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!
-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
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 

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!
-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)
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!
-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
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!
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
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!
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
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!
-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
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!
-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
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!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fresh Peach Frozen Pie

Easy, simple, creamy and so delicious!  Enjoy a perfect summer treat!
-1/2 lb fresh peaches, pitted and chopped
-3 (6 oz each) peach yogurts (I really like Yoplait brand)
-8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
-1 graham cracker pie crust
Combine chopped peaches, yogurt and whipped topping.  Mix until well incorporated.  Pour into pie crust.  Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours or until set.
Thaw for 30-40 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Chicken with Savory Peaches

Easy and delicious!  This is a wonderful dish which transforms sweet peaches into a savory delight.  I served ours on top of rice.  Enjoy!
-2 Tbs vegetable oil
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-salt and pepper
-2 Tbs brown sugar
-2 Tbs soy sauce
-2 Tbs white wine vinegar
-1/4 cup orange juice
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-1/2 cup vegetable broth
-1 1/2 lbs fresh peaches, peeled, cored and sliced
-1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Heat oil in large skillet.  Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.  Add to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes per side, until browned and cooked about halfway through.  Remove from skillet onto a plate and set aside.
While the chicken is browning, combine in a bowl the brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and orange juice.  Set aside.
Return skillet to stove and add the garlic and ginger.   Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.  Add the broth, soy sauce mixture and peaches to the skillet.  Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Return the chicken to the skillet.  Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and cook for about 5 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
To serve, scoop rice onto plate.  Top with chicken and peaches sauce and garnish with toasted almonds.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Baked Polenta with Vegetables (Mămăliguță cu Legume la Cuptor)

This is serious comfort food.  Every bite is like a piece of heaven. Polenta or cornmeal mush is super popular in Romania, where I grew up.  It actually replaces bread for most of the meals. In this dish, it is the perfect complement to all those delicious veggies.  Top with all with some mozzarella and you get the perfect dish!  Enjoy!
-4 cups water, divided
-3 tsp salt, divided
-1 1/2 yellow cornmeal
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 onion, thinly sliced
-16 oz baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
-1 tsp pepper
-2 (16 oz each) jars roasted red peppers, drained and cut into thin strips
-1 1/4 cups marinara sauce
-1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Start by making the polenta.  Bring 2 1/2 cups of the water combined with 1 tsp of the salt to a boil.
In a medium bowl, combine remaining water with 1 tsp of the salt and the yellow cornmeal.  Pour into boiling water and mix well.  When it starts boiling again, lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
Pour polenta into engrossed 9x13 baking dish.  Spread evenly and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
While that's cooling, preheat the oven to 350 F.
Heat oil in large skillet.  Add the onion and mushrooms.  Season with remaining salt and pepper.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are nice and tender.  Remove from heat and add the pepper strips.  Mix well.
Remove polenta from fridge and top with marinara sauce.  Spread evenly.  Top with veggies and any juices from the pan.  The polenta will soak all that up beautifully.  Top with the cheese.
Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.
Remove from oven, slice and enjoy a piece of heaven!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Spiced Fresh Peach and Jello Cold Pie

This is quite a treat on a hot summer day.  The flavors are fantastic!  Enjoy!
-1 1/3 cups water
-2 lbs fresh peaches, pitted and chopped
-2 Tbs brown sugar
-1/4 tsp ground ginger
-1 tsp cinnamon
1 (3oz) package peach jello
-1 (9 inch) frozen deep pie crust
-4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-2 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
-whipped cream, for topping
Combine water, peaches, brown sugar, ginger and cinnamon in a large sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the jello.  Stir until dissolved.  Place mixture into the fridge until partially set, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, bake the pie crust according to package directions.  Let it cool.
Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and nutmeg until nice and smooth. Spread over the bottom and sides of the cooled crust.  Pour jello mixture on top.  Chill for at least 2 hours.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on top.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fresh Peach Cobbler Muffins

These muffins are quite a delight!  And yes, they do taste like peach cobbler; it's just that they're muffins instead. :) Enjoy!
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 large egg
-1 stick (8 Tbs) unsalted butter, melted
-1/2 cup milk
-3/4 cup sour cream
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 Tbs baking powder
-2 cups flour
-1 lb fresh peaches, pitted and chopped
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.  Set aside.
In your electric mixer, cream the sugar and egg until nice and smooth.  Add the melted butter, milk and sour cream.  Stir in the salt, baking powder and flour (1/2 cup at a time).  Mix very well.  Stir in the chopped peaches and mix until well incorporated.
Fill all 24 lined muffin cups evenly (about halfway through).
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Remove muffins from oven and let sit in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove muffins from pan and cool on wire rack.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mediterranean Pork and Orzo

This is such a simple, quick and delicious meal.  Another one of those yummy comfort dishes.  Enjoy!
-1 1/4 cups uncooked orzo
-6 oz baby spinach
-2 Tbs extra virgin oil
-1 1/2 lbs pork, cut into chunks
-salt and pepper
-4 oz crumbled feta cheese
-1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add some salt to it.  Add the orzo, stir and cook for 8 minutes.  Add the spinach and cook for a couple more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet.  Sprinkle pork chunks generously with salt and pepper. Add to hot oil and cook until no longer pink (about 10 minutes).
Add cooked pork to drained orzo.  Stir in the cheese and tomatoes. Give it a good stir, scoop some into a bowl and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Peach Pie Smoothies

Yes, these smoothies really taste like peach pie, so full of flavor and freshness!  They did become our family's favorite peach smoothie, for sure!  Enjoy!
-3 cups (about 1 1/2 lbs) fresh peaches, cored and cut into big chunks
-1 1/2 cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt (or just plain yogurt)
-1 1/2 cups milk
-1/4 cup honey
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
-1/8 tsp ground ginger
Place everything in your blender and process until smooth.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Paula Deen's Italian Pasta Salad

This is by far THE BEST pasta salad ever!  The dressing is to die for!  Seriously you should try this.  I made a few changes here and there, such as replacing the mushrooms with salami and cheese in order to make it more dinner friendly.:)  Still, you can have this salad as an appetizer, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It is so good that any time of day is perfect to have it.  Enjoy!
-1 lb garden rotini pasta (or any kind you like)
-1 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing (store bought)
-1/4 cup mayonnaise
-1 Tbs sugar
-1 large tomato, diced in bite sized chunks
-4 oz dry salami, cut into chunks
-4 oz mozzarella or pepper jack cheese, cut into chunks
-2/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and drained
-1/2 green bell pepper, diced
-ground pepper, to taste
-grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt and pasta.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, place in large salad bowl and let it cool.
Meanwhile, pour dressing, mayonnaise and sugar into blender.  Mix until smooth. 
To the cooled pasta, add tomatoes, salami, cheese, olives and bell pepper.  Mix well.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Add the dressing and mix well.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, toss lightly and enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a Paula Deen recipe.


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