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Another snowy day favorite….hot chocolate. This sure beats the Swiss Miss mix. Takes a few more minutes, but well worth it. Chocolatey, sweet and spicy all the things great hot chocolate should be.

Makes 2 servings.

In a pot wisk together all of the below ingredients (stir consistently to avoid burning), bring to a simmer over medium heat and serve with marshmallows or whipped cream or simply alone in a nice mug. Enjoy!

Ingredients

3 cups of skim milk (I use Farmland skim plus, if you don’t have that you can use 2% or whatever kind of milk you have)

1/4 cup of unsweetened coco powder

Pinch each of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg

2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

splash of vanilla extract

tiny pinch of salt

5-8 semisweet chocolate chips

So we went to the farm over the weekend and did the pick-your-own fruits and veggies thing. So much fun! And I’m glad stuffed peppers won because we picked a lot of yummy peppers. Here’s out to make them. Thanks again to everyone who voted!

Ingredients…

1 lb lean ground beef (80% / 20%)

3 inches of day old baguette (crumbled) – you could also use 2 slices of white bread or a handful of breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons of chopped red onion

1 handful of parsley

1/2 cup of grated pecorino cheese

1 egg lightly beaten

dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

splash of milk (whatever you have on hand is fine)

salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil

Directions…

Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl — use your hands, it’s fun! Cut 2 green peppers in half. Remove the seed and ribs. Place cut side up in a baking dish with sides, season with salt and pepper. Divide the meat mixture into 4 equal portions. Stuff the mixture inside each pepper — it’s okay if it mounds up on top a little bit. Pour left over tomato basil sauce over the top — pick up the recipe from my Pizza Topped with Arugula and Prosciutto post. Sauce should come about 1/4 way up the pepper. Place in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until the meat is no longer pink. Cover for the first 30 minutes with a piece of tin foil. Serve over brown or white rice and top with grated pecorino cheese. Enjoy!

Tip…

This makes a great crock pot meal too. The prep is exactly the same, just make sure you put sauce down first, so the peppers don’t directly touch the bottom of the crock pot. Set on low for 8 hours and dinner is ready when you come home from work.

This recipe is for what I consider the best chili….ever. I’ve received rave reviews on this and everyone is asking for the recipe, so here it is! Honestly I have been so excited for Fall to arrive so I can start to make this again. I went through severe withdrawls over the summer. Anyway, check out how to make this Turkey and Sausage Chili…it’s my version of an Emeril recipe. Get ready to want to snuggle up with a big, hot bowl of chili!

Ingredients…

1 pound of ground turkey

1 package (6 links) of hot Italian sausage (remove it from the casing)

1 large white onion chopped

1 large green pepper chopped

3 chipolte peppers in adobe chopped (adjust accordingly for more or less heat — I found this is the perfect amount for my taste….great heat and warmth, but not hot)

A few dashes of hot sauce

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons of cumin

2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon oregano

salt and pepper

1 lager beer (like Yuengling or Amstel)

1 large can of whole San Marzano tomatoes

1 can of pinto beans (rinsed)

1 giant handful of fresh cilantro

Directions…

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, sausage and salt/pepper. Cook, breaking up the chunks, until no longer pink. Add the onions and peppers, cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, chipolte, oregano and paprika – cook for a minute. Add the beer – cook for 2 minutes. Add in tomatoes, beans and half of the cilantro – mix to combine all the ingredients together. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Make sure to stir it every once in a while – you don’t want the yummy-ness to stick to the bottom.

Add the remaining cilartro to the chili right before serving. Enjoy with blue corn torilla chips topped with melted cheddar or jack cheese.

Tip: Since this does take about an hour to make – cook up a double batch and freeze it. Or have it as left overs during the week — It tastes even better the next day.

RomanceTable_0This recipe is a replica of the first pizza I ate when I was in Italy last year. It brings back wonderful memories of relaxing in a beautiful city, with great company, and a carafe of wine! So delicious…I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!

Ingredients:

Store bought pizza dough purchased from your favorite pizza shop or Italian market (I buy mine from Corrados)

Basic Tomato Basil Sauce (recipe below)

1 ball fresh mozzarella (patted dry and sliced thin)

1 handful fresh basil

Arugula

Proscuitto

Part Skim Ricotta

olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 450. Stretch out the dough until it forms a circle (depending on the consistency of the dough you may need to use a little flour). Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the crust starts to get crispy. If any bubbles start to form prick them with a fork.

After the dough starts to brown (about 10 minutes) pull out of the oven and a few ladles of sauce on top. Cook for a few more minutes until the sauce starts to bake into the crust. Take out of the oven and top with the thinly sliced fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and dollops of ricotta . Bake for a few more minutes until the cheese melts.

Remove from oven and top with fresh basil, arugula and a drizzle of olive oil…just like they do in Italy!

For Basic Tomato Basil Sauce:

2 large shallots sliced

1 35 oz can of whole tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)

splash of white wine

2 tbsp tomato paste

dried oregano

handful of fresh basil

In a medium pot heat a few tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add in shallots and saute until tender but not brown. Add in the tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper cook for a minute. Add in white wine, cook for 3 more minutes. Add in can of tomatos, more salt and pepper. Cover and let boil. Scrape the bottom of the pot every once in a while to prevent burning. Tomatos should break up on their own, if they don’t, squish them with a wooden spoon. Cook until it has reduced a bit…about 20 minutes.

Thanks everyone for voting! The winner by a landslide is Chicken Enchiladas. This is my adaptation of a Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meal. And I LOVE these! Now you will too!

Ingredients

For the filling:

1 box of chicken stock (the boxed stocks are definitely better quality, plus they have a screw on top so if you don’t use the whole carton you can keep it in the fridge for the week)

4 chicken breasts (boneless / skinless)

2 dried bay leaves

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 of a white onion (peeled)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon chili powder

5 dashes of chipolte flavored hot sauce (or you can use 1 chipolte in adobo from the can)

1 teaspoon cumin

Salt to taste

For the sauce:

2 cans of tomato sauce (not the Ragu kind, I use Delmonte)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 dash of nutmeg

a drizzle of honey

a few red pepper flakes

Additional: Corn or flour tortillas, Shredded cheddar / jack cheese and Cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring chicken stock to a boil in a pot with the onion, bay and oregano. Once boiling add the chicken. Let the chicken cook for about 10-15 minutes or until it is no longer pink. Shred the chicken with 2 forks and put in a bowl. Add a few ladles full of the broth, tomato paste and remaining ingredients. Mix until combined.

Combine all sauce ingredients and heat through, keeping warm until needed.

Place chicken mixture into tortillas and roll. Place the rolls (seam side down) in a casserole or baking dish. Put a little bit of sauce in first to prevent the enchiladas from sticking. Pour hot tomato sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheese. Place in oven and cook until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with fresh chopped cilantro.

Serve with brown rice and black beans – ENJOY!

photoThis is one of my favorites, yummy and satisfying. Enjoy it! And yes, you didn’t read the ingredients wrong…I make my own sauce…from scratch…every time! No jarred sauce in my house. After you make it once, you will be hooked, it’s super easy and delicious. In the time it takes for the sauce to cook, you can be doing the rest of the prep. Some of my sauces take longer, but this simple tomato basil sauce with a touch of cream, is done in a snap!

Ingredients

Serves 2

2 large shallots sliced

1 35 oz can of whole tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)

splash of white wine

2 tbsp tomato paste

dried oregano

handful of fresh basil

3 sweet Italian sausage links removed from casing

1 large jarred roasted pepper

1/2 bunch of broccoli rabe chopped

1 small jar / can of artichoke hearts (packed in water)

1/2 lb of bowtie pasta

splash of cream

olive oil, salt and pepper

Directions

For the sauce: In a medium pot heat a few tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add in shallots and saute until tender but not brown. Add in the tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper cook for a minute. Add in white wine, cook for 3 more minutes. Add in can of tomatos, more salt and pepper. Cover and let boil. Scrape the bottom of the pot every once in a while to prevent burning. Tomatos should break up on their own, if they don’t, squish them with a wooden spoon.

While the sauce is cooking…Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta. In a small skillet add a little bit of olive oil and heat on medium high. Remove the sausage from the casing. Place in hot pan and break up meat until little chunks with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned and no longer pink on the inside. Move to a paper towel to drain. Slice roasted peppers and artichoke hearts into bite size pieces. Wash and dry broccoli rabe, and chop into bite size pieces.

After the sauce has cooked for about 20 minutes, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until it is al dente. Stir in about 1/4 cup of cream into the sauce, or until it reaches a pink color. About 2 – 3 minutes before the pasta is done, stir in the broccoli rabe (this is the quickest way to cook it). Drain the pasta and broccoli rabe and add it back to pot on low heat. Ladle in sauce and mix in sausage, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts and more fresh basil. Serve with grated romano cheese.

YUMMY!

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These Fish Tacos have become one of our favorite dinners. It’s inspired by yummy fish tacos we had in Kauai. Every time I make them it reminds me of our trip there. (Can’t wait to go back!) The recipe looks intimidating, but I promise it’s not. It’s so delicious you will want to make it every night!

