Spooky Sweets & Treats for Halloween

White Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ghoulish Ghosts

White Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ghoulish Ghosts

White Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ghoulish Ghosts

1 (16-ounce) package fresh strawberries
6 ounces vanilla bark coating
¼ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

To melt chocolate bark:
Chop chocolate into small pieces. Place in a small glass or stainless steel bowl. Place bowl in a saucepan with 2 inches of water in it. Over medium high heat, stir chocolate until melted. Remove pan from stove.

Working rapidly, dip strawberries into chocolate covering ½ of the berries surface. Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Immediately press chocolate chips into coating for eyes. Freeze 5-10 minutes.

In a small microwavable bowl, add remaining chocolate chips. Heat chips in microwave until melted and smooth, about 10-15 seconds. Dip a toothpick into melted chocolate and draw a mouth on each ghost.

Snakebite Bread

1 Package Fleishmann’s® Simply Homemade® Country White Bread Mix
1 cup 115° – 120° water
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon water
2 to 3 drops liquid green food coloring
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
1 small pimento-stuffed green olive
2 whole cloves
1 (1-inch long) strip roasted red bell pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a cooking pan with pan spray.

Place dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape bread into a 16-18 inch log. Pinch one end of the log to form a tail shape. Form the other end into a head shape. Transfer the log onto prepared baking sheet. Cure the log into an S-shape.

Whisk together the beaten egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl to make an egg wash. Add 2-3 drops of green food coloring to egg wash. Brush the surface of the dough with the green egg wash. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the dough.

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese has turned golden brown. Transfer the baked bread onto a wire rack to cool.

Cut the olives in half widthwise to form two eyes. Attach the eyes to the head of the snake with toothpicks. Use the whole cloves to make the snake’s nostrils. Cut the strip of pepper into a forked tongue. Place the snake on a serving platter or large cutting board. Position the tongue just under the head.

Use a serrated knife to cut the snake into slices; serve warm or at room temperature.

Halloween Treats

Halloween Treats

Spider Web Guacamole Dip

3 fresh avocado, halved, seeded and peeled
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeño, finely diced
3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced, divided
1-2cups shredded lettuce
¼ cup chopped black olives
½ cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
½ cup sour cream
1 bag tortilla chips

In a medium mixing bowl, place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Add the salt, pepper, and oil and using a potato masher, mash. Then, fold in the onions, garlic, 1 chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapeños. If not using right away, add the seed of the avocado to help prevent browning of the guacamole.

In a large serving tray spread the edges with shredded lettuce, black olives, remaining 2 tomatoes, and Mexican cheese blend. Place guacamole in center of tray.

Place sour cream in a quart size ziplock bag. Cut the corner off. Squeeze sour cream on top of guacamole in several concentric circles. You can either use ziplock bag to pipe on the rest of the sour cream to form web or you can use a knife and run lines lightly through the sour cream circles to make the web shape. Place a creep spider on the web. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping.

Green Ghoul Punch

½ (12-ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
1 liter ginger ale
1 pint lime sherbet
gummy worms or gummy spiders, frozen
dry ice cubes, about 2 pounds

Pour the limeade concentrate and gingerly in a large, clear glass, punch bowl. Stir it gently to combine. Add lime sherbet, gummy worms and dry ice. Replace dry ice as smoke disappears.

Bloody Glasses

¼ cup KARO® Corn Syrup
3-4 drops red food coloring

Combine above ingredients. Dip rim of cup into syrup, dripping syrup will resemble
blood.

Happy Halloween and Buon Appetite!


Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Okay, so I didn’t come up with this idea, but that’s the POWER of the internet…I did, however, made it my own….so easy with a few little tricks.

In a large mixing bowl add 1 box bread mix, yeast package, ½ cup canned pumpkin, 2 tablespoons melted butter and ½ cup warm water.  Mix until well combined.  Knead dough 4-5 minutes.  Place bread back into the mixing bowl and cover with a cloth towel.   Place in a warm spot for 45-60 minutes (or longer if you have time).

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces, roll into a ball and place on a baking sheet.

12 rolls

12 equal pieces rolled into a ball

Using a pair of scissors, make 6-8 cuts along sides, leaving the center intact.  Poke your finger into the center of the roll.

6-8 Cuts

6-8 Cuts

Whisk 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water, brush over rolls.

Egg wash rolls

Egg wash rolls

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven, 20 minutes.  Remove rolls from oven and place on a wire rack.  Mix 2 tablespoons of melted butter with 1 tablespoon of honey and brush over hot rolls.  Place ½ pecan piece in center of roll.

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

1 Package Fleishmann’s® Simply Homemade® Country White Bread Mix
½ cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup water, 115-120°F
1 egg

Honey Glaze:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl combine bread mix, yeast (included with the mix), pumpkin, and butter. Add water, mix until well combined. Knead dough 4-5 minutes. Place bread back into the mixing bowl and cover with a kitchen towel.  Place bowl in a warm spot for 45 minutes, or longer if time permits  (dough will not double in size).

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Using a scissors, give 6 cuts on the edge to mimic flower petals but leave the center uncut. Poke the center with your finger to give a deep indentation, and repeat the same procedure to the 11 remaining pieces.

Place prepared mini pumpkins on a baking pan lined with parchment paper or spray with pan spray. Let the rolls rise another 10 minutes.

Mix egg with 1 teaspoon of water and brush over rolls. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until rolls are golden brown.

Remove rolls from pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Brush rolls with honey butter and insert a pecan piece on top to mimic a pumpkin stem.

Buon Appetito!!!



Welcome to Galena’s Cucina

Yummy Yellow Cake

Recipes can be found on my blog and in “Cookin’ For a Livin'”.Cookin' For a Livin'


Pumpkin Pie Pecan Bars

I just love the month of October…the cool evenings, the changes in the leaves, football season, and of course, National Pizza Month.  Other changes that occur during this month are our choices in food.  We are now thinking more comfort foods, crockpot recipes, stews and chili, as well as pumpkin pie, apple pie and of course the true southern favorite, pecan pie!

Yesterday I brought my version of pecan pie bars to my spin class (I just love tempting my students with yummy treats to work a little harder).  My members loved them and asked for the recipe.  Well, here you go, and I know you will all enjoy this easy sweet dessert.

Pumpkin Pie Pecan Bars

Crust:
2 ½  cups all purpose flour
1 cup salted butter (2 sticks), softened
⅓ cup powdered sugar

Filling:
4 eggs
1 ⅓ cups sugar
1 ½ cups Karo® Light Corn Syrup
1 ½ teaspoons Spice Islands® Pumpkin Pie Spice
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 ½ teaspoons Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract
2 ½ cups coarsely chopped pecan

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl mix flour, butter and powered sugar with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Press firmly and evenly into a greased baking sheet (15 x 10-inch).

Bake crust 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

While crust is baking beat eggs, sugar, corn syrup, pumpkin pie spice, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until well combined.  Stir in pecans.  Pour over hot crust spreading evenly.

Bake 25 minutes (at 350°F).  Cool completely on wire rack before cutting into pieces.

Pumpkin Pie Pecan Bars

Pumpkin Pie Pecan Bars

Buon Appetito!


Mazola® Kick’n Chicken with Mango Salsa,

A few months ago I had the wonderful opportunity of doing a commercial spot for Mazola, here it is….not sure what is going to become of it, but making the video was a GREAT experience!  Thank you ACH!

Mazola® Kick’N Chicken with Mango Salsa

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Grill Time: 12 to 16 minutes

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (one pound total)
2 tablespoons Weber® Kick’N Chicken Seasoning
1/4 cup Mazola® Corn Oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon OR lime juice
As needed Weber® Grill’N Spray

Mango Salsa:

2 cups diced fresh mango, 1/4-inch dice
1 cup diced red bell pepper, 1/4-inch dice
3 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon OR lime juice
2 tablespoons minced, fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat grill to medium heat, or between 400º to 450°F.

Trim excess fat from chicken, rinse and pat dry using paper towels. If necessary, pound chicken to an even 1/2-inch thickness using a mallet, rolling pin or cast iron skillet (this will ensure the chicken cooks evenly).  Place chicken into a 1-gallon size resealable plastic bag. Add seasoning, oil and lemon juice to the bag.   Seal bag and turn to thoroughly coat chicken.

Coat grill surface with grill spray to prevent sticking.

Grill chicken over direct high heat for 4 to 6 minutes, rotate 90 degrees and continue cooking an additional 4 minutes (this process will give you beautiful grill marks on the chicken).  Turn chicken and repeat as above until cooked through (internal temperature should be 160°).  Transfer cooked chicken to a serving plate.

Combine salsa ingredients in a bowl; stir and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made up to 8 hours ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.)

Top grilled chicken with mango salsa and serve immediately.
Recipe Tip: Try slicing the chicken onto warm, low-fat tortillas, top with mango salsa and crumbled queso fresco cheese for delicious spicy chicken wraps.

Kickin' Chicken with Mango Salsa

Kickin’ Chicken with Mango Salsa

Buon Appetito!

 


Goat Cheese Filled Ravioli

Season’s 52 Goat Cheese Ravioli Copycat

I just LOVE Season’s 52 Restaurant…the food is aways fresh, healthy, and of course, seasonal.  Last month Bob took me there for my birthday and I had this wonderful appetizer, goat cheese ravioli….YUM!!!!  Last week I had a dinner party and thought that would be the perfect first course for my party.  So I searched the internet and found a couple of copycat recipes…then the fun began…making it my own.  I was very surprised that the ravioli is actually made with egg roll wrappers, thus making it very very easy for any home cook to prepare.

First off, know that this probably isn’t something you would make during the week after working all day, but for a fun Saturday or Sunday cooking experience, it really is very easy, just a little time consuming.

Preparing the filling is what you will do first.  One thing I LOVE about this ravioli is you can make them up way in advance and they will be fine in the refrigerator until ready to use.  You will need 1 11 or 12 ounce log of goat cheese, mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, one egg, white pepper, fresh basil and whatever other shredded cheese you would like (I also used some shredded provolone.  Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

Thinly sliced fresh basil

Thinly sliced fresh basil

On a clean work surface, place 1 egg roll wrapper and brush with an egg wash (1 egg plus 1 teaspoon water).

Eggwash

In center of wrapper, place one scoop of cheese mixture and lay another egg roll wrapper over cheese.  Press and seal the edges, pushing out all the air pockets.Press edgesUsing a knife or a ravioli cutter, trim ravioli.  If desired, place a small bowl over ravioli and trace bowl for a perfect circle.DSC_0006Perfect circle

Repeat until all wrappers are used or filling.  My recipes makes 9 ravioli, or one full package of egg roll wrappers.  Place raviolis on a sheet pan, cover and refrigerate until ready to poach.Prepared raviolis

Ingredients for Sauce

To prepare the sauce, in a large sauté pan add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter, cook over medium heat until butter is melted.  Add 1-2 small shallots or ½ onion, finely chopped, garlic and white pepper.  (I had a package of baby portobello mushrooms in the frig, so I thinly sliced them and added them with the shallots and garlic).  Cook until shallots are soft, about 3-5 minutes.  Deglaze pan with white wine (of drinkable quality) and simmer until wine has reduced by half.  Add tomatoes, chicken stock, and a couple sprigs of fresh thyme, simmer 10 minutes.
Portobellos and ThymeAt this point you can either turn off the heat until ready to prepare the raviolis or cook them (yes it really is that easy…you know the saying, “less is best”)!  When ready to cook the ravioli, remove from the frig, bring sauce up to a boil, place 2-3 ravioli in sauce (depending on your pan) and poach 1 minute.  Poached RavioliRemove ravioli with a slotted spoon and place in bowl or plate.  Repeat until all ravioli’s are cooked.  Ladle remaining sauce over ravioli.  Top with a drop of lemon infused olive oil (not necessary but very yummy) and top with freshly grated cheese.

DSC_0028In a bowl

Season’s 52 Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli Copycat

Yield: 8-9 Servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Ravioli:
1 one pound package egg roll wraps
11 or 12 ounce log of goat cheese
4 ounces ricotta cheese
¼ cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup shredded provolone
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
Egg wash (1 egg slightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of water)

Sauce:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, sliced thinly
1 glove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ cup dry white wine, of drinkable quality
1 14.5 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
few springs of fresh thyme
¼ cup fresh spinach, cut into thin strips
Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Lemon oil, for a gourmet touch

Ravioli:
In the bowl of a food processor, add cheese, egg, pepper and basil, process until combined.

Place one egg roll wrappers on work area, brush with egg wash. Place 2 heaping tablespoons cheese filling in center of each roll. Lay another egg roll wrap over cheese. Press and seal the edges, pushing out all air pockets. Trim ravioli with a round cutter and place on a baking sheet. Repeat until until filling is all used (should make 8 or 9). Place raviolis in refrigerator until ready to cook.

Sauce:
In a 5 quart stock pot over medium heat, add butter and oil, cook until butter is melted. Add shallots, garlic, and white pepper. Cook until shallots are soft, about 3-5 minutes.

Add wine and simmer until wine has reduced in half. Add tomatoes and chicken stock. Simmer 5 minutes. Keep sauce over medium low heat until ready to cook ravioli.

To cook ravioli:
Place ravioli on slotted spoon and into the simmering stock to poach for one minute. Remove from stock, place in bowl. Continue cooking remaining ravioli. Add spinach to stock, simmer 1-2 minutes (remove thyme sprigs). Ladle sauce over ravioli, sprinkle with grated cheese and a drop of lemon oil.

Buon Appetito!