Thursday, May 21, 2015

S'mores Dip

Oh mama... I made this dip for some guests the other night and I begged them to eat it all so that there would be none left to tempt me.... this is just.... amazing!!! So simple, so good, so quick, so dangerous!

S'mores Dip

1 Tblsp butter
12 oz milk chocolate chips
1 (10oz) bag mini mallows, or large marshmallows cut in half
Graham crackers, broken into squares

Preheat oven to 475. Melt butter in cast iron skillet. Add an even layer of milk chocolate chips (don't add too many or it won't melt as evenly). Add an even layer of mini marshmallow on top. Bake for a few minutes, until mallows are golden on top. Let cool 5 minutes. Serve with graham crackers. EnJOY!

Peach Frozen Yogurt

Lately myself and my family have made some life changes and part of it is eating very minimal sugar. Ug. So after pulling my hair out for a few weeks, I've been trying to find new delish and not so naughty desserts. This one is definitely a keeper! Thanks justataste.com

Peach Frozen Yogurt

1 (16 oz) bag of frozen peaches or 4 cups fresh peaches, frozen solid
3 Tblsp agave nectar or honey
1/2 cup plain yogurt (non-fat or whole)
1 Tblsp fresh lemon juice

Add the frozen peaches, agave nectar or honey, yogurt and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor. Process until creamy, about 5 minutes. Serve the frozen yogurt immediately or transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 1 month. EnJOY!

Coconut Shrimp Curry


jocooks.com is such an awesome blog! An awesome cook/friend of mine (Rachel Webb you rock) shared this recipe from this blog recently, so delish! A new favorite!

Coconut Shrimp Curry

For the shrimp marinade

1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/7 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tblsp lemon juice
1 lb extra-large shrimp, peeled anad deveined

For the sauce

1 Tblsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tblsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp curry powder
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (5.5 oz) coconut milk (I used light)
fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
cooked rice for serving (I used brown rice)

In small bowl, toss the shrimp with the marinade ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
While the shrimp is marinating, heat the oil in a medium size pot. To it, add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic, pepper, salt, coriander, turmeric and curry powder.
Continue to cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent, another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes with juices and all, stir well and cook for about a minute after. Add the coconut milk, stir and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Add shrimp with the accumulated juices from the marinade. Cook for atleast another 5 minutes or until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.
Serve over hot rice and garnish with cilantro or parsley. EnJOY!

Avocado Pasta

Ok lets get to the healthier recipes.... but still tasty! I found this healthier version of a creamy pesto pasta from damndelicious.net and I am a big fan!

Avocado Pasta

12 oz whole wheat pasta
2 ripe avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 Tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup canned corn kernels, drained and rinsed ( I left this out, I absolutely hate corn in pasta)

In a large pot of boiling salt water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
To make the avocado sauce, combine avocados, basil, garlic, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt and pepper, to taste. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, avocado sauce, cherry tomatoes, and corn (if your into that sort of thing).
Serve immediately. EnJOY!

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches



Oh my heck... I though Id surprise my hubby a few months ago with one of his favorite sandwiches, centercutcook.com really came through with this recipe! So easy and so good. The only piece of advice, don't get the most expensive choice of meat to make this or you will pay a hefty price! So delish, but I paid a fortune to have my local butcher slice up some rib eye for me and I didnt realize until after he had sliced and packaged it for me how much it would be! Yikes!

