Italian Sausage Hoagie

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These Italian sausage hoagies are quick and easy to make for a quick lunch or dinner.

Italian Sausage Hoagies

Serves 4

4 hot or mild Italian sausage links
1 tablespoon blended oil
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 hoagie rolls
2 tablespoons butter, softened
dijon mustard

In a large saute pan heat the oil, add the onions and peppers and cook on medium heat until soft (about 10 minutes). Set aside.

Lightly butter the inside of each hoagie roll and lightly grill open-faced for 2-3 minutes.

Grill sausages until cooked, let rest for 5 minutes then slice in half.  Assemble the hoagies and enjoy!

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Mini Red Potato Bites

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Mini Red Potato Bites

Your friends and family will love these mini potato bites.  I serve them with sour cream and salsa.   
 

Recipe

1½ Pounds red potatoes
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ Cup mayonnaise
½ Cup sliced green onions
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
10 Slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Sour cream, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a large baking sheet place potatoes and bake 35 minutes or until tender. Let stand until cool enough to handle.  Cut each potato in half, then cut a thin slice from bottom of each potato half to allow them to sit flat.  With a small spoon, scoop pulp from potatoes leaving a ¼-inch shell. 

Place the pulp in a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Spoon or pipe potato filling into the potato shells.  Arrange filled shells on baking sheet and broil 3 minutes or until golden and heated through.  Serve with sour cream.

 

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Creamy Broccoli Soup

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Creamy Broccoli Soup

 

Creamy Broccoli Soup

Serves 4
 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ half large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli stems removed
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or less depending how thick you prefer your soup)
1/2 cup half and half
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
 
 
In a medium pot, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, carrots and potato.  Cook for 4-5 minutes then add the garlic and cook for one additional minute.  Add the broccoli, chicken stock and bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer uncovered until the broccoli is tender. 
 
Stir in the half and half.  Next, using either an immersion blender or a regular blender. puree the soup until smooth and return to the pot.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Peach, Strawberry & Blueberry Mini Crumbles

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I love desserts but only every once in a while and tend to only make when having friends over.

For this recipe, several hours prior to my guests’ arrival I mix the fruit filling, divide into the ramekins, cover and refrigerate.  Then I mix up the topping and set aside.  Once everyone is sitting down to enjoy dinner I top the fruit filled ramekins with the topping and bake.  Great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

These are so quick and easy to make – Try them, your family and friends will love them!

Peach, Strawberry & Blueberry
Mini Crumbles
 
Fruit filling
1 Bag frozen sliced peaches
3/4 Cup fresh strawberries, sliced
3/4 Cup fresh blueberries
2 Teaspoons fresh lemon zest, chopped
Lemon juice from 1 lemon
1/2 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup all-purpose flour

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl add the peaches, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and flour. Mix together and let sit 10 minutes. Gradually add the strawberries and blueberries. Divide the fruit mixture into 6-8 ramekins.

Topping
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1/3 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup light brown sugar
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Stick cold unsalted butter, diced

In a medium bowl add the flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and butter.  With a hand mixer beat on low speed until the butter has formed tiny balls then sprinkle on top of the fruit filled ramekins.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

 

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash

1 large butternut squash (1 1/2-2 pounds)
1 ounce hazelnuts3 tablespoons unsalted butter1 yellow onion, chopped4 fresh sage leaves, shredded3 cups chicken stocksalt and pepper to tastepinch of nutmegHeavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a tip of a knife make a few pricks on the squash to prevent it exploding while roasting in the oven.  Place on a large baking sheet and cook for 1 hour until the squash is soft.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly then cut in half lengthwise and remove and discard the seeds and fibers.  Scoop out the pulp into a bowl and set aside.Roasted Butternut Squash

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and toast until fragrant and the skins have loosened, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place the hazelnuts into a kitchen towel and rub to remove the skins.  Chop and set aside.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.  Add the onions and half of the sage and cook for 8-10 minutes.  Add the stock and the squash pulp, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavors. Remove from the heat.Roasted Butternut Squash

 

 

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Return to a clean saucepan and reheat over medium-low heat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the nutmeg.  Garnish with the chopped hazelnuts and the remaining sage and drizzle a little heavy cream on top.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

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Creamy Orzo

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I love this dish and it goes great with my Chicken Paupiettes with Wild Mushroom Cream Sauce.

Creamy Orzo
 
Serves 6-8
 
1 pound Italian Orzo
1-2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons blended oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
¾ cups fresh carrots, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 small fresh tomatoes, diced
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: Freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley.
 
In a large pot filled ¾ with water bring to boil over high heat, add the kosher salt and Orzo. Boil for 8 minutes, then drain reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
 
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots and carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes then add the garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, cream and cheese and stir until the cheese has melted.
 
