Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lovely Raspberry Spinach Salad

This salad is absolutely delious!! So do yourself a flavor (I've always wanted to say that ~~ yep I know very corny :0) and try this one out.

Raspberry Spinach Salad

1/2 package fresh baby spinach
1/2 package sweet butter lettuce (or lettuce of your choice)
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup pecans, toasted
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


3 Tbl lemon juice
2 Tbl olive oil
2 tsp honey
dash salt and pepper

In a large salad bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In a small saucepan, combine lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until blended and heated through. Let cool for a few minutes. Pour about half over salad (or to your liking) and sprinkle with feta cheese.

Note: To toast pecans. Heat oven to 350 degrees and put pecans on a baking sheet. (I use whole pecans and the entire package of pecans, then I chop what I need and store the rest in a glass container with lid.) Bake for 10 mins being careful to check periodically, to be sure they don't burn.

This is a lovely salad as well as really good and flavorful. It is wonderful served along side the Hashbrown Quiche and Cherry Limeade Punch. Enjoy!!

Easy Supper Stroganoff

Okay, wait come back ~~ don't leave ~~ Did you note the "Easy" in the title? !!! I really is easy and quick. I made this for supper in about 30 minutes; delightful!!

It's official title is:

Easy Beef Stroganoff

And it goes something like this :0)

4 - 1/2 cups uncooked yolk-free noodles
1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms (can use canned, but fresh is better)
1/2 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbl reduced-fat butter
1 Tbl all-purpose flour
14-1/2 ounces beef broth (I use Rachael Ray's brand)
2 Tbl tomato paste
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Cook noodles according to package, directions. Meanwhile, cook the beef, mushrooms, onion and garlic over meduim heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Remove and keep warm.

In the same pan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add broth and tomato paste. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Carefully return beef mixture to the pan. Add sour cream, salt and pepper; cook and stir until heated through, but do not boil. drain noodles; serve with beef mixture.

Note: My guys do not like sour cream so I leave it out and just add it to mine indivually and it is still GREAT!! They love their non-sour cream version and I love mine bring on the sour cream version. I have found that there are certainly different likes and dislikes within our tight-knit fam, and we have found a way to make them mix ~~ it's super!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

So What's for Supper? ~~ Hashbrown Quiche

Well tonight I made what we actually had for lunch today for Bible Study. It was sooooo good I thought hubby would enjoy it ~~ and he did!!

Hashbrown Quiche
Excuse the bite taken out ~~ that happened before I could take the pic ~~ yes it is THAT good!! :0)
My Favorite Hash Brown Quiche (adapted quite a bit from “Stop and Smell the Rosemary” cookbook)
Serves 6 to 8
24 ounces frozen uncooked shredded hash browns, thawed
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup half and half
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
4 ounces PepperJack cheese, shredded (1 cup)
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
(1 cup)1 Large Shallot, finely diced
1 cup diced ham
Fresh or dried parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Press hash browns into quiche pan. Blot with paper towel to remove all moisture. Brush with melted butter. Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, half and half, and salt. Mix the cheeses, ham, and the diced shallot and place mixture in hash brown shell. Pour egg mixture over top. Bake 40 to 50 minutes. Garnish with parsley.
Note: When I made it I used Cheddar Cheese (couldn't find G ?? Cheese :) and I didn't use parsley. Don't know why really, was having a moment :-)
This was the recipe that Melissa Moore-Fitzpatrick posted for our NOG's Bible Study Tuesday. It was delicious!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Blueberry Torte Squares

Well here we have a lovely, summer dessert. Easy and fun to make. Because let's face it, delicious food gets a boost when it's also fun and easy right? Okay just work with me here; I like for cooking to be a fun experience. Since we do it every day, I believe in making beautiful delicious food!!!!!!!!

Blueberry Torte Squares

2/3 cup butter, soft

3 Tbl, plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (not fat-free)

1 cup confectioners' sugar

12 ounces reduced-fat whipped topping

2 Tbl cornstarch

3/4 cup cold water

3 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen and thawed)

In a small bowl, cream butter and 2 tablespoons sugar. Gradually add flour and mix well. Press in to the bottom of a 13" X 9" baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping; spread mixture over crust. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

In a large saucepan, combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Stir in blueberries and remaining sugar. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Cool to room temperature.

Soon topping over cream cheese layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy with a warm cup of coffee and a good friend.

The best!!! Enjoy dear ones!!!!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Freeze those Herbs ~~ Go on You can do it!!

My herb beds are abundant with fresh herbs: thyme, 3 different kinds, basil and lots and lots of mint. It is a veritable smorgasbord of herbs ~~ YUMMIE!! So with all these herbs you must know how to preserve right? So thought I'd give you an easy solution for freezing your fresh hard herbs, like thyme and rosemary.

First cut them out of your gardens. Be sure to cut in the morning (preferably) or the evening when it is the coolest. (Cutting in the heat of the day really taxes your plants. Poor Plants :( so cut early or late)!!

Then bring them in and wash in a salad spinner. If you have 3 different kinds of Thyme like me, be sure and wash each kind individually as their flavors will mix if you store together. After you wash and dry, then lay on paper toweling to finish drying. They must be completely dry before freezing.

Aren't they pretty? :0)
Look at this mint!! Mint is invasive, so if you plant it, be sure and plant in an area that it can't take over, like a barrel. Unless you want mint coming out of every nook and cranny of your garden beds; because it will, it so will!! It is just that bold!!!! :0)
Look at these bad boys drying out on the 'ole paper toweling!!!
After they are completely dry then store them in marked ziplock freezer bags in the freezer for at least a week. At the end of the week, take a rolling pin and roll over the top of the bags and the leaves of the stems will fall off in the bag. Discard the stems and store the herbs in marked Mason jars in the freezer. They are delicious and how great to have this for your winter soups and stews!!
So what about you? Do you have a great tip to storing the summer abundance of herbs? If so I'd love to hear it. Leave me a comment or drop me an e-mail. I just love learning new stuff!!
Remember this post was all about hard herbs. Soft herbs is a whole different ball game, well kind of. Kind of like baseball to softball ~~ kind of alike, but oh so different :0)
So stay tuned for that . . . . . . . .

Sunday, July 13, 2008

And We're Off to a GREAT Start with . . . YUMMY Berries!!!

Well, I've been trying to decide just how to post the yumminess that is FOOD!! And decided to start with summer fair; since, after all, we are in the height of all the flavors and fun of summer.
So we will start with one of our favorite summer berry recipes.

Blueberry-Blackberry Shortcakes


2 cups all-purpose flour - OR - You can use 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind (don't skip this step ~~ gives it that little something extra :0)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup fat-free buttermilk

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon water

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons sugar


3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, divided

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 cups fresh or frozen and thawed blackberries

1 cup frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare shortcakes, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in chilled butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; stir just until moist. If making wheat version, be sure not to over mix as dough will be tough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 times. Pat dough to a 1/2-inch thickness; cut with a 3-inch biscuit cutter to form 8 dough rounds. Place dough rounds 2 inches apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Combine water and egg white, stirring with a whisk; brush over dough rounds. Sprinkle evenly with 2 teaspoons sugar. Bake at 400° for 13 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack.

To prepare filling, combine 1 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, juice, and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Place in a large bowl; add remaining 2 cups blueberries and blackberries, stirring to coat. Cover and chill.
Using a serrated knife, cut each shortcake in half horizontally; spoon 1/2 cup blueberry mixture over bottom half of each shortcake. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons whipped topping and top half of shortcake. Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 filled shortcake) Recipe adapted from Cooking Light Cookbook

Note: If you are short on time you can make the shortcake recipe on the Bisquick box (I use reduced-fat variety). It is also a delicious recipe. Enjoy!!