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*DELICIOUS* Chicken Piccata Recipe – Juicy Chicken Breasts in Lemon Caper Piccata Sauce

How to Make a Delicious Chicken Piccata

This Chicken PIccata recipe is the ultimate, delicious but so simple dinner party food. Easy to make but amazing to eat. The recipe shown in the video is for a larger group and serves 8 to 10 people. That is why I use a cookie sheet and the oven. For a large group, it’s not practical to use only the frying pan on the stove.

(But, if you are making this for just 4 to 6 people, you could just do all of the cooking in the pan. In that case you would brown the chicken as shown in the video, and then, instead of putting the chicken in the oven on a pan, you could put it all back into the frying pan and cover it on the stove, on a low simmer for about 15 minutes).

Serves 8-10
Ingredients
4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied, pounded thin and then cut in half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lemons, 1 juiced, 1 sliced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 bullion cube
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Directions
On a cutting board, fillet each chicken breast and trim off any fat. Place two pieces of chicken at a time between two pieces of parchment paper. Pound with a flat mallet, until the cutlets are about 1/4-inch thick. Set aside and repeat until all the chicken is pounded thin. Put some flour in a shallow dish. Season each side of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. Dredge each cutlet lightly on each side with flour.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is nice and hot, brown a few cutlets at a time for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden. Once the chicken is brown, place the pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet with a rim, or a glass casserole dish. Continue until all the chicken is browned.

Turn up the heat and pour the white wine in the pan and boil down for a minute so the alcohol cooks off. Then add the lemon juice chicken stock, bullion and butter. Allow it to cook for a minute or two. Pour the sauce over the chicken, place the lemon slices on top, cover with foil and place in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and sprinkle with fresh parsley and/or grated cheese before serving.

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Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Killer Halloween Party Cocktail – Vampire Kiss Martini Drink Recipes

This cocktail recipe makes a martini that is both delicious and deadly. For your halloween costume party be sure to have the scariest drink in town, my vampire kiss martini.

This drink features Pinnacle’s “Whipped” Vokda as part of our Friday Food Find series and is the last of our halloween party food and recipe ideas videos. Enjoy and please drink responsibly.
Ingredients

3 oz. Chilled Pinnacle “Whipped” Vodka or Vanilla Vodka
Strawberry Sundae syrup
Plastic vampire teeth as a garnish

Preparation

Rim a martini glass with the strawberry syrup. Drizzle some on the inside of the glass so it drips. Pour vodka into a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into prepared martini glass. Add teeth on the side of the glass as a garnish.

Tips:

For best results, prepare your glasses ahead of time and freeze them with the sugar and syrup on them. Remove from freezer just before serving.

Looking for great food, cooking, recipes, tips, ideas, drinks, martinis, appetizers desserts and more?

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Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Christmas Snowball Cookies – Holiday and Christmas Cookie Recipes

Forget your normal Christmas Cookies! These shortbread cookies, that I call snowball cookies, are also called wedding cookies and vienna cookies or even powdered nutballs. No matter what you call them, these cookies are perfect for Christmas or any holiday baking and giving, but they are so good you may not want to give them away. Watch my video for a lot more variations on what to call these delicious cookies. The recipe can be found below the video.

Sugar’s Snowball Christmas Cookies

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Start to Finish: 1 hour 15 minutes

Servings: 3-4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (if dough seems too wet add an extra tablespoon or two)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Melt butter in saucepan over medium high heat then add chopped pecans. Continue cooking and stirring until butter melts and starts to turn brown (around 3 minutes). Butter will get foamy as it cooks so gently stir to prevent the nuts from burning. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Refrigerate until mixture is cooled (approximately 20 – 30 minutes). (Make Sure Butter Nut Mixture is COOL before using or cookies will flatten out when they bake)
Heat oven to 350°F. Combine cooled browned butter pecan mixture and granulated sugar in large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until mixed well. Add vanilla, and cinnamon until combined. Reduce speed and gradually add flour and mix on low until dough forms. If dough seems too wet, add an extra tablespoon or two of flour.

Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch size balls. Place balls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 – 15 minutes or until cookies turn slightly golden brown but don’t over cook.

Remove cookies from cookie sheet to a cooling rack. Cool for a minute or two. Place powdered sugar in a bowl and roll the warm cookies in the powdered sugar. Set cookies aside to cool and then roll once more in powdered sugar.

