Recipe—Triple Chocolate Parfait

DivaDiCucina_TripleChocolateParfait

Last weekend we celebrated the hubby’s 35th birthday. (Happy birthday babe!) I wanted to make him a fabulous dessert but he is not much of a cake guy. You may remember this from last year when I shared a recipe for Snickers Cake. He does however like chocolate so I threw together these triple chocolate jars of goodness and they were a real hit! You have the nice cakey layer from the Oreos, a thick rich chocolate pudding layer, and then the Cool Whip combined with pudding creates a lite and airy chocolate mousse. Layer upon layer of tasty goodness! And I am totally loving desserts in mason jars. One of our guests couldn’t finish hers so we just threw a lid on it and she took it home for later. Super convenient and and so cute!

Note: This recipe will make enough to fill four 12 oz mason jars (pictured) or six 8 oz mason jars. These can be made a full day in advance. The Oreos take on a nice cake like consistency the longer they sit. 

INGREDIENTS
5.9 oz box instant chocolate fudge Jell-O pudding
3 1/2 c milk
8 oz container Cool Whip
20 Oreos, crushed

STEPS

  • Prepare instant pudding per package instructions using the milk.
  • Place pudding in fridge and chill for 20 minutes.
  • In a large mixing bowl stir together the container of Cool Whip and about half of the prepared pudding until well combined.
  • Place a heaping spoonful of the crushed Oreos in the bottom of your serving dishes and then top with a couple of tablespoons of the pudding, followed by a couple tablespoons of the Cool Whip mixture.
  • Repeat until the containers are full making sure to finish off with the crumbled Oreos.
  • Chill until ready to serve.
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Recipe—Dad’s Beet, Carrot, and Feta Salad

Beet, Carrot, and Feta Salad

My dad has always been an incredible cook. He manages to take the most simple ingredients and turns them into something wonderful! This is a salad that he first made for me last year and it is now one of my favorites. It took him a few minutes to throw it together and yet it turned out to be delicious and it had a gourmet quality to it. The carrots and raw beets are just slightly sweet, perfectly crunchy, and the feta adds a wonderful salty, tangy, creamy quality. Yum! This is the perfect salad going into spring. Since all of the vegetables are raw it will hold up and remain crunchy for several days when stored in the fridge allowing you to enjoy it more than once, that is, if you even have leftovers. Enjoy!

Note: My beets appear pink in the photo because I used chioggia beets which vary in color from the more common red beets. You can use any kind of beet you can get your hands on for this recipe. However, I do think red beets give you the most beautiful color.

INGREDIENTS
3 fresh beets, washed, peeled, and shredded
4 large carrots, shredded
1/2 c Italian dressing
1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • Combine the shredded beets and shredded carrots in a large bowl.
  • Pour the Italian dressing over the veggies and toss to combine.
  • Top with feta cheese and fresh parsley.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

Recipe—Quick and Easy Swedish Meatballs

Quick and Easy Swedish Meatballs

I am a huge fan of Swedish meatballs but so many of the recipes out there call for unique ingredients that I don’t typically have on hand, like lingonberries. I was craving some Swedish meatballs and decided to whip up this super easy version using things I did have on hand. This recipe took less than 15 minutes to make, cost less than $10, and was a hit with the whole fam damily. (And that my friends, is the perfect recipe for a happy mom.) This is the ultimate in classic comfort food.  Hearty, simple, and delicious! 

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp butter
1 lb frozen beef meatballs
salt and pepper
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 c beef broth
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large non-stick skillet.
  • Add the meatballs to the butter and season with salt and pepper.
  • Pan-fry the meatballs until they are a nice brown color all over making sure to move them around frequently.
  • When the meatballs are thoroughly cooked, sprinkle them with the flour, stirring to coat.
  • Add the beef broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add the Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce mixing well.
  • Slowly pour in the heavy cream and stir to combine.
  • Allow to come to a boil and then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer until the sauce is the desired consistency.
  • Taste the sauce and season as desired.
  • Serve the meatballs over cooked egg noodles, top with additional sauce, and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Recipe—Pork Tenderloin Sammy with Red Cabbage Coleslaw and Sriracha Sauce

