Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Chicken, Spinach and Gnocchi Soup

With the colder weather returning, this soup is exactly what we needed!  Even better is that I got to use stuff that needed to be used, like leftover roasted chicken and a half of onion.  The flavors are absolutely amazing and the soup is delicious and hearty.  YUM!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 red (or yellow) onion, finely chopped
-1 garlic clove, minced
-3 cups rotisserie chicken, diced OR 2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cooked and diced
-4 cups chicken broth
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 (6 oz) bag baby spinach
-2 cups half and half
-16 oz gnocchi
Directions:
Heat oil in large pot.  Add the onion and garlic.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until onion is nice and translucent.  Add the chicken chunks, broth, salt and pepper.  Give it a good stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
Stir in the half and half and spinach.  Mix well and cook for 1 minute.  Lastly, add the gnocchi and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe found here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Saucy Shrimp and Pasta

This is a quick, easy and absolutely delicious meal!  It's ready in about 20 minutes and you'll want seconds for sure. 😉 Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 cups uncooked penne pasta
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-12 oz medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
-1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce (your favorite should work just fine)
-1 (16 oz) jar classic Alfredo sauce
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-2 tsp dried parsley leaves
Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet.  Add the garlic, crushed pepper flakes, and shrimp.  Cook for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turns pink.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Give it a good stir and cook for one minute.  Add the drained pasta.  Mix well, serve onto plates, and garnish with a little more parsley.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Pecan Brownies with Cream Cheese Topping

These are some of the best brownies ever!  They are super rich and each bite is insanely delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For Pecan Brownies:
-1 (16 oz) box super moist devil's food cake mix
-1 large egg
-1 1/2 cups pecan chips
-1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
For Cream Cheese Topping:
-2 large eggs
-16 oz powdered sugar
-8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Coat 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Mix all brownie ingredients until well incorporated.  Press into prepared pan.
In your mixer, combine all topping ingredients.  Beat until nice and smooth.  Pour oven brownie mix and spread evenly.
Bake in preheat oven for 40-45 minutes or until cream cheese topping is set. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.  Cut into bars and enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Jerk Marinated Chicken with Fresh Mango Salsa

You absolutely have to make this dish.  The flavors are so amazing and fresh!  There's a hint of spice too, but the sweetness of the mango and red bell pepper take care of that.  Great dish, amazing flavors!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For Jerk Marinade:
-1 lime, juiced
-3 green onions, roughly chopped
-3 garlic cloves
-1 habanero or serano pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
-2 Tbs soy sauce
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1 Tbs packed brown sugar
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
Other:
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-cooked rice
For Fresh Mango Salsa:
-2 mangos, peeled, pitted and diced
-1 red bell pepper, chopped
-1/2 red onion, finely chopped
-1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
-1 lime, juiced
Directions:
Place all marinade ingredients into your blender.  Process until smooth.  Pour into gallon ziploc bag.  Add the chicken thighs and mix until evenly coated. Marinade for at least 5 hours, preferably over night, turning the bag over once in a while.
When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 F.
Heat remaining 1 Tbs oil in large skillet.  Add the marinated chicken and sear for a few minutes on each side until nice and golden brown.  Note that the chicken will not be cooked through at this point.
While the chicken is searing, mix the salsa ingredients and set aside.
Once chicken is nicely browned, remove skillet from stove.  Top with that beautiful mango salsa.  Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Serve on top of rice.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Quick and Easy Chocolate Mousse

This is one of our favorite desserts.  It's quick, easy and absolutely delicious.  And the secret ingredient is sour cream!  Yes, although surprising, it gives this mousse a nice, refreshing boost.  Great dessert!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 cups milk (at least 2%)
-1 (5.9 oz) package instant chocolate pudding and pie mix
-1/2 cup sour cream
-8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
-whipped cream, for garnishing
Directions:
In a large bowl, mix the milk and pudding mix with the whisk for 2 minutes. Let it stand for about 3 minutes or until soft set.
Add the sour cream and whipped topping.  Mix gently until very well incorporated. Pour into individual dishes.  Top with some extra whipped cream.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Slow Cooker Cajun Chicken with Beans and Rice

This is one of those great dishes where you put everything in your slow cooker and get a full, delicious meal at the end of the day.  The flavors are great in this dish and the chicken is cooked to perfection.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 cups chicken broth
-1 (16 oz) can red beans, rinsed and drained
-1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
-2 tomatoes, chopped
-1 green bell pepper, chopped
-1 Tbs dried parsley leaves
-3 Tbs Cajun seasoning
-4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
Directions:
In your slow cooker, mix the broth, beans, rice, tomatoes, pepper, parsley and 2 Tbs of the seasoning.  Top with the chicken and sprinkle remaining Cajun seasoning.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Cherie's Cucumber Limeade

My amazing friend, Cherie, made this delicious drink for our last book club.  I instantly fell in love with it and made it the next day for my family.  Yes, it's that good!  It's so fresh and the flavors are absolutely delicious together.  This drink is simply perfect for any season too.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 English cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
-12 oz frozen concentrate limeade
-lots of ice
-2 (2 L each) bottles of Sprite
Directions:
In a very large pitcher mix the chopped cucumber with the frozen limeade.  Mix well and let it stand for 15-20 minutes to allow it to marinate.  Add the ice and soda.  Mix well, pour into glasses (without the cucumber chunks) and enjoy!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Fresh (Frozen) Peach Pie with Sour Cream and Pecans

I still have some of my beautiful peaches frozen from last summer and this is a wonderful way to use them. This pie is easy to make and it comes out nice and creamy and packed with flavor!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (9inch) pie crust (homemade or frozen) **if frozen, thaw, but do not bake
For Filling:
-4 cups sliced peaches (fresh or frozen) **if frozen, thaw and drain some of the juice
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup sour cream
-3 egg yolks
-1/4 cup flour
-1 tsp vanilla extract
For Topping:
-1/4 cup flour
-1/4 cup packed brown sugar
-1/8 cup sugar
-1/2 cup pecan chips
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Place pie plate with pie crusted in it on top of prepared baking sheet.  Place sliced peaches in the pie shell.
In a bowl, mix well together the  remaining filling ingredients.  Pour over peaches.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
While that's baking, combine the topping ingredients until nice and crumbly.  Sprinkle over pie.  Return to the oven and bake for 20 more minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and topping is golden brown.
Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack.  Slice and enjoy with some whipped cream on top, if desired.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Lasagna Soup

Our family is a big fan of this lasagna soup!  Maybe it's because we all love lasagna and this tastes exactly like it except that it's a soup.  Definitely do not skimp on the cheese toppings; they really make this soup taste like lasagna.  It's easy and delicious, and perfect for a cold, winter day.  YUM!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lb extra lean ground beef
-1 onion, finely diced
-5 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-1 (24 oz) jar traditional pasta sauce
-8 cups chicken broth
-1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
-2 tsp balsamic vinegar
-1 Tbs dried basil
-1 tsp dried parsley leaves
-1 tsp dried oregano
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-10 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
-1/2 cup half and half
Cheese toppings (be generous with them!):
-ricotta
-shredded Mozzarella
-shredded Parmesan
Directions:
In a large saucepan, mix the beef and onion.  Cook until beef is nicely browned.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook for 30 more seconds.
Stir in the pasta sauce, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, vinegar, basil, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, and noodles.  Give it a good stir and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until noodles are tender.
Stir in half and half and cook for 1 more minute.
Ladle into bowls, top with the cheeses and enjoy!

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