Kung Pao Shrimp

Taking a little break from football foods today, in honor of Chinese New Year,  tomorrow!

I had originally gotten a Kung Pao Chicken recipe from Sing For Your Supper.    I have made a bunch of her dishes and they are always excellent!    I’m sure you’ll see me blog about her recipes in the future….but in the meantime, you should definitely check out her blog for yourself!

OK back to the recipe…..I used her chicken recipe, but just swapped the chicken with approx. 1 pound of large, deveined shrimp.
As usual I served it with fried rice (I like it much better than white rice) and my husband and I both enjoyed it very much!    The perfect combo of sweet, nutty and spicy.    This recipe is nice because you can adjust how much spice you want in your life and it’s still very good!  My little ones aren’t huge fans of spicy foods, so I cut back the red pepper flakes on this one, but it was still pretty PAOerful!  Ha Ha Ha!  Sorry I had to!  🙂

Kung Pao Shrimp

1lb uncooked, deveined, shell removed large shrimp.

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons sesame oil

3 tablespoons of Vidalia onion chopped

3 garlic cloves (minced)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I used less than she called for b/c 2 of my taste tasters are my kids)

½ teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts

Combine shrimp and cornstarch in a small bowl and toss to coat. Heat sesame oil in wok (or large deep-dish skillet) over medium heat, add shrimp and stir fry approx.  5-7 minutes (or until pink and fully cooked).    Remove shrimp from wok.

Add onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and ginger to the wok and stir fry for 15 seconds.

Combine vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and add the sauce to the wok.

Return shrimp to the wok and coat with sauce. Stir in roasted peanuts. Heat thoroughly.  Place over white or fried rice.  

ENJOY!!!

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GONG HEY FAT CHOY!!!!

~gianna~

Buffalo Wings

I tried to find some recipes that were local to the 2 Super Bowl teams for this year….Denver and Seattle.  I couldn’t find any recipes that stood out to me for either region…in fact I couldn’t even find a good base food to even come up with a recipe.  Salmon and other seafood and some fresh fruit for Seattle, none of which screamed FOOTBALL to me!  And Denver…..3 WORDS….Rocky Mountain Oysters.  Not touching that one, literally or figuratively.   🙂  If you don’t know what they are…….look it up!

So let’s stick with Buffalo Wings…now that screams FOOTBALL!!!!

This is a very simple buffalo wing recipe and it’s delicious if you like a more crispy, not wet wing.  I tend to like them better this way….so if you do too, give them a shot!   Serve them up at your Super Bowl party with some blue cheese dressing and celery and enjoy!

Buffalo Wings

2 pounds of wings (separated at joint)

1/2 cup Hot Sauce (any kind you like..I used good ole Franks)

6 TBSP butter

Blue cheese dressing

Celery sticks

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°

Place wings on a foil lined baking sheet.  Make sure to leave space between wings and use 2 baking sheets if needed. Salt and pepper wings to taste.

Cook for 30-40 minutes until cooked thru.

In a small pot ob low/medium heat whisk together butter and hot sauce.

Remove chicken from oven and toss in butter/hot sauce mixture.

Put coated wings back on baking sheet and in oven for another 5-10 minutes.

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Remove and serve with blue cheese dressing and celery.

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ENJOY!

~gianna~

Ultimate Pretzel Crusted Peanut Butter Brownies

Yup, you read that right!  Someone posted this recipe on my message board, and as soon as I saw “pretzel”, “peanut butter” and “brownie” in the same title — DONE!  While I’m not a huge chocolate person (shocking, right?)…..once you mix it with peanut butter, I become a HUGE fan of chocolate!  But that’s it….only if it’s with peanut butter.  

I’d been cooking ALL.  DAY.  LONG and I was tired….but I knew once dinner was over and the kitchen was clean, I could sink my teeth into one of these!

The recipe came from HERE.  I followed the recipe exact, because I had gotten all the ingredients this time!  And they did NOT disappoint!  I had one, but no one else in the family has.  Olivia was in bed by 7:15, not felling well…Ava got punished because she didn’t eat dinner (can’t have your pudding, if you don’t eat your meat) and Joe is asleep on the couch.  But now that I’ve cut them up…once the smell makes its way to the living room….he’ll be up!   For now though……I may just have another one!  They are a little rich and sweet…so cut them into smaller “brownie pieces” unless you like rich and sweet.

There is NOTHING healthy about these….so if you are dieting or watching what you eat…LEAVE NOW before you see the picture!  

If you are anti-diet, feast your eyes on these……….

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(that is heaps of peanut butter from the peanut butter cups).

 OK….I won’t waste any more time…here’s the recipe!