Roasted Pork Sammy with Red Cabbage Coleslaw and Sriracha Sauce

Do you like tender flavor packed pork tenderloin? Do you like sandwiches? Do you like easy meals that require very little effort? How about the perfect balance of sweet and spicy with a nice little crunch? If you answered yes to all of these questions then I have the PERFECT sandwich for you! This has got to be the best sandwich I have had in a very long time. The meat has an incredible flavor and goes so well with the crunchy, slightly sweet, and super simple coleslaw and the Sriracha sauce is just the icing on the sammy. I could seriously eat these all day every day! I made my sandwiches meal size but I think this would be the perfect slider sandwich next time I am entertaining a group of guests. For lunch the next day I just took the leftover sliced meat, topped it with the coleslaw and added a drizzle of the sauce. It was a perfect low carb meal sans bun and the flavors just marinated into the meat making it even better than the night before. Seriously, make this sandwich. Your mind will be blown!

Note: When I get the sealed two pound pork tenderloin at our local store there is actually two small ones in the package. These worked perfectly! If you have one big one you may need to cook it for closer to 40 minutes.

INGREDIENTS
6 c red cabbage, shredded
1/2 c green onions, chopped
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 tbsp milk
kosher salt
pepper
2 lb pork tenderloin
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp dark chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 c olive oil
4–6 rolls
Sriracha sauce

STEPS

  • Place the shredded red cabbage and green onions in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, and some salt and pepper.
  • Pour the dressing over the cabbage and green onions and mix well.
  • Place the coleslaw in the fridge and keep cold until ready to serve.
  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Season the pork tenderloins with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Place the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large Zip Loc bag and shake to mix.
  • Place the pork loin in the bag and toss to coat.
  • Add the olive oil to the bag and toss to coat.
  • Place the seasoned pork loin in a roasting pan or glass pyrex.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a thermometer reads 145º.
  • Remove the pork from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  • While the pork is resting place the rolls in the oven to warm and lightly toast them.
  • After the pork has rested slice it thinly.
  • Place several slices of the pork on each bun bottom, top with a generous amount of coleslaw, drizzle with the Sriracha sauce, and add the bun tops.
  • Chow down!

Recipe adapted from She Knows.

Recipe—Tuscan Tortellini Soup

Tuscan Tortellini Soup

I saw this recipe a couple of months back for a ravioli soup and knew I had to try it. Well I am never one to really “follow” a recipe so I mixed things up and created a tortellini soup. Tortellini are far less doughy so you have these fabulously light cheese filled pillows floating around in a rich creamy tomato soup and then of course some big hearty chunks of sausage in the mix as well. This soup was phenomenal! My four-year-old son gobbled it up and he is usually kind of weird about soups (I think it is a texture thing). This recipe made a massive pot, which allowed us to have a full dinner and then also freeze a bunch for future meals. Tuscan tortellini soup is perfect for a chilly winter day and is so quick and easy to prepare. I could go for a big bowl of it right now!

INGREDIENTS
2 lb ground Italian sausage
4 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
4 c chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 c half & half
1 c heavy cream
6 oz bag baby spinach leaves, chopped
18–20 oz fresh four cheese tortellini (I got two 9 oz packages.)
1 c parmesan cheese, shredded
croutons

STEPS

  • Brown the sausage over medium-high heat in a VERY large soup pot.
  • Once the meat is about halfway cooked add the butter, onion, and garlic and cook until the union is soft and transparent.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, and chopped spinach.
  • Bring to a boil and add salt and garlic powder.
  • Boil for 10 minutes making sure to stir frequently.
  • While the soup is boiling cook your tortellini in a separate pot per package instructions and drain.
  • Add the half & half and heavy cream to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the parmesan and cooked tortellini until the cheese is melted.
  • Transfer the soup to a bowl using a ladle.
  • Top with croutons and additional parmesan cheese.

Recipe adapted from Kleinworth & Co.

Recipe—Portobello Cordon Bleu

Portobello Cordon Bleu

There are two things I hated as a kid and refused to eat, raisins and mushrooms. I guess I had problems with eating wilted fruit and fungus. That’s understandable, right? To this day I still can’t eat raisins unless they are baked in something but I LOVE mushrooms! Love, love, love the fabulous fungi! I have come a long way and can now appreciate the rustic earthy flavor of mushrooms. My friend commented that if she has a good portobello that it is as good as a steak. And it is true! Don’t get me wrong I love steaks, but it is exciting when you find something that makes a great substitution and is lower in calories and is just as filling. Portobello mushrooms are super filling, rich in potassium, essential amino acids, and vitamin B. They are low in calories, fat-free, and are a great source of protein.

