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

Easy Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas

4E59D2D5-04A8-46D9-AA38-D1E2D01C8CD2These super easy and fast Cheesy Chicken quesadillas have been a life saver for me during this 2020 Coronavirus pandemic where we are quarantined in the house and a fast, easy, budget friendly recipe was definitely needed for when I need to feed my family and I’m on a time crunch. These literally take 10 to 15 minutes to prepare/cook and have on the table. My hubby came up with this recipe several years ago and I’m so excited to share it with you all!

Easy Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas {1-2 Quesadillas Per Serving}:

Ingredients (per 1 quesadilla):

  • 1-2 TBS Canned Premium Chunk Chicken Breast
  • 2-3 TBS Cheddar Jack Cheese OR Mexican Blend Cheese
  • 1 Raw Tortilla (I buy these at Costco) OR 1 cooked Tortilla
  • Salsa (Optional on the side to dip)
  • Sour Cream (Option on the side to dip)

324E7640-01D4-4C4D-BD35-BCE3A90A8A23Directions:

  1. Put raw tortilla in a pan and set it on Low heat setting. Cook 1 side of the tortilla until it is just cooked through on that side but not yet golden. Flip it over to the other side to fill (step 2).6460F2A2-53B5-4EC0-B715-E3C6A41BB9BB
  2. Add about 1-2 TBS Canned chicken breast, spreading it evenly with a fork. 2539B87C-CA6A-4DAB-A663-9A1E7797197B
  3. Then add about 2-3 TBS shredded Cheddar Jack or Mexican blend cheese, spreading it evenly with a fork. C8564CC9-DF08-40DB-BCDE-98770D121A00
  4. Fold the tortilla closed using a spatula. Cook for a few minutes and then flip to the other side and cook for an additional few minutes until the tortilla is slightly golden on both sides.15AF3CA3-7279-4F66-ADC2-302F12CC7228
  5. These taste best served immediately when the cheese is warm and melty inside, with a side of Salsa and Sour Cream Optionally*. BA26E8A5-BBBE-4823-AC27-BD1E33099915

Homemade Lamb Deli Meat/Kielbasa

BACB1150-6BFD-4835-ABFB-833551D238CBThis homemade lamb deli meat is so savory and delicious! We like to make a big batch and keep it in the fridge for a quick appetizer, sandwich meat, deli snack. It’s especially great to have on hand during uncertain times like right now (Coronavirus quarantines going on) as grocery stores are running out of food and it’s a good idea to have at least a month worth of groceries just incase of the inevitable. This lamb deli meat can stay fresh in the fridge for a few months. It’s kind of like home made Spam or Kielbasa so it stays fresh for a long time and can be eaten just like that (cut up in thin slices) or in other different ways (sandwiches, wraps, etc). This is a Bulgarian recipe and we first tried it at our friends house. We loved it and couldn’t get enough so we got the recipe and made it immediately! Recipe credit goes to our friend (and very good chef) Ivan. Recipe coming to life and photo credit goes to my husband Michael who made it and even took the pictures for me to share with you all! You can also use beef or Chicken but we love lamb so that’s what we used (and that’s how our friend makes it too).

Homemade Lamb Deli Meat/Kielbasa {Makes a big batch glass tray}:

Ingredients:

  • 6.5 LB Lamb (or Beef) Meat (Preferably with a good amount of fat)
  • 1 Jalapeño or Red Chili Pepper (Very finely chopped)
  • 1.5 LB Lamb (or Beef) Bone
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 2 Bay Leaves

C931DD22-A8CD-4DB2-BC17-552AA029A302Directions:

  1. Wash the lamb meat and bones, pat dry with paper towels. Cut up the meat into small (about 1/2 inch pieces). B0AEA577-2BB7-4787-B523-8F4F56200B22
  2. Put lamb meat and bones into a pot on low heat and cook on low, mixing every once in a while so the meat doesn’t burn, for 4 hours or until the meat is very tender and falling apart. There will be some water from the fat of the meat and that’s fine.E58C8B1C-E54A-468F-94C6-3CC3C413DB70
  3. When the meat is tender and falling apart, discard the bones. Add the very finely chopped Jalapeño or Chili pepper, salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook an additional 30 minutes until most of the water boils down.
  4. Put the lamb meat mixture into a glass tray and evenly spread it out. Let it cool down an hour or two, cover and refrigerate.A25A4089-D748-48A9-A97A-B8E76D6BBB5E
  5. Best served chilled, after it has been refrigerated overnight.431520BF-81B3-4B8C-923E-E3326D9558FA
  6. To serve cut into thin slices like deli meat. Yum!BACB1150-6BFD-4835-ABFB-833551D238CB

 

 

 

 

Chicken Potato Salad (Olivier Salad)

4FBC6F99-638D-4262-B795-EA5D7B5615FCThis is the classic Russian Olivier salad recipe, but with chicken instead of bologna. I got this Chicken Olivier salad recipe from my friend Inna. We tried it at her house once, it was the first time we tried it with chicken and we absolutely loved it this way! I haven’t stopped thinking about it since so I had to make it at home and share the recipe with you all. For my American friends, this is basically a potato salad with chicken in it and it is served cold so it’s a great make a head dish or potluck dish. I also enjoy it served in a croissant sandwich for lunch/dinner.

