Thursday, February 21, 2013

Toscana Soup

My husband adores the Toscana Soup at Olive Garden. A few years ago my aunt gave me this recipe she got at her ward Relief Society party and said it was amazing. Well it is just that. It tastes just like Olive Garden,(if not better)and is way cheaper to make at home. We have been making this for years and I just realized I have never posted this on the blog. SO for those of you who love Toscana Soup go give this soup a try it is super simple, easy, and fast to make. Serve with your favorite green salad, and bread or breadsticks.

Toscana Soup
1 lb sausage(italiam or I use a roll of Jimmy Dean's hot sausage)
7-8 large baking potatoes,(sliced in to slices)
1 onion, diced
1 Tbs. minced garlic
10 cups water
4 Tbs. chicken boullion
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups cream(or you can use 1 cup cream one cup milk it is creamier with the cream ofcourse I have done it both ways and is good either way but don't use all milk or it won't be as good)
2 cups chopped fresh spinach or Kale (I prefer the spinach and don't use frozen(nasty in my opinion)

In a large pot, brown the sausage. Drain the grease. Add in the onion and garlic and cook till onion is tender. Add the water, boullion, pepper, red pepper flakes, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer until the potatoes are tender. About 15-20 minutes. Then add the cream and the chopped spinach and heat through or until spinach wilts. Serve with favorite bread or breadsticks!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Crunchy Quinoa Granola

I am always on the hunt for new granola recipes. I eat granola or oatmeal every morning for breakfast so I like to change it up sometimes. I came across this one over at Two Peas and Their Pod. This was very tasty and I will be adding it to my growing list of Granola recipes. My favorite granola is still my Macaroon granola but I have never met a granola I didn't like!!!
Crunchy Quinoa Granola
3 c. quinoa
10 c. old fashioned oats
2 c. chopped almonds
2 c. coconut
1 1/2 cup wheat gream
1 1/2 cup flax seeds (ground or whole)
1/2-1 cup brown sugar(just depends on how sweet you want it)
1/2-1 cup honey(depends on how sweet again)
3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup coconut oil,melted
2 tsp vanilla
1 T. maple extract
1 1/2 T. cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 cup dates or craisins (i did dates)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain well. In a large bowl combine quinoa, oats, almonds, coconut, wheat germ and flax seeds. In another bowl whisk together the sugar, honey, coconut oil, vanilla, maple extract, and cinnamon. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir till combined well. Pour the granola evenly onto 3 large rimmed baking sheets. and bake for 40 minutes stirring a few times throughout the cooking process. Allow to cool on cookies sheets and then mix the raisins, craisins, and/or dates in. Store in and airtight container for up to one month.

NOte: you may also use some natural applesauce in place of half the oil and you may cut down the sugar and/or honey or you can even use agave nectar for the sweetener if you like. just tailor it to what you like. I like a mixture of brown sugar and honey so that is what i do and I usually add some applesauce but didn't have any on hand. Be creative!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Black and White Cheesecake Bars

The other night I needed to take a treat to our church activity and decided to try something new. I always get sick of bringing the same old treats everytime. As I was searching the food blog world I came across this recipe at Mel's Kitchen Cafe and knew I had to try them out. I mean Cheesecake and Chocolate and plus everything I have made from Mel's blog is fantastic!!! Anyway,these bars were amazing!! They are similar to cheesecake brownies(I have a favorite recipe for those) but still quite different. So if you want a new twist on the Cheesecake brownie go give these babies a try!!! You will not be disappointed I promise!!!

Black and White Cheesecake Bars
2 cups plus 2 T. flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 tsp vanilla
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper(with a 2 inch overhang) and coat with cooking spray. Set aside. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add 2 eggs and 2 tsp vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat until well mixed. Reserve 1 cup of dough and refrigerate it. Press the remaining dough into bottom of prepared dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake until base is set and edges are puffed, about 20 minutes.Don't overbake!!!. Let cool 15 minutes in dish on a wire rack. Mix the cream cheese, remaining egg, powdered sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Spread over the cooked base. Crumble the reserved 1 cup down over the top. Bake until filling is set, about 25- 30 minutes. Let cool in dish on wire rack, then lift out using the overhang of the parchment. Cut into squares. Keep them covered and stored in the Refrigerator.

P.S. I am in the process of placing all my recipes in the pull down recipe index you see but it is taking me awhile since I have almost 300 recipes on here. When I am finished it should be easier to find one of my recipes plus there is a search engine at the top so if you are look for a paticular thing you can type it in and it will bring up the recipes that go with it that I have on my blog!! I wish my blog was easier to navigate and prettier like all the other food sites out there but alas I am not totally computer savy and I kind of refuse to pay someone to design a cooler looking blog. SO thank you to all of my faithful followers. I truely love sharing all my good recipe finds with you even if it is in mediocre style with sub par pictures!!!