Friday, December 28, 2012

Bacon & Smoked Gouda Buttermilk Waffles

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I know, trust me...

So I was wracking my brain for dinner ideas.  I had my share of turkey, ham and beef thank you very much, along with holiday ads!!  I wanted something different, am I the only one?
I had a sweet and salty craving going so I thought to myself, "self, what about breakfast for dinner"?  *Aha*!!  That sounded so good, I literally started to salivate, no I'm not joking!!
I thought to myself, "waffles... oh and BACON"!!  I mean bacon, that is its own food group is it not?  I concur!  
Well just because I could *grin* I added some smoked Gouda cheese in there too...

I have to tell you, they were absolutely out of this world good!!
The buttermilk waffles were light and crispy, filled with crispy crumbles of bacon and that awesome smoked Gouda... 
Drizzled lovingly with pecan maple syrup.  Oh my heaven's!! 

Of course with a few burnt parts because of the cheapo waffle maker I have...
That is one of my "gadget wants".  To get a half decent waffle maker, you know maybe one of those that actually twirl, how cool is that one. Does anyone have one?  How do they work?
Oops, I digressed again!! 
Anyway, these waffles start off with a mix, which makes them even easier!

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 -10 waffles

2 cups biscuit mix (I used Bisquick)
1 1/4 cup buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk in the house, use the 1 tbsp lemon/vinegar to 1 cup milk ratio)
4 slices bacon diced fine
2/3 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1/8-1/4 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp reserved bacon drippings

-Cook your bacon slices till crispy.  Dice/crumble into small pieces and set aside.

-In a medium bowl add your dry ingredients.  Mix to ensure that the bacon is evenly distributed.

-Add your buttermilk and your reserved bacon drippings.  Stir till mixed, batter will be slightly lumpy.

-Following the instructions on your waffle maker, heat accordingly.  Mine is a small cheap one, therefore, I used 1/4 cup of batter per waffle.  Cook waffles according to manufacturer's instructions.  Take out and keep warm.  Continue making waffles till all the batter has been used.

Serve liberally drizzled with syrup and a side of bacon if desired.  
Trust me, your family will love you, you will love yourself... heck, I love you!!  It will be a love fest!! ♥

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ricotta Florentine with Garlic Chicken Meatballs

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So it is gloomy, dreary, blizzard like conditions and COLD!!  I have my Yankee Candles lit throughout the house, my topiary trees are blooming with light... The "ambiance is amazing"... so what did this make me want to do??  COOK!! You so knew I was going to say that!!  *grin*

I wanted creamy, I wanted comforting, but I also wanted to watch the calories/fat content as well. 
Hmmmmm, ricotta cheese, and yolk free egg noodles.  The ideas were "a rolling".  I ended up revising an old favorite to make it lighter and less calorically dense.  Oh my goodness do we have a winner here!!  The kids and hubby were all over it!!

Ready for the recipe?
Here we go:

Garlic Chicken Meatballs:
1lb ground chicken (I used ground white meat)
1/2 small onion diced fine
1 large garlic clove minced/crushed
2 tbsp finely diced fresh parsley
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (or a few micro plane grates of fresh nutmeg)
1/3 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
1 tbls grated Parmesan/Romano cheese grated
1 tbls canola oil
Pinch of salt
*note: if using unseasoned Panko bread crumbs add 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning to mixture*

Ricotta Florentine Sauce:
1 tbls canola oil
1/2 large onion diced
1 cup fresh parsley leaves roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves minced/crushed
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese or Romano cheese, grated
1/4 tsp nutmeg (or a few micro plane grates of fresh nutmeg)
2 cups chicken broth
1 pkg frozen spinach (defrosted slightly) or 1 bag fresh spinach
Pinch of salt
A few good cranks of black pepper

Gather your ingredients for your chicken meatballs.  Place in a bowl. Using a spoon, mix all ingredients very well till all ingredients are finely incorporated.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Place a large saucepan filled with water on the stove, sprinkle with salt, cover and let come to a boil for the pasta.
Meanwhile, using a small cookie scoop, or your very clean hands, (I'll let you in on a dirty little secret about me, ready?  I can't touch ground chicken or turkey, just CAN'T do it, can't, so I use gadgets <sigh> ), make the mixture into small meatballs.  Place on an aluminum lined small baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, (I'm all about easy clean up here).

