National Chocolate Cake Day!!!

17 Comments

So yesterday was National Chocolate Cake Day, and I got the itch to make a
Chocolate Cake and I brought it in for the office today!!!  

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I know they will happy, since this is the second thing I made this week, on Monday
I made a Cinnamon and Walnut Coffee Cake and they all loved that!! 🙂

So I didn’t have my usual ingredients at the house that I have used in my Chocolate cakes before, like
buttermilk or sour cream those things make my cakes moist and I like using them.

So I just followed the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa Powder can.

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The only thing I did differently was two things:
1. I used 1 cup of cocoa powder, instead of what it said, (I can’t remember LOL)
2. I used Hot Strong Coffee instead of Hot Water.

I also made it in a bundt pan 🙂 Bake for about 40-50 mins, just until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

The I made Cream Cheese Frosting and that recipe is below 🙂

Adding the chocolate to the cream cheese, butter and sugar (sorry i didn’t take better pictures)

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whipped up altogether 🙂

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frosting!!

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Done 🙂

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now Enjoy!!!

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Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

2 – 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
2 stick of butter, softened
1 3/4 – 2 cups powdered sugar
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup half and half

In a double boiler add chocolate and half and half, stir until chocolate has melted and mixture has before like a thick paste.  Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl mix cream cheese until fluffy, then add butter and mix until combined and fluffy.
Then add powdered sugar, I only used 1 3/4 cup but if you like it sweeter add more, mix until combined.

The mix in chocolate and continue to mix until all in combined and fluffy.

This recipe covered the bundt cake and I had about 2 cups left over.

Store cake in the refrigerator, let set at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving.

YUMMY!!! Enjoy!!

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Summer Cooking Class Series!!

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Yes I know I have been a little “MIA” lately!!!

But this summer has been busy and I can’t believe its JULY!!!! 
I have my hand in so many different little things that I am just so busy and it’s been hard to find the time to blog.  Plus I have not been cooking anything really good for myself, so hence no blogs.

But I did finish a couple weeks ago a cooking class series that I did in 3 of our stores 🙂

They all turned out great, a lot of grilling and a few out of the box recipes, beer sampling with one too!!

Here are a few pictures of the dishes and the crowds, it was a great time and I had a LOT of help from some of GREAT co-workers.

I hope you enjoy!!!

Grilled Fruit Pizza – naan bread, Camembert cheese, blackberries, strawberries, basil and balsamic glaze

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Grilled Asian Corn with peanuts

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Grilled Watermelon with arugula, feta and balsamic glaze

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Crowd pic

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Veggie Pizza – Garlic naan bread, red pepper hummus, grilled veggies topped with goat cheese

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Grilled pound cake and pineapple

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Grilled German Potato Salad

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Grilled veggies with garlic couscous topped with basil

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crowd pics

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Zucchini & tomato salad with ricotta, Parmesan and pesto

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Hawaiian Rice – cooked in coconut milk, golden raisin, macadamia nuts and green onions

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Mango & pineapple salsa

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Crowd Pics

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Grilled romaine with mango vinaigrette, shredded jicama, pineapple, red pepper and black sesame seeds

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Me – having fun with the microphone….I love being on the Microphone 😛 

Chef Amy

Homemade Pierogies!!

23 Comments

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PIEROGIES!!!!!!!

Who loves some Pierogies!!! ME!!!

So why not for Fiesta Friday, check out many fabulous blogs for Fiesta Friday over at Angie’s page.

And her co-host for this Friday are Ginger@Ginger&Bread and Loretta@Safari of the Mind, so I would like to thank all of them for today’s Fiesta Friday #64

A friend of mine and I made some homemade pierogies awhile back I think they turned out great.
I made the dough and the filling, then headed over to my friend Paul’s house and we put them together and cooked them up…Delicious!!!!

If you are not familiar with what they are, click here

I have always seen them in the freezer section Mrs. T’s, which I am not saying are not good, if you need a quick pierogi these will do the trick.

For me on the other hand I have them fresh from a place in Pittsburgh a couple of times, my friend Paul is from there so when I went with him to visit we went to “Pierogies Plus” check out all the different flavors that you can get when you go or you can have them shipped 🙂

Also when I went to Chicago I stopped into a Polish Pierogi Shop…amazing 🙂

I just went with Potato and Cheese for this first batch 🙂

Dough – Ingredients

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I used a food processor, you can do it by hand too

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Flour and salt

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pulsed it a little then added my egg

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with egg mixed in

 

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then add sour cream and butter and pulse

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Pulse a few times

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then turn it out onto your work space

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Knead to just bring together

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form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap
I heard if you make the dough the night
before it becomes a more tended dough

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Filling – Ingredients

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Peel and cube your potatoes & boil until
done

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Drain potatoes and place back in the pan
set back on the stove, just on hot burner
to help some of the extra liquid cook off

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I used a ricer, you can certainly mash the
potatoes with a masher or however you
make your mashed potatoes

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using the ricer forces the potatoes through
the tiny holes which make the potatoes very
creamy

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potatoes, riced 🙂

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mix in butter and half and half

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8oz. shredded cheese

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fold in cheese

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finished mixture

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place in container and chill

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my dough

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I cut in half

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then again, take dough and press out
into a rectangle then use a rolling pin to make
dough about 1/8 inch thick

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I use a round cutter to cut my circles
about a 3 inch round maybe 3 1/2 inch 🙂

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I used my scoop, it worked out perfectly
mixture was about 2 tablespoons

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place potato mixture in the center of the round

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bring edges up together and start to pinch
dough together from center to the outside
then from the center to the other side

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Done, this was perfect, it was easier just to
form a round with your fingers, fill it and pinch

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as you can see not all of them look perfect
but they all tasted Fabulous!!!

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From following recipe this was how much
potato mixture left, it may have been a
cup or cup in half.  Great mashed potatoes
for sure.

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Homemade Pierogies

Dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs, large
1 stick butter, softened

You can use food processor or mix by hand
Mix together the flour and salt, add eggs and combine, the dough will be clumpy.
Work in the sour cream and softened butter until dough comes together roughly, then scrap out onto work surface.
Knead and fold the dough without adding any additional flour until the dough becomes less sticky but it will be quite moist.
Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes, but I like it overnight.

Filling:

2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled, cubed
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. half and half
8 oz. cheese, shredded (about 2 cups) Cheddar, Colby, farmers or any good melting cheese

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender, drained potatoes and place back in pot, set pot back on hot burner so any leftover liquid can cook away.
At this point you can put potatoes through a ricer, food mill or you can just mash them with a potato masher.  Once that is done add half and half and softened butter and mix to combine, season with salt to taste and refrigerate to cool for 3 hours or over night.

Remove dough from fridge and plastic wrap, cut in half, then each piece in half, at this point you can roll each piece into a rectangle to an 1/8 inch thick.  You can use a 3-3 1/2 inch round cutter to make your rounds.  Or you can free form your rounds, you will get 24 rounds out of this dough.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of filling onto rounds, gently fold in half and with your fingers pinch the edges from the center to each end, to seal the dough together.

At this point you can freeze these up to 1 month or refrigerate overnight up to 2 days.

Bring a large stock pot filled with water to a boil, in the meantime slice a large onion and begin to saute in a large skillet with butter or olive oil over medium heat, watching so they do not burn and just brown.

Once water starts to boil add 2 Tbsp. salt and stir, add pierogies to the salted water, make sure not to over crowd the pot and give a stir occasionally.  When pierogies float to the top they are done, transfer cooked pierogies to skillet with onions, cook pierogies until browned and crisp on both sides.

Serve hot with additional sour cream or applesauce if you like, but most of all enjoy those delicious bundles of love!!! 🙂

Think about something sweet inside them, they do make them with fruit, you could sweeten some cream cheese as the filling and saute in just butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar or drizzle with chocolate…the possibilities are endless really!!

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Mini Strawberry Espresso Surprise!!! Fiesta Friday #55

35 Comments

Hello everyone it’s another Fiesta Friday!!! I want to thank our host Angie@The Novice Gardener and her co-host today Sue@birgerbird and Suzanne@apuginthekitchen.  Suzanne has become a great blog friend and I want to thank her 🙂  So enjoy Fiesta Friday everyone!!!

So earlier this week I went to my favorite place “Flying Olive” 🙂

The Flying Olive has 50 varieties of olive oils and vinegar’s, I love going there because you can taste anything before buying it 😛 check out their website for all the info and check out their 2 locations one each in Ohio and Kentucky.

I currently have Strawberry, Red Apple, Wild Blueberry, Cranberry Pear in the vinegar’s and in the olive oils I have Butter, Persian Lime, Cilantro and Roasted Onion and Tuscan Herb 🙂

During my recent trip I got Dark Espresso Balsamic Vinegar as I just love coffee so I knew I had to get it.

So I had some strawberries at home so I knew I was going to use those some how and I was thinking of using mascarpone cheese. After getting home and checking out what I had already in my pantry, I thought this would be a perfect mini dessert.  A couple of years ago for Christmas my friend Danny gave me a few sets of mini plates, bowls, spoons and forks, he know how I like to entertain 🙂 so this is my is my mini dessert.

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Ingredients (ended up not using the half n half)
If you wanted mascarpone to be more creamy
then I would add a little half n half.

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Added the vinegar to my strawberries

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Added the vinegar to the Mascarpone cheese

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Mixed up

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I crushed the Biscotti and added a little to bottom on the dishes

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Topped the biscotti with the strawberries that were soak in the Vinegar
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Then a dollop of the mascarpone mixture

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drizzle of more vinegar

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shave some chocolate, I thought this chocolate would go perfect

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Done…serve or chill until your party begins 🙂

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Mini Strawberry Espresso Surprise

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3/4 cup Flying Olive Dark Espresso Balsamic Vinegar, divided
2 containers tiramisu flavored mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
3 chocolate biscotti’s, crushed
1 piece dark chocolate

In a bowl add the chopped strawberries and 1/4 cup vinegar, stir and set aside.

In another bowl add mascarpone and 3 Tbsp. of vinegar and whisk together, set aside.

Set out your mini dishes that you are going to use, add about a teaspoon or a little more of the crushed biscotti to each dish, then add strawberries on top of biscotti, start with a teaspoon on each then add more to each to finish up the strawberries.  Dollop mascarpone cream on each dish, then with a teaspoon drizzle a little of the vinegar over top the mascarpone and finish with some of the shaved chocolate.  I like this recipe as a mini since it has a great richness to it 🙂

Serve or chill until needed.

This was so good, it was not overly sweet, and that tartness at the end from the balsamic vinegar was just perfect!!!  Enjoy the rest of your Fiesta Friday!!!

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Veggie-Chicken-Chile-Soup!!! Fiesta Friday #53

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So here it is Fiesta Friday again and I am joining in again, I want to thank Angie@The Novice Gardener for hosting the Party and her two co-hosts Selma@Selma’s Table and Nancy@Feasting with Friends.

So about a month ago a co-worker (Heather) was telling us that her son is a picky eater, what child is not a picky eater right 🙂

Any way she said that he did not like red chili and thought that he may eat white chili, so a few weeks went by and I saw a slow cooker recipe for the white chili and printed it out for her to try, as far as I know think she said she was going to try it this weekend. 🙂

I hope her son Blake will like it 🙂

I decided to make my own version 😛 hence the word veggie in title.

Now I am not a chili person at all…at ALL!!  So when I thought about this I did want to make it more of a soup instead of a then a chili.

First I after I got a few things from the store, I really just went looking in my pantry and refrigerator for what I could through in it 🙂 and I wanted to use my electric pressure cooker.

Let me just take a minute to talk about the “electric pressure cooker”  I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I really really do!! I love making soup in it because it’s like its been cooking all day, and Nancy@Feasting with Friends gave me a recipe for hard cooked eggs that the shells peel off perfectly and I love that!! I also have a macaroni and cheese recipe here you can check out too.  But if you have a chance to buy one I so recommend it for sure 🙂

Okay so here’s my dish

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This is what I used – except the spinach in the bag, when I started pulling everything out the fridge, I thought yes I will add spinach but then I didn’t 🙂

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Pinto beans, chick peas and leftover white beans
in the Vita-mix

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Add water and pulse

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to get this

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carrots, zucchini and onion in Vita mix
add water

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and this

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Add that to my pot and this is my Chicken Base
I use Better than bouillon you can use just broth

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added my seasonings, Cumin and Fajita Seasonings

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Mix it up

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added two chicken breasts

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Time to cook

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I put it on the “Stew” setting and increased the time
to 30 minutes then start

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DONE!!!

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Oh yeah!!!

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Pulled out the chicken breast to shred

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shred your chicken

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add back to the pot

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taste for seasonings, I added salt

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and more of my seasonings

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Done!!!  Add a little diced jalapeno and enjoy!!

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Veggie Chicken Chile Soup

1 bottle of Taco Bell salsa verde
1 can diced green chiles
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed*
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed*
1/2 cup white beans, drained and rinsed*
2 zucchini*
3 carrots*
1 onion*
2 large boneless chicken breast
3-4 tsp. cumin
3-4 tsp. Penzeys Fajita seasonings*
6-8 cups chicken broth*
salt and pepper to taste

To the electric pressure cooker or large stock pot or slow cooker, your choice.
Add salsa and chiles, if you want whole beans then add then whole, if you want it like I did, then blend up with broth or water, the same with the veggies, either diced or blended.

Pour all into your pot, add the seasonings and stir, if using chicken base add this now, if you are using broth add the rest.  I say 6-8 cups because it depends on the size of your cooking choice, the less that is used makes it thicker.
Cook in pressure cooker on “stew” setting for 30 minutes, slow cooker for 4-6 hours on high, and stock pot on stove, bring to almost a boil, the reduce to low for 2 hours or until all is cooked through.

Remove Chicken and shred, return shredded chicken back to pot, taste for seasonings, add salt or pepper, or more seasonings it is up to your tastes.

Serve up with diced jalapeno, tortillas chips or some cheese, its up to you!!  Just grab a mug or bowl full and sit back and enjoy the game this weekend 🙂

*use what ever beans you want, this is just what I had, same with the veggies its just what I had.
I like using chicken base you can use broth instead.  Seasonings from Penzeys the Fajita seasonings that I used had the following in it: salt, black pepper, Turkish oregano, cayenne, garlic, celery seed, basil, nutmeg, marjoram, thyme, Mexican oregano, cumin and rosemary.
You can certainly use any of these seasoning or something close, just check your local store.

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Fried Quinoa Balls stuffed with Mozzarella for Fiesta Friday #52

49 Comments

I am so excited to be able to take part in Fiesta Friday #52

I was invited by Suzanne@apuginthekitchen and I really want to THANK her for her help 🙂 Thank you Suzanne!!!

Suzanne got involved in this from Angie@The Novice Gardener

Angie’s co-hosts this week are Hilda@ Along the Grapevine and Julianna@ Foodie On Board

Thank you so much for letting me be a part of Fiesta Friday 🙂

Today I am doing a “Arancini di Riso” but I will not be using rice/risotto, I am going to use qunioa 🙂

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Yes you heard me correctly, almost two weeks ago I had a cooking class on Qunioa in one of our stores, as I posted my Qunioa Burger earlier this week.  For my class I was going to make these but if you have made them before they can be a little time consuming 😛 and I would have had to make at least 75 of them 🙂

Rolling, dredging and then frying so I passed on making them for my class, and well I thought they are the perfect appetizer and perfect for Fiesta Friday!!!

Well these turned out so dang delicious, if you ever had a rice ball, these hold up 100%  I think if you told someone these were a rice ball they really may never know 😉

So I hope you enjoy and will make them 🙂

Ingredients – quinoa, seasonings, mozzarella and parmesan

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Rinse the quinoa well in a fine mesh strainer

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add to pan with water/broth*see note below in recipe
bring to a boil

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once it comes to a boil add broth base, garlic

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then seasoning, except red pepper flakes

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cover and reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes
or till all the liquid has been absorbed

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then stir until quinoa becomes thick like

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let cool in a bowl then add parmesan and
Red pepper flakes

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mix to combine, taste and add salt and pepper to your taste

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with a 2 oz. scoop, scoop out onto a lined baking sheet

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cut your cubes of cheese

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make intentions in the center of the balls

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add cube of cheese

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roll into balls, place baking sheet in fridge
over night or at least 2 hours

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for dredging, seasoned flour, beaten egg &
breadcrumbs, I used a combo of garlic &
hot & spicy 🙂

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make your dredging station

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roll balls in flour first

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second egg

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third breadcrumbs

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bring your oil to 350 degrees

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and fry your balls for 1-2 minutes
or until a nice golden brown

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now ready eat, serve with your favorite sauce
and top with some extra Parmesan

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so good, look at the gooey cheese 😛

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Quinoa Balls

1 cup white qunioa
3 cups chicken or veggie broth
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. crushed garlic
2 tbsp. parsley
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes – optional
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated plus for garnish
mozzarella cheese, cut into 3/4 inch cubes

Rinse quinoa is a fine mesh strainer under water until water runs clear.

In a med saucepan add quinoa and broth*, bring to a boil uncovered, once it comes to a boil add garlic, onion powder, parsley and oregano, stir, cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook on low for about 30 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed, let cool for 5 minutes, then stir in 1 cup Parmesan and red pepper flakes if using, taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.  Set aside for 15 minutes, then with a 2 oz. scoop, scoop mixture into balls, press your thumb in the middle of the ball to make a indention add cube of cheese and cover the cube with the quinoa by rolling into a ball.  Place balls on lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to over night.

*I used chicken base, I added it once the water came to a boil.

For dredging
3/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs or what you like

Place each in shallow bowls, dredge balls into flour, egg then breadcrumbs, place on baking sheet.  Let set on counter for about 30 minutes.  In a fryer or medium sauce pan add frying oil about 1 1/2 inches high, heat oil on medium high heat too about 350 degrees, fry until golden brown. about 1-2 minutes.  I always pull one out, let it set for a minute then cut it open to see if the cheese is gooey, if you let the balls set on the counter for 30-45 minutes before frying, they should be ready in about 1 or so, but just cut one open and fry longer if needed.

Serve with your favorite red pasta sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan.  Makes about 24 balls.  Enjoy!!

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Quinoa Burger!!!

7 Comments

Oh its just SOOOO GOOD!!!!

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Yes is really is 🙂  Back in December when I needed to come up with a “Theme” or “product” for my cooking class, one thing came to mind…Quinoa!!

Quinoa I feel is something that people heard of??? But not sure what it is, or what to do with it let alone know how to pronounce it 🙂

Most the time you see a recipe for Quinoa it is in some sort of salad and I just wanted to do more with it.
I’ll say its funny because just a few days before my class and her now a week after I have seen more recipes with Qunioa in it I just had to laugh.

Any way for my class yes I made a burger, I also put it in Minestrone Soup, as a breakfast dish like oatmeal, of course a salad 🙂 and cookies, yes cookies 🙂 with only 4 ingredients 😉

When I make my quinoa, I do 3 to 1, 3 parts water (liquid) to 1 part dry quinoa.  I rinse it really well till the water runs clear, oh and make sure you have fine mesh strainer, you don’t want that tiny seed going down your drain 🙂

I then add it to my pan with the water, I turn it on med-high, uncovered and bring it to a boil.  Once it starts to boil, depending on what I am doing with it, I will then add some flavoring, broth base or seasonings.  I then stir that in reduce the heat to low, cover it and let it go for at least 20 – 30 minutes, again depends on the quantity of quinoa that I use.  The more I have the more time I let it cook, I like mind to kind of get sticky, a little like sticky rice, for my burger I may let it go for a little longer.
Then you just go from there with whatever you are making 🙂

So of course I did not get to take any pictures of my food at my class, I got some picture of the people that came but once I starting cooking it was a little hard 😛 LOL

About my burger, you can make this any flavor you want, once you have the mix add what ever seasonings you want, so the last night when I got home from work I made them 🙂

Of course at the same time I was trying to cook up some things for the week, I made Lentil Soup and a pork tenderloin.  Of course my mind was everywhere and I forgot the beans…yes beans 🙂

So here we go…

Ingredients  – Ouinoa, onion, seasonings,
beef base (optional) and cannellini beans(not pictured)

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I rinsed my quinoa

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Make sure it drained

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I add it to the pan with my water

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Once it boils

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I then add some beef base and cover

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This is almost done

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As you can see the quinoa expand’s and get’s thicker

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At this point I put it on a plate to cool
(if its cool, it’s easier to handle)

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Now the onion in a skillet with a little oil

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Saute up

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add the quinoa, onions, seasonings and beans

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mix together

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then add the cheese

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now make your burgers
Put them in the fridge for a least 2 hours to
help firm up.

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Then cook for about 5 minutes on Medium to Med. High

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Flip it

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add cheese and let melt

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Get you bun ready, of course I toasted my
whole wheat bun added some fresh spinach
and horseradish

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Done and Delicious!!!

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Quinoa Burger

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

8 regular size burgers

1 cup quinoa (red or white)
3 cups water
1 tsp. Better than bullion beef base (optional)
4 tsp. seasoning (I used Grillmates Worcestershire Pub Burger)
1 large onion, chopped and sauteed
1 cup Cannellini beans, drained, rinsed and blended in food processor (you could use the whole can)
1 cup cheese, fancy shredded (any flavor)

Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer until water runs clear, drain, add to med sauce pan with 3 cups water, cook on med-high uncovered.  Once it comes to a boil add beef base, stir and cover, reduce heat to low, cook for 30 minutes or until water is almost gone and quinoa has expanded and is thick, give a few stirs to make sure all water is gone.

Pour out on to a plate and let cool, once cooled, add sauteed onions, blended beans and seasonings, mix very well to blend.  Taste, add more seasonings if needed, then fold in cheese.  Form your burgers and place them on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, put in the fridge for at least 2 hours or longer.

Add oil to skillet add your burgers, cook over med to med-high for about 5 minutes, burger should have a nice brown color like a burger would have 🙂

Flip and then add some cheese on top if you want, cook another 5 minutes or so, add to your bun and dressing with your favorite toppings.  Enjoy!!

At my class I did a BBQ Bacon Cheddar with crispy onion straws 🙂

They all enjoyed it for sure 🙂

Here they are at the class and the crowd that came 🙂

I had to make the burgers in batches, so many came 🙂

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