Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spinach artichoke bake

What a great dip to make when my husband's friends are coming over. It's fast, easy and the best thing to dip your chips in!

All you need is
2 table spoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 jar (6 ounces) marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cut into cubes
1/2 pint sour cream
1+1/2 shredded cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 t spoon paprika
1 t spoon black pepper
1/2 t spoon salt
1/2 t spoon red pepper flakes
Chips or crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Stir in spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, 1 cup of shredded cheese, Parmesan, paprika, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes. Stir well.
Place dip in an oven proof 2-quart dish and top with remaining 1/2 shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Serve with chips and crackers.

Roasted pork loins with potatoes and asparagus

What can be better than a beautiful tender pork loin with vegetables?!
I love pork and we actually eat a lot of pork in this pork recipe is how we like to make it back home.It's marinaded and it's delicious. And if you follow all the instructions you can actually call this pork - the taste of Russia :-)

for Meat:
1 kg pork loin
1 onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 table spoon white vinegar
2 table spoon olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1 t spoon rosemary
salt, pepper

For Potatoes:
10 baby potatoes
2 table spoon olive oil
1 t spoon paprika
salt, pepper

And Asparagus.

Slice the meat to even pieces.
Alright, the next thing you need is onion - cut them to nice onion rings.
Mix the onion rings with the meat, add salt, pepper, garlic and wine.
Now it's time for marinade. Take olive oil and white vinegar and mix them. Pour the marinade into the meat. Stir very good, everything should marry together.
Cover the meat with a plate. Leave the meat for about 1 hour.
While it's marinading,
Cut your baby potatoes in half, put them into a plastic bag, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 t spoon paprika, 1 t spoon salt and pepper and shake the bag until all the potato slices are covered with spices. Leave it for a while.

When the time comes, put your beautiful pork on a greased baking sheet, put onion rings on top of each meat slice, then put a slice of tomato and a little bit of shredded mozzarella (or any other cheese). If your baking sheet is big enough, but your baby potatoes around the meat and cook it together with meat, if your backing sheet is not big enough cook it on the same backing sheet, right after the meat is done, that way all the juice from meat will marry with your potatoes and it will give an incredible aroma!!!
So, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and put your meat there for about 25 minutes. If you cook potatoes and meat together - then cook it 30-35 minutes. If not, cooking time for the potatoes - 30 minutes.
The very important thing is that you should cook everything in the meat juice.
When the meat and potatoes are done, take them out of the oven, put them on a plate and cook your asparagus in the remaining juice in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Russian Kulich

(Eastern Orthodox sweet Easter bread)

Kulich (кулич) is a tall, cylindrical sweet bread that is served for Easter in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. It is traditionally paired with paskha, a sort of cheesecake. The two confections are taken to church on Easter Sunday to be blessed by the local priest. Then for the Easter meal, slices of kulich are spread with paskha and eaten. If you don't have a kulich mold, you will need a 2-pound coffee can for this recipe.


Milk -- 1/2 cup
Sugar -- 1/2 cup
Unsalted butter, room temperature -- 8 tablespoons
Salt -- 1 teaspoon
Lukewarm (110°F) water -- 1/4 cup
Active dry yeast -- 1 (1/4-ounce) package
Flour -- 4 cups
Eggs, beaten -- 2
Egg yolks, beaten -- 2
Cardamom -- 2 teaspoons
Vanilla -- 1 teaspoon
Golden raisins -- 1/2 cup
Raisins or chopped candied fruit -- 1/4 cup