 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups crushed butter snap pretzels

1 cup melted butter

5 TBSP sugar

Peanut Butter Cookie Mix (+ ingredients the mix calls for)

Brownie Mix (+ ingredients the mix calls for)

Snack size Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups (24)

 

1.  Crush the pretzels in a food processor (or however you’d like to crush them).  Don’t crush to dust….make sure there are small pieces still in the mix.  

Mix with melted butter and sugar.

Press lightly into a greased 13×9 pan.

Set aside

 2.  Make cookie dough according to package.  Lightly press cookie dough evenly on top of pretzel crust.

 3.  Unwrap 24 Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups and layer them on top of cookie dough.

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4.  Make brownie mix according to package and pour evenly over Peanut Butter Cups.

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5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

6. Remove, Cook and ENJOY!

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My good camera is broken (sad face) so these pictures are from my phone…and do not do it’s justice!

~gianna~

Death By Chocolate

Here is a recipe that my Mom always made for special occasions when we were kids….I especially remember it on New Year’s Eve!  Her recipe was a little different because she used Heath Bars……and with all the nut allergies nowadays I stick with Kit Kats.  She also used to put Kahlua in her cake mix to give it a little extra kick, I do not.  You definitely can add the Kahlua and swap the Heath for the Kit Kats! But no matter how you do it…..you will be sure to have a crowd pleasing dessert!!!  It’s a very simple recipe, that really takes no time at all…..As long as you have the ingredients in your kitchen. You can make it for a large crowd, for a holiday, for a BBQ, or just for 2 people to share on Valentine’s Day (and the week following with leftovers).  I made this for New Year’s Eve and even though a lot of it went…I was so excited to have leftovers!!!!   It’s even better after it sits in the fridge for a few days!   YUM!!!!

Death By Chocolate 

1 box of Chocolate Cake Mix (I use Chocolate Fudge) 
1 box of Chocolate Mousse Mix 
1 large container of Cool Whip — remove from freezer and into fridge for 30 minutes-1hour before you make dessert. 
1 package of 6 — Kit Kat Bars 

 Follow directions on the cake mix box..and make your cake. 
Cool and then wrap the entire cake in foil and put in the freezer for a few hours. 
Make mousse by following the box..let cool in fridge for a few hours. 
In a food processor or by hand smash candy bars into pieces. 

When ready to make the dessert, get a large clear bowl. 
Crumble 1/2 of the cake into bottom of bowl. 
Next layer 1/2 of the mousse on top.
Next layer 1/2 of the Cool Whip. 
Sprinkle 1/2 of the candy pieces. 
Next layer the rest of cake crumbled.
Layer rest of mousse. 
Layer rest of Cool Whip. 
Finish off with candy pieces!

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~gianna~

Snickers Dip

I love dip, I love to dip things, I love everything about dip…so when I stumbled upon this recipe for a DESSERT dip…that included some of my favorite things, I had to try it!


I actually made this for a party and everyone loved it!!!!    I had made the dip earlier in the day and decorated with the pretzels and put it in the fridge until we were ready to leave.  The decorative pretzels were very soggy when it came time to serve it.  So I’d either warn your taste testers or not put the pretzels in the bowl until right before you are going to serve!


It was so easy and got rave reviews!!!


Snickers Dip


Ingredients:


2 packages of cream cheese, softened (8 oz. each)

1 container of Cool Whip

1/4 cup brown sugar

6 Snickers bars, chopped



Mix all ingredients together in a stand mixer.   Chill overnight.  Serve with pretzels, graham crackers or anything else you’d like to dip!!!!  I added some chocolate shavings on top too!

ENJOY!!

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~gianna~

S’more Pizza

I needed a dessert for our Super Bowl Party (I know…that was a month ago) and stumbled upon THIS  recipe from Guy Fieri @ The Food Network in my search.  While it looked delicious,  my husband nor Olivia were sold on the pizza dough crust.  My husband (believe it or not) said, “Wouldn’t that be so much better without the pizza dough….maybe you should use chocolate chip cookie dough instead!”   I thought it sounded perfect either way, but had to keep the troops happy….

I did think it’d be way too chocolaty and sweet for my taste buds, so I convinced them to let me do sugar cookie crust instead!   Everyone agreed and we had our Super Bowl party dessert!    While it was very sweet, even with the sugar cookie crust, it was amazing for any sweet tooth!  Make this SOON!!!!  Next time I make this I am going to try it with the pizza dough!

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1 batch of sugar cookie dough.  Homemade or store-bought.

2 TBSP unsalted butter

1/2 sleeve graham crackers (broken into crumbs)

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups mini marshmallows

3 large Hershey chocolate bars — broken into 1/4 inch pieces

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make cookie dough.

Roll and push into 12″ round pizza pan )making sure you get it as thin as you can without breaking through.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

While it’s cooking,  melt butter in a skillet and add graham crackers.  Cook for 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and set aside.

