Monday, December 21, 2009

Spicy Kobacha Pumpkin Soup with Spaghetti Squash

Recipe Courtesy of Stella Ortega

This recipe was given to me by my mom who made it one time for everyone at work.  It was given rave reviews.

Olive oil ,   4 Tbsp butter,    2 medium onions, chopped ,      3 tsp minced garlic,  1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes,     2-3 tsp curry powder,      1/2 tsp coriander,    1 tsp thyme,      2 bay leaves,        2 tsp parsley,               1 tsp sage,    1/2 tsp cinnamon,    1/2 tsp nutmeg,    1/2 tsp allspice,    1/2 cup brown sugar,     2 cups milk,          1/2 cup heavy cream,   juice from 1 lemon,  pinch cayenne pepper,   salt and pepper to taste,   5 cups chicken or vegetable broth,  1 large Kabacha pumpkin (green round pumpkin),    1 spaghetti squash

Cut pumpkin and spaghetti squash in half, sprinkle with salt and pepper and olive oil.  cover with foil.  Cook in oven at 400 degrees for about 1 hour until soft.  Squash and pumpkin are done when you can push in softly.
After pumpkin is done, cool and scoop out, and set aside.  When spaghetti squash is done, cool and scape with a fork from top to bottom, so that the squash comes out stringy. Set aside.

Heat oil and butter in a sauce pan, add onions and garlic and cook until soft.  Add curry, coriander, thyme, parsley, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice for 1 minute.  Add pumpkin and broth and stir well.  Add bay leaf, cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

Transfer soup, in batches to the blender or food processor.  Fill half way with soup and pulse a few times and then blend.  Return soup to saucepan.

With soup on low, add brown sugar and mix slowly, add milk while stirring to soup.  Add heavy cream and lemon.  If soup is too spicy, add more cream.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Remove bay leaf.  Add spaghetti squash and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Creme Anglaise

  1. Recipe Courtesy of foodandwine.com
  2. Although this custard sauce only takes 10 minutes to make, it can easily overcook and curdle. It makes a wonderful dessert with served over berries and angelfood cake.

  3. 2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
  4. 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  5. 1/2 cup sugar
  6. 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature

  • Set a large fine strainer over a medium bowl and set the bowl in a shallow pan of cold water.

  • In a large saucepan, combine the half-and-half and vanilla bean and cook over moderately low heat just until small bubbles appear around the rim, about 5 minutes.

  • In another medium bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks just until combined. Whisk in half of the hot half-and-half in a thin stream. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Immediately strain the sauce into the bowl in the cold water bath to stop the cooking. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the sauce. Serve right away or refrigerate until chilled.

  • Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    Buffalo Chicken Wraps

    Recipe courtesy of All Recipes 2009

    I LOVE Buffalo Chicken.  This is such an easy recipe and it can easily be adapted to a salad. Omit the hot sauce on some of the chicken and it is also great for the kids.  

    • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
    • 1/4 cup hot sauce
    • 4 (10 inch) flour tortillas
    • 2 cups shredded lettuce
    • 1 celery stalk, diced
    • 1/2 cup blue cheese dressing

    1. Heat the vegetable oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the pan; cook and stir until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the hot sauce over the cooked chicken and toss to coat.
    2. Lay out the flour tortillas and divide the chicken evenly among the tortillas. Top the chicken with lettuce, celery, and blue cheese dressing. Fold in the sides of the tortilla and roll the wrap burrito-style.

    Marshmallow Snowflakes

    Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart 2008

    I made these last year for teachers gifts and they absolutely loved them.  They also make a great hostess of extra something gift during the winter season.

