Sunday, June 5, 2016

Chicken and Artichoke Parmesan Casserole


I always love trying out new recipes, I got my latest food network magazine and this recipe was in it and of course I had to try it. I tweaked it here and there for my tastes and with what I had on hand.  You can find the original recipe here I also am trying to eat healthier since losing 25 pounds so I served this on spaghetti squash. To do that preheat your oven to 350 and cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or so until tender when poked with a fork. Turn over and cook a couple of minutes longer. Remove from oven and shred with a fork.  Yummy! 
Chicken and Artichoke Parmesan Casserole
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 10 -ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/4 to 1/2 cup sliced roasted red bell peppers (that you buy in the jar)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 28 -ounce can crushed tomatoes, 
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken (skin removed)
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped, (I used 1 heaping Tablespoon of the minced Basil in the tube you can find in the produce section at Walmart)
1 small container Ricotta cheese 
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup Panko crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cooked spaghetti or spaghetti squash for serving.

Directions:
Preheat the broiler.
 Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the artichokes and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted red bell pepper slices, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is soft, about 30 seconds.
Add the tomatoes, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper to the skillet. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chicken and basil; season with salt.
Dollop the ricotta cheese over the chicken artichoke mixture in the skillet by teaspoons full. Use as much as you like. I used about 1/2 of a small container.
Combine the two breadcrumbs together with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle the crumbs over the chicken mixture and top with the grated parmesan.
Transfer the skillet to the broiler and cook until the breadcrumbs are browned and the cheese is bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool, 5 minutes. Served over Cooked Spaghetti or if you like cooked Spaghetti Squash. Enjoy!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Cravin' Craisin Cookies

One day while grocery shopping at a local market, they had some awesome oatmeal raisin, cranberry cookies... and of course me and my hubby had to get one. They were the best ever cookies I had eaten in a long time. So of course I had to try to make them at home.... came across a recipe that was close and I tweaked it just a bit. Yes!! these are my new favorite oatmeal raisin cranberry cookies. Delicious! These have become my new Scrabble treat to take to my parents. Enjoy!

Craving' Craisin Cookies
  1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick-cooking oats, powderize 1 cup in blender or food processor-Leave the other         cup whole
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup golden raisins and 1 cup craisins, chopped in food processor-not too fine, but not whole
Directions
1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, maple syrup and vanilla; beat well.
2. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the raisins and craisins. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.
3. Bake at 350° for 9-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pans for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks. 

Yield: about 5 dozen.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Hoisin Lime Glazed Salmon with roasted Vegetables

I have been wanted to try cooking with fish more. Which is hard to do living in Idaho, but I found some great fillets at Walmart of all places. I love Hoisin sauce.... so of course I had try this recipe. I tweaked it a bit but it turned out delicious. Enjoy!

HOISIN LIME GLAZED SALMON WITH MIXED VEGETABLES
INGREDIENTS
1 and ¼ lbs of salmon fillet, all in one piece
4 cups fresh mixed vegetables, cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces (I used bell peppers, onions, green beans, carrots and broccoli)
Cooking spray
Kosher salt and pepper
½ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup hoisin sauce
1 Tablespoon minced ginger ( the kind in the tube in most produce departments)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
Coconut rice to serve on the side (recipe here, I didn’t add the beans for this recipe- just leave out)

INSTRUCTIONS
1 Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic, lime juice and sesame oil in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Once the sauce comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce has started to thicken. Set the sauce aside.
2 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil, coat with cooking spray. Place the salmon fillet on one side of the pan; season the salmon with salt and pepper and lightly brush with the hoisin glaze. On the other side of the pan, place the mixed vegetables. Spread the vegetables out into one even layer. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and spray them with cooking spray. If you need to you can also put the salmon and veggies on separate baking sheets. 

