Cheesy, Creamy, Hashbrown Casserole

86942950-A2CA-4657-83B7-1C5C1DD8F40BThis hashbrown casserole is cheesy, creamy, and dreamy!!! One of my lattest obsessions. We make this casserole for brunch, for all major Holidays or when we have company over for breakfast/brunch. Perfect Saturday morning casserole or a quick week night dinner. It takes about 15 minutes to do all the prep work and then it bakes for 45 minutes. Fast, easy, and delicious… just how I like it!

Cheesy, Creamy, Hashbrown Casserole {Serves 4-8}

Ingredients:

  • 1.10 – 2 LB Bag Frozen Hash Browns/Shredded Potato (best if thawed in the fridge overnight)
  • 1 (8 oz) Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
  • 3/4 Pint Sour Cream
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter (melted)
  • 1 Small Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 (10.5 oz)  Can Cream Of Chicken Soup
  • Oil or Butter Spray
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Pepper (abt 1/4 tsp)

061CD3FD-A3C2-4908-8506-4D0E1EE67BC2Directions:

1) Do the prep work first. Shred the cheese into a big bowl. Then add the  hash browns to the bowl. Finely dice the onion and add it to the bowl. Add the sour cream and cream of chicken soup to the bowl. Melt the stick of butter and add it to the bowl. Add the salt/pepper. Mix thoroughly with a big spoon.

29D3468C-AA01-4A57-926B-ED3782F3DD21

2) Spray a baking dish with oil or butter spray.  I use an 11X15 glass baking dish. Using a spoon, gently transfer the hashbrown mixture into the baking dish and smooth it out evenly using a spoon.

0ED31453-E71E-489C-B52D-6FD6F5BAA816

3) Cover with foil and bake at 350 Degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown on top. If it is not golden brown after 45 minutes, take off the foil and bake on 400 for a few minutes until you get a perfectly golden (not burned) top!

86942950-A2CA-4657-83B7-1C5C1DD8F40B

4) Using a spatula cut into squares and scoop into plates. Best served piping hot! To reheat, bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes on 350 Degrees.

47B54ED6-1308-4FC4-B6ED-1AB461C161F7

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Garlic, Lemon, Herb Baked Salon

6E1B01DE-0795-4B7B-B9AE-CBA72D9873A2This garlic, lemon, herb baked salmon is absolutely delicious!!! It has become my favorite week night dinner because it takes just a few minutes to prep and bakes in only 10 minutes! That’s right, only 10 minutes! However it is so juicy and flavorful, it tastes just like a gourmet restaurant dish. I usually pair it with mashed potatoes or rice and salad for a complete meal. I got the idea for this recipe from my friend Candice, who I met through Open Hearts And Homes hosting company and she is currently in the process of adopting a beautiful boy from Ukraine! She brought this yummy salmon to an OHHC hosting Christimas party this past year and I couldn’t get enough of it! I knew I had to find out who brought that salmon and get the recipe so of course I did and it has been on my “to cook” list for the past few months. Note, adding lemon juice was my idea but it makes the salmon even more juicy, flavorful, and delicious but it is optional. I finally got around to trying this recipe last week and mine turned out incredible too! I am still shocked at how super easy and fast this recipe is! It has seriously got to be the easiest dinner ever and healthy too? Score! My new favorite way to bake salmon. Enjoy!!!

Garlic, Lemon, Herb Baked Salmon {Serves 4-5 as a meal}

Ingredients:

  • 1 Salmon Fillet (Mine was 2.60 LB I bought it at Costco, antibiotic free)
  • Olive Oil (About 3 TBS)
  • Salt & Peper (to taste)
  • Garlic, and Herb spice (Salt free)
  • 1 Lemon

Note: I cut my salmon fillet in half because I only needed 2 servings, and made the other half of salmon the next day for dinner. Some pictures you will see are from the 2nd day that I made this salmon for dinner. I split the ingredients in half also (half a lemon etc).

Directions:

1) Wash the salmon fillet and tap it dry with paper towels. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush the foil with about 1.5 TBS olive oil.  Lay the washed/patted dry salmon fillet on the oil brushed foil. Brush another 1.5 to 2 TBS olive oil all over the salmon fillet and brush around to evenly distribute the oil.

2) Preheat the over to the BROIL setting. Squeeze the lemon juice onto the salmon fillet. Sprinkle salt & pepper on it. Then generously sprinkle the garlic & herb spice all over the salmon fillet. Using the brush rub all the oil, lemon juice, and spices together on the salmon fillet.

57CBCF58-5FC0-4085-918E-F55531BB25CF

3) When the oven preheats to broil, stick the salmon fillet in the over and let it bake on broil for 10 minutes. Then turn the oven off and let the salmon bake another 2 to 4 minutes.

E46D978F-32FA-4FA3-A362-D0C86523D0DD

When baked and ready it should look golden on the outside like this:

6E9182A6-A2E9-4F8D-99F6-0BC55F8F84E7

4) Take it out of the oven when ready to serve, cut as desired and dig in! I like to pair it with mashed potatoes or rice and a salad.

15122511-8B8D-4D7F-8A38-0A9AAE8212A8

Tomato, Cheese, Black Olive Appetizer Salad/Spread

93670225-FD1C-4A14-8DCD-8C2291CF7917This tomato, cheese, and black olive salad is so delicious! It can be eaten as a traditional European side salad or a spread on some baked baguette bread. I have been making this side dish for several years. I got the recipe from my hubby back when we were dating in 2009. He tried it somewhere, called me and gave me the recipe and said that I must try it. I fell in love with it at first bite, and now several years later it still continues to be a favorite side dish of mine and my hubby’s. The recipe is super easy, just putting everything together so not really a recipe but an idea. Can be made a day in advance or right before you eat, however I like to make it at least a few hours in advance to give the flavors time to blend. Enjoy! 🙂

Tomato, Cheese, Black Olive Appetizer (Salad/Spread/Side)  {Serves 2-4} :

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz) Block Mozzarella Cheese (Shredded)
  • 1 (small) Pack Baby Tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz/170g) Can Large Pitted Black Olives
  • 6 TBS Mayonnaise (I prefer to use Hellman’s or Trader Joe’s real mayo)
  • 1-2 Garlic Cloves (Squeezed. Depending on your love of garlic)

DAE2D549-C2D3-4FF1-8F0A-669D6E5065E9Directions:

1) Wash tomatoes and add them to a big bowl. Drain out the water from the can of olives and add the olives to the tomatoes.

2) Shred the Mozzarella cheese. Add it to the bowl of tomatoes and black olives.

408DF7A8-E722-4788-8FAA-E6433FD52705

3) Add 6 TBS Real Mayonnaise to the bowl. Squeeze 1-2 garlic cloves into the bowl. Mix everything together with a spoon, gently not to crush the tomatoes or olives. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.

4) Transfer to a pretty bowl if eating as a side dish/salad or spread over fresh baked baguette Slices on a plate. Yum!!! 93670225-FD1C-4A14-8DCD-8C2291CF7917

 

 

Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Gouda Soup

5E1F7906-00B4-4E63-AAB4-BF58C72B39C2My hubby and I first tried this delicious soup at Dean & Deluca and I knew I had to recreate it at home. Of course I did just that and it tastes almost exactly like Dean & Deluca, except that I don’t put dry roasted red bell pepper into my soup. This soup is creamy, comforting and just perfect for a chilly winter day like today and was a hit with my hubby! The best part is how easy it is to make and that it’s a gluten free/low carb recipe. We are gearing up for a healthier lifestyle and healthier eating in the new year and I am on the lookout for healthy recipes already because it’s never too early to start the next new year’s resolutions now. I hope you love this recipe as much as we did! 🙂

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Guada Soup {Serves 4-6}:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium Onion (finely diced)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 2 TBS Butter
  • 17 oz Jar Roasted Red Peppers
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 2 TBS Tomato Paste
  • 3 Cups Filtered Water & 3 TBS Better Than Bouillion Paste (Or 3 Cups chicken stock)
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 2 tsp Basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 8 oz Guada Cheese (Shredded)

Directions:

1) In a medium pot, melt 2 TBS butter on Med-high heat (I did 7.5). Add the diced onion and cook until soft and translucent. Then add minced garlic and stir for a minute until fragrant.

F2FD860E-7676-46E6-BF78-D8505B6690E0

2) Add the Roasted Red Peppers, Fire Roasted Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, Chicken broth/stock, Oregano, Basil, Salt & Pepper. Mix until well combined. Bring to a boil. Then cover with lid, lower the heat to a low simmer (I did 1.5) and let it simmer for 1 hour.

FAC67BFC-DB1C-461F-8262-5E1E58067E1F

3) When soup is done simmering for 1 hour, transfer to blender and blend to a smooth pure or use a hand blender. Then transfer back to the pot. Add heavy cream and shredded guada cheese. Mix well and let it simmer on low for another 30 minutes.

4D713AA7-867E-4052-8C4E-FFE6DB84E469

4) Serve hot with some oyster crackers and enjoy!

37C2D88E-DE92-4879-AD37-A88B34B2EE46

 

 

How To Make Taco’s

9D925FF1-FDEB-42E1-AD4B-CE0849B00DF6Yesterday was Taco Tuesday at our house. Yum!!! Even my picky son, who hardly ever eats anything, ate 4 taco’s yesterday evening for dinner! I was surprised but so thrilled. Upon going to bed, he told me that this was the best dinner ever and that’s something this momma was so glad to hear! I think we may make Taco Tuesdays a weekly thing at our house now since it proved to be such a hit with my family. The best part about a taco dinner is how easy and fast everything is to prepare so it is perfect for a weeknight dinner. I think the fun part is everyone making their own perfect taco so this is also a great dinner to make if you have company coming over. This is not really a recipe because everyone knows pretty much what a taco consists of, this is just my step by step tutorial for those that reached out to me asking about how I make the meat filling and stuff. I hope you make next Tuesday a taco Tuesday too! 😉

How To Make Taco’s {Serves 6-8 people}

Ingredients:

  • 2 LB Ground Beef
  • 2 (1.25 oz) Packets (Ortega Brand) Taco Seasoning Mix (I use the 40% Less Sodium)
  • Taco Sauce (Mild) (Optional, to top)
  • 2 Boxes of Taco Shells (13-15 Count) *I like the stand & stuff shells, so much easier
  • 1 Large tomatoe
  • Romaine Lettuce (Or regular lettuce)
  • 1 (8oz) Block Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Shredded)
  • 1 Container Sour Cream (Optional, to top)
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil (For Sauté)

9CEEC5C6-CF37-48C2-A86F-6B8066A6C96FDirections:

1) Do all the prep work first. Wash and chop up the Romain lettuce, set aside in a plate. Wash and finely chop up the tomato, set aside in a plate. Shredd the block of Cheddar Cheese, set aside in a plate.

2) In a saucepan on Med-High heat add 2 TBS Olive Oil. When the oil heats up, add the ground beef, break it into pieces using a spatula.

1B23390B-C026-4657-8279-785C9692432D

3) Add the packets of Taco Seasoning. You need 1 packet of seasoning for 1 pound of ground beef. I use Ortega brand 40% less sodium packets bc I don’t like my meat to be too salty and using regular packets of seasoning in my opinion make it too salty. Mix thoroughly and cook until the meat has browned and is cooked through (about 15-20 minutes). Meanwhile bake the taco shells on 350 degrees in the oven for 5-7 mins until hot (be careful not to burn them).

D042B9ED-1B3A-4A12-AB92-8C914F398B44

4) Set up a “taco station” on the table with all the toppings in plates, the meat, the taco shells, taco sauce, and sour cream.

9D925FF1-FDEB-42E1-AD4B-CE0849B00DF6

Everyone creates their own perfect taco! Yum!!!

F1B5B06A-EB9F-4C9C-99B4-5D219703D99B

Herb & Olive Oil Rack Of Lamb

IMG_0464I don’t know if it’s an international thing or what, but I love lamb! It is my meat of preference lately and I was excited to finally have an easy and great recipe for a rack of lamb. This is actually my husband Michael’s recipe and he get’s all the credit for this one. The good news is he loves lamb just as much as I do! Cooking the perfect rack of lamb can seem intimidating so here is an easy, step by step recipe for you guys. Keep in mind that you will need to marinate the rack of lamb for at least 1 night, 3-4 nights is even better. I just posted a recipe for Mediterranean style jasmine rice and it pairs perfectly with this rack of lamb for a delicious, restaurant quality, Mediterranean style dinner!

Herb & Olive Oil Rack Of Lamb {Serves 2}:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Rack Of Lamb (About 1 or 1.25 LB)
  • 1/2 Fresh Bunch of Rosemary
  • 1/2 Fresh Bunch of Thyme
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (pressed)
  • Olive Oil (About 1/4 Cup)
  • Salt
  • Steak Seasoning

Directions:

1) Marinate the rack of lamb overnight or preferably for 3-4 nights for best flavor. To marinate the rack of lamb; wash and pat dry the rack of lamb and put it in a big bowl. Season the lamb by sprinkling salt and steak seasoning on the top of it. Add the bunches of rosemary and thyme. Add pressed garlic cloves. Pour olive oil all over the rack of lamb. Rub everything into the lamb, cover and refrigerate overnight or preferably longer for 3-4 days. *The longer you marinate the lamb, the tastier it will be because the spices, herbs, and oil marinate into the meat giving it a delicious taste and also the lamb tastes less “gamey”.

IMG_0467

2) When ready to cook the lamb; Preheat the over to 450 Degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the rack of lamb on the baking sheet and then cover the lamb with another sheet of foil on top of it.

IMG_0468

 

3) Bake on 450 Degrees for 20 minutes. Then lower the heat to 350 Degrees and Cook an additional 20 minutes.

IMG_0470

4) Take the foil cover off the rack of lamb and place it back in the oven, uncovered, on 350 Degrees for another 10-20 minutes depending on how well done you like to eat your meat. I did just 10 minutes because I love a good medium cooked, kinda pink inside,rack of lamb. Yum!

IMG_0473

Cut lamb evenly by the rack bones.

IMG_0471

This rack of lamb pairs great with my Mediterranean style jasmine rice!

IMG_0472

Mediterranean Style Jasmine Rice

IMG_0463This Mediterranean style jasmine rice is literally the BEST rice I have ever tried! I don’t throw the word best around lightly you now. I tried it at a Mediterranean restaurant once and got hooked so I knew I had to recreate the recipe at home and I did just that. This rice pairs perfectly with any kind of meat, but especially with a yummy rack of lamb. Stay tuned for that recipe next and you will have the perfect Mediterranean style dinner!

Mediterranean Style Jasmine Rice {Yields 6 Cups rice abt 4 Servings}:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Uncooked, Long Grain, Jasmine Rice
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth (I used the Better The Bouillon Paste and it worked great!)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter (Unsalted)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin Spice

1) Wash the rice thoroughly and set aside. If using Better Then Bouillon chicken paste instead of Chicken Broth, in a small sauce pan boil 3 cups of water. When the water comes to a boil, add the Better Then Bouillon paste (3 teaspoons) and mix well, to make a hearty chicken broth and set aside.

2) In a medium sized pot, add the butter, garlic, cumin, and turmeric. Sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the garlic has softened and spices give off a yummy fragrance.

IMG_0459

3) Add the dry rice to the pot and stir to combine for about 3 minutes to slightly toast the rice.

IMG_0460

4) Add the chicken broth (or Better Then Bouillon broth) and 1 bay leaf to the pot. Mix well. Bring to a rolling boil.IMG_0461

5) Cover with lid and simmer on LOW heat for about 15 minutes, until the rice is cooked through. I opened the pot and mixed the rice 2-3 times to keep it from sticking to the pot.

IMG_0462

6) Fluff with a fork and your rice is ready to serve! This rice reheats well. IMG_0463

 

The Best Home Made Salsa

IMG_0441This is a recipe for the best home made salsa! I found the basic recipe on google and just changed a few things up to my liking. Not only is this the best tasting home made salsa, it is also the easiest to make and yields a big batch! So it is perfect for entertaining or bringing to an event. I made a batch for a cook out a few weeks ago and for a party recently, both times it was a big hit! Nearly all of it was gone. Keep in mind you will need 2 bags of tortilla chips for this much salsa. I like to get Trader Joe’s, no salt tortilla chips because they are perfect and not too salty. Anyway, once you try this delicious home made salsa, you will never go back to store bought salsa again!

The Best Home Made Salsa {Yields about 12 Cups Salsa}:

Ingredients:

  • 1 (28 oz) can peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cans Rotel Brand Tomatoes and Green Chilies (Mild)
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro
  • 1 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Small Onion (or 1/2 of a big onion)
  • Juice from 1/2 Lime (1 whole lime, if a smaller lime)
  • 1/2 Jalapeño Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin

IMG_0438Directions: 

1) Do all the prep work first. Open the can of tomatoes and tomatoes with green chilies. Wash and finely cut the cilantro leaves. Desead the finely chop the jalapeño pepper. Chop the onion. Finely mince garlic clove.

2) Put the can of tomatoes, can of Rotel tomatoes & chilies, cilantro, garlic, onion, and jalapeño pepper into a big bowl and puree in a blender or food processor in 2 parts. I used a blender, and pulsed each batch 4 times for a quick second but feel free to make yours any consistancy you like.

3) Pour puréed mixture into a big bowl (with a lid). Add the lime juice, salt, sugar, and cumin spice. Mix and refrigerate for at least a few hours for best taste!

IMG_0439

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

IMG_0441

Easy Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

IMG_0436I know it’s still mid August, but I am already transitioning to fall time lol. The weather is finally cooling down, the leaves are starting to change color, my son starts school in a week, and everything is beginning to feel like fall. To me, nothing says fall more then a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte… so this beautiful Saturday morning, I decided to make these for my hubby and I to enjoy. It was super easy, and instead of paying $5/cup it will cost you about that much to buy everything you need to make these all season long. Of course, the taste is way more superior too! I have tried making this drink before and couldn’t get the right proportion of ingredients but today it literally turned out perfect! Even my 5 year old liked it and he doesn’t like coffee beverages. My hubby said he couldn’t tell the difference between this pumpkin spice latte or the ones we get at Starbucks (Score! Lol) and like me, he was excited to get to enjoy this beverage now since it’s seasonal and Starbucks doesn’t even have these yet! The best part about this home made, pumpkin spice latte is that I use simple ingredients that you can find anywhere and you don’t need any fancy espresso/coffee machines.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Brewed Coffee (I used Starbucks, Blonde roast)
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Pumpkin Purée (Or Can of 100% pure pumpkin, for a pie filling)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice (And more to sprinkle on top of latte)
  • Whipped Cream (Optional, to top)

IMG_0433Directions: 

1) Brew fresh coffee. Any coffee would work, but I used Starbucks blonde roast.

2) In a small container, mix together the pumpkin purée, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice until well blended together.

3) In a small sauce pan, combine cold milk, coffee, and pumpkin purée mixture. Mix well and set on Medium heat, occasionally stirring until it almost boils and comes to a simmer.

IMG_0435

4) When it starts to simmer, turn stove off but keep on the burner until ready to serve so it stays hot. Then pour into individual cups. Optionally add whipped cream on top and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice to decorate. Enjoy!!!

IMG_0436

Note: I made 3 times as much because my hubby and I both had big mugs. I couldn’t get enough of this deliciousness!!!

Summer Squash Soup

IMG_0416Nothing tastes more like summer then this summer squash soup! I got the idea for this recipe after trying this soup at Dean & Deluca restaurant and getting absolutely hooked to this soup so I knew I had to recreate this yummy recipe at home! To my surprise, this soup tastes better on the second day because all the yummy flavors get to blend overnight. For a vegan version or less calories, you can omit the heavy cream but I highly suggest adding it because it gives the soup an extra creamy flavor. This recipe is perfect for busy summer days because it’s the easiest squash soup recipe ever, yet the most delicious so it’s a win win!

Summer Squash Soup {Serves 8}

Ingredients:

  • 2.5-3 LB Butternut Squash, cubed
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 2 Celery Ribs, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon 21 Seasoning, Mrs.Dash, or any Salt-Free seasoning

IMG_0415Instructions:

1) Do the prep work first. Wash  all the veggies. Peel the squash, chop it into large cubes. Chop the bell pepper into cubes. Chop the celery and onion into cubes. Peel the garlic cloves and chop in halves.

IMG_0417

2) In a medium pot, add all the cut veggies, sugar and salt. Mix and add enough filtered water to cover all the veggies. (About 6 Cups water). Bring to a boil on high heat.

IMG_0418

3) Once the water boils, put the lid on the pot, and let is simmer on the Low setting for about 35-40 minutes, until all the veggies are tender.

4) Once the veggies cook through, add the veggies and water to a blender and pure to a smooth consistency. I had to divide the soup into 3 batches to blend it all. If you have a hand held immersion blender, that would be much easier.

IMG_0420

5) Transfer the soup pure to a big pot. Add the heavy cream, seasoning, and mix.

IMG_0421

6) Laddle the soup into bowls and enjoy! If you’d like to warm the soup up more, just heat it up on medium heat. Tastes just as great, if not better, on the second day!

IMG_0416