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Hot Shrimp Scampi Spinach Dip

I have now made this dip twice. It is beyond incredible! Creamy, garlicky, cheesy, rich and loaded with shrimp. If there is anything left over you can use it as a topping on baked fish as well, which I did! Still incredible. If you don’t like shrimp or garlic stay away. Once you start eating this you can’t stop either so be prepared. The first time I made it we had a friend over for cocktails and snacks, this friend is a chef by the way. He was blown away by it. So it’s officially my new dip. It is best served with tortilla chips or pita chips. Even thin crostini would be great or crackers. I used greek yogurt cream cheese the first time I made it. It’s a mix of greek yogurt with cream cheese and fewer calories than regular cream cheese. But it’s just as good with regular cream cheese which I used the 2nd time. The recipe also calls for a shallot, which I didn’t have the first time I made it so I used 1/2 of a Vidalia sweet onion. I also used light mayonnaise but feel free to use regular.

Give this recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed!

Hot Shrimp Scampi Spinach Dip

Hot Shrimp Scampi Spinach Dip

INGREDIENTS:

1 8 oz. package cream cheese of choice (cut up into cubes)

10-12 oz. medium cooked shrimp, chopped into chunks. (2-3 chunks per shrimp)

2 cups fresh spinach leaves roughly chopped

2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (feel free to use more cheese also)

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon minced garlic (more if you like a lot of garlic!)

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Basil leaf for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the shrimp, spinach, shallot, and garlic.

Stir gently until the shallot is translucent and the spinach is wilted. This should take about 5 minutes, making sure all the ingredients are heated through.

Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.

Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese and the cream cheese and mix well.

Put mixture into a baking dish large enough to hold it all. 8×8 or larger. Anything is good as long as it’s large enough to hold it all. Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on top and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes. The top should be lightly browned and bubbling.

Garnish with a basil leave. Serve hot/warm!

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Hot Won Ton Bites

Well this past week I decided to finally venture into the won ton appetizer realm. I have to say it was a huge success! These little wrappers are so cute! I made two different ones and the were both a huge hit. The main recipe I used was spinach and artichoke. I got the recipe originally from Kraft Foods and tweaked it. It called for red peppers. Everyone knows I don’t like sweet peppers so I used sun-dried tomato as well. If you want the original “Warm Spinach & Artichoke Cups” click and check it out. The second one I made was a sausage/cream cheese combo. I had two large Italian style chicken sausages and just ground them up and added cream cheese. HUGE HUGE HIT!

The won ton wrappers can be found in pretty much every supermarket. Look in your produce section by the Asian foods. The ones I used are the small square ones. Have fun with these because you can put just about anything into them and bake them! Experiment and have fun! I know I’m getting another package next time I go shopping! And make sure you have at least 2-3 mini muffin tins for these. You can use one but it will take longer.

INGREDIENTS:

24 won ton wrappers

(Spinach & Artichoke)

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, finely chopped

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

1/3 cup light sour cream

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

¼ cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes

4 cloves garlic, minced (use less if it’s too much garlic for you!)

(Sausage)

2-3 large chicken sausage, Italian style, ground up (I used the food processor)

1 package (8 oz.) light cream cheese

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oven to 350º.  Place 1 won ton wrapper into each of 24 mini muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure the edges of wrappers extend over the top of cup. Bake 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine the rest of the ingredients.

2. Once the 5 minutes is up remove from oven. Spoon the mixture into the cups.

3. Bake 12-15 minutes or until filling is heated through and edges of the cups are golden brown. They may need an extra minute or so depending on your oven. Just keep an eye on them. Enjoy!

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Asian Garlic Salmon with Spinach

Ok, I love garlic. It’s more of a condiment in my house. So if garlic isn’t your thing just reduce the amount in the recipe. I won’t be upset. This is a very simple recipe. It also doesn’t take long to cook so it’s great for a weeknight after a long day at work. I made this the other night after stopping at the supermarket on the way home. I had thought about getting rib-eyes for dinner but they were way too expensive. So I strolled past the fish counter. The salmon jumped out at me so I got a large one pound piece, with the skin on it. You can always get it without the skin if you prefer. Once I got home I cut the piece into 2 equal parts. Salmon is surprising. It doesn’t look like very much but once you start eating it you can get filled up pretty quick. So this recipe was plenty for two people. It came out so moist and delicious. Even my cat Toonces (aka The Driving Cat) loved it! I think she thought we were making it for her as she just LOVES salmon.

So give it a try. It’s fast, easy and good for you too. Lots of those good omegas for you! Plus the spinach if full of vitamins and iron. All good!


