Friday, December 16, 2016

White Chocolate Fudge with Pecans and Caramel

This is a family favorite around this time of year.  And the best part is that it makes a lot, so we even get to share with others. :)  It truly is a delight!  Enjoy!
-4 Tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
-1 (24 oz) bag white chocolate chips
-1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup pecan chips
-1/2 cup caramel sauce
Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, chocolate and milk.  Make sure to stir constantly.  Once melted, add the vanilla and give it a good stir. Remove from the stove and add the pecan chips.  Mix well and pour into prepared pan.  Spread it evenly with a spatula.  
Drizzle the caramel sauce and swirl it in with the spatula.  Place in the fridge for 4-5 hours.
Once set and ready to enjoy, remove from fridge and gently separate it from the parchment paper onto a cutting board.  Cut into pieces and enjoy.  Immediately refrigerate leftovers. YUM!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Slow Cooker Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

This is a nice, easy dish for a busy week night. The flavors are wonderful together.  Enjoy!
-1 lb extra lean or lean ground beef
-1 (8.8 oz) package Uncle Ben's ready rice Spanish style with tomatoes and peppers
-8 oz shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, divided
-1 (15 oz) can black beans, well rinsed and drained
-1 1/2 cups chunky, medium salsa
-1 Tbs Louisiana hot sauce
-6 bell peppers, tops and seeds removed
-1 cup water
-sour cream
In a large skillet, brown the beef. Add the rice, 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, beans, salsa, and hot sauce.  Mix very well.
Place prepared bell peppers on bottom of slow cooker.  Fill evenly with the beef mixture. Pour water around the stuffed peppers.
Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
To serve, place 1 stuffed pepper on a plate. Top with some of the remaining cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Crispy Cheesy Chicken in a Cream Cheese Sauce

Oh, how delicious this dish is!  The chicken is covered in an egg-panko crumb mixture, then baked to perfection. Afterwards, it's covered in a cream cheese sauce and topped with fresh jalapenos. I like to serve ours on top of mashed potatoes, but rice would do just fine too.  Or, serve it as is with a side salad.  Either way, enjoy this super tasty dish!
For chicken:
-4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
-1 large egg, beaten
-3 Tbs milk
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-2 cups Italian style panko crumbs
-2 cups shredded fiesta cheese blend
For sauce:
-2 Tbs salted butter
-2 Tbs flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 1/2 cups milk
-8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
For garnish:
-1 jalapeno, halved and sliced
Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.
Score your chicken thighs (cut a couple of large slits on each thigh on the skin side).
In a shallow bowl, mix the egg, milk, salt and pepper.  Dip each thigh into that, then dredge through the Italian style panko.  Place skin side up onto prepared pan. 
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
Top each thigh generously and evenly with the cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.  
Meanwhile, let's make the sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the flour and whisk until no more lumps. Season with the salt and pepper.  Add the milk and give it a good stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. 
Stir in the cream cheese.  Mix until cheese is all melted. Remove from stove and adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.
To serve, top each piece of cheesy chicken with the sauce and some jalapeno slices.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Chocolaty Banana Chocolate Chips Cookies

Yes, lots of chocolate in these little gems, but also a generous portion of sweet, ripe bananas.  Oh, the combination is so, so delicious!  Enjoy!
Yields 32-34 cookies
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1/4  cup sugar
-1 cup packed brown sugar
-3 ripe bananas
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 Tbs cornstarch
-2 cups flour
-2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Add the peeled bananas, one chunk at a time.  Mix very well.  Add the vanilla, salt, baking soda and cornstarch.  Keep on mixing.  Stir in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time.  Add the cocoa powder and chocolate chips.  Once well mixed, scoop dough with a spoon and arrange cookies on prepared sheets.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on sheets.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Simple Roasted Chicken with a Hint of Orange

My parents gave me this awesome Sicilian orange extra virgin olive oil.  I thought that would go great with chicken and I was so right! I don't know where they got it from, so if you can't find it, no worries, just some orange zest would do just fine.  The chicken is slowly roasted in the oven, then broiled to give the skin that nice, crunchy crisp.  Yum!  Enjoy!
-4 Tbs Sicilian orange extra virgin olive oil OR the zest of a large orange plus 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
-1 Tbs salt
-1 Tbs pepper
-1 Tbs garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Pour 2 Tbs of the oil on bottom of 9x13 pan.
Score the chicken (cut a couple of large slits on each thigh on the skin side). Generously season each thigh on both sides with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place skin side up on the bottom of prepared pan. Drizzle with remaining oil and orange zest, if using that method.
Place in preheated oven and roast for 45 minutes, basting occasionally.
Leave the chicken in the oven and switch the oven from baking to broiling on HIGH.  Broil for about 5 minutes or until skin is beautifully crisp and golden brown.
Enjoy with your favorite side and veggies!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Steak and Bacon Pasta Salad

This is a family favorite.  It's very quick to put together and super delicious!  I mean, how can you go wrong with bacon, steak and pasta?  😉 Enjoy!
For salad:
-1 lb small pasta (garden rotini, shells, etc)
-6 slices bacon, cut into chunks
-1 lb steak, cut into small strips
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 (7.5 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
-1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
For dressing:
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1/2 cup mayonnaise
-1/2 cup sour cream
-2 Tbs lemon juice
-1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain into colander and rinse with cold water.  Drain completely and add to large salad bowl.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon chunks until golden brown.  Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from skillet onto plate lined with paper towels.
Return skillet with bacon drippings to stove.  Add the steak strips and season with the salt and pepper.  Cook until done to your likeness.
Add bacon and steak to the salad bowl, along with the chopped artichoke and bell pepper.  Mix well.
In a large bowl, combine the dressing ingredients.  Pour over pasta mixture.  Give it a good stir, scoop into bowls and enjoy!


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