Cannellini Bean Dip

2 cans of cannellini beans
1 large onion, chopped

In medium sauté pan caramelize onions and add in beans. Once they begin to heat, mash and incorporate with onions. Sprinkle a bit of paprika over the top to look pretty.

Serve with finger rye breads or crackers.

Fettuccine with Chicken and Peppers

I have really become a big fan of the chicken sausage over the past few months. When its time to go food shopping, but I don't feel like it, there are always things that I have and chicken sausage and pasta are two things that are always in my house. One afternoon as I was trying to get myself some dinner and not in the mood to leave the house in the rain, this is what I came up with.

1/4 lb. of chicken sausage, sliced, should equal 2 cups
1 lb. of fettuccine
1 small onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 clove of garlic, diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 can of mushrooms or 1 cup of fresh

In large fry pan heat the oil and add in sausage, onion and red pepper. After 10 minutes, add in salt, pepper, garlic and mushrooms. Saute for at least 30 minutes on low to medium heat and not letting burn. Just about until onions begin to caramelize. Toss well and top with the Parmesan cheese and serve.

The Pink Drink

1 oz. of Coconut Rum
1 oz. of Grenadine Syrup
5 oz. of Milk (skim, low-fat or regular)

In shaker, fill half way with ice, add in Rum, Milk and Grenadine for color.

Classic Stuffed Mushrooms

2 packages of mushrooms (wipe clean and remove stems)
1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup of parmesan cheese
¼ cup parsley
1 cup of finely chopped onion
½ cup of finely chopped macadamia nuts
1 tbs. oil. (any type will do)

Finely chop mushroom stems.
Combine all ingredients in bowl, making sure mixed thoroughly.
Fill mushroom caps with filling.
Bake for 8-12 minutes and serve.

Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Blue Cheese Dip:
2/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
3 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Chicken Strips and Celery Sticks:
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon Frank's original hot sauce
5 celery stalks, cut into 3-inch sticks

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise and blue cheese. Stir in the scallions and pepper and set aside while preparing the chicken. Cover and refrigerate.

Heat the oil in a large, preferably nonstick skillet. Season the chicken with the salt. Cook the chicken over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the butter and hot sauce to the pan and swirl until the butter barely melts and the sauce coats the chicken.

Serve the chicken and celery sticks along with the blue cheese dip.
Provide toothpicks for spearing the chicken and dipping it in the sauce.

Old World Chicken Tacos

The history of the hard taco begins from the early part of the twentieth century, various styles of tacos have become popular in the United States. The style that has become most common is the hard-shell or U-shaped version. A patent for such a device was issued to New York restaurateur Juvenico Maldonado in 1947. The original tacos were a crisp-fried corn tortillas filled with seasoned ground beef, cheese, lettuce, and sometimes tomato, onion, salsa, sour cream, and avocado or guacamole. Now a days tacos come in many different choices of fillings. I made this last week. When I was making the chicken it wasn't for tacos, but just a usual recipe that I use on top of yellow rice and thought why not. Lets give this a try and so I did. I hope you like it.

1 lb. of chicken breast or thighs, no bones
3 tomatoes quartered
1 cup of sour cream
1 tbsp. of cilantro
2 tbsp. of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced

In large fry pan heat the oil and add in chicken and garlic. After the chicken has browned, about 10 minutes add in the tomatoes and cilantro. Cook the tomatoes until they begin to loosen up. Remove from heat and fill taco shells. I love sour cream so I served that as well. You can also serve with cheese, jalapenos or anything else you want. My daughter filled her with yellow rice that I made as well. Be creative with your cooking. 

Basil and Olive Tomatoe Sauce over Pasta

Sometimes I like my pasta to have a lighter taste and not full of beef, pork or even chicken. Black olives have a crisp and distinctive flavor and thought it would make my crushed tomatoes pop with flavor and they did. Always keep a can of pitted black olives in your pantry. Its a good sauce to put together when you forgot to take something out for dinner and don't feel like running to the grocery store or ordering take out!

1 lb. of pasta (I used spaghetti)
1 6 oz. can of black pitted olives, chopped
1 cup of fresh basil, chopped or 2 tsp. of dried basil
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

In large sauce pan, combine black olives, basil and crushed tomatoes. Let simmer for 1 to 2 hours to let the flavors marinate. Bring pasta to boil in large pot of salted water. Drain and empty into sauce. Coat thoroughly and serve with a loaf of crusty bread.

Homemade Italian Seasoning

I love to have lots of spices in my pantry, but sometimes there are ones that you can just combine to make yourself and you don't need to spend and arm and a leg. I use Italian seasoning at least twice a week in my pasta dishes, meats and sometimes over my fish. I have even used it in some soups. Italian seasoning blends can be used on any type of meat or fish dish. I think when combined together they have such an delicious aroma. Put this recipe together and you could spice up to 40 other dishes.

2 tbsp. Rosemary
2 tbsp. Oregano
2 tbsp. Marjoram
2 tbsp. Basil
2 tbsp. Thyme

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. You can either place in a Ziploc bag or if you have a jar like I do use one of those. There you go, in seconds homemade Italian seasoning.

Antipasto Pasta Salad

1 pound shell, bow-tie or elbow macaroni pasta
1/4 pound Genoa salami, chopped
1/4 pound pepperoni, chopped
1/2 pound Asiago or Italian sharp cheese, diced
1 (6 ounce) can black olives, drained and chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 (.6 ounce) Italian dressing mix (Good Seasons)
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Salt ground black pepper

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and cool under cold water.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, salami, pepperoni, cheese, black olives, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and tomatoes. Sprinkle on the envelope of powdered dressing, mix thoroughly and refrigerate salad.
To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, parsley, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Just before serving, pour dressing over the salad and mix well.

Chicken Tacos

As we all know making dinner can sometimes not be so much fun. So tonight make it a fun night with the kids. If you dont want to chop up the cheese, tomatoes and onions, the supermarkets sells them already done.

8 hard taco shells
4 think chicken cutlets, cubed
1 envelope of ranch dressing mix (powder form)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups of shredded cheese (your choice)
hot sauce (optional)
4 cups of shredded lettuce
1 can of chick peas
2 tbs. olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized fry pan and add in the chicken. Add in half a packet of the ranch mix and cook for about 3-5 minutes and set aside in bowl. Place all the other ingredients in small bowls as well and set them up on your dinner table and let everyone enjoy making their own tacos. Very tasty and quick. You can even make the chicken ahead of time and save for your next dinner.

Penne Alla Vodka Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti is a great dish to make ahead of time, freeze for a later date or refrigerate for during the week. Although, I love the traditional ziti, I happen to love "stuff" in my ziti. The more the merrier. Baked ziti was made to be a "one pot wonder" so to speak. Give this one a try. This one is for 4 people as its just my daughter and I, so I try and keep things smaller for us. So double, tripe and quadruple for your family if necessary.
1 lb. of sausage, no casings (I use patties)
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes
1 cup of heavy cream
3 tbs. of butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb. of ziti
1 8 oz. container of ricotta cheese, I use low fat
1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese, I use low fat
1 egg
3 tbs. olive oil
1 cup of vodka
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

I begin by heating the olive oil and butter. I then add in the red pepper flakes and let them heat up a minute or 2 so that the flavor pops. Then add in the sausage. Cook this until brown and add in onions and garlic. Cook onions until they start to become translucent. Add in crushed tomatoes,heavy cream, vodka salt and pepper. Let simmer for 30 minutes, but not necessary. Heat water for ziti and cook until almost al dente. Drain and add into pot of sauce. I do this so clean up is much easier. In another bowl I add in ricotta cheese, mozzarella, minus 1 cup and egg. Blend these together and add that to the pot of sauce. I spray the bottom of a medium size baking dish lightly and pour the mixture in. Then I top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake in at 375 degree preheated oven for 45-55 minutes. Remove, let sit for 5-10 minutes and serve with toasty bread and butter. Delicious.

Sauteed Spinach over Gnocchi

Gnocchi I find to be so delicious, but they are what I believe to be called belly bombs. I know for me I want to eat my whole plate, but I am just so filled up by just a small amount. It could be that I usually make them which a rich and decadent sauce. So trying to eat my greens I decided to top them off with very delicious spinach.

1 large bag of fresh spinach
6 cloves of roasted garlic
1/4 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. of pepper
1/4 cup of crushed walnuts
Grated Fontina cheese (optional)

First I roast the garlic. For this recipe you can do ahead of time. Take the 6 cloves garlic and cut the tips off. Place in a piece of tin foil and drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil or chicken broth on top so they don't dry out. Roast for about 20 minutes. In a large fry pan heat the oil and add in the garlic. (Use must squeeze from the peel). With the back of a wooden spoon break up the garlic and start to saute, but do not let brown. Now add in the spinach. It will be a huge amount for the pan, but as you all know this will cook down to a much smaller amount. This cooking process will take about 20 minutes. Once the spinach is reduced, add in the walnuts, cover and set aside so that the garlic and spinach flavors marinate together. Bring a pot of water to boil and add in the Gnocchi. Once they are done, pour over the spinach and toss and serve. I love cheese on my pasta, but instead of using Parmesan, I use some Fontina cheese. Use your favorite cheese.

