Crunchy Apple Bacon Coleslaw

Apple Bacon Coleslaw

Sweet + Salty+Tangy + Crunchy = Delicious and Unique Coleslaw

I am always looking for new and tasty side dishes to serve up throughout the summer. One day on Pinterest I stumbled upon a recipe for apple bacon coleslaw. I did some more poking around and actually found that there were lots of variations of this type of recipe out there. In true Diva form I pulled from several of the recipes and came up with this one. It, of course, is the best. 😉

Not only did the flavors compliment each other well but so did the textures. Coleslaw usually tends to all be the same consistency but the sweet apples added a really nice crunch to the mix and went so well with the salty bacon and tang from the dressing. I really like to enjoy this dish with some BBQ chicken or ribs for a perfect summer meal.

INGREDIENTS
1/4 c cider vinegar
1 c mayonnaise
1/4 c sugar
1/4 orange juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1 fennel bulb, shredded
1 cabbage head, shredded
6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c parsley leaves, chopped
4 firm apples, chopped

STEPS

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the vinegar, mayonnaise, sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, salt and pepper until most of the sugar is dissolved.
  • Place the fennel, cabbage, bacon, green onions, parsley, and apples together in a bowl and mix together.
  • Pour the dressing over the coleslaw and toss to coat.
  • Cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve.

 

If you think this recipe looks great then check out these ones too!

DivaDiCucina_Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi Dill Coleslaw

Crunchy Pea Salad

Crunchy Pea Salad

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

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Recipe—Low Cal Cincinnati Chili

 

Cincinnati Chili

It’s the dreaded time of year where I make an effort to eat healthier with the hopes I can fit into the same shorts I was wearing last year. Don’t get me wrong, I love spring and summer, it is just such a disappointment when you go to put on your super cute shorts and they just don’t quite fit like they did the last summer. Blah.

This year I am determined to get better at cooking healthier meals that I, as well as my family, want to eat. I find that I frequently get into salad ruts. I am trying to get it out of my head that you can eat more than salads and still eat healthy and satisfying meals. So one thing I have been doing is substituting lean ground turkey and chicken for beef in more recipes. I made this Cincinnati chili with ground turkey and it turned out amazing. My husband and son didn’t even know it wasn’t beef. Point for mom!

The meat is cooked in so many spices that no one would know it wasn’t beef unless you told them. I love that this recipe is super flavorful and also satisfying and that it makes the whole kitchen smell amazing! Plus the leftovers for the next two days made awesome lunches at less than 450 calories a pop. #winning

Note: I am not from Cincinnati, nor have I ever had authentic Cincinnati chili. I know there are individuals who are very particular about their Cincinnati chili and how it is prepared. I am not claiming this as “authentic” Cincinnati chili, I am just claiming this to be a damn good recipe.

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped (divided)
15 oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 c water
spaghetti noodles
cheddar cheese, shredded

STEPS

  • In a large pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Place the ground turkey in the pot and cook for about 8–10 minutes making sure to break up the chunks with a spatula.
  • Add in most of the chopped onion and cook for 3–4 minutes. (Note: Save a couple tablespoons of the onion for garnish.)
  • Once the onion has had a chance to cook add in the tomatoes, beans, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, chili powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and water.
  • Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Partially cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes making sure to stir occasionally.
  • Add water as needed to keep the mixture “saucy.”
  • Serve the sauce over cooked noodles and garnish with shredded cheddar and some chopped onions.

Recipe—Herbed Cucumber Bites

Herbed Cucumber Bites

I have been wanting to host a tea party type of event and this year Easter was the perfect occasion. We were just having a couple of people over so I did all sorts of small bites. So fun and classy! The cucumber rounds were one of my faves! They were so light and refreshing and reminded me of the typical cucumber sandwiches you would have at a tea party, minus the rye bread. These are definitely the perfect snack for bridal showers, baby showers, or an afternoon tea.

INGREDIENTS
8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
1/4 c fresh dill (or 1 tbsp dried)
2 tbsp dill pickle juice (just the stuff form the jar)
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pepper
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
parsley to garnish (optional)

STEPS

  • In a medium bowl beat together the cream cheese, dill, pickle juice, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and green onion until smooth.
  • Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag.
  • Pipe the herbed cream cheese mixture onto each cucumber round.
  • Garnish each cucumber with a sprig of parsley on top.
  • Serve immediately or cover and store in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

Recipe—Easiest Beef Enchiladas Ever

Easiest Beef Enchiladas Ever

Over the summer the wonderful people at Del Real sent me a massive party box of all sorts of wonderful goodies to try out. One of the items was a package of seasoned shredded beef (carne deshebrada). As soon as I saw it I thought to myself, “wow, having cooked and seasoned meat all ready to go would make enchiladas a total breeze!”

