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

Boun 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


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.

Boun Appetito!


Happy Labor Day

Labor Day is the third largest cookout events in the United States.  Tradition dictates that food cooked on a open flame is synonymous with summer holidays and as Labor Day is the last holiday of the summer, it had better be good!  If planning a backyard cookout then this is the right place. It’s important to take advantage of Labor Day celebrations to mix up some summer time drinks, pop open some Beer, light up the grill or smoker, and have a great cookout with your friends and family!

Here are some delicious recipes for your Labor Day Cookout!

The number one most popular food cooked on Labor Day is Barbecue Ribs

Memphis Style BBQ Ribs

Labor Day is also known for the end of “hot dog season“…

Perfect Grilled Hot Dog

Perfect Grilled Hot Dog

Some of my favorite salads include Asian Slaw, and Orzo Pasta Salad, or Black Beans, Rice & Avocado Salad

Orzo Pasta Salad with Weber® Just Add Juice® Citrus Herb Marinade

Orzo Pasta Salad with Weber® Just Add Juice® Citrus Herb Marinade

A cookout is never complete without Watermelon

Grab and Go Watermelon

Grab and Go Watermelon

or a wonderful Blueberry Cheesecake

Blueberry Cheesecake

Blueberry Cheesecake

And of course you will need the best Margarita

The Best Margarita

The Best Margarita

I hope you all enjoy this Labor Day Weekend as you celebrate with your family and friends!

Boun Appetito!!!


It’s ALMOST here….”Cookin’ for a Livin”

The cookbook is so close to being available, so I thought I would send out a little tease, and this goes to my friend Ann!  Enjoy!!!!

Baked Olives & Grilled Bread

Olive Ingredients:
1 ½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup Kalamata olives
1 cup Manzanilla olives
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ finely sliced shallot
1 teaspoon Spice Islands® Parsley
½ teaspoon Spice Islands® Oregano
1 Spice Islands® Bay Leaf
¼ cup Mazola® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Zest of 1 lemon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine tomatoes, olives, garlic, onion, 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, oregano, bay leaf and olive oil in a medium size ovenproof dish. Bake 15 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to caramelize.

Bread Ingredients:
1 loaf Simply Homemade® Country White Bread, baked
¼ cup Mazola® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Spice Islands® Sea Salt
Spice Islands® Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:
Slice bread in 1” slices. Brush Bread with oil, sprinkle salt and pepper over bread. Place oil side down on hot grill or grill pan (place on an angle). Cook several minutes and rotate bread 90°F. Brush top of bread with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn bread over and repeat the cooking process as above.

Baked Olives & Grilled Bread

Baked Olives & Grilled Bread

Bon Appetito!!!!