• Creamy Pomodoro

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    This pasta dish is so easy, so tasty, and kid friendly. You can feed it to your family or to guests…I promise everyone will be impressed. It definitely tastes like something from a fine Italian restaurant.

    http://ifcus.org/category/stories/ Ingredients:

    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 2 (28-ounce) can whole Italian tomatoes
    • 3- 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • Sugar, to taste
    • Crushed red pepper, to taste (I put in 1/4 tsp.)
    • 1/2 cup cream
    • 16 large basil leaves, chiffonade
    • 1 lb. hot pasta

    Directions:

    1. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, heat olive oil, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes; then add the whole tomatoes. While tomatoes cook, use a potato masher to continually break down the tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste (amounts will all depend on the quality of your canned tomatoes and how sweet you like your sauce). Add crushed red pepper if using. Continue to use the potato masher to break down the tomatoes, and simmer for as long as possible. Mine simmered for about 45 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning. The end result is a thick delicious sauce. Add cream then stir in basil (reserve some for garnish) and serve over pasta.

    Creamy Pomodoro:

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  • Buttery Cinnabun Cake

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    This picture doesn’t do this cake justice. I found this recipe at Picky Palate’s site, and to say everyone enjoyed this cake would be an understatement! It was delicious, and would be perfect for a dessert or brunch. It’s super easy to make, and it’s just delicious. If you like coffee cake, you’ll love this, so give it a try.

    Cake Ingredients:

    • 3 c. flour
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    • 1 c. sugar
    • 4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 ½ c. milk
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 Stick real butter, melted

    Brown Sugar Topping:

    • 2 sticks real butter, softened (I just used 1 stick, and it was plenty buttery)
    • 1 c. brown sugar
    • 2 TBSP flour
    • 1 TBSP cinnamon
    • 2/3 c. nuts, optional

    Glaze:

    • 2 c. powdered sugar
    • 5 TBSP milk
    • 1 tsp. vanilla

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375.
    2. In an electric or stand mixer mix the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs and vanilla. Once combined well, slowly stir in melted butter. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
    3. In a large bowl, mix the 2 sticks of softened butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nuts until well combined. Drop evenly over cake batter by the tablespoonfuls and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.
    4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center.
    5. Place powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Buttery Cinnabun Cake:

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  • Crock Pot Apricot Chicken

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    I found a recipe over at A Year of CrockPotting, and since I needed a crock pot meal for tonight I thought I’d give it a try. I added more of the minced onion, soy sauce, and ginger than the original recipe called for, because when I tasted the sauce with the original amounts, I felt the sauce needed more of a punch…and boy am I glad I did, because it was delicious!  Both kiddos actually ate all of their dinner and our oldest had seconds! I’d serve this dish to company…that’s saying something…especially coming from the crock pot! It’s a keeper!
    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into chunks
    • 11 oz. jar of apricot preserves
    • 2 tsp. dried minced onion
    • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
    • 2TBSP soy sauce
    • 1 tsp. ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (may use less, more, or omit)
    • Cooking spray

    Directions:

    1. Spray the crock pot with cooking spray; then add the chicken.
    2. Combine the preserves through the crushed red pepper in a bowl, and mix to incorporate. Pour sauce over chicken.
    3. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours.

    Crock Pot Apricot Chicken:

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  • Turkey Bruschetta Sandwiches

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    Tired of the same old turkey sandwich? Here’s one way to liven it up! This recipe makes enough to top 2 sandwiches. You can use this bruschetta for just about anything…it’s delicious! Instead of turkey you can use grilled chicken, or leave off the turkey and you’ll have a wonderful bruschetta caprese sandwich.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 c. grape tomatoes, chopped
    • 2 TBSP basil, chiffonade
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
    • 2 ciabatta rolls
    • Turkey slices
    • Fresh mozzarella, sliced (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Combine tomatoes through balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Set aside.
    2. Toast the rolls; then add the cheese (if using), then the turkey, and top with the bruschetta. Enjoy!

    Turkey Bruschetta Sandwiches:

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  • Crock Pot Chicken with Creamy Black Beans

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    It’s Thursday, which means it is time for another crock pot recipe. I came across this recipe that only had the chicken, beans, salsa, corn, and cream cheese. I added the spices, which I think added quite a bit of flavor. It was pretty good. Our oldest really liked it (minus the corn), but our youngest wouldn’t touch it (I don’t think she was too hungry because after eating watermelon, she didn’t ask for anything else.)
    Ingredients:

    • Cooking spray
    • 1 lb. chicken breasts, but into bite size pieces
    • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 16 oz. jar of salsa (I used the Taco Bell mild salsa, because that’s what the kids picked out)
    • 1 15 oz. can corn, drained
    • 2 tsp. cumin
    • 2 tsp. oregano
    • 1 tsp. chili powder
    • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
    • Steamed rice

    Directions:

    1. Spray your crock pot with cooking spray. Add chicken through chili powder, stir to combine.
    2. Cook on HIGH for 2 1/2 hours.
    3. Remove lid and add cream cheese; then recover and let cream cheese heat through, about 15 minutes.
    4. Serve over rice.

