April 11, 2014

Angel Hair Pasta Salad W/Shrimp

If you are looking for something a little different in the way of a pasta salad this is a very tasty choice with just the right amount of crunch from the toasted almonds. A great salad to take to a get together. I added shrimp and it made a great light meal. If you add a protein or not it is sure to be a crowd pleaser. This recipe is also very easy to cut in half for your family or a smaller group. Refrigerate the leftovers.

1 pound angel hair pasta.
1/2 cup olive oil.
4 cloves garlic, minced.
1 1/2 cups fresh grated parmesan cheese.
4-6 large roma tomatoes, seeded and diced.
Large handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces.
1 - 4 oz. package sliced almonds, lightly toasted (you can do this over medium-low heat in a non-stick skillet).
Coarse salt (I used my sea salt grinder so it was a little more coarse than regular salt).
Shrimp (optional). I love the frozen raw shrimp at Costco. I used seven per person if you are serving as a light meal. Otherwise use your discretion.

1. Boil water for pasta. When water starts boiling, add some salt to the water. Add pasta and cook until al dent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta and place in serving bowl.

2. While pasta is boiling, sauté garlic in olive oil until sizzling and very lightly browned (don't burn the garlic or it will taste bitter). Pour garlic and olive oil over warm pasta and toss. Sprinkle a teaspoon or so of coarse salt over the noodles and add 1 cup of the parmesan cheese. Toss again. Let noodles cool slightly.

3. Use the same pan that you used for the garlic and sauté the shrimp, should only take about 3-4 minutes. Set aside for dressing the salad.

4. Lightly brown sliced almonds on medium-low heat in a not stick fry pan. Watch closely so they don't burn.

5. Right before serving, top noodles with diced tomatoes, lightly toasted almonds, torn basil and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and sautéed shrimp if using. Very lightly toss, being careful not to let all the toppings go to the bottom.

March 25, 2014

Salsa Verde Pot Roast Enchiladas

I guess I took a long enough break from my blog and people are asking why. Well, we took some time away from the winter here in Utah and it was wonderful. Stayed on Oahu for two weeks in January,  rented a condo in California for almost the whole  month of February, and on the way home stayed for five days at my brothers beautiful new house in Lake Havasu. Yep, you guessed it. My husband finally retired. We saw family and friends and it was wonderful but now back to cooking and baking up some good recipes.

If you're one who does a beef pot roast on Sundays then this recipe is for you. This is one of the many things I make with left over roast. If you're not one to do this Costco has a fully cooked beef pot roast that is really good (Morton's). Just follow the directions on the package and then shred some roast and you're ready to make the enchiladas.

white corn tortillas (6 inch)
left over pot roast (shredded)
1 1/2 cups salsa verde salsa (We love Archer/Target brand, it's mild)
1/2 cup sour cream
monterey jack cheese (8 oz. or more, grated)
2 chopped green onions for the top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix together the salsa verde and sour cream and smear some on the bottom of 13 by 9 inch glass dish.

Heat tortillas for 15 seconds in microwave to make them more pliable so they won't crack when you roll them.

Fill each tortilla with as much of the shredded beef as you want and top with as much cheese as you want. Roll up and put in prepared dish. Continue until you fill the dish then sprinkle the cheese on top. You can then top with green onions and cilantro. Pop in the over and bake for 35-40 minutes.

December 20, 2013

Pineapple Cheese Ball

Listen to me when I say this is something you want to have for this holiday season. I made it for Thanksgiving and it was a hugh hit.  These flavors together are really good, I'm talking really good. It couldn't be any easier to throw together. Chill for an hour or more and serve with cinnamon pita chips, ritz crackers or wheat thins or all three. It is definitely a keeper.

1 1/2 packages (12 oz) cream cheese
1 small can crushed pineapple (well drained)
powdered sugar - to taste - approximately 2-3 Tablespoons
Green onions, sliced -  to taste - 2-3 Tablespoons
chopped ham - to taste - 2-3 Tablespoons. I used lunch meat, thin slice in a package.
chopped pecans, about a cup, for rolling cheese ball in.

Drain pineapple really well, set aside. Chop ham, green onions and pecans.

Mash all ingredients together really well, except pecans.  Roll into a ball and roll in chopped pecans to cover ball. Chill in refrigerator for one hour or more or day ahead and serve with pita chips or crackers.

recipe from Chef in Training.

December 18, 2013

Fresh Cranberry Coconut Banana Bread

This is a low fat choice for a banana bread with lots of yummy add ins. I added only a half a cup of cranberries when I made it but definitely needed more so I adjusted the recipe. It's a great choice for breakfast. 

Preheat oven to 350.
Makes one large loaf or two smaller loaves.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup dry Quaker quick oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup low fat buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mashed bananas
3/4 to1cup fresh cranberries (chopped or not, you choose)
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

In separate bowl whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In mixer bowl combine brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, mashed bananas, buttermilk and mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Mix in cranberries, coconut, chocolate chips, and pecans.

Pour into sprayed loaf pan. Bake on 350 degrees for about one hour. If making two smaller loaves, adjust time. Cool ten minutes when you take it out of the oven and then turn out on to cooling rack. Great for breakfast.

December 3, 2013

Blackberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

What to do on a snowy day but make cookies. All my decorating is done so why not bake something. Believe it or not I have never made shortbread thumbprint cookies before. Usually when I think of a Christmas cookie I think of spices and candied fruit but you see these quite often so why not give them a try. I'm not too fond of almond flavoring and I didn't want the flavor to be overbearing so I only added a dash to the glaze along with vanilla and I really liked the outcome. Put this one on the list.

Ingredients for shortbread:
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
seedless blackberry jam, or other jam of your choosing.
sugar for sprinkling

Ingredients for glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In bowl of stand mixer cream butter. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour and mix until ingredients all come together into ball.  If you are using a hand mixer you may have to finish mixing with a wooden spoon. Mixture will be stiff.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape balls into 1-inch balls and dent the middle with thumb or I use a bent knuckle. I think it makes a nicer hole. Spoon 1/4 teaspoon of the jam into each indentation and then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 12 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and make the glaze combining all ingredients together and vigorously stir until blended and creamy. Wait until cookies are totally cooled to drizzle glaze.

Makes 2 dozen.

November 22, 2013

The November Cupcake

Cranberry Orange Cupcake with
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting 

It's cranberry season and this cupcake definitely speaks of fall with a moist orange cake studded with fresh ripe juicy cranberries topped with white chocolate cream cheese frosting. It is definitely The November Cupcake.

Ingredients for Cupcake:
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons fine orange zest
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped fresh cranberries

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add oil, orange juice, orange zest, eggs, and sour cream.  Beat at medium speed with a mixer until smooth.  Gently mix in cranberries with spoon until evenly distributed. Scoop into cupcake liners (2/3 full) and bake on 350 degrees for 18 minutes. 

Makes one dozen. Cool completely before frosting.

Ingredients for White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
8 oz. cream cheese bar
two oz. white chocolate, (I use Bakers)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt white chocolate until just warm enough to mix with a spoon until creamy. You don't want it hot.  

In a large bowl, beat butter, cream cheese until creamy. Add in white chocolate and mix.
On low speed add powdered sugar one cup at a time and blend. Add vanilla and mix thoroughly until totally combined and creamy.  

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!