Recipe—Shrimp Scampi

I am a girl that loves her seafood. How can you be from California and not love fresh fish? Shrimp scampi is one of my favorite ways to eat these delicious little crustaceans. Not only does it taste delicious, but it also has a very elegant appeal to it. If you are a garlic and butter lover then this is right up your alley. I have been making this for years and I was shocked when I made this last week and even my toddler kept asking for more, and more, and more. The little guy just couldn’t get enough. I think it is safe to say he likes shrimp scampi and thankfully doesn’t have a shellfish allergy. Phew! Shrimp scampi is wonderful served over pasta and is just as good when eaten with a green salad and some crusty bread to soak up all the garlicky buttery goodness. This recipe really is quick and easy. Most of your time will be spent cleaning and peeling your shrimp so to help expedite the process I recommend purchasing shrimp that are already cleaned and out of the shell. You might pay a little more, but in my mind it is so worth it.

Note: Cooking time may vary based on the size of the shrimp you use. If serving with pasta I recommend linguine.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 c white wine
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c butter
3 tbsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp paprika
salt to taste
1/2 tbsp parsley
grated parmesan cheese

STEPS

  • In a large skillet over medium heat combine wine, olive oil, butter, and garlic. Bring just to a boil.
  • Allow sauce to simmer for 3–4 minutes to reduce.
  • Add in paprika, salt, and shrimp.
  • Cook for 6–7 minutes or until shrimp turns pink. Be sure not to overcook.
  • Mix in the chopped parsley and remove from heat.
  • If serving over pasta pour a good amount of the sauce into your pot of cooked, drained pasta and toss to coat.
  • Spoon the shrimp over pasta or onto a serving dish, top with more sauce, and finish off with a liberal amount of parmesan cheese.
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Pinterest Contest!

I recently added Pinterest buttons to my blog and in honor of this I am having a contest! Two lucky winners will each receive a fabulous gift!

I am giving away two sets of Flip and Tumble reusable produce bags. These things are absolutely wonderful! I use mine every trip to the grocery store as well as at the farmer’s market and I get tons of compliments. They are an ultra lightweight mesh material. I love that you can wash your produce directly in the bag itself. Also, I find that some fruits and veggies seem to last longer since the bags can breathe and your produce doesn’t get that nasty slime that some items get when in plastic bags in the fridge for days at a time. By using these bags instead of plastic produce bags you be helping the environment. When they need a wash just throw them in the laundry. You will love them!

So here’s the contest:

  1. Pin any 8 recipes (or more) from my blog to your Pinterest board. To pin a recipe you need to go directly to the recipe and click on the Pinterest button at the bottom. Unfortunately Pinterest buttons don’t appear on the main feed. To get to the individual recipes, you can either click on the title (e.g. Recipe—Divine Chocolate Cups) from the main feed OR click on any post listed under Recent Posts on the right hand side.
  2. Comment here with a link to your board that the recipes were pinned to. OR if you would like you can email me the link. Send emails to divadicucina@yahoo.com Just copy and paste directly from your browser bar.

Everyone that does the above steps will be entered into a drawing. Two names will be drawn. I will contact the winners to get their mailing addresses and send them their prize. The contest will be open for one week from today. All entries must be received by May 2. Only those living in the United States are eligible to win. Be sure to check back here next week in case you were the winner and I was unable to contact you.

Get pinning!

 

Note: This contest is not affiliated with Flip and Tumble or Pinterest. I just love their products and want to share.

Recipe—Italian Stuffed Zucchini a.k.a. Zucchini Boats

With summer quickly approaching farmer’s markets will start popping up, gardens will be getting planted, and the produce department at your store will be full of fresh goods. It seems as though every summer zucchini is plentiful and I am getting lots of the delicious green squash from family and friends. I have found so many ways to creatively cook zucchini and this is one of my favorites. It is a great side dish to accompany your favorite Italian dish, especially chicken parmigiana or a big bowl of spaghetti.

INGREDIENTS
3 large zucchini
1/4 c yellow onions, minced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
3 tbsp butter
1/2 c fresh tomatoes finely chopped or canned petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 c Italian breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, divided

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add entire zucchini.
  • Cook the zucchini for 8–10 minutes and remove from water.
  • While the zucchini cools, sauté the onion and garlic in butter until tender.
  • Add tomatoes to the pan and heat through.
  • Remove pan from heat.
  • Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out centers of the zucchini. (I find a melon baller works wonders for this!)
  • Chop the pulp and squeeze out excess water.
  • Add zucchini pulp to the pan and mix.
  • Mix in breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
  • Stuff the zucchini “boats” and place in a baking dish.
  • Bake in oven for 10 minutes.
  • Top with remaining Parmesan cheese and bake another 5 minutes.

Recipe—Divine Chocolate Cups

I can give you four reasons why this is the perfect dessert recipe, it is ridiculously easy to make, it looks fabulous, each person gets their own little serving, and you can make it in advance. What more do you need?!? Oh yeah, and it is absolutely delicious! Okay, so there are five reasons why you must try this recipe.

