Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Martin requested some Jalapeno Poppers.  I wanted to avoid a frying mess.  I found this recipe at Emerils.com and it ended up being a hit.  The first time I made them I did it according to the recipe.  The second time Martin requested the filling be less flavorful.  He liked both recipes.  The rest of us liked the first one.  Here it is;

Baked Jalapeno Peppers

IMG_5496Not a great pic. I should have been a bit more creative!

Ingredients

12 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise, stems, seeds and membranes removed
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese (I used MJ)
1/2 teaspoon cumin (I used 1 teaspoon.  Cumin is my favorite spice.)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste – I used 1/4 teaspoon)
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons milk
8 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
1 cup panko crumbs or fine dry breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1/2 cup all purpose flour

Directions

1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking sheet, set aside.
2.  In a bowl, cream together cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, cumin and cayenne. Set aside.
3.  In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and 2 teaspoons Cajun/creole seasoning.
4.  In a shallow dish, combine the panko crumbs and 4 teaspoons of Cajun/Creole seasoning.
5.  In a third bowl combine the flour and remaining 2 teaspoons Cajun/Creole seasoning.
6.  Spread 1 Tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the middle of each jalapeno half.
7.  One at a time, dredge in the flour, dip into the egg mixture, then dredge in panko crumbs, pressing to coat.  If necessary, repeat the process. (I did not repeat)
8.  Place the coated peppers, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet and bake until the filling is runny and the crust is golden, about 30-45 minutes.
9.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately with a cold beer!

The second round I did the following for the filling – 6 ounces cream cheese, 1 Tablespoon chopped chives, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper.

Enjoy this simple and delicious appetizer!!

 

Olive Salad

I whipped up some olive salad for the weekend.  I love it plain, as an addition of flavor in my green salad, condiment for any kind of sandwich, crackers, pizza and anything else you want with a fabulous punch of flavor. Especially for the  Muffaletta.  A Muffaletta is a sandwich with olive salad, salami, ham,  and provolone.  For a pizza, check out the  Pizzaletta or if you just want a salad, here is my simple and delicious recipe;

Olive Salad

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Ingredients

1/2 cup each of green and black olives, chopped
1 Tablespoon capers
1/3 cup roasted red pepper, diced (I used a jar this time.  You can roast your own peppers if you like.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.)
1/2 cup Giardiniera, chopped
2-3 pepperoncini, chopped
1/2 teaspoon basil (dried)
1 teaspoon oregano (dried)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Pepper to taste (I only use pepper. The olives & capers are salty enough)

Combine all ingredients together and place in refrigerator for 4 hours or even better, overnight.  Ciao!!

Guacamole

We love Guacamole in this house.  We use it all the time.  It is a great condiment.  Here is my recipe.  Simple and Delicious!

Guacamole

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Ingredients

2 Haas Avocados
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (If you like a little heat, then add cayenne. I like heat.  Kent doesn’t.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 Tablespoon lime juice (I use a real lime)

Directions

1.  Place avocado pulp in medium bowl.  Squeeze lime over top.  Using a fork, smash the avocados until smooth.  (I don’t use a food processor.  We like texture to our guacamole.  Fork or food processor, whatever works for you.)
2.  Put all other ingredients in bowl with avocados and mix well.
3.  Put in refrigerator for a couple of hours.  Tastes great chilled.  Enjoy!!

con·di·ment
ˈkändəmənt/
noun
1. a substance such as salt or ketchup that is used to add flavor to food.  🙂

Bruschetta with a blast from the past – October 2012

05/25/2015;  Cleaning up my blog.  I saw this post.  Brought back some fun memories.  I LOVE Denver!!  Chasing Scott around Syracuse with Kathleen was tons of fun.  Borio’s is always a great place to be with my hubby.  Ending with Pizza Friday with my crew.  I have to make Bruschetta more often! I am a very lucky lady!!

We had a quiet Pizza Friday.  It has been a pretty crazy couple of weeks so I was good with the quiet.  I have been to Denver and Syracuse this month so it has been a whirlwind.  I still have to post about the fabulous time I had with Scott and Kathleen at Frasca’s in Boulder CO!  Kent and I drove to Syracuse NY last week.  We left Friday and came back on Monday.  So, we Kent and I had our “Pizza Friday” in Syracuse last week.  We went out to Red Lobster and had a very nice meal with awesome service.  Saturday we went to our favorite restaurant in Syracuse, Borio’s Restaurant.  As always, a fantastic meal.   When in Syracuse Kathleen, Tony, Becky (and mom briefly) along with me of course chased my brother Scott across town for the Empire Marathon.    FYI: Scott ran 26.2 miles in 3 hours 8 minutes.

The next thing going on; last Friday Martin had his first Art Gallery event in Milwaukee.   I wish I could have been there but Kent and I were driving to Syracuse so that was not possible.  It was great to see my parents, Kent’s parents, Tony, Becky, Scott and Kathleen.  Enough of that, onto Pizza Friday.

