Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tuscan Herb Marinara Sauce with Three Cheese Tortellini

It's been a very busy day. No time for a lot of cooking, so I headed to the pantry and the refrigerator to see what I could come up with for dinner.

Canned tomatoes? Check. Garlic and onions? Check. Italian Seasonings? Why, of course. Refrigerated fresh pasta? You betcha, and deliciously, in the form of Cheese Tortellini.

The stars of the recipe are the Tuscan Herb Olive Oil and Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar from our friends at King's Olive Oil.

Instead of running to the grocery store to buy a jar of marinara sauce, in about 30 minutes, I had a nice pot of marinara simmering away on the stove top.  About an hour later, dinner was served. 

1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. salt
1 t. fennel seeds, crushed
2 T. Italian Seasoning
1/2 t. dried red pepper flakes
12 oz. can of tomato paste
3 oz. red wine (optional)
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
12 oz. water
1 t. capers with brine
1 T. sugar
few grinds of black pepper

In a 3 quart Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and let cook 4 - 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, salt, crushed fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stirring constantly, let cook 2 - 3 minutes.

Add tomato paste and stir to incorporate with the vegetables. It will thicken quickly. Stir constantly and let tomato paste cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Add wine, if using, diced tomatoes, and water. Bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in capers, sugar, and black pepper. Lower heat to lowest setting and let simmer for 30 - 45 mintues, stirring occasionally. 

A few minutes before serving, add Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar. You will be amazed at the brightness and freshness the Balsamic Vinegar adds to the dish. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Serve over your favorite pasta.

The Ants Go Marching One by One.......

The twin granddaughters learned about insects this week at kindergarten. They were spending the night with us, so I knew exactly how I wanted to set their table. We had an indoor picnic table complete with ants. Granddaughter #2 was more than happy to share what they had learned this week about ants including the facts that they have six legs and three separate body parts! They listened to their teacher that's for sure.

Thanks to Hobby Lobby for the Ant Salt and Pepper Shakers, the glasses and the ant filled platter!

And, as always, Fiestaware can be mixed and matched for ANY table theme!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Honey Ginger Stir Fried Vegetables

This was the side dish I served with the Sticky Orange Glazed Chicken Wings. The fresh vegetables were quickly stir-fried in garlic olive oil just until they were tender crisp. The Honey Ginger Balsamic Vinegar adds the perfect addition with a gentle, spicy heat.

1 yellow squash, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 T. minced garlic
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
2 T. Honey Ginger Balsamic Vinegar

In a wok, or large skillet, add garlic olive oil and heat over high heat until the oil shimmers. Add vegetables and quickly cook, stirring constantly.

Continue cooking until vegetables are cooked until just tender-crisp. Add salt, pepper, and Honey Ginger Balsamic Vinegar. Cook 1 minutes longer.  Serve immediately.

Sticky Orange Glazed Chicken Wings

Orange chicken is one of my favorite dishes at the local Chinese restaurant. In this recipe, bright citrus flavor from the orange juice (plus the Blood Orange Olive Oil) is a great match with the savory elements of the soy sauce. Once again, I baked the wings instead of frying them. In my opinion, they're much more tender and you save calories!

1/3 cup fresh orange juice
Zest from one orange
1 T. minced garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T. brown sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. dried red pepper flakes
3 lbs. chicken wings, separated and tips removed

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.  

In a large bowl, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Add the chicken wings and toss to coat.

Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray (use two if needed so the wings won't be crowded). Arrange the wings in a single layer.

Add the orange mixture to a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, bake the wings for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, turn the wings over, and baste with the remaining orange sauce. 

Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes. Watch carefully, so the wings don't burn.

Serve with stir fry veggies or rice.  And LOTS of napkins.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Coconut Poke Cake

Although I'm not a fan of coconut, Sweet Harold loves coconut cakes and pies. He requested this cake specifically for Easter and I was happy to bake it for him. It's referred to as a poke cake because when the cake is still warm from the oven you poke up with a fork all over the cake and let the coconut / Eagle Brand goodness soak down into the cake.  

1 box white cake mix 
15 oz. cream of coconut 
1 can Eagle Brand Milk
1 large container of Cool-Whip, thawed
2 cups flaked coconut

Bake cake according to package directions in a 13 x 9 baking pan. While cake is in the oven, in a medium bowl, combine the cream of coconut and Eagle Brand milk.

When cake is finished baking, remove from oven. With a fork, gently poke holes all over the top of the cake. Slowly pour the cream of coconut and Eagle brand mixture all over the top of the cake allowing it to soak down through the holes.

Let cool completely and refrigerate for at least 3 hours; overnight is even better.

