June 27, 2013

Nature's Bounty



After playing golf on Sunday, my husband and I went to a local produce stand and got a few things for dinner.  I had thawed out some ground chuck for hamburger steaks on the grill.  The weather is pretty hot around here so we wanted to keep it relatively light.


These are candied onions.  They are a sweet onion like a Vidalia.  My husband said it was the best onion he'd ever eaten.  I don't eat raw onions so I'll have to take his word for it.


We also bought some hydroponic tomatoes.  They aren't quite as good as field tomatoes, but pretty tasty.  The field tomatoes aren't in yet.  Last year due to an extreme drought in our area, we weren't able to buy any.   I made a tomato salad using what I had at home.


I used the tomatoes, candied onions, provel cheese, blue cheese, salt, pepper,  and drizzled on some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar my husband brought back from his trip to Italy.  It is sweet enough to eat on ice cream!


We also had fresh corn-on-the -cob.  It was crunchy, tender, and perfect!


And for the hamburger steaks:  ground chuck, candied onions, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.




A tasty summertime meal!




















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June 20, 2013

Celebrations



Last weekend we celebrated a birthday and Father's Day.  Lots of fun!  I made Spaghetti Salad for the birthday party.


This is my go-to pasta salad recipe and a favorite.  A co-worker gave me this recipe.  Her mother-in-law would make it for her to bring to work.  


I love my Wusthof knife.  (If you can love a knife.)



What makes this salad so unique and incredibly good is McCormick Salad Supreme.



And how about all the Parmesan cheese?

If you'd like to make this, here's how I did it:

Spaghetti Salad:

Adapted from original recipe 

1 1/2 box thin spaghetti (16 ounce box)
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
2 small cans sliced black olives, drained
3 large tomatoes
McCormick's Salad Supreme
1 package of fresh Parmesan cheese (you can use canned Parmesan cheese)
1 bottle zesty Italian dressing (I can't remember which brand I used so use whatever you like)

Directions:

Boil spaghetti according to directions on box.
Drain, rinse, and set side.
Chop green pepper, red pepper, and tomatoes.
Put spaghetti in a large serving bowl, add chopped pepper, olives, tomatoes, 1/2 bottle Salad Supreme, Parmesan cheese, and Italian dressing.   Mix well.  Serve to family and friends!

Here's what Father's Day at our house looked like:


This picture was taken before our guests arrived.  We ate outside by the pool.  It was a beautiful
morning, and a perfect day for eating by our pool.

On the menu:  Scrambled eggs, link sausages, and Sunny Glow Coffee Cake.


Everyone's favorite.


I used Rhodes frozen rolls.  I had to get up at 3 a.m. to set them out so they would rise in time.


Then topped it with this yummy, delectable concoction (lots of eggs, butter, and sugar).   Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, and here's the end result:


I regret I didn't get a picture of this cut into pieces.  So when I make it again, I will post more pictures and the recipe.  Stay tuned.







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Zucchini Bread

I forgot to mention in my last post that I bought the strawberries featured there at our local farmer's market.  Throughout the growing season, local farmers set up on Tuesday mornings just a few blocks from my house.  In our area, there are many local farmers that raise and sell fruits and vegetables, and I will be featuring many of these here in my recipes.  When I bought the strawberries, I also bought some zucchini squash.


And . . . I made zucchini bread.  It was very moist and delicious!  




I added chocolate chips because I love chocolate.



One loaf I took to work, and the other one my husband took to coffee.  Yummy.

Here's how I did it:

Zucchini Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs beaten
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two 9 x 5 loaf pans with canned canola oil.

Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together.

In a large bowl, beat eggs.  (I used jumbo because that's what I had).  Add sugar and continue beating until well blended.  Stir in oil, vanilla, zucchini, pecans, and chocolate chips.  Stir in the dry ingredients.  Pour batter into loaf pans.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Share with family and friends!



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June 17, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake for a Friend








This is pretty self-explanatory.  I made angel food cake in small Bundt cake pans.  (I used a mix).  I mashed the berries and added sugar and spooned over cake.  Some I kept for home and some I took to a treasured friend.


Ready for delivery!


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June 4, 2013

Peanut Butter Cookies


Over Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I visited my son and his family.  While we were there, we went to a coffee shop that had some great bakery items.  I bought a peanut butter cookie, a chocolate chip cookie, and an oatmeal craisin cookie.  They were all quite good, but my favorite was the peanut butter cookie.

In honor of their delicious cookie, I made some last night.



Those are Reese's chips you see in the dough.


I made some for a friend, some I took to work, and some my husband took to coffee for his friends.






Here's how I made them:

1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup Reese's Peanut Butter Chips
Sugar for sprinkling on top of cookie

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and peanut butter together.  Add sugar and brown sugar and cream together.  Add the eggs and mix into butter and sugar mixture.  After eggs are incorporated, mix in the dry ingredients approximately a third at a time.  Stir in peanut butter chips.

Roll into whatever size cookie you want.  Flatten with your hand.  Press a criss-cross pattern on top of cookie with a fork.  Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes, depending on size of cookie.

Sweet!



















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June 3, 2013

Strawberry Cream Pie



It's strawberry season in southern Illinois.  These berries were grown and sold locally.





A few years ago, I made a strawberry cream pie for dessert for dinner with friends.  However, I wasn't able to remember where I got the recipe.  I think it was a Southern Living recipe, but I didn't have any luck finding it.  So I used my grandmother's recipe for cream pie, which can be made into chocolate cream, banana cream, lemon meringue, coconut cream, and now strawberry cream
and it worked perfectly.



They were picked out of the field that morning, and we had pie by Noon.







Strawberry Cream Pie:

1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust 

Cream Filling:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 eggs yolks
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Glaze:

1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch
3 cups fresh strawberries, halved

Directions:

Baked pie shell per directions on Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust.  In a large saucepan, combine sugar, flour, and salt.  Stir in milk, egg yolks, vanilla and butter.  Cook over medium-high heat stirring constantly (I use a whisk).  Cook and stir until thickened.  Spoon into cooked pie shell.  

Combine crushed strawberries and water in a saucepan.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Combine sugar and cornstarch.  Gradually stir into the berries.  Cook until thick and clear, stirring constantly.  Strain.  Cool.

Arrange berry halves over filling.  Pour glaze evenly over berries.  Refrigerate for one hour.

Sweet!

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