Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

I was first treated to this delightful treats at a friend's wedding reception back in the 1990's. It wasn't a typical Utah wedding reception and an another friend ate the whole tray before the guests showed up. I couldn't get over the delicious taste of these little appetizers. I finally, a few years ago, asked at the local restaurant who catered her reception all those years ago about the recipe. Well they wouldn't give it to me but did tell me there were only five ingredients in the dish. I played with it for years until I finally noticed a recipe in a Taste of Home Treasury of Christmas Recipes book. I was able to tweak that recipe into the taste I remember from years ago. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. The flavor is hard to describe but it's sort of a sweet salty picture with a crunch. You need the good thick bacon from the butcher area of the store to make these taste right. If you use the bacon from cello packs it won't work as well. Oh and low fat or fat free mayo will not work, nor will Miracle Whip.

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
adapted from Taste of Home Treasury of Christmas

1 1/2 pounds thick sliced bacon
3 cans (8 oz each) whole water chestnuts, drained and halved (or leave them whole and just use a big slice of bacon)
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup Chili Sauce (near the ketchup in the grocery stores)
3/4 cup mayo

Cut bacon strips into thirds. Wrap each strip around a water chestnut and secure with a toothpick. Place in a pan, I use a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, it may take longer and it may take less time, watch for the bacon to get crispy all over. Turning at least once. Drain the grease once fully done.

Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the water chestnuts. Bake another 6-8 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Beefy Nacho Soup

I'll be honest here I usually snub any recipes I find on websites that are the makers of processed foods. The goal in my house is to not eat much, if any, processed food. However I was "gifted" a can of nacho cheese soup and since we were running really low on grocery money last month I googled looking for decent recipes calling for the nacho cheese soup. I ended up choosing this one and to be honest we loved it. It was a perfect blend of flavors. I topped the soup with some cubed avocado, green onions, and fresh tomatoes. This would have been even better with some freshly made tortilla strips. Overall this was a winner in our family and I guess I'll be buying more of the nacho cheese soup in the future. This was a very simple and really quick to make dish. Perfect for those nights when time is low and yet money is too tight for take out. Also I should point out this barely fed 3 adults with no extras. Two of the adults complained about needing more. You would need to double or triple this recipe for large families.

Beefy Nacho Soup

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix (from 1 oz package) or make your own like I do
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed nacho cheese soup
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (1 oz)

In 2-quart saucepan, cook ground beef over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain.

Reduce heat to medium. Stir in remaining ingredients except shredded cheese. Cook 8 to 12 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Top individual servings with shredded cheese.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pear Pie with Streusel Topping and Caramel Sauce

This turned out to be a really yummy tasting pie. It was simple to make and since it uses refrigerator dough it easy for even those who haven't made a pie before. My streusel had a few problems relating to three little boys who were helping so trust me there is streusel on the pie you just can't see much in the picture. Also I used two eight inch frozen pie shells so my pie wasn't as thick as the recipe calls for. I used the frozen cause it was what I had on hand. Overall everyone who tasted the pie loved it. It's a nice change from the typical pumpkin or apple pie that dominates the holiday season. It's also perfect when you have oodles of pears on hand like I did when I made this pie.

Pear Pie with Streusel Topping and Caramel Sauce
Cooking Light Magazine Nov. 2008

3 ounces all purpose flour, divided (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 medium firm pears, peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick wedges
1/2 (15 ounce) package refrigerated pie dough
cooking spray
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To prepare pie, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1 1/2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a larger bowl. Add juice, and pears to flour mixture; toss gently to coat. Roll dough into an 11 inch circle; fit dough into a 9 inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under and flute. Arrange pear mixture in an even layer in prepared crust.
Combine remaining 1 1/2 ounce (about 1/3 cup) flour and 1/3 cup brown sugar in a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons cold butter to brown sugar mixture; cut in with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle butter mixture evenly over pears. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack 10 minutes.
To prepare sauce, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, cream, and 2 tablespoons softened butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cook one minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in 2 teaspoons water. Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed with pie.

Yield 12 servings, serving size 1 wedge pie and about 1 1/2 teaspoon sauce. 287 calories in a slice, 11 grams of fat (sat. 5.5 g, mono 1.7 g., poly 0.35 g.), carb. 47.5 g.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

I am still alive

I should be back the week after Thanksgiving with new recipes to share. Life has been crazy. Sickness, getting use to homeschooling three kids, water main break, sewer problems, cutting down two huge trees from our property that resulted in days of pain, google not letting me do much of anything on my blogs, and just plain life getting in the way. I really haven't done much cooking with new recipes for awhile just because of all the craziness. Knock on wood hopefully nothing else will go wrong until next year.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Banana Bread

What do you do when you realize you have 21 bananas that are past their prime? I made all kinds of different dishes with them. One being this bread recipe. It's a simple recipe that calls for ingredients you should have on hand. I say it took me about 5 minutes to mix this up and it took about 1 1/2 hours to cook. Not sure why my time was longer than the recipe but I did have to cook it quite a bit longer. My favorite bananas to use when making banana bread are ones that are almost completely black. They are sweeter tasting and really easy to mash. I hope you like this recipe as much as I did.

Banana Bread
King Arthur All Purpose Cookbook

2 large eggs
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) vegetable oil
1 cup mashed banana (2 to 3 very ripe, large bananas about 7 to 9 ounces)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 2/3 cups (11 3/8 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup (8 ounces) yogurt, buttermilk, or sour cream (I used 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1/2 cup sour cream)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and oil. Blend in the mashed banana and vanilla. Whisk together and then sift the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Add all at once to the banana mixture. Mix quickly but thoroughly, then stir in the yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream, mixing until just combined.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Bake the bread for about 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out clean. If the bread begins to brown quickly tent it with aluminum foil after 40 minutes in the oven.

When the bread is done, remove it from the oven and place on a rack for 15 minutes; after 15 minutes, remove the bread from its pan and place on the rack to finish cooling completely.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

This is my favorite time of year for food. Why you ask? Because I love pumpkin treats. As you can see I've been posting several different recipes for pumpkins cause I've been making all kinds of pumpkin treats. These were a hit with all the adults while the kids just liked them. I think my kids ate one maybe two of these but my husband ate about 8 of them in one setting. I'm not a fan of the original whoopie pie but I can't wait to make these again.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie
King Arthur Flour website


1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Vietnamese cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (one 15-ounce can) pumpkin
2 1/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or 100% White Whole Wheat Flour


8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons soft butter
2 cups glazing sugar or confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) To make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

2) Beat together the butter, oil, sugar, molasses, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

3) Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat in the eggs one at a time, until fluffy.

4) Stir in the pumpkin.

5) Add the flour in two additions, mixing well after each addition.

6) Use a muffin scoop to deposit the thick batter onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2" around each mound.

7) Bake until the cookies feel firm; a slight indentation will remain when you gently press them in the middle, about 16 to 18 minutes.

8) Remove from the oven, cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then move to a rack to cool completely.

9) To make the filling: Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.

10) Beat in the sugar in two additions.

11) Add the vanilla. Beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until very fluffy.

12) Stir in the crystallized ginger.

13) To assemble: Sandwich two cookies around 2 tablespoons of filling. For best storage, wrap each pie in plastic wrap.

Yield: 1 dozen 4" whoopie pies.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Emmy's Pumpkin Bread

I made this bread a few weeks ago much to the delight of the family. No lie the two loaves of bread didn't last the night. Very simple recipe for a bread that tastes so great. Reminds me of a local bakery called Great Harvest who makes bread very similar to this. I wish I had made the glaze to go on top but I was out of powdered sugar and the bread didn't last long enough for me to go to the store to buy some.

Emmy's Pumpkin Bread
King Arthur Flour

2/3 cup shortening or 1 cup vegetable oil
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups (or one can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening or oil and the sugar. Beat in the eggs, pumpkin and water. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and vanilla, stirring to blend, then mix in the chips and nuts.

Spoon the batter into two lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack. When it's completely cool, wrap it well in plastic wrap, and store it overnight before serving.

If desired, just before serving, drizzle with an icing made of 1 cup confectioners' or glazing sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1 tablespoon milk.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Pumpkin Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

These were a hit with the whole neighborhood. Or to be honest with my three boys and the neighbor girl mainly. They ate the whole sheet full of them in a matter of oh about a 1/2 hour. I did manage to get five hidden from their view so a few other people were able to try them. They are delicious and full of pumpkin flavor. And the cream cheese frosting took them over the top flavor wise. Trust me you won't be disappointed in these bars. The only problem with them is I am sure they are chocked full of calories and as such not so good for the waist line.

Pumpkin Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from King Arthur Flour

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, or 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
1 cup (7 ounces)vegetable oil
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup (9 1/2 ounces) pumpkin puree

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons(1 3/8 ounces) maple syrup
2 cups (12 ounces) confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 18 x 13-inch half-sheet pan.

For the cake: Put the first five ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until well incorporated. Set aside. Beat the oil and the sugars together until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin puree.

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes and turn onto a rack to finish cooling. Frost the cake and cut into bars when cool.

For the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and the butter together. Add the maple syrup and stir well. Mix in the confectioners' sugar until the frosting is the right consistency; adjust the consistency with more maple syrup or confectioners' sugar. Frost the cake. Cut into bars; a pizza wheel works well for this chore. Yield: 36 (2 x 3-inch) bars.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Summer Garden Vegetable Soup

Okay so looking at this picture it doesn't look like soup. I'm guessing the barley I added soaked up the broth in the half hour I waited to take the picture. However don't let this stop you from making this soup cause it was really really good. The flavors blended together well for a really delicious creamy soap. I added cooked pearl barley to the dish just for some added nutrients. And if you know me well you know I just had to add garlic to the dish. I think I add garlic to every recipe if it doesn't call for it. I especially love garlic with vegetables.

Summer Garden Vegetable Soup
slightly adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

3 medium zucchini, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 medium tomatoes, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk (can use fat-free or low-fat)
1 ½ cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
1 cup cooked pearl barley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the zucchini, basil, parsley, garlic and onion and saute, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Add the flour, salt and pepper and stir and cook for one minute. Gradually add the chicken broth, whisking or stirring constantly. Add the lemon juice; mix well. Bring the soup to a simmer, stirring to prevent sticking, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the zucchini is tender but still has some bite to it (it will continue cooking for a few more minutes). Add the tomatoes, evaporated milk, pearl barley, and corn. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the soup and simmer until the corn and zucchini are tender. Stir in the cheese just before serving.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Best Tuna Salad

Those who know me know I don't like seafood and tuna ranks up there with something I'll never touch. However I married someone who loves tuna sandwiches and as such I've been learning how to make the best tuna sandwich. According to my husband this recipe comes the closest to perfection that I have hit. In fact he has asked for this to be made several times over the past month.

The Best Tuna Salad
Cooks Country Magazine Aug./Sept. 2010

3 5 oz. cans solid white albacore tuna packed in water
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 celery rib, chopped fine

Place tuna in fine mesh strainer and press to dry with paper towels. Transfer to medium bowl and mash with fork until finely flaked. Microwave onion and oil in small bowl until onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Combine onion mixture, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and sugar with tuna and let sit 10 minutes.

Stir mayonnaise and celery into tuna mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. Can be refrigerated in airtight container for one day.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vegetable Kabob Marinade

Honestly this recipe also works well for beef and chicken. Lately though I've been eating a lot less meat so I made vegetable kabobs. I love this marinade. I've made it several times and every time I like it more. It's a perfect blend of seasonings and makes a nice grilled meal. It's also easy to make and the longer you marinade the more flavor your veggies (and/or meat) will have. Use what ever veggies are your favorites. We prefer mushrooms, red onions, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, and whatever other veggie we have extras of.

Vegetable Kabob Marinade

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or I've used 3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 pinch ground ginger or I've used about a half teaspoon freshly grated ginger

In a large resealable plastic bag, mix the teriyaki sauce, honey, garlic powder, and ginger. Add veggies (and/or meat) and marinade 4 to 24 hours. Prepare as desired.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

French Bread Rolls

These rolls have been the hit of the neighborhood this week. I've baked them three times this week alone. These rolls are also perfect for those wanting to try their hand at baking. They are so easy to make and require little time commitment with very few ingredients. However don't let the few ingredients or the simple directions keep you from making these rolls cause they are unbelievably tasty. Also they are a very light and fluffy roll. Thanks Melanie for sharing these cause they really are a great tasting roll.

French Bread Rolls
Mel at Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Makes about one dozen rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt, and 2 cups flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12-14 equal pieces, and form into round balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth (or greased saran wrap), and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake for 12-13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

*Can freeze the rolls after baking – microwave on high

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Nibbler Cookies 1st Place at Davis County Fair

Sorry to brag one more time but I promise this was the last entry I did for the fair this year. I wanted to do a cookie recipe and I just couldn't find one that I had all the ingredients on hand for the day I did my cooking so I made this scone nibbles and renamed them. I wasn't too happy that I didn't have a chance to do a trial bake of this dish, thanks to my oven dying, but I was really happy when they turned out so tasty. Very easy dish to make and they were definitely a hit with my family and the judges. The judges ate 4 of the cookies when judging, compared to 1-2 of all the other entries. If your looking for something different for school lunches, treat night, or just for the heck of it give these a try.

