Friday, May 19

Roasted Red Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

I made this super easy sauce and put over spaghetti squash with grilled chicken, but you can definitely put over regular pasta and it would probably taste even better! You could even use it as a sauce for the grilled chicken alone! So yummy!

Roasted Red Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato Sauce:

Ingredients:
- 2 roasted red bell peppers
- 2 heaping tablespoons of sun dried tomato (I used the kind in oil from Trader Joes)
- 1/4 cup (or large handful) of pine nuts
- 6-8 basil leaves
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- heaping tablespoon of good quality balsamic vinegar

Directions:
Throw all the ingredients into a food processor and blend.  Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash.

Monday, April 17

Corn Dip

For Easter, I made Pioneer Woman's Hot Corn Dip recipe and it was delicious!

Full recipe can be found here; http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/hot-corn-dip/

Ingredients:
  • 5 ears Corn
  • Vegetable Oil For Brushing
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 whole HALF Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
  • 1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
  • 1 whole Fresh Jalapeno, Seeded And Diced Fine (scrap Out Half The Seeds And Membranes)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Softened
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 pound Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
  • 2 whole Green Onions, Sliced
  • Chili Powder, For Sprinkling
  • 1 can (4 Ounces) Diced Green Chilies
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Brush the corn cobs with vegetable oil, sprinkle with a little salt, and place on a grill pan for about 10 minutes, turning constantly. Remove it from the heat to cool. Cut the kernels off the cobs once they're cool enough to handle. 

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onion, garlic, bell peppers, and jalapeno. Stir and cook for 5 minutes, until the veggies are soft and golden. Remove the skillet from the heat to let the veggies cool slightly.

In a mixer, combine the cream cheese, mayo, sour cream, and 2/3 of the Monterey Jack. Mix with the paddle attachment on low until combined. Add the green onions, the veggie mixture, the corn, and the green chilies. Mix on low until just combined. 

Spread the mixture in a baking dish and sprinkle with the rest of the Monterey Jack. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until bubbly and golden. Remove from the oven and serve warm with tortilla chips!

Thursday, February 9

Grandpa Walter's Piroshki

1 LB Ground Beef
1/2 White Onion
Rice-A-Roni Broc & Cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar
Grands biscuits


Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
Chop and sautee the onions, add in the ground beer, salt & pepper and brown. Drain any excess liquid from the beef.
Cook the rice-a-roni according to package directions and add to the meat mixture.
Mix in shredded cheese.
Roll out each biscuit to a large rectangle, fill with the filling and wrap the seal.


Cook for 13-15 mins (see biscuit instructions) until the Piroshkis are slightly golden.



Monday, May 2

Best Ever Mac N Cheese


Recipe and photo from justaspoonfullof.com

Macaroni and Cheese

 2 1/2 to 3 cups uncooked macaroni
6 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp flour
3 cups milk (we use 1%)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed
2/3 cup sour cream (we use light)
1 1/3 cup cottage cheese (small curd)
2 to 3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded

Topping:
25 to 30 Ritz crackers, crushed
1/4 to 1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook and drain macaroni. 

Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan.
Stir in flour and mix well.
Add the milk and cook over medium heat,
stirring constantly until sauce thickens.
This may take a while, 
but it's worth it.

Add salt, sugar, and cubed Velveeta cheese.
Stir until cheese is melted.

Add the sour cream and cottage cheese.
Stir well.
Remove from heat.

Put the macaroni, cheddar, and swiss cheese in a BIG bowl.
Pour in the creamy cheese sauce.
Stir really well.

Pour into a greased 9 x 13" casserole.
Sprinkle the crushed Ritz crackers over the top.
Drizzle with melted butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.
Until crackers are a golden brown and cheese is bubbly.

