Sunday, May 31, 2009

Salad Sandwiches

I could not get enough of these sandwiches when I visited Australia. The variations are endless, but I tried to give directions for the authentic one I would eat at the Ciccocioppo house and at several bakeries across New South Wales and Victoria.
2 slices whole wheat bread
butter (real butter)
tomato thin slices
cucumber thin slices
carrots (sliced lengthwise)
pickled beets (if you don't like them use bread & butter pickles, but you need something sweet/tart)
provolone cheese slice
onion thin slices
any other veggie you like (peppers,avacado,etc)
Lightly butter both sides of the bread (sounds weird, but it's good- its like a substitute for mayo. The Aussies even put it on meat sandwiches which is a little rich for my taste). Add cheese.
Pile your sandwich high with all the veggies you want.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Caprese Salad

Here's another summer tomato salad recipe. I can't wait for tomatoes! I am noticing a few flowers on my plants where the tomatoes will be! You bet I'm gonna make this when they're ripe.

Fresh tomato slices
Fresh mozarella (look for this little, roundish, treasure in the gourmet cheeses)
Fresh basil leaves
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper

On a serving plate, alternate layers of tomato and mozarella slices. Garnish with basil leaf chiffonade (tightly bunch the basil leaves and slice them into thin strips). Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and ground black pepper. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Tomato & Olive Salad

The Carcello family made this for us when we vacationed with them on Kiawah Island a few years ago. It is the best summer side dish when the tomatoes start coming in. Delicious!
Fresh tomato chunks
Fresh basil leaves
Black olives
Cold pressed olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
I can't tell you how much, because I don't know:)
Toss all in a bowl and enjoy at room temperature.

Fill the Freezer Friday - Chicken Parmesan

For two meals (8 chicken breasts)

8 chicken breasts - (seasoned and grilled - in other words, don't dry it out)
1 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
4 cups spaghetti sauce
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded or sliced
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Spray 2 - 9x13 pan with Pam and sprinkle 3 tablespoons of bread crumbs evenly over the bottom of each pan. Place 8 chicken breasts in pan. Sprinkle remaining bread crumbs over the top of chicken. Pour spaghetti sauce evenly over all, then evenly sprinkle the mozzarella cheese and then the parmesan cheese.

When cook, wrap with plastic wrap, foil and label or attach directions.

Serving Day Instrustions
Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Remove plastic wrap, tent foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cake Mix Cookies

I got this recipe from my friend, Jeanie.

1 package cake mix (any flavor)
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 can frosting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, oil and eggs. Stir with spoon until mositened. Shape dough into one inch balls. Place balls two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. With bottom of glass dipped in flour (or sprayed with Pam), flatten balls to 1/4 inch thickness. Bake for 6-8 minutes until edges are light golden brown. Cool one minute. Remove from cookie sheet. Spread on frosting and add sprinkles if desired.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Baby-back Ribs with Texas Blackjack Sauce - Woman's Day Magazine

3 lbs baby-back ribs, cut into 4 sections
1 bottle(18 oz) barbecue sauce
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp each instant coffee and Worcestershire sauce

Put ribs in large pot with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until meat is fork-tender. Meanwhile, mix barbecue sauce, sugar, coffee, Worcestershire sauce in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar and coffee dissolve. Remove from heat. Coat outdoor grill rack with nonstick spray. Heat grill. Place ribs, rounded sided down, on rack. Brush with sauce. Grill 3 minutes. Turn ribs and brush with sauce. Grill 6 minutes more. Turn ribs again. Brush with sauce and grill 3 more minutes. Serve with remaining sauce.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fill the Freezer Friday - Minestrone Soup

1 small head cabbage, coarsely shredded (or a bag of shredded coleslaw mix)
1 28 oz can tomatoes
2 stalkes celery, diced
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup white beans
2 quarts water
2 lbs beef (leftovers, stew meat, anything but ground beef)
1 tsp garlic salt
1 TBSP salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
pinch of basil, dried
2 zucchini, sliced
1/2 cup macaroni
10 oz frozen chopped cpinach
1 can garbanzo beans, drained

In a very large pot, place shredded cabbage, tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, beans, water, beef, salt, garlic salt, pepper and basil. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours.

Add zucchini, macaroni, spinach, and garbanzo beans. Simmer another 45 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Double line 2 large cereal boxes with gallon size Ziploc bags. Ladle in cooled soup. Seal 1st bag well and tuck in label and directions. Seal 2nd bag well.

Serving Day Instructions:
Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Heat on medium on stove top. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Italian Beef Wraps

This is easy! Saw this on a blog.
Italian Dressing Mix (or any kind of seasonings you like-I didn't have a packet so I used a beef seasoning and italian herbs)
2 pounds Beef (I used a roast I had in freezer)
Tortilla Shells
Sour Cream

I seasoned the roast and put it in the crock pot while we were at church. Then, cool and slice the beef into strips. On tortillas layer beef, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and season with a little salt and pepper and more herbs if you like. Wrap and enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cheesy Beef and Rice

Audra from West Virginia sent us this yummy recipe!

I found this recipe on a blog I read called Heavenly Home Makers. I have not tried it yet, but it looks easy, yummy, healthy, and it is able to be made ahead and frozen!

Cheesy Beef and Rice

1 cup long grain brown rice
1 lb ground beef
3 T. minced onion, or fresh chopped onion
1/2 t. garlic powder
sea salt, to taste
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Boil two cups of water. Stir in rice. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Brown ground beef with onion and garlic powder. Mix with rice and salt well. Stir in sour cream and milk. Spread into a casserole dish. Sprinkle cheese on top. Cover well and freeze.

To bake: Thaw casserole on counter all day. Place uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Peanut Butter and Fudge Swirl Pie - Kraft Food and Family

1 8oz cream cheese block, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups thawed Cool Whip
1 Oreo Pie Crust
14 cup hot fudge ice cream topping

Beat cream cheese, sugar, and peanut butter in large bowl with mixer until blended. Gently stir in Cool Whip until blended. Spoon onto crust. Drizzle with fudge topping. Swirl gently with knife. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm. Refrigerate leftovers.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Shrimp Kabobs with Olive and Tomato Relish - Kraft Food and Family Magazine

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, divided
1 lb. uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 small red onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup chopped black olives
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Reserve 2 Tbsp dressing. Thread shrimp and onions alternately onto 4 skewers. Thread lemon wedges onto ends. Brush with remaining dressing. Grill 6-8 minutes or until shrimp turn pink, turning occassionally. Meanwhile mix reserved dressing with olives and tomatoes. Serve kabobs topped with olive mixture.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fill the Freezer Friday - Colorado Style Beef Enchiladas

2 1/2 lbs ground round
1 1/2 cups diced onions
6 TBSP taco seasoning
1 cup water
2 cans green chiles
12 oz mild salsa or picante sauce
3-4 TBSP oil
30 corn tortilla
2 lbs Jack or cheddar cheese

2 15 oz cans red chile enchilada sauce
2 15 oz cans green enchilada sauce
1 cup sour cream

Mix beef with onions, seasoning, green chiles, salsa, and 1 cup water, simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.

For sauce, whisk together enchilada sauces and sour cream, set aside.

For tortillas:
In frying pan, add 3-4 TBSP oil and heat over medium heat until hot. Using metal tongs, place tortillas in hot oil. Flip after 10 seconds, and cook 10 more seconds. Place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain oil.

Assembling (You will do this process twice):
Pour 3/4 cups sauce on bottom of 2 9X13 dishes. Place 5 tortillas on sauce, layer 1/4of meat, then 1/3 of cheese. Repeat. End with a layer of tortillas, remaining sauce and cheese.

When Cool, wrap with plastic wrap, foil and label or attach directions.

Serving Day:
Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Remove plastic wrap. Tent foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Crock Pot Yogurt

If you want to make yogurt without a yogurt-maker here's how:
1/2 gallon milk
1 cup plain yogurt
various flavorings (honey, maple syrup, jam, fruit-really anything sweet-endles possibilities)
Pour 1/2 gallon milk into crock pot and put lid on . Heat crock pot to medium (or if yours has times only, do 2.5 hours).
After 2.5 hours, unplug crock pot and let the milk cool down (with lid on) for 3 hours. Then take out 1 cup of milk and put yogurt into the milk and whisk well. Dump that all back into crock and stir well. Take your removable part (the crock itself) out of frame and wrap in a bath towel. Put it into your oven and turn your
OVEN LIGHT on. This is just enough steady heat to culture the milk. In about 8-12 hours you will have plain yogurt. If you like it thicker (Greek-style) then strain it though a coffee filter placed into a sieve. Or some people add powdered milk to thicken theirs. If not, put into fridge to chill-it's best to chill 5-8 hours. Now you are ready to sweeten it. (note: If you want to try it again, just take a cup of the plain out to make more. After recycling it 2-3 times you'll need to buy some more as the "live and active cultures" are not so live and active). We've made 2 batches and sweetened them differently. In the first one I put agave nectar and pears. The next one I put raspberry jam. Both were very yummy. Just add things to taste. Even though this is a process and you have to start the day before, I find that if I'll be home it's no trouble. And it's still fun, very delicious, and more economical. I find most of the store brands to be too sweet for us so this allows us to control that, too.
*Just as a guide with what has worked for me:
8am heat milk
10:30am cool milk
1:30pm culture milk
10pm chill yogurt overnight
8am (the next day) flavor and eat
*and if you need your oven, just leave towel wrapped crock on your counter-it'll still work.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes - Kraft Food and Family

