5/31/08

Marinated Cheese with Crackers

We are a 'cheese' loving family - especially me and my girls. More than likely if the 17 year old is in need of a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner on the run she'll grab a handful of crackers and slice a bunch of cheese to take with her. When I go grocery shopping my dairy purchases are vast; everything from American cheese slices to feta cheese, blue cheese, smoked provolone and swiss... we always have a variety on hand!

A few months ago I was browsing a site called Bake Space when I saw a picture of cheese that caught my eye because it was coupled with what looked like the ingredients for homemade salsa on it. It was a marinated cheese recipe and my mouth watered. Yum! I had to add it to my collection! Now you can to. Great for a light summer appetizer or coupled with crusty bread or crackers and a bottle of wine? Perfect 'light' dinner on a warm summer day.



Marinated Cheese

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp. minced green onions
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-oz. jar diced pimiento, drained
8-oz. block sharp Cheddar cheese
8-oz. package cream cheese
Combine first 10 ingredients in a jar, cover tightly and shake vigorously to combine.
Set marinade aside.

Cut block of Cheddar cheesein half lengthwise.
Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices; set aside.
Using a knife dipped in very hot water and wiped dry in between slices, cut the cream cheese into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Arrange cheese slices alternately in a shallow baking dish, standing slices on edges.
Pour the marinade over the cheese slices.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Transfer cheese slices to a serving platter in the same alternating fashion, reserving marinade.
Spoon marinade over cheese slices. Use cheese forks or toothpicks serve with assorted crackers.
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5/30/08

Blueberry Cream Pie

Boy, I'd love to be able to tell you where I gathered this 'oldie but a goodie' from but I have no idea! LOL. It's actually one of those that you don't really use a 'recipe' for and you just kind of dump together in a pie shell, chill and call it 'awesome' when you serve it.

Because it uses store bought, prepared foods there is almost NO work to this one! Perfect for a warm summer day and one that you might want to tuck away for use for this Fourth of July... there's an idea for ya!~

Blueberry Cream Pie

1 can blueberry pie filling
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 (8oz) sour cream
1 (8oz) cool whip
1 (4oz) cream cheese
2 shortbread pie crusts

Cream the cream cheese in medium bowl. Mix in the cool whip, sour cream, powdered sugar and small amount of lemon juice to taste. Spread into both pie crusts equally. Let stand in refrigerator for 30 min. then cover with your flavor of pie filling. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
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5/29/08

Make White Flour Healthier!

Sometimes when I'm going about my daily chores and work it suddenly hits me that "this is something I should blog about!" and this is another one of them!

I keep a container of flour in my cupboard just above my KitchenAid mixer and the counter where I do most of my mixing and baking. In this container of 'flour' I typically use an unbleached all purpose flour or a bread flour mixed with a mixture of other flours or grains, based on what I have on hand.


Typically it's about a cup of wheat bran, a cup or two of whole wheat flour, sometimes soy flour and or blended oatmeal. I fill the rest of the container with unbleached all purpose or bread flour and use a whisk to blend it well.

I use this mixture in everything from pizza dough to cinnamon rolls, homemade bread and buns to cookies. I never have to change the recipe amounts or bake time because it seems with the white flour base it turns out fine! The only difference is the addition of the fiber and nutrients of the whole grains and the color of the bread and doughs are a more earthy wheat 'white' instead of a stark white.

Try it! I think you'll agree it's an easy way to be just a bit healthier without sacrificing any flavor or putting more work into your day.
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5/28/08

Edamame with Shallots (Green Soy Beans with Shallots)

Once in a while on some of the recipe boards I frequent there will be a 'fad' kitchen product, baking pan, or even a food product that pops up that one by one everyone feels they must try. You simply are not part of the cool crowd if you don't!

Last year it was edamame. It was the buzz word. It was what the cool kids were eating. I saw many posts, blog entries and message board entries saying basically; "Help! I bought this bag of it, now what do I do with it?"

Now some of you may be saying, "Edamame. That sounds interesting. That sounds exotic. What is it!?" Uh... it's soybeans. LOL. And for a girl from the heartland of America I smile. Yep. Green soybeans. We have fields and fields and fields... (and fields and fields) of them around here.

But if you want to try them here is an idea from Delicious Living Magazine (which you already know from previous posts that I just adore).

Edamame With Shallots and Braised Greens

2 c frozen shelled edamame
2 T olive oil
2 large shallots, thin sliced
1 small head escarole (about 8 oz.) trimmed and cut crosswise into thin strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste (about 1/4 t)
6 c baby spinach leaves
crushed red pepper flakes to taste (about 1/2 t)
1/4 c grated Asiago cheese


Cook edamame in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and rise under cold water to stop the cooking process. Pat dry. While the soybeans are cooking, heat oil in large, heavy skillet. Saute' shallots on medium for 2 minutes. Add escarole and garlic, toss to coat with oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook 2 minutes and then add the edamame, spinach and red pepper flakes. Cook 1 minute until spinach wilts. Season with salt and pepper to your own taste. Top with the cheese. Serve!


147 cal., 10 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 0 cholesterol, 6 g protein, 9 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 186 g sodium
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5/27/08

Spicy Bean Soup

It's a cold, rainy day here in the heartland and my Delicious Living magazine isn't letting me down! As I flipped the pages I found a great looking recipe for a hearty soup that promises to be satisfying as well as nutritious.

Because you might not keep these particular ingredients on hand, feel free to play with the recipe a bit. I am going to too! But I'll post it as it is written as I want to add it to my collection in its original form. They suggest a piece of crusty garlic bread would be the perfect accompaniment. I concur.



Spicy Cannellini Bean Soup

1 T olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced large
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 t chopped garlic
1-2 t dried aleppo pepper
1 - 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 c vegetable broth, divided
grated parmesan cheese
1 t dried oregano

Heat oil in medium saute' pan over medium high heat until shimmering. Add onion, jalapeno and garlic; cook until golden brown (about 5-6 minutes). In a blender or food processor, combine onion mixture, aleppo pepper, beans and 1 c broth. Blend until mostly smooth. Transfer mixture to a large saucepan and add remianing 1 cup brother. Add salt and additional aleppo pepper to taste. Heat through. Serve, garnished with cheese and pinch of oregano crushed between your fingers.


150 cal.
4 g fat
0 saturated
0 cholesterol
6 g protein
22 g carbs
6 g fiber
290 g sodium
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Good Morning! Time for Waffles with a Tofu topping!

I was flipping through an old issue of Delicious Living, which is a free magazine you can pick up in most organic sections of your local grocery store and I saw the most yummy looking picture! It caught my I think in part, because I have been craving whole grain waffles lately and have 'told' myself I was going to make them at many different times over the past couple months but I admit, haven't yet gotten around to doing so. We aren't big 'breakfast' people in our house and honestly we just don't eat breakfast very often.

Well, if you do eat waffles (more often than I do) and you are looking for a healthy topping for them, look no further! How about this all natural creamy tofu based one?

Tofu Waffle Syrup

1 pound silken tofu
3 T almond butter
3 T pure maple syrup
1 t vanilla
pinch of salt
soy milk

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and whirl until smooth. Add soy milk to achieve the thickness or thinness you desire. Serve immediately over warm waffles.
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5/25/08

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (Fast and Easy using store bought items)

I was looking over the Real Simple website and saw this picture. It caught my eye because I've been craving a BBQ sandwich lately! This one calls for a rotisserie chicken, which you can get at almost any grocery store these days, but you know I'm going to also suggest that you can roast your own chicken and then shred it. *grin* I can't help it! It's the way my brain thinks.

Actually, my 'quick and easy' version involves some precooked 'grilled' chicken strips I bought at Costco last week for salads and wraps but I know it will be absolutely yummy in this.


BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

1 3 1/2- to 4-pound rotisserie chicken, meat shredded (about 5 cups)
1 to 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
1/4 cup pickled jalapeños, roughly chopped (optional)
4 hamburger buns
Potato chips (optional)

In a bowl, combine the chicken, barbecue sauce, and jalapeños (if using). Divide the mixture evenly among the bottoms of the buns and sandwich with the tops. Serve with potato chips (if using).

Yield: Makes 4 servings

From Real Simple
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5/23/08

Chicken Kabob Caesar Salad

I can tell my body knows that summer is just around the corner. Instead of craving hot pasta meals and thick soups that are perfect for cold winter nights, I'm craving grilled chicken, salads and 'lighter' fare.

I am signed up for many recipe newsletters and emails and I saw this one and could taste it just by looking at the picture! The tangy crunch of the lettuce, the smoky grilled flavor of the chicken. Yum!

You hardly need a 'recipe' for it; it's more like a reminder to make it as it's just cutting up some veggies and using bottled store bought dressing. So add this one to your collection as a reminder as to how quick and easy this would be for a summer meal!

Grilled Chicken Kabob Caesar Salad


1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 medium green onions, cut into 4-inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cut into wedges
3/4 cup Caesar dressing
1 bag (10 ounces) ready-to-eat romaine lettuce
1/2 cup croutons
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)

Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat. Thread chicken, onions and bell pepper alternately on each of four 10-inch metal skewers, leaving space between each piece. Reserve 1/2 cup of the dressing for serving. Brush skewers with remaining 1/4 cup dressing.

Cover and grill kabobs 4 to 6 inches from medium heat 10 to 12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.

Arrange kabobs on romaine; top with croutons and cheese. Serve with reserved 1/2 cup dressing.
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Jalapeno Pepper Frittata

In our home you'll usually find peppers. Red, yellow, green, jalapeno, chili or banana... we love the health benefits and the cancer fighting properties and well, like the taste!

This recipe is from one of my favorite 'free' magazines that I pick up in the organic section of my grocery store; Delicious Living.

1 1/2 T olive oil
1 c diced red/yellow bell peppers
1 c diced onion
2 lg. jalapeno peppers, minced
6 eggs
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/2 c shredded jalapeno jack cheese
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley


Preheat oven to 350. In a pan that can go into your oven heat 1 T oil over medium high heat. Add bell peppers, onion and jalpeno, toss until tender, not brown. Remove from heat. Spread mixture even over the bottom of the pan. In a bowl beat eggs with cayenne pepper and cheese. Stir in parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture over the cooled vegetables. Place pan over medium low heat and cook until the frittata is set but not brown (about 12 minutes). Transfer to the oven and cook 3-4 minutes more until cooked through. Cut into wedges to serve.
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5/21/08

Ranch and Bacon Hot Pasta Bake

One of my family's favorite cold pasta salads is one that has Ranch dressing and bacon. In the summer I make it about once every 3 weeks (I think I've posted it here - check under 'salads' on the labels to your right). But years ago I saw a recipe in an old cookbook of my Grandmas from a church or school fundraiser that I remember used ranch dressing and bacon and was hot. Since I have literally hundreds of cookbooks I have no idea where it is, but a year or two ago I must have saw this one either in a magazine or online because I jotted it down on a notecard and placed it inside another cookbook of mine. And? Here it is.


Ranch and Bacon Hot Pasta Bake

1 - 12 oz. package pasta cooked, drained
8 oz. frozen mixed vegetables (or just peas!), cooked and drained
8 oz. sour cream
1 cup real mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
1 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix
6-12 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar

Mix pasta with sour cream, mayo, milk, and dressing mix. Pour into greased casserole or 9X13" pan. Top with cheese and bacon. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
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Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

You all know me well enough to know I didn't add this one to my collection for myself. Not only do I regularly pass up chocolate if there is another choice available to me, but I have to be honest and say that when I do eat chocolate 'anything' I don't like fruit mixed with it. I can't eat Black Forest Cake or any truffles that add orange liqueur, not even chocolate and raspberry, etc. I just don't 'do' chocolate mixed fruit. But my families does and I suspect you do too or you wouldn't be looking for this recipe now would you? LOL. Enjoy.


Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies

1/2 cups butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
48 maraschino cherries, blotted dry

FROSTING:
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 to 3 tsp. maraschino cherry juice

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture (batter will be very firm). Shape into 48 balls, about 1 in. round; place on ungreased baking sheets. Push one cherry halfway into each ball. For frosting, melt chocolate chips in condensed milk in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add enough cherry juice to achieve a spreading consistency; stir until smooth. Spoon 1 teaspoon of frosting over each cherry (the frosting will spread over cookie during baking).
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: 4 dozen
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5/20/08

Another Made Up Pizza - Spinach, Chicken and Bacon Pizza with Garlic Sauce

Remember when I made up the Creamy Chicken Garlic Pizza last January? Well, this idea stemmed from that one since I used the same sauce.

Regular readers all know by now that I make 2-3 homemade pizzas every single Saturday night. It's a given that if it's Saturday, it's pizza night. It's been that way since oh, 1997 or 1998 (?) when I implemented "Family Night" with our three itty bitty children and we would watch the Friday night line up of shows on tv and have pizza and popcorn. Over the years we switched it to "Movie Night" and then later had to move it to Saturday to accommodate for high school varsity football games.

Last Saturday my oldest daughter asked that I make something with spinach and bacon on it along with a white sauce. No problem. I used the creamy garlic sauce that I love so much for the base;

Creamy Garlic Pizza Sauce

4 T butter
1 1/2 T minced garlic
1 1/2 T flour
3/4 c heavy cream
1/4 c parsley
garlic salt

Melt the butter in a pan on the stove. Add the garlic and quickly saute' over medium heat for 1 minute until tender but not brown. Whisk in flour until smooth and add cream and parsley. Stir quickly until thick. Add garlic salt to taste. Spread over a pizza crust.

Add;

fresh or frozen/thawed/drained chopped spinach
cooked, crumbled bacon (I buy Hormel Real Bacon in a package from Costco and keep it in the freezer)
cooked, diced chicken
thin sliced rings of red onion
smoked provolone
mozzarella

Bake at 400 degree's approximately 17- 20 minutes until golden brown on the edges and the crust is done in the center.

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5/19/08

Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting

Of the many foods I didn't grow up eating in my own childhood household, pumpkin bars and spice cakes were a couple of them. I remember having my first taste of a spice 'bar' at a coffee/cookies reception after one of my elementary school concerts. While most kids were probably gobbling up the cookies I always went for different foods, things like the orange and brown colored bars with creamy white frosting. That is how I discovered wonderful new foods like the bars I mentioned. Since then another favorite of mine has been spice cakes. Almost any spice cake is delicious and I have no idea why! They are so simple to make as well - just dump everything in, mix and bake. The only time I've ever messed up a spice cake is by over baking it.


Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting

2 1/2 c Flour
1 c sugar
3/4 cup brown Sugar
1 t salt
1 t baking Powder
3/4 t Baking soda
3/4 tsp cloves
1 t nutmeg
3/4 t cinnamon
3/4 c shortening
1 1/4 c Buttermilk
3 eggs
1 c chopped nuts

Beat all ingredients with mixer on low speed 30 sec then on high speed 3 minutes. Pour into Pam sprayed 9X13"pan. Bake at 350 degrees 35-40 minutes. Cool before frosting.

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan. Stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling stirring constantly.Boil and stir over low heat for 2 minutes Stir in milk. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually stir in powdered sugar and salt. Place saucepan in a pan of cold water and beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. Spread on cooled cake.
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German Chocolate Upside Down Cake

When I saw this recipe listed in an old church recipe book I just smiled. I grew up with my Grandma H making this cake but I had never made it myself. In my family they aren't crazy about the coconut/pecan mixture (although it's one of my favorite frostings and I have a can of it in the cupboard this very second that I sometimes scoop a teaspoon of out and eat it right up!). So I've not made this one, but I have it in my collection. Now it's in yours too!


German Chocolate Upside-Down Cake

1 c. shredded coconut
2 sticks butter
1 c pecan pieces
12 oz. cream cheese
1 box German chocolate
1 16 oz box powdered sugar
cake batter - made from a mix according to directions or from scratch

Mix coconut and pecan pieces. Spread Mixture on bottom of a greased 13x 9 pan. Follow directions on box of cake mix and pour over coconut and pecans. In saucepan, heat butter and cream cheese. Stir until smooth enough to mix in powdered sugar. Spread over cake. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
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Cranberry Bars with Craisins

When I was a child the only way I knew of the word 'cranberry' was a gelled substance served by my Grandmother at Thanksgiving that came straight from a can and still had the rings it its can-shaped form on a serving plate. It wasn't until I was out of high school that I gave cranberries any thought of all and that was only after I was in charge of making my own Thanksgiving Dinners.

I've came a long way since then. I absolutely love cranberries now, although I still don't like cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. I use cranberries to make homemade sauces, I use them in cheesecakes and coffee cakes and bars. I also love them in dried form, which you can purchase as "Craisins" in the grocery store next to the raisins. These bars use craisins, which will give you the health benefits of the cranberries but in a 'fun' form.


Cranberry Bars made with Craisins

Cake
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup diced dried craisins
6 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks

Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup diced craisins

And more of the white chocolate for the drizzle over the top.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the cake:

Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt; beat well. Gradually mix in flour until smooth. Mix 3/4 cup diced dried craisins and white chocolate into the batter by hand. Pour batter into a well-greased 9x13-inch baking pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges. Let cool.

For the frosting:

Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, orange juice and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, spread frosting over the top of cake. Sprinkle top with diced craisins.

For the drizzle:
Melt white chocolate either in the microwave or in a double boiler until smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate over craisins in a sweeping motion or use a ziploc bag with the corner snipped.

Allow cake to sit for several hours, then slice the cake lengthwise through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.
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5/17/08

Homemade Spicy French Fries (or Steak Fries) out of Leftover Baked Potatoes

One evening last week we had baked potatoes with grilled steaks for dinner. We had leftover potatoes so I popped them into the refrigerator to think about what to do with them 'later'. Typically an easy answer is to make potato salad with them but in our area of the country it was still freezing cold and the thought of a summery potato salad wasn't appetizing. Also, my husband and oldest daughter will eat it, but it's not a favorite of my younger two kids. No problem, I can always come up with different ideas.

Sure enough the next night I looked at the potatoes (russets) and said; I'm going to make fries! And I did. Did I use a recipe? Well, no - of course not, it's me right? LOL. But I can tell you what I basically did and you can do it too. Remember; Cooking is not a science... it's a creative outlet!



Slice the precooked, cold potatoes into lengthwise slices.
Slice each (stacked) into 'sticks' the size of steak fries - a little thicker than regular french fries

In a Ziploc baggy or plastic container with a tight fitting lid, mix about 1 cup of flour for every 3-4 potatoes. Add seasonings to your families taste. A good mixture would be to use 3 of them. Some suggestions;

paprika
onion salt or powder
garlic powder or salt
pepper
taco seasoning mix
any spicy store bought or homemade mix
salt
lawrys salt
basil
chili powder
Cayenne pepper
chipolte pepper


My family loves them spicy so I use a mixture of about 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika, 1/2 t onion powder, 1/2 t garlic powder, 2 t cayenne pepper, 1/2 t chipolte pepper, 1 t chili powder and then some fresh cracked black pepper.

Place the dry mixture of flour and seasonings in a ziploc baggy or new Twist N'Loc container* for ease of covering the potatoes.

Cover a cookie sheet with foil and add canola or olive oil to cover the sheet in a light layer. This will help crisp your fries. Place a handful of fries at a time into the Ziploc and shake gently to completely cover the fries with the spicy flour mixture. Gently remove them with a slotted spoon or carefully with your fingers to allow the excess flour to fall and place the fries on the baking sheet. Continue with all the fries.

Bake at 375 for approximately 15-25 minutes (depending on how thick and large you cut them), turning once until crisp. My family likes them very crispy so I finish them off by placing them under the broiler for about 3 minutes.



*I'm a Bzzz Agent and this is one of the products I was sent in the mail to try and let others know what I think of them.
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5/15/08

The Recipe that Made My Husband LOVE Brussels Sprouts


In our home the three kids have been raised with the 'three bite rule' so they've had Brussels Sprouts before... many times. But I accept that they don't care for them (yet, LOL) and I always make sure that when they are served I include or two other vegetable choices. My husband has hated them all his life and although I don't make him follow the 'three bite rule' (hee hee) he does typically trust me and try most things although never in 20 years has he actually liked Brussels Sprouts.

So what happened? Last night he ate a quarter of a bag of them! Ok, let's back up a bit. I've always loved Brussels Sprouts. Even as a kid, you put butter, salt and pepper on them and I'd gobble them up. When I got older and discovered the joy of cheese sauce I had them both ways and was happy for it. I learned with the children that when they were younger they would eat almost anything with a cheese sauce (or ranch dressing!) on it - so every 6 months or so I'd serve the sprouts with lots of Velveeta based sauce and they would eat their 3 spouts. My husband? Not so much. Once in a great while.

Last night when I was serving them for dinner I assumed I would be the only one eating them. We had Chicken Cordon Bleu with baked potatoes for everyone else and Brussels Sprouts for me. Knowing I didn't care if anyone else ate them (they were mine! mine! all mine!) I made them how I wanted... which is, I decided to saute them and caramelize them a bit.

Well goll darn if my husband didn't declare them to smell 'awesome' but then announced he wanted a ton of them for dinner on his plate too. Wait a minute! I only made half a bag - enough for me! LOL. But... I shared.

And guess what? My husband is now in love with Brussels Sprouts and has informed me that he could eat these just as often as I serve broccoli, green beans and other veggies. Bring it on!


I didn't use a recipe (no surprise there, eh?) So here is what I did.


How I Got My Husband to Love Brussels Sprouts... Brussels Sprouts.

1/2 of a 16 oz. package frozen Brussels Sprouts (about 1 1/4 cups)
water to boil
real butter - about 4 tablespoons
fresh or bottled minced garlic - about 1 tablespoon or 3 small garlic cloves, minced

Place the sprouts in about 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan on the stove and bring to boil just until tender. Drain. Add the butter and garlic and cook, stirring and shaking the pan over medium high heat to caramelize the butter and garlic. When the edges of the Brussels Sprouts are golden brown and the bits of garlic are also golden and brown, add just a slight hint of salt and serve hot.
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Stuffed Olive Cheese Bread

One of my good friends likes a recipe we make called a Lava Loaf - which is bread stuffed with a yummy garlic cheese mixture. When I came across this recipe about oh, 4 or 5 (?) years ago it caught my eye because as much as I love the garlic cheese mixtures, I also love olives and this uses both black and green! Yum! So here it is; perfect for a summer evening on the deck with a nice bottle of wine.

Stuffed Olive Cheese Bread

1 regular can of black olives.
6-oz jar of pimento stuffed olives
2 green onions, chopped
3/4 pound of Monterey Jack Cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 stick butter
1 loaf of French Bread

Combine the chopped olives and green onions with the butter. Add the mayonnaise and cheese. Mix thoroughly. Slice the French bread in 1/2 lengthwise and scoop out a small line of breading from the center all the way down to make a small indentation in the loaf to fill. Spread each 1/2 with the cheese/olive mixture. Bake at 325 for about 25 minutes.
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Summer Wine Cake

With the warmer weather our bodies start to crave things that are 'light' and 'fruity' verses the comforting food that cold winter nights require. One of my favorite desserts is a 'white' cake. Yet, you can do so much with white cake! The possibilities are really endless. Here is yet another version that starts with a store bought cake, but is so fruity and pretty that no one will know unless you tell them.


Summer Wine Cake


1 package Duncan Hines white cake mix
1(3-oz.) package of blackberry, peach or strawberry gelatin
4 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup blackberry, peach or strawberry wine

Blackberry (peach or strawberry) Wine Glaze
To Make Wine Glaze: Mix together 1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and 1/2 cup blackberry wine.


