Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pink Bubbly Ginger Punch

Looking for a delicious Bubbly for your NYE Bash? This recipe I scored from Rachel Ray and is delicious, easy to make and will be a big hit. It makes about 12 servings (5 for you, 7 to share LOL).

Pink Bubbly Ginger Punch  


One 5-ounce piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 quart ginger ale, chilled
One 750-ml bottle sparkling cranberry juice or 3 cups other fruit juice, chilled
1 cup triple sec
1 cup brandy
Two 750-ml bottle brut rosé sparkling wine, chilled
1 lemon, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise, for garnish


  1. Using a food processor, puree the ginger. Press through a sieve set over a bowl to extract the juice; discard the solids.
  2. In a large punch bowl, stir together the ginger juice, ginger ale, sparkling cranberry juice, triple sec and brandy. Pour in the sparkling wine. Serve in tall, ice-filled glasses and garnish each rim with a lemon slice

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

This tortilla soup tastes better than anything you can get at a restaurant. And it's healthy too! Don't let the long list of ingredients fool you, most of this you should already have on hand at home. All you do is dump everything into the slow cooker and walk away. Garnish with grated Cheddar, avocados, and a splash of fresh lime juice.


  • 1 pound shredded roasted chicken (I buy 1 already done at the Market and jsut shred away)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (10 ounce) can & 1 (12) ounc can of enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped or grated (my way!)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 2-4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth or stock
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
  • 7 corn tortillas or pre-made tortilla strips
  • EVOO

Directions for CrockPot

  1. Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with EVOO. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup.
Directions for Dutch Oven on Stove

Same as above, just place on medium-high heat until semi boiling and place on low and let simmer for at least an hour.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with EVOO. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup.

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

You can call this soup or chili, but either way it is wonderful! This recipe is also very adaptable to your personal taste. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if you like. This makes about 8 servings. I hope you enjoy!


  • 1 onion, chopped (honestly, I grate my onions. I love the flavor, just not the chunkiness)
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with or w/out green chilies, undrained
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • crushed tortilla chips (optional)


  1. Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
  2. Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Now SHRED AWAY! You can hand shred or chop in small bite size cubes. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.


When I’m looking for my next great slow cooker recipe, one of my biggest concerns is that it needs to be really really easy. I also tend to lean toward vegetarian dishes because I am not a huge fan of meats cooked in a slow cooker or "CrockPot" persay... I think the meat over cooks honestly most of the time.

That’s why as I’ve really fallen in love with making soups, stoups (thicker soup), stews and chili's! All of these you can easily experiment with. You can add more or less of a recipe, and honestly don't really need a recipe at all.

Now I’m on the lookout for new recipes to try. These are the soups that struck my fancy and now I’m dying to make:

1. A Year of Slow Cooking’s Pesto Minestrone Soup: This classic Italian soup has always been one of my favorites and I absolutely adore the addition of pesto. I would love to make my own pesto using my new food processor, so I think this would be a fun soup to tackle.

2.Kath Eats Real Food’s Creamy Curry Butternut Soup: I’ve been obsessed with curry, completely!!! Something about this soup with butternut squash (one of my favorites) just really appeals to me.

3. Healthy Slow Cooking’s Vegan Autumn Lentil Soup: I haven’t made a lentil soup yet, despite being a big fan. Since I am always striving to be healthy, this seems like an ideal soup to tackle both categories. Plus, I bet I can find some great winter veggies to change it up a little bit.

4.Steamy Kitchen’s Vietnamese Chicken Pho Ga: My sister Ginger introduced me to PHO and what better then to make my own.This sounded absolutely delicious and I think it’s about time that I try something a bit on the difficult side.

5.Family Circle’s Yellow Split Pea Soup: I started my slow cooking and soup adventures with a Family Circle recipe, so it seems only fitting that I try another. I haven’t had split pea soup since last winter and I think it’s finally time that I try making it for myself. This recipe sounds like a dream.

What are your favorite slow cooker soups? Do you recommend anything in particular? Tell me in the comments below!