This has got to be one of the best dessert recipes I know and it only takes about five minutes to make. Not only is it incredibly quick and easy, but you probably already have the majority of the ingredients in your kitchen as well. This is perfect if you are looking for something rich and chocolaty. I think of this as a cross between grown up pudding and chocolate mousse. This recipe makes two large servings or four small. If you don’t have any individual dessert serving dishes try putting it in champagne or wine glasses for a fun twist.

Note: Whip crème can be made at the same time as the chocolate cups and stored in the refrigerator covered until you are ready to enjoy or you can make it right before serving.

DIVINE CHOCOLATE INGREDIENTS
2/3 c milk (I prefer whole)
1 egg
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp Frangelico (Disaronno, Grand Marnier, and Kahlua are also delicious!)
raspberries and chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)

STEPS

  • Bring milk just to a boil. (You can either do this in a small saucepan over the stovetop or in the microwave.)
  • In a blender combine egg, sugar, salt, chocolate chips, and liqueur.
  • Blend using a low setting.
  • Carefully pour in the hot milk in a slow stream. The hot milk melts the chocolate and cooks the egg.
  • Blend mixture until smooth and creamy making sure there are no chocolate chips remaining, about 1 minute.
  • Pour into your serving dishes.
  • Place serving dishes in the fridge and allow to cool for a couple of hours.
  • When ready to serve top with your whip crème and garnish with raspberries and chocolate shavings.

 

WHIP CRÈME INGREDIENTS
1 c heavy whipping crème
4 tbsp powdered sugar

STEPS

  • Using a hand mixer beat the whipping crème and sugar together on high for 2–3 minutes or until whip crème is desired consistency. (I like mine really thick.)
  • Store in refrigerator until ready to use, or serve immediately if chocolate has already set.

Recipe—Buffalo Baked Chicken with Blue Cheese Slaw

When it comes to spicy foods buffalo chicken has got to be one of my favorites. I just can’t get enough of those delicious little wings drenched in buffalo sauce especially when served with a side of cool blue cheese dressing and celery. Mmmmm…  my mouth is now watering.

This recipe is a great way to turn a popular appetizer into a full dinner. The blue cheese slaw is a perfect complement to the buffalo baked chicken since the tartness of the lemon coupled with the creaminess of the blue cheese really balances out the spiciness of the sauce. Keep this nice light dinner in mind for these upcoming warm summer months. Enjoy!

Note: You can control the heat by using less sauce or getting a sauce that is milder in heat. If you are looking for a tasty finger food make this buffalo baked chicken recipe with breast tenders instead of the whole breasts.

COLESLAW INGREDIENTS
1 c blue cheese crumbles
juice from 2 lemons
1/2–3/4 c mayonnaise
4 celery stalks, sliced
2 cups shredded carrots
6 green onions, thinly sliced
3 c green cabbage, shredded
1 c red cabbage, shredded
OR
You can substitute 3–4 cups of Fresh Express 3-Color Deli Cole Slaw for the green and red cabbage to save some time. It is sold in bags in your store’s produce department.

STEPS

  • In a large salad bowl stir together blue cheese, lemon juice, and mayonnaise.
  • Add in the celery, shredded carrots, green onions, and shredded cabbage.
  • Mix thoroughly and if slaw seems dry add in more mayonnaise.
  • Cover and place in fridge to chill while preparing chicken.

BUFFALO BAKED CHICKEN INGREDIENTS
6 tbsp butter
3/4 c buffalo sauce (I love Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce!)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 c croutons
1/2 c flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

STEPS

  • Pre-heat the oven 400º F.
  • Melt butter over low heat in a small pot and stir in hot sauce.
  • Place chicken in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the hot sauce mixture over the chicken and toss the pieces to coat in the Buffalo sauce. Allow to stand for 10 minutes while the meat marinades.
  • Put your croutons in a one gallon Ziploc bag and crush using a rolling pin.
  • Add the parsley to your zip loc bag and toss to mix.
  • Place the hot sauce-coated chicken into the Ziploc bag and toss to coat with the breadcrumbs.
  • Transfer the breaded chicken breasts to a large baking dish.
  • Bake chicken uncovered for 25–30 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 160º when stuck in the thickest part of the chicken breast.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and serve with your blue cheese slaw. I like to top mine off with a drizzle of the buffalo sauce and some blue cheese crumbles.

Recipe—Puff Pastry Spirals

Puff pastry has got to be one of my favorite ingredients to work with. It is so incredibly versatile and is a must have item in my freezer at all times. This recipe is a great one to keep in mind when you need an appetizer that can be made ahead of time. Serve them warm or at room temperature. You really can make these with almost any combination of ingredients but these are my favorite. Both combinations are classic flavors, spinach with feta and ham with swiss. These can be prepared a day ahead of time and kept wrapped up in the fridge until you are ready to bake them. I have made these not only as an appetizer but also as a side dish for brunch. I personally love to serve them with champagne. Yummy!

Note: Be sure to remove as much liquid as you can from the spinach before adding it to the pastry otherwise it may make the pastry soggy.

SPINACH AND FETA SPIRAL INGREDIENTS
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 c feta
1/4 c yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 sheet Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (1/2 package)
flour for work surface
1 egg
1 tbsp water

STEPS

  • Stir together the spinach, feta, yellow onion, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  • Sprinkle flour on the work surface and unfold puff pastry.
  • Top puff pastry with the spinach mixture and evenly spread it out leaving one edge exposed about an inch back.
  • Starting at the edge opposite from the exposed edge roll up like a jelly roll.
  • Wrap your roll in saran wrap and chill in freezer for an hour or fridge for a couple of hours. (This will make it easier to slice through.)
  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Beat the egg and water together in a small bowl.
  • Remove the saran wrap and cut roll into 1/4″–1/2” slices.
  • Place the slices cut side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Brush the top of each spiral with the egg wash.
  • Bake for 15–20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove the spirals from the baking sheet and allow to cool.

HAM AND SWISS SPIRAL INGREDIENTS
1 lb of thin sliced ham
1 c shredded swiss
1 sheet Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (1/2 package)
flour for work surface
1 egg
1 tbsp water

STEPS

  • Sprinkle flour on the work surface and unfold puff pastry.
  • Top puff pastry with an even layer of the ham and then sprinkle with cheese leaving one edge exposed about an inch back.
  • Starting at the edge opposite from the exposed edge roll up like a jelly roll.
  • Wrap your roll in saran wrap and chill in freezer for an hour or fridge for a couple of hours. (This will make it easier to slice through.)
  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Beat the egg and water together in a small bowl.
  • Remove the saran wrap and cut roll into 1/4″–1/2” slices.
  • Place the slices cut side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Brush the top of each spiral with the egg wash.
  • Bake for 15–20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove the spirals from the baking sheet and allow to cool.

Recipe—Cadbury Creme Cupcakes

What says Easter better than Cadbury Creme Eggs? You know spring is right around the corner when you start seeing Cadbury Eggs in their shiny foil wrappers popping up at the store. The Cadbury brothers first started manufacturing filled eggs in 1923 but the brand we know and love wasn’t started until 1963. Over 300 million of these delicious eggs are made every year.

This recipe is the perfect marriage of the classic fondant filled milk chocolate egg with a moist chocolate cupcake. These were so simple and fun to make and a real hit with the kids. What person, young or old, wouldn’t love finding a gooey surprise in the middle of a really cute cupcake?

Note: You can make either 48 mini cupcakes or 24 regular sized cupcakes. As much as I love mini cupcakes and their fun size, I will admit, after frosting half of them I was over it! If using a full size muffin pan, be sure to get 24 regular sized Cadbury Creme Eggs rather than 48 of the mini ones. Don’t forget to adjust the baking time accordingly.

INGREDIENTS
box of chocolate cake mix prepared (you will probably need eggs, oil, and water)
48 Mini Cadbury Creme Eggs, unwrapped
container of vanilla frosting
yellow food coloring

STEPS 

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Prepare cake batter per your box’s instructions.
  • Line your pan with cupcake papers.
  • Place about a teaspoon worth of cake batter in each lined cup. (A heaping tablespoon if you are making regular sized cupcakes.)
  • Place a Cadbury Egg in each cup.
  • Top off each cup with more batter covering the eggs.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (Baking time is almost twice as long for regular sized cupcakes.)
  • Allow cupcakes to cool completely.
  • While cupcakes are cooling prepare your frosting. Take about a quarter of the frosting and mix it in a small bowl with a couple drops of yellow food coloring.
  • Once cupcakes are ready, frost with white frosting and then top off with a dollop of the yellow frosting in the middle.

Happy Easter!

Recipe—Crock-Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu

The crock-pot is a fabulous invention that I don’t utilize enough. What’s not to love about a simple appliance that has dinner ready for you when you get home from a long day at work? Being a working mom I am always looking for quick and delicious dinner recipes to feed my family. This recipe is so easy to put together and it fills your house with such a wonderful smell. Your mouth will be watering as soon as you walk through the door. I love the salty flavor of the ham with the creamy melted Swiss cheese. The slow cooked chicken breast is moist and just falls apart. This certainly has the same flavors as the real deal but is so much easier to make.

Note: If your croutons don’t maintain a crunchy texture, transfer the chicken to an oven safe dish when it is done in the crock-pot and finish the chicken breast off under the broiler for 2–3 minutes. For a low carb alternative just skip the crushed croutons. 

INGREDIENTS
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
10.75 oz can cream of chicken soup
3/4 c milk
8 slices of ham
1 c Swiss cheese, shredded
1 c croutons, crushed
1/4 c butter, melted

STEPS

  • In a small bowl mix together the cream of chicken soup and milk.
  • Pour enough of the soup mixture into your crock-pot to cover the bottom.
  • Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock-pot and drizzle with additional sauce. (I had some leftover.)
  • Fold slices of ham in half and put two slices on top of each chicken breast.
  • Cover the ham with the shredded Swiss.
  • Sprinkle the crushed croutons over the top.
  • Drizzle with melted butter.
  • Cover, and cook on low heat for 4–6 hours, or on high heat for 2–3 hours. Be sure your thermometer reads 160º when stuck in the thickest part of the chicken breast.