Monday, December 28, 2015

Banana Cake with Butter-Rum Frosting

I had more very ripe bananas and wanted to make something different than the regular banana bread. So I looked up some recipes and came across this one. I altered it a little and was very happy with the result.  Quick  and delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For cake:
-1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
-1 1/3 cups sugar
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 large egg
-4 very ripe bananas, peeled
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups flour
-1/2 cup walnut topping
For frosting:
-3 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
-3 cups powdered sugar
-1 Tbs rum extract
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/4 cup milk
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat 9x13 pan (bottom and sides) with baking spray (the one with butter and flour). Set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, beat the butter on medium for 30 seconds.  Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix well. Add the egg, bananas (no need to mash them before, just toss them in), oil and vanilla.  Beat until well combined.  Stir in the flour and walnuts. Mix well and pour in prepared pan, spreading evenly.
Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and place pan onto wire rack.  Cool completely.
While cake is cooling, let's make the frosting.
Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Switch mixer to low and add the powdered sugar, extracts and milk.  Beat until spreading consistency.
Spread that yumminess over cooled cake.  Slice and enjoy!
Original recipe found here.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken and Corn Soup

This dish is super easy to put together, as you pretty much toss everything in the slow cooker.  Then you come home to a delicious dinner!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1.5 lbs chicken thighs, skinless, boneless, cut into chunks
-2 (10.75 oz each) cans cream of chicken soup
-1 (14.5 oz) can cream style corn
-2 cups chicken broth
-1 (15.25 oz ) can sweet corn, drained
-1 small onion, finely chopped OR  handful of dehydrated chopped onion
-1 tsp celery salt
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1/2 cup water
-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Directions:
Place all ingredients, except for the bacon, in the slow cooker.  Give it a good stir, cover, and cook on low for 4.5 hours.
Once done, stir again, ladle into bowls and top with crumbled bacon.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 18, 2015

BBQ Steak Bites with Roasted Peppers and Polenta

I don't have enough words to describe this amazing dish!  It is so, so tasty!  I bet you were drooling just by reading the title, right? :)  It's also very quick (under 30 minutes) and the burst of flavors is absolutely amazing!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For Polenta:
-4 cups water, divided
-1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 tsp salt, divided
For Steak:
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-1 1/2 lbs steak, cut into chunks
-2 tsp smoked paprika
-1 (16 oz) jar roasted pepper strips (if it doesn't have strips, take the peppers out and cut them into strips)
-1/2 cup hickory bbq sauce (we prefer Sweet Baby Ray)
Directions:
Make the polenta first.  Place 3 cups water and 1 tsp salt in large sauce pan and bring to a boil.  In a small bowl, mix remaining cup of water with the cornmeal and remaining tsp salt.  Mix well and add to boiling water.  Stir, cover and cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes.  Stir once in a while, but be very cautious as the mixture will be VERY hot.  Remove from heat, uncover and give it another good stir.  Let it sit until steak bites are ready.
Heat oil in large skillet.  Add the steak chunks and sprinkle with the smoked paprika.  Stir and cook for about 5 minutes or until steak is cooked to your liking.  Remove onto plate.
Return skillet to stove.  Add the pepper strips and liquid from the jar.  Stir in the bbq sauce.  Mix well and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken.  Return steak to the skillet and stir to coat.  Cook for 1 minute.  
Serve on top of the warm polenta.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Chicken and Pasta in a Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce

If you love gorgonzola cheese, this is the dish for you.  Yes, the taste of the cheese is quite prevalent and strong, so you have to love it. :)  Everything combines really nice and it becomes such a delicious dish.  You can use any kind of chicken you have; just make sure it cooks all the way through.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lb pasta (I used penne, but you can use any kind)
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-8 chicken drumsticks, scored (cut a slit on each side of each drum for better cooking)
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1 cup heavy cream
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-2 cups Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
-1/2 tsp rubbed sage
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet.   Add chicken and cook until nice and brown on all sides.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
Stir in the cream and broth.  Cook until slightly thickened and chicken is cooked through.  Stir in the Gorgonzola, sage, salt and pepper.  Cook until cheese is all melted.
Drain the pasta and add to the skillet.  Stir to coat.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Quick and Easy Chocolate Pie

Sometime I just want something quick and yummy, but don't have time to make anything fancy.  That's when I turn to things that are packaged and can be transformed in a matter of a few minutes.  I made this pie using a frozen pie shell because it's more tasty and flakier, with that yummy buttery taste.  However, to cut down even more on time, a store bought graham cracker or Oreo crust would work just as well.  Then all you have left to do is make the pudding, set it in the fridge and you're good to go.  Delicious and easy!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 frozen pie shell
-1 (3.9 oz) instant pudding and pie filling + milk, to make it
-whipped cream
Directions:
Thaw pie crust and bake according to package directions.
While crust is cooling, make the pudding, according to package directions, but make sure you follow the ones for the pie, not pudding.  Pour filling into cooled crust and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until pudding is set.
Decorate with some whipped cream, slice and enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Smoky and Spicy Pork Stir-Fry

