SLOW ROASTED SALMON TOPPED WITH CHILI POWDER

What a beautiful day; this is what Spring is all about. I had all the windows open, curtains blowing in the breeze, and a sweet 74 degrees. It was too pretty to be inside. I love sitting outside and letting the sun warm my skin. It’s so rejuvenating! So a quick dinner was essential. This one could not be quicker or easier.

Our neighbors came over yesterday for a glass of wine and a chat. She loves to cook as I do. Naturally our conversation turned to food. She let me in on her method for slow roasting salmon. Her choice of seasonings was different from mine. As she said, you could use anything and it would still be good. It is definitely about the slow roasting.

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If you haven’t discovered non-stick, aluminum foil, you need to purchase and give it a try. You can thank me later! I used it to line a half sheet baking pan. I pre-heated my oven to 300 degrees. I brought a large piece of salmon to room temperature. Then I lightly coated it with olive oil. Generously, it was salted and peppered. It was cooked for 20 minutes. It came out perfectly moist and tender. If you like your fish a little more well done, add an additional 10 minutes. Once out of the oven I generously sprinkled chili powder over the entire fillet.

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This would be perfect with rice, or a thin sliced potato and any green vegetable. I chose to make Zoodles (spiralized zucchini noodles) with a smoky tomato sauce. It was a nice compliment to the chili topped salmon.

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This is an excellent way to cook salmon. Thanks Myndi! I hope everybody gives this one a try.

SLOW ROASTED SALMON TOPPED WITH CHILI POWDER

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large salmon fillet, at room temperature
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • chili powder

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees
  2. Lightly coat the entire surface of the fillet with olive oil, using a brush or your hands.
  3. Generously season the fillet with kosher salt and pepper.
  4. Place the fillet on a non-stick foil lined pan. Place in the pre-heated oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Note: if you like your salmon more well done, add an additional 10 minutes.

 

Reynolds Non-Stick Aluminun Foil (Click on the link below)

https://amzn.to/2H6SRbp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MOTHER NATURE IS BI-POLAR

Is anybody else out there tired of the cold and rain? I guess in some areas you folks are still getting snow. Mother Nature is going through naturepause or something. Seriously, I’m on the verge of needing medication or another vacation on an island somewhere.

I had to light a fire because it’s damp and cold. There’s not much else to do since I’m stuck inside. I said to myself, why not make some bread? So that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to make a loaf of Egg Bread EGG BREAD or CHALLAH and I think I’ll make some of my grandmothers yeast rolls Grandmom Minnie’s Yeast Rolls.

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I love to bake bread. It makes the whole house smell so inviting and warm. It also reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen when I was little. It’s amazing how certain scents evoke such pleasant memories. Like the smell of a rose; it reminds me of my mother. It’s one of those days for reminiscing.

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Know what goes good with homemade bread? Why soup of course! It’s doesn’t matter what kind. It just has to be good and one of your favorites. I have several I’ve posted, one of my favorites is vegetable soup. WEEKEND IN ANNAPOLIS and Vegetable Soup. I love to make it in my Instant Pot. Of course if you are a good planner, the Crock Pot is also a great method.

I’m praying for mother nature and I ask that you do too. Maybe if we all pray real hard she will come out of her funk.

Send me some of your favorite soup recipes. Nothing better than a tried and true recipe that has been passed down. Keep smiling and find some sunshine inside. Bake a loaf of bread or make a recipe that brings back good memories.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxox

Viki D

nothing to “TRIFLE” about

I hope everybody had a wonderful Easter. I know we did! What better way to spend a holiday than with your family? We had a full house and it was amazing. It was so nice having everybody under one roof to celebrate.

We, traditionally, have homemade ravioli for Easter. We’ve been doing it since I have known my husband and nothing has changed. So far we have enlisted the oldest daughter and now my grandson. He did a fantastic job! Of course, my sister-in-law, husband, and myself, have been doing it for a long time. Easter Weekend and Ravioli I must say, I was so grateful to have my sister-in-law Dawn here to help. We haven’t been able to cook together for a while because she lives in Michigan. We had some fun!!

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I always make my homemade bread. EGG BREAD or CHALLAH Our oldest son, Ryan, would never forgive me if I didn’t. Of course Caesar salad is another tradition. I have a recipe that my husband and I made together years ago.  Unfortunately, that one is hush, hush, for the moment. I get asked for that one all the time. For now it’s in the vault. More to come on that!!!

Every good meal needs a good dessert, especially during the holidays. Dawn and I used to make this one all the time. In fact, both of us had that “aha” moment at the same time, “TRIFLE”. It’s easy, light, and quite a table stunner. Made with cake cubes, pudding, fruit, and Cool Whip.

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I’ve made it with different fruit, puddings,  and cake bases. You can tailor it to suit your taste buds too. Our trifle was 3 layers so all of the ingredients are divided into thirds. I happen to have a trifle dish but any pretty clear glass bowl will also work. Assemble all of your ingredients before you start. You will also want to make your pudding ahead of time so it sets up. I use Jello sugar free-fat free instant puddings. Again, use whatever pudding you like.

TRIFLE

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pre-made angel food cake, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 large box of lemon pudding, prepared ahead to thicken
  • 1 quart of strawberries, washed and sliced
  • 1 pint of blueberries, washed
  • 2 bananas, sliced thin
  • 1 can of crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 large container of Cool Whip (I use Lite) thawed
  • 1/2 cup of sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line all of your ingredients in front of you.
  2. Start with 1/3 of the cake cubes and line the bottom of your bowl.
  3. Next cover the cake cubes with 1/3 of the pudding.
  4. Use 1/3 of each fruit and lay on top of the pudding layer.
  5. Spread 1/3 of the Cool Whip on top of the fruit.
  6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the sliced almonds on top of the Cool Whip.
  7. Repeat these layers two more times.
  8. On the third layer of Cool Whip I like to dollop and swirl the remainder in little clouds and add a large berry to the top just to make it pretty.
  9. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.

I would love to hear and see your combinations, so please feel free to share with me.

Until next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

CHOCOLATE WHITE COCONUT CHOCOLATE COOKIES

It’s been a lovely weekend. We got to spend some time with our good friends. We went to see our High Schools production of  “The Adams Family”.  Performed by the class of 2018, it was truly a treat. The costumes and makeup were amazing. I would be remiss if I didn’t give these actors a big applaud. They were truly wonderful.

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The school is close to us so I invited our friends over for deep dish pizzas, THIN CRUST DEEP DISH PIZZA CASSEROLE.  I used a regular canned crust for the ones I made last night. One was topped with Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers and mozzarella. The other was topped with chopped prosciutto, pineapple, and goat cheese. The link above will take you to the original recipe. I also served a salad with a white balsamic vinaigrette. That’s coming to you in another post.

My dear friend loves these cookies. They were truly a mistake that turned out to be a favorite. My father in law said, “Vick, this was a really good mistake”. It came from a recipe I found from Ina Garten. Let me explain.

The recipe called for a “good white chocolate”. So I went in search of that ingredient. When I got home I realized mine was a coconut white chocolate. So what’s a girl to do? I used it and I’ve never looked back. Chocolate and coconut are just a darned good combination. I keep bars of this on hand in my freezer. When I need it I just pull it out and chop it up. I admit to eating a nibble or two. It’s yummy as it is!

The chocolate component comes from cocoa. I just happen to love Hershey’s Special Dark. It’s blended with Dutched cocoas and gives the cookies that deep, dark, color. Regular cocoa would be fine, they just won’t have the same dark color.

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This recipe can easily be doubled or it can be cut in half. It will produce the same result. I like to make sure my butter and my eggs are at room temperature. I take my chocolate out of the freezer and let it sit for about 10 minutes. I cut into large chunks with a serrated knife. It’s the only part of the recipe you have to stir in. That avoids turning your chunks into dust. I can’t stress enough, the chunks make these cookies.

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CHOCOLATE WHITE COCONUT CHOCOLATE COOKIES

  • Servings: 40-48 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 C dark brown sugar
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 lbs of Lindt’s white coconut chocolate bars, cut into large chunks

DIRECTION:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream the butter and the sugars together until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time and mix well.
  4. Add the cocoa, on low-speed, and mix well.
  5. Put the flour, baking soda, and salt into a separate bowl and whisk together. Add it to the chocolate mixture on low-speed (or you will otherwise end up looking like Casper the ghost). Mix until just combined.
  6. With a heavy wooden spoon, mix in your chopped white coconut chocolate chunks.
  7. I use a 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Drop the dough onto the baking sheet.
  8. Bake for exactly 15 minutes, do NOT over bake.
  9. Let the cookies cool briefly on the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

These make excellent vehicles for vanilla ice cream also.

I hope you enjoy the recipe. This just puts a different spin on chocolate chip cookies. Instead of chocolate chips in the cookie, the cookie is chocolate. I guarantee your friends will ask for it. Of course, you can always direct them to my blog!

Til next time

Ciao xoxo

Check out my friends website.  Lots of great jewlery and all things for the Coastal Crush.

https://thecoastalcrush.com/

ORECCHIETTE WITH SAUSAGE & BROCCOLI RABE

Aaahhh…..is there anything better than pasta for dinner? I think not! Know what makes it even better? Homemade sausage made by our friends.

We were recently sent some homemade sausage from our friends in Connecticut. Their son, now an avid hunter, brings home all sorts of game. Our friends, in true Italian fashion, make their own sausage. They shipped it to us along with some other goodies. I can not tell you how excited we were to receive it. Tonight, it became part of our dinner.

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I would like to elaborate just a little bit about their son. An American soldier, he was wounded 2 times in Afghanistan and lucky enough to return home. Unfortunately, he suffered from PTSD, or, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He credits his continued recovery to the love of his wife, family, and now, love of hunting.  He was having difficulty when he returned home, and starting shutting himself away. His wife gave him a compound bow. He said he had no idea what to do with it. His wife said “you’re a soldier, you should know what to do.” With that, he started taking walks in the woods and began hunting.  He commented “hunting saved my life. It has such an impact on the human spirit.”

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I personally thank God every day for our military. I thank the military for my freedom. I thank him and his family for the wonderful sausage. This is a very special meal for the Del Grosso household tonight. We send a special prayer and a salute to all those who serve and protect. May God bless and keep all of you!

While I can’t share the sausage with you; I can share the recipe. You can use any type of Italian sausage that you like. Typically I would have used a lean Italian  turkey sausage. If you have a favorite then use that. Whatever type of sausage you use, this dish will be wonderful.

Orecchiette is pasta. It’s name means little ear and is indeed shaped like an ear. It is pretty easy to find in most groceries. You can find it online at Amazon.com. If you are lucky enough to have an Italian market they will have it.

Broccoli rabe is also called rapini. Broccoli rabe has a slightly bitter taste. The crowns, leaves, and stems are all edible. It is in the same family as the turnip. If you can’t find broccoli rabe you can use kale. Remove the leaves and discard the stems. Cook it as instructed for the broccoli rabe.

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ORECCHIETTE WITH SAUSAGE AND BROCCOLI RABE

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large bunch of broccoli rabe, washed and 2″ trimmed off the stems
  • 1 lb lean Italian sausage, removed from casing (your favorite brand)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 oz orecchiette
  • 1 cup fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut the washed broccoli rabe in quarters. Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Add the broccoli rabe and let cook for 1 1/2 minutes, remove to the side with a slotted spoon. DO NOT DUMP THE WATER.
  2. Bring the water back to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. (Al-dente works well here, about 8-9 minutes) Drain.
  3. In a large deep saute’ pan, brown the sausage on medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces. When completely cooked remove and set to the side.
  4. Add olive oil to the pan and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant, DO NOT BURN! This step will take seconds.
  5. Return the broccoli rabe to the pan, mixing well with the garlic and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 1 minute.
  6. Return the sausage to the pan and mix well.
  7. Add the drained pasta to the broccoli rabe and sausage. Reduce the heat and stir for about 30 seconds.
  8. Add the chicken broth, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes (if using). Adjust the salt and pepper and toss another minute so that everything is mixed well and coated in the sauce.
  9. Remove from the heat and divide into 6 pasta bowls.

