Valentine Kiss Martini

Today, I wanted to share with you a recipe to drink with your love. It is a basic drink that can be made within 5 mins and can be complemented with a delightful chicken recipe.

  • Prep time: 2 minutes

Valentine Kiss Martini

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce of vodka
  • 3 ounces of fruit punch
  • 1/2 blood orange squeezed
  • 3 – 5 cubes of ice
  • 1 slice of blood orange to garnish

Directions

  1. In a drink shaker place the ice cubes, then pour the fruit punch,
  2. I used Gatorade fruit punch but you can use whichever you prefer,
  3. Then pour in the vodka, again this is your choice but I used the Absolute Miami vodka
  4. I also used the Alpine blu vodka which is great for mixing any drink,
  5. Then squeeze the half cut blood orange into the shaker
  6. Shake for about ten seconds pour into a martini glass
  7. Serve a Valentine Kiss Martini garnished and enjoy, and make your every day Valentine’s Day.

Best Microwave Ovens for 2017

Are you looking for a new Microwave Oven for yourself? Bored of your older model? Then it is your lucky day because we have listed down the best microwave ovens for 2017 here so that you can make the correct choice without having to research too much. We went through hundreds of ovens and reviewed them all to bring out the top models for you to choose from.

These microwave ovens are efficient, easy to use, and will help you in cooking and heating quickly.

1. Panasonic NE-1054F

One of the fastest microwave oven which can heat your food in just a few minutes. This is one model which you can use not only at home but in your office, fast food restaurant, convenience store, etc. too.

Panasonic NE-1054F

This is one efficient way to provide your customers and employees with hot and fresh food while taking the least amount of time possible. It provides you with 1000 watt power and 0.8 ft space which is good enough to fit all kinds of dishes. It has simple to use controls and is also quite easy to clean.

The NE-1054F was rated as the #1 convection microwave for 2015-2016 by Kitchenguyd.

2. LG LCS0712ST

If you are looking for a compact microwave oven, then this model from LG is the ideal choice for you. This microwave oven takes the least amount of space and can be easily placed on a countertop, above the fridge, near the stove, and so on. It comes with a stainless steel exterior which gives it a nice touch and you can cook an entire meal with this microwave. Yes, you heard us right! Not only does it reheat your food efficiently but can also be used to cook an entire meal. It also includes a timer and an energy saving option which makes it a big hit with users.

3. Danby Designer DMW077BLSDD

If you are looking for an efficient and quality microwave oven without breaking your bank, then this model is the correct choice for you. This microwave oven is not only affordable but also offers you a series of amazing features and functions which can make the whole experience much more enjoyable and easier for you.

Danby Designer DMW077BLSDD

You can also de-frost with this oven and thaw your food with its excellent de-frost function. It also includes a timer which lets you know when your food is ready while the preset cooking options make it easier for you to cook dishes.

4. Sharp R830BK

If you are looking for the best convection microwave oven for baking, then Sharp R830BK is perfect for you. With the help of this convection microwave, you can not only make popcorns but you can also frozen entrees, roasted beef, chicken, and so on. You can also use this amazing microwave to bake cookies, cakes, etc. It also includes a Help button which you can use to learn more about the microwave settings and functions. You can also disable its timer ring if you aren’t a big fan of the on-going whistle. This microwave will let you perform a variety of tasks while not taking up a lot of space in your kitchen.

 

HONEY GARLIC PORK CHOPS

The original recipe for these pork chops came from Pinterest but they were breaded and fried. I wanted to make these a little bit healthier, so I decided to just make the sauce and use it as a glaze instead. These pork chops turned out really good. They were moist and tender, but they didn’t soak up the glaze as much as I would have liked. It didn’t matter, though, because I spooned some of the sauce over the pork after I’d cut it up and it soaked it up beautifully. I served these with roasted asparagus and broccoli cheese rice. My youngest son, Matthew is always the last one at the table asking how many more bites he has to take before he can be done. It’s always a struggle to get him to eat anything. He had two helpings of pork chops and three helpings of asparagus. Any time he asks for seconds, I consider the recipe to be a success.

