2Anchovy Fillets in oiloptional, drained and finely chopped
1/4CupHearty Red Winesuch as Citra Montepulciano
128 oz.Can Whole Tomatoes in juice
1/2tspHot, Crushed, Red Pepper Flakes
1/4tspGround Black Pepper
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions, anchovies (if using), garlic and cook. Stirring occasionally until garlic is fragrant for about 1 minute.
Add the wine. Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a bowl. Crush the tomatoes between your fingers, and pour the mixture into the saucepan. Add the oregano, hot pepper flakes, ground pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring often, until the tomato juices have thickened and the sauce has reduced slightly, about 30 minutes.
This Marinara Sauce can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Or freeze for up to 2 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
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 and stuffed mushrooms. So I thought hmmm, what if I put the two together and add some cheese?…Needless to say, these turned out absolutely amazing! Another idea is you can double the stuffing and spread it out on slices of a fresh French baguette and bake it in the oven on 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. I experimented that recipe with some extra filling I had and ended up with delicious appetizer and breakfast sandwiches! So this recipe can easily be doubled to make another easy appetizer.
Crab and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Crab and cheese stuffed mushrooms baked to golden gooey, cheesy, perfection! Super easy to make and the perfect Holiday appetizer.
224 oz.White Mushroomsstems removed and finely chopped
8oz.Imitation Crab Meatfinely chopped
18 oz.Block Monterey Jack Cheeseshredded
18 oz.Block Mozzarella Cheeseshredded
4Scallionsgreen part only, finely chopped
2TBSOlive Oilfor frying mushroom stems and for baking tray
Wash the mushrooms thoroughly. Carefully take out stems from the mushrooms and finely chop the stems.
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.
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 cheeses and add to the bowl.
Add the cooked mushroom stem/garlic mixture to the bowl with crab meat, scallions, and cheese. Add 2 TBS Mayonnaise. Add a sprinkle of salt. Mix well to combine.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with some oil (so the mushrooms don't stick). Stuff each mushroom cap with the stuffing mixture. Pack each mushroom cap in with a lot of stuffing!
Bake stuffed mushrooms for 20-30 minutes until slightly golden brown on top and the cheese has all melted. These are best served hot!
To reheat, bake in the oven on 250 degrees for 5-10 minutes until warmed up.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. The sandwiches should be slightly golden and the cheese should be super melty on top.
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 (just a taste preference). 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 for the Holiday menu.
Layered Smoked Salmon Salad (Shuba)
This Layered Smoked Salmon Salad is a traditional Russian salad side dish. It's usually made with herring fish but we prefer to use smoked salmon (taste preference). I love how simple this salad is and that it's made in advance which saves so much time, especially when cooking for Holidays.
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 to steps 2 and 3.
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.
Put eggs into a small pot, cover eggs with water and bring to a boil. Cook until eggs are hard boiled, 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).
Cut the smoked salmon into small pieces. In a (16×3) casserole dish (or any dish you prefer) layer the smoked salmon in a single layer around the bottom of the casserole dish.
Once your potatoes have cooled down, peel the skin off, then grate them with a grater and sprinkle over the smoked salmon pieces. Sprinkle a little bit of salt on the grated potato layer. If using herring instead of smoked salmon then no salt is needed as herring is usually already very salty.
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.
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). Gently sprinkle the grated beets over the layer of mayonnaise.
Peel and grate the carrots. Gently sprinkle the carrots over the layer of grated beets. Add another about 3/4 cup mayonnaise over the beet/carrot layer and carefully spread it around to cover the entire layer evenly.
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!
This salad tastes best if you let it stand overnight (or for at least 8 hours) in the refrigerator before eating, so the flavors blend.Keep the finished salad tightly covered when you store it in the refrigerator so it doesn’t dry out.This salad can stay fresh for several days, tightly covered and refrigerated.
Another popular Chinese food item that I have been craving during Quarantine 2020 is Crab Rangoon’s so we decided to make them at home and I’m so glad we did! These are super easy to make and taste so much better then any Chinese restaurant we’ve tried them at. These make a great appetizer for homemade Chinese night and are the ultimate party appetizer!
Chinese Crab Rangoon’s
Better than Chinese restaurant Crab Rangoon's. Easy and simple recipe. The ultimate party appetizer! Great side for homemade Chinese night.
Mix together all the ingredients for the filling in a big bowl.
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.
Wet the edges of the won ton wrapper all around with water, using a cooking brush.
Fold the won ton wrapper over diagonally to form a triangle shape and press to seal tightly so the filling doesn’t come out during the frying process.
Once all Crab Rangoon's are filled and sealed, fill a pot with 1-2 inches of cooking oil and heat on low-medium heat.
Throw in a few Rangoon's at a time and fry them until golden, about 2 minutes per side (flip them from one side to the other as you fry).
Transfer fried Rangoon's to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
Serve hot, optionally with a side of Chili sauce for dipping.
These reheat easily! Just stick them in the oven on 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes, flipping from one side to the other. These can definitely be made ahead of time and heated up in the oven right before serving!
These super easy and fast Cheesy Chicken quesadillas have been a life saver for me during quarantine 2020. Everyone needs a fast, easy, budget friendly recipe for feeding their family on a time crunch. These literally take 5 to 10 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
Easy Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas. This fast, easy, budget friendly recipe was definitely needed for when I need to feed my family on a time crunch. These literally take 5 to 10 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!
This 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, charcuterie deli snack. This lamb deli meat is kind of like home made Spam so it stays fresh for a long time and can be eaten just like that (cut up in thin slices) or in many different ways (sandwiches, wraps, etc). This is a Bulgarian recipe. 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, Ivan. Recipe post 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 for this recipe so that’s what we used (and that’s how our friend Ivan makes it too).
Homemade Lamb Deli Meat/Kielbasa
This 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, charcuterie deli snack. This lamb deli meat is kind of like Spam so it stays fresh in the fridge for a long time and can be eaten just like that (cut up in thin slices) or in many different ways (sandwiches, wraps, etc).
6.5LBLamb (or Beef) Meat with a good amount of fat
1.5Lamb (or Beef) Bone
1Jalapeño or Red Chili Pepper (Very finely chopped)very finely chopped
Wash the lamb meat and bones, pat dry with paper towels. Cut up the meat into small, about 1/2 inch pieces.
Put lamb meat, lamb bones and 2 bay leaves into a large wok or pot on low heat. 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.
When the meat is tender and falling apart, discard the bones and bay leaves. Add the very finely chopped jalapeño or red chili pepper, salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook an additional 30 minutes until most of the water boils down.
Put the lamb meat mixture into a glass tray and evenly spread it out. Let it cool down an hour or two, then cover and refrigerate.
Best served chilled, after it has been refrigerated overnight or at least a few hours.
To serve cut into thin slices like deli meat. Yum!
This is the classic Russian Olivier salad recipe, but with chicken instead of bologna as traditionally made. 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! This is basically a fancy potato salad with chicken and it is served cold so it’s a great make ahead dish or potluck dish to bring. I also enjoy it served in a croissant for quick lunch/dinner sandwich!
Chicken Potato Salad (Olivier Salad)
This is the classic Russian Olivier salad recipe, but with chicken instead of bologna. This is basically a fancy potato salad with chicken in it and it is served cold so it’s a great make ahead dish or potluck dish. I also enjoy it served in a croissant for a quick lunch/dinner sandwich.
2-2.5LBChicken Breasts (4 large breasts)cooked, diced
3Potatoescooked, peeled, diced
4Carrotscooked, peeled, diced
8Eggshardboiled. peeled, diced
1710 mLCan kosher dill pickles
115 oz.Can Peas
Wash and pat dry the chicken breasts. 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 medium-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 steps 2 and 3.
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 25-30 minutes) but do not over cook. In another small pot, bring water to a boil and hard-boil the eggs.
When the chicken breasts have cooled down, cut them into small cubes. When the carrots and potatoes have cooled down, peel them and also 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 out and discard liquid from the pickles and dice the pickles into cubes then add them to the bowl. Wash and finely chop the scallions (both green and white part) and add to the bowl.
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.
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 very delicate, I don’t want to squash them by overmixing. You can add a can of (drained) corn instead if you don’t like peas.
Refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours and enjoy! Great as a side dish, potluck dish and makes a great croissant sandwich too! Can be made the day before and tastes best if refrigerated overnight.
You can substitute cubed chicken breasts with cubed Bologna. You can substitute the can of peas with a can of corn if you don’t like peas. This dish tastes best if refrigerated overnight to let the flavors blend!
I made this Spanish rice and “Pollo Con Crema” (chicken in sour cream sauce dish, posted on my blog) for dinner and they both turned out amazing!!! My husband said it tastes better then the restaurant dishes and I completely agree with him! This Spanish rice is super easy to make and pairs well with any Mexican dish or even taco’s. I highly suggest making it with my “Pollo Con Crema” recipe.
Spanish Rice (Restaurant Style)
I made this Spanish rice and "Pollo Con Crema" (chicken in sour cream sauce dish, posted on my blog) for dinner and they both turned out amazing!!! My husband said it tastes better then the restaurant dishes and I completely agree with him! This Spanish rice is super easy to make and pairs well with any Mexican dish or even taco’s. I highly suggest making it with my “Pollo Con Crema” recipe.
4CupsChicken brothI used “Chicken Better Then Bouillon” paste with 4 cups water
Pepper to tastea dash
Cumin to tastea dash
Make 4 cups of chicken bouillon and set it aside. In a large skillet, heat oil on medium heat.
Add rice to the skillet and cook until it starts to crisp to a golden color. About 3-5 minutes, stirring continually so you don't burn it.
Add the chicken broth, salsa, garlic cloves, salt, pepper and cumin into the skillet with rice and mix gently to combine.
Stir rice and cover the skillet. Simmer on low heat for 30-40 minutes until rice is cooked through and there is no liquid left. I opened the skillet and gently mixed the rice with a spatula 2-3 times while it was cooking to prevent it from sticking to the skillet.
Try this Spanish rice recipe with my “Pollo Con Crema” (chicken in a white sour cream sauce) recipe, also posted on my blog.
This hashbrown casserole is cheesy, creamy, and dreamy!!! One of my latest obsessions. We make this casserole for brunch, especially 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 the prep work and bakes for 45 minutes. Fast, easy, and delicious!
Cheesy, Creamy, Hashbrown Casserole
This hashbrown casserole is cheesy, creamy, and dreamy!!! One of my latest obsessions. We make this casserole for brunch, especially for all major Holiday brunches, 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 the prep work and bakes for 1 hour. Fast, easy, and delicious!
1.5-2LBBag Frozen Hash Browns/Shredded Potatothawed in the fridge overnight
8oz.Sharp Cheddar Cheeseshredded
18 TBSStick Unsalted Buttermelted
1Small Onionfinely chopped
110.5 oz.Can Cream of Chicken Soup
Butter or Oil Sprayto spray the baking dish
Do the prep work first. Shred the cheese into a big bowl. Then add the hash browns (shredded potatoes) 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.
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 spatula.
Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, until golden brown on top. If it's not golden brown on top once done baking, take off the foil and bake on broil for a few minutes until you get a cheesy, golden (not burned) top.
Using a spatula cut the hashbrown casserole into squares and scoop into plates. Best served piping hot! To reheat, bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees.
To reheat, bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees.For a meatless option, use cream of mushroom soup instead of cream of chicken soup and it still tastes just as great!
This 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. No cooking required and can be made a day in advance or right before you eat it, however I prefer to make it at least a few hours in advance to give the flavors time to blend.
Tomato, Cheese, Black Olive Appetizer Salad/Spread
This tomato, cheese, and black olive salad is so delicious! It can be eaten as a traditional European side salad or as a spread on some baked baguette bread. No cooking required and can be made a day in advance or right before you eat it, however I prefer to make it at least a few hours in advance to give the flavors time to blend.
Wash tomatoes and add them to a big bowl. Add (drained) can of olives, shredded mozzarella cheese, minced garlic, mayonnaise and mix gently together. Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight or until ready to serve.
Serve as a side dish salad, or on some baked baguette bread as side sandwiches. Delicious either way!