Ingredients:

1 pound fresh salmon (with or without skin), cut into 2 equal pieces

   Marinate the salmon in 3 tablespoons soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon each of garlic powder and ground ginger. I usually do this in a large ziplock bag. Marinate for 10-20 minutes.

1 package fresh spinach (I think they are usually 12-16 ounces)

6-8 cloves garlic, chopped

2 large scallions sliced

3 tablespoons olive oil

 

Directions:

  1. Saute garlic in the olive oil until lightly golden in a large skillet.
  2. Add the spinach and cook a few minutes, mixing well with the garlic until it just starts to wilt.
  3. Add the salmon on top of the spinach and cover.
  4. Cook on medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes until salmon is a light pink. Careful not to overcook. The spinach should all be wilted by now.
  5. Put spinach on plate and top with salmon. Top salmon with scallions.
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One Year Anniversary of Blogging! (Avgolemono Spinach Chicken Soup)

Well today is one year since I started my blog. It’s been a long year full of new experiences and new friends. I originally started this to give me something to do while searching for a job and it’s been wonderful. I am now working full-time again but it is a seasonal job till August. Since going back to work I haven’t been able to blog as much as I did before and I miss it. I am trying desperately to get back to posting every day again but it’s been a challenge. But in honor of my first recipe posting I am going to repeat the recipe today. It’s Avgolemono Spinach Chicken Soup.

I have made many new blogging friends and love the community. I have gotten many new recipes myself and learned a great deal about people. So enjoy this ‘flashback’ and I promise to increase the posts as much as possible. I am hoping to be able to find a job working at home again, enabling me to post more often! Happy eating!

(REPOST FROM MARCH 8, 2010)

This is an awesome hearty soup. My husband loves it and would have it every week if I made it! I got the basics from a Weight Watchers recipe and made it my own. Anyone who has eaten at a Greek restaurant has probably had one form of this. It’s easy to make and delicious!


Ingredients:

4 C reduced-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock (I use reduced sodium/fat-free)

1/2 lb. skinless boneless chicken breast (about 1 large breast or 2 small)

2 large eggs

1/2 C lemon juice (use 1/4C if you don’t like too much lemon)

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach

2 C hot cooked rice (I used jasmine brown rice but you can use any kind you like)

Parmesan cheese, for finished soup


Directions:
1: In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, bring the broth/stock and chicken to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken and, when cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces.

2: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and lemon juice until frothy; gradually whisk in 1 Cup of the hot stock.

3: Add the spinach to the stock in the saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low; stir in the rice. Slowly add the egg-stock mixture, whisking constantly to avoid curdling; continue whisking until a little thickened, 3 minutes (do not boil). Stir in the chicken and heat to serving temperature. Season with pepper and serve at once.

Serves 4

Per Serving: (1/4 of soup): 261 cal, 7g fat, 2g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 140mg cholesterol, 163mg sodium, 28g carbs, 2g fiber, 22g protein, 141mg calcium.
I used fat-free chicken broth so the fat content will be lower!

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Baked Shrimp Quiche (Formerly Known as Baked Shrimp Balls!)

Yes, the shrimp balls did not come out so good. I followed the directions and though they looked and smelled good they tasted pretty bad. So the next night I took all 25 or so of them, crumbled them up in a large bowl. This didn’t take much as they were falling apart to begin with! They already had onions, garlic, and the rest of the ingredients so I was halfway there! I just added 1 cup of egg beaters, 1 cup fat-free half-and-half, about 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed out) and some shredded low-fat cheese. (About 2 cups). Threw it all in a large round casserole dish and baked it for about 45 minutes at 350º. And presto! A delicious dinner saved! So much better all around. And since I don’t use a crust you save more calories!

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Back of the Fridge Chicken Soup

Ever have one of those days when you just want to clean everything out of your fridge but you can’t throw it away because it’s still ok to eat? I did that last week. I had a bunch of little containers with leftover veggies, leftover rotisserie chicken from the supermarket and a freezer full of turkey stock I made from the my Thanksgiving in July dinner. You can use whatever you have left in your fridge or freezer and it will be delicious! I had some frozen mushrooms also that I threw in. It was very tasty! We actually had it two nights in a row.

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups chicken or turkey broth or stock

1 8oz. package Tofu Shirataki Noodles, prepared according to package

4 cups mixed veggies of your choice (I used a mix of frozen chopped spinach, broccoli rabe w/chicken sausage, mushrooms, peas, green beans, onion and garlic), chopped into bite sized pieces

1-2 cups chopped leftover chicken, whatever you have is good

1 15-16oz. can cannellini beans drained and rinsed.

