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!
-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
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!
-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
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!
-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
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!
-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
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!
-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
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!
-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
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!
-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
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!
-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
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.


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