside to cool completely (about 20 minutes).
While the crust is cooling, let's make the filling.  In your mixer's bowl, beat the whipped cream cheese with the yogurt and powdered sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add the orange juice and beat until well blended.  Add the cheesecake mix.  Mix well. Add the thawed whipped topping and fold until well blended.
Pour mixture over cooled crust.
Set in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Easy Salad with Spinach, Apples, Walnuts and Feta

I do like to eat a nice salad, especially for lunch.   Some of them are quite sophisticated and require a bit of preparation.  I like this one because it's super easy, quick and oh, so delicious!  Of course, you can substitute the apples with pears, feta with blue cheese, walnuts with pecans or cashews, spinach with romaine lettuce...  Or add grapes, tomatoes, croutons, chicken and anything else.  But I like it simple, just like this.  Easy, tasty and nutritious.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (for 1 person):
-2 cups baby spinach
-6 Tbs crumbled feta cheese
-1 apple, cored and chopped
-1/4 cup walnuts
-Caesar dressing
Directions:
Place spinach on bottom of plate.  Top with remaining ingredients.  Toss and enjoy!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Swiss and Chicken Casserole

Easy and delicious, this makes another wonderful meal for a busy night.  I usually mix everything in advance, cover and place in the fridge until it's time to bake it.  Easy-peasy!  And super tasty too!  One of my favorites!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 cups cooked chicken, chopped into bite-size pieces
-2 cups croutons (I like to use cheese-garlic flavored, but I'm sure any other flavors work just fine)
-2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
-2/3 cups mayonnaise
-1/2 cup milk
-1 cup frozen peas (no need to thaw them)
-1/4 cup chopped onion (frozen is perfect for this)
Directions:
If baking right after mixing, preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together.  Make sure to mix well.  Pour into 9x13 baking dish.  You can either cover it and refrigerate until ready to bake, or pop it into the preheated oven and bake it for 40 minutes.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Orange Coconut Creams

Before I talk about this recipe, remember that today is Pi(e) day!  Make sure to have some sort of pie to celebrate. :)
Oh, what a delights these little nuggets are!  They taste just like those chocolates you get in a little box!  So creamy, bursting with so much flavor, and all of this covered, of course, in chocolate!  Yes, make these as soon as you can! :)  They're pretty easy too.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
-1/2 cup unsalted butter
-2 lbs powdered sugar
-1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
-1 1/2 tsp orange extract
-2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
-8 oz sweet German chocolate, chopped (found in 1 oz blocks in your grocer's baking aisle)
-2 Tbs vegetable shortening
Directions:
Mix the milk and butter in small saucepan.  Cook over low heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.
Pour the sugar in a large bowl.  Add the milk mixture.  Stir with a wooden spoon until well mixed.  Add the coconut and orange extract.  Mix well.
Line 2-3 cookie sheets with parchments paper.
Scoop the coconut mixture with a teaspoon onto the prepared sheets.  Place in the fridge for about 1 hour to harden a little (the mixture is quite soft).
Melt the chocolate chips, German chocolate and shortening.  Mix well.
Take the coconut mixture out of the fridge.  Roll each spoonful into balls.  
Replace the parchment paper on the cookie sheets.
Dip each coconut ball into the melted chocolate mixture and place on prepared sheets.
Place back in the fridge until hardened.  
Enjoy to your heart's desire! :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Slow Cooker Amish Pork Chops

So easy and so delicious!  The chops are nicely browned before placing them in the slow cooker.  The sauce added on top is very nice and flavorful.  You can serve this with pretty much any starch, side or salad you like.  Very easy, tasty and simple.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 pork chops, boneless
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
-3/4 cup ketchup
-1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
-1/2 cup chopped onion (frozen works just fine)
Directions:
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray.  Quickly brown the chops on both sides.  Transfer to the crock pot along with all the juices from the skillet.
In a small bowl, mix remaining ingredients.  Pour on top of pork.  Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Slow Cooker Heavenly Ham Casserole

This is yet another super easy slow cooker meal for those crazy busy nights.  It is also hearty and quite delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-6 medium potatoes, sliced
-1 medium onion, finely chopped
-1 lb ham, cubed
-1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
-2 tsp paprika
Directions:
Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray.  Layer half the potato slices on the bottom of crock pot.  Top with half the onion, 1/2 the ham and 1/2 the cheese.  Repeat the layers: potatoes, onion, ham, cheese.  Spread soup on top of layers.  Sprinkle with the paprika.  Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mucenici Moldovenesti (Northern Romanian Delight)

