Red Raspberry Dark Chocolate Puff Pastry Tarts

Red Raspberry Dark Chocolate Puff Pastry Tarts.

Phew!  That name is a mouthful….

But it really does say it all!

And I’m betting you would love a mouthful of these simple, but elegant and amazingly delicious treats!

I made these this past weekend for a Sunday family football dinner.

Would you believe me if I told you there are only three ingredients?!?!

Well – four if you count the powdered sugar you sprinkle on top.

Puff Pastry is such a dream to work with!

Keep these ingredients on hand and this recipe up your sleeve when you need a quick, but fabulous dessert or treat.

I’m betting you won’t be sorry. 😉

Red Raspberry Dark Chocolate Puff Pastry Tarts

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out one sheet of puff pastry, and cut into 9 squares approximately 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches.  Place a teaspoon of raspberry jam in center of each square.  Top with a piece of dark chocolate.  Pull all four corners to center and pinch to seal.

Bake for 15-18 minutes on baking stone or cookie sheet until puffed and lightly browned.    Remove to cooling rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Serve warm or cold.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Lightened Up Vinaigrette Broccoli Salad

Lightened Up Vinaigrette Broccoli Salad.

I love broccoli  – cooked or raw.
And I love broccoli salad.

The traditional version has a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing, and it is delicious!

But I was looking for a way to “lighten it up” a bit when making dinner one day this week, so I tried it with a vinaigrette dressing instead.

And it is DELISH too!

It is lighter and fresher tasting, and it is about half the calories of the traditional version!

This really is a nice twist on a classic that is healthier and just as yummy.

Here is how I made it.

Lightened Up Vinaigrette Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh fresh broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 thinly sliced, chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 large sweet red pepper, thinly sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices bacon, diced and cooked
  • Vinaigrette:
    • 2 Tbsp apple cider (or your favorite – red wine, white, etc.) vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp sugar
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 Tbsp freshly ground pepper

Directions:  Combine first seven ingredients in large bowl.  Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour over salad and toss to coat well.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Apple Cider Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash

Apple Cider Roasted Chicken with Butternut Squash.

The calendar says it’s Spring in our little corner of the world, but Mother Nature insists it’s Winter.  I guess since our Winter this year was often more like Spring, we have to deal with a bit of Winter in Spring.

The day I made this recipe last week (the second official day of Spring), we had more snow fall in one day than we have had in one day in the past eight years (approximately 8 inches).

So this super easy, healthy, delicious one pan oven-roasted meal I found at TheLemonBowl.com and tweaked slightly was a welcomed delight.

Using cinnamon as a spice for a savory meal is a surprising delight!   Don’t be afraid to use it liberally.  When combined with salt and coarse black pepper and lots of garlic, it just sings with flavor.

The original recipe called for apple cider, which I did not have, so I found a lonely bottle of Angry Orchard Hard Cider in the back of the fridge that kicked butt in this recipe!  I’m sure you could also substitute apple juice.

I was really tempted to throw in a handful of cashews or pecans (and might next time).  What do you think?

I served this with a simple salad of fresh greens, and  here is how I made it.  Hope you will give it a try.

Apple Cider Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed (approx 4 cups
  • 1 large bulb garlic (approx. 12 cloves), peeled
  • 2/3 cup apple cider (I used Angry Orchard Hard Apple Cider!)
  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place butternut squash cubes and whole peeled garlic cloves on bottom of large cast iron skillet or roasting pan.  Pour cider over all.

Place chicken breasts on top.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Season all with cinnamon, salt, and pepper.

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes or until chicken is done and butternut squash is soft.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Quick & Easy Egg Roll Lettuce Wraps

Egg Roll Lettuce Wraps.

I am so excited to share this recipe!

A friend on Facebook recently shared a recipe for a Sausage Egg Roll Bowl that had me so intrigued…

and so hungry….

that i couldn’t wait to try.

All the yummy ingredients of an egg roll without the deep fried wrapper in a bowl sounded divine!

But then I thought……  how about wrapping it in crisp Romaine lettuce leaves and making it into yummy, healthy, quick, and easy Egg Roll Lettuce Wraps?!

What I loved, and I think you will too, is how FAST and EASY this recipe is – especially for how DELICIOUS it is!

This is definitely a 20-minute meal from start to finish.  Who isn’t looking for one of these a few times a week?!

And there are so many possibilities for changing it up…  switch out chicken or turkey sausage for the pork sausage…  add raisins or craisins….  add walnuts or slivered almonds…  add chopped sweet red peppers or crisp celery or mushrooms…

I think the key ingredients to this recipe are the soy sauce (low-sodium!) and the sesame oil (I used Trader Joe’s Toasted Sesame Oil).

I am a salt LOVER, but I only buy low-sodium soy sauce (believe it or not).  If you want the full flavor of soy sauce without all the sodium, you will love low-sodium soy sauce.  In fact – you can add more flavor!  You can always add a dash of salt later if you really think it needs, but you can never take away too much of a salty flavor.