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Note: Be sure to roll balls large enough or they may flatten out when they bake.

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Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing – Southern Sausage Cornbread Stuffing Recipe

Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing (aka dressing) is always a matter of preference. Some like cornbread, some like to add sausage or cranberries or raisins, celery, carrots, nuts and on and on. Some people stuff it in their turkey and some only serve it in a casserole dish.

Whatever your traditional stuffing may be, I encourage you to try my Southern Sausage Cornbread Stuffing this Thanksgiving. It might become a new tradition for you. We usually make more than one bird and at least two stuffings so add this one to your list of sides. You can never have too much stuffing. Can you?

Southern Sausage Corn Bread Stuffing

1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the baking dish and dotting on top of the stuffing
3 celery ribs, finely chopped about 1 cup
2 large carrots, finely chopped about 1 cup
1 small sweet onion, finely chopped about 1 cup
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, removed from the casings
3 cups Chicken Broth
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1 (14oz) bag of corn bread stuffing
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°
In a large, deep frying pan, melt the 1 stick of butter. Add the celery, carrots and onion to the pan season well with salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan and break it up as it cooks. Continue cooking until sausage is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, poultry seasoning, and parsley, and cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Add the apple cider, and then stir in the cornbread stuffing making sure it all gets coated well with the broth and the vegetables. Spread the stuffing into a buttered baking dish and dot the top of the stuffing with about 2-3 tablespoons of butter.
Cover with foil and bake the stuffing in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes then uncovered for about 15 minutes, until it is heated through and the top is lightly browned. Let the stuffing stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Tips
-Add in’s like a cup of dried cranberries, a chopped green apple, cooked chopped chestnuts or sliced mushrooms go extremely well with this stuffing so be creative and make it your own.
-Stuffing can also be stuffed into the bird before roasting but let it cool for about 15-20 minutes before stuffing it into the bird. Then simply fill the cavity loosely with the stuffing and spread any extra around the outside of the cavity.
-The stuffing can be made a day ahead but not baked. Simply refrigerate it overnight but be sure to bring it to room temperature before stuffing the turkey or baking it in a baking dish.
-If you want a denser stuffing you can fold in 2 beaten eggs after you remove the mixture from the stove.
-IMPORTANT: If your stuffing is too dry, you can add a little more liquid. If your stuffing seems too wet, you can add more cornbread stuffing.

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Christmas Honey Baked Ham with Pineapple — A Retro Recipe

Christmas Honey Baked Ham with Pineapple — A Retro Recipe

A honey baked ham with pineapple and brown sugar glaze is the perfect easy dish to make for holiday entertaining. This Christmas recipe reminds me so much of being a kid and smelling ham cooking in the oven while I played with my toys that Santa brought me.

My mom would always make this type of ham for the holidays, and it is as good today as it was back then. It’s such a special treat because when else do you ever think to make a ham?

I had an early Christmas dinner this past weekend with some family and friends and everyone went crazy over the ham. It’s simple to make and it looks so beautiful with the golden pineapple slices on top.
I guarantee that if you make this ham it will be a hit for your holiday dinner and everyone will want to know how you did it. Just tell them that you made it with love, and a little help from your friend Sugar.

Have a Merry Christmas and God Bless!

Ingredients

Fully cooked bone in smoked ham (any weight)
1 cup ginger ale
2 cups brown sugar
1 cups of honey
12 whole cloves (optional)
12 maraschino cherries
1 (20 oz) can of sliced pineapple in pineapple juice, reserve juice

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a small sauce pan over medium high heat add the juice from the can of sliced pineapple, brown sugar, honey, and ginger ale. Cook over medium high heat until sauce thickens slightly, around 5 -10 minutes.
Place ham in a baking pan. Score top of ham and cover with heavy-duty foil. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove ham and baste with glaze. Cover and bake again, basting every 30 minutes. Your ham will need to cook about 10 minutes per pound so be sure to figure on the proper cooking time for the size of the ham you make.
The last 30 minutes of cooking time remove ham from oven. Place the pineapple slices all over the top of the ham and in the middle of the slice secure a cherry with a tooth pick. If using the clove stick one into each cherry. Baste again and bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes so that the ham and the pineapple’s turn a nice golden color.

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Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Christmas Cocktails – White Chocolate Peppermint Martinis

Like cocktails and parties during the Christmas and holidays season?How about a peppermint martini at your party? Great for New Year’s Eve too!

