New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Asparagus Tapenade…almost Springtime treat!

Tender stalks of asparagus at the store are a sign that Spring is upon us (or at least we hope it is). This recipe for Asparagus Tapenade has been in my stack of ‘must try’ recipes for a long time.  I wish I could remember where the recipe came from so I could give proper credit.

Asparagus Tapenade is a great recipe for anyone, but is a tasty treat for those practicing a Vegan or Vegetarian diet.

I served the Tapenade with vegetables and bits of bread.  It was great with both but I LOVED it on artisan bread. 

ASPARAGUS TAPENADE

1 pound asparagus (thick spears work fine)
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh basil or fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, optional
1/4 teaspoon fresh pepper
Additional salt and pepper to taste
  • Bring pan of water to boil over high heat.
  • Rinse and trim ends from asparagus, then cut in 1 – 2 inch pieces.
  • Add asparagus to water, return water to boil, reduce heat to medium. Cook until just soft and still bright green, about three minutes. Drain well.
  • Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium high, stirring occasionally, watching carefully to avoid burning.
  • Add remaining ingredients to a food processor. Add toasted pine nuts and cooked asparagus. Pulse until thoroughly blended but still roughly chopped.
  • Transfer to clean container and refrigerate until fully chilled. Serve with crackers, vegetables and/or on crostini/bread.

 

Home · New Favorite

Chicken YUM YUM lives up to its name!

Great friend and neighbor, Maribeth, shared this recipe with me several months ago. She had shared with me that Chicken Yum Yum was a family favorite and I was excited to try it. For some reason, I envisioned a Chinese dish but this is true Americana comfort food. I have made it with cooked chicken breasts (a little drier) or with a whole roasted chicken.  The roasted (or rotissiere chicken from the store) wins, hands down.

This would be a great recipe to assemble the night before (sans the stuffing), adding the stuffing and butter immediately before baking.

I paired the Chicken Yum Yum with roasted broccoli and it was…YUM YUM!

CHICKEN YUM YUM

1 cooked chicken
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 box stove top stuffing
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine/butter

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut chicken into bite sized pieces.  Place evenly in a 9×13″ greased pan.
  • Mix together sour cream and cream of chicken soup and pour over chicken.
  • Sprinkle box of stuffing over soup/sour cream layer.
  • Drizzle chicken broth over stuffing layer.
  • Melt 1 stick margarine or butter and drizzle over the top.
  • Bake for 60 minutes.
Czech Heritage · Gluten Free · New Traditions · Vegan · Vegetarian

Roasted Cabbage Slices

Several weeks ago a Facebook friend shared a recipe for roasted cabbage and I meant to copy or print it.  Short story, short…I forgot.  This week I was in the mood for roasted cabbage and…no recipe. After a quick Google search, I found a similar recipe from Martha Stewart for Roasted Cabbage Wedges.

The recipe calls for caraway OR fennel seeds and I AM a caraway seed lover but decided to do a few of both. The fennel seeds won, hands down!  The fennel gives a nice touch to the roasted cabbage where I didn’t feel the caraway enhanced the flavor. My Czech ancestors would probably roll over in their graves if they heard me admit that!

Great recipe to pair with pork, Bratwurst or for a vegan dish.

ROASTED CABBAGE SLICES

1 tablespoon plus 2 more tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium head green cabbage cut into 1 inch slices
Coarse salt and pepper
1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Place 1 medium head green cabbage cut into 1 inch slices, in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Brush the cabbage slices with 2 tablespoons oil.
  • Season with coarse salt and pepper, then sprinkle with caraway or fennel seeds.
  • Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden, 40-45 minutes.

Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Losers!

Slow Cooker Brownie … a Disaster!

A few days ago I was watching the Rachael Ray show with Emeril Lagasse as her guest. He shared a recipe for a slow cooker/crockpot brownie. With a busy day coming up and the need for a birthday dessert, I decided to give it a shot.

I followed the instructions, shown below, to a ‘T’ and anxiously awaited the yummy results, enjoying the smell of chocolate in my home all afternoon.

After the allotted baking time of 3 1/2 hours, the brownies were still liquid in the middle. I have a fairly large crockpot so the brownies were probably thinner than in many smaller crockpots.  Time was running out, so what to do?  I tried baking a little while longer on low with no improvement.  Finally I resorted to turning the crockpot on ‘high’ and you can imagine the burned edges and still uncooked center.

I was NOT a happy camper and kicked myself for not making the recipe shown below but baking, old-style, in the oven.  I think this modification for traditionally baked brownies topped warm, with the chocolate hazelnut spread would be amazing. Skip the slow cooker method.

NOTE TO SELF:  Never try to ‘bake’ a cake or brownie in the crockpot EVER!

SLOW COOKER BROWNIES (NOT!)

1 box of brownie mix
1 cup chocolate chunks, a mix of milk and dark (and I used some white chocolate)
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread

  • Line the bottom of the slow cooker with some aluminum foil and spray it with a little non-stick spray.
  • Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and add chocolate chunks.
  • Pour the batter into the slow cooker, set at a low temperature and cook for 3 hours.
  • Remove lid and cook for an extra 30 minutes to create a crunchy top. When cool, spread hazelnut spread on top and enjoy!

Recipe from Rachael Ray Show with Emeril Lagasse

Family Favorites · Holidays

Peanut Blossoms…with a kiss for your Sweetheart

Peanut butter and chocolate are a combination made in heaven.  What a perfect way to treat your Valentines with a sweet treat for Valentine’s Day. While Peanut Blossoms are also a Christmas favorite at my house, they are good all year long.

My 11.5 year old Golden Retriever likes them, too…helping himself to a few dozen stored in a canister on my counter.  I’m lucky he has an iron stomach! No more Peanut Blossoms for Big Bad Joe this year!

PEANUT BLOSSOMS

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bag chocolate kisses

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl (except chocolate) and mix on low speed until well blended. Shape in round balls and roll in sugar.
  • Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Remove cookies and press in chocolate star or kiss in each cookie while cookies are still hot.

Yield: 4 dozen

New Traditions

Baked Risotto with Bacon and Kale…comfort food

Baked Risotto with Bacon and Kale (and many other yummy ingredients) is a comfort dish to love. My gal pal, Jan, told me about this dish and I had to try it.  It also helped that I had many of the ingredients on the ready.

I rarely make Risotto because I don’t enjoy standing over the stove, constantly stirring and adding liquid to the Arborio rice. This recipe eliminates that hassle. There is some prep work chopping, roasting, grating, etc. but I did that early in the day which made the final preparation a breeze.

Add this is the list…comfort food!

RISOTTO WITH BACON AND KALE

4 slices bacon, chopped coarsely
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups low-salt chicken broth (plus 1/2 cup+ to add later in preparation)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
3 medium curly kale leaves, stemmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 roasted carrot
1 roasted parsnip
1 roasted shallot
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and chop the carrot, parsnip and shallot. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Roast for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
  • In a large, heavy saucepan or braising pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.
  • Add the chopped onions, salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes.  Add 3 cups broth and the lemon juice. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Cover with a tight lid and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  (Note: my dish was done at 20 minutes so watch closely.)
  • Remove the pan from the oven and return it to the stove, over medium-low heat. Remove the lid and stir in the chicken, kale, roasted vegetables and 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Stir until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes, adding extra broth, as needed, until the Risotto is creamy.  Stir in the cooked bacon and cheese.  Ladle into bowls and serve.

Recipe slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis Risotto with Bacon and Kale

 

Family Favorites · New Favorite

Hot Wing Dip…anytime

Hot Wing Dip came into my life thanks to oldest daughter Megan’s friend, Jacqui.  It was instant love for both of us, although Megan prefers Ranch dressing vs. Blue Cheese dressing.  Either way, it’s a hearty appetizer that is great to share at a potluck, tailgate, Olympics gathering, or just because! This time I split the recipe into two 8×8″ or 9×9″ casseroles to share at different events.

Hot Wing Dip has the same impact as hot wings but 1) not as messy and 2) easier to prepare. What’s not to love?

HOT WING DIP

2 bricks cream cheese, softened
16 oz. bottle Franks red-hot BUFFALO sauce
16 oz. bottle Blue Cheese dressing (or Ranch dressing)
6-8 cooked chicken breasts (depending on if you like it creamier or a bit drier)
1 bunch green onions, chopped

  • Bake or steam the chicken, cool. Cut into smaller pieces. At this point you can either shred the chicken or place in a food processor to chop.

  • Combine chicken with cream cheese, sauce, dressing and 1/2 of chopped green onions (white portion). Sprinkle top of dip with chopped green portion of onions. Place in greased 9×13″ pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 – 60 minutes.

Serve hot with corn or tortilla chips, Ritz crackers, and celery.

Family Favorites · Gluten Free · Health · New Traditions

Sweet Potato Chili (aka Paleo Chili)

When the temperatures drop and the snow flies, my mind races to a great bowl of chili. My oldest daughter, Megan, has been raving about the Paleo Chili, that I will refer to as Sweet Potato Chili. She is on a Whole-30 and Paleo diet, and she referred to this chili in her post on Life Love and Garlic.

I modestly adapted the originally recipe and the result was amazing. I’m not on a Paleo diet, but I LOVE this recipe. I could see this recipe easily adapted to Vegan by browning mushrooms (with a dash of olive oil) instead of beef and substituting vegetable broth for beef broth.

SWEET POTATO CHILI (AKA PALEO CHILI)

1 pound ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small
1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon paprika
1-2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon hot sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons lime juice (optional)

  • Chop onions and bell pepper and place in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat with ground beef. Using a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the meat, as it browns, into small pieces.
  • Once the meat is browned and the onions are soft, drain fat if needed.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, and all spices except hot sauce and lime juice. Stir well.
  • Add peeled and diced sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.

Optional:  Add hot sauce and lime juice. Taste. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Recipe adapted from Sweet Potato Chili from The Lucky Penny Blog