Sunday, July 28, 2013

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

Want a yummy way to use up those fresh summer zucchinis? I've got the answer for you in these tasty Zucchini Parmesan Crisps. They are a cinch to make and with the golden crispy flavor of parmesan cheese, they are a perfect compliment to any dinner. 
Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
From Food
Printable Version

Ingredients (I doubled this recipe) 
Cooking Spray
2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 3/4 ounce)
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Slice the zucchini into 1/4 inch thick rounds. In a medium  bowl combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt and a few turns of pepper. Dip each zucchini slice individually into the olive oil and then into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides. Place in a single layer on the prepared basking sheets. 
I also sprinkled on a little more salt at this point before putting in the oven. Bake until browned and crisp, about 25-30 minutes. Remove with a spatula and serve immediately. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa

I have made lots of different dishes with quinoa but this recipe is one of my favorites. It really incorporates all the yummy flavors you expect of buffalo chicken - the heat from hot sauce, nice chunks of chicken and to cool things off some goat cheese. Blue cheese would also be a great substitute if you don't like goat cheese and my friend Julie, who came over and ate this dinner with us said that slices of celery in it would also be a yummy addition and I agree. I am not sure it's the healthiest of quinoa recipes (loads of cheddar cheese) but it sure is delicious. 
Buffalo Chicken Quinoa
From Iowa Girl Eats 
Printable Version
Serves 4-6
1 1/4 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 chicken breasts 
garlic powder
onion power
salt and pepper
smoked paprika
2 tablespoons of flour
1 1/2 cups of milk, dived
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Frank's Red Hot Sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chevre (goat cheese) crumbled
Preheat broiler. Cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside. SEason chicken breasts on both sides with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Cook in a nonstick pan sprayed with cooking oil over medium heat until cooked all the way through. Chop into bite sized pieces. 
Whisk together flour and 1/2 cup of milk in a separate large pan over medium heat. Pour in the remaining milk and green onions. Using a spatula bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for one minute while boiling. 
Remove from the heat and add in the hot sauce and cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted. Add in the quinoa and chicken and stir to combine. 
Pour into a non stick spayed casserole dish and top with the chevre. Broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbly. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cinnamon Chip Cookies

These cookies are some serious yumminess. They reminded me of a cinnamon roll in cookie form (without the frosting) and they take the normal snickerdoodle cookie to a whole new level with the addition of cinnamon chips. Aren't cinnamon chips a beautiful thing?
Cinnamon Chip Cookies
Adapted from Averie Cooks
Printable Version
Makes 22 cookies
1 egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt (optional)
1 10 ounce bag of cinnamon chips

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the egg, butter and sugars beat on medium high speed until well creamed about five minutes. If using a hand mixer beat for at least 7 minutes. Add the yogurt and vanilla and incorporate until fluffy again, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the flour, cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking soda and optional salt. Beat until just combined, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to over mix. 
Stir in the cinnamon chips. Place dough in the refrigerator for about 1 hour, until it is hard to the touch. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with a Silpat liner or parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to brown. Allow cookies to cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

I made this yummy salad full of fresh veggies and tossed with a unique vinaigrette for our Fourth of July get together with friends. It made a huge portion, perfect for potlucks. It can be made ahead of time and chilled - a bonus for this busy Mommy who's one year old is constantly keeping me on my toes!
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
From Family Circle Magazine 
Makes 12 servings (more if using potluck sized portions)
Printable Version

1 box of your favorite pasta
8 ounces snow peas (I used regular frozen peas that I thawed)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 sweet orange pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1 ¼ inch strips
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

For the Vinaigrette
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions Cook noodles according to directions. Add snow peas during the last minute. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again. Meanwhile place tomatoes, pepper strips, feta and onion in a large bowl. Whisk together all ingredients for the Vinaigrette and whisk. Place pasta and snow peas in a large bowl with the other ingredients with Vinaigrette. Toss gently to combine. Scatter sliced basil on top and gently stir. Refrigerate until serving.

Monday, June 10, 2013

M & M Cookies for Memorial Day

I spent the morning of Memorial Day this year making these cookies to take into my husband and his co-workers who were hard at work serving military families at our Naval Hospital. I adapted this recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook chocolate chip cookie recipe and was really happy with the results. They were really yummy and who doesn't love an M&M cookie? 
This recipe makes about 6 dozen cookies and I was worried I sent in too many, but my husband said that these were demolished in 24 hours. I am so glad that I was able to give back in a small way  on a Holiday that honors the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country. 
M & M Cookies
From Betty Crocker's Cookbook
Makes 6 dozen cookies
Printable Version
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 large package of M&Ms (I used plain but any variety could be used)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix throughly shortening, butter, sugars and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients, making sure to gently stir in the M&Ms at the very end.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pumpkin Cashew Chicken Curry

This dish is by far the best thing I have made in a LONG time. My neighbor AnnMarie and her family just moved from Okinawa and gave me a bunch of canned pumpkin. I asked her how she used pumpkin and she shared with me this amazing recipe. I am so thankful she did because it was seriously delicious. You can't go wrong with the flavor combinations in this one pot meal - pumpkin, curry, coconut milk, red onion, cinnamon, cilantro, cashews. I added in carrots for additional flavor and veggie content and this dish could easily be adapted for vegetarians if you substituted more veggies for the chicken. After I made it I put it in my crock pot to hang out on warm for several hours and I think it really intensified the flavors.
This is my new favorite recipe and one I will put into our regular dinner rotation. 
Pumpkin Cashew Chicken Curry
Modified from PaleOMG and recommended by AnnMarie (thanks AM!)
Serves 4-5
Printable Version
2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons ginger 
1 red onion, sliced
2 large carrots, sliced
1/2 can coconut milk 
1 large can of pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup cashews
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon olive oil (or coconut oil)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Pinch of cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro, for garnish 
3 cups of cooked rice (I used Jasmine)
Heat large pot or Dutch Oven to medium and add in oil. Add minced garlic and ginger and once fragrant add in chicken and carrots. Cook until chicken is white on all sides. 
Pour in coconut milk, all spices, red onions and pumpkin. 
Raise heat until mixture becomes bubbly, stirring frequently.  Allow to cook until onions have softened, about three minutes. 
This is when I transferred everything to my crock pot but you can also serve it immediately. When ready to eat place on top of rice and garnish with cashews and chopped cilantro. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Margarita Pie

You can't have a Mexican Feast to celebrate Cinco de Mayo without a yummy dessert. I saw this recipe for Margarita Pie on my friend Elizabeth's blog and knew it would be a perfect, refreshing ending to our Cinco de Mayo dinner with friends. I love desserts that you can make ahead and this one you can freeze overnight. I definitely tasted the alcohol in this so it is most definitely not a kid friendly dessert, but you could omit the tequila and triple sec! A margarita in pie form - can't go wrong with that!
Margarita Pie
From Elizabeth's Dutch Oven 
Printable Version
For the crust:
8 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup crushed pretzels

For the filling:
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3-4 tablespoons tequila
2 tablespoons triple sec
1 tub cool whip

For the crust:
Crush pretzels into bite sized pieces and measure out 1 1/4 cup. Melt butter. Mix sugar and butter then add pretzels and coat. Press into the bottom of an 8X8 square pan coated first with additional melted butter or cooking spray.

For the filling:
Stir together all ingredients in a bowl. Pour over the pretzel crust. Freeze for several hours or overnight before serving. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Crock Pot Queso Dip

I made this incredibly yummy and gluttonous Queso Dip for a Cinco de Mayo dinner we hosted. My husband loves Queso and could have eaten the entire batch. Thank God we had our friends to share this with because it is not healthy! It was so easy to make because all you do is throw everything in the crock pot and in an hour or so it's ready to be gobbled up. 
Crock Pot Queso Dip
From A Gilt Nutmeg
Printable Version
1 tub of hot sausage 
2 lbs Velveeta, roughly cubed
1 package (8 ounces) of cream cheese
1 can of Rotel or other brand of diced tomatoes and green chiles 
Tortilla chip for serving
Fry up the sausage and crumble it, making the pieces as small as possible. Place on paper towels on a plate to absorb some of the drippings. In the pot of your crock pot place the sausage, cubed Velveeta, cream cheese and can of Rotel. Turn the crock pot on high and in about half an hour stir to combine ingredients. Stir again in another half hour and everything should be melted together. Turn crock pot to warm setting until ready to serve. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Vegetarian Curry