 When cookie crust is done remove from oven and scatter marshmallows and chocolate pieces. 

Return to oven for approx. 5 minutes or until marshmallows are brown and toasted.

Remove and top with graham cracker crumbs evenly over pizza.

Let sit for a few minutes, slice and serve.

 ENJOY!!!!

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~gianna~

Spinach Pizza Bread

There are many ways to make pizza breads I already shared my pepperoni one HERE.  But I make other versions as well.  I’ve done a chicken parm one….which is filled with breaded chicken cutlets, mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce.  I’ve also done it with sausage, peppers and onions and I’ve done my favorite which is filled with spinach and provolone cheese.  YUMMY!  I like to have a variety of flavors when I make things like this because not everyone likes pepperoni and not everyone likes spinach.  In my family alone, Joe and Olivia go for the pepperoni one, while Ava and I like the spinach one.  So those are the 2 I make most often.  The worst part of this recipe is squeezing the water from the spinach…it’s the worst, I get annoyed and it’s messy…if anyone has an easier way to remove water from spinach PLEASE share!   Obviously I’m being a bit dramatic because I still make it often, but it still annoys me!

Spinach Pizza Bread

2 packages of frozen CHOPPED spinach (make sure you get chopped)

Garlic (minced)

Olive Oil

1 pound of pizza dough

Sliced provolone cheese  (you can use shredded too)

Preheat oven to 375°

Defrost all spinach and remove water (by squeezing to your heart’s content and then draining a bit longer on paper towels).  You want most of the water removed.  This will give your hands a good workout!  You will lose some spinach down the drain, don’t panic…it happens.  

Once water is removed from spinach, saute with garlic and oil in a pan until flavors incorporate and spinach is cooked thru.   I LOVE garlic so I use a lot, but go by your taste.  I didn’t include measurements.  Let Cool.

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Roll out your dough into an oval.  Remember you are going to be folding it all over…so make sure it’s big enough, but not too big that it won’t fit on a baking sheet.

Cover the rolled dough with cheese and then with spinach.  

Fold up sides and ends.

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Oil the bottom of the baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil.

Place bread on baking sheet

Brush the entire bread with an egg white (beat).

 Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until brown on top and crispy.  

Slice and enjoy!

chicken parm

**this is a picture of the chicken parm one…I don’t have a finished spinach bread one!**

~gianna~

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies

Here is a post from a few years ago when the NY Giants were in the Super Bowl…it was worth carrying over here for a great super bowl dessert to bring to a party or serve to your family.  Well…it’s really a good dessert for anytime!

I finally had the kitchen all cleaned up from dinner last night, when I got a text from a friend of mine saying her daughter was sick, and my oldest couldn’t go over and play today.  I knew I’d have a disappointed 6 year old after school, because she was so excited to go to her friend’s house.   I decided we’d have a fun afternoon and night at home….early dinner, a board game or 2 and a family movie…..and obviously we’d need to bake a yummy dessert!   But what should we bake???  We did cookies a few days ago and they didn’t turn out how I’d planned…..but we needed something different!  I went through a bunch of blogs I follow and a bunch of recipes I have saved (for rainy days….or when I have a sad kid on my hands that needs cheering up), but nothing was jumping at me!   I wondered over to Fake Ginger (the genius behind the pretzel bowls) to see what kind of yummy desserty recipes she might have (I hadn’t gotten a chance to browse her recipes yet) and found one that JUMPED!   And boy did it jump!

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE Red Velvet anything…..cake, cupcakes, cake balls, alcoholic beverages…you name it, I want it!   And it’s funny because I DON’T like chocolate (for shame, I know!) And red velvet is chocolate cake with red food coloring…well more or less.  Aside from the cocoa powder — I don’t see the similarity (or taste it).   I also am slightly obsessed with cream cheese…and cream cheese frosting is one of my most favoritest things on Earth.  So this recipe JUMPED!  And my girls and I jumped right on it!    I also think it would be a fun dessert to make for a Super Bowl party!  IMG_0062

It was very simple, and my kids enjoyed making them with me.  It helps that red is Olivia’s color and Ava’s 2nd favorite color!   They also enjoyed swirling the batter with a toothpick!

These were very delicious, and looked beautiful!  A bit on the rich side, but red velvet cake is known to be more rich and heavy…so that was fine with me!   It’s amazing how this recipe makes the red velvet much more brownie-like. , though!    My husband (the sweetest tooth in the house) who we had to hide them from……really liked them, once we let him get his hands on them!  A definite recipe we will keep for a long time!

