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

************************************************************************************

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)

***********************************************

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~

Roasted Cauliflower

I know my kids and my husband pretty well and cauliflower isn’t on the “LIKE” list for any of them!    I knew my cousin, Amanda,  was coming for dinner before our weekly dodgeball game and she was eating here….so I shot her a text asking if she liked cauliflower, she said yes….and it worked out beautifully!

The recipe I received was from Lisa and it’s Roasted Cauliflower  (from Simply Recipes) and it was delicious!  I followed the recipe exactly (only omitted the salt and pepper — I never use it) because I hardly make cauliflower and I didn’t want to mess it up!
Ava was eating raw cauliflower dipped in ranch dressing as I was cutting the cauliflower up!  So much for thinking my kids don’t eat it!  ((SHRUG))

Everyone tried it and BOTH of my girls ate it.  Joe tried 1 piece and thought it was OK……but that’s to be expected since he doesn’t love veggies!  My cousin Amanda thought it was delicious, and we had a surprise dinner guest (my best friend who came over to get ready for dodgeball) and she thought it was delicious too!   It’s a keeper in this house!!!  Thanks Lisa!!!  Because it was a dodgeball night I had to make something quick and easy so  I made chicken cutlets and biscuits with it!

cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower 

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower

2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced

Lemon juice from half a lemon

Olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Parmesan cheese

*****************************************************

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish.

Toss in the garlic.

Sprinkle lemon juice over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

If the oven hasn’t reached 400°F yet, set aside until it has. 

Place casserole in the hot oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown.

Test with a fork for desired doneness.

Fork should be able to easily pierce the cauliflower.

Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
ENJOY!

~gianna~

Sweet and Sassy Pork Tenderloin

As you know…..I’m not a huge meat eater, with the exception of chicken, turkey and seafood….the only other meat I like is pork!   Well NOT all pork, but some!   This pork tenderloin recipe is to die for! When I say it’s delicious, it’s an understatement. It’s so tender and has the perfect amount of sweet and spice (sassy)!  I got the recipe from my friend, Jen!  Thanks, Jen!!!  🙂    I know here in Jersey it’s hard to use a grill right now since most grills are under 2 feet of snow, but if you have access to your grill….or you can ice pick your way to it……DO IT!

The key is marinating it for long enough and cooking it perfectly. I can promise you, you will add this to the rotation. As for my kids….they LOVE it! 

 I always double or triple the marinade recipe so there is enough sauce to smother and dip!  You should definitely do the same!  This is also a perfect dinner idea if you are having company….well..because it’s that good and you will get rave reviews!  PROMISE!!!

SWEET AND SASSY PORK TENDERLOIN 

2 pounds pork tenderloin 

4 tablespoons brown sugar 

2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 

2 tablespoon Spicy Brown Mustard 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes…if you want it more sassy, add more! 

2 teaspoon prepared horseradish 

Cut tenderloin into 1-1.5 inch thick pieces..and place in large bowl. I got about 8 pieces out of mine. 

Stir together sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, garlic, red pepper flakes, and horseradish in bowl, until blended and pour over pork. 

Let marinate for at least 2 hours..I do it all day! 

Place the meat onto preheated grill (med/high heat). 

Grill until no longer pink in the center, approx 8 minutes per side. 

When finished, place pork on a plate, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. 

While meat is cooking bring the marinade to a boil on the stove, and simmer over medium heat, and stir until smooth. Pour sauce over sliced tenderloin to serve.

 Enjoy!!

Image

~gianna~

Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo

My beautiful, talented, amazing cousin, Rachele just had a brand new baby…… yesterday  (YAY!!!!)    So it’s only fitting I post about it now, since it came from her!  🙂  CONGRATS, MAMA!!!

I had been looking for a new shrimp recipe recently and my cousin  sent me this recipe for Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo.    I don’t think she had even tried it yet……when she first sent it to me, but I’m glad she did!!  My husband and I really enjoyed it, Ava only liked the shrimp part and Olivia didn’t like it at all.   So I guess you’ll have to make it for yourself and decide how you feel.   It was very simple, very filling, and very good too!

Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo

1 box (12 oz) fettuccini (I used plain, but you can use spinach too)

1 TBSP olive oil

1 small red onion (halved and sliced)

2 cloves of garlic

1 pound shrimp (cleaned, thawed and deveined)

2/3 cup Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 TBSP dill (chopped)

2 TBSP capers

2 TBSP lemon juice

Salt & Pepper to taste

******************************************

Cook pasta as package suggests — cook, drain and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat.

Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in shrimp, cream cheese, dill, capers, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Cooked 3-5 minutes or until shrimp are cooked.

Add pasta and reserved water to skillet.

Enjoy!

Image 26

~gianna~

Red Velvet Fudge Pie

As I’ve discussed previously, red velvet is my favorite dessert.  I love anything red velvet….so when I got this list of 30 red velvet recipes, I was ready to try them all!     I had already tried the Red Velvet Oreo Brownies and got rave reviews from everyone that tried them…but this one I just knew would be another crowd pleaser.     The perfect occasion to try it was on Valentine’s Day because well….it was Valentine’s Day, the day of everything chocolate and LOVE ❤  but also because my family would be celebrating my Dad’s birthday on Valentine’s Day this year.  He was going away for his actual birthday (yesterday).   He actually requested  “NO RED VELVET THIS YEAR!” and “SOMETHING MORE PLAIN!”…..so I did make him a regular boxed cake with cream cheese frosting.  I know…GASP…boxed cake.  but given we’d been snowed in for days and cooking and baking for most of them….I needed the comfort and ease of a plain white cake with cream cheese frosting.  Plus I also knew I’d be making the pie as a second dessert and it’d take some time!    HOLY COW!!!!  This pie was unreal!!!  Like don’t wait until next Valentine’s Day to make it……you need to make it now!  Like AS.  SOON.  AS.  POSSIBLE!  It’s that good!  Everyone loved it, including my Dad….who requested NO RED VELVET.  He actually went for a piece of the pie first!      It was simple and delicious.  I can’t wait to make another one…SOON!

The recipe came from HERE .  I follow her Facebook page and she always has some really amazing desserts and creative, fun things!  Check her out!!!

Red Velvet Fudge Pie

**The amount of cake batter makes 2 pies, but I only used half the batter and made 1 pie.  Saved the rest for a plain cake. BUT I used all the fudge topping!

Ingredients
1 box red velvet cake mix (3 eggs, 1/3 cup vegetable oil) 

1/2 cup butter

12 ounces mini  chocolate chips

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

2 refrigerated pie crusts (or homemade, your choice)

********************************************************************

Preheat oven to 350°

Unroll pie crust into pie pan.

Prepare cake mix according to instructions on back.

 Mix well and pour into refrigerated pie crust in pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until crusts are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

If crusts begin to brown before pie is done, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

In medium saucepan, combine butter, 10 ounces of chocolate chips (reserve some for garnish) and sweetened condensed milk.

Stir (medium heat) until smooth and pour over pies.

Garnish with extra chocolate chips!

Let cool completely.

ENJOY!!

Image 3

AMAZING!!!

Image

I didn’t let it cool long enough, which is why the chips melted, but it didn’t matter….it was still unreal!

~gianna~

Happy Valentine’s Day

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that we’ve been snowed in 2 days in a row….and we are going a little crazy.  I had wanted to make red velvet pancakes, but I didn’t have the stuff, so I had to just make regular pancakes.  My little Valentine’s loved them…..and it was a great start to another snow day!

I didn’t have any pancake mix so I made my own, dyed it red and made them heart shaped.  Voila!  Valentine’s Day breakfast!

Very simple, using ingredients most people have on hand and yummy (I don’t really eat pancakes, but my girls enjoyed them).

Valentine’s Day Pancakes

1 cup flour

2 TBSP sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup milk

1 egg

1 TBSP oil (I used canola)

2 TBSP butter (melted)

Red food coloring (I just added to get a red color)

*************************************************

Whisk ingredients in a large bowl.  

Grease and heat pan

Pour mix into a heart shaped cookie cutter.

Once pancake starts to bubble a decent amount, remove cookie cutter and flip pancake.  

Cook for another minute or two until the other side is a cooked thru….and gets a little brown.

Serve with your choice of toppings.  

Syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, fresh fruit….

ENJOY!

Image

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!

XOXOXOXOXOXO

~gianna~

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