Powdered (confectioner's) sugar -- 1 cup
Heavy cream -- 3 tablespoons
Vanilla -- 1/2 teaspoon
Add the milk, sugar, butter and salt to a saucepan and heat, stirring until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to lukewarm.
Mix the 1/4 cup lukewarm water and yeast together in a small bowl and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
Add 3 1/2 cups of the flour to large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast mixture, warm milk-butter-sugar mixture, the eggs, yolks, cardamom and vanilla. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients and bring the dough together. Toss the golden raisins with a little flour and stir into the dough.
Remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead, adding extra flour as needed, until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands and is silky and elastic. Remove the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm corner until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a kulich pan or a 2-pound coffee can. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and punch it down with your fists to deflate it. Place the dough in the prepared baking pan and cover with greased plastic wrap. Set aside to rise for another 30 to 45 minutes, or until the dough reaches the top of the pan.
Remove the plastic wrap and place the pan on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
Let the kulich cool in its pan for 20 minutes, then carefully remove it from the pan. To glaze, mix the the powdered sugar, cream and vanilla together in a small bowl. Pour the glaze over the top of the kulich while it is still a little warm, letting it drizzle down the sides. Use the raisins or candied fruit to decorate the top with an Orthodox cross or with the Cyrillic letters XB, which stand for "Christ is risen."
To serve your kulich, cut off the rounded crown and set it aside. Cut the loaf in half vertically, then set the halves on their sides and cut into half-moon slices. Replace the crown to keep any remaining bread moist.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Beef souvlaki with vegetables


1kg cubed meat lamb, beef, chicken or pork
½ cup olive oil
2 lemons - about 4 tablespoons juice
¼ cup wine ( red is best, but white is o.k)
2 tsps dried oregano
1 tsps dried thyme
3 -4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and wine together then add the herbs crushed garlic and chopped onion and put the mixture into a deep dish. Putting some marinade aside to coat the cooked kebabs if desired. Add the meat cubes to the marinade and mix together well, ensuring the meat is well and evenly covered.
The meat needs marinating for at least two hours, but it is best if left overnight
Either metal or wooden skewers can be used, but the wooden ones need soaking for at least half an hour before they are used. This prevents them from burning.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, place your souvlaki on the shallow backing sheet, covered with foil and put it the oven for 20 minutes. Done!

Vegetables....well, I had
1 zucchini
1 bell pepper
some asparagus
2 teaspoons lemon juice
 1/2 cup of white wine
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt, pepper
I cut zucchini and pepper. put all the vegetables in a bowl,  mixed it with lemon juice, olive oil, wine, basil, oregano, salt pepper. Covered it and left it marinading for 20 minutes.
Backing sheet, covered with foil again - just  place all your vegetables on it and cook in preheated to 550 degrees oven for 10-15 minutes or until tender. DONE!!!

Bacon-Spinach Quiche

I tried quiche before but I thought...what if I make it as a breakfast omelet?! Yep! You can do it! :-)

You need-
a foil backing dish
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
8 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup milk
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt

Rub softened butter on the inside surface of your foil backing dish.
Drain spinach; squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
Place spinach in pie shell.
Whisk together milk, eggs, cheese, bacon, bread crumbs and salt.
Pour mixture into pie shell.
Bake quiche at 425 F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 F and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes or until quiche is set.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter lamb chops with oven roasted potatoes

And here we go! The fast is over and Easter is here. What can be better than a piece of good meat on your plate?
I found this recipe not so long ago and decided to try it. What I want to say is - buy more lamb (or veal) because it's really difficult to stop eating this delicious, melting in your mouth meat.
I can not describe how good it let's get started!!!

The ingredients -
1/2 kg lamb chops
1 stalk celery
2 carrots
1 onion
1 leek
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon rosemary
 1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt, pepper

Pour all the olive oil in a large pot, wait till it's hot and put your lamb chops. Fry them 3 minutes on each side, take them out and set aside.
Chop all the vegetables and throw them in your pot, sauté  5-7 minutes then put your chops back in the pot, covering them with vegetables.
Add all the rest - wine, chicken broth, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste. Cover your pot and leave it on the low heat for 40 minutes.

While it's cooking, make your potatoes.
I had-
5 medium size potatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
salt, pepper

Simple as it is - peel your potatoes, cut them into wedges, Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine oil, minced garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir in potatoes until evenly coated. Place potatoes in a single layer on a roasting pan or baking sheet.
Roast for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven.

Is it simple or what? :-)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vegetable Pasta Bake

I just want to say - no comments... :-)

What You Need:
3 cups rotini pasta, cooked, drained
1 jar (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce (any kind)
1 bag (16 oz.) frozen vegetable blend, thawed (I used mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 pkg. Mozzarella Cheese, sliced

Make It:

HEAT oven to 375°F.

COMBINE pasta, sauce, vegetables and 2 Tbsp. Parmesan.

SPOON into a deep baking dish; top with mozzarella slices and remaining Parmesan.

BAKE 20 min. or until heated through.

P.S. If you want Classic Pasta Bake -
Substitute 1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained, for the vegetables.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Vegan mushroom and spinach soup!

Oh my...It tastes much better than it sounds :-)

2 tblsp olive oil
1 (8 oz) pkg sliced fresh mushrooms (3 cups)
½ Cup finely chopped carrot
½ Cup finely chopped onion
2 medium potatoes, peeled, cut in cubes
3 stalks celery
4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 ½ Cup spinach leaves (I used frozen spinach)
dash pepper
salt to taste

Heat oil in large pan over medium heat
Add vegetables; cook & stir about 3 minutes
Add broth, spinach, pepper, salt, mix well.
Cover it and let it simmer for about 30 min.

Yep! Easy and delish!! :-)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Vegan cream of broccoli

Wow! You can't imagine! So easy and so tasty!!!

Olive oil
1 medium red onion
2 cloves garlic
3-4 stalks of celery (with leaves)
2 heads of broccoli
3-4 medium potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
water to cover

Chop onion, garlic and celery.
Sauté in olive oil
Chop broccoli and potatoes.
Add them to the soup pot with just enough water to cover them (not too much).
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Remove from heat, let it cool down, pour the soup to the blender and blend it.
After that just pour your puree back into your soup pot and warm up till the temperature you like!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Moussaka alla me :-)

We are fasting, right?! So, no cheese....though this recipe was screaming - CHEESE!!!
Well, I made it my way and it turned out to be pretty good! If you are vegan or just want to make a low calorie dish, this recipe is for you. So, let's get it started!

Here's what you need:
1 medium eggplant
2 medium zucchinis
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
28-oz. can crushed peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dry basil
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large baking potato
1 tablespoon olive oil for drizzling on top

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
 Chop the eggplant and zucchini. Set them aside. Mix your tomatoes with garlic, dry basil, oregano, allspice, salt and pepper.
 Lightly oil the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Peel the potato and cut it lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. Layer the potato slices in the bottom of a baking dish, then a layer of onion rings (cut it in really thin rings), then a layer of your tomato sauce. Then layer eggplant, one-third of tomato sauce, zucchini, and finally the rest of the tomato sauce. Drizzle the top with olive oil.
 Cover with a baking dish lid or foil and bake for 1 hour.
 Remove from the oven and remove the cover and put back in the oven to bake for another 10-15 minutes. Let sit a half hour before cutting and serving.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring soup

Yay! The spring is here!!! Who doesn't want to look great and to feel great?! We all do! This soup can help you with it!
So, here is a recipe of a very light delicious soup.

All you need is -
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup frozen vegetables (green beans, corn, peas)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used Diana sauce)
1 hot pepper (you can use 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt, pepper
Italian spices
2 cups of water

Just put your olive oil in a pot, add onion, carrots and celery, stir, sauté it until the onion is tender.
Add all the remaining ingredients including water and spices.
Stir everything and bring it to boil. Reduce heat and cover. Let it simmer for 15 minutes.... you delicious soup is ready!!! Enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Falafel with green beans

Crispy tasty falafel with fried green beans.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 green onions, chopped
3/4 cup diced fresh mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, with liquid
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed

Easy to make!!!
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions and mushrooms, and fry until tender, stirring frequently.
Combine the garbanzo beans (with liquid) and garlic in a blender. Blend until smooth, and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the mushrooms and onions. Mix in the cilantro, parsley, curry powder and cumin. Add the bread crumbs and mix until thoroughly blended. You can let the mixture sit in the refrigerator to blend flavors at this point, or go on to frying.
Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet over medium heat. Form the bean mixture into 4 balls. Place the balls in the hot skillet, and fry for about 5 minutes, rolling them back and forth until nicely browned.

Green beans -
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
green beans

Just take some green beans and  put them on a preheated pan with olive oil, add salt and black pepper. Cover and fry 5-7 minutes.

Serve everything with olives and hot peppers!