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies

(Fake Ginger)

 Ingredients

For brownie layer

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup cocoa powder

pinch of salt

1 Tbsp red food coloring (I used liquid, probably should’ve used gel or powder like the originator said).

1 tsp.  white distilled vinegar

2 eggs

3/4 cups flour

 

For cream cheese layer

8 oz. cream cheese — softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/8 tsp vanilla

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.  Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper or butter generously.  

Melt butter. 

In large bowl add butter, sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring and vinegar and stir to combine everything.   

In separate bowl, whisk eggs.  

Add eggs to the butter mixture slowly and whisk constantly.

Fold the flower into the mixture, being careful not to over mix.

Reserve 1/4 cup of mixture.

Pour remaining batter into prepared pan.

 

In stand mixer beat cream cheese until soft.  

Add sugar, egg and vanilla; beat until combined.

Gently spread the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter in pan.

Dollop the remaining batter (1/4 cup you reserved) onto the cream cheese layer.  

Drag a toothpick or knife through the batter to create swirls.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cream cheese is set. 

Let cool completely on wire rack before cutting.

The flag was added for a Superbowl Party when the Giants were in it a few years ago!

The flag was added for a Superbowl Party when the Giants were in it a few years ago!

 

Fajitas

Fajitas are one of my favorite things in the world……I can’t even imagine anyone NOT liking them.  Cheese, peppers, sour cream, cheese, chicken, cheese, guacamole….CHEESE!!!!  And I  sometimes even use the full fat version of everything!!!!  Mmmmm….I love fajitas.

So while I have never met a chicken or shrimp fajita I didn’t like…I’ve also never met anyone who doesn’t like these fajitas….welllllll..except my sister-in-law, Ann…who slathered hers in ketchup when I made them for her and my brother in law!  I don’t think I ever made her fajitas again……and I probably never will!  🙂  Her loss!

These fajitas are so easy and so delicious, thanks to one special ingredient…the marinade!  It’s all in the marinade  and I’m not ashamed to admit it!  Someone perfected a perfect (in my opinion) fajita marinade and WOW it’s great!

marinade

When I make this I usually make extra so we have leftovers for lunch or another dinner.

So I don’t have many measurements and I sometimes substitute shrimp and it’s equally delicious!  I also love peppers and onions, so I go heavy on those!

Chicken Fajitas  (or shrimp)

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (washed, trimmed and sliced into bite sized pieces)

OR

Uncooked shrimp (devined and shell removed)

World Harbors Fajita marinade (I usually use 1/4 – half a bottle)

Olive oil

Red bell peppers  (washed, cleaned and cut into slices)

Green peppers (washed, cleaned and cut into slices)

Vidalia onion (cut in half and then sliced)

Olive oil

Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese  (LOTS!)

Sour Cream

Guacamole or Avocado

Salsa

Clean and cut chicken.

In a large pan add chicken and Fajita marinade and toss and cook until it’s done.  Usually takes about 10 minutes.

Wash and slice peppers and onions into strips.

In another large frying pan add peppers, onions and olive oil.  Just enough for sauteing.   And cook those until done.  “Done” for the peppers and onions is however you like them.  I like mine cooked until still slightly crunchy. 

Heat tortilla shells (follow directions on bag)

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Fill (or stuff…like I do) your tortillas with all the yummy toppings, roll it up and ENJOY!!!!

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~gianna~

7 Layer Taco Dip

This is a favorite of mine and it’s something that I have been making for years and years….I think the first time I brought it to a party I was actually in High School……sooooo it’s OLD!   But it’s something that never disappoints..well except this one time when I brought it to a party and some drunk friends decided to put it in the oven and cook it……..people still ate it, but it wasn’t very tasty.   PLEASE…DO NOT HEAT THIS DIP….TRUST ME!  The nice thing about this dip is that you can make it however you want…..and add or subtract ingredients….or add extra or less of others…..Just make it to your liking.  There really aren’t measurements to it!  This is perfect for any time of year……and a great dip for football games!

7 Layer Taco Dip

 

Can of refried beans

Container of Guacamole (or make your own, which I often do)

Container of Sour Cream

Package of taco seasoning

Tomatoes — seeds removed and chopped

Olives — sliced

Shredded Mexican blend cheese

Scallions

Tortilla chips (I like the bite sized ones….they are perfectly sized for dipping and enjoying!)

 

1.  Spread refried beans over a large circle serving platter.  I try to use one with a small lip.

2.  Spread guacamole on top of beans.

3.  Mix sour cream and taco seasoning in bowl and then spread over guacamole.

4.  Layer chopped tomatoes on top of the sour cream mixture.

5.  Spread sliced olives all around.

6.  Sprinkle cheese on top of the tomatoes and olives.

7.  Sprinkle chopped scallions over the entire dip.

8.  DO NOT COOK  🙂

9.  Serve with chips

10.  ENJOY!!!!

taco dip

~gianna~

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