Saturday, February 25, 2012

Goat Cheese, Date, & Pear Balsamic Field Green Salad

This salad is simply divine! Not only does it go well with a glass of wine & a buttered slice of fresh french bread, BUT you can also put it on top your freshly baked homemade cheese pizza! enjoy!

Goat Cheese, Date, & Pear Balsamic Field Green Salad

1 Bag (1lb. Field Greens washed and drained)

2 ripe red Pears, seeded, diced, and set aside (toss in lemon juice)

Juice of ½ a lemon (for pears)

½ cup diced Dates (pits removed)

½ cup Goat cheese

½ cup Caramelized Walnuts

¼ cup high quality extra virgin olive oil

½ cup high quality sweet balsamic vinegar (I only use the 18 year aged balsamic from

Salt and pepper

Nature’s Seasoning to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rough chop walnuts & add to 1 teaspoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. Bake until golden brown, toss & set aside to cool.

In a large salad bowl, whisk together olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and dates.  Allow dates to sit in dressing for about 15 minutes.

Combine greens, and drizzle dressing on top, toss, and then add pears & and walnuts. Toss, & sprinkle each serving with goat cheese. Serve immediately.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fried Green Tomatoes

Ever stop & wonder what those green tomatoes at the grocery store are used for? Well, now you know. I watched the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes" years ago, but never tried these until I was with my hubby in Montgomery Alabama, heart of the South. Boy-did these knock our socks off.

We loved them so much we set out to replicate them. It was so much easier than we thought. These are highly addicting, and almost a meal in themselves. Enjoy.

Fried Green Tomatoes

3-4 medium, firm Green tomatoes
Natures Seasoning (or salt & pepper) to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Buttermilk
2 Eggs-beaten
A pinch of Salt
1/3 cup Breadcrumbs
3/4 cup yellow Cornmeal
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne/Paprika mix
1/2 cup Vegetable oil

Cut unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt. Let tomato slices stand for 5 minutes.

Place in separate bowls: Flour, Natures seasoning, and paprika/cayenne.
In Another bowl: Buttermilk, egg, & a pinch of salt. 
In the last bowl: Cornmeal, a pinch of salt, & breadcrumbs.

Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet on medium heat. Beat the egg and the buttermilk together. Dip tomato slices in the flour-seasoning mix, then buttermilk-egg mixture, then the cornmeal-bread crumb mix. In the skillet, fry half of the coated tomato slices at a time, for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown. Set the cooked tomatoes on paper towels to cool & drain oil. Serve immediately, with a spicy mustard or remoulade sauce.

Crockpot Spicy Ribs

These are mega easy to make, & perfect when you don't have the time to spend in the kitche. Prep em, turn em on, & leave em! That's it.

Crockpot Ribs:

5 lbs pork loin back ribs
1 can Dr. pepper
2 cups water
1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 red onion
3 cloves garlic-smashed & peeled
4 tablespoons Salt

Pepper to taste

1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika

2 tablespoons Smoked Paprika

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup Apple cider vinegar

1 bottle regular BBQ sauce

1/8 cup Molasses

3 teaspoons Honey

½ small (6 oz. can) Chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce


Place crock pot on high. In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients except ribs & Dr. Pepper together. Trim & clean ribs, rinse and pat dry. Place into crock pot sideways, so that riblets run vertical. I usually trim mine down so that they will fit into the crockpot easily. I also have an enormous oval shaped crock pot, but for half a recipe will use my regular sized round crock pot.

Pour barbeque sauce over the top, then add can of Dr. Pepper. Stir, then cover. Check a few times throughout the day, and decrease heat after the first 3 hours. Cook for up to 8 hours. In the last 30 minutes, pre-heat oven to 400, & place ribs onto a rib rack. Brown in oven, while basting with extra sauce for 20 minutes.

I also reduce some of the BBQ sauce from the crock pot over the stove top to serve on the side.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lemon-Garlic Chipotle Shrimp

This is a scrumptious meal, especially if you like a hot, spicy, & tomato-ey shrimp dish. I normally serve this over my Asiago-Corn Polenta, which is also a little spicy, but you can also serve over some cheesy grits, or omit the Serrano peppers from the polenta.

Lemon-Garlic Chipotle Shrimp

**served over Asiago-Corn Polenta-see recipe

For Shrimp:

1 & ½ pounds Shrimp-washed, deveined & tail removed

3 cloves of fresh chopped Garlic

2-3 sprigs of Green onions-sliced

1 cup fresh chopped flat leaf Parsley

1 cup Chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce

Juice of 2 Lemons

2-3 Shallots-minced

Nature’s Seasoning to taste

1 teaspoon Hungarian Paprika

1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika

½ teaspoon Chipotle powder

Serrano pepper (optional) with seeds removed


Heat oil & butter on medium-high heat. Sauté garlic, green onions, & shallots together. Add shrimp, mixing well. Add parsley, lemon juice, and all seasonings. Cook for about 5minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through. Add Serrano peppers if you like it very spicy. Otherwise, omit. Serve over Asiago-Corn Polenta.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie with Puffed Pastry

This recipe makes the most scrumptious chicken pot pie filling. I used to make my own crust to pair with the recipe, but I find that frozen puffed pastry dough is the best, and I only add it to the top of the pie to cut a few calories.

I place the filling into individual oven safe bowls, or ramekins. It gives each person the perfect amount for a nice sized serving. I make a few extra which store well covered in the fridge for a few days. They can easily be reheated in the toaster oven. Enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie with Puffed Pastry


           3 whole Chicken breasts chopped into bite sized cubes

           3-4 tablespoons Olive oil

           Freshly ground black pepper

           3 1/2 cups Chicken stock

           Sea salt

           2 chicken bouillon cubes

           1 tablespoon unsalted Butter

           1 cup yellow Onion, diced

           3/4 cup all-purpose Flour

           1/4 cup heavy Cream

           2 cups Peas/carrot frozen mixture

           1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves chopped

           2 cups Celery chopped

           2 Bay leaves

           2 small cloves of fresh Garlic-minced

           2-3 sprigs fresh Oregano

           2 teaspoons Poultry seasoning

           2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence

           1 large Potato-peeled & diced

           ½ cup white


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, sauté onions, garlic, parsley & bay leaves in olive oil & 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, until golden brown. Add chicken, which have been cut into small bite sized cubes. Cook, stirring frequently until done. 

Add celery, potato, & herbs de

Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the white wine or sherry. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Mix well.

Add to individual single serving ramekins that are oven safe. Top with frozen puffed pastry in small 3x5 squares. Brush with egg wash & bake.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vanilla-Caramel Chews

What is better than a classic vanilla-caramel candy? Something that takes you back to you your childhood? Try this easy caramel candy recipe. Play around with the recipe & add orange extract, or rum to add variety.

Classic Vanilla-Caramel Chews

1 quart heavy cream
½ cup sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla or 1 vanilla bean

Heat cream in a heavy saucepan on medium high until cream comes to a rolling boil. Boil cream, stirring often, until it reduces by half. Then transfer the cream into a heavy skillet, mix in sugar and corn syrup, and bring to a boil again, cooking (and stirring) until the cream and sugar mixture becomes thick and melted caramel-like in texture.

Add vanilla just after turning off the heat, and mix well. Scrape caramel into a buttered pan, and let it cool. Once cool, roll the caramel into a long log, slice it into pieces and wrap the individual pieces in plastic wrap. They can also be stored in the fridge, if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to a month.
**You can also do a variation by adding ½ teaspoon of Orange extract…Mmmmm.

Caramel-Rum Flan

Flan is one of the easiest desserts you can make. Plus, which is such a bonus, it can be made ahead, and placed in the fridge to chill until you're ready to serve. It's delicious the in traditional style, but you can add a few additional key ingredients, and make it the BOMB!

Caramel –Rum Flan

1 cup and 1/2 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 13 oz cans evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark Rum

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. You will need 6-8 ramekins and a large baking pan to place them inside.  

