Friday, August 29, 2014

Cafe Zupas' Garden Chowder

I love a good chowder any time of the year.  We ate at Zupas a few days ago and I had this chowder.  It was soooo good, that I immediately wanted to make it at home so that I can have it all the time.  Yes, it's that good!  Now, I know, it does have lots of veggies, but it's a chowder, which means heavy cream and flour, so don't expect fewer calories. :)  But, it's soooo worth it!  Once you have a taste of it you'll be addicted to it!
The story behind this chowder, is that Zupas had a recipe contest a few years ago.  This was one of the winning recipes.  The original recipe has evaporated milk in it, but Zupas noticed that it made the chowder to separate.  So they changed it to cream, which makes it stay nice and smooth, with no separation.
Another thing I like about this recipe, is that is super easy and quick.  It really depends on how fast you can chop your veggies and shred your cheese.  I did mine and all the cooking in just under 30 minutes!  Excellent recipe!  Can't wait to make it again VERY soon!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1/3 cup salted butter
-2 medium zucchinis, chopped
-1 medium onion, finely chopped
-1 tsp dried parsley (or 2 Tbs fresh, chopped)
-1 tsp dried basil
-1/3 cup flour
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-3 cups vegetable broth
-1 tsp lemon juice
-4 Roma tomatoes, chopped (keep the seeds and all the juices, and add them all to the chowder)
-1 1/2 cups heavy cream
-1 cup frozen corn
-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
-2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
Directions:
Melt the butter in large sauce pan.  Add the zucchini, onion, parsley and basil.  Stir and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  Stir in the flour, making sure there are no lumps.  Season with the salt and pepper and give it a good stir.  Gradually, add the broth and stir until smooth.  Add the lemon juice.  Cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the tomatoes, cream and corn.  Quickly bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.  Mix well.  Pour into bowls and enjoy with some bread.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pepper Jack and Pimento Dip

You might think that this dip is spicy because of the Pepper Jack cheese.  Well, it's not.  The cheese gives it a wonderful flavor, but it doesn't overpower it at all.  Great treat! Just a little  heads up though-this recipe makes only enough got 3-4 servings.  If you want to make it for a large group, double or triple the recipe.  Otherwise, enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 cup Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
-1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
-1/4 cup mayonnaise
-1/4 cup sour cream
-1 (2 oz) jar diced pimentos, well drained
-1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp ground pepper
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat a ramekin dish with cooking spray.
Mix all ingredients together and pour into prepared dish.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the dip is melted and bubbly.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Grilled Salmon with Maple and Balsamic Vinegar Glaze

Quick, simple and delicious!  Serve it with a quick side of veggies and this becomes a fantastic gourmet meal (and you don't even sweat over it!).  Absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1/2 cup pure maple syrup
-6 Tbs balsamic vinegar
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-4 salmon filets, skin on
Directions:
Place syrup, vinegar, salt and pepper in large resealable plastic bag.  Mix well.   Add the salmon and let it marinate at room temperature for about 20 minutes, turning once in a while.
Coat your grill with cooking spray (be generous).  Turn it on.
Once nice and hot, add the salmon with the skin side up.  Grill for about 3 minutes.  Carefully, flip it over and let it grill for 6-7 more minutes or until cooked through.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sweet Onion Dip

Oh, this is soooo, soooo good!  It's rich and creamy and simply delicious!  It goes very well with chips or veggies.  Delicious!  Also, keep in mind with this one, that you want it to look more burnt, which means that the onions are caramelized to perfection.   This gives the dip quite an enhanced flavor, bringing out the sweetness of the onions.  Oh, so good!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 cup mayonnaise
-1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
-2 small sweet onions, finely diced
-1 Tbs ground pepper
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix all the ingredients together until well combined.  Pour into 8x8 baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until the crust is brown, almost burnt looking.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tuna Salad with Avocado, Apple and Walnuts

Yum, yum and more yum!  The sweetness of the apple combined with the crunchiness of the walnuts and the creaminess of the avocado is a winning flavor in this one.  Wonderful and tasty.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 (5 oz each) can water packed tuna, drained
-2 ripe avocados, pitted and mashed with a fork
-1 red apple, cored and finely chopped
-1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
-2 Tbs dill pickle juice
-2 tsp dried dill
-1 tsp Dijon mustard
-1/2 tsp ground cumin
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Combine everything together.  Serve on toast.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Skinny Pasta Salad

Yes, a pasta salad that's actually good for you!  It's low in calories and fat, yet loaded with goodies, super filling and absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-8 oz small pasta (shells, bow, etc)
-1 cup frozen corn kernels
-1 cup frozen shelled edamame
-3 Tbs + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
-1 tsp salt
Directions:
Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the frozen corn and edamame.  Cook for 5 more minutes.  Drain and place in large bowl.  Add the 1 tsp of oil and give it a good stir.  Let it cool for a little, stirring once in a while.
Once at room temperature, add the bell pepper, carrot and remaining 3 Tbs oil.  Mix well.  Toss in the cheese.  Sprinkle with the salt and mix well, adding more if needed.
Serve and enjoy!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Easy Fresh Peach Chocolate Cobbler

Yes, a chocolate cobbler!  Why not?  It's easy and absolutely delicious!  Of course, you can use any fruit you'd like.  I just had some fresh peaches from my garden that I needed to use.  Also, make sure you have some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream to serve along with it.  Absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-butter flavored cooking spray
-2 1/2 lbs fresh peaches
-1 (15.25 oz) box moist chocolate cake mix
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Coat a 9x13 baking dish with the butter flavored cooking spray.
Peel and roughly chopped the peaches.  Place in prepared pan.  Top with the dry cake mix.   Pat it down evenly.  
Pour the melted butter evenly over the dry cake mix.  Spray any dry area with some more of the butter flavored cooking spray.
Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out dry.
Remove from oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes.  Enjoy it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Slow Cooker Greek Pulled Pork

This is a great dish to enjoy on a busy day.  Just three ingredients to toss together in your crock pot and you're all set.  Absolutely delicious flavors!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 lbs pork roast or tenderloin
-1 (0.7 oz) packet dry Greek dressing
 -1 (16 oz) jar sliced peperoncini, with the juice
Directions:
Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray.  Add the pork.  Sprinkle with the dry dressing mix.  Pour the entire jar of peperoncinis and the juice over the pork.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.  Shred and cook for 15 more minutes.
Scoop onto buns and enjoy!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Italian Pasta Salad with Chicken and Salami

This is another wonderful pasta salad with amazing flavors.  It's also easy to put together ant it's absolutely delicious.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni pasta
-2 Tbs + 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
-1 cup cooked chicken (from rotisserie, grilled, or whatever you have leftover)
-1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
-2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
-2/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
-1 roasted red pepper, drained and chopped
-4 oz hard salami, cubed
-1/2 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
-6 oz crumbled feta cheese
-1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Directions:
Cook pasta in boiling salted water for 10 minutes.  Drain, rinse with cold water and shake until very dry.  Transfer pasta to your salad bowl and toss with the 2 Tbs of oil.
Add the chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, pepper, salami and onion.  Mix well.  Stir in the feta and give it another good stir.
Combine remaining oil with the vinegar and pour over salad.  Mix very well.
Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving, thus allowing the flavors to combine.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a Geoffrey Zakarian recipe.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Peach, Jalapeno and Bell Pepper Preserves

Oh my!!!  You sooo have to try this!  It's easy and absolutely delicious!  It's also quite versatile in its use.  You can eat it on bread with some butter or cream cheese, put it in quesadillas, dip your coconut shrimp or chicken nuggets (even fish sticks!), or any other way.  It is simply delicious! And no, despite the jalapenos, it is not spicy at all.  The sweetness of the fresh peaches and red pepper combine perfectly with the jalapenos.  This keeps very nice in the fridge for 3-4 weeks or up to one year in the freezer.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-5 lbs peaches
-2 jalapenos, seeded and finely minced
-1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
-3 cups sugar
-6 Tbs lime juice
-1/3 cup fruit pectin (instant is fine)
Directions:
Peel the peaches and roughly chop them.  Add all of the ingredients in a large pot over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, lower the heat and cook for about 1 hour.  It will still be liquidy.
Remove from the heat and let it cool completely (about 2 hours).  By this time it should have congealed in a preserve-like manner.  
Ladle into jars and let it sit on the counter, at room temperature, for 30 minutes.  Put the lids on and store in the fridge for 3-4 weeks, or in the freezer for up to one year.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Quick and Easy Salmon Burgers with Avocado Mayo

Need I say more about this one?  It's super easy, quick, and absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients (for 4 burgers):
For burgers:
-1 (14 oz) can wild salmon
-1 large egg
-1 garlic clove, finely minced
-1/2 cup flour
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
For mayo:
-2 avocados, pitted
-2 Tbs mayonnaise
-1 Tbs lemon juice
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
Directions:
Drain salmon, remove all the bones and place into a bowl.  Add the egg and garlic.  Mix well with your hands.
In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper.
Coat a large skillet with non stick cooking spray.
Shape the salmon mixture into burgers.  Dredge through flour mixture, then add to hot skillet.  Cook, flipping once, until nicely browned on both sides.
While that's cooking, mash the avocados with a fork.  Add remaining ingredients and mix very well.  Spread some on both halves of the bun.  Top with the cooked burger.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Spicy Pasta Salad

This is another quick recipe for a busy night.  I like the spiciness from the pepperoni, but I think using the jalapeno ones was a bit too much, even for me. :) I think the regular pepperoni or the simply spicy ones give this salad the perfect punch.  The combination of the artichoke hearts, cheese, tomatoes and pasta is absolutely wonderful.  Great salad!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For salad:
-1 lb garden rotini
-1 (14 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
-8 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed
-4 oz spicy (or regular) pepperoni, cut into small chunks
-1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
-2 Tbs jarred sliced pepperoncini, drained
For dressing:
-1 garlic clove, finely chopped
-2 Tbs red wine vinegar
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
Directions:
Cook the pasta in salted water, according to the package directions.  Drain and let it cool for a little.
Once cooled, add the a large salad bowl.  Add remaining salad ingredients and mix well.
In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients.  Pour over pasta mixture and toss to coat well.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer Vegetable Salad

I just love this quick little salad.   All the veggies are fresh and the flavors combine beautifully!  Just a little heads-up though; although this salad is quick and easy, it will taste much better if  you let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours, thus allowing the flavors to really combine.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For salad:
-1 cup cauliflower, cut into small chunks
-1 cup baby carrots
-1/2 small red onion, peeled and sliced
-1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
-1 cup zucchini, chopped
For dressing:
-3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 tsp dill weed (if you don't have fresh, dry will do just fine)
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp dry mustard
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
Directions:
Place all the vegetables in salad bowl.  Mix dressing ingredients and pour over veggies.  Toss to coat really well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving, stirring occasionally.  Enjoy!

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