Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Triple Cheese, Individual Cheeseburger Pizzas

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I had leftover grilled hamburgers, leftover sliced onions and leftover sliced tomatoes.  "Hmmmmm", I thought to myself.  If I make warmed up hamburgers they won't taste right! Have you ever tried to revamp a leftover hamburger the next day?  Right?  They taste awful.  I don't care if you place them in the oven, over the stove top or back on the grill...
They just don't taste right, they taste weird.  Well that is my opinion and "I'm sticking to it"!


I've had success in the past in revamping the hamburgers by making a completely different meal simply by dicing them.  And then it hit me...PIZZA!!  


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So my friends, pizza it was and if I don't say so myself, it was out of this world. I am talking delicious sauteed onions and then paired with diced hamburger, three different cheeses, "hello McCfly", and then that amazing crispy Naan bread... I know, I know!!
The rest as you say "is history", because I know this will be in my go to repertoire from now on!!

Ready for this very simple recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 individual pizzas

Ingredients:
4 Naan bread (2 packages)
2 tbsp butter
4 leftover hamburgers, diced
1/2 leftover onions,  sliced
1 leftover tomatoes, sliced
1 large dill pickle,  diced fine
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp black pepper
4 tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese grated - divided
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated (I used white)
1 cup Monteray Jack cheese, grated (I used with jalapeno)
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, grated

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 375F.

-Dice your hamburgers, set aside.

-In a medium skillet, melt your butter and add your sliced onions. Let saute for a few minutes till they are softened and aromatic, add your diced hamburger.  Add in your diced pickle and saute for just a couple more minutes, set aside.  Pop a hamburger piece in your mouth to make sure it's seasoned properly and because you can...
If more seasoning is needed, add it now, set aside.


-Using two baking sheets, place two of your Naan breads on each sheet.  Drizzle each Naan bread piece with 1 tbsp of olive oil, and 1 tbsp of the Pecorino Romano cheese, spread evenly.  Dividing your black pepper add to each Naan piece of bread.  We don't want to take away from the "cheeseburger experience" by adding any spices...
We want the pizza to taste like a cheeseburger.


-Dividing the hamburger mixture add it evenly to your Naan pieces.  
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-Divide the grated cheese and sprinkle that evenly over your hamburger mixture, that's it, I know!!

-Bake in oven for 15 minutes or till all the cheese has melted and the Naan is nicely golden.

-Remove from oven and immediately add your diced tomatoes and serve.  I have to tell you, I love a side of blue cheese to dip this pizza in, no I'm not joking... "to die for"!!  My one daughter and hubby prefer ranch.  

How easy was that right?  I know!!  Using up the leftovers and making it into a completely different awesome meal that your family will love!!


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Easy, fast and delicious my friends...

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cherry Berry Tiramisu

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This tiramisu hit the spot to a tee let me tell you! The other night as my husband was watching TV he turns to me as I was chatting on FB and say's; "honey, do we have any dessert in the house other than ice cream"?  I stopped typing and just glared at him.  You know, the look a wife gives a husband when they have been together for so long and the wife is annoyed at being interrupted...
Yeah, that look!  Then as we made eye contact, we both burst out laughing!!
I answered my husband in the negative but did ask him what he had in mind.  *keep it clean people, keep it clean, we are talking food here*
He said he was in the mood for some cake or maybe some raspberry bars or something.  Hmmmmm, I had to think about this.

I asked him if he wanted a pie or cobbler and then just like that, I mean in a blink of an eye, it came to me; "tiramisu"!!  I know he loves it as much as I do.  



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So tiramisu was decided upon.  I headed out the next day to my favorite Italian store to pick up some lady fingers and Mascarpone cheese.  Once I arrived, and put my heart back where it is supposed to be when it flew to my mouth upon seeing how high the prices of Mascarpone cheese had jumped to, I picked up its equivalent, ricotta cheese.  I added the lady fingers to the cart along with some Greek olives, and then right next to the olives was this amazing display of natural syrups.  Oh?  *screeched to a halt*  "What is this I thought to myself"?  They had such a variety of syrups from raspberry to loganberry, blueberry etc.  All natural with no HFCS. So in the cart went the blueberry syrup as ideas were flowing and I was a happy camper.



