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Iced Coffee ( DUH! )

How did I not think of this before?

Make a pot of regular coffee, let it cool, then pour into ice cube trays to freeze overnight.

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Then, the next time you want a cup of iced coffee take another room temp pot, pour it over 7-8 of the cubes–stir, and enjoy!

I’ve tried cooling coffee before and then adding regular ice but the taste gets so diluted.  This is the sure-fire way to get coffee-shop strength iced coffee.

Cold Veggie Pizza Appetizer

This dish is the perfect summer appetizer.  It’s cold, colorful, and so simple to make.

The recipe below can be doubled or even tripled to feed a hungry crowd.  This amount yields enough bites to fill a large platter ( actual photo below ).

First you’ll need one tube of Pilsbury Crescent Rolls.  Open the package and unroll all of the pieces into flat triangles on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in 375 pre-heated oven for about 6 minutes.  Package states 8-13 minutes, but that’s for rolled up dough–you do not want this crust to burn.  Check on them and as soon as they have a hint of golden brown, pull them from the oven.

While the dough is baking mix 8 oz ( one package ) of cream cheese with a half a cup of sour cream and 2 tablespoons of dill seasoning.  You may need to microwave the cream cheese for a few seconds so it’s easy to blend.  After this is uniformly mixed place back in the fridge to keep cool.

Next, chop an array of rainbow veggies to use as toppings.  For this particular recipe I like to use: basil leaves, red onion,  small seedless cukes, orange and yellow pepper, and cherry tomatoes.  This combo looks super colorful and tastes amazing.  Dice these veggies fairly small–check out my photo below for an idea.  Set aside veggie mix in fridge.

Once the dough is finished allow it to cool for AT LEAST 30 minutes.  Spread cream cheese mixture on each piece of dough.  Then, sprinkle your chopped veggies generously over the top making sure almost all of the surface area is covered.  Last, take a pizza cutter and cut the dough into tiny bite size pieces.  Chill for at least one more hour and then enjoy!

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Easy, homemade salsa

This is the easiest and healthiest appetizer you can make.  All of the ingredients are veggies and you don’t even have to turn on the oven or stove.  Check out what you’ll need below and follow the simple steps—Ole’!

This amount yields 2 mason jars full of salsa, which I find is a great way to store it!

2 large beefsteak tomatoes

2 cups cherry tomatoes

Half a white onion

1 cup of scallions

1 medium jalapeno

Dash of salt and pepper

If you have any sort of food processor or dicer you can use that to make this recipe, but it’s not necessary to get a good finished product.  If you have processor, first chop everything in small enough chunks to fit into it.  

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Grind for a few seconds.  Check out the consistency, if it looks how you want, stop and strain the salsa.  If it doesn’t, continue to blend until it looks good to you.  The key is to make sure you strain it.  

If you aren’t using a processor chop everything extremely fine, combine in a large bowl and blend until it has the consistency you want.  It’s really THAT easy!

Add more or less jalapeno to achieve the desired spice level.  I find making it the night before I need it gives the flavors time to blend together very nicely.

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Chicken Sausage, Spinach, & White Bean Farfalle.

I cannot say enough great things about this delicious dish! It’s easy to make, has only 350 calories a serving, and is super inexpensive.  The taste is rich, but light—and is sure to please even your pickiest dinner guests.

Here is what you will need to serve 4 generous portions ( add more or less ingredients to feed your crew )

– 2 Italian Chicken Sausage Links

– Half a chopped white onion

– 3 cups of  raw, bulk spinach

– 1 cup of white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

– Grated Parmesan cheese

– Olive Oil

– Half a cup of low sodium chicken broth

– 10 Oz. Farfalle “Bow Tie” Pasta

 

Boil pasta, drain, set aside

Heat the onions in olive oil on the stove top until they are soft.  Once the onions are soft, stir in the sausage, cook until golden brown- approx 5 minutes.  Set aside the onions and sauage in a separate dish.

Next, add the cannellini beans and chicken broth to the skillet, cook on the stove top for about 2 minutes.  Add the spinach on top on the beans and broth.  Cook four more minutes.

Transfer the sausage and onions to the spinach and beans mixture.  Stir, cook for another minute.  Add grated cheese while cooking.

Pour sausage mixture over the pasta, toss, and ENJOY! 

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Yes, it’s that easy and looks THAT good!

