CHICKEN MARBELLA

This is a classic dish and has a complexity of flavor.  The marinade is the key to the flavorful taste of the chicken.  The sweetness of the prunes mixed with the saltiness of the olives and capers combine to send your tastebuds and senses into pure delight.  Great for your next Sunday dinner!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 whole chicken (cut-up, bone-in, skin on)
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • sprinkle of season salt on chicken
  • salt and freshly ground pepper on chicken to taste
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes cut in half
  • 8 -10 large pitted Spanish green olives, cut in half
  • 5-6 pitted kalamata black olives
  • 1/4 C capers with a bit of juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Marinate the chicken:  In a large bowl, combine garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves.  Sprinkle the chicken with the season salt, then add the chicken pieces to the marinade and mix to coat.  Cover and let marinate, refrigerated at lease 3 hours up until overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a baking pan, make sure all the marinade is added to the pan on top of the chicken.   Sprinkle the brown sugar over the chicken and pour the white wine around the pan.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with the pan juices.  Chicken is done when a sharp knife inserted into the thigh pieces, at their thickest post, run with clear yellow juices (not pink).

Serve the chicken with pan juices and using a slotted spoon, top chicken with prunes, olives and capers.  Make sure you save any of the juices and put in a gravy boat for the table.

This dish goes great with white rice or polenta!

Serves 4-6

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

SPICED CHICKEN THIGHS WITH APRICOTS AND RAISINS

A one-pan dinner that hits all the right notes. Fruity and peppery, this dish will lighten up your tastebuds. Dried apricots and golden raisins enrich the flavor n the sauce and this dish comes together great with the chicken! Serve over white rice or couscous.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 chicken thighs (boneless & skinless)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2/3 cup dried apricots, quartered
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • fresh chopped parsley for garnish
  • white rice or couscous as side for serving

Directions:

In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Season thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Saute chicken until browned on both sides, approximately 4 minutes each side. Set chicken aside. Pour out all the oil in the pan except for 1 tablespoon.

Reduce heat to low and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion starts to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the chicken back into the pan. Add the apricots and raisins. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat. Simmer the dish, partially covered for 20-25 minutes. Serve on a bed of rice and garnish with chopped parsley. Serves 6

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

EASY BEEF STROGANOFF

Such a delicious dinner and everyone will rave! It will come together fast and the family will love it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of thinly sliced top sirloin
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 cups each sliced cremini and button mushrooms
  • 2 finely minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup brandy or white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tablespoon coarse ground mustard or dijon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and more for garnish
  • 1 pound wide egg noodles, boiled and cooked according to package directions
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions:

Add the oil to a large pan or pot over medium-high heat and cook the beef until lightly browned, approximately 2 minutes. Set aside on a plate.

Add butter to the pan and cook the onions and mushrooms, approximately 8 minutes.

Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute before putting the beef back in the pan. Deglaze the pan with Grande and cook until it’s almost gone.

Pour in the beef stock and add in the bay leaves and mustard. Cook on medium-high heat for approx. 8 minutes.

Finish with sour cream, salt, pepper, and parsley (remove the bay leaf).

To serve, place noodles on plate and add a serving of beef, mushrooms, and juice. Garnish with a little parsley. Serves 4

Posted in ENTREES | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

CHICKEN MILANESE with Honey Vinaigrette

This is such a classic dish, but so delicious. It comes together quickly and is really light and fresh for a great healthy dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 4 chicken cutlets (Pounded to 1/4 in. thickness)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • olive oil for frying
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1 cup micro greens
  • 1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Set up a breading station with flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Season each ingredient with salt and pepper. Season both sides of the pounded chicken with salt and pepper. One by one, coat the chicken in the flour, shake off. Then dredge it in the egg, drain off, then dredge it in the bread crumbs. Repeat with each piece of chicken. Set aside.

Add about 1/3 cup of olive oil to a large frying pan over medium-low head and add the breaded chicken cutlets. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on a paper towel until ready to serve.

In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, micro greens, tomatoes, and red onions, add some salt & pepper Set aside. In a medium size bowl, add the lemon and honey and slowly drizzle in the olive oil while continuing to whisk until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Right before serving, pour the salad dressing into the arugula mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Serve the cooked chicken Milanese with a nice helping of the salad mixture directly on top of the chicken. Finish with some shaved parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh parsley.

Serves 4

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

TAMALE CHICKEN CASSEROLE

Another great option for your leftover rotisserie chicken! This is the perfect dish for during the week and something your kids will love, who doesn’t love Tamales! Easy to throw together and enough for a crowd. The sweetness of the cornbread contrast nicely with the coolness of the lettuce and tomatoes, a dollop of sour cream is a must!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8.5 oz.) Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 can (14.75 oz.) cream corn
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. Chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese (divided)
  • 1 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 3 cups shredded left over rotisserie chicken

Optional for toppings:

  • Sour cream
  • diced tomato
  • shredded lettuce
  • chopped avocado
  • more cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 x 3 inch casserole dish with non stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the corn muffin mix, cream corn, eggs, milk, Chile powder, cumin and 1 cup of cheese. Stir until well mixed and then pour into the casserole dish. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and use a knife to pierce the cornbread mixture several times all over. Pour the enchilada sauce all over the top of the casserole. Top with the shredded chicken and remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with your choice of toppings and a side of shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes & add a little more enchilada sauce on top! Enjoy! (Serves 6-8)

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

GRAFFITI EGGPLANT PARMESAN CASSEROLE

This is a simple delicious eggplant parmesan casserole made with the small Graffiti eggplant. The Graffiti eggplant has a thinner skin so you do not need to peel it and it also has smaller seeds and cooks quicker. With this no-baked method, it’s healthier too!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Graffiti eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch thick round slices
  • 1 1/2 cups Italian Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, beatened
  • olive oil for spraying
  • 1 cup flour for dredging
  • 1 jar (32 oz.) Marinara sauce (I prefer Rao’s)
  • 3/4 cup parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 (15 oz.) container Ricotta (I prefer Galbani)
  • 1 package (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper as needed
  • 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish

Optional: Another jar of Marinara sauce and spaghetti to serve along side!

Directions:

Arrange the eggplant slices on baking sheets and sprinkle generously all over with salt. Set aside to let the bitter juices weep from the eggplant, at lease 1 hour.

After an hour, transfer the eggplant to a colander in the sink and rinse well with cold running water, making sure you get the salt off. Transfer to paper towels on a work surface and blot very well with more paper towels, get as dry as you can.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use a large cookie sheet with wire grates on top. Spray a little olive oil on the wire. Set up a station with the flour, eggs, and panko breadcrumbs. Add a little salt and pepper to the flour and eggs and mix. Dip the eggplant slices in the flour, shake off, then dip in the eggs, and then the panko. Press crumbs down with fingers to pack and cover evenly. Place in a single layer on the oiled baking grate and sheet. Lightly spray or drizzle olive oil on the eggplant. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. (No need to flip since it’s on the grate).

When you take the eggplant is taken out of the oven, lower the oven to 350 degrees.

In a 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish, place 3/4 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish. Place dollops of Ricotta cheese around the bottom and spread around a little with the back of a spoon. Place a layer of the eggplant. Top with another 3/4 cup of marinara sauce, then spread it around with the back of a spoon. Then sprinkle 1/2 the package of mozzarella around the dish.

Repeat with another layer of eggplant and pour the remaining marinara sauce on top, again spreading it around with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve with a side of spaghetti and top with a little more marinara sauce.

Posted in ENTREES, Sides & Misc. | Tagged , | 7 Comments

WILD RICE SALAD

This is a cold (or room temperature) salad. It has a complex taste that actually taste better as you eat it. So many fresh ingredients and fresh citrus makes this perfect for any occasion.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup long grain wild rice
  • sea salt
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoon raspberry or apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup seedless green grapes, cut in half
  • 1/2 cups pecans, chopped and toasted
  • 1/4K cup dried cranberries or golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste

Place the wild rice in a medium pot with 4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes, until the rice is very tender. Drain well and place the rice back in the pot. Cover and allow to seam for 10 minutes.

While the rice is still warm, place it in a mixing bowl. Peel the oranges with a sharp knife, removing all the white pith. Cut between the membranes, cut the segments in half, then add the orange sections to the bowl. Add the olive oil, orange juice, vinegar, grapes, pecans, cranberries, scallions, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Allow the rice salad to sit for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve room temperature or refrigerate.

