Pear, Asparagus & Arugula Salad & Orange Vinaigrette

Pear, Asparagus & Arugula Salad & Orange Vinaigrette

Arugula & Pear Salad

It’s Spring! Fresh ingredients in abundance!  This salad is so loaded with yumminess that it is easy to make it the main dish for lunch or dinner. Hope you enjoy.

Ingredients:

-3 cups of spring mix salad (add peppery Arugula for a great taste)

-1/2 cup of fresh asparagus spears, washed and dryed

-1 to 2 Bartlett pears, sliced thinly

-1/4 cup toasted, chopped pecans

1/4 cup fresh parmesan

1/2 cup cherry tomato

1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins

1/2 avocado spliced and chopped

There are so many options of this recipe – you can add walnuts, strawberries, apples, fennel, kale, quinoa or pasta – it goes on and on!

Dressing:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of Pear Balsamic Vinegar ( you can get this at a specialty store  or grocery)

3 tsp honey

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 minced garlic clove

1 Tbs red wine vinegar

Juice of one orange

Mix all of the above in a mason jar and it will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

Assembly:

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use a few pear slices and asparagus slices to enhance the presentation.  Serve on a large serving tray or bowl and slather some of your homemade dressing on!

 

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Zucchini and Squash Bake

This is a healthy, easy and quick little side dish using  “Daks Green Zest” again.

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Zucchini and Squash Bake

Ingredients:

-4 zucchini

-4 squash

-2 Tb olive oil

– 1 tsp salt

-1 tsp pepper

-2 tsp Daks Green Zest or similar spice combination of your choice

-1/2 cup Kraft 5 Italian Cheese

 

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Wash your zucchini and squash and pat dry

-Cut your veggies into thin slices

-In a mixing bowl, combine the veggies, olive oil, salt, pepper and Dak’s spice or similar

-Spread the mix onto a large baking sheet sprayed with a non-stick spray

-Crumble the cheese over the top of the veggies

-Bake 25-30 min.

 

 

Rustic Ham and Cheddar Pie

This delicious pie is a spin off of a recipe by Chef Bobby Flay “with a twist”. It is such a great alternative to your typical “sandwich” and a wonderful easy brunch/lunch treat!

Rustic Ham & Cheddar Pie

Ingredients:

-1 pkg (2 sheets) of Pillusbury Puff Pastry

-1 large egg plus 2 Tbs of water whisked

-1 tsp black pepper

-Kosher salt

-8 oz of thick cut country ham or black forest ham

-2 Tbs Grey Poupon Coarse Mustard

-3 Tbs of Fig Preserves

-6 oz of Sargento White Cheddar

-2 oz of Sargento shredded Pepper Jack

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6 easy steps!…

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-Unroll one sheet of the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface

-Gently roll with a rolling pin to increase the pastry by about 1″.

-Place the rolled pastry onto a sheet pan lined with parchment and spray lightly with Pam

-Whisk your egg and 2 Tbs of water and brush over entire surface of pastry

-Next, combine the mustard, pepper, fig preserves, and spread evenly over the pastry leaving about a 1″ border between where the spread stops and the pastry stops

-Place the ham pieces on the pastry on top of the preserve spread to cover the entire pie

-Combine your cheeses and spread over the ham

-Roll out your second puff pastry and roll out to increase size by 1″

-Lay the 2nd puff pastry over the ham and cheese pie and work around the pie to fold the bottom pastry over the top and press with a fork to seal

-Brush the entire top with egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt

-Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes

The end result…..a beautiful rustic treat!

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Greek Chicken & Dak’s

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If you are not familiar with Dak’s Spices you need to be! http://www.daksspices.com. This is a Birmingham based company that has developed a line of spices that I use on a daily basis. This Greek chicken recipe uses the Dak’s Green Zest and everything is cooked on one sheetpan.  And …..oh my!……it is sooo good. This recipe was plenty for me and my husband – for a family of 4 I would just double it.

Ingredients

    • 6 baby new potatoes
    • 8 oz of fresh green beans
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or basil leaves
    • 2 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
    • 2 Tb of Dak’s Green Zest Seasoning (or any Greek season)
For the marinade
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • In a large size Ziploc bag, combine chicken, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and oregano or basil; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. Drain the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray  a baking sheet
  • Place the chicken on the baking sheet. Place potatoes and green beans in a single layer around  the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste and the Dak’s or Greek spice
  • Place into oven and roast until the chicken is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes.* Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly charred.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with parsley or basil

 

Rice With A Twist

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Rice With A Twist

If you are a “rice lover” you will love this recipe. Did you know that you can very simply change the way you prepare a dish by what you “cook it in”.  For this recipe I used your basic Success Rice Boil In The Bag. Package instructions call for you to boil the rice packet in water. I decided to try something a little different to give it some new, updated flavor.  Instead of using water, I boiled the bag in equal parts of chicken broth and Pinot Grigio . The difference was amazing!  Then I decided to try some different combinations and came up with the following rice that will now be my “go to”.  Hope you give it a try.

Ingredients:

1 bag of Success Boil In Bag Rice

Equal parts of chicken broth and Pinot Grigio

1 Orange

1/2 cup Chopped pistachio nuts

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1/2 onion chopped and sauteed in butter

2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs of fresh basil

1/4 cup of Hormel bacon bits

 

Instructions:

In a medium pot, cook the Success rice in the chicken broth and wine according to package. Drain and set aside.

Cook the chopped onion in 2 tbs of butter and set aside

In a mixing bowl, mix the rice, onion, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, bacon bits and pistachios. Squeeze the juice of one orange over the mixture. Mix well and serve immediately.

The combination of flavors is amazing.

 

 

Essentials

One thing I want to accomplish with this blog is to not only open up your cooking world to new recipes but also kitchen shortcuts, gadget ideas and helpful hints. This is one of my favorite shortcuts. These cute, sweet little bowls are an essential in my kitchen. I purchased them at Fish Eddy’s in NYC and now I don’t know how I managed without them. The beauty of these little bowls is it lets you pre-measure your ingredients and have everything ready to go to begin the cooking process. You can also get these at Sur La Table. Hope you give this a try! Happy cooking!

Ravioli Bites

These Ravioli Bites are easy and delicious. They make a great quick dinner night entree. Ravioli Bites

Ingredients:
2 cups of bread crumbs
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup of Bertolli marinara sauce
1 Tbs of Italian seasoning
1/2 Tsp garlic powder
1 pkg of Buitoni sweet sausage ravioli
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup grated pepper jack
2 Tbs of chopped basil

Directions:

Heat vegetable oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.

In a large bowl, combine Italian season, garlic powder, bread crumbs, parmesan, pepper jack
salt and pepper and set aside.

Prepare 3 mixing dishes. One with eggs, one with bread crumb mixture and one with flour.

Dredge ravioli in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in bread crumb mixture, pressing to coat.

Add ravioli to the stockpot, about 5 at a time and cook until crispy, about 1-2 minutes.

Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Serve immediately with marinara sauce, garnished with basil, if desired.

* You can use any type Ravioli (cheese stuffed, sausage stuffed, etc). I prefer the Buitoni brand

* You can use the marinara as a dipping sauce or pour the marinara over the ravioli as a sauce

Shrimp and Pasta

This shrimp and pasta dish is delightfully easy, kid friendly and super delish!

Ingredients:

*4 Tbs butter
*1 8-oz. pkg of Udon Organic noodles or pasta of your choice ( I prefer Sur La Table)
*1 pound of fresh, deveined, tail off shrimp ( I prefer the smaller version for this dish)
*2 cloves of minced garlic
*Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
*2 Tbs of sesame oil
*1/3 cup of low sodium soy sauce
*1/3 to 1/2 cup of House of Tsang General Tsao stir fry sauce
*3 scallions chopped
*1/3 cup chopped peanuts
*1 Tsp of grated fresh ginger

Instructions:

*In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well
*Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and set aside
*Whisk together the following: sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and ginger, stir fry sauce
*In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the shrimp and saute until pink. 2-3 min per side.
*Add the pasta to the skillet with the shrimp
*Pour your whisked sauce over the pasta and shrimp, mix well and serve immediately
*Garnish with scallions and peanuts and a few splashes of stir fry sauce if desired.

Cellentani Pasta Alfredo

 Well here goes…..this is my very first post! This is a long time dream come true – cooking & sharing. This recipe – as all of my recipes are – are a combination of taking several recipes that I have tested and have eventually combined all of them into one recipe that highlights all of the flavors and goodness that make a recipe worth making. I hope you enjoy this dish! Many more to come.

Cellentani Pasta Alfredo

1 lb Cellentani Pasta
3 oz pkg Sun Dried Tomatoes
24 oz jar Alfredo Sauce
1 cup of heavy cream
6 slices of bacon cooked, drained and chopped
1 cup of mushroom
1 fennel bulb
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan

Instructions:
Cut the fennel bulb into thin slices. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the fennel on the sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool and cut into bite size pieces.

Cook the pasta according to package direction. Drain

Bake chicken breast at 450 degrees for 15-18 min. Cool and chop into bite size pieces and set aside. Cook the bacon in a skillet, drain on paper towels and chop into bite size pieces. In the same skillet cook 1 cup of mushrooms in the bacon grease.

Add to the skillet with the mushrooms the chicken, tomato, bacon, roasted fennel, salt, pepper, italian season, alfredo sauce and 1/2 cup of heavy cream and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix. Serve with fresh grated parmesan and add extra cream as needed.

Serves 4