Here is the recipe as I slightly tweaked and made into a wrap!

I hope you will try, and I hope you love as much as I did!

Quick & Easy Egg Roll Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients1 lb bulk sausage (pork, chicken, turkey)

  • 1 14-oz bag Fresh Express Cole Slaw Shredded Cabbage & Carrots Mix
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1-2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 bunch fresh Romaine Lettuce

Directions

Cook sausage in a large stir-fry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often to crumble, until fully cooked.

Add cabbage mix, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until cabbage has softened a bit.

Remove from heat and top with green onions and drizzle with sesame oil.  Stir to combine.

Serve over a bed of fresh romaine leaves or scoop into leaves to serve.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Turkey Cranberry Quesadilla

Turkey Cranberry Quesadilla.

Today is December 9th.
Hopefully your leftover turkey and cranberry sauce is long gone from Thanksgiving.

But Christmas is right around the corner.
And more turkeys will be on the menu.

This Turkey Cranberry Quesadilla is so so delicious, it is worth roasting a turkey for!

Remember the Cranberry Jalapeno Holiday Dip recipe I shared that I made for Thanksgiving?

Turns out – it is an AMAAAZZZING sandwich spread and Quesadilla Filling!

With the last of our turkey, a generous slathering of Cranberry Jalapeno Holiday Dip, and some shredded cheddar cheese, I made this Turkey Cranberry Quesadilla last week that I am still “jonesing” for right now.

It is pretty hard to beat any type of protein (turkey, chicken, beef, pork) topped with some veggies or fruit and cheese, pressed between a couple of tortillas and toasted up crisp on the outside, but warm and gooey on the inside.

Here is how I made my Turkey Cranberry Quesadilla.

Turkey Cranberry Quesadilla

Ingredients1/2 cup chopped or shredded cooked turkey

Directions

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Butter one side of each tortilla.  Place one tortilla on skillet.  Top with Cranberry Jalapeno Holiday Dip, turkey and cheese, followed by remaining tortilla.  Top with cast iron press and grill for 2-3 minutes.  Flip tortilla and grill for an additional minute.

Cut into wedges to serve.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Herb and Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Herb and Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash.

Simple.
Healthy.
Amazingly Delicious!

I thought I was going to make something a bit more extravagant when I decided to roast some spaghetti squash by simply drizzling with olive oil, sprinkling with coarse ground pepper and salt, and topping with some garlic cloves and fresh herbs.

But when it came out of the oven looking like this….

And I took a teensy taste when scraping the flesh with a fork….

I ended up eating an entire half for my lunch!

I adore spaghetti squash, and have made it a number of ways that I’ve shared here:

Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Squash

Parmesan Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Italian Spaghetti Squash

But this super simple, quick and easy way is my new fave…..   at least for today!

Here is how I made it:

Herb & Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh Herbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut spaghetti squash in half, and scoop out seeds.  Place in cast iron skillet.  Drizzle liberally with extra virgin olive oil, toss garlic cloves and fresh herbs on top (I used fresh parsley and rosemary), and sprinkle liberally with fresh ground pepper and salt.

Roast for 45-55 minutes.

Remove from oven, and scrape flesh with fork to create spaghetti.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Cheesy Bacon Ranch “Crack” Dip

Cheesy Bacon Ranch “Crack” Dip.

It’s party food time of year!

Time for dips and spreads, puffs and cups, hors d’oeuvres and crudites, balls and logs… Time for bits and bites in every color and shape and flavor.

When you are looking for an easy, crazy addictive, crowd-pleasing recipe, give this warm, cheesy, bacony, ranchy dip a go.

It’s sure to be a hit!

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Crack Dip

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 Less Fat)
  • 16 oz. sour cream (I used Light)
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (reserve a few for garnish)
  • 2 Tbsp. (or one 1oz. envelope) Ranch Dressing mix

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients in bowl, reserving a bit of cheddar cheese and a few green onion slices for garnish.

Transfer dip to a pretty oven-proof serving bowl, fand back 20-25 minutes, uncovered until browned and bubbly.

Remove from oven, and immediately garnish with reserved shredded cheddar cheese and green onions.

Serve warm with tortilla chips, pretzel sticks, carrot or celery sticks, crackers, or your favorite dipper.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

S’More Cookie Bars

S’More Cookie Bars.

What S’more fun than S’mores?!

And what s’more perfect with hot cocoa or coffee than s’mores.

And what s’more delicious than campfire s’mores?

S’more cookie bars any time of year!

I love these adorable little cookie treats I learned from my daughter-in-law, Colleen, who first served them at a holiday cookie exchange she hosted a couple years ago.

They are simple.   They are fun. They are beautiful.  And best of all, they are SCRUMPTIOUS!

The teeny tiny miniature dehydrated marshmallows totally make them!  I purchased them locally at Make a Cake, a local, charming little cake and candy decorating shop, but they are also available online if you can’t find them near you.

Here is how to make them.

S'more Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

Directions:

After breaking all graham crackers and chocolate bars into rectangles, place one chocolate rectangle between two graham cracker rectangles forming a sandwich.

