Monday, June 30, 2014

Fruit-Tart Flag

There are so many ways of making an edible flag for the 4th of July celebration.  This a very quick and easy one.  You can make your own tart cups, but to cut down on time, go ahead and use the pre-made ones.  If you cannot find tart cups, phyllo shells work just as well.  The result is a delicious patriotic flag.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-40 tart cups or phyllo shells
-1 (8 oz) container mascarpone cheese
-3 Tbs powdered sugar
-1/2 cup freshly whipped cream
-24 blueberries
-about 4-5 strawberries, sliced (and each slice halved)
Directions:
If using frozen pre-made shells, let them thaw at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the mascarpone cheese with the powdered sugar.  Gently fold in the whipped cream.
Scoop the cheese mixture evenly into the cups.  Decorate with the blueberries and sliced strawberries to create starts and stripes.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Popcorn "Cake"

This is a nice, quick treat.  Watch your calories though, as this one is loaded with goodies like caramels, marshmallows, peanuts, butter and chocolate.  A wonderful, sweet concoction!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-10 cups plain popped popcorn
-16 oz mini marshmallows
-20 caramels (I used Kraft, for reference)
-1/4 cup unsalted butter
-1 1/2 cups cocktail peanuts
-1 cup milk chocolate M&Ms
Directions:
Coat a bundt cake pan with butter flavored cooking spray (don't forget up the sides! :) ).  Set aside.
Place the popcorn in a large bowl.
Melt the marshmallows, caramels and butter.  Mix very well, then pour over popcorn.  Stir.  Add the peanuts and give it a really good stir.  Add the chocolate and mix well.  Pour into prepared pan and press down.
Let it cool completely, then cut, using a serrated knife.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Roasted Shrimp Tostadas with Avocado-Yogurt Sauce

Oh, what a delight this dish is!  It's also quick and easy.  Once you start eating, you won't want to stop.  The avocado-yogurt sauce is absolutely amazing and it goes perfectly with the roasted shrimp.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For avocado-yogurt sauce:
-2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
-1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
-2 tsp lemon juice
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp salt
For tostadas:
-8 corn tortillas
-extra virgin olive oil
-12 oz medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
-1 tsp chili powder
-1 tsp cumin
-shredded lettuce, for topping
-shredded cheese (either cheddar or mozzarella work just fine), for topping
-green onions, chopped, for topping
-tomatoes, chopped, for topping
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Make the sauce by adding all of the ingredients into your food processor.  Process until smooth and creamy.  Pour into serving bowl and set aside.
Brush each corn tortilla with the olive oil on both sides.  Place on baking sheet and pop in the hot oven.  Bake for about 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and crisp.  
Place shrimp on another baking sheet.  Sprinkle with the chili powder and cumin.  Using your hands, mix well, then spread into single layer.  Roast in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
To assemble, place one crisp tortilla on your plate.  Top with lettuce, cheese, 3-4 shrimp, sauce, onions and tomatoes.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Quick and Easy Spicy Broiled Tilapia

Delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 tilapia fillets
-extra virgin olive oil
-8 tsp garlic powder
-8 tsp blackened seasoning
-lemon juice
Directions:
Preheat broiler on high.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Brush some olive oil on each side of the tilapia fillets. Season each with 1 tsp of the garlic powder and 1 tsp of the blackened seasoning.  Turn fish over and repeat the process.  Place on prepared sheet and broil for about 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, squirt a little lemon juice on the fish, and serve.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Roasted Potatoes and Onions with Spicy Brown Mustard and Garlic

Delicious!  And easy and simple!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
-2 small onions, peeled, halved and sliced
-4 garlic cloves, sliced
-4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-3 Tbs spicy brown mustard
-2 tsp salt
-2 tsp pepper
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Top with the potatoes and onions.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix, using your hands.  Mix well, then spread evenly in single layer.
Roast in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, stirring once about halfway through.
Once golden brown, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 20, 2014

No Bake Toasted Coconut Cream Pie

Delicious, delicious, delicious!!!  And super extra easy!  AND there's chocolate in there as well!  What more can I say about this one?  Make it right now!  You won't regret it!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
-3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
-8 oz whipped topping, thawed
-1 graham pie crust
-1 1/2 cups milk
-1 (3 oz) package coconut cream cook and serve pudding
Directions:
Melt the chocolate. Toast the coconut flakes.
Mix the melted chocolate with 1/4 cup of the toasted coconut and 1 cup of the whipped topping.  Mix very well, then pour over crust.
Mix the milk and pudding in a small sauce pan.  Stirring occasionally, bring to a boil.  Once boiling, remove from heat and gently pour over chocolate mixture.  Place in the fridge for 4 hours.
When ready to serve, spread the remaining whipped topping on top and sprinkle with the rest of the toasted coconut.  Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Grilled Chicken with Tangy Barbecue Sauce

This is quite a treat!  It's super easy and absolutely delicious!  The sauce is amazing and goes perfect on the chicken.  It also keeps in the fridge for a while, so whenever you want a quick barbecue, just hit up the grill, cook the meat and baste it with this amazing sauce.  Super easy!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-chicken pieces for grilling (thighs, wings, drums, etc)
-salt and pepper
-1 cup ketchup
-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
-3 Tbs molasses
-3 Tbs brown sugar
-1 Tbs ground mustard
-1 Tbs soy sauce
-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
-1 cup water
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Let the meat sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before cooking.  Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
Meanwhile, combine all the remaining ingredients in medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Coat the grill with cooking spray.  Turn on the heat. Place the meat on the grill, skin side down, and cook for about 7 minutes on each side.  Baste with the barbecue on one side and leave it alone for about 1 minute.  Flip on the other side and baste with the sauce.  Repeat the process 2 more times.  Transfer meat onto plate and serve.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Orzo Salad with Roasted Shrimp and Feta Cheese

This is such a delicious salad!  The flavors are absolutely amazing!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 cups orzo
-12 oz large shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
-1/3 cup + 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-2 lemons
-4 green onions, thinly sliced
-1 cucumber, peeled, halved, and sliced
-4 oz crumbled Feta cheese
-about 12 kalamata olive, pitted
Directions:
Preheat broiler to high.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and place in large bowl.
Meanwhile, toss the shrimp with the 1 Tbs oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Arrange in single layer on baking sheet.  Broil for about 2 minutes, turn on the other side and cook for 3 more minutes.
Remove from oven and add to the pasta.  Zest and juice the lemons and mix them in with the orzo and shrimp.  Add the remaining ingredients, including the 1/3 cup of oil.  Toss and serve.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 13, 2014

BLT Pasta Salad

This is quick, easy and absolutely delicious!  The dressing goes perfect with it and I just love the crunch from the green onions.  Great dish!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For salad:
-16 oz garden rotini pasta
-1/2 cup milk
-16 oz bacon
-6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
-1 garlic clove, finely minced
-salt and pepper, to taste
-5 cups romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
-2 green onions, chopped, for topping
For dressing:
-1 cup mayonnaise
-1/2 cup sour cream
-6 green onions, chopped
Directions:
Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain and stir in the milk.  Mix well and set into a large salad bowl. 
Meanwhile, chop the bacon and cook in large skillet, until nice and crisp.  Remove bacon pieces on to a plate lined with paper towels. 
Keep about 3 Tbs of the bacon grease in the skillet, and drain the rest.  To the hot skillet with the bacon drippings, add the tomatoes and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add to the pasta.  Mix well.
Combine the dressing ingredients until well blended.
To serve, place some lettuce onto a plate.  Top with some pasta bacon mix, then spoon a little dressing.  Top with a little chopped green onions.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Slow Cooker Steak with Mushrooms and Peppers

This is super easy and super delicious.  I like to add the peppers towards the end, so that they still have a little crunch to them.  The meat and veggies melt in your mouth, the peppers have that little crunch, and the flavors are just amazing!  I served ours on top of rice, but I think noodles would work just as well.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 lbs beef sirloin, cut into small strips
-1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with zesty japalenos (do NOT drain!)
-1 small onion, finely diced
-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
-8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
-1 tsp beef bouillon granules
-3 Tbs soy sauce
-1 tsp sugar
-1 tsp salt
-1 green bell pepper, cut into small strips
-1 red bell pepper, cut into small strips
-2 Tbs cornstarch
-1/2 cup warm water
Directions:
Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray.  Add the beef strips on top.  Layer with the tomatoes, onion, garlic and mushrooms.  In a small bowl, combine the beef granules, soy sauce, sugar and salt.  Mix well and pour over beef and veggies.  Cover and cook on low for 3 1/2 hours.
Add the pepper strips, cover and cook on low for 30 minutes.
Mix the water and cornstarch well.  Add the the slow cooker, cover and cook on high this time for 30 minutes.  The sauce will thicken nicely.
Give it a good stir and serve on top of rice.  Yum!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Grilled Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Pepperoni and Mozzarella

Need I say more about this one?  It's super easy and delicious!  It's also low in calories. Score!  The flavors combine beautifully and it simply melts in your mouth.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
-16 slices pepperoni
-4 slices mozzarella cheese
-toothpicks
-seasoned salt
-garlic powder
-ground pepper
Directions:
Slice each breast into half, then pound it until nice and thin.  Place 1 slice of cheese and 4 slices pepperoni on each breast half.
 Carefully, roll in half and secure with a toothpick.  Season lightly on both sides with seasoned salt, garlic powder and ground pepper.
Grill until chicken is done.  It takes about 5 minutes per side as the chicken is thin.
 Remove the toothpicks, slice and enjoy!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Delicious Leftover Salad

Sometimes I have quite a few leftovers that need to be used up.  Out of such things results delicious and easy dishes, such as dish salad.  This is perfect for a quick lunch or even dinner.  For the chicken, I had leftovers from my homemade one, but you can use rotisserie chicken just as well.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-tortilla chips
-shredded roasted chicken 
-ranch dip
-chunky mild salsa
Directions:
Place chips on bottom of plate.  Top with chicken, dips and salsa.  Mix and enjoy!  Yum!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

Yes, it is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but in a cupcake!  Awesome, right?  The cupcakes are very moist and fluffy, while the frosting gives it the perfect balance of sweetness and a tad of tang.  Wonderful!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For cupcakes:
-1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-1 cup creamy peanut butter
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 large eggs
-3/4 cups milk (whole or 2%, but not lower)
-2 tsp baking powder
-2 cups flour
For frosting:
-16 oz powdered sugar
-1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
-3/4 cup strawberry preserves (can use raspberries or grape as well)
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F and line 24 muffin cups with liners.
Cream butter and sugar, until nice and fluffy.  Add the peanut butter and vanilla.   Mix until well incorporated.  Add the milk and baking powder.  Mix well.  Add the flour, half of cup at at time.  Mix until smooth.  Divide batter evenly between cupcake pans.  Bake in preheated oven to 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then move to wire racks until completely cooled.
Meanwhile, make the frosting by whipping together the powdered sugar, butter and preserves.  Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Spicy Honey-Sriracha Chicken Drums

Yes, it's quite a mouthful to say all that, but the actual dish is quite delicious.  I love the spiciness of the sauce combined with the perfect sweetness of the honey.  Wonderful combination!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-2 Tbs Sriracha sauce
-1 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
-1 Tbs rice vinegar
-2 Tbs honey
-2 Tbs brown sugar
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-1/2 cup water
-1 Tbs cornstarch
-10 chicken drumsticks
Directions:
Combine everything, except for the chicken, in a bowl.  Pour about 1/4 cup of the mixture on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan.  Spread the sauce evenly on the bottom.  Arrange the drums on top of that.  Pour remaining sauce mixture evenly all over the chicken.  Let is sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven at 400 F.
Flip the chicken on the other side, and bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  Baste with the sauce every 5 minutes or so, so that the chicken gets coated nicely.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Black Bean Hummus

Easy, quick, healthy and delicious!  I just love the way this one turned out.  It is also quite versatile, as you can serve it with chips, veggies, and even meat.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 (15 oz each) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
-2 garlic cloves
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-3 Tbs lemon juice
-1 Tbs white wine vinegar
-1/2 tsp ground cumin
-1/2 tsp cayenne
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
Directions:
Blend everything in a food  processor.  Adjust the seasoning, if needed.  Place in serving bowl and let it sit for at least 15 minutes, thus allowing the flavors to combine.  Enjoy!

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