Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pasta Salad With Fresh Spinach

Quick and Easy Pasta Salad, that is full of flavor!
  • 1 (12 ounce) package penne pasta
  • 10 ounces baby spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size piece
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese with basil and tomato
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black olives, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup Italian-style salad dressing
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente, rinse under cold water and drain.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, spinach, cheese, red onion and olives.
  3. Whisk together the salad dressing, garlic, lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss. Refrigerate for 2 hours and serve chilled.

Meatloaf Barbecue Style

This a great way to change up an ordinary meatloaf!

1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 pound extra lean ground beef
1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup uncooked quick-cooking oatmeal
2 egg
1/4 pepper jelly

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, stir together the barbecue sauce and jelly.

In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup barbecue sauce mixture and the remaining ingredients. Shape the mixture into an oval and place on baking sheet.

Spoon the remaining barbecue sauce mixture on the top and sides of the meat loaf.

Bake for 50 minutes. Let the meat loaf stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Easy Peach Pie

This was so easy to make, and tasted great too!
  • 10 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  1. Mix flour, sugar and butter into crumb stage.
  2. Place one crust in the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate. Line the shell with some sliced peaches. Sprinkle some of the butter mixture on top of the peaches, then put more peaches on top of the the crumb mixture. Continue layering until both the peaches and crumbs are gone.
  3. Top with lattice strips of pie crust.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden. Allow pie to cool before slicing. Best when eaten fresh.

The Pioneer Woman Grilled Chicken Salad With Blueberries

We were really surprised how much we liked the combination of blueberries, chicken, and corn! This was a really yummy light summer salad, and a great way for me to use up some of the blueberries leftover from our breakfast (blueberry pancakes)!

I omitted the dill and celery!
  • 4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil, For Drizzling
  • 3 stalks Celery (inner Light Green Stalks), Finely Diced
  • 2 ears Fresh Corn
  • 1/4 whole Medium Red Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1-1/2 cup Blueberries
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Dill, Minced
  • 4 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 4 Tablespoons Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cup Half-and-half
  • 1 whole Lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar (more To Taste)
  • Salt And Pepper (additional) To Taste
  • 3/4 cups Crumbled Feta

Preparation Instructions

Place chicken breasts into large plastic storage bag. Pound with a mallet or rolling pin to flatten to 1/4 inch uniform thickness. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat grill and drizzle chicken with olive oil. Grill chicken on both sides until done, about 7 minutes per side. (Rotate halfway during grilling each side to ensure pretty grill marks.) Remove from pan. Allow to cool.

With a very sharp knife, shave kernels off each corn cob. Combine with the onion and celery. Set aside.

Mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, feta, and half-and-half. Stir in sugar, squeeze in lemon juice, and add salt and pepper. Stir, then taste. Add more salt if necessary; do not undersalt!

Slice chicken on the bias to create flat, randomly shaped pieces. Throw into a bowl with celery, onion, and corn. Stir to combine. Pour half the dressing over the ingredients and toss gently. Add more as desired, but don't overcoat the salad; should be light!

At the end, toss in the blueberries to lightly coat them in the dressing. Serve, then sprinkle individual helpings with feta.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Basic Manicotti

This is a basic manicotti recipe that you can make your own. You can add a pound of ground beef or sausage, omit the mushrooms, add tomatoes, lots and lots of things you can do with this!

  • 1 (8 ounce) package manicotti shells
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 8 oz package of white mushrooms, or cremini
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add manicotti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. In a bowl, mix 3 cups mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese,mushrooms, garlic, egg, and basil. Stuff cooked manicotti with the mixture.
  4. Spread about 2 cups pasta sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange stuffed manicotti in the dish, and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  5. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan, and continue baking 10 minutes, until mozzarella is melted and bubbly

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Southwestern Chicken (in a crockpot)

As you all probably all figured out...I LOVE my crockpot! I am so super busy spending time with my kids in the summer, but still want to make sure we have a home cooked meal together. I love to just throw everything in a pot, and not worry about rushing home to cook dinner (not to mention using the crock pot in the summer doesn't heat up my kitchen. This is a VERY easy and delicious dinner idea that I happened to stumble across!

1 small bag frozen corn
1 can black beans
2 large frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 16-oz jar medium salsa, such as Pace medium picante sauce
shredded cheddar cheese
tortilla chips
sour cream
chopped cilantro
diced avocado

Pour bag of frozen corn in bottom of crock pot. Place chicken breasts on top of corn and cover with rinsed and drained black beans and jar of medium salsa. Cook on high for 1 hour, and then on low for 4 hours. Shred chicken with forks. Serve with tortilla chips and add toppings to individual servings.
It is VERY important that you use MEDIUM salsa in this. Mild isn’t flavorful enough. Be sure to serve with tortilla chips, and not tortillas. The salty crunchy chips make this so good!

Apple Dumplings

This is one of those recipes that I make sure I always have the ingredients on hand, just in case I need to make a quick dessert! They are super easy to make, and everyone loves them!

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 2 small tart apples, peeled and cored
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon 2% milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extra
  • Using a sharp knife, cut pastry sheet in half. Return half to the freezer. Thaw remaining pastry. On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry into a 14-in. x 7-in. rectangle. Cut into two 7-in. squares.
  • Place an apple on each square. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, walnuts and cinnamon. Spoon into center of each apple; top each with 1 teaspoon butter. Gently bring up corners of pastry to center; pinch edges to seal. Place in a shallow 3-cup baking dish coated with cooking spray. Melt remaining butter; brush over pastry.
  • Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until apple is tender and pastry is golden brown. In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients. Drizzle over dumplings. Serve warm.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

4th of July Treats!

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Suckers!

24 regular sized Marshmallows
24 sucker sticks
1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup white chocolate chips or 1 package of white almond bark
1-2 tbs Crisco (optional)
Two small bottles (or one large) Patriotic Red, White, and Blue Sprinkles

1. Line two cookie sheets with wax paper.

2. Spread about 1 tsp of peanut butter all along the sides of the marshmallows. It might get messy:) Lay marshmallows on one of the cookie sheets lined with wax paper. Place in the freezer 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, melt your milk chocolate chips, microwaving on high for 60 seconds and stirring every 30 seconds. I like to stir in a little bit of Crisco to thin the chocolate a bit.

4. Remove marshmallows from the freezer. Place a sucker stick in the bottom of a marshmallow, dip in chocolate just until it covers the bottom of the mallow. Try not to get it all over the stick. Shake or "spin" any excess chocolate off.

5. Cover with sprinkles and lay on wax paper. Alternate dipping marshmallows in milk chocolate and white chocolate.

Tip: Try to work quickly so the peanut butter doesn't get too soft. This is where it comes in hand to have little helpers! Or you can keep half of the mallows in the freezer while you work on the first half.