Hooray I have a Meatless Monday recipe to share with you! I have made this vegetarian curry dish several times now. It's so easy and so good and so healthy! If you don't like a lot of heat be sure to leave the pepper out of this, as just with curry alone it has a little kick. 
You can add or subtract whatever veggies you like or have on hand. This time I forgot to get chickpeas so I substituted some small potatoes. I think sliced summer squash or zucchini would also be excellent in this! It also is a great recipe to make ahead and keep warm in the crock pot. My friend Jess shared this recipe with me after she got it from our friend Kelly. Thanks ladies! :)
Vegetarian Curry
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger
1 thai or jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 can coconut milk
½ cup water
½ cup frozen peas
½ cup diced tomatoes

Warm oil in dutch oven at medium low. Add garlic, ginger, onion and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in curry and season with salt and pepper. Add sweet potatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk and water. 
Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for ten minutes. Add peas and tomatoes and cook until heated through. If you want to keep warm in a crock pot, this is time time to transfer everything over. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cream Cheese Brownie Batter Dip

This decadent dip is another Pinterest find. I made it for my play group and served it with fresh strawberries, graham crackers, sliced bananas and Ritz crackers. It was a big hit - kids love dipping things don't they? The original name for it was Brownie Batter Dip but I changed it because of the very strong cream cheese flavor. 

Cream Cheese Brownie Batter Dip
From Something Swanky
Printable Version
Ingredients - I doubled this because I was feeding a large crowd
8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar (varies by desired consistency)
5 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
5 tablespoons brown sugar
3+ tablespoons milk (varies by desired consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a stand mixer whisk together the cream cheese and butter. Add the brown sugar. Add the 2 cups of powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time and 2 tablespoons of milk. Add the flour, cocoa powder, vanilla and 1 more tablespoon of milk if needed. Whisk all until smooth. Add remaining powdered sugar and milk alternately if needed until dip reaches your desired consistency.  Serve with fresh fruit, crackers or eat with a spoon! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

40 Garlic Clove Chicken

This meal is one of the best I have made in a very long time. It was so good that no pictures of the finished product were taken because my husband and I scarfed it up so quickly! The chicken was juicy, oh so wonderfully garlic-y. My husband was literally drinking the gravy that I made with the juices. With fresh herbs and a ton of garlic (40 cloves, to be exact) this chicken was out of this world delicious. An added bonus is your house will smell divine as it cooks! Do yourself a favor and serve it on top of some mashed potatoes. 
40 Garlic Clove Chicken
Found on The Crepes of Wrath
Serves 3-4
Printable Version
3 1/2-4 pound fryer chicken (I used a whole chicken but recommend chicken that is already cut into serving pieces)
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
40 cloves of garlic, peeled but still whole (about 3 cloves of garlic)
3/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon thyme (I used way more because I had fresh on hand)
1 teaspoon rosemary 
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon butter 
Spray the inside of your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. Rub the chicken generously with salt and pepper and place in your crock pot. 
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet and add the peeled whole garlic. Cook for 5-8 minutes over medium heat until the garlic is golden. 
Then add the white wine and stir until the liquid has mostly evaporated, another 3-5 minutes.
Pour the garlic and white wine over the chicken and sprinkle the thyme and rosemary over top of everything. Add in the bay leaf. Turn on the crock pot to low and cook for 3-4 hours. Set aside. Pour the juices from the pot through a mesh sieve into a saucepan. Press the garlic through the mesh sieve, scraping it off to form a paste. Cook with a tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat until slightly thickened and serve over the chicken and whatever else you happen to be eating (cooked vegetables, potatoes, crusty bread, etc). Enjoy! 

And because I don't have a finished product photo for you here is something pretty for you to look at -- this view is from my front yard (and what I often see out my kitchen window) - an amazing sunset over the East China Sea!


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