Additional grated cheese can be added if desired.

Til next time

Ciao xoxo

Photo courtesy of: Barbara Migliaro

Photography: Joseph and Vickie Del Grosso

TACO BOWL….NOT “BELL”

We love Mexican food! Tacos, refried beans, fajitas, taquitos, are among some of the few that come to mind. I am sure you are all familiar with that famous fast food place. It ends with “bell”, not bowl. I admit, we do go there on occasion to get our fix.

This is my take on a healthier version of tacos. As stated above, they are taco bowls. My husband who is quick with word play came up with the title; “Taco Bowl not Bell”. He loves when I make this. On occasion he will remind me, “we haven’t had taco bowls in a while”. They remind me of a taco sundae……haha!

I am always disappointed when I get the fast food stuff. There is minimal filling and very little flavor. If I am going to eat Mexican I want major flavor and a nice portion. I don’t need added calories and fats though.

One of the ways I keep this healthy is using low-fat, ground, turkey. I also found a taco shell that is fantastic for Weight Watcher followers.  They are only 1 point per taco shell. Not bad! Of course vegies are the biggest part of this recipe. Load them into your bowl and you have a high fiber, high protein, filling meal. I do add a small amount of 2% grated Mexican cheese, and some light sour cream.

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The taco bowls are made in the oven. I have tortilla bowl forms that I bought on line. An upside down muffin tin will also work. (See photos). Either way is fine as long as you end up with a taco bowl. These can also be made in the air fryer if desired. I usually make 4 bowls at a time. The air fryer would make this time-consuming for me. However, air frying would be great if you’re making one bowl for a single serving. It would also be great to re-heat and crisp up left over taco bowls.

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The fillings that I have listed are merely a suggestion. You can use whatever you like, in any combination. I like to prep all the fillings and put them in separate bowls like a buffet. Everybody gets to make their own creation, to their particular taste. Tacos can be a very personal thing in my opinion!

For those of you that are non meat eaters you can omit the turkey. Just used refried beans as a protein. In fact, you can purchase them already prepared. They come in a can and all you have to do is re-heat them. How easy is that????

I keep wondering if anybody out there is trying any of my ideas. I hope so! I am always happy to hear from you and see your photos. I hope you have fun with this one.

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TACO BOWLS

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • Soft tortillas of choice
  • Cooking spray (I use olive oil spray)
  • 1 lb of ground, 97% lean turkey
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated with a microplane (can be chopped and minced with a knife)
  • 1  (4oz) can of chopped green chiles
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp dark chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 C of chicken or turkey broth
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Condiments: chopped lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped green onions, chopped bell peppers, sliced olives, diced avocado, black bean and corn salsa, 2% Mexican cheese blend, light sour cream, taco sauce (you pick the heat)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray both sides of the tortillas with cooking spray and place in tortilla forms or use the bottom side of a muffin tin (see above photo).
  3. Bake in oven for approximately 15-20 minutes or until browned and crisp. (Watch carefully so they don’t burn) Remove and let cool on a rack while preparing your condiments.
  4. Place all of your chosen condiments in bowls and set aside.
  5. In a large skillet over medium heat, spray the skillet with cooking spray. Add the onion and cook until softened, grate the garlic directly on top of the onions and mix quickly so it doesn’t burn, add the chopped green chiles.
  6. Immediately add the ground turkey and cook, breaking it up until it browns and is no longer pink.
  7. Add the taco seasoning packet, chili powder, and the cumin, stir to mix. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to cook until the liquid is absorbed, approximately 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and place in a serving bowl.
  9. Bring all the ingredients and the taco bowls to the table. I like to use large individual salad bowls to put the taco shells in. This allows you to cut the taco bowls and keep all the goodies from falling all over the place.
  10. Then let the creating and eating begin. OLE’

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo