Friday, June 26, 2015

Double Chocolate Banana Bread (with Dark Chocolate)

Oh, what a treat this is!  Super chocolaty and moist!  And the dark chocolate gives it such an amazing unique taste.  Delicious, delicious, delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 ripe bananas
-3/4 cup packed brown sugar
-1/2 cup sour cream
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 egg
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 cup flour
-1 cup dark chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat a 9x5 loaf pan with baking cooking spray.  Set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, add bananas (just broken in halves) and brown sugar.  Mix until smooth.  With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, vanilla and egg.  Increase speed and beat until well mixed.  Lower the speed and add cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and flour.  Mix very well.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 55-65 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Place on wire rack and cool completely.  Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

This is one of my go to recipes, either when we want something quick and delicious or when someone needs a meal after having a baby or just because.  It's easy and super delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lb cooked fettuccine
-2 cups heavy cream
-1/2 cup unsalted butter
-1 tsp salt
-5 oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
-pepper to taste
-4 cups cooked chicken (grilled, baked, roasted, boiled)- I like to season a couple of chicken breasts with seasoned salt, pepper and garlic powder; then grill it and cut it in chunks.
Directions:
Heat heavy cream, butter and salt over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add cheese.  Stir until melted.  Add the fettuccine.  Toss to combine well.  Place back on stove over low heat, tossing continually for about 2 minutes or until sauce thickens.  Sprinkle with pepper and add the cooked chicken.  Toss again and serve.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Bacon Jalapeno Popper Quiche

If you want perfection on a plate, this is the dish!  Seriously!  I don't even know where to start to describe it.   From the sweetness of the pie crust, topped with creamy cheese, the blend of jalapeños, bacon and eggs, topped with more cheese and baked to perfection.  Heaven in every single bite!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (9 inch) deep frozen pie crust
-1/4-1/2 cup(depends on how rich you want your quiche to be) garden vegetable (or regular) cream cheese, at room temperature
-2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
-1 jalapeño, seeded, halved and sliced
-8 slices bacon, chopped and cooked until crisp (drain on paper towels)
-1 cup heavy cream
-5 large eggs, beaten
-1 tsp smoked paprika
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.
While that preheats, get the crust out of the freezer and allow it to thaw for 10 minutes.  After that, prick it all over with a fork.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately spread the cream cheese all over the bottom.  This might be a bit tricky, so try to get it as evenly as possible.  Sprinkle the diced jalapeños on top. 
Lower the oven temperature to 350 F.
Heat the heavy cream, but do not boil.
Whisking the eggs, add the hot cream to them (do not stop whisking or you'll end up with scrambled eggs!).  Once that's nicely mixed, add the paprika, salt and bacon.  Pour into crust.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven, top with jalapeño slices and cheddar cheese.  Return to oven and bake for 20 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes.  Slice and enjoy!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Broccoli Salad

Sometime I just like to have something lighter for dinner, such as a nice salad.  But this time I wanted something different.  So I was browsing through Food Network and came across this recipe from Trisha Yearwood.  As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to try it.  I tweaked it just a little, but the result is absolutely fantastic!  Every bite is amazing, bursting with so much flavor!  I want to have this again and again and again.  It's sooooooo good!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-8 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
-salt
-5 cups small broccoli florets
-1 cup mayonnaise
-1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
-1/4 cup sugar
-1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
-1 cup craisins (mine were infused with pomegranate juice [YUM!], but regular work just fine)
-1/2 cup sunflower kernels
Directions:
Cook bacon until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes.  Drain in colander and rinse with cold water.  Drain very well.
Meanwhile, in a salad bowl, combine the mayo, vinegar and sugar.  Mix very well.  Add the onion and craisins.  Mix well.  Add the broccoli and coat evenly.
Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
When ready to serve, add the bacon and kernels.  Mix well and enjoy every bite!
Slightly adapted from a Trisha Yearwood recipe.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Easy, No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake

Easy and insanely delicious!  This cheesecake is creamy and quite rich.  Every bite feels like heaven! Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-6 oz honey graham crackers
-5 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 (13 oz) jar Nutella, divided
-1 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts, divided
-16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-1/2 cup powder sugar
Directions:
In your food processor add the crackers, butter and 1 Tbs of the Nutella.  Process until damp and sandy.  Add 1/4 up of the hazelnuts and process until well incorporated.  
Pour mixture on bottom of 9 inch round springform.  Press into base until nice and tight.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese and powder sugar until smooth.  Add remaining Nutella and beat until well mixed.  Pour mixture over crust.  Top with remaining hazelnuts.  Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably over night.
Serve cold, straight from the fridge.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Easy Chicken-Pineapple Salad Wraps

Quick, easy and delicious!  Another perfect little meal for one of those crazy nights.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For salad:
-2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cooked and diced OR 4 cups cooked and diced chicken (such as rotisserie)
-8 oz canned crushed pineapple, drained very well
-1/2 cup roasted slivered almonds
-4 green onions, chopped
For dressing:
-1/4 cup mayonnaise
-1/4 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
-1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
For assembly:
-about 6 flour tortillas, fajita size
Directions:
In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine all dressing ingredients.  When smooth and well mixed, pour over salad.  Mix until evenly coated.
Scoop some of the salad onto tortillas, wrap and enjoy!