Posted in Sides & Misc. | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

RICOTTA ORANGE ZEST CHEESECAKE

Now this is a showstopper! Definitely a dessert for your special company! Not only is it delicious, it’s beautiful with just a little creativity and some strawberries and blackberries.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 32 ounce ricotta cheese
  • zest from one orange (2 teaspoons)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 18 graham crackers
  • 1 stick butter plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons powder sugar for dusting
  • Optional for decoration: 6-8 strawberries, sliced thin lengthwise and 10 blackberries

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 10 inch springform pan with butter.

For graham cracker crust: Crush graham crackers in food processor until consistency of bread crumbs. Place crumbs in large bowl. Melt 1 stick of butter plus 2 tablespoons in the microwave. Pour butter into the graham cracker crumbs and stir well to combine.

Pour crumb mixture into the pregreased springform pan. Firmly press graham crackers into the bottom and along the sides of the spring form pan. Press down hard with the palm of your hands and fingers. Set aside.

Sift together flour and sugar in small mixing bowl. In another medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese and orange zest. Slowly fold in flour mixture with spatula untill well blended and smooth.

Add eggs, one at a time, continuing to blend with spatula. Stir in vanilla extract.

Pour batter into spring form pan and gently smooth top with spatula. Bake for 60 minutes until cake is firm all the way to top center. Cool completely and refrigerate for 2-3 hours to set. Dust top of cake with powder sugar.

Optional: After cheesecake is cool, place 10 blackberries in the center of the cheesecake. Place sliced strawberries around the blackberries to form a “flower”. Refrigerate cheesecake.

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

PINA COLADA NO-BAKE CAKE

Ready for summer? Well here’s the dessert for you! Make it the day ahead and refrigerate, the next day you’ll enjoy a silky delicious cake!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
  • 2 cups Pina Colada Drink mix (liquid-divided)
  • 1 package (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 container (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 box (14.4 oz.) Honey Graham Crackers (will have some leftover)
  • 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained well
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

DIRECTIONS:

(Use a 13 x 9 baking dish). In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and rum extract until smooth. Gradually beat in 1 cup Pina Colada Drink mix; beat on low speed until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.

Pour 1 cup Pina Colada Drink mix in a shallow dish. Quickly dip Graham Crackers in the liquid, allowing excess to drip off. Arrange the crackers in a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish. Break crackers as needed to fit. Top with about a third of the cream cheese mixture, spreading it around with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle a third of the pineapple, then a third of the coconut on top. Repeat layer exactly the same 2 more times. The third layer is done with the final amount of cream cheese mixture, scattered pineapple and coconut. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight or minimum of 4 hours. Keep refrigerated!

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

SALMON PICCATA WITH SAVORY ANGEL HAIR PASTA

A delicious way to serve salmon! You’re use to chicken piccata and veal piccata, why not try something a little different. Still the same piccata flavor you crave! Go ahead, enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. angel hair pasta
  • 4 – 5 oz. skinless salmon fillets (wild salmon is best!)
  • 6 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 6 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • all purpose flour for dusting
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, divided
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup capers in brine, drained

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add small handful of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box until al dente (cooks fast, approx. 2 min.). Drain the pasta. Keep the pot on the stove for later use. Set the pasta aside in a bowl.

Season the salmon with salt and pepper, then dust with lightly seasoned flour (salt & pepper for the season, mix well).

Add 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Heat on medium-high heat. Add the salmon to the skillet and fry, flip over in about 4 minutes, then fry for another 4 minutes, until golden on both sides and just cook inside. Transfer the salmon to a plate, tent with foil to keep warm. Keep the skillet for future use.

In the empty pasta pot, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter and the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil over low heat. Return the pasta to the pot, add 2 tablespoons of the parsley and toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In the empty skillet, add the chicken broth, lemon juice, lemon zest, and capers to the skillet. Simmer over high heat, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet, until the liquid is slightly thickened. 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter until emulsified. Stir in the reserved 2 tablespoons parsley (keep about 1 teaspoon for garnish) and season with salt and pepper.

Add the salmon to the skillet containing the sauce and turn the salmon to coat or spoon sauce over the salmon.

Divide the pasta among plates, top with the salmon and sauce (sprinkle some parsley for appearance) and serve right away. Serves 4.

Posted in ENTREES | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

ZITI and GROUND PORK IN VODKA SAUCE

This makes a delicious spaghetti sauce and can be used with any type of spaghetti. The pork adds the perfect amount of pazazz to this hearty dish. It’s flavorful and filling. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

Volka Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 3/4 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 to 2 tsp salt (depending on taste)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Ziti:

  • 1 lb. Ziti Rigati
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Directions:

In a Dutch oven heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté approximate 3 minutes. Add the ground pork and break up and sauté until cooked, approx. 5 minutes. Drain excess water and oil (you can blot with paper towels, move around with a spoon, then discard the paper towels). Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute.

Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, stir well, place water in the empty small tomato paste can and swirl around to capture all the paste in the can, then put the can of water in the pot. Simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes. Pour in the vodka, stir, and let it come to a simmer for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Make sure to keep the lid on because the sauce will splatter a lot).

Stir in the half & half and add shaved parmesan cheese, salt & pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir everything together and simmer until the cheese is all melted and smooth. Stir in minced fresh basil and let it cook for a minute. Set aside.

Cook the Ziti according to the directions on the box. After you drain the pasta, add 1/2 of the vodka sauce into the Ziti and stir gently to combine. Save the other half of the sauce.

Serve a good helping of the Ziti mixed with the Vodka sauce on a plate. Top with some of the reserved vodka sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve hot. Serves 4

Posted in ENTREES | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

WHITE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

If you always have leftover rotisserie chicken, here’s the perfect “re-purposing” chicken dish for you! I make it in two aluminum square cake pans and freeze one! Makes a delicious lunch or dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 10 soft taco shells
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese.
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can diced green chilies (4 oz.) (Not hot)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use one 9 x 13 pan, or 2 square cake pans, lightly spray Pam on the pan.

Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up the chicken mixture in the tortillas and place, bottom side down in the pan. (I put 5 rolls in 2 separate pans).

In a sauté pan, melt butter and stir in flour, cook for 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 6 min.). Stir in sour cream and chilies. Take off the burner, you don’t want to curdled sour cream.

Pour sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese. Bake 22 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil for approx. 2-3 minutes. Keep a good eye on the dish, you just want to lightly brown the top. Serve immediately. Serves 5 (2 each)

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RICOTTA MARBLE CAKE (ITALIAN LAYERED CHEESECAKE)

This is an old Italian recipe and I have to say, it’s scrumptious. I would say it’s “semi-homemade” and comes together to form a complex and absolutely delicious dessert. Serve it cold, out of the refrigerator, you can make it a day ahead and store in the refrigerator for any dinner party. Trust me on this one, it’s a winner!

Top layer, pudding & coolwhip

Ingredients:

For bottom layer:

  • 1 Duncan Hines Marble Cake Mix.
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

For middle layer:

  • 2 lbs. ricotta cheese (32 ounces)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs

For top layer:

  • 1 small instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz. cool whip

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan with Pam spray or a little butter and flour.

Make the Marble cake according to directions on the box. Pour cake mix into the prepare pan.

Mix ricotta cheese, vanilla, sugar and eggs in a bowl with a large spoon. Pour ricotta mixture on top of the Marble cake in the pan and spread around.

Bake in the preheated pan for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool completely.

Mix the instant chocolate pudding, milk, and cool whip in another bowl with a whisk or large spoon. Once the cake is completely cool, spread on the top of the cake. Refrigerate for at lease an hour and serve from the pan. (Keep refrigerated, serves 12)

If you can’t find this at the grocery store, Amazon has it!
Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

CRISPY CHICKEN THIGHS WITH MARY’S SECRET SPICE RUB (Oven Roasted)

This is a delicious way to prepare chicken! If you want white meat chicken, cook it a little longer, by about 10 minutes. This spice rub works with anything, the smoked paprika blends with the other spices to give a sweetness along with the savory. I make extra spice rub to always have on hand!

Since most of the grease drips to the bottom while cooking this is a healthier version of chicken thighs!

Mary’s Secret Spice Rub

  • 1 Tablespoon Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ground black pepper

Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl. Set aside

Crispy Chicken Thighs

  • 8 chicken thighs (skin and bone on)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pat chicken with paper towels, (you want to make it as dry as possible). Place chicken in large bowl and pour olive oil over the chicken. Mix with your hand to evenly spread the olive oil on chicken.

Sprinkle about 1/2 of the spice mixture over the chicken. Using your hands, make sure all the chicken is coated with the rub.

Place chicken on sheet pan with rack (keep chicken above drippings, it crisps better). When chicken is on the sheet pan, sprinkle a little more spice rub, pat it down with your fingers into the chicken so it won’t burn (You may have leftover spice rub, save it for future use).

Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes, skin side up. After 20 minutes, turn the chicken around and cook for another 20 minutes.

Raise oven temperature to 425 degrees, turn chicken again to skin side up and cook for another 20 minutes (if large chicken thighs and 15 minutes if small chicken thighs). Serve hot with your favorite sides!

Mary’s Secret Spice

Note: make extra spice rub and use it on chicken, steaks, hamburger, and vegetables, especially hand-cut oven fries (toss in olive oil, sprinkle rub and bake along side the chicken!)

Great for hostess gifts!!

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

CHICKEN VESUVIO

If you love artichokes like I do, this is the dish for you! It comes together quickly and has a distinct flavor. The chicken and potatoes are tender and pack a delightful punch. Good for weeknight dinners or a dinner party!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 red-skinned potatoes, cut in quarters
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil in large ovenproof fry pan over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Fry the chicken in the pan until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. When the chicken is browned, take it out of the pan and set aside in a dish.

Fry the potatoes in the same pot (add a little more olive oil if needed) and cook them until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the broth, oregano, and thyme. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil.

Cover the pot and place in the oven until the chicken cooks throughout, about 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter, arrange the potatoes around the chicken. Place the frying pan back on the stove and add the artichokes to the sauce in the pan. Simmer for about 3 minutes, add the butter and stir until combined, simmer about 4 minutes more. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper only if needed.

Place the artichokes around the platter then pour the sauce over the dish and serve. Serves 4

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

RICOTTA RASPBERRY POUND CAKE

This is a delicious, moist, and flavorful pound cake! Made without a mixer, just whisk and fold! Makes one layer of the perfect dessert. I chose to double the recipe and make small loafs for presents! This is definitely a keeper!

Ingredients:

  • nonstick oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick unsalted melted butter
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a 9 inch cake pan sprayed with nonstick spray and lined with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl until well blended.

Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in another bowl until smooth; fold into dry ingredients just until blended. Then fold in butter, followed by 3/4 cup raspberries. take care not to crush berries. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining 1/4 cup raspberries over top.

Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean (50-60 minutes. Let cool at lease 20 minutes before removing from pan.

(Note: I doubled the recipe and put it into disposable loaf pans, baked 60 minutes, let cool and wrapped for gifts (made 7 – 1 lb. loaves)

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

TOMATO CROSTATA

Ingredients:

  • 8-9 tomatoes if using smaller Campari tomatoes (less if vine ripe larger tomatoes)
  • 5-6 tomatoes—Heavenly Village Mariano (or cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup mozzarella, fresh, cut up in small squares
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • 1 puff pastry sheet

Directions:

Slice the tomatoes in about 1/2 inch slices. Place slices on paper towels, single layer and sprinkle with salt and let sit at least 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Have a sheet pan with a silicone mat ready (works best). Mix the sea salt, vinegar, honey, thyme and olive oil in a small bowl and whisk to mix.

Lay the puff pastry on the mat and roll a little with roller or round glass. Make a small line with a knife around the edge of the pastry. Brush the pastry with the olive oil mixture. Blot the tomatoes with paper towels well. Place tomatoes on the pastry in rolls, filling most of the pastry, but leaving about 3/4 inch around the edge. Roll the edges up a little to make a rim. Brush tomatoes with olive oil mixture.

Sprinkle the pieces of mozzarella around the tomatoes, brush again with the olive oil mixture. Sprinkle with a little more salt and ground black pepper.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes, keep an eye on the crostata so it won’t burn. Take it out of the oven, plate, and serve warm! Serve it for lunch or cut smaller for appetizers.

Posted in Appetizers, ENTREES | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

RICE PUDDING WITH GOLDEN RAISINS AND ALMONDS (EASY)

You can make this decadent desert with items you probably already have! I’ve elevated it with the addition of golden raisins and sliced almonds for crunch. It’s easy and really delicious enough for company!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup Jasmine rice
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup slice almonds
  • cinnamon for dusting

DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan bring water to a boil. Add rice and salt and return to a boil. Lower the burner to simmer, cover with lid and cook approximately 20 minutes (until water is absorbed.)

Increase heat to medium low and add milk. Cook until thick and creamy, stirring constantly, approximately 20 minutes. (Keep a good eye on it, because it can overflow). If it looks too thick after 20 minutes, add a touch more milk.

In a small bowl, whisk egg. Add 1 tablespoon of the hot rice mixture (to temper the eggs), whisking constantly. Repeat by adding another tablespoon of the hot rice mixture to the egg, constantly whisking. Repeat one more time with another tablespoon of the hot rice mixture, the egg mixture should be warmed.

On low heat, slowly add the egg mixture into the rice pudding, stirring constantly. Add the sugar and stir. Add the butter and vanilla extract, stir. Add the raisins and almonds and stir. Cook for about 2 minutes more, stirring a little. Take off the burner.

Use a large spoon and divide the rice pudding into individual ramekins, place a few sliced almonds in the middle and dust with cinnamon. Refrigerate for at lease 4 hours or overnight. Serve cold. 6 servings.

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

STRAWBERRY TIRAMISU (NO BAKE)

Ready for spring and summer, this delicious No-Bake dessert is both simple and elegant. No heating up the kitchen since it does not need baking. You have to make it the day before serving, so it’s great for make-ahead dinner parties too!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup strawberry jam or preserves (no seeds).
  • 3/4 cup Prosecco or white wine
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese (8 oz. container)
  • 1/2 of 8 oz. cream cheese block
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 pints of sliced strawberries
  • 28 lady fingers
  • 1 tub cool whip

DIRECTIONS:

Have a pyrex glass 11 by 8 casserole dish ready to use.

In a small bowl, combine strawberry preserves, wine or prosecco, and balsamic vinegar.  Whisk until combined.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer or stand mixer on medium high speed for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until smooth and thicken.

Dip the lady fingers in the strawberry mixture to coat them (let them absorb some of the liquid).  Line the lady fingers in a single layer in the bottom of the 11 by 8 baking dish.  I used approx. 14 ladyfingers for each layer.  You will have to break a couple up to fit.  Use a spoon and spoon some of the strawberry liquid over the lady fingers on first layer. (just about 4 teaspoons).

Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers and then layer half of the sliced strawberries on the mascarpone mixture.

Repeat with the remaining lady fingers, making another layer. Next layer with the remaining mascarpone mixture.  Add a layer of cool whip on the top spreading it around equally.  Place the remaining strawberries on top.

Cover with cling wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight!

Serves 8-10

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

ORANGE MARMALADE ROASTED CHICKEN

A perfect flavorful dinner if you love orange marmalade as I do  Easy and no frying!  Serve with white rice (with the juice left in the pan) and a nice vegetable, you’ll be definitely pleased!9D13E0A1-411F-49FB-8F8C-4CF05E3AFB40

9221CFB1-90D2-4A2D-9F76-3E2CDF8A3905

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoons each salt and pepper
  • 2 oranges, thinly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 large chicken breast, skin and bone-in, cut in half
  • 4 chicken thighs, skin and bone-in
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional:  white rice for serving (use juice from dish to top rice)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Make the glaze:  whisk together marmalade, vinegar, honey, chopped thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Arrange orange slices in a single layer in the bottom of a large, oven safe, lasagna pan.  Scatter garlic cloves, thyme and rosemary sprigs on top of the oranges.

Rub the front and back of chicken with olive oil.  Season both sides well with salt and pepper.  Arrange in dish, skin side up, on top of the oranges.

Bake for approx. 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken is beginning to brown.  Place about 1/2 of the marmalade mixture into another bowl (in order not to contaminate half).    Generously brush tops with about half of the marmalade mixture using a pastry brush.

Return to oven and bake for another 20 minutes or until skin is browned and internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast is 165 degrees.  Remove from oven and brush with the remaining marmalade glaze that hasn’t been used before.  Serves 4-6

(Great served with white rice, pour some of the juice over the chicken and rice when serving)

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

MARRY ME CHICKEN

This is so delicious and although there are different versions, after testing, I found this recipe to have the perfect blend of spices, heat, and all out deliciousness!  Go ahead, give it a try, what do you have to loose!F61B8D93-44FB-4D7A-AA7C-1BFA9D03A035

38B4BDFD-D686-4CE2-B780-5332FBCB9983

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 large chicken breasts, skinless & boneless
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • fresh parsley for garnish

optional:  noodles or spaghetti of choice for serving

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large oven safe skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper on front and back.  Sear chicken in oil about 4-5 minutes per side.  Transfer to plate and set aside.

Turn skillet to medium heat.  Add garlic to same skillet and sauté for 1 minute. Add the spinach and stir for 1 minute more.   Stir in thyme, red pepper flakes,  chicken broth, and heavy cream.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.  Stir in sun-dried tomatoes (make sure and drain the sun-dried tomatoes on paper towels to remove excess oil) and parmesan cheese.