    Chicken with Creamy Black Beans:

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  • Strawbery Shortcake Biscuits

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    I love strawberry shortcake. We created these sweet biscuits, and they are delicious with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Not surprisingly our children inhaled this dessert!

    Strawberries:

    • 3 pints strawberries, hulled and cut in half
    • 2 TBSP granulated sugar
    • Whipped Cream for serving

    Directions:

    1. Sprinkle strawberries with sugar and allow to sit at least 1 hour at room temperature and up to 6 hours refrigerated.

    Sweet Shortcake Biscuits:

    • 2 c. flour
    • 4 tsp. baking powder
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup shortening
    • 1/2 cup half-and-half, or substitute whole milk or heavy cream
    • 1/4 cup water
    • Sugar sprinkles (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut shortening in with pastry blender or two knives. Mix half-and-half and water and stir quickly into flour mixture. The dough will not be combined at this point. You don’t want to over mix, because over mixing causes a tougher less flaky biscuit.
    2. Dump out on floured board and pat about 1 inch thick. Cut with 3-inch cutter and put on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. If desired, top with sugar sprinkles. Bake until biscuits are browned, about 7 to 9 minutes.

    Assembly:

    1. Split warm biscuits open. Spoon about 1/2 c. berries on top of each biscuit bottom and mound about 1/4 c. whipped cream over the berries. Set biscuit tops on top of each mound.

    Strawberry Shortcake Biscuits:

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  • Buffalo Chicken Salad with Cilantro-Cotija Dressing

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    Buffalo wings are delicious, so why not make a salad around those familiar flavors? We created this Latin-inspired take on the traditional combination of buffalo wings and blue cheese dressing. The parsley and blue cheese of the traditional dressing are replaced with cilantro and cotija cheese, a crumbly cheese often used to top Mexican dishes, and it’s absolutely delicious. Everyone we’ve ever served this to has raved about it.

    Buffalo Chicken:

    • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 12-oz bottle of buffalo wing sauce
    • 4 TBSP butter
    • 1/4 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce, such as Tabasco

    Directions:

    1. Combine chicken and buffalo wing sauce in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Marinate for 1 hour.
    2. Melt butter in a small pot, whisk in hot sauce to combine. Grill chicken over medium-high heat until the internal temperature reaches 170°F. Brush the butter and hot sauce mixture over the chicken during cooking.

    Dressing:

    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1 to 2 TBSP lemon juice
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 6 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Crushed red pepper to taste
    • 6 oz cotija cheese

    Directions:

    1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. If necessary, water can be added to thin the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

    Salad:

    • Grilled chicken, sliced
    • 1 head iceberg lettuce
    • 2 c. grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 yellow or red bell pepper
    • 1 c. corn, roasted or grilled
    • 2 oz. cotija cheese, for garnish

    Directions:

    1. Mix together all of the ingredients, except for the cotija cheese, in a large bow. Toss with the dressing, plate and top with cotija cheese.

    Buffalo Chicken Salad with Cilantro-Cotija Dressing:

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  • Arroz Con Coco Blanco/Coconut Rice

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    This coconut rice recipe comes from Secrets of Columbian Cooking. It was delicious! I had no idea Columbian cuisine used coconut milk. We made an Asian flank steak to accompany the rice, and the combo was delicious. Any grilled meat or Asian inspired marinade or sauce would be great with this rice. Just delicious!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 c. rice
    • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 2 c. coconut milk (I used 1 can plus a little extra water)

    Directions:

    1. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat.
    2. Add the rice, sugar, and salt, and stir for 2 minutes.
    3. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.
    4. After about 7 minutes, or as soon as you see the rice on the surface and most of the liquid has evaporated, cover the pot; reduce to minimum heat and cook covered for 20 minutes.

    Coconut Rice:

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  • Nana’s Potato Salad

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    My mom makes really good potato salad. She doesn’t have a recipe…it’s all in her head and she uses the taste as she goes method. I’ve tried to approximate her recipe. My version is really good…not quite Nana’s but maybe with practice and some tips from Nana I’ll get it some day!

    This is a small batch version, and I served it with grilled burgers. When my mom makes potato salad, she makes enough for an army. This recipe serves 4 to 6.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 lb. potatoes, cooked, peeled, and cubed
    • 1/2 c. celery, chopped
    • 1/4 c. onion, minced
    • 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/4 c. mayo
    • Paprika for garnish

    Directions:

    1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix and taste. Adjust seasoning (may want to add more salt or garlic powder or mayo).

    Nana’s Potato Salad:

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