Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Gnocchi in a Fennel Tomato Sauce Recipe

Talk about easy and tasty!  This recipe will have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less.  The secret is to cut corners by using premade gnocchi and canned tomatoes for the base of the sauce.  For all of you who don't like strong taste of fennel, I think you will still like this recipe since you cook out a lot of that licorice flavor out.  Next time I think I will add some Italian sausage to the dish! 

1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes ( I used the kind with basil, garlic and oregano already in there)
1/4 cup of tomato paste
1/3 cup of red wine
1/3 cup of fresh fennel, cut into long strips
1 pinch of crushed rosemary
1 package of gnocchi
1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

1.  In a medium sized sauce pan add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, fennel and rosemary.  Bring to a boil and then drop down to a slow simmer.  

2.  Fill a large pot with water and add salt.  Bring to a boil and then add the gnocchi.  Once the pasta floats to the top scoop out as it is done.  

3.  On a large serving plate add the gnocchi and then add the tomato sauce on top.  Sprinkle cheese on top and then serve.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Jalapeno Poppers Recipe

When entertaining for The Big Game, you want something that isn't going to take a lot of time to prepare in the kitchen.  My jalapeno poppers do not require a lot of ingredients and are simple to make.  Now, I know what you are thinking, eating a whole jalapeno? I can't handle that!  But trust me, these are delicious and will be a hit with your guests!  Baking the pepper in the oven, paired with the cream cheese really tones down the spiciness!  Tip- If you want to make this recipe a little healthier, use turkey bacon.  Also, make sure you use plastic gloves when seeding the peppers (especially all of you who wear contacts, I made that mistake the first time I made these!)

1 8oz package of cream cheese 
1 cup of cheddar cheese
1 cup of mozzarella cheese
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 package of bacon (strips cut in half)
1 pound of jalapenos, halved and seeded

1.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  In a medium sized bowl combine the cheeses and garlic powder and stir until well combined.  Spoon about 1-2 tablespoons of the cheese on the pepper half.

2.  Take the bacon and wrap it around the pepper. 

3.  Place prepared peppers on a baking sheet and bake for about 10-13 minutes, or until the bacon is fully cooked.  

Monday, January 30, 2012

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes Recipe

After taking your very first bite of these cupcakes you will be hit with the sensational flavors of fresh strawberries, decadent marshmallow all topped off with a light and creamy champagne whipped cream.  What really surprised me was just how moist the cupcakes were!   Tell someone that you love them this Valentine's Day with this romantic dessert.  I like to top these with sprinkles to resemble champagne bubbles.  

Strawberry Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of strawberries, pureed
3 tablespoons of strawberry preserves
4 eggs
1 cup of strawberry champagne
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 butter, melted
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup of Marshmallow Fluff

Whipped Cream and Champagne Frosting
4 cups of heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup of strawberry champagne
1 cup of powdered sugar
2-3 drops of red food coloring

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Make a well in the middle.  

2.  In a medium bowl combine the strawberries, strawberry preserves, eggs, champagne, vanilla, oil and butter.  Using a mixer, beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until well combined.  Slowly start to add the wet ingredients to the well made in the middle of the dry ingredients.  Mix until combined.

3.  Line cupcake pans with colorful liners.  Pour batter 3/4  of the way full.  Bake for 20-23 minutes.  Allow the cupcakes to fully cool.

4.  Scoop the marshmallow fluff into a piping bag.  Using a piping bag push the tip into the center of the cupcake.  Fill with marshmallow frosting.

5.  In a large bowl, cream the whipped cream, champagne, powdered sugar until soft peaks are formed.  Now add in the food coloring and continue to whip until stiff peaks are formed.  Place the frosting in a piping bag and then frost the top of the cupcakes.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Perfect Artichoke Dip Recipe

For all you who are planning a party for The Big Game, you must make this this artichoke dip!  Every time I have made it people always ask for the recipe and I am always more than happy to give it out.  It's super creamy with a bit of a kick (you can make it as spicy or mild as you want though).  Serve it with warm pita for it to be a hit!

1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained, quartered
1 cup of low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup of parmesan-romano cheese
1 cup of mozzarella
1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
2 garlic cloves, minced, 
A few dashes of hot sauce
Pita bread or crackers

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2.  In a medium sized bowl combine the artichokes,  mayonnaise, cheeses, onion powder, garlic cloves and the hot sauce.  Add to a baking dish.  Sprinkle with the paprika for additional color.  

3.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.  Serve with warm pita bread or crackers. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sweet and Tangy Cranberry Meatballs Recipe

The Big Game will be here before you even know it.  For all of you out there having parties my Sweet and Tangy Cranberry Meatballs are guaranteed  to be a hit with your guests.  Not only are they delicious, they are super easy to make so you can spend more time with your guests and not in the kitchen!  They are sweet with a hit of tang- they just melt in your mouth.  Any leftovers?  These meatballs are also delicious over egg noodles or even white rice!

1 large bag (or two small) frozen meatballs
1 16 oz can of whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 bottle of sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoons of brown sugar (you can always add more if you want them sweeter)
2 tablespoons of prepared mustard
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped roughly
2 cloves of garlic, minced

1.  Place frozen meatballs in a crockpot under low heat.

2.  Mix the remaining ingredients in a medium size bowl and pour over the meatballs. 

3. 3.   Cover and cook for at least 3 hours (the longer the better)  Stir occasionally  so the meat doesn’t stick to the bottom.  If the  sauce is too thick add water. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Pecan, Chocolate and Carmel Topping Recipe

I have been making this cheesecake for years and every time I make it, it always impresses all my guests!  It has the perfect amount of pumpkin that is not overwhelming, and still allows for the cheesecake to shine through.  The candy topping makes it decadently sweet and provides an extra amount of added crunch to this tasty dessert! I make it every Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve!

2 1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon
1/2 cup of butter, melted
16 oz of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of orange zest
1 egg
1 15 oz can of pure pumpkin
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup of sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
4 oz milk chocolate covered carmel candy bar, chopped (I used Cadbury)
1/2 cup of pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
Whipped cream (optional)

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon and butter using a pastry blender.  Using your hands, press the crumbs on the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides in a 10 inch springform pan.  Bake for 7 minutes and then allow it to cool.    

2.  While the crust is baking prepare the cream cheese filling.  In a medium sized bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar, orange zest and egg.  Using a mixture beat until the mixture is smooth.  Add this to the bottom of the crust and then smooth the top.  Place in the fridge while preparing the pumping filling

3.  Using the mixture, combine the pumpkin, sugar, eggs and milk in a medium sized bowl.  

3.  Carefully layer the pumpkin mixture on top of the cream cheese.  Cover the edge with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  

4.  While this is baking prepare the topping by combing all ingredients in a small bowl.  Take the cheesecake out momentarily and remove the aluminum foil.  Sprinkle the chocolate nut mixture on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the middle is set.

5.  Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to fully cool before covering and placing in refrigerator overnight.  Serve with whipped cream.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Garlic Sautéed Spinach with Red Bell Peppers Recipe

This is a beautiful dish with lots of vibrant colors.  Not only does it look good, but it tastes good too!  This is a fab dish to serve if you have company over or for any holiday meal, but just make sure you double the recipe.  

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 gloves of garlic, minced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
4 large handfuls of baby spinach (pre-washed)
2 tablespoons of prepared balsamic vinaigrette

1.  Add extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan. Under medium high heat add the red bell pepper and saute for about 3-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about another 3 minutes.  

2.  Add the spinach and balsamic vinaigrette and cook for another 3 minutes or until spinach becomes wilted.  
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