Brunch Ideas for Mother’s Day

Mothers Day Brunch Ideas

Mother’s Day is just around the corner! While going out to brunch is great, I personally think an elegant brunch with my family at home is the best way to spend the day. This time of year we have such fabulous weather in California so sprucing up a table on the patio with some nice linens and flowers can be just as nice as going out to eat. If you are planning on cooking brunch for Mother’s Day for your mom, or perhaps even your wife (hint, hint spouses) here are some of my favorite recipes that any mom would be sure to enjoy. Happy Mother’s day to all the moms out there!

Mothers Day Brunch Ideas

  1. Asparagus Gruyére Tart
  2. Moist Banana Nut Bread
  3. Breakfast Portobellos
  4. Individual Blueberry Cheesecakes in Mason Jars
  5. Hot Ham & Swiss Sammies
  6. Breakfast Potatoes
  7. Blueberry Cream Cheese Danishes
  8. Peaches & Cream Cheesecake Bars
  9. Sausage Gravy
  10. Almond Poppy Seed Bread
  11. Broccoli & Cheddar Egg Bake
  12. Spiced Carrot Bread
  13. Blueberry French Toast Casserole
  14. Strawberry Pie
  15. Raspberry Turnovers
  16. Leek Quiche

Looking for more brunch ideas or perhaps you are thinking of cooking a nice dinner instead? Check out my recipe box. There are lots of great ideas listed by category there!

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I’m Back, and in a New Kitchen!

The last several months have probably been the craziest of my life so I apologize that my posts have been non-existent. I am working on getting back into the swing of things and promise more recipes coming soon!

Why has my life been so crazy you ask? My family and I bought a new house! A beautiful house that I can say without a doubt is my dream home! I will live and die in this house. If not because I love it, because moving is such a pain!

It really did all happen in a whirlwind. We went and looked and a house just for fun and fell in love at first sight. We weren’t really in the market for a new house we just happened to drive by it one day after having lunch and thought it would be fun to look. Within 3 days we were signing papers on it. The house was not even a finished house. As a matter of fact it was only framed.

This is what it looked like when we bought it. Crazy, right?

House

Over the next four months we worked hard on fixing up our old home, staging it, getting it on the market, packing up all our possessions and moving up the road to our new home. And keep in mind this was all going on throughout the holidays. It was so worth it but oh my goodness! Moving is a pain and you don’t realize how much stuff you have until you have to box it all up and move it from Point A to Point B.

We have now been in our home for 6 weeks and it finally feels like life is getting back to normal. Hallelujah!

Now onto what really pertains to this blog. My kitchen! My glorious beautiful kitchen! I am in love! The kitchen has granite countertops with full backsplashes, is equipped with stainless steel Whirlpool appliances, including a microwave, TWO ovens (yes, two!), a 5 burner gas range, a beautiful new side by side refrigerator, and more cabinets than a gal knows what to do with.

Kitchen

Oh yeah, and it even came with an incredible view! This is the view from the kitchen and dining room. Not too shabby, eh?!? (Never mind the landscaping, that is still a work in progress.)

View

Here is the funny thing, I was in love with my kitchen from the moment I saw it. However, I was completely intimidated by it. I didn’t cook in it for a week because I didn’t want to mess it up. It was too perfect! So the first time I went to use the digital high tech oven it took me five minutes to figure out how to turn it on. I am not even kidding! All I wanted to do was toast garlic bread for Pete’s sake!

Now I am much more comfortable in it and this past weekend I even hosted my first party with great success. The new kitchen is so much better equipped for entertaining.

Anyways, my sincere apologies the non existent posts the last four months. I hope you can all forgive me and will continue to check in for more regular recipe posts. I’m sure I will have some great and humorous stories of my adventures in my new kitchen over the next few months.

I have missed my regular blogging and am looking forward to getting back into the groove of things. Stay tuned!

