BASIL AND BABY SPINACH PESTO

For a long time I caught myself in a food rut, I would make the same thing every other week and even though the food tasted good we were all getting a little bored. If I left it up to my 4 year old, he would eat pizza every night and not complain * then again, who would?!*. So I decided to try one new recipe every week to break up the monotony.

This week I though I would try this Basil Pesto recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I made a couple of changes because my poor little basil plant looked  a bit naked after I picked a cup’s worth of leaves 😀

I mixed the pesto with penne and grilled some chicken breasts, my son made a salad and we had a quick and easy dinner! It was very tasty and both kids thought it was so cool to eat alien green pasta 😀

Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (i used toasted walnuts)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Blend the basil, spinach, pine nuts, cheese, and garlic together in a food processor or blender. Pour oil in slowly while still mixing (or a little at a time, then mix, then more oil, then mix again, etc). Scrape down the sides, then add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until everything is blended together and relatively smooth. Taste and add more salt/pepper if desired.11059555_10155465329315431_1961515948782417702_o1522819_10155465329410431_2926072482058021621_o11141124_10155465329030431_1796391813302743001_o11008807_10155465329025431_6305651781852818019_o

I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday hosted by  Dini @ Giramuk’s Kitchen and Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau 

CHOCOLATE RICE KRISPY TREATS

I’ve realised that inviting people over and telling me 20 minutes before they arrive is a genetic trait of my husband and it’s now presenting itself in my son *slaps forehead* *mutters curses*

Yesterday I had to come up with a very quick dinner and a treat for his little friends. Baking a cake or cookies would take too long, jello takes forever to set and pie takes even longer than forever. As I stood there staring into my pantry I noticed a box of rice krispies in the corner! EUREKA! Rice krispy treats! Quick, easy and done in less than 10 minutes, perfect!

I fancied it up a little with some left over Reese’s Pieces from Easter * Ok ok I keep a secret stash in my underwear draw because that’s the only place none of my kids or the hubs would look in 😀 You can try adding sprinkles, m&m’s, or whatever you have on hand….well….maybe not sardines.

Here’s my quick recipe!

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 16 oz mini marshmellows
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 cups rice krispies ( rice cereal)
  • chocolate chips
  • reese’s pieces or m&m’s or chocolate chips for toppings

DIRECTIONS

  1. Melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add marshmellows and stir frequently until melted.11157480_10155462625375431_3922704741067483146_o11201009_10155462625360431_6835278920603296914_o
  3. Add vanilla and stir.
  4. Pour in rice krispies and a handful of chocolate chips and stir well.11181220_10155462626335431_1979718894280703942_o11121884_10155462626060431_8963093986027091071_o
  5. Remove from heat and pour into a pan and let cool a little.11201000_10155462626510431_1233270786509801748_o
  6. Spray hands with cooking spray or a little oil (this keeps it from sticking to your skin) and press until flat and smooth.11163111_10155462627320431_3282940358116024881_o
  7. Add more toppings on top and press in! Easy peasy!11145124_10155462628365431_9081881690324473289_o

 I’m bringing this treat to fiesta Friday with the dynamite duo of J & J! That’s Justine @ Eclectic odds n sods andJhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook

TROPICAL SALSA

I love love love salsa and this tropical spin is so fresh and perfect on grilled meats! I’m making this to go along with Jamaican jerk pork. My tummy is going to be happy tonight!

  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1 semi-ripe mango, chopped
  • 1 kiwi, chopped
  • 1cup purple onion, chopped
  • 1cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or to taste)
  • 1/2  tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped fine (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rum (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon jalapenos (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl, mix it up, and let it sit for a little bit to allow the flavors to mingle.

So easy!

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My family had this salsa, with jerk pork and Jamaican rice and peas!

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I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday because every fiesta needs salsa!   The party is hosted at blogFiestaFriday.net.Thanks to the new co-host Anna @Anna International! For having us!

BANANA WALNUT BREAD

Lucky me! All of my bananas went soft and the skins were starting to turn brown and as I was about to throw them out my hubs ran into the kitchen in slow motion screaming “NOOOOO MAKE BANANA BREAD!!”… ok maybe it wasn’t that dramatic.
I really just wanted to lay in bed and finish dying from this flu, but I pulled out the old recipe book and whipped this up. It’s so good with a lot of butter * I also put cheese on mine, don’t judge me, I love cheese <3*  Man am I glad I thought to make this 😉
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1cups sugar
  • 12cup butter or 12 cupmargarine, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1cups mashed very ripe bananas (3-4 medium)
  • 1cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, if desired

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 2 (8X4 inch) loaf pans.
  2. In large bowl, mix sugar and butter. Add eggs, bananas, buttermilk and vanilla; beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  3. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt and nuts (if using) just until moistened. Pour batter into pans.
  4. Bake for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool about 1 hour before slicing.

TIP : If you don’t have buttermilk, you can add 1 tbsp of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 cup of milk and let it sit for 10 minutes before using in your recipe 🙂

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I’m bringing this yummy warm bread toFiesta Friday, a party by Angie of the Novice Gardener. This week it’s co-hosted by the lovely Julianna @Foodie On Board and Hilda @Along The Grapevine

CHEESY BACON JALAPENO BISCUITS

There will be no conversation, just go to your kitchen and make this. NOW!!!! Thank me later!

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of crescent rolls (you can use biscuits too)
  • Cheese (Whatever type you like, I used velveeta)
  • 12oz or 16oz package of bacon, cooked
  • flour for dusting (optional)
  • jar of jalapenos

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line your baking tray with parchment paper. Lightly flour your work surface if you don’t want any crescent roll stickage.
  2. Unroll one can of crescent rolls (or 1/2 can of biscuits) on your work surface. Using your hands or a rolling pin, press the seams together and lightly press & stretch a little into a nice rectangle. Add a layer of cheese (I like a pretty thick layer, & I use Velveeta because I love how it melts) & then add your layer of bacon and jalapenos. Unroll the remaining can of crescent rolls on top & press all the seems together both on top and all around.
  3. Using a pizza cutter or a knife (I prefer a pizza cutter) slice into squares. Place the entire thing on your baking sheet using a large spatula, working in batches if you need to. Lay all the squares right beside each other, just as they were before you sliced it. You want all the cut seams to be touching so that your cheese doesn’t leak out.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the top of the crescent rolls are lightly browned. Remove from the oven & cool on a wire rack for 3-5 minutes before digging in. The crescent squares will pull right apart. Serve & enjoy!

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I’m bringing this appetizer to the Fiesta Friday #64, hosted by the Amazing A because they are so so so delicious! I know they’ll go fast! Thank you to the wonderful hosts!! ,Ginger & Bread and Safari Of The Mind

LEMON SHRIMP SCAMPI

This is one of my favorite pasta dishes! I love making it in spring time because my glorious lemon tree is absolutely covered in huge lemons!

It’s flavorful, zesty, spicy, light and so fresh! I like this dish a lot more than the heavy, oily, creamy version that you’d find in restaurants. The flavorful sauce just soaks into the pasta and the leftovers taste even better the next day!

Here’s the recipe, definitely give it a try if you’re a lover of lemon and garlic!

Ingredients

8 garlic cloves, pressed or grated

2 lemons, zested and juiced

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied (reserve shells)

1/4 onion

1 pound thin linguini

2 tablespoons butter

1 small bunch parsley, leaves chopped

Directions

In a bowl, combine the garlic, zest and juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, to taste, and the shrimp. Set aside to marinate.

Meanwhile make a quick shrimp stock: In a small pot, over medium heat, add the shrimp shells and onion. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain into a bowl and discard the shells and the onion.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and add a generous amount of salt. Add the linguine and cook until just tender, 2 minutes less than instructed on the package. Drain and reserve 1 cup of cooking water.

Heat a skillet over high heat. Remove the shrimp from the marinade, reserve the marinade, and add the shrimp to the skillet. Cook until they turn pink and start to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan to a plate and add the reserved marinade. Let cook a few minutes then add about 1 cup of shrimp stock and about 1/2 cup pasta water. Continue to cook until sauce reduces by half. Add the zest and juice of the remaining lemon, the butter and the parsley and stir to combine.

Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste. Add in the shrimp and pasta and toss to combine with the sauce. Turn out into a serving bowl and serve immediately.

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I am submitting this recipe to the amazing Angie’s Fiesta Friday #61 at http://fiestafriday.net/2015/03/27/fiesta-friday-61/

FIFTY SHADES OF CHEESECAKE

OK..so maybe it’s not really 50 shades of cheesecakes but I’m making 50 cheesecakes today in two scrumptious flavors!