Wednesday, December 2

White Chicken Chilli


Ingredients
  • Shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth - i usually add one and a half large cartons
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies - you can add another can if you like 
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper - use a little less since it gets spicy
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
  • 3-4 corns on the cob with the kernels cut off (Costco has them year round shrink wrapped)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
  • shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, for serving
  • tortilla chips, for serving (optional)
Directions
  • Heat olive oil in a 6 quart enameled dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot add onion and sautee until translucent.  Then add in shredded chicken and green chilies. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Add chicken broth, cumin, paprika, oregano, coriander, cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture just to a boil then reduce heat and simmer. Throw in a couple of the cobs (without the kernels) and let it simmer for a while (brings in a lot more flavor). 
  • Add cream cheese and stir until nearly melted (it will break down in little bits and will appear to look like separated cheese but it will eventually melt). Stir in the corn kernels you cut off, and 1 can of Cannellini beans, then process 3/4 of the remaining beans along with 1/4 cup broth from the soup in a food processor/blender or hand blender until pureed, add bean mixture to soup along with remaining 1/4 can of beans (pureeing the beans makes the soup so much creamer). If you like an even thicker consistency, you can puree more beans. Simmer for a 30 minutes longer. Mix in fresh lime juice and serve with Monterrey Jack cheese, chopped cilantro and tortilla chips for dipping if desired.

Monday, October 27

Italian Wedding Soup



Ingredients:

Soup:
2 large boxes of chicken stock
1 cup chopped carrots
1 bag chopped spinach
1 cup orzo pasta
1 tsp chicken bouillon (not necessary but enhances flavor)

Meatballs:
1lb ground meat
1 egg
3-4 tbs Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 an onion, grated
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

Directions:

- Pour chicken stock in pot and bring to slight boil
- Place carrots in soup and let cook for a couple minutes
- Add orzo let cook for another few mins
- Add spinach
- Using your hands, mix all the ingredients for the meatballs and make half inch balls
- Drop meatballs one by one in the soup mixture

Once meatballs rise to the top and orzo is fluffy, your soup is ready!

Thursday, November 7

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Curried Butternut Squash Soup



Ingredients:
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 butternut squash (peeled and cut into 1' chunks)
  • 1-2 apples (peeled, cored, and cut up)
  • 33 oz of chicken stock (have a little extra on hand to thin out)
  • thyme 
  • garlic
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • salt/pepper to taste
Directions:

Roast the squash and apples covered in olive oil and thyme in the oven for approx. 20 mins (on 375 degrees). Meanwhile, in a stove top pan, saute the onions and garlic. Add curry powder then the roasted squash and apples to the onion mixture and add the stock. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Using a hand blender, puree until smooth. Add additional broth if the consistency is too thick. 

Tuesday, March 12

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

I've only made chicken pot pie a few times but have found this recipe to be the best/most flavorful!  It's from my Crate and Barrel Bride and Groom's First Cookbook.

Chicken Potpie
Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsps. thyme
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2/3 cup chicken stock
1 16 oz. jar favorite alfredo sauce, I used Classico
3 cups shredded purchased roast chicken, I use white meat only (i used leftover smoked chicken and it was deeeeelish!)
1 package cup, frozen mixed peas and carrots, thawed
1 package of phyllo dough, cresent roll dough or biscuit mix
1 egg, slightly beaten

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Heat oil over medium heat.
Add onion, garlic, thyme and lightly season with salt and pepper.
Sautee for about 5-7 minutes until onion is soft.
Add wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes more.
Sprinkle flour over onion and stir until mixed well.
Add the chicken stock and stir until mixed well and slightly thickened.
Remove pan from heat.
Add chicken, peas and carrots and alfredo sauce.
Season as preferred.
Pour filling into ramekins or casserole dish (i used a casserole dish)
Top with phyllo dough or cresent rolls (lay flat accross the top of dish)
Using the extra phyllo dough or cresent roll dough, you can top with letters, hearts, etc. to decorate
Brush with beaten egg.
Bake 45 minutes.
Let sit 10-15 minutes before serving.
Enjoy!

Thursday, March 7

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!!


 

My mom has been making these chocolate chip cookies for as long as I can remember.  She'd send frozen rolls to me in college so I could pull a log out and make them whenever I was craving them.  She recently made these for Gabriella's birthday and the next day, almost everyone at the party called asking for the recipe! Well...here it is...

ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ounces milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

directions

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl.
  • Combine the egg, milk, and vanilla and bring to room temperature in another bowl.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl until thoroughly combined.
  • Cream the butter, starting on low speed to soften the butter.
  • Add the sugars. Increase the speed, and cream the mixture until light and fluffy.
  • Reduce the speed and add the egg mixture slowly. Increase the speed and mix until well combined.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Using an ice cream scooper, scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet.
  • Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for more even browning.
To freeze cookie dough: Roll into parchment paper and form into logs, Or scoop onto parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until the cookie balls are completely frozen so that you can store in a zip lock bag.

Roll out frozen cookie dough and slice into 1-inch rounds, arrange slices on cookie sheet and bake.
At this point you can scoop onto parchment paper and roll into a log. Twist the ends of the parchment and wrap the log in plastic wrap to store in the freezer.

1st Birthday Ombre Rosette Cake

For Gabriella's 1st birthday, I thought it would be fun to decorate everything pink and girly. I was originally planning on making a large cupcake, but then saw a picture of an "ombre style" Rosette Cake that a friend had posted on Facebook and knew I had to make it.  After watching a few YouTube videos, I knew this was the cake I had to make!

In order to make the actual cake, I used the bottom part of a large cupcake mold similar to this one: http://www.walmart.com/ip/11969232?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227008664763&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=&wl3=18115491550&wl4=&wl5=pla&veh=sem

I used a box cake mix and baked two bottoms so the cake would be tall enough.  Once the cake finally cooled, I layered the two cakes with frosting in the middle as a "glue" and then using a serrated knife, I cut around the edges to make the cake as even as possible.

I also used store bought frosting and went to Michaels and purchased the 1M Wilton tip to make the flowers. I followed the instructions on http://iambaker.net/rose-cake-tutorial/ to make the flowers.  Surprisingly, the decorating part was the easiest/fastest!

Wednesday, September 21

Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe

 Ian saw this recipe in the October issue of the Rachael Ray magazine and requested I try to make it.  It turned out to be yummy and we have enough leftover for a couple days!



Ingredients:
linguine pasta, broken in half
Boneless Skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
Salt and pepper
6 tbsp. butter
8 oz. small white mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
3 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup frozen peas and carrots

Directions:
1.Preheat the oven to 400°. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cook the pasta according to package directions until just barely al dente; drain.


2.Meanwhile, season the turkey with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. butter over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook until browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

3.Add 2 tbsp. butter to the skillet. Add the mushrooms and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms start to soften, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the turkey.

4.Melt the remaining 3 tbsp. butter in the skillet. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and broth and bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken. Stir in ½ cup parmesan and the peas and carrots. Season with salt and pepper.

5.Add the pasta and turkey-mushroom mixture to the sauce and toss well to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup parmesan. Bake until the top is golden-brown and the sauce is bubbling, 12 to 15 minutes (shorten the baking time by at least 5 minutes if you’re planning on freezing this for later).

Friday, September 9

Orzo Pasta Salad


Orzo Pasta Salad Ingredients:
- Orzo pasta (cooked in chicken broth and cooled)
- Crumbled Feta
- Cherry tomatoes
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- 1 can kidney beans
- Diced red onion

Combine all ingredients.

Salad Dressing Ingredients:
- Olive Oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Honey
- Lemon
- Salt
- Pepper

Classic Macaroni and Cheese


Ingredients:
1 (8 ounce) package macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded good quality (we got a couple different kinds from Trader Joes)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, buttered

Instructions
1.Preheat oven to 400°F.
2.Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside.
3.In a large sauce pan melt butter, add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until well blended.
4.Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly, Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes, reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly)for 10 minutes.
5.Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.
6.Remove from heat and Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.
7.Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish.
8.Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Thursday, September 1

Nutella Banana Bread Pudding

I saw this recipe on Food Network and had been thinking about it since, so I decided to make it for book club! It turned out just as amazing as it sounds!




Recipe courtesy Anne Thornton


Ingredients:
Cooking spray or butter, for the pan
1 (13-ounce) container Nutella
12 (3/4-inch) thick slices brioche or egg bread (I used Challah)
8 large eggs
2 cups cream
2 cups whole milk
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup hazelnut liqueur (recommended: Frangelico) or amaretto
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 ripe bananas

Directions:
Spray or butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.


Spread the Nutella on all your bread slices, then put 2 slices together to make 6 sandwiches. Cut each sandwich into 8 pieces and toss them into a large bowl. Crack your eggs in another large bowl and whisk in the cream, milk, sugar, hazelnut liqueur, vanilla and almond extracts. Pour this mixture over the sandwich cubes. Now, mash your bananas and stir that into the bread cube mixture. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Let stand at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours, occasionally pressing the bread into the custard mixture. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until the pudding is set in the center, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm.




Saturday, June 25

Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies



Ingredients:
Parchment paper
2 1/2 cups walnut halves
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract




Directions:
Position 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven. Heat oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place walnuts on a work surface and finely chop. Transfer to a separate large baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about 9 minutes. Let cool. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in a bowl. Stir in walnuts. Add egg whites and vanilla; beat with a fork or electric mixer on medium until batter is just moistened. (Do not overbeat batter or it will stiffen.) Drop batter by the teaspoonful onto baking sheets in evenly spaced mounds. Bake cookies until tops are lightly cracked and glossy, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Monday, May 16

Easy Pita Pizza's

Lately, I've been out of good ideas for a fast dinner.  This was super easy and tasted really good! The best part - you can be as creative as you want!

(Can you tell we like cheese?)


Ingredients:
Pita Bread or Flatbread
Tomato Sauce
Mozzerella


Pesto
Caramelized Onions
Goat Cheese
Mushrooms
Basil
Any other topping you think sounds good

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place toppings on pita
3. Put in oven for approx. 20 mins (or until you think it looks done)


Chicken Divan Casserole


Yummy Brown Fried Rice

Recently, we went on a Costco binge and bought easy frozen items that we can throw in the oven/microwave for a quick weeknight dinner.  One of those items was the frozen Orange Chicken! This fried rice recipe plus the orange chicken from Costco tasted better than our favorite Chinese takeout restaurant! We'll definitely be making this again, and again, and again.


Ingredients:
Frozen pre-cooked brown rice
Ginger
Carrots
Celery (I had some left in my fridge that was going bad)
Garlic
Onions
Bell Peppers
(you can really use any vegetable you have in your fridge)
Green Onions
Eggs
Low Sodium Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil
Fresh Ground Pepper
Sesame seeds

Directions:
Sautee the chopped onions, carrots, celery in a little bit of olive oil with fresh pressed garlic and ginger. Once the vegetables are soft, make an opening in the middle of the pan and crack one-two eggs (depending on how much you like). Scramble the eggs in the middle of the pan. 

Once scrambled, combine with the vegetables and add the frozen brown rice. Mix all together and add the low sodium soy sauce, pepper, and a little bit of sesame oil (i think this was the key in making it taste so good). Once combined and mixed together, at the very end, throw in some chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

Sauteed Spinach with Shallots


We don't normally buy spinach in our household, but it sounded good the other day.  There's really no recipe for this other than to sautee a some shallots, garlic and then throw in the spinach.  I added a little salt and pepper and then at the end poured in a little balsmic vinegar.  Viola! A yummy side dish made in 5 mins!  


Saturday, April 23

Eclair's for Easter!

I wanted to make something out of the ordinary for Easter this year and thought that Eclair's would be a fancy treat. This was the first time i've made this French dessert and although tasty, I think the French bakeries i've been to taste a little better.



Ingredients for dough:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
chocolate chips
heavy cream




Directions:
1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet.

2.In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring until butter melts completely. Reduce heat to low, and add flour and salt. Stir vigorously until mixture leaves the sides of the pan and begins to form a stiff ball. Remove from heat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate completely after each addition. With a spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a No. 10, or larger, tip, spoon or pipe dough onto cookie sheet in 1 1/2 x 4 inch strips.

3.Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce heat to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and bake 20 minutes more, until hollow sounding when lightly tapped on the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack.

4.For the filling, see pastry cream recipe below. Cut tops off of cooled pastry shells with a sharp knife. Fill shells with pudding mixture and replace tops.

