Spinach and Feta Muffins

These feta muffins, also filled with spinach and roasted red peppers, were a great find.  Something a little different, a little ‘fancy’, delicious and….they took just minutes to make.  Now I call that a heck of a recipe!

With just a large bowl and a whisk, the batter comes together very quickly.  Then fold in your spinach, feta and red peppers – that’s all there is to it.

Although I love the combination of this savory muffin recipe, I can see myself playing with it in the future.  Maybe swapping out feta for goat cheese and adding chopped kalamata olives.  Blue cheese and pear with a touch of honey in the batter?  The sky’s the limit!

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cupcakes

I loved pumpkin baked goods.  Not only for their rich flavor – but also for pumpkin’s ability to keep a cake, cupcake, muffin or cookie moist.  It’s a shame that I only remember to bake with it around the holidays.

I concocted these pumpkin cupcakes from two recipes.  The cupcake base is from Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa), to which I’ve added mini chocolate chips.  The cream cheese layer and ganache frosting is from my Chocolate Ganached Cream Cheese Brownies recipes.  Put them together and “wow”.

However, they are a tad complicated.  Not hard, mind you, just a lot of steps.  You can streamline your efforts by leaving out the cream cheese layer (the pumpkin cupcakes on their own are divine) and/or using canned frosting.

With no further adieu, I bring you:

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Supernatural Brownies: From Scratch Brownies

supernatural

Let me start this post by saying that I am a fan of boxed brownie mixes.  They’re  hard to beat.  And whenever I’m making brownies where I add something to them (chocolate chips), or add a topping (chocolate ganache) or two (Chocolate Ganached Cream Cheese Brownies) – I always use a mix.  However, if I’m just serving brownies au natural, I make from scratch brownies called Supernatural Brownies from Nick Maliegi, an incredible baker.  Using only a whisk, they take just minutes to make.  And a better brownie I’ve never had.  Try making them with bittersweet chocolate – utterly sinful:)

supernaturalsude

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Butternut Squash Pasta

Diva Entertains Butternet Pasta

This butternut squash recipe is easy to prepare and beautiful to present! Perfect for a fall or winter meal.

Butternut squash is surprisingly easy to cut.  I first cut off both ends and then cut down the middle.  Then take each piece, stand them on their end, and trim off the sides.

Pappardelle is an extra wide pasta, although any pasta will work with this recipe.  I *love* pappardelle, though!

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Salmon with White Wine Caper Sauce

Diva Entertains Salmon in White Wine Sauce

I wish I were a food stylist/photographer so that I could convey how incredible this recipe is.  But alas – I never took a ‘real’ picture before this past January when I decided to blog and, well, my presentation skills are not the best.  But this recipe is!

This recipe, from Erath Vinyards, has long been a favorite with the recipe group I’m a part of.  But I never got around to trying it until recently.  Dumb move.  Because this could easily be one of the best fish recipes I’ve had.   Perfect when you are having company and want a meal that your guests will take pleasure in (and hopefully rave about, at least a bit:).

The original recipe calls for Pinot Gris but any dry white wine will work beautifully.

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Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

Diva Entertains Feta Pasta

This is a wonderful and easy pasta dish that is impressive enough for a company dinner and easy enough for a weeknight meal.  Leftovers are great too (if there are any:).

This recipe uses cherry tomatoes which tend to be a bit sweeter than most tomatoes you can purchase during off-peak seasons. And roasting teases out even more sweetness from them than if they were eaten raw.  Add a bit of balsamic vinegar to the roasting process and, voila, they are full of fabulous flavor!

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Roasted Green Beans with Onions

Diva Entertains Carmelized Green Beans and Onions

I probably make these roasted green beans with onions more than any other vegetable recipe.  The reason is two fold: 1) they are so darn easy to make, and 2) haven’t met anyone yet who hasn’t loved them.   Why is that?  Because the caramelization process (when the green beans and onions brown) brings out, naturally, the wonderfully sweet flavors of both.

This isn’t so much a recipe as a ‘throw together’ but I will give some basic directions below and, within a couple of times of making these, you’ll put aside the recipe too.  Another added benefit of this recipe?  Substitute most any other vegetable for the green beans (butternut squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts) and the recipe will still work beautifully.

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Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

Diva Entertains Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

This dish comes together in minutes, yet is elegant enough to serve to company. The rich, mahogany color of the sauced pork looks terrific when served on a bed of white rice.

The keys to success are: 1) Cut the pork into 1/4″ medallions so they cook very fast.  Two minutes or so per side and they will be done.  Try not to over cook – they are simply delicious and tender when cooked correctly. 2) For the most flavor, the sauce needs to be reduced to a syrup-like consistency.  At that point return the medallions to the pan and coat each side with the sauce (which at this point is almost a glaze) prior to serving.

I always try to quote the source of the original recipe but, alas, I don’t have a clue where this recipe came from:)

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