Texas Lasagna

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (6 ounce) can chopped black olives
1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
9 lasagne noodles, cooked and drained
1 1/4 cups frozen corn kernels
1 1/4 cups frozen green peas
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees) C. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
Brown beef in a skillet over medium heat and drain excess grease. Add the olives, mushrooms, and onion. Stir and cook until the onions are soft. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, pepper, oregano, and Italian seasoning. In a small bowl combine the peas and corn.
To assemble, lay 3 noodles on bottom of prepared pan, then one half of the beef mixture, half of the corn and pea mixture. Repeat. End the layers with the remaining noodles.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the top with cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Happy Mother's Day

Wishing all the moms out there a very 
Happy Mother's Day! 

Lisa Montalva
The Gourmet Mom

Fruit Salad

2 bananas, sliced
8 strawberries, slice
1 cup of blueberries
2 cups of orange juice
2 tbsp of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in bowl and let sit for at least 2 hours. Serve.

Spaghetti Bolognese

A great dinner for Mother's Day is Spaghetti Bolognese. Its pretty inexpensive to make and can feed many people. The Bolognese sauce was derived in the city of Bologna, Italy and has been a classic ever since. It is typically a meat based sauce with vegetables, although I rarely see a vegetable any time I have eaten at a restaurant. Over the years I have come up with many versions, but this is a favorite of mine. Its also a good way to hide the veggies from the kids and some adults.

1 lb. of spaghetti
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb, ground pork
1 large onion
3 carrots
2 cups of mushrooms
1 small zucchini
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp. of oregano
1 tsp. basil
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
3 tbsp. of olive oil

I usually start and chop up the onions, carrots, mushrooms and zucchini and add to a food processor. I pulse a few times until it becomes a thick paste like consistency. Add the olive oil to a large fry pan and begin to brown the ground beef and pork. When it is cooked through and very crumbly, you can add in the vegetable mixture and combine well. Then add in the white wine, oregano, basil and crushed tomatoes. I like to simmer my Bolognese for 3 hours, but it will taste delicious after 30 minutes, so depending on your time, cook as needed. Bring pot of water to boil, cook pasta and drain. When pasta is cooked add to Bolognese sauce, toss and serve.

*Remember that you can add any vegetables you want. Broccoli, cauliflower, peas, eggplant, brussel sprouts, etc. Like I always say be creative and make it your own.

Angel Food Strawberry Shortcake‏

I am not sure what it is about Mother's Day, but it brings Strawberry Shortcake to mind. Since I was trying to make it an easier recipe and lighter on the calories, I decided to use an Angel Food Cake. I love playing with food color, so I made the whipped topping pink because it is girly.

To all the mom's, have a Happy Mother's Day!

1 pre-made angel food cake (or bake it yourself)
1 quart of strawberries, minced (also remove 8 whole strawberries for garnish)
1 large container of whipped topping (I use light)
red food coloring
1 cup of strawberry jam or preserves
1 can of whip cream

In large bowl empty the whipped topping and add in 2 drops of food coloring. More than likely that's all you will need to get the pretty pink color, but maybe even 1 drop will be just fine. You will have to decide the shade of pink you want. Just remember you can always add, but you cant take away. When you get to the desired color, place bowl in refrigerator to stiffen back up so its easier to spread on cake. Now slice angel food cake in half. Since angel food cakes have wholes in the center. I usually just take the knife and gently slice the cake in half. Remove the top and place it on a dish. Empty half the preserves or jam on the bottom layer and spread out evenly. Place the top back on, spread the remaining jam and begin to frost with the whipped topping. Sprinkle the minced strawberries on top of the whipped topping and for an extra treat top with spray can whipped cream and a whole strawberry. Happy Mother's Day.

Chocolate Dessert Cups

Are you ready to impress for your Mother's Day dessert, well this will do the trick.When I first saw someone make this type of chocolate bowl, I was like, "I don't think so", but it was truly easy. You do need patience though! Give it a try, it will be spectacular. You can also fill these up with fruit or ice cream instead. My mom loves creamy things, so I went with this one.

8 balloons, blow up balloons to be the size of an orange
2 8 oz. cream cheese bars, room temperature
1 8 oz. whipped topping
1 tsp. of brewed coffee, but you can adjust the amount depending on your taste. (remember to get this in am when you are making your coffee)
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/4 cup of white chocolate chips
8 lady fingers

In medium bowl, add chocolate and place on a simmering pot of water and melt. When all melted, remove and add in white chips. Give a few stirs, but leave streaks in the chocolate. Take each balloon dip into chocolate half way up or as deep as your wish your bowls to be. Place them on cookie sheet to cool. This doesn't take that long. Give it an hour though.

In another bowl add cream cheese, whipped topping and coffee. I use a blender. Refrigerate for an hour to stiffen cream. Now take the lady fingers and dip the tip into to chocolate and let harden as well.

You don't have to pipe in the cream into the bowls in a fancy way, but I did. Just use a large plastic baggie. Fill the bag, squeeze cream to the bottom and give bag a twist and cut off tip. Fill the bowls as much as you want. Slide in the lady finger and give a sprinkle of coco powder if you have.

I will be bringing you many versions of this at some point, but as always, be creative. Cooking is fun and not meant to be stressful, but only to relieve stress. Enjoy!

Rosemary Potatoes

Instead of serving a baked potatoes tonight, why  not slice up your potatoes or even better yet, but a few cans of whole potatoes or frozen potatoes and season them up and surprise the family. This is something I make for me and my daughter all the time. I do the same thing to my chicken and place the potatoes around it. Simply delicious.

1 frozen bag of potatoes or 2 cans of whole potatoes
2 tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup of rosemary
1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes if you like some heat
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper
1 tsp. of garlic powder

Place the olive oil in a baking dish and add in the potatoes. Give them a toss so that the oil covers them. Add in the rosemary, salt, pepper and garlic powder, toss again and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. 

Black Bean Salsa

3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (11 ounce) can Mexican-style corn, drained
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chile & peppers, partially drained
2 tomatoes, diced
2 bunches green onions, chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish


In a large bowl, mix together black beans,  
Mexican-style corn, diced tomatoes with green chile
peppers, tomatoes and green onion stalks. Garnish with
desired amount of cilantro leaves. Chill in the refrigerator at least 8 hours, or overnight,  before serving. Serve with Blue Chips.

Black Bean and Jalapeno Black Bean Pie

4 10 inch flour tortillas
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
1 small jalapeno, finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
1 garlic clove minced
½ teaspoon of cumin
6 scallions finely chopped
12 ounces of light beer
2 15oz cans of black beans
1 package of frozen corn
1 small package of shredded cheddar cheese (8oz)
Dash of salt and pepper
Sour cream
*You may also add chicken to this recipe.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Trim tortillas to fit 9 inch spring form pan.
      In fry pan heat oil and sauté onion, jalapeno, garlic and cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 6  minutes. Add in beans and beer and bring to boil. Heat until liquid is almost evaporated. Approximately 10 minutes. Stir in corn and scallions (set aside ½ cup for garnish) and remove from heat. Add  a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
      Place first tortilla in bottom of spring foam. Layer with a ¼ of the bean mixture and cheese. Repeat 3 more times. Remaining cheese on top layer. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from spring form and garnish with remaining scallions. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream if desired.

Szechuan Chicken

4  Chicken breasts*; skinned
3 tb Cornstarch
1 tb Vegetable oil
3 Cloves garlic; minced
5 tb Soy sauce (low salt)
1 1/2 tb White-wine vinegar
1 ts Sugar
1/4 c  Water
6  Green onions; cut into 1" pieces
1/8 ts Cayenne or to taste

Cut chicken *(these are 1/2 breasts, as you buy them in the market)
into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Lightly toss with cornstarch in bag to coat. Heat oil in skillet or wok; stir-fry chicken and garlic until lightly browned. Add  soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and water.

Cover and cook 3 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Add green onions and cayenne; cook uncovered about 2 minutes longer.

Chicken In Spicy Sauce

Here is a great Chicken In Spicy Sauce recipe. You can cut out the spicy by leaving out the garam and chili sauce. I usually serve with fries and a salad, but you can also serve with white or brown rice and pour the sauce over it. Its really delicious!

8   chicken thighs, skinned
1 can (8-oz) tomatoes, drained
2 tbs. tomato paste
2 tbs.  chili sauce
2    garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. sugar
2 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. garam masal
1    juice of one lime
1    juice of one lemon
Rinse chicken; pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken in a shallow baking dish and set aside. Put tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili sauce, sugar, Garam Masala, soy sauce, garlic, lime juice and lemon juice in a blender. Blend until smooth and pour over chicken, cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours to allow chicken to blend flavors.

Preheat oven to 375 F. bake chicken uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes, or until tender, basting with sauce 3 or 5 times during cooking. Serve hot with some rice or fries.

Avocado Dip

2 avocados
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
2 (16 ounce) cans re-fried beans
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1 large chopped fresh tomato
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper
1/4 cup sliced black olives

Spread re fried beans evenly on a medium sized serving platter. If the beans are watery, chill for 20 to 30 minutes.
Peel the avocados and remove the pits. In a food processor, blend the avocados with the mayonnaise, sour cream and taco seasoning until smooth. Pour over the re fried beans. Top with cheddar cheese. Add lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, green pepper and black olives if  desired. Refrigerate until serving. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...