Okay, so I have a confession to make: I have never had these until yesterday, when I made them for the first time.  I heard of them, but I'm a city girl from the South.  These are the ones I grew up with.  They are delicious, of course, and follow the same tradition on March 9.  But these ones from the North, from the Romanian Moldova, are quite a delight!  The dough is sweet and fluffy, then you "drown" them in a delicious syrup, ooze them with some honey and sprinkle ground walnuts all over the top.  Once you have a taste, there's no going back, trust me.  Don't get discouraged by the long list of ingredients.  Yes, it is a bit time consuming, but every second spent on them is well worth it. :)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For dough:
-1/2 cup lukewarm water
-2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
-1/2 cup warm milk
-5 Tbs salted butter, melted and cooled
-1 cup sugar
-1 egg
-4 cups flour
For glaze:
-1/8 cup milk
-1 egg yolk
For syrup:
-1 cup water
-1 cup sugar
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tsp rum essence
-lemon zest from 1 lemon
For topping:
-honey
-1 cup ground walnuts
Directions:
In your mixer's bowl, combine the water and yeast.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  Turn the mixer on an gradually add the milk, butter and sugar.  Mix well.  Add the egg and mix well.  Add the flour.  Using the hook attachment, mix until well incorporated.  Keep the mixer going for 15-20 minutes so that the dough gets kneaded nicely.
Remove the hook.  Keeping the dough in the same bowl, cover and let it rise in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours.  Don't worry if it didn't rise too much.
Remove dough form bowl and place on your counter.  Divide the dough into 16-20 equal portions.
 Using the back of your hands, roll each piece of dough until thin and long.
 Fold in half.  Using your finger, hold still the top of the folded dough, and "braid" it (don't twist, just braid).
 Now, unite tops, so that the braided dough forms a circle.  Doesn't it look so pretty? :)
 Shape the circle into an eight.
 Place all of the "eights" onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Let them rest in a warm place for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Meanwhile, let's make the syrup.  In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, vanilla and rum.  Mix well and bring to a boil, like this:
 Once boiling, let it keep going for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest.  Set aside.
Mix the glaze ingredients.  Brush oven the eights (mucenici).
Bake the mucenici in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned on  top.  Remove from the oven and, while still hot, brush with the syrup.  Be generous!  You should use all of the syrup.  Don't worry; it might seem much, but it's not. :)  Drizzle each of them with honey and sprinkle with lots of ground walnuts.  You can eat them hot, warm or cold.  Any way, they are still out of this world delicious!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Slow Cooker Pork Chops Supreme

This is a wonderful whole dinner in the slow cooker.  It includes potatoes, onions, the pork chops and a delicious gravy.  Dinner is ready, when you're ready.  I like that my newer slow cooker switches to the keep warm setting after the dish has been cooked.  That way my meals are nice and ready for us whenever we can sit down to dinner.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 large onion, sliced
-6 medium potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
-4 tsp salt, divided
-4 tsp pepper, divided
-4 tsp garlic powder, divided
-4 pork chops, boneless
-2 (10 3/4 oz each) cans cream of mushroom soup
Directions:
Coat your slow cooker with butter or original cooking spray.  Lay the onion slices on the bottom.  Top with the potato slices.  Sprinkle 2 tsp of the salt, 2 tsp of the pepper and 2 tsp of the garlic powder on top.  Place pork chops on top.
In a bowl, mix the soup with the remaining seasoning.  Mix well.  Pour over chops.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

BL(S)T Pasta Skillet

I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of lettuce.  There aren't that many nutrients in it and the taste is pretty bland.  So, whenever I can I substitute it with spinach.  Way better tasting and packed with good stuff.  That's why I need to change the name of this recipe to BST instead of BLT. :)  Anyway, this recipe is amazing.  I love, love, love the flavors combined together.  Great dish!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-8 oz garden rotini pasta (or any small pasta you like)
-5 thick cut slices bacon, cut into small chunks
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-4 cups baby spinach, torn into small pieces
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup ricotta cheese
-1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
-8 oz mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Drain the rest and set the pasta aside (keep it covered to stay moist).
In an oven proof skillet, place the chopped bacon and cook until crisp.  Remove the bacon on to paper towel lined plate.
Keep 1 Tbs of the bacon grease and dispose of the rest.  Return the skillet to stove with the 1 Tbs of bacon grease.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring often.  Add the crushed tomatoes, reserved pasta water, pepper flakes, spinach and salt.  Mix well and bring to a simmer.  Lower the heat and cook for about 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
In a small bowl, mix the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses.  Set aside.
Add the cooked pasta and mozzarella chunks to the spinach mixture.  Stir to coat and remove from heat.  Drop spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture on top.  Sprinkle with the cooked bacon chunks.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until nice and bubbly.  Let it rest for 5 minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Slow Cooker Deviled Chicken

Nice name, eh?  However, don't think that because of the name and some ingredients such as curry and Tabasco this dish is spicy.  Not at all, because the sauce also has honey in it.  The flavors combine so beautifully in this dish.  Wonderful, easy and oh, so tasty!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-8-10 chicken drumsticks or 4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-4 Tbs salted butter, melted
-1/2 cup honey
-1/4 cup yellow mustard
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp curry powder
-1 tsp original Tabasco sauce
Directions:
Coat slow cooker with regular or butter flavored cooking spray.  Layer the chicken on the bottom.
Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.  Enjoy!

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