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Once hubby tasted this tiramisu, he was a "very happy camper" as well.  Considering my husband is a man of few words, his "honey this is outstanding", meant the world to me!!  Once trying it myself, I have to agree with him.  Bursting with real cherries and blueberries, Chambord liquor, blueberry syrup, amazing ricotta, it's literally a piece of creamy berry heaven!

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;


Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: NO BAKE
Yield: 12 squares

Ingredients:

1 package lady fingers 
1 cup pitted chopped cherries, diced
1 cup blueberries
4 tbsp superfine sugar - divided (can use granulated)
6-1/2 tbsp Chambord liquor - divided *see notes*
1/3 cup blueberry syrup
1/3 cup hot water
15 Oz container whole milk ricotta cheese, drained
1 (8 Oz) non dairy topping

Directions:
*Notes: the limited amount of liquor really enhances this tiramisu.  However, if you do not use alcohol (really?), or do not want the young ones having liquor of any kind you can certainly drizzle with the diluted blueberry syrup instead.

-Pull out your 9 x 9 square pan and set aside.

-Using a medium bowl, add your drained ricotta cheese.  How to drain?  Place ricotta cheese in a fine strainer over a bowl and let sit for at least 6 hours in refrigerator prior to using or overnight.  Add 2 tbsp superfine sugar and 2 tbsp of Chambord liquor.  Using your hand mixer, mix till ricotta is nice and creamy.  Take half of the non-dairy topping or 4 Oz and fold into the ricotta cheese mixture. Dip the tip of a spoon in to taste you know, it should be just so delectable you want to eat the whole bowl, set aside!

-In a small bowl, add your cherries and blueberries along with the additional 2 tbsp superfine sugar and 1/2 tbsp of Chambord liquor, stir to incorporate thoroughly and set aside.

-Using a plate large enough to accommodate the lady fingers, add your blueberry syrup along with the hot water and dilute.  Now we are ready to assemble.

-Dip your lady fingers in the blueberry syrup and place evenly on the bottom of your square pan. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of Chambord liquor



-Spread half of your ricotta cheese mixture evenly over the lady fingers.



-Add half of your fruit mixture evenly over the ricotta cheese mixture.  Repeat one more time, don't forget to drizzle with that amazing liquor or blueberry syrup.



-Using the other half of the non-dairy topping, spread evenly over the tiramisu.  Okay, so a smidgen of the topping ends up in your mouth, I know... I have no idea how this happens, but it happens every time.  I'm afraid it's a fact of life my friends!



-Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.



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Cut evenly into 12 squares and get ready for the compliments to start rolling in!  Very easy yes?  I know, and talk about delicious!!


Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Friday, July 19, 2013

Summertime Grilled Meatball Skewers

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I know...

Can you tell I have a skewering fetish yet?  <sigh>  Everything you skewer always looks so pretty and appetizing.  Whether it's a kebab of fruit, chicken, beef etc.  It is so appealing, it calls to you; "pick me, what are you waiting for"?  See?  I know!  We do eat with our eyes first, so that probably has something to do with it.


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This is such a simple, simple recipe and as you can see the presentation...
Did I mention very budget friendly too?  All you need are meatballs and cherry or grape tomatoes and skewers.  That's it.  How easy right?  The reason why I absolutely love using meatballs is because you do not have to marinade them.  All the flavor is INSIDE the meatballs...
They are moist, bursting with flavor and just full of summer love!
I can tell you that I usually double the recipe because if your family is anything like mine, they like to sneak into the refrigerator for leftovers.


Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 20 minutes (include skewering)
Cook time: 15-18 minutes
Yield: 24 meatballs or 6 skewers

Ingredients:

Meatballs:
1lb ground beef (I used 90/10%)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (any kind)

1/4 cups water (trust me - this is what makes them so moist.  You can certainly use white wine if you want)
1/8 cup Parmesan or Pecorino Roman grated cheese
1 small onion finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint or parsley
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 egg slightly beaten
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper


Additional Ingredients:
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Pinch of Kosher or Sea Salt & black pepper
6 bamboo skewers

Directions:
-Prepare your meatballs, roll into 24 meatballs, set on a plate and place in refrigerator till ready to skewer. You can do this earlier in the day, I usually do.  Or you can assemble and set aside.  


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-Rinse your cherry tomatoes and slightly dry.  Pop one in your mouth, *what*?  In a small bowl add your tomatoes.  Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle your dried seasonings, toss to coat all the tomatoes.

-Soak your bamboo skewers for about 10 minutes to ensure they are not going to burn on the grill.

-Preheat your grill to medium high heat.

-Take your meatballs out of the refrigerator let them warm up for a few minutes. 

-Thread your skewers with the meatballs and tomatoes alternately.

-Grill till meatballs are cooked through and your tomatoes are nicely roasted.

-Take off of the grill and serve with your favorite side!!  



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How easy was that right?  I know!  Did I mention absolutely delicious too?  Trust me, they are too die for!


Till next time!!


Dishin with Didi

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nana's Perfect Deviled Eggs (How to make pretty designs with no piping involved)

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Out of this world...

What picnic or outdoor activity is complete without deviled eggs, right?  Especially now in the middle of summer!  That being said, I rarely, I mean rarely make them.  Even though my family absolutely adores them.  Especially my son, one daughter and husband.  I tell you, if I let them, they would eat all dozen by themselves and then look at me with guilty expressions as I give them, "are you kidding me" look.  I rarely make them because quite honestly, I have never found "that" perfect recipe, does that make sense?  The deviled eggs I have made in the past are either too sweet, too chunky (with additions of bacon or pickles what have you) or too mustardy, (is that a word).  Alas, I think you know what I'm talking about.  Till this recipe came into my hot little hands.  

Now I have to give you a little background regarding this recipe. This recipe, or actually the ingredients for this recipe were provided to a small group of friends by our very good friend Kim.   Kim's Nana always made these deviled eggs and was constantly being asked to make them.  Unfortunately Nana did not write down the recipe and Nana recently left this world for a ...better one!!
Kim came into our intimate close group and asked 3 of us in the group that are, well "foodies" for a lack of a better word, if we can recreate the recipe by measurement because Kim knew what the ingredients were that Nana used, but couldn't replicate without measurements.  


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The first one to step up to the plate in our group was our good friend Mela.  She recreated the recipe with measurements.  I followed Mela's lead and added a couple of extra ingredients that Kim had mentioned...

What transpired my friends was THE PERFECT DEVILED EGG!!  I am not joking with you, I am not trying to pull your leg in any way...
These are the creamiest, a toss between sweet & savory decadent deviled eggs I have ever tasted!! They are absolutely perfect!!  I can now provide my deviled egg eating family these eggs all the time, because not only are they absolutely amazing, they are a snap to make.  Thank you so much Nana!! ♥


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I have a tip to share with you as well, so make sure you read all the way through.

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 23 minutes (include waiting time for eggs)
Yield: 12 egg halves

Ingredients:
6 large eggs
1-1/2 tbsp Kraft Sandwich Spread
1-1/2 tbsp your favorite mayonnaise
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Good pinch of Cayenne pepper
Good pinch of Kosher salt
Smoked paprika for garnish (awesome, please don't omit)

Directions:
-Place eggs and enough water to cover along with a pinch of salt and bring to a rolling boil.  Once the water has reached a rolling boil, boil for approximately 3 minutes.  Cover, turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, drain hot water, and immediately run cold water over it till the water is no longer warm.  This will ensure you do not have those black ring line thingies around the egg yolk.  I know!! I'm a plethora of information I say!

-Crack and peel your eggs, making sure there is no egg shells and set aside.

-Using a small bowl, slice your eggs in half and remove egg yolk.  Mash thoroughly with a fork.

-Add your vinegar and Dijon mustard, continue mashing and smashing the egg yolks.

-Add your Cayenne pepper, salt, then add in your Kraft sandwich spread.  Continue smashing and mixing.

This is what the Kraft sandwich spread looks like, it's a magical ingredient trust me!!




-Add in your mayonnaise and continue smashing and incorporating till thoroughly mixed.  Taste... taste again!!  I know!!!  Okay, okay, one more taste test!

-Divide and fill your egg halfs with the mixture liberally.  


