Thursday, June 30, 2011

July Menu

Oh my goodness, I should really be in bed rather than typing this, but I'm heading out of town for the holiday weekend and wanted to get it up before I left. After taking a two month hiatus from menu planning I am ready to get back to a little more organization (and variety) in the kitchen. At almost 22 weeks pregnant, I'm finally over all the sickness that made me want to eat nothing half the time and cheese and crackers or cereal the rest of the time.

I tried to keep July's menu pretty light and fresh, minimizing time spent over a hot stove or with the oven on, and maximizing the bounty of summer produce. I didn't do sides this time because I'm planning on using whatever I get in my CSA produce box from the current week to supplement the meals.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

Greek Panzanella
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Bean Burritos
Lemon Linguine
Pesto Paninis

Chopped Barbecue Chicken Salad
Black Bean Burgers
Chicken Enchiladas
Dirty Risotto
Coconut Curry Noodles with Veggies

Asian Slaw w/ Roasted Peanuts
Greek Lettuce Wraps
Chicken Milano
Creamy Caprese Pasta

Mushroom, Wild Rice and Spinach Fritatta
Chinese Chicken Salad
Coconut Curry Noodles with Veggies
Parmesan Chicken

Other things I'll be making...

Kale Almond Pesto
English Muffins
Fresh Homemade Ricotta
Garlic Basil Cheese Spread

Monday, June 27, 2011

July 4th Recipes

What's more American than red, white and blue and root beer? Hmm, maybe apple pie? Here are two desserts that I made last year for our family 4th of July celebration. Lemon desserts are some of my favorite to eat, especially when paired with fresh berries. These Red, White and Blue Lemon Berry Bars were not only festive, they were so tasty!

I absolutely loved the Chocolate Rootbeer Bundt Cake because it tasted so chocolaty and had a great rootbeer flavor. Amazingly enough, the flavors really go well together.

Below I have listed some of my favorites that are sure to be crowd pleasers at your July 4th celebration. Hope you have a great holiday!


S'mores Bars, Pops, and Ice Cream
Berry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Lemonade Cake
Raspberry Almond Cookie Bars

Dinner & Sides
Chipotle-Lime Shrimp
Chopped Barbecue Chicken Salad
Basil Chicken Burgers
Broccoli & Apple Slaw
Strawberry Spinach Salad w/ Poppy Seed Dressing
Asian Slaw with Roasted Peanuts

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chiles Rellenos with Mexican Tomato Sauce

A little over a month ago my friend had an overabundance of produce in her CSA basket and offered some Anaheim peppers and fresh garden tomatoes to anybody who wanted them. I was quick to take her up on her offer because really, who can pass up fresh garden tomatoes? Certainly not me, especially now that I don't have a garden anymore.

I used a few of the tomatoes for tomato sandwiches but thinking of them with the peppers, I couldn't get the idea of chiles rellenos out of my mind. I have had chiles rellenos before but have never actually made them, mostly because they are fried. I don't really eat fried foods let alone make fried foods but these just kept nagging at me.

I found a REALLY fabulous recipe on the Food Network website for the chiles rellenos that had a fresh tomato sauce to go with it. It was perfect. It called for just the amount of peppers and tomatoes I had left. It was fate I tell ya!

The peppers are stuffed with a mild Mexican cheese, then battered with a beer batter, typically, but I opted to use ginger ale instead because we don't drink beer. I don't think the quality of the dish was compromised at all by using the ginger ale instead of the beer because, I tell you, it was one of the most fabulous things I have eaten. The tomato sauce was pretty wonderful too. It tasted so fresh and has a unique ingredient that'll make you go hmmmm.

Chiles Rellenos
For the chiles:
6 poblano chiles
8 oz. Mexican style cheese, such as Queso Fresco or Cojita (you could also substitute mozzarella, or Monterey Jack if you can't find the other)

For the batter:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dredging
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. fine salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 12-oz bottle or can ginger ale (or lager-style beer)
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Mexican Tomato Sauce, warm, recipe follows.

Position a rack on the upper most shelf of the broiler element and preheat. Put the chiles on a foil-lined broiler pan and broil, turning occasionally with tongs, until the skin is charred, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chiles to a bowl, cover, and cool for 10 minutes or more.

Carefully rub the charred skin off the chiles. Using a small knife, make a lengthwise slit along the side of each chile to form a pocket. Carefully cut out and discard the seeds, carefully rinsing in cold water, if necessary.

Cut the cheese into 6 (1/4-inch-thick) slabs, about 3/4 the length of each chile (your chiles probably vary in length, so tailor the cheese to the chiles). Slip the cheese pieces into the pocket of each chile so they're 2/3 full. (If the cheese protrudes from the chiles, just cut a little off.) "Sew" each chile shut with a wooden skewer or long toothpick.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, cumin, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the ale/beer to a make a smooth batter.

In a large, wide, heavy-bottomed pot, pour in the oil to a depth of about 3 inches. (It is important here to make sure you have enough oil so your chilies don't stick to the bottom of the pan while frying.) Heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer inserted in the oil registers 365 degrees F.