Nibbler Cookies aka. Scone Nibbles
King Arthur Flour Late Summer 2010 catalog

2 3/4 cups (11 1/2 oz.) unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup (2 3/8 oz.) sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup (4 oz.) cold butter, cut into pats
1 to 2 cups (6 to 12 oz.) mini chocolate chips
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 to 2/3 cup (4 to 5 3/8 oz.) half and half or milk

3 1/2 cups (14 oz.) confectioners sugar
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 oz) water, enough to make a thin glaze
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk all the dry ingredients together. Work in the butter just until mixture is unevenly crumbly. Stir in the chips.

In separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and 1/2 cup milk. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, adding more milk if the dough seems dry.

Scrape the dough onto a well floured work surface, and pat into an 8 inch square, a scant 3/4 inch thick. Cut the square into sixteen 2 inch squares, then cut each square in half diagonally, to make 32 small triangular scones.

Transfer scones to a parchment lined or well greased baking sheet. Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered.

Bake the scones in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Cut each scone in half again to make a total of 64 tiny triangles.

Stir together glaze ingredients. Coat the scones with the glaze. Place them on a rack to set.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Best Biscuits 1st Place at the Davis County Fair

I just had to make these biscuits for the fair. They are the best ones I've ever tasted or made. Trust me you won't like other biscuits after having these. Comments from the judges were very flaky, tender, and down right yummy. I copied and pasted the recipe from a previous blog post but here is the direct link to that post.

I'm not making this up these are the best biscuits I have ever made. Plus, this is my favorite part of this recipe, I didn't have to struggle to cut in the butter. These biscuits had the best flavor of any biscuit I've ever made and they were so flaky. The recipe isn't hard and I promise you its worth the little effort required to make these. If all you've ever made are canned biscuits your in for a big treat. The recipe calls for vinegar and cream, both of which I did not have on hand. I used buttermilk when I made these biscuits as such I'm listing the buttermilk. If you'd like to try it with the vinegar and cream let me know and I'll post the amounts.

Best Biscuits
Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day

1 cup (8 oz) buttermilk
1/2 cup (4 oz) frozen unsalted butter (needs to be in the freezer for at least 30 minutes)
1 cup (4.5 oz) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (3.5 oz) pastry flour (you can use all purpose flour)
1 tablespoon (.5 oz) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons ((.5 oz) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (.13 oz) salt or 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.

Place a cheese grater over the bowl of dry ingredients. Remove butter from freezer, unwrap it, and grate it through the large holes into the dry ingredients.

Use your fingertips to separate and distribute the butter pieces evenly, breaking up any clumps but not working the butter so much it disappears or melts into the flour. Add the buttermilk and stir with a large spoon until all of the flour is hydrated and the dough forms a coarse ball. Add a tiny bit more buttermilk if necessary to bring the dough together.

Transfer the dough to a generously floured surface, then dust the top of the dough with flour. Working with floured hands, use your palms to press the dough into a rectangle or square about 3/4 inch thick. Use a metal pastry scraper to lift the dough and dust more flour underneath. Dust the top of the dough with flour as well, then roll it out into a rectangle or square about 1/2 inch thick. Then, using the pastry scraper to help lift the dough, fold it over on itself into three sections as if folding a letter.

Rotate the dough 90 degrees, then once again lift the dough and dust more flour underneath. Dust the top with flour as well, the once again roll it out into a square or rectangle about 1/2 inch thick and fold into thirds. Give the dough another quarter turn and repeat procedure again. Then, repeat one final time (four roll outs in all).

After the fourth rolling, dust under and on top of the dough one more time, then roll the dough out to just under 1/2 inch thick, in either a rectangle or an oval. Use just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface.

Cut the biscuits with a floured pizza cutter. Transfer the biscuits to an ungreased sheet pan (lined with parchment paper) placing them about 1/2 inch apart.

Let the biscuits rest for 15-30 minutes before baking. Even better, place the pan in the refrigerator to chill.

About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Transfer the biscuits to the oven and lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees, or 425 for a convection oven. Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 6-10 minutes. until both the tops and bottoms of the biscuit are a rich golden brown. The bake time will be shorter in a convection oven. The biscuits should rise about 1 1/2 times in height.

Place the pan on a wire rack, leaving the biscuits to cool on the hot pan for at least 3 minutes before serving. The biscuits will stay warm for about 20 minutes.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

9 Grain Bread 1st Place at the Davis County Fair

I love this bread. I'm not sure how to describe this bread but it is really really tasty. It's really simple to make, if you use a mixer, and it beats the socks off of any store bought 7,8, or 9 grain bread. If you buy the nine grain bread from Bountiful Baskets this is even better than that bread. My kids love it. I never add the sunflower kernels since my kids don't like crunchy things in their bread but add them if you prefer them. Comments from the judges were the bread was very fluffy for having so much grain in it and the taste was out of this world. One comment even asked to have the recipe emailed to her. This bread freezes well but I never get around to freezing it. Also I've taken to doing the work through step 2 and then refrigerating the dough overnight and then continuing the next day. It adds a little more depth to the flavor that you may really like.

Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Magazine:
makes 2 9 by 5 inch loaves

1 1/4 cups 9 grain (you can use 7 or 8 grain too) hot cereal mix NOTE: don't confuse this with breakfast cereal. Bob's Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills are two easy to find brands of this cereal mix. I've seen/bought them at Harmon's, Smiths and Winegar's.

2 1/2 cup boiling water

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting surface

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

4 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

1 tablespoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted pumpkin or sunflower seeds (you don't have to add these, I've made the bread with and without and its fine either way)

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats or quick oats

Step 1:
Place cereal mix in a bowl of standing mixer and pour boiling water over it; let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture cools to 100 degrees and resembles thick porridge, about 1 hour. Whisk flours in medium bowl.

Step 2:
Once grain mixture has cooled, add honey, melted butter, and yeast and stir to combine. Attach bowl to standing mixer fitted with dough hook. With mixer running on low speed, add flours 1/2 cup at a time, and knead until dough ball forms, 1 to 2 minutes; cover bowl with plastic and let dough rest 20 minutes. Add salt and knead on medium low speed until dough clears side of bowl, 3 to 4 minutes (if it does not clear sides, add 2 to 3 tablespoons additional flour and continue mixing); continue to knead for 5 more minutes. Add seeds and knead another 15 seconds. Transfer dough to floured work surface and knead by hand until seeds are evenly dispersed and dough forms smooth taunt ball. Place dough into greased container with a 4 quart capacity; cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.

Step 3:
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 2 9 by 5 inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and pat into 12 by 9 rectangle; cut dough in half crosswise with knife or bench scraper. Shape loaves and roll loaves in oats to coat and place in pans. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size 30-40 minutes. Dough should barely spring back when poked with knuckle. Bake until internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant read thermometer, 35-40 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and cool on wire rack before slicing, about 3 hours.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Biscuits and Gravy

Sorry about the long delay between posting recipes. Between blogger being down for me, a broken oven, and a husband that asked for no new recipes I've been busy. However I am back now with a few recipes to share. The first is biscuits and gravy. This has to rank among my all time favorite anytime dish ever. I could eat biscuits and gravy at anytime of the day and it shows up for dinner quite often in our house. The flavor of this dish was so good that I'm drooling as I think about possibly making it again very very soon. I used the homemade breakfast sausage I posted a few weeks back for the sausage in this recipe. I also used my all time favorite biscuit recipe, which if you haven't tried you really need too. It makes the flakiest and most tender biscuits every. I ended up borrowing a neighbors kitchen and making the biscuits for the county fair. I then used the leftovers for this recipe. Also I always top my biscuits and gravy with paprika. I don't know why but it was how I was first introduced to biscuits and gravy and I much prefer them with a sprinkling of it on top.

Biscuits and Gravy
adapted from Cookingbytheseatofmypants

5 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tbsp. all purpose flour
Approximately 2 cups milk (vitamin D milk, not skim, fat-free, fat-less, or other, and nothing heavier, it won’t work.)
Freshly ground black pepper
about 3-4 shakes of Tabasco
1 1/2 pounds breakfast sausage, cooked and chopped (I used my homemade but feel free to use your favorite brand)
biscuits (again I used my favorite recipe but feel free to use whatever you have)

Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Add flour and combine. Add ¼ tsp salt and around 10 grinds pepper.

Stir until the flour is about the color of peanut butter and smells nutty. Add ½ of the milk and increase heat to medium.

Allow to come to a simmer, stirring constantly to avoid sticking. On the first run, the gravy is likely to nearly seize, be ready with more milk.

Add milk by quarter or half cups until gravy has thickened considerably. If using a whisk you’ll know the gravy is ready when drawing the whisk through the gravy leaves “tracks” from the wires that remain visible for at least 5 seconds.

Add Tabasco sauce and more pepper to your liking, I like to make it very very peppery. Add the chopped up sausage and serve over biscuits.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Queso Dip

So I admit this recipe totally is not one of my usual. I used a highly processed food item to make this dish but as everyone at the block party claims it was so worth it. This was very easy to make and it was gone in ten minutes at the party. This was yet another of the dishes that I took that knocked the socks off of everyone and had people asking for the recipe. The flavors were blended together perfectly. The dip did get spicier the longer I cooked it (I started it about 2 1/2 hours before the party so the flavors would blend together). You'll want to give this dish a try at your next party.

Queso Dip
by Norah

32 oz. package of Velveeta, cut into one inch cubes
2 can Rotel tomatoes (you choice of which one I used mild)
1/2 cup dried minced onions
1 roll of Mexican pork Chorizo

Mix dried onions with about 3 tablespoons of water. Let set in bowl. (You may need less or more water. Start with 1 tablespoon and keep adding water until the onions stop soaking up the water.)

In dutch oven, over medium high heat, cook the chorizo (cook just like ground beef) until no longer pink about 7-8 minutes.

Add the velveeta, 3-4 cubes at a time, to the chorizo. Once the velveeta has melted add one can of Rotel, juices and all. Stir until combined. Add the onions and the other can of Rotel. Stir until combined. Turn heat to low and stir every few minutes. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, longer to let flavors combine. You can also move the dip to a crockpot and set at low for about 2 hours. Serve with chips.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad

I took this dish to the neighborhood block party on a whim. I had leftover chicken from the day before and I didn't want it to go to waste so I made this salad. It was a huge hit. The salad was gone in about 20 minutes. I had about 15 different people ask for the recipe that night and 5 more the next day. This salad is worth making extra of the Alabama BBQ chicken just so you can make this dish. The flavors blended together great and it was just a really nice summer tasting recipe. I loved that it had you use the bbq sauce instead of just plain mayo.

Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad
Cooks Country June/July 2006

1 pound corkscrew pasta
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups shredded grilled chicken
1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, minced
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced (leave the seeds if you want it spicier)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice
3/4 cup White BBQ Sauce

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot. Add one tablespoon salt and pasta and cook until nearly tender, about 8 minutes. Add corn and cook one minute more. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and corn. Transfer pasta and corn to large bowl and refrigerate until completely cooled, at least 30 minutes.

Stir in chicken, beans, bell peppers, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and sauce. Add reserved pasta cooking water. 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce is loose. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. Salad can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 2 days. Check consistency and seasonings before serving.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Alabama BBQ Chicken

This chicken was unbelievably good. The BBq sauce used on this dish was just amazing. I never thought I could like white BBQ sauce but it really tasted wonderful. The chicken was smoky with a nice tangy sauce. Simple and very easy to make for something that tasted so good. The recipe calls for whole cut up chicken but as you can tell I used smaller boneless chicken. You'll need to adjust the cooking times if you chose to use something other than whole cut up chicken plus you'll lose some of the smokiness flavor. You'll want to be sure to make extra chicken so that you can make the recipe I am posting next.

Alabama BBQ Chicken
Cooks Country June/July 2006

White BBQ Sauce
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) whole chickens, patted dry and split ( I used chicken tenders since I had thought I had whole chicken and all I had was tenders)
2 cups hickory wood chips

For the sauce:
Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Refrigerate sauce in airtight container for at least one hour or up to 2 days.

For the chicken:
Mix salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in small bowl. Rub spice mixture all over chicken.

Soak wood chips in bowl of water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, open bottom grill vents completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (about 90 coals) and burn until charcoal is covered with fine gray ash. Place 13 by 9 inch disposable aluminum roasting pan in center of grill. Pour half of coals into pile on each side of grill, leaving pan in center. Scatter wood chips evenly over coals and set cooking grate in place. Cover, with lid vents positioned over center of grill and opened halfway. Let grill heat for 5 minutes.

Dip wad of paper towels in oil and oil grate, holding paper towels with long handled tongs. Place chicken skin side down on center of grill. Cover with half opened lid vents over chicken.

Grill chicken until skin is well browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Flip chicken skin side up and grill, covered until breast meat registrars 165 degrees on instant read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Remember the cooking time will be less with boneless pieces.

Transfer chickens to cutting board, brush with 2 tablespoons sauce, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Remove foil and brush chicken with 1 tablespoon sauce. Carve and serve, passing remaining sauce at table.

Using a Gas Grill:
Prepare recipe for Alabama BBQ chicken through second step. Soak wool chips in bowl of water for 15 minutes, place chips in small aluminum tray, and place tray directly over primary burner. Light grill, turn on all burners to high, and close lid, keeping grill covered until wood chips begin to smoke, about 15 minutes. Oil cooking grate. Turn all burners to medium low. Place chicken skin side down on grill, cover, and proceed with recipe from step 5.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Breakfast Sausage

I've been wanting to try this recipe since I first noticed it in Cook's Country back at the first of the year. However my not being a fan of sausage has kept me from giving it a try. I'm not sure why I don't like breakfast sausage but I have a feeling its due to one of the seasonings used in the commercially prepared sausage because I LOVED this sausage. There was no weird flavor for me and even my husband thought this tasted so much better than Jimmy Dean brand sausage. It took me about 5 minutes to mix everything together and another 5 to shape out the patties. Cooking time was about 6-10 minutes total. I used the sausage to make sausage muffins.
If you feel like going all out you can even make your own English muffins (I didn't have time to make my own this time).