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TIP:  I love my eggs to be uniform and pretty, well because we eat with our eyes first right?  I know!  That being said, I cannot be bothered to pastry bag them in.  No seriously, I hate washing those darned tips.  My fingers are too fat even though I might use a plastic bag and then I have to get the bottle washer out and...
So, I came up with an amazing tip that requires only a toothpick. Yes, yes, a toothpick!!  What you do is after you fill your egg halves, then take a toothpick and gently start to swirl in a circular motion.  This will level and create a circle diameter around your egg halves.  They look so pretty and all you have to do is throw away the toothpick!!  I know, I know...


So my friends, Nana's recipe is perfection incarnate!!  You will never have to keep searching for yet another deviled egg recipe, because seriously??  This is the perfect deviled egg!!


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Nana's love of cooking will be in my kitchen, my kids kitchens and I know your kitchen as well for many more years to come!  We love you Nana!! ♥♥♥

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, July 8, 2013

Heart Healthy Chicken, Strawberry Mint Salad with Toasted Almonds

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Yep, it was that good...

With the temperatures and humidity being sky high, the last thing I want to do is stand in the kitchen and cook these days.  In the summer I always have salads abound in the refrigerator, but sometimes you want something different, no? Exactly!  This is how this salad came to be.  


I went into the fridge looking for dinner ideas and what I witnessed was an almost full package of strawberries that needed to be used, like quickly... along with romaine hearts.  So, we improvised.
I wanted this salad to be healthy along with tasty, and to be quite honest with you?  I achieved it and then some. 

We had a couple of unexpected guests so I quickly made more vinaigrette, but they couldn't get enough.  The only thing that stopped me in making more salads, was that being it was almost 10:00 at night and I was out of strawberries and romaine and didn't dare,  want to ask hubby to go the store!  So I served frozen homemade blueberry frozen yogurt for dessert.  I quickly added a few gingersnaps to the frozen yogurt along with whipped cream and
I was so happy, because both carnivore men, husbands ate at least 4 servings worth.  Doesn't that say something... men = salad?  I know!!

That being said, I wanted to let you know that the basic recipe for a vinaigrette is a ratio of 3 oil to 1 vinegar or 3:1  I normally follow those basic ratios, because well, it works.  If you are off with those ratios you usually get that "puckered - what in heaven's name" look with the vinegar being more prominent.  However, we have to take into account that depending on the vinegar used, sometimes we have to alter them.  This is exactly what happened with the vinaigrette for this recipe.  I used the most amazing out of this world Strawberry Vinegar.    I bought this vinegar at a food show, and to be quite honest with you, even though it is less than a year later, I have ordered another few bottles.  These vinegars are absolutely amazing!!


They last a very long time because of the quality.  Here is the link:  Artisan Oil & Vinegars

However, even though it is absolutely delicious... It is really quite mild, so I had to alter the normal ratio in order to produce the flavor I was looking for.  Does that make sense?  Oh good *Didi wiping brow profusely*.


The other thing I added in "raw" form was fresh mint from my garden.  Let me tell you, this is what takes this simple salad over the top.  Mint is so very, very good for you.  There are many health benefits.  

Health Benefits of Mint:
Mint contains healthy nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A and manganese. Vitamin C can help reduce levels of damaging free radicals in the body. Vitamin A is an antioxidant and helps prevent cancer. Manganese is important for fat and protein metabolism. Like other leafy greens, mint is a source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Mint reduces inflammation and congestion. Chewing whole leaves releases menthol in small quantities for easier breathing. Mint also helps to relieve headaches (Ehow).
.

Ready for this amazingly simple and delicious recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Yield: 4 salads

Ingredients:
Salad:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup fresh mint, sliced
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup slivered raw almonds
Salad greens

Marinade:
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt (I used Kosher)
1/2 tsp black pepper


Strawberry Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup Canola oil
1/3 cup Strawberry Vinegar
1 heaping tbsp fresh mint, diced
Good pinch of salt
Good pinch of black pepper

Directions:
-Add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar and set aside.


-On a couple of aluminum foil sheets, add half the marinade, top with the chicken breasts and add the other half of the marinade over the top of the chicken breasts.  Wrap and cover.  Either grill or bake till chicken is cooked through.
If you are using the grill, make sure the chicken is cooked through and then remove from foil packet and brown on grill till nicely brown.
If using oven, bake in an a 375F till chicken breasts are cooked through and then open foil packets and let brown nicely on one side, and then flip and do the same on the other side.  About 25 minutes.


