Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hearts of Fire Sparkling Cocktails

Lately I've been loving the taste of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky because of its sweet and strong 'hot cinnamon' flavor. I was first introduced to this liquor when a cocktail waitress suggested I try a concoction that she said tastes like an 'apple pie in a glass'. That drink consisted of apple beer and the cinnamon whisky. The waitress was so right. I was in love with that drink at first sip. From then on, I made sure to always have apple beer and cinnamon whisky in my home for when that 'apple pie cocktail' urge hits me!

Fast forward a few months...I was contacted by the Community Manager from The website makes wedding planning so very easy! Take a peek at all their super creative ideas and gorgeous photos! I was asked to create a romantic cocktail for the website. I gladly accepted the assignment and immediately knew I would incorporate the cinnamon whisky into my cocktail creation. So I put my thinking cap on and came up with this tasty little libation!

A delicious 'hot cinnamon' champagne cocktail to sip and enjoy with someone special! Make sure to savor every last drop so you can revel in the taste of the sweet cherries at the bottom!

Hearts of Fire Sparkling Cocktail
serving size - 1 drink

1/2 oz. Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
4 ozs. Pink Champagne - chilled
a splash of Grenadine syrup - chilled
2 maraschino cherries
confetti heart cake sprinkles - garnish

Place 2 maraschino cherries at the bottom of each champagne glass.
Slowly pour the cinnamon whisky, pink champagne
and grenadine into each glass.
Sprinkle the top of each cocktail with
 a few heart shaped cake sprinkles.
Sip and enjoy!

This post belongs to the My Recipe Journey website.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Flip Flop Sandwiches!

These are just so easy to make and so darn cute! My family thought it was very creative. I made these using sliced turkey breast, American cheese and mustard. And some where made with ham and cheese. The green straps and orange colored embellishments are sliced green onions and carrots. The flip flop shape is created easily by using a cookie cutter. I never realized there are so many different kinds of cookie cutter shapes! I think you can find just about any shape you'll need here at Karen's Cookies. That's where I bought my flip flop cookie cutter for only $1.99 plus shipping.

 I wish I could take credit for these adorable little sandwiches, but I'm not that artistically inclined! I found this sandwich idea on a blog called Pretti Mini. They made their flip flop sandwiches for a little girls 'Enchanted Spa Party'. Her themed parties are truly amazing! Go check out all the cute party ideas on that website!

Flip Flop Sandwiches

sliced bread - white or wheat
sliced deli meats/cold cuts of your choice
mustard or mayo
sliced cheese of your choice
green onion tops - cut into thin strips
baby carrots - cut into thin rounds
flip flop shaped cookie cutter

Make sandwiches as you normally would.
Then press the cookie cutter into the center of each sandwich
 making sure to cut all the way through the sandwich.
Remove cookie cutter carefully.
Remove the flip flop shaped sandwich from the center
and place on a platter.
Don't throw away the extra sandwich pieces.
Cut them into small squares and serve as tea/finger sandwiches.
Take 2 strips of green onion and have the 2 pieces meet at one end.
Place the 2 strips that meet at the top of the flip flop.
Top with a carrot round where the green onion meet and push
a toothpick completely through the carrot, green onion strips and the sandwich.
Spread out the green onion strips to form a V shape for flip flop straps.
Trim whatever hangs over the sides with kitchen scissors.
Serve and enjoy!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Bacon Grilled Cheese Roll Ups - Baked

This is for all the grilled cheese lovers out there! Another fun way to make a classic grilled cheese sandwich, but with an added bonus of crispy bacon! I think this would also be great served as horderves at parties! Now, I know that grilled cheese sandwiches are usually 'grilled', hence the name, but I baked mine in the oven to make it a little easier. Each roll up consists of 1 piece of sliced white bread(crust removed), 1 slice of American cheese and 1 strip of bacon(cooked half way).

Place a piece of cheese on a slice of bread, roll it up, wrap the slightly cooked bacon around it, secure each end with toothpicks, place on a baking sheet, bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then let cool slightly, remove toothpicks and serve warm.

My hubby found this recipe on Facebook. I think men are just naturally drawn to any food photos with bacon! I then traced the recipe back to this food blog called
Spend with Pennies. I'm a huge fan of that blog!
 Lots of yummy very cool recipes in there...check it out! And read the comments posted by her readers who have tried different variations of this recipe.
Here is how I made the Bacon Grilled Cheese Roll Ups...
Bacon Grilled Cheese Roll Ups - Baked

6 slices white bread-crusts removed
6 strips of bacon-cooked half way
6 slices American cheese
12 toothpicks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Slightly flatten each piece of white bread.
Place a slice of American cheese on each slice of bread.
Tightly roll each slice of bread with the cheese.
Wrap each roll with a slice of the precooked bacon
and secure each end of the bacon through the roll with a toothpick.
Place on a baking sheet and bake on middle rack uncovered for
20 minutes or until bacon is crisp and bread has browned.
Allow to cool slightly before removing toothpicks.
Serve warm.
Serves 2-3 people

Monday, July 28, 2014

Where's the Crust Pizza?

I know this looks like your average homemade pizza, but don't let that fool you! The ingredients that make up this crust are the complete opposite of traditional pizza dough, but it totally works! I don't know is very scientific sometimes, I know! In this crust is cream cheese, eggs, grated parmesan cheese, garlic powder and pepper. That's it! The flavor is very yummy and cheesy, which I like. It's not a dry crunchy crust. Only the edges have a slight crisp to them. The crust is nice and thin. The flavor of this pizza reminds me of lasagna. We love this pizza and I've made it often. But you need to make the crust and let it cool completely and until it firms up before adding the toppings of sauce, cheese and sausage or whatever other toppings you like. The first time I made this pizza I didn't do that and we couldn't pick up each slice. It was basically a soupy mess...a delicious mess though! Then after it's baked you need to let it cool slightly again before serving or it will be too mushy to eat.

This is the crust after it's baked and cooled and
before the sauce and toppings are added.

I found this very cool recipe *here* and made it as written except I tweaked the direction to simplify them and to include the part about letting the crust cool
before topping and baking again. Give this recipe a try. It's so worth it!
Where's the Crust Pizza?

8 oz. cream cheese - I used fat free
2 large eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 cup pizza sauce
2 cups smoked sausage - diced or
other toppings of your choice
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 9" x 13" casserole baking pan.
In a medium size bowl mix together the crust
 ingredients until thoroughly combined.
Evenly spread the crust mixture into the baking pan.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are nicely browned.
Remove from oven and let crust cool completely,
at least 30 - 40 minutes.
Then add the pizza sauce, diced smoked sausage
 or other toppings.
Sprinkle evenly with the shredded mozzarella.
Bake again for 10 minutes or until cheese browns.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly
before slicing and serving.
Serves 4

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Greek Burgers!

Or Gyro Burgers...or Greek Gyro Burgers! I wasn't sure what to name this delicious creation! How I came up with this one was to just take my favorite Greek Gyro Recipe and tweak it into a burger version! I'm on a burger journey these days. I've written about quite a few tasty and unique burgers that I've tried such as Grilled Asian Burgers... Cheesy Taco Burger...Smoky Spicy Turkey Burger and Quinoa Burgers. I loved all of those and now this Greek burger will be on the menu for a long time! I baked this burger in the oven but it would be even more delicious grilled! So try it either way!

I loved the garlic, onion and oregano that is minced and mixed into the meat. And the creamy, garlicky, feta dressing just ties it all together to give it that Greek Gyro taste. This is so much easier than making a gyro and less messy to eat!

Greek Burgers

1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 large onion - chopped
2 large cloves garlic - chopped
2 tbls. real bacon bits - jarred
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
8 burger buns
lettuce & tomato - for topping

Place the chopped onion, garlic and bacon bits 
into a food processor and mince finely.
In a large bowl add the minced ingredients into
 the beef and pork. Season with the salt, pepper and oregano.
Mix until well combined. Then form into 8 equal burger patties.
Cover and let chill for a few hours
to let the flavors absorb into the meat.
These burgers can either be grilled on a barbecue
or baked in the oven at 400 degrees for about
 30 minutes or until cooked through.
While the patties are chilling make the feta dressing.

 Feta Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbls. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbls. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
2 cloves garlic - chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
6 oz. container crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

Dressing Directions:
In a food processor puree the first 9 dressing ingredients.
Then add in the sour cream and pulse to mix well.
You want a nice thick dressing so it will stay on top of the burgers.

When burgers are cooked place in burger buns
 and top with feta dressing, thin sliced tomatoes and lettuce.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cabbage Casserole

This is an easy and delicious recipe that I found on one of my favorite recipe sites called 'All Free Casserole Recipes'. You can find just about any recipe you can think of on that food site. I made this recipe as soon as I saw it...I tweaked it slightly, of course, just to simplify the directions and ingredients. Oh, and to add more garlic...*smiles*

This cabbage casserole is creamy, cheesy and hearty.
 Use it as a side dish or serve it as a main dish, like I did.
Here is my version...
Cabbage Casserole

1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 head green cabbage, cored and chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup sour cream - I used fat free
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a very large pan, brown beef with onions and garlic
over medium heat until meat is well done.
Then add the cabbage, stir and cook until cabbage is tender.
Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Remove from heat and add in the sour cream and cheddar cheese, mixing well.
Pour this mixture evenly into a greased 12" x 9" casserole pan.
Bake uncovered for 35 - 40 minutes or until well browned.
Let rest for about 15 minutes to set.
Serve warm.
Serves 4 - 6 as a main dish

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Meatball Hero on a Stick

This is such a fun idea! Also, delicious of course! Oh, and very easy to make because the meatballs are skewered onto the sticks while raw! So everything is baked in about 15 minutes! This is perfect for lunch or as an appetizer. I actually served it for dinner with a salad. All I did was use my favorite meatball recipe, along with my favorite tomato sauce recipe to create this very unique and yummy meal. The bread part is just Pillsbury breadstick dough. You know, the kind you get in those cardboard tubes that you peel and crack open on the countertop! To make it even easier you can use store bought, premade, meatballs and jarred sauce.

Ready to be baked!
You just skewer the raw (or thawed, store bought) meatballs onto the sticks with the breadstick dough, as shown above. Then bake at 375 degrees F on a parchment lined cookie sheet until the meatballs are cooked and dough is browned. Remove from oven and add shredded mozzarella while still hot. Serve with warm tomato sauce for dipping. My family loved these. They were very impressed by the presentation! Not the same old, same old meatball hero! 
This would be fun to serve at parties!

I found this recipe on a food blog called Cookies & Cups. She used a turkey meatball recipe for hers! Go check it out because I don't have my meatball recipe posted yet! Come to think of it, I also don't have my tomato sauce recipe posted yet! I know...I know...I need to do that someday! I promise I will!

Meatball Hero on a Stick

36 small meatballs, raw or thawed store bought
1 can Pillsbury Original Breadsticks, 12 count
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2-3 cups warm marinara sauce for dipping
12 long wooden skewers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Open the can of breadstick dough and separate each breadstick.
Lightly stretch each breadstick piece.
Take a skewer and starting with one piece of the dough,
 skewer one end onto the stick.
Then add a meatball. Fold the dough over the meatball
and skewer it. Do this until you have 3 meatballs weaved
onto each stick.
Leave space in between meatballs and dough
so that dough can expand while baking.
Repeat with all 12 sticks.
I was able to fit 6 meatball skewers onto each cookie sheet,
leaving room between each stick for expansion during baking.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked
and dough has browned nicely.
Then remove from oven and while still hot,
add shredded mozzarella onto each meatball.
Mozzarella should melt within a few minutes.
Serve warm with warm marinara sauce for dipping.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Venezuelan Hot Dogs

I recently had the pleasure of doing a cooking episode
on the Better Show with Chef George Duran. I was asked to make my recipe for
Hot Dog Onions and George made some Big Smoky Burgers!
It was a fun experience because George and the crew made me feel very welcomed!
During the filming George mentioned to me that he had a very good hot dog recipe called Venezuelan Hot Dogs. By the way, George is Venezuelan so he knows what he's talking about! I was intrigued by the combination of ingredients. I knew I would be making his recipe real soon...and I did!
I was trying to imagine what this recipe would taste like. I love all the ingredients but I just couldn't think of what they would be like on a hot dog! Well, it was delicious! It tastes like you're eating a hot dog with coleslaw and French fries in every bite! And boy, you really need to take a big bite! There's a whole lot of stuff going on with these hot dogs and we loved all of it! My family gave it 5 stars and believe me, they're a tough crowd!
This recipe will be on the menu for my July 4th barbecue!
Thank you George!
Venezuelan Hot Dogs

green cabbage
potato chips, crushed
Click **here** for complete recipe and directions.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

3 Ingredient Oatmeal Cookies

This is the kind of recipe that keeps me hooked on recipes because it's such a gem! I love finding these simple tasty recipes! These cookies are perfect, quick, easy, delicious, healthy and guilt free! Not to mention that they are soft, bite sized little cuties...Only about an inch and a half in diameter! So fun to just pop into your mouth! Goes so well with a glass of cold milk or a cup of hot coffee/tea. These cookies don't need anything except the 3 ingredients listed! The banana and chocolate chips are just the right amount of sweetness!

Ready to be baked!

I found this lovely cookie recipe on a site called 'Trick and Treat'. This recipe is all 'Treat' and no 'Trick'. This is a must try! I had these baked and ready to eat in about 25 minutes from start to finish! Here is how it goes...

3 Ingredient Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup instant oatmeal
1/2 cup peeled, mashed, very ripe bananas = 2 bananas
4 tbls. mini chocolate chips - I used semi sweet

Preheat oven to 360 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl mix together all the ingredients thoroughly.
Using a tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop dough into a ball
and place on cookie sheet. Flatten lightly into a disc.
Do this for all the cookies.
Bake for 15 minutes or until firm.
Let cool before serving.
Makes 18 small bite sized cookies.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Crispy Oven Roasted Parmesan Potatoes Over Chicken

Are you drooling yet? Don't you just want to take a fork and grab a piece? You may remember a very similar recipe from **this** post that I showed you last week. Well, I took that recipe one step further and turned it from a potato side dish to a main course. How, you ask? If you look closely at these photos you will see seasoned thin sliced pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breast under those crispy parmesan potatoes! That chicken was so tender and juicy! And that broth has tons of flavor! You'll be tilting your plate and slurping that broth like it's a bowl of soup...when no one is looking, of course! I'll be making these potatoes like this from now on! Serve this with a green veg on the side and you have a complete meal.

Crispy Oven Roasted Parmesan Potatoes Over Chicken

  4 large russet potatoes, peeled
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided in half
1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided in half
1 teaspoon onion powder, divided in half
 15 oz. can fat free beef broth
2 Tablespoons of butter
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin bite sized pieces
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
kosher salt
black pepper
chopped fresh parsley, garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubes and coat with the 
olive oil and half the pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
In a medium sized pot simmer the beef broth and butter.
Then add the coated potatoes and bring to a boil for 8 minutes.
Season the chicken pieces with the other half of the pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
Also lightly season the chicken pieces
with kosher salt and pepper.
Grease a 12"x 9" glass baking pan.
Evenly spread out the seasoned chicken pieces
in the bottom of that pan.
Now pour the boiled potatoes and the broth mixture
evenly over the chicken pieces.
 Top with the grated cheese.
Bake uncovered on middle rack for 50- 60 minutes
or until nicely browned.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
Serve warm with pan juices.
Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Crispy Oven Roasted Parmesan Potatoes

The title of this recipe made me so hungry as soon as I read it! Then when I saw the description I knew I had to try it..."Crispy on the outside & soft inside." That's my kind of potato side dish! I found this recipe **here**

These potatoes have a unique taste! It's a taste that makes you think 'hmmmm, what is that buttery, beefy flavor?' Well, that's because the potatoes are boiled in a butter, beef broth mixture after they are coated with olive oil , garlic powder, onion powder and pepper. A very interesting technique. Then they are baked with the broth mixture and some grated parmesan cheese until they get that nice crispy exterior. I tweaked the recipe very slightly.

Here is how I made these oh so yummy potatoes...

Crispy Oven Roasted Parmesan Potatoes

6 Medium Potatoes, peeled - I used 4 large russet potatoes
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 cups Beef or Chicken Broth - I used a 15 oz. can fat free beef broth
2 Tablespoons of butter
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Kosher salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubes and coat with
olive oil, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
In a medium sized pot simmer the beef broth and butter.
Then add the coated potatoes and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
Now pour the boiled potatoes and the broth mixture into a 12"x 9"
glass baking pan. Mix in the grated cheese and spread
the potatoes out into a single layer.
Bake uncovered on middle rack for 50- 60 minutes or until nicely browned.
Turn the potatoes with a spatula after 30 minutes of baking.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with kosher salt to taste.
Serve warm.
Makes 4 servings.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Grilled Shrimp Greek Pitas

I love quick, easy, delicious grill recipes! Especially when there's no messy grill to clean! This recipe is made using Reynold's® foil packets. I did have a messy grill that I had to clean before I grilled my shrimp because I didn't clean it the last time I used it...ooopsy! Check out this tip on how to easily clean your grill using only a ball of Reynold's® foil. I tried it and it worked great! No more grungy grill brushes for me. Look at my nice clean grill...
This recipe was done in less than 30 minutes, grilled inside this foil packet. Grilling ingredients in foil packets is so much fun because it's like opening a food gift full of yumminess! The shrimp stayed moist. The veggies steamed perfectly. The flavors were so light and fresh. And the yogurt sauce gave it an extra burst of flavor and was so simple to make. 
Place ingredients in center of foil
Fold up the foil to make a cute package

After it's grilled carefully open the packet to reveal the yumminess.
Look at all the juices inside the packet!

This recipe was created by Reynold's® wrap. I tweaked their recipe slightly to suit my families tastes. But check out their version **here** where they use salmon.
Here is my finished version of the Reynold's® recipe.
Grilled Shrimp Greek Pitas
Click **here** for my recipe version.
If you would like info on how to become an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador
click **here**

Friday, June 6, 2014

Seared Pork Chops with Onion Cream Sauce

I hope you're not tired of seeing all these different pork recipes I've been posting lately! I can't help it...I just love pork chops! And I also love creamy recipes! Plus this recipe was so easy! It's a win, win all around! I served these chops with couscous because I knew the sauce would be perfect with it...and it was! These pork chops are so tender and the sauce is not only oniony and creamy, but it also has a hint of Dijon mustard...yum! You'll want to make this once a week after you try it. Yes, that's what I've been doing for the past month! I brined my boneless center-cut pork chops for 8 hours before searing them, but use bone-in chops if you're not brining them. Bone-in tend to be more flavorful and more tender than boneless.

Seared Pork Chops with Onion Cream Sauce

4-6 center-cut brined boneless pork chops or
use un-brined bone-in chops
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Mix together the garlic powder, onion powder and pepper.
Season both sides of pork chops with this seasoning mixture.
Heat a nonstick grill pan on medium heat.
Add 1 Tbls. olive oil to the grill pan.
Place the seasoned pork chops in the hot grill pan. If making 6 chops
you will probably need to do this in 2 batches as to not crowd the pan.
Add 1 Tbls. olive oil to the pan for every 3-4 chops.
Sear the chops for 3 minutes, then turn them over
 and sear for another 3 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the seared chops, side by side in a baking pan.
Bake uncovered on middle rack for
about 20 minutes or until chops are cooked through.
While the chops are baking make the cream sauce.

1 large onion, sliced thin
1 Tbls. Dijon mustard
1 Tbls. olive oil
1 cup chicken broth, low sodium
1/4 cup lite cream
1/4 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
1 Tbls. corn starch
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

In the same grill pan used to sear the chops
 add 1 Tbls. olive oil over medium heat.
Add the thin sliced onions to the pan and stir/sauté
until the onions are tender and lightly browned.
Now add the Dijon mustard and stir to combine.
Cook for a few minutes, then stir in the chicken broth.
Bring to a boil and let the mixture reduce for about 3 minutes.
Stir in the lite cream and let it reduce for another 3 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
If you want a thicker sauce whisk in 1 Tbls. of cornstarch.
To serve place the onion cream sauce in center of plate
 and top with cooked pork chops. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
I served mine with couscous,
but would also work well with potatoes or a green veg.

Recipe adapted from Chef Johnny Prep


Friday, May 23, 2014

Baked Eggplant and Tomato Stacks

#baked #eggplant #tomato #stacks #cheese #appetizer #sidedish
I decided to give this a try because I had an extra eggplant leftover from a previous recipe. This reminds me of a lighter and fresher version of eggplant parmesan. Much quicker to make and a whole lot healthier because it doesn't contain breadcrumbs and tons of cheese. Also, nothing is fried. All the yummy flavors of the eggplant and tomatoes shine through! Serve warm as a side dish or appetizer. This even tastes great cold with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

#baked #eggplant #tomato #cheese #appetizer #sidedish #stacks
Baked Eggplant and Tomato Stacks

1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/4" thick rounds
2 very large beef steak tomato, cut into 1/4" thick rounds
Try to have equal slices of eggplant and tomatoes.
Olive oil
kosher salt
grated parmesan cheese
shredded mozzarella
fresh chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the eggplant slices on a baking tray.
Spread out the slices so that they don't overlap.
Lightly brush with olive oil and lightly sprinkle
with salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered on middle rack
for about 12 minutes or until tender.
Then top each slice of baked eggplant with a slice of tomato.
Lightly sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarella.
Bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese browns.
Serve warm with fresh chopped parsley sprinkled on top.
Can also be served cold with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Serves about 6-8 people

This post belongs to My Recipe Journey food blog.