Thursday, July 29, 2010

Raspberry Summer Sensation

I find all kinds of great recipe ideas on the Kraft website.  This is a fantastic find!  Try this next time you need a  unique recipe for a hot day.

1 pint of raspberry sorbet, softened
1 cup cold milk
1 pkg (3.4 oz) Jell-O Vanilla flavor instant pudding
1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip whipped topping, thawed
1 cup raspberries

Line a 9 x 5" loaf pan with foil.  Spoon sorbet into prepared pan; freeze 10 minutes.

Beat milk and pudding mix in large bowl with whisk for 2 minutes or until well blended.  Gently stir in Cool Whip; spread over sorbet in pan.

Freeze 3 hours or until firm.  To unmold, invert pan onto plate; remove foil.  Let stand 10 - 15 minutes to soften slightly before slicing to serve.  Serve topped with the raspberries.  Store leftovers in freezer.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Raspberry Freezer Jam

We have lots and lots of Blackberries and Raspberries this year.  They are so plump, juicy and delicious this year.  I was looking for a way to use them up and I found the following recipe for Raspberry Jam on the Kraft website.  It should work equally well for Blackberries.

6 cups of fully ripe berries
5 1/4 cups sugar (measured into separate bowl)
3/4 cup water
1 box Sure Jell Fruit Pectin

Rinse clean plastic containers and lids with boiling water.  Dry thoroughly.

Crush berries thoroughly, one layer at a time.  (Press half of pulp through a sieve to remove seeds, if desired.)  Measure exactly 3 cups crushed berries into large bowl.  Stir in sugar.  Let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix water and pectin in small saucepan.  Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly.  Continue boiling and stirring for 1 minute.  Add to fruit mixture; stir 3 minutes or until sugar is almost dissolved and no longer grainy.  (A few sugar crystals may remain.)

Fill containers immediately to within 1/2" of tops.  Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids.  Let stand at room temperature 24 hours.  Jam is now ready to use.  Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year.  Thaw in refrigerator before using.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Fresh Spinach Salad

This is a recipe I found on Kraft's site . . . I've changed it up just a little bit.  This is great for dinner on those days when it's been over 90 degrees.

1 (9 oz) bag of baby spinach
3 small fresh peaches thinly sliced
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped Planters Pecans (toasted)
1/2 cup Kraft shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/2 bottle (4 oz) Kraft Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

Make it and serve immediately.

If you want to turn this into the main dish for your dinner, marinate two chicken breasts in 1/2 cup of the Raspberry Vinaigrette salad dressing and then grill in your grill pan on your stove top - 6 minutes on each side under the grill press.  Slice and serve on top of the salad.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Crispy Orange-glazed Salmon

2/3 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 ( 6 oz) salmon fillets
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp honey
Hot cooked rice
Salt and pepper to taste

Stir together orange juice, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and ginger in small bowl.  Add salmon and drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil, turning to coat evenly.  Marinate at least 30 minutes.  Remove salmon, reserving marinade, and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and add remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Cook salmon 3 - 4 minutes per side or until fish begins to flake with fork; remove from pan.  Pour reserved marinade into skillet, and add honey.  Heat about 3 minutes or until syrupy.  Serve salmon warm over a mound of rice, topped with sauce.  Garnish, if desired.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Basil & Garlic Vegetable Pasta with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Those of you who have been in my kitchen have seen the very large, but really nice spice rack Eddie built for me.  It's great!  And by alphabetizing my spices, I'm able to find what I'm looking for easily.

Most of my spices are "Spice Island".  It's a brand I have purchased for years.  More and more, I find myself buying McCormick products.  I really love the "Perfect Pinch" spice blends and their "Recipe Inspirations".  These are awesome products.  Give the McCormick recipe below a try. . .

