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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Broccoli Salad

My high school friend Andrea invited our family over to watch some college football this past weekend and hang out with some other families.   They made some great kabobs and everyone brought a side dish to share.  One of the families brought a delicious Broccoli Salad..  Now, for those who know me, I can't stand to smell broccoli much less eat it.  But let me tell you, this salad was fantastic.  So thanks for the inspiration Melinda, here is my spin on Broccoli Salad.


2 heads of Broccoli
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 strips of cooked bacon cut into bite sized pieces
1 bottle of Sweet Vidalia Onion Salad Dressing ( I used Ken's brand)

Wash broccoli, chop into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add carrots, cheese and bacon.  Pour entire bottle of Sweet Vidalia Onion salad dressing in bowl and toss into your broccoli.  Place in a covered tupperware in the fridge until ready to serve.  I would let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours so that the dressing can marry with the veggies, so this is a definite "do ahead" dish. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

4 cups sweet potato, cubed

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 stick of butter (room temperature)

  • 1/2 cup cream or half and half

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  •  1/2 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

  •  1/4 cup orange juice

  •  PECAN TOPPING                   

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened

  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees . Put sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash. (note:  you can certainly use canned sweet potatoes for this recipe as well)               
    2. In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, maple syrup, eggs, salt, pumpkin pie spice, butter, cream, orange juice, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish.
    3. In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
    4. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Pumpkin Cake with Pecan Glaze

    Good Morning!  Well, weather has been a little chilly here in Florida... a crisp 70 degrees brrr..... lol....  Last night I made this AMAZING pumpkin cake and to make it even better, it was the easiest cake I've ever made!  You use a regular box cake mix and add a few special touches to it and voila!  It came out super moist and not overly sweet.  It's a winner for the family.

    Pumpkin Cake with Pecan Glaze

    For the Cake:
    1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree
    1 tbsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice
    1 Box Yellow Cake Mix

    For the Glaze:
    1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
    3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

    1 cup chopped pecans
    3 tblsp of Milk
    1/2 tsp Vanilla

    For this recipe, you will be using all the normal ingredients you would use in making your box cake, with the addition of the canned pumpkin and spices. 

    Empty the contents of the boxed cake mix and it's ingredients along with pumpkin puree into a large bowl.  Using a hand-mixer or stand mixer beat until well incorporated. The batter will be very thick, but will come together nicely.

    Pour batter into a greased 7 x 11 X 2 pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not over bake.
    Let cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then flip onto a platter.

    Make the glaze while you're waiting.

    Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, milk,  and  pumpkin pie spice.  Whisk until combined.  Glaze should be thick but pourable. Add more sugar or milk if needed. Add chopped pecans.  Pour over the cake while still warm. Reserve some to pour over each slice when served.

    Serve warm or room temperature. 

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Homemade Chocolate Syrup

    Mark and the kids are chocolate milk obsessed but these days, chocolate syrup can cost up to $4.00 or more.  So I found a recipe by Baby Good Buys and made it today.  Let me tell you......................... this is DELISH!  I find that it's better than the store bought version, it's half the price to make and it doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup.  You're family is gonna LOVE you.  This can also be drizzled on cakes, ice cream, anything you would normally drizzle syrup on.

    Homemade Chocolate Syrup Recipe

    Makes about 16 ounces (2 cups)
    • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 1 1/4 cups water
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • Dash salt
    • Use a big saucepan – at least 2 quarts. This will expand when boiling, and overflows will make a big mess on your stovetop!
    • Combine the cocoa powder, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix with a whisk until smooth.
    • Stir constantly with a whisk or a wooden spoon until it boils.
    • Allow it to boil for 3-5 minutes.
    • Remove from heat.
    • Allow to cool.
    • Add vanilla.
    • Syrup will be very thin/watery. Allow to cool completely and it will thicken to about the same consistency as store bought syrup.
    Store the syrup in a mason jar or any other container. It will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

    Note: I added a tablespoon per cup of milk to make chocolate milk. As with the brand-name chocolate syrup, you can experiment with the proportions to get the taste you’re looking for.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Made these wall letters for my great nephew Isaac. These are wooden letters decorated with printed scrap paper using mod podge technique.  I painted each letter with a coordinating color, then I traced each letter on the plain side of the scrap paper, cut them out carefully, then with mod podge, I used a sponge brush and brushed 2 coats of mod podge letting each coat dry in between.

    Saturday, July 2, 2011

    Mai Tai Tiki Popscicles (Adult Version)

    With summer upon us, and especially with the heat here in Florida, a refreshing homemade popscicle sure makes for a great snack.    I made these for Father's Day and the Adults loved them.   I altered the original recipe somewhat to accomodate what I had on hand and they came out great!  This recipe can certainly be done without the liquor in it and would taste just as delicious.  Keep in mind, too much liquor in these popscicles will not allow the liquid to freeze so it's best to just stick with the bare minimum on these.  The picture that I took of them, didn't actually turn out with my cheesy camera, so I took used the stock photo of them.  They came out really cute!!!


    Coconut Colada Layer

    1 container Fat Free piƱa colada or Key lime pie yogurt
    1/4 cup canned coconut milk, well stirred (not cream of coconut)
    1 teaspoon coconut rum

    Mango Mai Tai Layer

    1 cup frozen mango cubed
    3 tablespoons sugar
    ¾ cup mango nectar, chilled
    4 tablespoons coconut rum
    1 tablespoon Orange Liquor
    1 tablespoon Amaretto liquor
    1  tablespoons fresh lime juice

    Step One

    In small bowl, beat coconut colada layer ingredients with whisk until smooth. Divide mixture among eight 3-oz paper cups. Cover with foil; insert craft stick (flat wooden stick with round ends) through foil into center of pop. Freeze 2 to 3 hours or until frozen.

    Step Two

    Meanwhile, in blender, place mango mai tai layer ingredients. Cover; blend on medium speed about 45 seconds, stopping frequently to scrape sides, until smooth. Cover and refrigerate while waiting for first layer to freeze.

    Step Three

    When first layer is frozen, remove foil from pops. Pour mango mixture over frozen layer. Return foil to pops to help support sticks. Freeze about 8 hours or until frozen before serving. Store remaining pops covered in freezer.

    Saturday, May 28, 2011

    Jerk Chicken Casserole

    Being of hispanic decent, culturally, I usually make alot of spanish food.  I've been branching out in to different flavors and cultures and experimenting with a few recipies.  Here's a great one that was a big hit for the family.  Jerk Chicken Casserole.  While making this, my kitchen smelled AMAZING!  It has a sweet and slightly spicy blend of flavors.    The spice rub is what makes all the difference.  Hope you enjoy.  Let me know if you make it!


    Jerk Chicken Casserole

    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    3/4 teaspoon dried cumin
    1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
    6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
    1 can yams or sweet potatoes
    1/4 cup honey
    1/4 cup lime juice
    2 teaspoons all purpose flour or cornstarch                                       
    2 tablespoons sliced green onions (2 medium)

    1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. In small bowl, mix salt, pumpkin pie spice, allspice, cumin and red pepper. Rub mixture on all sides of chicken. In a nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in oil 2 to 3 minutes per side, until brown.
    2.  In baking dish, layer beans and sweet potato. Top with browned chicken. In small bowl, mix honey, lime juice and cornstarch/flour; add to skillet. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Pour over chicken in baking dish.
    3. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut  and sweet potatoes are fork tender. Sprinkle with green onions.
    This is a mild jerk chicken.  You can certainly add more red pepper or scotch bonnet peppers to add more heat according to your taste.  I paired this with some Garlic Parmesean Couscous and it went great!

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Easter Dinner Leftovers??

    Have Easter Dinner Ham leftover?  Here's a tip on how to use it up.

    Ham Breakfast Hash

    2 cups - Chopped Ham
    1 pkg -   Frozen Hash Browns (thawed)
    1/2 cup - Onions
    1/2 cup - Green bell pepper
    Salt and Pepper (to your liking)
    I use our latin Adobo but you can certainly use Cajun seasoning or whatever you prefer.

    Saute onions and green pepper in 2 tbsps of Olive Oil till soft, add hash browns and chopped ham.  Cook until golden brown.

    Serve with fried egg, poached egg or scrambled egg.  Makes a great quick brunch!

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Recipe for Shrimp and Shells

    One of the things that inspires me, (besides my family) is cooking for my friends and family.  I love trying out new recipies and I always ask for either a "thumbs up or thumbs down" and whether I should add it to my recipe box or not.  Here's one of the recipies that I got a definite "thumbs up" from the hubby.   He's a big seafood fan, I'm not but I do enjoy making seafood dishes for him. 



    1 lb     Pre-cooked deveined shrimp
    1 cup  Chopped yellow bell pepper
    1 cup  Chopped orange bell pepper
    1 container Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
    1 cup  Chopped Scallions (green onions)
    1 cup  Corn
    2 tbsp Olive Oil
    1 tbsp Salt
    1 tbsp Pepper
    1 tbsp Dried Oregano
    2 tbsp Dried Dillweed
    1 tsp   Garlic Salt
    1 cup  Sour Cream
    1 cup  Mayonaise
    1 lb     Shell Shaped Pasta

    Dressing:  Mix Mayo, Sour Cream, garlic salt, salt, pepper, olive oil, oregano and dillweed in a separate bowl.  Cover and refrigerate.  Meanwhile, boil pasta as instructed on box.  Once pasta is done, drain, let cool for about 15 min.  Once cool, add chopped peppers, scallions, corn, tomatoes and shrimp.  Add dressing (mayo mixture) and fold together.  This is served cold.  Place in airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 hrs or best overnight.  This can be made a day ahead. 

    You can certainly substitute the shrimp for crab, lobster or even chicken if you're not a seafood lover.