Friday, March 31, 2017

Coconut Macaroons

We absolutely love this super easy and delicious macaroons.  It's a breeze to put together and they're ready in under one hour.  Delicious!  Enjoy!
This recipe yields about 30 macaroons.
-1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
-14 oz sweetened coconut flakes
-2/3 cup flour
-a pinch of salt
-2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix all of the ingredients.  Using a regular spoon, scoop up some of the mixture and drop onto prepared sheets.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and place trays on wire racks.  Cool completely and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Slow Cooker Chicken with Roasted Pepper and Black Beans

This is another great dish, super easy to put together and perfect for a busy night.  Enjoy!
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-1 large onion, halved and sliced
-1 (16 oz) jar roasted pepper, drained and cut into strips
-1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 (14.5 oz) can Mexican style stewed tomatoes, do NOT drain
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-cooked rice, to serve
Coat your slower cooker with cooking spray.  Add the chicken.  Place the onion slices, peppers, beans and tomatoes evenly on top of chicken.  Sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and give it a little stir.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
Serve on top of cooked rice.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe found on 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Mint Chocolate Frozen Pie

I love those ready to use graham cracker/cookie pie crusts.  All you have to do is fill them up and enjoy the yumminess! Such is the case with this one.  I made a super easy ice cream filling, plopped it in the freezer and enjoyed it with my family.  So easy and so delicious!  Enjoy!
-1 (9 inch) Oreo pie crust
-4 cups mint chocolate chip ice cream, softened
-5 mint Oreos, chopped
-1/2 cup Andes mints chips
Pour softened ice cream into crust.  Top with chopped Oreos and mint chips. Cover and freeze for about 4 hours.  Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cheater's Chicken Enchiladas

We all love a delicious enchilada now and then, but let's face it that it is a bit time consuming; although truly worth it.  These yummies are super fast (under 30 minutes) because I used already roasted chicken, a quick sauce and lots of cheese.  That's it!  The flavors are awesome and the enchiladas are nice and creamy.  This makes for a delicious meal that's quick and hearty.  Enjoy!
-1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
-1 cup sour cream
-1 tsp pepper
-4-5 cups rotisserie or roasted chicken, shredded
-2 cups Pepper Jack cheese, shredded, divided
-6 large (8 inches) flour tortillas
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the soup, sour cream and pepper.  Mix well and spread half of it on the bottom of prepared pan.
Divide chicken and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese in between the tortillas.  Spread in the middle, then carefully wrap each of them and place on top of the sauce in the pan.
Pour remaining sauce evenly on top of each enchilada and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Quick and Easy Oreo Cheesecake Pie

With a super crazy schedule, I always try to find ways to make yummy things that are very quick and easy.   I love how nowadays there are so many conveniences right at our fingertips.  Such is the case with this delicious pie.  Did you know that Kraft Philadelphia has a cheesecake mix ready to use? I didn't either until recently when I spotted it in the dairy section at the grocery store.  How awesome is that!  So, I tossed in that a few crushed oreos, poured it all into a ready crust and there you have a super yummy pie!  Our family loves this one.  Enjoy!
-1 (24.3 oz) tub Philadelphia cheesecake mix
-12 oreos, crushed
-1 (9 inch) Oreo pie crust
In a large bowl, mix the cheesecake with the oreos.  Pour into crust.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until ready to serve.  Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Bacon-Spinach Salad

I love simple salads.  I grew up with eating salad with simple variations on the oil-vinegar dressing.  Most of the time it was just olive oil and regular vinegar.  Nowadays there are so many types of oil and vinegar that I just have to try different variations.  For this one I tried grapeseed oil and raspberry infused balsamic vinegar.  Quite a delicious combination!  And, of course, the bacon enhances the flavor with its very tasty presence. Enjoy!
For salad:
-1 lb bacon
-10 oz baby spinach
-1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
-1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
For dressing:
-1/4 cup grapeseed oil
-1/8 cup raspberry infused balsamic vinegar
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
Cut the bacon into large pieces and fry until nice and crisp.  Drain on paper towels.
Once that's done, mix all salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients.  Pour over salad and mix well to coat evenly.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Cheesy Broccoli and Tortellini

This is one of those super quick meals for a super busy day.  It's very easy to put together and it becomes a hearty, delicious, creamy meal.  Enjoy!
-2 cups heavy cream
-1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
-2 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
-1 tsp pepper
-24 oz three cheese tortellini
Place heavy cream in large sauce pan on the stove and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the broccoli florets and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of the Parmesan and the 1 tsp pepper.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until mixture is thickened.
Meanwhile, cook tortellini according to package directions.  Drain and add to the broccoli mixture.  Give it a good stir.  
Scoop some onto plate and sprinkle with some of the remaining Parmesan.  YUM!  Enjoy!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Strawberry-Banana Jello Salad

One of my sons had the scouts banquet and I was asked to provide a jello salad.  I have to admit that I love eating jello salad, but have never bothered to make one because usually at our local church functions someone always brings some, so I never had a need to make one.  Well, this time I had to make one.  Great thing too because this quickly became a family favorite.  It's easy, fluffy, light and oh, so delicious!  I also love the nice touch of the fresh strawberries and bananas.  Delicious!  Enjoy!
-2 cups water
-1 (5.1 oz) package vanilla pudding and pie filling
-2 (3 oz each) packages strawberry gelatin
-16 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
-5 oz mini marshmallows
-2 cups fresh strawberries, finely chopped
-3 bananas, chopped
Place water in medium pan.  Add the pudding and gelatin.  Give it a good stir and bring to a boil.  Remove from stove and immediately pour mixture into your electric mixer's bowl.  Let it sit on your counter for about 30 minutes to cool a little.  Don't put it in the fridge right off the stove because it will kill your fridge! Once the mixture cooled for 30 minutes, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.  Leave it there for about 6 hours.
Beat mixture on high for 3-4 minutes.  It should become nice and fluffy. Fold in remaining ingredients.
Pour into serving bowl and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Cheddar-Ranch Chicken Thighs

This recipe is super easy to put together and the result is fantastic.  The mayonnaise makes the chicken so tender that it melts in your mouth!  The flavors are absolutely amazing.  I like to serve this with my cheddar zucchini rice to make it a completely delicious meal. Enjoy!
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-salt and pepper
-1/2 cup mayonnaise
-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1 (1 oz) envelope ranch seasoning and salad dressing mix
-1/3 cup Italian style Panko crumbs
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Coat 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  
Score the chicken on the skin side.  Season with a little salt and pepper on both sides, then place skin side up in prepared pan.
In a small bowl combine the mayo, cheese, garlic and ranch.  Mix well, then spread evenly on top of chicken thighs.  Sprinkle chicken with Panko crumbs.
Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and chicken is cooked through.
Serve with my cheddar-zucchini rice.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Fried Chicken on Waffles with Maple Syrup Gravy

Who would've thought that these could go so perfect together!  I absolutely loved the subtle spiciness of the chicken combined with the sweetness of the gravy.  It is a match made in heaven!  This is one of our favorite family meals.  Enjoy!
For the chicken:
-vegetable or canola oil, for frying
-8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
-1 1/2 cups flour
-1 1/2 Tbs seasoned salt
-1 Tbs garlic powder
-2 tsp ground black pepper
-1 tsp cayenne
For the gravy:
-1/2 cup butter
-6 Tbs flour
-2 cups chicken stock
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 cup  pure maple syrup
-salt and pepper, to taste
For the waffles:
-2 cups flour
-1 tsp salt
-4 tsp baking powder
-2 Tbs sugar
-2 eggs, beaten
-1 1/2 cups warm milk
-1/3 cup butter, melted
-1 tsp vanilla extract
Start by making the fried chicken.
Heat oil in frying pan to medium heat.  Do not raise the temperature or your chicken will burn and not cook all the way through!
Score each thigh on both sides.
Mix flour, salt, garlic powder, pepper and cayenne in shallow dish.  Dredge scored chicken and coat well on both sides.  Add chicken to hot oil.  Cook for 10-15 minutes on each sides, or until golden brown and juices run clear.  Drain on paper towels.
As the chicken is getting happy, make the gravy.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Add the flour to form a roux.  Add chicken stock and brown sugar.  Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until it thickens.  Add the maple syrup, salt and pepper.  Adjust the seasoning according to your taste.  Stir well and cook for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
Finally, let's make the waffles.
Mix all ingredients together by hand until well blended, with no lumps.  Ladle batter into preheated waffle iron.  Cook until golden brown.
To assemble the dish, place a waffle on bottom of plate.  Place a piece of chicken on top of the waffle and top with delicious gravy.  Serve hot and enjoy!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Apple-Cranberry-Pecan Strudels

Sometimes I have ingredients in the house that I kind of forget about, but need to be used soon.  So it happened this past weekend when I was inventorying my kitchen and discovered that I have everything needed to make beautiful, delicious apple strudels!  I always love a good, fresh strudel and so does my family.  These turned out super delicious and we enjoyed them with some vanilla ice cream on top.  Enjoy!
-2 lbs apples, shredded (keep peel on and shred until reaching core, which will be discarded)
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup dried cranberries
-1/2 cup pecan chips
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp rum extract
-1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
-15 phyllo dough sheets, thawed according to package directions
For Topping:
-1 Tbs sugar
-1 tsp cinnamon
-vanilla ice cream, optional
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, combine the shredded apples, sugar, cranberries, pecans, vanilla and rum.  Mix very well and set aside.
Using some of the melted butter, brush the bottom of 9x13 pan.  Top with one phyllo dough sheet.  Brush its top with butter. Repeat until you have 5 sheets all buttered.  Top with half of the apple mixture (make sure to not add any of the juice from the bowl).  Top apple mixture with 5 more phyllo sheets, brushing each of them with butter.  Top with remaining apple mixture and the remaining 5 sheets (brushed with butter).
Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top.  Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.  Cut into pieces and top with some vanilla ice cream, if desired.  YUM!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Easy Dark Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes

I've been cheating with these delicious cupcakes by using pre-made cake mix and frosting.  But, the results are amazing!  You get these super moist, decadent cupcakes with the cherry surprise flavor.  Yummm!  Enjoy!
-1 (15.25 oz) box dark chocolate fudge cake mix
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1 1/3 cups water
-3 large eggs
-cherry preserves (we prefer Smucker's)
-14 oz whipped cream cheese frosting
-maraschino cherries
-chocolate sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, combine the cake mix, oil, water and eggs.  Beat until nice and smooth.  Pour batter evenly in prepared pans. Place a generous teaspoon of cherry preserves in the middle of each cupcake.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Remove cupcakes from pans and place on wire rack.  Cool completely.
Once cooled, frost each cupcake with the whipped cream cheese frosting and top with some chocolate sprinkles and a maraschino cherry.  Enjoy!


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