Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mounds Bars



I started a breakfast group for mothers in my neighborhood about 7 years ago. Each year we have a holiday dinner in December. This year and last year instead of a secret Santa we brought a gift for each friend that is under $5. It can be something you love and want to introduce to us or something you made that you think we would all enjoy. I wanted to make truffles, cookies or some sort of candy. I found these homemade mounds bars in a magazine and decided to make them for my friends. I was worried they wouldn't be good so I did have a back up plan but I figured how could they be bad...its coconut and chocolate so how bad could it be? 

Well they turned out great and my friends were very happy with them. I am dying to make them again. I'm pretty sure I got this out of the foodnetwork magazine. I rip out pages that interest me so I never know if I got it out of foodnetwork, Everyday with Rachel Ray or Martha's magazine. 



Ingredients

2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1/4 cup confectioner sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon corn syrup
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped

Directions

1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Using an electric mixer, combine the coconut, confectioners sugar, butter and corn syrup. On one of the prepared pans, divide the coconut mixture into 15 mounds and shape each into compact 2 inch long bars. Refrigerate until slightly firm, about 10 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, in a double broiler melt three quarter of the chocolate stirring occasionally, until it reaches 110 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 3 minutes. Remove the insert and stir the remaining  chocolate until smooth and cooled to 90 degrees. 

3. Working with 1 at a time, place the coconut bars on a fork, dip into the chocolate and dunk to coat. Transfer to a rack set over wax paper. Let sit until he chocolate is firm, about 30 min. 

Try it and let me know what you think. These make a great gift for teachers and friends. 



Monday, October 21, 2013

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables


A friend of mine brought this lovely salad to a picnic and I couldn't stop eating it. She told me she got the recipe from one of Barefoot Contessa's cookbook. I immediately found it on the food network and printed it out. I made it for my family reunion this summer. It is a great summer salad but you could make it any time of year. What makes it wonderful besides all the amazing flavors is that you can serve it immediately and can also sit room temperature for quite some time. 

I altered this recipe slightly because I don't like egg plant and feel the pine nuts were not necessary. If you want to follow the exact recipe click link above. 

Ingredients

1 red bell pepper (1 inch diced)
1 yellow pepper (1 inch diced)
1 red onion (1 inch diced)
2 garlic cloves minced
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 pound orzo pasta
4 scallions minced white and green parts
3/4 pound feta (1 inch diced not crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves cut into julienne

For the Dressing

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/3 cup olive oil 
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Pre heat oven to 425 degrees.

Toss red, yellow pepper, red onion, garlic, olive oil on a large sheet pan with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes or until browned turning once with spatula.

While roasting cook pasta in boiling water for 7 to 9 minutes until tender. Drain and add to large serving bowl. Add roasted vegetables, scraping all the drippings from pan to bowl. 

For the dressing combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let cool room temperature. Add feta, scallions and basil leaves. Check the seasoning and serve room temperature. 

Enjoy and let me know what you think. I feel this is a great recipe to bring as to potluck  


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cosmo


I've been making cosmos since Sex in the City introduced it to me. I've had really bad ones and really good ones. The trick to this is fresh lime juice and not too much cranberry juice. It should be a pale pink color and if you order one that is red then you will probably not like it. I find it taste too chalky and might as well be a vodka cranberry. You don't have to rim the glass with sugar but I like to make mine a little more tart so I enjoy the extra sugar with each sip. Try this and let me know what you think.

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounce vodka
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce cranberry juice
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

Directions

Before making the cocktail put martini glass in the freezer. In a shaker add first 4 ingredients plus a few ice cubes. Remove glass and rim it with lime juice and sugar. Shake your cocktail rigorously to get a nice froth. Pour into glass and serve. Makes one at a time. 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lin's Restaurant Style Salsa



Every year I go home for the summer I look forward to my brother-in-law's fresh salsa. This year I was surprised to see my sister Lindsy made one just as good but with canned tomatoes. I didn't think it would be as good but I was pleasantly surprised. What I liked most about it was the canned tomatoes made it taste more like restaurant style salsa that I grew up on. I also liked that I could use canned tomatoes and then I don't have to worry about the tomatoes being in season or too mealy.