Pour 1 cup sugar in warm pan over medium heat. Constantly stir sugar until it browns and becomes caramel. Quickly pour approximately 2-3 tablespoons of caramel in each ramekin, tilting it to swirl the caramel around the sides. Reheat caramel if it starts to harden.

In a mixer or with a whisk, blend the eggs together. Mix in the milks then slowly mix in the 1/2 cup of sugar, then the vanilla & rum. Blend smooth after each ingredient is added.

Pour custard into caramel lined ramekins. Place ramekins in a large glass or ceramic baking dish and fill with about 1-2 inches of hot water. Bake for 45 minutes in the water bath and check with a knife just to the side of the center. If knife comes out clean, it's ready.

Remove and let cool. Let each ramekin cool in refrigerator for 1 hour. Invert each ramekin onto a small plate, the caramel sauce will flow over the custard.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spicy Broccoli Cheese Soup

This soup is a meal it itself. A little crusty Italian bread on the side, and you're good to go. It's cheesy, hearty & spicy. And it will warm you on a cold night. I like making this when the weather is cold, and I need a nice comfort meal to fill me up. It's packed with enough veggies to make it healthy.

Spicy Broccoli Cheese Soup


½ of a large Velveeta cheese loaf (About 2 cups of diced cheese)

6-7 large stalks of fresh Celery- chopped finely

½ yellow Onion-diced

½ head of fresh Broccoli-chopped finely (about 2 ½ cups)

1 Serrano pepper-minced (I usually remove about half of the seeds to make sure it doesn’t get too spicy)

3 tablespoons Butter

1 cup Whole Cream

1 pint half and half

1 cup chicken stock

2 chicken bouillon cubes or Chicken flavoring

Nature’s Seasoning (to taste)- or salt & pepper


Sauté in a large pot over medium-high heat butter, Serrano peppers, and onions. Add celery & broccoli, & reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes until all the veggies cook down. Add stock & stir frequently.

Add cubed Velveeta, seasonings, cream & half and half. Stir constantly as cheese melts down on very low heat. Taste & season accordingly.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Coconut Macaroons in Chocolate Ganache

This recipe is an oldie, but goodie. I usually make these for Easter, & since Easter is right around the corner-why not. I think the chocolate on the bottom of the macaroon is the only way to go. Without it, the coconut is a bit overpowering, but the chocolate helps balance it it.

I have also made them in a ball shape, then thumb printed them, & filled the hole with ganache, or an Easter colored chocolate M&M. These are really cute if you dress them up to correspond to the holiday you are making them for.

With Valentines Day coming up, you could also do a cute heart shape, or even fill them in the middle with a heart shaped chocolate, or color the coconut a pinkish tint. whatever you decide-just have fun!

Coconut Macaroons in Chocolate Ganache


1 1/3 cups of whole blanched almonds (lightly toasted)

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 cups toasted desiccated coconut

6 egg whites (from six large eggs)

1 tablespoon of granulated sugar

A pinch salt

Ganache Filling

1/2 cup of heavy cream

2 teaspoons whole milk

2 1/2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder

4 ounces chocolate (fine-quality bitter-sweet, not unsweetened), finely chopped

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Pulse almonds with 2 cups confectioner's sugar in a food processor until finely ground (almost to a powder) Add remaining 1 1/2 cups of confectioner's sugar and pulse until combined. Add coconut. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at moderately high speed until they hold soft peaks. Fold in almond mixture in 3 batches gently, but thoroughly (batter will be very soft).

Transfer batter to pastry bag and pipe small (1 inch diameter) mounds about 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake macaroons in batches in the middle of the oven until the top are slightly cracked and appear dry, but are still slightly soft to the touch, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer macaroons on parchment to a dampened kitchen towel and cool 5 minutes. Peel from paper and completely cool on racks. Move onto making the filling.

                          Finish with Ganache Filling
Bring milk and cream to a total boil in a small, heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Whisk in cocoa, then remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Cool Chocolate Macaroons filling, then chill, covered, until firm enough to hold its shape when spread, about 30 minutes. Dip bottom of macaroon in Ganache & allow to dry on parchment paper covered cookie sheet.