Return chicken to skillet and spoon sauce all over the chicken breasts.  Bake until chicken is cooked through about 15-18 minutes (depending on size of the chicken breast).  Serve over noodles or spaghetti of choice.  Add some of the juice over the pasta.   Garnish with parsley and grated parmesan cheese.  Serves 4

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

GERMAN-CHOCOLATE RUM CAKE

04E91D1C-CC90-4412-A9C1-DF7E4B7DD9C3

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Package Duncan Hines German Chocolate cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white Rum
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • optional:  candied cherries and walnut halves for decoration

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup white rum
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 10 inch Bundt pan.  Place chopped nuts in the bottom of the Bundt pan.

Mix the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, and rum in an electric mixer for 2 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

To make rum sauce:  melt butter, run, and sugar in small saucepan for about 2 minutes.

While cake is in the Bundt pan, make some holes with a large skewer stick and spoon some of the rum glaze around the cake.  (Don’t put too much, or it will get soggy, you might have extra)

Invert the cake onto a cake plate.  Using a pastry brush, brush the rum glaze all over the cake.  Top with alternating layers of cherries and walnuts.  Brush again with glaze.  Serves 12

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

LEMON RICOTTA PASTA WITH GRILLED CHICKEN AND SPINACH

This is a rich, delicious pasta dish and will satisfy your tastebuds with the smoothness of the combined cheeses.  It’s very filling, but worth it, go ahead indulge!42102A48-E638-4F2F-9254-323B26E42BA3

Ingredients:

  • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in half length wise making 4 pieces* Marinate
  • 1 lb. linguine
  • 2 cups reserved pasta water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package fresh baby spinach
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • lemon zest from one lemon
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan, plus more for serving

*Marinate: 2 Tbs. olive oil, 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, salt, and 9D929A22-BFC2-4A69-87BF-71051615343Epepper.  Cut the chicken breast in half lengthwise.  Sprinkle with the above seasonings, then put in plastic bag with the olive oil and vinegar and let marinate at lease 2 hours.

Directions:

Grill marinated chicken on grill pan on stove (or outdoor grill).  Turning once until throughly cooked, set aside. (At least 5 minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees)

Cook pasta according to the directions on the package (remember to boil the water, then add salt after it boils).  Reserve 2 cups pasta water before draining pasta.  Drain the water and return the pasta to the pot.  Set pot over medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta, 1/2 cup hot reserved pasta water and parmesan.  Toss to evenly coat.  Add more pasta water if desired to thin (it will be thick, so don’t hesitate to add the pasta water).  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook and toss about 2 minutes, until ricotta is heated through.  Toss in spinach.  Cut grilled chicken into bite size pieces and add to the pot.  Mix well and stir over low heat about 1 minute.  Serve warm topped with more parmesan cheese.

Posted in CHICKEN | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

SHRIMP CREOLE

0C942C1E-48E4-4C96-883E-D4028EFCE14F

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon creole seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz. ) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 lb. wild caught shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Optional:  1/2 to 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (to taste)
  • salt to taste

Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add the green pepper, onion and celery.  Cook approximately 5-7 minutes.  Decrease the heat to low, add garlic and creole seasoning, cook for 1 min. More.  Stir in Worcestershire sauce, stewed tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce and brown sugar.  Cover skilled and simmer for 20 minutes.  Take off the cover and add the shrimp.  Simmer for 2 minutes or until shrimp are opaque and cooked through.  Season with Tobasco Sauce to taste if you want it hotter!  Serve over white rice.  Serves 4

Posted in ENTREES | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

CORNED BEEF BRISKET with Honey Mustard sauce & Instant Pot- CABBAGE, POTATOES, & BACON

F67BF229-F9AA-49CB-A17A-589DFD739B9C4F40E391-C6AC-42FE-BFB8-07D261DB61C2

CORNED BEEF BRISKET:

  • 1 (3 TO 4 LB.) corned beef brisket, flat cut,  rinsed
  • 2 T pickling spice
  • 1 orange – cut in round slice
  • 2 large carrots, cut up
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • large oven bag

GLAZE:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar with enough honey mustard to make a glaze

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Rinse meat.  Place brisket into a large oven bag in a large roasting pan (add 1 T flour to bottom of bag).  Sprinkle with pickling spice and salt & pepper on top of brisket.   Top brisket with cut orange & onion.  Place carrots and celery around the brisket.   Add 1/4 cup water.  Tie the bag and make 6 slits on top of bag.  Bake at 300 degrees for 5 hours.

Take meat out and gently scrape off the fat.  Discard everything else.  Put meat on a foil lined baking sheet.  Put the glaze on the meat and then place under the broiler until the glaze bubbles.   Transfer brisket to carving board,  tent loosely and rest for 20 minutes.  Slice brisket against grain into 1/2 in. thick slices.  Arrange on serving dish.

 

Instant pot-CABBAGE, POTATOES, & BACON

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small cabbage, cut into quarters
  • 1 small onion, cut in rings
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 lb. small potatoes, washed
  • 1 bottle lager beer
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. Pickling spice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • *Optional, baby carrots

Place the cabbage in the bottom of the instant pot.  Top with onion, small potatoes, and bacon.  (If using baby carrots, add them now).   Add beer and water and pickling spice.  Salt & Pepper to taste, cook For 30 minutes under pressure.  Manual release.  Serve along side Corned Beef.

Posted in ENTREES | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CHICKEN PARMESAN with CHERRY TOMATOES

65B04B5A-DFCA-4F6E-9442-8A342292E8E2INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided (plus more if needed)
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 (14-oz.) cans cherry tomatoes, divided (such as Mutti; you can purchase on AC8DC103-B946-47BC-BBE3-12EB6108AAF7Amazon)
  • 1 bunch fresh basil roughly chopped
  • 1 -4 oz. box fresh mushrooms
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided (more if needed)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups Panko seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut in half lengthwise (Makes 8 pieces), pounded to about 1/4 in. Thick
  • *optional, Angel Hair pasta cooked according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp. Oil.  Add chopped onion and garlic and cook about 4 minutes.  Add 2 cans of the cherry tomatoes with the liquid.  Strain the remaining 4 cans, then add to the pot.  Add 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, break up the tomatoes.  Add the mushrooms.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 20-25 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the basil.

Cut the 4 skinless boneless chicken breast in halves lengthwise making 8 pieces.  Place the pieces between plastic wrap and pound with a mallet until about 1/4 inches thick.  Salt and Pepper both sides.

In a shallow bowl or paper plate, whisk eggs, lightly add salt and pepper.  In another bowl or paper plate, combine breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup Parmesan, add small amount of salt and pepper and mix.   Place the chicken in egg mixture, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 3 tbsp. Oil.  Working in batches, cook chicken about 2 1/2 minutes per side or until golden.  Transfer to a plate with paper towels to drain.

In a 13 1/2 by 10 inch baking dish, layer sauce, chicken, and a little more sauce on top.  Top with the remaining mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.   Bake 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serves 8.

*(serve over your favorite pasta cooked according to package directions.  I like Angel Hair, put a little sauce over the pasta with some cheese).

Side Note:  After you put sauce over the chicken, and  you want more sauce for the spaghetti,  you can add a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce to what’s left in the Sauce pot to stretch out the amount of sauce available for the spaghetti.

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

BAKED ZITI

A perfect weekday dinner and very easy to put together!  Your entire family will be asking for more!  This is a hearty meal and will go a long way!  You must try this classic Baked Ziti dish!

D0ABF672-7E27-4D86-857C-2A38C33B1369

43320349-A6B1-4F75-8F7C-B9D023CEFD3F

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ziti noodles
  • 2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1 small container ricotta cheese (15 oz.)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4  cup fresh parsley
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Boil noodles according to instructions on box, making sure it’s Al dente.   Pour 1 cup of sauce in the bottoms of a 9 x 13 pan.

Mix mozzarella, ricotta, parsley, egg, oregano, pepper, garlic powder and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese in a large bowl.  When Ziti is done, drain and add it to the bowl and mix well.  Add 2 cups of spaghetti sauce into the bowl and mix.

