Ranch Pasta Salad

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This is another recipe that I took some help from  the boxed pasta salads at the grocery store.  I love the flavor and I really like the fact that it makes a smaller amount so nothing goes to waste here at our house.  I didn’t add the corn because I have a corn hater in the house and I used super tiny pieces of broccoli because the corn hater also hates broccoli.  Crazy, I know!  This recipe came from the Betty Crocker website.

Ranch Pasta Salad

1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad classic pasta salad mix
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch
1 tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 medium green onions, sliced

Fill a pan 2/3 full of wate rand bring to a boil. Add the pasta from the box and boil uncovered for 12 minutes. Add the corn during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Drain pasta and corn very well.

In a salad bowl, stir together the seasoning mix, dressing, and lime juice. Then stir in the corn and remaining ingredients.

Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator until serving.

Serve with tortilla chips if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Fresh Lemonade

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Lemonade is so good on a hot summer day and we love this version.   It takes quite a few lemons (don’t sub the stuff in a bottle ~ use fresh lemons) but it’s well worth it!

Fresh Lemonade

1 3/4 cups sugar
8 cups water
1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice

In a saucepan, mix 1 cup water and sugar together. Bring to a boil and boil until the sugar is dissolved. Cool syrup to room temperature than refrigerate until it is chilled.

Remove seeds from lemon juice but keep the pulp.

In a pitcher, stir together the chilled syrup, lemon juice and the 7 cups of water. Mix well. Add lemon slices and ice if desired.

Makes 12 or so servings (or more if you are using small cups). This is really a guess, you’ll have to judge for yourself.

Happy Cooking!

A BIG, Zesty Sandwich

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I was not in the mood to cook over the weekend and came across this recipe and it was just perfect for lunch.

This makes a BIG sandwich ~ I’m guessing it would feed 6-8 making it perfect for a picnic or tailgating.  I would think you could switch up the meats and cheese to make it your own ~ in fact I used provolone.  I also think a little bit of red onion would add to the flavor.

A Big, Zesty Sandwich

1 round loaf of sourdough bread ~ I used Italian
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 slices Gouda cheese ~ I used Provolone
5 slices Genoa salami ~ I used hard salami
1/3 lb. smoked deli turkey, sliced thin ~ I used oven roasted turkey
1/3 lb. Black Forest deli ham, thinly sliced ~ I used honey ham
1 1/2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup red wine vinegar and olive oil salad dressing

Cut the bread in half and hollow the top and bottom piece leaving a little bread.

Drizzle 2 tbsps red wine vinegar over the top and 2 tbsps over bottom. Layer the cheese, the salami, the turkey and the ham. Place the lettuce and tomatoes in a bowl and toss with the salad dressing; then place on top of the ham. Place the top of the bread over the lettuce/tomato combo and press down. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4-10 hours.

Cut into wedges and place a toothpick in each wedge to hold together.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Fourth of July Cupcakes Rewind

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These are so cute for the fourth!  I posted this recipe last July 4th and thought it was worth a repeat today.

Fourth of July Cupcakes

Fourth of July Cupcakes

18 1/4 ounces white cake mix
1 cup water (or as indicated on cake mix directions)
1/3 cup oil (or as indicated on cake mix directions)
3 eggs (or as indicated on cake mix directions)
1/2 teaspoon blue food coloring
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
1 (16 ounce) can vanilla frosting
red white and blue candy sprinkle

Prepare cake mix according to package directions.

In a small bowl, combine 1 1/3 cups batter with blue food coloring. In another small bowl, combine red food coloring with 1 1/3 cups batter. Leave the remaining batter plain.

Fill paper-lined muffin tins with 2 tablespoons red batter, 2 tablespoons plain batter, and 2 tablespoons blue batter. Do not swirl batter, leave it layered.

Bake at 350º for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes in pan and then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost with vanilla frosting and decorate with sprinkles.

Makes about 18 cupcakes

Happy Cooking!

My Signature

Spinach Pasta Salad

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Ifound this recipe in one of my gazillion cookbooks ~ Settings Sunrise to Sunset ~ it’s just a little bit different from most pasta salads, it’s easy to make, and delicious to boot.  I would think that you could use any type of pasta that you liked.  The original recipe called for spinach fusilli but I used the three color rotini instead and it worked great.  I adapted the recipe to make it easier to put together.

