Monday, March 29, 2021

Creamy Penne Pasta Bake

12 ounces penne pasta
1 medium zucchini
Olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
Sprinkle of dried dill or Italian herbs, to taste
Chopped fresh chives for topping

Ingredients for the sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons brown rice flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup gluten-free yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon mild rice vinegar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, optional

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil the bottom of a large gratin dish or casserole and set aside
2.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and partially cook the pasta.
3.  Meanwhile wash, trim, and slice the zucchini into half-moons.
4.  Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Add the zucchini and minced garlic, season with sea salt, ground pepper, and a dash or two of dried dill or Italian herbs. Stir to coat, and quickly stir-fry, just until the zucchini is tender-crisp. Don't overcook it. It will continue to cook in the oven.
5.  Start making the creamy pasta sauce. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and add the butter. When the butter melts, add in the brown rice flour and stir with a whisk to make a paste. Heat it through, stirring and cooking the paste for a minute.
6.  Slowly add in the milk and whisk the milk with the paste to combine. Add in the yeast, garlic powder, sea salt, nutmeg, rice vinegar and mustard.
7.  Stir the sauce until it thickens and turn down the heat. If it gets too thick you can thin it with a dash of milk.
8.  When the pasta is done, drain it well, and drizzle it with a touch of olive oil. Pour the cooked penne into a large gratin dish or casserole. Add in the zucchini. Pour the sauce in and gently, very gently, combine the penne, zucchini, and sauce until the penne is coated. Sprinkle the top with fresh snipped chives.
9.  Cover the dish with foil. Bake the pasta in the center of a preheated oven for 20 minutes, until heated through and bubbling.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

· Butter, for greasing pan
· 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
· ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
· ¾ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
· 4 eggs
· 1 ½ cups white sugar
· 1 Tablespoon flour
· 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
· ½ cup fresh lemon juice
· 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
· 1 cup sugar
· 2 eggs, beaten
· Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling
· Strawberries, for garnish

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  2. Whisk together 1 1/2 cup flour and confectioners' sugar in a mixing bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a knife or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared baking dish to form a crust.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside.
  4. Whisk together 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a bowl. Pour lemon mixture into the prepared crust. Skim off any bubbles from the surface of the filling. 
  5. Mix the cream cheese and 1 cup sugar in a bowl until well blended. Whisk in 2 eggs, and then spread over the lemon mixture. The mixtures will separate during baking.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the filling is set, about 30 minutes.
  7. While still warm, sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
  8. Once cooled, cut into squares. Top each square with a fresh strawberry.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Parmesan Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Potatoes Cut in to cubes or wedges
Olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Cut potatoes into cubes or wedges. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 3 to 6 minutes depending on size.
3. While potatoes are cooking put enough oil to just cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet or other heavy pan and heat in oven.
4. Drain the potatoes and place them back in the pot. Put the pot back on the burner and shake to dry the potatoes and to rough up their surface. This is what gives roasted potatoes that perfect crust.
5. Add the potatoes to the hot oil, toss to coat and roast turning once or twice.
6. When potatoes are almost tender sprinkle with fresh garlic and Parmesan, salt and pepper and continue roasting until potatoes are tender. Turn at least one more time for even browning.
7. Just before serving, toss with fresh chopped parsley.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Black-Eyed Pea Dip

¾ cup oil
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 small can whole kernel corn, drained
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ cup diced green onions
1 large tomato, diced
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
Tortilla chips

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar and vinegar for the dressing. In a large bowl, mix together the peas, corn, peppers, onions, tomato and 
parsley. Pour dressing on top of pea salad and mix well. Serve alone or with tortilla chips as a dip.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Chicken Gumbo Pot Pie