Del Real Shredded Beef

I decided to try and simplify the usually overly complex enchilada process. The name of this recipe describes it to a “t.” I am a huge fan of enchiladas. I make them fairly regularly but when I do the kitchen ends up in total disarray because of all the work that goes into them. This recipe uses only 5 ingredients but makes enough food to feed a small army.

Note: This recipe makes about 12 enchiladas. Since there are only 2 1/2 people in our household I cooked 4 that night and then put the rest into two 8” x 8” foil containers and froze them. That is 3 nights worth of dinner for about $5 a meal. Who can beat that? Cheap and easy. That is my style.

Easiest Beef Enchiladas Ever

INGREDIENTS
32 oz package Del Read Shredded Beef
12 soft taco sized flour tortillas
2 (28 oz) can Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce (red or green)
4 c jack cheese, shredded
1 c black olives, sliced

STEPS

  • Heat the meat per package instructions.
  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • After the meat is done cooking transfer it to a large bowl and toss with 1 1/2 cups of the enchilada sauce.
  • Spray your baking dish(es) with a non stick spray or lightly grease.
  • Pour enough enchilada sauce in the bottom of your baking dish(es) to cover the bottom.
  • On a large cutting board, lay a tortilla out flat and add a scoop full of meat and sprinkle with cheese and a few of the sliced olives.
  • Roll up the enchilada and place seam side down in your “sauced up” bake dish and repeat until you are out of ingredients.
  • Pour the remaining sauce over the tops of the enchiladas.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese and olives.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove foil and finish off in the oven for another 10–15 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted and just starting to brown.
  • Allow the enchiladas to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Top with sour cream or guacamole if desired.

A huge thank you to Del Real for giving me the opportunity to try out several of your products. I love them all! You guys rock!

Recipe—Creamy Hot Cocoa in a Crock-Pot

Homemade Hot Cocoa in a Crock-Pot

Over the weekend we had a holiday cookie decorating party for my son and his little buddies from school. It was wonderful! All the kiddos huddled around the table eating the cookie toppings quicker than they were putting them on the actual frosted cookies getting all hopped up on sugar. I love this time of year!

Homemade Hot Cocoa in a Crock-Pot

I wanted to have a little hot cocoa bar where all the kids (and grown ups) could make themselves a fancy cup of cocoa. I’m not talking little envelopes of dry god knows what. I’m talking thick and creamy REAL hot cocoa. The kind that fills you up and warms your belly, the kind that leaves a thick creamy mustache on your upper lip with every sip. I made this a couple of hours before the party and it was perfect! Along with a big crock pot full of pure joy I had bowls of marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, crushed candy canes, chocolate sprinkles, whip cream, and then of course some grown up mixers (Kahlua, Disaronno, Baily’s, Frangelico, and peppermint schnapps). Hey if you know me, you know I don’t half ass anything. 😉

Hot Cocoa Bar

This hot cocoa was by far the best I ever had! If you are having a few people and want to make something very special this holiday season then I recommend you make this hot cocoa. It will take every grown up back to their childhood days and will be memorable for all the kiddos.

Note: Makes 8–12 servings.

Enjoying Hot Cocoa

INGREDIENTS
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
12 oz bag chocolate chips (dark, milk, or white chocolate will all work)
2 c heavy whipping cream
6 c milk (2% or whole)
1 tsp vanilla

STEPS

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large crock-pot.
  • Turn on low.
  • Cook for 2 hours stirring occasionally using a whisk.
  • Ladle into a mug, add in your mixer (optional), and top with your favorite treats or leave as is.

Recipe—Chicken Breasts with Mushroom and Onion Dijon Sauce

Chicken Breast with Mushroom Dijon Sauce

Something about cooler weather makes me crave comfort food. I just love a good hearty meal on a cool night. My chicken breasts with mushroom and onion Dijon sauce is one of those delicious and soul warming meals. This is a sophisticated recipe that is just absolutely wonderful. The sauce is rich and creamy and really allows the flavors of the fresh herbs to come out and complement the zestiness of the mustard. With the holiday season approaching and people getting together this is the perfect dish to prepare for a small group. This recipe comes together relatively easy and you are sure to impress your guests with your culinary abilities.

Chicken Breast with Mushroom Dijon Sauce

Note: If you are feeding more than four people consider butterflying the breasts or even getting thin breast cutlets at the store. If you use a thinner breast you will need to adjust the cooking times for the chicken slightly to avoid overcooking. 

INGREDIENTS
1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 c white mushrooms, sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 c white wine
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c chicken broth
1/4 c heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

 

STEPS

  • In a large Ziploc bag mix together the flour, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the chicken to the bag and toss to coat.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Remove the chicken from the bag and shake off excess flour before placing in the pan.
  • Cook the chicken for 4–6 minutes per side and transfer to a platter.
  • Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes making sure to stir a few times.
  • Add the sliced red onions and rosemary to the pan and continue to cook for 3–4 minutes.
  • Mix in the mustards and wine and gently scrape the bottom of the pan making sure to get everything well incorporated.
  • Add in the parsley, broth, cream, and butter and mix to combine.
    Place the chicken back into the pan and spoon the sauce over the top.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and cook at a simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Transfer the chicken breast to a plate and spoon sauce over the top.
  • Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley garnish for some added color.