Directions:
1: Preheat oven to 325 degrees,
2: Grease and flour 10-inch bundt pan
3: In large bowl, stir together cake mix and dry gelatin.
4: Add eggs, oil, and wine and beat on low speed until blended.
5: Pour batter into prepared pan; bake in oven 40-45 minutes, remove from oven.
6: While cake is still in the pan and warm, pour half of the wine glaze over the cake, let stand for 10 minutes.
7: Remove cake from pan and allow to cool completely.
8: Pour remaining glaze over cake.
9: Garnish with fresh fruit (same used in cake), a dollop of whipped cream or creme fraiche, and a sprig of fresh mint.
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5/14/08

Chicken and Pasta Alfredo with broccoli and carrots


Sometimes it's difficult to run a website that is all about recipes when in fact you rarely 'follow' a recipe. LOL. Oh, I use them for 'guides' but as I've stated many times, I use 2 or 3 or 4 to read, get ideas from and then 'wing it'. I like for my readers to do that too! It's how I've taught my girls to cook and it's how I'm hoping a few of you are cooking as well. The kitchen is a place to have fun, try new things and get creative. Although some might disagree with me... cooking is not a science. How the ingredients sometimes work together is a science... but cooking and getting creative in the kitchen is not.

Yesterday I looked in the refrigerator and of course, with the cost of groceries going sky high, you want to try to use up everything you can. I happened to have 3/4 a bottle of store bought alfredo sauce on hand that needed to be used up (Came as a 'freebie' in a double pack of Cabernet Marinara at Costco), some leftover fresh broccoli from a veggie tray earlier this week and leftover chicken from a roast chicken we also had earlier.

  • Alfredo Sauce
  • Broccoli
  • Chicken

Well duh! LOL.



De-boned and diced leftover roast chicken



Leftover veggies, cooked briefly in the microwave
Leftover alfredo sauce
Boiled whole grain pasta

Because we needed more sauce than what was in the jar I mixed up a basic white sauce with about 2 tablespoons flour in 3 tablespoons melted butter. Tossed in about a tablespoon of fresh minced garlic, then I added about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of milk all at once and stirred briskly until thick and then added about 3 ounces cream cheese and a little salt and pepper. When it's thick and smooth add the alfredo sauce.




Mix everything together and serve with a crusty warm bread!

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5/13/08

Time to Switch From Winter to Summer... A Splenda Recipe

You already know that I'm not a fan of chocolate, and that applies to the drink 'hot chocolate' as well. I know some people love to dip hot buttered toast in their hot chocolate, or some want it filled with marshmallows, topped with whipped cream or even add a splash of liqueur to it, but in the summer time when the temperature is rising, what would taste better? How about Frozen Hot Chocolate! And even better? How about it if it's sugar free?

I'm a fan of Splenda and have been since we started using it in 2002. Although I don't regularly cook with it (because of the texture difference in the finished product) there are many items that it works perfect in and this is one of them.

I regularly get Splenda updates and their newsletter and last year they sent out this recipe in their email news. I copied it down and added it to my files for my friends and family to enjoy during the hot summer months... and hope you will do the same.






Frozen Hot Chocolate

Frozen Hot Chocolate

Makes: 2 (1 1/4-cup) servings

1 1/2 cups ice cubes
1/4 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated, or 6 SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Packets
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons instant nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a blender in the order listed; process mixture until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides.


Nutrition Information per Serving

Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup
Calories: 220
Calories from Fat: 80
Total Fat: 9g
Saturated Fat: 6g
Cholesterol: 5mg
Sodium: 80mg
Total Carbohydrate: 30g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 24g
Protein: 8g

Exchanges Per Serving: 1 1/2 starches, 1/2 lowfat milk, 1 fat

This recipe, when compared to a traditional recipe, has a 32% reduction in calories, a 42% reduction in carbohydrates, and a 50% reduction in sugars!






© McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, 2007

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Salmon Loaf... Unbelieveably Good and Perfect for leftover salmon!

Last weekend we grilled salmon filet's for dinner.

I don't marinate our salmon ahead of time as our family likes it seasoned with olive oil and a heavy dose of lemon pepper seasoning and then I mix up some seasoned butter (using whatever I feel like at the time. Sometimes it's more lemon pepper with some garlic, other times I use a heavy dose of dill and the last two times it was marjoram and garlic... all are amazing.) After mixing, roll up tightly in a piece of plastic wrap, form a roll and refrigerate until it's time to serve. At that point, slice the butter in to 'coins' and place on the hot salmon to melt and serve the extras with dinner so everyone can add a couple more after their salmon is cut. Delicious!

And now... on to what I did with the leftovers.


Mixing up a seasoned butter and forming it into a log
for slicing 'coins' to serve with grilled salmon



Salmon Loaf

1/4 c fresh chopped/minced onion
1 t dried dillweed
1 T butter
1 slightly beaten egg
1/4 - 1/3 c milk or cream
1 c soft bread crumbs
Leftover salmon to equal about 1 1/2 - 2 cups or about 15 oz.
*can use a can of salmon but the flavor won't be as good as using leftover seasoned, grilled salmon

In a microwaveable bowl place the onion, dill and pepper with the pat of butter. Microwave about 2-3 minutes until the onion is tender. Combine the egg, bread crumbs, milk and onion mixture. Add the salmon, breaking it apart as you add it. Mix with your hands for best blending. Shape into a loaf and place in a bread loaf pan (6X3") that has been greased or sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Broil for a few minutes to crisp up the top if you prefer a slight crust on your salmon loaf.

Top with a white sauce to which you've added a peas and/or some cheese.

Simple White Sauce

2 T butter
1 T flour
1/2 t salt
1/8 t white pepper
1/8 t paprika
3/4 c milk
1 T lemon juice
1/2 c frozen pea's - thawed

Microwave the butter until melted; add the flour and seasonings, then the milk and lemon juice. Microwave 4-5 minutes, stirring after each minute. Add 1/2 cup peas. Stir and serve over salmon.
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5/12/08

Product Review - Seattle's Best Coffee - Henry Blend

A month or so back I saw an online ad for a free sample of Seattle's Best Coffee. I chose the sample "Henry's Blend" because it sounded like a delicious description and my Grandfathers name happens to be Henry so there was a bit of nostalgia there too.

On Saturday my sample was delivered. This morning, (Monday) I was preparing to grind the beans to make my morning brew when I decided to use the sample instead. I'm sipping it now and here is what is going through my head; The aroma is of course no where near the tantalizing aroma you get with fresh ground beans. So I have to get past that because of course, this is pre-ground coffee and once you've started grinding your own it's hard to go back.

When I breathe deep I can almost smell a hint of 'burnt' bean but I have a very, very sensitive nose (it's genetic) and most people won't be able to pick up on that... including my husband.

The flavor is smooth. Not acidic. It's a mild cup of coffee with just enough hint of strong to make someone like my mother think it's 'strong' while anyone who regularly purchases their coffee from a coffee house will find it to be a very mild blend. The flavor doesn't have any one word that stands out. It's simply a very pleasant, mild cup of coffee that if pressed, I would say almost has a 'sweet' after taste to it. As if a light dusting of sugar drifted through the air and landed in it. Not enough to be so overt that you can 'taste' it but the aftertaste is definitely a sweet one.

Overall it's not a bad cup. I like bold coffee's in the morning so I would say this one would be good after dinner with dessert or relaxing with friends. When a light, mild coffee is called for.
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5/10/08

White Pie (Like a Vanilla Custard Pie)

My favorite ice cream? Soft serve vanilla. My favorite cake? White vanilla with white frosting. Is it any surprise to know that I also love "White Pie"?

White pie served covered in whipped cream with crushed almonds or pecans on top is simply divine... although you can see in my photo that I had to leave the nuts off the whole pie because my family frowns on such things. LOL. My kids like it plain... but they don't like nuts in their cookies either! (Go figure... they LOVE nuts plain! Especially pistachio's and cashews... but in or on their foods? Not so much.)

I like this pie because it combines my two favorite flavors; vanilla and almond. Enjoy!


White Pie

2 T flour
2 T cornstarch
1 scant cup sugar
1/4 t salt
4 egg whites
2 c milk
2 T real butter
2 t clear vanilla (use regular if you don't have clear)
1/4 t almond extract

1 baked and cooled pie shell
whipped cream (homemade, not Cool Whip! Ewww.)
2 T ground nuts - almonds or pecans preferred

In a saucepan cook the flour, sugar, salt, egg whites and milk until bubbling. Stir constantly and let cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the almond and vanilla extracts. Pour into your cooled pie shell and lay saran wrap or plastic wrap on the surface immediately to keep it from forming a skin. Chill 5-6 hours at least to completely cool and chill. Serve with whipped cream and ground nuts sprinkled on top.

*I think this would also be wonderful with some sweetened coconut added to the filling before pouring into the pie. I may try that next time!
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Homemade Dumplings with Corn Starch

It is a cold, dreary, rainy day in the American Housewife Household and on days like this I just want to curl up in a corner of the couch with a good book and read all day, only to sit down to a warm, comfort meal at night. One of my favorite 'comfort' meals is dumplings. I think I've mentioned that before and I'm sure I'll mention it again! Some people add fancy shmancy ingredients trying to change them, and cook them in chicken broth and such... which to me just makes them more like dumplings or noodles in homemade chicken noodle soup - and not a real normal, basic dumpling.

The interesting thing about this particular recipe? It uses corn starch. Growing up eating dumplings from the time I was quite literally an infant, my family never used corn starch in theirs! I was surprised when I found this in a public newspaper and clipped it for interest. What do you think? Do you prefer your dumplings made with corn starch or with only flour?

Dumplings

1 egg beaten
½ cup milk
1 cup unsifted flour
2/3 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Sift the dry ingredients, combine egg & milk add to dry ingredients. Stir just till moistened. Drop in broth & cover and cook 15-20 minutes. (I obviously would drop in boiling water and then cook and drain... served with butter and salt and pepper! YUM!)
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5/9/08

Consider Thyme

I've found myself outside staring at my garden and envisioning just what I want to plant this year and how to lay it out. (I can do this because I live in the frigid Midwest and we are just now starting to warm up around here... I know that my Texas friends have enjoyed 80 degree weather since March! LOL - but my Canadian friend just got snow yesterday... so it's all relative!)

Consider planting a couple herbs. Why? Well... have you priced fresh herbs in the store lately!? I've blogged previously about planting basil but today I want to introduce you to thyme. The first photo is a bunch of thyme from my garden last Fall. While I used it fresh all summer, when the Fall and cooler weather came, I simply clipped some, bound it together and let it dry. Once dry I put in a baggy in the cupboard and have been able to enjoy it all winter.



What can you use it in? Chicken for one! It's magical with chicken! But also in salads and on fish too. Here is a quick photo I snapped earlier this week when I made a roasted chicken with rosemary and olive oil seasoned potatoes. You can see the whole sprigs of thyme I simply placed on top of the chicken before roasting and then when it was done I removed them to serve the meal. The aroma that filled our home that evening was simply divine.



Sprigs of thyme and minced fresh garlic on the chicken before baking



It was heavenly!




For literally mere pennies you can have all the fresh thyme you desire and more! Buy one package of seeds and you have a thyme garden that will last you years as your thyme will come back year after year.
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5/8/08

Homemade Chocolate Pie


Yesterday I baked a 'White Pie' which is almost like a vanilla custard pie and today I baked a homemade chocolate pie. I knew my crew would be thrilled, but I was surprised at how much I loved it as well. Even this girl who doesn't care for chocolate... had two slices! Yum.

So easy really... easy as uh, pie!


CHOCOLATE PIE

1 baked and cooled pie crust or use a graham crust
2 - 1 oz. bars unsweetened chocolate
2 1/2 c milk
1 c sugar or splenda
1/3 c corn starch
1/2 t salt
3 or 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten*
1 T butter (not margarine!)
1 t vanilla
whipped cream
chocolate curls or mini chips


In a medium saucepan place 1 cup milk and the 2 bars of chocolate. Over medium low, melt slowly, whisking until smooth. In a bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Blend in the remaining 1 1/2 c milk and the egg yolks. Whisk smooth and gradually stir into the chocolate mixture on the stove. Raise heat to medium/medium high and whisk continuously until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute, remove from heat. Add vanilla and butter. It should be fairly thick by this point. Poor into the pie shell and press a piece of plastic or saran wrap on the surface to prevent a 'skin' from forming. Refrigerate 5-6 hours. Before serving cover the top with whipped cream and sprinkle with curls or mini chips.

*If you make the 'white pie' the same day or the day before you can use the yolks that you don't use in the white pie as you only use the whites for it. If you are making this alone just use 3 yolks.










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5/7/08

Homemade Puff Pastry - Basic

This past week I've had a hard time getting one of my favorite pastries out of my head... Cream Horns! YUM! And when I looked up the recipe here on my site I laughed to see it was almost exactly one year ago that I gave you the recipe!

How ironic is that? Just 2 days off. So... I'm thinking it would be kind of fun to make them on May 9th again... perhaps that can be a funny, quirky tradition to make Cream Horns (Lady Locks) every year on May 9th? I actually have made them twice since then and I admit I still haven't found the perfect puff pastry dough.

Yes, using the store bought Pepperidge Farm version is much, much easier but it was so greasy that I had a hard time with that. The first and second homemade versions were more like a cookie and not the flaky pastry that I was going for. Perhaps I don't have enough French blood in me to make a perfect homemade puff pastry... but I'm going to keep trying!



Basic Puff Pastry


¼ cup butter

1¾ cup all-purpose flour, chilled

½ cup cold water

¾ cup butter, softened

¼ cup all-purpose flour, chilled


Cut ¼ cup butter into 1¾-cup flour with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time evenly over surface; stir with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Shape into a ball, and wrap in wax paper. Chill 15 minutes.

Combine ¾ cup butter and ¼ cup flour; stir until smooth. Shape mixture into a 6-inch square on wax paper. Chill 5 minutes.

Roll pastry into a 15-inch circle on a lightly floured surface; place chilled butter mixture in center of pastry. Fold left side of pastry over butter mixture; fold right side of pasty over left. Fold upper and lower edges of pastry over butter; making a thick square.

Working quickly, place pastry, folded side down, on a lightly floured surface; roll pastry into a 20 x 8-inch rectangle. Fold rectangle into thirds, beginning with short side. Roll pastry into another 20 x 8- inch rectangle; again fold rectangle into thirds.

Wrap pastry in wax paper, and chill about 2 hours.

Repeat rolling, folding, and chilling.

Process 2 times. Chill 2 hours.
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Maid-Rites (Loose Meat Sandwiches from the Midwest)

A few years ago, when we were living in Tennessee, my father came to visit and while out to eat he asked the waitress if they had anything on the menu like a 'loose meat sandwich'. I was pretty mortified because that sounds... well, gross. What played out was almost like a shtick of "Who's On First?".

I knew what he meant. She didn't.

He continued, "You know... ahhh, a loose meat sandwich, a Maid-Rite sandwich."

"Made right?"

"Yeah... Maid-Rite. You know... loose meat on a bun."

"You mean bbq beef?"

"No... more like a sloppy joe without the sauce."

"Sloppy Joe?"

He gave up. I think he ordered a burger. LOL.

In the state of Iowa (and maybe a couple more sprinkled in the surrounding states) you'll find a 'loose meat' sandwich called a Maid-Rite. It's a restaurant with a red and white classic sign and having personally met the ower and his wife through my previous position when I was still a career woman, I can tell you that he would look as perfect in a 1950's style white shirt and bow tie as his classic signs do. Right out of the 50's but with a taste that never gets old to those that love it.

Served with mustard and pickles on the side (and ketchup for those who must have it) it's a ground beef sandwich without any tomato products, bbq sauce or other heavy binders. It's a taste a lot of people love and many people try to create.


Maid-Rites

1 lb. ground beef
salt and pepper
2 t instant beef bouillon granules
instant dried minced onion or finely minced fresh


In a large skillet sauté beef until redness is gone. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle two teaspoons of instant beef bouillon over the meat and add a little onion just to taste and enough water to barely reach the top of the meat and let simmer until the water has cooked away. Serve on warm buns.
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5/6/08

More Hints and Helps; from waterproofing a headscarf to removing scuff marks!

To water-proof a head scarf or any other fabric or material that can be ironed, simply iron them with a good quality of wax paper as a "press cloth". When clothes are laundered, the wax washes out and you can waterproof them again in the same way.

To slice fresh bread, hold knife under very hot water until it is hot. A hot blade will cut the freshest bread into perfectly smooth slices.

To remove the black marks caused by non rubber heals, apply a little squirt of white toothpaste with a soft cloth. Remove toothpaste with a damp cloth.

Another way to remove a black scuff mark from a floor other material is to use a dry papertowel and rub the area (do not dampen it!) or use the 'magic eraser' that hit the markets a few years ago. They both take scuff marks right off.




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Focaccia Turkey Club Sandwich

Sometimes I completely forget to add recipes for 'sandwiches' because really, doesn't it just seem well, weird to have a recipe for something like a sandwich? LOL. Sandwiches are one of those foods that just taste great no matter what you seem to do to them! LOL. But perhaps this can spur you into creativity or maybe even just remind you to make it. Either way the avocado and turkey and bacon and mayo just makes my mouth water!


Focaccia Turkey Club Sandwich


8 slices cooked bacon
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 t minced cilantro
2 t minced parsley
2 Focaccia breads
10 slices turkey breast
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 avocado, peeled & sliced
2 c alfalfa sprouts

Combine the mayonnaise with cilantro and parsley. Cut each focaccia in half, forming 4 (8x4-inch) rectangles. Spread half of the mayonnaise on top of 2 of the focaccia halves. Layer half of the turkey, tomato, bacon, avocado, and alfalfa sprouts onto each. Spread the bottoms of the focaccia with more mayonnaise and cover the sandwich fillings. Cut into halves or thirds.
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Hamburger Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

When I was a child, some of my favorite foods actually came from; SCHOOL! Yes, it's true I was blessed! I went to a Catholic school with an older woman who had been cook there since Jesus walked the Earth and boy could she cook! This was in the early 80's when the government didn't have a tight fist over what could/should be served in the schools and I am ever so thankful because we had school lunches that were known for miles around. All the other kids in other schools were jealous.

One of my favorite comfort foods that they would make about once a month (and I would gobble it up and go back for seconds...) was Hamburger Gravy over hot mashed potatoes. Yum! It's something my family never had at home and actually had forgotten about until I was surfing the internet and came across this one. I couldn't wait to add it to my collection!



Hamburger Gravy

1 lb ground beef
1 can beef broth divided
1 onion chopped
2 T dried parsley
1 T dried basil
1 t garlic salt
1 t Lawry's seasoned salt
pepper to taste
2 T Cornstarch
Hot mashed potatoes

In a large skillet, cook beef and drain. Add 1 1/2 cups beef broth, onion, parsley, basil, garlic, seasoning salt and pepper. Pour in beef and simmer uncovered till onions are tender about 10 minutes. In a small bowl mix cornstarch and remaining broth till smooth. Stir into beef mixture. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thick. Serve over mashed potatoes
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5/5/08

Five Cup Salad

I admit that I'm adding this recipe for all of YOU but certainly not for me. I'm not a fruit salad kind of girl nor a 'sweet' salad kind of girl. Anything that blends fruit and marshmallows or even jello with well... anything (!) is not something I'm going to be eating. I also cringe at the thought of whipped cream mixed with fruit, jello or my desserts. I know.. I'm difficult aren't I? LOL.

However - this is one recipe that was a favorite of Great Grandmother, my Great Aunts, my Grandmother AND my own Mother. Somewhere in the genes that sweet tooth was lost because I don't have it. Ha. But for all of you looking for a nice Spring or summer fruit salad, here you go. Knock yourself out!


Five Cup Salad

1 cup mandarin oranges (drained)
1 cup pineapple (cut up & drained)
1 cup mini-marshmallows (white or pastel)
1 cup coconut
1 cup sour cream


Mix and chill in refrigerator overnight.
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Creamy Garlic Dressing

I am sooo excited to say that Spring has finally hit the upper Midwest! This past week we had to put up with what I *hope* is a last blast of 30 degree weather and even snow just north of us, but today I was just out in our garden surveying the layout and deciding when and how to plant this year. (Hush all you readers from Texas that have had 80 degree weather for a month already! LOL).

When the warmer weather hits we instantly start to crave fruits and salads. Something instinctive sends me to the store for lettuce and berries. Ha ha. So today I am digging through some of my warmer weather recipes and making menu's for the next couple weeks.

If you have a garlic lover (as I do!) in the family, check out this recipe for a creamy garlic salad dressing. Not only delicious but healthy too! Garlic is a power food!



Creamy Garlic Dressing

¼ cup lemon juice
¾ cup salad oil
2/3 cup light cream
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon paprika


in your blender until smooth and creamy. Makes 2 cups.
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5/4/08

Heads Up! We've Got Another Beef Recall

NEW YORK (AP) -- A New York food company is recalling more than 286,000 pounds of meat and poultry because it might be contaminated with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes.

The voluntary recall includes several different brands of fresh and frozen products made by Gourmet Boutique, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Saturday.

Included are some types of chicken salad and sandwiches sold under the name Gourmet Boutique, and several frozen wraps and burritos sold under the names "Jan's" and "Archer Farms."

The problem was discovered through sampling by federal food safety inspectors and Florida agriculture officials, the USDA said.

There have been no reports of illnesses associated with the recalled foods, but the bacteria can potentially cause Listeriosis, an illness that can cause high fever, headache and nausea.

People with depressed immune systems could also suffer a fatal infection.

Gourmet Boutique said in a recorded phone message that it had made "environmental changes" at its plants to prevent a repeat of the problem.
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5/2/08

Potato Casserole

Can you ever have too many old stand-by recipes for things like potatoes? Affordable and simple they make a great last minute side dish. This is one of those recipes that most women (and men) don't bother to write down as you just find them 'throwing it together' yet if you look at simple church fundraiser cookbooks you'll find versions of it in almost every one.

Enjoy!


Potato Casserole

8 large unpeeled potatoes, cooked and diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 c mayonnaise

8oz Velveeta cheese, cubed

1/2 c cooked, crumbled bacon

Mix all ingredients. Place in a greased casserole dish or 9x13 pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a 375 oven, uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
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5/1/08

Artichoke, spinach and mozzarella bread pudding

This recipe comes from Food & Wine and when I saw it my mouth started to water! I absolutely LOVE anything with artichokes and spinach. I was excited to find it and add it to my collection of recipes. I hope you are too!

Artichoke, Spinach, and Mozzarella Bread Pudding


* 2 10- ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, drained, and squeezed dry
* 1 9- ounce package defrosted frozen artichoke hearts, diced and drained on paper towels
* 3 scallions including green tops, chopped
* 1 quart 1/2-inch cubes of good-quality white bread
* 1/2 pound grated mozzarella (about 2 cups)
* 4 eggs
* 2 cups milk
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

* Heat the oven to 350°. Butter an 8-by-12-inch baking dish or a 1 1/2-quart gratin dish. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, artichoke hearts, scallions, bread cubes, and half the mozzarella. Spread this mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining mozzarella.
* In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Pour over the vegetables and bread and press the bread into the liquid, making sure that it's well moistened.
* Bake the bread pudding for 20 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 400° and bake until the pudding is puffed and browned, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
* Notes: Defrost frozen vegetables quickly by removing them from the package and putting them into a bowl of hot water. You may need to squeeze or blot the vegetables dry on paper towels before using them, but the defrosting will take only minutes.
* Wine Recommendation: Chardonnays from northern Italy tend to be lighter and crisper than those from California or France. For a delicious partner to this rich bread pudding, see if you can find an unoaked example from the Alto Adige or Trentino.
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