Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Blueberry Cheese Rolls

So I made this ultra yummy breakfast danish thing on the first day of school for my kids. It was easy, and could be done with a variety of fruits, if you aren't so hot on blueberries (but you should be...blueberries are VERY good for you...)

My kids gobbled them up!! I doubled...but you do what you need to do, okay?

Blueberry Cheese Rolls

1 pkg. (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
4 oz. (1/2 of an 8-oz. brick) cream cheese, softened
2 TBS sugar
1/2 cup blueberries, divided

1. Preheat oven to 375. Unroll dough into four rectangles; firmly press perforations together to seal.

2. Combine cream cheese and sugar, spread onto dough rectangles to within 1/2-inch of the edges.
Top evenly with blueberries. Bring opposite corners of rectangles together; press together to seal. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake 11-13 minutes until golden brown.

(You can use 1/2 cup of chopped red or green apples, 1/2 cup of raisins, raspberries, frozen peaches, or any other fruit instead of blueberries.)
courtesy Kraft foods

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Potato Summer Salad

Ahhh...another potato salad recipe...and this one is aptly named for the season in which the salads appearance is the most common.
I used red potatoes...not necessarily "new" reds...but very small red's...because that's what I bought at the store and had to use. And this salad is great served chilled OR you can be pretty flexible if you forgot to make it in the am and have to whip it together real quick before dinner.
New Potato Summer Salad
3 lb. new potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup bacon bits (this recipe calls for those bacon bits you buy to top salads with...but you all know my love affair with I went ahead and fried up a pound and added it in. It'll make the salad...but perhaps not your waistline... better. Just you try it and see...)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1/4 Miracle Whip
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1. Cook potatoes in boiling water 10 to 12 minutes or until fork tender. Drain. Place in large bowl. Add onions, tomatoes, bacon bits, and basil; mix lightly.
2. Mix remaining ingredients. Add to potato mixture; toss to coat. Cover.
3. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled OR...
...toss ingredients with still warm potatoes and serve WARM.
courtesy Kraft foods

Fresh Watermelon Spring Salsa

I haven't made salsa in awhile...and I was all thrilled. I love making specialty salsas...they're just so much fun.

Then, I was seeding jalapenos. And after I was done, my nose itched, so I casually rubbed it.

WOW!!! Now - I know better than that. You're not supposed to work with peppers without gloves...and if you are stupid or lazy enough to skip gloves (like I ALWAYS do), you WASH YOUR HANDS DIRECTLY AFTER CONTACT!!

My mucus membranes are seriously stinging.

Better be damn good salsa.

This salsa is primarily intended for fish entrees...where it makes a delightfully light and juicy topper. Just bake your fish of choice (we used wild-caught perch) with a little lemon and pepper (very light on the pepper), and top with salsa.

Viola!! You have an colorful, visually pleasing dish that is perfect for summer.

I doubled...because I like this salsa later in front of the TV with Pita Chips.

Fresh Watermelon Spring Salsa

1-1/2 ups chopped watermelon
1 cup chopped PEELED cucumber
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 TBS chopped cilantro (I LOVE smelling cilantro...)
2 TBS Zesty Italian dressing
2 tsp minced serrano chile (I used jalapenos...cause I'm a big fan of using what you got instead of making special trips to the store...but no matter what chile...USE GLOVES or WASH YOUR HANDS...or suffer the consequences)
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Mix all ingredients until well-blended.

2. Serve spooned over cooked fish.

Please forgive the paper plates...I'm still in the process of moving...

courtesy Kraft foods

Banana Sour Cream Cake

I am very stressed out right now.

And I decided the best thing to do to relieve my stress was to bake.
If you have some over-ripe bananas sitting on your counter (like I did), and are tired of banana bread (like I am), try this recipe.

Right now.

Banana Sour Cream Cake

1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup oil
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 pkg. powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
1 cup walnut pieces, finely chopped (i did not use I feel that nuts ruin almost every baked goodie I've made. I am not a fan of nuts in baked things...ESPECIALLY brownies!! YUCK!!)

1. Heat oven to 350. Beat cake mix, eggs, bananas, sour cream, and oil with mixer on low until moistened, scraping bottom often. Beat on medium 2 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 13x9 inch pan. (My 13x9 inch pan was busy holding last nights leftover Seafood Lasagna, and it's back-up was lost at the last ward function, so I used standard 9-inch rounds instead).

2. Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake completely on wire rack.

3. Beat cream cheese and butter with mixer on medium until blended. Gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition.