XOXOX

Diva di Cucina

27 Cookout Recipes

Cookout Banner

‘Tis the season for outdoor BBQs, cookouts, and potlucks. I have put together 27 of my favorite summertime recipes for you to try. You will find everything from drinks to desserts. Now get outside and have some fun with friends and some fabulous food. Enjoy!

REFRESHING BEVERAGES

1. Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
2. Blended Mango Margaritas
3. Summertime White Sangria

APPEALING APPETIZERS

Summertime Appetizers

1. Bacon Jalapeño Cheese Ball
2. Off the Chain Cheddar Crackers
3. Creamy Chicken Enchilada Roll Ups
4. Garlic Parmesan Wings
5. Queso Fundido
6. Creamy Smoked Salmon Dip

MUST HAVE SIDE DISHES

Summertime Side Dishes

1. Broccoli Salad
2. Classic Macaroni Salad
3. Crunchy Pea Salad
4. Italian Pasta Salad
5. Chili (The Classic Kind)
6. Potato Salad

THE MAIN DISH

1. Crock-Pot Pale Ale BBQ Chicken Sandos
2. BBQ Bacon Wrapped Pork Chop with Grilled Onions
3. Chicken and Cheese Stuffed Sammy
4. Mexican Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa
5. Classic Chicken Salad Sandwich
6. Rio Grande Spice Rub Steak with Grilled Red Onions

SWEET TREATS

1. Banana Split Pie
2. Funfetti Cake Batter Cookie Dip
3. Individual Blueberry Cheesecakes in Mason Jars
4. Triple Chocolate Parfait
5. Strawberry Pie
6. Personal Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

Father’s Day Meal Ideas (My Hubby’s Top 12 Picks)

Fathers Day Menu Ideas

Father’s day is just around the corner and there are going to be some hungry men hoping to get a day off in the kitchen or on the grille. While many people may enjoy going out, my hubby is more partial to a nice home cooked lunch or dinner with the fam. Rather trying to guess what recipes I think the men in our lives would like I went straight to the source and got a male perspective. I asked my husband to sort through my entire archive of recipes and pick out his top 12 favorite recipes that I have featured on my blog. So if you are looking for some ideas on what to cook for dad this year, here are some great ideas that work for lunch or dinner. Give any of these a try and you will make the man or men in your life extremely happy.

Hubby's Top 12 Pick's

  1. Crab Cakes with Spicy Remoulade
  2. Western Bacon Jalapeño Poppers
  3. Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Truffles
  4. Toffee Apple Dip
  5. Crock-Pot Shredded Beef Tacos
  6. Limoncello Chicken
  7. Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut
  8. Chicken and Cheese Stuffed Sammy
  9. Crock-Pot Pale Ale BBQ Chicken Sandos
  10. Cheesy Mac Attack A.K.A. Macaroni N’ Cheese
  11. Loaded Baked Cauliflower
  12. Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob

Cinco de Mayo Menu Ideas

CincoDeMayo

Time to bust out your sombrero, and crank up the mariachi music, Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner! If you are looking to throw a fiesta, or even just cook a festive dinner for the fam, I have some awesome Cinco de Mayo menu ideas for you.  I hope you take the day to kick back, relax, enjoy a margarita (or three), and celebrate this Mexican holiday. ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Refreshing Adult Beverages

Blended Mango Margaritas

Blended Mango Margarita

Grapefruit Margaritas on the Rocks

Grapefruit Margarita on the Rocks

Let’s Get this Fiesta Started!

DivaDiCucina_ShrimpCups

Shrimp Taco Cups With Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

DivaDiCocina_MangoSalsa

Mango Salsa

DivaDiCucina_QuesoFundido

Queso Fundido

Chubby Chicken Taquitos

Chubby Chicken Taquitos

Main Courses

DivaDiCucina_ShrimpTacos

Shrimp Tacos

DivaDiCucina_CheesyMexicanChicken

Cheesy Mexican Chicken

Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken Burgers

Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken Burger With Guacamole

DivaDiCucina_ShreddedBeefTacos

Crock-Pot Shredded Beef Tacos

DivaDiCucina_ChickenEnchiladas

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

DivaDiCucina_SweetPotatoBurritos

Sweet Potato Burritos

DivaDiCucina_ShrimpEnchiladas

Shrimp Enchiladas with Jalapeño Cream Sauce

Tasty Extras

Mexican Red Rice

Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo)

DivaDiCucina_ChickenEnchiladaSoup

Crock-Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob

Mexican Corn on the Cob

DivaDiCucina_JalapenoCornbreadMuffins

Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread Muffins

For the Sweet Tooth

DivaDiCucina_PinaColadaPie

Piña Colada Pie With Drunken Rum Sauce

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day!

There is something truly wonderful about a perfectly toasted grilled cheese sandwich. Eating a grilled cheese takes me back to my childhood days. I have always been a lover of the ooey gooey cheesy sandwich. There is something absolutely perfect about the simplicity of cheese toasted between a couple of slices of buttered bread.

Today is a day to celebrate the all American sandwich enjoyed by people of all ages. Toasted bread with cheese has been around for ages. The classic version we know in the U.S. originated in the 1920s when sliced bread and American cheese was cheap and easily available. It was one of the more popular meals during the Great Depression for this very reason. Until the 1960s it was served as an open faced sandwich, a single slice of bread with cheese melted on top.

Grilled cheese sandwiches have come a long way with gourmet versions growing in popularity over the last several years. You can use a variety of meats, cheeses, and vegetables to make the ordinary grilled cheese, extraordinary.

Here are a couple of grownup versions of the American classic for you to try:

DivaDiCucina_PopperGrilledCheese

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

DivaDiCucina_FancyMan

Fancy Man Grilled Cheese

Whether you prefer a classic or a modern day version, today is still a day about grilled cheese. Wonderful, fabulous, grilled cheese.

Recipe Box Upgrade!

Have you checked out my Recipe Box recently? I’ve made some great improvements over the last couple of weeks so be sure to give it a looksy! Dinners are now grouped by meat type (beef, chicken, fish, and pork) to help you more easily find a recipe that works with what you have on hand. There is even a vegetarian section! (It may be limited, but it’s there and growing!) I have also broken up my side dishes into starch and vegetable based dishes to help you plan a balanced meal. You will also see that Cookies and Breads are newly added categories.

To get to my Recipe Box you can use the link on the home page under “About” or you can even use the link provided below. Keep checking back as the Recipe Box will always be getting added to. Happy Browsing!

https://divadicucina.com/recipe-box/ 

It’s Not Aspen

Back in October my friend told me about a contest hosted by Cupcake Vineyards. To enter you had to upload a picture of a dessert to Instagram and then come up with a name for one of their upcoming wine blends inspired by your picture. I was game! I figured what do I have to loose? The grand prize was an all expense paid trip for two to Aspen Colorado for the 2013 Food and Wine Classic. A foodie’s dream come true! I didn’t think I stood a chance, but what did I have to loose?

I submitted the picture below of my chocolate cherry baby cakes (chocolate cupcakes with a cherry pie filling toped with a chocolate ganache and a cherry on top) and came up with the name Black Forest. I imagined a red wine with cherry notes.  If you aren’t familiar with Cupcake wines I will fill you in. Desserts inspire their most popular wines. For example they have a red wine called Red Velvet and a white wine called Angel Food. I thought my submission was pretty basic but would make any judge’s mouth water.

Chocolate Cherry Baby Cakes

4 months later… I received an email from someone at a large marketing firm in New York notifying me that I was the “potential GRAND PRIZE WINNER.”

WHAT?!?! I nearly died! No way! But what did “potential” mean? I followed their instructions and contacted them via email.  I quickly got a response. All it said was, “Can you confirm you live in California?”

I enthusiastically replied, “Yes! That is correct!”

While waiting for a response I started dreaming of what an awesome getaway it would be. Fantasies of meeting some of the greatest chefs danced through my head. My belly was delighted at the thought of enjoying some of the most delicious cuisine ever. I knew my husband and I would enjoy every minute of our getaway to Aspen. I squealed with joy and shared the awesome news with all my coworkers. I had actually won! Holy crap!

Minutes later, I received another reply saying they regretted to inform me, but I had been disqualified. Are you kidding me?!?! Dis-freaking-qualified! Apparently California is the only state in the U.S. that prohibits residents from receiving prizes from contests hosted or sponsored by alcohol companies. How could this be possible? My dream prize was at my fingertips and then just snatched out of my reach in an instant.

I begged and pleaded and asked if there was anything I could do but there wasn’t. I even told them I had family members out of state as though that would do me any good. I was grasping, I know. They did try and cheer me up by letting me know that California had repealed the law so as of 2013 I may now participate in these sorts of contests. What good does that do me right now?

Heartbroken and devastated, it suddenly dawned on me what the “potential” meant. They had to confirm I met all the regulations. Uggghhhhh… I had won, but then again not really at all. (I won’t deny, lots of profanity spewed from my mouth.)

It was a very weird mix of emotions. I was definitely devastated and really pissed off that I didn’t get this prize of a lifetime but at the same time I was pretty darn stoked. Had it not been for this one stupid California law I would have received my first recognition as an amateur cook. Won my first ever contest that was because of my talent, not just because of good luck. That is a really rewarding feeling, so I am moving on.

Cupcake Vineyards, being the awesome company they are, did send me a consolation prize. These 3 fabulous bottles arrived at my doorstep last week. And while it’s not Aspen, being the wine lover I am, free wine is pretty freaking fabulous too. I’ll take my consolation prize and drink it all thank you very much.

Cupcake Wine

Crowd Pleasing Super Bowl Recipes

DivaDiCocina_SuperBowl

Super Sunday is right around the corner! The Super Bowl is the biggest football game in America. It’s when we get together with family and friends to watch two rival teams have it out on the field (and of course over indulge in delicious food).

Whenever we have a Super Bowl party we typically serve one dish per quarter. Appetizers during the first two, a main course for the third, and of course a super ice cream sundae during the fourth.

I have put together some of my favorite recipes that are perfect for your big bash. Enjoy the game!

Appetizers

DivaDiCucina_QuesoFundido

Queso Fundido

DivaDiCucina_Poppers

Western Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

DivaDiCucina_BuffaloCauliflowerBites

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

DivaDiCucina_CheesyMushrooms

Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms Wrapped in Bacon

DivaDiCucina_ShrimpCups

Shrimp Taco Cups with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Warm-ups

DivaDiCucina_Chili

Chili (The Classic Kind)

DivaDiCucina_ChickenEnchiladaSoup

Crock-Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Meals

DivaDiCucina_FrenchDip

Crock-Pot French Dips

DivaDiCucina_PhillySloppyJoes

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

DivaDiCucina_ShreddedBeefTacos

Crock-Pot Shredded Beef Tacos

DivaDiCucina_HotHam&Swiss

Hot Ham and Swiss Sammies

DivaDiCucina_BBQChickenSando

Crock-Pot Pale Ale BBQ Chicken Sandos

DivaDiCucina_PopperGrilledCheese

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese

I’m a Guest Blogger!

Good morning Diva di Cucina fans! For the first time ever I had the opportunity to be a guest blogger on a wonderful site, Rantings of an Amateur Chef. Rantings of an Amateur Chef is made up of the creative bloggings of Pat Geyer, and amateur chef from the Cleveland, Ohio area. I shared a fabulous recipe for Garlic Shrimp and White Beans with him and his followers. I would love it if you would stop by Pat’s site and check out my recipe along with some of the great ones he has shared. You won’t be disappointed!

DivaDiCucina_GarlicShrimpAndWhiteBeans

Here’s a little visual tease of my recipe for Garlic Shrimp and White Beans. Get the recipe here.