Friday, January 29, 2016

Chunky Monkey Brownies

This is such a perfect dessert to make with those leftovers bananas.  Wonderful combination of ripe bananas with chocolate.  YUM!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
-1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/4 tsp salt
-2 large eggs
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-3 ripe banans
-2 cups flour
-2 cups special dark chocolate chips, divided
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat 9x13 baking dish with baking cooking spray (the one with flour and butter).  Set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, sugar and salt.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Throw in the peeled ripe bananas and mix well.  Add the flour, half of cup at a time.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate chips.
Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.  Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  
Cool pan with brownies on wire rack.  Let it cool completely, no matter how hard it is to smell the goodness and not have it! :)  Once cooled completely, cut and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chicken Thighs in Creamy Sauce

Quick, easy and delicious!  This is a great dish to enjoy over and over. The chicken is a little spicy, which compliments perfectly the creamy sauce.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For seasoning:
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp chili powder
-1/2 tsp onion powder
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
For dish:
-1 lb chicken thighs, skinless, boneless
-4 Tbs salted butter, divided
-2 cups heavy cream
-cooked rice
Directions:
Mix seasoning ingredients together and set aside.
Melt 2 Tbs of the butter in large skillet.  Season thighs on both sides with seasoning mix.  Add to the hot skillet and brown on both sides.  Remove chicken onto plate and return skillet to stove.
Melt remaining butter into skillet and add the cream. Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, return chicken to skillet (including all the juices accumulated on the plate they sat on), cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Serve on top of cooked rice.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Pineapple-Salsa Pork Chops

This is an awesome, easy dinner.  The pork chops melt in your mouth and the topping is absolutely amazing!  It has a little kick to it, which makes it even better.  I served ours on top of orzo and it worked perfectly.  Great dish!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 Tbs vegetable oil
-6 pork chops
-2 tsp salt
-2 tsp pepper
-2 tsp garlic powder
-1 cup medium chunky salsa
-1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, do NOT drain
-cooked orzo
Directions:
Heat oil in large skillet.  Season all pork chops, on both sides, with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Brown on both sides in the hot skillet.  Remove onto a plate.
Pour salsa and pineapple with the juice in the skillet.  Bring to a boil.  Return the chops and any accumulated juices to the skillet.  Nestle in the salsa mixture. Cover and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until chops are really tender.
Serve on top of cooked orzo.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Chicken-Apple Pasta Salad

This is another quick and easy meal to put together and enjoy on a busy night.  The flavors are wonderful together and the creaminess of the dressing adds the perfect finishing touch.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lb chicken thighs or breasts, skinless and boneless
-2 tsp liquid smoke
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 lb pasta (we like garden rotini)
-1 medium apple (gala works perfect), cored and chopped
-8 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed
-1 cup poppy seed dressing
Directions:
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and heat up.  Cut the chicken into chunks and add to hot skillet.  Season with the smoke, salt and pepper.  Give it a good stir and cook until golden brown and cooked through.  Remove from stove.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and avoid the clumping.  Drain and place into a large salad bowl.  Add the cooked chicken, apple, cheese and dressing.  Mix very well, serve and enjoy!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Easy No-Knead Artisan Bread

This bread is super easy to make, but make sure you plan it in advance, as it takes about 24 hours from start to finish.  :)  We absolutely love it!  The nice crust and soft middle are simply amazing.  You can use a Dutch Oven or a regular non stick large pan (that's what I use).  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 cups flour
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp yeast
-1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
Directions:
In your mixer's bowl, combine flour, salt and yeast.  Pour the water and mix until well combined.
Leave the messy dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for 15-18 hours (overnight).
Preheat the oven to 450 F.  As you set it, place the pan you'll be using in the oven (it needs to be at oven temperature when you place the dough in it).
While the oven is preheating, flour your kitchen counter.  Place dough on top and shape into a nice bowl.  Cover loosely with the wrap you used over night.
Once oven is preheated, using oven mitts, remove the pan.  Add a sheet of parchment paper and place the dough on top.  Cover with a lid and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue baking for 10-15 more minutes or until nice and golden brown.
Carefully, remove pan from the oven.  Remove bread from pan and let it cool completely on wire rack.  Slice and enjoy!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Phyllo, Nuts and Honey Parfaits

Easy and absolutely delicious!  You could add berries if you wanted, but they're pretty perfect just the way they are. :)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 Tbs unsalted butter
-1/3 cup sugar
-1 (1.9 oz) package frozen phyllo cups (15 cups)
-1 1/2 cups walnut pieces
-32 oz plain Greek yogurt
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup honey
Directions:
Melt butter and sugar in medium pan over medium heat.  Stir well.  Break the phyllo cups and add them to the pan.  Also add the walnuts.  Stir well and cook until golden brown.  Remove from heat, pour into a bowl and let cool.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix the yogurt, vanilla and honey.
Assemble the parfaits, by scooping some of the yogurt mixture on the bottom of a cup.  Top with some of the walnut mixture.  Repeat layers and enjoy!  Mmmm!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken

This is very quick to put together and really delicious.  I served ours on top of rice, with some veggie on the side.  Delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 tsp dried thyme
-1 garlic clove
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-1 tsp ground allspice
-1 tsp dried mustard
-1/4 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 Tbs lemon juice
-1 Tbs sugar or honey
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
Directions:
In a food processor or small chopper, combined everything, except for the chicken.  Process until you have a paste.
Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray.  Add the chicken, skin side up.  Top each chicken piece with the jerk paste.  Cover and cook on low for 4-4.5 hours.  Serve on top of rice with some of the juices formed during cooking.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 11, 2016

BLT-Avocado Salad

This is fairly quick and so, so, so delicious!  It's one of our favorite salads and it gets gobbled up in no time.  The juiciness of the tomatoes combined with the creaminess of the mayo is what makes this salad absolutely amazing.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 medium ripe tomatoes
-1/2 cup mayonnaise
-1-2 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-2 heads Romaine lettuce, cleaned and torn into bite size pieces
-1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
-1 avocado, pitted and diced
Directions:
Chop tomatoes and add to your large salad bowl.  Add the mayo, salt and pepper and mix really well. Let mixture sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Once that time is up, add the lettuce to the bowl.  Mix until everything is evenly coated.
To serve, place some of the lettuce-tomato mixture onto your bowl.  Top with the crumbled bacon and chopped avocado.
Oh, so good!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Ana's Mac and Cheese Bites

I love it when my sweet daughters take over the kitchen and cook.  They are such great little chefs!  My oldest daughter, Ana, made these for us the other day.  They are delicious!!  And super easy too!  Get ready for a bite of heaven!  YUM!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1/2 lb elbow macaroni pasta
-2 Tbs salted butter
-2 Tbs flour
-1 1/2 cups milk (no lower than 2%)
-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
-2 oz cream cheese
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1 large egg, beaten
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Spray one mini muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
Cook the macaroni according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small pan, combine the butter and flour.  Whisk until mixture is nice and smooth.  Slowly add the milk and bring to a simmer.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, all the cream cheese, salt and pepper.  Give it a good stir and cook until creamy.  Remove from the heat and pour over drained pasta.  Mix very well.  Add the beaten egg and mix well.
Spoon mixture evenly into prepared pan.  Top each bite with a small pinch of the remaining cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Carefully, remove mac and cheese bites from pan onto serving plates.  Enjoy!
**Note: you can also make this into regular mac and cheese.  Just double the recipe, then pour mixture into greased 9x13 pan and top with the cheese.  Bake at 400 F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, January 4, 2016

BBQ-Ranch Chicken Salad

What an amazing salad this is!  The bbq-ranch dressing is to die for, combining perfectly with the chicken and salad.  Super easy and super delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-cooking spray 
-1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into chunks
-1 tsp seasoned salt
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp pepper
-2 heads romaine lettuce, cleaned and torn
-1 tomato, chopped
-1 (15.25 oz) can corn, drained
-1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 (15 oz) can black olives, drained
-3 oz French fried onions
-1/2 cup ranch dresssing
-1/2 cup barbecue sauce (we prefer Sweet Baby Ray's)
Directions:
Generously coat a large skillet with cooking spray and heat it up.  Add the chunks of chicken and sprinkle with the seasoned salt, garlic powder and pepper.  Stir and cook until golden brown.  Remove and let it cool a little.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add the lettuce, tomato, corn, black beans and olives. Mix.  Add the chicken and give it another stir.
In a small bowl, combine the ranch and bbq sauce.
To serve, add some salad mixture into your bowl, top with French fried onion and some of the dressing. Toss to coat and enjoy!

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