Friday, June 28, 2013

It is Salad Season!

Hubby did the cooking this past weekend and mixed up a couple of tasty salads.  He opened up the big binder of recipes and picked a couple that we thought we had made before, but now not so sure.  He made a potato salad from Hellmans and Bobby Flay.  Now, I am not a Mayo fan so I tend to shy away from potato salads made with Mayonnaise, but this one was pretty good.  It reminded us of my husbands favorite potato salad - Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Potato Salad.  The only thing missing was the chipotles which add some wicked heat.  This made a nice size salad which was quickly gobbled up by the kids and my husband.  Give it a try!

Once you have made this check back to see what other salads we have whipped up.  

Bobby Flay’s Green Onion Potato Salad

2 lbs. red potatoes
1 Tbsp. PLUS 2 tsp. Kosher salt, divided
1-1/4 cups Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
6 green onions (green and pale green part), thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley

Cover potatoes with water in 4-quart saucepot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain and cool slightly. Slice into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Combine Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise, vinegar, jalapeno peppers, salt and black pepper in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients and toss gently. Season, if desired, with additional salt and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cooking Light

Ok, vacation time is drawing near.  That means digging out the bathing suit, dusting of my beach hat and finding some really good beach reads.  Did I say bathing suit? will it look?.  

Ok, tough question, but we can prepare.  I have dusted off the Livestrong  app to track my activites and calorie intake and opened up the Cooking Light app to find a dinner that is not only lower calories, but taste good too.  I think I did it, even with a sweet little treat.

Almond Herbed Orzo, Flank Steak with Romesco Sauce, Corn on the cob and White chocolate bark.

So, here is a complete meal for you.  Just add a small glass of wine (100 calories) and enjoy.

Let's start with the Orzo...  Pretty simple recipe with ingredients that are generally on hand. 

Almond Herb Orzo


1 cup uncooked orzo
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted


Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Return orzo to pan; stir in oil, herbs, rind, and salt. Sprinkle with almonds.

Flank Steak with Romesco Sauce


 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 (3/4-ounce) slices whole-grain bread, torn into 2-inch pieces
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 (7-ounce) bottle roasted red bell peppers, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray


Preheat broiler or prepare grill.

Arrange almonds and bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil 1 minute or until lightly browned. Add almonds and bread to a food processor; process until coarsely ground. Heat olive oil, garlic, and paprika in a small skillet over medium heat; cook for 1 minute or until garlic begins to brown. Add garlic mixture, sherry vinegar, bell peppers, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to bread mixture; process until smooth.

Sprinkle steak evenly with remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Serve with sauce.

White Chocolate-Cranberry Bark


2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/3 cup
dried cranberries, chopped
1 ounce small salted pretzel sticks, broken into 1/4-inch pieces (about 2/3 cup)
1 (12-ounce) package premium white chocolate chips


Place almonds in a skillet over high heat. Cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Combine almonds, cherries, and pretzels in a bowl. Set aside half of mixture. Place chocolate in a 1-quart glass measure.

Microwave at HIGH 1 1/2 minutes or until chocolate melts, stirring every 30 seconds. Add chocolate to bowl with pretzel mixture; stir well. Spread chocolate mixture evenly into a 12 x 7-inch rectangle on a jelly-roll pan lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle remaining pretzel mixture evenly over chocolate, pressing lightly to adhere. Freeze 10 minutes. Break into 16 pieces.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Strawberry season is here!

We recently had on dinner club dinner at our foodie friends house and the theme was "Keep Calm and Just Chill".  It was a very relaxing dinner theme with cheese sampler, cruditĂ©s, gazpacho, a pork shoulder, grilled veggies, grilled potato salad and our assignment - Strawberries and cream tart.  This was a tag team recipe because I made the crust and hubby made the filling.  I had to leave early afternoon for a bridal shower for my cousin's son fiancĂ©, so hubby had to fill in.

When I left that afternoon, the crust was cooling, the strawberries were sliced and hubby was still working in the garden.  Four hours later he arrived with the finished product.  And I have to say it was a great summer dessert!


For the Crust:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold whole milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

For the Filling:

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
1 1/4 cups cold light cream
1 quart strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Make the crust: Whisk the vegetable oil, egg yolk, milk and vinegar in a bowl. Pulse the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a food processor to combine; add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add the milk mixture and pulse once or twice, just to moisten the flour.

Transfer the dough to a 9-inch-round tart pan with a removable bottom and pat onto the bottom and up the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. Trim the edges, if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pierce the dough all over with a fork. Line with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights; continue to bake until golden, 10 to 15 more minutes. Beat the whole egg with 1 teaspoon water, then lightly brush over the crust and bake 5 more minutes. Cool completely on a rack.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Sprinkle the gelatin over 1 tablespoon cold water in a bowl and let soften 5 minutes. Put the granulated sugar and vanilla seeds in a saucepan and rub the seeds into the sugar with your fingers. Add 1 cup cream and whisk over medium heat to dissolve the sugar. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture. Transfer to a bowl, then set in a larger bowl of ice water and stir with a rubber spatula until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the remaining 1/4 cup cream and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Pour into the tart shell and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.

Before serving, top the tart with the strawberries and confectioners' sugar.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

As was Hubby's dinner recipes

I wrote last week how hubby planned our dinner Saturday night with steak and crunchy noodle salad.  We all chipped in with the preparations.  Dessert was my assignment.  The salad was prepared by hubby and our darling daughter, who wasn't even going to be there for dinner that night. She works part time at our favorite local Italian restaurant as a hostess, bus girl and takeout help.   The sauce for the steak was prepared by hubby himself. All fresh ingredients and the end result was delicious.  
We followed dinner up with wine by the fire pit. 