2 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
4 medium ribs celery, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 bag (16-ounce) frozen sliced okra
1 can (14 ½ ounce) diced tomatoes
1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large skillet, cook bacon until browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
3. Sprinkle chicken with ½ teaspoon salt. Cook chicken in bacon fat in 2 batches, 5 or 6 minutes per batch or until beginning to brown. Transfer chicken to a medium bowl.
4. Using the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium for 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook for about 7 minutes or until a deep golden brown color, stirring constantly. Gradually add in chicken broth, stirring with whisk to prevent lumps. Heat to boiling and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove skillet from heat.
5. In a large Dutch oven, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-high heat until hot. Add celery, onion and pepper; cook about 10 minutes or until all vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in Cajun seasoning, cooking about 30 seconds. Add chicken broth mixture, okra, tomatoes and remaining salt, heat to boiling on high. Stir in chicken chunks and bacon; reduce heat to medium and cook 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside, stirring occasionally.
6. Divide gumbo between 2 ungreased 9 ½-inch deep-dish pie plates. Top each with 1 sheet puff pastry, tucking pastry corners under to form a round top. Cut six 1-inch slits in pastry to allow steam to escape during baking.
7. Bake one pot pie for 35 minutes or until pastry to golden brown and puffed. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Meanwhile, prepare second pot pie for freezing.

To Freeze: Cover tightly with plastic wrap and heavy-duty aluminum foil. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes and then bake as directed.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Oven Tacos

· 2 pounds ground beef (or turkey/chicken)
· 1 small onion diced
· 1 small can diced green chilies
· 1 recipe for Homemade taco seasoning (below) or 1 package of taco seasoning
· 1 (8 ounce) can low sodium tomato sauce
· 1 (16 ounce) can fat free refried beans
· 2 cups shredded reduced fat Colby-jack cheese
· 18-20 hard taco shells
· Optional garnishes – shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, olives

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2.  In a large skillet brown ground beef and onion over medium-high heat. Drain off any excess liquid.
3.  Return to pan, add chilies, taco seasoning, tomato sauce, and refried beans. Mix well and cook for a few minutes if mixture seems runny.
4.  Spoon the taco meat mixture into the taco shells and place into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, standing up. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the taco meat in each shell.
5.  Place into the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tacos are heated through.
6.  Remove from the oven and top with any optional condiments for serving.

Taco Seasoning Ingredients:
· 1 tablespoon chili powder
· 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
· 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
· 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
· 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
· 1/2 teaspoon paprika
· 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
· 1 teaspoon sea salt
· 1 teaspoon black pepper

Taco Seasoning Directions:
1.  In a small bowl, mix all together.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Chocolate Mint Bars

How about we celebrate St. Patty's Day with a yummy bar full of a brownie base, green minty center and chocolate glaze over the top?  Okay, I think we shall.  These are amazing and kinda like potato chips, you can't eat just one.  So proceed with caution. 

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) plus 6 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
3/4 cup cocoa
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon mint extract
4 drops green food color
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9-inch baking pan. Place 1 cup (2 sticks) butter in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at medium heat for 2 minutes or until melted. Stir in granulated sugar and vanilla. Add eggs; beat well. Add cocoa, flour and baking powder; beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.
To prepare the mint cream center, combine powdered sugar, 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, water, mint extract and food color. Beat until smooth. Spread evenly on brownies. Cover; refrigerate until cold.
Prepare Chocolate Glaze by placing remaining 6 tablespoons butter and chocolate chips in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at medium heat for 1 minute or until mixture is smooth when stirred. Cool slightly; pour over chilled dessert. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Corned Beef and Cabbage

3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet
10 small red potatoes
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges

Rinse the corned beef under running water.
Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender.
Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes.
Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes. Then slice meat across the grain.
Place vegetables in a bowl and add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven or large pot) as you want.
Serve immediately.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Meatless Tostadas

1 can refried beans
3 teaspoons taco seasoning
1 (8.5 ounce) pouch ready to serve Santa Fe rice, prepared according to package directions
1 can black beans
2 cups shredded Mexican-blend cheese
12 tostada shells
Toppings: pico de gallo; avocado, black olives

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together refried beans and taco seasoning.
Layer refried beans, rice and black beans on tostada shells. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 5 to 6 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with toppings.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Inside Out Bacon Cheeseburgers

1.5 pound lean ground chuck
½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup bacon bits
¼ cup of steak or BBQ sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Hamburger Buns
1 Vidalia Onion, sliced thin
1 package fresh mushrooms

Preheat grill. In a large bowl, mix ground beef, cheese, bacon, sauce, salt and pepper until well blended.
Shape mixture into 4 patties.
Place patties on grill. Cover grill, cook over medium heat for 13-15 minutes, turning once, until meat thermometer inserted in center of patties reads 160 degrees or until well done.
In a grill pan, sprayed with cooking spray, add onion and mushrooms.
Cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat or until onions are clear.
Serve on top of burgers.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Georgia Peach Pork Chops

2 cups packaged cornbread stuffing mix
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
8 ounces diced peaches, undrained
6 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 bone-in center loin pork chops (1 inch thick)
1/2 cup peach preserves
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

In a small bowl, combine the stuffing mix, pecans, peaches, water and butter.
Cut a pocket in each pork chop by slicing almost to the bone. Stuff with the peach mixture and secure with wooden toothpicks. Place in an 11x 7 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Combine preserves, peanut butter and mustard; spread over chops.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 15-20 minutes or until meat juices run clear

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle

-2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced
-1 cup sugar, divided
-2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
-3 tablespoons orange juice
-3 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped
-1 loaf (about 12-14 oz.) pound cake, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
-2 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
-Additional strawberries & chocolate for garnish

1. In a large bowl toss the strawberries with 1/2 cup of sugar, set aside.
2. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, orange juice and remaining sugar until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream; set aside.
3. Drain the strawberries, reserving juice, set the berries aside. Gently toss cake cubes with reserved juice.
4. Place half of the cake cubes into the bottom of your trifle bowl. Top with 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture, half of the strawberries and half of the grated chocolate. Repeat layers.
5. Top with remaining cream cheese mixture. Garnish with strawberries and grated chocolate.
6. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Yield: 14-16 servings

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Baked Shrimp Scampi

· 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
· 1 cup unsalted butter
· 1/4 cup white wine
· 2 tablespoons lemon juice
· 2 tablespoons dried parsley
· 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
· 2 tablespoons minced garlic
· 1/2 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs

1.  Place shrimp into a saucepan, cover with water to a depth of 2 inches over shrimp, and bring to a boil. Cover pan and cook until shrimp are pink, 2 to 3 minutes; drain.
2.  Combine butter, white wine, lemon juice, parsley, cayenne pepper, and garlic in a 2-quart casserole dish.
3.  Place casserole dish in oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
4.  When butter is melted, lightly toss shrimp in butter mixture until coated. Sprinkle bread crumbs over shrimp.
5.  Bake in the preheated oven until bread crumbs are lightly golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Friday, March 5, 2021

BLT Pasta Salad

2 1/2 cups uncooked bow tie pasta
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1 medium tomato, diced
8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Ranch dressing
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta, chicken, tomato and bacon.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, vinegar and pepper.
Pour over pasta mixture; toss to coat evenly.
Can serve immediately or chill.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas

2 cups grilled pineapple slices
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper, to taste
Barbeque sauce
4 large flour tortillas
2 cups grated Mexican blend cheese

1. Grill pineapple slices on a grill pan over low heat. Cut into smaller, bite size pieces and set aside.
2. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place on the grill pan. Cook on both sides until done, brushing with barbeque sauce. Remove from heat and cut into thin strips or small pieces and set aside.
3. Warm large skillet or griddle and drizzle with olive oil. Place tortillas on skillet, sprinkle with grated cheese, chicken and pineapple on one side of tortilla. Top with a drizzle of barbeque sauce and fold over half of tortilla.
4. Cook until cheese is melted and quesadillas are golden brown and warmed through. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

Turkey and Wild Rice Bake

· 1 (6-ounce ) package long grain and wild rice mix
· 1 tablespoon butter
· 1 cup chopped onion
· 2 tablespoons minced garlic
· 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
· 1 cup milk
· 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
· 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
· 3 cups chopped cooked turkey
· 1 (4-ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
· ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
· ½ cup toasted almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare rice mix according to package directions, except without the seasoning packet.
2. Meanwhile in a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook until onion is tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in soup, milk and basil; heat through. Gradually add mozzarella cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in cooked rice, turkey and mushrooms.
4. Transfer to a 3 quart baking dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
5. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with almonds.

*To toast almonds, spread them on a shallow baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking the pan once or twice.