Pour the mixture into the 9 x 13 pan and top with the rest of the sauce.  Sprinkle the top with some Parmesan cheese.  Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.  When serving, top with a little more sauce and cheese if desired. Serves 8BDD30183-254C-48E6-8B59-835D3FFAC655

Posted in ENTREES | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

STRAWBERRIES & NUTELLA CREPES

Nothing saids decedents like Strawberries & Nutella Crepes!  After trying and experimenting with different recipes, this one definitely was the winner.  It’s really simple and a lot of the ingredients you probably have on hand!  This will be a hit at any dinner party and is delicious!  Enjoy!41E55A99-76D5-433F-8C23-A863953C908924C14B83-4288-459A-B017-E654F8F69ABD

408B7716-BC1D-46C9-9134-26B6A2431609Ingredients for Crepe Batter:

  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 1 Cup Nutella
  • 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • can of whipped cream

Optional:  Powder sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

Crepes batter:  Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a medium bowl and set aside.  Combine the milk, egg, and oil in a blender, food processor, or immersion blender until smooth.  Add the flour mixture.  Blend just until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Strain the mixture through a large strainer into another bowl.  Let the batter rest in the refrigerator at lease for 30 minutes or up to overnight.  (cover with plastic wrap)  (NOTE:  IF YOU CHOOSE, YOU CAN JUST USE A WHISK TO MIX ALL THE INGREDIENTS TOGETHER, JUST MIX WELL AND STILL STRAIN!)

Make the crepes:  Heat a nonstick crepe pan or large nonstick fry pan over a medium heat. (Or use a crepe maker machine and follow the directions).  Spray the pan with cooking spray.  Ladle about 2 ounces of the crepe batter into the center of the pan and swirl.  When the center begins to set, flip with a spatula or wooden stick and continue cooking until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side.  Repeat with the remaining crepe batter (it will make 8 to 10 crepes).

Putting it together:  Place a single crepe on a plate.  Spread Nutella over one half of the crepe.  Arrange strawberry slices on top of the crepe over the Nutella.  Fold the crepe in half, then fold it one more time to form a triangle.  Top with more sliced strawberries.  Add a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with some powder sugar.   Serve immediately.  Serves 8–10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

CHICKEN MARSALA

Chicken Marsala is a classic dish that never goes out of style.  It’s delicious for a weeknight meal, as well as for a dinner party.  Serve it along side some homemade mash potatoes and some roasted asparagus and you have a meal that will satisfy and impress your guest!0CDCBF18-29A2-46ED-91A1-26696197E218EE127586-2828-4B4E-AB7A-B70A0F19382D

  • 2 large chicken breast (skinless and boneless), cut in half lengthwise to make 4
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour for dredging (Sprinkled with salt & pepper) Plus 1 tsp. For thickening
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Place chicken cutlets between plastic wrap and pound until 1/3 inch thick.  Season with salt and pepper on both sides.  Dredge both sides in flour and shake off excess flour, then set aside.

Heat 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter.   Add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove chicken from pan, set aside and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the pan.  Add the mushrooms to the pan.  Sauté the mushrooms in the pan for about 5 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 tsp. Onion powder and 2 minced garlic cloves and sauté another 30 seconds.  Add Marsala wine, scraping the bottom.  Let the Marsala reduce about 4-5 minutes then add 3/4 cup chicken stock and while stirring add 1/2 cup heavy cream.  Lower the heat and reduce sauce for another 4 minutes until slightly thickened.  Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.  (If needed:  Add 1 tsp. Of flour to further thicken the sauce.)

Return the chicken to the pan, turning to coat well.  Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.  Serves 4

Optional:  Serve with homemade mash potatoes and pour some gravy over the chicken and mash potatoes.

 

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

CREAMY ITALIAN SAUSAGE & SAFFRON PASTA ALLA MONZESE

This is a dish from Northern Italy and is very easy to make, yet rich and delicious.  You can buy bulk Italian sausage and I suggest buying it at a Italian Market such as Mazzaro’s in St. Petersburg, FL.  If you only can find Italian sausage in casings, just remove the casings.  Grate your own Parmigiano Reggiano, it’s better than pre-grated.  This is a simple recipe, but you’ll get raves from your family or guest!  Enjoy with some Italian red wine!  Ciao!3473E4FA-0995-4A0C-806F-DDF69CA2D2C119F45795-BD27-4311-A7CC-0C87CE14E4D9

8B024187-31D0-421A-8A79-CFA5CF682A82

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (16 oz.) rigatoni pasta cooked al dente
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage casings removed (buy bulk if available)
  • 8.5 oz.  heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. Saffron threads
  • 3 tbsp. Marsala (dry)
  • salt for pasta
  • pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil as required

Instructions:

Place saffron threads in 2 tablespoons of hot water to soak.   Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.  Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to boil again.*

Meanwhile, drizzle olive oil in a fry pan or skillet on medium-high heat and brown the Italian sausage, breaking it up into chunks until well browned.  (Pat some of the excess oil up with clean paper towels, then discard the paper towel.)  Add the Marsala.  Let the alcohol evaporate about 1 minute and then add the cream and season with salt and pepper.  Continue cooking on a medium heat for about 4 minutes.  Add the saffron and water to the sauce, Stir and mix well.   Let it thicken, approximately 3 minutes.

*Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the box.  When the pasta is ready, save 2 cups of the cooking water and drain the pasta.  Add the pasta to the pan along with the grated cheese.  Mix everything together well.  If the sauce seems dry, add some of the pasta cooking water little at a time.  Serve immediately with some more grated cheese.   Serves 4

55CC818D-7FD9-4ACB-BC9C-D55E42C045DA

Bulk Mild Italian Sausage

Posted in ENTREES | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

CHRISTMAS TREE CHARCUTERIE

This is a show stopper for sure and takes a little planning, but the results are worth it!  There’s no one recipe for this appetizer, use what ever you like.  Study the picture to get an idea of how to place the treats!

CEDED326-4C38-4496-BCA3-9499426E3DFF99D4E2B8-63F6-4766-A3F4-F4484C0A9ED2CF160616-8B13-407E-8547-023E3621B62D Instructions on making a CHRISTMAS TREE CHARCUTERIE: Use a styrofoam Christmas tree and using a glue gun, glue it to a plastic plate (one you can dispose of, I got this one at Publix for $2.99).  Then using the glue gun again, glue parchment paper around the cone to hide the white.

6519B988-3B84-46DA-9C85-E6B67E582B4CI had so much left over, that I made a tray of charcuterie to go along with the tree.  I used sharp cheddar, white cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.  Just cut them into cubes.  Lay out all your different cheeses, meats, and olives and alternate placement based on color and size.   I brushed the finished tree with a little olive oil.  It’ll be a hit at any Christmas Party!

Posted in Appetizers | 4 Comments

LEMON ITALIAN RICOTTA COOKIES

We love these cookies at Christmas time, but they are delicious anytime of the year!  This makes enough to share (6 to 6 1/2 doz.), so go ahead, indulge and treat your friends!

69C64601-732B-4993-BB91-4A259C36C37C2C69B4B1-490B-486A-9D7B-38FA17D4E5D4

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 pound (16 oz.) ricotta cheese (whole milk, such as Galbani)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 room temp. Large eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt

For the Icing:

  • 2 cups powder sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Christmas sprinkles for decorating
  • Zest of two lemons for decorating (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat sugar and butter until blended.  Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

At Medium speed, beat in ricotta, vanilla, lemon juice, and eggs until well combined.

Reduce speed to low and add flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.  Beat until dough forms.  It will be sticky!

Use a one inch melon scooper  to scoop dough and then drop the dough onto large cookie sheet covered with a silicone mat or parchment paper.  Drop about 1 1/2  inches apart.

Bake about 15 minutes or until cookies are very lightly golden.  Cookies will be soft.  Take out of the oven and cool on cookie sheet about 15 minutes, then move to a cooling rack until cooled.  Repeat process until all cookies are baked.

ICING:

In small bowl, stir powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth.  With small teaspoon, spread icing on cookies.  Use the back of the spoon to gently spread the icing.  Decorate with Christmas Sprinkles (add a few specs of lemon zest to each cookie at this time also, if you like). (Do not wait too long to add sprinkles, they will not stick, do it in batches).  Set cookies aside to allow icing to dry completely (about 2 hours).

(Store the cookies in an airtight container.  The cookies do not need to be refrigerated.  For best results frost them the night before serving.)

Makes 6-6 1/2 dozen.

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

CHICKEN FRANCAISE

This is a classic dish, but it’s also so delicious!  It goes great with mash potatoes or dressing!  The lemony taste with the flour and egg breading makes each bite a delight.  It’s pretty simple so give it a try, you won’t regret it!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 skinless boneless chicken halves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. Lemon zest
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • One whole lemon thinly sliced

Place chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or inside a large baggy and gently pound chicken with flat side of a meat pounder or with a rolling pin until 1/4 inch thick (salt and pepper both sides).

Heat the oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until hot (not smoking).