    • 2 envelopes (each 1 scant tablespoon) unflavored gelatin
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Vegetable-oil cooking spray


    1. Coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; line with parchment paper. Spray parchment; set aside. Pour 1/3 cup cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer. Sprinkle with gelatin; let mixture soften, about 5 minutes.
    2. Place sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/3 cup water in a medium saucepan. Cover; bring to a boil. Remove lid; cook, swirling pan occasionally, until syrup reaches 238 degrees (soft-ball stage) on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes.
    3. With mixer on low speed, whisk gelatin mixture, and slowly pour the syrup in a steady stream down the side of the bowl (to avoid splattering). Gradually raise speed to high; beat until mixture is thick, white, and has almost tripled in volume, about 12 minutes. Add vanilla, and beat 30 seconds to combine.
    4. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet; smooth with an offset spatula. Let stand at room temperature, uncovered, until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
    5. Coat a 1- or 2-inch snowflake-shaped cookie cutter with cooking spray to prevent it from sticking. Cut out as many individual marshmallows as possible; coat cutter with more spray as needed. Use marshmallows immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

    Saturday, December 5, 2009

    Ahi Bruschetta

    Recipe Courtesy of Home Cooking the Costco Way

    I tried this recipe for a holiday party we hosted and it was a big hit.  Very easy to prepare too!

    8 oz fresh ahi tuna (with good red color)
    2 Tbsp minced green onions
    3 Tbsp mayonnaise
    1 Tbsp seasoning: equal parts black,
    white, red pepper and garlic powder
    1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
    1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
    1 Tbsp Chinese mustard

    Baguette sliced into 1/2 in slices, lightly toasted
    Pickled ginger and dill for garnish

    Mince tuna with a sharp knife into 1/4 by 1/4 inch cubes (or as uniform in size as possible).

    Place tuna in a bowl and add green onions,mayonnaise,seasoning, sesame oil, sesame seeds and mustard.  Stir to blend.

    Mold the tuna into a small cup and garnish with dill sprigs.  Serve with toasted baguette slices and pickled ginger on the side.

    Makes 8-10 servings

    Egg, Bacon and Arugula Open-Faced Sandwiches

    Recipe courtesy of Home Cooking the Costco Way

    I always have a hard time deciding what to make guests for breakfast. 
     This recipe is easy and oh so good.

    12 oz bacon
    4 slices La Brea Bakery Whole grain loaf
    7 large eggs
    1/4 heavy cream
    salt and pepper
    2 Tbsp unsalted butter
    1 large tomato, sliced
    12 arugula leaves, stems discarded

    Cook bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.  Keep warm, covered.  Pour off fat from the skillet and wipe clean with paper towels.

    Lightly toast the bread.

    Whisk together eggs and cream, season to taste with salt and pepper.  Heat butter in the skillet over med-low heat.  Add the eggs and cook, stirring slowly, until just cooked through.

    Place tomato slices on the toasted bread, followed by arugula and bacon.  Top with the scrambled and a few grindings of pepper.

    Makes 4 servings

    Friday, December 4, 2009

    Cuban Braised Beef and Peppers


    Recipe courtesy of Real Simple December 2009

    1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
    2 red bell peppers, sliced 1/2 in thick
    1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
    2 tsp dried oregano
    1 tsp ground cumin
    Salt and pepper
    1 1/2 lbs flank steak, cut crosswise into thirds
    1 cup long greain white rice
    1 avocado, sliced
    fresh cilantro leaves

    In a 5 to 6 qt slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, peppers, onion, oregano, cumin 1 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.  Nestle steak among the vegetables.  Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low 7 to 8 hours.

    Twenty five minutes before serving, cook the rice according to package directions.

    Using two forks, shred the beef and mix it into the cooking liquid.  Serve with the rice and top with the avocado and cilantro.

    Sunday, November 29, 2009

    Smoked Gouda Macaroni and Cheese

    Recipe courtesy of The Best of Cooking Light, 2004

    This classic is updated from the original version.  You can use regular Gouda, Swiss, or any other cheese that melts well.  This is my favorite mac n cheese recipe with only 400 calories and 10 grams of fat per serving.

    1 (1 ounce) slice whole wheat bread
    1 Tbsp butter
    1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tbsp all purpose flour
    2 cups fat-free milk
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded smoked Gouda cheese
    1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
    5 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
    4 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (about 2 uncooked)
    Cooking spray

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Place bread in a food processor;pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup.
    3. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add sliced onions and minced garlic, and cook 1 minute.  Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Gradually add milk, salt, and pepper, stirring constantly with a whisk until blended.  Bring to boil, and cook until thick (about 2 minutes).  Remove from heat, and add cheeses, stirring until melted.
    4.Add spinach and macaroni to cheese sauce, stirring until well blended.  Spoon mixture into a 2 quart baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until bubbly.

    Serves 4

    Cold Avocado Soup

    Recipe courtesy of the Joy of Cooking

    This recipe is a favorite of my husband's.  It is a very simple soup to make and perfect for those summer evenings and literally made in minutes.

    Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth:

    2 ripe Hass avocados (about 1 lb), peeled and pitted
    1 small clove garlic, chopped

    Stir in:

    2 cups buttermilk
    4 tesp fresh lime juice
    1/4 tsp salt
    Pinch of ground red pepper

    Remove to a bowl and refrigerate until cold.  Thin, if necessary, with:
    1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk or water.

    Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Ladle the soup into chilled bowls and garnish with:
    Salsa Fresca, sour cream, fresh lump crabmeat or cooked shrimp

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Whole Wheat Grilled Pizza with Balsamic Grilled Vegetables

    Adapted recipe from Sweet Basil Cooking School

    This recipe originally called for homemade pizza crust and homemade marinara.  Both were good but were not better than the pre-made stuff, and with a busy schedule, this recipe comes out just the same.  The secret is really in the toppings.  Enjoy!

    1 package whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe's or Fresh 'n Easy
    1 jar of your favorite marinara
    1 portabella mushroom, stem and gills removed
    1 yellow pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
    1/2 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
    3 Tbsp olive oil
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    1/2 tsp thyme
    1/2 tsp oregano
    1/2 tsp rosemary
    1/2 tsp pepper
    8 oz cream cheese
    5 oz shredded parmesan cheese

    1. Prepare all of the vegetables and place them in a bowl or plastic bag.
    2. To prepare the marinade: In a blender, combine the balsamic vinegar, herbs, and pepper until smooth.  With the blender motor running, slowly add the oil, until the marinade is emulsified.  Pour the marinade over the vegetables, toss to coat and let marinade 10 minutes.
    3. Preheat the grill to medium heat.
    4. Drain the marinade off the vegetables.  Lightly coat or spray the grill with vegetable oil.  Grill the vegetables, turning once until fork tender about 4 minutes per side.  Remove the vegetables from the grill to a cutting board and slice into strips.  Reduce the grill heat to low.
    5. Divide the pizza dough into 2 equal pieces.  On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 6 in round.  Oil both sides of each round.
    6. Place the dough rounds on the grill and cook until the rounds have bubbled up and are lightly browned on one side, flip and cook until golden brown on the other side.  Turn off grill.
    7. Spread cream cheese over each dough round and top with marinara sauce.  Top the sauce with the vegetables and parmesan cheese.  Close the grill lid and allow the cheeses to melt.  Remove the pizzas from grill and cut each into 4 pieces.

    Emmanuel's Artichokes

    This memorable recipe was made for holiday meals by Rachael Ray's grandfather.
    Submitted by
    Rachael Ray
    on 10/08
    This recipe can be made with or without the anchovies
    • 3 large male (tall and pointy) artichokes
    • 2 lemons
    • 1/2 cup EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus some for drizzling
    • 1 can thin flat anchovy fillets (2 ounces), drained
    • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 2 cups breadcrumbs
    • 1 bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
    • 1 1/2-2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
    • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
    Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
    Trim the artichokes by cutting off the stems and tops with a knife. Snip the tips of the side leaves with scissors. Rub all the cut surfaces with cut lemon halves. Squeeze the lemons into a large pot, add the juiced lemon halves, and fill the pot halfway with water. Bring to a boil. Add the artichokes to the boiling water and place a small kitchen towel on top; this will keep them submerged. Boil the artichokes until tender, 12-15 minutes, then remove them with tongs and place them upside down on a towel to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, use a teaspoon to scoop out the spiny choke.
    While the artichokes cook, heat the 1/2 cup of EVOO in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the anchovies, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the anchovies melt away. Add the bread crumbs and toast until deeply golden. Season with parsley and lots of black pepper. Remove from the heat, add the cheese, and toss to combine.
    Add 1/4 inch water to a shallow baking dish and arrange the artichokes in the pan. Spoon the filling into each leaf and the center of the artichokes. Drizzle more EVOO over the stuffed artichokes, cover the pan with foil, and bake for 15 minutes to set the stuffing. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered to crisp up the tops.
    Serve out of the hot baking dish with a bowl alongside to catch the leaves.