Quick and easy, this dish is quite a delight! Make sure you have everything chopped and ready to go before you heat up that wok. :)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-2 lbs pork, skinless, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into bite size chunks
-2 tsp smoked paprika
-2 tsp salt
-1 Tbs sesame oil
-1 orange or red bell pepper, halved and sliced
-1 lb asparagus, trimmed and broken into 1 inch pieces
-1 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely shredded
-1 garlic clove, minced
-3 Tbs rice vinegar
-1 Tbs soy sauce
-2 tsp sugar
-1 tsp sriracha
-1 lb bag tricolor cole slaw
-5 green onions, trimmed and sliced
-cooked rice
Directions:
Heat vegetable oil in wok or large skillet.  Add the pork chunks and season with the paprika and salt. Give it a good stir and cook until golden brown on both sides.  Remove onto plate.
Return wok to stove and heat up the sesame oil.  Add the bell pepper, asparagus, ginger and garlic. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until veggies are crisp and tender.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and sriracha.  Add to the wok with the veggies.  Give it a good stir.  Return the pork, and all the accumulated juices, to the wok.  Cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the coleslaw mix and cook for a couple of minutes or until cabbage has wilted.  Lastly, add in the green onion and give it a good stir.
Serve on top of cooked rice.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Easy Mint Chocolate Chip Fudge

Perfect for the holidays or any day treat.  This is super easy to put together and so, so delicious!  We really love this one.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 1/4 cups white chocolate chips
-2 Tbs unsalted butter
-1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
-1 Tbs mint extract
-a few drops green food coloring
-3/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips, divided
Directions:
Line and 8x8 square pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.  Set aside.
Place white chocolate chips and butter into large bowl.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir and microwave for 30 more seconds.  Remove bowl from microwave and stir until smooth. Add the milk and mint extract.  Give it another good stir. Add a couple drops of food coloring and stir.  Adjust to desired color.
Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.  After that add to it 1/2 cup of the mini chocolate chips.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and press it down.  Sprinkle on top with remaining chips, gently pressing them into the fudge.
Place fudge in the fridge for at least 2 hours or until set.  Cut into squares and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Spicy Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes

This is such a nice spin on the classic mashies.  There's a little heat, but not much.  Plus the blue cheese gives it that unique flavor that makes you want to go for seconds. :)  This is also lower in calories because instead of the butter and cream/milk normally used, I added some olive oil with garlic. Very flavorful and still silky smooth!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
-salt
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
-1 cup blue cheese, crumbled
-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Directions:
Boil the potatoes in some salty water.  When done, reserve 1/2 cup of the water and discard the rest.  Keep the potatoes in the same pot and set on counter.
While the potatoes are boiling, heat the oil in large skillet.  Add the garlic slices and cook for 1 minute or until garlic starts to brown.  Pour this over the potatoes and start mashing everything. Add the reserved water, blue cheese, crushed pepper and at least 2 tsp salt.  Mash and mix well.  Taste and adjust the salt, if needed.  Enjoy! 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Basil, Corn, and Shrimp Chowder

This is very easy and so, so delicious!  It's the perfect dish for a chili, snowy day.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 Tbs salted butter
-1 small red onion, finely chopped
-1 green bell pepper, diced
-2 Tbs flour
-2 (8 oz each) bottles clam juice
-2 cups water
-2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp dried basil
-24 oz large shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
-12 oz frozen corn
-2 Tbs capers, drained
-8 oz mascarpone cheese
Directions:
Melt butter in large sauce pan.  Add the onion and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle the flour and give it a good stir. Once veggies are evenly coated with the flour, add the clam juice, water, Old Bay, salt, and basil.  Mix well and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and add the shrimp, corn, and capers.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until shrimp is nice and pink.
Remove pot from stove and stir in the mascarpone.  Stir until completely melted.  Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ioana's Smoky-Fruity Chicken Cups

