Monday, March 30, 2015

Easy Deviled Eggs

With Easter right around the corner, you will have lots of boiled eggs that the kids helped decorate.  Now, you can only eat that many boiled eggs or use them in a salad, or make deviled eggs.  This recipe is so simple and quick, especially if you have lots of help with peeling those eggs. :)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-12 hard boiled eggs
-1 cup mayonnaise
-1/2 cup bacon bits
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Peel eggs and cut in half.  Scoop up the yolk and place in large bowl.  Mash the yolks with fork and mix with the mayo, bacon bits, salt and pepper.  Taste to make the seasoning is right.  Fill up the whites and serve.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie

Simple, easy and absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 frozen (9 inch) deep pie shell
-2 cups heavy cream
-1 cup 2% or whole milk
-2 large eggs, beaten
-3/4 cup sugar
-1/2 cup flour
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 cup sweetened coconut flakes, toasted (either in the oven or on the stove)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
Directions:
Bake the frozen pie shell according to package directions.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
In a medium saucepan, mix the cream, milk, eggs, sugar, flour and salt.  Mix very well and bring to a boil, over low heat, stirring constantly.
Remove pan from stove and stir in 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut and the vanilla.   Mix very well.  Pour in cooled pie shell.
Refrigerate for 4-5 hours.
When ready to serve, remove from the fridge and top with thawed whipped topping and remaining toasted coconut.  Slice, serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Skillet Chicken with Pasta, Bacon and Avocado

Absolutely delicious!  This one  is a winner for sure.  It's quite easy to put together and very hearty.  Leaves you satisfied on all fronts.:)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lb tube pasta (any type you like: penne, rotini, etc)
-8 slices bacon, chopped
-4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into bite-size chunks
-salt and pepper
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 red or orange bell peppers, chopped
-1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, do NOT drain
-1 cup chicken broth
-1/2 cup sour cream
-1/2 tsp onion powder
-1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
-2 avocados, pitted and diced
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in an oven proof large skillet.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to drain on paper towels.
Keep about 2 Tbs of the bacon fat in the skillet, discarding the rest.  Return skillet with bacon fat to stove.  Add the chicken chunks and season with salt and pepper.  Once chicken is golden brown, remove onto a plate.
Return skillet to stove and add the garlic.  Cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the bell peppers and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the tomatoes with the juice, chicken broth, sour cream and onion powder.  Season with some salt and pepper.  Give it a good stir and bring to a low boil.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add to the skillet the drained pasta and cooked chicken.  Mix well and remove from stove.  Sprinkle with the cheese.
Place in preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes.  Top with reserved bacon and avocado chunks.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken for Tacos

This is seriously one of the easiest recipes ever!  Only 3 ingredients, no pre work, just put everything in and stir.  Super easy and yummy!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
-1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilis, do NOT drain
-4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
Directions:
Coat the bottom of your slow cooker with some cooking spray.  Top with the chicken breasts.  Pour undrained tomatoes on top.  Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
Shred the chicken in the slow cooker, using 2 forks.  Add the softened cream cheese, cover and continue cooking on low for 30 more minutes.
Give it a good stir.  Fill your hard or taco shells with the meat mixture and enjoy!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Romanian Dessert "Salami" (Salam de Biscuiti)

I recently participated in a cultural night at my church.  We had to make ethnic foods from places we've been to.  One of the dishes I made was this delicious dessert, a sweet childhood memory for me.  It's shaped like a salami, that's why the name.  But it is filled with sweet crackers, sugar, cocoa, raisins and other good stuff.  It's super easy to make and seriously delicious.  Enjoy!
 Ingredients:
-1 lb plain animal crackers
-3/4 cup milk
-1 stick (1/2 cup) + 2 Tbs unsalted butter
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
-4 oz golden raisins
-1 Tbs imitation rum extract
-sweetened coconut flakes
Directions:
Break the crackers into small pieces, but not crumbs (do it by hand), like this:
 In a saucepan, mix the milk and butter.  Once the butter is melted, add the sugar.  Stir until sugar is melted.  Stir in the cocoa powder and mix very well.  Bring to a low boil.  Add the raisins and rum.  Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.  The raisins should start plumping back up by now.
Remove mixture from stove and let it cool for 5 minutes.
Pour slightly cooled mixture over the broken crackers.  Mix very well, until evenly coated, like this:
Let it sit for 10 minutes, until all that goodness is absorbed into the crackers.
Tear and spread a couple pieces of plastic wrap.  Sprinkle with some coconut flakes.  Divide the cracker mixture evenly in two and place on prepared wraps, on top of the coconut.  Roll in the shape of salami.  Sprinkle the top with more coconut.  Cover tightly with the plastic wrap and tie the ends.
Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.  It's best to leave it over night.
Remove from the fridge.  It should be nice and hard by now.  Slice and enjoy!  Store leftovers in the fridge.  
Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken with Bacon and Sour Cream

This is a very hearty dish, so be prepared to be quite full when you're finished.  The flavors are wonderful and, of course, bacon does make it even better. :)  I served ours on rice and it worked just perfect.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-8 slices bacon
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-2 (10 oz each) cans of cream of mushroom soup with roasted garlic
-1 cup sour cream
-1/4 cup flour
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
Directions:
Cook bacon until lightly brown, but not crispy.  Drain on paper towels.
Wrap 2 slices of cooked bacon around each thigh.  Place on bottom of slow cooker.
In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for about 5 hours.
Serve over rice.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shrimp Avocado Salad

If you're looking for something quick, easy and absolutely delicious, this is it!  Perfect combination of flavors, ready in well under 30 minutes and quite hearty.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-24 oz medium shrimp, cooked, with tails removed
-2 avocados, diced
-2 Tbs red onion, chopped
For dressing:
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1/4 cup red wine vinegar
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-2 tsp dried parsley leaves, or 1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
-1 tsp Dijon mustard
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Place shrimp, avocado and onion in large bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine all dressing ingredients.  Mix very well.  Pour over shrimp.  Toss to coat evenly.  Serve and enjoy!

Friday, March 13, 2015

White Cupcakes with Berry Cheesecake Buttercream Frosting

Yum, yum, and yum!  The subtle hint of almond flavor makes these cupcakes even more delicious, while the frosting is an absolute delight!  Creamy, fluffy and quite delicious!  The best part is that you can use any type of seedless berry jam you like.  It'll come out fantastic!  Enjoy!
This recipe yields 24 regular size cupcakes
Ingredients:
For cupcakes:
-3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 3/4 cup sugar
-5 egg whites
-1 cup plain yogurt
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp almond extract
-2 tsp baking powder
-3/4 tsp salt
-2 3/4 cups flour
For frosting:
-1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
-4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-1/4 cup seedless berry jam (I used black raspberry-blackberry jam)
-4 cups powdered sugar
Directions:
First, let's make the cupcakes.
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 2 regular cupcake pans with paper liners.  Set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, cream butter and sugar, until nice and fluffy.  Add the egg whites and beat well.  Add the yogurt and extracts.  Mix then stir in the baking powder, salt and flour, a little at a time.  Beat until well mixed and fluffy.  
Fill each paper liner 2/3 full with the batter.  Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then transfer to wire racks until cooled completely (about 1 hour).
Meanwhile, let's make the frosting.
In your mixer's bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese.  When fluffy, add the jam.  Stir in the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.  Beat until smooth (it'll take a few minutes in medium-high).
Frost cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Baked Pasta with Roasted Vegetables Delight

I don't have enough words to praise this dish.  It's absolutely delicious, with the flavors combining perfectly!  And it's low on calories too!  You will definitely not regret this one.  Hearty, simple and delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 red peppers, cored, halved and sliced
-2 medium zucchinis, cubed
-1 medium eggplant, cubed
-2 portabella mushroom caps, washed well and cubed
-1 onion, halved and sliced
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-2 tsp salt, divided
-2 tsp pepper, divided
-1 Tbs dried oregano
-1 lb pene pasta (or any tubular pasta you like)
-1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce
-1 1/2 cups frozen peas
-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-1 1/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese PLUS 1/3 cup for topping
Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 F.  Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.
On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchinis, eggplant, mushrooms and onion with the olive oil, 1 tsp of the salt, 1 tsp of the pepper and oregano.  Toss really well.  Roast in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until veggies are nice and tender.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta into boiled water for only 6 minutes (it will continue cooking in the oven).  Drain and place into large bowl.
To the pasta, add the roasted veggies, marinara sauce, peas, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, remaining salt and remaining pepper.  Toss very, very well.  
Pour mixture into prepared greased 9x13 pan.  Top with remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan.  Bake for 25 minutes.
Let it rest for about 5 minutes, scoop onto plates and enjoy!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mac and Cheese Soup

This dish is comfort food!  Yes, it does taste like mac and cheese, and yes, it's a soup!  The flavors are delicious and combined to perfection.  The toasted baguette and roasted tomatoes give it the perfect extra touch.  Delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-olive oil cooking spray
-1 baguette, sliced
-3 Roma tomatoes, sliced
-salt and pepper
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 small red onion, finely chopped
-1 tsp salt
-1/4 cup flour
-4 cups chicken broth
-1 cup elbow macaroni
-1 1/4 cups milk (whole or 2%)
-2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Coat a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.   Layer the bread and tomato slices on top.  Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and pepper.  Coat bread and tomatoes with some more cooking spray.  Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until bread is golden brown.  
Meanwhile, heat the oil in large saucepan.  Add the chopped onion and salt.  Stir and cook for about 4 minutes or until onion is soft.  Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Stir in the pasta. Cook, boiling, for about 10 minutes until soup has thickened and pasta is tender. 
Remove from heat and stir in the milk and cheeses.  Stir until all cheese is melted.  Season with some pepper.
Ladle into bowls and top with some toasted baguette and roasted tomatoes.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Peppermint Cupcakes with Simple Whipped Topping

These cupcakes are quite a delight: not too sweet, but very moist and tasty.  Enjoy!
This recipe yields 24 regular size cupcakes
Ingredients:
For cupcakes:
-1 (16.5 oz) box white cake mix
-3 large eggs
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
-1/2 cup buttermilk
-1 cup sour cream
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-3 tsp peppermint extract
-2-3 drops pink food dye
For simple whipped topping:
-1 1/2 cups heavy cream
-3 Tbs white chocolate instant pudding mix
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line pans with cupcakes liners.  Set aside,
In your mixer's bowl, add cake mix and eggs.  Beat until smooth.  Gradually, add the oil, buttermilk, sour cream, vanilla and peppermint.  Mix well.  Add the food coloring and mix until well incorporated.
Fill cupcakes liners 3/4 full.  Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove onto drying racks and let cool completely (about 1 hour).
Meanwhile, make the whipped topping.  In your mixer bowl, add the heavy cream and instant pudding.  Beat until stiff. 
Frost each cupcake.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sizzling Lemon Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

I do have a huge weakness for brussels sprouts.  I really like them! This dish combines beautifully with the lemon chicken, garlic, onion and all the other goodies.  Great dish!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
-salt 
-pepper
-1/2 medium red onion, chopped
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 lb brussels sprouts, tops cut off and sliced in half
-1 cup chicken stock
-1 lemon
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large oven proof skillet.  Score the thighs and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper.  Add thighs, skin side down, to hot skillet.  Brown on both sides (about 4 minutes on each side). They will not be done cooking at this point.  Remove chicken from skillet onto a plate.
Return skillet to stove.  Add the chopped onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the halved sprouts.  Saute until they begin to brown.  Add the chicken stock and mix well.  Zest and juice the lemon.  Add to the skillet.  Mix well.
Add the browned thighs to the skillet (make room around the sprouts).  Place skillet into preheated even and bake for about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  It will be nice and sizzly at this point.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Broiled Salmon with Avocado-Red Onion-Lime Topping

This is one of the best ways to prepare salmon.  The topping is out of this world delicious!  Seriously!  It's the absolute perfect blend of flavors.  I served ours with some hot bread on the side, but you could have it with some rice, even mashed potatoes, or just by itself.  It's pure delight!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-olive oil cooking spray
-4 fillets salmon
-2 tsp salt
-2 tsp pepper
-1 tsp ground cumin
-1 tsp paprika
-1 tsp onion powder
-1 tsp chili powder
For topping:
-1 avocado, chopped
-1/2 small red onion, chopped
-2 limes, juiced
-1 tsp salt
Directions:
Line a baking sheet with foil.  Coat it generously with olive oil cooking spray.  On top of that sprinkle with half the salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, onion powder and chili powder.  Place salmon fillets on top of seasoned foil.  Coat each fillet with olive oil cooking spray.  Sprinkle remaining spices on top of each fillet.  Place sheet with salmon in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F.
Also, make the topping by combining all the ingredients.  Give it a good stir, taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed, and place in the fridge until ready to use.
Bake seasoned salmon in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Turn the oven on to HIGH broil and cook the fish for 5 more minutes (it will give it that beautiful golden brown color and a bit of a crunch).
Remove from oven and place on plates.  Top with avocado mixture and enjoy!

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