It is ridiculously easy to make and quite affordable. Since I've been back from vacation I've made it 3 times and can't seem to keep in my fridge for longer than a week. Try it and let me know what you think. 

Ingredients
1 (16oz) can of Hunts diced tomatoes
1 jalapeno seeded
1 lime
1 handful cilantro
1/2 red onion
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a food processor add can of diced tomatoes. Then add jalapeno cut into about 4 pieces, squeeze lime, add cilantro, add 1/2 onion depending on how big it is cut up into four big pieces, add garlic, and salt. Pulse until you get the consistency you like. Taste and add more of what you like. 

My sister does not add garlic to hers but I just add one clove because I love the taste. You can choose to leave it out. I seed my jalapeno because it can get super spicy. Sometimes however I only add half of a jalapeno and leave seeds in. Red onion and garlic also add spice to this so you have to be careful that it can get too spicy. Add more lime juice to help bring the kick down a bit. 

Try it and let me know what you think. 


Friday, June 21, 2013

Homemade Taco Seasoning



I finally ran out of store bought taco seasoning. I had no choice unless I wanted to run to the store so I googled it and found a recipe on All Recipes. I quickly saw that I had all the ingredients and decided to give it a try. I was happy to see I could alter the spiciness because my son has had acid reflux and his stomach is very sensitive to spice. 

I was very pleased with the taste and to know just how much salt is going into it. What I loved was it wasn't as salty but still very tasty. Give it a try and let me know what you think. 

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon of Chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper


Directions
Add all ingredients and mix together in a small bowl. Brown ground turkey or beef and then add this mixture to the meat. Pour 2/3 cup of water to the pan and simmer until liquid cooks into the meat. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How to make Foaming Hand Soap


We love to use foaming hand soap in our house because it is easy for kids to use. They can see the foam soap easily and spread it all over the hand. It also rinses off easier. The foaming soap is more expensive and I usually stock up on it when its on sale but with a family of four and lots of guests we go through the stuff very fast. When I added up the cost I couldn't believe how much I was spending and was just about to go back to regular hand soap when it dawned on me that I could probably make it. 

I went out and bought target brand hand soap and used my old foaming hand soap bottle. After playing around with the amount of soap/water ratio I figured it out and have saved myself a ton of money. I love saving money for some reason it gives me quite a rush. Try it and let me know what you think. 

Directions

Fill your foaming pump bottle half way with hand soap of your choice. Then fill the rest with water but not to the top because it will spill over once you add the top in with it. Leave at least 3/4 of inch. Take a chop stick or like me the end of my comb and stir it all together. Put the top on and its done. Easy as can be.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ultimate Potato Salad


I love potato salad but after I found this recipe I haven't had one as good since. What I love about this salad is the red potatoes hold up well and it has a combination of mayo and sour cream so the dressing is lighter and still very flavorful. 

I found this recipe from Paula Deen. She call's it Lady's warm potato salad. It is supposed to be served right away. It is good that way but personally I think it taste better after it has been sitting for hours even the next day. I find the flavors meld together much better. I don't add everything she adds so If you want it just the way she does you should check out the link under her name. 

Ingredients

8 medium red potatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup chopped green onion tops
1 cup chopped celery
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1 tablespoons seasoning salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
Directions

In a large pot, boil the potatoes with the skins on for 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Let the potatoes cool just to the touch and cut into cubes.

In a large bowl, combine the next 5 ingredients. In a medium bowl combine last 4 ingredients. Pour over salad and combine it all gently. 

Serve at room temperature or I prefer it sit for hours even over night. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sesame Noodles



My step dad Jerry is the first person to make these for me. His neighbor made them for him and he fell in love and I believe he added the Hot Chili oil because he liked everything but his dessert spicy. My mom and I loved his version even more and the both of us make these oriental noodles a few times every year. 

