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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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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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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The Best Home Made Mac & Cheese

unnamed-3321This is hands down, the best home made Mac & Cheese that I have ever tried. I came up with this recipe in an attempt to make yummy home made Mac & Cheese because it’s currently my 5 year old’s favorite food and I didn’t want to keep making it from the box. I made some last week when our friends were over for dinner and it was a big hit! I have never seen anyone eat as much Mac & Cheese as my friend’s husband did! That is the best compliment a chef can get, when all the food gets devoured! They said it was the cheesiest and best Mac & Cheese they have ever eaten. Not oily, and extra cheesy. I wasn’t shy with the cheese that’s for sure and that is the secret behind this recipe, 2 blocks of a good sharp cheddar cheese, 1 small (4 oz) block Velveta cheese (optional) and a good brand of macaroni. This dish will be a big hit for sure and it’s so easy to make. I hope you love it, just as much as my family and friends do! I am posting now in time for Christmas, as it has been requested. I know this will definitely be a dish I have on all my Holiday tables from now on.

The Best Home Made Mac & Cheese {1 Big casserole dish, 4-8 servings}

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of “Elbows” macaroni
  • 2 (8 oz) Blocks of Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Grated in separate bowls)
  • 1 block (4 oz) Velveta Cheese (Optional, I use it when I have some)
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Stick (8 TBS) Butter, Unsalted
  • 4 TBS Flour
  • Salt to taste

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Directions:

1) Cook the Elbows macaroni according to the package instructions. Make sure to add salt to the boiling water.

2) When Macaroni cooks through, drain out the water from pot, and add 4 TBS of butter to the macaroni. Mix well and set aside.

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3) In a small saucepan, melt 4 TBS (1/2 stick) of butter on Medium heat (I did 6). Slowly add in 4 TBS of flour, and whisk together with the butter to make a thick sauce. When the flour is well incorporated into the butter and the thick sauce starts bubbling, add 1 Cup of milk.

4) When the Milk heats up, almost boiling but not yet, add 1 shredded block of sharp cheddar cheese a little bit at a time. Whisking to make a cheesy sauce consistency. If you are using Velveta cheese, add it to the pot of cheddar cheese now and incorporate into the cheesy mixture. Turn heat off. Mix the cheese sauce with a spoon.

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5) Transfer the cooked macaroni into a casserole dish. Pour the cheese sauce all over the macaroni and gently mix. Sprinkle 1/2 block of shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top of the macaroni. Cover with foil. Bake on 350 Degrees for 15 minutes, right before serving. Optionally, you can transfer mac and cheese to a crock pot, mix, and keep on warm until ready to serve (and sprinkle more cheese on top when done).

6) Take Mac & Cheese out of the oven, remove foil, sprinkle the other 1/2 block of shredded sharp cheddar cheese all over top of macaroni and stick back in the oven (or add to crock pot) for a few mins to melt all over the top. Enjoy!

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Yum! Look at that cheesy goodness!!!

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