Spinach Pasta Salad Added

Spinach Pasta Salad

1 pound pasta of your choice ~ I used three color rotini
1/4cup chopped red onion
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 cup ripe olives
3 cups spinach, sliced into ribbons
12 ozs. feta cheese

Dressing:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsps red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box and drain well. Add the onion, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and spinach and toss to mix the ingredients. Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk to blend well. Pour over the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top and mix lightly.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Happy Cooking!

My Signature

Cheese Stuffed Chipotle Burgers

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These are SPICY!  I am not a fan of eating something that makes my mouth burn BUT I loved these.  I love chipotles and they really give the burgers tons of flavors.  Since this is a huge burger, you really need only one per person ~ in fact, I ate about half and was full.  If you like spice, give them a try!

chipotle-burgers

Cheese Stuffed Chipotle Burgers

1 (7 ounce) can chipotles in adobo sauce, undrained
2 lbs ground beef
2 tsps steak seasoning
1/2 (10 ounce) pkg Cheddar cheese (I used the cheese that already comes cut into small pieces ~ Cracker Barrel, I think)
4 burger buns

Empty can of chipotles into a small food chopper or processor or blender and process until smooth.

Combine 4 tsps of the chipotle puree, ground beef and steak seasoning in a large bowl until combined. Do not over mix or your burgers will be tough. Shape mixture into 8 patties, roughly the same size. Place 1 slice of cheese on 4 patties. Place a patty on top of each slice of cheese and press edges to seal. Chill for 30 minutes or so.

Make an indent in the top burger with your thumb so you won’t get that burger bump.  Grill until cooked to your desired degree of doneness.

Serve on buns with your favorite toppings.

Makes 4 burgers.

Happy Cooking!

my-signature3

My Famous Taco Salad

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My friend Brenda shared this recipe with me when we lived on Cape Cod back in the 80’s. I loved it then and still love it today. It’s one of my recipes that I am always asked to bring to potlucks. Yesterday we went to a pool party at a friend’s house and brought it and was asked for the recipe.

I don’t really have measurements for the ingredients ~ it depends on how much I want to make. I’ll use guesstimates but please use your own judgment on amounts ~ if you like lots of onion, use more. I love tomatoes so I use more.

I forgot to take pictures of it until I had it in the container all gussied up ~ sorry about that.

My Famous Taco Salad

1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
4 large tomatoes, chopped
1 (16 ounce) bottle of Catalina dressing
1 tbsp chili powder (use more if you want it spicy)
1 pound ground beef, browned and fat drained off
2 cups of fritos
1 cup taco cheese or cheddar cheese, shredded

Place chopped, onion, green pepper, and tomatoes in a bowl. Pour entire bottle of catalina dressing over the vegetables and stir to combine. Stir in chili powder. Marinate in the fridge overnight.

Early the next day, add the cooked ground beef to the marinating veggies. Place back in the fridge so that the meat can cool. Just before serving, add the cheese and fritos. Store in the refrigerator.

Serves 4-6

Happy Cooking!

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Squares

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Yeah, I know these aren’t grilled and I know I already made one post today but I made these yesterday and I think they would be terrific for a picnic or barbecue. They taste like shortbread with chocolate chips and frosting. Can’t go wrong with chocolate 🙂 The recipe came with the info on a new 13×9 pan I bought. And……I think I may have figured out my camera so hopefully there will be better pictures in this blog’s future!

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Squares

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate mini morsels, divided

Preheat oven to 350º.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. Gradually add in the flour and beat well after each addition. Stir in 1 cup of the mini chocolate morsels.

Press this mixture onto the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until top lightly browned. Immediately sprinkle with the rest of the mini chocolate morsels left in the bag. Let stand for 5 minutes or so until the morsels are shiny then spread evenly covering the entire top of the shortbread.

Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares.

Happy Cooking!

Southwestern Grilled Chicken

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Today starts two weeks of barbecue, grilling, and picnic recipes. I love summer and we spend lots of time on the deck grilling, firing up the smoker, and just enjoying the outdoors. My dream is to have an outdoor kitchen. Our house backs up to woods so we get lots of critters to drive the dogs nuts but I could do without the copperheads.

This recipe can be made with any cut of chicken ~ I used drumsticks and thighs. For being so simple, it’s very flavorful and not too spicy.

Southwestern Grilled Chicken

2 tbsps olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken or an equivalent of your favorite cuts

Combine all the ingredients, except chicken, in a small bowl and mix to blend well. Brush mixture over the chicken, coating well. Grill chicken until cooked and no pink remains.

Serve with shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped cilantro or parsley, chopped black olives, if desired.

Happy Cooking!