Sunday, October 30, 2016

Simple Garlic Cheese Bread


Confession:  I LOVE BREAD!

That has been a tagline that Oprah has used lately and the truth is that I do love bread too.  I couldn't imagine not having bread ever again.

There isn't anything better than pulling hot bread out of the oven, especially if it is slathered in butter, garlic and a little cheese, don't you think?  I love to serve this Simple Garlic Cheese Bread with pastas, soups, stews, and just about any type of steak.  Let's face it....even alone this bread is satisfying and a welcome treat.

Today's recipe is really simple and one that the whole family is sure to love.  Make this Simple Garlic Cheese Bread tonight.


Simple Garlic Cheese Bread

1 loaf French bread
1/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 T minced garlic, or 1 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 T parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice loaf in half lengthwise.  Spread softened butter over both halves.  Sprinkle garlic over each slice.  Wrap in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and unwrap foil.  Sprinkle cheese evenly over each half.  Turn oven to broil.  Return the bread to the oven and broil for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are starting to brown.  Sprinkle with parsley and cut each halve into slices.

    Sunday, October 23, 2016

    Mediterranean Chicken Salad


    I get the pleasure of working from home a couple of days during the week, which allows me to play around with different dishes for lunch.

    The other day we were at Panera for a quick lunch and I was so tempted to have their Chicken Salad Sandwich, which I just love.  I got a hold of myself an opted for something a little healthier, ending up with a half a turkey sandwich and soup.  But....let me tell you that chicken salad was still calling my name.

    Up comes my work from home day, and with the chicken salad still on my mind I decided to make a healthier version, without all the mayo.  The previous night I had roasted 5 chicken breasts using this recipe here.  My intention was for us to eat two that night with mashed potatoes and veggies and then use the remaining one in various dishes.  I just love roasted chicken, and this recipe is simple...but it the BEST.

    Mediterranean Chicken Salad

    So, using some of the roasted chicken I whipped up a Mediterranean Chicken Salad (without mayo) and served it over romaine lettuce.  It's filled with wonderful ingredients (mostly pantry items) such as artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, herbs, and is drizzled with olive oil and lemon.  Heaven! 

    The zip of the lemon, tang of the artichoke, along with the chicken, and earthy roasted red peppers give this dish such a balance.  If you like olives, throw them in there too!  They would enhance this dish nicely.  This isn't a sweet chicken salad, but a few golden raisins would be fabulous as well.

    A quick and easy meal is yours within 15 minutes!


    Related Recipe:

    Mediterranean Chicken Salad

    serves 4

    3/4 cup roasted chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
    1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
    1/3 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (from a jar)
    3 Tbls fresh parsley, chopped
    1 Tbls fresh basil, chopped 
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    Juice of 1 lemon
    Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
    4 large Romaine lettuce leaves

    To a medium bowl add all ingredients.  Stir to combine.  Serve over lettuce and serve. 

    Note:  Chicken salad may be kept in the refrigerator until serving.  Any remaining will keep in a covered container for several days.

    Monday, October 17, 2016

    7 Halloween Party Ideas


    7 Halloween Party Ideas

    For all the Ghouls and Goblins out there I bring to you 7 Halloween Party Ideas.  Whether you are having and adult party of one for the kids there is something for everyone!

    Happy Halloween!

    Screaming Pretzels

    Monster Mash

    Sloppy Guiseppe's

    Crescent Roll Mummy Dogs

    Pork and Pumpkin Stew

    Baby Acorns

    Saturday, October 15, 2016

    Screaming Pretzels


    Boo! Halloween is almost here and I'm getting excited!

    It's one of my FAVORITE holidays.  I have the BEST memories of dressing up for Halloween as a kid and as an adult.  I just love it.  I guess I'm secretly wishing to wear costumes and play dress up!

    Since I'm into the costume side of it all I don't make too many goodies for Halloween.  However, this year I came across the most adorable treats on Pinterest. These Screaming Pretzels are too cute!  Just look at those eyes...they totally make these treats.   Plus...they are sooooo easy to make!  Not only will the kids love these but the adults will love them too.

    Screaming Pretzels

    I can completely attest to that, as I delivered these to my co-workers and they were all gone immediately, and....they asked me to make more!  This never happens.  My co-workers are healthy-picky.  The type that never touches a sweet.  But not today!  They ate these salty sweet dark chocolate dipped pretzels right up.  The flavors are just right.

    The idea originally comes from the Oriental Trading website.  Only requires 3 ingredients and a little amount of time.  I used dark chocolate this time, but I'm thinking white chocolate next time for Screaming ghosts....or orange for screaming pumpkins.  Go ahead and make them your own.  In the end you'll have a cute inexpensive treat that all will love. 