Portobello Cordon Bleu

This is probably one of my favorite new ways to enjoy portobellos. The creamy Dijon sauce is amazing! And come on, add ham and swiss to anything and you know it will be awesome. The sprinkling of the panko on top gives you just the right amount of crunch. And best of all, this delicious dinner took about 20 minutes to make! Next time I prepare these I want to try and add a fried egg to the top and serve it for breakfast. Oh my goodness, I think that would be awesome! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

INGREDIENTS
4 large portobello mushrooms
olive oil for drizzling
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 c heavy cream
1/2 c chicken broth
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c parmesan, graded
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 lb thin sliced ham
8 slices swiss cheese
4 tbsp panko
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  • Remove the stems from the mushroom caps and slice a thin layer off the top to allow it to sit flat. (Save all of these pieces.)
  • Drizzle the mushroom caps with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place prepared mushrooms on the lined baking sheet and bake for 10–12 minutes.
  • While the portobellos are cooking, chop the mushroom caps and other pieces you trimmed off earlier on.
  • Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms and garlic for 5 minutes.
  • Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, and parsley.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low.
  • Add the parmesan, Dijon, and a little salt and pepper to the sauce and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens up.
  • Remove the mushrooms from the oven and drain off any excess liquid from the baking sheet.
  • Fill the upside down caps with sauce and then layer with ham, cheese, ham, cheese.
  • Top with another spoonful of the sauce and a sprinkling of panko.
  • Place the prepared mushroom caps back in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes and then finish them off under the broiler for another 3–4 minutes or until the panko is lightly brown and crisp.

Recipe adapted from Peace, Love, and Low Carb.

Looking for more portobello recipes? Give this one a try!

Breakfast PortobellosBreakfast Portobellos

Recipe—Crock-Pot Barbacoa Tacos

Crock-Pot Barbacoa Tacos

One of my favorite Mexican restaurants when I need a quick fix has got to be Chipotle. You can get quality flavor packed food in a jiffy. My go to is their carnitas and my husband can’t resist their barbacoa. It is kind of funny, Chipotle’s barabcoa meat literally makes him sweat when he eats it. But he still loves it! I can’t help but laugh as soon as the sweat starts to bead up on his forehead. Does anyone else do this when they eat something with a little kick? I swear it reminds me of something from a cartoon. I love that guy.

I made this recipe and it is without a doubt a near perfect match of Chipotle’s barbacoa meat. It is a tender, juicy, flavor packed meat perfect for burritos, tacos, or even nachos. I personally love it with a side of my Cilantro Lime Rice. Muy bien!

Note: This meat definitely has a bit of heat in it from the chiles in adobo sauce so if you have a member of your household that doesn’t like heat I would either cut back the chiles or leave them out completely.  

INGREDIENTS
3–4 lb beef chuck roast
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 yellow onion
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp, garlic, minced
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2–3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
3/4 c beef stock

SOME FABULOUS GARNISHES

cotija cheese
, crumbled
chopped green lettuce
diced tomatoes
diced onion
guacamole or sliced avocado
sour cream
pico de gallo
chopped cilantro
lime wedges 

STEPS

  • Trim excess fat off of the roast.
  • Spray your crock-pot with cooking spray (this helps a good deal with cleanup).
  • Place roast in crock-pot.
  • Place all of the ingredients, except for the chuck roast, in the blender and puree.
  • Pour the pureed sauce over the roast.
  • Cook on low for 8–10 hours, or high heat for 5–7.
  • When the roast is done cooking, transfer it to a large cutting board.
  • Using a large fork shred the meat and place it back in the crock-pot to soak up some of the tasty sauce.
  • Serve in a warm tortilla with your favorite taco toppings.

Recipe adapted from Unsophpisticook.

Recipe—Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. My hubby is not a big fan of sweet potatoes. However, we get them pretty frequently in our weekly organic produce delivery so I am always looking for creative new ways to prepare the sweet tasting tuberous root. When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. It was the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. Even thought there is no actual meat in it you can certainly fool yourself into thinking there is. It is delicious, thick, hearty, and filling. We served it with a grilled tri-tip and my husband ended up chopping up his tri tip and mixing it in. He is truly a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Give this a try next time you are looking for a super food side dish to warm you up.

Note: For a completely vegan version of this recipe sub vegetable broth for beef broth.