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or till nicely golden and thoroughly baked.

See how beautifully cooked they are?  They're crispy, golden, moist, very light and DELICIOUS!
Turn off the heat, leave your oven on warm and place back in oven to keep warm till ready to use.

*Pasta water should be boiling now, add your egg noodles to the water, stir and keep an eye on it*

Let's gather our Florentine ingredients:

In a large saute pan, add your oil, let it heat and add your onions.  Cook onions till they start to soften and become translucent.  Let's add our garlic and saute for about 1 minute more.  Now we add our spinach and fresh parsley.  Saute for another minute or so till everything is starting to defrost, soften and just produce an amazing aroma...
Add your spices and your chicken broth.  Let simmer for about 7-9 minutes till spinach and fresh parsley are completely cooked.  Turn off heat.  Finally add your cheeses, stir till all ingredients are well mixed, cover and set aside.

Egg noodles should be ready, drain and return back to pan with the ricotta sauce.  Toss egg noodles with sauce as to ensure that the noodles are evenly coated.  

Plate your noodles and sauce, and place as many little meatballs as you want per plate... 
Sprinkle with more cheese, grab your fork and say... "mmmmmmmmmm"!!!

 Join me my friends!!!!  Cheers

Kalisas Orekse!!

Dishin with Didi

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!

I wish for you a day filled with wonder, love and laughter!!

I hope all your dreams have come true!!  My dreams have indeed come true.  I am surrounded by my children, no presents can even compare...

Back to the killer Farkel game... 

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Friday, December 21, 2012

Getting ready...

You know what I will be doing today right??

You are correct!!  Wrapping, fun... NOT!!

It will be well worth it once I've finished though...

I am so behind this year, seriously.  It's not like me to be this far behind, I don't understand.  It's almost like this past month went by in supersonic speed!!

I want to thank each and every one of you for your readership.  Your comments, suggestions, emails, support.  It has meant the world to me!!  I cannot even begin to express how blessed I feel to have each and every one of you in my life!!  Whether you comment regularly, or just lurk (come out of lurking I say, I don't bite).  Whether you have been with me from day one or just recently joined.
Thank you!!

My older children are coming down for Christmas, I'm SO EXCITED!!  I'm going to take some time to enjoy my family, and I wish you to do the same.

Take the moment, no matter how harried we are feeling right now, and just love them.  Spend the precious time!!

I want to wish each and everyone a very happy holiday.  May your gatherings be filled with love, laughter and delicious food!!

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Appetizer Christmas Tree - DIY Entertaining

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So simple and delicious...

Isn't it pretty, a true show stopper yes??
I've been making this tree for years.  Sometimes I make it with stuffed olives and various cheeses, salami's, vegetables etc., I change it up every year.
This year I decided to use two different stuffed olives along with biscuit stars.  If I don't say so myself, it came out absolutely beautiful!!

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This project is so simple my friends, you won't believe you created it.  Better yet, you will be the "talk of the season" I say!!  I'm going to walk you through step by step and provide the delicious fillings and dips as well.

Ready to play?  Here we go;

Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
Yield: 3-4 dozen appetizers

Supplies & Ingredients:
For the tree:
1 foam round base 1 15/16 in X 7 7/8 in (49mm X 200mm)
1 foam cone 3 7/8in X 14 7/8in (98mm X 377mm)
Aluminum foil
Lettuce leaves (I used green leaf & iceberg)
Star cookie cutters (various sizes)

Additional Ingredients:
1 tube biscuit dough
1 apple
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice
Red sparkling sugar

*Black olives*
2 cans Colossal black olives pitted, drained and rinsed
3 OZ Feta cheese crumbled
6 OZ non flavored Greek yogurt
3 tbsp cream 
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chives (can substitute green onions, reduce amount)
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp favorite hot sauce
Pinch of salt *see below*

*Green olives*
2 cups marinated Greek green colossal olives (pitted)
4 OZ cream cheese room temperature
3 tbsp cream
1/8 tsp Herbes de Provence
1/8 tsp onion powder
Pinch of black pepper

1/3 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups crumbled crisp bacon (I used the real bacon bits for salad - Hormel)

Can I just tell you guys for a second, that according to the hottest "food trends", "whipped feta" is the latest food craze!!  When I read that, I quickly scrolled down to the recipe.  I literally "laughed out loud"!!  I have been making "whipped feta" for years, and so have my Greek ancestors before me.  It's called "Kopanisti" in Greek, meaning, to be beaten on, or as in the modern case, "whipped"!
We were trend setters and didn't even know it I say!!   *grin*

Okay, okay back to the craft...

Day before:
-In your food processor place your crumbled feta cheese, yogurt, oil, chives, herbs, cream and hot sauce.  Pulse till it's nice and creamy and can be piped through a decorating bag.
Taste, does it need salt?  Sometimes I have to add, other times I don't.  It just depends on how salty the brine that the feta had been sitting in was.  Place in a decorating bag with a large tip, set aside.

-Using your food processor again (or can use a mixer) add your cream cheese, onion powder, herbs, cream and pepper.  Whip/mix till cream cheese is nice and creamy and again easily piped.  Place in a decorating bag with a large tip, set aside.

-Gather two plates, and your olives.  

-To the black olives pipe your whipped feta mixture, place on plate, continue filling the rest of the olives till all are used.  There will be leftover filling, place leftover filling into  a small pretty bowl, cover and place in refrigerator.

-To the marinated green olives pipe the cream cheese filling, place on plate, continue filling the rest of the olives till all are used.  Again there will be leftover filling, place leftover filling into  a small pretty bowl, cover and place in refrigerator.

-Set the plates with the olives in the refrigerator to set about 1/2 hour.  When olives are set, cover with plastic wrap and keep in refrigerator till you are ready to assemble.

-Using a sheet of aluminum foil, wrap the base and set aside.

-Tear off another sheet of aluminum foil.  Cut into two strips and working from the base of the cone, wrap around.
Continue wrapping till you reach the top. You can use toothpicks to secure.

-Let's start with our greenery.  Break off the hard part of the lettuce and with the good side facing out, attach the leaves to the cone.  Starting from the bottom of the cone and securing with toothpicks.

-Lets attach our base to our tree.  Lay lettuce leaves over the round base.  Using 3 toothpicks, attach the toothpicks to the bottom of the cone. 
Press the cone onto the center and back of the round base.

-Voila you have a tree!!  How easy was that??
Oh, you can leave the toothpicks attached and showing, you will be using them later anyway.
Set aside.

-Using a pastry mat or a non-stick surface, lay your biscuit dough and your cookie cutters.
Following the instructions on your biscuit container set the oven temperature.

-Roll out biscuit dough out slightly and cut small stars.  I got 2 stars per biscuit.

-Place on baking sheet, continue with the rest of the biscuits.  Bake until the stars are golden and puffed about 5-6 minutes.  Remove onto a plate and set aside.

-Let's make our a star!  On a small plate, pour in some sparkling sugar.  Cut a large slice of apple.  Using your bigger star cookie cutter, cut the apple slice.  Insert a toothpick into the star.  Baste first with lemon juice then baste the star with the honey.  Roll the star in the sparkling sugar making sure star is thoroughly covered.  Place star back on to the sugar covered plate and place in refrigerator till ready to use.

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How pretty and TASTY!!