5.For the chocolate ganach icing, boil 2 cups of heavy cream. Pour cream into a bowl and add chocolate chips.  Let chocolate chips soak in hot cream for 2 minutes and then using a whisk, stir vigorously until chocolate thickens. Drizzle over filled eclairs. Refrigerate until serving.

Ingredients for pastry cream:
2 cups milk
1/4 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Directions:
1.In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

2.In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch; then stir them into the egg until smooth. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don' t curdle or scorch on the bottom.

3.When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla, mixing until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled before using.

Monday, April 4

Squash Ravioli

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 lb. of squash
  • Salt Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Egg - beaten
  • Baby Spinach 2 cups
  • EVOO 1/4 cup
  • Garlic 4 cloves, crushed
  • 4 Thyme Leaves
  • Square wonton wrappers
Preheat the oven to 350, and on a baking sheet cube into 1 inch chunks and peel/seed the squash to get rid of the hard outer core. Peel/crush 4-5 cloves of garlic, and mix in with the squash. Salt/pepper and drizzle EVOO. Bake for about 35 minutes, until squash is tender. Remove and let cool and add salt/pepper. Remove the Thyme leaves, and move the squash and garlic mixture into a bowl. Using a fork, smash the mixture into a paste, and add both cheeses. Spoon the mixture into the center of the wonton wrappers, and drizzle the egg mixture along the sides to seal the ravioli. Press firmly all the way around the lip of the ravioli with a fork. Take the spinach, finely chopped garlic heat in a skillet with the EVOO to place on top of the prepared ravioli. Drop ravioli's into boiling water for about two minutes, until they float to the top.

Wednesday, March 30

Creamy Whole-Wheat Pasta with Asparagus, Mushrooms & Chicken

I saw this creamy pasta on a blog that I frequent and just had to make it right away.  It really is as good as it sounds!

Ingredients:
8 ounces whole-wheat pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound sliced mushrooms
6 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
8 cups lightly packed spinach
1/2 lb. asparagus, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (I didn't have any so I left these out)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Grilled chicken

Directions:
1. Boil 2 qts. water in a large pot and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.


2. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan, add garlic and mushrooms, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for another 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and milk and heat until boiling, stirring often. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes, then pour over pasta. Sprinkle with chives and serve with parmesan on the side. Top with freshly grilled chicken

Sautee all the veggies....


This is where it starts getting creamy - yummmm

Wednesday, March 23

Picky Palate's Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

As soon as I saw this recipe, I had to try it. You can find the original recipe on Picky Palate's blog http://picky-palate.com/2011/01/06/oreo-stuffed-chocolate-chip-cookies/ or below.

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks softened butter

3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar

1 Cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla

3 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

10 oz bag chocolate chips

1 bag Oreo Cookies, I used the double stuff :)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer cream butter and sugars until well combined. Add in eggs and vanilla until well combined.

2. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined. Using a cookie scoop take one scoop of cookie dough and place on top of an Oreo Cookie. Take another scoop of dough and place on bottom of Oreo Cookie. Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until Oreo Cookie is enclosed with dough. Place onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and bake cookies 9-13 minutes or until cookies are baked to your liking. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Serve with a tall glass of milk, enjoy!

Makes about 2 dozen VERY LARGE Cookies

Sunday, February 27

Banana Cream Pie Recipe

One of my dad's favorite desserts is banana cream pie.  This year for his birthday, I decided to try and make it for him, homemade!



Ingredients:
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tbs cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups whole milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tbs. butter
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked (see recipe below for graham cracker crust)
4 bananas, sliced
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted

Directions:
1.In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add milk in gradually while stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly. Keep stirring and cook for about 2 more minutes, and then remove from the burner.


2.Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately add egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes; remember to keep stirring. Remove the mixture from the stove, and add butter and vanilla. Stir until the whole thing has a smooth consistency.

3. Pour melted chocolate over the cooled pie crust. Slice bananas on top of the melted chocolate layer. Top with pudding mixture.
4.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 12 to 15 minutes. Chill and add sliced bananas on top to decorate!
 
Graham Cracker Pie Crust
 
 
 
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/3 cup sugar
6 tbs. butter, melted
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
 
Directions:
1. In a small bowl, combine the crumbs and the sugar, add butter and blend well. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9 inch pie pan.
 
2. Bake at 275 degrees for 7-8 minutes until the crust is lightly browned.

Wednesday, February 23

Ice Cream Pie Recipe

Tim special requests ice cream cake or pie every year for his birthday. This year I ran out of time to use my mom's recipe, so I whipped together a bunch of ingredients and it actually turned out delicious.

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 1 1/2 Cups Crushed Graham Crackers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
I purchased a pre-made graham cracker crust because I was in a time crunch, however it's really easy to make yourself and makes all the difference. Filling:
  • 1/2 quart of chocolate ice cream with fudge swirls
  • 1/2 quart of vanilla ice cream with carmel
  • Hot fudge
  • Magic Shell
  • Butterfingers candy bar
  • 1 Banana

Directions

For the crust:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the crumbs and sugar; add butter and blend well. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-in. pie plate.
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before filling, or bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack before filling
For the filling:
  1. Warm up the fudge, and create a thin layer at the bottom of the pie.
  2. Scoop about 4 heaping spoonful of the chocolate ice cream into a Tupperware and microwave for about 10 seconds until slightly melted. Spread flat across the pie crust.
  3. Nuke the fudge again and pour it over the ice cream.
  4. Place the slices of banana on top of this layer.
  5. Scoop 4 heaping spoonfuls of the vanilla ice cream and spread across the top layer.
  6. Crumble the Butterfinger into small pieces over the top of the pie.
  7. Drizzle with magic shell.
  8. Place in the freezer for 4+ hours to harden.

Monday, February 7

Fennel and Avocado Salad

A friend of ours came over this past weekend with easy and healthy dinner ideas.  This salad is really refreshing, especially if you like avocado and something a little crunchy!



Ingredients:
Fennel
Avocados
Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Directions:
Chop up the fenel and let soak in a bowl of water with a little lemon in it (to prevent from browning).  Once cleaned, chop up the avocados and mix together with fennel.  Add a small squeeze of lemon, red wine vinegar, splash of balsamic and salt & pepper.  Voila...healthy and easy!

Beet Salad Recipe

Ingredients: Beets
Red Wine Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar
Garlic
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
Place the beets in a large saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Place pot under running cold water and let rinse until beets can be handled. Once cooled, peel of the skins of the beets, chop up and season with a little olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.

Tuesday, January 25

Maria Rivera’s Mexican Rice Recipe

This rice is so easy and so much healthier than those boxed Spanish/Mecian rice cartons. It's slowly becoming a staple in our household. Thanks for the recipe, Sean!


Recipe for 2-4 people.  For more just double, triple or quadruple the recipe.

Ingredients:
1 Cup Rice (Long Grain normal white rice)
2 Cups water (or two cups chicken stock and take out the chicken bouillion)
1 TBSP Chicken Bouillon
1 TSP Cumin (powder)
½ TSP Garlic Powder - you can use 3-4 cloves of garlic instead
Pepper to Taste
½ can of the small can of Tomato Sauce.  The little cans are like 1/3 the size of a normal size can and the supermarket should have tons 
1 Slice of onion
Cilantro 1 small bunch
Jalapeno – Cut in half
Olive oil to brown the rice


Directions: 
1.    Brown the rice in olive oil over medium high heat until golden brown and some of the rice is starting to get darker brown.
2.    Pour in Water/chicken stock
3.    Add Cumin, Garlic powder (Or Garlic Cloves), half can of tomato sauce (dump in until the water is fairly red, but this depends on personal preference.), pepper. Stir to mix.
4.    Bring to boil stirring occasionally.
5.    Lower heat to between medium low and low.  Stir a couple of times and let settle for a sec before dropping in the veggies
6.    Drop in Onion slice, cilantro and jalapeno
7.    Cover and Simmer/boil for 20 minutes on medium low/low heat.  You may need to adjust the temp down or up a little depending on your stove. 
8.    During this period check on it occasionally.  You don’t want to stir, but you may want to occasionally move the rice around and let the water on top seep down in to the rice.