Honey Garlic Pork Chops

5 – 6 boneless pork chops, about 1 inch thick
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Glaze:
1 c. honey
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ginger
dash of cayenne pepper (to your taste)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp.  chopped garlic
2 Tbs butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Brown in olive oil 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove pork chops to a greased 9×13 baking dish. Whisk together the sauce ingredients and pour over the pork. Bake for 25 minutes. Let meat sit in the dish for about 5 minutes before serving in order to allow the meat to soak up the juices. Pour extra sauce over the pork chops when serving.

Source: Inspired by Sweet Tea and Cornbread

DELIGHTFUL CHICKEN

This is a really easy and really delicious dish. My family enjoyed it and asked that it be put into the regular dinner rotation. It took only a few minutes to put together, and I love an easy meal. Serve it with steamed vegetables and some au gratin potatoes or rice.

4 boneless chicken breasts
2  ( .7 ounce) packets of dried Italian dressing mix (such as Good Seasonings)
1 cup brown sugar, packed

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 inch x 9 inch casserole dish. Rinse chicken, pat dry with paper towels and beat with a meat mallet until they are a uniform thickness. (I butterflied my chicken also.) Combine and the dried Italian seasoning mix and the brown sugar, mixing together well. Dip and press the chicken pieces into the mixture, coating front and back and place into your prepared pan, topside of the chicken facing up. Any extra coating that remains can just be sprinkled over the chicken. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until chicken is done. Turn the chicken and spoon the sauce over the top a couple of times during the baking time. Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken when serving as well.

Source: Adapted from Food for a Hungry Soul

How to save water with a Kitchen Faucet

It is no hidden knowledge that as our world progresses and our technologies evolve, we are depleting our water sources at a drastic rate. Presently, a lot of countries face the reduced water issue.

This makes it important that we use our water efficiently and smartly and one way to do so is by buying one of the best kitchen faucets in the market that helps us in managing our water flow. Still wondering how you can save water with the help of your kitchen faucet?

Here is a list of ways in which you can make your kitchen faucets more water efficient and help in conserving a lot of water at home:

1. Replace the leaky faucets

One of the easiest and simplest ways to ensure water conservation at home is by making sure that you don’t have any kitchen faucet that drips or leaks water.

If you hear the first drops of water leaking from your faucet, you need to get it instantly repaired and avoid any large leakages.

This will ensure that not a lot of water is wasted and you will also be able to use your kitchen faucet with a proper water flow.

2. Use a sprayer faucet

Another amazing way to save water is by using a kitchen faucet which is a sprayer and not a tap or you can opt for a kitchen faucet which can easily switch from sprayer mode to stream mode.

This will be helpful to you when you don’t need a high flow of water for rinsing your utensils or food articles and you will be able to conserve a lot of water with this mode.

Use a sprayer faucet

3. Maintain your kitchen faucet

Another way to ensure water conservation is by taking proper care and maintenance of your kitchen faucet. If you see that any part of your faucet is rusting or lose, make sure that you take care of that problem quickly.

Keep your faucet clean and dry to avoid any rusting on it and always tighten the faucet parts to ensure a smooth running.

If you keep your faucet maintained, you will end up conserving a lot of water. Clean your kitchen faucet every week and make sure you remove all the limescale deposition inside it. This will reduce the chances of faucet clogs and breaks as the water will flow smoothly out of the aerator.

4. Install a low-flow aerator

One of the best ways to conserve water is by installing a low-flow aerator, probably one which gives a flow rate of 1.5gpm so that you don’t waste a lot of water.

A low-flow aerator will give a lower water flow rate while allowing you to perform your daily tasks without any serious change.

You can install a reducer or an aerator to help you reduce the water flow significantly but you need to ensure that your aerator is replaced regularly when you see any signs of wear and tear.

Now that you know how water can be conserved in your kitchen, why don’t you try some of these methods and see the result for yourself?

Install a low-flow aerator

MY FAVORITE BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP

I tried to make broccoli cheese soup a while back, and it did not go well. I used only pre-grated cheddar cheese, and it tasted good when we had it the first time, but it kind of “curdled” when I tried to reheat the leftovers.

I know if I wasn’t so lazy and would grate my own cheese, it probably would have worked…oh, well. With the cooler weather that we’ve been having, I’ve been craving broccoli cheese soup. It’s not really practical to go out and buy a cup every time I want one, so I decided to give making it myself another go. This version was a definite win. It will be my go-to recipe from now on.

BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP

We all really liked it. The flavor and texture were perfect. It’s rich and creamy without being overbearing. We had  ”boonies” with it…I will share the recipe and the story behind these tomorrow. Quick, easy, and delish. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture to go with this post. We were hungry and the soup got gobbled up before I could snap a picture. I will definitely be making this again, so I will try to get a picture then and update this post. Try this soup and let me know what you think!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1/3 c. butter
1 c. diced yellow onion (about 1/2 large onion)
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
3 c. whole milk
2 c. chicken broth (1 can)
1/2 c. heavy cream
3 c. finely chopped, fresh broccoli pieces
1 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I used the pre-grated, bagged kind and it worked fine)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp of each, but this will vary depending on the brand of cheeses and your salt/pepper preference

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in onions and cook, stirring frequently until soft, about 3 minutes. Whisk in garlic and flour, and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. While whisking, slowly pour in milk, chicken broth then cream.

Cook, stirring frequently, just until mixture begins to gently bubble, then reduce heat to medium-low, add in broccoli pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes. Turn heat off, add in cheese and stir until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste and more milk to thin, if needed. Serve warm.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Classy

HAM AND CHEESE SLIDERS

Have made these little sandwiches twice now, and my family goes nuts over them every time. They are so simple to throw together on a busy weeknight, but they would also make a great appetizer for a holiday party or get-together. The ingredients are super simple, and chances are, you have most of them in your fridge and pantry already.

You can make these on any type of bread, but my husband is a sucker for sweet Hawaiian rolls, so that’s what I use. I am adding these into the regular dinner rotation because they are kid-friendly and super simple to make. They are small, but also surprisingly filling. I just serve them with potato chips and they are always a crowd-pleaser.

Ham and Cheese Sliders

1 package Hawaiian sweet rolls (12 rolls)
24 thin slices deli ham
12 slices swiss cheese
8 Tbsp. melted butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. worchestershire sauce
1 heaping tsp. dried onion or 1 Tbsp. finely minced onion
Poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Split the rolls in half lengthwise. Fold 2 slices of ham in half twice and place on the rolls. Break cheese slices into fourths and top ham with 2 pieces of cheese.

Repeat with remaining rolls and place rolls in a 9×13 lightly greased casserole dish. Whisk together the melted butter, mustard, worchestershire and onion and pour over the rolls. Sprinkle the tops of sandwiches with poppy seeds. Cover casserole dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats

PUMPKIN CUPCAKES

It’s fall, ya’ll! This is my absolute favorite time of year. I really want to decorate my front porch with pumpkins and fall garlands, but as soon as we got mostly moved in, my house became a construction zone. I can’t decorate until it’s done, so I thought I would do some fall baking instead. These cupcakes are a great way to celebrate the impending cooler weather, but I love to make pumpkin muffins and bread any time of year. I saw this recipe for pumpkin cupcakes on Annie’s Eats, and thought it would be a great recipe to try. I loved these cupcakes and will definitely make them again. I topped them with my favorite cream cheese frosting and they were superb. The cake was very moist and light, with just the right amount of spice. Jason and the kids couldn’t stay out of them. These are perfect for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or anytime! The recipe makes about 3 dozen cupcakes, so if you want less, you can halve the recipe.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

2 2/3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 c. sugar
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. canola or vegetable oil
4 lg. eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.

Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans and let cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting and top with a light dusting of cinnamon, if desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 lb. powdered sugar
2 to 3 Tbsp. cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and powdered  sugar. Beat again until light and fluffy. Mix in cream to attain the desired consistency.

Cupcake Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats, frosting is Katy’s Kitchen original

TORTILLA SOUP

 

Does it seem like I’ve been visiting the Pioneer Woman’s site a lot lately? I have made a lot of her recipes in the past couple of weeks. Maybe it’s because she has a lot of good Mexican food and comfort food recipes and that’s what I crave when the weather gets cold. I saw this recipe for tortilla soup the other day and knew I had to try it. It’s really tasty. Matthew, who never eats anything, had two bowls, and Andrew asked to take it to school for lunch the next day. I call that a success. It’s a little bit time consuming, but most of that is hands-off work. It has to simmer for a while. I think you could easily make this in the crock pot and add the tortilla strips a few minutes before you’re ready to serve it. I topped mine with cheese, sour cream, and fresh avocado. Yum!

Tortilla Soup

2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1-½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. diced onion
¼ c. diced green bell pepper
¼ c. red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
32 oz., fluid low sodium chicken stock
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 c. hot water
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp. cornmeal
5 whole corn tortillas, cut into 2 to 3 inch strips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix. Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir. Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips. Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and/or grated cheese.

Source: The Pioneer Woman; Photo also courtesy of the Pioneer Woman (I forgot to take a picture again. Doh!)

THE MOST AMAZING ENCHILADAS

I love Mexican food. I make a it a lot at home because my family likes it and I find that most of it is pretty easy to make. The boys are really partial to burritos. Jason would eat anything as long as it was wrapped up in a tortilla, and Andrew is pretty much the same way. I’ve made the Pioneer Woman’s burritos and chicken enchiladas before, and I also noticed the beef enchiladas and have been meaning to make them for a while. I’m so glad I finally did. These are spectacular! They are fantastic left over too. I made one pan of a dozen and had plenty of meat and sauce left over for another pan (I used small white corn tortillas), but I used the leftovers to make my easy burritos the next day instead. I did not use the black olives or green onions in my enchiladas, simply because I didn’t have any, and they were still amazing without them. These enchiladas are a little bit time consuming, but SO worth it. I had to borrow the Pioneer Woman’s photo becaues they didn’t last long enough for me to get a picture. Try them this weekend. You’ll be glad you did.

Beef Enchiladas

Sauce:
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. flour
3 7 3/4 oz. cans El Pato Mexican tomato sauce
2 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro1-½ pound Ground Beef

Meat:
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, finely diced
2 4 oz. cans diced green chiles
1/2 tsp. salt

Tortillas:
12 to 14 white corn tortillas
1/2 c. canola oil

To assemble:
3 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 c. chopped black olives, optional
1 c. chopped green onions, optional

To make the sauce:
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste, cooking for one minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To make the meat:
Brown the meat with onions and green chiles in a skillet. Drain off fat. Season with salt and set aside.

To make the tortillas:
Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. One by one, using tongs, fry tortillas in oil until soft and pliable, but not crisp – about 30 seconds per side. Remove to a paper—towel lined plate. Repeat until all tortillas have been fried.

To assemble:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking pan lightly with non-stick spray. Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then remove to work surface. Spoon meat, a little grated cheese, a little black olives and green onions, if using, in the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place, seam down, in baking pan. Repeat until pan is filled. Pour extra red sauce over enchiladas to cover. You may not use all the sauce, but you can use the rest for another pan of enchiladas depending on how much meat you have left over.  Top with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle cilantro over enchiladas and top with sour cream, if desired, before serving.

Source: Adapted from The Pioneer Woman. Photo also courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.