Friday, April 30, 2010

Pine Nut and Sage Cheese Crisps

These make a good snack or appetizer and are really easy! This recipe came from Food Network. As soon as I saw the picture, I had to try them. I let mine cook a little too long and it did give them a slightly burnt taste so I would watch them carefully!

What You Need:
6 oz asiago cheese, shredded
1/2 cup chopped pine nuts
1 tablespoon ground sage

Place 6 tablespoon-size mounds of cheese about 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each mound with 1/4 teaspoon each chopped pine nuts and sage.

Bake at 425 degrees until the cheese is golden and the edges are slightly crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove each crisp with a thin spatula and gently curl around a rolling pin, then cool on a rack. Snack away!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sweet & Spicy Meatballs

This is a quick and easy sauce for meatballs, perfect for a busy night when you just need something quick and most of the ingredients might be on hand in the house. You could make your own meatballs or use the pre-cooked frozen from the bag. I like to serve this over rice or egg noodles. Simple and tasty!
What You Need:
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup Heinz 57 sauce OR chili sauce
2 teaspoons dried chives (or 2 tablespoons fresh chives)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 pound) frozen, fully cooked meatballs, thawed (or your own)

In a saucepan, combine syrup, Heinz 57 or chili sauce, chives, soy sauce,and ground mustard. Bring to a low boil. Add meatballs and then return to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until meatballs are thoroughly heated. Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Overnight Berry Cream Cheese French Toast

Whew-that's a long title! You could just shorten it to "yummy" because that is all you need to know. I made this over the weekend and we loved it. For our small family, there were a lot of leftovers and I was worried but we reheated and ate it again this morning and it was even better! I have seen many versions of this recipe at different places but this is my variation. Throw this together the night before, bake in the morning and enjoy! I also had this great idea for this as a take along dish. If you are going to be taking a dish to someone who had a baby, is in crisis, moving, etc...I was thinking you could prepare this and take it the night before, having them just pop it in the oven in the morning.

What You Need:
French Toast
12 slices bread, cut into cubes (I used Texas Toast but I'm sure french bread works)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cut in cubes
2 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries (I used a frozen mix of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)
12 large eggs
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 cups milk (I used one cup regular milk and 1 cup vanilla soy milk)

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup mixed berries
1 Tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Arrange 1/2 of the bread cubes in a greased 9 x 13 pan.
Sprinkle cream cheese cubes and berries evenly over the bread cubes.
Top with remaining bread cubes.
Mix together eggs, milk, and syrup.
Pour over bread cubes and cover pan with foil. Let chill in refrigerator overnight.
Bake covered with foil at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes or until fluffy and golden. Top with sauce. Serves 8.

Sauce: Cook water, sugar, and cornstarch until thickened. Stir in berries and cinnamon and simmer for 10 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Serve over the french toast.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Orzo Salad with Cranberries and Almonds

I love everything about this salad. It would make a great lunch or dinner and is perfect for this time of year. If you want to use this as more of a main dish, add some grilled chicken. This is a great dish to bring to a party or picnic because it is delicious, simple and looks really pretty too. If you want to make this even more quick and easy, skip making the dressing and use your favorite bottled vinaigrette. This recipe came from All Recipes, one of my favorite websites because everything is rated by people who have actually made and tried the recipes! Speaking of which, if you try a recipe from here (and even if you don't) I would love to see comments from you!

What You Need:
1 cup orzo, uncooked
3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
About 3/4 of a 6 oz bag of baby spinach, thinly sliced
3/4 cup dried cranberries
4 oz gorgonzola or feta cheese, crumbled

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (I toast in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1-2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 - 1/2 cup oil (I prefer olive oil)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook orzo according to instructions on package, set aside to cool.

In bowl, whisk together sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, vinegar, oil and pinches of salt and pepper.

In a large salad bowl combine orzo, almonds, spinach and cranberries. Gently toss ingredients with 1/3-1/2 amount of dressing, add more or less to your liking. I am sort of bad and like extra dressing on my salads. Add cheese and gently toss again. Serve immediately at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Green Chile Verde

Okay here is one of those recipes of mine I warned about that would take a bit of extra time, but I am telling you it is not only wonderful and worth it, you will get extra meals out of it and leftovers that save you a night or two of cooking are always a good thing. Another bonus is that this is a crock pot meal, if you have one. If not, stove top will work in a heavier bottomed pot. With a little extra prep and chopping, you can leave this all day and not think about it again until you are ready to serve.

If you have never used tomatillos, you should! I tried them for the first time last year in this recipe and some other sauces and I am hooked. They are easy to find at my regular grocery store. I have seen them even at Wal Mart. They look like this:

What You Need:

1 pound tomatillos- husks removed and washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 lbs boneless country style pork ribs (you can also use beef or even chicken, if you prefer)
2 cans (4 oz each) of diced green chiles
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves
2 jalapeno peppers (remove ribs and seeds to lessen heat, or not if you like hot)
1 tbs oregano
salt and pepper
Season to taste with cumin or other spices of your choice

Quarter tomatillos and puree until smooth in blender or food processor, set aside.
Brown your choice of meat in oil and season with salt and pepper. (I use the boneless pork ribs)
Chop onion, garlic, and jalapenos in food processor or by hand.
Add the tomatillo puree, chopped vegetables, diced green chiles, oregano and 1 cup water to the pot with the browning pork and bring to a high simmer. Add spices like cumin or other to your taste.
I then put the meat and mixture into the crock pot and let it cook all day on low.

Extra tips:
I like the sauce to be a little thicker than it ends up, so about 30 minutes before serving, I make a rue with 5 tablespoons of butter and 4 tablespoons of flour in a small saucepan. Combine and cook until the flour is browned, stirring constantly and then add to the crock pot. You could also use cornstarch rather than a rue. I would also recommend leaving some of the jalapeno seeds and adding spices for more heat.

Serve over rolled tortillas with cheese or over rice. Garnish with your favorite toppings.


Would you be interested in making and reviewing and Olive Tree recipe of your choice? Including what you liked, didn't like, suggestions and changes? Please let me know! I would love for tips and opinions to be included on the blog other than my own!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lemon Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Heaven in a cupcake! This is by far the best recipe I have used for these. I found this over at All Recipes quite a while ago. These lovelies are sitting in my kitchen right now and have to stop myself from eating them every minute. The lemon is not overpowering, just refreshing and light. Now, I am thinking you could adapt this recipe into a regular cake as well as replace the lemon cake mix and pudding with vanilla, orange, chocolate or any other flavor you can come up with. My favorite thing about this is it starts with a mix, which as I've said before- I am not a baker, so for me anything that starts with a mix is on the right track.

What You Need:
1 package lemon cake mix
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 small package lemon instant pudding

Mix cake mix and dry pudding mix together. Add wet ingredients. Mix with electric mixer on medium speed for about two minutes.  For cupcakes, bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. For regular cake, pour into a greased 9×11 pan or two round pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Test for doneness when a tester (I always use a spaghetti noodle) in the center comes out clean. The original recipe said that the cupcakes may fall after they come out of the oven. To cover, fill up the indentation with more frosting. However, this did not happen when I made them.

What You Need:
 Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, very soft
6-8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

I use a plane grater to zest the lemon. If you don't have one, a cheese grater will work but be careful not to grate into the white pith of the lemon rind as it is extremely bitter. You want to barely grate the yellow and move to the next spot.
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of sugar, then the juice, zest and extract. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until icing is the consistency you prefer and is easy to spread. (I added 6 cups total). Use and store what is left at room temperature.

Top with fresh berries if you like!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Penne with Butternut Squash

So here is a recipe that can be served warm or cold, so it is a great take-along for a picnic, party or food delivery to someone. The original recipe calls for goat cheese, reason being is that it is a very soft cheese that will melt when the hot penne is added, creating a creamy sauce. I personally love the flavor of goat cheese but realize it may be too strong for others. Good substitutions in this case would be Brie, cream cheese, or Ricotta, which are all much more mild in taste. If you can think of another extremely soft cheese, try it! Either way, adding butternut squash to pasta is one of my all time favorite things.

What You Need:
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 (2-pound) butternut or kombucha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
Olive oil, for drizzling
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne pasta
1 cup (8 ounces) goat cheese (or other) cubed
 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (see note)
1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves (optional
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan

Put an oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet, liberally, with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.
Mix the squash and onion together and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for to 40 to 45 minutes until the vegetables are golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

While the squash mixture is cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water. Put the pasta, goat cheese and 1 cup of pasta water in a large serving bowl. Toss until the cheese has melted and forms a creamy sauce. Add the squash and onion mixture, the walnuts and the basil. Toss well and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with Parmesan and serve.

To toast the walnuts, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until lightly toasted, about 6 to 8 minutes Cool completely before using.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Campbell's Apricot Glazed Pork Roast

Hey gang! Michelle here from That's What She Said guest blogging today, and do I have a yummy dish for you guys :)

I'm the Crock-Pot Queen. For one, Crock-Pot meals are SO EASY! And second of all, the delicious smells of whatever is cooking all day fills my house will all sorts of mouth water smells.

Yesterday I tried a new recipe and it was a total hit with my hubby, Michael. And another great thing about this one is that it's low in sodium and sugar, yet is so sweet and delicious! We will definitely be having this one again :)

  • 1 can (10 1/2 oz) low sodium chicken broth.
  • 1 jar (18 oz) of sugar free apricot preserves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 boneless pork loin roast (3 1/2- 4 pounds)
*Optional- I also added a dash of cinnamon to the mixture as it tends to bring out the flavor in both the pork and the apricot preserves.

  • Mix broth, preserves, onion and mustard with a wire whisk and pour into Crock-Pot.
  • Place pork roast in crock pot (may have to cut to fit)
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 8-9 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours or until done.
*Tip: For thicker sauce, mix together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water. Remove pork from the Crock-Pot and stir in cornstarch mixture. Cover and cook on HIGH for 10 minutes or unitl mixture boils and thickens.

I paired this with some fresh asparagus that my hubby barbequed and a side of orzo. It was delicious and so easy. ENJOY!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lemon Zucchini Bread

Wouldn't change a thing about this recipe! I think I got it a year or two ago from Taste Of Home. Its a nice change up from traditional banana bread and if you have it, you can substitute whole wheat flour. I like to use half whole wheat and half regular white flour.

What You Need:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 small package instant lemon pudding mix
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

For the zucchini, I use either the food processor or grater and then place in a strainer to drain some of the water. While this sits to drain, in a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, dry pudding mix, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil, lemon juice and lemon extract. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the zucchini, poppy seeds and lemon peel. Pour into two greased 9x5x3 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cook completely. Yield: 2 loaves


Is there any kind of recipe you are searching for in particular? I would love suggestions in the comment section. For example, someone let me know they are in need of "take-along" recipes that are easy to deliver and I will be happy to post some!

Posting a new recipe later on today so please check back!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Salmon with Puff Pastry & Pesto

What are you having for dinner tonight? Try this! Don't forget to leave comments and become a follower and/or subscriber by clicking on the tabs to your right.

This recipe is courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis on Food Network. She is my favorite, so expect to see many of her recipes shared here. This one, though...ahhh it is one of my all time favorites!It is so fresh and flavorful. Besides you really can't beat how quick & easy this is!

What You Need:
4 pieces of purchased puff pastry, cut to fit one piece of salmon- (Generally found in the freezer section near the frozen pie crusts).
4 (4 to 6-ounce) pieces salmon
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup pesto- (homemade is great, store bought works too)
2 tomatoes, sliced


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

On a foil-lined baking sheet, place the 4 pieces of puff pastry. Also place the 4 pieces of salmon on the sheet with the pastry, being careful to make sure they are not touching. Sprinkle each piece of salmon with 1 tablespoon of the sliced almonds. Bake for 10 minutes.

To serve, place each piece of puff pastry on a plate. Top each puff pastry with 1 tablespoon of pesto. Top the pesto with 2 slices of tomatoes each. Top the tomatoes with the salmon and serve.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Overnight Swiss Oats

A couple of years ago I found this recipe and was really impressed. Its easy, healthy and a nice change from cold cereal or regular oatmeal. This time of year especially many people are trying to lose weight and this is definitely a good recipe for that or those just trying to use heart-healthy recipes. Its always nice to have something you can assemble the night before and have ready to go on a busy morning.

What You Need:
 3 cups uncooked oats (quick-cooking or old-fashioned)
2½ cups skim, 1/2% or soy milk (I use vanilla soy milk and love it with this recipe)
 1/4 cup honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Combine above and soak overnight

-In the morning add:

 6 cups any variety of your favorite fresh or dried fruit such as banana, kiwi, any kind of berries (my personal favorite), apple, raisins, dried cranberries, cherries or apricots.

Then add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds. I like slivered almonds! Serve cold.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mint Brownie Ice Cream Pie

They say honesty is the best policy. Well, the truth is, I am not a great baker. I am inconsistent. Sometimes breads and other from- scratch baked goods turn out, but most of the time they don't.  Therefore when it comes to sweets and treats I stick to the very simple. Sometimes, especially when entertaining, I think the simple things are the biggest favorites anyway. I found this recipe over at Real Mom Kitchen and adapted it slightly, especially since I couldn't find a prepared Oreo crust and just went with chocolate. You could always make your own, though. Our family just loves this treat!

What You Need:

1 prepared Oreo or chocolate pie crust
4 cups  Dreyer's "Fun Flavors" Mint Chocolate Chip Brownie ice cream (You could use regular mint chocolate chip but this one has brownie chunks that just make it even better).
5 Oreo cookies, coarsely crushed
Chocolate Sauce (recipe below)
Sweetened whipped cream

Let the ice cream sit out for a little bit to soften. Once softened, scoop into pie crust and spread evenly. If you use the Dreyer’s ice cream I used you’ll use almost the whole carton. Top with crushed Oreo cookies. Then top with the prepared chocolate sauce. Cover and place in your freezer until it sets and you are ready to serve. Top each serving with sweetened whipped cream. If you don't make your own cream, I like to use Reddi Whip in the can since it has no hydrogenated oil and is very low in sugar and calories. Plus it is so fun for kids to squirt it out of the can.

Chocolate Sauce:
1/2 cup sugar
3 oz evaporated milk or cream
3 Tbsp cocoa
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook over medium and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute and remove from stove. *Allow to cool*. (The first time I did this it was still warm and melted the ice cream, running the sauce and ice cream all over the counter!) You will have a little more than you need for the pie (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup), but just save it and use it to a bowl of ice cream another day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chicken Enchilada Soup

I love making soups at home because I control the salt and other ingredients. If you enjoy Chili's Restaurant Chicken Enchilada soup, you will love this recipe. It would be difficult to tell the difference between this homemade one and Chili's. This is not a difficult recipe and don't worry about finding the masa harina flour. I had no difficulty locating it in a smaller grocery store right next to the regular flour. This one is tried and true. I've done it three times with perfect results and no frustration!

What You Need:
1 tablespoon oil
4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup diced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup masa harina flour (This is a must)
3 cups water
1 cup red enchilada sauce
16 ounces Velveeta cheese (Just trust me on this. If you have a real problem with this, you could try shredded monterey jack or sharp cheddar, but I can't promise the texture or flavor would be the same).
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Pico de Gallo:

2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup diced Spanish onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and de-ribbed
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh cilantro
1 pinch salt

Shredded cheddar cheese
Corn tortilla chips
Whatever garnish you like- sour cream, etc.


-Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large pot over medium heat

-Add diced onion and garlic to pot and sauté over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until onions begin to become translucent.

-Add chicken broth.

-Combine masa harina with 2 cups of water in a medium bowl and whisk until blended.

-Add masa mixture to pot with onions, garlic and broth.

-Add remaining water, enchilada sauce, cubed cheese and spices to pot and bring mixture to a boil.

-Add chicken

Reduce heat and simmer soup for 20-30 minutes or until thick. I also like to add some shredded sharp cheddar to melt in.

Top with garnish and pico de gallo!