Monday, December 19, 2011


This yummy pasta salad is a great side dish for any occasion - Holidays, BBQ, Work Pot Lucks, etc.
1 lb. spiral or small shell pasta
1/2 lb. feta, crumbled
2 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen spinach
1 can black olives, drained - I perfer Greek olives with no pits.
2 med. tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp. finely chopped mint
1/2 c. olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed (I'd be lying if I said I only use one clove.)
1 tsp. finely chopped oregano

Cook pasta according to package directions. Steam spinach in just the water that clings to it for a few minutes in a tightly covered saucepan. Remove from heat after the spinach wilts.
Toss the spinach with the pasta; top with tomatoes and olives.
Combine remaining ingredients (except feta) for salad dressing and pour over the salad. Chill for at least an hour in fridge. Top with the crumbled feta cheese and serve.

Spinach and Feta Pasta Salad


Oh so yummy dish that is super easy to make! Stop buying frozen pasta meals in a bag!!


6 large sweet Italian sausages
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 large red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup rice, cooked
1 lb. Barilla multicolor Rotini pasta, cooked
2 large red onions, sliced or chopped
1/2 tsp. each basil and oregano
1 tsp. taco seasoning
2 tbsp. tomato paste or 1 15 oz can Hunt's Sauce (optional)
1/2 cup marsala or other sweet red wine

Cut the sausage into 1-inch chunks. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, saute sausage chunks in olive oil over medium high heat with onion until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, peppers, seasonings. Cover and simmer until sausages are almost cooked through. Add wine and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta, rice and sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve.

Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta

This is a delicious, super quick side or main dish. Just like the recipe title, this is creamy and garlicky... yum!  A great dish to make during the busy work week. I use this as a base for main course pasta dishes to add chicken, veggies, etc to. Enjoy!

  • 1 (1 lb) box Penne or 1 (1 lb) box penne rigate , cooked al dente and kept hot
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 Garlic cloves minced  - Let's be real, i add like 4-6 cloves!
  • 2 tablespoons Flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth or 3/4 cup beef broth - whatever you have on hand works
  • 3/4 cup Milk or Half & Half
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper , to taste
  • 1/3 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
  1. Melt butter and add garlic in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Cook over medium for 1 minute.
  3. Add flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in broth and milk and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce boils and thickens.
  5. Add parsley, salt, pepper and cheese.
  6. Stir until cheese is melted
  7. Toss hot pasta with sauce and serve immediately

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Cider

Looking for a great holiday drinks to serve to your guests over the holiday season? This is yummy, easy to make and can be prepared with our without alcohol. Enjoy!

Equal parts of Ocean Spray Cranberry juice, and Apple cider (Schnucks has a good one in the area were the vegetables are)

1 cinnamon stick for a 12 cup coffee maker or two for crockpot

2 tablespoons of butter add butter in while brewing (butter depends on amount being prepared)

Optional:  Captain Jack’s Spiced Rum for a kick

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy 29th Birthday to me!

This being my birthday month I am usually surprised to receive my gift from my sister Ginger – she always picks out something amazing and I am usually bragging about it for months. This year, to no surprise, she topped herself again. I was shocked to receive my very own KitchenAid Food Processor equipped with 9 different blades, 2 size bowls, a scrapper and directions. I haven’t stopped using it! I have chopped garlic, made homemade baby food, whisked eggs and even kneaded cookie dough in it! This thing rocks and defiantly deserves spot in my favorite equipment section! THANK YOU SIS!!! I LOVE IT!

Prosciutto Bread

Made this YUMMY bread yesterday for our annual Christmas Cookie Party and it was a BIG hit! I will be making this again soon.

1 package of prosciutto (about 8 slices) (Italian bacon, found in the deli area)
1 French Bread Roll (by Pillsbury, found by the biscuits in the dairy section)
Salt & Pepper

Start by preheating your oven to 325 Degrees. On a flat cookie sheet, line with parchment paper. Roll dough out flat (use a tad of flour to prevent from sticking). Season dough with salt and pepper and add the prosciutto. Add more pepper and mold dough around and twist dough like a pretzel. Wrap in a circle (or which ever shape you choose) and bind the two ends together. Brush with EVVO. And bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Brush bread with more olive oil and bake for 5 minutes. Brush with more EVOO and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove and let stand, adding EVVO and a pinch of salt and pepper on top. Serve hot.