    Mediterranean Salmon en Papillote with Artichokes, Peppers and Olives

    Courtesy of Sweet Basil Cooking School

    I am not a big fan of salmon so I like this recipe because you can really substitute any fish. Bake any white fish for about 6 minutes.

    4 (6oz) salmon fillets, 1 in thick, skinned
    Salt and Pepper
    1 jar roasted red peppers, sliced
    8 kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and thnly sliced
    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    2 Tbsp (1oz) unsalted butter, cut into bits
    Zest from 1/2 orange, removed in long wide strips with a vegetable peeler and cut crosswise into very thin strips.
    1 cup marinated artichokes, drained
    1 Tbsp. olive oil
    3 garlic cloves,chopped
    4 fresh herb sprigs such as rosemary, thyme or oregano

    1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat to 500 degrees.
    2. Cut four 12 x 15 in sheets of parchment paper.  Fold each crosswise in half to crease, cut into the shape of a large half heat, then unfold.
    3. Season the fish with salt and pepper.  Place one fillet just below the crease on each sheet of sheet of parchment.  Top fillets with equal amounts of roasted red pepper slices,olives, pepper flakes,butter,zest, artichokes and herb sprigs.
    4.Working with one package at a time, fold the edge of the parchment over in triangles (each should overlap the previous one), following a semicircular path around filet, smoothing out folds as you go and tucking the last fold under to seal papillote completely. Repeat with remaining filets and parchment sheets.
    5. Heat a large baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes.  Place papiollotes on the hot baking sheet, and bake for 9 minutes.  Remove the fish from the oven.
    6. To serve, transfer the packets to four plates; with a knife, slit open the top of each packet and tear it to expose the fish (use caution, as steam will escape).  Slide the fish and contents including sauce onto plates and discard paper.

    Serves 4

    Sunday, November 22, 2009

    Mediterrean Shrimp Scampi over Pasta

    I have been making this recipe for over 10 years and it is still a household and guest favorite.

    1/4 olive oil
    4 Tbsp butter
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 t each basil, parsley and oregano
    2 (14oz) can stewed tomatoes, Italian style, coarsely chopped, 1 can drained
    1/4 cup Triple Sec
    Juice from 1 lemon
    1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
    1/2 cup feta cheese
    4 cups hot cooked angel hair pasta (8 oz uncooked)
    Parmesan cheese

    Melt butter in medium skillet. Add olive oil, garlic, spices, lemon juice and triple sec.  Saute on low boil for 3 minutes.  Add prawns and tomatoes and cook on med-high heat until shrimp are pink.  This should also reduce the liquid.  Serve over hot pasta and sprinkle with feta and parmesan cheese.

    Serves 4

    Cauliflower and Raisins

    Adapted recipe from Real Simple, September 2008

    2 slices bacon
    1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into small florets
    1/2 cup golden raisins
    2 scallions, chopped
    1 Tbsp. capers, roughly chopped
    1/2 cup water

    1.Place bacon in a nonstick skillet and cook until done.  Save bacon for another recipe.
    2. On medium-high heat, add cauliflower to bacon grease, tossing frequently, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the raisins and water and cook, covered, until the cauliflower is just tender and water has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
    3. Stir in scallions and capers.

    Serves 4

    Honey Dijon Lamb Chops

    Courtesy of Liz Welch

    2 T. Dijon Mustard
    2 T fresh rosemary
    2 T. mint, chopped
    4 T. honey
    1/2 t. coarsely chopped ground pepper
    4 lean (4oz) lamb chops

    Preheat broiler or grill

    Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.  Place chops on a broiler pan, broil 5 minutes on each side. Brush mixture over chops.  Broil an additional 2 minutes on each side or until degree of doneness, basting occasionally with mustard mixture.

    Serves 4

    ***Try with Cauliflower and Raisins recipe

    Hawaiian Chicken Burgers with Soy Glaze and Grilled Pineapple

    Adapted recipe from Sweet Basil Cooking School

    Make sure not to mix the chicken mixture too much or it will be difficult to make into a patty.

    1/8 cup soy sauce
    1/2 cup teriyaki marinade, such as Soy Vay
    juice left over from cut pineapple

    2 lbs. ground chicken
    1 Tbsp. minced garlic
    1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
    salt and pepper
    6 romaine lettuce leaves
    6 tomato slices
    6 whole wheat hamburger buns
    1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 in thick slices

    1. To make the glaze: Put all glaze ingredients in a saucepan over low heat.  Simmer mixture until slightly thickened. remove from heat and set aside.
    2. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium heat.
    3. To make burgers: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper.  When well mixed, form chicken into 6 patties.
    4. Brush all sides of the burgers and pineapple with glaze and place on grill.  Grill the pineapple for 3 minutes per side.  Remove the pineapple and place on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.  Grill the chicken burgers 5 to 6 minutes on each side.  The juices should run clear.
    5. Serve the chicken burgers on the buns with pineapple, tomato slices and lettuce.

    Serves 6

    Classic Chicken Parmesan

    Courtesy of Cooking Light, September 1998

    4 skinned, boneless chicken breast halves
    1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
    1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
    1/3 cup all purpose flour
    2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
    2 tsp olive oil
    4 cups hot cooked spaghetti ( about 8 oz uncooked pasta)
    3 cups pasta sauce
    1 cup mozzarella cheese

    1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap; flatten to 1/4 in thickness using a meat mallet.
    2. Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning in a shallow dish.  Dredge 1 chicken breast half in flour, dip in egg whites; dredge in breadcrumb mixture.  Repeat procedure with remaining chicken.
    3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done.
    4. Place 1 cup spaghetti in each of the gratin dishes.  Spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce over each serving.  Top with 1 chicken breast half.  Spoon 1/4 cup sauce over each serving.  Sprinkle with 1/4 mozzarella cheese.
    5. Preheat broiler.  Place gratin dishes on baking sheet; broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

    4 servings

    Grilled Chicken Ratatouille

    Courtesy of Sweet Basil Cooking School

    I made this recipe in a cooking class.  It looks like alot of work, but it is really very easy.  I am not particularly fond of eggplant but in this recipe it was really very good.

    2 eggplants, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
    4 onions, chopped
    1/2 cup olive oil
    Course salt, to taste
    4 yellow squash, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
    2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
    8 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
    7 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
    1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    1/4 cup basil, chopped
    Grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese

    6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    2 Tbsp. olive oil
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped

    1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
    2. To make ratatouille:  In a large roasting pan, stir together the eggplant, onions, 1/4 cup oil, and salt.  Roast the vegetables in the middle of the oven, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.  Add the squash, bell peppers, 2 tablespoons oil and additional salt; roast, stirring occasionally until peppers are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
    3. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, simmer the tomatoes, garlic, thyme, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil, stirring occasionally, until thickened like a sauce, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir the tomatoes into the roasted vegetables and season the ratatouille with salt and pepper.  
    4. To prepare the chicken: Preheat the grill to medium heat.
    5. In a medium bowl, coat the chicken with oil, garlic and oregano.  Place the chicken breasts on the grill for 4 minutes on one side, flip and cook for another 4 minutes.  Remove chicken from grill.
    6. Place chicken on a platter and serve with the ratatouille and some Parmesan cheese.

