June 30, 2015

"From Farm to Table" Blueberry Pie

I made a blueberry pie for Father's Day lunch, and it was so good, I decided to make another one.  This one was just for Hubby and I.  The blueberries are very sweet this year.   Sometimes you have to add  extra sugar to get them sweet enough, but not these berries.

I bought these blueberries from a local farm.  They have the most beautiful fruits and vegetables!    And I like to shop locally, when I can.   We need to support our local economy!!

We're just about at the end of blueberry season here.  I'm sad to see it go.  But I do have another quart and a half on my countertop, so perhaps we'll have one more pie or cobbler . . . until next year.

Blueberry Pie:

1 package of refrigerated pie crusts
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon of butter

Let pie crusts come to room temperature so they are easy to roll out.  Place one pie crust in the bottom of a pie plate and prick bottom and sides with a fork.

Slightly crush the blueberries.  Place them in a small saucepan with sugar and lemon juice and cook over medium heating until berry mixture boils, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in a heaping tablespoon of butter.   Pour berry mixture into pie shell.  Place the second pie shell on top and crimp sides.  Cut three slits to vent pie.  Brush milk or cream across top of pie, if desired.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes until top is golden.

Serve to family and friends!


June 24, 2015

Cake Mix Cookie Bars

I found this wonderful little recipe on Pinterest.   We have always loved the Cake Mix Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that my mother cut out of our local newspaper years ago.   The Cake Mix Chocolate Chip Cookies show up often at our family get-togethers.    All of our "grown kids" eat them up.   This recipe is very similar, except for making it into a delicious cookie bar.

Cake Mix Cookie Bars:

You will Need:

1- 15.25 ounce white cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chocolate chips
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

How to Make Them:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Mix together the cake mix, oil, and eggs.
3.  Press one-half of cake mix batter into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan.
4.  In a microwaveable bowl, mix together butter, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips.  Microwave for 30 seconds.  Remove and stir.  Keep microwaving at 15 second intervals until smooth.
5.  Stir sweetened condensed milk into chocolate and butterscotch mixture and pour over the cake batter in the bottom of cake pan.
6.  Drop the second half of the cake mix batter by spoonfuls over the top.
7.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.
8.  Allow to cool completely.
9.  Serve to family and friends!


June 17, 2015

Bow Tie Pasta Salad

The days are warming up here, and there's nothing better than a salad for lunch or dinner.  How about this great summer salad?  This one is perfect for a summer get-together.  And the left-overs are great for lunch the next day.  

Look at all these beautiful colors.

Green peppers, yellow peppers, tomatoes, black olives.  You can certainly add whatever vegetables you like!

And the ingredient that it makes it so good is Salad Supreme.
It gives it a spicy little zip.

If you need a salad for a Father's Day party or a July 4th get-together, I promise this one will be a hit!

Bow Tie Pasta Salad

You will Need:

Bow Tie Pasta (I used approximately 1/2 box)
1 small can of sliced black olives
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 large tomato
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 bottle of Salad Supreme
1 large bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing

1.  Prepare pasta according to package directions.  

2.  Rinse and drain pasta.

3.  Place pasta in a large bowl, add in one small can of sliced black olives,  one chopped green   pepper, one chopped yellow pepper, one chopped tomato, 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, 1/2 bottle of Salad Supreme, and 1/2 bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing.   (I added in more dressing after it had sat in refrigerator right before serving).   Stir all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve.


June 11, 2015

Neopolitan Cupcakes

My grandmother's favorite ice-cream was Neopolitan Ice Cream.  It seems like she always had it in her freezer.  These cupcakes make me think of her, spending time with her, and sharing her ice cream.

Neopolitan Ice Cream also makes me think of summer.  I think it's the strawberry ice cream.

These cupcakes are delicious.  I made them from a cake mix.  I oftentimes read the debate on the internet about cake mix versus from scratch cakes.  I have actually pretty much exhausted that particular subject.  I do both, but using a cake mix does save time and for today's busy families, these are absolutely perfect.

I use milk instead of water and butter instead of oil.  It does make a difference in the way they taste and their consistency.  They are truly delicious!!

 If you want a cupcake than turns out perfectly tasty every time, then this recipe is just right for you!

Neopolitan Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
1 box Devil's Food cake mix
2 cups milk
2 sticks of butter, softened
6 large eggs

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place cupcake liners into cupcake pans.

2.  Making one cake mix at a time, cream softened butter in mixer bowl.  Add cake mix, milk and eggs, one at a time, and mix until moistened.  Beat with mixer on medium speed for two minutes.

3.  Using a cookie scoop, place one scoop of chocolate in cupcake liner, then one scoop of vanilla on top of chocolate.

4.  Bake at 350 degrees for  20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes in pan.  Then remove from pan and let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.  

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

(Enough frosting for 12 cupcakes)

1/2 cup or 1 stick butter, softened
4 cups Confectioner's Powdered Sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons of strawberry juice with sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon of heavy cream

Cream butter in stand mixer.  Add in powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  Add in strawberry juice with sliced strawberries, and heavy cream and whip until creamy.

Using a piping bag with a large tip, pipe on frosting.

(I only made 12 cupcakes, and used the batter to make other cupcakes.  For my frosting,  I used frozen sliced strawberries in juice, which I allowed to thaw.)

Serve to family and friends!!


June 5, 2015

Chicken Cheesegetti

Pasta and two kinds of cheese.  
This is truly comfort food and its very best.    

I've made this for my family for many years.  When my sons were little boys, I made it often.  It was one of their favorites.  My mother made it, and my sister would make it for her family, as well.

I found it years ago in a cookbook I bought.  You know the kind that organizations sell for fundraisers.  It is the best cookbook.  I find that these cookbooks have family-friendly recipes.  By that I mean, they are relatively easy to make with ingredients that are easy to find and won't break the bank, and the whole family likes them!  This one is not only perfect to serve to family or friends, it is also a great dish to bring to a potluck at school, church, or wherever you happen to need to bring something in one pot.  

Add a little side salad, and dinner is ready!  The great thing about this recipe is that it is started in a Crockpot.  You can put it on in the morning, and the chicken will be done when you get home from work.  So you have a head start.   And if you are taking it somewhere, it can go back in the Crockpot to transport and plugged in to keep it warm.  I almost always cook my chicken in a Crockpot.  It just tastes better to me.  It is easier to break up, and it is tender, moist, and cooks perfectly every time.

Chicken Cheesegetti

(Adapted from Beta Sigma Phi Comfort Foods Cookbook)

2 chicken breasts
1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
1 32-ounce box of chicken broth
16 ounces spaghetti
8 ounces of Velveeta Cheese, cubed
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 10-ounce can of cream of chicken soup
Salt and pepper to taste.

Place chicken breasts in Crockpot and pour 32-ounce box of chicken broth over chicken.  Cook on low setting until chicken is done.  (Approximately 8 to 9 hours).  Strain liquid into a dutch oven, adding in more water, if needed.  Salt liquid.  Bring to a boil and add spaghetti and cook spaghetti until tender.  Reduce heat to low.  Shred chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Add Velveeta cheese,  mozzarella cheese, chicken, chopped green chilies and soup to spaghetti.  Cook until cheeses melt.  Add pepper.  Serves 8.  (You can cook more chicken breasts, if desired.   The original recipe calls for six boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  I used bone-in.  It makes a richer broth, and the chicken is more tender.   This is a personal preference.  To me, a recipe is a guide, not a blueprint that has to be followed exactly.)

Serve to family and friends!


June 4, 2015

West Baden Springs Hotel - French Lick Resort

My hubby and I recently went to French Lick Resort in French Lick, Indiana, to watch the Senior PGA Championship golf tournament at the Pete Dye Course.  We spent the night before at the West Baden Springs Hotel.  So, so beautiful!

  Cudjoe and I enjoyed lunch at Ballard's restaurant which is located in the beautiful atrium of the West Baden Springs Hotel.  This hotel is an historic landmark hotel and is known for its vast domed atrium.  It was the largest in the world from 1902 to 1913.  The atmosphere inside this atrium is unbelievably peaceful!!  

How about this?  A palm tree in southern Indiana.  French Lick and West Baden are both small towns that are side-by-side, with West Baden just to the west of French Lick.  These two towns are located in the Hoosier National Forest.  The French Lick Hotel is in French Lick, Indiana, and West Baden Springs Hotel is located in West Baden, Indiana.  This is a great weekend get-away.   Such a jewel located right here  in the Midwest.

 It was Memorial Day weekend, and the atrium was patriotically decorated with flag banners.

This hotel was opened for business in June of 1902 and underwent several ownerships.  At one time it was owned by the Jesuits.  The selling price:  one dollar.  In 2007 the restoration of West Baden Springs Hotel was completed.

The atrium has many sitting areas.  The furnishings are lovely.  We sat here that evening and listened to a soft jazz band which included the piano, a saxophone, and a vocalist.  They were awesome!

We went up to the second floor to look at an art exhibit, and this is looking down into the exquisite lobby.

These stained glass doors also located in the lobby.

This mirror was in the bathroom!  I want this mirror for my house!!

As well as this beautiful sitting area.  Are you kidding me?  I love this coffee table/footstool.

The hallways are wide behind the atrium, and this is another sitting area.  Such beautiful furniture and rugs!!

  We ate dinner at Hagen's Restaurant which is located on the Donald Ross course.  Walter Hagen won the U.S. Open at this course in 1923.   Dessert was cheesecake stuffed strawberries with chocolate sauce.  The best part of the meal! 

 Cudjoe enjoying the day!  It was a great trip.  We certainly enjoyed our stay at French Lick Resort.  Everyone was very friendly and so helpful.  They really couldn't do enough for you at the hotel as well as at the golf course.