    Screaming Pretzels


    Mini twist pretzels
    Dark chocolate candy melts
    Candy eyeballs


    Melt the chocolate candy melts according to the directions on the package in a medium bowl.

    Dip the pretzels into the candy melts, coating both sides. Shake off excess chocolate.  Place the pretzel on waxed or parchment paper making sure the bottom hole (where the mouth would be) of the pretzel is not filled with chocolate. Note:  It's okay, and even helps, if the top two holes are filled with chocolate as they hold the eyes better.

    Place a eyes into the top two sections. Allow to set until firm.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2016

    Greek Style Stuffed Tomatoes


    Late summer tomatoes are still everywhere you look this time of year. If you grown your own you may have such an abundance, you might run out of ways to use them into your menus. Some of my favorite ways are stuffed, roasted, grilled, or pureed into wonderful recipes.

    Have you ever stuffed a tomato?  The cute little goat cheese stuffed cherry tomatoes are perfect appetizers for a holiday party.  Today's Greek Style Stuffed Tomatoes are anything but boring.  These beauties are big, seasonal freshness with a new spin on the prep of a tomato.  These are just brimming with fresh ingredients and are loaded with bright flavors from Greece.  

    I prepare tomatoes in so many ways like my Tomato Tabbouleh Salad or I'll freeze them as in my Big Batch Marinara Sauce.  Search tomatoes in the search bar to the right to see all my great recipes using this staple.

    Greek Style Stuffed Tomatoes - A perfect side dish

    Some associate tomatoes with summer, and don't get me wrong, this dish is a great light and fresh summer side dish.  However, tomatoes are still in season even though it is October.  This side dish is perfect along a nice grilled chicken or served along a chicken pita pocket for lunch.  It goes with so many dishes that you will love it's versatility.  You could even make these in cherry tomatoes as appetizers.  The burst of fresh lemon and herbs will have your guests talking about these for days.


    Greek Style Stuffed Tomatoes

    Makes 6 servings

    6 large beefsteak or vine tomatoes
    Salt and black pepper to taste
    Minced zest of 1 lemon
    2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    2 tsp. honey
    1 tsp. Dijon mustard
    1 clove garlic, minced
    2 cups stemmed and coarsely chopped fresh baby spinach
    1 cup cooked white rice, cooled
    1 cup crumbled feta cheese
    1/4 cup diced red onion
    1/4 cup minced fresh mint
    Lemon wedges

    Slice the tops off of the tomatoes.  Scrape out the pulp from the insides using a small spoon or melon baller.  Discard pulp.  Season the inside of tomatoes with salt and pepper.

    In a small bowl whisk together zest, lemon juice, oil, honey, Dijon, and garlic. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Set aside.

    Toss spinach, rice, feta, onion, and mint with vinaigrette, then divide and stuff into tomatoes; serve with lemon wedges.

    source:  Issue 118 Cuisine at Home Magazine

    Saturday, October 8, 2016

    Bakery Style Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake


    Let' celebrate Apple season! 

    I know just the perfect way.  I'm going to make my mom's Bakery Style Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake.  This coffee cake just screams comfort, and fall.  Just picture taking this coffee cake out of the warm oven.  The smells of cinnamon and apples fill the house.  Serve this as a morning treat, or warm it up in the evening and serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.  This is the perfect autumn recipe!

    Bakery Style Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

    I found this recipe scribbled on an old recipe card in my mom's recipe box.  It was quite worn from years of reference.  I can remember mom making this many many times growing up and it brings back memories of raking leaves, and then jumping in them.  Oh!, the smells of fall. 

    I sure have a love for apples which I got from my mom.  I love all varieties, but tend to gravitate more to the tart ones.  I can just hear mom saying "Eat an apple, they're good for you!".    So you can imagine my joy when I came across this recipe that brought back so many good memories.

    Bakery Style Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake is an easy one to make.  It bakes in one 9 inch cake pan, and the batter is light and crumbly instead of wet and well mixed like other cakes.  This produces a very light textured cake which you are sure to love.  It's topped with a wet crumb topping that gives it great flavor and that coffee cake style.  Filled with apples, this cake is light and delicious!

    Enjoy your fall and have a piece of cake!

    Bakery Style Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

    1 1 / 2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 / 2 teaspoon salt
    1 / 4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
    1 egg
    2 large Jazz apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped

    1 / 4 cup brown sugar
    1 / 2 cup chopped pecans
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2 tablespoons butter, melted

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray.

    In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, and the egg.  Mix until crumbly.  Add apples and stir to blend.  Place mixture in prepared pan.  