Work in batches:  (Preparation)- Stir the flour, salt and black pepper in a plate or shallow bowl.  In another shallow bowl, crack 3 eggs and beat (put a little salt & pepper in the eggs too).    Dredge two pieces of chicken, one at a time, in the flour, shake off excess flour, then dredge the chicken in the egg mixture.  Place the piece of chicken in the frying pan.  Do the same with the other piece.  Fry the two pieces until lightly browned, then turn and brown the other side (about 4 minutes total).   Transfer to a plate and keep warm with some foil on top.  Now go back and dredge the other pieces in flour, then egg.  Then fry the other two pieces in the same manner.

After all the chicken is fried and nicely browned, clean the frying pan with paper towels.  Heat the butter over low heat until melted.  Add wine, broth, and lemon juice.  Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced, about 6 minutes. Stir in the parsley.  Add the chicken back into the pan and spoon the chicken with the sauce.  Top with lemon slices for appearance!  Enjoy! (Serves 4)

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

FILET OF BEEF TENDERLOIN–MAKE IT AHEAD with Creamy Horseradish Sauce

E83805F3-EB71-4750-AB90-28D1E7DA748093007064-F177-4F44-8149-911D9BFB753C

This is such a simple, yet elegant meal and it makes any occasion special.  When ordering a beef tenderloin from a butcher ask for the middle of the center cut of the tenderloin, have them trim and truss the tenderloin so that it is as even as can be.

TIPS FOR MAKE-AHEAD BEEF TENDERLOIN:  Making beef tenderloin ahead of time and reheating it puts you at risk of over cooking.  However, you can make your tenderloin ahead, up to two days before,  and serve cold or let it sit out for 1-2 hours until it’s room temperature.  A great serving suggestion is to slice your tenderloin as thin as you can and place it on a large serving platter.  Accompany it with toasted baguette slices, arugula, Parmesan cheese savings and creamy horseradish sauce for dressing.

BEEF TENDERLOIN:

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 lb. Prime beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh, coarsely ground pepper

*Take out the tenderloin approx. 45 minutes before roasting.  

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Have a roasting pan fitted with a rack ready.  Add freshly ground pepper to a small bowl, add the salt and stir to mix.  Set aside until ready to use.

Pat the tenderloin dry with a paper towel.  Spread 2 tablespoons of the butter all over the beef with your hands.  Sprinkle the beef all over with the salt and pepper mixture. Place the tenderloin on the roasting rack and roast for 40 minutes.    

At this point, begin checking the internal temperature using an instant read thermometer.  Insert the thermometer into the center-most part of the tenderloin.  For perfect medium-rare, pull the tenderloin once the thermometer reads 130 degrees.  If your tenderloin has yet to reach the desired temperature, return it to the oven and check it every 6-10 minutes thereafter.

Once the tenderloin has the reached desire internal temperature, transfer to a carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and allow to rest 15-20 minutes.  Remove any string used for trussing.  Slice, serve, and enjoy!  UNLESS YOU MAKE IT AHEAD AND REFRIGERATE IT FOR A DAY OR TWO!   (serves 8 to 12 as entree or up to 20 cut thinly)

 (Option for presentation:  place some thyme twigs or rosemary twigs for garnish around and on top of the tenderloin)

Degree of Doneness:4BE94ECD-73E3-45C0-B3EF-9D24EEF25DA6

Rare: 125 degrees       Medium-Rare: 135 degrees       Medium: 145 degrees                  Medium Well: 150 degrees              Well Done: 160 degrees  

CREAMY HORSERADISH SAUCE: ( Recipe for Horseradish sauce serves 6–you can double if necessary)

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp. Lemon zest
  • squeeze of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chives, finely diced

In a small mixing bowl, stir all of the ingredients together.  Serve right away or cover and   place in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Can be refrigerate for about 2 weeks.

 

CHAMPAGNE PUNCH AND MEMBERS OF HEALTHY BITES!

CHAMPAGNE PUNCH RECIPE:

  • 1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 (12 oz.) can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 2 bottles white wine, chilled
  • 2 bottles Prosecco, chilled
  • 2 liter sparkling water
  • 1 lemon, sliced for garnish
  • 1 container blue berries, for garnish
  • 1 cup fresh mint, garnish
  • 1 cup raspberries or cranberries, for garnish

In large punch bowl, combine the frozen lemonades, white wine, ProSecco, and sparkling water.  Stir, then add the garnishes.   Serve cold!  Enjoy

ADDED BONUS:  MAKE AHEAD DO’S AND DONT’S and 10 MAKE-AHEAD TIPS FOR PARTIES

CLICK ON 10 Make-Ahead Tips for parties

CLICK ON THIS:  THANKSGIVING MAKE AHEAD

Posted in ENTREES | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

APPLE POUND CAKE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups regular sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, soft
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (such as Gala or Granny Smith)
  • Optional:  walnuts for decoration and whipped topping for serving.

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Use pam spray for baking on a 9 inch Bundt pan and set aside.  With a mixer on low speed, cream together the sugar and butter.  Once well blended, add the applesauce, vanilla, and eggs (one egg at a time).  Mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on slow with your mixer until well combined.

Fold in the apples by hand and then transfer the mixture to the 9 inch Bundt pan.  (The batter will be thick!).   Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and set on cooling rack.  Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, and then remove from the pan.

Time to Glaze:     Combine the powdered sugar, milk and butter in a small bowl and whisk together until well blended.  Drizzle over the cake while it is still warm.

(Optional:  make a ring of walnuts around the top of the cake for decoration and top with a dollop of whipped cream when serving)

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

SALISBURY STEAK SUPREME

Time for some real comfort food!  Here’s a recipe that will fit the bill!  A little splash of wine turns this gravy to something special and can easily be used at a Thanksgiving meal!  Go ahead, get comfortable!
fullsizeoutput_b547

DipticExportSaveLocation

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE SALISBURY STEAK:

  • 2 lb. 90% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/3 cup Italian panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tsp. whole milk
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. oil to sauté

FOR THE MUSHROOM GRAVY:

  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 oz. mushrooms sliced (1 package)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup watr
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine (such as a Pino or Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 Tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the Salisbury Steak patties (EXCEPT THE OIL).  Mix until well incorporated (I use my clean hands).  Shape into 6 oval or round patties, flattening the center for even thickness throughout.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a non-stick pan, once hot, add patties to the pan and fry approximately 5 minutes on each side until the patties are nice and brown.  Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, saute the onion (under the Mushroom Gravy ingredient list) for a few minutes, then add the garlic and butter and mix.

Add the mushrooms and saute until browned, mixing frequently.  Season with salt and pepper.

In another bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp. flour, 1 1/2 Cups broth, 1/2 Cup water, 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire, 1/2 tsp. dijon, 2 tsp. ketchup, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper and 1/4 cup white wine (all the remaining ingredients under the Mushroom Gravy ingredient list).  Pour into the mushrooms.  Cook on medium until the gravy thickens.

Add the patties back into the pan and completely cover with the gravy and mushrooms.  Cook on low medium just until the patties are heated through.

Serve over mash potatoes and a side of peas.  Serves 6.

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

SMOKED SALMON AND CREAM CHEESE HORS D’OEUVRES

Want a simple, delicious, yet elegant appetizer, look no more!  Follow these simple directions and arrange your appetizer on a round tray.  I used single serving spoons for an extra nice presentation.

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 oz. smoked salmon
  • package of Boursin (garlic and herb) cream cheese
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped chives
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 English cucumber cut in 1/2 inch rounds
  • small cherry tomatoes
  • decorative toothpicks

Instructions:

Cut the smoked salmon into the number of pieces depending on how many spoons and cucumber rounds you want to fix.  Arrange the spoons on a round plate or tray, put a flat smaller plate in the center (to hold the cucumbers).  Place a piece of smoked salmon on the spoons and on the cucumber.

Divide the Boursin cheese between the smoked salmon spoons and cucumber.  Place approx. 1/2 tsp. of the Boursin cheese on top of the smoked salmon.  For the cucumbers only, use a decorative toothpick and a cherry tomato and place it on top of the salmon, cream cheese into the cucumber.

Sprinkle the chopped red onion, chives and lemon zest on top of the appetizers.  Garnish with a little cracked black pepper.  Serves 10 as an appetizer.

Posted in Appetizers | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

CHARCUTERIE BOARD

This is my interpretation of a delicious and attractive charcuterie board.  It doesn’t need a lot of planning, but just some creativity.  You can use some items you may have in stock.  Several basics are 3 to 4 types of cheeses, I used a Wisconsin yellow cheddar, Brie, Manchego, and amish white cheddar.    It helps to cut up the cheeses (except the Brie),  in order to facilitate eating.

Select the appropriate size cheese board.  Set the cheese first on the board (spread them out in a creative way, yet keeping the same cheese together).  Then place two to three small containers on the board (I used 3).  In these containers I put gherkins (small pickles), mixed nuts, and roasted pecans.  You can put olives, or other snack foods as you prefer.

Next I used three types of Italian meets, prosciutto, sweet sopressata, and dry coppa.  You can use a variety of meets, such as pepperoni.  I purchased a package of Charcuterie meats at Sam’s Club.  Lay the prosciutto in a pile, no need to fold.  The round meats fold in half, then fold again to make it look like a triangle, then arrange the meets around the board tucked between the containers and cheeses.

Next add the fruits and give it some color.  I used red grapes (cut the grapes in batches of 5 or 6 grapes), cherry tomatoes, medjool dates, mission figs (cut in half), and small strawberries. (Of course wash and dry all fruit).  Place these fruits around the board where there is still openings.

I also used a small honey jar just above the brie which contained a honey stick, just incase someone wanted honey drizzled on their Brie.

Put some crackers along side the honey jar, above the Brie.

Now fill in any empty spots with some sort of nuts.  The object is to fill the entire board with edible food.  A little parsley or fresh rosemary tucked in at the edges gives it a fresh look.

Use the picture above to actually see the placement of the foods.  By now you should have an impressive and delicious Charcuterie board that you will be proud to serve your friends or take to a party!  Enjoy!

Posted in Appetizers | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

BEEF AND BROCCOLI STIR FRY

This is an easy and simple dish that comes together quickly.  It will delight Chinese food lovers and is great for leftovers too.  Hope you enjoy!
fullsizeoutput_b42c

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 LB. flank or skirt steak:  Sliced very thin into bite-sized strips
  • 4 T olive oil (divided)
  • 1 lb. broccoli florets (about 6 cups):  cut up into smaller pieces
  • 2 T sesame seeds

(Stir-Fry Sauce ingredients:)

  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger: grated
  • 2 tsp. garlic: grated (approx. 3 cloves)
  • 1/2 Cup hot water
  • 6 T soy sauce
  • 3 T packed light brown sugar
  • 1  1/2 T corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 T sesame oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

NOTE:  Start cooking white rice first so it’s ready when the stir fry is done.  Cover and freeze steak 30 minutes for easier slicing.

Combine all stir fry sauce ingredients in a bowl, whisk well to dissolve the sugar and set aside.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 T oil.  Add broccoli florets and saute 4-5 minutes, partially covered with lid, stirring several times until broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender then remove from pan and set aside. (If you prefer softer broccoli, add 2 T water before covering with the lid and it will steam cook the broccoli.)

Increase heat to medium hight head and add 2 T oil.  Add beef in a single layer and saute 2 minutes per side, just until cooked through.  Cook in two patches in order not to crowd the pan.

Put all meat back into the pan, reduce heat to medium low and add the sauce.  Simmer 3-4 minutes, it will thicken.  Add broccoli and stir to combine.  Stir in 1-2 T water to thin the sauce if desired.  Add the sesame seeds and stir to blend.    Serve over white rice.  Delicious!  Serves 4

 

Posted in ENTREES | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CHICKEN SALTIMBOCCA

This recipe is one of my family’s favorite and is a special dish for any occasion.  Tender chicken breast, salty prosciutto and flavorful sage make a mouth watering combination.  I enjoy it served with fettuccini , but you can just serve it along side a salad, you’ll love the flavors! (Serves 4)
Mfa5R4XYRTOcKsQpm8Vh4QIMG_5090

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 skinless, boneless large chicken breast (cut each breast in half long way, seasoned with salt and pepper and pounded)
  • 4 oz. Prosciutto (thinly sliced)
  • 1 shallot (diced)                                                                      
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Pino Grigio (or other dry white wine)
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups flour (seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • 2 oz. olive oil for frying
  • toothpicks for securing sage and prosciutto for chicken
  • parsley for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Begin with slicing the two chicken breast (long way) in half, making four separate pieces.  Place each piece, one at a time, into a plastic bag and pound with a mallet to tenderize and flatten them to the same thickness so they cook evenly and in a shorter time.

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breast.  Layer each chicken breast with two to three slices of prosciutto.  Top off with four sage leaves.  Use toothpicks to sew in the sage leaves and to hold in the prosciutto so that they don’t fall off when cooking.  You can use two toothpicks per chicken breast (two sage leaves per toothpick)

Coat each side of the chicken breasts with flour.  (The easiest way is to put the flour in a paper plate or bowl, add some salt and pepper, and dredge the chicken in the flour).  Set aside.

Drizzle about four tablespoons of olive oil into a large, oven safe frying pan, set temperature to medium low.  Add in the diced shallot and fry for about a minute.   Begin to add in the chicken breast, starting with sage side down.  Add the remaining three pieces of chicken breast.   Raise the heat to medium setting and add in four tablespoons of butter.  Cook for about 3 minutes or until the sage side is golden in color.

Flip onto the other side and add the wine.  Cook for about two minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate and to allow the wine flavor to infuse into the chicken.  Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil over medium/low flame.  Once boiling, place the pan into the oven and cook for about eight to ten minutes.

Remove from the oven.  Serve over your favorite spaghetti or along side your preferred side dish.  MAKE SURE TO REMOVE THE TOOTHPICKS!  Pour some of the saltimbocca gravy over the chicken and spaghetti (sprinkle with parsley for garnish-Optional)  and enjoy!

 

 

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

CREAMY TUSCAN CHICKEN

All I can say is this is delicious!  The flavors of the creamy sauce will delight your palette and please even the most finicky eater.  It’s loaded with a healthy dose of spinach, but you don’t have to tell your kids!  Serve it over fettuccine for the perfect dinner that would be a hit at your next dinner party!1116FA7E-42CD-4849-90CC-31A2E8F79456

fullsizeoutput_b098

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup flour                                                                              
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • salt and ground pepper (to taste)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • dash of curry powder
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 5 oz. package baby spinach
  • 3 oz. package sun-dried tomatoes                                                                    
  • fettuccini for serving (follow package directions for pasta)

Instructions:

Place flour in a plate or bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then mix.  Sprinkle each side of the chicken breast with salt and freshly ground pepper, and a small sprinkle of curry powder.  Dredge the both sides of the chicken in the seasoned flour,  shake off any excess flower and place the chicken breast on a plate and set aside.   Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat.  In patches of 3, fry the chicken approximately 5 minutes per side, just until browned and no longer pink in the center.  The timing depends on the thickness of the chicken breast.  Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

If the skillet is dry, add a tiny bit more olive oil.  Add the garlic and shallot and cook for about 1 minute, just until fragrant.  Add chicken broth and scrape browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Add cream, Italian seasoning, dash of red pepper flakes,  and Parmesan cheese.  Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens.

Stir in spinach and sun-dried tomatoes and simmer for 1-2 minutes, until spinach wilts.  (Taste with a spoon and adjust salt and pepper to taste)

Add chicken back to the skillet and spoon a bit of sauce over each piece, simmer on low for 5 minutes.  Serve with pasta.  (Spoon pan juices with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes over the chicken and pasta.). Serves 6

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PECAN INFUSED RUM CAKE

17E2947F-6F0A-437C-8B15-321045F25823IMG_4559.JPG

fullsizeoutput_aa1dINGREDIENTS: (Rum Cake) (Serves 8-10)

  • 1 (15.25 oz.) yellow cake mix (I like Duncan Hines)
  • 1 (3.4 oz.) pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup rum (use any brand, but it should be white rum)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups chopped pecans

INGREDIENTS: (Glaze)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • pinch of salt

(items needed:  Pam Spray, standard 10-cup bundt pan)

Optional:  Whipped Cream for serving

DIRECTIONS:

Position rack in center of oven, preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Coat your bundt pan with baking spray (Or wipe with oil and dust with flour),  add a small circle of chopped pecans around the bottom of the bundt pan set aside.

Add yellow cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, 1/2 C cold water, 1/2 C oil, and 1/2 C rum and 4 large eggs into mixing bowl.  Mix on low speed with electric mixer for about 2 minutes, fold in 2 cups chopped pecans.  Pour into prepared pan.  Lightly tap pan on counter to remove excess air bubbles.  Bake 55-60 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes our clean.

Meanwhile, prepare glaze.  Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in 1 Cup sugar and 1/4 C water.  Bring to a boil, cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until sugar has melted and mixture is syrupy.  Remove from heat; carefully stir in 1/2 cup rum (mixture will bubble at first) and a pinch of salt.  Set aside.