Top cake with Cool Whip and sprinkle on flaked coconut before serving.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sesame-Ginger Grilled Salmon served with grilled vegetables and a Spinach Salad with Oranges & Cucumbers

You get a three-for-one recipe blog post with this one! I love grilled salmon. Aside from the wonderful Omega-3s salmon provides us, it's delicious! We all know that the pairing of sesame-ginger is a perfect union. This is a great meal for entertaining. I served it with veggies cooked in a grill pan at the same time as the salmon along with a fresh spinach salad with a vinaigrette from the same marinade. Delicious flavors throughout this meal!

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 T. minced fresh ginger
1 T. wasabi powder
2 T. sugar
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
4 salmon fillets, skin-on (4-5 oz. each)

Whisk together the vegetable oil, ginger, and wasabi in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in vinegar, sugar, and lemon juice; season with salt.

Transfer marinade to a bowl. Reserve 1/3 cup to use as a vinaigrette for spinach salad.

Add soy sauce and sesame oil to remaining marinade in bowl; whisk until emulsified (thickened). Place fillets in a glass baking dish; pour marinade over top, then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Then, transfer fillets to a plate and marinade to bowl.

Preheat grill to medium. Brush grill grate with oil.

Grill fillets, skin side down, uncovered, until firm to the touch, about 8 minutes. You don't need to turn the fillets over while grilling.

Baste fillets every 2 minutes with marinade. Remove from grill and top with sesame seeds and thinly sliced chives.

While the salmon is resting in the marinade, let's make our salad.

1 bag fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup seeded and diced cucumbers
1 Cara Cara orange, peeled and cut into 1/2" segments
1/4 cup diced yellow bell peppers

1/3 cup of the reserved marinade
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

Just before serving, toss spinach and other ingredients with the marinade. Top with slivered almonds.

Now for the veggies! Wash and separate into cauliflower and broccoli into florets. You'll need about 3 cups. I use a grill pan that is placed directly on the grill grates. After the vegetables cook for 3 - 4 minutes, drizzle with Garlic Olive Oil. Using a potholder, carefully hold the handle and shake the basket like you're popping popcorn on the stove. Let vegetables cook until they are tender crisp, another 4 - 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Isn't that a lovely meal?

Adapted from Cuisine Celebrate the Seasons

Steakhouse Chicken Wings

It's Wing Wednesday once again! I hope y'all are enjoying these different versions as well as we are. Today's recipe has big bold flavors. You choose your favorite steak sauce. I'm using A-1 for my wings. Sweet Harold declared this one his personal favorite so far.

3 lbs. chicken wings, separated and tips removed
4 T. all-purpose flour
4 T. Canadian steak seasoning
3/4 cup of your favorite steak sauce
3 T. butter

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.  Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Combine flour and steak seasoning in a large bowl. Toss chicken wings in flour mixture until fully coated and then place wings in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.

Place in oven and cook for 30 - 35 minutes. Increase heat to 400 degrees F. and cook for an additional 30 - 35 minutes. You can turn the wings over midway through cooking time if you'd like.

While wings are in the final bake, make the sauce. 

In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt butter. Add steak sauce and stir to thoroughly combine. Let simmer for 5 minutes. 

When wings are cooked, place in large bowl. Toss with steak sauce and serve immediately!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Greek Shrimp Salad

This recipe is a breeze to make. You can use either or spinach as the base for the salad. I chose spinach. Slice the shrimp lengthwise, you'll have twice as many pieces of shrimp for the salad and when they cook, they will twist into small corkscrew shapes. 

1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and halved lengthwise
4 T. Garlic Olive Oil, divided
Salt and black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. prepared yellow mustard
2 t. sugar
2 t. minced fresh garlic
1 t. minced fresh oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes

2 cups shredded spinach or lettuce
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup seeded and diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup halved kalamata olives
1/4 cup cubed feta cheese

Sear shrimp in 1 T. of the olive oil in a saute' pan until cooked through, about 4 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Puree' crumbled feta, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, garlic, and minced oregano in a food processor; season with salt and red pepper flakes. While food processor is running on low speed, slowly add remaining 3 T. olive oil.

Lightly toss spinach (or lettuce) with some of the dressing. Then divide the salad between serving plates.

Place tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, onion, olives, and cubed feta with dressing to taste in a large bowl.

Add shrimp and remaining dressing.  Gently fold dressing into shrimp and vegetables.  Spoon over spinach or lettuce.

Serve with Cheesy Flatbread.

