Friday, April 29, 2016

Chicken, Broccoli and Carrot Gratin

This is soul food at its best!  Seriously, this is so creamy and tasty.  You'll want seconds and thirds, it's that good.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lb broccoli, cut into florets
-1/2 lb carrots, peeled and julienned (cut into thin strips)
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into bite size chunks
-salt and pepper
-2/3 cup heavy cream
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
-2 Tbs butter, melted
-1/2 cup Italian style Panko breadcrumbs
-cooked orzo
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the broccoli florets and julienned carrots.  Boil for 5 minutes.  Drain, rinse with cold water, then drain again.  Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add the chicken chunks and season with some salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown.  Remove from stove.
In a small sauce pan, mix the cream and soup.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Place the cooked chicken, broccoli and carrots into 9x13 pan.  Mix well.  Cover with the cream and soup mixture and give it another good stir.
Combine the melted butter with the Panko crumbs.  Sprinkle over chicken mixture.  
Bake in preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to set.  Serve on top of cooked orzo and enjoy!  Yum!

Monday, April 25, 2016

One Pan Italian Style Chicken with Potatoes and Tomatoes

Yum, yum, yum!  This is super delicious and very easy to put together.  The flavors are simply outstanding in this dish.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For dish:
-2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone in
-salt and pepper
-15 oz canned crushed tomatoes
-1 cup cherry tomatoes
-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
For dressing:
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 Tbs dried oregano
-2 tsp dried rosemary (crush it a little)
-3 Tbs red wine vinegar
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place potatoes and 2 Tbs water in microwavable dish.  Cover and cook for 7-8 minutes, or until potatoes are tender (not mushy!).  Drain the water and season with a little salt and pepper.  Set aside.
Meanwhile, in an oven proof large skillet, heat the oil.  Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.  Add to the hot skillet and brown on both sides (about 4-5 minutes per side).
Add the seasoned and drained potatoes to the skillet, surrounding the chicken.  Top with the crushed tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes.  Season with a little salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, mix all the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.  Pour it all over the chicken, potatoes and tomatoes.  Stir it a little.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with the cheese.  Bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted and golden. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Easy Chocolate and Cream Torte

This reminds me so much of the tortes I grew up with in Europe.  Simple and so, so delicious!  The cream is definitely what makes this cake stand out.  Wonderful combination of flavors!  Pure delight in each bite!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (15.25 oz) box of devil's food cake mix PLUS the ingredients necessary to make it (oil and eggs)
-2 cups heavy cream
-1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
-1/3 cup packed brown sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/8 tsp salt
-1/4 cup chocolate sprinkles
Directions:
Bake the cake in 2 -9 inch round pans.  Cool in the pans for 10 minutes on wire racks.  Very carefully, remove the cakes from pans and place on wire racks to cool completely.
When the cakes are completely cooled, whip the heavy cream.
In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt.  Beat until smooth.  Fold in the cream.  Using your hand mixer, whip the whole thing together until stiff peaks result.
Carefully, cut each of the cakes in half, horizontally.
Place one bottom round onto a serving plate.  Top with a fourth of the cream and sprinkle with some of the chocolate sprinkles.  Repeat with remaining cake layers, cream, and sprinkles.
Carefully, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Slice and enjoy!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Teriyaki Pork Chops

This is a nice way to enjoy some tender and delicious pork chops on the grill.  The marinade is very simple, but perfect for a very nice combination of flavors.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 garlic clove, pressed
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-3 Tbs ketchup
-1 Tbs distilled white vinegar
-1/2 tsp pepper
-4-5 pork chops
Directions:
In a large ziplock bag, combine all ingredients, except for the chops.  Mix well, then add the pork shops.  Move around so that they're all evenly coated.  Refrigerate for about 4 hours, flipping the bag over every hour or so.
Heat up the grill, remove the chops from the marinade (discard the marinade) and cook to your desired doneness.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Blueberry, Cherry Gelatin Salad