Breakfast Sausage
Cooks Country Feb/March 2010

2 pounds ground pork (avoid lean or extra lean)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine pork, garlic, syrup, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, and cayenne in large bowl. Gently mix with hands until well combined. Form into 2 1/2 inch patties, about 1/2 inch thick (using a 1/4 cup measuring cup makes almost perfect patties). You should have about 16 patties.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook half of patties until well browned and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towel lined plate and tent with foil. Wipe out skillet. Repeat with remaining butter and patties.

The raw sausage patties can be refrigerated, covered for 1 day or frozen for up to one month. To cook frozen patties, proceed to second step, cooking patties for 7 to 9 minutes per side.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One Minute Tomato and Avocado Salsa

This was a favorite with everyone. I was worried the jalapenos would make the salsa too spicy for me and the boys but it didn't. The flavors blended well. I loved the fact it made life easier for us since I didn't have to make guacamole too. I've never been a fan of the jarred salsa at the store and now with this quick to make salsa I will never have to buy another jar of salsa again.

One Minute Tomato and Avocado Salsa
Cooks Country June/July 2010

1/2 small red onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup drained jarred pickled jalapenos
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 avocado, pitted, skinned, and chopped

Pulse onion, cilantro, jalapenos, lime juice, garlic, and salt in food processor until coarsely choppped.

Add tomatoes and pulse until combined, about 3 one second pulses. Place salsa in fine mesh strainer (I skipped this step) and drain briefly. Transfer to bowl. Add avocado and stir. Serve.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Amish Potato Salad

I love potato salad. I don't think I've ever passed up a potato salad recipe in my life. And I usually love all potato salads I try for various reasons. I loved this salad too even though I felt it was loaded with egg, which for those that know me I HATE eggs with a passion. I will make this again in the future but I will be cutting back on the eggs to one maybe two eggs. Also I have to have onions in my potato salad so I added some to this one. Overall this was a great recipe and one I look forward to making again.

Amish Potato Salad
adapted from Cooks Country June/July 2010

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 3/4 inch chunks
salt and pepper
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
4 large hard cooked eggs, peeled
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
3/4 cup sour cream
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine

Bring potatoes, 1 tablespoon salt, and enough water to cover by one inch to boil in large pot over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes.

While potatoes simmer, microwave vinegar and sugar in small bowl until sugar dissolves, about 30 seconds. Process vinegar mixture, mustard, 1 hard cooked egg yolk (reserve the white), celery seed, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in food processor until smooth. Transfer to medium bowl.

Drain potatoes, then transfer to large bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons dressing over hot potatoes and, using rubber spatula, gently toss until evenly coated. Refrigerate until cooled, at least thirty minutes, stirring gently once to redistribute dressing.

Whisk sour cream into remaining dressing. Add remaining hard cooked eggs and egg white to dressing and, using potato masher, mash until only small pieces remain. Add dressing, celery, and onions to cooled potatoes. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. Salad can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 days.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nashville Hot Fried Chicken

According to the internet and the magazine this is a very popular chicken dish in Nashville. I thought it looked good and given my new confidence in eating spicy foods I thought this would be great. Well it should have come with a warning about just how spicy this dish is. I made the not so hot version and my lips were still burning 48 hours later. I only had one bite and it was enough. No way could I let the kids eat this dish. Everyone else, except for me, loved the food. If you like really really spicy food this dish is for you.

Nashville Hot Chicken
Cooks Country June/July 2010

2 quarts water
1/2 cup hot sauce
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) whole chicken, quartered

3 quarts peanut or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Whisk water, hot sauce, salt, and sugar in large bowl until salt and sugar dissolve. Add chicken and refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes or up to one hour.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add cayenne pepper, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, and sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to small bowl.

Remove chicken from refrigerator and pour off brine. Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in large bowl. Dredge chicken pieces 2 at a time in flour mixture. Shake excess flour from chicken and transfer to wire rack.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat remaining oil in large Dutch oven over medium high heat to 350 degrees. Return chicken pieces to flour mixture and turn to coat. Fry half of chicken, adjusting burner as necessary to maintain oil temperature between 300 and 325 degrees, until deep golden brown and white meat registers 160 degrees (175 for dark meat), 20 to 25 minutes. Drain chicken on clean wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Bring oil back to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken. Stir spicy oil mixture to recombine and brush over both sides of chicken. Serve on white bread with pickles.

If you think you handle it hotter:
Prepare Nashville Hot Chicken. For spiced oil in step 2, increase oil to 1/4 cup, cayenne to 3 1/2 tablespoons, and sugar to 3/4 teaspoon and add 1 teaspoon dry mustard. Continue with recipe as directed.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Chinese Barbecued Ribs

Oh goodness these tasted so good. The flavors of the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and ginger really gave the sauce a Chinese taste. The ribs were perfectly tender and sticky. There are a few steps involved and yes it's not a quick meal to make but the time spent on these is well worth the time and effort. Smoking the ribs with tea bags seemed odd to me before I tasted them. It's a subtle smoked flavor that you can't place the flavor of until someone tells you. If you can't find St. Louis style ribs use baby back ribs and check for doneness after one hour.

Chinese Barbecued Ribs
Cooks Country June/July 2010

2 racks pork spareribs (2 1/2 to 3 lbs each) St. Louis Style
8 black tea bags
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup hoisin sauce
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dry sherry
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 cup red currant jelly

Cut rib racks in half. Cover tea bags with water in small bowl and soak for 5 minutes. Squeeze water from tea bags and tightly seal in foil packet. Cut vent holes in top of packet.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Whisk 1 cup ketchup, soy sauce, hoisin, sugar, sherry, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and cayenne in large bowl; reserve 1/2 cup for glaze. Arrange ribs, meaty side down, in large disposable roasting pan and pour remaining ketchup mixture over ribs. Cover pan tightly with foil and cook until fat has rendered and meat begins to pull away from bones, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Transfer to large plate. Pour pan juices into fat separator. Let liquid settle and reserve 1 cup defatted pan juices.

Simmer reserved pan juices over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in jelly, reserved ketchup mixture, and remaining ketchup and simmer until reduced to two cups, 10 to 12 minutes. Reserve one third of glaze for serving.

Open bottom vent on grill. Light about 100 coals; when covered with fine gray ash, carefully pile on one side of grill. Arrange foil packet directly on coals. Set cooking grate in place and heat, covered, with lid vent open halfway, until tea begins to smoke heavily, about 5 minutes. (For gas grill, place foil packet directly on primary burner. Heat all burners on high, covered, until tea begins to smoke heavily, about 5 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and shut other burners off.) Scrape and oil cooking grate. Arrange ribs, meaty side down, on cool side of grill and cook, covered, until ribs are smoky and edges begin to char, about 30 minutes.

Brush ribs with glaze, flip, rotate, and brush again. Cover and barbecue, brushing glaze every 30 minutes, until ribs are fully tender and glaze is browned and sticky, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Serve with glaze.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Spice Crusted Grilled Pork Chops

So again the original recipe called for pork tenderloin and yet again I couldn't find it on sale anywhere so I subbed pork chops for the tenderloin. I'm not sure if the over the top spicy heat came from the fact I used pork chops or if it's just a really spicy hot dish. Either way I could only get through half my pork chop although my father and husband ate all of theirs. I think next time I'll cut the peppercorn and mustard seeds in half and not put as much rub on the chops or tenderloin. This was another quick and easy dish that was done from start to finish, after getting charcoal to temperature, in 35 minutes. The original recipe also called for coriander seed, which while I'm not a big fan of I couldn't find my bottle of them so I subbed dried minced garlic.

Spice Crusted Grilled Pork Chops
adapted slightly from Cooks Country June/July 2010

3 lbs boneless pork chops or 2 pork tenderloins (1 1/2 to 2 lbs each)
1 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds, cracked
1 tablespoon dried minced garlic, or 1 tablespoon coriander seed, cracked
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, cracked
1 teaspoon Demerara or turbinado or brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 large egg whites

Heat grill, gas or charcoal, for 15 minutes. Scrape and oil grate.

Pat pork dry with paper towels. Combine mustard seeds, garlic, peppercorns, sugar, salt, and cornmeal on rimmed baking sheet. Place cornstarch in large bowl. Beat egg whites in second large bowl until foamy. One at a time, coat pork chops lightly in cornstarch, dip in egg whites, and transfer to rimmed baking sheet to coat with spice mixture.

Spray pork chops with cooking spray and grill, covered, turning occasionally, until browned all over. Transfer to the cooler side of the grill and continue to cook until it reaches between 145-160 degrees. It took mine about 10 minutes total.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Peach Brown Betty

This dish did not last long in our house. Everyone snapped it up and enjoyed it. The peach flavors stood out and the topping was nice and crunchy. The dish was easy to make and while not a thirty minute dessert it was done in about 45 minutes. I can imagine this dish would have been even better if the peaches we in season from somewhere local. I used some that were rock hard and somewhat tart. However it still turned out pretty tasty.

Peach Brown Betty
Cooks Country June/July 2010

4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Peach Filling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 lbs peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Pulse bread and butter in food processor until coarsely ground. Set aside. Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl.

Melt butter in large nonstick ovensafe skillet over medium high heat. Cook peaches , stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize, 8 to 12 minutes. Off heat, stir in 1 cup crumb mixture, sugars, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt.

Top peach mixture with remaining crumbs. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake until topping is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool ten minutes. Serve warm.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Scalloped Corn

I thought this dish was one of the best side dishes I've ever made. I couldn't stop eating it. The flavors came together wonderfully to make a very pleasant tasting dish. The dish, as I knew it in the past, was made with cream of something soup and creamed canned corn. It wasn't very pleasing. I was so excited to see that Cooks Country redid the recipe and made it the way it should be. Overall the dish was easy to make. It wasn't exactly quick to make but you can make it ahead and then it would be a quick dish.

Scalloped Corn
Cooks Country June/July 2010

14 Ritz crackers
1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
12 medium ears corn, husks and silk removed ***if using out of season corn add up to one tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 cups half and half
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray 8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Pulse crackers, bread, and butter in food processor until coarsely ground.

Cut each ear in half crosswise. Stand ear on its cut, flat end and, using chef's knife, cut off kernels. Repeat with remaining ears. Bring kernels, half and half, salt, and pepper to boil in large saucepan. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, until corn is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Puree 2 cups corn mixture in blender until thick and smooth. Return puree to cooked corn and stir to combine. Transfer corn mixture to prepared dish. Top with crumb mixture and bake until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes.

MAKE AHEAD: Once transferred to baking dish in step 3, filling can be refrigerated, covered, for up to three days. Refrigerate crumb topping separately. Bring filling to room temperature, cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Increase temperature to 450 degrees, remove foil, top with crumb mixture, and bake until golden brown 7 to 10 minutes.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chicken Parmesan Roll Ups

This dish had its good point and a few bad points. Good points it was easy to make and cooked pretty quickly. The bad points it was missing something. It just tasted off to me. However Don loved it. Supposedly this was a 30 minute recipe but I'd say it took a little closer to 45 minutes. Not sure if it was because I was having trouble shredding the cheese or if it was just a little more needy than the recipe claimed. Overall if I make this again I'll be adding something else to the dish to give it more flavor.

Chicken Parmesan Roll Ups
Cooks Country June/July 2010

1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 thin cut boneless skinless chicken cutlets about 1 1/4 lbs
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper

Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in half of basil. Transfer half of sauce to 8 inch square baking dish.

Combine mozzarella and Parmesan in medium bowl; reserve 1/2 cup. Add remaining basil to remaining cheese. Pat cutlets dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Top cutlets with basil cheese mixture, leaving 1 inch border at bottom of cutlets. Roll up tightly and arrange, seam side down, in prepared baking dish.

Toss bread crumbs with remaining oil in small bowl. Top chicken with reserved cheese, remaining sauce, and bread crumb mixture. Bake until chicken is cooked through and crumbs are golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Peppered Turkey Club Panini

This was another recipe I changed slightly before making. I'm not a fan of smoked turkey so I used peppered turkey instead. This turned out to be a favorite with the adults. I made the kids without mayo and arugula. Very simple dish to make. The recipe says 30 minute supper but I had them all made in less than 20 minutes. The longest part of the dish is cooking the bacon but if you make the bacon earlier it will save you time. I did use the arugula for the sandwich but next time I'll just use spinach. It's easier to find and personally I think it tastes better. I also did not use a grill pan or the sun dried tomato oil to cook the bread. I used butter because I remember from past experiences that I do not like sun dried tomato. Turns out I did really like the mayo mix which is made from sun dried tomatoes. Overall this was a hit and will be joining the rotation of quick, simple, and easy dishes.

Peppered Turkey Club Panini
adapted from Cooks Country June/July 2010

8 slices bacon
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, patted dry, and minced
4 shakes of Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup mayo
8 slices thick cut crusty bread (I used a roasted garlic bread)
1/2 pound thinly cut deli swiss cheese
1/2 pound thinly cut deli peppered turkey
2 cups baby arugula

Arrange bacon in single layer on paper towel lined plate. Cover with paper towels and microwave until crisp, about 5 minutes. Combine sun dried tomatoes, Tabasco sauce, pepper, and salt with mayo in small bowl.

Brush butter over one side of bread. Place bread, butter side down, on cutting board. Spread each slice with flavored mayo. Layer half the cheese on bread, then top with turkey, bacon, arugula, and remaining cheese. Top with remaining bread, butter side up.

Heat grill pan or large nonstick skillet over medium heat for one minute. Place 2 sandwiches in pan and weight with Dutch oven. Cook sandwiches until golden brown and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Serve.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Grilled Pork Chops and Garlicky Potato Salad

So the original recipe called for pork tenderloin and I thought it was way too expensive the day I shopped to purchase tenderloin so I subbed pork loin chops. Honestly the spice rub was bland. I'm not sure if I just didn't make enough spice rub for the chops or if the spice rub was just missing something. The pork chops turned out so so. However the star of the dish was the potato salad. It was an interesting twist on a potato salad and one that we loved. The flavors blended well together and the garlic flavor you could actually taste. From start to finish both dishes took me 35 minutes, which isn't too far off of the 30 minute supper it claimed to be. The potato salad will be added to our rotation of dishes but the grilled tenderloin/pork chops will not.

Grilled Pork Chops/Tenderloin and Garlicky Potato Salad
Cooks Country June/July 2010

2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 3/4 inch thick
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
salt and pepper
1/2 cup drained jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
3 tablespoons drained capers
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2-2 lbs pork chops or pork tenderloin

Toss potatoes and 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave until edges of potatoes are translucent, 4 to 7 minutes, shaking bowl (without removing plastic) to redistribute potatoes halfway through cooking. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, garlic, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Slowly whisk in remaining oil until emulsified. Stir in roasted peppers, capers, and parsley.

Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and remaining sugar. Grill over hot fire until browned on all sides and meat registers 145 degrees, about 5-6 minutes for the chops and 12 minutes for the tenderloin. Grill potatoes until charred and tender, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer pork to cutting board and tent with foil. Toss grilled potatoes with dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Slice pork, if using tenderloin, and serve with potato salad.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Baked Doughnuts

I made these doughnuts on a whim. I was gifted a doughnut pan for my birthday and finally decided it was time to give it a try. These doughnuts were so easy to make. Given the fact my kids love doughnuts a quick and easy recipe was needed. Start to finish it took me 25 minutes for 6 doughnuts. Everyone has loved these doughnuts. We are selling them at a yard sale today and everyone who bought one asked for the recipe. Next time I make them I plan on trying to make a chocolate flavored doughnut.

Baked Doughnuts
King Arthur Flour
1 cup Unbleached Pastry flour or Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons dried buttermilk powder
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water


Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, oil and water (or buttermilk or yogurt) until foamy.
Pour the liquid ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
Butter or grease the doughnut pan; non-stick pan spray works well here. Note: even though the pan is non-stick, since the doughnuts are low-fat they may stick unless you grease the pan first. Fill each doughnut form half full.
Bake the doughnuts in a preheated 375°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes. When done, they'll spring back when touched lightly, and will be quite brown on the top.
Remove the doughnuts from the oven, remove them from the pan, and allow them to cool on rack. Glaze with icing, or coat with cinnamon-sugar or any non-melting sugar.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Garlic Pork Shoulder

I can't even begin to explain how good this pork shoulder tasted. I will say every person in my house plus the neighbors house at this dish and there were no leftovers. The original recipe calls for it to be cooked in an oven. I did mine on the grill. It was too hot that day to leave the oven on for hours plus I thought using the grill with some smoke would add to the flavor and it did. Next I wrote down cilantro as the herb needed and after shopping and prepping the dish I realized it called for basil. The change didn't really matter as it turned out very tasty. I don't think I could use basil for it now.

Garlic Pork Shoulder
adapted from Relish Magazine

1 garlic head, separated into cloves and peeled
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 cups chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 (4 to 4 1/2 lb) bone in pork shoulder

Place garlic, salt, peppercorns, and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor. Process until garlic is chopped. Add olive oil and vinegar and process to form a thick paste. Score top of pork with knife all over. Rub garlic mixture over meat, place in a large bowl or bag and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

Prepare grill. Once it is heated add a packet of smoking chips, I used hickory, and place over the fire. Cook over indirect heat for about 3 hours, turning every thirty or so minutes. Once the pork is fork tender and has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees F place the pork over the heat and brown all sides.

Let pork cool slightly and then chop or tear into large chunks.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gourmet Green Salad with Homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette

I love salad. I love salad even more when its served with a homemade dressing. This recipe takes two items I love and combines them well. This salad recipe is also easily adapted to ingredients you have on hand so don't think you can't make this just because you don't have all the ingredients listed. This came from one of my favorite blogs, Melanie and My Kitchen Cafe. We have the same taste in food and like many of the same recipes. If you haven't checked her out you really need to visit. This is a very simple salad recipe with a simple to make salad dressing. Making your own croutons is just an added bonus especially if your like me and can't stand the ones you buy.

Gourmet Green Salad with Homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette
My Kitchen Cafe

10-12 cups mixed greens
1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
2 ripe, fresh pears, sliced thinly
1/4 cup thinly sliced Parmesan cheese (use a vegetable peeler to do this)
1 large carrot (or about 5-6 baby carrots), thinly sliced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
5-7 slices of bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
3 cups of homemade croutons (see Mel's blog for a how to recipe if you don't know how)

Put mixed greens in a large salad bowl. Top with other ingredients and toss. Serve with red wine vinaigrette dressing below (or any other favorite salad dressing).

Red Wine Vinaigrette:
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup red onions, finely grated (about 1/4 of a large red onion)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons salt
ground pepper to taste
2 cups canola oil

Add all ingredients except oil in a blender. Blend well. While processing, slowly add the canola oil and blend well. Transfer dressing to a jar or cruet. It keeps well in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks (although I’ve found it gets a little thick if it is too cold so I’ll pop it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to help thin it out before I use it if it has been in the refrigerator for several days).

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri

I had oodles of strawberries last week and after making numerous desserts with the strawberries I decided to try something different. The kids loved this drink and I made it several times over a two day period much to their delight. I tried several recipes before settling on combining a few recipes together to make a drink we really liked. This may not taste like a traditional daiquiri and it might not be the perfect recipe for you but this is one that shows sometimes you have to combine a few recipes to get one that works for your family.

Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri

4 ounces fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
splash of sweet and sour mix (probably 1 ounce)
sugar to your taste, for us it was about 1 tablespoon (the strawberries were a tad sour)
4-7 ice cubes, the range is depending on how thick and icey your want your drink
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Blend everything but the ice cubes in blender. Add ice cubes one by one until desired consistency is reached.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Banana Bread

We love banana bread in our house which is good because I always forget to serve bananas until they have turned all black and brown. I've discovered that waiting to use these bananas until they are really black and brown and really really squishy is it magnifies the banana taste in bread. So this has been the perfect solution to forgetting all about the bananas. I've tried hundreds of different recipes and I always seem to really like the ones with some unusual ingredients. I love using sour cream or yogurt in banana bread. They add a flavor and a tenderness to the bread that can't be beat. However this time around I discovered I had neither on hand so I started looking on the internet for a recipe with an ingredient that's different. King Arthur Flour (I love their recipes and their flour!) helped me out with a recipe. It called for apricot jam or orange marmalade. I'm not a fan of orange marmalade and as it turns out my husband ate all the homemade jars of marmalade and the few store bought jars I had on hand so I used my homemade apricot jam. Now I seriously was worried it would taste weird but was willing to give it a try. You really couldn't tell it had jam in it but there was a hint of something different in the bread. In the end I was only able to get one piece cause the kids ate the whole loaf. Big hit in this house.

Banana Bread
King Arthur Flour

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar, light or dark, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium or 2 large bananas)
3 tablespoons apricot jam or orange marmalade, optional but tasty
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional


1) Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.

2) In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, beating till smooth.

3) Add the mashed bananas, jam, honey, and eggs, again beating until smooth.

4) Add the flour, then the walnuts, stirring just until smooth.

5) Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top. Let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

6) Bake the bread for 45 minutes, then gently lay a piece of aluminum foil across the top, to prevent over-browning.

7) Bake for an additional 25 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven; a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean, with at most a few wet crumbs clinging to it. The tester shouldn't show any sign of uncooked batter. If it does, bake the bread an additional 5 minutes, or until it tests done.

8) Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove it from the pan, and cool it completely on a rack.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hoosier Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

I noticed these in the latest Food Network magazine and showed them to my husband. He couldn't wait to give them a try. In the picture and in Indiana they make this sandwich to be oversized. I felt as a family we didn't need to have such a big sandwich so I used thin cut boneless pork chops instead of the pork tenderloin and making a big piece of meat. It worked great and probably helped cut a few calories out of this dish. This isn't something we will be eating on a regular basis, due to the high calorie count that I'm sure this dish had, but every once in awhile it will make an appearance.

Hoosier Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
Food Network Magazine May 2010
Made as listed in the magazine it is suppose to make 4 sandwiches. Done the way I made it I had enough meat to make 8 sandwiches.

2 pounds center cut boneless pork loin (I used 8 thin cut boneless center cut pork chops, if using the chops skip the pounding with a mallet)
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 cloves garlic, crushed
kosher salt and ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used 1 teaspoon hot sauce)
2 sleeves saltines (about 80 crackers)
2 cups instant flour (like Wondra)
oil, for frying
4-8 hamburger buns, split
1/3 cup mayo
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 head iceburg lettuce, shredded
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4-8 dill pickle slices

(No need for this step if you use chops) Cut the pork crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Put each piece flat on a cutting board and slice horizontally almost in half (stop about 1 inch from the other side). Open like a book. Sprinkle each piece with water, place between 2 pieces of heavy duty plastic duty and pound to 1/4 inch thick with a mallet or heavy skillet.

Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper, and the cayenne (or hot sauce) in a shallow bowl. Add the pork, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Pulse the crackers into coarse crumbs in a food processor, then transfer to a shallow dish. Put the flour in another dish. Remove each piece of pork from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Dredge both sides in flour, dip in the buttermilk marinade again, then coat with the cracker crumbs.

Heat 1/4 to 1/2 inch oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat until a thermometer registers 360 degrees. Fry the pork in batches until golden and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

Spread both halves of each bun with mayo and mustard. Layer the lettuce, tomatoes and onion on the bottom halves. Add a piece of pork and a few pickles slices. Cover with bun tops.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kitchen Tip: Pepperoni on Pizza

If your like my family our favorite part of pepperoni pizza is the extra crispy pieces. Whenever we order pizza its a fight for those slices that have the extra crispy one on them. Cook's Country magazine talked about how to make those extra crispy pepperoni's on homemade pizza and it's worked well for us. Now every piece of homemade pizza has several pieces of the much loved pepperoni and an added bonus doing this removes some of the fat from the pepperoni. It's simple and takes just a minute to do this.
Place a doubled paper towel on a plate. Add pepperoni to the paper towel to cover the plate or as many pieces as you think you will need. Add another doubled paper towel to the top. Place in microwave for about 1 minute. Now you can use the pepperoni on your pizza and it's minus some of the fat and already started to crisp up.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cobb Salad Sandwiches

I think these are all the rage right now. Everyone seems to be talking about these. I should have posted this months ago and been the one to introduce them. I love Cobb salad. A few years ago you wouldn't have been able to talk me into trying one because I didn't like egg or blue cheese. Amazing how your tastes change as you get older. I've done sandwich as a chopped dish served inside of a pita which makes a fun dish to serve at a potluck or a party. The possibilities are really endless. I won't give exact amounts as each person will make it different so this is just a rough guideline to build you a really delicious sandwich that has flavors that blend together wonderfully.

bread (in the picture I used Harmon's roasted garlic bread but any bread will do)
lettuce (I prefer romaine but iceburg or even spinach works)
tomato, sliced
bacon (turkey or real doesn't matter)
avocado, sliced
deli turkey (I get the Boar's Head peppered but even leftover turkey from Thanksgiving works)
slice of cheddar cheese (only because dh thinks a sandwich isn't a sandwich without cheese)
one half a hard boiled egg, chopped
Roquefort dressing or if you don't like blue cheese Ranch dressing

Layer the sandwich in the order listed or however your heart desires. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vegetable Pasta Salad

This dish turned out to be a huge hit with everyone in the family. It was simple and easy and will be perfect during the summer with farm fresh vegetables. The recipe called for napa cabbage and a purple cabbage and I didn't have either on hand so I used a bag of coleslaw mix that had been sitting in the fridge for a week. I can't wait to try it with Napa cabbage but the coleslaw mix was a great substitute. I left the bean sprouts out since I hate bean sprouts. This dish is going to be a regular in this house.

Vegetable Pasta Salad
Kristen at Coloring Outside the Lines

1 package linguine noodles, cooked, rinsed, and cooled (I used the Smart Choice noodles in a yellow box)
1/2 head sliced Napa cabbage, or more to taste ( I used 3/4 of a bag of coleslaw mix)
1/2 head sliced purple cabbage, or more to taste
1/2 bag baby spinach, or more to taste
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 orange bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 bag bean sprouts (or a generous handful) (DID NOT USE)
1 bunch cilantro
4+ green onions, sliced,
1 can cashews, lightly toasted in skillet

Dressing Ingredients:

1 whole lime, juiced
8 Tbsp. olive oil
8 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1/3 c. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated (MUST be fresh)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 - 2 fresh jalapenos, chopped
chopped cilantro

Mix salad ingredients together. Whisk dressing ingredients and pour over salad right before serving.

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