I seriously love playing in my kitchen and coming up with various ideas for meals.  This dish is the result of such play and it came out FANTASTIC!  We couldn't stop eating them!  So, so good!  The liquid smoke gives it such an amazing boost and it goes perfectly with the sweetness of the pineapple and cherries.  Perfect combination!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (12.5 oz) can chicken breasts, drained
-1/2 tsp liquid smoke
-1/4 cup mayonnaise
-1 (8oz) can pineapple tidbits, drained
-1/4 cup dried cherries
-1/4 cup chopped pecans
-1 Tbs chives, chopped
-1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
-1 (16.3 oz) package refrigerated Grands flaky layers buttermilk biscuits
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl, combine the drained chicken, smoke, mayo, pineapple, cherries, pecans, chives and feta.  Mix well.
Using 2 ungreased muffin pans, break each biscuit in half and place it on bottom of pans (you should have 16 of them).  Distribute evenly the chicken mixture between the 16 cups.
Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes.  Carefully, remove cups from pan onto serving plate.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Caramel Steamer

I was reading this book called "Cross my Heart" by Julie Wright and the main character had quite an addiction to caramel steamers.  I have never had one, but it sounded really yummy, so I looked it up.  It appears to be a simple mixture of hot milk and caramel sauce.  So I went to work and whipped up some simple homemade caramel sauce to mix with my hot milk.  Result?  Delicious!!!  I love this quick little treat that I can enjoy now.  I hope you enjoy it too!
Ingredients:
-2/3 cup sugar
-1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 tsp lemon juice
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-hot milk
Directions:
In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar with the butter.  Cook over low-medium heat, undisturbed for about 8 minutes or until it becomes a beautiful golden-brown color.  Now you can give it a good stir.  Add the heavy cream, lemon juice and salt.  Cook for another minute.  Stir in the vanilla.  Mix and remove from stove.  
To make the steamer, fill a regular 10 oz cup with milk. Microwave for a couple of minutes or until very hot (do not boil!).  Add 4-5 Tbs of the caramel sauce and mix very well.  Enjoy your steamer!
Store remaining caramel sauce in the fridge until ready to use again.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Coconut Curry Chicken

This is one of those under 30 minutes meals, perfect for a crazy busy night.  The flavors are just amazing in this dish.  The curry and coconut milk mix perfectly, creating a delight for your palate.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
-1 (5.3 oz) container plain Greek yogurt
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-8 oz sliced mushrooms
-1 red bell pepper, sliced
-1 Tbs yellow curry powder
-1 tsp turmeric
-1 (15oz) can coconut milk
-2 Tbs honey
-1 tsp salt
-cooked rice
-1 lime, sliced
Directions:
Preheat your broiler to high.  Cut the chicken breasts into large chunks and dredge through yogurt so that both sides are completely covered.  Place onto baking sheet.  Broil in preheated oven for 4-5 minutes per side or until cooked through and a little charred.  Remove from oven, let it cool for a couple of minutes then cut into smaller chunks.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet.  Add the mushrooms and bell pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry and turmeric.  Mix well and cook for one minute.  Add the coconut milk, honey and salt.  Give it a good stir.  Add the chicken chunks.  Mix well and cook for a couple more minutes.
Serve on top of cooked rice with a couple of lime slices.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Southwest Inspired Beef and Potato Casserole

Quick and easy to put together, this is an absolutely great dinner!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lb extra lean ground beef
-1 small onion, finely chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with zesty jalapeƱos, NOT drained
-1 (15 oz) can corn with peppers, drained
-1 tsp chili powder
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp ground cumin
-2 lbs potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
-8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease bottom and sides of 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
In a large skillet, brown the beef with the chopped onion. Cook, breaking up the meat, until beef is no longer pink.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Stir in the tomatoes with the juice, corn, chili powder, salt, pepper and cumin.  Mix well and cook for about 1 minute.  Remove skillet from stove.
Layer half of the sliced potatoes on the bottom of prepared baking dish.  Top with half of the beef-corn mixture and sprinkle with half of the cheese.  Repeat the layers: potatoes, beef-corn, cheese.  Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, uncover, and let is sit for 5-10 minutes.  Serve onto plates and enjoy!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fresh Plum Crisp

Growing up in Romania, plums were always a HUGE thing in the fall.  We would buy tons of them to make jam so that we had it over the winter.  I absolutely love them!  This crisp is super easy and it is perfect for the fall season, when plums are in their glory.  I like to serve ours with some vanilla ice cream on top.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 1/2 lbs plums, pitted and roughly chopped
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp lemon juice
-1 Tbs water
-1 cup rolled oats
-3/4 cup flour
-3/4 cup packed brown sugar
-1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl, mix the chopped plums with the cinnamon, lemon juice and water.  Mix well and pour into an ungreased 9x13 baking dish.
In your food processor, mix the oats, flour, sugar and margarine.  Sprinkle mixture on top of plums, as evenly as possible.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until topping is golden brown.  Serve warm with some ice cream on top.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Lemony Chicken and Veggies Stir-Fry

