Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Did Somebody Say.......Dessert?

Okay, so I promised I would share our finale to the other night's wonderful dinner so here goes.  Now, if you're not a fan of sweet, then this particular post is NOT for you!  I for one always find a reason and an excuse to have dessert.  In fact when it comes to eating, there's always room for dessert!

This dessert contains the basics with a twist.  Any self-respecting home should have every one of these ingredients on hand at any given one!  Well, needless to say I introduced my girls to the decadence that is Nutella.  So try out my new recipe and let me know what you think.

Chocolate Hazelnut Panini Sundae

4 slices white bread
1/4 cup nutella, divided
2 Tbsp hazelnuts, chopped, toasted and divided
2 cups vanilla ice cream
olive oil cooking spray

Preheat panini grill or us a grill pan.  Coat with cooking spray.

1 - Trim crusts from bread slices.  Spread 2 tablespoons Nutella evenly over 2 bread slices.  Sprinkle evenly with nuts.  Top with remaining 2 bread slices.  Place sandwiches on panini grill; cook 1 1/2 minutes or until golden brown.  If using a regular grill pan be sure to flip the sandwich to toast other side evenly.  Cut each sandwich diagonally into 2 triangles.
2 - Place panini triangles on individual plates.  Divide ice cream over top.
3 - Place remaining 2 tablespoons Nutella in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 20-30 second or until warm.  Drizzle 1 1/2 tsp over each scoop of ice cream. Garnish with remaining toasted hazelnuts.  Serve immediately.

My advice, take small bites and savor this is truly a treasure.  Unfortunately, I did NOT take a picture of my dessert after preparation.  I guess this means I'm just going to have to make it again so I can post a photo!

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Not Your Mother's Chicken and Noodles

Well, anyone who knows my kids knows they like their NOODLES!!!  So, I am always in search of the many ways I can prepare different varieties of noodles to satisfy their desire for these oh so delicious carbohydrates.

One of my families favorites has always been the wonderfully old-fashioned Chicken Noodle Casserole.  I know, I know what you're thinking.....isn't it supposed to be Tuna Noodle Casserole?  Well, in this house chicken is a staple so we put chicken in just about everything.  Thus, our favorite Chicken Noodle Casserole is always a great standby.....until now!

I just found a beautiful new Chicken Noodle dish that knocked my socks off and even had my hubby's co-workers asking him today where he picked up his leftover lunch goodies from.  Well, needless to say, he made it known that it was a creation from the previous night's dinner.  So, take a look at this unbelievably simple yet profoundly mouth watering will become or perhaps replace your previous family favorite!

Egg Noodles with Chicken and Wine Sauce

8 oz egg noodles
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
8 oz sliced button mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine (I urge you to use a quality white wine that you would drink)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (I actually did not use this because the flavor without was so incredible)

1 - Cook noodles in  large pot of boiling, salted water until cooked but still firm to the bite.  Drain and return to the pot.
2 - Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.  Place chicken pieces in a bowl or shallow dish.  Combine half of the flour with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle seasoned flour over chicken and toss to coat.
3 - In a large nonstick skillet, over medium high, heat half of the oil.  Add chicken pieces and saute until browned (about 4 minutes).  Transfer to another plate.
4 - Add remaining oil to pan, add garlic, Italian seasoning and mushrooms and saute until liquid evaporates and mushrooms darken, about 3 minutes.  Add white wine, stirring to loosen browned bits; cook 1 minute.  Stir in remaining 1 Tbsp of flour; cook, stirring constantly, another minute.  Add broth and continue to cook, stir frequently, until sauce is slightly thick about 2 minutes.
5 - Return chicken to pan.  Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 2-3 minutes.  Stir in noodles and cook just until heated through.  Serve topped with grated cheese (again I did not add the cheese and it was phenomenal)

If you stay tuned; I'll post the incredible dessert we finished won't want to miss this one!

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bye, Bye Kraft........Hello Homemade!

Are you fearful your kiddo might not like your homemade version of the childhood favorite macaroni and cheese?  Fear not, I have the quick, easy and kiddo approved mac and cheese for you.  You'll never be tempted to purchase the box stuff again, guaranteed!  After making this recipe it is the most requested meal I make, even hubby asks for my special mac 'n cheese!  You may find yourself tiring of making this marvelous masterpiece but your family won't lose interest.  Pair it with a yummylicious grilled PB&J and you've got the makings of an incredible and unforgettable lunch time treat!

Buckle up for a quick ride down the cheese and noodle highway and prepare your tastebuds for mac and cheese nirvana!!

Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

4 C. Elbow macaroni (uncooked)
6 C. milk
2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional but makes this dish fabulous)
1/2 C. butter
3 C. Shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 C. Shredded Parmesan cheese

1 - In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
2 - Stir in flour and salt.
3 - Add mustard, cayenne pepper (if using), milk and macaroni (the milk does not need to boil before adding the macaroni)
4 - Bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent clumping.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until pasta is tender.  stir often.
5 - Remove from heat.  Stir in cheese in 3 batches, stirring until cheese melts.
6 - Let sit 5 minutes before serving.  It may look a bit runny when fresh-made but the dish will thicken nicely after standing a few minutes.

Like I said, serve this ultimate side dish with your favorite sandwich (mine happens to be a grilled PB&J), some fresh fruit and you've got yourself a top-notch lunch your kids will be begging for again and again.


Happy Cooking!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Garden of Barnidge

Okay, a little hokey but it's our garden and I'm so excited.  This our first time ever gardening and I'm really no green thumb.  So we decided against the community garden idea just simply based on proximity to our home.  We decided on the raised bed garden and built the box....oh, we built a beautiful box.  Then I swiftly began to calculate the amount of soil mixture we would need to fill the box.  Well, that's where we got a little off track.  You see when you calculate the cubic feet of a 4' X 8' box you need to make sure you convert the depth of the box from inches into actual feet so that you don't actually purchase 500 cubic feet of soil!  So, we filled the box, planted the seeds and . . . . . drum roll please!

We have sprouts of radishes, lettuce and spinach!!  The girls race down each morning to check out the garden and the progress.

Keep watching and I'll post more updates on the garden.  Stay tuned for updates and pictures!!!

Can't wait to cook these herbs and veggies.

Happy Cooking!

Pleasantly Surprised!

Have you ever wanted to try a new recipe that you just weren't quite sure of?  If so, then this is going to be the "must try" recipe of the summer for you.  Take my word for it, this little salad was a mouth pleasing surprise.  At first glance, the ingredient list is a little suspect but the flavor combination is out of this world.  I debuted this recipe at Easter this year and it won overwhelming reviews from everyone at the table, except for the pickiest of eaters!

Try it out and let me know what you think.......

Green Pea and Crisp Corn Salad

1lb frozen tender peas, thawed and drained
3/4 C. frozen kernel corn, thawed and drained
1/2 C. minced purple onion
1/2 C. diced red bell pepper
1 C. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 C. chopped cooked bacon
1/4 - 1/3 C. sour cream
1/4 - 1/3 C. mayonnaise
3/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the peas, corn, onion, peppers, bacon, and cheese.
2. Stir in the sour cream and mayonnaise.  Start with the minimum amount and add more if you want it a bit creamier.  (I used the lesser amount of 1/4 C. of each and it was nice and creamy but not gooey)
3. Add salt and pepper and mix well.
4. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 2 hours before serving.

Happy Cooking!!