Tres Leches Cake

If you’ve never had a Tres Leches cake, it’s high time! Tres Leches means “3 milks”. A light, airy sponge cake is soaked overnight in evaporated, sweetened condensed, whole milk and a little rum, then topped with sweetened whipped cream. It’s moist beyond belief! Add your favorite berries or fruit and you’ve got a cake that will delight everyone!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cake flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of whole milk, divided use
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract, divided use
  • 6 eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups of sugar, divided use
  • 1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (5 oz) can of evaporated milk
  • 2 Tbs of Rum
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream, for topping
  • fresh berries for topping

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°

Line a 9×13″ baking pan with parchment paper. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.Stir together 1/2 cup of whole milk and 1 tsp of vanilla in a measuring cup. Beat the egg whites with a mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form.With the mixer running add in 1 cup of sugar, a little at a time and beat until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Then at low speed, add in the yolks, beat until incorporated.Add the flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with the milk & vanilla mixture, beat until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.Cool the cake for 20 minutes on a wire rack then invert. Poke holes all over the cake with a skewer.In a medium bowl, stir together the condensed milk, evaporated milk, the remaining 1/2 cup of whole milk and the rum, pour over the cake, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. The cake will absorb all of the liquid like magic!When ready to serve, beat the heavy cream with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and remaining vanilla at medium speed until stiff peaks form. Spread on the cake to the edges. Slice and top with berries of your choice, kiwi is also delicious.  Enjoy!

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Italian Meatloaf

Beef, Italian Favorites | February 17, 2017 | By

This is the best Italian meatloaf you’ll ever eat! My Aunt Evelyn’s recipe that was passed down from my Granny. It’s moist, flavorful, absolutely perfect in every way!

Ingredients:
Makes 2 meatloaves

  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 3 lbs of ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tbs of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup of marinara sauce (for the top)
  • 1/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese (for the top)

Directions:
Preheat oven to °350

Start by heating the oil in a heavy skillet over medium/high heat and saute the onion, green pepper and carrot for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and saute 1 more minute. Remove from the heat and let cool down.Stir together the breadcrumbs, 1 cup of Parmesan, oregano, basil and salt & pepper. Then in a small bowl, beat the eggs and in a very large bowl, add the ground beef, the breadcrumb/parmesan mixture, eggs, Worcestershire sauce and the cooled onion mixture. With your hands, mix together until very well combined. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and shape the meat into two evenly sized loaves. Top with the marinara, spreading to the edges and sprinkle on the 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes.Turn the oven off, switch on the broiler and broil for a few minutes to brown up the meatloaf. Done! Let cool for 15 minutes or so before slicing. Plate the meatloaf and spoon over the juices collected in the pan. Buon Appetito!

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Chicken Noodle Soup

Soups & Stews | February 14, 2017 | By

On the next rainy day, take a trip back to Grandma’s house! Make some chicken noodle soup from scratch, with a few updates. Very easy to do, just takes time! Your house will smell heavenly and your family and friends will feel loved and comforted! This is insanely delicious and so good for you! I’ve added kale for a nutritional boost!

Ingredients
Stock

  • 1 small whole chicken (4 – 4 1/2 lbs)
  • 1 1/2 quarts of chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 quarts of water
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, rough chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, rough chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp of black pepper

Soup

  • 1 Tbs of olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut in bite sized pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, cut in bite sized pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 oz of mushrooms, quartered or sliced
  • 6 oz of egg noodles
  • 2 cups of kale chopped
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Start by making the stock, place the chicken a large pot, pour in the chicken broth and water, add in the onion, celery, carrots, thyme, bay leaves and the salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer partially covered for 1 1/2 hours. Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool. Strain the broth, reserve for later and discard the solids. When the stock has cooled a little, skim the fat from the surface. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat, shred it and discard the bones and skin.
Now, heat the oil in a large soup pot and over medium high heat, saute the onion, carrots and celery for about 4 minutes, then add in the garlic and saute 1 more minute. Now, add in the shredded chicken and the reserved stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.Next, add in the kale, noodles and mushrooms, stir to combine and simmer another 12-14 minutes or until the noodles are al dente. Add salt to taste. Serve with a warm, crusty baguette. Enjoy!

 

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Curried Scallops

Shrimp and Shellfish | February 11, 2017 | By

This recipe is quick, easy, elegant and insanely delicious! The scallops are pan seared and finished in a delightful curry sauce with fresh spinach! 

Ingredients:

Serves 2

  • 1 Tbs of butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp of green curry paste
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 heaping tsp of tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of half & half
  • 1 lb of sea scallops
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 2 big handfuls fresh spinach, chopped

Directions:

Start by melting the butter in a saucepan or small skillet, saute the shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and salt and cook for 1 minute. Then transfer to a blender and add in the tomato paste, chicken broth and the half & half. Blend until very smooth. Pat the scallops very dry with a paper towel, season with a little salt & pepper and in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium/high heat and sear the scallops 2 -3 minutes per side. Then add in the sauce and the spinach and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the spinach is wilted. That’s it! To serve, plate the scallops and top with that incredible sauce, delicious with wild rice. Enjoy!

 

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Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops

Pork | February 8, 2017 | By

These are the most tender, moist and flavorful pork chops you’ll ever eat! The glaze is divine with bacon, shallots, garlic, balsamic, brown sugar and fresh rosemary! They will rival any restaurant chops and with just a few ingredients and under 30 minutes of time! You must make these!

Ingredients:

Serves 2

  • 2 thick cut, bone-in pork chops
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 Tbs of olive oil
  • 3 pieces of bacon
  • 2 large shallots, quartered
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3/4 – 1 cup of chicken broth

Directions:

Start by seasoning the pork chops on both sides with a little salt & pepper. Heat the oil almost to the smoking point in a large heavy skillet, cast iron if you have one. Sear the chops 3-4 minutes per side, until nicely browned, then remove from the skillet.Now cook the bacon until crispy, remove and drain on a paper towel and crumble. Drain off most of the grease from the skillet and turn the heat to medium. Add the shallots, cook and stir for 4 minutes, then add in the garlic and cook 1 more minute.Now, stir in the vinegar, brown sugar, rosemary and the crumbled bacon. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes. Now, add in 3/4 cup of the chicken broth and nestle the chops in. Cook over low/medium heat for 12- 14 minutes, turning frequently and spooning the sauce over the chops. If it seems you need more sauce, add in another 1/4 cup of chicken broth. That’s it! To serve, plate the chops and spoon over that amazing sauce and shallots!

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Salmon Wellington

Fish | February 2, 2017 | By

This is a very easy, impressive and utterly delicious recipe for Salmon in puff pastry or Wellington. 
The salmon is topped with a creamy mascarpone mixture and baby spinach leaves then, tucked inside puff pastry, baked until perfectly cooked and golden brown! It’s finished with a dill Hollandaise sauce!

Ingredients:
Serves 2

  • 2 skinless salmon filets
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator
  • 20 leaves of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs of water for egg wash

Filling:

  • 3 heaping Tbs of mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp of onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 1/8 tsp of pepper

Dill Hollandaise Sauce

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbs of fresh lemon juice
  • dash of salt
  • dash of paprika
  • 2 Tbs of fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup of very hot melted butter

Directions:

Start by mixing the mascarpone with the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and lemon zest, set aside.Season the salmon with a little salt & pepper and then roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface to roughly 10 x 14 and cut in half, place one salmon filet crosswise in the center of each rectangle.Spoon on the mascarpone mixture and spread to the edges, then top with the spinach leaves. Brush the edges of the dough with egg wash and fold over the long sides first, pressing to seal the seams, then the short ends. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down and cut a criss cross pattern on the top of the dough. Brush with more egg wash and bake for 30  – 35 minutes or until golden brown. While the salmon is baking, make the hollandaise sauce. In a food processor, blend egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, paprika and dill until combined, then slowly add in the butter. Mix for a few seconds until well combined.
To serve, drizzle a little sauce on the plates, place the salmon on top and drizzle with more sauce. Superb!

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Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

Italian Favorites, Sides | January 30, 2017 | By

This is an incredible recipe for Risotto!  The porcinis and their liquid add a rich, earthy, heavenly flavor. It also has cremini mushrooms, spinach, shallots, white wine and of course lots of fresh Parmesan! Some think Risotto is tricky, but if you take your time, keep stirring and taste along the way for tenderness, you will be rewarded with a creamy, delicious dish! 

Ingredients:
Serves 4 – 6

  • 1/2 oz of dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup of very hot water
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 6-8 oz of cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups of Arborio rice
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/3 cup of dry white wine
  • 5 cups of chicken stock or broth
  • 2 big handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbs of butter

Directions:

Start by soaking the Porcinis in 1 cup of very hot water for 30 minutes. Then drain into a large saucepan and chop the mushrooms. Add 5 cups of chicken broth to the saucepan with the porcini liquid and bring to a very low simmer, keep this liquid simmering for later. In a large, high sided skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the shallots and cremini mushrooms about 4 minutes until they start to soften. Add in the rice and salt, stir and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add in the wine and the chopped porcinis and cook for 2 minutes.


Now, over low heat, add in two ladles of the simmering broth and stir until it’s absorbed, between 5 – 10 minutes, then add in two more ladles, repeat until you use all of the broth, stirring frequently. The time will vary, but it should take around 25 minutes total. It’s important to maintain a constant simmer. The risotto should be creamy and tender, but not mushy, taste it along the way. If necessary, add in a little more broth. As soon as it’s tender, add in the spinach and cook just until it wilts then stir in the butter and the Parmesan. All done!


Note to cooks: Risotto can be cooked in a large saucepan, but a skillet with high sides (3-4 inches high) is better because it has more surface area for the liquid to be absorbed.

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Chocolate Chunk Quinoa Cookies

Cookies | January 27, 2017 | By

These cookies have all of the deliciousness of traditional chocolate chip cookies but with the added benefit of nutrient and protein rich Quinoa! Soft in the middle, a little crisp on the edges and oozing with chocolate! Makes you feel good about eating cookies!

Ingredients:
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 3/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 cup of butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups of chocolate chunks or chips
  • 1/2 cup of pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa, cooled

Directions:

Start by stirring the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl until well combined.Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and the sugars until fluffy, then add in the eggs one at a time, beat well, then add in the vanilla.At low speed, slowly add in the flour, beat until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the chocolate chunks, pecans and the quinoa. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and scoop out heaping tablespoons of dough, roll into balls with your hands and place on the baking sheet, 2″ apart. Bake for 14 – 15 minutes or until the edges are just a little browned. Let cool on the baking sheet a few minutes, then remove and let cool completely.  YUM!
Note to cooks:  If you are using 1 baking sheet to bake your cookies, keep the dough refrigerated between batches. You can also stir in raisins, dates, cranberries and any kind of nuts that you like.

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Caramel Nut Tart

Desserts | January 25, 2017 | By

My nutty friends…this is your tart! A medley of mixed toasted nuts swirled together with rich, creamy caramel and sprinkled with sea salt! Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream! Blissful! You will need a 9″straight sided tart pan with a removable bottom or you could make this very easy and use individual store bought tart shells, but the tart pastry is very easy to make. You’re gonna go nuts over this one!

Ingredients:
Serves 8 – 10
• 1- 3/4 cups of mixed nuts of your choice (pecans, cashews, macadamias, walnuts, almonds)
• sea salt for sprinkling on finished tart
Caramel Sauce
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 3 Tbs butter
• dash of salt
Tart Pastry
⦁ 1 stick of softened butter
⦁ 2 Tbs of sugar
⦁ 1 large egg yolk
⦁ 1 1/4 cups of flour plus more for rolling out dough
• 2 Tbs of ice water

Directions:

Start by toasting the nuts: Just place all of your nuts in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 6 minutes or until fragrant, stirring occasionally.
Now for the caramel sauce: Bring the sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over med-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then, bring to a boil, swirling the pan until the mixture turns a deep amber color, about 8-10 minutes,turn the heat to low and slowly add in the cream, stir and and cook until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and a dash of salt.
For the pastry, cream together the butter and sugar, then with the mixer running, add in the egg yolk, scraping down the bowl. On low speed, add in the flour slowly until incorporated, then add in the ice water just until it holds together, squeeze it with your fingers, if it seems too crumbly, add a little more ice water until it does hold together.Turn out onto a floured surface and shape into a ball or a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to an hour. Then butter your tart pan and roll out your dough on a floured board to 1/4-inch thickness and 12 inches in diameter.
Place over the fluted tart pan and press with your fingers to fit snugly against the bottom and sides. Use a knife and remove excess dough from the top.Cut a circle of foil to cover the bottom of the tart and weight it down with dried beans. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and foil and continue to bake until light golden brown, about 5 more minutes. Remove from the oven and add the mixed nuts into the tart shell, pour the caramel sauce over the nuts and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Let cool completely.Slice into small wedges and serve, delish with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or yogurt.

Note to cooks:  If using individual store bought tart shells, just divide the toasted nuts evenly into the tart shells and pour the caramel sauce over evenly, sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy!

 

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Slow Cooker Mushrooms

Sides | January 23, 2017 | By

These utterly delicious mushrooms could not be any easier to make. Your slow cooker does all the work! The flavor is extraordinary! These make a perfect side for steak, but I love them so much I could eat them for dinner with warm crusty bread!

Ingredients:
Serves 8 – 10

  • 4 lbs of mushrooms, button, creminis or a combination
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • 1 cup of dry red wine
  • 2 Tbs of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 6 Tbs of butter
  • 1/2 of chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Degree of difficulty is 0! Just add all ingredients (except the parsley) into a crockpot and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5 hours, stir occasionally. Add in the parsley near the end of the cooking time. You’ll have extra sauce, don’t throw that out, it’s really good on pasta!
Note to cooks:  Feel free to add your favorite herbs to these mushrooms, thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, all good choices!

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