3 Bake in the oven for 8 minutes, then turn the oven to broil and broil for 8 minutes. You made need an additional 1 or 2 minutes depending on how big you cut your veggies and how thick the salmon is. Remove the pan from the oven and brush more glaze over the salmon. Drizzle glaze over the vegetables to taste and then toss to coat. Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve the salmon and vegetables with coconut rice, and any extra glaze on the side for dipping or drizzling

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Fruit Salsa

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and have wanted to try it out for a while. Last weekend I decided to give it a go... So YUMMY! If you are going to make a brunch this is a perfect treat/ appetizer / beginner......while you are cooking eggs or frittata or whatever you want for brunch. Loved it. You can put any fruit you want in it or add to what I put in it. I might try adding kiwi or melon next time. Yum!

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Crisps
3 10-inch Tortilla Chips (or use about 1 tortilla per person)
Cinnamon Sugar
Cooking spray

1 apple ( I like Pink Lady apples)
1 lime (you can use lemon if you like, I just had a lime)
1 cup strawberries, rinsed and the stems cut off
1 cup raspberries, rinsed and drained
2-3 Tablespoons Raspberry Jam

First, Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Next spray your tortillas with cooking spray. Using a pizza cutter slice tortillas  into strips then diagonal wedges about 2 inches long. Place on your prepared baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Turn tortilla strips over and sprinkle this side with cinnamon sugar as well. 
Bake for about 8 to 11 minutes until lightly browned and crisp.

While your Crisps are baking: Zest your lime into a large bowl. 
Next slice your apple into large chunks and place in a food processor. Pulse about 10 times or until apple is finely diced. Add to your zest in bowl and squeeze the juice from the lime into the bowl, toss with apple. Next add your strawberries and raspberries to the processor and pulse again about 10 times or until berries are about the same size as the apple. Add to the bowl with the apple along with 2 Tablespoons Raspberry Jam. Stir to combine. Taste, if you need more jam or a pinch of sugar add at this point. 
Serve with warm cinnamon crisps and enjoy!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Roasted Chickpeas

I have been trying to eat better and healthier since I have lost weight. I saw this recipe on Pinterest the other day and had to give it a try. These are delicious... remind me of those almost popped kernels of pop corn that I love. You can season these anyway you like. Would make a nice little snack while watching a movie. YUM!

Roasted Chickpeas
1 or 2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
olive oil
spices of your choice (I used smokey paprika, cayenne pepper and salt)

Directions:
After rinsing the chick peas, pour them onto a paper towel lined pan, and pat them off with another paper towel. Get them as dry as you can. I put mine in a large mixing bowl after they were dry.
Drizzle with about a Tablespoon or two of olive oil and toss to coat. Then sprinkle with your choice of seasonings, I put about 1/4 teaspoon of paprika, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne and a few dashes of salt. I only did one can of chick peas, adjust seasonings to your desired taste. Toss to coat with seasoning then pour your chickpeas onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
PLACE YOUR PAN OF CHICK PEAS INTO A COLD OVEN. Then turn the heat to 425 and let roast for about 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown--Stirring them every 10 minutes. Turn off oven and let the chick peas sit in there for another half an hour. Remove from oven and let cool comepletely. Store in zip loc baggie or storage container.... if you don't eat them first.
Enjoy!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bean and Bacon Soup

I Love bean and bacon soup... reminds me of when I was little and would eat the canned bean and bacon soup with soda crackers.... LOTS of soda crackers. But since I am grown my tastes of grown too. I watched the pioneer woman (my usual Saturday morning 'I need to stay in bed longer' ritual) the other day and she made this and yes, I just had to try it. Click here for the original recipe.  I didn't soak my beans like she did, just bought the canned great northern beans. (saves time) I also like to cook my bacon on a foil lined cookie sheet in the oven. Stays flat and you can cook a lot more too. I made the soup according to her recipe but something was missing. You know the canned soup from my child hood kind of had a smoky flavor???.... So I added a little smoky paprika, and liquid smoke to it and a little thyme. Loved it.
I served this with Grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches (love to use Monterey jack cheese when making grilled cheese sandwiches and this time I added a couple of slices of cooked bacon) OH MY goodness!! IF you haven't made a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon in it you MUST try! I like to cut my grilled cheese into strips... that way you can dunk into the soup. Enjoy!!

