Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

An easy and delicious dinner for one of those very busy nights!  Enjoy!
-2 lbs lean or extra lean ground beef
-1 green bell pepper, chopped
-1 medium onion, chopped
-2 cups ketchup
-2 (1.31 oz each) dry sloppy joe mix
-2 Tbs packed brown sugar
-1 tsp yellow mustard
-burger buns (about 12)
Place the  beef in a large skillet.  Cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the bell pepper and onion. Cook until beef is no longer pink.
Transfer the mixture with all the juices to your slow cooker.  Add the ketchup, mix, sugar and mustard.  Mix very well.  Cover and cook on low for 3 hours.
Scoop some onto buns and enjoy!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Slow Cooker Oriental Chicken Wings

Very nice flavors in this dish and, of course, the meat falls right off the bone.  Great dish!  Enjoy!
-16 chicken wings, split, with the tips removed
-1 small red onion, finely chopped
-1 cup soy sauce
-3/4 cup packed brown sugar
-1/4 cup red grape juice
-2 tsp ground ginger
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-chives, for garnishing
Preheat the broiler to high.
Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Arrange the wings in a single layer.  Coat the top of wings with cooking spray.  Broil for 5 minutes.  Turn on the other side and broil for 5 more minutes.
Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray.  Add the wings.
In a large bowl, combine the onion, soy sauce, juice, ginger and garlic.  Mix well and pour evenly over wings.
Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
Remove onto serving plate, garnish with chives and enjoy!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip-Walnut Muffins

Oh, what a delight these muffins are!  The flavors are absolutely perfect together!  I can eat this all day! Enjoy!
Ingredients (this recipe makes about 18 regular muffins):
-6 Tbs salted butter, melted
-1 cup packed pumpkin
-1 cup packed brown sugar
-3/4 cup milk
-2 large eggs
-1 Tbs baking powder
-1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-2 1/2 cups flour
-1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line 18 muffin cups and set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, beat the melted and slightly cooled butter with the pumpkin, sugar, milk and eggs.  Mix until well blended.
Add the baking powder, spice and flour, half a cup at a time.  Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
Spoon evenly into prepared muffin pans.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then on wire rack until complete.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Breakfast Casserole with Bacon and Cheese

This is super easy and super delicious!  It's a perfect combination of pancake mix, bacon, cheese, eggs and maple syrup.  Delicious!  Enjoy!
-8 slices bacon
-2 cups dry buttermilk pancake mix
-2 cups milk
-5 large eggs
-1/2 cup pure maple syrup
-2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Place a deep 9 inch pie dish on top. Coat the pie dish with cooking spray (don't forget the sides).  Set aside.
Cut the bacon into small strips and cook until crispy.  Remove onto paper towels.
Meanwhile, mix the pancake mix, milk, eggs and syrup in a large bowl.  Beat on low speed for about 1 minute, making sure everything is well mixed.
Stir in the cheese and cooked bacon.
Pour mixture into prepared pie.  Place with the cookie sheet into prepared oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.
Let it rest for 5 minutes.  Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Quick and Easy Potato Chowder

Yes, this is one of those super fast and delicious dishes, cooked in under 30 minutes!  If you have them on hand, I strongly recommend using dried or frozen chopped bell peppers and onions.  They save a lot of time.  However, the fresh ones give it more flavor, but it will add to your cooking time.  With that aside, just enjoy this really awesome chowder!  Enjoy!
-1 (26 oz) package frozen shredded hash browns
-1/2 bell pepper, chopped (or 1/4 cup dried or frozen)
-1/2 onion, chopped (or 1/4 cup dried or frozen)
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
-1 (10.5 oz) can cream of celery soup
-2 cups frozen corn
-4 cups milk (2 % or whole)
-salt and pepper, to taste (about 1 tsp each, but adjust according to your liking)
-2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Combine all the ingredients, except for the cheese in a large pot.  Cook on medium until it starts boiling, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the cheese.  Give it a good stir.  Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Grilled Citrus-Mustard Chicken

Oh, this is such a wonderful combination of flavor.  It's sweet, it's tangy, it's perfect!  Enjoy!
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
-1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 lemon, juiced
-1 small lime, juiced
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on (or off, if you prefer)
In a large resealable bag, mix the sugar, oil, mustard, vinegar, garlic, the lemon and lime juices, and salt.  Mix very well.  Add the chicken and coat everywhere.  Refrigerate and let it marinate for 8-12 hours, turning the chicken once in a while.
Coat the grill with some cooking spray, then turn it on on low heat.  Shake the marinade off the chicken, and place the thighs on the hot grill.  Cook until done.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Watermelon-Jalapeno Salsa

Delicious, delicious, delicious!  I can't get enough of this!  It's sweet, refreshing, spicy; it's absolutely everything!  And it's versatile too!  You can eat it with chips or as a nice side to some grilled goodness.  Enjoy!
-4 cups chopped seedless watermelon
-1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
-2 green onions, finely chopped
-1 medium jalapeno, seeded and chopped (leave the seeds if you want it really spicy)
-2 Tbs lime juice
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1/4 tsp salt
Combine everything in a large bowl.  Mix well and serve.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Orange Gelatin Salad with Pineapple and Buttermilk

This salad is very easy to put together and it tastes so wonderful and refreshing.  Although it's easy to put together, keep in mind that it takes about 8 hours to fully set plus the cooling time in between steps, so prepare it in advance. :)  It is well worth the wait!  It's absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
-1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
-3 Tbs sugar
-2 (3 oz each) packages orange flavored gelatin
-2 cups buttermilk
-1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
In a small saucepan, mix the pineapple with the juice and sugar.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin.  Mix well and let it cool to room temperature.
Pour the buttermilk in large bowl.  Add the pineapple mixture and stir until well combined.  Stick in the fridge and let it sit for 1 hour, or until partially set.
Fold in the thawed whipped topping.  Mix very well, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or until fully set.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Romanian Fish Delight (Saramura de Peste)

We have some awesome friends who love fishing and shared their last catch with us.  Granted, you can buy whole fish at the grocery store, but it doesn't even compare in taste and texture with fresh fish.  As soon as I saw this beautiful trout, this dish popped in my mind.  Is a childhood favorite!  This is serious soul food!  Of course, you have to serve this with simple mamaliga to make it a truly authentic Romanian dish.
It is best if you have a griddle to cook the fish on.  I don't have one, so I just used a big skillet, which still did the job very well.  So, basically, the fish is cooked on a bed of sea salt, then quickly simmered in a broth of veggies.
Super easy and the taste will blow your mind!  Enjoy!
-2 whole fish (trout, carp, etc), cleaned, with scales still on
-2 cups sea salt
-6 cups water
-1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with zesty jalapenos
-1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
-3 cloves garlic, chopped
Place a griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 1/2 cups salt and let it heat for about 2 minutes.
Pat the fish dry and place on the heated salt in the skillet, like this:
Place the water in a large, but shallow skillet (like a wok).  Bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, after the fish cooked for about 6 minutes, flip it onto the other side, adding the rest of the sea salt under it.  It should look like this: 
Cook for 5 minutes on this other side.
While the fish is cooking on the second side, add the tomatoes with the juice, bell pepper and garlic to the boiling water.
Once the fish is done cooking, carefully, add it to the boiling water.  Cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
Scoop the fish onto a plate and, using a slotted spoon, scoop some of the veggies on top of the fish.  Serve with mamaliga.  Enjoy! YUM!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Slow Cooker Caponata

As I was cooking this in my slow cooker, the kids started to come home from school.  Every single one of them LOVED the smell of the caponata as they walked through the door.  They all asked me what was for dinner.  As I told them that it is this insanely delicious dish packed with veggies, they all went, "ewwwww!"  Silly kids!
But yes, caponata is an Italian dish full of veggies like eggplant, onion, peppers and others.  It is insanely delicious!  You can serve it as a side dish or as a dish of its own.  I served ours as is, with some French bread on the side.  Absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
-1 medium eggplant (around 1 lb), peeled and cut into large chunks
-1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with zesty jalapenos, undrained
-1 medium onion, chopped
-1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
-1/2 cup medium chunky salsa
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-2 Tbs capers, drained
-2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
-3 cloves garlic
-1 tsp dried oregano
-1/4 tsp salt
Place everything in the slow cooker.  Give it a good stir, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
Serve and enjoy!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Skinny Dark Fudge Cookies