Put the flour for dredging on a plate. Working in 2 batches, dredge the chiles in the flour (the dampness of the chiles creates a light paste with the flour that seals over any tears), dip in the batter, and carefully add to the oil. Fry, turning the chiles once, until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer the chiles rellenos to a dry paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Sprinkle with salt, to taste. Gently pull out and discard the skewers.

Heat the sauce. Spoon some of the sauce on a plate and set 1 chile relleno on top. Repeat with the remaining sauce and chiles. Serve.

Mexican Tomato Sauce:
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
1/4 medium yellow onion
6 cloves garlic
5 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 serrano chile (I omitted this because I was serving it with peppers already)
1/2 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (preferably Mexican)

In a blender, combine all the ingredients and puree until smooth.

Transfer the tomato puree to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until slightly thick, about 10 minutes. Makes about 3 cups.

SOURCE: Food Network

Linked to...
Recipe Swap Thursday @ Prairie Story
It's A Keeper Thursday @ It's A Keeper
Seasonal Sunday @ Real Sustenance
Savory Sunday @ The Sweet Details

Monday, June 20, 2011

Recipe Rewind: Baked Oatmeal

I'm taking you back to the early days of my blog, a few years ago. Baked oatmeal was added early on, had a terrible picture and no description of the dish. Let me just tell you that we eat a lot of breakfast around here; like every morning! No, really how I meant to say that was that I like to make breakfast often, I'm not into eating cold cereal every morning. My girls devour hot cereal, like cream of wheat and oatmeal, so I figured this baked oatmeal would hit the spot just as well.

No big surprise that it has been a big hit in our house over the years. It's a little sweeter than our usual oatmeal "mush," and the cinnamon and nutmeg make it even better. My favorite is the top of the baked oatmeal that gets a little crunchy, adding a little texture.

This is a really quick and easy breakfast to throw together with ingredients you're sure to have on hand.

Baked Oatmeal
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 oil (I used coconut oil, melted)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups oatmeal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 or 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together milk egg and oil. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the oatmeal and whisk until well incorporated. Fold in the oatmeal with a spatula.

Pour oatmeal mixture into prepared baking dish and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm, with a splash of milk and fresh fruit, if desired.

Linked to...
Mangia Mondays @ Delightfully Dowling

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Key Lime Pie Smoothie

I'm a big smoothie fan, the green kind too, and I'm always up for a good recipe to put in my "keeper" file. If you're a frequent smoothie drinker you know that there can be a lot of trial-and-error when it comes to finding just the right combination to suit your palate. And on the other end, there's always that chance of getting stuck in a rut with the same old smoothie day after day, week after week.

This smoothie was a nice refreshing change from the green drinks I usually make, and chock full of goodness. I like the bright flavor of the lime and I LOVE coconut milk. Not only does coconut have great flavor, but it has some AMAZING qualities as well. Coconut milk, the typical kind you see in small cans at the supermarket, is extracted from the meat of the coconut and is different from coconut water, which is the naturally-occurring liquid in the hollow of the coconut. Read here, and here for more information on coconut.

Key Lime Pie Smoothie
2 Tbsp. key lime juice (about 8 limes) OR you can use the juice of 1 regular lime
1 Tsp. key lime zest
1 Tbsp. coconut oil*
1 cup light coconut milk
1 ripe frozen banana
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. agave syrup (or other sweetener)
2 Tbsp. graham cracker crumbs
ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Top with additional graham crackers, if desired.

*If you do not have coconut oil, do not replace it with another oil, just leave it out.

SOURCE: Munchin with Munchkin

Linked to...
Recipe Swap Thursday @ Prairie Story
It's A Keeper Thursday @ It's A Keeper
These Chicks Cooked Link Party @ This Chick Cooks
Party Mindi Style Link Up @ Bacon Time with The Hungry Hungry Hypo
Sweets For A Saturday @ Sweet As Sugar Cookies
Seasonal Sunday @ Real Sustenance
A Themed Bakers Sunday @ Cupcake Apothecary

Saturday, June 11, 2011

S'mores Pops

I'm all about s'mores in any way, shape or form. They are just delicious and such a fun summer treat. It's been fun finding different s'mores treats made in many different ways, yet still resembling that classic s'mores taste. Check out these former posts for more S'more inspiration:

Giant S'mores Cookies
S'mores Bars
S'mores Ice Cream
Brownie S'mores
S'mores Pancakes

I made these S'mores pops several months ago for my daughter's 4th birthday party. They were actually really fun to make and pretty quick and easy. And, of course, they were loved by all who ate them.

I inherited the block of wood you see in the picture from my dad. He made it when we were very little kids. See, when my parents were still in college, my dad managed a gas station and my mom made homemade suckers to sell there. So, my dad made this sucker stand to hold all the suckers as they sat on the counter top. Pretty nifty if you ask me. I feel lucky to have it. I also inherited all the candy-making molds and oils, but that's another story for another day...

Show up with these treats at your next get together or family barbecue and you'll be the hit of the party!

S'mores Pops
1 bag large marshmallows
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 sleeve cinnamon graham crackers
lollipop sticks

Lay out about 20 marshmallows on wax paper and insert lollipop stick about 3/4 of the way through.

Using a food processor, whiz graham crackers until it makes a fine crumb. Alternately, you can place crackers in a zip top bag and crush with a rolling pin. Pour crumbs onto a plate for dipping.

Melt chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave for about 2 minutes at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds.

Taking one marshmallow at a time, dip in the melted chocolate, then roll in the graham cracker crumbs. Place coated marshmallow back on the wax paper to completely cool and harden.

Linked to...
Sweet Indulgences Sunday @ A Well-Seasoned Life
Sweets For A Saturday @ Sweet As Sugar Cookies
Mangia Monday's @ Delightfully Dowling
Recipe Swap Thursday @ Prairie Story
It's A Keeper Thursday @ It's A Keeper
Sweet Tooth Friday @ Alli-N-Son

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Apple Cheddar Meatalls

Apples and cheddar: ohhhh or ewwww? I say ohhhh! It really is a great combination. Have you ever thrown a few apple slices on a grilled cheese sammy? You get that gooey, salty cheesiness and then a little crunchy tangy yet slightly sweet surprise when you get that bite of apple. Well, these meatballs are kind of like that.

These meatballs are super easy to throw together, I'd say under 10 minutes, which makes for a quick weeknight meal when you throw in the noodles and a salad or veggie. Another plus is that they are kid-friendly. The flavors are tasty, yet subtle enough that it's not over powering for the developing palate.

While you can make the meatballs any size you wish, I found that a 1-inch scoop was perfect for us. It made close to 30 meatballs, which is enough for leftovers the next day or some to throw in the freezer for dinner another night.

Apple Cheddar Meatballs
1 pound ground turkey or pork
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 small, tart apple, such as granny smith, peeled and grated
1/2 small onion, grated
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
One 12-ounce package egg noodles
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large cookie sheet with either a silicone baking mat or foil.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey/pork, cheese, breadcrumbs, apple, onion, 3 tablespoons parsley and egg. Season with salt and pepper. Using a medium scoop, shape into meatballs, about 1-inch in size. Arrange on baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes (or until thoroughly cooked), turning half way.

During the last 15 minutes while the meatballs are cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles to al dente. Drain, then return to the pot and toss with the butter and remaining 5 tablespoons parsley; season with salt and pepper.

Rachael Ray via Baking Serendipity

Linked To...
Savory Sunday @ The Sweet Details
Mangia Mondays @ Delightfully Dowling

Friday, June 3, 2011

S'mores Ice Cream

I have a thing for s'mores. Especially during the summertime. I love roasting marshmallows over a camp fire then putting them atop a Hershey's bar to make it all melty, only to eat it sandwiched between a crumbly graham cracker. Yum!

I like to kind of slow roast my marshmallows so they get evenly toasty all around and get nice and poofy. I love that toasty flavor. That's why I decided, when making this ice cream, that I would try to simulate that same toasty marshmallow flavor in the ice cream base by putting the marshmallows under the broiler. The verdict: UH-mazing! The ice cream base really tastes like toasted marshmallows and the whole deal tastes like one big fat cold s'more! Now, what's not to love about that?

I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that this only makes about a pint of ice cream, but heaven sakes go ahead a double it if you're worried about it or have more than yourself to feed!

S'mores Ice Cream
Makes about a pint

1/2 package mini marshmallows
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2-1.55 oz. bars Hershey’s Chocolate (they're usually the ones that come in a 6-pack)
3 graham crackers

Put milk and cream into a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat. Meanwhile spread marshmallows out on a cookie sheet and put under broiler for about 30-60 seconds. DO NOT take your eyes away or you'll have flaming marshmallows! Cool for a few seconds then immediately scrape into the saucepan with the milk and cream. Stir constantly until marshmallows are melted and incorporated.

Pour mixture (yes, the hot mixture) into ice cream maker that has been frozen according to manufacturer’s instructions, and churn for about 30-60 minutes. It may take longer than normal to get to the right consistency since the mixture is hot when you pour it in. Add ice and rock salt, if necessary to keep it cold enough.

While the ice cream is churning, break chocolate into chunks or pieces however you like. Break graham crackers into a little bit larger pieces.

After churning is completed, turn off ice cream maker and fold in chocolate and graham cracker pieces. Pour into freezer safe container and freeze until firm.

SOURCE: Adapted from Bonnie the Baker

Linked to...
Sweet Tooth Friday @ Alli n' Son
Sweets For A Saturday @ Sweet As Sugar Cookies
Sweet Indulgences Sunday @ A Well-Seasoned Life
Sweet Treats Thursday @ Something Swanky
Savory Sunday @ The Sweet Details
Potluck Sunday @ Mommy's Kitchen
Mangia Mondays @ Delightfully Dowling
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