This week I made the typical pizzas; sausage, BBQ Chicken, and a veggie pizza.   I recently started making my own pizza sauce.  I am sure you thought I did that before but I was using Del Fratelli Pizza Sauce.   I discovered it is much better to make your own.  For appetizers we had Spinach and Artichoke Dip (next time less mozzarella, if any at all) with blue corn chips and multi-grain chips.  I also made Bruschetta with freshly baked bread.

Pizza Sauce (SIMPLE!!!)  Update; 5/25/2015 – Rachel likes the can better.  (I think she is sick of me saying this – but she does!)

28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes (I use 6-in-1 Tomatoes. You can use whatever brand you want)
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

That is all there is to it.  Mix it up and you have a “simple and delicious” pizza sauce!

The Bruschetta was requested by Martin.  I tried this recipe and we thought it was great.  Give it a try;

Bruschetta

How to pronounce Bruschetta  🙂

Ingredients

4 Roma Tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese ( I uses Pecorina Romano)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar (LOVE this wonderful condiment)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Loaf french baquette or bake your own bread (recipe is here)

Mix all ingredients together.  Slice the bread in 1/4 inch slices and bake at 350 degrees until well toasted, about 5-10 minutes.  You can rub garlic onto the top of each slice of toast.  Spoon the Bruschetta on top of each slice and serve.  Very Simple and Delicious!! As always, Pizza Fridays are awesome.  The tradition of having our family together means more to me than anything in this entire world.  And that’s the truth!!

Chicken Wings – Family Favorite

This recipe has been in our family forever.  Kent and I have had beers and wings at home for many years.  We love them and so does the rest of our family.  Honestly, 3# is not enough if they are all over at one time!!

Chicken Wings

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Ingredients

3# Chicken Wings (I get mine at Costco.  10# bag Kirkland Chicken Wings)
1/3 cup melted butter
2/3 cup Sweet Baby Rays Chicken Wing Sauce (sometimes with a squirt of sriacha sauce, sometimes not)

OR

1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup Sweet Baby Rays Chicken Wing Sauce
1/4 cup Franks RedHot Original Cayenne Sauce
1/4 cup Sriacha Sauce

Lately we have been doing the 1/4 cup one.  It is quite delish!!

Directions

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Mix together the melted butter and wing sauce.
3.  Place the wings on a pan lined with parchment paper.  Place in preheated oven.  Let bake for 15 minutes.
4.  After first 15 minutes, brush the wings with the sauce and bake for 15 minutes.
5.  Flip over the wings and brush with the sauce.  Bake other side for 15 minutes.  Check, brush with sauce again, bake 10-20 more minutes.  Should be browned and done.

That is it and everyone loves them.  Simple and Delicious!!

Chicken Wings – Eric’s favorite!

There are 2 types of wings in this household.  Wings everyone loves and the wings Eric loves.  This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen.  I make a couple of changes in the baking of them.  They come out perfectly Simple and Delicious!! Here is the recipe…Eric 🙂

Chicken Wings

(When I have a picture I will post.)

3          pounds chicken wings, halved at joint and wingtips removed, trimmed (or go to Costco and buy 10# bag for $20.  That’s all done for you!)
1          tablespoon baking powder
1/2      teaspoon salt
2/3      cup Frank’s Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
1          tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1          tablespoon molasses

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (I put parchment on top of the aluminum foil, too) and top with wire rack (I don’t top with a wire rack, pain to clean.). Pat wings dry with paper towels, then toss with baking powder and salt in bowl. Arrange wings in single layer on wire rack. Roast wings until golden on both sides, about 40 minutes, flipping wings over and rotating sheet halfway through roasting.

2. Meanwhile, whisk hot sauce, butter, and molasses together in large bowl.

3. Remove wings from oven. Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Broil wings until golden brown on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping wings over halfway through broiling. Add wings to sauce and toss to coat. Serve and invite Eric over!!

Punch – Too Simple and Delicious

Brenda is getting married in October.  We had a bridal shower at work for her.  Tons of food; Chester’s fried chicken and potato wedges, baked beans, veggie tray, caramel apple dessert, cake (of course), punch with a touch of presents. If I am forgetting something, I hope I am forgiven!  I brought the makings for punch.  It was too simple and awesomely delicious.  No pics but when I make it at home I will post.

Congratulations, Brenda!!  Looking forward to our office bachlorette party!!  Check out the awesome group of ladies I work with!!

Incredibly Simple Punch

1 pint raspberry sorbet (I bought Haagen Dazs – need I say more)
1 – 2 litre bottle Sprite

I made ice from the Sprite.  Chris from work suggested I use a bundt cake pan to make ice from the Sprite.  By the time I thought of making the ice it was midnight.  I ran in the basement looking for something I could use to make ice. I found my donut pan. I used that to make ice for the punch.  What a great idea! Thanks Chris!!

In a large bowl or punch bowl (ideally) add the sorbet and 1 bottle of Sprite, mix together, add ice (or not) and serve. AWESOME!

Told ya, could that be any easier.  Again, a simple and delicious treat.  Enjoy!!

Crepes with Cheese Spread

Martin’s appetizer request; Crepes (or Palachinka as Martin calls them) with a cheese spread.

Palachinka (pancakes in Bulgarian) are something Martin really enjoys. When Martin lived with his grandparents in Sofia, Bulgaria he would have Palachinka often.  I can remember when he first wanted me to make these. I had never made crepes before and thought they would be a flop.  He missed his Grandma and home country so much at that time. I knew the only way I was able to give him any warm memory of being home in his Grandma’s kitchen was through food.  I know I will never be able to make them as good as his Grandma.  However, I do believe I am getting close! 😉

Crepes are a challenge to make.  Once you get it down it is very easy though.  Here is the recipe I use:

Palachinka (Crepes)

Ingredients

2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (yes, whole it makes a difference)
6 Tablespoons water
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons melted butter (plus extra for brushing on pan)

Directions (sorry this is so long, really it is worth it AND Simple and Delicious!)

1.  Mix all of the above ingredients in food processor or blender. (you could also do by hand using a whisk.  I use a food processor and it is great because there are no lumps at all.  If you do by hand you may need to strain.)  If using a food processor let it mix for about 15-30 seconds.  It doesn’t take long at all.  After you mix, transfer batter to a covered container.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.  (Try not to skip this step.  It really works much better when making the crepes.)

2.  Take out of refrigerator and gently stir batter if ingredients have separated.  Heat a 6-7 inch pan (I use a non stick 9 inch skillet) over medium heat.  Brush pan bottom and sides very lightly with butter, which should sizzle when it hits the pan.  I use just under a 1/2 cup of batter (for my size pan, if you use a smaller pan you will need to use less batter).  I put the batter in middle of pan, lift off the heat and rotate, covering the entire bottom of the pan.  Set on burner and let cook for 30-45 seconds, flip it over and cook same amount on other side.

3.  Place cooked crepe on plate and repeat cooking process with remaining batter, brushing pan with butter as needed (every 2 crepes for me).  You will get about 8 crepes with the way I make them.  You can store in refrigerator for 2-3 days.  You can also freeze up to 2 months.  I have never had any left so I am not sure how they taste the next day!  🙂

Martin loves the cheese spread for these just barely sweet crepes.  Nutella, jam or preserves are also a great filling.

Cheese Spread

1/4 cup sirene (Sirene is Bulgarian Feta Cheese.  Use any Feta you like)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic
1 Tablespoon plain yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh dill (please use fresh if you can)

Mix all together.  Spread in middle of crepe and roll up.  This truly is simple and delicious!  Enjoy 🙂

Pizza Friday – Sangria tonight!

Another Friday come and gone.  I begin my week trying to think of what the family would enjoy for our Friday get together.  I always ask everyone what they would enjoy for their Pizza Friday.  We can always guarantee a cheese pizza and a sausage pizza.  I like to make other things that we all enjoy. Last Friday I had a request from one of the guys that come with Martin, his name is Eric V.  He said he really enjoyed the Purple Pig pizza.  That was the beginning of our next Pizza Friday. Then this week while cruising Pinterest I found a Sangria.  I have never made a Sangria or even desired one. I mentioned the ingredients to Rachel and that started another addition to our menu.  After I told her about the Sangria she suggested a Fruit Pizza.  

So, we have Purple Pig Pizza, Sangria and Fruit Pizza.  Another addition was chicken tenders.

Everyone really enjoyed our menu tonight.  Another night where there is very little leftovers.  Here is our Simple and Delicious Sangria recipe:

Strawberry Apple Basil Sangria 

(adapted from a Recipe at  Treehugger.com)

Ingredients

8 oz thinly sliced strawberries
1 apple, diced
1/2 ounce Basil leaves
1 bottle of Chardonnay
2 cups Sparkling White Grape juice
2 Tablespoons sugar

Directions

1.  Layer thinly sliced strawberries and diced apple.   Top with 2 Tablespoons sugar.  Top with whole basil leaves.  Let set for 10 minutes.

2.  Add bottle of Chardonnay and sparkling white grape juice.  Let rest of 30 minutes.

3.   Then ENJOY!!  This was really refreshing and delicious!!

We got into taking pics but not of us only of the food.  Maybe next week we can enjoy some photos of us having a great time.

Enjoy this simple and delicious and refreshing drink.  This is great for spring, summer, winter or fall.  Use whatever fruits are in season and enjoy!  

Until next week.  Salute and Ciao!!

Creamy, Cheesy Bacon Dip

This was too simple and delicious.  So much so, I forgot to take a pic.  I thought a photo of Scrappy would be fun!

Creamy, Cheesey Bacon Dip

4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar
8 slices of bacon (I cut into 1/2 inch pieces, fried to crisp, then I chopped them up and added to the mix.  The more the merrier – at least that’s what the guys say 🙂
1/2 cup green onion

Preheat oven 400 degrees.  Mix above ingredients together.  Put in 1 quart casserole dish.  Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.  Remove from oven and serve with chips, crackers or veggies.  This was a hit with the guys in my house.  They really liked the cheesiness of the dip oh…and the bacon!