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 of a green bell pepper, thinly sliced
4-6 oz button mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper for seasoning
1 and 1/4 lbs top sirloin or skirt steak (or if you want it extra delish use rib eye)
1-2 Tblsp vegitable oil
4 soft hoagie rolls (get good quality)
8 white american cheese slices or 8 pepper jack cheese slices ( I used provolone as well)
mayo or chipotle mayo

Chipotle Mayo Ingredients

1/2 cup mayo
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/2 Tblsp sauce from the adobo pepper can
1 Tblsp lime juice
dash of salt
dash of pepper

1 hour before cooking, place steak in the freezer. (If your local grocery store butcher will slice your meat thin for you, you can skip this step).
When your ready to start cooking, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Melt 1 Tblsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook veggies until tender.
While the veggies are cooking, remove the steak from the freezer and use a very sharp knife to slice the meat as thinly as possible against the grain.
When the veggies are done cooking, heat 1 Tblsp canola oil over medium high heat.
Place 4 hoagie rolls in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until nice and warm, but not crunchy.
Add half the meat to the pan and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until it is cooked through. Set aside.
Heat a bit more oil if needed and cook the other half of the meat, seasoning with salt and pepper. Return the first batch of meat to the pan, stir in veggies if you wish, and top with cheese. Use 8 pepper jack cheese slices for a spicy version, or 8 white american cheese slices for a classic version. Place the cheese over the meat and when it starts to melt, stir the cheese into the meat and veggie mixture.
Divide the meat among the 4 hoagie rolls.
If using chipotle mayo, combine all ingredients in a blender (may, chipotle pepper, chipotle sauce, lime juice, salt and pepper) and slather desired amount on each roll. Otherwise spread a thin layer of regular mayo on the roll. Cut in half and serve immediately. EnJOY!

Pad Thai


Oh how I love Pad Thai! When I was pregnant with my twins, all I could hold down was Thai Food. So when I saw this recipe on rachelschultz.com I had to give it a try! So delish!

Pad Thai

8 oz pad thai noodles
2 eggs
1 batch of pad thai sauce (see below for recipe)
3 cooked chicken breasts, sliced (I used shrimp)
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup cilantro
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, scramble eggs for about 2 minutes and set aside. In a large skillet, combine noodles, chicken and sauce. Top with bean sprouts, cilantro, green onion, and peanuts. EnJOY!

Sauce

3 Tblsp soy sauce
1 Tblsp siracha
2 Tblsp lime juice
2 Tblsp canola oil
2 Tblsp brown sugar

Whisk together ingredients. Serve over pad thai.

Earth Day Treats





My son's first grade class had an earth day party recently so I had some fun searching out some cool little treats on pinterest!

Ants on a Log

Ok so ingredients and directions are not really needed for this one, but just incase, just spread some peanut butter on celery and throw some ants/ raisins on and baddabing!

Earth Day Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix, plus any ingredients needed to make it
blue and green food coloring
buttercream frosting

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 1 box yellow cake mix according to pacakge directions. Put half of the mixture into another bowl. Place 2 drops of blue food coloring in one bowl with half of the cake mix and 2 drops of green food coloring in the other bowl.
Place paper muffin cups into muffin tin. Using small ice cream scoop, Put one scoop of the blue colored cake mix in one muffin cup and put one scoop of green colored cake mix next to the blue mix in the same cup. Repeat steps in remaining muffin cups. Bake for approx. 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out of cupcake clean. Let cool.
For frosting, color half of the buttercream frosting blue and the other green. Frost the cupcake with blue frosting. Then using the green frosting, make a few "earth shapes" or continents. Or just put one green dallop on top, however you think it looks best.

Dirt Pudding

6 oz chocolate pudding mix
4 cups milk, to prepare pudding mix (or as much as directed on mix)
14 oz condensed milk
8 oz cream cheese
12 oz cool whip
18 oz oreo cookies
1 package gummy worms

Make chocolate pudding according to box and place in fridge. Chop up all oreos in food processor. Cover bottom of 9x13 glass pan with a thin layer of oreos. Beat condensed milk, cool whip, and cream cheese in a large bowl until well mixed.
Cover bottom layer of oreos with chocolate pudding. Layer cream mix. layer remaining oreos on top. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Place worms on top. EnJOY!

Stuffed Honey-Ham Biscuits

I found this fun, deliscous and easy recipe at pillsbury.com for a cooking class I was doing for a sweet young man. We both loved it!

Stuffed Honey-Ham Biscuits

1 can (8 biscuits) Pillsbury Grands Flaky layer refrigerated biscuits
8 slices swiss cheese
8 slices deli cooked ham
1/4 cup honey

Heat oven to 350. Spray a cookie sheet with pam spray. Seperate dough into 8 biscuits. Cut slit on 1 side of each biscuit, forming a deep pocket. Place 1 slice of cheese inside each pocket. Top cheese with 1 slice of ham and 1 teaspoon honey.
Press dough over filling, sealing edge of biscuit; place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining biscuits, cheese, ham and honey.
Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to serving plate. Drizzle remaining honey over tops. Serve immediately. EnJOY!

Bang Bang Shrimp

So I had to try damndelicious.net recipe for Bang Bang Shrimp after the chicken version was so awesome! There is only a slight difference between the two but I love them both the same!

Bang Bang Shrimp

1/2 cup vegetable oil, or more as needed
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 large egg
1 Tblsp hot sauce
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Sauce

1/4 cup mayo
2 Tblsp sweet chili sauce
1 Tblsp honey
1 tsp rice vinegar

To make the sauce, whisk together mayo, sweet chili sauce, honey and rice vinegar in a small bowl; set aside. Heat veggie oil in large skillet over medium high heat.
In large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, flour, cornstarch, egg, hot sauce, salt and pepper, to taste; set aside. In a large bowl, combine panko, onion and garlic powder, basil, oregano, salt and pepper, to taste; set aside.
Working one at a time, dip shrimp into buttermilk mixture, then dredge in panko mixture, pressing to coat.
Working in batches, add shrimp to the skillet and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Serve immediately, drizzled with sweet chili sauce. EnJOY!

Bang Bang Chicken

Oh mama, this recipe is so good! Fun name and fun to eat! I love damndelicious.net

Bang Bang Chicken

1/2 cup vegetable oil, or more as needed
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 large egg
1 Tblsp hot sauce
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Sauce

1/4 cup mayo
2 Tblsp sweet chili sauce
1 Tblsp honey
2 tsp Frank's hot sauce

To make the sauce, whisk together mayo, sweet chili sauce, honey and frank's hot sauce in a small bowl; set aside.
Heat veggie oil in large skillet over medium high heat.
In large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, flour, cornstarch, egg, hot sauce, salt and pepper, to taste.
Working one at a time, dip chicken into buttermilk mixture, then dredge in panko, pressing to coat.
Working in batches, add chicken to the skillet and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
Serve immediately, drizzle with sweet chili sauce. EnJOY!

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting


Yes! These are a million times better then the basic store bought pre-made sugar cookie dough! Just be prepared, have someone to take all these cookies to or you will want to eat them all! Cookiesandcups.com is such an awesome food blog!

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

1 (8oz) package cream cheese, room temp
2 cups butter, room temp
2 cups sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
5 -1/4 cups flour

In bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until creamy, about 2 minutes, scraping sides as necessary.
Add sugar and beat for an additional 3 minutes. Mixture should be fluffy and pale in color. Turn mixer to medium low and add in egg yolks, vanilla and salt and mix until combined.
Turn mixer to low and slowly add in flour. Mix just until all flour is incorporated. Chill dough for at least 2 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove dough from fridge and in portions, roll dough to 1/2 inch thick on a floured surface. Using cookie cutters cut dough and place onto prepared baking sheet. Cookies won't spread too much.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on how large the cookies are that your baking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add in powdered sugar and turn the mixer up to medium high and beat until smooth and creamy.
Color with food coloring if desired. EnJOY!

Horchata and Mexican Street Corn



For Cinco De Mayo this year my kids had requests! Shrimp tacos, horchata and mexican corn. I found the horchata recipe on yummyhealthyeasy.com and the corn on sassygirlz.net
So yummy!

Horchata

1-2/3 cups uncooked white long grain rice
5 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup white sugar
3 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Pour the rice and 2 cups water in a blender. Blend until the rice begins to break up, about 1 minute. Add the last 3 cups of water and blend for an additional 30 seconds. Let the rice and water sit on the counter for anywhere from 3+ hours.
Strain the rice water into a large pitcher and throw away the rice. Stir the cinnamon sticks, sugar, milk and vanilla into the rice water. Chill. When thoroughly chilled, stir up and pour over ice. Add an extra sprinkle or two of cinnamon if needed. EnJOY!


Mexican Street Corn

4 ears of corn
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (I would use queso fresco crumbled instead)
1/4 cup cilantro (fresh, rough chop)
1 lime (cut, ready to squeeze)
chili powder (to taste)
salt and pepper (to taste)

Preheat grill. When grill is hot place your already shucked corn on the grill, make sure to leave the core on so you have something to grab it with while eating. In a medium bowl, mix mayo, sour cream and chopped cilantro together. Let the corn get slightly charred on the grill, turn a time or two so it's cooked evenly. Remove from grill and while still hot, smother completely with mayo mixture. Sprinkle chili powder and salt and pepper on corn. Squeeze lime juice on top and sprinkle with cheese. EnJOY!



Nutella Rice Krispy Treats

Mmmm yes... I mean how can you go wrong with this recipe?! Thanks www.chef-in-training.com for this super naughty/heavenly dessert!

Nutella Rice Krispy Treats

6 cups Rice Krispy Cereal
1 (10.5oz) bag mini marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
1 heaping cup Nutella

Topping:
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup nutella
1 Tblsp shortening

Measure out Rice Krispies cereal into a large bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and marshmallows together until smooth.
Once marshmallows and butter have melted together, add 1 heaping cup nutella (do not skimp) and stir until well combined. Pour mixture over the cereal and stir to coat evenly. Press into a greased pan. (I used an 8x8 pan).
To make topping, heat nutella and chocolate chips and shortening in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until smooth. Spread over the top of the rice krispy treats. Stick in the fridge and let it set up. Once they have set, cut into small squares. EnJOY!

Chicken Ciabatta Sandwich and Three Fats Sandwich


So remember that amazing ciabatta sandwich I told you about in my last post? Here it is! Yum yum!!!! I also added another ciabatta sandwich recipe I found on www.alexandracooks.com


Chicken Ciabatta Sandwich

6 Cooked/grilled Chicken Breasts (seasoned with salt and pepper)
1 lb cooked crisp bacon
Bri cheese, sliced thick
1 package Arugula or spinach
6 Ciabatta rolls, sliced in half
1 large yellow onion, sliced and sauteed until caramelized
Balsamic Vinegar

To assemble: Slice fresh ciabatta rolls in half, add sliced bri cheese, then bacon slices, cooked chicken breast, arugula, caramelized onions and drizzle a small amount of balsamic vinegar. EnJOY!

Three Fats Sandwich

Fresh Ciabatta Rolls
Butter, slightly softened
Prosciutto thin sliced (Use Good quality!)
Arugula
Olive oil (Good quality)

Split your rolls in half, spread a little butter on each side. Top one slice of ciabatta with a few slices of really good quality prosciutto, top with a handful of arugula, drizzle with olive oil, top with ciabatta roll. EnJOY!

Ciabatta Rolls









A few months ago I went to a local farmers market and experienced the most incredible sandwich I think I've ever had! (Recipe to be posted next...) The woman running the booth at this market made her ciabatta from scratch for her sandwich so I had to rush home and try making my own version of sandwich. Um... yummmmm! I found this recipe on www.thekitchn.com

Ciabatta Rolls

Step 1:
Biga (pre-ferment)

1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp active-dry yeast
1 cup all purpose flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the flour and stir to form a thick, gloppy paste. Give it a good fifty or so brisk stirs to build up the gluten. Cover and let sit at room temperature for eight hours, or overnight.
By the next day, the biga will look soupy with many bubbles dotting the surface.

Ciabatta

2 cups + 2 Tablespoons water
1 tsp active dry yeast
Biga
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp kosher salt

Dissolve the yeast in the water in the bowl of a standing mixer. Scrape the biga into the water and break it up with your spatula or squeeze it between your hands. You don't need to completely dissolve the biga; just loosen it up and break it into stringy blobs.
Add all of the flour and the salt. Stir to form a thick, very wet dough. Let this rest for 10-20 minutes to give the flour time to absorb the water.
Fit your stand mixer with a dough hook and knead at medium speed for 15-18 minutes (level 5 or 6 on a kitchen aid). Keep a close eye on your mixer as it has a tendency to "walk" on the counter at this speed.
The dough will start off sticking to the bottom and sides of the bowl. Around the 7 minute mark, it will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl, collect around the dough hook, and regularly slap the sides of the bowl. If it doesn't, nudge your mixer speed up a notch. Also, if the dough starts climbing the dough hook, stop the mixer and scrape it down again. By the end of kneading, the dough will look smooth and creamy with a glossy shine. It will puddle back into the bowl once you turn off the mixer, and this is fine.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rise at 70-75 degrees for 2-3 hours, until tripled in bulk.
Dust your work surface heavily with flour. Set two sheets of parchment near your work surface. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the flour, taking care not to deflate it too much. Dust the top of the dough with more flour. Using a pastry scraper or pizza wheel, cut the dough in two pieces for loaves or into 16 pieces for rolls.
Brush your hands with flour. Working gently but swiftly, scoop the loaves or the rolls, one at a time from the work surface to the parchment. Press your fingertips about halfway into the dough to dimple the surface and slightly flatten the loaves or rolls. Let them rise, uncovered for 30-40 minutes. When ready to bake, they should look pillowy with many big bubbles just beneath the surface.
Preheat the oven to 475 while the loaves are rising. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven now.
When ready to bake, slide the loaves, still on the parchment, onto a pizza pan or baking sheet. Transfer them to the oven to cook, either on the baking stone or directly on the baking sheet if you don't have a stone. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Slip the parchment out from under the loaves and cool completely before eating.
EnJOY!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Avocado Hummus








This is my most favorite hummus recipe ever! So easy to make and so much you can do with it! I like to dip veggies into a bowl of this flavorful dip, I also use it to put on veggie wraps, or turkey and veggie wraps. Thanks cookingclassy.com for this recipe!

Avocado Hummus

1 (15oz) can chick peas (garbanzo beans), well drained
2 medium ripe avocados, cored and peeled
3 Tblsp olive oil, plus more for serving if desired
1 1/2 Tblsp tahini
3 Tblsp fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, peeled
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp (I use 1 tsp) cumin
2 Tblsp finely chopped cilantro leaves, for topping (I add mine to the mixer)
Optional: Red pepper flakes, for topping (I do not add this)

Pulse chick peas, olive oil, tahini, lime juice, and garlic in a food processor until smooth, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, about 1/4-1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Add cumin and avocados and pulse mixture until smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
Serve topped with more olive oil if desired and sprinkle with cilantro and pepper flakes if desired. Serve with pita chips or veggies. EnJOY!


Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprouts with Goat Cheese

I have been obsessed with brussel sprouts lately and I decided to change it up just a bit so my family doesn't get sick of them. I love goat cheese so now these things are even more addicting!

Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprouts with Goat Cheese

1-2 lbs brussel sprouts, rinsed and dried.
1 cup goat cheese, crumbled into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste
balsamic vinegar to taste
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. Slice brussel sprouts in half, add to baking sheet. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil onto the brussell sprouts, top with a little salt and pepper, then top with 1-2 Tblsp balsamic. Bake for 15 minutes, stir around so they dont burn, continue to roast for another 15-25 minutes until desired tenderness. When done roasting, fork tender, remove from oven. Top with additional 1 Tblsp balsamic, top with desired amount of goat cheese. Serve while hot. EnJOY!

