Monday, November 25, 2013

Cran-Orange Relish

One of my favorite things on the dinner table at Thanksgiving is the cran-orange relish. My grandmother always makes the relish for Thanksgiving, but now we live so far away and it is hard to get back to visit for the holidays. I decided a few years ago, that I would take this yummy favorite on as my tradition here with my family. I make it just a little different than Grandma used to, but tasting it still brings back happy memories from when I was younger. This year, my daughter, who is 5, decided she wanted to make it this year, with my supervision, of course.  This tastes so delicious with the turkey and even leftovers on a turkey sandwich.



Ingredients

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 large orange, quartered
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
a few dashes of cinnamon

Using the shredder blade for the food processor, add the oranges and then the cranberries. Once they are shredded, add to a saucepan and add the sugar, cinnamon sticks, and a few dashes of cinnamon. Cook over medium-low heat until warm. This allows for the sugar to melt and it brings the beautiful red color of the cranberries to pop. Remove from heat and put in a covered bowl, store in the refrigerator. Serve with anything you like cranberries with!! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Loaded Potato Cheese Soup

Once that colder weather moves in, my body seems to crave a yummy soup. I'm a cream soup type of girl verses the brothy-types. Potato cheese soup is by far my favorite, and now my 5 year old is also a huge fan. SO, yesterday afternoon, we decided we needed a pot of soup!  With my cute little sous chef assisting me, we made our soup with great success!


First you need some crisp bacon. The only successful way I have found to cook bacon, without all the mess, is on my broiling pan in the oven. No splattering of grease all over your stove, no getting burned from the grease, just easy. I usually bake it in the oven on 375 degrees for 20-30 mins. I just eyeball it.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb bacon, cooked & diced
3-4 large potatoes, peeled & diced
2 TBSP olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp dried basil
8 cups of chicken stock
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup heavy cream
extra cheese to garnish
green onions, chopped to garnish

Roux:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour

Directions:

Saute onions, celery, and garlic in olive oil in a large pot.  Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, basil, and stock. Bring to a boil until the potatoes are cooked.  Stir in cheese and cream. Let simmer. 

Meanwhile, make the roux- melt butter in a saucepan, then start stiffing in the flour with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick. Keep stirring over heat so it cooks. The flour will slowly begin to brown. Once golden brown in color, it can be used. The darker the roux, the more flavor it will add to the soup.

Once the roux is ready, stir into the soup. This allows it to get its thickness.

Serve in bowls and top with cheese, bacon, and green onions.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dorito Casserole

Dorito Casserole

Growing up, my mom would do a Mexican night usually once a week. One of my favorite dishes she would prepare was her Dorito Casserole. Layers of doritos, meat and cheese.  So flavorful, and just enough heat to make it be a Wow! My mouth waters just thinking about it. My husband likes to top his with a little guacamole and sour cream.



Ingredients:

1lb ground beef (you can double this if you are cooking for a larger crowd)
Doritos (you will be layering these in the casserole dish-amount depends on you)
Shredded Cheese, I like to use the Mexican blend
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can cream of whatever you have soup
1 can chopped chillies
chopped onions
1-2 TBSP taco seasoning, to your taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown ground beef and drain grease. Add taco seasoning and onions and cook until onions are translucent. Add chillies,  the cream of whatever you have soup, and the enchilada sauce, mix well.  
Layer doritos in a casserole dish. Spread half of the meat mixture over the doritos. Sprinkle with cheese, however cheesy you want to make it.  Repeat the directions again layering the doritos, meat, and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is nice and bubbly.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta





Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta


Chicken breasts, cut into cubes
onions, chopped
garlic, minced
salt
pepper
garlic powder
Sundried Tomatoes or Rotel 
Mozzerella cheese (just to sprinkle throughout)
3 TBSP Basil Pesto 
1/4 c Evoo
1/4 water

Pasta: swirly ones, or penne whatever kind you like. Regular spaghetti noodles work too, but totally your choice.

Start cooking your pasta. Generally I start that first & by the time I am done cooking the chicken, pasta is ready.
Cook onions & Garlic in EVOO, for a few minutes & then add cubed chicken & season with salt & pepper & garlic powder. Once chicken is cooked, add Sundried Tomatoes or Rotel. You can also add sundried tomatoes too.
Mix together pesto, EVOO, & Water & heat in microwave for 1 minute, or until hot.
Combine pasta, chicken, & pesto mixture together. Sprinkle with Mozz. cheese!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Caprese Chicken


Once the warm weather hits, I love to start cooking light and simple and fresh. This is the perfect recipe for that and very quick too! I am a huge caprese salad fan, so why not kick it up a notch? A very popular in my house, even my picky five year old will eat this! Let me know what you think!


Chicken:
1 - 8 oz container of plain yogurt
3 - TBSP balsamic Vinegar
1 package chicken tenders OR 8 thin boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves

Tomato-Mozzarella Topping 
1 - TBSP olive oil
1 large sweet onion, cut into small strips
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 - TBSP water
3-4 large roma tomatoes, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, but into small cubes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

For the chicken:
Mix together the yogurt and balsamic vinegar until well blended. In a zip-loc bag, add the chicken, then pour yogurt mixture over the chicken. Seal the bag and shake it around so all the chicken is cover. Let this marinate in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes (or even overnight if you plan ahead).  
***Get your charcoal or gas grill ready and warmed up.***

Remove chicken from the bag and discard marinade and bag. Grill the chicken 6-8 minutes on each side, depending on thickness of the chicken. 

Once the chicken is cooked, add the topping and serve immediately! 

For the topping:
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, then add the onions. Saute onions for 5-6 minutes or until slightly softened.  Mix the balsamic vinegar and water together, then pour over the onions. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced and onion is tender. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove skillet from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes, then stir in the mozzarella and basil.






Monday, March 25, 2013

No Bake Almond Joy Bars

All you fans of the candy bar, Almond Joy...I have got a treat for you. These bars are even better than the regular almond joy, in my opinion. Chocolate, coconut, almonds, a little extra crunch from the cereal, and the gooeyness for marshmallow. I found this recipe on ladybehindthecurtain.com blog. 



Ingredients
10 ounces mini marshmallows
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
2 cups Honey Bunches of Oats with almonds
1-1/2 cups almonds, chopped
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Directions
Line a 9x9x2 -inch baking pan with foil.
Ingredients
10 ounces mini marshmallows
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
2 cups crispy flake and crunchy oat cluster cereal with honey and almonds ( I used Honey Bunches of Oats with almonds)
1-1/2 cups almonds, chopped
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Directions
Line a 9x9x2 -inch baking pan with foil and spray with non stick cooking spray.  In a large bowl,  microwave marshmallows and the 3 tablespoons of butter on high 1 to 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir in coconut flavoring.  Stir in coconut, cereal and almonds.  Cool slightly.  Gently fold in chocolate pieces.  Press mixture lightly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Let stand about our or until set.  Using the edges of the foil, lift uncut bars out of pan.  Cut into squares.  
*I got this recipe from ladybehindthecurtain.com.  The original recipe is from the BHG Brownies and Bars 2013 magazine.

Rebop's Easy Pork Chops


I have been making this recipe for a LONG time....all the way back from when I used to live at home with my parents. It was a favorite of my Dad's, and now a favorite among my husband and three kiddos.
You can't get much simpler than this.  You can take any type of vinaigrette dressing. I just use whatever I have in the fridge at the time. The following picture, I used a raspberry vinaigrette. You can pair this with all sorts of different sides, mashed potatoes topped with the gravy in the pan is my favorite. To go a little lighter, roasted asparagus or roasted green beans are another favorite as well!  After you try out this recipe, let me know what you think and what side you paired it with.


Ingredients:

4-5 pork chops, seasoned with salt & pepper
1 cup Italian dressing or any type of vinaigrette works
1/4-1/2 cup of spicy mustard
1 large onion sliced into rings
Olive Oil

Heat olive oil in a large skillet, then add pork chops. Sear on one side and then flip over. Sprinkle the pork chops with the onion rings. Mix together the dressing and mustard and pour over the onions and pork chops. Cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the chops.




Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bailey's Irish Cream Cake Bars

Living in the fabulous neighborhood I do, we always are having get-togethers. We were invited to a St. Patrick's day celebration, so I thought I would make something yummy to take over there. On pinterest yet again, I stumbled upon a recipe for these "bars" using Bailey's Irish Cream. These were a lot more cake like then I thought they would be, but perfect. Sweet, but yet a little salty thrown in there. In keeping with the St. Patty's day theme, I sprinkled a little light green sugar on top which make them have a little sparkle.
While baking, my home smelled WONDERFUL! I will definitely keep this recipe. 


Ingredients:

For the cake:
1 package of yellow cake mix
3 large eggs
3/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
1/3 cup canola oil

For the swirl:
1/2 cup of the cake batter from above
6 ounces of cream cheese
6 ounces of white chocolate chips 
1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease a casserole dish or cake pan
3. Combine the cake mix, eggs, Bailey's and oil, and mix until fluffy.
4.  Set aside 1/2 cup of batter, then pour into prepared pan.
5.  In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup cake batter, cream cheese, and Bailey's. Whip until fluffy then fold in the white chocolate.
6.  Drop large spoonfuls on top of the cake mixture.
7. Take a fork and swirl throughout the batter to make a marble-like effect
8.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.
9. Cool & cut into squares and enjoy!





Blueberry Buckle


Blueberries were on sale this past week at the grocery, so I bought some thinking I would be making my "famous" blueberry muffins. I came upon a recipe on pinterest and decided to try it out instead. I did alter the original recipe just a hair for my person preference.  My 17 year old, his best buddy, and my husband were my taste testers as soon as it came out of the oven. By the next day, there wasn't much left! This one will be kept in my recipe vault!
I'm sure you are wondering what a "buckle" is.  It is very similar to a coffee cake. Fruit buckles are very popular up in New England, where my heart is.  The base of a buckle is a rich cake batter, sprinkled with fresh fruit, usually using what is in season at the time.  A streusel topping makes this even tastier.  When the streusel topping is baked, it crinkles a bit, like it has "buckled" hence the name.


Ingredients
    For the cake
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Additional shortening and flour to prepare the baking pan
  • For the topping
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until blended. Then add the milk and mix again until blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture slowly until blended. Fold in the blueberries.
  4. Grease and flour a 9x9 or 8x10 pan. Spread the blueberry batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  5. To make the topping, combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the cake mixture in the pan.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes for an 8x10 pan or 45-50 minutes for an 9x9 pan (until cake tester comes out clean). Other size baking pans may be used - just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  7. Serve warm or cold, plain or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.