They are great to bring to a picnic, pot luck or to just make as a side dish. If you don't like your food spicy you can just add more sesame oil. I will be honest they really are not that spicy. It just adds perfect amount of kick. My extended family loves these noodles and asks me to make them every year. This recipe is very easy and to make it even easier you can make the sauce the day before and add it to your noodles at least an hour before serving. You want the sauce to sit in the noodles to let them soak in all the flavors. You can add chicken to this but I personally don't like it because the chicken soaks up to much of the sauce and then makes the noodles to dry. 

Try them and let me know what you think. They are super easy and your friends will devour them. 

Ingredients
1/4  cup sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of chili oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup sesame seeds
8 scallions chopped
1 lb vermicelli

Directions
In a large stock pot bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to package. You don't want to over cook them. In a bowl mix together first 5 ingredients and whisk until combined. Let it rest.

Once noodles are cooked cool them immediately. I usually put ice cubes on top of them to get them nice and cold. Once they are cold enough I let all the water drain off completely and then add them and sauce to a large bowl. Add chopped scallions and sesame seeds. Let sit in refrigerator for about an hour. 


Monday, April 29, 2013

Creamy White Bean Soup

I found this recipe on pinterest. I pinned it because it said it was made in a crock pot. However the instructions did not say anything about a crock pot. I made it anyway because it looked amazing and quite easy to make. My entire family loved it and we ate it for dinner and lunch for two days. 

I changed a few things to the recipe. I was unable to find a can of southwestern corn so I bought a bag for frozen. I used cooked chicken that I cooked earlier in the morning. I also didn't use land o lakes cheese I used the store brand.  Give it a try and let me know what you think. 

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb chicken breast cooked and cut into bite size pieces
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 large onion chopped
1 red bell pepper diced
2 cloves garlic minced
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 15 ounce cans of canneli beans drained
1/2 a bag of southwestern frozen corn
16 slices deli white American cheese cut into quarters

Instructions
Heat oil in large stock pot and add onion, bell pepper and cook 3-4 min. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cumin, oregano and cooked chicken. 

Stir in Broth, beans and corn. Cook until it comes to a boil. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes. Add cheese stir until melted . Simmer and serve. 


Monday, March 11, 2013

Brisket

I moved to NYC to be a nanny over 16 years ago. One of the coolest parts of the job was that I learned a whole lot of new traditions, religions and recipes. I had never even heard of Brisket until I moved here. I quickly learned that it is a big holiday dish especially for Passover.

I got this recipe from the lady I worked for the longest and taught me the most. I made this brisket for her family for many years and now I make it almost every Christmas for my family.

What I like about it is that it is very easy to make and it cooks on the stove top which frees up your oven for other baked goodies. I especially love it with Romanoff Potatoes because it soaks up all the yummy gravy that the roast cooks in. Try this for any occasion and I guarantee you and your guests will be very happy.

Ingredients

2 onions sliced
1 clove garlic minced
3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
3 to 4 lb brisket
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons White Vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 bay leaves


Directions

In a large pan brown onions. Once they are brown take one minute to brown garlic with onions. Remove onions from pan. Salt and pepper Brisket and Brown it on each side in the same pan. While it is browning add all the other ingredients in a bowl. After meat is brown add onions and garlic and sauce to the pan. Cover and simmer on low for 2 1/2 hours. Serves 6 to 8.

Most important thing to remember if you have never cooked brisket or any type of meat like it is that when you slice it you cut against the grain. This meat comes out perfect and super tender every time.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Artichoke Dip


I've been meaning to post this recipe for quite some time. It is my most requested recipe and anybody who has tried my artichoke dip wants me to make it for every occasion. I got this recipe from a friend a long time ago. She brought it to our party and now I make this at most of our holidays.

The reason I haven't posted it is that I can't seem to get a photo of it that really shows just how amazing it is. This photo was taken before it was baked and doesn't give it any justice. My mouth is watering as I write this post because it is a ooey gooey dip with many chunks of artichokes, spicy chilis and jalapenos. If you don't like it spicy this is not the dip for you. This dip does come with a warning. If you make it you will be asked to make it all the time. Enjoy.

Ingredients
1 can of 14 oz artichoke hearts
1 can of 4 oz chopped green chilis (drained)
1 can of 4 oz chopped jalapenos (drained)
1 bar of cream cheese softened
1 cup mayo
2 cups grated Parmesan (reserve 1/4 cup for the top)
Directions

Pre heat oven to 350

Drain artichokes and chop into bite size pieces. Drain chilis and jalapenos. 

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and and stir together until all is incorporated. Pour into a 9x9 baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min or until bubbling and golden.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hamburger Dip

My mother has been making these for me for as long as I can remember. I am a huge fan of a good french dip and a hamburger dip is a great substitution. When I moved to NYC I was amazed to find they don't even know what a french dip is. I had to slowly introduce my husband to them and now he loves them but not as much as me. 

My kids love hamburgers but they don't love dipping them in au jus so I make hamburger dips for Ben and I and regular hamburgers for them. I hope one day their taste buds will change and they too will love these. 

The trick to them is the bread. You need a good crust on the outside and soft in the inside hoagie roll. That way when you dip it, the bread doesn't get too soggy. And don't over dip. I hope you try these and like them as much as me. 

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef
1 packet of au jus
3 hoagie rolls
6 slices of sharp cheddar cheese
butter for bread
salt and pepper

Directions

Add packet to medium pot and follow directions. Heat while you make burgers.

Pre heat griddle. Separate ground beef into thirds. Form patties into oval long burgers the same shape as bun. Salt and pepper each patty and when the griddle is hot place each patty on and cook for 4 minutes depending on thickness. 

Flip burger and add cheddar cheese and cook for another 4 minutes. Don't be shy with the cheddar. Butter each side of the hoagie and toast in broiler for about 2  minutes. 

Assemble sandwich cut in half and add au jus to small bowl on the side. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Crockpot Chili

My sister Brandi has been telling me about this chili recipe for quite some time. Her and my other sister Lindsy make it all the time and said my dad loves it. Well its safe to say my dad is a bit picky so I had to try it for that reason and because it just seemed so darn easy. I am always looking for a good crock pot recipe because with two kids it can be very hard to make dinner every night.

Well we all loved it and am looking forward to making it again. Maybe next time I will add two cans of everything like she recommended so I can freeze some for a later date. Try it and let me know what you think.


Ingredients

1 CAN OF TOMATO SAUCE
1 CAN OF PETITE CHOPPED TOMATOES
1 SMALL CAN OF CHOPPED CHILI PEPPERS
1 CAN OF CHILI BEANS (sometimes 2 cans) 
1 CAN OF PORK AND BEANS
1/2 ONION - diced
1 LB OF GROUND TURKEY
1 PACKET OF CHILI SEASONING

Directions

Add all the cans with juices to the cold crock pot and then turn on. Then I chop the onion and throw it into a hot pan with a little oil til they are soft and then brown the turkey until no longer pink. Then I add the chili seasoning to the turkey/onion mixture and then pour all of it into the, hopefully hot, crock pot. Cook on low all day or high for 4-6 hours. 



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Salisbury Steak


My son loves Salisbury Steak with mashed potatoes. I totally understand because I too loved it as a kid but I never had someone make it for me. I either had it in the cafeteria or in a tv dinner. I had tried to make it a few times and Coolidge was very happy with what I came up with but I was not. I kept searching and found a recipe on Tasty kitchen by a blog called Meeshie's mom. It got 5 stars and I found it was just what I was looking for, so I gave it a try. It was just what I hoped it would be so I want to share it with all of you. I altered it a bit because my son doesn't like certain things.

Ingredients
1/4 cup onion finally diced or even grated
1 clove garlic minced
3 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon of dried parsley
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cans low sodium beef broth or beef consomme

Saute garlic and onion in 1 tablespoon of butter until translucent. Set aside and cool.

Mix beef, eggs, bread crumbs, dried parsley, and onion mixture. Form into patties.

