Saturday, June 30, 2012

Raspberry Creamsicles

It is hot here this week. The mercury hit 102 with a heat index of 125 today.Yesterday was much of the same.

I needed to cool down after a hard day of work and a cold shower wasn't going to do it. Mostly because the ground water is no longer cool. I can take a shower with the hot water off and the water is still lukewarm. Not super refreshing.

I wanted a frozen treat that would be creamy and satisfy my sweet tooth without being heavy. Cool Whip has a ton of recipes out there so I thought I would try one.

I loved these! Light, refreshing, and just enough sweet to satisfy.

If you don't have Popsicle molds, you can use little Dixie cups with a Popsicle stick.

Hope your summer is going well! Stay cool and enjoy the sunshine :)

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Raspberry Creamsicles

4 oz cool whip (light, regular, sugar free, whatever suits your fancy)
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 small box sugar free instant vanilla pudding mix

Combine cool whip and pudding mix until well mixed. Fold in pineapple and berries. Spoon evenly into popsicle molds.

Freeze at least 4 hours.

To remove from plastic molds- run the mold under warm water for 10-20 seconds to loosen. If you use paper cups, simply peel the paper off.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

BLT Salad

For father's day, my husband and I went to my parents house to celebrate with my dad (and really, with mom too because they are a team).

We spent the day watching Kung Fu Panda 2. Well, Mom and Jon did- Dad and I both fell asleep for a few minutes in the middle. Can we tell who I take after? And we played a spirited game of Clue.

Mom made a BLT salad that is now in my top loved salads. Dad made his special croutons for me using Udi's sandwich bread. He usually makes the croutons with regular hot dog buns but since they are gluten filled that just wasn't going to work for me. Having experienced both versions I can tell you- the gf version can hold its own! They were delish :)

My contribution was churro chex mix. I found the recipe here. It turned out really wonderful, but my cinnamon chips ceased up on the first try. I omitted the butter in the first try because in the past I have had trouble- ironically enough- with it causing the chips to cease.

I ended up giving it a second go and added a drizzle (only about 1tsp for 2 cups of chips) of olive oil to the chips. Upon reading some of the reviews, many other cooks had this same experience.

I am a seasoned cook and I have used a double boiler to melt chocolate for years. There is something different about the make up of cinnamon chips that seems to make them more likely to cease. Next time I make this recipe I will simply use white chocolate chips or almond bark with some cinnamon extract or cinnamon mixed into the chocolate.

All in all it was a great day with family. I am blessed to have two great parents who love and support each other and their families.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

BLT Salad

12-16 oz bacon
1 head romaine lettuce- rinsed, dried and shredded
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 cups seasoned croutons*

1/2 cup Kraft olive oil mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon. Cool on paper towels. Blot any excess grease. Crumble and set aside.

In a blender or food processor, combine mayo, sour cream, milk, garlic powder, and pepper. Blend until smooth.  Season with salt to taste.

Just before serving combine lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, and croutons in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.

* We used Dad's homemade gluten free croutons but you can use your favorite brand.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Oven Tacos

Jon and I enjoy tacos. We like to mix it up with different meats, seasonings, and veggies.

I stumbled on a recipe for oven chicken tacos and thought to myself- how did that never occur to me?! Bake the tacos in the oven- no more tippy tacos when you are trying to fill several of them to serve your family. Brilliant!

The recipe calls for store bought bbq baked beans. I opted to make my own with a cup of canned (drained and rinsed) of navy beans leftover from another night. I simply added some bbq sauce and a little water, simmered them for about 20 minutes until they had thickened up and absorbed the flavors. They turned out wonderfully- in fact, I may make my baked beans this way from now on.

This recipe is great for a family meal or a big shindig since you just bake them in the oven. Easy peasy :)

Here's to you and your culinary adventures. Cheers!

Oven Tacos
Makes 8

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1-2 tsp taco seasoning OR 1/2 tsp cumin + 1/2 tsp paprika
8 hard (corn) taco shells
1 cup bbq baked beans, partially drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Optional- sour cream and diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400.
Spray a skillet with cooking spray. Cook chicken over medium heat until no longer pink. Add taco seasoning or cumin/paprika and 1/4 cup water. Simmer until thickened.

To assemble:

In a 9x9 baking pan, stand shells side by side. (They were a little snug in my pan, but they stood better that way anyway.)

Fill each taco evenly with the following layers- cooked chicken, baked beans, cheese, and bacon.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly. Top with tomatoes and sour cream if desired.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pizza Burgers

Yesterday was grocery day.

I have a love-hate relationship with grocery day. On one hand I love having my pantry restocked and ready to go for two weeks (I shop 2x a month. That's why menu planning rocks.) But on the other hand, I loath trying to figure out a quick meal for shopping night supper. Have you ever brought a hungry husband grocery shopping? And tried to stick to a list and a budget? Not a good plan. Feed that man something if you want any hope of keeping things under control. LOL

Before we left I asked the hubs what he wanted for supper. He knows this is his free pass day to ask for whatever his heart desires- let's eat out, let's grab something on the way home, let's grill, etc.  Surprisingly enough he had no request. So I started flipping through my ever growing cookbook collection.  (It turned out he had a secret plan to take me out on a movie date to see Snow White and the Huntsman. Since he knew he was going to eat popcorn he was not really concerned about supper.)

Some of my favorite cookbooks are those that I have inherited or have been gifted by family. They are church cookbooks. Those folks know how to cook!

I flipped through one that I received from my lovely grandparents for Christmas one year. It has a simple inscription- Merry Christmas, Becca. Love Grandma and Grandpa 2008. But it means the world to me. It's written by hands that have cooked for generations of our family with love and joy.

I also have some of my great grandmother's cookbooks. Seeing her handwritten notes in the margins makes me smile every time. Pulling out index cards with recipes quickly scribbled down, I can't help but feel close to my family- those who are still here and those who have gone Home.

After I thumbed through a few pages I saw a recipe for Pizza Burgers. It was submitted by a woman I knew and remembered from my childhood. It looked delicious and I had all the ingredients in the pantry. Perfect for my grocery day meal. 

The original recipe  makes the burgers sloppy joe style, but I know Jon isn't a fan of loose meat. I simply formed the meat into patties and cooked them on my flattop griddle. We served these burgers with sweet potato tator tots. YUM!

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Pizza Burgers
Based on a recipe by Bonnie Drake

 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 can light spam
3/4 tsp dry Italian seasoning or 1/2 tsp dry oregano + 1/4 tsp dry sage
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 can pizza sauce
hamburger buns (gf in my case)

Dice spam into small cubes.

In a small bowl combine beef, spam, seasoning, and garlic powder.  Form into 4 patties.

Cook over medium heat 7-9 minutes per side until cooked through.

Top evenly with cheeses and sauce. Tent lightly with foil to melt cheese and warm sauce.

Serve hot on hamburger buns.