Monday, August 27, 2012

Dill Dip

1 pint (2 cups) mayo
1 pint sour cream
1 tsp dill weed
2 tsp. Lawry's Seasoned Salt
2 Tbs. parsley flakes
2 Tbs. minced onion

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate before serving with your favorite fresh veggies.

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

I recently made this ice cream for a family dinner up the canyon and it was a hit! When my sister asked me where I got the recipe, I had to answer honestly... off the side of my ice cream maker box! Enjoy!


2 cups milk
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups half and half
4 cups whipping cream
1 Tbs. vanilla
4 cups pureed strawberries

Pour milk into medium saucepan and scald over medium heat just until it bubbles from around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat and add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved, about 2 minutes. Stir in half and half, vanilla, and whipping cream. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Add pureed strawberries to chilled mixture and pour into ice cream canister. Freeze per the directions on your ice cream maker. Makes 4 Quarts.

Asian Spinach Pasta Salad

16 oz. tri-color spiral pasta
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 bunch green onion-thinly sliced
1 red pepper- diced
1 yellow pepper- diced
1/3 cup sunflower seeds- lightly toasted
1 bag baby spinach

1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup white vinegar
3 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook chicken and pasta. Combine all dressing ingredients and pour over chicken and pasta. Cover and chill overnight. The next day add onions, peppers, and sunflower seeds. Add spinach and toss  immediately before serving. Hint: I usually make a little extra dressing and add it before serving because the chicken and noodles soak it all up!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Luscious "Cream Puffs"

My Mom makes the most amazing cream puffs and I'm a little shocked that none of us have posted her recipe here yet. I'll put them on my "to make" list and I'll share soon:) This recipe from Kraft makes a delicious dessert that reminds me more of Napoleon pastry than of a true cream puff, but they are flaky, creamy and melt-in-your-mouth good! I had never used puff pastry sheets before and one note: You can NOT roll them out or play with the dough much or they will not turn out! I had cut out the circles and thought I'd roll out the remaining corners of dough to cut more and they turned out like hockey pucks... hard as a rock! So, resist the urge to touch the puff pasty sheet much and you'll end up with light and flaky "puffs." The recipe makes 9 and they are small (think 2 bites), depending on the size of your cookie cutter. It would be simple to double, since boxes of puff pastry usually come with 2 sheets.

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 of 17.3-oz. pkg.), thawed
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) instant 
vanilla pudding
1 cup cold milk
1/2 cup thawed whipped topping, such as Cool Whip
1 square (1 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate baking squares, such as Baker's

Note: Take puff pastry out of the freezer about 20-30 minutes before baking and let sit on the counter to thaw. The puff pastry dough works best when cold, so don't let it get too warm before cutting and baking.

Heat oven to 400ºF. Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Cut into 9 circles with 3-inch cookie cutter. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheet. Bake 10 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Meanwhile, beat pudding mix and milk in medium bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in whipped topping. Refrigerate 15 min.

Melt chocolate as directed on package. Split pastry rounds; fill with pudding mixture. Replace tops and drizzle with melted chocolate. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.

Lightened Up Chicken Tamale Casserole

I've made this delicious recipe several times this summer and it's about time I share it with you! This is a unique and easy meal that gets rave reviews from my family. Recipe from; Originally from Cooking Light, November 2008.

1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup egg substitute (or sub 1 whole egg, beaten)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy or Martha White)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
Cooking spray
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.

Per serving (with 1 Tbs. sour cream for topping): 354 calories  14.1 g fat, 18.9 g protein, 36.3 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g fiber, 620 mg sodium

Fresh Tomato, Sausage, and Pecorino Pasta

My oldest daughter has been on a major pasta kick lately and every time I ask for her input on dinner, she says, "pasta!" This recipe has been on my Dinner Ideas board on Pinterest for a few weeks and it was A.MAZ.ING! Recipe from Cooking Light, September 2009. Recipes says it serves 4 (2 cup servings) but it easily fed my family of 5, with leftovers:)

8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage (I used lean Jennie-O Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup onion, 
vertically sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/4 pounds tomatoes, chopped
6 tablespoons grated fresh Pecorino Romano cheese*, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage and onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring to crumble sausage. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 2 tablespoons cheese, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and basil.

*NOTES: Pecorino Romano is a hard Italian sheep's milk cheese with a sharp, salty flavor. I used it and really liked the flavor. You could substitute Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) or Romano cheese (made from cow's milk).

Per 2 cup serving: 389 calories, 10.7 g fat, 21.6 g protein, 4.5 g. fiber, 53.5 g carbohydrate, 595 mg sodium.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Spicy Thai Noodles

recipe from a small snippet 

We love Thai food. That being said cooking Thai food kinda freaks me out. Let's just say I had a really bad experience making a curry once. This recipe however is so simple and there are no "strange" ingredients that you see in some Thai recipes. You can vary how spicy it is by the amount of pepper flakes you use. We loved it and I will be making it often.  

1 box linguine pasta
1-2 Tbs crushed red pepper flakes (I used 1Tbs and it was plenty spicy for me
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. toasted sesame oil
6 Tbs honey (I used Agave
6 Tbs soy sauce
green onions, peanuts, cilantro  shredded carrots, toasted sesame seeds 

*I add some grilled chicken for protein 

Cook noodles. Drain. Chop onion, cilantro, peanuts. 
Combine oils and pepper flakes in small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Strain out pepper flakes and reserve oil. To the reserved oil add honey and soy sauce. Whisk together then toss mixture with noodles. Add chicken or other protein if you wish. Before serving top each portion with green onions, cilantro, shredded carrots,  peanuts and sesame seeds (optional) Can be served warm or cold but I prefer warm. 

Chocolate Mint Cake

Recipe from JoLynn Larsen via Katherine Perry 

This cake has been made famous by my Mom's neighbor Katherine. It is a hit at any party. When my husband's birthday came around this year, I knew I had to make this for him.  It was a crowd-pleaser as usual. 

 Bake as directed one Betty Crocker triple chocolate cake mix.

Mint filling:
1 8oz. package cream cheese
2 Tbs butter
3-4 c, powdered sugar
a few drops mint extract
green food coloring
Milk to reach desired consistency (I made mine too runny, next time I will make it thicker)

Buttercream icing:
1 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3-4 Tbsp milk (or cream)
4 c. sifted powdered sugar (approx. 1lb)
3/4 c. cocoa or 3 (1 oz) unsweetened chocolate squares, melted

1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (can use milk chocolate if you don't like the strong flavor of semi-sweet)
1 c. whipping cream

Melt above together. Boil 10 seconds, stirring constantly. Cool in the fridge, outside or on top of a bowl of ice. It will probably take more than an hour. Cool until the consistency resembles a thick pudding such that it will just roll down the sides of the cake and stop. Make sure it isn't too runny or it will roll down the sides and off your platter.

Bake the cake in two 9 inch round cake pans. Cool. With the buttercream icing, pipe an outside rim around the bottom cake layer and fill it with the mint filling. Put the second layer on top and frost with the buttercream icing. Add the ganache as the final touch.
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