Chicken Potato Salad (Olivier Salad) {Serves 10-12 as a side dish} :

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 2.5 LB Chicken Breasts (4 large breasts)
  • 3 Potatoes
  • 4 Carrots
  • 8 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 1 Can kosher dill pickles
  • 1 bunch Scallions
  • 1 bunch Dill
  • 1 Can Peas
  • 1 small Onion
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 6 Peppercorns
  • 1.5 Cups Mayonnaise
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

ECA2DC08-F742-407F-9DED-84784828EAF5

6586E815-3735-478B-90F0-B0044FD421EDDirections:

  1. Wash and pat dry the chicken thighs. Bring a medium sized pot of water to boil. When the water comes to a boil, throw in 1 whole peeled onion, 6 peppercorns, 2 bay leaves and chicken breasts. Cook on med-high for 30 minutes. Then turn the burner off and let the pot stand on the burner for 10 minutes, afterwards take out the chicken breasts and put them on a plate to cool. *Meanwhile move on to step 2.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the washed carrots and potatoes. Cook until the carrots and potatoes are both tender when poked with a fork (about 25 to 30 minutes) but do not over cook. In another small pot, bring water to a boil and hard boil the eggs.
  3. When the chicken breasts have cooled down, cut them into small cubes. When the carrots and potatoes have cooled off, peel them and cut them into small cubes. When the hard boiled eggs have cooled down, peel them thoroughly and cut them into small cubes. Add the cut chicken, carrots, potatoes, and hard boiled eggs to a big mixing bowl. Drain and finely dice the can of pickles and add them to the bowl. Wash and finely chop the scallions (both green and white part) and add to the bowl.1A862007-A044-44D2-A156-2156E5000AE4
  4. Add the mayonnaise to the bowl according to taste and texture preferences. I added 1.5 cups mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper to taste, I added about 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Mix well to incorporate mayo.
  5. Lastly add the (drained) can of peas and finely chopped dill to the bowl. Gently mix again. *I add the peas in last because they are so delicate, I don’t want to squash them. You can add a can of (drained) corn instead if you don’t like peas. 279AC29C-7113-4161-89C4-37B14078AFAD
  6. Refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours and enjoy! Great as a side dish, potluck dish, cook out side dish, and makes a great croissant sandwich too! Can be made the day before and tastes best if refrigerated over night.

Spanish Rice (Restaurant Style)

83B36211-669B-4AF4-8047-60B0ABE1877DLately we have been really into Mexican restaurants. I always order the same dish “Pollo Con Crema” which is chicken in a white sour cream sauce and it comes with Spanish rice and a side of beans and tortillas, Yum!!! I wanted to experiment and try cooking a new cuisine at home so we decided on Mexican. I made this Spanish rice and the chicken in sour cream sauce dishes for dinner and they both turned out amazing!!! My husband said it tastes better then the restaurant dishes and I completely agree with him! The good news is I have mastered these 2 new, family favorite Mexican dishes. This Spanish/Mexican rice is surprisingly easy and pairs well with any Mexican dish or even taco’s but I highly suggest making it with my “Pollo Con Crema” recipe that I will be posting next. Enjoy!

Spanish/Mexican Rice (Restaurant Style) {Serves 8-10}: 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Cups Long Grain Rice (I used Jasmine Rice)
  • 1/4 Cup Oil (I used Olive Oil)
  • 4 Cups Chicken broth (I used “Chicken Better Then Boillon” with 4 cups water)
  • 12 oz Salsa (I used Mild)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Garlic cloves (minced)
  • Pepper to taste (a dash)
  • Cumin (a dash)

6C367411-BF52-4E2B-B1DD-AA4FC2D440EADirections:

1) Make 4 cups of chicken bouillon and set it aside. In a large skillet, heat oil on Medium heat.

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2) Add rice to the skillet and cook it starts to crisp to a golden brown color. About 3-5 minutes, stirring continually.

33A4ECC0-8B12-4B9B-9C81-937469676275

3) Add the chicken broth, salsa, salt/pepper, garlic cloves, cumin into the rice and mix gently to combine.

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4) Stir and cover the pan. Simmer on low heat for 30-40 minutes until rice is cooked through and there is no liquid left. I opened and gently mixed rice with a spatula twice while it was cooking.

058AEE83-CB9B-4059-8525-D9DF5F32C241

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!

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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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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.

IMG_0356

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

IMG_0357

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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