Mango Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is an amazing Italian dessert. I love the creaminess with each bite. You can replace the mango by using any fruits you may have on hand but remember you may want to use less sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit. When heating the milk be careful to not allow the milk to scorch on the bottom, you want the mix to just heat up enough to dissolve the sugar. The honey taste amazing with the mango and the green mint gives you some color. 3 teaspoons halal gelatin 1-1/4 cup milk 1 large mango, blended 2 cups heavy cream 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract honey and mint for top (optional) 1. Sprinkle gelatin in a small bowl with 1/4 cup milk and mix. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until dissolved. In a 1-quart saucepan on medium heat add remaining milk, cream and sugar. Mix well until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla and mango. Add gelatin mixture, mix well. 2. Fill 8 ramekins or a long mold. Place in freezer for one hour then place into refrigerator and allow to sit overnight. Top dessert with honey and mint. Yields: 8 servings

Seafood Paella

Paella is my husbands all time favorite dish and he will eat it anyway. However, he loves it the best this way with lots of sea creatures as I call them, lol. I personally stick to fish, shrimp and oysters. You can also make this with your favorite seafood and chicken. This is such a delicious meal that you really can not go wrong with whatever meat you do choose. 4 tablespoons olive oil 10 baby squid 1 cup shrimp 10 octopus 1/2 cup clams 1 onion, diced 3 garlic cloves, chopped 1 red bell pepper, chopped 1 green bell pepper, chopped 3 tomatoes, diced 1-1/2 cup rice 1 cup vegetable stock 3/4 cup frozen peas 5 saffron strings soaked in 2 tablespoons hot water salt and pepper to taste 2 tablespoons parsley chopped, garnish lemon wedges to serve 1. In a saute pan on medium-high heat add olive oil. Add onion, garlic and bell peppers. Cook until tender. Add tomatoes, cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add squid, clams and octopus. Cook for 4 minutes add shrimp and peas cool and additional 1 minute. Mix well. Add rice, salt and pepper and vegetable stock. Bring to a full boil cover and reduce heat to low. Pour saffron water on top of rice. Cook for 30 minutes or until most of the stock has been adsorbed. Add to serving platter and sprinkle with parsley and add lemon wedges on the side. Yields: 4 servings

Watermelon Chiller

Nothing says summer time more then watermelon. If a watermelon is nice and ripe I have to devour it all however if it is not so sweet then this is the recipe for you to get great use out of the watermelon. All ages will go crazy over this exotic drink. 1 small watermelon, cubed and seeded 1 teaspoon rose water juice of 2 oranges sugar to taste 1 cup water mint for garnish 1. In a large bowl add watermelon and blend until juiced. Pour into a gallon container. Add sugar, orange juice, sugar, water and rose water. Mix well. Yields: 1 gallon

Chicken Jalfrezi

The flavors in this exotic Indian dish are quiet amazing. All of the vegetables should be diced very small, that is the secret to the jalfrezi. Not only is this a delicious meal but it is also a healthy one as well. You can skip the rice or use brown rice for the entire meal to be healthy. 1-1/2 pounds chicken breast, skinless and boneless 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 tablespoon garam masala 1 onion, finely diced 1 green bell pepper, finely diced 1 red bell pepper, finely diced 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes 1-inch ginger, finely chopped 1 teaspoon curry powder 2 green chili's, stem removed and slit lengthwise 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped salt to taste 1 tablespoon water 1. Cut chicken into small cubes. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add oil, onions, peppers, garlic, ginger, curry powder, water and garam masala. Cook until onion is tender. 2. Add chicken, cooking for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cilantro. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Serve with rice. Yields: 4 servings

Raita

Raita is a must for me when I eat any spicy curry. This sweet and sour mix taste perfect when you want to cool down the spiciness of the meal. 2 cups plain yogurt 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar 2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped 1/4 cup onion, finely diced 1/4 cup water 1. In a medium sized bowl add yogurt, salt, sugar and honey, mix well. Add mint, cilantro, onion and water. Mix well. Yields: 4 servings

Jani me Fasule

This is not only the most popular dish in Greece but Albania as well. The two countries share many recipes. The Greek dish however uses olive oil and mint instead of butter and paprika. This is a hearty, flavorful thick soup perfect with a light meal or cold night. 2 cups of dry white beans, soaked over night, wash and rinse 4 cups water 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/4 cup butter 3 tablespoons tomato paste 1/4 cup chopped parsley 1 tablespoon chopped paprika salt to taste 1 teaspoon chili powder 1. In a 4-quart saucepan add beans and water. Bring to a full boil and cook for 10 minutes. In a small skillet on medium heat add butter and onion. Cook until tender. Add to beans. Add tomato paste, parsley, paprika, salt and chili powder as well. Mix well. Reduce heat to low and cook covered 3- 4 hours. Adding more water if needed. Yields: 6 servings

Pomegranate Chicken Livers

In Arabic countries chicken livers are a traditional breakfast or appetizer. This is just one of many ways to cook them. This Lebanese recipe is savory in every way. Serve with fresh warm bread to scoop up with. 2 pounds (1 kg) chicken livers, washed and drained 1 large white onion, finely sliced 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon cumin 4 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons pomegranate syrup/molasses 1. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add butter. Heat until hot. Add onions cooking until tender. Add chicken livers cooking until color changes, about 10-15 minutes. Add cumin, salt, pepper and paprika, mix well. Continue cooking until liver is soft. 2. Add the pomegranate syrup, add mix. Allow to cook another 2 minutes. Yields: 4 servings

Chicken Nachos

This meal is amazing and can be made for a snack or as a meal which is the way I like it. Do not be tempted to add the salsa before baking because nothing is worse then soggy nacho chips and this recipe gives you crunchy chips. I also love green Tabasco sauce all over mine for that extra kick. These chicken nachos are a hit with anyone. nacho chips (520 grams) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese 2 scallions, chopped 1 (16 oz) can refried beans 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 1/4 cup cilantro, fresh 4 chicken breast, boneless and skinless 1 teaspoon cumin, ground 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon paprika sour cream salsa 1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a small bowl add cumin, garlic and paprika. Roll chicken in mixture. On a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add olive oil, allow to get home. Add chicken breast cooking until chicken is done and no longer pink. Remove breast from pan and cube. 2. In a 13x9inch baking pan add refried beans then nacho chips. Add chicken, tomatoes, scallions then add cheese. Sprinkle top with cilantro. Cover top with aluminum foil and allow to bake for 30 minutes covered. Serve salsa and sour cream along side nachos. Yields: 4 servings

Churros

Anything fried and rolled in sugar is a winner in my book. Ya thats pretty bad I know, lol. I love this delicious Mexican dessert. They taste especially good with hot chocolate. Many people like to dip the sweet treat into melted chocolate. 1 cup water 1 tablespoon sugar plus extra for dusting 1/2 teaspoon salt 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour 1 large egg 1 cup sunflower oil 1. In a 4-quart saucepan on high heat add water, sugar and salt. Bring to a full boil. Remove from heat and beat in flour until smooth. Beat in egg until you have a smooth dough. 2. In a 1-quart sauce pan on medium heat add oil. Allow to get hot but not to hot. Meanwhile, pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a fluted nozzle. Pipe strips (as long as you like) into the oil adding 5-6 at a time. Fry 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon remove churros and drain on a paper towel. Roll hot churros in sugar before serving. Yields: 24

Country Cornbread

In Tennessee cornbread is a staple in every home and a dish that is served daily. This is the basic recipe all homes use in Tennessee. If you come across cornbread with sugar or flour its defiantly not Southern. We love drinking a tall cold glass of milk with any meal that has cornbread. As soon as my bread comes out of the oven I add a slice of butter right in the middle to melt. I have never ate nor made cornbread not baked in an iron skillet, its pretty unheard of in the South. Getting the skillet and shortening very hot before adding the batter is a must as well. This is the same recipe women used to make on the open fire. 2 cups white cornmeal 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 egg, beat 2 cups buttermilk 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening 1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a 9-inch iron skillet add 1 tablespoon of shortening and place into oven. In a large bowl add cornmeal and 1/4 cup shortening, mix with hands until coarse. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk and egg, mix well. 2. Remove hot skillet from oven and pour batter into pan. Place back into oven and cook until golden about 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Stuffed Eggplants

I love when small eggplants are in season. I find them so much tastier and easier to cook with then the large ones. I use the same skillet when cooking the veggies and meat in this recipe as I find it gives a nice flavor to the dish. Sauteing the eggplants in olive oil makes a much healthier version and taste as if they were grilled. Cooking canned chickpeas on high and with a peppers gets the bitter taste away and makes them taste fresh. 3 pounds small eggplants, washed 1 pound lean ground beef 1/2 cup chickpeas 1 green chili 1 cup tomato sauce 2 tomatoes, diced 1 onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, mashed 1 teaspoon allspice 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon coriander salt to taste olive oil 1. Cut most of the top green part of the eggplants, leaving just the tip of the stem. Divide each eggplant lengthwise in two, sprinkle with salt and leave aside to sweat. In a 1-quart pan on medium-high heat add chickpeas, cover 1 inch above chickpeas with water, add pepper. Cook for 20 minutes, drain. 2. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add 1 tablespoon olive oil, onions and garlic. cook until tender. Add allspice, cinnamon and cumin. Mix, and remove from heat. In a large mixing bowl add contents of skillet. In the same skillet add meat. Cook until no longer pink, drain and add to bowl as well. Add chickpeas into bowl. 3. In the same skillet on medium-high heat add 4 tablespoons olive oil. Place eggplants cut side down. Allow to cook until insides are soft and the bottom is brown adding a tablespoon of oil between new batches. About 10 minutes. Drain on paper towel. 4. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Scoop insides of eggplant onto a cutting board and chop. Add to bowl. Add tomato sauce and mix together. In a baking dish place eggplants skin down and carefully scoop meat mixture into eggplants. Cover top with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes covered, uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes. Yields: 4-5 servings