I have to admit that these are not my favorite cookies.  They are bitter!  There's no sugar in them!  BUT, there's also no flour.  Both the lack of sugar and flour make them quite healthy actually.  Also, my husband and kids LOVE them!  I did enjoy them broken up and mixed in with ice cream. :)  If you do like dark chocolate, these cookies are definitely for you.  They are very chocolaty and fudgy. Enjoy!
Ingredients (this recipe yields about 24 cookies):
-5 egg whites
-1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 cup honey
-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
-2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In your mixer, beat the egg whites for 2-3 minutes on medium or until frothy. Slowly, add the cocoa powder and honey.  Stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla.
Drop by spoonful onto prepared sheets.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Let cool on the sheets for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Easy and delicious, this dish is the perfect combination of sweet, spicy and savory.  Enjoy!
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-1 cup medium chunky salsa
-1/2 Tbs chili garlic sauce
-1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
-2 Tbs lime juice
-1 Tbs soy sauce
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-1/2 cup cocktail peanuts, chopped
Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray.  Add the chicken.
In a bowl, mix together the salsa, chili garlic sauce, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce and ginger.  Pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
Serve over rice and sprinkle the chopped peanuts on top.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Roasted Shrimp with Black Bean Sauce

Oh, this is so good!  It makes for the perfect appetizer!  It's super easy too.  Great, great dish!  Enjoy!
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 tsp chili powder
-1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 1/2 cups chicken broth
-cooking spray
-salt and pepper
-2 lbs large shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
Preheat the broiler to high.  Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with some salt and pepper.  Arrange the shrimp in a single layer.  Coat the shrimp with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
Heat oil in large skillet.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute (do not burn it!).  Add the chili powder and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the beans and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes.  Stir in the broth.  Transfer 1 cup of the bean mixture to your blender and process until smooth.  Return to the skillet.  Give it a good stir and continue cooking for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, pop the prepared shrimp into the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
Remove roasted shrimp from oven and the sauce from the stove.  Serve together and enjoy!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Maple Glazed Chicken

Easy and delicious!  I love the combination of the chicken with the apples and red onion, glazed with the sweet and tangy mixture of maple and vinegar.  Great flavors in this dish!  Enjoy!
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-6 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
-1 red apple, cored and cut into wedges
-1 green apple, cored and cut into wedges
-1 red onion, cut into small wedges
-1 tsp rubbed dry sage
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-1/4 cup pure maple syrup
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Heat oil in large skillet.  
Cut each thigh in half and pat dry.  Season well with salt.  Add to the hot oil, skin side down, and cook for about 5 minutes (until skin is browned and crisp).
Flip the chicken on the other side, and add the apples, onion and sage.  Reduce heat and cook for 5 more minutes.
Remove the chicken from the skillet.  Continue cooking the apples and onions for about 2 more minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the broth, syrup, vinegar and 1/2 tsp salt.  Pour over apple mixture and give it a good stir.  Bring to a boil and cook until the glaze reduces a little (about 3 minutes).
Return the chicken (and juices) to the skillet, turn to coat and cook for about 5 more minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my go to recipe for chocolate chip cookies.  They are quick, easy and absolutely delicious!  My kids devour them instantly! :)  Enjoy!
Ingredients (this recipe yields 3 dozen cookies):
-1 cup vegetable shortening
-1/3 cup butter, softened
-3/4 cup sugar
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-2 tsp vanilla
-2 large eggs
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking soda
-3 1/2 cups flour
-2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In your mixer, cream the shortening, butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Add the vanilla and eggs.  Mix well.  Add the salt and baking powder.  Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop by large spoonfuls onto prepared sheets.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 1/2-11 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

This is easy and delicious.  The flavors combine just wonderfully.  Yum!  Enjoy!
-3 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1/4 cup honey
-1/4 cup stone ground mustard
-1 tsp dried parsley
-1 tsp dried basil
-1 tsp smoked paprika
-1 Tbs lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
Pat the chicken dry, then cut each thigh into half (one half will have the bone in it). Arrange chicken in prepared dish.  Season the thighs with the salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients.  Pour evenly over chicken.
Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and juices from chicken run clear.  Enjoy!


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