Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Holidays 2016

As the year is almost over and it's time to reflect with the ones we love...
I would like to wish each and everyone one of you a holiday filled with laughter, health, love and good food!

Take these specials days to also reflect on the blessings we are bestowed upon each day and to many brighter tomorrows!

♥ Happy Holiday's and a fantastic New Year! ♥ 

Dishin with Didi

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Roasted Asparagus w/ Lemon

 Sometimes, the easiest of dishes are the most delicious don't you agree?  To me; a side dish can make or break a grand entree.  
For example, picture a succulent, cooked to perfection rib roast served along with soupy mashed potatoes and over cooked peas.  
You will not remember the rib roast, what you will remember however, is the soupy mashed potatoes and over cooked peas!

Does that make sense?  Sides rule!
These asparagus are nicely roasted with olive oil, sea salt, lemon zest, garlic and pepper.
They have just a few simple ingredients as to not take away from the subtle yet fresh flavor of the asparagus.
Grand enough to bring to a holiday table, and easy enough to make for a weeknight side as well.

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time:  10 minutes
Bake time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: 6 

2lbs asparagus, trimmed
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 large garlic loves, finely diced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) olive oil
1 cup Fontina cheese, grated and divided in half

-Preheat oven to 400F. (200C)

-Break the tough ends of the asparagus and if they are thick, peel them.

- Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and garlic.  Toss to coat the asparagus completely with the olive oil.

-Sprinkle the dried seasonings and garlic over the asparagus along with the zest of 1 lemon.  

-Roast the asparagus for 25 - 30 minutes until tender, but still crisp.

-Remove half of the asparagus into a serving bowl.  Sprinkle with 1/2 of the grated cheese and half of the  lemon zest.
Add the remaining asparagus to the bowl, top with the remaining cheese and lemon zest. 

Layering the cheese and lemon zest ensures that the entire dish is bursting with citrus and cheese flavor!
Bring to the table and enjoy!  Easy, bursting with color and delicious!

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Buffalo Chicken 'n Bacon Salad

 Sometimes the easiest of meals are one of the most delicious ones don't you think?  I love a nice salad.  I really do!  Even though I enjoy mostly all types of salads, what I enjoy the most is for the salad to have enough topping to greens ratio, does that make sense?

 When I get a salad and there are maybe 2 little pieces of topping and then the remainder of the salad consists of just greens.  Well, it's disappointing, at least to me.  

To me there is such visual enjoyment when I see a salad that is brimming with toppings all nestled nicely above greens of your choice.  It's so thrilling to realize that wherever your fork will land, once raised it will be filled with utter goodness, not just greens.
Okay, it's just me, I'm weird that way, no worries!

Ready for this simple recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Yield: 4 Dinner Salads

2 large chicken breasts, diced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried coriander
4 tbsp butter, divided (2 + 2)
1/2 cup hot sauce (I used Franks)
8 slices Applewood smoked bacon (can use bacon of choice)
1 small red onion sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 English cucumber, sliced
2 cups Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, cubed
8 cups greens of choice
(I used a mixture of; Arugula, Swiss Chard & Romaine)
Dressing of choice *highly recommended Blue Cheese or Ranch*


 -Preheat oven to 400F (200C).

-Using a small baking tray, line with foil (for easier clean up), lay your bacon strips on the tray and set aside.

-In a medium frying pan, melt your 2 tbsp of butter, when butter has melted, add your diced chicken breasts.  Season all sides with the dried seasonings and cook till no longer pink, a few minutes.

-In a small baking dish (9 x 9), add the diced chicken.  Pour the hot sauce evenly over the chicken and dot the remaining 2 tbsp of butter on top of the sauce and chicken.

-Bake both the bacon and the chicken (stirring the chicken occasionally) for approximately 20-25 minutes.

-As the chicken and bacon are baking, wash, dry and prep your greens.  Cube the cheese.

-Using four dinner dishes, assemble 2 cups of greens to each dish.  Add the tomatoes, onions and cucumbers evenly to each dish as well. Add on that amazing cubed cheese and set aside.

-When the chicken and bacon are done, evenly divide the chicken over each dish.  When cool enough to handle, cut up the bacon into bite size pieces and divide accordingly to each dish as well.

-Drizzle with dressing of choice and serve.

 An easy, delicious yet utterly satisfying salad of love!

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, October 24, 2016

Turkey, Spinach & Feta Mini Loaves with Dill Mashed Potato Topping

Sometimes you just feel like a meatloaf, no?  I know I do!  I've been trying to keep it more on the healthy side lately to be honest.  I'm getting older and wiser, at least that is what I'm telling myself.  So I'm trying to incorporate more "natural" and less processed in our diet.

Studies have shown that the "good 'ol US of A" is the only country in the world where cancer, diabetes and autoimmune diseases are running rampant.  How does one wrap their minds around this fact or better yet even attempt to understand it?
It's what in our foods.  Basic and simple.  The other countries do not allow such ingredients to be placed in their foods, it's that simple.  
I'm not going to go into a fact rant of any kind, trust me.  There is more than enough blogs out there where you can learn more,  I'm simply telling you, I am leaning towards more "natural" ways of preparing our meals.

With that being said; These mini loaves were absolutely delicious!  They were unbelievably moist, with the addition of oatmeal, bursting with Mediterranean flavor, and just a perfect dinner!  The addition of the salad was a complete meal for us.  

Now I have to tell you, between you and me that;  I attempted this recipe 2x.  The first time, I tried to take the mini loaves out of the cupcake tins after I had placed the mashed potato topping on them.  That was an EPIC failure! Mashed potatoes to the left, the right, ugh!
So the second time, I took the loaves out of the muffin tins, placed them on a baking sheet, and then added the potato topping.  PERFECT!

You know how I am about adding additional plates/pans when cooking or baking.  However, this time, an additional baking sheet was indeed needed.

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 35-40 minutes
Yield: 12 Mini loaves

Mini Loaves:
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup oatmeal (not steel cut)
16 oz frozen chopped spinach, strained and squeezed dry
1 cup (4oz) feta cheese, crumbled
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning  

Mashed Potato Topping:
4 cups mashed potatoes (leftover is perfect or can use instant)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried dill
pinch of salt and pepper
1 egg

-Preheat oven to 375F.

-In a medium bowl add all the ingredients for the mini loaves and mix well.  Place them in the muffin tins which you have sprayed with non stick baking spray and bake for 20 minutes.

-As the loaves are baking, in a bowl add all the ingredients for the mashed potato topping and mix well and set aside.

-You can either add the topping into a plastic bag and pipe the topping onto the loaves, or you can just spread them over with a spoon/knife.  I chose to pipe, plus it's easy clean up, you just throw the bag away.

-After 20 minutes, remove the turkey loaves out of the oven and carefully take them out of the individual tins and place them on a baking sheet.  You might have to use a knife to gently go around each one.  To some I did, to some I didn't have to, stubborn little things!

-Pipe/spread the mashed potato topping onto the mini loaves, and return to the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes till the mashed potatoes have been warmed thru and are just starting to get golden.

*The reason I add an egg to the mashed potato topping is the egg helps with the consistency of the mashed potatoes, and honestly gives them the most super creamy texture.*

-Remove from oven, let rest for approximately 5-7 minutes, and serve.

The aromas will be wafting thru your house and you will not be able to wait to dig in.
This recipe is easy, healthy, bursting with flavor but above all, delicious!  Not to mention it's a show stopper when they are presented on a platter.

Till next time!  

 Dishin with Didi

Monday, October 17, 2016

Autumn Vegetable Soup

 To me there is nothing more satisfying and warming to the soul, than soup!  The aromas wafting through the kitchen and house as it is slowly simmering, especially on a dreary day! 

I just love soup, I really do... but I love it the most on a chilly damp day!

This was exactly the type of day it was when I was making this soup.  Chilly, dreary, rainy, and damp...
But the aromas wafting through the kitchen?  Priceless!

 I served it with crusty bread and grated Parmesan cheese.  Even my carnivore hubby not only loved it, but asked for seconds!  I was very happy to give him some because this is not only healthy, and chock full of goodness, it's also absolutely delicious!

We had it for dinner that day, and I froze the other half to be used for another day! So, even though this soup makes a ton, trust me, it freezes beautifully and will provide another meal for the family.  Score! 

