Monday, May 25, 2009

BLT Pasta Salad

This was a great addition to our BBQ This Weekend. The Flavors were great. This would be a great dish for a potluck....Enjoy!

BLT Pasta Salad
Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine
• 2 ounces corkscrew-shaped pasta (or any shape yoiu have on hand)
• 1/2 cup milk
• 12 ounces lean bacon
• 3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup sour cream
• 4 tablespoons chopped chives or scallion greens
• 5 heads Bibb lettuce, quartered, or 5 cups chopped romaine hearts
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water as the label directs. Drain and toss with the milk in a large bowl; set aside.( Tossing the pasta with milk keeps it from getting gummy)
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but 3 tablespoons drippings from the pan. Add the tomatoes, thyme and garlic to the pan and toss until warmed through; season with salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon into bite-size pieces; set aside 1/4 cup for garnish. Toss the remaining bacon and the tomato mixture with the pasta.
Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream and 3 tablespoons chives with the pasta until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lettuce; toss again to coat. Garnish with the reserved bacon and the remaining 1 tablespoon chives. Serve at room temperature.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

PB & J Thumbprint Cookies

This is a great cookie to have on hand for an after school snack or to curb that post swimming hunger,it is like having a sandwich and a cookie all in one!!

PB & J Thumbprint Cookies
Makes about 40 Cookies
2 Cups old fashioned oats
1 1/3 cups plus 1 Tbl of all purpose flour
¾ Teaspoon baking soda
½ Teaspoon baking powder
½ Teaspoon salt
1 Cup packed Brown Sugar
¾ Cup softened butter
¼ Cup of granulated sugar
¼ Cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
½ Cup chopped peanuts (unsalted or honey roasted) optional
½ Cup of grape jelly or flavor of choice(we used blackberry )
1. Preheat oven to 350* . Line Cookie Sheets with parchment paper or use a silpat baking sheet.
2. Combine oats, flour ,baking soda ,baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Beat brown sugar , butter and granulated sugar in bowl of electric stand mixer at medium speed until well blended. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Add Peanut Butter, egg, honey and vanilla, beat at medium speed until well blended. Gradually add flour mixture beat just until blended. Stir in peanuts.
3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven . Press center of each cookie with the back of a teaspoon to make a slight indentation; fill with about a ½ teaspoon of jelly. Return to oven; bake 4 to 6 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chocolate Banana Bread

Double Chocolate Banana Bread
by Melanie at Sisters cafe
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (about 3)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa (I prefer dutch process)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350. Spray bottom of 8x4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. Beat sugar, eggs, and oil in large bowl at medium speed until combined. Beat in banana and vanilla at low speed. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; beat into banana mixture at low speed just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

3 Spoon batter into pan. Bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lemon Cupcakes

After seeing the gorgeous photo of these cupcakes over at Real Mom Kitchen, I just had to make them. Today was a perfect day for a Lemon dessert. It is a great way to celebrate the warm weather.
Perfect Lemon Cupcakes from real mom kitchen
(printable version )
1 package lemon cake mix
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 small package lemon instant pudding

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Mix with electric mixer on medium speed for about two minutes. Use a strong mixer, this batter is thick. For cupcakes, bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (I was able to get 24 very full cupcakes from the recipe). For regular cake, pour into a greased 9x11 pan or two round pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Don't over bake or the cake will be too dry! The toothpick test works to check to see if they're done. Mine were done in 20 minutes. If you slightly underbake them you could get a slight indentation in the middle of the cupcake that can be filled with icing. I didn't have that problem when I used a dark cupcake pan , and baked them until the toothpick came out clean.Lemon Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, very soft
6-8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of sugar, then the juice and the zest. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency (I added 6 cups total). Use and store at room temperature. (Don't refrigerate and it will last in a covered container for about three days.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

Thanks Anna for suggesting I try this recipe for soft peanut butter cookies. Easy to make and a great way to use those cake mixes when they are on sale. Enjoy!!