Bean and Bacon Soup
Ingredients:
6 to 8 slices thick-cut peppered bacon-cooked ahead of time (see below)
1 whole Onion, Diced
2 whole Large Carrots, Peeled And Diced
2 stalks Celery, Diced
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 to 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
1/2 Tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon smokey paprika
4  to 6 cups  Chicken Stock (I used a whole box of chicken stock)
3-(14 oz) Can great northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (I had hickory flavored on hand)
2 whole Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste (I start out with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper)
Chopped cooked bacon for garnish, if desired

Directions:
Cook your bacon by preheating the oven to 375. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place strips of bacon across the baking sheet in a single layer. Baker for 20 to 22 minutes until cooked through and crispy. Remove from baking sheet onto a paper towel lined plate to drain. 
SAVE THE BACON FAT. I pick up the corners of the foil and form a funnel and pour into an empty clean jar with a lid. You will use for this recipe and then you can store in the refrigerator for other uses. (It's great to saute veggies in for different soups and I like to drizzle on brussels sprouts before baking in the oven.)
Chop the bacon into small bite size pieces, set aside about 1/2 cup or so for garnishing. The rest goes in the soup. (If you made more than 10 pieces save some in strips for grilled cheese sandwiches)
In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease, then add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until they begin to soften, add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes. Add 1 Tablespoon or so of Flour, and stir. Then add the Thyme, parsley,  paprika, and salt and pepper. Let cook for another minute and the seasonings start to be fragrant.
Next add your Chicken broth, beans, the bay leaves and liquid smoke and chopped bacon. Stir at this point to make sure all the seasoning and flour are scraped off the bottom of the pan and all combined. Bring this up to a boil, then turn the heat down to a medium / low heat and let simmer for at least a 1/2 hour or up to an hour or so. If you need to add more broth you can. I think I added another cup or two. Cook until your veggies are tender. Taste and add more salt and Pepper if necessary. 
Serve and garnish with bacon bits. AND it goes great with grilled cheese. 
Enjoy. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Samoa" Truffle Bites

Don't you love spring and girl scout cookie time? As you know from some of my other posts, I LOVE samoa cookies. I love making truffles that are a bite size taste of things I love. Like my key lime truffles... I came across some recipes for samoa truffles so I combined what sounded yummy from the recipes I found and came up with this. Yum!

"Samoa" Truffle Bites
2 cups toasted coconut
1 cup crushed vanilla wafers
1-11  oz package caramel candy's, unwrapped
3 Tablespoons heavy cream or half n' half
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

First of all , toast your coconut according to the directions on the package. Ok, I will put the directions here as well. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the coconut onto a baking sheet in a thin layer. Bake in the oven until golden brown. This can take 7 to 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on it,  once it starts to brown it browns quick. When nice and toasty brown remove from the oven and set aside.

Place unwrapped caramels into a medium size saucepan along with the 3 Tablespoons of cream. Melt over a medium / medium low heat, stirring occasionally until the caramel is all melted. Stir in the crushed vanilla wafers and toasted coconut.
Once the mixture is all mixed together you can either scoop out by teaspoon full onto a parchment lined being sheet or buttered baking sheet. OR you can roll into about a 1 inch in diameter log once it's cool enough to handle (this is what I did) you can set this on a baking sheet and let it cool in the refrigerator. DON'T wrap in wax paper ... it sticks to caramel.
Once the logs are cool you can cut into bite size pieces... no need to roll them in a ball. Set aside.
Melt your chocolate in a microwave safe bowl by microwaving for about 30 seconds... then stir. Melt again for 15 seconds then stir. Keep microwaving for 10 to 15 seconds and stirring until all the chips are melted.
Now, dip each piece of the coconut caramel balls/ bites into the chocolate. I just dipped the bottom but you can dip the whole thing if you desire. I dipped the bottom then placed on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once they were all dipped I put the remaining chocolate in a pastry bag and striped the tops.
Let cool to set either in a cool room or in the refrigerator. Then enjoy! YUM!