Friday, December 16, 2016

Comfort Plus!







Creamy Garlic Mac and Cheese 

Comfort plus describes this new Mac and Cheese recipe.  I mentioned last weekend that I want to make some macaroni and cheese for dinner.
 Hubby suggested that since it was the weekend we should try something new and not my tried and true recipe.  I had saved this recipe from a post by The Noble Pig, a blog from a winery out west that I have followed for years.   It has three different types of cheeses and a crispy breadcrumb topping.  Now the one thing about the topping is that my son for some reason says he doesn't like the bread crumb topping so when I sprinkled it over the top I left a small portion without the topping.

This dished turned out to be delicious.  We made sure we saved some for our daughter's return from college.  I will make this one again.
 
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
1 pound pasta (elbow, macaroni or any other pasta)
 
CRISPY TOPPING:
1½ tablespoons butter
⅔ cup Panko breadcrumbs
 
SAUCE:
¼ cup butter
4 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup flour (all purpose or plain)
4½ cups milk, divided (I used skim, but 2% or full fat are fine to use)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour)
salt and pepper, to season
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder (or a vegetable stock powder)
¾ cup low fat grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
6 ounces low fat mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS;
Boil pasta in salted water, according to packet instructions, until JUST al dente (do not over-boil)! Drain and rinse well with cold water. Set aside.

Preheat oven grill or broiler to 375°F.
To make the topping - Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large, oven proof pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the Panko breadcrumbs; stir to coat and cook until golden browned. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.
To make the sauce:
Melt the ¼ cup of butter in the same pan / skillet. Add the garlic and sauté until just fragrant (about 1 minute). Whisk in the flour; continue to cook while whisking (or stirring) for at least 2 minutes. Reduce heat down to low; gradually whisk in 4 cups of the milk (about ¼ cup at a time), whisking between each addition to combine. Bring to a boil until beginning to thicken.

In a separate jug, combine the cornstarch and remaining ½ cup milk; whisk until lump free and stir through the white sauce to thicken completely. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the bouillon powder.

Remove from heat and add in the cheddar, ¾ cup of parmesan cheese, and the mozzarella slices. Stir through until all of the cheese has melted. Toss the pasta through the sauce until completely coated.
Top with the Panko and the remaining parmesan cheese. Broil (or grill) in oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until bubbling.

Allow to cool down slightly before serving.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Slow Cooker Honey Soy Pork Tenderloins

Yesterday I wanted a recipe that was new, flavorful and easy.  We were spending the day decorating the tree and the rest of the house.  Hubby requested that whatever we had he didn't want something that we would easily make on a weeknight.

I found this recipe in my saved videos on Facebook from Tip Hero.  I had saved it quite awhile ago and remembered that it looked like it would be very tasty.  The video version seemed easy enough,  you just mixed the topping and pour it over the meat that was placed in the bottom of the Crockpot and cook for 6 hours on low.  I had all the ingredients on hand, but used two port tenderloins rather than a roast.  That probably reduced the calories some because there was n o fat on these tenderloins.

So, while dinner cooked,  we began decorating the tree.  Note began - we haven't finished yet!


INGREDIENTS

3 to 4 pounds pork loin roast or two tenderloins
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce
⅔ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS


Place the pork loin roast in the inner pot of a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine the dried oregano, dried basil, black pepper, salt, minced garlic, honey, soy sauce and Parmesan cheese, and mix well. Pour the sauce over the pork loin roast into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Remove the cooked pork loin roast from the slow cooker, reserving the liquid. Shred the meat.
Add the reserved cooking liquid to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced and thickened. Pour the reduced, thickened sauce over the shredded meat and serve.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas




Thanksgiving has always been a big feast in our family. But time to time we escape the hustle of this feasting bonanza and take a little family vacation.   This year is one of those times, but I wanted to share with you a few dishes that might  make  your Thanksgiving easy.


Start the Day off with one of my biggest viewed post - Baked Ricotta Dip served with pita chips or bagel chips.  This is such a unique dip for holiday entertaining and is one of the most viewed recipes I have shared.



How about a Butternut Squash Soup to start your meal off right?  A fall harvest vegetable turned into  creamy and delicious soup.


Forget the Green Bean Casserole and try a Yummy Broccoli Casserole made with buttery Ritz Crackers as a side dish 



Then finish dinner off with the traditional pumpkin pie.  Besides the traditional stuffing, this is one of my favorites.




Enjoy the Holiday and don't forget to relax!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Quick and Spicy Tomato Soup

After a weekend away enjoying some great food and wine, one might want to make a just have a simple soup.  That is exactly what we did this past Sunday.  We had a great weekend in the Finger Lakes with our Foodie Friends.  Tasted some local wines, enjoyed the sites at a local state park and then ended our evening with a wine dinner at a local inn.  By Sunday Afternoon, we were a bit tired, still stuffed from the great food we had.  I remembered this soup we had made several times from Giada.  Very simple and delicious.  And the best part we had all the ingredients!  
 



Ingredients


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce (recommended: San Marzano brand)
2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup orzo pasta (or any small pasta)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions


Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the jar of marinara sauce, chicken broth, cannellini beans, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve.


SERVINGS: 4 (MAIN); Calories: 430; Total Fat: 16 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Protein: 15 grams; Total

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Shrimp and Penne

 

Shrimp and Penne


We found this recipe in a monthly flyer from one of our local grocery stores.  This looked super easy and we had almost all of the ingredients.  We used frozen shrimp and did the fast defrost option of putting the shrimp in a colander and running cold water until they have defrosted.   Whole process takes just a few minutes.

Our son was working that night so we saved him some which was quickly devoured once he got home.  No Italian takeout that night.  This will be  a go to recipe for the upcoming lenten season.
 

Ingredients


8 oz Penne Pasta
1 lb Large Shrimp peeled and deveined
2 cup Small Broccoli Florets fresh or frozen
1 cup Half-and-half
4 oz Cream Cheese cubed
2 tsp McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Mediterranean Herb Seasoning
1/4 tsp Salt
Grated Parmesan Cheese or Asiago Cheese (optional)


Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, adding shrimp and broccoli during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain well.

Meanwhile, bring half-and-half to simmer in small saucepan on medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Add cream cheese, Seasoning and salt; whisk until cheese is melted and sauce is well blended.

Place pasta, shrimp and broccoli in serving bowl. Add sauce; toss gently to coat well. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.
 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Jalapeño Poppers


I saw the Food Network recipe of the week and knew we had to make it.  Basically it was to use up the ton of Jalapeños we had in our little garden. We had 6 plants that went crazy this year. My son and I probably picked over 30 peppers this afternoon leaving a bunch on the bush for another time.  So I used 17 of them tonight and prepared Rachel Ray's roasted jalapeños and they were delicious.  Having them de-seeded helped with heat factor, but boy do my hands burn now from working with the seeds and membranes.

If you love Jalapenos', we have plenty.  Stop by!

Jalapeno Poppers



12 large jalapeno peppers
2 ounces feta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces shredded smoked pepper Jack cheese, or other hot pepper cheese, or extra-sharp Cheddar
A small handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons grated onion


Directions


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
    Cut 1/3 of each pepper off lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place on a baking sheet. If peppers do not sit flat on the baking sheet, slice a thin piece off the bottom of the pepper so it will not roll around.
    Mash the feta, cream cheese, shredded cheese, cilantro, and onion together and stuff the peppers with the mixture. Roast for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the cheese is brown at the edges and bubbly.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sausage and Pasta Skillet

We needed something for dinner the other night and I didn't want to head back to the grocery store for the third day in a row.  So I pulled some sausage out of the freezer in the morning and started to look for a recipe that I could use it in with what we had on hand in either the pantry or refrigerator. Here is what I came up with.  Tasted great and really easy.  I talked to my duaghter at school that night and gave her the idea as a dinner she could make and have a lot of left overs to get her a couple of meals.  She made it with bow tie pasta and loved it to.      