    In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, and butter.  Mix until blended.  Sprinkle over batter in the pan.

    Bake 50 - 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Monday, October 3, 2016

    Tropical Coconut Lime Waffles


    Memories of my mom making weekend breakfasts for me revolve around homemade Biscuits or Muffins.  Waffles were usually made only once in a while, and I can recall always wanting to order them when we went on trips.

    To this day, a nice waffle is a treat for me when we go out to breakfast (which is rare) or we stop in a great restaurant on a road trip or vacation.  The last time I had waffles MGG and I were sitting in a quaint mariner style restaurant on the water in San Diego.  Sitting outside with a slight breeze blowing and a nice stack of steaming hot waffles arrive covered with berries.  Oh boy!  As I dig in the tenderness of the waffles melt in my mouth along with a burst of tart berries sprinkled with a little dusting of powdered sugar.  Heaven!

    Lately, I've had wanderlust.  I've been dreaming of a tropical vacation with warm ocean breezes and the smell of flowers and suntan lotion in the air.  This constant dreaming inspired me to dig out my trusty waffle iron over the weekend and make some island inspired, Tropical Coconut Lime Waffles, until I can get to my dream destination. 

    Waffles are really easy to make.  The mix up quickly with items that you usually have on hand.  To make this more tropical I added coconut milk, unsweetened coconut flakes, lime zest, and juice to my usual waffle recipe.  Just as I was finishing up MGG woke up and shuffled in from the bedroom to a plate of waffles and the smell of the tropics.  The waffles were so light and citrusy that you will be tempted to put them in your weekend breakfast rotation.

    These are the perfect tender and fluffy waffles with a taste of the tropics folded in.  To make these more decadent sprinkle some shredded coconut on the outside and dust with powdered sugar, or some warm maple syrup.


    Tropical Coconut Lime Waffles

    serves 4

    2 cups flour
    ½ tsp salt
    1 Tbls sugar
    1½ tsp baking powder
    1 teaspoons baking soda
    2 cups coconut milk (from a can)
    2 eggs
    4 tablespoons butter, melted
    2 Tbls lime juice
    1 Tbls lime zest
    1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    Garnishes: shredded coconut, powdered sugar, maple syrup

    Preheat waffle maker according to manufacturer's directions.

    In a large bowl add flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, coconut milk, eggs, shredded coconut, lime zest and juice.  Stir together until combined. 

    Coat waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray.  Add batter to the waffle iron and close the lid.  Cook until the escaping steam stops and the waffles are golden brown.  Remove from the waffle iron and keep warm.  Continue with the remaining portions until done. 

    Serve warm.  You may sprinkle some shredded coconut over the top of the waffles and serve with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or warm maple syrup.  

    Saturday, October 1, 2016

    Simple Asian Salad


    When I put a meal together I usually try and theme all the food around the same nationality.  The other day we decided to grill some Spicy Thai Chicken Satay with Grilled Pineapple.  This spicy hot dish called for something cool as a side dish, so I decided to whip up a salad using a mix of Asian and other known vegetables.

    In preparation, I headed to the local Ralph's grocery store to browse the Asian produce section.  I picked up Napa Cabbage to use as the base for the salad.  Napa Cabbage has a long shape and closely packed, pale green leaves attached to wide white stems.  It has a delicate mustard-like flavor which marries perfectly with other vegetables. 

    Adding sugar snap peas, carrots, and small Japanese cucumber to the cart I had a good start.  I also added some sweetness to the salad with mandarin oranges.  I'm a sucker for those baby oranges!  Adding a little garnish or cilantro and chow mien noodles for crunch the Simple Asian Salad was born.

    Top this off with you favorite Asian dressing.  We used Girard's Chinese Chicken Salad dressing, which I love.  It's lighter and a little more sweet than the typical sesame based dressing. 

    Simple Asian Salad is the perfect side dish to spicy food.  I would also make a great lunch entrĂ©e.  You could even add chicken or beef to the salad for extra protein if you'd like.


    Simple Asian Salad

    1/2 head Napa cabbage, chopped
    4 oz. sugar snap peas (or snow peas), chopped
    1/3 cup carrots, shredded
    2-3 Japanese or Persian cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced
    3 oz mandarin oranges
    2 Tbls cilantro, chopped
    handful of chow mien noodles for garnish
    2-3 Tbls Girard's Chinese chicken salad dressing

    In a large bowl add cabbage, snap peas, carrots, cucumbers and mandarin oranges.  Toss to mix.  Top with cilantro and chow mien noodles.  Drizzle salad dressing over the top and serve.


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