Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tomato-Peach Salad

This salad is so simple, yet so flavorful.  Everything is very fresh and the flavors combine really well.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
-3-4 small peaches, pitted and cut into wedges
-1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
-1/2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 tsp sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
Directions:
Toss tomatoes, peaches and onions in a salad bowl.  Drizzle with vinegar and oil, and season with sugar,salt and pepper.   Mix well.  Let it stand for about 10 minutes, for the flavors to combine.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Peachy Italian Ice

Our baby peach tree has produced quite a bit this year, so this entire week I'm going to post recipes with peaches in them.  This Italian Ice is super easy to make and very delicious.  It is kind of like a high quality slushy.  Of course, you can use any fruit you like, not just peaches.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 cups peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut
-2 Tbs sugar
-2 Tbs honey
-1 Tbs lemon juice
-3 cups ice cubes, divided
Directions:
In your blender, mix peaches, sugar, honey, lemon juice and 2 cups of ice.  Blend until chunky.  Add the extra cup of ice and blend until completely smooth.
Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish and freeze for 30 minutes.  With a fork, scrape mixture until slushy.  Freeze for 2 more hours and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Steak with Pasta and Blue Cheese

This dish is such an amazing treat!  The sauce on the pasta is very creamy and full of flavor.  Make sure at the end you sprinkle some blue cheese for that extra flavor.  A word of caution about this dish: be careful when grilling since the meat is marinated in a mixture containing olive oil.  You need to drain it well and cook it over a low fire, otherwise there is too much grease and that would cause the flames to flare up quite a bit.  Anyway, enjoy this amazing and simple dish!
Ingredients:
-2 lbs boneless beef steak, cut into large strips
-1 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1/4 cup red wine vinegar
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 Tbs lemon juice
-1 lb linguine pasta
-2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
-32 oz Alfredo sauce (homemade or store-bought; they both work just fine)
-about 6 green onions, cleaned and chopped
-6 Tbs blue cheese, divided
-1 large tomato, chopped
Directions:
In large bowl, combine oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  Mix well, add steak strips, cover and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Drain steak well and grill to your desired doneness.  Let it rest for a few minutes, then cut into small slices.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
While pasta and steak are cooking, make the sauce: heat the Alfredo sauce in large saute pan.  Add green onion, spinach and 3 Tbs of the cheese.  Cook until heated through.  Add drained pasta and mix well (sauce will thicken as it stands).
To serve, place some pasta with sauce on plate.  Top with steak slices, remaining cheese and chopped tomatoes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gazpacho

It's been super hot here, so a gazpacho was definitely in order for a light supper.  In case you don't know, gazpacho is a tomato based soup, served cold usually in the summer.  You can add croutons and cheese as you serve it.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-about 2 lbs ripe tomatoes (any kind you like), roughly chopped
-1 English cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
-1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
-1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
-salt and pepper
-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
-2 Tbs red wine vinegar
Directions:
Add the vegetables to a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and toss well.  Add them to blender and puree until nice and smooth.  While blending, add the oil and vinegar.  Pour mixture into bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, allowing the flavors to blend well.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fresh Cherry Pie

I love fresh cherries and a good cherry pie.  I am not a big fan though of the commercial cherry pie filling.  It lacks in taste.  Making a cherry pie from scratch is really not that hard.  The most time consuming part is pitting the cherries.  However, even that can be eliminated by buying frozen cherries which are already pitted, so the work is already done for you.  The crust of this pie is also very easy to make and it gives it such a nice, homey flavor.  Serve it warm with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For crust:
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 tsp salt
-2/3 cup shortening
-5 to 7 Tbs ice water
For filling:
-5 to 6 cups fresh pitted cherries or frozen sweet black cherries
-1/2 cup water
-1 1/4 cups sugar
-4 Tbs cornstarch
Directions:
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
First, make the crust by mixing the flour and salt in a medium bowl.  With a pastry blender or fork, cut in the shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle with water, one tablespoon at a time, while tossing and mixing lightly with fork.  Add water until dough is moist enough to form a ball when lightly pressed together.  Too much water will make it sticky and tough, while too little water will make it to crack and tear when rolling.
Shape the dough into 2 balls.  Flatten 1 ball into 1/2 inch thickness, rounding and smoothing edges.  On floured surface, roll lightly , then place into 9 inch pie pan.  Gently press in bottom and up sides of pan.  Do not stretch.  Trim pastry even with pan edge.  Place pie pan on prepared baking sheet.  Roll out the other ball and set aside.
Make the filling by mixing in a saucepan all the ingredients.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook on low, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes.  Cool slightly before pouring it into prepared shell.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Once the filling is in, place the second piece of rolled dough on top and poke all over with a fork to let the steam out (you can also decorate it as you want).  Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes.  Let it cool a little and enjoy!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hot Drums with Blue Cheese Dip

I originally wanted to make some hot wings, but realized that they were way pricier than the drumsticks, so of course I chose the drums.  These are super easy to make and they are simply delicious!  The sauce is not extremely hot and the blue cheese dip tames it down so that is very tasty.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-about 12 drumsticks
-oil for frying
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
-1 cup hot sauce ( I used Louisiana hot sauce)
For Blue Cheese Dip:
-1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
-1/2 cup buttermilk
-2/3 cup sour cream
-1/2 tsp sugar
-4 tsp apple cider vinegar
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Heat oil for frying.  Score drums and add to hot oil.  Cook until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
Meanwhile, make the dip: in a small bowl, mash the blues cheese into the buttermilk and sour cream.  Mix in the sugar and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
When the drums are almost completely cooked, melt the butter into large saucepan.  Add the hot sauce and stir until well combined and smooth.
Once drums are cooked, drain quickly on paper towels, then roll them through the hot sauce mixture.  Serve immediately with the dip.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Grilled Stuffed Sweet Chili Peppers

What a treat these peppers are!  Even better is that I picked them right out of our garden.  The recipe is very simple and fairly quick to put together.  The amounts of crushed pineapple and walnuts are up to you, so feel free to add as much as you want to.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-5-6 sweet chili peppers
-plain cream cheese, softened
-crushed pineapple, drained very well
-finely chopped walnuts
-bacon
Directions:
Slice peppers in half length way.  Clear off the seeds and wash them.
In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, pineapple and walnuts.  Fill pepper halves with cream cheese mixture.  Wrap each pepper in bacon and secure with toothpicks.  Grill until bacon is nice and crisp.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Banana Cream Pie

This pie is so creamy and delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (9 inch) deep dish refrigerated pie crust
-2-3 bananas
-3/4 cup sugar
-1/4 cup cornstarch
-1/4 tsp salt
-3 cups milk
-3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
-2 Tbs margarine
-2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 F.  Bake pie crust for 9-10 minutes, or until light golden brown.  Set aside to cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling, by mixing sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan.  Add milk and mix until smooth.  Cook over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens.  Stir constantly (otherwise it will burn!).  Boil for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
Stir about 1/4 cup of the hot mixture into egg yolks.  Gradually stir yolk mixture into hot mixture in saucepan.  Return to heat and cook until mixture begins to bubble, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.  Stir in margarine and vanilla.  Let it cool a little.
Slice bananas and place into cooled shell.  Top with lukewarm filling.  Place pie in the fridge for about 3 hours or until set.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Romanian Spinach Dish (Mancare de Spanac)

This is comfort food to me.  The spinach is so tasty and creamy; pure delight!  You can leave the meat out if you want to.  The best way to serve it is with the sunny side up egg on top; then you break the yolk and let all that yumminess combine with the spinach.  Use bread to soak up all the flavor.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 lbs fresh spinach
-1 Tbs oil
-8 oz pork, cut into small strips
-1 small onion, finely chopped
-2-3 Tbs tomato paste, depending on your taste
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Boil water into large pan.  Add spinach- you'll have to be patient with this step as it will take  a bit for the spinach to wilt enough to add more to the pan.  Blanche spinach for about 10 minutes.  Drain really well.  Put drained spinach into blender and hit the chopped button.  Chop until nice and smooth.
Heat oil in large saute pan.  Season pork with salt and pepper and add to hot oil.  Saute for about 2 minutes.   Add the onion and cook for an extra 2 minutes.  Add tomato paste and mix well.  Add chopped spinach.  Lower the heat and mix well.  Season with salt, to taste. Serve onto plate and top with sunny side up egg.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Slow Cooker Smoky BBQ Pork Sandwiches

As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I wanted to try it.  It is perfect for a simple Sunday dinner, simmering in that slow cooker all day.  It goes perfect with slaw, baked beans, corn or whatever you like.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2-3 lbs boneless pork loin roast
-2 Tbs paprika
-1 Tbs salt
-1/2 Tbs pepper
-1 tsp dry mustard
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1/4 cup liquid smoke
-1 1/2 to 2 cups BBQ sauce (we prefer Sweet Baby Rays)
-burger size sesame buns
Directions:
Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.  Poke roast in several spots with a fork.
In a bowl combine paprika, salt, pepper, mustard, garlic powder, and liquid smoke.  Spread mixture all over pork.  Place in slow cooker and cook for about 8 hours.
Remove roast from slow cooker and shred.  Place back into the juices.  Add BBQ sauce and mix well.  Serve on buns.  Enjoy!
Recipe slightly adapted from here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Blueberry Crumble

This is a quick, simple and delicious dessert, perfect for using that fresh fruit.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 cups fresh blueberries, washed and drained
-2 Tbs cornstarch
-1 Tbs lemon juice
-1/3 cup apricot preserves
-1/2 cup flour
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 cup margarine, softened
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Grease 8x8 baking dish.
In a large bowl, combine blueberries, cornstarch and lemon juice.  Pour into prepared dish.  Dot with apricot preserves.
In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar and cinnamon.  Mix well.  With a fork, cut in margarine until mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly on top of blueberries.
Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until topping is golden brown.  Serve warm with some ice cream.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Perfect Roast Beef with Gravy

This dish is such a treat!  Super easy and super delicious!  The veggies are also very flavorful and they melt in your mouth.  I served ours with my simple mashies.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (about 3 lbs) beef roast, trimmed of excess fat
-salt and pepper
-4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
-8 oz mushrooms, thickly sliced
-1 large onion, thickly sliced
-1 cup red grape juice
-1 cup beef stock
-2 Tbs flour
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Season the roast with salt and pepper.  In an oven proof large skillet, heat 2 Tbs of the oil.  Add the meat and sear on all sides.
While that is going, add the mushrooms and onions to a bowl.  Stir in the other 2 Tbs of oil and season with salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Add mixture to the skillet, all around the roast.
Place skillet in preheated oven and cook for 40 minutes.  Remove roast from pan and let rest.  Place mushrooms and onions on a different plate.
Return the skillet to the stove, on medium heat.  Add grape juice and stock, scraping the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, to get all the yummy stuff.  Whisk in the flour and cook until the gravy is thickened and smooth.
Slice the beef into thin slices and top with veggies.  Pour gravy on top of mashies.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sprite Cake

This cake is very simple, yet super moist and delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 box lemon cake mix
-1 (3.4 oz) box lemon flavored instant pudding mix
-12 oz Sprite (regular, not diet)
-3/4 cup vegetable oil
-4 eggs
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 F.  Grease and flour the bundt pan.
Combine cake and pudding mixes in a large bowl.  Add soda, oil, and eggs.  Mix until smooth.  Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.  Enjoy!

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