Melt Merckens milk chocolate one pound at a time in microwave.  Heat for 1 minute on high.  Stir well.  Heat 20-30 more seconds.  Stir well until smooth.

Dip each graham cracker and chocolate bar sandwich into chocolate – coating 1/2 – 2/3 of cookie.   Let excess drip, and place on sheet of wax paper to cool and harden.  Dip 4-6, place on wax paper, and sprinkle with marshmallows.  Working in groups allows the marshmallows to stick to the melted chocolate before it cools to harden.  Continue until all are coated and sprinkled with marshmallows.  Allow to cool and harden.

They are ready within 20-30 minutes to enjoy or store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S.  If you are local, I made these to share at the Berry Vine Gifts Christmas in the Woods Open House, which starts today, Friday, November 17th (10-6).  It also runs through the weekend, Saturday, November 18th (10-6) and Sunday, November 19th (12-4).  Come munch on one with a cup of cocoa while you browse the beautiful holiday handmade crafts, antique furniture, and gifts in this one-of-a-kind shoppe (including my art and Colleen’s rustic pallet signs!) 

Pan Seared Lemon and Garlic Mahi Mahi

Pan Seared Lemon and Garlic Mahi Mahi.

I adooooore seafood!

When eating out, I will likely order seafood 80% of the time.

Chilean Sea Bass… Salmon…Lobster… Shrimp… Scallops…  Tuna…  Fish Sandwiches…  Fish and Chips… Fish Tacos!

And then there is Mahi Mahi!  Ohhhh  the light, mild, delicate flavor of heavenly deliciousness…..  no wonder you have to say it TWICE!

I don’t often cook seafood at home as Hubby is not nearly the fan that I am, but I snuck this yumminess in last night for dinner.  A couple of wonderful wild caught Mahi Mahi fillets pan seared with onions, garlic, thyme and lemon zest – this recipe is quick as a wink, healthy as all get out (did you know a 3-4 ounce serving of Mahi Mahi has 20 grams of protein, contains all the amino acides you need to survive, and is under 100 calories?!), and melts in your mouth better than butter!

Here is how I made it thanks to the inspiration from ChicFitChef:

Pan Seared Lemon and Garlic Mahi Mahi

Ingredients:

  • 2 3-4oz Mahi Mahi fillets, patted dry
  • 2 lemons, zested and juice reserved
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or 1 Tbsp. freshly minced thyme (fresh is always preferred if possible)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Olive oil

Directions:

Heat olive oil in skillet until searing hot!

Meanwhile, combine lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper.   Coat patted-dry fish fillets on both sides with this seasoning.

Add onion slices to hot skillet.  Once onions are golden brown (about 2-3 minutes), add fish to sear for 3-4 minutes (without moving).

Turn fish fillets over with a spatula, and let sear for another 3-4 minutes on other side.

Lower heat, and add minced garlic and lemon juice.  Cover pan, and cook fish another 3-4 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Easy Grilled Sweet Corn on the Cob

Easy Grilled Sweet Corn on the Cob.

It is Fresh Sweet Corn on the Cob Season in our part of the world!

Corn is a vegetable we rarely eat – except in the heat of summer when it is fresh and sweet and bought the same day it was picked from a local farm stand.

After being in Arizona for a week recently, where it seemed everything we ordered had grilled or roasted corn in it (even a delicious deconstructed Caesar Salad), I had corn on the brain.

We had always boiled our sweet corn on the cob, but I fell in love with the magically charred kernels we experienced on our Southwest trip, so we decided to grill it this time.

O.M.G!  We LOVED it!  Oh how easy!  Keep the heat outside by using the grill.  And save clean up time with no pots of boiling hot water.

When I buy corn on the cob, even though is only the two of us now, I buy a full dozen.  We usually only eat about half of it, so we cut the rest off the cob and either freeze it in Ziploc bags for a fresh corn treat in the winter or save it for using in other recipes or reheating another day that week.

Here is how we did it.  Quick, easy, and oh so delicious!

By the way – I think the mistake many people make with corn on the cob is OVERcooking it.  Sweet corn on the cob truly tastes its best when you just cook it long enough to heat, but retain its wonderful sweetness, crunch and flavor.  Also, don’t look for the biggest ears of corn.  They could likely be tough.  Look for smaller, young, tender ears, and buy them from the farm or farm market – not the grocery store, where it could be several days old.  There is nothing like eating corn the day it is picked!

Roll it in some butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper for even more yumminess, but when you get fresh, sweet, seasonal corn, it barely needs anything else!

Here is how we made it.

Easy Grilled Sweet Corn on the Cob

Ingredients:

  • 1 dozen fresh ears of corn on the cob

Directions:

Heat grill to approximately 450 degrees F.

Husk corn, and clean of the silks as best you can.  Rinse under cold water.

Place cleaned ears of corn directly on grill for 5 minutes.  Turn and grill for another 5 minutes.

Serve immediately with sweet butter, salt, and pepper.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi