Monday, June 27, 2011

Grilled Squash and Chicken Salad

This salad is light and delicious and perfect all by itself. 
3 large clove garlic, mashed to a paste with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup oil (I use light olive)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice and 2 tsp. finely grated zest from 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 1/2 TBSP. fresh, finely grated peeled ginger (I use the paste)
1 TBSP. finally chopped jalapeno (optional)
1 tsp. sugar
kosher salt to taste
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
boneless skinless chicken breasts halves, pounded to an even thickness
baby arugula
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:  Put the garlic paste, oil, lime juice and zest, cilantro, ginger, sugar, jalapeno and 1 tsp. salt in a small jar with a lid.  Shake to emulsify.

Put the squash and chicken in a ziploc bag with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette, and toss to coat.  Grill on both sides in a vegetable tray for the grill, until the squash is barely tender. and the chicken is just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board and let cool briefly.  Meanwhile, toss the arugula in a large bowl with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Divide among 4 plates.  Cut the squash and chicken into bit size pieces.  Put them in the bowl and toss with the remaining vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste.

Really Good Macaroni and Cheese

I really don't normally make too many things with pasta, but if you are looking for a great macaroni and cheese dish, you've found it!  I can't claim that it's healthy, but I will tell you it's heavenly (if you like macaroni and cheese).
1 16oz. box pasta, cooked according to directions
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. tobasco sauce
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Bread Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. tobasco sauce

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in flour until blended smooth.  Gradually add in the milk, salt and tobasco sauce and whip until smooth.  Cook until thickened and smooth, stirring often.  Gradually add in cheese and stir until melted together.  Pour over cooked pasta and mix lightly.  For the Bread Crumb Topping:  Melt butter, stir in bread crubs and tobasco sauce.  Sprinkle on top of pasta.  Bake in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fruit Pizza

I needed a summer dessert to take to a family event and I decided to make fruit pizza.  It’s fresh and light and entirely TOO delicious!
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream together butter and brown sugar.  Add egg.  Add remaining dry ingredients.  Don’t overmix.  Roll out onto prepared pizza pan.  (I love my pampered chef pizza stone.  I use it to bake all my cookies).  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned.  Let cool.

1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. container of Cool Whip

Blend the cream cheese and powdered sugar until creamy.  Add in cool whip.  Mix.  Spread on cooled crust.  Top with fresh fruit and berries.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Smore’s on the Grill!

We had some fun experimenting with smores cooked on the grill, wrapped inside tinfoil.  It was fun!  And they turned out great!  You can get a little creative with this and try some of your own variations.  This one happened to be my favorite.  However, I tried chocolate chip cookies, I tried coconut cookies with macadamia nuts (those were my 2nd favorite).  We tried a few different topping choices inside the cookies: Marshmallows, Peanut butter cups, caramel, butterscotch chips and chocolate chips.  Get a little creative and try it out.  Your kids will love it!

Bakery bought chocolate cookies with chocolate chips
peanut butter cups
chocolate chips

Place one cookie on the upside down on your tinfoil.  Place marshmallows on top and broken up peanut butter cups and sprinkle a few more chocolate chips.  Place 2nd cookie on top and wrap in your tinfoil.  Turn your grill down to low and place these on the upper rack on your grill.  Not directly on the heat.  It took about 5-7 minutes for ours to be all gooey.  Yum.

German Pancakes

This recipe is otherwise known in our house as the “sleepover” breakfast.  It is the most often requested breakfast among our kids.  We love it with the buttermilk syrup!  Anything is good with that buttermilk syrup!  If you’ve never had these, you have got to try them!

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
dash of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
6 TBSP. butter

Directions:  Preheat oven to bake 425.  In your 9x13 pan, cut up your 6 TBSP. of butter into chunks.  Place in oven until melted.  In the meantime, in your blender, blend the eggs, milk, flour, salt and vanilla.  Once your butter is all melted (be careful it doesn’t burn), pour batter right into the center of the pan.  Do not stir!  Carefully slide into oven and bake for 20 minutes.  They will puff up all over, but they quickly fall once removed from the oven.

Strawberry Poke Cake

This has always been a favorite of our family.  It is easy to make and very moist, light and refreshing.  It’s perfect to take to a summer barbecue.  Always keep it in the fridge.
1 box strawberry cake mix, baked according to package directions
1 box frozen strawberries in sugar, thawed
1 small pkg. vanilla pudding
1 small 8oz. container cool whip

Make your cake mix as directed on the package.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Blend in your blender the frozen strawberries in sugar until smooth.  Poke a good sized hole one at a time (I use the end of my wooden spoon) and immediately fill with the strawberry filling.  Continue doing this until you have poked holes in the entire cake.  Any leftover filling pour over the top of the cake.

For frosting:  Mix your box of vanilla pudding mix, using the pie filling recipe.  Let chill in fridge for 10 minutes.  Then lightly fold in your cool whip.  Spread over cake.  Keep in the fridge.

Lemon Cupcakes

I’m finally getting around to posting these yummy, delicious, light and fluffy cupcakes!


Ingredients for the Cake:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from two lemons
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350.  Place liners in your cupcake pan.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.  Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extracts, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Place the batter into the cupcake tins.

Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean.

1 (8) oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 lbs. confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
juice of one lemon

Using a mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until well combined. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated. Finally mix in vanilla and lemon juice.  Fill up a pastry bag.  Put tipped edge into the center of the cupcake and squirt to fill.  

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. lemon extract

Whip until whipping cream consistency.  Put in your pastry bag with a fun tip and pipe onto your cupcakes.

Keep in the fridge.