The holidays are a great time to get creative for parties and get-togethers. I love serving these pretty peppermint drinks before or after dinner. It combines the smooth taste of white chocolate with the spicy taste of the peppermint, making it the perfect holiday cocktail.

2 oz vanilla vodka
1/2 to 1 oz peppermint Schnapps
2 oz white chocolate liqueur
2 peppermint candies crushed
3 tablespoons marshmallow sundae topping

Coat the rim of a martini glass with some marshmallow topping and crushed peppermint candies. Drizzle some marshmallow on the inside of the glass and place in the freezer.

In a shaker with ice, add the vodka, peppermint schnapps, and the white chocolate liqueur. Shake for a minute. Remove glass from freezer. Pour mix from shaker into glass and sprinkle with crushed peppermint.

Several glasses can be made ahead of time and the recipe can be doubled or tripled and mixed in a pitcher to serve to a crowd.

If you don’t have a measuring cup that measures ounces you can use a tablespoon.
2 tablespoons = 1 oz

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Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Delicious Homemade Italian Marinara Sauce – Red Sauce Recipe

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A simple Marinara sauce is a staple in Italian cooking. It’s easy to make, freezes well, and can be used in so many recipes. It’s perfect over pasta or to make pizza, Parmesan dishes and most tomato based Italian recipes.
There is no reason to buy store bought when you can make a big pot of sauce and use some and freeze the rest. I like to freeze small and large containers so I have different sizes to use no matter what I’m making.

Sugar’s Marinara Sauce

3-4 tablespoons olive oil
4 -28 oz cans crushed tomatoes or whole plum tomatoes in sauce
6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 of a medium size onion, chopped or 1 whole small onion, chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil, torn or cut into long strips
2 bay leaves
1 can of water
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar (optional)

Directions:

Heat olive oil in large pot. Add onions and garlic and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes until onions are transparent but making sure the onions and garlic don’t burn.
Add the crushed tomatoes along with a can of water and the fresh basil. If you are using the whole tomatoes, blend them in the bender or use an immersion blender to chop them right in the pot. You can also do what I do and give them a good squeeze with your hands.

Allow sauce to simmer uncovered over medium high heat for about 30 -45 minutes until thickened. Be sure the sauce is simmering but not boiling and give it a good stir now and then so it doesn’t stick or burn on the bottom.
Once sauce is done remove it from the heat, taste to see if it needs any more salt and pepper.

Tips:
If using the whole tomatoes the best ones to buy are the San Marzano plum tomatoes. They come whole so you will need to crush them before using. You can put them in the blender or just give them a good squeeze with your hands and crush them.

A pinch of red pepper flakes adds a nice spice to the sauce.

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Skinny Chicken Vegetable Soup – a Recipe for Weight Loss and Fitness

😉

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Skinny Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe

1 1/2 pounds raw boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onions, chopped
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 leek, cleaned and sliced
3 stalks celery chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into coins
1 turnip, peeled and chopped
2 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped, (optional)
2 (32oz) containers chicken broth
3 tablespoons each chopped fresh parsley and dill
1/2 pound of cooked pasta, or two cups of cooked rice
Salt, and pepper

Directions:

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and leeks and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, making sure to stir so the vegetables don’t burn, add the remainder of the vegetables, season with salt and pepper and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the raw chicken to the pot, season once more with salt and pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, parsley and dill; allow soup to come to a boil. Once pot is boiling turn down to a low simmer and allow soup to cook for 1-2 hours or until the chicken and vegetables are tender.
If there is a lot of oil at the top of the soup just skim it off with a soup ladle and discard.

If adding pasta cook about ½ pound of pasta in separate pot of heavily salted water only till pasta is al dente’. The pasta will cook and expand more when added to the soup so don’t over cook pasta and don’t rinse the pasta. You can add the cooked pasta to the soup after it is cooked and off the heat.

I also like to serve the soup with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

For variety I add different vegetables like tomatoes, escarole, cabbage, even beans.

A basic chicken soup is great for the body and the soul. My aunt would add a lemon to the soup when I was sick so if you even get a cold be sure to put the juice of one or two lemons and extra garlic. She told me these act as a natural antibiotic to help fight infection.
If you need more liquid, add water and bullion or just extra chicken broth.

The soup will freeze well so be sure to make enough to freeze for the following week. Just thaw frozen soup in fridge and heat in pot or individual bowls in the microwave. This recipe will make at least 12 servings.