Quick, packed with lots of veggies, and delicious!  This is great for a busy night. I also love all the fresh veggies, even now that the weather has turned and it's pretty cold.  There's also a little kick to dish awesome stir-fry, which make me very happy. :)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lemon
-3 Tbs soy sauce
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into chunks
-salt and pepper
-1 small head napa cabbage, cleaned and cut into chunks
-1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
-1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
-1 orange bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
-1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
-1 tsp red pepper flakes
-1/4 tsp chili powder
-4 green onions, chopped
Directions:
In a small bowl, combine the juice and zest from the lemon with the soy sauce.  Mix and set aside.
In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil.  Add the chicken chunks and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until chicken is cooked through.  Add the cabbage, asparagus, bell peppers, ginger, pepper flakes and chili powder.  Mix well and cook for about 5 more minutes.
Stir in the lemon-soy mixture, plus the green onions.  Toss and cook for 1 minutes.  Serve on top of rice.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cream of Root Vegetables Soup

I love homemade creamy soups.  They're easy and usually packed with veggies and other good things.  This is absolutely perfect for one of these colder nights.  It has celery root and parsnips, two of my favorite root vegetables.  And yes, the bacon on top gives it the perfect finishing touch.  Absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 bacon strips, chopped
-1 onion, chopped
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1 celery root, peeled and cubed
-1 lb parsnips, peeled and cubed
-6 cups chicken broth
-1 bay leaf
-1 cup heavy cream
-1 tsp dry thyme
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp white pepper
-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Directions:
In a large saucepan, cook the bacon until nice and crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon chunks onto plate lined with paper towel.  Set aside.
To the bacon drippings, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.  Add the celery root, parsnips, broth and bay leaf.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook, uncovered, for about 40 minutes or until veggies are tender.  Remove bay leaf.  Either using an immersion blender or a regular blender (work in batches on this one), puree veggies and broth.
Return mixture to stove, on low, and add the cream, thyme, salt, white pepper and nutmeg.  Give it a good stir.
Ladle into bowls and top with reserved bacon.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe found here.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Banana Bread with Coconut Milk

I think my family sometimes lets the bananas go bad just so that they see what I can come up with. :) I like to try come up with different things and this time I wanted to experiment with coconut milk.  The flavors are amazing!  The bread is moist and very flavorful.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 cup sugar
-2 large eggs
-3 very ripe bananas
-1/2 cup coconut milk
-2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
-2 Tbs applesauce
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp cardamom
-1 tsp cinnamon
-2 tsp baking powder
-2 1/2 cup flour
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat a 9x5 loaf pan with baking cooking spray (the one with butter and flour).  Set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, cream the sugar and eggs until nice and fluffy.  Add the bananas (I just tear them in big chunks) and mix well.  Stir in the coconut milk, melted butter, applesauce and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add the salt, cardamom, cinnamon, baking powder and flour, half of cup at a time.  Mix very well and pour in prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 70-80 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place, in the pan, on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Take the bread out of the pan and let it cool completely on wire rack. Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Scalloped Potatoes and Pork Casserole

This is very easy to assemble and it makes for a nice, homey, hearty meal.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 Tbs salted butter, divided
-2 1/2 lbs pork chops, boneless
-salt and pepper
-1 small onion, finely chopped
-2 lbs potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
-1 (14.5 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
-1 1/4 cups milk
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease bottom of 9x13 baking dish.  Set aside.
Heat 1 Tbs of the butter in large skillet.  Season pork chops with salt and pepper on each side.  Quickly brown on both sides in the melted butter.  Pork will not be cooked through at this point, just nicely browned.  Remove form skillet onto plate and set aside.
Return skillet to stove and add the other Tbs of butter.  Add the chopped onion and season with some salt and butter.  Cook for about 5 minutes until soft.  Stir in the soup and milk.  Mix well until no lumps.  Simmer for a few minutes, until sauce thickens.
While that simmers, place sliced potatoes on bottom of prepared baking dish.  Top with the browned pork chops.  Once done simmering, add the sauce to the dish, making sure that all the chops and potatoes are covered.
Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for 30 more minutes.
Remove casserole from oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Baked Cheesy Pasta with Corn

This is an awesome side dish that goes with pretty much anything.  The pasta is cooked to perfection in a wonderful cheesy concoction of flavors.  Delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (14 3/4 oz) can cream-style corn
-1 (15 oz) can corn, NOT drained
-1 cup pasta (any kind you want; I used elbow macaroni)
-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-1 stick salted butter, melted
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly butter the bottom and sides of 9x13 baking dish.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients until well combined.  Pour into prepared dish.
Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 30 more minutes.  Remove from oven and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Scoop onto plates and enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cassie's Butternut Squash Soup

We recently had a fancy etiquette night for the Young Women at our church.  This soup was one of the courses served.  We all instantly fell in love with it.  It is creamy, has a little kick to it and the flavors are absolutely amazing!  I already made it for my family and they loved it as well.  The only addition I did was to top it with the bacon bits and chives.  You don't have to do it, but it looks pretties in the pictures. :)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter
-1 small onion, finely chopped
-3 cups water
-4 cubes chicken boullion, crushed over the pot
-1 tsp seasoned salt
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
-6 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
-8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-bacon bits, optional
-chives, optional
Directions:
In a large sauce pan, melt the butter.  Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the water, chicken boullion, salt, pepper and cayenne.  Mix well.  Add the squash and give it another good stir.  Cook, on medium-high heat, for 10 minutes or until squash is tender.  Add the cream cheese and stir.  Puree the soup by either using an immersion blender or working it in batches in a regular blender.
Ladle into bowls and top, if desired with bacon bits and chives.  Enjoy this bowl of heaven!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken and White Bean Chili

This is super easy to put together, as you pretty much throw everything in the slow cooker.  The result is a wonderful, super flavorful, hearty dish.  The chicken melts in your mouth and the flavors are just perfect.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 small red onion, finely chopped
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-2 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, cut into chunks
-1 Tbs ground cumin
-1 tsp black pepper
-1 (16 oz) jar classic Alfredo sauce
-1 (15 oz) can Great Northern or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
-1 cup chicken broth
-1 (4 oz) fire roasted and chopped green chili peppers, NOT drained
-shredded Cheddar cheese, for topping
Directions:
Generously coat your slow cooker bottom and sides with cooking spray.  Add all of the ingredients, except for cheese.  Give it a good stir.  Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
Ladle into bowl, sprinkle with a little cheese and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Slow Cooker German-Inspired Chicken

I love this combination of sauerkraut with potatoes and chicken served on top of noodles.  It's not the most appetizing looking dish, nor is the smell the most inviting, but the taste is amazing!  The flavors are wonderful together and they all create a beautiful, hearty and tasty meal.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 (14.5 oz each) cans sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
-2 (10.75 oz each) cans cream of potato soup
-1/2 cup water
-2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
-1 tsp dried thyme, crushed
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-6 oz wide egg noodles, cooked
Directions:
Coat the bottom and sides of your slow cooker with cooking spray.  Add the sauerkraut, soup, water, sauce, thyme, salt and pepper.  Mix very well.  Add the chicken and cover it with the sauerkraut mixture.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
Serve on top of the hot noodles.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Slow Cooker Tomato-Ginger Chicken

I just love the freshness of the ginger and garlic in this dish.  The flavors are just beautiful and the chicken is cooked to perfection until it falls off the bone.  Delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-2 (14.5 oz each) cans petite diced tomatoes
-2 Tbs minute tapioca
-1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
-1 Tbs parsley, chopped
-2 tsp packed brown sugar
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-2 tsp salt
-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Directions:
Coat the bottom and sides of your slow cooker with some cooking spray.  Lay the chicken thighs on the bottom.
Drain only one can of the tomatoes and add it to a large bowl.  Add the remaining tomatoes with the juice, plus all of the other ingredients.  Mix well and pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
Serve over rice.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Pumpkin-Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

This is flavor perfection in one bite!  Everything blends absolutely beautiful in a perfect harmony of flavors.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
-1 cup sugar
-2 large eggs
-3 overripe bananas
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-3/4 cup pumpkin puree
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp baking soda
-2 cups flour
-1 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Generously coat the bottom and sides of 9x5 loaf pan with baking spray (the one with flour and butter).  Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar in your mixing bowl.  Add the eggs, one at a time, bananas (I usually just drop big chunks of it in there) and vanilla.  Mix very well.  Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, baking soda and flour, half of cup at a time.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven onto wire rack and cool in the pan for 15 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Slice and enjoy!
Original recipe found here.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Beef Stroganoff Casserole

This is very quick to put together and a perfect dish for one of those busy nights.  You can assemble it 24 hours before serving, if you don't have time right before baking. Just assemble everything except for the cheese and place in the fridge.  When ready to bake, sprinkle with the cheese and pop it in the oven.
The flavors are absolutely fantastic in this dish! Everything goes so well together.  Delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lb extra lean ground beef
-1 small onion, finely chopped
-8 oz baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 tsp paprika
-1 cup sour cream
-1 (12 oz) package refrigerated buttery crescent rolls
-1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Brown beef along with onions and mushrooms in large skillet.  Season with the salt, pepper and paprika.  Cook until all the liquid is gone.  Stir in the sour cream and mix well. Remove skillet from stove.
Unroll the crescent dough and press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 casserole dish.  Pour beef mixture right on top.  Sprinkle with the cheese and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Enjoy with a side of veggies!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Easy Apple Strudels (Strudele cu Mere)

I was born and raised in Europe, so to me, when I see apples, the first thought that comes to mind is strudels!  I love them and taught my family to love them as well. :)  This recipe cheats a little because it uses pre-made pastry sheets.  However, the result is still that flaky, buttery crust that makes this dessert truly a delight.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 puff pastry sheets (an entire package of about 17 oz), thawed according to package directions
-2 Tbs unsalted butter
-4 apples, peeled and grated
-1/4 cup PLUS 1 Tbs sugar, divided
-1 tsp cinnamon
-2 Tbs plain bread crumbs
-3 Tbs chopped walnuts (make sure it's very finely chopped, like walnut topping)
-butter flavored cooking spray
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Lightly coat a baking sheet with butter flavored cooking spray.  Set aside.
In a small saucepan, start melting the butter over medium heat.  Add the shredded apples and 1/4 of the sugar.  Mix well and cook until butter is melted and sugar dissolved.  Stir in the cinnamon, crumbs and walnuts.  Mix well and continue cooking until all the liquid is absorbed.  Remove pan from stove and let it cool a little.
Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, place your thawed pastry sheets.  Using a rolling pin, rolls the dough until nice and thin.  Scoop the apple filling evenly onto the 2 prepared pastry sheets. Spread all over.  Gently, roll each dough with the filling, flattening it a little as you go.  Place seam down on the prepared sheet.  Cut 3-4 slits into each strudel.  Coat each of them with a little butter flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 tsp sugar onto each strudel.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes.  Gently, cut each strudel into slices and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Salmon Chowder

This truly is a bowl of absolute goodness!  It's hearty, quick and super delicious!  The leeks are soft and sweet, combining perfectly with all the other delicious ingredients, while the salmon gives it that perfect touch.  Great, great dish!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 Tbs salted butter
-2 leeks, cleaned well and finely chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp celery salt
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
-1 Tbs flour
-4 cups chicken broth
-1 lb salmon, skinless, boneless, cut into chunks
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, drained
-1 Tbs dried chives
Directions:
In a large pot, melt the butter.  Add the leeks, garlic, celery salt, salt and pepper.  Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the potatoes and flour and give it a good stir.  Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring once in a while.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Toss in the salmon chunks and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in the cream, corn and chives. Simmer for a couple more minutes.
Laddle into bowls and enjoy!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This is easy and delicious, perfect for a simple dinner.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 slices bacon
-2 large chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
-8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 tsp seasoned salt
-1 tsp garlic powder
-4 green onions, finely chopped
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
In a large skillet, cook the bacon for only 3 minutes per side.  Yes, it will not be cooked through.  Remove onto plate lined with paper towels and let it cool.
Meanwhile, cut each chicken breast in half.  Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken until nice and thin.
In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, seasoned salt, garlic powder and chopped green onion.  Mix very well.
Place a generous portion of the cream cheese mixture in the middle of each chicken breast.  Roll the chicken carefully, then wrap a piece of the partially cooked bacon around the breast.  Place in baking pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Leave the chicken in, but the off the oven and switch it to high broil.  Broil the chicken for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Regina's Cheesecake Dreams

My friend, Regina, has been making these delicious gems for like forever!  I absolutely LOVE them! They are super moist and literally melt in your mouth!  Regina's been very nice and shared her recipe with me.  They're actually quite easy to make.  Enjoy these pieces of heaven!
Ingredients:
-1/3 cup packed brown sugar
-1 cup flour
-1/2 cup walnut topping (the really finely chopped walnuts in the baking section)
-1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
-8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 large egg
-3 Tbs milk
-1 Tbs lemon juice
-1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan.  Set aside.
In a bowl, mic the brown sugar, flour and walnuts.  Add the melted butter and mix until nice and crumbly.  Save 1/3 cup of the crumbly mixture.  Place the rest in the prepared pan.  Press it gently into the pan, on the bottom.  Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until edges are golden.
Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese and sugar in your mixer until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients. Pour over hot crust.  Sprinkle on top with the saved 1/3 cup of the crumbly mixture. Bake for 25 more minutes.
Remove from oven and place (in the pan) on wire rack.  Cool completely.  Cut into pieces and enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe courtesy of Regina G.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cheddar-Zucchini Rice

This is a very nice side dish, a beautiful and delicious variation to the famous broccoli rice au gratin. It is creamy, cheesy and yummy.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 cups chicken broth
-1 cup uncooked white rice
-2 cups grated zucchini (if frozen, thaw and squeeze most of the liquid out)
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions:
Combine the broth and rice in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is nice and tender.  Stir once in a while.
Remove pan from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.  Mix until well incorporated.  Serve and enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Slow Cooker BBQ Balsamic Vinaigrette Chicken

