Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Asparagus-Pasta Salad with Dijon-Lemon Dressing

This is very quick and delicious!  It's perfect for a busy evening.  Enjoy!
For salad:
-1 lb pasta (any shape you like)
-1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
-2 tomatoes, cut into chunks
-1 cup frozen peas, thawed
-6 oz crumbled feta
For dressing:
-2 Tbs Dijon mustard
-1 garlic clove, minced
-2 small lemons juice, enough to make 1/4 cup lemon juice
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/2 tsp each)
Boil pasta in salty water, according to package directions.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Place in large salad bowl.
Meanwhile, add the asparagus pieces to another pot full of boiling salty water.  Blanch for 3 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and add to the pasta.
Add remaining salad ingredients and stir.
In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Pour over salad and mix well.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Super Moist Lemon-Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

This is one of our family's favorite cakes ever!  We all savor it to the very last bite.  It's super moist and the flavors are beyond amazing!  Love it so much!  Make it and you'll love it too. :)  Enjoy!
For the cake:
-1 (15.25 oz) super moist lemon cake mix
-1 (3.4 oz) box instant French vanilla pudding and pie filling
-1 Tbs poppy seeds
-1/2 orange juice
-1/2 cup oil
-1 cup sour cream
-4 eggs
For the glaze:
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/8 cup orange juice
-1/4 cup  (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray bundt pan with baking non-stick spray.
Mix cake ingredients until nice and smooth.  Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes.
While cake is cooling start making the glaze by bringing all ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan.  Brush the bottom of cake with warm glaze.
Place wire rack on top of a cookie sheet.  Place cake on wire rack.  Brush rest of glaze all over the cake.  Let it cool for at least 1 hour.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Baked Salmon with Almond-Red Onion Relish

Oh my!  I could put that relish on anything and eat, and eat!  It is so, so, so good!  Of course, it goes perfectly with the salmon and a side of mashies.  Enjoy!
For relish:
-1/2 small red onion, chopped
-1 Tbs red wine vinegar
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 Tbs capers, rinsed well, drained and coarsely chopped
-1/2 cup almond slivers, toasted
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
For salmon:
-4 salmon filets
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
Place onion, vinegar and salt in a small bowl.  Mix well and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Add capers, almonds and oil.  Mix well and adjust salt, if needed.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat it with cooking spray.  Place salmon filets skin down on prepared sheet.  Season with the salt and pepper.  Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until salmon is cooked through.
To serve, place a salmon filet on a plate and top generously with the relish.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Chicken Pasta Salad with Sunflower Seed Dressing

The dressing is what makes this salad stand out.  It gives it such a nice, unique flavor.  Enjoy!
For salad:
-16 oz garden rotini pasta
-3 chicken breasts
-salt and pepper
-6 green onions, cleaned and chopped
-baby spinach
For dressing:
-1/4 cup sunflower seeds
-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1/3 cup soy sauce
-3 Tbs sugar
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Once done, drain, rinse with cold water, then drain again.  Place into large bowl.
Meanwhile, cut the chicken into chunks.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until brown.  Add to the pasta, along with the green onions and mix.
In your blender, mix all dressing ingredients until smooth.
Place some baby spinach into your salad bowl.  Add some of the pasta-chicken mixture.  Drizzle with dressing, mix and enjoy!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Banana-Chocolate Marble Bread

This is such delight!  It's super moist and the flavors are absolutely amazing!  Enjoy!
-1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
-1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 cup sugar
-2 large eggs
-3 very ripe bananas
-1/3 cup sour cream
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-3/4 tsp baking soda
-2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat the sides and bottom of 9x5 loaf pan with baking spray (the one with flour and butter).  Set aside.
Melt the chocolate chips and set aside to cool.
In your mixer's bowl, cream the softened butter with the sugar and eggs.  Add the bananas and mix well.  Stir in the remaining ingredients. Once well combined, mix 1 cup of the batter with the cooled melted chocolate. 
Pour banana batter into prepared pan.  Top with the chocolate batter.  Using a knife, swirl batters a little.  
Bake in preheated oven for 60-75 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Place pan on wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from pan straight onto the wire rack and cool completely.  Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Slow Cooker Pork Stew

