Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Brie Quesadillas with Mango Salsa

Made these quesadillas last night and they were wonderful, quick, and delicious.
Sometimes I have to be quick on my feet with meals in my house. With work, picking up the kids from school, sporting events, and guitar lessons I don't have a lot of time to prepare a full on meal. I still want our food to be home cooked, fresh, and taste good though!
All you need is some large flour tortillas, brie cheese, mangos, red bell peppers, cilantro, limes, jalapeno, and an avocado.

For the Mango Salsa:

1 ripe Mango - peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper - small diced
1 jalapeno -  seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 2 limes
1tsp sugar
1tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together and let stand for at least 20 minutes.

For the quesadilla:

Large flour tortillas
Brie cheese - at room temp

Heat your skillet with some olive oil at med heat. Place your tortilla in the skillet and add sliced brie covering one side of the tortilla. Flip the other side of the tortilla over the brie. Once the bottom side of the tortilla is golden brown flip the quesadilla to brown the other side. This process only takes about 4-5 minutes.
Cut your quesadilla in 4 pie pieces. Top with mango salsa and fresh diced avocado.

That's it.

***The Mango Salsa can also be used as a topping for your eggs the next morning, or to top grilled fish, chicken, and steak!

Happy Eatings!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

German Chocolate Caramel Bars

Words to describe these bars...Ooey, gooey, chewy, crunchy, chocolaty, deliciousness! I don't think I need to elaborate any more than that to convince you to make these ridiculously amazing treats!

Here's what you need to do:

German Chocolate Caramel Bars

1 box German Chocolate cake mix
1 small can evaporated milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup melted butter
1 11oz bag of caramels

Pre heat oven 350 degrees
In a bowl combine your German chocolate cake mix, melted butter, and 1/3 cup of evaporated milk. The batter will be dough like. Grease a 9X13" pan, spread half of your cake mix throughout the bottom of the pan to cover. Place in oven and bake for 6 minutes.
While that is baking put your caramels in a pot over medium heat along with another 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk. Heat until all the caramels are melted. Take the caramel and pour over the already baked cake mix. Spread evenly. Take the rest of your dough and place on top of the caramel. The dough will not cover the entire top. Try to spread as much as you can with your fingers.
Top with the chocolate chips and place back in the oven for another 28 minutes.
Let cool and cut into squares.

**Sprinkle some sea salt on top or add some toasted nuts for a little something extra!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Vodka Sauce w Linguine - Quick, easy, delicious

This is my go to meal when I have no time but want something to warm me up. It is always a crowd and kid pleaser. If you are new to cooking this is the recipe for you. It's easy to follow, takes little to no skill, and the result will surely impress!

**Remember always read through your recipe and instructions first! It will help you with organization and timing.

Vodka Sauce

1 jar traditional marinara sauce
1 cup vodka (I like to use a good vodka, but whatever you have will do)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 cup heavy cream at room temp
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tsp red pepper flake
salt & pepper to taste
1lbs Linguine

Over med heat add a two count of olive oil and sauté your minced garlic until fragrant. Add in your marinara sauce and vodka and simmer for about 20 min. You want to cook out the alcohol. After 20 minutes stir in your cream slowly and reduce your heat to low. Add in your parmesan, red pepper flake, salt, and pepper. Simmer for another 5-7 minutes.
Have a pot of boiling slated water ready. Stir in your linguine and cook until al'dente. Take your pasta directly out of the boiling water and place in your sauce. Turn off the heat and cost your pasta with the sauce.
Serve with fresh parmesan cheese and a good crunchy bread. The sauce is perfect for dipping!

***Some great add in's to this dish are spinach, shrimp, or chicken.

From The Mandap household to yours.......Happy Eatings!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pork Shoulder and all it's Glory

This week pork shoulder was on sale at the grocery and I am not one to deny the pig. When you are shopping on a budget and trying to get the most out of your food, pork shoulder is the way to go. Our family got 3 delicious meals out of this pork shoulder.
The best way to cook this piece of meat is low and slow. I use a Dutch oven but a crock pot works just as well. Rinse your pork, score it on the fat side, and place it in your pot. I season mine with plenty of salt, cumin, oregano, and pepper. I also add in one diced onion, some minced garlic, and one bunch of fresh cilantro. Add in about 1 inch of water to the bottom of the pot. If using a Dutch oven place in the oven at 325 degrees for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. For a crock pot cook on high for about 5 hours. You want your pork to be fork tender so you can easily shred the meat.

The first night we basically turned our kitchen into our own Chipotle. I made some cilantro rice, heated up some black beans (yes from a can!), cut up some cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado, and topped with shredded Monterey jack cheese and sour cream. I also had some flour tortillas and salsa verde out. It was perfect. My boys made their own tacos and I made my own burrito bowl! Kids seem to eat more when they feel they made their own food.

The second night I took some of the shredded pork, placed it in a bowl and added 1 cup of Herdez salsa, 1/2 cup Herdez salsa verde, the left over black beans, 1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese and mixed it all together. I placed the mixture in a casserole dish and topped with corn muffin batter. Just use your favorite corn muffin mixture and follow the directions on the box. I always add in sweet corn from a can to my corn bread. Once you top your casserole with the corn muffin mix, bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until the muffin mix is cooked through.
This meal was perfect for our cold weather. I used up all my leftovers from the night before and it was such a good hearty meal.

Lastly we made our absolute favorite breakfast. My husband and I used to frequent this charming Hawaiian café in San Diego called Lelani's. They had this dish the Ono Kahlua, it's like corned beef hash and eggs but the Hawaiian version and so much better! Every time I cook pork shoulder I recreate this dish for my husband. He loves it and you know ladies the way to a mans heart is through his stomach! All you do is cook some rice, place your rice on a plate and top with some warmed up shredded pork shoulder. Then fry up 2 eggs any way you like (we like ours sunny side up, the yolk just adds this extra sauce..mmmmm) place your eggs on top of the pork and that's it. Serve it with soy sauce and hot sauce! Best breakfast ever!

There you have it, Pork 3 ways! It may take a few hours to cook this pork but the end result is 3 easy and delicious meals that will get you and your family through the week!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Reuben Dip - Your best game day snack

Around Cincinnati we love our Sauerkraut and we love a good dip at a football party! This Reuben dip goes hand in hand with fall, football, and a good brew. It's tangy, cheesy, baked until it's bubbly, and oh so bad for you (shhhh!). I actually got this recipe from one of my mom's friends and every time I serve it up someone is asking me for the recipe, so here it is.

Reuben Dip
16oz sauerkraut
8oz   Swiss cheese
8oz   buddings corned beef
1cup mayonnaise
Rye Triscuit's for serving

Pre heat oven to 350

Strain your sauerkraut in a colander. Cut up your corned beef into small pieces and shred the entire 8oz of Swiss cheese. In a mixing bowl combine the sauerkraut, corned beef, and Swiss cheese. Add in the mayonnaise and blend together. You want a tuna like consistency. You may need to add more mayonnaise. Once the dip is all mixed and has a nice consistency place it in a 9x13in baking dish and spread evenly. Bake until its bubbly about 25 min.
Serve hot with Rye Triscuit's on the side.
There you go easy cheesy Reuben Dip!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage

Halloween has come and gone and we have officially stepped into November. With the cold brisk air and the leaves that are covering my yard, I know it won't be long until those leaves turn into to snow. November is a great month with so many exciting things happening. The leaves have officially changed to their full fall colors, there is a smell of bonfires and football in the air, and at the end of the month we get to reconnect with our loved ones around a table full of some of the greatest things in life! I love to cook always, but I really love to cook in the fall.
I made a Butternut Squash soup the other night that was so delicious, it was perfect to set the tone for the upcoming holiday season. This is a simple recipe with big flavor. It's so smooth and silky, and a nice piece of a toasted baguette that has been rubbed with garlic makes for a perfect utensil!
My boys love this soup and I hope your family does to.

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage

2 butternut squash (peeled and cut into cubes)
2 apples ( peeled and cut)
1 large yellow onion
3 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup fresh chopped sage
1/2tsp nutmeg
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

First peel, cut, and clean your butternut squash. Butternut squash has seeds inside you want to make sure you spoon them out, just like a pumpkin. Cut your squash into large cubes and do the same with your apples. Heat your soup pot on med high and add a couple Tablespoons olive oil. Saute your onion until translucent then add in your garlic, apples, salt,  and butternut squash. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add in your sage and cook another 2 min. Pour in your chicken broth and let simmer for a good 30-45min. You want your butternut squash to become fork tender and for all the flavors to come together.
Take your soup off the heat and very carefully with your emersion blender (hand blender) blend on high until your soup is totally smooth. Place your soup back on a low heat and add in your nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I top mine with some fried sage and a toasted garlic baguette on the side for dipping!
Embrace the season and cook from the heart, that always works for me!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Simple Autumn Centerpiece - DIY

Today I took a look around my house and I almost threw up in my you ever have that feeling? I have two young kids a black lab that sheds everywhere and my husband and I both have full time jobs. Cleaning the house let alone decorating it for the different seasons, seriously takes a back seat. Yet on some rare occasions I get a crafty bug up my butt and for one day I am the crafty mom. The queen of the DIY projects, as long as the projects don't take longer than the time in between my kids leaving and coming home from school!:) Also it has to be a seriously cheap DIY project, were on a budget over here!
So today I did a swift google search on some autumn centerpieces got some ideas from a couple that I liked, took a look around my house at what I had on hand then to the store I went. I was thinking rustically intimate, I found a bag of gourds at Home Depot for $6.95 and a small white pumpkin for $3.95 I grabbed them and I was outta there! Next I ran over to Pier One, you can find good deals in the clearance area but only in the clearance area. That store reminds me of how seriously broke and untalented I am at decorating. Anyways I did splurge on these really cute napkin rings they were $3.95 a piece. Then I picked up a green candle on clearance for $5 and 3 tea light candle holders for $0.50! That was it! This was the beautiful result...   


For the centerpiece I used some of my old mason jars I had saved, my candle I bought fit in the opening of the large mason jar. I used some smaller mason jars as well and placed tea light candles in those along with the other 3 tea light candles that I bought. We have an abundance of empty wine bottles around our house (thanks to me) so I thought those would add a nice touch. I decided to keep the label on because it just seemed to match. I used the top of a corn cob from the bag of gourds I bought and pushed it inside the wine bottle. Having some height is nice! On the right is my place settings with the napkin rings I splurged on, aren't they perfect! Luckily I had some fall placemats! I also spray painted a couple of the gourds with gold spray paint I had left over from a cake project. Anyways I was pretty proud of myself! Lets see how long this table stays looking this way!!
I hope this inspires some of you do-it-all moms, craftily challenged, or anyone who is just looking for a easy and cheap DIY.
***Coinciding with my fall table for dinner I made homemade corned beef reuben sandwiches, sweet potato fries, and a cold cider beer!! It was awesome!!