Sicilian Chicken Soup

Fall is my favorite season! Gorgeous colored leaves, apple cider, football, hockey, boots…a long list of seasonal favorites that includes soup for the soul. 

Inspired by Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Spicy Sicilian Chicken Soup.  A warm bowl of deliciousness! I printed a copy cat recipe, doubt it will be “exactly” like theirs. Similar ingredients along with some cooking confidence, it tastes amazing.

Whether you’re a chicken noodle kind of lover, creamy or vegetable soup lover…there’s just something about soup that’s good for your soul.

Ingredients: 3 chicken breasts – 6 to 8 cups of water – one 14.5 oz can chicken broth – 1 yellow onion finely chopped – 3 celery ribs diced – 3 carrots diced – 1 green bell pepper – 2 medium russet potatoes peeled & diced – one 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes – 1/2 cup fresh parsley – 3 garlic cloves pressed or diced – kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste – half box ditalini pasta cooked & set aside

Directions: 

  • In a slow cooker add chicken breast, water, chicken broth, onion, celery, carrots and diced tomatoes (whole can with juice), garlic, parsley and 2 teaspoons salt and pepper
  • Cook on low for 6 hours, remove chicken breasts and shred, place back in the soup. Add potatoes and pasta, allow to cook/simmer additional hour. Note: I peeled & boiled potatoes, cooled down and slightly mashed for pieces.
  • Modified ingredients
  • Tastes better the 2nd day : )

#comfortfood #emmmsoup  

Creamy Cole Slaw

This is my Grandmom’s recipe — I can hear her southern accent calling it “slaw”. Her laugh was contagious, stories were funny and her slaw was a tradition passed down.

I love a side of good coleslaw with seafood, ham, burgers, ribs (anything barbecue) and Thanksgiving dinner. For our family, Grandmom’s slaw became a holiday tradition!  I sat with my Mom and Grandmom shredding an enormous amount of cabbage & carrots the day before Thanksgiving….for years. 

Grandmom always added raisins. My older sister disliked having raisins combined so we made a separate bowl without too. It wasn’t until years later, I realized everyone’s idea of dressing does not include mayonnaise.

I find myself shredding a small portion throughout the year for home made happiness on the side. Serves 4-6 people, depending on portion. This recipe is definitely creamy with a slight crunch. 

#southernslaw #tradition #sidesalad 🥕

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium cabbage head, shredded
  • 1 1/2 to 2 fresh carrots, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ounce small box of raisins, optional

Directions: 

Remove outer layers of cabbage. Cut into 4 pieces. Shred cabbage (watch your fingers), place into medium/large mixing bowl. Rinse and peel carrots, shred and combine with cabbage. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise & vinegar stir and then add sugar. Mix well. Pour dressing over the cabbage and carrots, stir together. Allow to refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Optional: for extra creamy coleslaw, allow to marinate overnight.

Smokey Gouda Mac n’ Cheese

Cheese…yes please! Smoked gouda might just be my new favorite. A creamy texture and hickory flavor that melts beautifully.

I’ve made the same 5 cheese macaroni n’ cheese recipe for years…thanks to Patti LaBelle. It is delicious however, it’s time to switch it up.

A tad reluctant while whisking the flour & butter. It crossed my mind, what if we don’t like it? My motto is, try it! If you don’t like it, spit it out into a napkin but at least you can say you tried it. Something I taught my son while growing up.

The View from Great Island originated the recipe however, I modified this macaroni & cheese recipe to my taste.

I will definitely make this again! The smoked gouda gave a hint of flavor different to cheddar and it was amazing. We all went back for seconds… it’s all Gouda 😀😋

#sundaydinner #itsallgouda #cheeseplease

Ingredients:

  • – 3 cups cooked macaroni, follow instructions on box
  • – 2 TBSP all purpose flour
  • – 1 TSP salt and pepper
  • – 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • – 2 cups smoked Gouda, shredded
  • – 2 to 2 1/2 cups of milk
  • – 1 egg, slightly beaten

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 350. Melt 2 tbsp butter in saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour, whisk together; stir constantly. Add the milk and whisk to combine over heat and simmer. Over low heat or remove saucepan from stove top, begin adding the shredded Gouda. Handful or so at a time, stir until melted and repeat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook pasta, al dente. Drain. Whisk or beat egg, pour into bowl with cooked pasta, stir until combined.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine cooked pasta with melted cheese mixture. Stir. Pour into a baking dish or individual dishes. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly.
  • * Optional – After cooking macaroni, I add extra butter. Stir until melted and then add egg. Sprinkle shredded cheese to top and broil until golden brown*

Goose Island Brewhouse – Philly

Happy Father’s Day!