Ingredients (for 2 people)

2 tilapia filets

1 avocado

cilantro

sour cream

1/2 package of shredded coleslaw mix

1/2 cucumber

flour

salt

cumin

lime

olive oil and vegetable oil

Cholula chipotle hot sauce

a beer (like Corona or Land Shark)

fajita size flour tortillas

For the Slaw:

Squeeze one large lime into a mixing bowl. Add 3 teaspoons of olive oil, salt / pepper, and 1 teaspoon of cumin. Mix with whisk. Add a drizzle of honey and mix until combined. Mix in the cabbage mix, 1/2 of a cucumber peeled and diced, 1 large handful of cilantro. Mix together until all of the ingredients are coated in the dressing. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to let the cabbage soak up the dressing.

For the Tilapia:

Batter: Put 4 Tablespoons of flour in a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 of a beer like Corona or Land Shark. Mix flour and beer to pancake batter consistency. Add more beer or flour, if needed. Mix in about 10 dashes of Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce and salt.

Cut fish into rectangular chunks. Coat fish lightly in flour, then dip the fish in the batter. This process will help the batter stick to the fish when cooking.

While preparing the fish, heat about a quarter inch of vegetable oil in a deep skillet on medium heat. To ensure that the oil is at the desired temperature, drop in a small amount of batter. Bubbles should form around the batter immediately. If the batter turns brown in 2 minutes without burning, the oil is at the right temperature. Once at the right temperature, place the fish in the hot oil.

Cook fish for about 4 minutes on each side. After 8 minutes, batter should be golden brown and fish should be opaque. Do not crowd the fish too close together in the skillet. You will most likely have to cook the fish in 2 batches. When your remove the fish from the oil, be sure to place fish on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain off the excess oil.

Add a gourmet touch: Make your own Chipotle Sauce-mix 2 heaping tablespoons of sour cream with about 10 dashes of the same Chipotle sauce that you used in your batter.

Serve in a warmed tortilla with sliced avocado, Chipotle Sauce, lime wedges, fresh cilantro. It’s Just Delicious. Enjoy!

Here are my top 15 must haves in your pantry or refridge. With these on hand, it’s easy to pull together a quick meal every night. You would only need to purchase minimal ingredients from the grocery store like fish, chicken, fresh produce etc. I always have these items on hand.

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2. Salt and Pepper

3. Pasta

4. Canned Tomatoes (preferably whole San Marzano)

5. Fresh Herbs (like basil, cilantro or parsley)

6. Chicken Stock

7. Canned beans

8. Panko breadcrumbs

9, Potatoes

10. Vinegar (balsamic or red wine)

11. Shallots (or red / white onion)

12. Alcohol (beer or wine)

13. Dijon Mustard

14. Honey

15. Cheese (feta, fresh mozzarella, pecorino romano etc)

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I made this dip this weekend for a family BBQ and it was a hit! Everyone has been requesting the recipe…so here it is! Serve with the pita chips below or with sliced veggies. Either way, it’s addictive and just delicious!

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

1 jar of drained roasted red peppers

1 small container of marscapone cheese

big handful of parsley

1 tbsp capers

juice of a 1/2 of lemon

salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor. I love my Cuisinart mini-chopper for this job! Pulse until everything is mixed and to your desired consistency. I like to leave the dip with a little texture.

Pita Chips for dipping

Whole grain flatbread sliced into wedges

Olive oil

Cumin

Coriander

Salt and Pepper

Lay the pita wedges on a baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle a pinch of the cumin and coriander on each wedge. Bake at 400 until golden brown.

So, I have a major sweet tooth and have never met a sweet treat I didn’t like! But that doesn’t mean that I can’t have my favorites. Currently I’m craving the most delicious red velvet cupcake I’ve ever tasted. It’s from Make My Cake Bakery in Harlem, NYC….Just Delicious! It was voted best in New York by The New York Times…and she was even challenged to a “Throw Down” with Bobby Flay!

Moist yummy cake and tasty cream cheese frosting and it’s HUGE…it’s simply the best! Everything is made fresh each and every day. If you are in NYC, stop by and grab one, you won’t be disappointed!

About Me

My name is Ashley and I'm a self taught cook. Getting home from work, popping open a bottle of wine and cooking up dinner with my boyfriend is my favorite part of the day. I want to show you that making dinner can be fun and easy. I have some great tricks for the young professional...like me, that I know you will love! Follow me and I'll make you the talk of all of your friends! You won't believe the things you can whip up in the kitchen that are...Just Delicious!

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