Monday, June 8, 2015

"Lazy" Lasagna

This is a much easier version of the traditional lasagna, but with he same delicious result.  Also, you can make this one up to 24 hours in advance, then just bake it when you're ready for it.  It is a wonderful combination of flavors, with an amazing blend of cheeses, noodles and sauce.  Absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-15 oz ricotta cheese
-1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
-2 tsp dried parsley or 2 Tbs fresh
-1 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
-60 oz meat flavored pasta sauce 
-12 uncooked lasagna noodles
-2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, parsley and oregano.
On the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 baking dish, spread 2 cups of the pasta sauce.  Top with 4 of the noodles (you might have to break one and make it fit).  Spread ricotta mixture on top.  Spread 2 more cups of sauce and top with 4 more noodles.  Repeat with 2 cups of sauce and 4 noodles.  Sprinkle 2 cups of the mozzarella and top with remaining pasta sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
Cover and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 30 more minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.  Let it stand 15-20 minutes before cutting.
***You can prepare the lasagna up to 24 hours before baking.  Simply cover it tightly with foil and refrigerate.  When ready to bake, place covered in preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover and continue baking for 20 more minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella.  Let stand for 15-20 minutes before cutting.***
Enjoy!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, this is another favorite in our home.  How can it not be when there's double chocolate involved? :)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
This recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies.
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1/4 cup margarine
-12 tsp vanilla extract
-1 large egg white
-1 cup flour
-3 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/8 tsp salt
-1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, cream brown sugar and margarine.  Add vanilla and egg white.  Mix well.  Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix until well incorporated.   Stir in the chocolate chips and mix well.
Drop by spoonful on prepared baking sheets.
Bake in preheated oven of about 9 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let them cool on the sheets for 10 minutes.  Remove onto serving plate and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Grilled Chicken and Green Onions Fajitas

Easy, simple and so delicious!  Everything about this is fresh, light and kind of summerish.  I love the grilling of the onions, as it gives them such a distinct and delicious taste.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
Marinade:
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-2 Tbs lemon juice
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp chili powder
-1 tsp ground cumin
-2 tsp dried parsley leaves
Fajitas:
-2 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, cut in half
-1 bunch (5.5 oz) green onions, cleaned
-8 fajita-size flour tortillas
Toppings:
-tomatoes, chopped
-shredded cheddar cheese
-sour cream
Directions:
Combine marinade ingredients in a ziplok bag.  Add chicken breast halves and coat evenly.  Place bag in the fridge for 1-2 hours, flipping it on the other side every 30 minutes-this will get that marinade all over the chicken and infuse it with all those wonderful flavors.
When ready to enjoy your fajitas, coat your grill with some olive oil flavored cooking spray.  Turn the grill on.  When ready, add the green onions and grill for 15-20 seconds on each side.  Remove onto plate and slice into 1 inch pieces.  Set aside.
Add the chicken to the grill and cook until done (about 8-10  minutes per side).  Remove onto plate and let it rest for 5 minutes, then cut into chunks.
Meanwhile, grill the tortillas for 10-15 seconds per side.
Place chicken and onions on tortillas and serve with the toppings.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pork Chops with Asparagus and Green Onions in a Dijon Sauce

Simple, quick and super delicious!  The chops are super moist and the flavors are amazing together!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-4 pork chops, bone-in
-seasoned salt and ground pepper
-1 lb asparagus, sliced at an angle, with rough ends discarded
-1 bunch green onions (5.5 oz), sliced in 1/2 inch chunks
-1/2 cup vegetable broth
-1 Tbs Dijon mustard
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp ground pepper
-1 lb gnocchi
Directions:
Heat oil in large skillet.  Generously season the pork chops with seasoned salt and pepper.  Add the hot oil.  Cook until nice and brown, about 5 minutes per side.  Remove chops onto plate.
Start a pot of boiling water.
Return skillet to stove.  Add the asparagus and onions, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of pan.  Saute for 3 minutes, stirring once in a while.
Mix the broth, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Add to the skillet with asparagus.  Give it a good stir. Also, return the chops and any juices accumulated to the skillet.  Simmer on low for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, add the gnocchi to the pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions.  Drain.
To serve, scoop a few gnocchi onto plate.  Top with the asparagus mixture and some of the sauce.  Top everything with a pork chop.  YUM!  Enjoy!

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