Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bacon Potato Salad

Let me start by saying... A BBQ isn't a BBQ without potato salad. It's defiantly a dish needed! There are so many versions of potato salad and I hate most of them. I hate mustard potato salad, if you add miracle whip I'll throw it away when you turn your back, and I most defiantly don't like German potato salad. I also hate it when it has so many onions that's all you taste.

So on that Note, besides my Mom's delicious potato salad that I have not got my hands on the recipe yet, here's a quick easy recipe with just what you need to make your taste buds smile!

Small bag of red potatoes, cubed and boiled until soft
4-5 hard boiled eggs, sliced, diced, whatever
Bacon, chopped into bites, or crumbled
Salt & black pepper
1 tsp of celery seed
1 tbsp of minced fresh garlic
1 sprig of fresh dill, chopped
1/2 tbsp paprika
REAL Mayo (try Duke's)
2 tbsp of white vinegar

Cook potatoes until done, drain and cool.
In a medium mixing bowl, add potatoes, chopped eggs, bacon and mix well. Start adding Mayo, little at a time until you reach your preferred limit. And the remainder of the ingredients and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.

That's it! Easy and delicious! If you wish, scallions chopped would be great in this dish!

Gluten-Free Fudgy Pecan Brownies

Who says you need wheat flour to bake delicious brownies?! These rich, nutty brownies are irresistible, oh and did I mention they are super easy to make!
This recipe came straight out of my newest addition of Every Day Food magazine, thank you Martha Stewart!

6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces plus more for pan
1/3 cup cornstarch (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
12oz semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup chopped toasted pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each side. Whisk together cornstarch, cocoa, cinnamon and salt. In a large microwave safe bowl, microwave butter and chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes.
Stir in sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add cornstarch mixture and stir vigorously until mixture is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 2 minutes.
2. Pour batter in pan and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes., rotating pan halfway through. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Using paper overhang, lift out of pan and cut into 16 squares.

If you prefer, swap pecans with toasted hazelnuts or walnuts. For a real sweet treat, serve these brownies a la mode.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gluten-Free Banana Nut Bread

While reading one of my favorite food blogs, I came across this delicious recipe for a Gluten-Free Banana Nut Bread. I wanted to share with my readers because it's just too yummy to pass up!

Gluten-free banana nut bread is so moist and delicious you will forget that it contains NO GLUTEN.  This is no ordinary banana bread, in addition to the mashed bananas, the batter is studded with chocolate chips and chopped walnuts that give this bread extra flavor and great texture.  A dash of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla add a subtle spice that brings the whole thing together.  Enjoy this gluten-free banana nut bread for breakfast or as a mid-day snack.

1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
3/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips, optional
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed (about 3 small/medium bananas)
1/2 cup Earth Balance (vegan) butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the chopped walnuts on a baking sheet and bake 5-8 minutes.
Melt your butter and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cornstarch, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium-sized bowl, mash the bananas. Measure it out to make sure it's 1 C. Stir in the eggs, butter, and vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined.
Fold in the walnuts. You could also fold in 1/2 C of dairy free chocolate chips if desired.
Spray a 9 x 5 inch bread pan with cooking spray and dust with cornstarch.
Pour in the batter and bake 55-65 minutes. After 30 minutes (or whenever the top browns) cover with tin foil to prevent the top from burning. The bread is done baking when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool completely on a cooling rack then cut slices with a serrated knife.
Chocolate Banana Bread: Reduce the walnuts to 1/2 C. Increase the sugar to 1 C. Add 1/4 C cocoa powder. Omit the cinnamon.
Thank you

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Creamy Pesto Chicken with Bowtie Pasta

Now I'm a red sauce lover myself, but I'm always up to trying new and different kinds of pasta minus the marinara. And as an added bonus, if it's quick and easy for weeknight dinner that's makes it all the better! This yummy recipe is quick, easy to prepare and delicious!

1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2 garlic cloves smashed and minced
1 box of Farfalle pasta (Bowtie) cooked "al dente".
1 14oz can diced tomatoes (or fresh if you prefer try using cherry tomatoes whole)
1 14oz can Hearts of Palm artichokes
1 10oz container of Philadelphia cooking Creme - creamy pesto

Preheat a deep large skillet over medium heat (I usually add one turn of EVOO to the pan). Cook chicken for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring, until done. Now add garlic, tomatoes, artichokes and simmer for 2 minutes.
Add cooking Creme and simmer an additional 2-4 minutes.

Tastes great with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh lemon juice drizzled on top just before serving.

Cook's Tip: if a thinner consistency is what you prefer, add 1 tbsp of broth or milk at a time, up to 4 tbsp until desired thickness is achieved.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spaghetti with Baked Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs. Dare I say anything else? This is the dish of my family. All of us enjoy it, we lick our plates clean using garlic toasted bread and fight over the last meatball. So let's get cooking! Spaghetti and meatballs IS EASY to make from scratch (well pasta is boxed) and taste better then that store bought processed stuff!

Baked Meatballs:
1 lb of lean ground beef
1/2 cup shredded Parm cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
2 fresh garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat small square pan with EVOO. Form into medium size balls and bake for 12 minutes,turning after 6. Set aside.

The Marinara:
2 tbsp EVOO
1/3 cup grated sweet onion
2 galic cloves, minced
1 1/2 (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic and cook until soft. Pour in tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir, simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining of ingredients, stir well and simmer for 15 mins uncovered.

Next I add the sauce and meatballs to cooked spaghetti noodles and stir well. Do you serve your pasta separate from sauce?? I don't! It's better mixed together especially the next day!

There you have it! Delicious easy recipe that will knock the socks off your family!

Strawberry Pancakes

After a suggestion from my sweetheart, I decided to give it a whirl and whip up some homemade strawberry pancakes for dinner last week. I came home, and just started mixing, measuring and chopping. These pancakes turned out delicious! Although I know I need to work on my "pancake flipping technique", the flavor, fluffiness and sweetness was worth ever inch of flour my kitchen was abused by that evening.

I used a base pancake recipe and simply added some vanilla and chopped fresh strawberries! Simple, easy to prep and puts smiles on your kids faces when they discover that dinner = pancakes! I always double this recipe!

1 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

In a medium bowl, stir together the flower, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Next pour in the milk, oil, egg and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Gently stir in the strawberries.

Heat large skillet or griddle over medium heat and coat with butter. Pour batter in desired size pancakes. When bubbles appear in the center, flip pancake. Cook until golden brown on both sides.

Top with 3-4 sliced strawberries, maple syrup and a dusting of powder sugar! Yummy!

Forgive me!

Life's been a bit chaotic for the last month and blogging was put on hold due to it. But believe you me I am still cooking, clipping, saving and a worked obsessed Mommy enjoying life! I have some fantastic yummy recipes I plan to blog over the next few days and soon to come changes to my blog! I will be adding a coupon section, a parenting section and maybe a few more.... Got a suggestion? Stayed tuned! And happy cooking :)