4. Remove cake from pan. Carefully cut cake crosswise in half using a serrated knife. Place 1 cake half, top-side down, on plate; spread with frosting. Top with remaining cake half, top-side up. Frost top and sides. Press nuts on sides,. Refrigerate leftovers. (I didn't slice cakes since I made two rounds...and again, I totally skipped the nuts...which made the cake better. )

Wanna know a trick for neatly frosting a cake? Freeze layers for about 20 minutes BEFORE frosting. This helps set crumbs on the cut edges of the cake layers so they DON'T end up in the frosting.

courtesy Kraft foods

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Baked Seafood Lasagna and Garden Vegetable Salad Stackers

In most of the U.S. of A, summer is winding down. School is starting. Days are cooling off.
But not in the Jungle. In the Jungle...summer is heating up.

I really miss Autumn. It's my favorite time to cook. I have more recipes suited for Fall than any other season (just think apples and squash...lots and lots and lots of apples and squash).

But here it's still WAY TOO HOT to start my Fall Favorites. So - I am hosting another FABULOUS summer recipe that I hope tantalizes taste buds no matter WHERE you live...yummy Baked Seafood Lasagna with a fresh Garden Vegetable Salad Stacker.

I didn't double the feeds 12. But you'll need to make enough Salad Stackers for everyone at your table. Incidentally, both these recipes are GREAT party recipes. The lasagna can be prepared ahead of time, and bake in the oven while you sit and enjoy your company. And they'll think you slaved away for HOURS...which of course you won't. And the Stackers work well as sides OR appetizers...they are VERY visually appealing...and again your culinary genius will be praised. Oh - and please pardon the paper plates...we are in the middle of just can't be helped.
But when you think about it...this IS a summer recipe...and who wants to do dishes in the summer, anyway?

Won't you feel good about yourself then?

Baked Seafood Lasagna

3 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
3 cups milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (I actually used 1 cup...cause I'm a rebel like that)
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
1 cup Cottage Cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
9 lasagna noodles, cooked, drained
1/2 lb. fresh or thawed frozen cleaned medium shrimp, cooked, w/o tails ( I used kids like shrimp)
2 cans (6 oz. each) crab meat, drained, flaked

1. Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in saucepan on medium heat. add flour, stir with whisk until well blended. Gradually add milk, mixing well after each addition. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; simmer 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese; set aside.

2. Combine spinach, cottage cheese, 2/3 cup Mozzarella, and the nutmeg in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Spread 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 inch casserole dish. Cover with 3 lasagna noodles and layers of 1/2 EACH of the shrimp, crab meat, and then spinach mixture. Top with another 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese sauce, and start the layers all over again (noodles, shrimp, crab meat, and spinach mixture). Top with remaining 3 lasagna noodles, remaining Parmesan cheese sauce, and the remaining 1/3 cup Mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil.

4. Bake 25 minutes. Uncover, and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until lasagna is heated through and top is browned (after the 20 minutes uncovered cooking time, I moved the lasagna to the bottom rack in the oven and turned on the broiler for a few minutes...just to get the cheese ca little toasty).

5. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into 12 pieces. Serve.

Garden Vegetable Salad Stacker

2 large tomatoes, each cut into 6 slices
6 oz Mozzarella cheese, cut into 6 slices (I buy the pre-sliced stuff at CostCo)
1/3 cup Italian dressing
1 large red onion, cut into 6 slices
1 seedless cucumber, cut into 12 slices
6 fresh basil leaves (I forgot these...but they add to the presentation)

1. Place 6 tomato slices on platter; top each with 1 cheese slice. Drizzle with 1/2 dressing.

2. Top each stack with 1 onion slice, 2 cucumber slices and a second tomato slice.

3. Drizzle with remaining dressing; top with basil.

both of these recipes are courtesy Kraft foods

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer Chicken Salad Sandwiches


I have been gone so long...first because I felt sad and silly about posts without pictures, and then because I went on vacation, and THEN because I had surgery. But now I am back...with a NEW camera...and I have made my first meal post-surgery...and I thought I'd share it with you.

I needed something easy that wouldn't keep me on my feet too long and wouldn't upset my still slightly delicate post-surgery stomach. So I turned to a recipe I've been meaning to try, that my dear sister-in-law Tara sent to me way back in June...called Summer Chicken Salad Sandwiches.

Now...I actually didn't double this, as it was just me and 4 of my kids at you do as you feel you need to, okay?

Summer Chicken Salad Sandwiches

1 can (8-1/4 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese (you can use the light stuff if you want), softened
2 cups cooked cubed chicken

1 8 oz. can water chesnuts, drained
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup slivered almonds (toasted or glazed...I bought some of those glazed aalmond-pecan mixes that you get in the pre-packaged salad section of the produce department)
1/4 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
8 pita pocket halves
Shredded romaine

1. Drain 1/4 cup liquid from pineapple into small bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended.

2. Add remaining pineapple and liquid, chicken, drained water chesnuts, celery, 1/4 cup almonds, and salt and pepper. Mix lightly; chill.

3. Layer pitas with shredded romaine, and fill with salad mix. (You can also use crusty rolls, if you prefer). Sprinkle with remaining almonds.

courtesy Tara Bennett