Our weather has gone crazy, and it's cold and snowy instead of nice, warm spring-like.  :)  So, we needed something to keep us warm!  This stew is super easy to put together and it is the perfect meal to have on a cold, rainy day.  Yum!  Make sure you have some warm bread for dipping!  Enjoy!
-1.5 lbs boneless pork, cut into chunks
-1 medium onion, finely chopped
-1 (16 oz) jar medium chunky salsa
-1 (24 oz) jar chunky tomato sauce with bell peppers and mushrooms
-1 Tbs taco seasoning
-1 (4oz) can chopped green chilies, drained
-1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
Mix all ingredients, except for the black beans, in your slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.  Stir in the beans, cover and continue cooking for 10 more minutes.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 11, 2016

German Chocolate Cheesecake

Yes!  It's like a German Chocolate Cake, but as a Cheesecake, which makes it even better!  Prepare for super yummy creaminess in every single bite.  Enjoy!
For crust:
-1 sleeve (9 whole crackers) chocolate graham crackers
-2 Tbs packed brown sugar
-1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
For filling:
-2 (8 oz each) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
-2/3 cup packed brown sugar
-2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
-5 eggs
-1 tsp almond extract
-1 tsp vanilla extract
For topping:
-3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
-3/4 cup chopped walnuts
-1/3 cup packed brown sugar
-1/3 cup half and half
-5 Tbs unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-in spring pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
In your food processor crumble the chocolate graham crackers.  Combine with the brown sugar and butter.  Mix well and press on bottom of prepared spring pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Remove pan onto wire rack and let it cool.  Do not turn off the stove!
While the crust is cooking, let's make the filling.  In your mixer's bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Slowly, add remaining filling ingredients, one at a time, and mix until well incorporated.  Pour filling over cooled crust. 
Place pan with cheesecake in large baking pan.  Fill the larger pan with 1 inch of water.  Place in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes (at 350 F) or until center is just set and top appears dull.  Remove springform pan from water bath.  Place on wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.  Carefully, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen.  Leave on wire rack and cool for 1 more hour.
Place in the fridge and cool for at least 4 hours or overnight.
When cooling process is finished, make the topping.
In a large saucepan, combine all topping ingredients.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.  Remove from stove and cool.  Spread over cheesecake.  Slice and enjoy! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Chicken, Ham, and Cheese Wraps with Zesty Ranch Dressing

This is easy, quick and super delicious!  Enjoy!
-2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into chunks
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 lb ham steaks, cut into strips
-8 slices smoked provolone cheese, cut into strips
-1 cup baby spinach leaves
-8 inch tortillas or wraps
For zesty ranch dressing:
-1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
-1/3 cup mayonnaise
-1/4 cup milk
-2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-1/2 tsp dried dill
-1 tsp dried parsley flakes
-1 Tbs chives
-1 garlic clove, minced
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and heat it over the stove.  Add chicken chunks and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Give it a good stir and cook until golden brown.  Remove from stove and let it cool a little.
Place all dressing ingredients into your blender and process until smooth.
To assemble, fill tortillas/wraps with some spinach, chicken, ham, and cheese.  Drizzle generously with some zesty ranch.  Wrap tightly and enjoy!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Chocolate-Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Easy and absolutely delicious!  These cupcakes are quite a treat!  Enjoy!
For cream cheese filling:
-8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 egg
-1/3 cup sugar
For chocolate batter:
-3 eggs
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 cup brown sugar
-3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup buttermilk
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 20 muffin cups with baking cups.  Set aside.
In a bowl, beat the cream cheese filling ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, cream the eggs, sugar, and brown sugar.  Add the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Mix for about 2 minutes.
Pour chocolate mixture into prepared cups, filling about 3/4 full.  Top each cupcake with a generous dollop of the cream cheese mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place baking pans on wire rack.  Cool for 10 minutes.  Carefully, remove cupcakes from pans onto the wire rack and let cool completely.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

We love sloppy joes!  They're yummy, messy, and.... yummy!  These are so easy to make and they slow cook to perfection.  Delicious!  Enjoy!
-3 lbs lean or extra lean ground beef
-1 onion, finely chopped
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 red bell pepper, chopped
-1 1/4 cups ketchup
-5 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
-3 Tbs yellow mustard
-2 tsp chili powder
-burger buns
In a large skillet (a wok will work great), brown the beef with the onion and garlic.  Once done, drain and set on your counter.  Stir in remaining ingredients, except for the buns.  Mix very well and pour mixture into your slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours (your house will smell amazing!).
Spoon onto burger buns.  Enjoy!


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