Oh, how amazing this is!  We absolutely love it!  It's very easy to put together and so delicious!  Super creamy and wonderful flavors!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 (3 oz each) packages cherry gelatin
-2 cups boiling water
-1 (15 oz) can blueberries, drained
-1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 cup sour cream
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/4 cup pecan chips
Directions:
In large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water.  Whisk for about 2 minutes, then add the drained blueberries.  Pour mixture into 9 x13 dish.  Set in the fridge for about 2 hours or until set.
Meanwhile, using your hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until nice and smooth.  Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix well.  Spread over set gelatin.  Sprinkle with the pecans, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Perfectly Roasted Chicken

Sometimes I like to get whole chickens and keep in the freezer for a nice, easy meal.  The rub in this recipe makes the chicken super flavorful and very, very tasty.  The gravy is also very tasty and goes perfect on top of some mashed potatoes on the side.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (4 to 6 lbs) whole chicken
For the rub:
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 tsp smoked paprika
-1 tsp garlic and herb seasoning
-1/2 tsp onion powder
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
For gravy:
-1/4 cup cooking wine
-1/4 cup water
-1 Tbs cornstarch
Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Clean the chicken and rinse with cold water.  Pat dry with paper towels.
In a bowl, mix all of the rub ingredients.  Rub some of the mixture under the skin of the chicken.  Rub remaining mixture all over the chicken (don't forget the back and under thighs and wings!).
Place nicely rubbed chicken in a roasting pan, on top of a rack.  Place in preheated oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375 F.  Roast uncovered until the chicken is beautifully golden brown and the juices run clean (about 20 minutes for each pound of chicken).
Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes.  Move the chicken onto serving platter.
Skim the liquids from the roasting pan of fat.  Place liquid in sauce pan.  Add the cooking wine and bring to a boil, reducing the liquid in half.
Meanwhile, mix the water and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Add to the sauce pan and cook on low until gravy has thickened.  Serve with the chicken, mashies and some veggies.  Yum!  Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Veggie-Pasta Salad

This is super quick to put together and very tasty!  It's great as a side dish for potlucks or to simply enjoy as a light meal.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For salad:
-1 lb pasta (I like to use shells or rotini)
-4 large Roma tomatoes, diced
-1 medium zucchini, diced
-1 cucumber, peeled and diced
-1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
-1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
-1 small red onion, diced
2 (2.25 oz each) cans sliced ripe olives, drained
For dressing:
-1 (16 oz) bottle zesty Italian dressing
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
-1 Tbs sesame seeds
-2 tsp poppy seeds
-1 tsp smoked paprika
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Drain again and place in large salad bowl.  Add remaining salad ingredients.
In a large bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.  Pour over salad and mix very, very well.  Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours.  Serve and enjoy!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon in a Brown Sugar Sauce

Delicious and simple!  The asparagus is roasted to perfection and it becomes so tender and packed with flavor.  This is the perfect side dish.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 lbs fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
-12 slices bacon
For sauce:
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
-1 Tbs soy sauce
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1/4 tsp pepper
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Divide the asparagus into 12 bundles (about 6-7 spears to each bundle).  Wrap each bundle into 1 slice of bacon (wrap it real tight).  Place each bundle onto a baking sheet, securing the bacon under each bundle.
In a medium saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients, mixing well.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Pour evenly over each asparagus-bacon bundle.
Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until bacon looks nicely cooked.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe courtesy of Trisha Yearwood.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Slow Cooker Buffalo-Ranch Chicken Drumsticks

Super easy and super delicious!  This one is a hit for any evening meal!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-10 chicken drumsticks
-1 (12 oz) bottle buffalo wing sauce (we prefer Frank's)
-1 (1 oz) envelope ranch seasoning and dressing mix
Directions:
Coat your slow cooker with a little cooking spray.  Add the drumsticks.  Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
At the end of the 4 hours, drain all the liquid accumulated during cooking (it will be a lot of it and very hot, so be careful).  
Once you've drain that, mix the buffalo sauce and ranch mix into a bowl.  Mix well, then pour over drumsticks.  Cover and cook on low for 1 hour.
Serve with some mashies and veggies.  Enjoy!

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