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic or white win vinegar
4 tsp McCormick Perfect Pinch Basil & Garlic Seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups assorted vegetables, such as broccoli florets, bell pepper strips, sliced carrots, snow peas and cherry tomatoes
8 oz penne pasta, cooked and drained
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into bite-size chunks

Mix oil, vinegar, seasoning and salt in large bowl until well blended.  Add vegetables, pasta and cheese, toss to coat well.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Honey Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

1  Pork Tenderloin (1 lb)
1/4 cup Kraft Catalina Dressing (divided)
1 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Dry Mustard
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp dried Thyme leaves
1 Tbsp Honey

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Brush meat with 2 Tbsp dressing.  Mix dry ingredients; rub onto meat.  Place in pan.  Mix remaining dressing and honey; set aside.

Bake 25 minutes or until meat is done (160 degrees), brushing with dressing mixture after 15 minutes.

Remove meat from oven; cover with foil.  Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

This recipe is compliments of Kraft Foods.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pasta Salad Vinaigrette

This is the perfect picnic recipe - it has no mayo.  Give it a try.

16 oz rotini or other pasta
1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dill weed
4 cups bite-size vegetables, such as bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, celery, cucumber, carrots, zucchini or broccoli

Cook pasta as directed on package. Rinse under cold water; drain well.

Mix oil, vinegar and seasonings in small bowl with wire whisk until well blended.  Toss pasta and vegetables in large bowl.  Add dressing toss gently.  Cover

Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Toss lightly before serving.

Serves 12

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Black & Blueberry Smoothie

I found a version of this recipe on the Walgreens website.  Their version was non-fat, mine is not.  It is awesome for breakfast.

2 cups blackberries
2 cups blueberries
1 cup blueberry yogurt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups ice

Place all ingredients into blender, cover, and blend until smooth.  Serve immediately.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Broccoli Salad

Oh, this is a good one!  I just love this.  It took me a few tries to perfect it, but I think I finally have a home run.

3 - 4 crowns of broccoli (about 8 cups washed and stemmed)
8 slices of cooked bacon (crumbled)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup Craisins
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
1 cup Miracle Whip
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Trim off the large leaves from the broccoli stem.  Remove the tough stalk at the end and wash broccoli head thoroughly.  Cut the head into flowerets and the stem into bit-size pieces.   Place a saucepan of salted water on the stove to boil.  Place flowerets into boiling water for 3 minutes and then drain and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, place crumbled bacon, onion, Craisins and cheese.  In a small bowl, combine the Miracle Whip, Red Wine Vinegar, and sugar.  Whisk until blended.  Add the cooled broccoli to the bacon mixture and stir well.  Pour the Miracle Whip mixture over the broccoli and stir until well mixed.  Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Drying Herbs - A Way To Save Money

A trip down the spice aisle at your local grocery store can be quite an eye opener.  Spices are very expensive.  I love to cook with different spices, so to save myself some money, I grow herbs in containers on my deck each summer.  I don't care for fresh herbs, so I dry them and then store them in airtight containers to use year round.  For several years I've been growing Basil and Parsley.  This year, I added Sage, Thyme, and Rosemary to the mix.  The Sage grew well, but the Thyme and Rosemary got a little too much rain earlier in the year and haven't produced much.

I plant my containers in late April, after all chance of frost has passed.  By the end of June or early July, I'm ready to harvest my first batch of herbs.  I don't have the patience to let them hang and air dry, so I do the following and I have spices dried and stored in a day:

Cut fresh herbs
Soak in water and wash well (I usually find a few little insects hiding in there)
Pat dry and place on cookie sheet covered with foil
Place in 200 degree oven for 2 hours
Check to see if herbs are dry, if not check again every 1/2 hour until dried
Remove from oven and allow to cool
Strip the dried leaves from the stems and crush
Remove stems (this part is tough - now I know why they cost so much)
Store in an airtight container

Yes, it's a lot of work, but from one $1.00 package of seeds I get enough the dried herb to last me all year long plus share with family and friends.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Grilled Shrimp Scampi

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt (divided)
2 lbs large shrimp (peeled, deveined, tails attached)
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons) plus 1 lemon cut into wedges for serving
1 1/2 tsp black pepper (divided)
4 oz unsalted butter (1 stick) cut into pieces
1 pinch red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves (sliced thinly)

In a medium bowl combine the olive oil, 2 Tbsp of the lemon juice, half the garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Stir well.  Place the shrimp on metal skewers and add to the marinade.  Refrigerate for no more than 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large heatproof pan or bowl that can be place on the coolest part of the grill, combine the butter, parsley, red pepper flakes, wine and the remaining lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.   Set aside.

Place the skewered shrimp on the grill (discard the marinade) and cook each side for about 3 - 4 minutes, until opaque and slightly curled.  Remove shrimp from the skewers, place in the butter mixture and toss well.  Serve at once in shallow bowls.  Garnish with lemon wedges.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Shrimp Pasta Salad

This recipe came from Simply Recipes and is a new family summer favorite.  Of course, Luke won't eat this because of the shrimp.

1 lb bow-tie pasta
Kosher salt
2 lbs small pink shrimp (already cooked)
1 diced red onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 cup chopped basil leaves (loosely packed) - I use 2 tsp dried basil
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp red chile flakes
Black pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in well salted water until al dente, a bit firmer than you would normally eat.  (The pasta will absorb some of the salad dressing and soften further after cooking.)  Rinse the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking.  Drain well and put into a large bowl.

Rinse the shrimp and drain well.  Add them to the bowl and mix.  Add the remaining ingredients and gently mix until well combined.

Serves 6 as a main dish or 10 as an appetizer.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

One More Patriotic Dish for the 4th of July

Jell-o Easy Patriotic Pie

1 1/2 cups boiling water (divided)
1 pkg (4-serving size) Jell-o Berry Blue gelatin
1 cup ice cubes (divided)
1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust (6 oz)
1 pkg (4-serving size) Jell-o red (any flavor) gelatin
1 cup thawed Cool Whip whipped topping

Stir 3/4 cup of the boiling water into dry blue gelatin mix.  Stir for at least 2 minutes until dissolved.  Add 1/2 cup of the ice cubes; stir until ice is melted.  Pour into pie crust; refrigerate 5 - 10 minutes or until gelatin is set, but not firm.

Stir remaining 3/4 cup boiling water into dry red gelatin.  Mix in separate bowl and stir for at least 2 minutes until dissolved.  Add remaining 1/2 cup ice cubes; stir until ice is melted.  Cool t minutes or until slightly thickened.

Spread whipped topping over blue gelatin layer; cover with red gelatin.  Refrigerate 2 hours or until set.  Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Garnish this with fresh seasonal berries just before serving.

Looking for A Red, White & Blue Dish to Take to a 4th of July Picnic?

Try this for a patriotic fruit salad . . .

Combine sliced strawberries, blueberries, and sliced bananas.  Top this with a combination of the juice of one lime with 2 Tbsp of honey.  Whisk well and pour over fruit.

Refrigerate for 15 minutes before serving to let the flavors blend.

Or, if you're like me, I substitute mini marshmallows for the bananas.  I just don't like bananas.  

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Discovered A Quick Way To Peel Peaches

Select your peaches and wash thoroughly.  Drop them into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds and then remove.  The skins will slide right off.  You won't even need a knife.

This is a pretty great trick.  It works really well.

Lemon-Thyme Lamb Chops

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
8 (1/2" thick)  lamb rib chops (frenched)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a shallow baking dish, toss olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, and lamb; cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high.  (Alternately;, heat a 12" cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.) Season lamb chops with salt and pepper and cook, turning once, until browned and cooked to desired doneness, 2 - 3 minutes per side for medium rare.

Note:  This will work with pork chops and chicken breasts also.  I don't like any of my meat anywhere near rare.  Cook to desired doneness.