Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Poppy Seed Pasta Salad

12 oz Pasta, cooked and rinsed with cold water
10 oz can Chicken (if canned chicken creeps you out, leave out the meat or cook some chicken)
8 oz can Pineapple tidbits, drained
11 oz Mandarin oranges, drained
2 avocados, diced
Poppy Seed Dressing
Rice Wine Vinegar

Add fruit, chicken, and avocados to the pasta (don't toss together yet - you don't want to over toss the salad or the fruit and chicken start breaking into tiny pieces).  Pour poppy seed dressing and vinegar over salad to taste.  I don't know how much of either dressing I use, but if I had to guess, I'd say at least 1/4 C vinegar and almost the same amount poppy seed dressing.  Maybe more of both.  I don't know, I just dump.  Salt to taste.

And:  Thanks Rob and Anna for a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Zucchini and Tomato Side

Once upon a time my husband did not like zucchini or tomatoes.  Now he happily eats this side dish and has even been known to take seconds of said dish.  Plus it's super easy!  Win - Win.  (Good thing, because I have a serious amount of zucchini growing - at least 6 big yellow flowers right now just waiting to become delicious and in my stomach.)

Throw sliced zucchini (can combine with other squashes) in skillet with olive oil.  Cook until yummy looking.  Throw in tomatoes and crushed garlic for ~1 minute.  Season with freshly ground salt and Italian seasoning.  We've been known to garnish with feta or fresh grated parmigiana cheese.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

How do you take a picture of a creamy green soup and not make it look inedible?  I don't know.  But this was delicious.  And we fortunately accidentally left out some tuscan bread the other night after dinner so it was nice and crusty and ready to be thrown in this soup!

I saw this recipe in last Sunday's Parade magazine (that comes in the Sunday paper) and I wanted to try it.  It was pretty delicious.  I can't decide what was my favorite - this one or the one I've been making for years.  The biggest difference between the two is this one does not have potatoes and this one is blended up so it doesn't have chunks.  Delicious.  Maybe I'll just have to alternate between the two recipes.

3 C chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
4 C broccoli, chopped (I did a little more, probably close to 5 C)
dash of garlic powder
1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 C butter
1/4 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 C milk
2 C shredded cheddar - That sounds like a ridiculous amount of cheese - a little cheese goes a long way.  I'm not sure I even put in a full cup and that was plenty.

In a large soup pot mix chicken broth, onion, broccoli, garlic powder, thyme, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Remove bay leaves and pour mixture into a food processor.  Blend till smooth.

In the original pot, melt butter.  Whisk in flour, creating a roux (Side Note:  I am convinced you can only make a good roux if you use real butter.  Margarine splits the solids and oils when it melts and always results in a chunky roux rather than a nice, smooth, thick roux.  So buck up, embrace the calories, and go buy some real butter.)  Add milk slowly, whisking constantly.  Stir until milk thickens.  Add cheese, melt completely.  Pour in broccoli mixture.  Add salt and pepper.

Serve with delicious crusty bread!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Size of an Apple

Things the size of an apple:  black sheep (Tina's favorite squeaky toy), a tennis ball, a large rubber ducky, and a baby 15 weeks into pregnancy.

Yes, that was an announcement (and not that we have a large rubber ducky).

So, logically I needed to make apple crisp to celebrate.

5-8 Apples, sliced

In a saucepan:
1 C Sugar
3 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 C Water
1 tsp Vanilla

First mix sugar and cornstarch together, then add the liquids.  Bring to boil, cooking until thick and clear.  Pour over apples and mix well.

1 C Brown Sugar
1 C flour
1 C Oats
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 C butter, softened

Mix dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter.  Mixture will be crumbly.

Put a little topping in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  Dump apples into the pan.  Cover apples with remaining topping.  Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, until apples are soft-ish and bubbly.  Serve with ice cream.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Another Glorified Grilled Cheese

Grilled sandwich with leftover ham, Swiss cheese, and a touch of Dijon mustard.  Enjoy!

Here's another one, because grilled cheese (or variations thereon) are just delicious.  I needed to get rid of the last of the Easter ham (we'd frozen a Tupperware of it and just pulled it out earlier this week for a meal).  This sandwich was delicious, just the thing for lunch!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mexican Rice

We combined a couple of recipes together to create this one delicious meal.  Enjoy!

1 lb ground beef or shredded chicken, cooked
2 1/2 C salsa
1 can (2 1/4 oz) sliced olives (we leave these out because I never have any olives on hand when we're having this)
1/4 C lime juice
2 C rice
1 tsp salt
1/4 C dehydrated onion (or you could cook some real onion with the ground beef)
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp each oregano, cumin, and garlic powder
Dash of red pepper flakes
3 C water

Put all ingredients except the meat in the rice cooker and turn on.  Add cooked meat to the rice cooker for the last few minutes.

Garnish with: cheese, tomato, avocado, sour cream, cilantro!

Delicious and super easy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Glorified Grilled Cheese

We have this sandwich every time we make tomato soup (recipe here) and together they are delicious!  Use sourdough bread.  Spread with prepared pesto.  Top with mozzarella cheese, and fresh tomatoes.  Grill to perfection.

We first had this with Geoff's brother, who I think said he saw it on a cooking show.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lava Cakes

I think Chili's has something similar to this called "Lava cakes" or something.  Honestly, though, these were glorified brownie Sundays.  I have this sweet pan that bakes individual sized treats with a dent in the top.  We've only used the pan for brownies and for ice cream cakes so far, but you could make individual shortcake or angel foodcake and top with strawberries.  Anyways, delicious!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pasta with Tomatos, Zucchini, and Feta

Geoff adores pasta and I like to sneak veggies into things he adores!  Success every time.

Cook the pasta.  Then pan fry some zucchini in a little olive oil.  When they are starting to look delicious, add chopped tomatoes and minced garlic for just a minute, sprinkle with freshly ground salt and pepper.  Toss with pasta, fresh basil, feta, and freshly ground salt. 

Summer is just around the corner, so time to pull out those veggie dishes!  (Or if you live in Texas and you already have green peppers ripening on the vine and blossoms starting on your zucchini plant, summers already been here for a few weeks.)

Monday, May 2, 2011


This recipe sounded more than mildly creepy to me because it has you boil the ribs for a while before broiling them (or grilling them, if you like)  Honestly, boiling ribs look and smell pretty gross - I started making contingency plans for dinner while the ribs boiled, just in case.  Yet somehow, these were delicious, so don't be afraid of the boiling ribs.

3 lbs ribs, we used pork riblets, so they were already in small pieces, but if you buy a rack you need to break it into smaller pieces
1 1/2 ketchup
1/4 C + 2 Tbsp vinegar
4 1/2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
4 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp liquid smoke flavoring

Place ribs into a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until tender, about 1 hour (don't be afraid of the boiling ribs, they'll be fine).

Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer uncovered, stirring frequently until thickened (about 20-30 minutes).

Preheat the oven's broiler.  Drain ribs and place the meaty-side-up on broiler pan.  Brush with sauce (not much, extra sauce will burn).  Broil about 5-7 minutes, until sauce is sticky and lightly browned.  Turn the ribs over and brush with more sauce.  Broil another 5-7 minutes.  Serve with extra sauce.

Original Recipe off Allrecipes.com here!  You'll notice, though, that I increased the sauce amount because the sauce was so good that we wanted more.