2 lbs red potatoes (about 8), cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 cup fat free chicken broth
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup light sour cream
3 TBSP Grated Parmesan Cheese

Place potatoes in large saucepan. Add broth; cover. Bring to a boil on high heat and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring after 8 minutes. Uncover and stir potatoes. Simmer uncovered for 5-6 minutes or until potatoes are tender and most of broth is absorbed. Add cream cheese. Reduce heat to low. Mash potatoes slightly until the cream cheese is melted. Add sour cream and Paremesan; mash until potatoes are smooth and heated through.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Stacked Burrito Pie - Family Fun Magazine

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 pound lean ground beef
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup salsa
8 ounces Cheddar or Monterey Jack, grated

1.In a large skillet over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and sauté another minute.

2. Increase the heat to medium, then add the ground beef, chili powder, and cumin. Cook the mixture until the beef is browned and no longer pink, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add the salt, water, black beans, and corn, and bring the mixture to a boil. Allow it to continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates, about 20 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.

3.Heat the oven to 350°. Using the rim of a 9-inch spring form pan as a template, trim 3 of the tortillas to the size of the pan. Leave the fourth tortilla untrimmed. Note: You can also bake this dish in a 9-inch round cake pan and serve it like a lasagna.

4.Butter the bottom and the sides of the pan. Press the untrimmed tortilla evenly into the pan’s bottom. Spread 2 tablespoons of the sour cream over the tortilla, followed by 1/4 cup of the salsa. Spoon and spread a quarter of the beef mixture over the salsa, then sprinkle a quarter of the grated cheese evenly over the top.

5. Place one of the trimmed tortillas on top of the cheese, then repeat the layering of the sour cream, salsa, beef, and cheese. Continue this way until the ingredients and tortillas are used up. You should end up with four layers, topped with the final sprinkling of cheese.

6.Bake the pie until heated through, about 30 minutes. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the rim from the spring form pan, if you used one. Slice the pie into wedges using a sharp knife. Serves 10.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fill the Freezer Friday - Cavatini

This will make enough for two meals.

4 cups of different sized pasta - such as 1 cup macaroni, 1 cup shells, etc..
2 lbs ground round, browned
1/2 lb pepperoni
2 medium onions, finely chopped and pre-sauteed
2 small green peepers, finely chopped and pre-sauteed
1 large can mushrooms, drained
2 quarts of spaghetti sauce (that you made earlier)
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Boil all pasta together - a little less time than package directs because you will freeze it. While water is boiling, cut pepperoni into Fourths and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for another 30 seconds. Mix together, meats, onions, pepper, mushrooms and sauce. When pasta is ready, drain and mix with meat mixture. Divide mixture between 2 9X13 pans. Sprinkle about a cup of cheese over each, pushing a little into the mixture.

Freezing instructions - when cool, wrap with plastic wrap, foil, and label or attach directions.

Serving Day Instructions - Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Remove Plastic Wrap. Tent Foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Versatile Vanilla Cake - Martha Stewart

I saw this recipe on the Today Show. It doesn't seem a like a super easy cake, but looked like a nice "special occasion" cake.
Martha Stewart


• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Whipped frosting
• 3 large egg whites
• 3/4 cup sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1/3 cup water
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.

Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.

Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Tuck strips of parchment paper underneath. Using an offset-spatula or table knife, spread top with Whipped Frosting. Top with remaining cake; frost top, then sides. (Store unfrosted cakes at room temperature up to 1 day. Once frosted, serve within a few hours.)

Frosting: In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine 3 large egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, a pinch salt and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved (or mixture registers 150 on an instant-read thermometer), 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not overbeat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and beat just until combined. Use immediately.

Chocolate variation: In step 1, reduce flour to 2 cups and add ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Top frosted cake with shaved dark chocolate.

Lemon variation: In step 1, add 1 tablespoon lemon zest to flour mixture. In step 2, omit vanilla extract and beat in 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice with buttermilk.

While cakes are baking, bring ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1 thinly sliced and seeded lemon and simmer 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemon slices to waxed-paper-lined plate. Stir ¼ cup fresh lemon juice into syrup.

Using a toothpick, poke holes in warm cakes on rack. Brush with lemon syrup. For frosting, substitute 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice for vanilla extract. Frost cooled cakes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

It seems everyone has their own favorite enchilada recipe, but I found this one on a frugal blog, tweeked it and we thought it turned out very well so I add it to the collective pile... These make one large casserole dish full (or two smaller ones if your family is smaller and you want to freeze them and I've reflected this in the recipe directions)

3 chicken breasts (bake or boil), shred
tortillas, 10 large
1 8oz sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 block of cream cheese
red onion, diced
2 c cheddar cheese, shredded
some sort of seasoning (*I used McCormick's Baja Citrus-yummy)(you could also use taco seasoning, fajita seasoning or just mix up your own using chili powder, garlic powder, lemon/lime juice, salt pepper or anything else you like)

Mix up sour cream, cream of soup and a little bit of water (or leftover chicken broth). Put 1/4 of this mixture in bottom of each two casserole dishes or half into one large casserole dish. Toss shredded chicken in seasoning.
Smear cream cheese on one side of the tortillas. Then on top of the cream cheese put some shredded chicken, onion, & cheddar on tortilla. Roll them up and place them seam side down in casserole dish.
After your pans are full divide remaining soup mixture and pour over enchiladas. Top with a bit of cheddar and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350. we sprinkled some black olives over ours and Thomas added jalepenos to his. Just add whatever you like!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


My friend Perla, a native Mexican, showed me how to make these tostadas. She even showed me how to make the refried beans from pintos. Just saute them in oil and smash them. When I was single I used to make them as a meals, although they are traditionally a snack.
Tostadas about 10
mozarella cheese about 1.5 cups
fresh chopped cilantro
red onion, finley diced
refried beans, almost 1 can
Smear the tostadas with beans and sprinkle with cheese. Toast in the oven until cheese melts (which also is long enough to crisp the tostadas. When they are heated, pull them out and top with cilantro and onion. I also put a little black olive on mine...

Banana Choco Tacos

These are good! And you can deceive yourself into thinking its a healthy dessert because "IT DOES HAVE FRUIT IN IT". Great after your Cinco De Mayo meal!

What you need:
tortillas, small ones
hershey bars or semi-sweet morsels

What you do:
Put a little butter in the pan over med. heat. Place a tortilla in pan. Place banana slices, mini-marshmallows, chocolate, and another tortilla. Heat until melted, flipping once.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Shrimp & Salmon Pasta Salad

This isn't as scrumptious as the Shrimp Salad I had at the Alex Hayley Farm about 10 years ago, but it's my attempt at it- hey, those guys were professionals!
1 can salmon, drained (or we use leftover grilled salmon when we have it)
1/2 pound shrimp, cooked
1 lb. bowtie pasta
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 fresh lime, juiced
1 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup diced green or red bell pepper
fresh parsley
1 T dried or fresh dill
1/8 cup vinegar
1/4 c mayo
Toss all ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed. So the hardest part is "slicing and dicing". Can make ahead. Nice summer meal.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Chicken and Corn Pizza

1 12-inch prepared pre-baked pizza crust
1 cup chunky salsa
1 can corn, drained
6 oz cooked chicken strips
1/4 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese or Monterey Jack cheese

Prehead oven to 450 degrees. Place pizza crust on baking sheet. Spread salso over crust. Top with corn, chicken, olives and cheese. Bake 10 minutes or ntil heated throughly and cheese is melted.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fill the Freezer Friday - Meatballs Stroganoff

16 oz Mushrooms
2 tsp garlic pieces
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour, all-purpose
1/2 cup ketchup
2 T A-1 Sauce
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp beef bouillon granules
2 cups onions, finely chapped
4 cans beef broth
1/2 tsp dill
1 cup white wine
2 cups sour cream
40 meatballs

Melt butter and add mushrooms and garlic. Saute' for 5 minutes. Add flour and cook 2 or 3 more minutes. Add ketchup, A-1, pepper, beef bouillon, and onions. Gradually add beef broth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly (about 5 minutes). Stir in wine and dill. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and meatballs.

Freezing: Double line 2 large cereal boxes with gallon size Ziploc freezer bags. Ladle in cooked stroganoff. Seal bags and label.

Serving Day Instructions: Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Place in casserole dish and heat until warm in microwave. Serve over rice, noodles or even mashed potatoes.