When cake is done, cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes.  Invert onto a serving plate.  Prick top and sides all over with a toothpick.  Slowly drizzle some of the glaze all over the sides and top of cake.  Allow to absorb before drizzling with more glaze (you do not have to use all the reserved glaze!).  Cool cake completely.  Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Totally optional:  Chocolate glaze drip:   Melt one cup of chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave in 20 second intervals. Attempt to stir after each time. Chocolate can be melted but still hold it’s shape. Once it is smooth you can try drizzling with the end of a knife or a spoon, (mix with a bit of melted butter to make it more drippy if needed).

 This cake is delicious with or with this drizzle,  it’s your choice!  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

PASTA AND CHICKEN SALAD

Ever wonder what to do with that left over rotisserie chicken, well, here’s a way to stretch it out and repurpose it for dinner the next night!  It’s delicious and is a complete meal:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 Oz. Corkscrew or similar shaped pasta (cooked as directed on package)
  • 3/4 cup Italian-style salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 2 cups chopped cooked rotisserie chicken
  • 4 slices crispy cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup cubed cheddar cheese or Muenster cheese
  • 1 cup cubed Feta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped green or red bell pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 avocado-peeled, pitted and chopped

Directions:

Bring a large to of lightly salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through. (Follow package directions).  Drain and rinse under cold water.

Whisk Italian-style dressing, dijon, and mayonnaise together in a large bowl.  Stir in pasta, chicken, bacon, cheeses, celery, bell pepper, shallot, cherry tomatoes, and avocado into the dressing until evenly coated.

Keep refrigerated, store in refrigerator, serves 6.

OPTIONAL:  add 3/4 cup chopped walnuts!

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

PASTA e FAGIOLI SOUP

This is one of those meals that’s both hearty and nutritious.  If you love to cook, as I do, you’ll enjoy making this for your family.  It’s definitely a full meal and will feed a lot of people.  Serve it with crusty bread and top it with a good amount of grated Parmesan-reggiano cheese!IMG_1894

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 4 oz. diced pancetta
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dry basil
  • 1 tsp. dry oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 cans 15 oz. each tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 can 10 oz. Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
  • 2 -32 oz. chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta

Optional:  Parmesan reggiano graded cheese on top when serving, also crusty bread on the side.

Directions:

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, crumble in ground beef and cook, stirring occasional until cooked through.  Drain fat from the beef then transfer to a plate and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in the same pot.  Add Pancetta and saute for 2 minutes, add onions, carrots, and celery and saute until tender, around 6 minutes.  Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.

Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Rotel diced tomatoes, sugar, basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.  Add set-aside cooked ground beef.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover with lid and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until veggies are soft, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare ditalini pasta according to directions on package, cooking to al dente.

Add cooked and drained pasta to soup* along with kidney beans and great northern beans.  Thin with water or broth if desired.

Allow to cook 1 minute longer.

Serve warm with grated Parmesan Reggiano on top and a side of crusty bread.

*If you do not plan on eating all of the soup right away, I recommend adding the pasta to individual servings.  The pasta gets soggy and absorbs too much broth if left in soup.

Serves 8-10

 

 

 

Posted in Soups and Salads | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

CANNOLI CAKE

This is one of those cakes you make when you are having a dinner party!  It looks so impressive and it’s so delicious.  You can make it the day ahead and refrigerate it and it’s even better the next day!
+ExxrSv5QnKpwS6OVwhA9gIngredients:

  • 663373DF-3E29-4C46-8559-CB8FD8FD401D1 Package French vanilla or white cake mix (regular size, make according to package directions, usually calls for vegetable oil, water and eggs)

Filling:

  • 1 carton (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 C confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 ounces semisweet miniature chocolate chips
  • Optional (1 T Malibu Coconut rum)

Whipped Cream Frosting:

  • 2 C reg. whipping cream (1 pt. is 2 cups)
  • 3 T confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1 C dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C whipping cream

Optional for Garnish

  • 1 bottle candied cherries
  • 1 C chopped walnuts or pecans
  • whole store-bought cannoli for the top

Directions:

Prepare and bake the cake mix according to package directions, using two greased and floured 8 inch round baking pans.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon and extracts mix until well blended; stir in chocolate chips. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Beat the whipping cream on high speed in bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Beat in sugar and vanilla.  Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make Ganache:  In a microwave safe bowl, add chocolate chips and whipping cream.  Microwave on HIGH for 1 min. and 10 seconds.  Whisk together until completely combined.  Set aside on counter to cool and make sure it cools completely before dripping on the cake. (Store any unused ganache in refrigerator.)

After cake is completely cooled, cut each cake in half down the middle with a large serrated knife.  Place first cake layer on a serving plate, spread with about 3/4 C of the ricotta filling, place another layer of cake, spread with about 3/4 C of the ricotta filling, place 3rd layer and spread the remaining filling. Top with last layer of cake.fullsizeoutput_aadf

jkDY9yPxTD+M5AWiRe9eKQ

Frost top and sides of cake with whipped cream frosting.  Spread nuts on top of cake.  Use a spoon, drip chocolate ganache around the edge of the cake and let it run down the sides.  Place candied cherries around the top of the cake.  Place the whole store-bought cannoli on top of the cake in the center.  Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

Yield 12 servings

Note: I found this handy filled pastry bag, so easy to use and it helps keep the filling from coming out, just squeeze it around each layer of cake and put the filling inside of it!

Posted in Desserts | 2 Comments

COCONUT SHRIMP

This is a easy, delicious meal that’s good enough for company!  I have to give credit to my friend, Frankie, who gave me the recipe.  It’s packed full of flavor and goes perfect with Jasmine rice.  You can make the sauce ahead, peel and devein your shrimp and refrigerate the shrimp until ready to use.  Leave the cooked sauce on the stove and at the last minute add the shrimp and cilantro.  It takes less than 2-4 minutes for the shrimp to cook (depending on the size), then serve your dish!  Delicious!!
FullSizeRender
Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 or 2 lbs. Large or Extra Large shrimp, shelled and deveined (Key West Pinks Preferred)
  • Olive oil-enough to cover pan (approx. 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and peppar to taste
  • 4-5 scallions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned and cut in half
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes, (14.5 oz), drained well
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 C cilantro, chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk (14 oz.)

Directions:

Heat the red pepper flakes in the olive oil, add garlic, scallions, red peppers, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Saute until tender on med.-high heat for approx. 4 minutes.  Add lime juice, coconut milk, and petite diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  *Add shrimp and cilantro and cook until shrimp turn pink, approx. 2 to 4 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp.  Taste the sauce and add salt & pepper to your taste.  Serve over Jasmine rice.

*Note:  If making ahead, do not add the shrimp at this time.  Leave the shrimp in the refrigerator until ready to serve and add at the last minute along with the cilantro! Great for a dinner party!

 

Posted in ENTREES | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

AMBROSIA FRUIT SALAD TRIFLE

Here’s your EASY Memorial Day, Summer, no bake dessert that will surely please all palates and ages!  Light and fresh and chilled! You can even make it the day ahead!  Go ahead, permission to indulge!! (Note:  If you just want delicious Ambrosia Fruit Salad, stop the recipe as noted and do not buy the Angel Food Cake!)

Ingredients: (Serves 8-10)

  • 16 oz. frozen whipped cream, thawed (such as Cool Whip)
  • 2- 5.3 oz. vanilla flavor Greek yogurt
  • 23.5 oz. canned or jarred mandarin oranges, well drained (24 segments set aside for garnish)
  • 1 C crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 16 oz. jar maraschino cherries, well drained (14 held aside for garnish)
  • 2 C green seedless grapes, halved
  • 2 C shredded coconut
  • 2 C mini marshmallows
  • 1 C walnuts, chopped
  • 1 small can pineapple rings (for garnish-optional)
  • 1 prepared, store bought Angel Food Cake

Preparation:

Stir together whipped cream and Greek yogurt in a large bowl.

Add coconut and marshmallows and stir until completely combined.

Fold in oranges, pineapple, grapes, cherries, and walnuts (except the 14 cherries and 24 orange segments you separated).

(NOTE:  If you just want delicious Ambrosia Fruit Salad, you can stop here and refrigerate at least 4 hours for plain Ambrosia!)

Take the prepared Angel Food Cake out of the container and cut it up in large chunks.  Have your Trifle bowl ready!

Layer as follows:  one layer of Ambrosia, spread around, one layer of Angel Food Cake, then another layer of Ambrosia, another layer of cake, and top of last layer of Ambrosia.  (Each layer should be thick).

Smooth out the top and decorate with the cherries, mandarin orange slices and pineapple ring as shown in the picture.

Let sit covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator a minimum of 4 hours, but you could leave overnight!

(Note: you might have a little leftover cake and pineapple, just use at your discretion for another time!)

 

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment