Monday, February 28, 2011

Garlic Sauteed Green Beans

We have a new favorite vegetable at our home and it's green beans. My 14 year old daughter begs to have these numerous times during the week, which makes my heart smile. They are easy to make and taste so yummy. I purchase my beans at Sam's in the fresh produce department, but have also found nice thin ones at my grocery store. If you are looking for a super quick, easy and tasty veggie to make this is the recipe for you.

1 lb fresh green beans
1 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea Salt, to taste

In a large frying pan (set to med-high) heat olive oil, garlic and green beans. Stir frequently until beans start to become soft, but not too soft. (they should still stand up straight when picked up) Liberally sprinkle with salt until the taste is right for you. Serve immediately.
Serves 4-5

Ready to hit the stovetop, I  know how much 
salt I like, so I add it in the beginning
Yumm, look at them cooking away
Ready to eat!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Penne Pasta with Lemon Basil Shrimp

Tonight I was in the mood for shrimp and pasta, so I invented this recipe and was thrilled with the results. It tasted so fresh and light and was the prefect ending for an 85 degree day here in sunny Florida.
I hope you enjoy it too!

8 ounces Penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Splash of white wine or chicken stock
1/4 c parmesan cheese

In large skillet heat olive oil and garlic, letting cook until garlic is fragrant. Add in 1 tsp black pepper, lemon juice and basil, let saute for 2 minutes. Add raw shrimp and cook until shrimp is pink, just a few minutes per side. Add in cooked penne pasta, and a splash of wine or chicken stock. Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Taste at this point for salt. Take off heat and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and serve.
Serves 4
There is nothing better than olive oil and fresh garlic cooking
Make sure you roll the lemon on the counter before cutting,
it helps release more juice
Ready for the saute pan
I placed the juiced lemon in the pan to help with the flavor
( I took it out when I added the shrimp)
Cooking the shrimp
What a great combination of flavors!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Snickerdoodle Cookies

I love cookie recipes that are easy, quick, inexpensive and delicious, this recipe covers it all. I've had this recipe in my baking arsenal for years, but for some reason had forgotten about them. I made them today for the high school kids and they fell in love; although any food you give to a high schooler will make them smile. You've got to give this recipe a try, I promise it's a keeper.

1 box yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 c sugar
3 TBSP cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Mix cake mix, eggs, vanilla and oil in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine sugar and cinnamon. Using a small scoop or your hands roll cookie dough into balls, dip them in the cinnamon and sugar mixture and place on a greased cookie sheet. Once the cinnamon and sugar cookie balls are on the cookie sheet take a drinking glass and using the bottom flatten the cookie dough. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on rack. Makes 24 cookies

You should have all of these ingredients in your home already!
Mix up the dough
Form into balls and drop into cinnamon sugar
Make sure to cover completely
Place on cookie sheet
Use a drinking glass to flatten dough
Ready for the oven
These cookies are so soft and chewy.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oreo Frosting

I've been itching to bake something and not necessarily keep the goodies in my house, so when the perfect opportunity arose I jumped on it! I've been helping with a scholarship pageant at my daughter's high school, and this week the contestants have to stay after school every day AND the competition is this Saturday, so I thought hmmm Oreo chocolate cupcakes, YES! I once again started with a boxed cake mix and made some awesome chocolate cupcakes. I like bigger cupcakes so I tend to only get 18 instead of the regular 24. I ended up making 18 chocolate and 18 vanilla so I doubled the recipe and still had a good bit of frosting left over. I love a lot of frosting on my cupcakes. I donated ALL of them, well I did eat ONE, yes ONE! Check out the carrier I used.

Ingredients for frosting
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
8 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup crushed oreo cookies, do this in the food processor or blender
Small oreos for the garnish

Mix cream cheese and butter until creamy, add in vanilla and powdered sugar one cup at a time. Blend. Next add in the crushed oreos and mix until all combined. Place in a piping bag with a LARGE tip. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with a mini oreo.

Ingredients for frosting
Finely chop oreos in food processor
Blend the cream cheese and butter until creamy
Look how good that looks, makes you want to lick the beater
I like my cupcakes to have a dome on top
I used a large star tip to pipe the frosting
Ready to get to work

Source: Cupcake Project

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Caprese Salad

Marrying into an Italian family really helped widen my food experiences,  I had never eaten stuffed shells or italian sausage with sauce. I've learned to make great red sauce and I pride myself on my lasagna, but a good salad is a work of art. I love ordering Caprese salads in restaurants, but always have a hard time getting all the flavors into that one perfect bite. I came up with my own version of this classic salad and found that it makes serving it much easier.

4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
Fresh Basil, cut into thin strips
4 ounces fresh Mozzarella
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice tomatoes into slices and place into a dish. Add olive oil, minced garlic and salt and pepper, let sit for 20 minutes to marinate. Meanwhile cut basil into thin strips and cut mozzarella into small pieces. Add basil and cheese to tomatoes and mix, taste to see if salt or pepper needs to be added again. Serve immediately.
Serves 4
Slice the tomatoes
Add oil to tomatoes
Look at that yummy garlic and salt and pepper!
Fresh basil is one of my favorite foods
Fresh Mozzarella is the key to this salad
Cut it into smaller pieces and add to salad bowl
Dig in!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Kitchen Sink Cookies

Just because I am watching what I'm eating doesn't mean that you need to also, this cookie recipe is one of my very favorites. My hubby's cousin Nancy sent it to me a few years ago and I can't tell you how many times I've made them. They have a little something for everyone, peanut butter, oatmeal and 5 different types of chips! Yummmm!  This picture courtesy of Nancy, the recipe's creator! Thanks Nancy xoxoxo.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup oatmeal
2/3 cup each milk chocolate chips, semi sweet chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.

In mixing bowl, cream butter, peanut butter and sugars well. Add eggs one at a time mixing well, add vanilla. Combine dry ingredients, add to mixture, add oatmeal, mix well. Add chips stirring by hand. Drop by tsp on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350, 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly before removing from pan. Makes a lot of cookies...  : ) 


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Easter Centerpiece

Springtime is wonderful time of year, it's like Mother Nature gently saying "Time to get up". Here in Florida our seasons are a little different, and it's the end of February and it's almost 80 degrees, mind you I'm not complaining!!! I wanted to make a fun centerpiece for my kitchen table that reminds me that it's spring, even if it sometimes feels like summer.  I found these cute tins at Target in the dollar section, and  all of the other supplies at Joanne's Fabric.( Felt is on sale through Presidents Day at Joanne's.)

3 metal tins
1 Styrofoam cone
1 Styrofoam ball
1 Styrofoam egg
Felt, at least 1/2 yard per color
Glue gun and glue
1 large Styrofoam block for inside tins
Bag of buttons
Wooden dowels, green paint
1/4 yard tule, to match felt colors
Easter grass

I used two different crafting themes for this centerpiece, both were super easy. I choose a color pallet and then decided to make the cone a tree with bright green felt rosettes and later glued on plastic flower buttons. For the circular shaped one I used three different colors of felt rosettes wrapped in matching tulle. The third was super easy, gluing buttons onto the egg shaped styrofoam.
After making each top I glued a painted wooden dowel and inserted it in the bottom, securing it with glue. I glued a square of floral foam to the bottom of each tin and inserted the dowels into the foam, staggering the height of each piece. I then placed wadded up paper towels inside the tin to take up the extra space and sprinkled green paper grass on top.

Supplies for my egg
I love buttons, in all shapes and colors
Glue onto styrofoam with low temp glue gun
The finished egg
Three colors of rosettes with matching tulle
Tulle cut into 3 inch circles, wrap tulle around
rosette and glue onto form
Placing close together
So cute
I used the same rosette technique for the tree. You could
glue any type of button onto the sides, not just flowers
I bought a package of wooden dowels to use for the stems
And painted them green
I glued the foam blocks onto the bottom of the tins
then stuck each piece into the foam and covered with grass