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies using a Cake Mix

1 package Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix
1/3 cup water
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs

1- Heat oven to 375°. Beat half of the cake mix, the water, peanut butter and eggs in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, or mix with spoon. Stir in remaining cake mix.

2- Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten in crisscross pattern with fork dipped in sugar.

3- Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Grilled Honey Lime Chicken Sandwiches

This is a great summer BBQ alternative to Grilled Hamburgers. Everyone enjoyed the combinations of flavor.

Grilled Honey Lime Chicken Sandwiches
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
4 sandwiches

1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons honey
1 rounded teaspoon cumin
A handful cilantro, finely chopped, about 1/2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, canola, or corn oil
4 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon grill seasoning blend or coarse salt and pepper

lettuce, tomato, red onion, and sliced avocado
1 cup prepared salsa verde
4 crusty rolls, split

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle chicken with seasoning blend or salt and pepper. Coat chicken in dressing and set aside for 10 minutes.
Grill chicken on an indoor electric grill or outdoor grill 6 to 7 minutes on each side or pan fry over medium high heat in a large nonstick skillet uncovered 6 minutes per side.
Slice chicken breasts on an angle and pile meat roll bottoms. Top with lettuce, tomato, red onion and sliced avocado. Spread salsa on roll tops as a condiment.

Strawberry Shortcakes

Happy Mother's Day all you mom's out there. I decided that since I had some really good strawberries that I would make myself this really yummy Strawberry Shortcake for breakfast!!

I guess I felt entitled since it is Mother's Day. I will add that the family did not complain. I first saw this recipe on Phemomenon. I am totally loving this recipe.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar plus 1 tablespoon for glazing
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream, for glazing

1 dry quart fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
3 tablespoons sugar (or more to your taste)

1 cup cold heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. (I used a silpat baking liner)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the zest. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until it resembles a course meal. Little by little, stir in heavy cream until the dough starts to hold together (you may use a bit more cream if need be).
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat together to form a rectangle 5 inches wide by 7 1/2 inches long that is about 1 inch thick. Cut the long side of the dough into thirds, and the width in half to form six 2 1/2-inch squares. Place the shortcakes 3 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
Brush the tops of the shortcakes with the milk or heavy cream and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
While the shortcakes are cooling, prepare the strawberries. In a medium bowl, combine the sliced strawberries with the sugar. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes to macerate.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the heavy cream and vanilla on medium speed. In a slow steady stream, add the sugar and beat until the mixture forms medium-stiff peaks.
The whipped cream is best used when just made, but can be refrigerated in an airtight container overnight and beaten again before serving.

Fork split each shortcake in half horizontally. Place one half on each of six plates. Spoon 2 tablespoons of berries on each with a large dollop of whipped cream. Spoon more berries on top. Place each of the remaining halves on top of the berries. Garnish with more cream and berries, if desired. Add a sprig of mint for garnish, if you’d like.

PRO TIP: When whipping cream, the colder the cream the better. If the bowl, the whisk or beaters, and the heavy cream are all well-chilled, you will achieve the most volume.
Prepare the strawberries and whipped cream no more than 30 minutes before serving. The shortcakes are best eaten the day they are made, but they can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and frozen for up to 3 weeks. Do not unwrap before defrosting.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken Fried Rice from: blogchef

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into cubes)

4 cups white rice (cold and at least 1 day old)

2 large eggs

2 minced garlic cloves (or more add to your taste)

1 cup frozen peas and carrots

1 white onion (diced)

½ cup soy sauce (or to your taste)

2 tablespoons oyster sauce (or to your taste)

Sesame oil (for stir frying)

Vegetable oil

Cooking Instructions:
Step 1: Fry chicken pieces in oil until fully cooked or golden brown. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Beat eggs and fry in oil or butter and scramble. Remove from pan and set aside.
Step 2: Add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and one teaspoon of vegetable oil to the wok. Stir fry diced onion and garlic for 30 seconds, add peas and carrots mix and stir fry until vegetables are done to desired tenderness.
Step 3: Add a little more oil and then add the rice and stir fry for a couple minutes. Add soy sauce and oyster sauce to the rice while stir frying.Step 4: Add the scrambled egg and chicken pieces and mix well. Heat thoroughly and serve.

Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies

Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies
(Printable Version) 

2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 Cup granulated sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

2 TBL Milk

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt (original recipe called for 1/2)

2 cups all purpose flour


2 teaspoons butter

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped( chocolate chips work fine)

Cream butter and sugars. Beat in peanut butter, vanilla ,milk and egg. Add baking soda and salt, stir until well distributed, then add flour and stir until it is absorbed. Chill dough for 45 minutes (no longer).
Meanwhile prepare the filling. Melt chocolate with butter in a bowl over hot (not boiling) water. Let cool slightly
Divide chilled dough in half. On a lightly floured surface roll each half into 10 X 8 inch rectangle and spread each rectangle with half the chocolate mixture, stopping about ½ inch from sides.Starting from long side roll up each rectangle jelly roll style to form 2 long rolls. Wrap separately seam side down in plastic wrap. Chill until firm (at least 2 hours)
Using a sharp knife, cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place 1 1/2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes of until lightly browned. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Makes about 32

Monday, May 4, 2009

Navajo Tacos

Navajo Fry Bread Recipe by Cynthia Detterick-Pineda

Fry bread is delicious . It can be served as a dessert or used as a main dish bread. Our family will often take them and stuff them, much like one might use bread or tortilla to dip into their food.

1 cup unbleached flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon powdered milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup waterVegetable oil for frying

Sift together the flour, salt, powdered milk, and baking powder into a large bowl. Pour the water over the flour mixture all at once and stir the dough with a fork until it starts to form one big clump.
Flour your hands. Using your hands, begin to mix the dough, trying to get all the flour into the mixture to form a ball. NOTE: You want to mix this well, but you do NOT want to knead it. Kneading it will make for a heavy Fry Bread when cooked. The inside of the dough ball should still be sticky after it is formed, while the outside will be well floured.
Cut the dough into four (4) pieces. Using your floured hands, shape, stretch, pat, and form a disk of about 5 to 7 inches in diameter.

Heat the vegetable oil to about 350 degrees F. NOTE: You can check by either dropping a small piece of dough in the hot oil and seeing if it begins to fry, or by dipping the end of a wooden spoon in and seeing if that bubbles. Your oil should be about 1-inch deep in a large cast-iron skillet or other large fryer.
Take the formed dough and gently place it into the oil, being careful not to splatter the hot oil. Press down on the dough as it fries so the top is submersed into the hot oil. Fry until brown, and then flip to fry the other side. Each side will take about 3 to 4 minutes.
Indian Fry Bread can be kept warm in a 200 degree F. oven for up to 1 hour. They refrigerate well and can be reheated in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

We topped ours with Chili, shredded cheese, lettuce tomatoes, olives, sour cream, guacamole, salsa etc.............

Our family also likes them with honey butter.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Grandma Jan's Whistle Stop Sugar Cream Pie

This tasted alot like a cinnamon Creme Brulee....My kids thought it tasted like cinnamon rolls. It was tricky to get a good picture because it is best served warm . ENJOY, we sure did.

Whistle Stop Sugar Cream Pie

1-1/2 cup brown sugar (do not pack)
6 tablespoons flour
1 unbaked deep-dish piecrust in a glass pie pan (for best results)
1-cup half-and-half
1-cup heavy whipping cream
Pinch of salt
1-teaspoon vanilla
1-tablespoon butter, cut into small slices
1-teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 450.
Mix together brown sugar and flour and spread evenly into piecrust. Mix half-and-half, whipping cream, salt and vanilla. Slowly pour mixture over the top of brown sugar mixture in crust. Dot with butter slices and sprinkle cinnamon over all. Bake 10 minutes and reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 50 minutes. Serve Pie warm.

Easy Pie Crust Option :

1 1/2 C Flour
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1/2 C Cooking Oil
2 T milk

Mix flour, salt, and sugar in pie pan. Slowly add milk and oil. Mix well with a fork and pat out to fit pan. Bake according to recipe directions or for a cooked crust bake at 350 for approx. 10 minutes until golden brown.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cashew Chicken

I made this Cashew Chicken for dinner tonight. The family enjoyed it I will probably add some crushed red pepper or chili oil for a little kick and add the cashews to the sauce next time .

Springfield-Style Cashew Chicken from : A fridge full of food and nothing to eat

Serves 4.
4-5 chicken breasts, chunked in 1" pieces
1 cup all purpose flour for dredging, more if needed
Salt and Pepper
Olive or expeller pressed canola oil
Hot cooked rice
1) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Put flour, salt, and pepper in gallon sized baggie and shake to mix spices around. Put all of the chicken chunks in, seal, and shake around to cover. Let sit 15 minutes.
2) Saute chicken in batches in heavy, oven-proof skillet in a 3-4 Tbsp Olive or expeller pressed canola oil. As chicken browns, transfer to a paper towel covered plate and let drain. When finished browning all of the chicken, empty and wipe out any excess oil from the skillet.
3) Place the chicken back into the skillet and bake for 20 minutes on 375 degrees.
While chicken is baking, prepare the sauce (rice should already be prepared or in the process of steaming at this point).
For the sauce, in a small saucepan, combine:
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup water
2 tsp Sugar
2 tbsp Oyster sauce
1 tbsp Soy sauce
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1) Bring to a simmer until thickened, whisking the entire time to prevent lumps from the cornstarch.
To serve, layer chicken and sauce over rice and garnish with:
Green onions

Dana's Flower Cookies

Flower Cookies for Mother's Day

(So easy the kids can make them)
My friend Dana introduced these super fun cookies to me. It is a great activity to do with kids.

Flower Cookies(Makes 4)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1/4 cup soft brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
4 bite-sized candy bars (without nuts)
4 wooden craft sticks

Petals and FrostingIngredients:
8 large marshmallows
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
Food coloring
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Make the cookie dough: In a large mixing bowl, stir the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
3. Add the flour and mix well. Form the dough into a ball in the bowl with your hands. If the dough is sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time.
4. Unwrap the candy bars and insert a stick into the side of each candy bar.
5. Place a heaped tablespoon of dough in the palm of your hand. Flatten it into a round and place one of the candies on a stick in the center of the dough. Wrap the dough completely around the candy. Repeat with the other candy pops.
6. Place them on a lined (parchment or foil) cookie sheet and slightly flatten each with the palm of your hand.
7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.
8. Wash a pair of scissors and dry them. Snip each marshmallow into 4 slices to form the petals.
9. Make the frosting: Cream the butter with an electric mixer until soft and creamy. Gradually add confectioners sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Add the vanilla and milk and continue beating until light and fluffy. Divide the frosting into 2 small bowls, tint one with yellow food coloring and the other any color.
10. Decorate the cookie: Spread some frosting over the face of each cookie.
11. Carefully press marshmallow slices into the frosting to look like flower petals.
12. Spoon the remaining yellow frosting into a small ziplock bag and close securely. Cut a small corner of the bag with scissors and squeeze some icing into the center of the flower.

Buttermilk Syrup

Buttermilk Syrup Recipe
This yummy syrup is great on German Pancake,or waffles,french toast,spice cakes, icecream etc.

Buttermilk Syrup

1 cube butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1 Tbsp. vanilla

1 Tbsp. corn syrup

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Bring first five ingredients to a boil. Boil for 2 full minutes, 4 if you want more of a carmel sauce than a syrup. Add baking soda. Boil 10 seconds and remove from heat immediately to avoid boil over. I use a fairly deep, heavy pan.

Serve with German pancakes,or waffles,french toast,etc.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
3T sugar
1 c ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/2 c milk
1 lemon, zested & juiced
Whisk together the cheese, eggs, lemon zest & juice. Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt & sugar just until combined. Melt a little butter on a hot griddle. Pour 1/4 c of batter on the griddle for each pancake. Cook until brown on both sides, flipping once.
These are great served with Buttermilk Syrup or fresh berries and powdered sugar .