Quesadilla Casserole

This delicious dish is a fun twist on Mexican food.  And, it’s super easy to prepare.

I first saw the recipe on a McCormick’s Spice package that I picked up at the grocery store.  After altering that recipe a bit, here is the final product I came up with.  Enjoy!

You will need:

2 tsp. chili Powder

1 tsp. Ground Cumin

1 tsp. Minced Garlic

1/2 tsp. Oregano

1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cups chopped white onion

1 can (16 oz) of tomato sauce

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 small can of whole kernel corn, drained

1 small can of undrained green chilis

6 flour tortillas

2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese

 

Brown the beef on the stove top, along with the chopped onion.  Once it’s brown, drain the mixture and slowly add the tomato sauce, beans, chilis, and corn.  Stir, simmer for a bit, and then begin to add the spices one by one and fold into the mix.  After all the spices are thoroughly mixed let the pot simmer for another 5 minutes to combine everything.

Spray a 13 by 9, two-inch deep baking pan with cooking spray.  Spread of about a half cup of the beef/bean mixture on the bottom of the pan.  Then, build a layer with the tortillas, overlapping them on each other as needed. ( This whole layering process reminded me a lot of lasagna.  )  On top of the tortilla layer spread half of the remaining beef mixture and top with a cup of cheddar cheese.  Then, build another tortilla layer.  Add the rest of the beef mixture, then the rest of the cheese.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes.  I like casseroles a bit more on the “done” side so I had it in there for 25, but the original recipe calls for only 15.  Use your judgement.

You can create your own twist on this recipe by substituting chicken or turkey for the beef –or even keeping it vegetarian with just beans.  Happy Cooking!

 

 

Homestyle Chicken and Dumplings in the Crock Pot

This recipe is great for busy days when you don’t have time to cook but still want to put a delicious meal on the table.

Here is what you’ll need for this easy dish:

 2 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans chicken broth
Half a chopped white onion
1 tablespoon dried parsley
4 Pilsbury Grands flaky refrigerator biscuits
Half a bag of frozen peas

 Put the chicken, butter,  both cans of cream of chicken, one can of chicken broth, parsley, peas, and onions in the crock pot and cook on high for four to six hours. Mine was done at about 5.

 As the chicken cooks and gets tender, pull it apart with a fork and knife

 After the mixture has been cooked and the chicken has been pulled open the biscuits and cut them each into eight pieces. Roll the biscuits into tiny balls and plop into the mix.  Add the second can of chicken broth.

 Cook for another hour on high.

Then stir, serve, and ENJOY!

 

Red Wine & Onion Glazed Crock-Pot Pork

With only a few ingredients needed and minimal prep time, you can’t go wrong with this recipe.  I spent 5 minutes total preparing this melt-in-your-mouth dish!

I began with one frozen pork tenderloin.  I like to cook frozen meat in the crockpot since you can stock up ahead of time, but you can also use fresh tenderloin for this.

Place the meat in the crock-pot.

Then, take one packet of onion soup mix and sprinkle on top of the pork.

In a separate bowl mix: 1.5 cups of water, 1 cup of red wine, 3 tablespoons of Worcester sauce.

Pour the mixture over the pork and onion mix already in the crock pot.

Cover, cook for 8 hours on low.

When I got home from work the cooker had already gone for 8 hours and had switched to the “warm” setting.  I flipped the meat over and let it sit in the juice on the other side for about 30 minutes before I served it.

The great part about this dish is that the onion soup mix combines with the red wine/water mixture to create a delicious au jus that you can serve on the side. 

Serve with veggies, rice, or even in a sandwich!

Enjoy.

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Rainbow Salad

Whip up this easy recipe for a quick lunch, healthy side dish, or even as an appetizer ( serve with crackers or tortilla chips ).

Combine 1 can of black beans and 1 can of garbanzo beans in a strainer.  Rinse, stir, set aside.

Chop approx 2 cups of cherry tomatoes in half

Dice half an orange pepper

Thinly slice a handful of green onions/scallions

Mix the vegetables together in a large salad bowl

Once mixed, add the beans and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette dressing to taste.

Toss thoroughly.

Then, enjoy!

Try it on top of a bed of leafy spinach to get your 5 servings of daily veggies in one sitting.

