Monday, February 29, 2016

Lemony Orzo with Pineapple-Raspberry-Chipotle Salmon

What a dish!  It might sound quite gourmet, but this is super easy and fairly fast to put together.  The flavors are simply amazing!  And the lemony orzo is to die for!  Enjoy!
For lemony orzo:
-1 cup orzo
-1 (2.5 oz) lemon
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-2 tsp dried parsley leaves
-1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
-1 tomato, seeded and diced
For salmon:
-8 oz pineapple tidbits, drained
-1/2 cup raspberry preserves
-1 tsp ground chipotle chili powder
-1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
-2 lbs salmon fillets
-salt and pepper
Let's make the orzo first.
Cook orzo according to package directions.  Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again.  Place in large bowl.  Add the peel and juice from the lemon.  Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.  Set aside.
Now let's make the salmon.
Preheat broiler to high.  Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.  Set aside.
In your blender, process the drained pineapple, preserves, chipotle powder, and vinegar.  Set aside.
Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper.  Place skin down on prepared baking sheet.  Broil in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with lemony orzo and pineapple sauce on top.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tilapia Smothered in Onions and Tomatoes

This is serious, serious comfort food!  Oh, the flavors!!!  And you have to have this with fresh mamaliga (polenta/cornmeal mush).  So delicious!  Amazing combination of flavors!  Enjoy!
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
-1 clove garlic, minced
-3 medium tomatoes, chopped (include all the juices when adding to pan)
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 1/2 lbs tilapia (or other fish) fillets
Heat oil in large skillet.  Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes or until translucent.  Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Mix well.
Nestle the fish in the middle of the tomato mixture.  Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until fish is tender and flaky.
Serve immediately with some fresh mamaliga/polenta. YUM!  Enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Chicken-Avocado Salad with Pineapple-Chipotle Dressing

This is a quick and delicious salad to put together.  The dressing is what makes it pop, as the sweetness of the pineapple blends perfectly with the spiciness of the chipotle peppers.  Delicious!  Enjoy!
For salad:
-16 oz salad mix (with carrots and red cabbage)
-2 cups cooked and cubed chicken OR 2 (12.5 oz each) cans chicken breast, drained
-1 large tomato, chopped
-1 avocado, pitted and diced
For dressing:
-8 oz pineapple tidbits, drained
-1/3 cup lime juice
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-2 Tbs honey
-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
-1/2 tsp salt
Assemble all salad ingredients in large bowl and set aside.
Place all dressing ingredients in your blender.  Process until smooth.  Pour over salad and toss very well.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Lemony Cream Cheese Cucumber Sandwiches

This makes for such a nice appetizer or tea party treat.  The subtle lemon flavor gives it a tasty little twist. Enjoy!
-12 oz whipped cream cheese
-1 lemon
-1 Tbs dry dill
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
-whole wheat bread
In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, zest from the lemon, juice from half of the lemon, dill, salt and pepper.  Mix very well.  Taste and adjust the flavor, if necessary.
Spread cream cheese mixture on 2 slices of bread.  Top with a few cucumber slices.  Make a sandwich and cut into 4.  Repeat with other slices of bread.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Roasted Broccoli with Cumin-Chipotle Butter

This is one of the best side dishes you'll ever taste!  The broccoli gets a little kick from the spicy butter and it becomes a little piece of heaven. Roasted to perfection with an amazing flavor.  Enjoy!
-5 Tbs unsalted butter
-3/4 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp ground cumin
-1/4 tsp ground chipotle powder
-1/4 tsp sugar
-1 1/4 lbs broccoli, cleaned and cut into florets
Preheat oven to 450F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.  Set aside.
In a large skillet, preferably a wok, melt the butter.  Add the salt, cumin, chipotle powder, and sugar.  Mix and cook for 30 seconds.  Remove from stove and toss in the broccoli florets.  Stir to coat.  
Pour broccoli and all the butter onto prepared sheet.  Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve and enjoy!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Slow Cooker Fiery Beef and Noodles

We love this dish so much!  The flavors are amazing and the spiciness is definitely there!  Great for sinus clearing. :)  The beef is cooked slowly in an amazing mixture of exotic flavors until is super tender.  And the best part is that it already includes the carbs, so no need for a complimentary dish.   Enjoy!
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-4-5 garlic cloves, minced
-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-1 tsp ground pepper
-1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
-1/3 cup soy sauce
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-1 Tbs brown sugar
-1.5 lbs beef stew meat
-8 oz spaghetti, cooked al dente
-8 oz shredded cabbage (one of those small bags of pre-shredded cabbage works great!)
In your slow cooker, mix the oil, garlic, pepper flakes, pepper, Chinese powder. soy sauce, salt, ginger and sugar.  Once well mixed, add the beef chunks and give it a good stir until all the beef is nicely covered in the sauce mixture.  Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
Add the cooked pasta and the cabbage.  Stir, cover and cook on low for 30 more minutes.  Scoop into bowls and enjoy!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Lazy Winter Cobbler

Yes, you'll feel lazy making this because it's so insanely easy.  But it is so, so, so good!  You can make it with any canned fruit you like.  Enjoy!
-butter flavored cooking spray
-1 cup flour
-1 cup sugar
-1 Tbs baking powder
-2/3 cup milk 
-30 oz canned fruit ( I used peach, but you can use any other you like-pineapple, cherries, pears, etc)
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Coat the bottom and sides of 9x13 baking pan with butter flavored cooking spray.  Set aside.
Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and milk.  Pour into prepared pan.  Top with canned fruit and juice from the cans.  Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
Remove and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.  Scoop into bowls and serve with a dollop of whipped cream or some ice cream (or by itself). Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lexie's Pretty Pink Punch

My cute daughter Lexie made this punch for us.  It is so, so good!  It's refreshing and quite delicious! Enjoy!
-2 Tbs sugar
-3 cups cold water
-32 oz cranberry-raspberry juice, chilled
-46 oz pineapple juice, chilled
-1 (12 oz) can frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
-1 liter ginger ale, chilled
Mix everything in a large pitcher.  Pour into glasses and enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Mint Chocolate Bundt Cake

Oh my!  What a delight this cake is!  It's moist, creamy, minty and delicious!  Every bite is a piece of heaven!  Enjoy!
For cake:
-1 (15.25 oz) super moist devils food cake mix
-1/3 cup flour
-1 cup water
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
-2 large eggs
For Cream Cheese Filling:
-6 oz cream cheese, softened (use 1 (8 oz) block and divide it; remaining 2 oz go into the frosting)
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 Tbs flour
-1 large egg
-1/8 tsp peppermint extract
-3 drop green food coloring
For Chocolate Mint Frosting:
-2 Tbs semi sweet chocolate chips
-1 Tbs shortening
-2 oz cream cheese, softened 
-3 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
-1 cup powdered sugar
-1/4 tsp peppermint extract
-4 Tbs milk
-10-12 drop green food coloring
Coat the bottom and sides of a bundt cake pan with baking cooking spray (the one with flour and butter).  Set aside.
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Let's first make the cake. Mix all cake ingredients together until smooth.  Pour into prepared bundt pan.
Second, let's make the filling. Using a hand mixer, beat the softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.  Spoon mixture on top of cake batter.  Place pan in preheated oven and bake for about 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and place cake (still in the pan) on wire rack to cool completely.  Once cooled, remove cake onto a serving plate.
Last, let's make the frosting.  Melt the chocolate chips and shortening.  Set aside.
Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add the melted chocolate mixture and remaining ingredients.  Beat until desired consistency.  Frost the cooled cake.  Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Poached Tilapia Amandine with Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Sometime I want to enjoy  a lighter, more gourmet dinner and if it happens that only hubby and I enjoy it, well, so be it! :)  Yes, this one was not very popular with the young'uns, but hubby and I sure enjoyed every bite of it.  It's light, packed with flavor, and quite a delight.  Enjoy!
For fish:
-3 lemons
-1/2 cup cooking white wine
-1 Tbs dried parsley
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-5 tilapia fillets
-1/2 cup slivered toasted almonds
For cauliflower mash:
-1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
-3/4 cup water, divided
-1 Tbs cornstarch
-1/3 cup heavy cream
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp white pepper
-1/8 tsp onion powder
-1/8 tsp garlic powder
Make the cauliflower mash first.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the cauliflower florets and boil for about 15 minutes or until tender.
Drain and add to your food processor or blender.  Add 1/2 cup of the water and process until smooth, but still with some texture.
Pour mixture back into empty pot.  In a small bowl, mix the remaining water and cornstarch.  Add to the cauliflower puree and mix well.  Add remaining ingredients and cook on low, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.  Remove from stove, cover and keep warm.
Meanwhile, let's make the fish.
Juice 2 of the lemons and slice the third.
Add the lemon juice, wine, parsley, salt and pepper to a large deep pan.  Bring to a gentle boil and lower the heat.  Add the tilapia, cover, and let it poach for about 5 minutes or until fillets are just opaque in the middle.
To plate, scoop some of the mashed cauliflower onto a plate.  Top with a poached fillet.  Garnish with lemon slices and toasted almonds.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cream of Black Bean Soup

This is quite a delight, especially on a cold winter day.  Enjoy!
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-2 medium onions, chopped
-2 jalapeƱos, seeded and chopped
-1 garlic clove, minced
-2 cups chicken broth
-1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 tsp ground cumin
-1 tsp ground coriander seeds
-1 cup water
-2 Tbs cooking white wine
-1 tsp lime juice
-1/2 tsp salt
-chopped chives, to garnish
Heat oil in large sauce pan.  Add the onions, jalapeƱos and garlic.  Stir and cook until veggies are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the broth, beans, cumin, coriander, and water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the wine, lime juice and salt.  Mix well and pour mixture into your blender.  Puree.  Ladle into bowls and top with some chopped chives.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe.


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