-What to do you do with the leftover star biscuits you ask?  We bake them, why waste?  Now is also the perfect time to take the olives out of the refrigerator.

-Ready to assemble?
-Start by placing toothpicks strategically all around your tree.  Make sure you have extra toothpicks for the star biscuits too.  Set aside.

-Mix your walnuts with your Parmesan cheese on a flat plate.
-Place your bacon bits on a flat plate as well.

-Start by dipping your black olives into the bacon bits, attach to the toothpick on the tree.  Continue till the black olives have been used.
To the green olives, we dip the tops of those into the toasted walnut/Parmesan topping.  Again, attach to the toothpicks on the tree. 

-Let's attach the star biscuits...

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Go ahead, take one, they are delicious!!

-Finally we bring out and attach our star.
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How pretty does this look?

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It's completely edible...

-See that open space on the bottom base, to the center right of the tree?  There is a small apple star lying on the base, see it?  Well, my friends, remember the extra "filling" we had from both cheeses?  That is where you place the small pretty bowls. Sprinkle one with the leftover bacon bits, and the other with the leftover walnut/Parmesan topping.  Or do as I did, I sprinkled the one bowl with the walnut/Parmesan mixture, then topped with bacon.  I reversed the order on the 2nd bowl.
Spread crackers around the charger/area.

"Holy appetizer neighborhood batman"!!
You will literally have an entire corner of appetizers!! YES!!

I apologize for the length of this post, but if you are a "visual learner" like me, I am an affirm believer that a picture "is worth a thousand words".  

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Marshmallow Christmas Squares

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Go ahead... take a bite

I don't know about you, but "crunch time" is upon me.  I don't know where the time has gone this year, but it is just literally flying by.  One minute it was November and now it's just a few days before Christmas... "WHAT"??

Are you feeling the crunch too?  Do you still have a zillion mini things to do and baking?  Well my friends, you have come to the right place.  I have an absolutely outstanding NON BAKED treat for you.  When I say "outstanding", I mean just that.  It's absolutely delicious!!  It has marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs, maraschino cherries, coconut and that love of mine... you remember, I wanted to marry it a while back, sweetened condensed milk.  That is it, no I'm not joking.  Look at how scrumptious this looks, and the taste?  Oh my heaven's is all I am going to say!! Kids and adults alike will absolutely dig into this and it will be gone before you know it, YES!!  
You will be a superstar and you didn't even have to pull out the mixer!!

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: None
Setting time: 24 hours
Yield: 18-24 squares

1 bag miniature marshmallows
1 can sweetened condensed milk (I used Eaglebrand)
2 cups graham wafer crumbs
Dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup chopped maraschino cherries
2 1/2 cups shredded coconut

-Using your favorite brownie pan, pre-spray pan, set aside.

-In a large bowl add all your ingredients except for the sweetened milk.

-Toss and mix so all the cherries and marshmallows have been distributed evenly.

-Let's add in that amazing milk.  Mix thoroughly so all the ingredients are coated with the milk. You might also want to take a small wee teaspoon and just, you know... taste a little.

-Take your coconut and divide in half.  Place half the coconut on the bottom only of your pan.  Add marshmallow mixture on top of the shredded coconut.  
Now sprinkle the remaining shredded coconut over the top.
Press the marshmallow mixture evenly and firmly.  By pressing your actually adhering the shredded coconut onto the marshmallow cherry mixture.    

-That is is, no I'm not joking, seriously!!  How easy was that right?  Plus it tastes absolutely "outta this world"!!

-Place in refrigerator and let set for 24 hours.  That my friend's is the hardest part...
I mean all you want to do is pick on the coconut, and maybe pull at a marshmallow, just a small one, no-one will know a thing.  "Oh wait, that's me"! *grin*

-After 24 hours cut into squares.

The sacrifices we make for our loved ones...

This recipe is linked to Gooseberry Patch Recipe Round up

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi