Sunday, May 31, 2009
I started with a recipe I found on allrecipes.com, but ended up with a very different pasta salad. There were several ingredients that I felt were missing from the dish, and some of the technique was very different from what I traditionally would do with a pasta salad. All in all, my final recipe ended up quite different from what I started with-- though I do want to give credit where credit is due! I liked the idea of the antipasto salad and that, along with the core ingredients came from the allrecipes.com site.
Antipasto Pasta Salad
1 pound tri-color pasta
1/4 pound Genoa salami, chopped
1/4 pound pepperoni sausage, chopped
1/2 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
1 small or 1/2 large green bell pepper, diced
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
2-3 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, and cool under cold water. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, salami, pepperoni, cheddar cheese, black olives, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, green onions and tomatoes. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the envelope of dressing mix, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Friday, May 29, 2009
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
6 teaspoons sugar
2 cups chopped strawberries
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and one cup of sugar in a medium bowl. Toss the strawberries into the dry ingredients, set aside. Beat together eggs, butter, milk, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Spoon batter into muffin tins lined with paper liners. (Fill 2/3 of the way.) Sprinkle a small amount of sugar on the top of each muffin. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Source: My Tasty Treasures
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 tubes refrigerated crescent
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
Garnish (I used sour cream, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, diced onion, and additional cheese)
In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Cool slightly. Unroll crescents leaving 2 crescents together to form a square. Press seems together and place in a greased cookie sheet. Spoon 1/4 cup meat mixture onto each; sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Pull crescent dough around the filling and pinch edges to seal tightly. Bake at 400 degrees for 13 minutes or until golden brown.
Source: Tried and True Cooking with Heidi
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
1 large Vidalia Onion, cut into rings
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (or less depending on preference for heat)
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 cup milk
Fill a large skillet with canola oil (enough to completely cover your onion slices) and place over medium-high heat. In a wide bowl, mix the milk and eggs until well beaten. In another bowl, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Place onion slices into the milk mixture, then place in the flour-- coating well on all sides. Shake off any excess flour. Place coated rings in the oil and fry until golden brown. Once at desired color, place on paper towel to drain off extra oil. Serve hot.
Monday, May 25, 2009
I wanted to have some appetizers ready that my guests could work on while waiting for dinner-- and figured that I couldn't go wrong with some homemade salsa and guacamole. I wish I had more time to play with homemade tortilla chips, too! That will be my next project! I knew I had to make Pam's salsa once I saw it. It looked and sounded just like our favorite restaurant salsa and I was not at all disappointed. I tend to be a little weak when it comes to spice, so I did not make mine too 'hot'. This would certainly be an easy thing to adjust when making yours. For my guacamole, I had to go with my mom's old standby. It's a classic and still my favorite. Both dips come together very quickly and go far-- they'd be great outdoor appetizers with a great big margarita!
10 tomatoes (I used vine ripened)
2-3 green onions
2-3 cloves of garlic
Handful of cilantro
2 jalapenos, seeded and deveined
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Clean tomatoes, remove stem, then gently cut an X on the bottom of the tomatoes. Heat a large pot of water until boiling. Add the tomatoes and boil for 10-15 seconds. Remove from water and put into an ice bath. Once the tomatoes have cooled, gently peel off the skin. Place tomatoes, garlic, green onions, cilantro, jalapenos, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper in a food processor or blender. Puree until thoroughly mixed. Taste and re-season if necessary. (Pam recommends letting the salsa sit in the fridge for a bit for the flavors to combine. I highly recommend this as well. My salsa tasted even better the next day.)
Source: For the Love of Cooking
4 ripe avacado
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
White pepper and garlic salt to taste
Handful of fresh cilantro (leaves only)
Mash the avacado in a medium sized bowl. Add the chopped onion and tomatoes. Finely chop the cilantro and add to mixed guacamole. Season to taste. Sprinkle with juice from one lime.
(No matter what you do, your guacamole is going to turn brown after sitting for a while. If you stir it up, it will return to it's green color. To try to prevent this from happening, you can store the guacamole with one or two of the avacado pits placed in the center of the bowl-- be sure to remove them before serving. The lime juice will also help with some of the color change.)
Source: Adele Fine
Friday, May 22, 2009
Pesto Barbeque Pork Medallions
Pesto sauce (either homemade or jarred)
Barbeque sauce (I use Sweet Baby Rays)
Rinse pork medallions and dry well. Season to taste with garlic salt and pepper. Use a pastry brush to coat both sides of the pork with pesto sauce. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes. Place on a hot grill and cook through. For the last few minutes, brush with barbeque sauce on both sides.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I've made many different varieties of baked ziti over the years, but this is the first one that included ricotta cheese. It really had more of a disassembled lasagna feel to it, which I really did enjoy. My husband even declared this one as his new favorite pasta dish. It came together really quickly and would be a great weeknight meal.
Easy Cheezy Pasta Bake
1 lb dried ziti
16 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
26 ounces spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 pound italian sausage, browned
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13" dish. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain thoroughly. In a large bowl, stir together cooked pasta, ricotta, italian sausage, and 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese until well-blended. Pour 1/2 of the spaghetti sauce, covering the bottom of the greased 9x13" pan. Spread pasta/cheese mixture over spaghetti sauce. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese & remaining mozzarella. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until the casserole bubbles on the edges.
(The blog I found this on states that you can prep this in advance and can refrigerate it until you are ready to bake it. If you do this, they recommend baking for the full 30 minutes.)
Source: Dinner Time Ideas
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
**Melanie, at Sister's Cafe, stated that she preferred to use a Dutch Process cocoa when making her bread. I followed her advice and it really did make a big difference. You can use either, but if you have the Dutch Process available, I'd second her recommendation.
Double Chocolate Banana Bread
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (about 3)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350. Spray bottom of 8x4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. 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. Spoon batter into pan. Bake 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.
Source: The Sister's Cafe
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Sausage Skillet Supper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bag (24 ounces) frozen diced potatoes with onions and peppers
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups broccoli flowerets
1 ring (about 3/4 pound) smoked sausage, cut into 6 pieces
4 slices American cheese, cut diagonally in half
Heat oil in a 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes. Stir occasionally, until potatoes are light brown. Stir in the broccoli and sausage. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the sausage is heated through. Top with the cheese. Cover and heat until the cheese is melted.
Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker - Quick and Easy Cookbook
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Ever since finding this recipe, I have been dying to make these pretzels! My husband and I are both huge fans of soft pretzels and we managed to pass that love on to our son as well. My friend Christy and I decided to make these this morning, but due to another day of crazy weather-- the dough took much longer to rise than the recipe had called for. Unfortunately, she had to leave before they were ready to shape into pretzels. I was so lost on my own! It's almost embarrasing how much trouble I had folding these into the proper shape. They really don't look like the perfect pretzels that I had envisioned in my head-- but they tasted WONDERFUL! So-- if yours look like mine, just close your eyes and enjoy! Your stomach will never know the difference!
I made half of my pretzels with the traditional salt, the other half were made into cinnamon-sugar pretzels. I had a hard time deciding which I liked more. . . I guess I'll just have to eat one of each to help me choose!
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup warm milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
2 3/4 cups bread flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, softened
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water
Combine water, milk, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Sprinkle yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Add flour and butter. Stir until well-combined.
Knead for 5-10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Put dough into bowl and cover with plastic wrap that has also been sprayed.
Let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about one hour.
Put water and baking soda in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. While water is heating up, divide dough into eight sections. Roll each section into a "snake" that is about 12" long. Let dough sit for five minutes. Now roll the dough into a longer "snake" of about 18". (I believe that this might have been part of my problem getting the shape I desired. I would recommend rolling them thinner to give yourself more length to play with while assembling them.) Form the dough into a pretzel shape. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or grease them).
Put each pretzel individually into the pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spatula and place on a baking sheet. Put four pretzels per sheet. Beat egg yolk with 2 Tbsp water. Brush over the top of the prezels. Add salt. (If making cinammon/sugar pretzels, leave off the salt. Once they are out of the oven, brush the pretzels with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Shake off any extra.) Bake at 450 for 13-14 minutes. Check on the pretzels after 9 minutes and top with a sheet of aluminum foil if they are getting overly browned.
Source: Rara Bakes
Monday, May 11, 2009
**A tip they offer in the magazine is to toss the cooked pasta with milk to keep it from becoming gummy. I have used cold water before to keep the pasta from sticking when using it in a salad, but had not tried milk. It worked really well, better than water, and is a method I would definitely use again.
BLT Pasta Salad
12 ounces corkscrew-shaped pasta (I actually used 16 ounces of rotini)
1/2 cup milk
12 ounces lean bacon (I used 16 ounces to match my increase in pasta)
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. 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-sized 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 (or cold!).
Source: Food Network Magazine
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Salmon Patties with Lemon Dill Sauce
2 small cans of tuna (in water) OR 1 large can salmon
1 cup finely crushed saltines
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (more if desired)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
salt and white pepper to taste
Lemon Dill Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 - 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
Drain and flake tuna (or salmon). Stir in cracker crumbs, celery, onion, mayonnaise, eggs, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Shape into 12 patties, using about 1/4 cup of mixture for each. Cook in a greased skillet for 8-10 minutes, turning once.
For sauce, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, and dill weed. Mix well and spoon over patties.
Note: Alternate meal idea: serve tuna pattties in warmed, split pita bread with sauce, lettuce, tomato, and cheese.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Shredded Beef Taquitos
For the beef:
1 1/2 pounds of round roast
1-7 ounce can of whole green chiles reserve the juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4-5 cloves of chopped garlic
1-2 cups of beef broth
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven. Combine seasonings and rub onto the meat thoroughly. Sear the meat in the olive oil on all sides. Spread the green chiles over the roast. Add beef broth, reserved green chile juice and chopped garlic. Cover pan and place in oven. Cook 4-5 hours until the beef shreds easily. Check on roast every couple of hours to make sure there is plenty of liquid... if it's low add more broth. You can also cook this dish on the stove top or in a crock-pot. Shred the meat and mix into the remaining liquid. Taste and re season if necessary. Set aside and let cool.
To make Baked Taquitos:
Olive oil cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wrap corn tortillas in damp paper towels for 1-2 minutes in the microwave to soften. Place a bit shredded beef in the center of the tortilla then roll. Place, seam side down, on a baking sheet that's been coated with cooking spray. Finish rolling the rest of the taquitos, then spray each of them with cooking spray and bake for 5-6 minutes then turn over and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
Note: You can also add shredded cheddar cheese or cotija cheese to the taquitos. Be sure to place the cheese on the tortilla first then the meat. It will help keep the cheese from leaking out while baking.
Source: For the Love of Cooking
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
These little packets were very easy to make and had a delicious flavor. I normally don't add a steak sauce to my burgers but the flavor was definitely a welcome addition. It really brought the flavor of the beef out for me. One note that I will make is that while the recipe is designed to make 5 pies, I only made 4. To begin with, I wanted my burgers to be a little larger so that they wouldn't dry out in the cooking process. As I got into making them, however, I realized that an even bigger issue was the puff pastry. It was all I could do to get the pastry to cut into rectangles big enough to cover 4 patties, I can't imagine trying to get 5 out of one sheet! When I make this again (which I will) I will definitely make sure that I take the time to roll it out enough to save me some stress! :)
Monday, May 4, 2009
This dinner is really a healthy one and is very affordable as well. There was a little extra cost the first time it was made as the sauces used are more of a specialty variety that I didn't have on hand, but they do go far and I will definitely be making this again so they are a good investment! The sauces weren't expensive, by any means, but the next time I make it I will only need to veggies, chicken, and rice.
Chicken Fried Rice
1 cup uncooked rice (white or brown)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (Becca usually tosses in a splash of sesame oil for flavor-- I didn't have any so I omitted)
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh garlic or 1/8 tsp. dried (both taste equally good)
3 garlic cloves minced
6 ounces chicken breast- sliced thin/or cubed
½ cup shelled edamame
½ cup shredded carrot
½ cup finely diced onion
½ cup sliced bell pepper (any color will do, but red/yellow/orange make it brighter)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup chicken broth
1 ½ teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Chili garlic hot sauce (you also can use liquid hot sauce, but this garlic sauce really made the dish, in my opinion)- add less for less heat. This can be found in the asian food section of your local grocery.
Cook rice according to package directions. (This can be a great use of leftover rice, or you can cook it the day before to eliminate extra step while cooking. You also could just pick up a quart from Chinese take out.) Add ½ teaspoon of the oil in skillet over medium heat. Add ginger ( if using fresh) and garlic – sauté 1 minute. If using dried ginger, wait until you add chicken to pan and sprinkle on top. Add your chicken to the garlic in the skillet and cook for 5-6 minutes (until there is no pink when you cut into the chicken). Set aside and keep warm
Add another teaspoon of oil to pan. Add your shelled edamame and shredded carrot, sautéing for 2 minutes. Add onions and bell pepper, sauté for another 2 minutes. Return chicken to pan- stir in broth , hot sauce and rice vinegar. Add rice and soy sauce to pan and stir until combined, cooking for an additional 3-4 minutes.
(Becca noted that she finds her edamame at Trader Joes and shells it herself after steaming, making it much more affordable. I found mine in the frozen foods section at my local grocery store. I steamed them quickly and they popped right out!)
Source: Becca Cattell
Sunday, May 3, 2009
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat waffle iron. Beat egg whites in large bowl with beater until fluffy. Set aside. In another bowl, beat flour, milk, vegetable oil, egg yolks, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla, just until smooth. Fold in the whipped egg whites.
Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve hot.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
½ pound shallots, thinly sliced
Coarse Kosher salt
4 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 ½ pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Saute until soft and golden about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes. Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise and then into thin ½ inch slices lengthwise. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until brown at edges, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter. Saute until most of water evaporates,and sprouts are tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Add shallots, season with salt and pepper.
Friday, May 1, 2009
This award was passed to me by Rachel, from Rachel vs. The Kitchen. For those of you that don't know, Rachel is actually my sister and I have been having so much fun sharing the 'blog world' with her! We both were raised to love to cook, and it is so nice that even though we don't get to see each other as often as we might like, we can connect and share our recipes and ideas with each other as well as all of our new blogging friends. Thanks for the award, Rachel!
Along with this award, I'm supposed to share seven things about my personality and then pass along the award and meme on to seven other bloggers for them to do the same. I've really enjoyed "meeting" new people from all over the country and am excited to learn even more about some of my fellow bloggers!
1. I have to borrow Rachel's number 1 also-- Family Oriented. I am definitely someone who needs to be surrounded by family. I would do anything for them and know that they would for me. It is very important to me that my children are raised surrounded by family as well and are able to understand the bond that a strong family shares.
2. Mommy-genes. This could really be rolled into number 1 and isn't necessarily a 'personality trait' per se, but I LOVE being a mommy. I have never known love like that shared between a mother and her children. I would literally walk through fire for my little ones.
3. Teacher/Mentor. I have taught first grade for 6 years and I love every second of it. It is one of the most rewarding jobs I can imagine and I love to watch the excitement on a child's face as they learn something new and build their confidence.
4. Goal Oriented. I have a dream to one day open up a bakery/cafe. My friend Christy and I have been working on a side business along these lines but one day hope to open up an actual storefront.
5. Patient. As a first grade teacher, patience was a necessity. My husband would also probably joke that being married to him requires some patience as well! :)
6. Loyal. I would like to think that I am a loyal person and will stand by those that I love. (I hope my friends and family would agree!) My husband and I met in high school, started dating in college and now have been together for 10 wonderful years. I'd walk to the ends of the earth for him.
7. OCD. I seriously have a problem! :)
I am passing this award along to the following bloggers:
1. Christy, from Christy's Kitchen Creations
2. Pam, from For the Love of Cooking
3. Shelby, from The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch
4. Monica, from Lick the Bowl Good
5. Holly, from I Heart Bowheads
6. Marin, from Marin's Creations
7. Cathy, from Accountants Can Cook
The other award I was lucky enough to receive came from Kathy at Three on Food. Thank you so much, Kathy!
1. Put the logo in your blog
2. Write five things you are passionate about apart from blogging
3. Tag 5 people on your lists and let them know you tagged them.
A lot of these are going to be the same as the other award... but here we go!
Five things I'm passionate about...
1. My Children/Husband - My family means everything to me and comes before anything and everything else!
2. My Career - I take my responsibility to teach very seriously and fully understand the great trust that parents have when they allow me to work with and for their children. It is an honor to be in such a position.
3. My Religion - My parents always worked to instill a sense of pride within our religious background, but not until recently have I come to fully understand the power of faith and prayer. I am very grateful for the foundation that my parents have provided and hope that I can do the same for our children.
4. My Family - I said it before and it's worth saying again. I am blessed to have close relationships with so many members of my family and would do anything for them. Family is very important to me and I want to model that for my children as well.
5. My Friends - I am so unbelievably lucky to have such a great group of close friends that I know I can count on no matter what! (I wish I haven't always given you guys such ample opportunities to prove that!)
I would like to pass this award to the following people:
1. Rachel, from Rachel vs. The Kitchen
2. Christy, from Christy's Kitchen Creations
3. Leslie, from The Seasoned Homemaker
4. Aubrey, from The Fam Five
5. Jen, from Jamie and Jen Dish