 

Recipe adapted from A Family Feast.

Recipe—Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

A long time ago in a land far far away, I posted a recipe for Lemon Crackle Cookies. (Okay, it wasn’t that long ago nor that far away.) They were awesome! Perhaps the name Chocolate Crack Cookies would be more appropriate for this recipe since you will not be able to stop eating them! Since the base for my crackle cookies is a box of cake mix they are perfectly fluffy, super moist, ultra fudgy, and easier to make than any cookie should be. This recipe is very straightforward and easy. Anyone can make them. Really. I promise! While they may look complicated all you are doing is rolling the dough into balls, coating them generously with powdered sugar, and then baking them. They do all the fancy crackling while baking. Give them a try. Everyone you share with will be very pleased you did.

INGREDIENTS

2 (18.25 oz) boxes Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix
4 eggs
2/3 c vegetable oil
1 1/2 c powdered sugar

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • In a large bowl mix together dry cake mix, eggs, and oil.
  • Put the powdered sugar in a shallow bowl or plate.
  • Form small balls with the dough and then roll them in the powdered sugar. Be sure the cookies have a really thick coating of the sugar if you want them to have that crackle look.
  • Place at least 2 inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 7–9 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.
  • Allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cutting board or cooling rack.

Recipe—The Perfect Turkey

Perfect Turkey Dinner

To brine or not to brine? That is the ongoing question I have people ask me about cooking a turkey. Well here is your answer, I am a briner. I have prepared turkeys both brined and not. While I am no professional chef I would consider my self very versed in eating. I personally think brined turkeys come out with more flavor and are more moist than that of a turkey that is not brined. Some of you may be asking, “what the heck is brining?”

Brining is the process of soaking your turkey in a salt (and sometimes herb) infused bath for several hours prior to cooking. I find that your bird will be more evenly flavored and it will also be the moistest bird you ever have.

Brining the Turkey

I make an awesome citrus herb rub (see recipe below) for my turkey. It is flavor packed and will make all your dinner guests ohhhh and ahhhh. The orange zest is not overpowering at all. It actually is a really nice complement to all the other flavors of a thanksgiving dinner. Trust me. I know how to make a delicious turkey.

Perfect Turkey

Notes: Do not brine your turkey if it is self basting, pre seasoned, or kosher. If you do not have a pan that is large enough you may use an oversized bowl, ice chest, or even a baking bag tied off. The key is that the bird is completely submerged.

BRINING INGREDIENTS
1 c kosher salt
2 c sugar
1 c apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp sage
2 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp rosemary
1 tbsp pepper
thawed turkey

STEPS FOR BRINING

  • Find a large pot that will hold your turkey making sure you have at least an inch or two of room at the top.
  • Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in your pot.
  • Add the salt and sugar and stir until completely dissolved.
  • Remove the pan from heat and add in 8 cups of cold water, apple cider vinegar, sage, thyme, rosemary, and pepper.
  • Place the pot in your sink (this will help in case any liquid overflows).
  • Remove all of the giblets and neck from your turkey and gently lower it into the pot.
  • Cover the pot with a lid or saran wrap.
  • Place the pot in the fridge and marinade for 12–16 hours.
  • Rinse the turkey and pat dry.

Citrus Herb Turkey Rub

TURKEY INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp garlic, minced
2 c Italian parsley leaves, chopped
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp chili powder
2 oranges, zested and quartered
1 c butter, softened
1 brined turkey

STEPS FOR TURKEY

  • Preheat oven to 325º.
  • In a small bowl combine the garlic, parsley, kosher salt, pepper, chili powder, orange zest, and butter and mix until well combined.
  • Starting from the neck of the turkey, carefully separate the skin from the breast meat with your fingers.
  • Push about half of the herbed butter mixture under the skin and spread it out evenly. (Don’t be afraid really get it all over in there! The butter will melt and all those yummy flavors will just seep into the meat.)
  • Use the other half of the mixture to evenly cover the top and sides of the turkey.
  • Place the orange quarters inside the turkey’s cavity.
  • Place the seasoned turkey in a roasting pan and loosely cover with foil.
  • Roast the turkey for 20–23 minutes per pound and baste every 45 minutes. (Note: If you are running out of juices in the pan just add some chicken broth or cubes of butter.)
  • Remove the foil for the last 45 minutes of cooking.
  • When the temperature in the meatiest part of the turkey reaches 165º remove it from oven and allow it to rest for 25–30 minutes.
  • Carve and gobble up.

 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!

 

 

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—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.