Add the orzo to the sauce and toss until coated. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the pasta mixture adding enough reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
 
Garnish with: Freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley.

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Pumpkin Soup

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This is a perfect Fall soup that will warm you up on a chilly day and is very easy to make. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Soup
 
Serves 6-8
 
1 medium-sized fresh pumpkin, skinned, seeded and cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large onions, sliced
5-6 tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup olive oil
32 ounces chicken broth
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup milk (regular or low-fat)
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with fresh chopped chives and a drizzle of heavy cream.
 
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
 
In a large roasting pan add the pumpkin chunks, garlic, onions and tomatoes.  Toss with the olive oil and roast for 1 hour until the pumpkin is tender.

 

 

 

 

 

In a large pot add the roasted vegetables and chicken broth.  Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or you can use a blender or food processor and puree in batches then return to the pot.
 
Over low heat stir in the nutmeg, milk and salt and pepper to taste.   
 
Note: add additional milk and nutmeg to taste.
 
Serve with garlic, parmesan cheese baguette toasts.

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Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

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I love shrimp and pasta.  This recipe is a perfect weeknight dinner served with a fresh salad and warm baguette.

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine
Serves 4-6
 
1 pound linguine pasta (cook as directed)
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon blended oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Garnish with lemon slices and freshly grated Parmesan cheese
 
In a large bowl add the shrimp and toss with the salt and pepper, set aside.
 
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat add the oil and when hot add the seasoned shrimp and sauté until the shrimp slightly starts to turn pink, but not cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.  In the same sauté pan, add the onions and cook for 3 minutes just until they begin to soften.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.  Add the lemon juice, white wine and the stock and cook until reduced by two-thirds, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp back to the pan and stir in the butter. Add the parsley and check for seasoning.   
 
Pour over the linguine and garnish with lemon slices and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

 

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Mushroom and Herb Croustades

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These are so tasty and easy to make. 

The nice thing about these quick and easy appetizers is that you can easily have on hand the mini phyllo cups in your freezer for this recipe or for many other appetizers or desserts. 

The Alouette garlic and herbs cheese spread is always a great thing to have on hand for this recipe as well as to add to mashed potatoes for a delightful twist or simply on its own served with cold vegetables.

 

Mushroom and Herb Croustades
Makes 30
 
6 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ small yellow onion, finely chopped
½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup fresh white mushrooms, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 6.5 ounce Alouette garlic and herbs cheese
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
30 (2 packages) mini phyllo shells
 
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
 
In a medium skillet on medium-high, cook the bacon for 2-3 minutes on each side, drain and chop, set aside.
 
On a baking sheet, bake the mini phyllo shells for 3-5 minutes until lightly golden on top. Set aside
 
In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the oil.  Add the onion, pepper and mushroom and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Reduce the heat to low and add the Alouette garlic and herbs cheese, stir and simmer for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and add the cooked chopped bacon and parsley.
 
Spoon mixture into each phyllo shells, serve warm.

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Donuts At Home

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Donuts At Home

These are delicious and easy to make!  My kids love to dip and decorate them.

 

 

I fondly remember making these when I was a little girl with my older brother and sister — my mom always had the biscuits on hand so if we weren’t baking them for dinner with warm butter and honey we were making these donuts!

 
Recipe   
Store bought biscuits
Blended Oil
 
Topping #1
 
Glazed
1/2 Cup unsalted butter
1 Cup powdered sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon hot water
 
In a small bowl, melt butter in the microwave, add sugar and vanilla mixing with a fork then add water and stir until smooth, set aside.

Topping #2
 
Cinnamon & Sugar
1/2 Cup of sugar
2 Teaspoons of cinnamon
 
In a shallow bowl, stir together the sugar and ground cinnamon, set aside.
 
Topping #3
 
Chocolate Icing
1/3 Cup unsalted butter
4 Ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Cups powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons hot water
Chocolate sprinkles (optional)
 
In a medium bowl, melt butter and chocolate chips in the microwave (1 minute or until melted), add vanilla then sugar mixing with a fork, add water and stir until smooth, set aside.
 

Frying the Donuts

 
Heat 2 inches of blended oil (I use Smart Balance) in a pot, to 350 degrees F.
 
Lay out the biscuits on a cutting board and with a 1-inch round cutter, cut out a hole from the middle of each biscuit or simply use a knife.   Fry each biscuit and donut hole in the oil until golden and then flip with tongs to fry the other side (40-45 seconds total).  Drain on paper towels then dip in desired topping.  Serve immediately. 
 
Helpful Tips:
 
#1) Save unused cinnamon & sugar mixture to sprinkle on hot french toast or sprinkle on    warm buttered toasted bread.
#2) Save chocolate icing, refrigerated, and spread between two graham crackers as a fun snack.
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