Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Join me in my brand new Joyful Kitchen!

Hey Friends!
I have packed up my pots and pans
and headed to a whole new
Join me at the brand new site for the latest
simple and delicious recipes
for the home cook
don't forget to subscribe to the new web site
so you can still receive every new recipe
via email.
See you there!!!


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sweet Saturdays post: Salted Caramel Tart

Salted Caramel Tart

2 c. all-purpose flour
¾ c. butter, softened
¾ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. granulated sugar
½ c. brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
11 oz. bag Rolo candies (50-52 candies)
1 tsp. coarse sea salt (add more or less as desired)
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°. Unwrap foil from around Rolo candies and set aside.

Spray the bottom and sides of a tart pan (with a removable bottom).

Beat butter and sugars in large bowl of a stand mixer. Add eggs and vanilla.

In separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda and regular salt.

Gradually add dry ingredients to wet and mix well on medium to combine.

Once fully combined, transfer HALF of the cookie dough to the tart pan. (TIP: spray your fingers with cooking spray to prevent sticking). Use your fingers to press dough into the bottom and sides of tart pan.

Arrange candies evenly over dough. Start the first row about ½ inch in from the outer edge. Space the rest of the candies evenly over the top.

Scoop the rest of the dough into pan. Again, it helps to spray your fingers and press the dough gently over Rolo candies. (NOTE: this is kind of a messy job. You could also put all of the cookie dough into the tart pan and then press the candies down into it).

Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool about 30 minutes before removing from pan.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Throw-Back Thursday Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

I'm sharing a recipe that appeared in my 
very first issue of Joyful Kitchen Magazine (Spring of 2016). 
It's one of my husband's favorites. 

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

12 oz. fresh Brussels sprouts, sliced in half
3 oz. Pancetta, Italian sausage, diced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 to 3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ tsp. dried basil leaves
½ tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper
½ tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 450°

Pour Brussels sprouts into medium-sized bowl. Add Pancetta and red onion, minced garlic, basil, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over the top and stir.

Pour into a baking dish (I used a 10-inch cast iron skillet). Drizzle with a little more olive oil.

Bake for 30 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are fork tender.

Also....check out this preview of the current issue of Joyful Kitchen Magazine, now available at Amazon.com (print and Kindle).


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Green Bean Salad

This is a light and healthy side dish; 
a great accompaniment to any meal.
I created this recipe using Gainey Vineyard's 
brightened it up with lemon zest and basil. Yum!

Green Bean Salad

1 to 1 ½ lbs. fresh green beans (I like to cut the ends off…and give them to my chickens)
12-15 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
¼ c. low-sodium soy sauce
¼ c. Gainey Vineyard Pear Balsamic Vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. sesame seed oil
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
4-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped (chiffonade)
Juice of ½ lemon
Zest of 1 whole lemon
1-2 tsp. salt

Fill a medium sauce pot with about 4-5 c. of water and salt. Place on stove top and heat to boiling.

Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside.

In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and sesame seed oil.

Add brown sugar, ground ginger, garlic powder and onion powder. Whisk to combine.

When water begins to boil, pour green beans into water. This will bring the temperature down, but bring water to boiling (turn temperature up slightly, if needed). Once it begins to boil, let green beans remain in the boiling water for about 2-3 minutes. Use a spider/skimmer to stir the green beans around.

After about 3 minutes of boiling and the green beans have achieved a bright green color, remove quickly and place immediately into the ice water.

Pour into a colander to drain, then into a serving bowl.

Add tomatoes to the green beans.

Pour sauce over the top. Sprinkle with lemon zest and basil. Enjoy!


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Raspberry Butter Cream Cups

If you're looking for a last minute, throw-it-together idea for 
Valentine's Day, here it is!
I had some raspberry butter cream left over from the cookie recipe I shared the other day, so I bought some chocolate dessert cups at the grocery store and piped in the butter cream. 
Super simple, cute and quick!

You could also change it up a bit if you don't want to fill it completely with the butter cream by adding a few raspberries or even chopped strawberries. Yum!  

Raspberry Butter Cream


4 c. powdered sugar

½ c. butter, room temp.

2 Tbsp. shortening

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 c. seedless raspberry jam

2-3 Tbsp. cold milk to thin as needed

12 Chocolate dessert cups (I found these at Walmart)

Sift powdered sugar and pour into large bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.

Add softened butter and turn machine on low, then increase speed gradually until butter starts to break up. Add shortening and continue mixing until creamy.

Mix in raspberry jam, extract and add 1 Tbsp. of milk to start. Mix on medium high until fluffy. Add milk as needed to thin.

Scoop frosting into a piping bag fitted with decorative tip. Pipe frosting into chocolate cups. Top with Valentine's candies or sprinkles as desired.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Blueberry Tart

I am super excited today!
Why? Because I got to break in my new tart pan 
and make this delicious blueberry tart.
And the other reason is because Joyful Kitchen Magazine is now available on Amazon.com! 
You (and your friends and family) can order 
a print copy AND download all the great recipes in this issue right to your Kindle!!!

It makes my heart sing to share great recipes with others, 
so making it available for the Kindle is super cool.

So, celebrate this Sweet Saturday with me and 
treat yourself to this amazing tart. 

Blueberry Tart


1 c. butter, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 to 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
21 oz. can of blueberry pie filling (I only used half of can)

Crumb Topping:
4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a rectangular tart pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine crust ingredients in medium bowl and mix. Mixture will be dry but should hold together when pressed.

Press crust evenly on bottom and sides of pan. Use a fork and poke several holes on the bottom. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until creamy.

Pour cream cheese mixture over cooled crust and spread evenly.

Pour blueberry pie filling over cream cheese (again, I only used 1/2 of the can for this recipe).

Combine crumb topping ingredients in small bowl and use a pastry cutter/blender until crumbs are pea sized.

Sprinkle mixture over the top of blueberry mixture and refrigerate at least an hour before serving. Enjoy!


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Throw-Back Thursday Recipe: Lobster Ceviche

Lobster Ceviche

1 small lobster tail cut into small pieces
1 medium roma tomato, diced
½ yellow onion, diced
1 green onion, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ jalapeno, seeded and diced
Juice of 1 lime
½ tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and refrigerate about an hour before serving. Stir and serve as desired (wonderful on tacos, with chips, over a bed of lettuce, etc).


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Slow-Cooker Corn Chowder

 This is one of those go-to meals for a cold, rainy day. Just set it in the morning and forget it. Delicious!

Slow-Cooker Corn Chowder

6 slices of bacon, diced
2 cans creamed corn
14 oz. pkg. frozen whole kernel corn
4 c. frozen O’Brien potatoes (with onions and peppers)
½ c. carrot, diced small
½ c. sour cream
3 c. Half and Half
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Creole seasoning

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until browned and crispy. Remove from pan to a paper towel to drain.

Pour frozen potatoes, creamed corn and frozen corn into crock pot. Add carrot, cooked bacon, sour cream and Half and Half. Stir well making sure to break up frozen potatoes and corn on the bottom.

Sprinkle in salt, pepper and Creole seasoning.

Cover with lid and cook on HIGH about 6 hours stirring occasionally.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sugar Cookies with Raspberry Butter Cream

My husband's co-workers were beginning to think I'd forgotten about them. I usually send some sort of goody for them at least once a week.

So, I made a batch of simple sugar cookies,
then dressed them up with this super creamy raspberry 
butter cream frosting...

...and added a few sugar sparkles.

I have a bit of raspberry butter cream left over from this recipe, but I think I'll put it to use in another recipe later this week. Hmmm what will it be??? Stay tuned!

Sugar Cookies with Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting


½ c. butter, room temp.
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Raspberry Butter Cream
4 c. powdered sugar
½ c. butter, room temp.
2 Tbsp. shortening
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. seedless raspberry jam
2-3 Tbsp. cold milk to thin as needed

Preheat oven to 350°

In large bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar.

Pour in beaten egg and vanilla extract.

In medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda and salt.

Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl. Mix until well combined and dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Use a cookie dough scooper (or roll small portions in your hands) and place evenly on baking sheet lined with silicone pad.

Bake for about 12 minutes until bottoms start to brown slightly. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to cooling rack.

For frosting:
Sift powdered sugar and pour into large bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.

Add softened butter and turn machine on low, then increase speed gradually until butter starts to break up. Add shortening and continue mixing.

Mix in raspberry jam, extract and add 1 Tbsp. of milk to start. Mix on medium high until fluffy. Add milk as needed to thin.

Scoop frosting to a piping bag fitted with decorative tip. Pipe frosting onto cooled cookies as desired.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Chicken Broccoli Pita Stack

So, this is one of those things I'm definitely going to be making again and again...
and again. 
Ohmygosh - I would actually order this in a restaurant.
It's THAT good.

I love how well all the flavors and textures 
work together in this recipe. 

I wanted to keep the salt down in this one, so I used a 
salt-free seasoning. As if the seasoned chicken, broccoli, tomatoes and provolone didn't pack enough punch, adding a thin layer of Borsin cheese on each pita just brings it all together 
for over-the-top YUM factor!

I LOVE sharing great recipes, and I really hope 
you'll give this one a try. It's awesome :)

Chicken Broccoli Pita Stack

3 pita flat breads
2 chicken breasts, diced
10-12 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 c. broccoli florets
Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Garlic and Herb Seasoning
1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
6 slices provolone cheese
3-4 Tbsp. Borsin cheese spread, slightly softened

Preheat oven to 350°

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add chicken. Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash seasoning (a couple teaspoons, or so). Stir and cook for a few minutes until nearly done.

Add broccoli and tomatoes to chicken and continue stirring and cooking until chicken is cooked through and broccoli is tender. Add a little more seasoning, if desired.

Meanwhile, lay out pita breads.

If Borsin isn’t “spreadable,” microwave it for about 10 seconds. Begin layering by spreading a thin layer of Borsin on all three pitas.

Arrange 3 slices of provolone on the first pita (overlapping slices slightly).

Spoon chicken and broccoli mixture evenly over provolone slices. Place the 2nd pita on top of chicken mixture with Borsin cheese side facing up.

Layer again with provolone and chicken broccoli mixture.

Place 3rd pita on top with the Borsin cheese side down.

Place in the oven just long enough for cheese to melt (about 10 minutes). Remove and let cool slightly before slicing. Serve hot.

(A couple variations: you could add one or two more layers, AND instead of spreading Borsin on the pitas, you could use a garlic aioli instead. The sky is the limit when it comes to filling options, but this basic recipe is delicious). Enjoy!


Saturday, February 4, 2017

(Sweet Saturdays) No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Happy Sweet Saturday to you!! I want to take a minute and thank you for visiting my little corner of the food blog world. 

I share both sweet and savory recipes here, but I'm kicking off a new series today called Sweet Saturdays in an effort to share something sweet on Saturdays :)

To start things off, THIS is a creamy, dreamy peanut butter pie that you really gotta try. 

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

1 ½ c. creamy peanut butter (your favorite brand)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
15 oz. container of frozen dessert topping, thawed
1 prepared chocolate cookie pie crust (Oreo)
Chocolate sprinkles, optional

Ganache Topping
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. butter
1 c. Half and Half (or heavy cream)

In large bowl of stand mixer, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until fluffy.

Add peanut butter and vanilla and continue mixing until well incorporated.

Remove bowl from mixer and fold in dessert topping.

Pour mixture into pie crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles, if desired. Refrigerate at least an hour to set.

Meanwhile, pour chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl. Add butter and Half and Half and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and cook for another 30 seconds. Stir until smooth.

Drizzle over pie as desired.