This is super easy to put together and the results are quite delicious!  I served ours with some rice and veggies, but mashies, pierogis, ravioli and other sides would go just as well.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 chicken things, bone-in, skin-on
-1 cup bbq sauce (I prefer Sweet Baby Rays)
-2 Tbs brown sugar
-2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
-1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
Directions:
Coat your slow cooker with some cooking spray.  Add the chicken, skin side up.  In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients.  Pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Lemon Raspberry Zucchini Bread

What a great combination of flavors!  You can use fresh zucchini or the one you froze over the summer, when it was so abundant.  If you're using frozen, make sure to squeeze all that liquid out. This bread is absolutely amazing! Everything blends beautifully together.  Enjoy!
This recipe yields two 9x5 loaves
Ingredients:
-4 large eggs
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-1 cup vegetable oil
-1 cup milk
-2 lemons
-2 cups grated zucchini
-1 tsp salt
-4 tsp baking powder
-4 cups flour
-2 cups fresh raspberries
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat generously two 9x5 loaf pans with baking spray (the one with flour and butter) on the bottom and up the sides.  Set aside.
In your mixer, cream the eggs and sugar.  Add the oil and mix.  Stir in the milk along with the zest and juice from the lemons.  Add the zucchini and mix well.  Add the salt, baking powder and flour, half of cup at a time.  Lastly, stir in the raspberries.  They will break nicely as you mix, but don't over do it.
Pour batter evenly into the two prepared pans.
Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from pan and let it cool completely on wire racks.  Slice and enjoy!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Cheesy Pasta Bake with Chicken, Spinach and Tomatoes

Simple, easy and delicious!  If you're pressed for time, you can prepare this in advance, but doing all the prep work necessary before baking.  Refrigerate for up to 24 hours, then bake it according to the directions.  The flavors are absolutely wonderful in this dish.  The cheese is all melted and yummy, while the tomatoes give it that fresh kick.  Really good stuff!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lb pasta (any kind you like; I used bow tie this time)
-2 Tbs salted butter
-1 small onion, finely chopped
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 cup sour cream
-1 cup milk (don't use lower than 2%)
-1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
-2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
-1 large chicken breast, cooked and cubed OR 2 (12.5 oz each) cans chicken breast in water, drained
-1 large tomato, cored and diced
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again, cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt butte in large saute pan.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes.  Stir in the cream cheese and cook until melted.
Reduce heat and add the sour cream, milk, parmesan cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella, salt and pepper.  Mix well and cook until cheese is fully melted.
Add the spinach, chicken and tomato.  Mix well.  Toss in the pasta and give it a good stir.
Pour pasta mixture into 9x13 baking dish.  Sprinkle on top with remaining cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown.
Remove from oven, let it sit for 5 minutes, scoop onto plates and enjoy!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Roasted Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes in Dijon Mustard Sauce

Yes, quite a mouthful for a title, but a delicious meal!  It's pretty quick too!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone in
-salt and pepper
-2 Tbs salted butter, divided
-1 1/2 lbs baby potatoes, sliced in half (skin-on)
-1 cup chicken broth
-2 Tbs Dijon mustard
-1  tsp dried parsley flakes
-16 oz Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Heat 1 Tbs of the oil in a large, oven proof skillet.  Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.  Add to hot skillet, skin down, and cook for 4-5 minutes per each side.
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbs of the oil in another large skillet and add the halved potatoes.  Season with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Cook for about 5-6 minutes, until nice and golden brown.  Pour potatoes and any juices (oil) oven the chicken.
Place skillet with chicken and potatoes into preheated oven.  Roast for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the broth, mustard, parsley, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Once chicken is done roasting, return very hot skillet to the stove, over medium low heat. Place 1 Tbs of the butter on top and let it melt.  Once that's done, pour mustard mixture over chicken.  Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Once the sauce and chicken are simmering, heat remaining butter and oil in another large skillet.  Add the Brussels sprouts and season with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Saute for a couple of minutes.  Cover and cook for 45 more minutes.
Serve sprouts with chicken and potatoes and some of that wonderful sauce drizzled over all of them.  Enjoy!
Adapted from a recipe found on myfitnesspal.com 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fresh Peach Fool

It's time for one last fresh peach dessert.  This is quick, easy and beyond delicious!  That orange extract adds the perfect punch to eat for an absolute perfect taste.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 Tbs unsalted butter
-3 cups peaches, pitted and cut into chunks
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 Tbs orange extract
-whipped cream, homemade or store bought (both are fine)
Directions:
Melt butter in medium skillet.  Add the peaches and sugar.  Give it a good stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the orange extract,mix well and cook for 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat and cool completely (place them in the fridge for a much quicker cooling).
Once cooled completely, assemble the dish.  A little whipped cream on the bottom, topped with the peach mixture, topped with more whipped cream.  Enjoy a piece of heaven! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