White Trash Bars

Ok so the name is horrible, but these are freakin awesome! I used graham crackers for mine and added a dash of salt but will try the cracker version next. So sweet and yummy! This is from cookiesandcups.com

White Trash Bars

2 sleeves Ritz crackers, 60 crackers total
1 1/2 cups Heath Toffee bits
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups vanilla frosting, or buttercream (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Crush the Ritz crackers in large zip lock bag. Pour toffee bits into zip lock bag and combine with cracker crumbs. Pour cracker/toffee mix bowl and pour in condensed milk, mix. Pour into 8x8 pan and press down evenly. Bake 15-20 minutes until edges start to become golden. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool. When cooled, frost with homemade buttercream or canned frosting. chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Cut into squares. EnJOY!

Buttercream frosting

1 stick butter (1/2 cup) softened, not melted
4 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
5-6 Tblsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put butter in mixing bowl, using electric mixer, whip butter for a minute until creamy and smooth. Add 1 cup powdered sugar at a time on low speed. Add vanilla and 1 Tblsp milk, keep adding a little milk at a time until desired consistency.

Bunny Butt Pancakes


I saw this adorable bunny butt idea floating around on facebook and I had to make them for my kiddos for Easter. So easy!

Bunny Butt Pancakes

Pancake mix (I used Krusteez) + ingredients to make mix
Whipped cream (I used the kind in the can)
Shredded coconut
mini chocolate chips/ or melted chocolate in a ziplock bag and cut off corner to pipe onto feet
1 banana
Syrup

Mix your pancake mix, enough for about 10 pancakes. Make 4 larger sized pancakes (for the butt), make 4 medium sized pancakes (for the head), make feet oval shaped, make ears smaller than feet, oval shaped. To assemble, put ears at the top of the plate first, top with medium sized pancake, top with large pancake, and place feet at the bottom. Put one slice of banana on each foot, place 3 mini chocolate chips for the toenails, then dallop a small mound of whipped cream for the tail and top with a little coconut. Serve with syrup if desired. EnJOY!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Nutella and Peanut Butter Crescents


I saw a recipe on pinterest using nutella and peanut butter baked into cresent rolls, and yes I stopped what I was doing to make these bad boys! Oh these are so dangerous! I also made a batch of peanut butter and jelly cresent rolls for my kids lunch. I was their favorite that day.

Nutella and Peanut Butter Crescents:

Nutella
Peanut butter (I used creamy)
1 can of refrigerated Pillsbury crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 350. Unroll crescents. Place one tablespoon of nutella and one tablespoon of peanut butter into the center of the crescent. Roll the dough from the large side up. Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes or until lightly golden. You can also do the same recipe using peanut butter and jelly for a fun kids snack. EnJOY!

BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad

Ok this picture sucks but the recipe is to die for! I get super board of just plain salads, so on my quest to find a new fun salad recipe I came across this little gem on www.damndelicious.net
Do it! Make it! BBQ sauce and Ranch, yes!

BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad:

1 Tblsp olive oil
2 boneless, skinless thin sliced chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce (I used baby spinach)
1 roma tomato, diced
3/4 cup canned corn kernels, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup diced red onion, optional
1/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1//4 cup ranch dressing (I used the ranch mix packet and mixed my own)
1/4 cup BBQ Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays, if youve never had that brand its amazing!)
1/4 cup torlilla strips (I used corn tortillas, cut into strips, spray cooking spray on top and bake at 400 for 5-10 minutes until crispy)

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Add to skillet and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes on each side depending on thickness. Let cool before dicing into bite sized pieces. (I grilled my chicken on the BBQ). To assemble the salad, place lettuce in a large bowl; top with chicken, tomato, corn, beans, onion and cheeses. Pour ranch dressing and BBQ sauce on top of the salad and gently toss to combine. Serve immediately, top with crispy tortilla strips. EnJOY!