    Serves 6

    High and Mighty Good Pear Salad

    Recipe courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens, October 2008

    A vertical version of a pear salad.  We made this for a gourmet auction dinner and it was loved by all.

    Toss 2 Cups watercress, 2 Tbsp. toasted pecans, 2 oz. crumbled blue cheese with your favorite vinaigrette dressing.

    Core 4 smooth skinned pears from the bottom, keeping them intact.  Slice pears in four horizontal slices; brush cut sides with lemon juice.  Reassemble pears with salad mix in between.

    Drizzle with honey and serve.

    Serves 4

    Chinese Chicken Salad

    Recipe courtesy of Don Yamaoka

    2 T. sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. pepper
    1/4 cup salad oil
    1 T. sesame oil
    3T. vinegar
    sesame seeds
    2 green onions, chopped
    1 head of lettuce,  broken into bite size pieces
    1 whole cooked rotisserie chicken, remove from bone and shred
    Chinese noodles

    Combine first 6 ingredients to make dressing.

    Combine lettuce, onions and chicken in a salad bowl. Mix with salad dressing and top with sesame seeds and noodles

    Sage Sausage Bites with Balsamic Apricot Dip

    Recipe courtesy of Rachel Ray

    This is a GREAT appetizer!

    1 Tbsp EVOO
    1/2 onion, chopped
     1 1/4 lbs. Italian sweet sausage meat
    3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage, 4 or 5 sprigs, slivered
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    1 cup apricot all fruit spread or apricot preserves
    1/2 cup spicy brown mustard
    1 cup Italian bread crumbs

    Preheat a small pot over medium heat and the oven to 425 degrees.  To the pot, add oil and onion.  Saute onion for 1 minute.  In a mixing bowl, combine the sausage and chopped sage.  Next, add balsamic vinegar to onion and reduce by half, 1 minute.  Remove vinegar from heat and combine with apricot and mustard.  Stir until mustard is fully incorporated.  Dip will be glossy and brown in color.

    Add 2 Tbsp of apricot dip to sausage mix.  Form meat into bite size nuggets, coat in bread crumbs then place on nonstick cookie sheet.  Bake 15-17 minutes, until evenly browned, turning occasionally.  Drain, then serve with party sticks for dipping with remaining balsamic apricot dip.

    Recipe will make 20-24 pieces.

    Artichoke and Red Pepper Dip

    This has got to be the easiest dip ever...and so tasty too.

    2 Tbsp. butter
    1 leek, washed and sliced to green

    1 13oz can artichoke hearts,chopped
    1 7oz jar of roasted red peppers, chopped
    3/4 cup parmesan cheese, shedded
    3 Tbsp. mayonnaise

    Saute leek and butter in pan until soft, about 6 minutes.

    Mix together all ingredients in an oven safe bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mush down with spoon.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly.

    Pressure Cooker Chicken with Potatoes and Green Beans

    I just got a new pressure cooker and needed to try it out. I found a recipe in the instruction booklet and changed it a little.  We had a friend in town and I warned him it was the first time I was trying out the thing and we may have to order pizza.  Turns out he doesn't really like chicken breasts but LOVED this recipe.  In fact,  he now wants to get his wife one for Christmas.

    5 chicken breasts, boneless
    2 jars Marsala sauce from Trader Joe's
    3 Yukon potatoes, washed and quartered
    2 large handfuls of green beans, trimmed and washed
    2 Tablespoons olive oil

    Turn electric pressure cooker to Browning.  Add olive oil and chicken breasts.  Cook until browned, about 10 minutes, turning halfway.  Remove from cooker and add trivet.
    Pour in jars of sauce and place chicken on top of trivet.  Place potatoes on top of chicken and green beans on top of potatoes.
    Select High Pressure and set timer to 11 minutes.  When audible beep sounds, use Quick Pressure Release to release pressure.  When float valve drops, remove lid carefully, tilting away from you to allow steam to disperse.  Leave on warm until ready to serve.


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