Adapted from Cuisine at Home Celebrate the Seasons

Cheesy Flatbread (or Pitas)

For this cheesy bread, you'll need to select unsplit pitas or flatbread. What is Farmer Cheese you might ask?  It's almost a combination between a ricotta and cream cheese.  Technically, it's a pressed cottage cheese, an unripened cheese made by adding rennet and bacterial starter to coagulate and acidify milk. You can find it in the dairy case near the cream cheese. The combination of the farmer cheese with the Greek Seasoning will definitely hit the spot.

2 pitas (6 inch) OR 2 flatbreads
1 cup shredded farmer cheese OR a few tablespoons of a 6 oz. block of farmer cheese
1/2 t. dried Greek seasoning
salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat broiler to high and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Arrange bread on prepared baking sheet and divide cheese and Greek seasoning between them; season with salt and pepper.

Broil bread until cheese melts and bubbles, 3 - 5 minutes.  Cut each pita into four wedges or slice flatbread into serving size pieces.

Serve immediately.

Adapted from Cuisine at Home Celebrate the Seasons

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sheet Pan Dinner: Garlic Honey Chicken with Potatoes and Broccoli

We all love the ease of sheet pan dinners for quick weeknight meals. The chicken was tender and juicy and the garlic honey glaze with delicious. The potatoes and broccoli cook right alongside for a one pan meal. The addition of the Garlic Olive Oil seriously amps up the flavor.

3 T. Garlic Olive Oil, divided
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
2 T. honey
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. spicy brown mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. Tuscan herb seasoning blend
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups halved baby red potatoes
3 - 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 cups broccoli florets
2 T. fresh chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with non-stick spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 T. garlic olive oil, butter, honey, brown sugar, mustard, garlic, and seasoning blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Place potatoes in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining 1 T. olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken in a single layer and brush each chicken breast with half of the with honey mixture.

Place into oven and roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with remaining honey mixture. Return to the oven and roast until the chicken is completely cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 15 - 18 minutes longer.

Stir in broccoli during the last 10 minutes of cooking time.  Then broil for 2 - 3 minutes, or until caramelized and slightly charred.

Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Adapted from www.damndelicious.net 

Buffalo Wings Supreme

For this week's Wing Wednesday, I decided to grill the wings instead of baking or frying. These wings definitely picked up the char-grilled taste. While the wings were grilling, I mixed up the sauce to toss them in as soon as they came off the grill and were piping hot. The addition of blue cheese crumbles and celery leaves definitely made these wings "supreme." The crumbles melted onto the hot wings...yum!  I also added about a 1/2 teaspoon of chopped chives to the blue cheese dressing.

2 - 3 pounds chicken wings, separated and tips removed
salt and black pepper

For the sauce:
6 T. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 t. celery salt
3/4 cup of your favorite wing sauce
Whisk together all ingredients and set aside.

blue cheese crumbles
celery leaves 
celery sticks
blue cheese dressing

Preheat gas grill or prepare charcoal grill for grilling. Place chicken wings on the grill and let cook on medium high heat for 8 - 10 minutes. 

Turn wings over and allow to cook for another 8 - 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees..  

When wings are done, place in a large bowl and slowly pour the sauce over the wings. Toss to completely coat the wings. Place on a serving platter and top with the blue cheese crumbles and celery leaves.

Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese (or ranch) dressing on the side.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Spicy Beef Empanadas

This is an easy version for baked empanadas. I used refrigerated pie crust dough and simply rolled it out to remove any creases and wrinkles. I have a dumpling maker similar to this one. It made quick work of making the empanadas.

For the filling:
1 T. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 t. minced garlic
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and minced
1 pound ground chuck
1 T. chili powder
1 t. ground coriander
1 t. dried thyme
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 package prepared pie dough (2 crusts total)
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute' until softened, 3 - 4 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno and saute' until fragrant, about 1 minute more.

Add the ground chuck and cook until well browned, 5 - 7 minutes. Add the chili powder, coriander, and dried thyme. Stir to combine. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shredded cheese and stir until it is well mixed with the ground chuck mixture.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

For the dough:
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to flatten any creases. Using a cookie cutter, a rim of a glass or anything about 3 inches in diameter cut circles from the dough. You may need to flour the cutter in between uses.  You can reroll the scraps of pie dough to cut more circles.

Place 2 T. of filling in the center of the dough. Brush one side with water then fold the dough over the filling pressing gently to seal.

Use the tines of a fork to seal the edge of the dough. Repeat with the remaining dough circles and filling.

If you'd like, at this point, you can freeze in an airtight container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.

Transfer the empanadas to the prepared baking sheets.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 T. water to combine. Brush the egg wash onto each empanada.