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4–1/2 tsp cayenne (depends on how much kick you like)
2 (14.5 oz cans) diced tomatoes with chiles, undrained
2 (15 oz cans) black beans, drained
2 c beef broth

STEPS

  • In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the sweet potatoes, onion, and bell pepper until the onions become translucent, about 8–10 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne.
  • Sauté for about 1 minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, beans, and broth stirring until well combined.
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30–35 minutes or until potatoes are tender and the chili is the desired consistency.

Recipe adapted from Alida’s Kitchen

Recipe—Blueberry French Toast Casserole

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

I run a household that always seems to be full of friends and family who come to visit on the weekends. I absolutely love entertaining and cooking delicious meals for my visitors. What I don’t love is when I’m in the kitchen for hours on end. It means I am missing out on valuable time with them. This is a breakfast dish that is perfect for when you are entertaining, or heck, even if you just want an easy breakfast in the morning for the family. You prepare this in advance before your company even arrives, and then just pull it out and pop it in the oven in the morning. And by make it in advance is that you literally take the ingredients, plop them in a dish (in an orderly fashion of course) and refrigerate. How much more easy could it get? Easy to prep and easy to bake. That is my kind of breakfast!

INGREDIENTS
12 slices French toast bread, cut into 1” cubes
16 oz (2-8 oz blocks) cream cheese, cut into cubes
2 c blueberries
12 eggs
2 c milk
1/2 c syrup
1 tsp vanilla

STEPS

  • Grease a 9” x 13” baking dish.
  • Spread half of the bread cubes into the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Sprinkle about three quarters of the cream cheese cubes over the bread.
  • Sprinkle about three quarters of the blueberries into the dish.
  • Top with remaining bread, cream cheese, and blueberries.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, syrup, and vanilla.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the entire dish.
  • Using your fingers or the back of a spatula gently press all of the bread pieces down into the egg mixture.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and place in the fridge 8 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to bake remove the dish from the fridge and allow it to sit on the counter for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Keep the dish covered in foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is s nice golden brown and the egg mixture is set, about an additional 20–30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Cut and serve.

Recipe—Busy Mom’s Beef Wellington

Busy Mom's Beef Wellington

Traditional beef wellington has got to be one of the most glamorous meals ever prepared. It is so rich and attractive but certainly not something you want to be making Monday–Friday. It is a wonderful dish but it is a lot of work! Certainly not in the regular rotation for this busy momma! I saw this recipe the other day for a beef wellington made from ground beef and had to give it a try. It was absolutely delicious! It was relatively easy to throw together and the flavors were very close to that of traditional wellington, just with some added veggies, which are always welcome in our house. This will most certainly be a go to recipe for me from here on out.

Busy Mom's Beef Wellington

Note: Try to dice your veggies so that they are all about the same size. This will help them to cook evenly. This will make two wellington “logs”. Each log will feed 2–3 people. If you don’t think you will eat both, place one prepared and uncooked “log” on a wax paper lined baking sheet and freeze for 2–3 hours. Transfer to an airtight bag or seal o’ meal pouch and freeze for a future dinner. (See Steps below for cooking a frozen one.)

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 potato, cubed
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 portobello mushroom or 5 baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
2 tsp thyme
1 lb ground beef
salt and pepper
1 package puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
flour for dusting and rolling
1 egg

STEPS

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, carrot, potato, garlic, mushrooms, and thyme to the skillet and sauté until your vegetables are fork tender and onions are translucent, about 8–10 minutes.
  • Transfer your cooked veggies to a bowl and place in the freezer for 10–15 minutes to cool.
  • While your veggies cool preheat the oven to 350º.
  • Remove the veggies from the freezer and add in the ground beef, salt, and pepper.
  • Mix everything together until well combined. (I recommend just getting in there and using your hands.)
  • Set your meat mixture to the side.
  • Dust a large cutting board with flour and unfold your pastry. Dust the side of the dough facing up with additional flour and roll out to 1/4″ thickness.
  • Divide your meat mixture into two portions and shape one of those portions into a log in the center of the dough.
  • Wrap the dough around the meat “log” like you would a burrito, making sure to tuck in both ends.
  • Place seam side down on a baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl whisk the egg until broken up.
  • Brush the egg wash over the entire outside of the prepared wellington.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes until it is a nice golden brown.
  • Transfer the baked wellington to a cutting board and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
  • Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Jaime Oliver.