Sausage and Pasta Skillet

Ingredients


1 lb pork sausage
2 green bell pepper, diced
2 cups dried elbow macaroni (half a package, 8 oz)
18 oz marinara sauce
18 oz water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup cheddar cheese (or increase to 1/2 cup)

In a large skillet cook sausage on medium heat, until meat is brown. Drain off fat.
Add diced bell peppers, dried elbow macaroni, marinara sauce, and water. Bring to boil; reduce heat to simmer. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes until macaroni is tender, occasionally stirring.
Add half and half, sprinkle with cheese, and mix everything well. Remove from heat, cover and let it sit for about 2 minutes or until cheese melts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Garden abundance


What do you do when your garden is overflowing with grape tomatoes?  Well, you search the Web and find one of your favorite chefs recipe for tomatoes gratin.  It was a no-brainer to give this a try when it was an Ina recipe.  Very easy and flavorful..so much so I hope we have another big harvest to make this again.

Grape Tomatoes Gratin 

3 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1½ tablespoons plus ¼ cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
¹/³ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cups coarse bread cubes from a country bread



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the tomatoes in a 9 x 13-inch ceramic dish. Add the 1½ tablespoons of olive oil, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and toss together. Spread the tomatoes evenly in the pan.

Place the garlic, parsley, and ½ teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the garlic is finely chopped. Add the bread cubes and process until the bread is in crumbs. Add the ¼ cup of olive oil and pulse a few times to blend. 

Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the tomatoes.

Bake the gratin for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crumbs are golden and the tomato juices are bubbling. Serve hot or warm.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Stuffed Peppers

 
 

 
Pulled this one off!  Wow, we planned on making this for dinner last night and then once I saw the recipe and realized that it was projected to take about 2 hours to complete it, the plan then changed to prepping it and then back it tonight.  But by the time I got to that stage, I said - let's go ahead and bake them.  Glad I did.  This was very, very good. 
 
The thing with Stuffed Peppers and our family is that our favorite restaurant in town is Canale's and they have stuffed peppers on their menu that my husband loves.  He refers to them as " Brains".  I guess because of their size or how they look, but he loves to order them.  Well, with our garden in full mode, we had enough peppers to make them at home.  Found a recipe on Pinterest and tweaked it a bit and here they are.  He will still order them out, but now we have a classic stuffed pepper recipe during garden harvest time.
 
If you are looking for a quicker version - give then link below a try for another classic stuffed peppers made with sausage, but cooked in the microwave.
 
 
 

Classic Stuffed Peppers

 
4 to 6 green peppers, or use a combination of green and red bell peppers or other colors
1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon ​​extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (at least 85%)
1  cup long-grain rice, cooked
Shredded Mozzarella, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, optional
 
 
Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and rinse them under cold water; remove seeds and cut away the membranes, which might be bitter. Chop the edible part of tops and set aside.  Place peppers in a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until the oil is hot and the butter is foamy.

Sauté the chopped bell pepper (from the tops), chopped onion, and chopped celery for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add the (un-drained) canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, crushed garlic, oregano, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Gently stir to blend; add ground beef, cooked rice, and 1 cup of the tomato sauce mixture. Mix well.

Heat the oven to 350° F.

Stuff the peppers loosely with the meat mixture and place in a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. Pour the remaining tomato mixture over the stuffed peppers.

Bake the peppers for about 45 minutes, or until the meat mixture is thoroughly cooked. To check the internal temperature, use an instant-read thermometer. The temperature should be at least 160° F for ground beef, pork or lamb, or 165° F for ground turkey or chicken.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Mediterranean Pasta Salad - not just for Summer


Now that we have hit Labor Day, it is inevitable that summer is slowly coming to an end.  The cookouts, summer parties, shorts and t-shirts as the daily apparel and  the extremely hot dry summer we have will soon be a memory.  But it doesn't mean an end to cooking like it is still summer.  I found this recipe when I was looking for a pasta salad, but not your typical pasta salad with the italian dressing as part of the mixture.  After having this I think we can make this again and again, even as the snow starts to fly!

Mediterranean Pasta Salad


Ingredients

12 ounces farfalle pasta
1-12 ounce can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained (reserve 2 tablespoons of oil)
½ cup kalamata olives, chopped
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
¼ cup  sliced scallions
1 cup packed fresh arugula
⅓ cup parmesan cheese
3 tablespoon pine nuts

DRESSING:

3 tablespoons basil pesto ( jarred pesto is fine)
⅓ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of reserved sun-dried tomato oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Rinse and drain the pasta and allow for it to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl combine the prepared pasta, chopped artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers and scallions. Toss to combine.
At this point, you can store the pasta salad in the refrigerator until ready to serve if you want to serve it cold.
To make the dressing: In a small bowl, mix together the pesto, olive oil, sun-dried tomato oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. The dressing can be refrigerated until you're ready to serve the salad.
When you're ready to serve, add the arugula, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts into the salad and toss to combine. Add the prepared dressing and taste test for seasonings.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dinner Club Time - Tres Leche Cake



Last weekend was our dinner club dinner at our neighbors across the street.  It was a Fajita Fiesta night that also included a little pool party time to cool down from our run of 90 degree plus days. Our assignment was dessert.  And what betther way to cool down that a Tres Leches Cake that is light and refreshing.

Now I have never made this before and was a bit puzzled on the size of the platter needed to serve it on.  The cake was baked in a 10" pan and need to go on a platter with 1 inch sides to capture the "juices" of the 3 milks (Tres Leches) and Grand Marnier.  I could not find one and ended up using the casserole dish that was just a tad bit bigger than the cake pan.  Having now made this I know that I could use a different plate for presentation.

The recipe was also very approprate for me.  I work in the dairy industry and what better way to support it than a recipe which actually had 4 types of dairy products involved.  So, for a international flair and somthing that is refreshing and moist - give this recipe a try.


Tres Leches Cake

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray, for the cake pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the cake pan
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
2 cups heavy cream, divided
3 tablespoons orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray and flour a 10-inch cake pan with 2-inch high sides and then line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.

Mix the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until frothy. With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Beat in the yolks, 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the whole milk in 2 additions.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool the cake slightly, about 10 minutes, then invert onto a platter with 1-inch high sides.

Pierce the top of the cake all over with a thick skewer. Mix the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, 1 cup heavy cream and orange liqueur in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture over the cake while warm. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours or overnight.

Combine the remaining 1 cup heavy cream and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Spread the whipped cream onto top of the cake and sprinkle with the ground cinnamon.



Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/marcela-valladolid/tres-leches-cake-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Monday, August 22, 2016

Healthy Beef Enchilada Pie

 

 
I remember a few years ago my hubby was at a training class and it was just the kids and me for dinner for about a week.  I didn't want to keep doing the same old, same old for dinner while he was away.  I wanted to try new recipes that would be easy and that the kids would enjoy.  So I found this recipe from Betty Crocker, made some tweaks and made it for dinner one night and they liked it.  But then it got forgotten in the big binder of recipes until a couple of weeks ago.  So I whipped that up for dinner.  Hubby must of liked it because there were no left overs.
 
I think my children enjoy our cooking and have a couple of favorite recipes each.  Now that our daughter has moved off campus this year I asked her what she plans on making for dinner and did she want some recipes.  Her reply was I will just look at your blog!  I am sure she will look for this one.
 

Healthy Beef Enchilada Pie

 

Ingredients

1 lb. lean  ground beef 
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup) 
1 can (10 oz)  red enchilada sauce 
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed, drained 
1 can (4.5 oz)  chopped green chiles, drained 
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
1 teaspoon chili powder 
5 flour tortillas for burritos (from 11 oz package) 
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend (4 oz) 
 sour cream and cilantro, if desired 



Directions



Heat oven to 350°F. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Reserve 1/4 cup enchilada sauce; set aside. Add remaining enchilada sauce, corn and chiles to beef mixture. Stir in cumin and chili powder. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered 5 minutes.

Spray 9-inch round (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Place 1 tortilla in casserole; top with about 3/4 cup of the beef mixture and 3 tablespoons of the cheese. Repeat layers 3 times. Top with remaining tortilla, the reserved enchilada sauce and the remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, 30 to 40 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted. Cool 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream and cilantro sprigs.

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Friday, August 19, 2016

Chick Pea Summer Salad

 
What is more easier then just throwing together a quick summer salad that does not involve cooking ingredients like pasta or potatoes.  This is a super easy salad that we found a few years ago in Cooking Light.  The best part about this is that all of herbs are fresh from my little herb garden. 
 
 Our garden along the side of our house is back in business this year.  Last year we had some landscaping updated and some work done on the French drains and gas line so we could not  have a garden. I still maintained my herb garden because some of them are perennial, however, it took a beating.  It was out of the way of the work we were doing, but nonetheless we lost some plants.  This year the little vegetable garden is in  with tomatoes, peppers, jalapeños and radishes and the herbs are multiplying!  The thyme and the oregano have a mind of their own and sometimes overtake the other herbs in the garden.  For the rosemary, I put that in a clay pot outside my kitchen door.  I love the smell of thyme and rosemary and fresh herbs do make a difference when cooking.
 
 

Chickpea Salad with Provençal Herbs and Olives

 
 
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
3/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme  
 
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Combine chickpeas and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over salad, tossing gently.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Asian Chicken Thighs


This recipe was a Pinterest find that kept getting re-pinned.  So I had to try it and I am happy to say it was delicious!  The photo and the food pictured is my rendition of this original posting by the blogger Dam Delicious is mine and we really didn't do anything to the recipe other that cut the amount of chicken in half.  

Once I knew our daughter would be joining us for dinner, I made sure I had a chicken breast to grill for her.  She is not a fan of dark meat so we started up the grill for her and she stole a bit of the sauce from this recipe to season her dinner.  Love the sauce!  

So for a flavorful and easy dinner, give this recipe a try. 


Asian Chicken Thighs


INGREDIENTS:


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

FOR THE SAUCE


1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste


DIRECTIONS:


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  To make the sauce, whisk together chili sauce, soy sauce, garlic, fish sauce, ginger, lime juice and Sriracha in a small bowl; set aside.

Melt butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Stir in chili sauce mixture.

Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until caramelized and slightly charred.
Serve immediately, garnished with peanuts and cilantro, if desired.

Recipe from blog: DAMN DELICIOUS 


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Buffalo Chicken Casserole



 
This has long been a staple in our house.  Who can not resist hash brown potatoes, chicken, cheese and buffalo wing sauce. A quick and easy casserole we found in one of the check out pamphlets that you see at the grocery store.  We tweaked the recipe a bit to our taste and often top with scallions for a bit of color.  I am sure that once our daughter heads back to school, this will be a casserole she will make many times over.
 
I recently asked her if she wanted to take down some of my recipes and she told me she didn't need to.  She would just go to my blog and pull up her favorites.  I have also found another fan in  my niece.  If I post something on Pinterest it quickly get's added to Aunt Joanne's Yummy Recipes board.  It is nice to know that someone is using these recipe creations!
 
So give this one a try.  I have to admit - it is one of hubby's go to recipes!
 

Buffalo Chicken Casserole


1 1/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce
6 cups frozen (thawed) southern-style hash brown potatoes
1 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
1 can (10 oz) condensed cream of celery soup
1/2 cup corn flake crumbs
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup chopped green onions (3 to 4 medium)





Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

 In medium bowl, stir together chicken strips and wing sauce.  In large bowl, stir together potatoes, dressing, cheese and soup. Spoon into baking dish. Place chicken strips in single layer over potato mixture.  In small bowl, stir together crumbs and butter. Sprinkle in baking dish. 

 Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes; uncover and bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender and juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut. Sprinkle with green onions.









Sunday, July 10, 2016

Summer Orzo Salad


Looking through my big binder of recipes I stumbled upon one we found a couple of years ago.  It is a nice change in  the continually parade of summer salads.  Definitely not a potato or a traditional macaroni salad.  I am not really a fan of mayonnaise based salads, so this s a great change. The dried cherries and pine nuts are a great surprise.  This makes a very large quantity and is also great eaten alone as a small meal.  A cool and refreshing change!

Summer Orzo Salad


Ingredients


1 pound orzo pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
2 cups fresh arugula (about 3 ounces)
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup dried cherries
12 fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and put the pasta on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle the pasta with 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss, spread out, and set aside to cool.

Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Serve.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Roasted Mustard Potatoes


These have easily become a family favorite this summer in our house.  A few ingredients, and some oven time and you have a flavorful side dish.  

Roasted Mustard Potatoes

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup whole-grain mustard
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
4 garlic cloves, minced (use jar minced garlic for a bit more flavor)
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered (about 6 cups)- red potatoes are fine too. 
Kosher salt
1/2 fresh lemon, cut into wedges
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustards, lemon zest, lemon juice, and garlic. Add the potatoes and toss to coat with the mixture.

Spread the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt. Bake for 30 minutes. Toss the potatoes, return to the oven, and bake for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are a deep golden brown and fork-tender.

Transfer the potatoes to a serving platter, squeeze the fresh lemon juice over them, and sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot.



Friday, July 1, 2016

Taco Tater Casserole


There is nothing more flavorful and fun that tater tots! Now add them to a taco casserole and you reach a new comfort food high.  I will admit that this is a recipe that hubby made.  He has been preparing a lot of meals lately and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.  He finds a recipe and adds his own special tweaks.    Give this one a try.


Taco Tater Casserole



1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced finely
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (4 oz) can Old El Paso diced green chiles
1 (1 oz) package Old El Paso taco seasoning mix
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (12 oz) package frozen corn
3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 (28 oz) package frozen tater tots
1 (10 oz) can Old El Paso red enchilada sauce

Toppings: olives, cilantro, sour cream, tomatoes

Instructions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. For extra crispy tater tots, bake tater tots for about 10 minutes while preparing the beef mixture - otherwise prepare as follows.

In a large skillet, brown the beef and the onion. Add the garlic towards the end of the browning process and cook for 1 minute. Drain.

Add the green chiles, taco seasoning mix, black beans, corn, and 2 cups of the cheese. Stir together to combine. If your skillet isn’t big enough you may need to stir it together in a bowl.

Pour mixture into the prepared 9x13 pan. Arrange tater tots on top of the mixture in a single layer.
Pour the enchilada sauce on top of the casserole as evenly as you can.

Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until tater tots are nice and crispy. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese on top and place back in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until cheese has melted.
Top with olives, cilantro, sour cream, tomatoes when serving if desired.

Notes
For extra crispy tater tots, bake tater tots for about 10 minutes while preparing the beef mixture.

This recipe is inspired from the blog - The-girl-who-ate-everything

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Chocolate Cassis Cake - Decedent yet basic!

Hubby and I saw this cake being made this morning on the Food Network and thought that it would be good to make for dessert tonight.  We thought that we had to go to the liqour store for the Creme de Cassis but when I looked on Google for what it was we realized we already had a bottle from Ina's Blueberry Pie recipe we made last summer.

When I was prepping the recipe my husband exclaimed that when he goes to find a recipe he likes on line, he get's sick of all the long stories that accompany the  blog post and the advertisments. He said "cut to the chase and just post the recipe, no one want to read all that stuff".  So in honor of his request - Here is the recipe!


Ina Garten's Chocolate Cassis Cake

Ingredients for the cake:

Baking spray with flour, such as Baker's Joy
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Pernigotti
6 tablespoons creme de cassis liqueur
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the glaze:

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 tablespoons creme de cassis liqueur
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To serve:

2 (1/2 pint) boxes fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup creme de cassis liqueur

Directions

For the cake, Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round springform pan with baking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray it again with baking spray.


Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the cocoa powder, cassis, and vanilla and set aside.


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer), beat the eggs, sugar, and salt on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until pale yellow and triple in volume. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and carefully but thoroughly fold them together with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until just barely set in the center. Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then release the sides of the pan. Invert the cake carefully onto a flat serving plate, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.


For the glaze, melt the chocolate and cream together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Off the heat, whisk in the cassis and vanilla. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and spread over just the top of the cake.


Fifteen minutes before serving, toss the berries gently with the sugar and cassis. Cut the cake in wedges and serve with the berries on the side.



Recipe From  Ina Garten's cooking with Friends


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Swedish Meatballs


I know that my postings have been few and far between.  It is pretty busy here in our house with Hubby starting a new job and my travels for work.  I think I mentioned that I have pictures and recipes stock piled up.  Here is one that I have been wanted to post and make again.

These were so good and very easy to make.  I saw this recipe on one of those Tasty videos on Facebook.  It looked so easy and qucik.  And the recipe did not fail me. Even the family like it.  The meatballs had great taste and the sauce was delicious.  There wasn't any leftovers for my lunch the next day. 

One Pot Swedish Meatballs



INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

1 pound ground beef
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
½ finely minced onion
1 egg
½ tablespoon salt (for meatballs)
½ tablespoon pepper (for meatballs)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups beef broth
2 cups milk
½ tablespoon salt (for sauce)
½ tablespoon pepper (for sauce)
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 cups egg noodles
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped parsley




In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, onion, egg, salt, and pepper, mixing until evenly combined. Heat the canola oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Take about a golf-ball size of the meatball mixture and roll it into balls. Place the meatballs into the pot, cooking for one minute. Flip the meatballs.

Add the beef broth, milk, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce and give it a stir. Bring the liquid to a boil, then add the egg noodles. Stir constantly until the pasta is cooked and the liquid has reduced to a sauce that coats the noodles, about seven to eight minutes. Add the parmesan and the parsley, stirring until the cheese is melted. Serve!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Chicken Poppyseed Casserole

I have been traveling quite a bit these days so blogging and cooking for me has been set aside.  .  Hubby has been cooking up a storm while I am away and sends me pictures of what he has created and fed the kids for dinner.  The other night was a Dorito Taco Casserole, I believe? 

So this recipe was from about two weeks ago when I was on a day business trip.  Hubby asked me before I left what would taste good to me.  I saw this on Pinterest and said "Make this!"  Ask and you shall  receive.  This was very good and tasty, just what you expect in a casserole.  I guess my favorite part was the Ritz Crackers on top and I am a fan of poppy seeds too.  (See side note below)


Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole


Ingredients


to 4 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
16-oz. pkg. wide egg noodles, cooked
24-oz. container sour cream
(10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
8-oz. pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese
8-oz. pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese
sleeve round buttery crackers, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons poppy seed

Directions

Combine chicken, noodles, sour cream, soup and cheeses in a large bowl. Pour into a lightly greased 13"x9" baking dish. Mix together cracker crumbs and margarine; sprinkle over top. Sprinkle poppy seed over cracker crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until crackers are crispy and golden and cheese is melted.







Saturday, May 21, 2016

A feast for me!


Okay, this is a little late, but it is about the food, right?  Yes, Mothers Day was two weeks ago and my family outdid themselves with the cards and gifts.  A very enjoyable day and dinner that evening was no exception.  This pasta dish made a Mother's Day comeback for dinner.  Hubby has prepared this before and yes, on Mother's Day.  This is so good and not just for Mothers Day, maybe for even tomorrow.


Rigatoni with Vegetable Bolognese


INGREDIENTS


1 -ounce dried porcini mushrooms

1 1/2 cups hot water

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 ounces assorted mushrooms (like shiitake, cremini, and brown), stemmed and chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

1 pound rigatoni pasta

1/4 cup Parmesan

DIRECTIONS



Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with 1 1/2 cups very hot water. Set aside and let the mushrooms soften.

Place the carrots, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse the vegetables until finely chopped but still chunky. Place the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook until tender, about 6 minutes. Strain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the porcini mushroom liquid. Add the porcini mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, and tomato paste and continue cooking, stirring to dissolve the tomato paste, until the mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the porcini mushroom liquid and red wine. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let the mixture simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese and stir just until the cheese is incorporated.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and add to the vegetable mixture. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking liquid, if necessary, to moisten the sauce. Toss with Parmesan and serve.



Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/rigatoni-with-vegetable-bolognese-recipe.html#lightbox-recipe-video?oc=linkback

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Out of the archives-Parmesan Crisp and Skillet Lemon Chicken

I have a couple of binders in my cook book cupboard that I use on occasion.  One is the big binder of recipes hubby and I have accumulated and I have written about, and the other is a binder I received as a shower gift 25 years ago that I could sort and save recipes in.  This was the go to recipe place back before hubby joined me in the kitchen.



The first recipe I found was for a light appetizer.  I remember making these for a Christmas party years ago.  These tasted great with a glass of really cold Chardonnay.

Parmesan Crisp 


20 Wonton Skins, cut in half diagonally
Vegetable cooking spray
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons olive oil 
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning 
1/2 teaspoon paprika 
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash ground red pepper
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 

Arrange wonton skins in a single layer on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Combine water  and next 5 ingredients; brush evenly on skins and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to wire racks to cool completely.  Store in an air tight container.  Yields 40 crisp @ 15 calories per crisp. 

Note - I did not cut this batch in triangles.  

The main course recipe I found was for Skillet Lemon Chicken.  I don't remember when I made this before, but this time it was delicious.


Skillet Lemon Chicken 


4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (thin cut)
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves crushed with side of chefs knife 
1/2 lemon thinly sliced
1/2 cup chicken broth 
1/4 cup dry white wine 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
2 tablespoons drained capers


On waxed paper, mix 2 tablespoons flour with salt. In pie plate, with fork, beat egg.  Coat chicken in flour and then dig in egg.

In non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat until hot.  Stir in1 tablespoon butter until melted. Add chicken and cook 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium, turn chicken and cook 8 to 10 minutes longer until juices run clear.  Transfer chicken to warm platter.
Add garlic and lemon slices to dripping in skillet; cook until golden.  In cup, mix chicken broth, wine, lemon juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons of flour until smooth; stir into skillet.  Heat sauce to boiling; boil 1 minute. Stir in capers and remaining tablespoon of butter until butter melts.  Discard garlic. Arrange lemon slices over chicken and pour sauce over chicken.  


Sunday, April 24, 2016

An oldie but a goodie! Chicken Encilada Casserole. Just in time for Cinco de Mayo!


This is a really old recipe of mine that I remember making soon after Hubby and I were married.  If you are asking how old it is, well we will soon celebrate our 25th this year.  This was probably my first attempt at anything Mexican and I have been making this ever since.  About 15 years ago I was featured as the cook of the week in our local Sunday paper and this was one of the recipes I shared.  I have friends who request this for their birthday present.  Even when we formed our dinner club I made this for our planning meeting where we set up the group guidelines - No seafood as a main entree!  That was about 13 years ago.  Times have changed but this recipe stays true to my cooking criteria - easy and delicious! 


So with Cinco De Mayo just around the corner, whip up a batch of these and enjoy with a Margarita or two!


Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas


1 medium onion chopped
2 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 cups of shredded cooked chicken or turkey
1 12oz. jar of picante sauce, divided
3 oz. of cream cheese, cubed
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups (8oz.) extra sharp Mexican or taco cheese blend
8 flour tortilla (6 inch)

Cook and stir onion in butter in large skillet until tender.  Stir in chicken, 1/4 cup picante sauce, cream cheese and cumin. Cook until throughly heated.  Stir in 1 cup cheese. remove from heat.

Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture in center of each tortilla; roll up.  Place seam side down in 12 x 7 inch baking dish.  Top with remaining picante sauce and cheese.  Bake at 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.