Puff Pastry, Strawberry and Cream Dessert

recipe adapted from: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/strawberry-puff-pastry-dessert

strawberry fluff desssert

 

This dessert is very light and creamy. Served cold this is a very refreshing dessert when berries are in season.

Ingredients:

1 package frozen puff pastry

5 cups sliced fresh strawberries, divided

2 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1  small box instant vanilla pudding

2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped

chocolate syrup (optional)

 

  • Thaw one puff pastry sheet (save remaining sheet for another use). Unfold pastry; cut lengthwise into three 3-in.-wide strips. Cut each strip into thirds, making nine squares.
  • Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • Place 3 cups strawberries in a blender; cover and puree; set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Add cream cheese and vanilla and pudding; beat until smooth.   Stir in the puree. Fold in whipped cream.
  • Split pastry squares in half horizontally. Line an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. dish with bottom pastry halves, cut side up; spread with half of strawberry cream. Top with 1 cup of sliced berries. Cover with pastry tops, cut side down.
  • Spread with remaining strawberry cream. Sprinkle with remaining berries.  Or heap with even more fresh berries and drizzle chocolate syrup over each serving. 
  • Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12 servings.

 

Kale, Strawberry and Almond Salad

kale salad

Summers best fruit is here! Strawberries, well at least one of the best. Kale is up and ready to pick. Here is  a simple salad with an orange vinaigrette.

 Add a little feta or goats cheese if you like. I also tried this with a basil oil and it as good to me. Freshest strawberries make this salad taste the best. Pick your own

at a local grower or check your famer’s market for the kale and strawberries.

Ingredients:

Bunch of raw kale

Fresh strawberries. sliced, use as many as you want

Toasted almonds, as many as you like

Vinaigrette:

1 small orange, zested and juiced
1/2  lime, zested and juiced
1 tsp of honey
1/4 cup of olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Add all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette into a bowl or measuring cup and whisk well. Set it aside.

If using young kale, use the entire leaf. If larger kale, tear out the stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash in a salad spinner.

In a salad bowl or large bowl, layer the kale, sliced strawberries and sprinkle on toasted almonds, drizzle with vinaigrette.

You can also make this plate by plate. Just layer on a plate and drizzle with the vinaigrette, no need to toss.

Drop some cheese on if desired. Enjoy the taste of summer!

 

Artichoke and Mozzarella Cheese Bruschetta

artichoke bread
This is an  ooey, gooey tasty appetizer.

Ingredients

2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 (14 oz) can or jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar and/or  mozarella cheese blend
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup sour cream
1 large shallot, finely minced
1 small loaf ciabatta bread
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

fresh chives (from your garden)

Instructions

Preheat broiler, and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, melt the butter until foamy. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, and stir in artichoke hearts, mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan, sour cream and shallot until combined.
Slice the bread lengthwise. Place the bread halves on the prepared baking sheet, cut side up, and spoon the cooled cheese and artichoke mixture overtop, add a sprinkling of chives. Broil until cheese is melted and bread is hot.Sprinkle more fresh chives over each piece.

 

Cut each half into six pieces and serve right away, while the cheese is still warm.

Spring Salad with Asparagus, Radish, Fennel

asparagus radish salad

I am so happy to see the first asparagus spears popping through the ground. It won’t be long for fresh asparagus! I came across a recipe last year and adapted it with other  ingredients to make it a different kind of salad now. Here is the site: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/recipes

This is one of my favorite salad recipes for raw asparagus. You can always cook the asparagus if you do not like it raw. But raw is better for you. So give it a try!

Ingredients:

1 bunch of asparagus, sliced at an angle as thin as possible. You could also shave it with a mandolin.

about 8-10 radishes, thinly sliced

1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced or shallots

1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

1/2 to 3/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

Walnut Oil Dressing

zest of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or one lemon)

1 tablespoon pear infused vinegar or white vinegar

2-3 tablespoons walnut oil

2 -4 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped (optional)

3 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Other options for add in to salad:

hard boiled eggs, avocado, micro greens

How to:

For salad: Rinse off vegetables well, chop off tough ends of asparagus. Using a knife or mandolin or vegetable peeler, shave asparagus or cut at an angle into small strips.  Add rest of ingredients to a large salad bowl.

Make dressing:

Put all ingredients into a mason jar and shake well or put into food processor and blend until smooth.

Toss salad with dressing, adding any other add-ins to the salad as desired.

So crunchy! The cheese adds a tanginess that blends well with the dressing and other vegetables.

 

Burritos with Black Beans, Chicken, Peppers

What is better than a fast supper? Nothing, try this with left over chicken, you could add what ever other veggies you like. These can also be frozen, cut in half for two servings.

vegetables2014-04-01 06.26.13
2014-04-01 06.29.56

Ingredients

  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 cup corn (frozen, or fresh)
  • 1.5 cup mozzarella or Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 1 cup cooked rice (Optional)
  • ½ bell pepper, chopped (or use frozen when not in season.
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fajita seasoning
  • juice of half a line
  • 8 medium flour tortillas
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 chicken breasts cut into small strips or pieces brown slightly in pan, season with salt and pepper and a bit of garlic powder.
  1. Heat a large skillet to medium heat, add the peppers, onion, garlic, corn, cilantro, butter, juice of the lime, and spices, saute for 2-4 minutes on high. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. To make the wraps, Lay tortilla flat on plate or counter, add ¼ cup of the bean mixture, 2 tablespoons rice, 2-3 tablespoons cheese. Be sure to leave about 2-3 inches from the corners. Wrap burrito by folding over the edges. Continue this for all 8 burritos.
  3. After the burritos are wrapped heat a large skillet or pan, add 1 teaspoon oil, place the burritos on the skillet for 1-2 minutes on each side until they are golden and crispy. For the “ridges” use a griddle that has the ridged lines.

Oatmeal, Toffee, Chocolate Chip Bars

2014-03-23 01.59.52

Who doesn’t like a treat now and then. This is a good bar recipe to freeze. I had to make bars for an event and made these a week ahead and cut them up and shrink wrapped them and they really were like taking them out of the oven by letting them come to room temperature before eating. Use the best quality ingredients you can buy.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/3 cups (8 oz. pkg.) HEATH BITS ‘O BRICKLE Toffee Bits, divided
  • 3 cups quick-cooking or regular rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup(2 sticks) unsalted  butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.

3. Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Set aside 1/4 cup toffee bits. Stir remaining toffee bits and oats into batter (batter will be stiff). Spread batter into prepared pan; sprinkle reserved 1/4 cup toffee bits, chocolate chips, coconut and almonds over surface.

4. Bake 20- 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Add more nuts and chips on top if desired.

Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 24 to 36 bars.

Carrot Fries

IMG_2079

I still have some carrots in my fridge from last fall, so it is time to really start to using before the fresh ones come in a few months. I wanted to make some fries and looked at various recipes, and then narrowed it down to a couple different methods and here are the results from those testings.

First you have to decide if you want to fry or bake. I tried a small batch each way and I have to say the crispiness of fried is my favorite. It has the crunch that I expect in a fry. It is important to have the oil hot enough and fry till they are golden. When baking they can still have the crunch but not nearly as much as when cooked in oil.

Here is the recipe, adjust to the amount of fried you want to make. I found this recipe for fried zucchini sticks and thought why not carrots? Eggplant? Beets? http://acozykitchen.com/zucchini-fries/ baked their fries. I did one small batch just to try it.

You will need a bag of precut carrots that cut into sticks or use fresh carrots. I do not peel my homegrown carrots. Cut into thin french fry like sticks, I did by hand as I only made one plate.

Here is how you bake Carrot fries:

They need to be coated with egg whites or whole eggs beaten. I prefer egg whites. Then dredge in the flour or bread crumbs you chose. Be sure to season with some salt and pepper and maybe some dried herbs like thyme or a seasoning blend.

Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees, Add about 2-3 tablespoons oil of your choice, coconut (good with heat), canola, safflower. Spread evenly in pan.

There are several ideas on what to coat the carrots with. Garbanzo bean flour, rice flour, All-purpose flour and panko crumbs.  I chose rice flour for baking and panko crumbs for frying. See what you have on hand or go give one of the above a try.

Dip the sticks in the eggs first then breading then lay in oiled pan. Bake until almost tender, anywhere from 6-8 minutes. Watch carefully. Then switch the oven to broiler and broil for 5-7 minutes or until nice and crispy. Let cool and eat! Watch carefully so the carrots do not burn.

To fry the carrots:

Use a large soup pan, deep fryer or high side electric frying pan. Add oil of your choice such as safflower, canola or coconut. Put a good amount of oil in, at least 3-inches. Heat oil to 350 degrees.

Using the same method of dipping in eggs, breading or crumbs then lay carefully in oil, do not crowd the pan, then let cook until golden. Take out of oil with strainer spoon, lay on a paper towel covered plate. Season with seasoning as they come out of pan. Fry in batches until done.

You could cut the carrots into coins or really thin slices with a mandolin or food processor. Do not dip them in any breading, just fry like potato chips! Yummy!!

I did not make a dip as I like to eat just plain fries. But a creamier dip with sour cream, yogurt or mayo type would seem to work very well with the carrot fries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing is better than a fast and tasty meal during the week. I really enjoy white sauce pizza, it is a different taste with lots of personal options available. When making the sauce it is important to taste it for seasoning. Add it little by little as you cannot take it out if you over do it.

best white sauce pizza

Chicken, White Sauce Pizza

Ingredients:

1 Naan bread package (2) or 1 medium size pizza crust

2 chicken breasts, cooked and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder. Sprinkle with a pizza seasoning.

8 cloves of garlic roasted– it is very important to roast and get that sweet flavor, raw will not cut it in this recipe. (see below for how to roast garlic bulbs)

1-2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1/4 cup half and half

1/2 cup milk

1 small squeeze of Sriracha sauce (in ethnic dept.)

Parmesan Cheese – this will vary, just use handfuls

Pizza Seasoning 1-2 teaspoons

2 -3 cups pizza cheese mix or mozzarella cheese shredded

1 medium red onion finely chopped or make them caramelized – using white onions (see below for how to)

fresh parsley

 

How to:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with pizza stone.

Cook chicken breast with sprinkling of salt and pepper, pizza seasoning. Let cool, thinly slice or cut into smaller pieces, set aside.

In same skillet, melt butter in small skillet on medium low heat. Add flour and whisk until it is mixed well. You are now making a “rue”.  Slowly add half and half and milk,  yogurt, cook until thickened, add a large handful of Parmesan cheese, add the roasted garlic and squeeze of sauce. Season with sprinkling of pizza seasoning, salt and pepper and. Taste and season to taste.

Put naan bread on a piece of parchment paper.  You will be making 2 separate pizzas. Spread with white sauce, sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top. Add onions, the mozzarella cheese.

Using a large spatula, pizza paddle or flat sided cookie sheet, slide the pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone. Bake until golden brown and cheese is bubbling. About 8-14 minutes. Keep an eye on it so it does not burn.

As soon as it out of the oven, sprinkle with a good handful of chopped parsley. Serve!!

options: add other pre-cooked veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, pureed squash, fried potatoes.

Add different meats like turkey, chicken or turkey sausage.

 

How to roast garlic:

Cut off top of garlic head about 1/2 inch. Drizzle with olive oil. Place in a piece of tin foil and wrap or in a garlic roaster. Put in a pre-heated 350 oven from 40-50 minutes or until very soft. Let cool. Unwrap and squeeze it out of the garlic skins. Mash fine with a fork and season with salt and pepper.

How to caramelize onions:

Ingredients

 

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved and sliced paper thin (about 4 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

 

How to

 

  1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-low heat until foaming.
  2. Add the onions, and let them cook, stirring rarely, until they are deep golden brown and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, remove from the pan, and let cool.

 

 

Beet, Avocado, Grapefruit Salad with Cashew, Pomegranate Dressing

Grapefruit and avocado are in season yet so enjoy them while they are at their peak. You can purchase a good pomegranate juice, such as Pom to make this dressing, if you feel it is too tart add a couple drizzles of honey to make it just the taste for you!

 

beets grapefruit avocado

Ingredients:
1 bunch beets (red or golden)
1 avocado
1 grapefruit (peeled and segmented)

Wash beets and trim top and bottom.  Place in oven proof dish.  Add a splash of water and cover tightly with foil.  Roast for around 45 minutes at 400 degrees or until tender.
Cool and then peel and quarter.  Place in bowl and add a splash of redwine vinegar, EVOO, salt and pepper.  Toss.

Arrange beets on plate and intersperse with grapefruit and sliced avocados.

Cashew, Pomegranate Dressing
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup grape seed oil
1/2 cup unsalted cashews
Put all ingredients in a blender and drizzle onto beet salad.

This dressing will not keep very long before the nuts soften up, so use in a day if you can. You can also use it as a dressing on any cooked beet dish. It is wonderfully sweet and tart!

 

 

Broccoli, Chicken & Cheddar Soup

Time to warm up with a soup recipe! This is an easy soup and gets better each day!

broccoli cheddar chicken soup 2014Ingredients:

1 pound fresh or frozen broccoli (use more or less to your liking)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup chopped onion

1 cup carrots shredded or julienned (I used my garden carrots from the fall)

1/2  cup flour

2 cups half and half

6 cups organic chicken broth

2 large chicken breasts, cooked and cubed

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon or more of freshly ground black pepper

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

1 left over Parmasean rind (optional– I always keep one in the freezer to add to soups)

2 cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese (or combination of sharp and mild)

1/2 block of Chipotle blend cheese (about 1/2 cup– I had it left over in the fridge and decided to add it–yummy)

1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg (go ahead and use pre-ground if you don’t have the whole nutmeg. You must really try to use whole nutmeg, it is so much more intense. Just keep in the freezer.

Saute the onion in the butter. add flour and using a whisk over medium heat stir until all combined well. Stir constantly and add the chicken broth. Bring to a slight boil to thicken, then turn down to medium low.  Add 2 cups of half and half.

Add the broccoli, carrots and cook until broccoli is tender.

Add the chicken. Add the cheese and keep stirring until all melted. Add the nutmeg.

Adjust salt and pepper as needed.  Serve hot!

 

This is a wonderful salad recipe that I received from my friend Rachel. I love it and it is so easy to remember. See if you can figure out why it is callsed 3 C’s & 2 P’s. Thank you Rachel for sharing :)

3 C’s & 2 P’s Salad

2 c's 2 ps salad

Cabbage cole slaw mix ( I used my red cabbage from my garden which I store in the fridge and 1 small bag of broccoli slaw)

Cashews (whole and as many as you like)

Carrots (I used my shredded carrots that I had in the fridge)

Peppers (I used a bag of mixed color sweet peppers)

Poppy Seed Dressing (recipe below)

Mix all vegetables together in large bowl, drizzle dressing over then sprinkle on lots of cashews! Enjoy!

Maple Poppy Seed Dressing

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar ( I use Bragg’s)

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

a generous pinch of salt

Whisk together all ingredients. Taste and adjust as needed.  Double if needed. Will keep up to a week in the fridge.

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