Sunday, June 30, 2013

Grape Salad

I'm getting lots of lettuce from my CSA for salads but I wanted a nice fruit salad with the hot weather that we're having.  Plus I have an over abundance of sour cream in my refrigerator so you might be seeing a few recipes using it in the next few days.

Grape Salad

1 # green grapes
1 # red grapes
4 oz Neufchatel cheese (or regular cream cheese)
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup toffee bits

Wash and drain grapes.  In a small bowl, combine Neufchatel cheese, sour cream, honey and vanilla.  Stir into grapes.  Sprinkle the mixture with toffee bits.  Cover and chill for 4 hours before serving.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cinnamon Apple Crunch Mix

It's been some time since I made a snack mix and I found lots of ingredients in my pantry to throw one together today.

Cinnamon Apple Crunch Mix

6 cups popped popcorn
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
2 cups dehydrated apples
2 cups chow mein noodles
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a small saucepan, melt butter and then add the sugar, cinnamon, salt and vanilla.  Cook until thick and pour over the popped popcorn, peanuts, apples and chow mein noodles in a large roaster. Stir well and bake for 15 minutes at 250°.  Turn off oven after 15 minutes, stir and put back in cooling oven for an additional 15 minutes.  Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ham & Parmesan Linguine

My comfort food always seems to have a little heat in it.  This time it came from red pepper flakes which balanced out well with the hint of garlic.

Ham & Parmesan Linguine

8 oz linguine
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Half and Half
1 cup ham, diced
1/2 cup peas (I used frozen)
1/2 cup Parmesan (shredded plus extra shaved for top)
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook linguine in salted water.  As that is cooking, heat olive oil in a large frying pan.  Toss in minced garlic and cook for a minute before adding in Half and Half.  When that is heated, add in ham, peas, Parmesan and spices.  When pasta is cooked, lift out of saucepan and toss right into the cream sauce.  Toss lightly and add shaved Parmesan to top before serving.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What-Cha-Ma-Call-It Ice Cream

Whatchamacallit candy bars are one of my favorites even though they are hard to find some days.  I wanted to create an ice cream to taste similar and without all the heaviness adding in egg yolks.  Naturally you need a crunch factor and I picked one of my favorite cereals to nibble on to provide it ~ Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch.

What-Cha-Ma-Call-It Ice Cream

In a large bowl combine ~

1/2 cup dark cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 tsp vanilla

Mix together and pour into your ice cream machine. 

When it's thickened, add in ~

2 cups crushed Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch
1/2 caramel sauce ~ see below

Put in your freezer until it's firmly set.

Caramel Sauce 

15 caramels
2 tbsp whipping cream

Melt caramels with whipping cream and stir until smooth.  Allow to cool before adding to ice cream.  Gently mix in last so you leave ribbons of caramel in the ice cream. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Grilled Mozzarella & Pepperoni Sandwich

It's Monday and that deserves an easy meal on your first day back at work after a nice weekend.  And this one doesn't get much easier but still gives you a feeling of comfort which Mondays usually have you wanting.  Plus who can resist ooey gooey mozzarella falling down the toasted edges of the bread?  I already had my pizza sauce for dipping made and just had to thaw it and heat it.

Grilled Mozzarella & Pepperoni Sandwich

2 slices of bread, your choice ~ my choice was sourdough
softened butter
sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
1/8 tsp oregano
pepperoni slices

Butter outsides of the slices of your bread.  Place one butter side down and top with mozzarella, oregano and pepperoni.  Grill until a golden brown on both sides. Serve with pizza sauce.

Pizza Sauce

1 - 6 oz tomato paste
6 oz water
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp Italian Seasonings
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Mix together tomato paste and water in a medium sized pan.  Add in honey, garlic and spices and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mexican Pork Chops

I'm always thinking of new ways to make pork and chicken.  I decided I wanted to add new spices to pork chops and I'm glad I did.  A little sweet, even more spicy and oh so tender.  

Mexican Pork Chops

4 pork chops
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, chili powder and cumin.  Dip pork chops in and place in heated frying pan with olive oil.  Lightly brown on both sides and finish cooking in a 350° oven until the internal temperature reaches 145°.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Maple Baked Beans

I love my Le Creuset French Oven and it has a permanent home on my stove top.  Plus it's Cassis which I also love.  Today I made a new form of baked beans with real maple syrup so your house is guaranteed to smell heavenly.  

Maple Baked Beans

1 lb dried beans - I used great northern
1/2 tsp baking soda
½ lb applewood smoked bacon, cooked in small pieces
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 cup onions, diced
3/4 cup real maple syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar

Rinse and pick out bad beans.  Place in your french oven, add in 1/2 tsp baking soda and cover with cold water and let soak overnight.  In the morning, drain and rinse the beans, cover again with water and boil until soft.  Drain and save the water.  In a separate pan, cook onions in 1 tbsp of olive oil, remove and add to beans and then cook the bacon.  Let cooked bacon drain on paper towels before adding to beans.  Add in salt, dry mustard and real maple syrup.  Cook over a low heat for 8 hours.  Stir occasionally and add in saved bean water if necessary.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Blackberry & Pear Crisp

I like trying new flavors together and for me it was blackberries and pears.  I happened to have both on hand that needed to be used and what better way than making a crisp.

Blackberry & Pear Crisp

2 pears, pared and diced

1 1/2 cups blackberries
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar firmly packed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2  cup water
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter melted

Place pears and blackberries in a greased 9" square pan.  
Mix first five ingredients together and stir into peaches.  Sift remaining ingredients (not the butter) together, add the beaten egg and stir until crumbly.  Sprinkle over top of the fruit mixture.  Drizzle melted butter over topping. Bake for 1 hour at 325°.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

BBQ Chicken Dip & Pita Chips

I decided to do my bbq as an inside treat tonight and in a light form (well it's light depending on how many you eat).  You can mix it up ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator, take it out, bake for 20 minutes and you're ready to enjoy it.  I also included the simple recipe for baked seasoned pita chips that I made to go along with it.  But you can use your favorite kind of chips to serve with this.

BBQ Chicken Dip

14 oz chicken tenders, braised, seasoned, cooled and shredded
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup apple butter
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup bbq sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix together in medium bowl, shredded chicken, cream cheese, apple butter, chili sauce and bbq sauce.  Place in a greased pie pan.  Spread out and top with the cheddar cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°.

Baked pita chips

4 pita breads
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasonings

Cut each pita into 6 pieces.  In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and spices.  Place the pita chips on a large baking sheet.  Brush on the olive oil mixture and bake for 20 minutes at 350°.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Frangelico Chocolate Ice Cream Bars

The temperature is supposed to be in the 90's today so it's the perfect time for ice cream treats and what could be better than adding a little adult beverage to them for summertime fun.

Frangelico Chocolate Ice Cream Bars

1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup Nutella
2 tbsp Frangelico

Mix all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.  Pour into ice cream bar molds or leave in the bowl and cover.  Freeze for 6 hours.  Makes 5 - 1/3 cup ice cream bars.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Apple Butter Bread

The beautiful weather is continuing and I took the day off to work to concentrate on some projects, work on some recipes and enjoy the great outdoors.  What better way to start off the day than with a new tasty bread with apple and cinnamon flavors.

Apple Butter Bread

1/2 cup butter softened,
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup apple butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda

In a large bowl, cream together butter and dark brown sugar.  Add in egg, apple butter and buttermilk.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Pour into a greased load pan and bake for 50 minutes at 350°.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Parmesan Chicken Breasts

I think it's finally feeling like summer and the rain has passed.  I had some chicken breasts in the refrigerator so I decided to tweak my recipe for Parmesan pork chops a little bit for them.

Parmesan Chicken Breasts

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
10 butter crackers, crushed
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Pound the chicken breasts with the flat side of your tenderizer until 1/4" think.  Use the spiked side to embed the seasonings and crackers, flip and do the same to the 2nd side.  Place in a hot skillet with extra virgin olive oil and cook until almost 165°.  Divide out grated Parmesan cheese on each of the chicken breasts and place in a 350° oven until melted and golden brown - about 5 minutes.  Be sure to test the temperature again to make sure it's at least 165

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Parmesan Corn

I'm not sure why I keep finding packages of corn in my freezer after I swear that I've used the last one.  Too bad it's not packages of money that I don't keep finding.  So I came up with another Parmesan corn recipe, this time without meat in it.

Parmesan Corn

1 1/2 cups frozen corn
3 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Place the corn and stir in the Parmesan cheese in a greased baking dish.  Melt the butter and mix in the spices and pour over the corn.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Italian Sausage Pasta Bake

Rainy weather is a good time to go into the kitchen and try out new combinations, after a nap of course.  This is what I created out of various ingredients I had in my refrigerator and pantry.  Plus it was a good opportunity to try out another pasta from Eataly.  

Italian Sausage Pasta Bake

12 oz mild Italian sausage, cooked and drained
3 cups pasta, cooked and cooled slightly
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp oregano
1 large egg
1 cup cottage cheese
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup mozzarella cheese

In a saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour.  Gradually stir in the milk and stir occasionally until it thickens.  In the saucepan that you cooked your pasta in (or a bowl if you like doing lots of dishes) combine the cooled pasta, cottage cheese, Italian sausage, oregano and the egg and combine.  Pour into a greased baking dish.  When your milk has thickened, remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.  Pour over the pasta mixture.  Top with mozzarella cheese and bake for 30 minutes at 350°.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Garlic Pita Bread

Easy to make and full of lots of flavor to serve along with all your favorite Italian dishes.

Garlic Pita Bread

4 - 6" pitas
3 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Cut pitas into 6 equal pieces.  Use a pizza cutter if you have one, it makes the cutting go fast.  Place on baking sheets.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the garlic powder and oregano.  Brush butter mixture over the pita bread.  Sprinkle Parmesan over the top of the pitas.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350°.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce

Dr Pepper goes so well with meat.  I have to make my Dr Pepper and chicken in the crock pot again really soon.  I marinated ribs in Dr Pepper for 6 hours and then cooked them in the pop (yes, I'm one of those people that call it pop, not soda) in the crock pot for another 4 hours before mixing together a Dr Pepper bbq sauce and finishing them off on the grill.  Be sure to have a small bowl of the bbq sauce for dipping!

Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce

2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 can (12 oz) Dr Pepper
1 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and cook the onions until translucent. Add in minced garlic and cook for another minute.  Pour in Dr Pepper.  Add in the rest of the ingredients, stir and cook over medium heat until it begins to thicken.  Brush two coats on top of your ribs or chicken (I'm going to make chicken breasts to use the leftovers on).  Cover and refrigerate the leftover sauce for up to two weeks.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Lemon Honey Carrots

Finally sunshine and warm temperatures in the valley.  I dragged the grill out of it's dusty cover in the garage and started it up.  The first thing I made was these carrots.  A little bit of heavy duty aluminum foil and all my favorite veggies are heading outside.  Plus my mom had given me a bottle of lemon honey as a Christmas gift so it was time for it to be opened

Lemon Honey Glazed Carrots

1# baby carrots
2 tbsp water
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  
1/4 cup lemon honey
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tbsp parsley

Take a 12" piece of heavy duty aluminum foil.  Place the carrots inside, lightly season, and close the top and one of the ends.  Add 2 tbsp of water into the package and seal the remaining end.  Cook on the top shelf of your grill for a half hour.  Carefully open the package (there will be hot steam escaping).  Drizzle the honey and ginger over and reseal.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove from grill and put into a serving dish.  Stir in the parsley.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Apple Butter BBQ Sauce

Sometimes positive things come out of negative events.  I took a look at my basement pantry yesterday after the water clean up and found some of last years apple butter that I wanted to use.  I had pork chops thawing so I decided to make a bbq sauce to go on them.  Unfortunately the weather kept me inside using an indoor grill but I just loved the taste combination.

Apple Butter BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup apple butter
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Heinz 57 
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

Mix together all of the ingredients in a small saucepan.  Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Strawberry Coffee Cake

I decided to pamper myself today after a bad start to the morning.  There's nothing like waking up way too early on a weekend and finding out that it was probably a good thing.  My sump pump had stopped working due to a faulty plug in so a little bit of bailing, finding out the problem and the clean up process made me decide to try creating a new recipe.  Something had to go right so my fingers were crossed that this would be it.  It was.  

You'll find that when you mix this up that the dough is dense.  Don't be tempted to add more buttermilk because the strawberries will release juices during baking.

Strawberry Coffee Cake

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh strawberries, diced
1 tbsp flour

Cinnamon Topping

1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add in the eggs, oil and buttermilk and stir only until combined.  Place the diced strawberries in a small bowl.  Mix in 1 tbsp of flour so they don't sink during baking.  Gently fold them in the batter.  Pour into a greased 9 x 9 baking pan.  In another small bowl, combine the topping ingredients.  Sprinkle over the strawberry batter.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.