Sunday, January 22, 2012

Green Smoothie

I was skeptical with this whole "Green Smoothie" thing, but all you taste is fruit. You can add any kind of fruit. Every smoothie I make is a bit different. If you don't have frozen fruit then be sure to add ice.

Green Smoothie

1 banana
1 apple
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
2 T flax seed
1 ½ cup spinach

Put all in a blender and add enough water (green tea or juice) to blend. Enjoy!

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Mexican Stuffed Shells

1 lb. ground beef
1 package taco seasoning (see below)
4 oz. cream cheese
14-16 jumbo pasta shells
1.5 cup Salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup monterey jack cheese
3 green onions

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a frying pan cook ground beef; add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions.  Add cream cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside and cool completely.  While ground beef is cooking, cook the pasta shells according to directions; drain. Set shells out individually on cutting board/baking sheet so that they don’t stick together.

Pour salsa on bottom of 9×13 baking dish.  Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place shells in 9×13 pan open side up. Cover shells with taco sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 more minutes, with the foil removed.  Top with any condiments you’d like (green onions, black olives, sour cream etc.)

Taco Seasoning
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp cumin
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper

Put all ingredients in a container and shake. Use 2 tables spoons of mix for ever pound of meat.  Mix 2 Tbsp cornstarch with 1 cup cold water and add to meat mixture.


I looooove salsa, but I hate chunky salsa. I have tried every kind of store brand salsa and they are all chunky. So I have made my own. This has a nice bite to it already. Feel free to spice it up more if you like.

Makes about 6 cups

28-ounce can whole tomatoes (peeled) with juice
2 10-ounce cans Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies)
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 jalepeño, quartered and sliced thin
1/3 cup green bell pepper
½ cup cilantro
Juice from ½ a fresh lime
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until you get desired consistency. Refrigerate for at least one hour, and then serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

If you prefer a milder salsa, remove the seeds from the jalapeno before adding it to the food processor.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

French toast...'nuff said

Stuffed French Toast
1 loaf French Bread
3 tbsp strawberry jam
½ package cream cheese (4 oz) at room temperature
1/3 cup chopped strawberries
2 tbsp sugar
2 whole eggs
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
½ cup milk
butter or cooking spray

Cut bread into 2-3 inch wide slices. Then, with a paring knife, go back and cut halfway into each slice, in the center, creating a ‘pocket’ that your fruit mixture can be stuffed into.
In a bowl, place chopped strawberries and 1 tbsp sugar stir and let rest. In a second bowl, place the room temperature cream cheese and three tablespoons of fruit spread of your choice. Combine well. Add strawberries to cream cheese mixture.
In a separate bowl, break 2 eggs and flour, stir. Once combined add cinnamon, remaining sugar and milk and mix well.
Now, take fruit mixture and stuff into the ‘pockets’ of your french bread slices. Place on a baking sheet.
When done stuffing each piece of bread, completely coat each piece in egg mixture. Make sure all sides are covered. Do all pieces before starting to fry.
Put butter  or cooking spray into a hot skillet and melt completely. Add all of the bread to the skillet and cook roughly about 3-6 minutes on each side, until it reaches a nice golden brown. You want to make sure the cream cheese mixture heats through.
When done cooking, serve immediately with butter and syrup.

Potato Corn Chowder

I am stuck in my apartment, my car won't start. So what do I do to fill my time? Cook of course! I've made way to much food this weekend. I'll post everything throughout the week as I get to editing it. Now, if you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a bit obsessed with soup. It's easy, cheap, and you can do so much with it. My favorite part is that you make big batches and have a few meals from it. I freeze mine in single serve containers and grab them for lunch. I usually have 3-4 different varieties in my freezer at any given time.

Potato Corn Chowder 
1 medium uncooked red potatoes
 1/2 cup uncooked celery, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 bag of frozen corn
1 sweet red pepper (about 1 cup)
4 oz uncooked Canadian-style bacon, diced
2 cups chopped baby spinach
2 cups fat-free skim milk
1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce, or to taste
½- 1 cup chicken stock

Pierce potato in several places with a fork; microwave on high power until tender, turning over once, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool; mash. (You can peel this before mashing, but I like potato skins so I left mine on)
Meanwhile, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray. Add celery, onion, corn and red pepper; sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.Stir bacon, spinach and milk into saucepan; stir in mashed potato and mix well. Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce; stir to combine. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, do not boil . Thin with chicken stock if necessary.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I discovered Nutella over the holidays. How I lived before Nutella I will never know. These are just one of the many, many Nutella recipes I have tried lately.

Nutella Shortbread Cookies
makes 4 dozen

8 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 extra large egg yolks
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Nutella, divided

In a small, bowl stir together the flour and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until combined.   With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture.  Mix until it forms a soft dough.  Transfer the dough on to a lightly floured surface.  Shape in to square and divide it in half.  Transfer each half to a sheet of plastic wrap.  Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Unwrap one half of the dough and place on a piece of lightly floured parchment paper.  Cover with a sheet plastic wrap and roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness, about 10"x8" rectangle.

Remove the plastic wrap.  Using an off-set spatula,  spread half (1/4 cup) Nutella on to the dough leaving a 1/4-inch edge all around.    Using the parchment as a guide, roll the dough starting from the longest side, in to a tight log.  Wrap the parchment around the log and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining half.

Preheat the oven to 350º.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unwrap the log and slice into approximately 1/3-inch  slices.  Place the slices on the prepared baking sheet 1-2" apart (I can fit 15 cookies on a 12x15-inch baking sheet).  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until just golden around the edges.  Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes.  Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store cookies in an airtight container for 1 week.

Chicken Piccata

I'm back after a 2 month hiatus! I have returned and with my favorite meal...ever. Chicken Piccata...I just like to say it! Anyway, Super easy and delish! Try it with turkey, veal or pork chops and serve it over Angel hair pasta or spaghetti squash.

Chicken Piccata 

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast (butterflied about ¼ inch thick)
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup flour
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup brined capers
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Rinse the chicken pieces in water. Dredge them thoroughly in the flour mixture, until well coated.

Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add half of the chicken pieces, do not crowd the pan. Brown well on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve to a plate. Cook the other breasts in the same manner, remove from pan. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in the oven while you prepare the sauce.

Add the white wine (or chicken stock), lemon juice, and capers to the pan. Use a spatula to scrape up the browned bits. Reduce the sauce by half. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Plate the chicken and serve with the sauce poured over the chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.