One of my favorite beers is Goose Island Cooper Project. Goose Island originates from Chicago, a handful of locations including their most recent opening located in Philadelphia, Penn’s Landing neighborhood.

f242c0c5-4f4c-4ca4-81c7-1e20f0cab09aWalked inside to a friendly welcome from staff and of course barrels n’ barrels of brew. Nice size bar including an outdoor seating area. I immediately noticed the goose tap handles (made me smile) and ordered a 10 oz glass of Cooper Project #1, Scotch ale. This is a rotating series of bourbon barrel aged beers. It’s smooth with an appealing flavor…perhaps it’s the bourbon.  

I ordered the House made pretzel that is gigantic but so delicious. Buttery, slight crunch on the outside & chewy inside with a side of beer cheese and beer mustard. Goose Island’s beer cheese is fantastic! Kudos to the inventor of beer cheese because I love it.

Craft beer enthusiasts will appreciate what this Goose has to offer! Pour me, drink me, repeat 🍻😃

Photos by AimsHerWay

Mini Bunny Cakes

Instead of dying eggs….I dyed cake.

My heart was set on baking carrot cake until I stumbled upon this dessert on Pinterest. It was so much fun to make and absolutely love the Spring colors!!

I was able to make four (4) mini cakes — purchased small boxes from Michael’s and shared these adorable cakes with a couple of my friends kids. Of course, I kept a mini for myself. It was moist & sweet! Hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend : )

 

IMG_0377

Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes white cake mix
  • buttercream frosting
  • Wilton food coloring
  • Jumbo marshmallows
  • pink sparkling sugar
  • parchment paper
  • round cookie cutter
  • pink jelly jeans
  • decorating tip
  • decorating bag
  1. Prepare batter from two boxes of White Cake mix and split into four equal portions
  2. Tint each portion a different color – pink, yellow, purple and blue
  3. Line a medium sized cookie sheet with parchment paper and pour batter onto cookie sheet. Let it settle on a flat surface for 15 minutes
  4. Bakes the cakes according to instructions on the cake box
  5. Let cool
  6. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the cake layers
  7. Make a batch of your best buttercream frosting
  8. Add a circle of frosting between each layer of cake
  9. Use a Wilton 2D or tip of choice with decorating bag and pipe a full circle onto each cake (as your layer)
  10. Make the bunny ears with marshmallows and sparkling sugar. Slice or cut two diagonal pieces of marshmallow. Lay the sticky part of marshmallow into the pink sugar.
  11. Stick the pink marshmallows into ear position and use a jellybean to make your nose.

Note: I swirled one circle along the edge of each layer and one small dollop in the middle. Decorate top layer.

 

 

 

Shepherd’s Pie Potato Bowl

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A history of leftover meat & potato meal made into this savory dish. My former, very Irish Mother-in-law taught me her recipe when I was 22 years old. Since that was ‘way back’, I’ve tweaked; added my own seasoning and vegetables …including beer.

I zhuzh’ed it up for everything green day! Normally cooked in a plain casserole dish. My son, Tyler always gets a second serving …and enjoyed every bite of this meat and potato bowl.

#blas #slainte ☘️🍺

Ingredients:

– 4 large russet potatoes

-6 tablespoons butter

– 1/2 lb chuck ground beef

– 1 tablespoon sauté onions

– 1 package McCormick’s brown gravy

-1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

– 1 cup cooked peas & chopped carrots (small frozen bag or canned vegetable of your liking)

– 1/2 cup milk

– 2 tablespoons sour cream

– 1/4 chopped chives

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Happy Holidays! I never cared for pecan pie for a couple reasons… always seemed dry, too sweet or too heavy. So, for years I skipped it at parties & holidays. Baked pies over the years but not this one. A huge fan of Food Network and The Cooking Channel, Dinner at Tiffani’s aired a holiday special. I immediately printed the recipe. OMG….delicious! Finally understand why people like pecan pie. Perfect balance and not dry : )

I always love making homemade whipped cream. Great for dipping fruit too… if you can refrain from eating it by the spoonful! 

IMG_8876

Ingredients

Pecan Pie:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 rolled frozen pie crusts, thawed according to package directions
  • 3 cups whole pecans
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
Vanilla Whipped Cream:
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Directions:

Special equipment: two 9-inch pie plates

For the pie: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the corn syrup, sugar, bourbon, salt and vanilla bean paste. Whisk until mixed and the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

Unroll the pie crusts and press into two 9-inch pie plates. Trim the excess around the rims and then crimp the edges. Evenly divide the pecans between the pie crusts. Set the pie plates on a large baking sheet.

Whisk the eggs into the cooled sugar mixture and pour it over the pecans in both pie plates. Bake the pies until they are mostly set but still slightly jiggly in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

For the whipped cream: Put the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until foamy. Add the sugar and vanilla bean paste, and whip until soft peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat, or the cream will become grainy.

Serve slices of pecan pie with a dollop of whipped cream.

Chicken Elegant Casserole

This chicken casserole is a recipe passed down by my Grandmom. Chicken Elegant — it’s not really an “elegant” dish however, it disappears quickly at gatherings and is still one of my son’s favorites.

