Balsamic Glazed Carrots

An old faithful…..this recipe is one I have made many times….many, many times because baby carrots are something I always have on hand!  So it’s such an easy side dish to make….my girls and I LOVE them…Joe on the other hand does not.  As I’ve said before, Joe’s “allergic” to carrots……I think it’s a mental allergy, but he promises it’s real!    This recipe works perfect as a side dish to really anything!    It’s super simple, uses very little ingredients and takes hardly any time!

Balsamic Glazed Carrots 

3 cups baby carrots

1 TBSP olive oil

1 ½ TBSP balsamic vinegar

1 TBSP brown sugar

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Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté carrots in oil for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Stir in balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, mix to coat and serve. 

EASY PEASY….and YUMMY!!!

carrots

~gianna~

Sundried Tomato Risotto

I stole today’s post from my old blog……this was from 2011, but it’s still delicious and a recipe you must try!

OH….SOOOOO…..GOOD!!  This maybe one of the most delicious risottos I have had in a long time!  While risotto is a bit time consuming, the end result is very worth it!   After a 14 day cruise and an empty fridge on their return home….my parents came over for dinner and I decided to make this risotto.  I got it from my friend, Kelly’s blog, and she originally got it from The Pioneer Woman (a blog that I visit often).  Everyone really loved it….My parents, my husband and even my children!

If you have a little extra cooking time in your schedule this is a not to miss recipe!

I served this with a parmesan crusted tilapia (recipe coming soon) and roasted cauliflower.

Sundried Tomato Risotto
from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ whole Large Yellow Onion, Diced  (I USED VIDALIA)
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 cups Arborio Rice, Uncooked
8 whole Sundried Tomatoes Packed In Oil, Drained And Minced
1 cup Dry White Wine (optional)
7 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth 
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 cup Parmesan, Freshly Grated
¼ cups Heavy Whipping Cream
Fresh Basil, Chiffonade (I used dried basil)

Preparation Instructions

Heat broth (note: it’s important the broth be low sodium) in a saucepan or in a microwave safe pitcher. Set aside.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. 

Add dry rice. Stir to coat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring gently. 

Pour in wine. Stir and cook over medium-low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add in minced sundried tomatoes and stir. 

Then begin adding broth, one cup at a time, stirring gently while the rice absorbs the liquid each time. Repeat this until the rice is done—it usually takes between 6 and 8 cups of broth. The rice should have a slight bite to it, but not be crunchy at all. 

Remove from heat, then stir in Parmesan and heavy cream. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!!

risotto

~gianna~

Oreo Cheesecake

In honor of Joe’s Birthday…………I decided to post about this cheesecake!  He’s the sweet tooth in the family and chocolate is the way to his heart………HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABE!!!

This cheesecake might be one of the most delicious cheesecakes I have ever had!   As my trusty followers probably already know, I’m not a huge chocolate lover and I’m not a fan or Oreos…like I won’t sit and eat Oreos with a glass of milk.  I do love cookies N cream desserts, and I LOVE this cheesecake and anyone who has had any….agrees!  It’s always one of my old faithfuls and it’s perfect for any time of year….a BBQ, a Christmas party, a gathering of friends…..it will get you rave reviews!!

It’s pretty simple to make and doesn’t take too much time to prepare…..the longest time is in the baking and cooling in the fridge!  Make sure you make this cake with enough time for it to cool and settle (as with most cheesecakes).   I honestly can’t remember where I got this recipe, it may have been a website or a magazine because I don’t think I got it from anyone in particular (and if I did……I apologize for not giving you a shout out).

OREO CHEESECAKE

I package (1lb 2oz) Oreo Cookies 
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 pkgs (8oz. each) Philly cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs

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Preheat oven to 325°.

CRUST: Place 30 cookies in food processor; cover. Process until finely ground. Add butter, mix well. Press firmly into 13×9-inch baking pan.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. 

Chop remaining cookies. Gently stir 1-1/2 cups of chopped cookies into cream cheese batter. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with remaining chopped cookies.

Bake 45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Cut into 16 pieces. Store leftover cheesecake in fridge. 

TIPS: For easy removal line pan with foil, with ends extending over pan’s sides. Lift from pan using foil handles…..makes it easy to cut.
I use my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer….so smooth and fluffy!

As usual my pictures don’t do it’s justice…..my photography is an embarrassment!  🙂

ENJOY!  *The cake, not my picture*

Oreo Cheesecake

~gianna~

Ginger, Scallion and Garlic Shrimp

Many years ago I was part of a recipe swap….I may have mentioned it before.  This recipe came to me during “Asian Week”.   I love cooking ethnic food with new flavors and taste!  As soon as I saw the recipe I was making I was so excited!  I knew it was something Joe would enjoy too.  I wasn’t sure about my girls because once I looked over the ingredients there was some “spice”!  The recipe came from Sara at A Taste of Home Cooking and it did not disappoint!  I will be adding this to our rotation.  It was super easy…..and unbelievably good!  The combo of flavors in this dish were literally mouth watering!  It has just the right amount of spice….and Olivia LOVED it, but Ava did not (hey — 1 of 2 isn’t too bad) and Joe and I both agreed it was something I’d make again…and SOON!

Sara recommended using white rice with it, but I prefer fried (and my waist proves it) with any of my Chinese food that I make or take out!  But I know it would be just as delicious with any kind of rice you choose!  THANK YOU, SARA!!

Ginger, Scallion and Garlic Shrimp

1 large egg white 

1 tablespoon cornstarch 

1-1/2 teaspoons sugar 

2 teaspoons salt 

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 

1-1/2 pounds large (26 to 30 count) shrimp, shelled and deveined 

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons) 

One 1-1/2-inch piece of ginger, scraped and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon) 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional) 

¼ cup canola or vegetable oil 

3 scallions, halved lengthwise, cut into 1-inch-pieces, dark green parts set aside 

Steamed rice, fried rice or soba noodles

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In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white with the cornstarch, sugar, salt and pepper until a paste forms.
Add the shrimp and toss to coat.
Set the shrimp aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes; set aside. 

Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat for 3 minutes.

Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet.
Add the shrimp and the white and light green scallion pieces and stir to coat with the oil.
Cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet, until the shrimp are almost cooked through, about 2 minutes.
Add the garlic mixture and the dark green scallion pieces and cook, stirring, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 1 minute more.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the shrimp to a platter and serve with rice.
ENJOY!
Garlic Shrimp
~gianna~

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I cannot remember where I stumbled upon this recipe…..so I apologize in advance to whomever it belongs to.  I just know I C&Ped it as a word document and forgot to site a source!  I think I was just overly excited!   Could ya blame me????

I actually made them with my kids because they love helping me cook and bake.  I didn’t give myself nearly enough time to make, bake, fill and frost them….so when you see the pictures…don’t judge!   They are absolutely delicious…and the pictures DO NOT do these yummies any justice!  I promise, next time I make them…..I will fancify them, and post better pictures!  You have my word!

They do take some time to make, so make sure you give yourself enough time, unlike me….and they will be well worth the time.  They will have you at the smell of them cooking…then the taste of filling (you have to try it as you make it) and then the frosting (taste as you make..that’s my motto!)….and then by the first bite, you will fall in love…..

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature 

1½ cups light brown sugar, packed 

4 large eggs 

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 

1 tsp. baking powder 

1 tsp. baking soda 

¼ tsp. salt 

1 cup milk 

2 tsp. vanilla extract 

1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet) 

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350° . 

Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).

Using the paddle attachment on your mixer, combine the butter and brown sugar. Cream together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, approx 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. 

Alternating add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl with the milk on low speed, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated. 

Blend in the vanilla. 

Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. 

Divide the batter evenly between 24 cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare your cookie dough filling.

For the cookie dough filling:

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature 

6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed 

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour 

7 oz. sweetened condensed milk 

½ tsp. vanilla extract 

¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips 

To Make the Filling:
Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl on medium-high speed until light and fluffy(approx2 minutes). 

Add flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. 

Stir in the chocolate chips. 

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a bit, (approx1 hour). 

After cupcakes have cooled, fill the cupcakes by cutting a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture.

cookiedoughcupcakes1

cookiedoighcupcakes2

For the frosting:

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature 

¾ cup light brown sugar, packed 

3½ cups confectioners’ sugar 

1 cup all-purpose flour 

¾ tsp. salt 

3 tbsp. milk 

2½ tsp. vanilla extract 

Directions to make icing:

Beat butter and brown sugar with the paddle attachment on high speed until creamy and fluffy. 

Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. 

Beat in the flour and salt. 

Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and combined. 

Frost cupcakes using a pastry bag –which as you can see…I did not, but plan on doing that next time…so they look fancier!  I wasn’t going for fancy this time around!  Decorate with mini chocolate chips and top with a mini cookie!

ENJOY!

cookiedoughcupcakes3

~gianna~

Mac N Cheese

I’m not usually a huge fan of homemade mac n cheese…only because a lot of the ones I’ve had are pretty bland and I like a lot of seasoning and flavor in my cooking.    Normally I’d just make a box of KRAFT or Aunt Annies and call it….well..mac n cheese!    I have made it before myself and again….I didn’t love it.   So last night I decided to give it another shot and decided to try things a little differently…….kinda winged it and it turned out pretty good!

Olivia who has told me multiple times “I HATE MAC N CHEESE” (yup even boxed…..whose kid is she???) also told me last night, “I’m not eating it!”  Wellllllll guess who ate a huge serving of it?   It was actually Ava (who normally does like it) that didn’t eat it…she liked it, didn’t love it.

I found a recipe on  pinterest that said to use sour cream in the mac n cheese to make it creamier, but I didn’t follow the recipe, I made my own recipe and then added sour cream to it.  Couldn’t hurt, right?  It was great!!!

Mac N Cheese

1 box of small pasta (elbows, small shells, penne)

1 stick of salted butter

1/3 C  flour (adding more for consistency)

4 C whole milk 

1 TBSP Dry Mustard 

2 1/2 C cheddar cheese shredded (I like to shred my own from a block, I think it makes it taste better)

1/2 sour cream

Salt & Pepper

1 C shredded cheddar (to top)

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Preheat Oven to 350°

Cook pasta al dente according to box.

In a large pot on the stove, melt butter.

Slowly add flour and stir continuously to make a roux.

Add milk slowly, until you get a good consistency — You don’t want it too thick or too runny.

Add dry mustard (this could add a little kick too it, so don’t go overboard)

Remove from heat and stir in 2 1/2 cups cheese until melted.

Add sour cream until incorporated.

Add pasta and mix well, until it’s coated really well in sauce.  

Add salt and pepper.

Pour into a buttered 9×13 baking dish.

Top with 1 C cheese.

Cook for about 10-15 minutes until cheese on top is melted.

DSC01552

ENJOY!

I wanted you to see the melted cheese and the creaminess of this mac n cheese!  

DSC01551

~gianna~

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