Friday, November 11, 2011

pomegranate salad

A wonderful addition to any dinner!!
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
2 heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar
1 dash of pure vanilla extract
1 cup pomegranate arils
2 apples, diced
2 bananas, sliced

Add the sugar and vanilla to the whipped cream, Taste to make sure sweetness is good, if needed add more powdered sugar. Mix the fruit and creammtogether and serve... ENJOY!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

crock pot sweet potatoes

A great addtion to any Thanksgiving or dinner table!!

8-10 sweet potatoes, chopped into 1' cubes
4 apples, chopped into 1' cubes
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoons ground clove
salt and pepper to taste

Place apples and sweet potatoes in a crock pot or slow cooker. Mix maple syrup, melted butter and cream and pour over. Combine spices and brown sugar and sprinkle on top of the potatoes and apples. Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. If you like the marshmallow topping on your sweet potatoes about 30 minutes before serving, liberally sprinkle mini marshmallows over the sweet potatoes and recover. Serve and ENJOY!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

shrimp and steak kabobs

A yummy surf and turf for your bbq!!

2 lb. beef sirloin steak, cut into 1 inch squares
1/2 lb. mushrooms, cleaned
1 Green, Red and Yellow Bell pepper, cut into 1 inch squares
1 Sweet Onion, cut into 1 inch squares
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

Basting Sauce
1/4 c. melted butter
2 tbsp. white wine
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Alternately thread steak cubes, shrimp, mushrooms, peppers and onions on 4 metal 12 inch skewers. Mix together basting sauce. Cook kabobs over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, basting with butter mixture occasionally. Enjoy!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

summertime corn and avocado salad

Fresh and delicious, the perfect side for any summertime barbecue!!

6 ears corn
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 large avocado, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot of boiling water, cook corn until warmed through, 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water until cool. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, onion, avocado, and basil in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients to make the vinaigrette, whisking until blended. Cut corn kernels off cobs and add to salad, then pour in vinaigrette and toss gently to combine.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

rice crispy ice cream sandwiches

A fun twist on a favorite summertime treat!!
4 tablespoons butter
1 bag of marshmallows (10 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups crisped rice cereal
1 quart of your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt

Coat a 9- by 13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set the pan aside. Coat a medium saucepan with nonstick cooking spray and melt the butter and marshmallows in it over medium-low heat, stirring continuously. Stir in the vanilla extract. Add the cereal. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the mixture until it forms a large ball.  Spoon and press the mixture into the 9- by 13-inch pan. Chill the pan for 10 minutes. Then cut the crisped rice treats into twelve 2-inch squares. Peel the container away from the ice cream. Working on a waxed-paper covered surface, slice the ice cream into six 2- by 2- by 1-inch blocks with a warm knife. Sandwich each one between 2 crispy squares and lightly press the layers together. Enjoy!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

renee's summer old fashioned peach ice cream

As soon as it's peach season my boys ask for this.  It is amazing and it will quickly become a favorite at your home too!!

2 1/2 pounds fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
1 pint half-and-half cream
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk, or as needed

Blanch ripe peaches in boiling water and peel.  Puree peaches with the sugar and half-and-half in small batches in a blender or food processor. In a gallon ice cream freezer container, mix together the peach mixture, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Pour in enough whole milk to fill the container to the fill line, roughly 2 cups. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to freeze the ice cream.  Enjoy!!

zabaione (italian cutard)

This is an easy and amazing dessert that I had several times in Italy, you will love it!! Buon Appetito!!

6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
18 Tbl Marsala wine

Beat the yolks and the sugar until the mixture is palest yellow tending towards white, then beat in the Marsala and cook over a double boiler. Do not let it reach a boil, but remove it from the fire as soon as it thickens. When it has cooled to merely warm, you can, if you like, fold in an egg white beaten to very firm peaks. Serve over fresh berries and sprinkle with nutmeg!!

strawberry italian ice

This is perfect for a hot summer day and so refreshing you might just skip the ice cream!!

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
1-1/2 teaspoons finely shredded lime peel
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 cups sliced fresh strawberries

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, water, and peels. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Strain and discard peels. Stir in orange, lemon, and lime juices. In a blender container or food processor bowl combine half of the juice mixture and half of the strawberries. Cover and blend or process with several on/off turns or until nearly smooth (leave some small chunks of strawberries). Transfer to a 2-quart freezer container. Repeat with remaining juice mixture and strawberries. Cover and freeze 6 hours or overnight, stirring once after freezing for 3 hours. To serve, scrape across frozen mixture with a large spoon and place into individual serving dishes (if mixture is too firm, let stand at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes). Makes about 8 servings.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

turkish meat shish kebab marinade's

While at The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey we stopped at this little Turkish cafe and had a variety of grilled Turkish meats, vegetables and bread!  It was fun to try authentic foods from the region and the meats were marinated all so differently. Below are several choice's for all kids of meats... Tadını çıkar!!

2 lbs cubed chicken breast
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Allow chicken to marinate for 2-24 hours, covered in the refrigerator.

4-6 chicken breasts
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, juice of
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated onion

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Add chicken, cover & refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. Grill, broil or bake chicken as desired.

1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Lemon Lemon Juice
2 Onions -- crushed
2 Bay Leaves
2 Teaspoons Dried Rigani
2 Large Tomatoes -- crushed
Salt And Pepper -- to taste

Marinate choice of meats and vegetables 4-12 hours, the longer the better, grill on skewers or under broiler.

1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2 Large Onions -- crush
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
Salt And Pepper -- to taste

Marinate choice of meats and vegetables 4-12 hours, the longer the better, grill on skewers or under broiler.

1/2 Cup Yogurt
1 Large Onion -- crushed
Salt And Pepper -- to taste

Marinate choice of meats and vegetables 4-12 hours, the longer the better, grill on skewers or under broiler.

tava (turkish stew)

An easy and yummy Turkish delight :)

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 (12 ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (6 ounce) jar mushrooms, drained
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 (16 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium casserole dish. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the chicken until juices run clear. Puree the roasted red peppers in a blender or food processor until smooth. In the prepared casserole dish, mix the cooked chicken, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

bazlama... turkish flat bread

In Turkey the food was always accompanied by this amazing flat is soooo yummy!
1 1/2 cups flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tbs  yeast (less if very active yeast)

Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.  Dissolve yeast in the water then add to flour mixture and mix until a soft dough is formed.  Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead for 4-5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Place in a lightly oiled or floured bowl, cover with lightly oiled plastic film and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
Divide in four and press or roll out to 10cm rounds. Heat a large flat-based pan over a medium heat.  Lightly oil the pan and cook bazlama for 4-5 minutes.  Turn over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

baklava (traditional greek pastry)

While in Athens we visited this awesome bakery and had the most amazing baklava!  It was the best I had ever had so fresh, sweet and nutty... I crave it everyday!!  απολαύσει!!

4 c. walnuts, finely chopped or ground
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
1 lb. filo pastry sheets
1 c. butter, melted
Honey syrup

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease an 11 x 17 x 1 1/2 inch pan. Mix ground walnuts with sugar, spices and lemon rind in medium bowl. Cut filo sheets to fit pan. Keep filo sheets moist and flexible by covering with a damp cloth. Brush 12 filo sheets lightly with melted butter and place in bottom of pan. Spread 1 cup of walnut mixture over top sheet. Cover with 4 sheets of filo after brushing each with butter. Then repeat layers.  Make top layer with 8 sheets of filo after brushing each with remaining butter. With small, sharp knife, cut lengthwise through first layer to make strips 1 1/2 inches wide. Then make diagonal cuts 2 inches apart in top layer to form diamonds. Bake on rack above center of oven for 1 hour, until well browned.

Remove from oven and cut through the first cuts, cutting to the bottom of the pan. Spread top with cold honey syrup (use recipe below). Let stand until completely cold before removing from pan.


1 c. honey
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Combine honey, sugar and water in small saucepan. Heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Cool thoroughly before using. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

mussels & pernod cream sauce

While in Nice, France we had lunch at this charming little cafe and I had the most amazing mussels!!  They were in a Pernod cream sauce and I have been dreaming about them ever since.  They are a great main course or appetizer :) Jouir de!!

1 Tbsp butter
1 fennel bulb
2 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bottle white wine
1/2 cup good quality heavy cream
2 tsp Pernod (French licorice flavored liqueur)
1 bag mussels
Kosher Salt
Fresh ground pepper

Clean mussels completely, you can find the how to here...(

In a large pot, melt butter and cook fennel and shallots over low heat with a little salt until soft, about five minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook. Season with salt and pepper. Add Pernod and reduce. Add white wine and cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add mussels and cover. Once they begin to open, remove them one at a time with a slotted spoon into a bowl. Pour sauce over mussels and serve. Jouir de!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

spaghetti carbonara

My favorite meal in Italy had to be the Spaghetti Carbonara I had at this quaint little cafe in Tessera outside of Venice....  it was amazing and I want to go back!!

1 pound spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 slices bacon, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain well. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and set aside. Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook chopped bacon until slightly crisp; remove and drain onto paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat; add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and heat in reused large skillet. Add chopped onion, and cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add minced garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Add wine if desired; cook one more minute. Return cooked bacon to pan; add cooked and drained spaghetti. Toss to coat and heat through, adding more olive oil if it seems dry or is sticking together. Add beaten eggs and cook, tossing constantly with tongs or large fork until eggs are barely set. Quickly add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and toss again. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that bacon and Parmesan are very salty). Serve immediately with chopped parsley sprinkled on top, and extra Parmesan cheese at table. Buon appetito!

prosciutto & brie panino (panini)

While in Rome I noticed all these amazing sandwich carts that offered fresh panini's and other yummy "street/fast" food. I had several and quickly feel in love with the Prosciutto and Brie panini... it was amazing and so fresh!!

2 slices thinly sliced good crusty bread
3 slices brie cheese
4 pieces prosciutto

Place prosciutto on bottom piece of bread, top with cheese and second piece of bread. Putting the cheese on top allows it to melt into the rest of the sandwich rather than just out and onto the grill. Coat grill or panini press with olive oil and grill sandwich until golden brown... Enjoy!!

greek tomato & cucumber salad

I had this salad when I was in Greece several times and it quickly became a favorite, you'll love it too!!

2 ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 large cucumber, chopped and halved
1/4 Kalamtata Olives
2 T Capers
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
1 slice Greek Feta, triangled
2 T Olive Oil
Fresh lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp.lemon zest

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately... ENJOY!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

crockpot corned beef & cabbage

On St. Patrick's Day this is a MUST but it's also a family favorite on cold nights :)

4 medium yellow potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch wedges
1 cup baby carrots
1 medium onion, cut into 6 wedges
1 corned beef brisket with seasoning packet about 2 1/2 pounds
1 cup water
3 wedges green cabbage

Place potatoes, carrots and onion in bottom of crock pot and top with corned beef; sprinkle with contents of seasoning packet and add water. Cover and cook on LOW heat setting 10 hours. Add cabbage wedges on top and cook for additional 2 hours or until cabbage is crisp-tender. Cut corned beef across grain into thin slices. With draining spoon, remove vegetables from crockpot and if you want to make gravy, skim fat from juices and prepare gravy. Enjoy!!