It’s a simple casserole. I’ve made this several times over 20+ years including for work parties. One particular holiday party, Nurses and other colleagues were saying how delicious it is. A few colleagues skipped the dish thinking it was “just” stuffing…. Wrong! The few jumped up to try a spoonful however, the casserole was gone. Lol! I made it again the following week specifically for the few who missed out : )

Recipe below. Great for any season! #bonappetit 

  • 4 chicken breasts 
  • 1 box Stove Top Stuffing
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 can chicken broth

Recipe: 

Place chicken in crock pot or slow cooker; pour chicken broth over chicken and cook for 3-4 hours on low (chicken should fall apart when cooked thoroughly). Shred or chop chicken to your liking, place in 13×9 dish. Mix; stir cream of chicken soup and sour cream together in a bowl; combine with chicken in casserole dish; mix it all up. Pour uncooked stuffing into a separate bowl, melt 1/2 stick of butter in saucepan and pour butter over stuffing; mix together. Spoon stuffing evenly on top of chicken (as a crust). If stuffing appears dry, I melt a little more butter to pour over top. Bake 350 for 25-30 minutes. Note: Check stuffing crust top after 15-20 minutes; cover with foil if browning quickly & continue to bake. Allow to cool and serve with side of vegtables or salad. Enjoy!

Banana Nut Cake 

If you like bananas, this cake is a must try. My son loves cream cheese frosting! Moist, nutty, bursting bananas + the homemade frosting. Scrumptious! 
Perfect dessert for any season!! Paula Deen’s Banana Nut Cake Recipe 

– 3 cups all purpose flour 

– 2 cups sugar

– 1 teaspoon baking soda 

– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

-1/2 tsp salt

– 3 eggs, beaten 

– 3/4 cup vegetable oil 

– 4 ripe bananas, mashed 

– 1 cup chopped pecans (extra for topping) 

– 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract + tsp for frosting 

– 1  8oz package cream cheese 

– 1 cup butter, room temperature 

– 1 lb sifted confectioners sugar 

Preparation: 

Butter and flour 3 (9-inch) round cake pans; set aside. Preheat oven to 350°.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the eggs and oil and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened; do not beat. Stir in the banana, 1 cup pecans and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 23 to 28 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake layers in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn them out onto a rack to cool completely. While the cake cools, make the frosting.

Frosting:

In a bowl, blend together the cream cheese and butter. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans, or reserve them to sprinkle over the frosted cake. Fill and frost the cake when it is completely cool.

Photo credit: Aimsherway

Recipe: Paula Deen

Cake Pop Flag

Perfect for Labor Day! This is the second cake pop dessert I’ve made. Patriotic and fun — perfect for little ones + the big kid inside us.

Practice and patience! FullSizeRender

Standard cake pop recipe, ingredients and things you’ll need….

  • Packaged cake mix (two boxes)
  • Canned frosting
  • Cookie dough scoop or small spoon
  • Candy/chocolate melts red, white and blue
  • Treat sticks, 6 inches length
  • Sprinkles ( I chose white crystal sprinkles and little star decorations)
  • At least 1 inch thick styrofoam
  • Rectangle tray, 10 inches x 14 inches
  • Tissue paper
  • Paramount crystals or vegetable oil (Note: I read oil can ruin the taste and/or color of chocolate melts. My preference to thin melts is paramount crystals)

 Directions: Bake cake according to package directions and may need to bake two (2) cakes depending on how many pops you need. You can choose any flavor, I chose vanilla. After cake is done baking, carefully use a knife or your fingers to remove brown edges on top and bottom. Removing the brown edging will help the cake pops with a consistent color. Crumble the cake into a bowl, appears like moist bread crumbs. Amount of frosting depends on how moist your cake is — I used 4 tablespoons. Blend prepackaged frosting into crumbled cake; knead mixture together. Small balls are better (size of a quarter or smaller); try to roll each ball identical. Place on wax paper and freeze for one hour to harden. 

Melt the candy in microwavable bowl; read package directions carefully! Stir candy after 30 seconds, you’ll see how quickly they melt. I used crystals to thin candy melts. Melt one color at a time. Remove cake pops from freezer, dip 1/2 inch or less of stick into candy melt and insert into cake ball. It’s like glue, helps keep it together. Place back in freezer for a few minutes to harden. Time to dip — I remove 3-5 cake pops from the freezer and begin dipping. Quick dip, spinning pop lightly to cover entire ball. Have decorations ready because frosting dries super fast. Sprinkle decorations onto cake pop, allow to set. 

I used a tray similar to serving tray. Measure and cut the styrofoam to fit inside tray; cover styrofoam with tissue paper. Insert cake pops thru tissue paper into styrofoam — arrange a flag style. Smaller cake pops are better for this design as they may wobble or tip. Display and enjoy : )