Bake until golden brown, 15 - 17 minutes. Cool at least 10 - 12 minutes before serving. You can serve either warm or at room temperature.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Pork, Mushroom & Onion Kebabs

I am loving the daylight hours after work along with the warm temps which are allowing me time to grill! A quick marinade whisked together made from what might seem an odd pairing: Black Mission Fig Balsamic Vinegar and Garlic Olive Oil. To the contrary, this is a perfect pairing. The sweet richness of the figs enhances the pork and the subtle flavor of the garlic adds a nice finishing note.

30 - 45 minutes of marinating time and 8 minutes on the grill and dinner is on the table!

1 lb. of boneless pork loin, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup Black Mission Fig Balsamic Vinegar
1/3 cup Garlic olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
16 oz. white button mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion, cut into wedges

In a medium add vinegar. In a slow stream, drizzle in the olive oil which constantly whisking the two together. Add salt and pepper and whisk to incorporate.

Place pork, mushrooms, and onion in a large Ziploc bag. Pour in marinade and carefully seal. Refrigerate for 30 - 45 minutes.

Remove from refrigerator and carefully thread pork and vegetables onto skewers. If using wooden skewers, soak in water while food is marinating. 

Preheat gas grill on high heat and then lower the setting to medium-high. 

Place skewers onto grill.

Close cover and let cook 3 - 4 minutes, then turn. Cook an additional 3 - 4 minutes, until pork is cooked to an internal temp of 165 degrees F.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Grilled Garlic Espresso Burgers

Finally! We're enjoying weather that allows time spent on the deck and grilling. Nothing heralds the beginning of Grilling Season like a grilled burger. I'm always searching for different flavor combinations to use for hamburgers and today was no exception. Garlic is always an excellent choice in my opinion so I used Garlic Olive Oil.  To add a little "extra something" to the mix, I chose  Espresso Balsamic Vinegar which pairs wonderfully with the garlic olive oil.

1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
1 T. Garlic Olive Oil
1 t. Espresso Balsamic Vinegar
1 t. minced garlic
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients. Shape into 5 - 6 burgers. 

Preheat gas grill or prepare charcoal grill.

Grill burgers 5 - 6 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. for medium and 170 degrees F. for well done.

Place on lightly grilled bun and add your favorite condiments!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Garlicky Meatball Sliders

Remember last weekend when I cooked 78 meatballs? Remember when I fed half my friends and family with those 78 meatballs? After all that I still had meatballs! So, into the freezer the leftovers went and today they were thawed and heated and turned into a completely different meal.

Put this recipe in the back of your mind for when you have leftover meatballs and you can't eat another strand of spaghetti. If you don't have leftover, make a small batch of meatballs or buy frozen.

12 meatballs
2 cups marinara sauce
12 King's Hawaiian rolls
6 slices provolone cheese
6 T. butter
1 T. minced garlic
1 t. Tuscan herb blend
2 T. minced basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray.

Heat the meatballs and marinara in a medium saucepan over low heat until heated through.

Slice the rolls in half and place bottom half in prepared baking dish. Top each roll with a meatball and marinara sauce.

Next, add the sliced provolone.

And now place the top of the rolls on top of the cheese.

In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt butter. Add garlic, Tuscan herb blend, basil and Parmesan cheese. Let simmer for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Slowly spoon the garlic butter mixture over the sliders.

Then top with extra grated Parmesan.

Bake for 15 - 18 minutes until the cheese has melted.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Honey Ginger Sesame Wings

This week's wing for Wing Wednesdays takes on a decidedly Asian flair. A nice visit to King's Olive Oil and the oils and vinegars were chosen!

I knew a combination of Honey Ginger Balsamic Vinegar, Japanese Sesame Oil, and garlic olive oil would make a tasty combination.

Let's get the chicken baking:

1 1/2 lbs. chicken wings
1 T. baking powder
1 T. all-purpose flour
1 t. granulated garlic
1 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. salt

And now let's make the sauce:
2 T. honey ginger balsamic vinegar
1 T. garlic olive oil
1 t. sesame oil
dash of salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Toss wings in the coating until completely covered and place individually on the baking sheet. Wash the bowl. You'll need it later!

Bake for 30 minutes and then increase oven temperature to 375 degrees F.  Let bake an additional 15 - 18 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce.

Add the vinegar to a medium bowl. Gradually add the olive oil and whisk to incorporate. It will begin to thicken the more it is whisked. Whisk in walnut oil and salt.

Remember the large bowl you washed earlier? Place the cooked wings back into the bowl and slowly add about half of the sauce over the wings. Toss the wings to coat and then pour remaining sauce and toss again.

I served these wings with a prepackaged Asian rice and some pickled ginger slices.