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

New Year’s Eve Resolutions, Bloopers and Recipes for an Amazing New Year

New Year’s Eve is a great time to celebrate the past and look forward to the future. Resolutions for success are a dime a dozen but I want to cast a vision for how food and cooking can help you live the life you want in the New Year.

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

South Beach Food and Wine Festival 2012

Coverage of the 2012 South Beach Wine and Food Festival with Emeril Lagasse and Guy Fieri. Hosted on the beach at the Delano Hotel on Collins and 17th in South Beach Miami.

Here is a great recipe for the Belvedere Lemon Raspberry Caprioska that I made in the video.

Ingredients:

1/2 of a large lemon cut into 4 wedges

4 fresh raspberries (frozen can be used but must be thawed first)

1 oz simple syrup

2 oz sweet tea Belvedere Ice Tea Vodka

Muddle the raspberries and lemons in a shaker with thesimple syrup. Add vodka and ice. Shake well and pour into glass and serve.

Simple syrup can be purchased in the store or simply made by heating equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over medium high heat until sugar is completely dissolved.

Syrup needs to be cooled completely before using.

Syrup can be made ahead of time and stored in a sealedcontainer in the refrigerator.

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How to Make Italian Chicken Parmigiana / Parmesan Recipe

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Italian Chicken Parmigiana / Parmesan Recipe

Serves 6-8

4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied, pounded thin and then cut in half
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups Sugar’s Marinara Sauce (See Recipe here)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella (you can use more if you like to)
Chopped fresh basil or parsley as a garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F

In a bowl, beat the eggs with the milk. Spread the bread crumbs in a separate bowl. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and then in the bread crumbs. Set aside on a spate plate and repeat until all the cutlets are coated.
In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Drain the chicken on paper towels, and then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet or pan.
Add some sauce to the bottom of the pan then add the chicken breasts in a single layer, top with some more marinara sauce, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, top with shredded mozzarella, put back in the oven uncovered until cheese is melted and bubbling.
Remove from oven, sprinkle parsley or basil and serve.

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Valentine’s Day Romantic Dinner for Two – Ribeye Steaks with Sherry Cream Sauce

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Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How to Make Delicious Chocolate Ganache – Recipe for Frosting, Icing, Drizzling, Glaze

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Chocolate Ganache

1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or any flavor you desire (optional)
1 tablespoon corn syrup for extra sweetness (optional)

Directions
Add heavy cream to a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 1-2 minutes until cream is hot. Add the chopped chocolate to a separate bowl. Pour hot milk over chocolate add flavoring and corn syrup if you like and let it sit for a minute or two so the chocolate begins to melt. Stir continuously until chocolate turns to a smooth cream.

Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator. To reuse heat in the microwave for 30-second intervals until chocolate is smooth and creamy.

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Breakfast Salad for Health and Weight Loss. Start Your Bikini Body for Summer Now!

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Salad for breakfast? You bet. Salad doesn’t have to just be for lunch and dinner. I have been making a Breakfast Salad with a fried egg on top for the past few months now and I love it. It’s a great way to stay healthy and fit.
Most people skip breakfast because they say they don’t have time to make it but believe me when I tell you this only takes 5 minutes to make. I buy all of my ingredients in the beginning of the week and keep it in the refrigerator so when I want to make a salad I just put it together in a minute then top it with the fried egg.
You can get as creative as you like with it but here is my favorite combination. I love the way the berries combine with the tomatoes, oil and vinegar. You get the sweet and the tart all in one bite.

For more tips on other add in see my notes below.

Breakfast Salad

2 cups field greens
4 strawberries
¼ cup blueberries
Several whole pecans
Several cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon blue cheese
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 egg, fried

Dressing
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Vinegar of your choice
Sprinkle of dried Italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste

Start by assembling your salad ingredients on a plate. Fry your egg any way you like in a pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the salad greens then drizzle the vinegar. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Top with the fried egg and some cilantro. You can add some extra salt pepper and olive oil on top of the egg as well along with another sprinkle of cilantro.
Enjoy!

Cook’s Tips
Other vegetables that work well with this are sliced peppers, steamed broccoli, steamed asparagus, any type of cheese. Crumbled bacon is great too. I even toss in some leftover potatoes now and then or slice some avocado. It’s all yummy.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.

