Sweet Potato Treats for your favorite dog(s)!

I received this recipe from my neighbor who has a darling labradoodle.  These are one of her dog’s favorite treats.  Now that we have a goldendoodle in our family, I decided to bake some for my daughter’s dog.  The picture below says it all – they were a hit!  If you have any furry friends – I recommend trying these.  I adjusted the original recipe a bit and left the treats in the oven to cool so they were extra crispy.  I used a small cookie cutter, bite size for this puppy!

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Sweet Potato Treats for Furry Friends

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prick sweet potato and microwave for 6 minutes on high.  Cool and then slice in half and scoop out flesh, you will need abour 1 cup of sweet potato.  In a mixing bowl combine the sweet potato, whole wheat flour, applesauce and eggs.  Combine with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are well mixed.   Turn dough out onto floured board.  Roll dough to approximately  1/3-1/2 inch thick.  Cut with cookie cutters (or you could slice into small squares).  Place treats on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 40 minutes, turn over after 25 minutes.  Turn off oven and do not open the oven door.  Let the treats cool completely in the oven. 

    If you rolled the treats a bit thicker and want these treats extra crispy with a hard crunch, double bake.  Keep the treats in the oven and set the temp to 200 degrees.  Bake an additional 10 minutes, then turn off the oven again and let them cool in the oven for a second time.  

Easy Spinach and Cheese Bites

In my arsenal of recipes, I came across this recipe that is from my mom’s recipe box.  She was always the master of making delicious, quick to prepare recipes, from easy to find ingredients.  I am aware of all of the online ship-to-your-house websites that advertise easy to prepare meals in a box.  I am sure there are many that use these sites for their weekly meals and I know in certain situations they are a lifesaver of convenience.  I even purchased a gift card on one site for a couple expecting twins; I thought they would appreciate a few meals that were easy to prepare and did not require a trip to the store. But, on an every day basis, it is easy to prepare foods just like my mom made, with fresh and easy to find ingredients.  Easy Spinach and Cheese Bites are perfect when entertaining, a light lunch or along side a cup of soup.  

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Easy Spinach and Cheese Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup grated cheese, mozzarella and cheddar mixed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 English muffins
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • garlic salt
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the spinach as directed, drain and dry the spinach.   In a medium bowl mix the spinach, cheeses, and egg until well blended.  Split the muffins in half, spread each half with butter and sprinkle with garlic salt.  Spread spinach mixture on each half, top with Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 10 minutes, then put under the broiler to brown and get hot and bubbly (watch carefully).  Cut each muffin half into 4 pieces to serve.

Mussels with White Wine and Bacon

If it’s Friday, it must be mussels.  Our favorite dinner after a busy week is a bubbly pot of mussels, crusty bread and a great glass of wine.  I have posted previous mussel recipes most using red wine, this time I used white wine and bacon.  A fantastic combination, serve along side plenty of bread to dip into the delicious wine, bacon and onion sauce.  You can reduce the amount of red pepper flakes if you prefer, but we prefer them with a bit of a kick!  This one is going into my Friday night rotation of recipes. 

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Mussels with White Wine and Bacon

Ingredients

  • 1 2 lb. bag of mussels (serves 2)
  • 5 slices thick cut bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 scallions, sliced, white and green portions
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups white wine

Instructions

  1. In a large dutch oven, over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan.  Add onion and garlic to bacon fat, cook 4 - 5 minutes or until the onion is transparent.  Add scallions and red pepper flakes.  Add wine and bring to a boil.  Boil 1 minute, add mussels, cover and cook 5 - 6 minutes or until the mussels have opened.. Top with reserved bacon pieces.  Serve with baguette slices.

Zucchini Soup

You just never know what I am going to make with my farmers’ market finds.  This time, zucchini is the ingredient.  How about cold zucchini soup?    I always experiment with my recipes and love feedback from friends especially with any new recipe concoction.  I served this last weekend and all responses were very positive.  So, I will definitely make this recipe again and you should definitely give it a try.  Perfect to make with the abundance of zucchini that is on the horizon at all markets.  

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Zucchini Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Saute zucchini and onion in butter for 10 minutes.  Add curry powder, half and half, chicken broth.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add salt.  Let mixture cool.  Puree in a food processor and chill.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh chives, if desired.

Nectarine Basil Cobbler

I purchased too many nectarines and all of them became ripe at the same time.  I also had a large quantity of fresh basil waiting to be used.  I contemplated what to do with these two ingredients and my first thought was salsa.  But, I really didn’t have any other ingredients on hand for salsa.  I was planning on making a peach cobbler in the next few weeks, but after looking at my bounty, Nectarine Cobbler it was.  At the spur of the moment, I also thought I would toss in the basil and I am sure glad I did.  What a wonderful combination, one you might not think of, but it is delicious.  You just never know what happens when you start experimenting in the kitchen.  

 

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Nectarine Basil Cobbler

Ingredients

  • 6 nectarines, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Cointreau (optional)
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 10 inch ovenproof skillet or 8 inch square baking dish, layer sliced nectarines. Top nectarines with minced basil and sprinkle the Cointreau over the nectarines.  Combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour in a mixing bowl.   Dice butter into small pieces and cut into the flour mixture with either two forks or a pastry blender.  Combine until butter and flour mixture is coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the nectarines.  Bake 40 - 45 minutes.  Serves 6.

