Friday, April 30, 2010

Cucumber - Yogurt Sauce

1/2 med. cucumber peeled, seeded & chopped fine
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. ground pepper

Stir all ingredients together. Serve gyro in pita bread with tomatoes and lettuce and cucumber sauce. Serving suggestions: Couscous Pilaf and Squash and Tomato Saute.

Lemon-Oregano Chicken Skewers

1 1/2 lemons
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil (plus extra for grill)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
8 chicken tenderloins (about 1 1/4 lb)
8 wooden skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes

    1. Squeeze the juice from the half-lemon into a ziptop food bag. Squeeze garlic through a press into bag (or chop). Add oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add chicken; seal bag and turn to mix and coat. Marinate 15 minutes.

    2. Brush outdoor grill or grill pan with oil; heat. Cut lemon into 8 wedges. Thread one chicken tender onto each skewer, then skewer on a lemon wedge.

    3. Grill 4 minutes, turning once, until chicken is lightly charred and cooked through. Place on platter. Serve with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce.

BLT Potato Salad

8 all-purpose potatoes (about 3 lbs)
6 strips bacon

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I like Miracle Whip)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup minced sweet gherkins
1 medium head romaine lettuce, cut crosswise in 1/2" wide strips
1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved)

Peel potatoes and cut in 1" pieces.  Put into a large saucepan with cold water to cover.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer 12 minutes or until firm-tender.  Drain and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile cook bacon in a skillet or microwave until crisp.  Cool, then cut in 1/2" pieces.  (Wrap and refrigerate at this point if making ahead.)

Whisk dressing ingredients in a large bowl until well blended.  Add warm potatoes, celery, red onion and sweet gherkins and mix gently.  Let cool.  (Cover and refrigerate at this point if making ahead.)

To serve:  Line a serving platter with romaine lettuce.  Top with potato salad.  Sprinkle with bacon and tomato halves.

Bacon Quesadillas

I found this recipe on the Kraft Foods website . . . it is so simple.

4 flour tortillas (6")
1 cup shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup bacon bits (four slices of bacon
2 green onions (thinly sliced)

Heat Quesadilla Maker.  Spray top and bottom with cooking spray.

Place a tortilla on a dinner plate.  Top with 1/2 of cheese, bacon bits and green onions.  Top with another tortilla.  Place in Quesadilla Maker and press lid down firmly.  Allow to cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until tortilla is slightly crispy and cheese is melted.

Cut each quesadilla into four segments.

Tip:  I usually use 8" tortillas and triple the ingredients if I'm feeding a crowd.  Each quesadilla feeds one person.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Saucy Pork Chops with Orange Slices

4 bone-in pork loin chops ( 1 1/4" thick)
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup sweet orange marmalade

1/2 cup bottled barbecue sauce
4 orange slices (1/4" thick)

Pierce pork chops with a fork several time on each side.  Combine pork chops and next 3 ingredients in a large shallow dish or large zip-top plastic freezer bag.  Cover or seal, and chill for 30 minutes.  

Remove chops from marinade, discarding marinade.  Sprinkle chops evenly with salt and black pepper.

Stir together marmalade and barbecue sauce in a small bowl.  Brush one side of pork chops evenly with half of marmalade mixture.

Grill chops, marmalade mixture side up and covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350 - 400 degrees) 10 minutes.  Turn pork chops, and brush evenly with remaining half of marmalade mixture.  Grill 10 minutes or until done.  Remove chops from grill, and let stand 5 minutes.

Grill orange slices, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat 1 minute on each side.  Serve with pork chops.

Note: My favorite BBQ Sauce is Jack Daniel's any flavor

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spinach Salad with Lemon & Pepper Dressing

It's the time of year when salads just sound good.  Here is another one my family likes.

1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp Lemon Pepper Seasoning
2 packages (6 oz each) baby spinach leaves
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Toppings such as crumbled bacon, chopped hard-cooked eggs, sliced red onions, sliced strawberries, orange segments, sliced avocado, or grilled chicken.  (We like all of them.)

Mix olive oil, vinegar, sugar and seasoning in small bowl with wire whisk until well blended.

Toss spinach and mushrooms in large bowl.  Top with desired toppings.  Serve with dressing.

Tip:  If I top this with grilled chicken, I marinate one chicken breast in 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp  Lemon Pepper Seasoning for 30 minutes before grilling it in the grill pan.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Layered Overnight Salad

This recipe came from the March 2010 edition of Dierbergs Everybody Cooks.

1 bag (6 oz) baby spinach                                    
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese                      
3 cups fresh broccoli florets                                
2 cups shredded carrot                                        
2 cups seedless red grapes (halved)
2 green onions (thinly sliced)
1 cup mayonnaise ( I like Miracle Whip)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup honey roasted sliced almonds (Almond Accents)

In a trifle bowl, layer spinach, cheese, broccoli, carrot, grapes, and green onions.

In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, sugar, and lemon juice.  Spread over top of salad to completely cover grapes.  Cover and chill overnight.  Just before serving, toss until well mixed; sprinkle almonds over top.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chicken & Strawberry Salad

Pair this simple, no-cook meal with toasted buttery baguette slices.

1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp water
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups torn romaine lettuce
4 cups arugula
2 cups quartered strawberries
1/3 cup vertically sliced red onion
12 oz skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast, sliced
2 Tbsp unsalted cashews, halved
1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled blue cheese

To prepare dressing, combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl.  Gradually drizzle in oil, stirring constantly with a whisk.

To prepare salad, combine romaine and next 4 ingredients (through chicken) in a bowl; toss gently.  Place about 2 cups chicken mixture on each of 4 plates.  Top each serving with 1 1/2 tsp cashews and 2 Tbsp cheese.  Drizzle about 4 tsp dressing over each serving.

Note:  I don't like blue cheese, so I substitute fresh mozzarella.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Glazed Snow Peas

This is a simple, but very good recipe.  It's great for a quick dinner.

Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 8 oz of snow peas, 1 bunch chopped scallions, a pinch of sugar and 1/4 cup water.  Cover and simmer 2 minutes, then uncover and boil until the water evaporates, 2 more minutes.  Season with salt.  

Black Forest Trifle

Another Trifle Bowl Recipe

1 pkg (18 - 21 oz) brownie mix (plus ingredients to make cake-like brownies)
2 bars (1.55 oz each) milk chocolate candy, divided
3 cups cherry pie filling
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup cranberry-cherry juice
2 cups cold 2% milk
2 pkg (3.3 oz each) white chocolate instant pudding and pie filling
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for cake-like brownies; spread batter over bottom of large bar pan.  Bake 18 - 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely.

Loosen brownies from sides of bar pan and invert onto flat side of large grooved cutting board.  Cut brownie into 1" cubes; set aside.  Chop 1 1/2 of the chocolate bars using Food Chopper.  Reserve remaining chocolate for garnish.

Combine pie filling and almond extract in small batter bowl; set aside 1/2 cup for garnish.  Stir jujice into batter bowl.
Pour milk into classic batter bowl;  add pudding mix and whisk until mixture begins to thicken.  Fold in whipped topping.  

To assemble trifle, place half of the brownie cubes into bottom of Trifle Bowl.  Layer with half of the pie filling mixture.  Sprinkle with half of the chopped chocolate; top with half of the pudding mixture.  Repeat layer one time.

Make chocolate curls with reserved chocolate using vegetable peeler (see Cook's Tips).  Garnish top of the trifle with reserved pie filling mixture and chocolate curls.  

Yield:  16 servings.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Perfectly Creamy Cheesecake

I just bought a  Springform Cake Pan.  Now, I think I'm really ready to try my first true cheesecake.  This is the recipe that came with the pan . . . I plan to try it this week.

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter or margarine (melted)
1 Tbsp sugar

3 pkgs cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 can cherry or blueberry pie filling (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  For crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar until well blended.  Press crumb mixture into bottom or Springform Pan.  Bake 10 minutes.  Remove from oven to cooling rack.

For filling, beat cream cheese, sugar and flour at medium speed at electric mixer until smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time; mix at low speed just until blended.  Stir in sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla.  Pour filling into crust.

Bake 55 - 60 minutes or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken (the center will firm as it cools).  Remove from oven to cooling rack.  Immediately run releasing tool around sides of cake to loosen from pan; cool completely.  Cover, refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.  Release collar from pan.  To serve, top with pie filling, if desired.  Cut into wedges.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

Years ago, my dad sent me home with several everbearing strawberry plants.  We planted them in the garden and they have grown into quite the strawberry patch.  Right now, it's a sea of green with pretty white flowers with yellow centers.  We'll have strawberries before you know it.

This recipe is a great way to use the strawberries as part of a healthy dinner.

4 cups washed spinach (torn into bite size pieces)
1 cup arugula
1 cup toasted pecans
1 cup hulled, sliced strawberries
Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup olive oil
3 - 4 hulled strawberries

Toss all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Place the vinegar, honey and strawberries in a blender or food processor.  Pulse until smooth.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking as you go.

Pour the vinaigrette over  the salad and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

You can make a meal out of this by adding roasted chicken.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Strawberries & Cream Cheesecake

I just recently bought a Springform Pan and am looking forward to my first attempt at a cheesecake.  My son, Paul loves cheesecake, so I'll let him be the judge of my effort.  If all goes well, I'll have a chance to try this out on Sunday.  Here's the recipe.

1 lb Strawberries (hulled)
3 Tbsp Light corn syrup
1 cup finely ground graham crackers (about 4 sheets)
1 cup plus 3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp unsalted butter (melted)
1 lb plus 13 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs (room temp)
1 vanilla bean (seeds scraped and reserved)
8 1/4 oz mascarpone cheese (room temp)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Place strawberries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with corn syrup, and toss gently to coat.  Bake until syrup thickens and strawberries turn deep red and shrink slightly about 1 hour 30 minutes.  Transfer strawberries and syrup to a medium bowl;, and mash with a potato masher.  Let cool completely.

Raise oven temp to 350 degrees.  Stir together graham cracker crumbs, 3 Tbsp sugar, and the melted butter into a small bowl.  Press mixture into the bottom of a 9" springform pan to make an even layer.  Bake until crust is firm to the tough and has just darkened about 10 mins.  Transfer pan to a wire rack and let crust cool completely.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Put cream cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium-low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Scrape down sides of bowl, then gradually add remaining cup of sugar and the salt.  Scrape down sides of bowl; add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Scrape down sides of bowl, and mix in vanilla bean seeds and mascarpone until very creamy and no lumps remain, about 3 minutes.  (Reserve vanilla bean for another use.)

Transfer 5 cups cream cheese mixture to bowl with mashed strawberries; stir to combine.  Pour strawberry-cream cheese mixture on top of crust; smooth with an offset spatula.  Carefully spoon dollops of plain crem cheese mixture on top, smoothing with an offset spatula.

Wrap the exterior of the springform pan in 2 layers of foil; set in a large roasting pan.  Fill roasting pan with boiling water until water reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan.  Bake cheesecake until set, about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes.  Remove springform pan from water bath, and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours (up to overnight).

Sounds just yummy!.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

This is a recipe that makes use of two of my favorite fall ingredients.  But . . . now that our favorite fresh ingredients are available year round, this is a good complement to dinner any time of year.

1 cup peeled and chopped apples
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp salt

Start by splitting two acorn squash in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds and stringy filaments with a spoon.  Place the squash in a baking dish and set aside.

To make the apple filling, peel and chop the apple.  Then melt the butter in a skillet and saute the onions for about 3 - 4 minutes over a medium heat.  Add the apples, brown sugar, Balsamic vinegar, dried thyme leaves and salt and continue to saute for a couple of minutes.  Remove mixture from heat.

Score the squash before filling so they absorb more of the flavor of the stuffing.  Spoon the filling into the squash.

To help keep the squash moist while it bakes add about 1/2 inch of water to the botom of the pan.  Place the filled squash in the pan and cover it with foil.

'Bake at 375 for about one our, until the squash is tender.

This squash recipe is delicious served warm, right out of the oven.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Seared Scallops with Lemon Orzo

I found this recipe on I was looking for something different from the normal everyday recipes I'd been making for dinner and this really came through.  Give this one a try!

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine (water may be substituted)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs sea scallops
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add onion to pan; saute 3 minutes.  Stir in pasta, broth, wine, and thyme; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente.  Stir in chopped chives and lemon juice.  Keep warm.

Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle scallions evenly with salt and pepper.  Add scallops to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.   Serve with pasta mixture.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Baked Potato Salad - A Picnic Favorite

6 medium baking potatoes (about 2 lbs)
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup Miracle Whip
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked (drained and chopped)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
6 thinly sliced green onions with tops
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425°.  Scrub potatoes thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Using paper towel, wipe potatoes with vegetable oil.  Prick potatoes with a fork.  Bake 50 - 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the sour cream and Miracle Whip in small bowl.  Chop bacon, red onion, and celery using food chopper.  Add to sour cream mixture.  Stir in salt and black pepper; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Remove potatoes from oven; cool completely.  Coarsely chop potatoes into 1/2" pieces.  Place in large bowl; fold in sour cream mixture.  Cover and refrigerate 4 - 6 hours or overnight.  Garnish with green onions and cheddar cheese before serving.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Christian in his Easter outfit

Christian was the most adorable young man Easter Sunday.  His outfit was smashing!  Check him out . . .

Sesame Tilapia With Shitake Broth

Flavorful, pan-fried tilapia becomes a Japanesse-inspired one-bowl meal with rice and a gingery mushroom broth.

1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 egg
2 boneless, skinless tilapia fillets (4 oz each)
3 Tbsp Asian Seasoning Mix
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Shitake Broth and Rice
1 small carrot
1 green onion with top
1/2 cup sliced shitake mushrooms
1 3" piece fresh gingerroot, divided
2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup hot cooked white rice

For tilapia, combine panko crumbs and sesame seeds.  Lightly beat egg in a bowl.  Cut each fillet into three pieces with boning knife.  Coat tilapia with seasoning mix.  Dip each piece into egg and then  into panko mixture.  Set aside.

For broth, peel carrot; cut into julienne strips using julienne peeler.  Thinly slice green onion on a bias.  Slice mushrooms.  Peel gingerroot; grate 1 tsp of the gigerroot using the Microplane.  Cut remaining gingerroot into 1/4" slices.  Combine carrot, green onion, mushrooms, grated and sliced gingerroot, broth and soy sauce in 1/4 qt. saucepan; bring to a boil.

As broth comes to a boil, add oil to a 10" skillet; heat over medium heat 1 - 3 minute or until simmering.  Carefully arrange tilapia in skillet and cook 2 - 3 minutes or until browned.  Turn tilapia over; cook 2 - 3 minutes or until tilapia flakes easily with a fork, turning with small slotted turner.

As broth comes to a boil, add oil to a 10" skillet; heat over medium heat 1 - 3 minutes or until simmering.  Carefully arrange talapia in skillet and cook 2  - 3 minutes or until browned.  Turn tiaplia over; cook 2 - 3 minutes or until tilapia flakes easily with a fork, turning with small slotted turner.

For each serving, pack rice int 1 cup prep bowl and invert into bottom of serving bowl.  Ladle broth and vegetables around rice;  place tilapia over rice.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Red, White & Blueberry Trifle

This is an impressive and patriotic summer dessert.

1 quart fresh strawberries
1 prepared angel food cake (13 oz)
3 cups blueberries
1 container (16 oz) frozen sliced strawberries in syrup, thawed
1 lemon
3 containers (8 oz each) blended strawberry yogurt
1 pkg (3.4 oz) white chocolate instant pudding and pie filling
2 cups thawed frozen whipped topping, divided

Cut cake into 1-in. cubes using Color Coated Bread Knife; set aside. Hull fresh strawberries and cut into quarters. Set aside ½ cup of the strawberries and ½ cup of the blueberries for garnish. In Classic Batter Bowl, combine remaining fresh and frozen strawberries; mix well.

Juice lemon using Juicer to measure 2 tbsp juice. In Stainless (4-qt.) Mixing Bowl, whisk yogurt, pudding mix and lemon juice until smooth using Stainless Whisk; immediately fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping.

To assemble trifle, place one-third of the cake cubes into Trifle Bowl. Top with one-third of the strawberry mixture and one-third of the blueberries, pressing down lightly. Top with one-third of the yogurt mixture, spreading evenly. Repeat layers two times, spreading last layer evenly using the Small Spreader to create a
flat surface.

Pipe whipped topping over top of trifle; garnish with reserved strawberries and blueberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: 16 servings

Cook’s Tip: Cheesecake pudding and pie filling or vanilla pudding and pie filling can be substituted for the white chocolate pudding, if desired. If using vanilla pudding, add 6-8 drops of red food coloring for a pinker color, if desired.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tangy Spinach and Pasta Salad

The weather is getting warmer and cool suppers will become the norm around our house as summer approaches.  Have your family try this and see if they notice how healthy it is.

It calls for grilled chicken and crispy bacon.  I like to fry extra bacon when I fix it for breakfast and then keep the leftovers in the freezer to use when I need bacon bits for a recipe.  I usually grill two extra chicken breasts when I prepare chicken breasts for dinner.  I dice them and keep them in the freezer to use when I need dinner in a hurry.  (See my recipe for Fool-Proof Chicken Breasts)

6 cups uncooked rotini pasta
8 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
2 cups diced cooked chicken  (12 oz)
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, drained and crumbled
½ cup chopped carrot
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 hard-cooked eggs, diced
¾ cup French dressing

1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse under cold running water.
2. Place pasta in Stainless Mixing Bowl (8 qt.); add spinach, chicken, bacon, carrot, cheese, onion and eggs.
3. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Serves 12

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dill Dip

The weather is warming and BBQ season is upon us.  It's time to clean up the deck and the grill and get ready for entertaining.  I absolutely love to have a crowd over for BBQ and all the fixins.  This recipe for Dill Dip is a must.  It's perfect with all raw veggies.

1 cup sour cream (don't use fat free)
1 cup Miracle Whip
1 Tbsp dried onion
 1 Tbsp parsley
1 Tbsp Beau Monde
1 Tbsp dill weed

Stir all ingredients together.  Refrigerate for two hours prior to serving to blend flavors.  Serve with an assortment of raw veggies.  Keep dip on ice so it will remain cold.