Crab and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

These Crab and Cheese stuffed mushrooms were on our Christmas menu. I came up with the idea for these because I was craving my crab salad but also stuffed mushrooms. I also wanted something new on the Holiday menu and then I thought hmmm, what if I put them both together and add some cheese?… Well needless to say, these turned out absolutely amazing! I was testing this recipe out so you will see double some of the ingredients in the picture. It ended up being too much stuffing so I used the rest of the stuffing up by spreading it out on slices of a fresh French Baguette and baking in the oven on 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, and they were delicious appetizer and breakfast sandwiches! So this recipe can easily be doubled (as I accidently did while testing out this new recipe) to make appetizer sandwiches too. 2 dishes, 1 recipe, same ingredients sounds like a win win to me!

Crab and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms:

Ingredients:

  • 2 (24 oz.) Packs Mushrooms (stems removed and finely chopped)
  • 8 oz. Imitation Crab Meat (flake or sticks, finely chopped)
  • 1 (8 oz.) Block Monterey Jack Cheese (shredded)
  • 1 (8 oz.) Block Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
  • 4 Scallions (green part only, finely chopped)
  • 2 TBS Mayonnaise
  • 1 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove (minced)

Directions:

1. Wash the mushrooms thoroughly. Carefully take out stems from the mushrooms and finely chop the stems.

2. In a small skillet, heat 1 TBS olive oil on medium heat and cook the chopped up mushroom stems. When the mushroom stems are cooked through, add 1 minced garlic clove and stir to combine. Set cooked mushroom stems/garlic mixture aside.

3. Finely chop the imitation crab meat and put it in a large bowl. Finely chop the scallions and add to the bowl. Shred the Mozzarella and Monterey jack Cheese and add to the bowl.

4. Add the cooked mushroom stem/garlic mixture to the bowl with crab meat, scallions, and cheese. Add 2 TBS Mayonnaise. Mix well to combine.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stuff each mushroom with the stuffing mixture. Pack each mushroom in with a lot of stuffing!

6. Bake stuffed mushrooms for 20-30 minutes until slightly golden brown on top and the cheese has all melted. Best served hot! Note: If you made double the filling for the sandwiches, spread the filling out on top of fresh thinly sliced French Baguette bread and bake on 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. They should be slightly golden and the cheese should be super melty on top.

Layered Smoked Salmon Salad (Shuba)

This Layered Smoked Salmon Salad is our family Holiday must have! Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without this dish! This tradition Russian salad is usually made with herring fish but we prefer to use smoked salmon because it’s not as fishy. I love how simple this salad is and that it is made in advance which saves so much time, especially when I have a lot of other things to cook.

Layered Smoked Salmon Salad {Serves 10-14 as a side}:

Ingredients:

  • 12-16 oz. Smoked Salmon (cut into small pieces)
  • 3-4 Gold Potatoes (cooked, peeled, grated)
  • 1 small Sweet Onion (finely chopped)
  • 3-4 Beets (cooked, peeled, grated)
  • 2-3 Carrots (cooked, peeled, grated)
  • 5 Eggs (cooked, peeled, finely grated)
  • 1-1.5 Cups Hellman’s Mayonnaise (divided)
  • Salt (to taste)

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the potatoes (whole, unpeeled), carrots (whole or cut in half, unpeeled) and cook on med-high heat until potatoes and carrots are cooked through, about 45 minutes. You can poke the potatoes/carrots with a fork to see if they’re soft and cooked through. Once cooked drain out water from the pot and set potatoes/carrots aside to cool. Meanwhile move on top steps 2 and 3.

2. Bring a medium pot of water to boil, add the beets (Whole or cut in half if they’re large, unpeeled) and cook on med-high heat until cooked through and soft, about 45-55 minutes. Once cooked, drain out water from the pot and set beets aside to cool.

3. Add eggs to a small pot, cover eggs with water and cook until eggs are hardboiled, about 10-15 minutes then drain water out of the pot. Peel the eggs once cooled down and set aside. (I’ve found that the longer you wait to peel the eggs, the harder they will be to peel).

4. Cut the smoked salmon into small pieces. In a (16×3) casserole dish (or any dish you preffer) layer the smoked salmon in a single layer around the bottom of the casserole dish.

5. Once your potatoes have cooled down, grate them with a grater and sprinkle over the smoked salmon pieces. Sprinkle a little bit of salt on the potatoes. If using herring instead of smoked salmon then no salt is needed as herring is usually very salty.

6. Sprinkle the finely chopped sweet onion over the layer of potatoes. Then add about 3/4 cup mayonnaise over the potato/onion layer and carefully spread it around to cover the entire layer evenly.

7. Peel and grate the beets (some people prefer to use kitchen gloves for this step because beets will stain your hands bright red for a few hours lol). Gently sprinkle the grated beets over the layer of mayonnaise.

8. Peel and grate the carrots. Gently sprinkle the carrots over the layer of beets. Add another about 3/4 cup mayonnaise over the beet/carrot layer and carefully spread it around to cover the entire layer evenly.

9. Grate the peeled eggs and gently sprinkle them over the top of the last mayonnaise layer to completely cover the entire salad. Cover the Layered Salad tightly with foil or a lid and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours. Best served cold, right out of the fridge!

Chinese Crab Rangoons

AE9DA459-EC22-4AD5-8B87-2D62E91655D9Another popular Chinese food item that I have been craving during Quarantine 2020 is Crab Rangoons. We decided to make them at home and I’m so glad we did! These are super easy to make and taste even better then any Chinese restaurant/take out places we’ve tried them at. I made these for dinner one night last week and my 8 year old made them again, the next day for lunch with just a little help from me. That should tell you how easy and delicious these are. These make a great appetizer for homemade Chinese night or any party.

Chinese Crab Rangoons {Yields about 40} :

Ingredients:

  • Nasoya Brand Won Ton Wraps (Found in the refrigerator by veggies/tofu at most grocery stores)
  • Oil (For frying)
  • 3 TBS Water
  • Chili Sauce (Optionally as a side dip)

For The Filling:

  • 1 (8 oz) Package Cream Cheese (Softened)
  • 1 (8 oz) Imitation Crab Meat Sticks (Chopped small)
  • 3-4 Scallions (Green part only, Chopped small)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp SugarEE2838F7-1F00-4A6F-8D25-24990ACD8C7A

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a big bowl. 6637E7CB-9B29-4706-88BA-BF0FF5800F2F
  2. Set up a Rangoon making station. I lay out a piece of foil, a small container with water and cooking brush, the won ton wraps, and the bowl with filling. Lay out the wonton wrap and put a teaspoon of filling in the middle.02AB9FC5-EFB9-4026-AF65-1D2F805AB9A1
  3. Wet the edges of the won ton wrapper with water using a cooking brush.A76DBE7A-1DB4-457B-AC4A-0A9C3686E5F6
  4. Fold the wet edges across won ton wrapper to form a triangle shape and press to seal tightly so the filling doesn’t come out during the frying process.9ACE09BD-7062-4266-BD05-E8A7B599D788
  5. Once all Crab Rangoons are filled and sealed, fill a pot with 1-2 inches of cooking oil and heat on low-medium heat.5B923F19-5A99-4248-AEBA-37EFC9944439
  6. Throw in a few Rangoons at a time and fry them until golden, about 2 minutes per side (flip them from one side to the other as you fry). 1025FC6A-740E-4E13-ADA1-6B590221B440
  7. Transfer fried Rangoons to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.7A9CC1E9-76FD-45DF-8189-5A4ECF4C8AB7
  8. Serve hot, Optionally with a side of Chili sauce. These reheat easily the next day for a few minutes in the oven on 350.AE9DA459-EC22-4AD5-8B87-2D62E91655D9

Chinese Teriyaki Chicken Skewers

266C81C2-976A-41A9-BE10-ECF4E953430BThese Chinese Teriyaki Chicken Skewers are absolutely delicious! They taste like the Authentic Chinese restaurant/takeout kind. It’s important to get all the right ingredients for this recipe which I will have pictured below and that can be found at an Asian or International store. Also note that this recipe is best if you let the chicken marinate overnight or for at least 6 hours, however I tried both ways and it does make a huge difference and tastes much better and more flavorful if marinated overnight! We had these for dinner 2 days ago and my boys requested them again for dinner tonight. These taste great as an appetizer or as part of a whole Chinese style meal. I like to pair them with vegetable fried rice and some steamed veggies on the side.

Chinese Teriyaki Chicken Skewers {Serves 4} :

Ingredients:

  • 3 LB Chicken Thighs (Boneless/Skinless)
  • 1 TBS Soy Sauce
  • 1 TBS Sherry Wine
  • 1 TBS Oyster Sauce
  • 1 TBS Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 4 TBS Bull Head BBQ Sauce (the Vegetarian one, there are a few different types)
  • 3 TBS Pineapple Juice
  • 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/4 tsp Ground White Pepper
  • Peanut Oil or any oil (for frying. Peanut oil is best for frying chicken.)

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839CE9CC-74BC-4CFF-84BA-4881A8CBC5FEDirections:

  1. Wash the Chicken thighs. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces. Set aside in a big bowl.
  2. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a separate big bowl.

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3. Pour the marinade mixture into the bowl of chicken. Mix the chicken well with the marinade mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let it stand and marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight (for the chicken to be flavorful and very soft). The longer you let it marinate the better it will taste!

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4. Let the bamboo skewers soak in water for at least 30 minutes, so they don’t burn while cooking in the oven/pan.

5. Pat the bamboo skewers dry with paper towels. Using your hands, put the marinated chicken on the skewers.

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6. To cook preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking rack with foil, spray it with non stick spray or use a brush to spread some oil on the foil.  Put the chicken skewers on the baking sheet and bake on 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then flip the skewers oven to the other side and bake an additional 20 minutes.

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7. Heat a pan with peanut oil (or any oil would work, but peanut oil works especially well for chicken) on medium high heat (7) and fry each chicken skewer for 1 minute on each side. Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels to drain any  excess oil. Serve hot! If you need to serve later, just keep them warm in the oven on warm setting or low heat setting.

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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.

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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

 

 

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!

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Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

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Grilled Veggie Kabobs

IMG_0355Summer is finally here!!! And with it comes grilling! We love to grill and have friends over for cook outs, especially at the pool. Some of our favorite things to grill are burgers, chicken wings, chicken thighs, steaks and of course these veggie kabobs! Stay tuned for the next recipe on the best steak marinade ever! I got the recipe for these veggie kabobs from my friend Irina, who is an awesome cook and always gives me amazing recipes and idea’s. These grilled veggie kabobs are great to pair with grilled steak. Super easy to prepare and of course absolutely delicious! You can get the ingredients anywhere, but I found all these fresh and yummy veggies at Aldi! Buying the packs of veggies in Aldi like I did, will give you enough to make this great recipe twice (you will only need to add 1onion, 1 pack mushrooms, 1 eggplant to make it the second time) and it will save you money. I promise you, these grilled veggie kabobs will be your new favorite thing to grill with meats this summer so give them a try! 🙂

Grilled Veggie Kabobs {Yields about 14-16 Veggie Kabob Sticks}

Ingredients:

  • 1 Small Eggplant
  • 1 Bell Pepper (Orange, Red, or Yellow)
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Yellow Squash
  • 3 Zucchini
  • 1 Package White Mushrooms
  • 6 TBS Mayonnaise
  • 3 TBS Barbecue Sauce
  • 1.5 tsp Steak Seasoning
  • 1 tsp “Mrs.Dash” or any other Salt Free seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

IMG_0359Directions:

1) Do all the prep work first. Wash and cut all of your veggies into kebab sized chunks.

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2) In a separate bowl mix the mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and spices together until it it the consistency and look of a sauce.

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3) Mix the veggies with the marinade sauce and let stand to marinate for at least 4 hours. I usually marinate the morning of the day we grill them.

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4) 30 minutes before you grill, put the veggies on wooden skewer sticks. No particular order but I like to have a variety of all veggies on each stick for a pretty color combination and to get a taste of each veggie on each stick.

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5) Grill the veggie skewers on the grill along with meat or steak or anything else you are grilling. They take about 30 minutes to grill to perfection. You can just lay them down on the grill, or get a grill basket and grill the veggie kebabs in the grill basket. I have tried both ways and both work just fine.

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6) These are especially delicious with steak!

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Chicken & Turkey Cutlets

IMG_0237These chicken & turkey cutlets are so tender and delicious! They are made up of ground chicken & turkey, fresh bread rolls soaked in milk, grated onion, spices, lightly battered in flour and fried to perfection on a pan in some olive oil! They are hands down the best cutlets I have ever tried! I got the recipe from my dear friend Lidiya. After we tried these at her house, I knew I had to get this awesome recipe right away! We normally have enough left for 2 or 3 days but with this recipe, the cutlets were all gone in 1 day between my hubby, me, and our son. If you have a bigger crowd, make double, Trust me! These are great for a sandwich with some fresh bread and mayo, or make a perfect main dish paired with mashed potatoes, rice, or buckwheat. I paired these with buckwheat and a fresh salad and it was the perfect combination. This recipe was a big hit with my family and will be on our monthly rotation menu for sure! 🙂

Chicken & Turkey Cutlets {Serves 3-4}:

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB Ground Chicken
  • 1 LB Ground Turkey
  • 1 Onion (Grated)
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 2-3 Fresh Bread Rolls
  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Olive Oil (For frying)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder

IMG_0233Directions:

1) Break the fresh bread rolls into small pieces and put them into a bowl. Add about 1/2 cup whole milk. Wait a minute until the bread roll pieces become soaked through and soft. Transfer mixture into a big bowl.

2) Add the ground chicken and ground turkey into the big bowl with bread roll mixture. Add the grated onion. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix very well.

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3) Pour about 3/4 cup of flour onto a disposable plate (or foil). Using a Tablespoon measure out a heaping Tablespoon of meat mixture into your hand. Roll it a bit into a round meatball/cutlet shape.

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4) Place into the flour and then flip it, to coat both sides of the cutlet with flour. Make at least 4 Cutlets and put them in a disposable plate or on a sheet of foil (you want to make some in advance so you wouldn’t be in a rush making them when it is time to fry them). Meanwhile set a big pan with 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil on Medium heat (I did 6.0).

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5) When the oil heats up, place cutlets into the pan. Fry until cooked well and golden on the bottom side, then flip and fry the top side also, until well done and golden. I use 2 forks or 2 spatulas to flip and transfer cutlets.

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6) Set up a big glass plate lined with napkins or paper towels. Put the cooked cutlets onto the napkins/paper towels to drain any excess hot oil. Reapeat the same process with all cutlets. When you make space on the pan by taking out the done ones, add more cutlets. Add about 2 Tablespoons more Olive Oil half way through to ensure enough fresh oil to fry on.

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Serve with mashed potatoes, buckwheat, or rice. To reheat, stick cutlets in the oven on a sheet with foil on 350 Degrees for about 10 minutes. These taste just as great on the second day if preheated!

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Empanada (Fried Tortilla With Meat Filling)

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Some call these empanada’s, some call these chebureki, either way these fried tortillas with a meat filling inside are a great appetizer and snack. Could also be eaten for dinner. I made a batch of these for a Super Bowl party this year and they were a big hit! These are convenient to bring to a get together/party, because they can be cooked in advance and you just pop them in the oven to preheat them. I do have another recipe for tortillas with meat filling on the blog, but this is my go to, easier version recipe. These are best served hot, and reheat very well in the oven. I actually like them best preheated in the oven on 300 degrees for about 10 mins as they get extra crispy this way!

Empanada’s (Fried tortillas with meat filling) {Yields 18}

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB Ground Chicken or Turkey (I just use 2LB Ground Turkey now as we found it to be our favorite)
  • 1 LB Ground Beef
  • 1 Onion (pureed in food processor)
  • 1 pack of Raw, Uncooked, Tortilla’s (Can be bought in refrigerator section in Costco, Walmart, a few other grocery stores) Should be about 18 tortillas
  • Spices: 1 1/2 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp Garlic Salt, 1/8 tsp Pepper, 1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash (Or any salt free seasoning of your choice)

unnamed-321123Directions:

1) Put ground chicken and ground beef in a big bowl. Puree 1 Onion in the food processor (or shred it using a shredder) and add to the bowl of ground meat. Add the spices and mix thoroughly.

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2) Set up an empanada making station. I set up a big sheet of foil on the counter with the tortillas, the bowl of meat filling, and a small cup with water and a brush (to stick the tortillas together).

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3) Lay each tortilla out and fill with meat mixture, one by one. I add about 2 TBS of meat filling to each tortilla. Brush the outline circle of the tortilla with water using the brush. Stick both sides of the tortilla together and seal tightly by pressing on ends with a fork. This also makes a nice rigid design. Set the done emanada’s aside. Set a pan with enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan, on Medium heat (I did 5.5) and let the oil heat up.

 

4) Once oil heats up and starts fizzing a bit, add 2 empanada’s at a time to the pan. Fry on each side until golden (about 3 Minutes per side). Have a tray lined with paper towels or napkins to put the fried empanada’s on so the extra oil would drain off.

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Serve hot. To reheat place in the oven for 10 minutes on 300 to 350 Degrees until hot and crispy!

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Crock pot Sweet & Sour Meatballs

dscn4419These crock pot meatballs are a great appetizer. I am posting these just in time for Christmas! I got this recipe from my friend Kendra, who got the recipe from a friend. These are absolutely delicious yet the easiest thing you can make! Great for a party as they stay hot and easy to bring. I made these meatballs for a Christmas party we attended last weekend and they were a big hit! We took an empty crock pot home. Minimal work and only 4 ingredients. I plan on making another batch for a Christmas party next week!

Crock pot Meatballs In Tangy Sauce {5 LB Meatballs, About 125 Meatballs}:

Ingredients: 

  • 1 (5 LB) Bag of Italian Style Meatballs
  • 1 (14 oz) Bottle of Ketchup
  • 17 oz. Grape Jelly
  • 1/2 Bottle of Chili Sauce

Directions:

1) Set your crock pot on the Low setting. Throw in the frozen meatballs.

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2) In a big bowl, measure out and mix together the ketchup, grape jelly, and chili sauce.

3) Mix the sauces very well and pour into the crockpot over the meatballs and mix.

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4) Cover the crock pot with lid and cook on Low setting for 4 hours. Mix about every hour. Serve hot in crock pot and keep on Auto or Low setting to keep meatballs warm. Enjoy!

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