Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pineapple Smoothie

It's a beautiful morning in the valley and the neighborhood is quiet except for birds chirping.  Time to enjoy the silence before the lawn mowers start in.

Pineapple  Smoothie

6 ounces non-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 cup crushed ice
1/4 cup Sprite
1 tbsp honey

Blend all the ingredients together in a blender until well mixed.

Good morning~

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cinnamon Strawberry Muffins

I absolutely love strawberry season.  I also love cute cupcake/muffin liners.  OK anything cute for the kitchen.  It's been a long week so I created these as a surprise for my co-workers/friends in the morning.

                        Cinnamon Strawberry Muffins

   1/2  cup butter, softened
   3/4  cup sugar
   1 large egg
   1 1/2  cups flour
   1 1/2  tsp baking powder
   1/2  tsp salt
   1/4  tsp nutmeg
   6 ounces plain Greek yogurt
   1/4  cup milk
   1 cup strawberries, chopped and lightly mashed
   1 tsp sugar

Cream butter and sugar.  Add in egg, vanilla, Greek yogurt and milk.
Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl and gradually add in.

Chop the strawberries and add 1 tbsp sugar before lightly mashing.  Fold
into batter.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.  Bake for 10 minutes, remove from
oven and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.

Cinnamon sugar - 3 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tbsp cinnamon.  If you don't use
all, store remainder for your next baking adventure.

Bake for 18 minutes at 350°F

Makes 18

Monday, June 25, 2012

White Mac & Cheese

An easy Monday dinner and I actually went meatless on the correct day. 

White Macaroni & Cheese

4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
2 cups Orecchiette, cooked and drained per package directions
1 cup white cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup pepper jack cheese, grated

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 dash garlic powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Melt 4 tbsp butter and stir in flour. Gradually add in milk, stirring constantly. When thickened, remove from heat and add in cheeses.

Put cooked macaroni and cheese sauce in a greased casserole dish.

In a small pan, melt 1 tbsp butter. Add in Panko bread crumbs and spices. Top macaroni mixture.

Servings: 8

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rootbeer BBQ Sauce

Upper 70's and a light wind made all the grills come out this afternoon in the neighborhood.  I had ribs in a brine last night and started in the crockpot so all I had to do was take them out and put on the grill to soak in bbq sauce and grill until the edges were a nice crisp sugar crunch and the top soaking into the rib meat which was ready to fall off the bones.  I created a new recipe for the sauce using rootbeer.  I had gotten a 2-liter bottle as a part of a free promotion and it was sitting unused so it was time to put it to work.

                             Rootbeer BBQ Sauce

   1      cup           rootbeer
   1      cup           ketchup
   1/4   cup           molasses
   2      tbsp          dark brown sugar
   1/2   tsp            garlic powder
   1/2   tsp           onion powder
   1/4   tsp           ginger
   1/4   tsp           red pepper flakes

Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan.  Heat until it starts to


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Grilled Calzones

Another beautiful day and it was perfect to grill.  I took an indoor baking item out to the grill which leaves my kitchen nice and cool but still smelling heavenly from the pizza sauce.

Crust ~
1 package dry yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together sugar, yeast and add warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes. Put flour and salt into a medium sized bowl. Add in water mixture and stir or mix by using your hands and turn out onto a floured flat surface. Knead for 3 minutes and divide into 3 pieces.  Allow to rise on an oiled baking sheet, covered with plastic wrap that was sprayed with olive oil.  When making the calzones, gently press down, place 2-3 tbsp pizza sauce in center and your favorite filling.  I used fresh mozzarella and turkey pepperoni.  Gently fold over and press edges together.

Pizza sauce ~

1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 medium onion finely chopped
1 tbsp extra light virgin olive oil
1 6 oz tomato paste
1 15 oz tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced
4 oz water
1 tbsp Italian seasonings ~ crush between your hands and sprinkle into the sauce
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Heat olive oil in sauce pan and add in garlic and onion and cook until tender. Add in tomato paste and water. Add in tomatoes and spices. You can also mix in 1/4 cup of your favorite red wine. Let cook for about a half hour for all the spices to blend into the sauce.

Servings: 2

I froze the extra sauce for the next pizza or two since the calzones didn't require much of this batch. 

Grill on high (at least I used high because I had a thunderstorm that decided to move in).  Spray grill with olive oil and top and bottom of the calzones.  Bake to a golden brown.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chambord Icing

I promised this recipe a couple of days ago and here it is ~

                           Chambord Icing

   3/4   cup           whipping cream
   4      ounces      mascarpone cheese
   1      cup           powdered sugar
   2      tbsp          Chambord

    2      drops        red food coloring

Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form.  Add in Mascarpone and
powdered sugar.  Add in Chambord and ice your favorite cake.  Makes enough
for 24+ cupcakes.

Edited to add in red food coloring.  These were a hit today at work ~ yeah!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Creamed Peas & Potatoes

Finally my CSA is getting peas and the first batch arrived today.  There was only a cup of them (well maybe a little over but I couldn't resist some right out of the pod), so I combined them with a childhood mixture my mom made with the addition of hot sauce. 

                          Creamed Peas & Potatoes

Serving Size  : 4     

   1      pound    new red potatoes - (3 to 4 oz ea),
                        -- washed ,and skins left on
   1      cup        peas
   1      tbsp       flour
   1      cup        milk
   2      dashes   hot sauce
   1      dash      paprika
                       salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Quarter the red potatoes and boil until fork tender in salted water.  Add
peas and cook another five minutes.  Drain.  Stir in flour and add milk, hot
sauce and seasonings.  Cook until milk mixture has thickened.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Blueberry Strawberry Water

Another attempt to create some freezer space and again more fruit was involved being used up.

                           Blueberry & Strawberry Water

8 cups water
3/4 cup sugar

8 large strawberries, quartered1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Pour 7 cups of water into your favorite pitcher. Heat 1 cup of water
with the sugar until it has completely dissolved, cool and add to the

Quarter the strawberries and add to the pitcher along with the blueberries.
Allow to cool and the fruit juices to release into the water.  The blueberries add nice color.

I'm going to take a glass outside with me now and enjoy the sunshine because rain is in the forecast for the next few days.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Raspberry Chambord Jam

Yesterday I was facing the timeless dilemma of lack of freezer space, partially due to already freezing items from my CSA and I the fact that I may be a closet food hoarder so it was time to start using some of the treasures I found in there.  Unfortunately 2 cups of raspberries didn't leave a lot of more space but it's a start.

                           Raspberry Chambord Jam

   2      cups          raspberries (fresh or frozen)
   2      cups          sugar
   2      tbsp          Chambord or Black Raspberry Liquer

Cook raspberries until they release their juices and boil for 3 minutes.
Add in sugar and boil for another 2 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly and
stir in Chambord.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Antipasto Skewers

Another rainy morning in the valley.  I was looking for a light lunch (it is summer after all) and made these.

                             Antipasto Skewers

   3 cherry tomatoes halved or quartered depending on size
   Italian dry salami
   dry coppa
   black pepper coated Italian dry salami
   2 tbsp extra light virgin olive oil
   fresh basil, chopped
   fresh oregano leaves, chopped
   freshly-ground black pepper to taste
   salt  to taste

I used 8" skewers and alternated using the different meats between the
bocconcini and cherry tomatoes.

Place on your serving dish and drizzle your olive oil on top.

Sprinkle freshly cut herbs, salt and pepper on top.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Herb chicken breasts

This is an easy recipe that's perfect for a weeknight dinner.

                            Herb Chicken Breasts
4 chicken breasts, bone-in, skinned
2/3  cup bread crumbs
1/2  cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground

Place breadcrumbs and spices in a flat bowl.  Dredge chicken breasts in
mixture and place in a greased pan.

Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Italian Corn on the Cob

This is a simple recipe that works for the oven or on the grill.

                          Italian Corn on the Cob

2 (or more) ears corn on the cob
melted butter
fresh-ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese freshly grated

Remove husks and silk from corn.  Place in a tin foil bed.  Pour a
tablespoon of melted butter over each ear of corn.  Sprinkle oregano and
pepper over the ears.  Wrap in foil and bake.  When done, open and grate
fresh Parmesan cheese on top.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Spicy Brown Sugar Wings

Continuous thunderstorms today mean no outdoor grilling so I made chicken wings indoors.

                          Spicy Brown Sugar Wings
3 pounds chicken wings
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

Parboil chicken wings for 15 minutes.  Drain and let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, blend together dark brown sugar and spices.

Dredge chicken wings in brown sugar mixture and place on a foil lined
baking sheet.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes & Bacon

I couldn't resist going back to my sweet potatoes & bacon mixture again.  This time instead of wrapping slices with bacon, I cooked and crumbled the bacon and put it in a twice baked form.  When you bite into it, first you get the sweetness of the brown sugar coming thru, then a smidgen of saltiness from the bacon, followed by a light heat from the cayenne.

                     Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes & Bacon

Serving Size  : 2                         

1 large sweet potato
1 1/2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 dash cayenne
1 dash cinnamon

Prick skin of sweet potato with a fork and microwave for 3 minutes.  Let
cool.  Cook bacon and crumble.

Cut the sweet potato in half, scoop out insides and put in a small bowl.
Add butter, brown sugar, cayenne and cinnamon and stir until mixed.  Add in
bacon pieces.

Place halves in a pan.  Fill each half with the sweet potato spiced


Monday, June 4, 2012

Bacon Cheeseball

My first delivery from my CSA arrives tomorrow and it contains lots of lettuce so I made this cheeseball to go along with my salads this week.

                              Bacon Cheeseball

1 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
2 cups marble jack cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 dashes hot sauce
1/2 cup peanuts, finely chopped

Mix together softened cream cheese and marble jack cheese.  Add in all of
the spices, bacon and hot sauce.  Shape into a ball shape in bowl and cover
with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Remove and roll in chopped
peanuts or pecans.

Return to refrigerator.  Remove 15 minutes before


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Strawberry Lemon Water

Another beautiful afternoon here in the upper plains.  And the perfect reason to create a refreshing water with some strawberries that needed to be used up.

                           Strawberry Lemon Water
8 cups water
3/4  cup sugar

8 large strawberries, quartered
4 thin lemon slices

Pour 7 cups of water into your favorite pitcher.  Heat 1 cup of water
with the sugar until it has completely dissolved, cool and add to the

Quarter the strawberries and slice the lemon and add to the pitcher.
Allow to cool and the fruit juices to release into the water.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Blackberry Honey Butter

Such an easy recipe but it's perfect for bread on the grill as a fun side.

                          Blackberry Honey Butter

1 stick butter, softened
1/3  cup blackberries (any type)
2 tbsp honey

Let butter soften.  Mash and mix in blackberries and honey.  Put in your
serving container and in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.