Linguine with Littleneck Clams

This is an under thirty meal like no other.  Linguine with Littleneck Clams is so easy to prepare and yet so delicious.  One of my favorite parts of this meal is the presentation.  A piping hot bowl of pasta topped with clams – sensational!  Perfect for a weeknight meal or a special dinner.  Need I say more?  This recipe brings out the best in seafood and along with pasta – who can resist!

 

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Linguine with Littleneck Clams

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb box of linguine
  • 40-50 littleneck clams
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced

Instructions

  1. Prior to cooking - prepare clams by soaking for 20 - 30 minutes in a bowl of cool water to remove any sand.  Remove clams from soaking liquid and rinse under cool water.   If any clams are open or have cracked shells, discard.

    Cook pasta as directed on package.  In a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook until fragrant, add white wine.  Bring to a rolling boil, add clams and cover.  Cook for 4 - 5 minutes or until all of the clams are open.  Turn off heat, add butter and parsley, replace cover and let stand until the pasta is ready.  Drain pasta and pour over the clam mixture.  Gently toss pasta with the clams and sauce.  Divide into serving bowls.


Overnight Caramel Strata

Beach house, lake house, getaway weekend, or weekend guests?  This is the recipe for you.  Easy to prepare, make ahead the night before and you have a delicious breakfast in the morning.  This strata begins with a caramel layer that you pour into the pan, top with slices of ciabatta bread, pour over the egg custard, and bake.  Easy as one, two, three.  In the morning, bake 40 minutes and breakfast is ready. Perfect to serve with a side of fresh fruit.  Just get the coffee brewing!

 

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Overnight Caramel Strata

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 12 slices ciabatta bread, sliced one inch thick
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 glass baking dish, rotate pan to coat the entire bottom with the caramel sauce.  Whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl.  Arrange six of the bread slices in the prepared pan, cover with 1/2 of the egg mixture.  Repeat with the remaining slices of bread and remaining egg mixture.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the strata uncovered for 40 - 45 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.  Let stand for five minutes.  Cut into portions and invert onto plates, serve warm.

    Can't find ciabatta bread?  You can definitely substitute any bread of your choice.  A hearty bakery style bread works the best.

Goat Cheese Mousse

Have you ever heard of goat cheese mousse?   I was one that had never heard of it or tasted it until I visited the farmers’ market in Durham, NC.  While shopping this lovely market,  I purchased a jar of goat cheese mousse topped with blueberry jam.  I wasn’t sure what it was, but with the reaction of shoppers all purchasing jars of Goat Cheese Mousse, I knew it had to be something good.  There was only one label on the jar that said Goat Cheese Mousse, no list of ingredients.  After a bit of research and experimentation, I think I have come up with the easiest appetizer recipe you can make.  I like to top the mousse with hot pepper jelly but you can be creative and top it with any of your preferred jams or chutneys.  Perfect on crackers, toast or bagels.

5 from 1 vote
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Goat Cheese Mousse

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 5-6 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Put goat cheese into a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer beat until smooth, gradually add heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time.  Continue until goat cheese is smooth and fluffy.  Typically it will take 5 - 6 tablespoons of cream.  Once mixture is fluffy, spoon into a serving container. Top with preserves or chutney of choice.

    You can easily adjust the recipe according to the amount of goat cheese used.

Overnight Marinated Shrimp and Avocados

Have you ever been asked to bring an appetizer to a party?  This is the recipe that you will want to keep handy and prepare over and over again.  As you know from the majority of my posts, I love make ahead easy to prepare dishes.  Overnight Marinated Shrimp and Avocados is just that type of recipe.  Always a hit – serve with water crackers or over a bed of lettuce.  The perfect appetizer or first course.

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Overnight Marinated Shrimp and Avocados

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 avocados, firm and ripe, cubed
  • 1 red onion, sliced extremely thin
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Place the shrimp, avocados, and red onion in a large zip top bag.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over shrimp mixture.  Toss to coat.  Refrigerate overnight, turn bag a few times.  Drain mixture, serve cold.  Serves 12 as an appetizer.

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

You all know I am a fan of farmers’ markets and I try to go to one every weekend.  It is always my mission to find fresh seasonal produce and to support our local growers.   During one of my recent visits I purchased one of the early crops of zucchini.  I don’t think any of them measured over 5 inches in length.  I brought them home and had the “now what am I going to make with these?” moments.   I also wanted to incorporate one of my favorite olive oils that I have blogged about previously, Spartan Oil.  You can tell in this photo this is a well-loved bottle of Spartan Oil that has seen many refills.  I am a fan of using olive oil in place of many cooking oils.  For this recipe, the combination of the oil, zucchini and chocolate are divine.  I was off to my neighbors delivering muffins that afternoon after my first taste and realized these are truly delicious.  Check out the second photo – my dear neighbor posted about the muffins on Facebook; a truly delightful post.