Crunchy Noodle Salad


Kosher salt
1 pound thin spaghetti
1 pound sugar snap peas
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds, divided
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded, and thinly sliced
4 scallions (with and green parts), sliced diagonally
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the sugar snap peas, return to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Lift the sugar snap peas from the water with a slotted spoon and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Drain.

For the dressing, whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and peanut butter in a medium bowl.

Combine the spaghetti, sugar snap peas, peppers and scallions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the spaghetti mixture. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and the parsley and toss together.

Argentinean Barbecued Steak


3 pounds skirt steak
3 tablespoons olive oil

Chimichurri Sauce, recipe follows


Preheat your grill to high or preheat a ridged grill pan until very hot.

Rub the steaks with the olive oil and season them with salt. Grill the steaks for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for a medium-rare to medium, or longer for medium-well or well done. Serve with Chimichurri Sauce.

Chimichurri Sauce:
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
3/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

To make the Chimichurri, place the vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, oregano, and garlic in a blender and puree. With the motor running, add the olive oil, blending until the sauce comes together. Add the red pepper flakes and salt and pepper, to taste.

Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Serve at room temperature.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Eat dessert first!

Yesterday was a great day for family collaboration.  Hubby had the dinner menu all set, the grocery list made and little time to spare.  So we all jumped in the car and headed off to 2 grocery stores and other various errands.  As soon as we came home, production time started and hubby got us all involved.

I was assigned the dessert, an easy cool and refreshing strawberry surprise.  The recipe is one we have had for awhile.  It was from Kraft recipes and was perfect as the strawberry season is just about to get really rolling. 

Strawberry Sensation

4 cups fresh strawberries, divided
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed mill
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tub (8oz) Cool Whip Whipped topping, thawed, divided
8 Oreo Cookies finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter, melted

LINE 9x5-inch loaf pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Mash 2 cups berries in large bowl. Add milk, juice and 2 cups COOL WHIP; mix well. Pour into prepared pan.

MIX chopped cookies and butter; spoon over COOL WHIP mixture. Cover with ends of foil; gently press cookie mixture into COOL WHIP mixture. Freeze 6 hours or until firm.

INVERT dessert onto plate when ready to serve; remove pan and foil. Frost dessert with remaining COOL WHIP. Slice remaining berries; arrange over dessert.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dinner tonight! Recipes to follow...

Creamed corn with chives, steak with chimmichurri sauce and crunchy noodle salad.  Stop by if you are in the area!  Recipes to follow

Friday, June 7, 2013

We have a garden!

In our little suburban neighborhood we haves garden planted with  2 kinds of tomatoes, green bush beans, 3 different kinds of peppers growing along with fresh sage, rosemary, chives, oregano, thyme basil and cilantro.  It is a small little garden but brings us great fun watching our "crops" grow.  Our garden is planted along the western side of our house and runs from the front where the herbs are to the back corner where the peppers and tomatoes are.   From the road you really can't see it, so it is a hidden treasure.  As the season continues along it will become more noticeable with the stakes going in to support the tomato plants, but who cares, we will have home grown fresh veggies.

Last year we didn't plant our garden because the house was going to be painted.  By the time it was done and put back together it was too late to plant.  Even this year as hubby and the kids were prepping the garden by turning over the dirt, edging it, and adding some composted manure as fertilizer we found a few stray paint chips from last summers work.  

Stuck in the middle is where I planted the bean seeds and last night while I was watering them I saw little bean sprouts coming up through the dirt.  As I was counting them I was trying to remember just how many seeds I planted.  I believe it was about 3 rows full with about 10 seeds each. Ok, so not all of the plants were coming up yet, but I now knew the garden was coming to life.  And now I should think about my plans to keep Mr. Bunny away.  

Our tomato plants were "Early Girl" variety so by mid to late July this blog will be filled with recipes using tomatoes; salsa, roasted tomatoes, stuffed tomatoes.  Any other ideas or recipes I should try?  Send me some via the comments to this blog.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Antipasti Lasagna - not your average Lasagna!

What a busy weekend!  Our beautiful daughter had her prom this past Friday and dear old dad and I stayed up to help out at the after party.  We finally made it to bed at 3:30 in the morning once she was safely at her sleep over.  I haven't stayed up that late in a long time.    Our son had two baseball games, one was the night of the prom so we missed that one and one was Sunday night.  Plus, he had a sleepover at a friends house, which was a big help with us working the after the prom party.  Our bathrooms are in the middle of a remodel, so we have all been sharing one bathroom.  Try that with two teenagers.   So Sunday was the day to catch up on working around the house and we had to finalize the mirrors and towel racks today.

I wanted to make something that was quick, easy and full of flavor.  And the bonus was it was from Cooking Light.   Antipasti Lasagna, a quick no boil lasagna with artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers and pepperoni.


  • (27.5-ounce) jar fat-free mushroom-and-roasted garlic pasta sauce
  • Cooking spray
  • no-boil lasagna noodles 
  • (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped 
  • (7-ounce) bottle roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped turkey pepperoni (such as Hormel), divided
  • 1/3 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • Oregano sprigs (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; top with half of artichokes, half of bell peppers, 1/4 cup pepperoni, and half of olives. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese; top with 3/4 cup sauce. Repeat layers, omitting cheese, ending with noodles. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Cover and bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until noodles are tender and sauce is bubbly. Uncover and top with 1/2 cup cheese; bake an additional 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Garnish with oregano sprigs, if desired.