As usual my lovely husband came in the door yesterday saying “Ummm honey can you make a couple cheesecakes for my lovely friend who is NOT paying for them!? Thanks you’re the best!!”

Me “Ummm really!? REALLY”

WHY DO MEN ALWAYS DO THIS!!! GRRRR!!

*OK happy thoughts, happy thoughts, breathe ooooosaahhhhh*

So now I’m up at 8 am *not a morning person* prepping my pans and ingredients. I decided to do a classic cherry and a spicy chocolate cheesecake with raspberries. I love making mini cheesecakes, because it keeps us * meaning my husband* from eating too big of a slice! Portion control is key around here, as we say in Trinidad, his eyes are bigger than his belly, and that means he tries to eat too much! 😀

What’s your favorite cheesecake flavor? Below I put the basic recipe I use, play with the flavors, try different extracts and crusts, you can make so many variations!

  • 1 1⁄2 cups graham cracker crumbs(your preference) or 1 1⁄2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (your preference) or 1 1⁄2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (your preference)
  • 1⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 ounce) condensed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Line cupcake tin with cupcake papers (24).
  3. Combine crumbs, sugar and butter; press equal portions onto bottom of cupcake papers.
  4. In large mixing bowl beat cheese until fluffy.
  5. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth.
  6. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  7. Spoon equal amounts into prepared cups (about 3 tbl per cup).
  8. Bake 20 minutes or until cakes spring back when touched lightly.
  9. Cool and chill.
  10. Garnish with fresh berries or sliced fruits; chocolate shavings; toasted coconut; or cake sprinkles for a festive look.

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I am bringing these little beauties to Fiesta Friday! I am feeling better and ready to party with all the guests and the co-hosts this week are Effie @Food Daydreaming and Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook

BAKED ZITI

OK… so maybe I have a little thing going on for Italian food! I swear it’s my best friend’s fault and her name is Katherine Pagaaaannnnoooo * I just tried to pronounce it in her voice, not the same, I miss her and Italy and her cooking is so far away*… anyways, I digress! I decided to try this recipe because the seasonings looked about right! Am I the only one who chooses recipes based on what the seasonings look like? Show of hands!? *bunch of weirdos* 😀

This recipe turned out delicious and my small family of four devoured a meal made for 8! Well I guess if I didn’t starve them half to death while I took pics, I might have had some left overs for lunch! Here’s the recipe, have at  it! Bon Apetite or whatever! *insert weird hand gestures*

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
  • ½ (6-oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb dried pasta (ziti or penne are best)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (8-oz) package shredded Italian cheese blend ( I used half and it was plenty cheesy)
  • basil, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large skillet over high heat, brown sausage, about 10 minutes. (I drain the oil to cut down on the fat)
  2. Add tomatoes, sauce, paste, Italian seasoning, dried pasta, and water. Stir to combine, cover and bring to a boil. Boil until pasta is al dente.
  3. Meanwhile; combine ricotta, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until well incorporated.
  4. Stir ricotta mixture into pasta. Preheat oven to broil. Top skillet with shredded cheese and place in oven. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Keep a close eye on it or you will have crispy cheese pretty quick.
  5. Garnish with basil and serve. Easy peasy!

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Santa Fe grilled chicken

The weekend is finally here and we’re supposed to have perfect 80F weather! So that means, pulling out the old grill and getting it ready for months of use! *someone get me a virgin piña colada* 🍹

I love making my own rubs, they’re so versatile and you can experiment so much! I’d like to share with you one of my favorite rubs! It’s spicy, sweet, smoky and just tastes delicious!

You can use the grilled chicken in tacos, or on top of your favorite salad! I love adding avocado, cilantro, chopped onions and tomatoes with sour cream and cheese to these tacos with a squeeze of lime! AMAZZZINGGGGGG!!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper *or less if you’re 🐣*

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded thin (about 4 large breasts)

Preparation

1. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, paprika, red pepper, salt, pepper, cayenne and brown sugar. Stir in oil; mixture will be moistened but crumbly.

2. Generously rub chicken on all sides with chili mixture. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to marinate (or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day).

3. Preheat gas grill to medium, or preheat broiler to high and set rack 6 to 8 inches from source of heat. Grill or broil chicken until firm, about 5 minutes per side. Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut into thin strips.

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