Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Slow Cooker Zesty Barbecue Chicken

Oh, how good this dish is!  I love the tangy taste of the barbecue.  It is super quick to put together, then it cooks slowly to perfection, giving you a wonderful and delicious meal.  I served ours with some rice and the creamy pineapple salad.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
-5 chicken drumsticks, skin-on
-1 1/2 cups Sweet Baby Rays original barbecue sauce
-1/2 cup zesty Italian marinade and dressing
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
Directions:
Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray.  Add the chicken.
Mix remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for about 4.5-5 hours.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Creamy Pineapple Salad

This is the perfect side dish.  Creamy and delicious!  You can eat it by itself, as dessert, or with some yummy barbecue.  YUM!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple
-water
-1 (3 oz) package lemon gelatin
-1 cup heavy cream
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 cup 4% cottage cheese
Directions:
Drain the pineapple juice in a measuring cup (it should give you at least 1/4 cup juice).  To that, add enough water to make 1 1/3 cups of liquid.  Pour that into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, remove from heat and add the gelatin.  Stir until dissolved, then refrigerate until softly set, like this:
While the gelatin is setting, whip the cream until peaks form.  Add the sugar and beat until well incorporated.
Fold in the gelatin, then add the drained pineapple and cottage cheese.  Mix well, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Easy Nutella and Banana Puff Pastry Purses

Super easy, quick and absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
-9 tsp Nutella
-1 banana, sliced
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the dough in 9 equal parts and lay on prepared sheet.  Top each piece of pastry with 1 tsp Nutella and 1 slice banana, like this:
 Pinch the dough to create a little purse.  Make sure there's not opening, like this:
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Remove and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Spicy Pork Chops with Rice and Veggies

This is a fairly quick and simple dish packed with so much flavor.  The pork chops are nicely browned, then simmered with all the other delicious ingredients until everything melts in your mouth.  Delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-4 pork chops, bone-in
-2 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning, divided
-1 large onion, finely chopped
-1 large red bell pepper, chopped
-1 (10 oz) can tomatoes with green chiles (NOT drained)
-1 (15 oz) can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
-2 cups chicken broth
-1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
-1 cup uncooked rice
Directions:
-Heat oil in large and deep skillet.  Season the chops on both sides with 1 Tbs of the seasoning.  Place in hot oil and sea on both sides until lightly browned (they will not be cooked through at this point).  Remove chops onto plate.
Return skillet to stove and add the onion and bell pepper.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes with the juice, peas, broth, sauce, last Tbs of seasoning and rice.  Give it a good stir.  Top with the pork chops and bring to a simmer.  Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for about 25 minutes or until all liquid is gone.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Caramelized Onions

Yes, I know, that's a heart attack waiting to happen.  But it is insanely delicious!  The flavors are spectacular in this simple dish.  I am also a bit of a snob when it comes to hot dogs.  I like the all beef ones.  There's no other flavor that compares with that.  They are worth the higher price.  And wrapped in bacon and topped with the caramelized onions...  YUM!  Can't  get better than that!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-good beef hot dogs
-1 slice of bacon for each hot dog you want to cook
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 large onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced
-2 Tbs brown sugar
-hot dog buns
-yellow mustard
-dill relish
Directions:
Wrap each hot dog in a slice of bacon (no need to secure it with toothpicks).  Place in skillet and cook on medium heat until bacon is nice and golden-brown, like this:
While that's cooking, heat the oil in large skillet.  Add the onion slices and cook for a couple of minutes.  Sprinkle with the brown sugar and give it a good stir.  Cover and let it cook on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To assemble, place a bacon wrapped hot dog into a bun.  Top with some mustard, caramelized onions and relish.  Take a big bite and enjoy!  YUM!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pasta Salad with Peas and Bacon

Quick, easy and absolutely delicious! Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-6 slices bacon
-1 lb pasta (I used radiatore to make it more fun for the kids, but small shells, rotini and others work just as well)
-10 oz frozen peas
-1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
-1 (15 oz) jar original Miracle Whip
-1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
-1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
-1 1/2 tsp sugar
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Directions:
Roughly chop the bacon slices, then cook until nice and crisp.  Remove onto plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the frozen peas and cook for 6 more minutes.  Once done, drain well and pour into large salad bowl.
While the pasta and peas are cooking, mix in a medium bowl the onion, Miracle Whip, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt and pepper.  Mix very well.
Add the sauce to the pasta and peas.  Mix very well, until everything is well coated.  Add the cheese and bacon.  Mix well.  Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Grilled Salmon with Kale, Apple and Dates Salad

I admit that I have been afraid of trying kale...  I know, it's silly. :)  I usually get spinach and I'm very happy with it.  However, when my next door neighbor showed up at my door with some kale, I knew that this was my chance to finally trying it.  And yes, I liked it. :)  I didn't want to make a soup, which seems to be quite popular.  I chose to make a salad instead.  This salad has everything, seriously.  It had apples and dates, almonds, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, and kale, of course.  It also went perfectly with the grilled salmon and some rolls.  Very nice and easy dinner.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For salad:
-1 small bunch kale
-3 Tbs lemon juice
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 cup chopped dates
-1 apple, cored and cut into small chunks
-1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
-3 Tbs toasted slivered almonds
-1/2 tsp pepper
For salmon:
-aluminum foil
-5 salmon fillets
-salt, to taste
-pepper, to taste
-garlic powder, to taste
Directions:
Remove the ribs from the kale and discard.  Wash the leaves very well, then slice very thin.  Place in a large bowl.  Add the lemon juice, oil and salt.  Mix very well, then let it sit for about 10 minutes.  
Add the dates, apple chunks, cheese, almonds and pepper.  Mix very well, then set aside, allowing the flavors to combine.
Place a large piece of aluminum foil on your grill.  Coat generously with cooking spray.  Turn the grill on.  While that's heating, season your salmon with the salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides.
Place on prepared grill and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.]
Serve with the kale salad and some fresh rolls.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sweet Asian Noodles with Garlic and Green Onions

This is the perfect side dish!  It is super quick and absolutely delicious!  As a matter of fact, for me, this can be the main entree without any meat or anything to accompany it.  It is very filling and yes, delicious! You would expect with to be spicy and garlicky, but it is actually a little sweet with a hint of garlic and onion.  Perfect combination! Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 tsp soy sauce
-2 Tbs brown sugar
-1 tsp sesame oil
-2 Tbs oyster sauce
-8 oz angel hair pasta (I like to break mine in half-it's easier for the kids to eat)
-4 Tbs salted butter
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-8 green onions, cleaned and sliced
Directions:
Start boiling a pot full of water.
In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and oyster sauce. Mix very well and set aside.
Place pasta in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.  Drain.
While pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet or wok.  Add the garlic and onion and saute for 3 minutes.  Remove wok from stove and add the drained pasta and sauce mixture.  Mix well and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

Super easy, this one makes another perfect dish for one of those very busy days.  I served ours with some rice and veggies.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-butter flavored cooking spray
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-1/4 cup salted butter, cut into chunks
-1 (0.6 oz) package dry Italian dressing mix
-1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
Directions:
Coat your slow cooker on the bottom and sides with butter flavored cooking spray.  Layer the chicken on the bottom.  Cover chicken with butter chunks, then sprinkle with the dressing.  Cover and cook on low for 4.5 hours.
Mix the cream cheese and soup until well blended.  Pour over chicken, cover and continue to cook on low for another 30 minutes.  Serve over rice.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Seafood Bisque

I love, love, love bisque.  And despite its fancy name, it's actually a very easy dish to make.  The flavors are also amazing.  I made this one using shrimp and bay scallops, but you can use pretty much any seafood you have, like lobster (if you can afford it), regular scallops, even clams.  Whatever you use, I'm know you'll enjoy this wonderful, creamy bisque. Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 Tbs salted butter
-1/4 small onion, finely diced
-4 Tbs flour
-2 Tbs tomato paste
-2 cups hot chicken broth
-2 cups heavy cream
-2 cups milk
-16 oz bay scallops
-12 oz large shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
-2 tsp salt
Directions:
In a large saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes or until translucent.  Stir in the flour.  Mix until well blended.  Add the tomato paste and mix well.  Once well blended, add the broth, cream and milk.  Stir well, lower the heat, and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Add the seafood and cook for no longer than 10 minutes (otherwise it will become tough).  Season with the salt, give it a good stir, and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Patriotic Parfaits

This is embarrassingly simple and easy, but so delicious and quite pretty, don't you think?  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-6 oz berry blue jello
-whipped cream
-fresh strawberries
Directions:
Prepare the jello according to the package directions.  Pour a little of the liquid into clear cups, then let it set into the fridge.  When ready to serve, top the jello with some whipped cream and sliced strawberries.  Easy peasy!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Deep Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Classic Chocolate Frosting (without powdered sugar)

I don't have enough words to describe how good these cupcakes are!  They're chocolaty, velvety, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth, absolutely amazing!  And the frosting is to die for!  Super creamy, not too sweet, definitely chocolaty!  Best cupcakes ever!  Enjoy!
Ingredients (this makes and frosts 24 regular cupcakes AND 24 mini cupcakes):
For cupcakes:
-1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-2 cups very hot water
-4 tsp vanilla extract
-3 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
-2 1/2 cups sugar
-4 large eggs, at room temperature
-2 1/2 cups flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt
For frosting:
-1/2 cup flour
-3 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
-2/3 cup granulated sugar
-1 cup milk
-1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
-2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
Directions:
Adjust the oven rack to the the middle position.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.
Put the cocoa powder into a bowl.   Add the hot water and mix until smooth.  Cool to room temperature, then add the vanilla and mix well.  Set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, cream the butter until smooth.  Add the sugar and mix until fluffy (2-3 minutes).  Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until fluffy.  Add half of the flour and mix well.  Stir in the baking soda, salt and cocoa mixture.  Add remaining flour and mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl once in a while.  Beat until mixture looks satiny.  
Pour in prepared pans (fill about 80 % up).  Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes for the regular cupcakes and 10 minutes for the mini ones, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting.
Mix the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and milk in a sauce pan, over medium heat.  Whisk until well incorporated.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes, whisking continually.  Do not get distracted and burn it!  You really have to whisk it all the time!  Once it reaches the consistency of pudding and you can see the bottom of the pan while whisking, it's done.  Remove from the heat and let it cool completely (this will probably take one hour or so).
When that mixture is cooled, melt the chocolate chips.  Set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, cream the butter until fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Turn the mixer off and add the cooled flour mixture.  Beat until fluffy (about 2 minutes), scraping the sides of the bowl once in a while.  Add the melted chocolate chips and beat for another 2 minutes, until smooth and fluffy.  
Place in piping bag and decorate the cupcakes.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Best Sloppy Joes

I just love, love, love this dish.  It's very filling and packed with good stuff for you, like jalapenos, red bell pepper, garlic, onion, beans, etc.  Such a wonderful and amazing combination of flavors.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lb extra lean or lean (don't go fatter than that) ground beef
-1 onion, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-1 (15 oz) can small red beans, drained and rinsed
-16 oz no-salt-added tomato sauce
-2 Tbs tomato paste
-1 Tbs red wine vinegar
-1 Tbs molasses
-1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
-1 tsp ground mustard
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-burger buns
Directions:
Place beef and onion in large skillet.  Cook until meat is browned (make sure to break it up into crumbles as it cooks).  Once cooked, drain and return to heat.  Add the garlic, jalapeno and red pepper.  Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from stove, scoop some onto the buns and enjoy!

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