P.S. I got the battery operated salt and pepper grinders and my olive oil dispenser at Target!

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Sugar Shower Scrub – Health and Beauty Secrets

http://cookingwithsugar.com – Coconut oil sugar scrub is just one of hundreds of ways to use organic virgin coconut oil for health and beauty.

Coconut oil sugar scrub is just one of hundreds of ways to use organic virgin coconut oil for health and beauty. Are you using organic virgin coconut oil yet? If not, you’re missing out on a secret, natural solution for healthy, beautiful skin, nutrition and so many other personal delights that come from the oil inside of this magical nut, the coconut. My cousin, Donna, turned me on to Coconut Oil this summer and now I’m really hooked on it. It’s sort of a little miracle and I have to pass it on.

Of course you can eat it and cook with coconut oil, which is one of the reasons I wanted to share this with you, but I would be holding out on my readers and followers if I didn’t tell you about the endless amazing secrets of coconut oil.
First of all, coconut oil is great as a skin moisturizer, helping with dry skin. I also learned it’s great for your hair. But the amazing thing is that you can put it everywhere on your body except in your eyes. It can reduce or get rid of acne, does not clog pores, is a great base for scrubs and body lotions, is a natural sunscreen and is a healthy food to eat.

There are probably 1001 ways to use Coconut Oil, but I’m going to list my top 50 here, right below the video featuring my shower scrub. Feel free to leave a comment telling me about how you use it. Once you do, you’ll never know how you lived without it.

Here is use 1 out of 50 — “Sugar’s Coconut Oil Shower Scrub”, which I detailed in my video:

In addition to my shower scrub idea, here are 49 more ideas for how to improve your life with coconut oil. These focus on the use of organic virgin coconut oil. These next uses are the ways that I’ve actually used coconut oil myself:

Moisturizer — coconut oil is a nearly perfect moisturizer to use anytime of day, especially if you live in a dry or cold climate. I like to use it after a bath or shower and in colder climates, I’ll actually put a little bit all over myself before I get in the shower and then soap won’t be as unforgiving. The coconut oil keeps your skin soft all day and will not irritate or leave you overly greasy. If you use my shower scrub, you’ll leave the shower already exfoliated and moist.

See the rest of my blog about coconut oil on my website at http://cookingwithsugar.com

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Best Meat Lasagna Recipe — How to Make Homemade Italian Lasagna Bolognese

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Homemade Italian Lasagna Bolognese is the perfect Italian comfort food for Sunday dinner. It feeds a crowd, can be made in advance and is really one of the most delicious combinations of a delicious homemade bolognese or marinara sauce and pasta. Lasagna (also spelled Lasagne), is literally a meal all by itself. But no Italian dinner would be complete without all of the trimmings of an antipasto, delicious salads, wine and family and friends. Enjoy it anyway you like, but please, make your own. You’ll be so glad you did. Watch my video to see how to make the best lasagna ever. The recipe details are below.

Ingredients:

For Meat Sauce (Bolognese Sauce)

1 box (1lb.) of dried lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
1 pound of ground beef
1 pound of ground veal
1 pound pork sausage, removed from casing
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)
For Ricotta Filling

1 (2 pound) container of whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs
Salt and pepper
For Topping and Filling:

1 block (16 oz.) mozzarella, shredded

In a medium size pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and sauté with a wooden spoon until crumbled and browned. Add the ground beef and ground pork. Sprinkle with a good amount of salt and pepper. Brown for a few minutes, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon but leaving it very chunky. Once the meat is brown, add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. Give it another sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 3-4 minutes.

Then, turn up heat and add the wine being sure to stir and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 2 minutes, turn down the heat then add the beef stock, the crushed tomatoes, the tomato paste, fresh basil and bay leaves.

Simmer uncovered over low heat stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour.

While your sauce is cooking, preheat oven to 350°F

Then, cook pasta in a large pot of salted water for only about 5 min, (making sure it stays al dente). Remove from pot, drain in a strainer and rinse with cold water. Place the pasta in a in bowl and drizzle with olive oil to keep the pieces from sticking to one another. Set aside.

To make filling:

Mix ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, and parsley in a bowl until combined. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

To Assemble:

Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray. Spread a thin coating of the meat sauce on the bottom of the baking pan.

Cover with a row of lasagna noodles following the length of the pan and slightly overlapping them (like roof shingles).

Spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles, sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella and a light sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Repeat with another layer of sauce, then layer the noodles in the opposite direction trimming them to fit into the pan.

Top with the remainder of ricotta cheese mixture and spread to cover the noodles, add 1/3 of the mozzarella, another sprinkle of Parmesan and another layer of sauce. Top the final layer with the noodles running the length of the pan. Top with some more sauce and another sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Remove from oven. Uncover and sprinkle the remainder of the mozzarella over the top of the lasagna and put back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Remove and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Cook’s Tips

The sauce recipe will make enough for 2 lasagnas, so you can freeze the remainder of the sauce for some other meal (like pasta with Bolognese sauce), or make two lasagnas by doubling ingredients for the filling and noodles.

Lasagna can be assembled a day or two ahead of time. Don’t bake it just assemble, cover and refrigerate or freeze. When ready to bake, remove lasagna 30 minutes before baking from the refrigerator. If you freeze the assembled lasagna, remove it 1 hour prior to baking.

Vegetables can be easily chopped in a food processor or with a hand chopper

If sauce seems too thick, add a little more beef stock. If it’s too thin, allow it to cook longer.

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How to Make Chocolate Martini Cocktails — The Best Valentines Day Romantic Drink Idea Ever

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Whoever said, “eat dessert first” was brilliant. This luscious chocolate cocktail will certainly satisfy that desire. I’m a busy mom of two teens, so I try to fit in a romantic dinner with my husband now and then. And sometimes it involves fun drink. If you’re looking for a great drink idea, this chocolate martini is a sure way to add a sweet start to any special meal.

This cocktail is a perfect idea for a romantic holiday like Valentine’s Day but it will work for any weekend dinner or party too!

Chocolate Indulgence Martini

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Start To Finish: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

2 oz chocolate vodka (I like to use Chocolate Whipped)
2 oz chocolate milk
Ice
Chocolate sundae syrup, for drizzling inside the glass and the rim
2 chocolate wafer cookies, smashed to coat the rim of the glass

Place the chocolate cookies in a plastic baggie and pound with a rolling pin or wooden mallet until fine crumbs are formed.

Sprinkle the crushed chocolate wafers over a small plate. Coat the inside of a separate plate with chocolate syrup in a circle.

Turn a martini glass upside down and dip the rim of the glass in the chocolate syrup and spin back and forth, until the rim is coated.

Then do the same with the cookie crumbs turning the glass back and forth until the rim is coated well with the chocolate and the cookie crumbs. Swirl some chocolate syrup inside the glass, forming a swirling design.

In a shaker with ice add the chocolate milk, and the vodka. Shake well.

Strain mixture into glass and serve.

Makes 1 Martini

Tips:

If you are making these for a party, glasses can be garnished with the chocolate and cookies ahead of time and kept in the freezer until ready to use.

Pinnacle Whipped Vodka
Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Homemade Delicious Especially Dark Chocolate Cake – The Best Cake Recipe from Hersheys

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Chocolate cake for dessert is my husband’s apple pie. He is a chocolate addict; a chocoholic. And as much as he loves chocolate ice cream and chocolate candy or candy bars or chocolate anything, his absolute favorite is chocolate cake.

No fruit (heaven forbid), no frills, just homemade chocolate cake. He also likes a box chocolate cake in a pinch but now that I’ve made this HERSHEY’S “Especially Dark” Chocolate Cake Recipe with my own twist, he begs me for this every time, with chocolate frosting (this recipe) or cream cheese or whipped cream. I can usually count on him for anything when I put one of these together.

So here’s how to make THE best, most delicious dark chocolate cake you’ve ever had. I made this for my mother’s birthday and I think it’s her new favorite too. Recipe details are listed below the video. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling strong coffee
Directions (cake):

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. (I like to add a round piece of parchment paper to the bottom of my pans but you don’t have to.)

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; With electric mixer beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with DARK CHOCOLATE FROSTING. (see recipe below)

DARK CHOCOLATE FROSTING

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2/3 cup HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Set aside while you mix dry ingredients.

In a mixing bowl, stir together cocoa and powdered sugar then mix in vanilla, heavy cream and butter. Beat with electric mixer until you get a creamy spreading consistency. Add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream if frosting is too dry, or a little extra sugar if too wet.

Makes about 2 cups frosting.

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cinnamon Roll Cinnabunnies for Easter – Fun Recipe Ideas for Kids

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Easter is such a fun time of year in our home because my kids still love to decorate Easter eggs and make special cookies, breads and desserts. One tradition that I started a few years ago was to make cinnamon rolls that look like bunnies. I call them cinnabunnies.

Don’t give up your Easter Egg Hunt or coloring Easter eggs. But DO add Cinnamon Roll Cinnabunnies to your Easter favorite recipes and traditions this year. This easy, delicious, kid-friendly Easter dessert recipe is fun for the whole family and will have everyone hopping for more.

They are silly looking but fun to make and kids and adults just love them. All you need to make them is a roll of cinnamon rolls, some raisins, nuts and decorative sugar. It’s that simple. Let me show you how I make them.

Video

Prep Time:

15 minutes

Time Start to Finish:

45 minutes

Servings:

4 bunnies

Ingredients:

1 12.4 oz tube of Pillsbury CINNABON® cinnamon rolls (the 8 count size)
12 raisins, for the eyes and noses
8 sliced almonds, for the teeth

Directions:

Unwrap the roll and lay the cinnamon rolls out flat. You will need two rolls to make one bunny. One for the face and another for the ears. With the palm of your hand, press down one of the cinnamon rolls to flatten slightly. (This will be the bunny’s head.)

Lay the other roll flat. Insert a knife 3/4 of the way across the diameter of the roll and slice through the roll to the edge, leaving only 1/4 of the bun connected. This will allow you to separate the bun into ears, but without cutting the bun completely into two pieces.

Lay the cut cinnamon roll next to the top of the whole cinnamon roll, so that the separated parts of the cut roll look like bunny ears. Press and pinch the connected part of the cut roll into the head portion of the bunny (the whole roll) to connect the two rolls, to form a head and ears. You will need to press and pinch firmly to prevent it from separating when baking. Then, create the ears by pressing the split halves of the cut roll into the shape of floppy bunny ears.

Vigorously press the raisins on top of one of the rolls to form the eyes and nose and use the almonds for the teeth, carefully pressing the nut into the dough so that it is secure and will remain in place while baking.

Place bunny on greased cookie sheet. Repeat until you have 4 bunnies. Bake according to directions on packaging and frost the ears with the frosting included after the bunnies come out of the oven.

Tips: Provide at least two tips, each on its own line, separated by returns

Food coloring can be added to the icing to give it a fun holiday color.

Sprinkles can also be added to the icing for a more festive look.

Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Easy Chicken Recipes — Herb and Citrus Oven Roasted Chicken Parts Recipe

This easy and delicious chicken recipe – Herb and Citrus Oven Roasted Chicken Parts – is so fresh tasting it will make any day seem sunny. I season it with lemon and orange juice and fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme so it’s bursting with a citrus flavor that complements the chicken so well.

You can even get creative with this and follow some of the suggestions I make in my cooks notes below. If you have extra time try marinating the chicken over night. Please watch how I make this delicious recipe in the video below. You’ll find complete recipe instructions under the video.

Serves 8-10 people

Ingredients:

10-12 pieces of bone in chicken parts (thighs and legs work well)
2 whole lemons, one juiced and one sliced
2 whole oranges, one juiced and one sliced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, or fresh chopped
1 teaspoon thyme, or fresh chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 medium onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro as a garnish

Directions

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, sugar, chopped garlic, lemon juice, orange juice, and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place chicken in a rimmed 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Pour olive oil mixture all over chicken turning pieces in pan to coat all sides.

Place parts skin side up and spread them out evenly in the pan. Sprinkle evenly over chicken the Italian seasoning along with the rosemary, thyme, onion powder and paprika. Arrange slices of orange, lemon and onion around and under the chicken.

Sprinkle everything very well with salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to season well. You don’t want the chicken to be bland. Let chicken sit for about 20 minutes before baking so that it won’t be ice cold when you put it in the oven.

Bake, uncovered, at 400°F for about 1 hour or until chicken is cooked and juices run clear.

Cook’s Notes:

For best results chicken can be marinated in a plastic container or bag for several hours or over night in the olive oil mixture.

Extra fresh sprigs of rosemary and thyme can be added to the baking dish for extra flavor and garnish.

Other herbs like basil and sage also work well and can be added.

Limes can replace the lemons for a different flavor.

Red pepper flakes can be added for extra spice.

Honey can be used in place of the sugar

A tablespoon of Soy Sauce works well in the olive oil mixture too.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the chicken, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015