Egyptian Red Lentil Soup

Thank you Britt Mitchel for sharing an amazing unique soup recipe! This soup is packed with flavor, warm and tasty! Ive made it twice already! With a side of homemade naan bread, yes please!

Egyptian Red Lentil Soup

5 cups veggie broth
1 cup dried red lentils
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped potatoes
8 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 Tblsp canola oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tblsp fresh lemon juice (I added 5 Tblsp)
Salt and pepper to taste

Add the first 5 ingredients to a large pot; cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until the lentils and veggies are tender. Remove pot from heat and set aside.
In a small saucepan, add the oil, warm over low heat until the oil is hot but not smoking. Add the cumin, turmeric and salt; cook and stir constantly for about 2 minutes or until the cumin has released its fragrance (be careful to not burn). Set spice mixture aside to cool.
Stir spice mixture into the lentil mixture; add cilantro, stir to combine.
You can puree the soup in batches, in a blender or you can use an immersion blender and blend to desired texture ( I like mine chunky).
Add lemon juice; stir to combine. Rewarm soup in pot if needed. Add salt and pepper if needed. EnJOY!

Naan Bread



Mmmmm.... yes please! I found this recipe on www.indiansimmer.com and it rocks!

Naan Bread:

2 cups flour or wheat flour
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup yogurt (I used plain greek yogurt)
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 Tblsp sugar
1/2 Tblsp oil (I used olive)

Mix all dry ingredients together and make a well of flour (a little hole for the liquids to sit in the milk), (I actually just skipped the well and mixed it all in a bowl). Mix milk and yogurt together and pour half of it into the well and slowly combine it together. Add liquid slowly and combine it all together until soft dough is made. the dough should be soft enough for you to be able to dig your finger into it without applying any pressure. If dough sticks to hand too much then use a little bit of oil on your hand and then punch into the dough. Cover with damp cloth and let it sit in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
After a few hours, dust your working surface, take out the dough and knead it for about 2-3 minutes. Divide the dough into smaller balls (about 8 balls). Dust the surface again and flatten the balls to make bread which is a little thick and elongated. At this point, if desired, you can sprinkle on flavor to it. I used cumin mixed with a little melted butter and lightly spread on top of one side of the bread. You can also use cilantro or garlic. Brush the other side with water. Heat a thick bottom skillet. Once its hot place naan wet side down and cover with lid. Let it cook for about 30 seconds or until you see bubbles on it. Now cook the other side of the naan over direct flame of the burner with the help of tongs. when you see some charred brown spots then you know its done. Repeat with remaining naan. EnJOY!

Finnish Potato Salad




Thank you Anne for sharing your amazing family recipe! I don't think I could ever make a different potato salad recipe after making your recipe, it is by far my all time favorite!

Finnish Potato Salad:

Dry:
3 lbs potatoes (I used russet) peeled, cubed and boiled until just fork tender, not mushy
2-3 sweet apples, peeled and chopped
1-2 cups dill pickles, finely chopped
3/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
3/4 cup fresh dill, minced
1/2 cup green onions or chives, thinly sliced

Wet:
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup dill pickle juice
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Add your cooled and cooked cubed potatoes to a large bowl. Add peeled and chopped apples, finely chopped dill pickles, minced parsley, minced dill and thinly sliced green onions. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together all wet ingredients. Go on the lighter side with your salt and dill. Add half of your wet ingredients to the large bowl of dry ingredients, mix well. Add more wet ingredients if needed, don't add it all at once so its not too saucy. Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours. Add any more salt or dill at this point, once its had time to marinade together. EnJOY!





Nicoise Salad

I just love when people share their special family recipes! This was a recipe from Anne Groves. We celebrated Finland for our family culture night last month and Anne, being from Finland came over with her family and shared her culture with us, music, books, pictures, chocolate, oh my, sweet bread, yes please, and all kinds of amazing fun things. This salad is a new favorite for our family!

Nicoise Salad:

Lettuce, shredded (I used spinach)
Italian salad dressing mix (Good Season Brand), plus ingredients to make it
4 or 5 boiled potatoes
Green beans (I used fresh long beans)
Tuna (or salmon)
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 cup Parsley, chopped
1/4 cup Green onions, chopped
1/2 cup-1 cup cherry tomatoes

Boil potatoes in the skin. When finished boiling (just fork tender, do not let it get mushy), remove skin, slice rounds, and marinate in salad dressing. Cook/Steam your green beans and marinate with potatoes. Refrigerate for atleast 30 minutes. Lay out your lettuce on a large platter, place marinated potato slices and green beans on top. Then lay your chopped eggs and tomatoes on top, fish on top of that and sprinkle with parsley and green onions and drizzle salad dressing over the top.
EnJOY!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cupid Floats

Need a fun valentine drink idea? Here is a fun one I found on pinterest! Super easy!

Cupid Floats

1 can cherry 7 up
1 red licorice
2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Just like you would a root beer float, just pour in you soda, add your ice cream and top with a licorice straw with both ends cut. Yum! EnJOY!

Chocolate and Berries

I wanted to make some fun valentines treats for the weekend so here are a few I did thanks to some pinterest ideas.

Rasberry's and Chocolate:

Rinse and dry rasberries. Put one chocolate or white chocolate chip in backwards so the flat side is facing out. A fun little not so naughty treat!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

If using candy melts, place them in a bowl and microwave on increments of 30 seconds, stirring each time until smooth. Dip strawberry in chocolate to coat and place on parchment paper to dry.
If using chocolate chips, use a good brand. To get the smoothest results, use a double boiler. Fill bottom of boiler pan with a few cups of water, not full! bring to a boil on stove, then turn off heat. Place top of double boiler on top of hot water and pour in chocolate chips. Stir until melted and smooth. Dip strawberries in and set chocolate covered berries on parchment paper to dry.
You can use sprinkles to top, just make sure to sprinkle immediately on the chocolate covered berries before the chocolate sets up.
You can also melt white chocolate and drizzle on top of the chocolate covered berries.
Do NOT refrigerate chocolate covered strawberries or they will "sweat". Keep them at room temp.
EnJOY!









Monday, February 9, 2015

Almond Crusted Chicken With Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Thank you cookingclassy.com for a fabulous dinner last week! The chicken on its own is great but the sauce makes it incredible!

Almond Crusted Chicken With Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Almond Crusted Chicken:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 4 thin sliced chicken breasts)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup sliced almonds, coarsely ground
1 Tblsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried, crushed
salt and pepper, to taste
8 tsp canola oil, divided

Strawberry Balsamic Sauce:
1 tsp canola oil
1/4 cup diced shallot
1/3 cup strawberry preserves
3 Tblsp balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray, set aside. Cut through thickness of each chicken breast (or just use 4 thin sliced chicken). Should have 4 chicken breasts now. If each portion isnt about 1/2 inch thick then pound with a meat mallet until nearly that thickness.
 In a gallon size resealable bag, combine panko crumbs, almonds, rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper). Working with one chicken breast at a time, place in resealable bag and shake to coat, while slightly pressing as needed to get crumbs to stick to chicken.
 Heat 2 tsp oil in large non stick skillet over medium heat. Transfer two chicken breasts to pan, and cook until golden brown on bottom about 2 minutes. Then lift chicken breast and add 2 more tsp of oil, then rotate chicken to opposite side and cook until bottom is golden brown. Repeat process with remaining two chicken breasts. Transfer chicken to prepared baking dish and bake in preheated oven until chicken has cooked through, abouit 10-15 minutes (internal temp should be 165 degrees). Meanwhile prepare strawberry sauce.

Sauce:
In a small saucepan heat 1 tsp oil over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until tender. Add strawberry preserves, balsamic vinegar, chicken broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat slightly and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened slightly, about 5-6 minutes. Serve warm over chicken. EnJOY!