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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Italian Panini

After a wonderful day spent with John visiting some friends, grocery shopping together, and running errands, I decided that a quick, but hearty panini was in order for dinner. John loved this one and it was so simple to make. I love that I now can go straight into my backyard and pick fresh basil for this sandwich. Now if only my tomatoes would grow faster, so I could use those also!!! Sorry this picture is so awful, John was hungry and I took this shot before I put the sandwich back on the grill.
Ciabatta Bread
Genoa Salami
Hard Salami
Pepperoni
Cappicola Ham
Tomato slices
Fresh Basil
Mozzarella cheese
Olive oil

Layer meats, cheeses, basil and tomatoes on the bread. Drizzle olive oil on your panini press. ( If you don't have a panini press, you can use a griddle or skillet, but you will need to turn the sandwich over halfway through cooking.) Place the sandwich on the hot press and grill until cheese is melted and meat is heated through.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anzac Biscuits

These really aren't a biscuit, they are more like a cookie, but whatever you want to call them, they are GREAT!! They have a chewy, yet crispy inside and the flavor  is just wonderful. Imagine an oatmeal tasting cookie with coconut and molasses, and you can just begin to imagine how yummy these are.
1 cup butter
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp very hot water
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1 cup oatmeal ( I use the quick cooking variety)
3/4 cup flour

In a medium saucepan, place the butter, molasses, baking powder and sugar. Mix in the hot water. Bring it to a boil and remove from heat. Add the coconut, oatmeal and flour and mix well. Place large spoonfuls of the mixture onto a cookie sheet a few inches apart from each other. Bake at 275 for 25 minutes.

Coriander and Cilantro Flatbread

I was so excited today to pick the cilantro for this recipe, out of my very own backyard garden. This was the first time I have ever done that. You should have seen me....I was like a little kid out there snipping away at the plant and then carrying my cilantro bouquet right under my nose all the way into the house so I could enjoy the great smell of it before cutting it up to use in my bread.
This is one of my all time favorite breads to make. It tastes like a good Indian Naan, but it's just a little bit thicker. It is a healthy recipe, but boy oh boy, do I like to have mine topped with a good butter bath!  So I guess that negates the healthiness of it, but it sure makes it tastes even better than it already is without the butter.
This is the plate of it I served tonight, minus one or two of course, as my daughter and I just HAD to sample it first!!
*makes 8 pieces of bread

1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
3/4 cup plain yogurt

Sift first 5 ingredients into a bowl. Stir in cilantro. Add yogurt and stir with a fork until small clumps form. Knead the mixture in the bowl until the dough holds together. (You can add more flour or yogurt here if you need to in order to achieve a soft, sticky dough) Turn dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each dough piece into a ball and use a rolling pin on a floured surface to flatten out each ball until it's fairly thin or approx 4 1/2 inches across. Brush a skillet generously with olive oil. Heat skillet to med/high heat. Working in batches, add 3 dough rounds to skillet, cook until golden brown and puffed. Turn over after one side is browned and drizzle more olive oil into skillet before browning the other side. Serve warm.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Heatlhy BBQ Chicken Sandwich

Today called for another simple meal at our household. This was so easy that it almost seems silly to post it on this blog. I'm sure everyone and their mother knows how to make a BBQ chicken sandwich, but here goes anyway......I promised friends I would keep up on this blog, so I guess that means posting even the super simple stuff I make sometimes!
Whole wheat sandwich buns
Chicken breasts (as many as you need or want)
1 bottle BBQ sauce
lettuce
tomato, sliced

Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot and put some of the BBQ sauce on them. I put just enough to cover them to start with. Let it cook until chicken is completely cooked through. Drain the liquid out of the crock pot and place the chicken in a skillet. Add as much extra BBQ sauce as you would like. Cook until the sauce is heated through. Place the chicken in a whole wheat sandwich bun and top with fresh lettuce and tomato slices.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hummus and Vege Wrap

Who says healthy can't taste great? Not me!! These wraps were so easy to make and you only need to know how to slice and grill vegetables to pull this one off. I love to make my own hummus normally, but today called for playing with my beautiful grand daughter instead of taking time to make home made hummus. It was well worth the time invested in her little life, to just break down and buy store bought hummus. For those of you that do not like to cook and are looking for something simple, healthy and tasty....this one is it!! In this picture, I know you really can't see the inside of the wrap, but trust  me when I say it's stuffed with yummy goodness!
Wraps or Flat Bread
Hummus
Zuccchini
olive oil
salt
pepper
green, red or yellow bell peppers sliced thinly
baby spinach leaves
red onion, sliced thinly
toasted pine nuts

1) Slice the zucchini  into long thin slices. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill over med heat until softened, but not mushy and slightly browned.
2) Spread hummus onto each wrap, as little or as much as you would like.
3) Layer veges onto the wrap. (zucchini, peppers, onion and spinach leaves)
4) Place a few toasted pine nuts onto each wrap. (To toast pine nuts, place them in a skillet for a couple of minutes and stir over med heat until the toast golden brown.
5) Roll up the wrap and enjoy!

Sugar and Spice Fruit Dip

I love the combination of sugar, spice and salt. When my girls were growing up, they always loved to put spicy chili powder on some of their fruits. Now we are all grown ups and it still tastes great. You can mix this combo of dipping sugar to suit your individual taste. Tonight I only had pineapple to serve it with, but next time you can be sure I will be cutting up some watermelon and mangoes to dip in it also.

 1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar
3/4 - 1 tsp salt
1- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
Fruit cut up

Mix the sugar, salt and chili powder in a bowl. Serve with cut up fruit to dip in it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Peeps Sunflower Cake

My boss showed me this adorable cake that she found on the Internet yesterday and I decided to make it today to try it out. It was really easy and other than the fact that my sunflower "peep" edge doesn't look as round as the original, I'm happy with it overall.  I probably could have simplified it and used store bought cake and frosting, but that wouldn't have been as much fun!

1 store bought cake mix ( I used scratch, but you can use this to make it easier)
2 tubs chocolate frosting
chocolate chips
19-20 peeps

Bake cake according to pkg directions in two 9 inch round pans. Cool completely. Turn one of the cakes out onto a pretty platter. Put a thin layer of frosting on the top and place the other layer of cake on top of the frosting. Frost the entire two layers of cake with chocolate frosting. Place peeps ( I didn't pull my peeps apart, I just bent them a little bit to make them "rounder") around the edge of the cake to form the sunflower. Next place chocolate chips in circles around the middle to make the "seeds"

Monday, April 18, 2011

Patty Melt

This week has been a "time off" from my blog while I went back to re-prepare some of the meals I have made and loved. While I enjoyed doing that, I really missed cooking and trying new things. Tonight John wanted me to try something that he cooked. Not being a fan of ground beef, I went into tonight's dinner with trepidation. I have to say that for those of you that like ground beef, I'm sure you would enjoy this sandwich. Me? I love that my hubby prepared it and I love that he took the time to cook this for me, but I could only eat a couple bites of it. I just still have not learned to appreciate red meat. If it had any other meat in it, I probably would have loved it, but then it wouldn't have been a patty melt.
2 slices of rye bread
Butter
ground beef
salt/pepper to taste
diced green chilies
diced onions
pepper jack/ or american cheese

Shape ground beef into patties. Season with salt and pepper. In a skillet, saute onions with green chilies until partially caramelized. Cook ground beef until done. Place ground beef, onnion and chili mixture and cheese onto buttered slices of rye bread. Place buttered slices (butter side out) onto a hot griddle or skillet. Cook until cheese is melted and bread is grilled.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Almonds and Broccoli

I love when a simple side dish is a hit at my house. This is so easy to prepare and tastes great! Of course, I love broccoli and I love almonds, so it was kind of a "no brainer" that I would love it.

1 lb broccoli
1 cup water
1 tsp chicken bullion granules
2 1/2  tbsp butter
1/4- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
salt to taste

Cook broccoli in one cup water seasoned with one teaspoon of chicken bullion granules, just until it is crisp tender. Meanwhile in a skillet brown the almonds in 3 tbsp butter. Season with salt to taste. After broccoli is cooked, serve with almonds on the top.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Baking. This is what an insomniac does when she wakes up at 4:00 AM. Since there seems to be nothing worthy of spending my time watching on the television that time of morning, I decided to bake. I wanted something different then I have baked in awhile, so I made gingerbread cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. They were really yummy and I'm sure nobody at work minded that I didn't sleep well last night haha! I think these cupcakes turned out pretty light and fluffy and what a great pairing of tastes with the cream cheese frosting.
Cupcakes:

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1 cup hot water

Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in egg and molasses. Add sifted, dry ingredients until smooth. Blend in hot water. Place batter into cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 14-16 minutes or until done.

Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 TBSP (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups sifted, powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Mix cream cheese and butter together in mixer until thoroughly mixed together and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the sifted powdered sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix well to combine.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hello Kitty Truffles

Today, my daughter and I helped a friend make hello kitty truffles for a bridal shower. I guess the bride to be really likes hello kitty. They were a ton of work, but worth the work in the long run. Besides, what can be better than spending the day with loved ones? These are just a basic oreo truffle that has been shaped into a hello kitty shape. We used white chocolate chips for the ears and glued them onto the truffle with white frosting. Then we dipped the truffles in melted white chocolate. Using red, black and yellow frosting we decorated the faces.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Delicious Fruit Dip

I have been re-making some of my dinners this week that are already posted on this blog. I seriously hardly ever make the same foods twice, but sometimes I just crave a food I've already made. So because of that, I've been lagging on the blog this week with  new foods. Today I made a fruit dip that I haven't made in years. It's so light and creamy and goes perfect with seasonal fruits. I suppose if it had been a hot summer day as opposed to a dreary, stormy day, it might have tasted better, but hey when you're craving something, weather truly doesn't matter ;)



1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup

Combine all dip ingredients with mixer until very smooth. Enjoy with fresh fruits.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers

I have been wanting to try some more recipes with Quinoa for awhile now. I have used it many times, but usually in the same African soup recipe I make. Tonight I tried something really different with it and it turned out really great. Quinoa is such a healthy grain and is very versatile in recipes. You can definitely play around with the spices in the recipe and use whatever you like that you think would suit your tastes.




  
1 sweet potato diced into cubes
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
6 Poblano peppers, stems removed, seeds removed and cut int half lengthwise
1 cup Quinoa, rinsed and drained
6 oz chorizo
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
pepper jack cheese, grated

Heat oven to 400. Toss the sweet potato cubes with the 1 Tbsp of the oil, salt, pepper and cumin. Line a cookie sheet with foil and place the potato cubes onto the foil. Bake in 400 degree oven for approx. 15 minutes or until browned on the outside edges. Set aside.
Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil. Stir in the rinsed quinoa. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes until water is all absorbed. Set aside.
Heat last Tbsp of oil in a skillet. Cook chorizo and the onion for about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the quinoa and the sweet potato cubes.
Brush the poblano halves with oil, inside and out. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff the quinoa filling into each pepper half. Top with shredded cheese. Place the stuffed poblanos onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Brown Butter Sauteed Tilapia with Pistachios

After being in the kitchen baking most of the afternoon, I was ready to make a quick but delicious meal for dinner. I had printed this one out awhile ago from the Food Network and I am so glad I did. It was really light and very good! The preparation and the cooking were both very simple.
Here is a link to the recipe....
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ask-aida/brown-butter-sauteed-tilapia-with-pistachios-recipe/index.html

Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Chocolate and Peanut Butter Frosting

When I was a little girl I used to love eating bananas with peanut butter on them and I would strategically place chocolate chips perfectly apart on the peanut butter to have a great trio of flavors. When my friend Natasha was talking about cupcakes today at work, I just had to come home and try this trio of flavors in a cupcake. I actually like the result. The banana cake is moist. The peanuts around the edge give it that little bit of crunch it needs. The chocolate ganache is heavenly, of course and the swirled frosting tastes great together. So off to work I go tomorrow with a dozen cupcakes and I'm sure nobody will mind ;)

*Yes the camera is STILL being repaired and that's why these pictures look like two different kinds of cupcake. Same cupcakes, different light in the lens I guess :)

*This last picture was halfway through the process when the cupcakes were just covered in ganache and had the crunchy peanuts around the edges.

Make banana cupcakes. Cool completely. Dip tops in chocolate ganache. Spoon more on if needed. Sprinkle peanuts around the outside edge only. Make the chocolate frosting and the peanut butter frosting and place in the same decorator bag. Swirl frosting into the center of each cupcake.

BANANA CUPCAKES
1/2 lb butter, (2 sticks), softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp milk or cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350. In mixer, blend together butter and sugar until fluffy (3-4 minutes). Add eggs and beat well. Add bananas and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the already mixed ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended. Add the milk and the vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Fill cupcake  liners 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake, comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream 

In a heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips with cream over low heat. Remove from the heat. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally. Cool completely or until thickened some.  Spread ganache with a spatula if necessary to evenly coat, working quickly before it thickens. Chill until ganache is set. 

PEANUTS 


Chop salted cocktail peanuts finely and sprinkle around edges of cupcake. 


PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
half of 1/3 cup milk (sorry I wasn't sure on fractions how to half 1/3)

In a large bowl, beat butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in slowly, half the powdered sugar.  Mix in half of the amount of milk. Beat in the rest of the powdered sugar and then slowly beat in the rest of  the milk and beat until frosting reaches desired consistency.

CHOCOLATE FROSTING

3 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3/8 cup cocoa powder (you can just measure this by using half of a 3/4 cup)
1/6 cup milk ( you can just measure this by using half of a 1/3 cup)

Cream butter and vanilla together with mixer. In a separate bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add the dry ingredients to the mixed butter mixture until thoroughly mixed. Slowly add the milk and mix until you have the desired consistency of your frosting. You might not use all the milk!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Orange Rosemary Chicken

I don't remember if I have ever cooked with rosemary prior to this recipe. If I have, it's been a long, long time. This recipe was great and I will definitely be making this one again. I love the smell of the rosemary as it was roasting with the chicken in the oven. It almost smells like you are cooking your Christmas tree haha! ;)
The earthy flavor of the rosemary combined with the smell of oranges just made the house smell fantastic!
I'm sorry the picture isn't so good again. Yep...the camera is still in the shop and I am being forced to use my phone. It's got a good camera, but for some reason they just don't turn out the same as using my little Nikon.




*This picture was taken about halfway through the baking process. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture when it was completely done.

Here is a link to the recipe from Food Network


http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ask-aida/pan-roasted-chicken-with-oranges-and-rosemary-recipe/index.html