Saute patties in 2 tablespoons butter. Brown on both sides and becareful when flipping because they will be delicate. Place in roasting pan or casserole dish.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a skillet melt 1/4 cup butter. Add 1/4 cup flour and cook until flour is cooked through and resembles wet sand. Slowly add beef consomme 1/3 at a time whisking each time and simmering for about 30 minutes.

Pour gravy over patties and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Makes about 5 to 6 patties depending on how thick you make them.



Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ravioli with Pesto Cream Sauce

I love pesto and could add it to almost every dish and be completely happy. I have added it to the filling in my stuffed shells, sandwiches, and in any cream sauce. I don't make my own pesto. I would love to make my own but it just seems so expensive to make it. It cost over $8 dollars just to buy a small package of pine nuts and I bought a huge container of pesto at Costco for $8.99 the other day.

I added pesto to my cream sauce and poured it over mushroom ravioli. It was so delish and very easy. Your kids will love it. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Ingredients
2 heaping tablespoons of pesto sauce
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese for the topping (optional)
12 mushroom ravioli or any pasta of your choice.

Directions

In a stock pot boil water and add ravioli. Cook according to package.

In a large saute pan add pesto sauce. heat up just a little and then add heavy cream and salt and pepper. Cook and allow to thicken up about 5 minutes.  Pour over ravioli with a little parmesan cheese on top.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Easy Homemade Chicken Soup

I have bought chicken soup at Whole foods for years and paid a pretty penny every time. I went there a few days ago and they didn't have there soup out just yet. I decided I could make my own and save my self a ton of money. I was worried it would be too bland and it would have to cook all day. Well I was wrong it only took 30 minutes an it was very tasty. Next I'm going to attempt to make my own stock. As a kid I loved Lipton's chicken noddle soup so I added cut up pieces of thin vermicelli. Try this and let me know what you think. 

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
20 baby carrots cut up into bite size slices
1 large cooked chicken breast cut up 
1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
5 sprigs of thyme
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1 1/2 cups cut up vermicelli
salt and pepper

Directions
In a large stock pot add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and carrots and cook 6 minutes.

Add Chicken and Stock and thyme and simmer. In another pot boil water and cook any noodle you desire. I add thin vermicelli because I don't like my noodles to thick. Just under cook the noodles because they will cook more in the soup. Simmer until carrots are just tender and then serve. taste and then add salt and pepper if needed. 

I didn't add celery for two reasons. One because my kids don't like it and then I have to fish there's out but also I didn't have any. You can add any thing you like to this soup. 


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Favorite recipes

It is New Years Day and I thought it would be fun to post the top 5 recipes that viewers seem to enjoy checking out and cooking. It has been a lot of fun writing the blog and getting feed back from others who have made the recipes I have posted. I am excited for 2013 and adding even more great recipes for appetizers, dinners, and even cocktails. Check out these recipes and let me know what you think and if any of them are your favorite.


The one recipe that reached a 1,000 views and seems to be the most popular is Olive Garden Dressing.
It is one of my favorites also. I like it because it is like a creamy Italian dressing that works on many different salads.
#1 Olive Garden Dressing



The other favorite is my chili recipe. It is very close to a 1,000 views and is quite simple to make. I have made this for my annual soup swap and some of the members ask me to make it the following year because they love it so much.

#2 Chili


My Ultimate Chocolate Chip recipe seems to also be a big hit on my blog. I am not surprised because it took me years to figure this recipe out and now I make them over and over to the point that I have memorized it. 
#3 Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie


This Ravioli with Garlic Cream Sauce is a favorite of mine and my family so I am not surprised it is also on the top 5 list. It is super easy to make and your friends and family will think you are a chef because of how fancy it looks and taste.
#4 Ravioli with Garlic Cream Sauce


My Popcorn with Nutritional Yeast Flakes recipe has become quite a hit on pinterest and google. I think it is because of the Nutritional flakes. I can't tell you how addicting this popcorn is and how good it is for you. Try it and let me know what you think.
#5 Popcorn with Nutritional Yeast Flakes