-As chicken breasts are cooking, clean and dice your greens and strawberries, set aside.

-Using a small dry skillet, toast your slivered almonds till they are lightly toasted, turn off heat, immediately transfer to a small bowl and set aside!  Don't forget to just snag a few of them for yourself...
*what*

-Place your greens on your plates, top with strawberries & toasted slivered almonds, set aside.  

-Check on the chicken, it should be almost ready.  If nicely browned and internal temperature is at least 165F, remove from grill, oven and let rest for a few minutes.  After a few minutes, slice them.  
Top your salad plates evenly with the chicken slices.

-Place the cap on the mason jar with the dressing ingredients and shake using this song for motivation, I would say about a good 45-50 seconds!!


*Dance, shake, dance, shake, that' it*  Have fun, heaven knows I do...

-You now have a perfect emulsion of your vinaigrette.  How to taste you ask?  So very simple my friends.  Take one simple green dip into your dressing and shake off the excess, and taste...
Should be lip smacking good!  If not adjust seasonings.

Pour over the chicken, strawberry & mint salad. Play the song one more time for your family as you are digging in... *what*
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Excuse me while I go replay the song...

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, July 1, 2013

Breakfast Muffins - Low Carb/Low Fat

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I know, trust me...

These little gems are literally bursting with flavor!  Your family will never suspect that they are both low carb & low fat!  Shhhhh...  We will never tell!


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Breakfast is very important.  It is the meal that literally wakes up your body.  However, it is one of the most "not thought" about meals typically.  
Not to worry, I have taken care of that for you with an absolutely delicious and easy solution.  These muffins are chock full of sausage, peppers & onions and are just so tasty they will literally be asking you for more!!  You will be smiling from ear to ear as you watch your family devour them while sneaking one for yourself.  What?
Did I mention I haven't used any fat in this recipe either?  I could go on and on... but I think I will just share the recipe, what do you think?  Let's get on that.


Prep time: 25 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:
3 turkey Italian sausages (I used Jennie-O)
2-1/4 cups water
2 large eggs
16 Oz (454g) egg beaters
1 medium onion sliced
1 medium pepper sliced
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of salt & pepper
Baking spray for the muffin tins

Directions:
-Slice the onion and pepper and set aside.




-In a medium skillet add 1-1/2 cups water and the sausages and simmer over low heat, uncovered till the sausages have cooked thoroughly, about 25 minutes.  The water will evaporate as the sausages are cooking, this is called braising.  What will be left in the pan is just a little of those succulent sausage juices.  Remove from heat and when cool enough to handle, cut into pieces, and don't forget to sneak a few pieces for yourself.  *as above*

-Using the same skillet, add the remaining water along with the onion & pepper slices.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper and let the vegetables simmer till the water has absorbed and the vegetables are nice and soft.  At this point I would grab a fork and taste an onion and pepper slice to ensure of course that they are indeed softened and all.  Turn off heat.


-Preheat oven to 350F.  Pre-spray your muffin tins and divide the sausage evenly and add to the bottom of your muffin tins.  Sneak just one more piece of sausage...

-Taking the skillet with your braised vegetables, divide them evenly over the sausage.  Set aside.


-Grate your Parmesan cheese, set aside.  Using a large measuring cup add your egg beaters along with your 2 eggs and whisk till the eggs are uniform and thoroughly mixed. 




-Pour your egg mixture evenly into the muffin tins.

-Let's add in the amazing grated Parmesan cheese, right in the center.  At this point you can shave yourself just a smidgen of cheese... you know for testing purposes!


-Bake for 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  Mine took exactly 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit in muffin tins for just a few minutes.


-After a few minutes, remove from muffin tins and place on cooling rack to cool thoroughly.  Or, you can lovingly present them on a plate to your family...

Your entire kitchen will be filled with the aroma of sausage, peppers & onions!!  You will not have to entice your family to dig into these beauties, I can promise you that.  They will last in the fridge for 1 week if they make it past day 2 that is.  
A nice, easy and very healthy for you breakfast that your entire family will love.  Shhhhhhh it's our secret!!


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Till next time!!


Dishin with Didi