½ cup chopped parsley

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

1. Saute the chopped onion and garlic in the olive oil. When soft pour in broth and rest of the ingredients except for the beans, parsley and noodles.

2. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until everything is heated through.

3. Add the beans and noodles and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so until the beans are heated through. Add the parsley and serve.

4. Serve with parmesan cheese if you like!

Makes 4-6 servings.

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Quinoa with Spinach and Feta Cheese

Lately I’ve read many recipes with couscous and quinoa (keen-wa). I found one today that is very easy to make and sounds really good. I am going to try and make it tonight and I will report back on it. The recipe calls for fresh spinach but if you don’t have fresh on hand use frozen, just make sure you thaw it good and squeeze out the extra liquid. You can also add chopped tomato (regular or even sun-dried!). Be brave, experiment. Remember, it’s your kitchen! (Got that from the Next Food Network Star finale last night. Yay Aarti!) I will also be using light or fat-free feta cheese in this recipe but as always feel free to use regular if you wish. This is a great side dish in the summer, it’s simple and not so heavy, and it’s full of protein from the quinoa! All good! So give it a try and as always, let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

Quinoa, cooked

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup uncooked quinoa

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced very thin

1 cup fresh spinach (or frozen, thawed and squeezed dry)

½ cup crumbled light or fat-free feta cheese

Quinoa with spinach and feta

DIRECTIONS:

1. Rinse the quinoa in a strainer. In a small saucepan, add the quinoa and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce heat to simmer until water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and garlic. Cook the garlic in the oil until the garlic turns light brown. Be careful not to let it burn.Lower the heat if necessary. When the quinoa is done cooking add it to the skillet along with the spinach. Stir together until the spinach wilts or is heated through if using frozen. Add the crumbled feta cheese and stir to combine.

Makes 2-4 servings

Quinoa with spinach and feta & garlic soy pork chop

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John’s Famous Spicy Spinach & Artichoke Dip

This is John’s famous recipe. He won’t even let me make it! I can be the sous-chef though! It’s still a great recipe and is usually a big hit. You can serve it with tortilla chips or crackers. Just make sure they are strong enough to hold the dip!

John's Spicy Spinach & Artichoke Dip

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2- 10 ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained

1- 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1- 8 ounce package cream cheese

1- 8 ounce package sour cream

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

2 tablespoons TABASCO® brand pepper sauce

salt to taste

corn chips or crackers


DIRECTIONS:

1: Melt butter in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, ¾ cup Monterey Jack, ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, pepper sauce and salt. Stir until well blended and heated through.

3. Pour mixture into a ½ quart casserole dish and top with remaining Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheese. Bake in 350º oven until cheese starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Serve with corn chips or crackers.


Makes about 4 cups

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Buying Fresh Fruits & Vegetables at Their Peak (Part 2)

As promised here is the list of when it is the best time to buy fresh vegetables, when they are in season.  What are the best vegetable to buy now? Or in 3 months from now?  Right now in Florida where I live the corn is just starting to come out where in the north it won’t be at its best until August or September. I remember when we spent the summers in Maine as kids and we couldn’t wait for August because we’d go to the farm stands and get all of that delicious sweet yellow and white corn, fresh from the farms. It was so crunchy and sweet and you could eat 2 or 3 ears at a sitting without any problem.  Some vegetables are great all year-long which is a good thing! I hope this information helps out when you’re shopping. Another thing when you are buying items at their peak they are usually the best price as well. So keep that in mind as well! Happy shopping and eat your veggies!

  • Artichokes: March-May: Look for heavy, compact, plump globes. Large tightly closed, fleshy leaf scales. Good green color. Heavy for size.
  • Asparagus: March-June: Look for tightly closed buds. Straight, tender, rich green stalks. Open tips and angular or ridged spears are signs of over maturity.
  • Green/Wax Beans: April-October: Look for crisp, long, straight, blemish-free pods.
  • Lima Beans: April-August: Look for bright color for the variety. Crisp, dark-green, well-filled pods.
  • Beets: June-October: Look for firm, round, smooth, deep red-colored roots. Fresh-looking tops. Avoid those with long roots and rough, scaly areas on surface, because they are tough, fibrous and strong flavored.
  • Belgian Endive: October-May: Look for firm without bruises. Color should be white with greenish cast.
  • Broccoli: October-May: Look for firm, closed, dark-green florets. Firm, tender stalks. Yellowing green-colored heads of broccoli are over mature.
  • Brussel Sprouts: October-November: Look for miniature, compact, bright-green heads.
  • Cabbage: All Year: Look for well-trimmed, solid heads. Heavy for size.
  • Carrots: All Year: Look for firm, bright-colored, smooth, clean, well-shaped. Avoid rough, cracked or green-tinged roots.
  • Cauliflower: September-November: Look for bright-green leaves enclosing firm, closely packed creamy-white curd or florets. Avoid bruised or open florets.
  • Celery: All Year: Look for fresh, crisp branches. Light green to green color. Should not have wilted, rough look or puffy feel to the stalk.
  • Corn: May-September: Look for fresh-leaved, green husks. Plump, milky kernels. Avoid cobs with small or large, dented or shrunken kernels.
  • Cucumbers: May-August: Look for bright, shiny green; firm; well-shaped.
  • Eggplant: August-September: Look for firm, heavy, smooth, even dark purple. Free of bruises or cuts.
  • Lettuce: All Year: Look for fresh green leaves with no wilted or bruised areas. Heading varieties of lettuce should be medium weight for size.
  • Mushrooms: November-April: Look for dry, firm caps and stems. Small brown spots or open caps are still good in flavor.
  • Okra: May-September: Should have tender, bright-green, bruise-free pods, less than 4½ inches long. Pale, faded, hard pods are tough and fibrous.
  • Onions: All Year: Look for well-shaped; hard; small necks. Dry paper skins. Free of green spots or green-depressed leathery areas. Crisp green tops. Two to three-inch bleached-white roots.
  • Parsnips: October-April: Should be small to medium size; smooth-skinned; firm. Decay and bruise free.
  • Peas: April-July: Look for well-filled, bright green. Swollen, light-colored or gray-flecked pods contain tough, starchy peas.
  • Peppers: All Year: Look for good shape; firm exterior; thick flesh and bright, glossy skin.
  • Potatoes (White): All Year: Should be fairly smooth; well-shaped; firm. Free of most blemishes. Avoid bruised, sprouting, shriveled or green-tinged.
  • Potatoes (Sweet): September-December: Look for thick, chunky, medium-sized with no bruises or decay. Should taper at the end.
  • Radishes: May-July: Look for medium-sized (¾-1 inch diameter); good red color; plump; round; firm; crisp. Bright-green tops.
  • Spinach: March-May: Look for large, bright, blemish-free leaves with good green color. Yellowing indicates the start of decay. Avoid leaves with coarse stems.
  • Squash (Summer): June-August: Look for bright color; smooth; glassy skin. Heavy for the size; firm; well-shaped.
  • Squash (Winter): September-November: Should be heavy for the size. Hard, good-colored, unblemished rind.
  • Tomatoes: May-August: Should be well-formed; blemish-free; plump. Over all rich red color and slight softness.
  • Turnips/Rutabagas: September-March: Should be small to medium size; smooth; firm; heavy. Few leaf scars at top and few fibrous roots at base. Purple-tinged white ones are turnips. Yellow-skinned, larger roots are rutabagas.

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Crustless Dinner Quiche

This is a very filling dish which is great for leftovers as breakfast the next day! I use most of the same ingredients each time though I will switch sometimes depending on what I have on hand. I always add spinach but I will vary if I put in chicken, shrimp, scallops, sausage. And you will not even miss the crust! It comes out almost like a Quiche casserole. It’s always a good “go to” dinner if you can’t figure out what to make. It’s easy and actually good for you! I usually use egg beaters (plain or flavored) and fat-free half-and-half. Feel free to use real eggs and milk if you want the full fat version. Make sure also with any of the high water content foods like the spinach and shrimp to get as much water out of them as possible.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup EggBeaters (or any egg substitute)

1 cup fat-free half-and-half (or 2% milk)

1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon dill

1 teaspoon basil

2 teaspoons parsley

1 cup salad shrimp, thawed and drained well (or enough cooked chopped shrimp to make a cup)

2 pre-cooked chicken sausages, roughly chopped (any flavor you like)

few dashes hot sauce

1 ½ cups shredded 2% cheese of your choice (I usually use cheddar)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine all ingredients except for ½ cup of the shredded cheese, in a large bowl. Mix well.

2. Pour into a round deep dish baking pan. I use a 10″ round which is about 2″ deep. It has to be deep enough to hold all of the mixture. Sprinkle the ½ cup of shredded cheese over the top.

3. Bake at 350º for about 45 minutes. The top will puff up and then settle when you take it out of the oven. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes. Cut it up and serve!

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