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Quick Crab Cakes

This Friday was the last Friday in Lent so I wanted to go out with a meat-free bang!  I decided to try to make crab cakes with some homemade remoulade sauce. 

At first this seemed daunting ….how would I even begin?  But I found a few crab cake recipes online, talked to a few people who had made them before, and then created my own recipe from all the best parts of the ones I collected.  If you ever need to bring something a little fancy to a party or impress a seafood loving dinner guest, I highly recommend this recipe!

Rest assured, if you can make meatballs, you can take on the challenge of crab cakes. 

This is a list of what you will need for the crab cakes:

1 cup of boiling water

1 Package ( 6 oz. ) of Stouffer’s CORNBREAD stuffing mix

2 eggs

2 cans of Bumblebee Premium Crabmeat ( red label )–or your preferred crab meat. DRAINED!

1/4 cup of butter

Green Onions, sliced ultra thin, to taste ( more than a pinch, less than a handful )

Red Pepper, diced ultra thin, to taste ( more than a pinch, less than a handful )

Then……..

Add the cup of boiling water to the dry stuffing mix.  Stir until uniformly moistened, let stand for five minutes.

In a separate mixing bowl whisk two eggs.  Once they are thoroughly whisked, gently add the crab meat to the mixture.  Stir.  Toss in the onions and peppers. Slowly add the stuffing mixture, one spoonful at a time and fold into the mixture.  It will begin to solidly and become a uniform concoction.  Once it’s all together create six large, flat circles.  To do this grab a handful of the mix, roll it into a ball first , and then flatten it into a small patty.  Set aside patties on a cutting board.

  

  Once the patties are formed start the burner on your stove top and melt the 1/4 cup butter.  Once the butter is fully coating your pan use a spatula and gently deposit each cake into the pan.  Cook about 5 minutes on each side,until golden brown.  And, that’s it!   It’s literally as easy as it sounds. 

Most people enjoy crab cakes with a side of remoulade, but if that’s not your thing, you can serve them with a simple horseradish sauce.  Remoulade is SO easy to make, it’s quite ridiculous, especially since they charge and arm and a leg for it in the grocery store.  Combine the following ingredients and whisk until you have a thick dip-like solution:

One cup mayo ( I used light mayo to cut calories ), a tablespoon of horseradish, a tablespoon of ketchup, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a teaspoon of Worcester,  a few thinly sliced green onions, and a dash of cayenne pepper.  Mix and taste, mix and taste.  If you don’t like how it’s tasting, add some more or less of what you see here.  Serve cold.

I paired the cakes and remoulade with fresh green beans and a baked potato, but they would taste great with coleslaw, or asparagus, served over rice, or even as an appetizer!

ENJOY!

* All the photos on this post ( and entire blog ) are the actual photos of the food I cooked from the recipes I share. No professional copy and pasting here. What you see is literally what you will get!

 

Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

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Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

This is one of the easiest recipes I make.  You can do all the prep work ahead of time and then throw it all in the crock-pot on your way out the door in the morning.  This recipe makes about 8 servings, great for freezing or sharing. Plus, it’s low-calorie.

The night before I make this soup I prepare everything and then store in the fridge in a large casserole dish.  I keep the chicken separate in a large Ziploc bag.

Night Before Prep

2 cups sliced carrots

2 cups sliced celery

1.5 cups chopped white onion

1 lb. chicken breast cubed

( You’ll also need Egg Noodles to finish the recipe, but not in the prep part )

I never follow exact measurements when cooking, those measurements are just my best guess as to how much I add of each thing, so feel free to alter according to your tastes.

In the morning before you leave place all the veggies and chicken in the crock-pot. 

In a separate bowl add 7 cups of water and a decent sized spoonful of each of these ingredients:  rosemary, celery seed, bay leaves, salt, thyme, and pepper.  Stir the water and herbs until it’s a uniform mix.  ( If you don’t want to bother measuring out all of these herbs yourself McCormick makes a “Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup” packet that you can mix with the water instead.  I’ve done this too and it tastes just as good. It definitely saves on time in the morning )  Whatever mixture you use, once it’s blended, pour over the chicken and veggies in the crock pot.

Cook on LOW for 8 hours.

When you return home add a cup of egg noodles to the mixture and cook on HIGH for about 10 minutes ( or until the noodles are soft ). 

Serve with crusty Italian bread and enjoy!