Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Pineapple Cream Cheese

Once upon a time, when I was young, carefree, and fun.... (HAHA)  I worked for Dana, my dear friend who owned a coffee house in my small town.  After mastering the art of coffee, I mastered the goodness of pineapple cream cheese on blueberry bagels.  If you have never tried it, please do.  This recipe is supper easy, and with the little bite and texture of pineapple I think it is absolutely amazing.  It is one of my favorite treats, on its best day ever!

Make sure to save your drained pineapple juice, mix it with orange juice or drink it alone or use it in something!  In the video, I used 2 TBSP of powdered sugar but you can use up to 4.  I tend to go with 4, but I used 2, and it was really plenty to be honest.

I have been making this for a little while, but had to nail it down to a recipe of proper measurements.  That completely stresses me out!  I do it because I LOVE YA!

I think this would be a perfect make ahead spread for bagels for a brunch or breakfast, or anytime really.  I imagine some graham cracker sticks or Vanilla Wafers might like to jump into this bowl of goodness and then into your mouth too!

Here we go!

1- 8oz pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup drained, crushed pineapple
2-4 T powdered sugar (icing sugar, confectioners sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Throw it all in a bowl and using a hand mixer, let her rip.  I like to whip this on high for at least 1 minutes to incorporate some air to keep it spreadable for a long time!  Refrigerate whatever you don't if.....and finish it at night when everyone else is sleeping.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cherry Mash Bars

Another good evening to you all!

Tonight, I am sharing what was a staple in our house as kids at the holidays.  Cherry Mash Bars.  Admittedly I was never a HUGE fan of these, my mom loved them and I believe my sister Peg was a lover as well.  These were supposed to be a take from the "Bing" Candy bars we had here.  Did anyone else have Bing Candy Bars? 

These are no bake, simple, quick and add beautiful color and flavor to your cookie trays!  I added some food coloring so my red layer on the bottom was red, not pink.  I like vibrant color, not faded!  You can choose to do this or not, no difference to me, I won't even ever know!  Seriously!

I hope you enjoy the video, and the recipe.  Let me know if you have had these, or if you try them! You are always welcome to post photos on my Instagram or Facebook and tag me!  I love seeing your interpretation of my recipes!

Oh, by the way, I found that cherry chips were SLIGHTLY less easy to find than regular chips.  Don't just assume your grocery store has them!  (like I did)!

1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup evaporated milk
2 T butter
1 heaping cup of cherry chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
red food coloring (optional)
1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup marshmallows
1 cup peanuts

Line an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, heat the sugar, milk and butter until boiling.  Let boil, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Add in cherry chips and marshmallows.  Stir until melted and combined.  Add in red food coloring (optional) and stir. Pour into your lined pan and refrigerate until you are ready for the next step.

In a microwaveable bowl, melt chocolate chips in 30 second increments so you do not burn them.  When melted add in marshmallows and stur until mostly melted.  Stir in peanuts and then spread carefully over the top of your cherry layer.  Smooth out and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until set and cooled.

Cut into squares and serve!


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Russian Tea Cake Christmas Cookies

Christmas is coming!  Christmas is coming!  I am unusually excited.  Perhaps it is the new home, maybe it is my deeper faith, or perhaps, it is that I am excited to be back in the swing of life after a hard 18 months. I think I can attribute it to being the happiest, and most content I have ever been in my life.  I have a gracious heart, especially about all of you.

I am late out of the gate but I will be posting as many recipes as I can before Christmas Eve!  I work best under pressure!  I will be filming some of my recipes, as many as I can as well, so make sure you hit up my YouTube Channel and subscribe!  Here is the link: FoodThoughtsOfaChefWannabe YouTube Channel!  If you haven't hit the FOLLOW on this website, I would love for you to do that as well.  I love having you all in my life, everywhere!  You see, and learn, and experience different parts of me on my different social media outlets.  Not sure why, but, it seems to be that way!  I am weird, like so weird, but I am fun!  I mean at least I think I am! HA!

Now, on to the recipe.  These were a staple Christmas cookie as a kid.  My mom never skipped over making these.  I wasn't a huge fan of them as a child.  But, I think, these are more appealing to grown ups.  I love them now.  I of course changed mine up, just a little updating on my moms recipe, but hers were awesome as well.  As you can see in the video, I can't keep anything the same size.  I think you should get 2 doz out of this recipe, but I made a few of mine for the jolly green giant so I didn't get quite as many.

Please feel free to change the type of nuts you use to what you have on hand or love.  I wanted to just go with hazelnuts because I love them, I had some some and it was definitely the right choice.  What if you did almonds, with a WEE bit of almond extract?  Ohhhhhh!

1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup finely ground hazelnuts
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract (maybe a heaping tsp)
pinch of salt
1 cup extra powdered sugar for dipping

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

Combine butter and powdered sugar until combined.  Add in nuts, and let it mix until completely combined.  Add in a pinch of salt, your vanilla extract and again, mix until combined.  Add in flour and mix just until it is all incorporated.  Your mixture will appear to be dry and crumbly, but I promise it will stick together!  

Using a cookie scoop, scoop out your cookies, dump into your hand and roll into a ball.  The warmth of your hands will melt that butter enough to make them roll nicely.  Do this will all of them, place on your parchment lined cookie sheet and then bake for 10 minutes!  Let cool completely and then roll in your additional powdered sugar!  Place on a platter and waaa-laaaa, time to enjoy!

PS Did I mention to just double this recipe from the start?!  DO!
PSS These will be perfect for your #nobrowncookietray Christmas cookie trays!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Grandma Gert's Creamy Chicken Rice

OK, so not MY Grandma Gert, but my cousin's Grandma Gert!

Growing up without grandparents.  Or rather, growing up with grandparents on the other side of the country and the other set of grandparents deceased, it seemed we were always picking up other "grandma and grandpa" figures in our lives.  My mom's parents had passed before many of us were born and my dad's father the same.  His parents lived back in Philly and I do recall speaking to my grandmother once, though I couldn't understand her, (she spoke Italian) I remember telling her Hello, and that I loved her. I felt like the only kid on the planet with no grandparents!

This recipe comes from one such woman.  She was my Aunt Virginia's mother.  A week or so ago on social media, my cousin Deidre had posted a photo to her sister and said she was making "Grandma Gert's Chicken and Rice".  They all were excited and it looked fabulous so I asked her for the recipe.  She sent it right to me ad I decided to make it that next night.

I am going to give you the recipe straight from Gert!   This lasted about 3 days for us.  I served it with a big salad because it is so rich.  Don't skimp on anything!  This will feed an army!

I hope you give this a try!  If you do, post a photo, tag me on social media, let me hear what you think!

Until next time....

If you like this recipe, you might also enjoy...

Chicken and Rice Casserole
Cheesy Chicken Gnocchi
Mexican Rice

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies

Hello my dear friends!  How long has it been?  TOO  long!

I am glad to be back with you, after all, it IS the most wonderful time of the year!  Right?  I am ready for holiday cheer, holiday feelings, holiday food, and everything else!  I truly find it odd, how busy things have been yet, at the beginning of such a busy time, I get to make time to share some cookies with you!

If you have been following me awhile you know I have a "Just Say NO To Brown Cookie Trays" campaign.  Well, maybe not a campaign but, I feel strongly about it.  You know the ones, don't act like you have never received them!  Hard cookies, difficult to differentiate one "flavor" from another, and not even sure what is in them.  Yes, those cookie trays.  I actually came up with these cookies, because I sell Scentsy as well.  This Blueberry Cheesecake Scent Bar came out and I was like, "oh maaaaan, I need to make that edible"!  I did!  This recipe was adapted from Get In My Belly.

This recipe makes between 18-24 cookies.  I will without a doubt double it when I make it again.  This will be on my cookie trays, and I hope they will be on yours!  My grandson helped me with these today, and he also is in the YouTube video that will accompany it!

Here is what you will need:

1/4 cup softened cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flower
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
frozen or fresh blueberries

white chocolate
vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Using a stand or hand mixer, combine cream cheese and butter.  When it is combined add in sugar and again, mix until all ingredients are combined.  Add egg, vanilla flour, baking soda, and cornstarch.  Mix until ingredients are just combined.

Refrigerate your dough for 1 hr.  I did 30 minutes and it worked fine but if you double the batch, go for 1 hr.  You can chill it up to overnight if you like.

Place balls of dough or use a cookie scoop.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Dough will spread, but if for some reason yours does not, just give it a little smoosh with your hand.  I used frozen blueberries I had let sit out for 10 minutes, but fresh will be awesome as well!  Place 4 or 5 blueberries on the top of each cookie, slightly pressing them in.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

You can enjoy as is, or you can drizzle with some melted white chocolate.  Use about 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips, melt in 30 second increments in the microwave.  Add a cap full of vegetable oil to it to make it a bit more liquid and drizzle-able!  Drizzle and let the chocolate set before serving!

I hope you enjoy these little heavenly cookies!  I think using strawberries, raspberries, etc would be awesome as well!!


Monday, October 9, 2017

Hasselback Caprese Chicken

Welcome back!  Time is flying, fall is falling and the garden produce is beginning to get to tired and worn out and cold to make anything more!  Bummer!  I picked the last of my basil, the last of my tomatoes, and decided to close the season with a bang!  This is a dish I have seen around here and there, but I wanted to make it my own way.  I wanted to add some seasonings, and better yet, I wanted to lay them on a bed of creamy, silky, alfredo-like sauce!

This came together in about 15-20 minutes, and another 45 in the oven.  I served it with a side of spaghetti that was lightly buttered, added some parsley, and a drizzle of this awesome sauce!

I gave you kind of an approximation of ingredients.  I wrote it for 4 servings, but for the tomato and basil and cheese it will depend on how thick you cut your slices, AND how many slits you put in the chicken.  See what I am sayin'?

Let's get started!

Cream Sauce:
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup chicken stock (up to 3/4 depending on how thick or thin you want your sauce)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Melt your butter in a medium saucepan.  Add in your flour and whisk to combine for 1-2 minutes.  Add in milk and chicken stock.  Whisk until slightly thickened and then add in cheese.  Again, whisk until cheese is melted and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Now, pour this mixture into a 9x13 baking dish.  Also, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F!

Now for the chicken prep you will need:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2=3 large tomatoes
2-8oz balls of mozzarella cheese
20 leaves of fresh basil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste

Slice your cheese and tomatoes into half moons.  Now take your chicken and slice across it.  Don't go all the way through, just about 3/4 of the way.  Do that to tall of the chicken breasts.  Using your Italian seasoning, and garlic salt, season them up all over.

 You can stuff these however you like.  Where you cut, you will stuff with tomato or mozz cheese. I used a basil leaf in each one, alternating mozz and tomato slices.  When you finish one, carefully place it in the 9x13 pan of cream sauce.  Do this until all chicken is done.

Lightly salt and pepper when all done and place into the oven.  You will need to start checking for doneness at about 35 minutes.  I used large breasts (teehee) and mine took upwards of 45-50 minutes.  Use your thermometers!

Enjoy this with a side of pasta, a salad, some nice crusty bread, the possibilities are endless and delicious!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Pizza Joes

Hey all!  Does it feel like fall yet?  Some days it does, some days it doesn't.  I wanted to put all of my fall decor out earlier but frankly, it seemed to risky.  I did finally put it up and now I feel more like fall on the inside, but remembered, I should have put up my Halloween!  So I traded it out today, and will redo the fall decor for November.  This isn't something your momma teaches you, this is real life people.  You only get one chance. #takerisks

Now, I don't know about you, but my husband and I are NOT fans of the sloppy Joe.  o this is my take on them, but twisted up a bit so we like them!  A fun lunch or dinner that your family will love.  Super easy and quick too!

1 lb lean ground beef
1 10oz can/jar mushrooms
1 T Homemade Pizza Seasoning
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 cup pizza sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Hamburger buns
Shredded Italian Blend Cheese (or cheese of your choice)

In a skillet, brown your ground beef.  If your ground beef isn't super lean, drain the grease when it is completely browned.  Put back in your skillet and add in your mushrooms.  Let them cook a minute longer and then add in pizza seasoning, sugar, pizza sauce,  and salt and pepper to taste.  Combine completely and let sit on a low temp while you prepare your rolls.

Set your oven on broil.  Line your sheet pan with foil for easier cleanup!  Place your rolls, bottom up on the pan.  Place in the oven.  WATCH them CLOSELY.  If you follow me on FB you saw the "remains" of my rolls!  I always burn bread, it is just part of my DNA, and frankly, I just can't.  I can't.
When they are lightly golden, spoon your mixture on to the roll, top with plenty of cheese and stick back under your broiler for about 30-40 seconds.  Dead serious, just don't test me on this one.  Remove, put the tops on and serve!

Please feel free to add onion, bell peppers, mini pepperoni, whatever you want.  This was just a twist on traditional sloppy joes that neither of us are a fan of!

Hope you enjoy!