One Pot Mexican Inspired Chicken and Rice

I really like that this is all done in one pot without a ton of dishes to clean as you cook.  This is a great, simple and delicious meal.  The rice and veggies combined with the chicken are definitely a winner.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 Tbs vegetable oil
-4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
-salt and pepper
-1 red bell pepper, chopped
-1 green bell pepper, chopped
-1/2 small red onion, chopped
-2 cups water
-1 cup chunky salsa
-2 cups minute white rice, uncooked
-12 oz frozen corn
-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions:
Heat oil in large sauce pan.  Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper on both sides.  Add to hot oil, skin side down.  Cook for 5 minutes on each side.
Add the bell peppers and onion.  Season with some salt and pepper and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the water and salsa.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Stir in the rice and corn.  Mix well.  Sprinkle with the cheese and turn the heat to low.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Scoop onto plates and enjoy!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ham and Cheddar Pasta Salad

This is a quick and easy pasta salad, perfect for one of those crazy nights.  The flavors are wonderful together.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For salad:
-1 lb garden rotini
-1 red bell pepper, chopped
-8 oz cubed ham
-8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
-1/2 small red onion, chopped
For dressing:
-1/2 cup mayonnaise
-1/4 cup sugar
-2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp dried parsley
Directions:
Cook pasta in salty water, according to package directions.  Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and place in large bowl.  It should be cool by now.  Add remaining salad ingredients and toss.
In a bowl, mix dressing ingredients until smooth.  Pour over salad and mix very well.
Let it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to combine.  Serve and enjoy!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Cinnamon Pound Cake with Stewed Peaches

I seriously LOVE peach season!  There are so many ways to enjoy those fuzzy balls of goodness.  This is a slightly adapted recipe courtesy of the great chef Emeril Lagasse.  It is absolutely amazing!  The cake by itself is super delicious!  Add the stewed peaches along with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and it truly becomes a piece of heaven!  So, so good!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For cake:
-2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
-2 1/2 cups sugar
-6 large eggs
-1/4 tsp salt
-2 tsp cinnamon
-3 cups flour
-3/4 cup milk
For stewed peaches:
-4 cups fresh peaches, pitted and sliced, plus any accumulated juices
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 tsp lemon juice
-2 tsp cornstarch
-2 tsp water
Directions:
Make the cake first.  Preheat oven to 325 F.  Coat generously a bundt cake pan with the baking cooking spray (the one with butter and flour).  Set aside.
In your electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  Stir in the salt, cinnamon and flour, 1/2 cup at a the time, alternating with the milk.  Mix very well.  
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Remove cake from pan and cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, let's make the stewed peaches.
Combine the sliced peaches, along with all the juices, with the sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water.  Mix well and add to the peaches. Give it a good stir and bring it to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute or until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and serve warm on top of that delicious cake with a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  YUM!  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Asian Inspired Pork and Noodles Bowl

Quick, simple and so delicious!  This is perfection in a bowl.  The flavors combine beautifully. Make sure to drink that delicious broth from the bowl.  Delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 Tbs vegetable or canola oil
-1 lb boneless pork, trimmed of fat and cut into bite size chunks
-1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp pepper, divided
-1 1/2 cups water
-1 (3 oz) package oriental flavor ramen noodles, broken
-12 oz frozen peas
-2 orange, red or yellow bell peppers, chopped
-2 Tbs hoisin sauce
Directions:
Heat oil in large skillet.  Add pork chunks and season with the salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Cook for about 3 minutes or until pork is lightly browned.
Add the water to the skillet.  Bring to a boil.  Add noodles and the seasoning packet.  Give it a nice stir.  Add the peas, bell peppers and hoisin sauce.  Mix well and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining pepper.
Scoop into bowl with a little of the broth.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Cod with Spinach and Zucchini in a Spicy Sauce

Simple, quick and so delicious!  You can serve this with some garlic bread, rolls, polenta or just by itself.  Delicious! Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 cup marinara sauce
-2 medium zucchinis, chopped
-salt and pepper
-1 lb cod fillets
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-1 lb baby spinach
 Directions:
In a large skillet add the marinara sauce and chopped zucchini.  Season with some salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp each).  Bring to a simmer.  
Season both sides of each cod fillet with some salt and pepper.  Add to the zucchini mixture.  Cover and cook for about 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large pot.  Add the garlic and pepper flakes.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring continually.  Add the spinach and some salt.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Place some of the spinach mixture on the bottom of a plate.  Top with a piece of cod and the zucchini sauce.  Enjoy!

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