Ready for the recipe?
Here we go;

Prep time:  20 minutes
Cook time:  35-40 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings

3 cups potatoes, peeled and diced into cubes - (3 large)
4 cups zucchini, washed and diced into cubes (3 medium)
2 cups fresh green beans, washed trimmed and cut in half
1 large green pepper, diced into cubes
2 cups celery, diced
2 cups carrots, diced
8 oz (227g) fresh spinach
6 green onions, diced (can use 1 medium onion)
1 can (15.5oz - 439g) Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2-32oz (907g) chicken broth
2 cans (14.5 oz - 411g) diced fire roasted tomatoes
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp Herbes de Provence
1-1/2 tbsp sugar

-Prep all your veggies, set aside.

-In a large stock pot, add the olive oil, let warm for about 1 minute.  Add in the onion and zucchini.  Stir and saute for 1 minute.  

-Add in the remainder of the vegetables, stir.

-Sprinkle in the spices, except for the sugar, stir to incorporate.

-Pour in the diced tomatoes with juices, and the chicken broth.  Stir once more and then add in the sugar.  Stir again and bring to a boil.

-Once it starts boiling, reduce heat to very low and place the lid of the stock pot in semi covered position over the pot.  Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

-After 30 minutes, test to make sure vegetables, especially the potatoes are soft and cooked through.  Add the spinach to the soup and continue to simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes till the spinach has wilted.

-After the spinach has wilted, ladle into bowls and enjoy!

I strongly suggest serving this hearty soup with crusty bread and Parmesan cheese.  You can even add a nice melting cheese on top of the soup while the soup is still hot, this will give you a very nice stringy cheese topping.

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we did.  It's easy, hearty, comforting, good for you, but most of all delicious!

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, October 3, 2016

Garlic Parmesan Wings - Baked Not Fried

 Who doesn't like crispy wings?  I know right!  I love chicken wings on game day, seriously, that and pizza.  My two favorites for a good game!  Now that being said, have you seen the prices of wings when ordering out lately?  "Holy are we short on chickens batman"?  I couldn't believe what they want for 1 dozen or 12 wings.  

The other thing about ordering out is that I never seem to get them crispy just like I like them.  I mean crispy, not soggy and soaking in sauce of some kind.  I like my wings very crispy outside and juicy on the inside and definitely not saturated with sauce.
So, me being me, I made my own!  I have to tell you, they are out of this world delicious.  I love Buffalo wings, I really do.  However their is something magical about the "garlic and Parmesan" combination.  I can't explain it to you in any other way other than it is a perfect marriage!  You get a hint of that amazing perfectly seasoned garlic flavor, and then; "SLAM" the Parmesan hits you.  Yes!

These wings are baked and not fried, there is very little butter involved in a 4lb bag of wings, which allows you to actually indulge and not feel guilty.  This is what I tell myself, and I'm sticking to it!
This recipe was inspired by Alton Brown's Buffalo Wings.  He is a very good chef, odd, but a very good chef.  I've tweaked his recipe to;

  • Make it easier
  • Don't use as many pans
  • Clean up is a breeze
I mean it's okay when you have someone cleaning up your kitchen and all, but when you are a home cook, well we take shortcuts, at least I do.

Alton Brown's Recipe:  HERE

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time:  20 minutes
Bake time:  1 hour and 15 minutes
Yield: 6 appetizer servings

Chicken wings:
4lbs - 64 oz (1.81kg) bag chicken wings, still frozen is fine
1-1/2 tbsp garlic salt
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp tsp cayenne pepper (can use more if you like it hot) 

3 tsp butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup grated Pecorino/Parmesan Cheese (the kind from the green container is fine)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese

-Using a large stock pan, rinse your chicken wings, (can still be frozen), and place in pan.  Add enough water to cover by an inch.
Bring to a boil, skim off any scum if needed, reduce heat and simmer for 17-18 minutes.

- Once cooked, with tongs, remove onto paper towel lined baking sheet and allow to cool.  Using the paper towels, make sure wings are dry.

-While wings are cooling, assemble the spice mixture, set aside.
Preheat oven to 400F (200C).

-In a medium bowl, add the first layer of wings, season with spice mixture, keep layering and seasoning till both wings and spice mixture is used.  Toss to ensure all wings are coated, set aside.

-Remove paper towels from baking sheet, wipe dry, line the baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil and spray with non stick baking spray. I'm all about easy clean up you know!

-In a single layer, add the chicken wings to the baking sheet.

 -Bake for 25 minutes, turn wings over and return to oven to bake another 18-20.  This will make for very crispy wings. 

-As chicken wings are baking, melt your butter and add the garlic powder to it, mixing well, set aside.  Mix cheeses together in a small bowl, set aside.  Wash and dry medium bowl, we are going to use it again.

 -Once wings are cooked, layer a few wings into the medium bowl, drizzle a few teaspoons of butter and sprinkle with cheese, continue layering, drizzling and sprinkling till the all the chicken wings, butter and cheese have been used.
                                        I know...

Place on a pretty platter or basket and get ready for accolades.  Don't forget to grab one for yourself!

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, September 26, 2016

Southwestern Mashed Potato Bowls

So my little one (my baby) wanted all her favorite flavors combined into one she says.  Now my little one is in college mind you, so when she is home, I am usually limited on time frames to make these "so called favorite meals" of hers.  

One of her favorite dishes is mashed potatoes.  You know, "mom's mashed potatoes", or as she says; "the best mashed potatoes ever"! They can be found  here:  MAKE AHEAD MASHED POTATOES
Then we have "chili", she loves meaty chili.   She also absolutely loves corn in her chili.  Now the rest of the family does not so I usually provide her with a  small dish of corn to add into her chili.  Then she says; "cheesy".  Now her idea of cheesy is literally "gooey" smothered in stringy (think pizza) cheesy goodness. 
That being said, my little one was asking all of this from me while I was working all day and wanted her "mama" to make them for her. 

So mom being mom, went about to deliver!  However, I cheated just a smidgen, well a lot to be honest.  I bought store bought mashed potatoes, and to be totally honest with you?  They rocked.  Seriously, who knew?  I mean these mashed potatoes resembled mine so much, the familia never suspected...
Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes

So the result of these bowls?  Were absolutely out of this world delicious! They not only rocked her world, they rocked mine!  I know!  

The bowls were creamy, bursting with southwestern flavor and the cheese topping?  Well let the amateur pictures speak the words...
See below.

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time:  30 minutes
Bake time:  45-50 minutes
Yield:  4 individual bowls

1lb ground beef
1 can (14.5 oz) canned corn, rinsed and drained
1 green pepper, diced
6 green onions, diced (or 1 medium onion diced)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1-1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp Chipotle pepper powder 
1 tsp salt
8 oz (1 pkg) shredded cheddar cheese
8 slices Muenster cheese, sliced into 4ths
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
2 pkg of pre-made Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes (24oz each)
Or can certainly use your own mashed potatoes, or mine, see above link.  

- Dice green onions and green pepper, set aside.

-Open can of corn, rinse and drain, set aside. 

-Using a large saute pan, brown ground beef.  Once ground beef is browned, add in the tomato paste.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add in the green onion and after a couple of minutes add in the diced green pepper. Now we add in the spices.  Onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, Chipotle pepper powder, and salt.  Saute for just a couple of minutes till the green peppers are almost starting to soften, turn off heat and set aside.

-Now it's time to layer.  Start off with about 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes between the 4 oven proof mugs/bowls.  

-Sprinkle in about 2 tbsp of corn immediately after and then about  1-1/2 tbsp of cheddar cheese.  

-Now add in about 1/2 cup of the ground beef mixture.

-Repeat layers finishing with the ground beef.

-Add 2 tbsp of Mozzarella cheese over the ground beef and then add about 6 strips of Muenster strips into a pattern over the Mozzarella cheese.  Finally, finish off with another 2 tbsp of Mozzarella cheese over the Muenster pattern strips.  
*You are going to ask me; "Didi, why in the world are we pattering the cheese strips"?  "Aha" - See when you take a couple of more moments to pattern the cheese, it literally melts into what you want it to melt into rather than going over and dripping onto things you cannot eat.*

-Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes till everything has been warmed thru and the cheese has melted nicely and is golden and crispy.

                                                           * * * * * * * *

So my friends, can I say this was one of the best meals like ever? Yes, yes it was!  It was comfort, it was easy, it was bursting with Southwestern flavor, but most of all...

Excuse the first attempt at a tripod for me - I tried, I really did, it's not the best, but you get my drift.  Cheesy, gooey goodness!!

I know your family will love you, mine did!

Till next time! 

Dishin with Didi

Monday, September 19, 2016

Creamy Roasted Tomato, Basil & Parmesan Soup

Finally, I say finally the weather has cooled.  Woohoo!  We have had one "hot summer" to say the least.  I mean who would of thunk that in Western NY we would get 1 month straight of 90F degree temperatures.  I know!
That being said, since the weather is now fully cooperating, I was craving soup again.  I don't know about you, but I literally can live on soup.  All kinds, all seasons, literally.

I visited the farmer's market recently and purchased some very nice Roma tomatoes.  I knew I would use some of them up for this recipe.  

Creamy, light, bursting with the last of the summer flavor and then you add in that luscious cream and Parmesan cheese?  I know right?  I wanted to serve them with other than just croutons or bread (I have no idea who just said that), so I thought to myself; "self, how about some fried ravioli"?  Here is the recipe I used for the fried Ravioli;  Giada's Fried Ravioli

The 4 cheese ravioli's were very good, next time, and there will be a next time, I think I will first dip them in flour, then the buttermilk, then the breadcrumbs and from reviews that I have read, place them on a baking sheet and freeze them for 1/2 an hour.
That being said; the family declared them an absolute winner! Coupled with the lightness of the soup, it was a perfect match!

Ready for this simple recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 40-45 minutes
Yield:  6-8 servings

3lbs (1.4K) Roma tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup olive oil, + 1/4 cup more
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1- 28 oz can whole tomatoes, peeled
32 oz chicken stock (can use vegetable)
2 cup heavy cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 medium shallots, (or 1 medium red onion), diced
3 large cloves garlic, diced
1.5 cup basil leaves, whole (1 small bunch)

-Preheat oven to 400F.  

-Wash and cut tomatoes in half and sprinkle with salt, pepper & olive oil.  Lay tomatoes cut side down on baking sheet and roast till nicely shriveled and roasted, about 25 minutes.

 -As the tomatoes are roasting, in a large stock pan, add the olive oil, (over medium heat), and then the onions.  Saute till tender, add the diced garlic.  Saute for about 1 minute more.  Turn off heat.

-Once the tomatoes have roasted, turn off oven and remove pan.  

-To the stock pan with the onion and garlic mixture,  add the can of whole tomatoes. 

-Add in the roasted tomatoes including all the juices and olive oil from your baking pan into the stock pot along with the whole basil.     
-Add in chicken broth (or vegetable broth), semi cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 35 minutes.

-When the tomatoes are cooked thru, (about 35 minutes) turn off heat, and fish out all the whole basil.  We do not want to puree the basil with the tomato soup, we just want to infuse with basil. Discard the basil.

-Puree using an immersion blender, or can use a regular blender, just be careful when handling hot liquids.

-You can "sieve" the ingredients, meaning pass them thru a very fine colander so it will catch all seeds if any and tomato skins.   
I choose to "NOT"  pass this soup thru the sieve.  I love rustic.  Rustic makes my world go around!
I love the slightly different textures in soups.  

-Bring soup back up to medium heat.

-Once it starts to simmer, add in the cream and that luscious PARMESAN cheese.  Let simmer for about 1 minute more, turn off heat and serve!

That's it.  I know right, how seriously easy was that?  It's light, it's creamy, it's cheesy, it's bursting with roasted tomato, basil and Parmesan cheese, and it's absolutely delicious! With those fried ravioli's?  It's just over the top, just the way you like it, oh wait that's me!

Score! This is the best part, my lunch for work tomorrow...

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, September 12, 2016

Bacon, Cheddar & Chive Scones

Have you ever contemplated making a recipe, thought about it again, and again...
Then finally one day, out of the blue, "voila", you are going to make the recipe.

This is exactly how this recipe came about.  I had been toying with the idea of making scones for quite a while to be honest with you.  However, if you have been reading my blog for a while you know that I am a challenged baker.  I mean "challenged"!
That being said, I still like to experiment, and if I can use my kitchen gadgets to make my life easier instead of fluffing, and forking and kneading and whatever it is that experienced bakers do, then, "gosh darn I'm using the gadgets".  So I did!

The results, honestly?  Out of this world delicious!  You have the bacon, I said B-A-C-O-N, then the cheddar cheese, and finally to just bring it over the top...
Chives.  So subtle but what a great accompaniment to the bacon and cheddar.  My family actually went back for seconds BEFORE the pics were completed in being taken.  I literally had to chase them out of my kitchen!

Ready for this very simple recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 18-20 minutes
Yield: 16 scones

2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cooked bacon, chopped (8 slices)
1/3 cup chives, diced
1/2 cup (1 stick) very cold butter, cut into small pieces
1-1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp)
1 cup milk

-Gather all your ingredients, set aside.

-Cook your bacon, chop, measure and set aside.  This will be a very good time to cook a couple of extra slices for yourself.  What?  You are baking for your family, you have to nourish.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

- Preheat oven to 400F (200 C)

-Pre spray baking sheet with non stick spray, or can using parchment paper.

-Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt & red pepper flakes in a food processor.  Process 10 seconds till mixed.
Add butter and using the pulse method, process until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Scraping down bowl if needed.

-Transfer mixture into large bowl.  Add the Cheddar cheese and milk.  Stir until just moistened.  

-On a lightly floured flat surface, add mixture and form into a log, then divide in half.

-Pat one half of dough into an 8 inch circle.  Cut into eight wedges; place 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet.  Repeat with second half of dough.

-Bake 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove unto wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.  Serve warm.

These will be so good with chili which I served them with when I made them.  Stews, soups, or even better, a nice brunch with scrambled eggs and fruit.  I know right?  What are you waiting for?

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Peach Cobbler Cake

 There is something just so warm and inviting about a cobbler isn't there?  I mean you have fruit, you have sweetness, you top it off with ice cream...
I know!

Recently we went to a farmer's market and purchased some very lovely peaches.  They were bit on the firm side, which honestly is my favorite way to eat them sliced, just like that.  I had a few left that I could obviously see the family was just not going to finish them off.  What is a frugal minded mom to do you ask?  Make a cobbler!

This is a very simple recipe with the ease of a boxed cake mix.  It does make one 13 x 9 and one 9 x 9.  You can certainly freeze the smaller one for a future use, or share like I did with family, friends or in my case neighbors.

Ready for this simple recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 21-28 minutes
Yield: 8-10 servings (13 x 9)

Yellow or white cake mix (see notes below)
6 cups fresh peaches, thinly sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
1 tsp vanilla
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup sugar
1 stick + 3 tbsp butter

Notes:  For the cake mix; prepare according to directions, but substitute milk in place of the oil.  

-Using a large pan, place the peaches and the next 6 ingredients and saute just for about 2 minutes or so, till the peaches have softened just a little.  You will know they are ready when you can see the juices starting to bubble.  Turn off heat and set aside.

-Preheat oven to 350F, (follow the directions for lower temperature on the cake mix if using a metal baking pan).

-Melt the butter and distribute the butter between the two pans making sure that both the bottoms are coated.

-Prepare your cake mix according to directions using the notes above.  We really do not need all that oil after we have so much butter right?  I know!

-Pour batter between the two pans.

-Add your peaches directly into the batter.

 -Bake for 25-28 minutes for the 13 x 9.  The 9 x 9 should be done in about 20 or so.  Test using a toothpick to make sure, you don't want to over bake it.

-Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes.  You can serve this warm with ice cream.  I highly recommend it!

I served salted caramel ice cream for this baby... can I just say; "oh man, oh man".

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, August 29, 2016

Avgolemono Soup - Greek Chicken, Lemon & Rice Soup


One of the most classics soups of Greece.  This soup is creamy (without added fat), lemony and just downright delicious.  It's comfort, literally in one spoonful.  It will leaving you emptying your bowl and going back for seconds...
Oh wait that is me!

 That being said, I love soup, seriously love it.  It doesn't matter the season, I truly love soup.  Last weekend was one of those weekends that I was truly craving it.  I asked myself what kind I wanted, and a plethora of favorites flashed in my head.  The one that stood out, was the one I grew up on.  My mom and aunts make it each a little differently, and of course it various by the regions of Greece.  This version is my version, and I have to tell you, it's "mom and aunts approved".  Yes, best feeling in the world.  

Ready for this vary simple recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 50-55 minutes (total)
Yield: 6-8 servings


2 chicken breasts with bone in
6 cups water
1/2 tsp salt

1-1/2 tbsp. chicken base, or 4-5 bouillon cubes
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup chopped fresh parsley, or 2 tbsp dried parsley
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup rice
3 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon

*Note* taste for salt seasoning as the chicken base has salt in it


-          -In a medium stock pan, add the 6 cups water, chicken and salt and let simmer till cooked about 30 minutes.  Skim off any foam as it boils.

-         - Once cooked, remove the chicken from water and let cool.  When chicken has cooled, remove the skin, bones and dice.

-          -To the remaining chicken broth, add in chicken base (bouillon cubes), 2 cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  

-          -While the broth is reheating, zest and juice the lemon and set aside. 

-          -In a medium bowl, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.  Whisk the egg whites till nice, frothy and a little on the thick side.  Set aside.

-          -When the broth has started to simmer, turn the burner to low and add the diced chicken back in, the parsley, the pepper and rice.  Let simmer till rice is cooked, about 15-16 minutes. 

-          -When the rice is cooked, turn off heat, and ladle 2 ladles full of chicken broth to the egg whites, mixing gently and thoroughly.  Once mixed, add in the egg yolks stir/mix again, and finally the lemon zest and juice.  Pour the lemon egg mixture back into the soup.
,         -Bring the temperature back up to high.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes, ensuring the eggs are cooked. Turn off heat, ladle and enjoy!!

P.S. The process above with the eggs is called tempering.  Meaning you are bringing a very cold into a very hot mixture and making it even tempered.  This way when you pour the egg mixture back into the very hot soup, the eggs will not curdle or scramble! 

 Don't forget to have some crusty bread handy for dipping...

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Koulouria Thessalonikis - Greek Sesame Bread Rings

 Man has it been ages since I blogged or what?  Life seems to get busier and busier when you are a working mom, you are lucky to get 5 minutes to yourself, ugh!  Anyway,   I took my mom and my two youngest children to an international store just recently.  We came across sesame bread sticks, but they were dry like zwieback toast.  I bought a package and the kids and I dug in with some Feta cheese, but it wasn't the same.  We were missing the wonderful moist Koulouria from Greece, so I went about to recreate them.

In Greece, you don't have to look far in order to find a street vendor selling these babies.  They are sold almost everywhere! On every street corner, bakery, they are the most traditional and popular of Greek breakfasts along with a cup of coffee.  Eaten with feta cheese, olives as savory, or cut in half crosswise and spread with butter and honey or jam?  Heaven!  They are incredibly crunchy on the outside with a soft and slightly chewy center.  What they are is addicting!

While they were baking the aroma of the sesame seeds and dough was simply enticing.  We couldn't wait for them to cool off just a wee bit till we dug in.  And dig in we did.  The recipe made 10, so we enjoyed 5 for a late lunch and 2 days later we had them again as a wonderful dinner with hard salami, more olives, feta cheese, tomatoes, red onion rings.  We enjoyed them with sliced cucumbers drizzled with olive oil, a pinch of salt and sprinkled with dried oregano...
Greece in a bite!

Ready for this very simple recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 15-18 minutes
Yield:  10 Rings

4 cup (500g) all purpose flour
1 (150g) cup raw sesame seeds
1-1/2 cups (300g) lukewarm water
1 packet (8g) of yeast (I used the active)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups water for dipping

-Using your mixer bowl, can do by hand if desired, add in the lukewarm water, sugar and stir.  Set aside and let yeast proof for about 8-10 minutes.  You will know it is done when the yeast starts to bubble.

-Into the bowl with the yeast add in the flour, salt and olive oil.  
Using the dough hook attachments, mix all the ingredients at low speed for about 7-8 minutes till the dough has formed into an elastic ball.

-Remove dough hook and check the dough.  The dough should be smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky.  If it is too sticky add more flour, if it is too dry add more water.  

-Coat the bowl with olive oil and add back the dough ball and turn so all sides are coated with the oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.

-Turn the dough onto a solid work surface sprinkled with flour.  Divide dough into 10 pieces.  Take one piece of the dough and roll out into a rope approximately 2.5 inches long (35cm).  Form into a circle and join and pinch the ends together.  Place on a non stick baking sheet.  You will need 2 baking sheets.  

-Continue forming and shaping the rest of the dough.

-Using 2 shallow pans/dishes, add water to one and the sesame seeds to the other.

-Dip the rings first into the water, then into the sesame seeds making sure all sides are coated.

-Place back onto baking pans and cover with towels and let rise once more for 30 minutes.

-Bake in a preheated 400F (200C) oven for 15-18 minutes or till nicely golden brown and crusty.

 Let them rest in the baking pans till they are cool enough to touch.  Grab one quickly, take a bite and enjoy...

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi