Monday, June 29, 2015

Bow Tie Pasta Chicken Salad

This is a delicious pasta-chicken salad that we like to call "Kitchen Sink Salad" because it has everything but in it.  It's one that you can leave out or substitute ingredients and it is still always delicious.  The key ingredient is this Brianna's Blush Wine Strawberry Vinaigrette:

This a great recipe to make for a crowd- a shower or other party.  It says it serves 20.  I think those would be huge portions.  For our family, I halve it and it still is huge.

Bow Tie Pasta Chicken Salad aka Kitchen Sink Salad
2 bottles Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette (with a strawberry on the label)
1 lb. bow tie pasta, cooked el dente (do not overcook)
6 cooked chicken breasts , cut into chunks (I use rotisserie chicken breasts)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 bunch grapes, cut in half
1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 small package craisins
1 package baby spinach
Handful of nuts( cashews, honey roasted peanuts, pecans, or whatever you have)
2 cans mandarin oranges

If you remember, marinate the chicken and el dente pasta in a ziplock overnight in the vinaigrette.  If you don't remember, it still will be fine.  Just try to mix the salad an hour or two before you serve it.  Add the rest of the ingredients and serve immediately.  I usually serve the grapes on the side because they turn mushy in the leftovers.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Chocolate Mousse

My sister, Pam who is an amazing cook, brought this delicious dessert to me for my birthday.  I honestly thought it was the best thing I had ever eaten.  It is so smooth and chocolaty and yummy.  I had to share the recipe:
Chocolate Mousse
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1/4 cup soft butter
9 oz bittersweet chocolate (minimum 70%cocoa solids) chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup hot water
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy saucepan.  Out the saucepan over gentle heat and cook until melted together, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat.
Whip the cream and add the vanilla.  It should be think.  Fold the cream into the cooling chocolate mixture until it is smooth and cohesive.  Pour into glasses or ramekins and chill.  Serve with whipped cream on top, garnished with shaved chocolate curls.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Thai Tom Yum Soup

There is a famous Vegan Thai restaurant in Seattle and LA called Araya's Place.  They have a delicious and popular soup there called Tom Yum.  They also have Tom Kah soup, and I really think this recipe is more like that one because it has the coconut milk in it.  But whatever you call it, it is delicious.  It is a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, a little bit tangy, and a lot delicious.  And bonus- it's very healthy!  And that's whether you choose to make it with chicken or without.

Thai Tom Yum Soup
1 Quart Chicken stock (vegetable stock if you want it be vegan)
1 can coconut milk
1 stalk lemon grass (found with herbs in the produce section)
5-6 kafir lime leaves (not easily found.  You can substitute the zest of 1 lime)
4 cups mushrooms, sliced or quartered  ( I used cremini mushrooms)
*2-3 cups chopped, cooked chicken ( I used rotisserie chicken breast)  Obviously, eliminate if you want it to be vegan.  Tofu may be substituted.
4 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice, fresh if possible
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons fish sauce OR soy sauce (fish sauce has a kind of nasty smell, so I prefer to add soy sauce)
4 fresh Thai chilis or 2 Tablespoons chili paste or 1/2 - 2 Tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes - this is your hot factor and should vary to taste
1/2 cup or so chopped cilantro

Put the stock in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Crush the lemon grass with a mallet and put a piece of string around it.

When the stock boils, put in the lemon grass, lime leaves or zest, mushrooms and chicken or tofu.  Let it come back to a boil and then let it simmer for 3 minutes.  Add the lemon juice, fish or soy sauce, coconut milk, and chili or pepper flakes. Heat through.  Serve in bowls and garnish with cilantro.

*You can use tofu instead of chicken.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Andelin's Gable House Pineapple Bran Muffins

I LOVE bran muffins.  I have posted two bran muffin recipes on here and have another one I love that I haven't posted yet.  BUT, I attended a family reunion this last weekend and my sister-in-law made a lot of muffins for it.  I fell in love with those, which is this recipe.  They are oo-ey gooey like this one, but a lot easier to make. I could not get enough of these. I remember eating at the Gable House and they would bring out a basket of different kinds of breads. I always chose the bran muffin.  I may never get around to posting my old stand-by recipe, because I may never make them again.  That recipe may have been replaced!  If you like bran muffins, give this recipe a try.  It makes a lot.  You can store the batter for up to six weeks in your refrigerator and bake it as you want.

Pineapple Bran Muffins
Preheat oven to 400.
Mix together in a large bowl:
4 cups All-Bran cereal
2 cups 40% Bran Flakes
1 cup chopped nuts of choice
2 cups shredded pineapple (I recommend using a food processor to shred it fine)

Mix together:
2 cups boiling water
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking soda

Pour the hot water mixture over the bran mixture and set aside.

In another large bowl, mix together:
1 quart buttermilk
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
5 cups flour
1 Tablespoon salt.

Mix the two mixtures together.  Pour into paper lined muffin cups.  Bake for about 20 minutes (could be more or less, depending on size) in a 400 oven.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Need to bring a dessert to a party or potluck or just want a yummy dessert for your family?  This one is fast and easy and delicious and will make everyone think you've slaved for hours making it!  It's kind of tricky that way.

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake 
24 rectangular ice cream sandwiches
1 16 oz. tub of Cool Whip
1 jar caramel sundae topping or equivalent of my buttery caramel sauce (1 1/2- 2 cups)
Toppings (cut up candy bars like heath, Reese's peanut butter cup, Kit Kat, Snicker's, etc AND/ OR crushed cookies like Oreos or Graham Crackers, etc)

*In a 13 x 9 pan, put in 12 whole ice cream sandwiches.  Trim to fit if necessary.  Top with 1/2 of the Cool Whip and 1/2 of the sundae topping. then 1/2 of the chopped candy and/or cookies.  Repeat all four layers.  Cover with foil and freeze.  Let soften a bit before cutting to serve.  It will come out looking like a layered ice cream cake.

*You can line the pan with parchment or foil and then just lift it all out to cut it.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Poppy Seed Dressing

This is a yummy poppy seed dressing.
Poppy Seed Dressing
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon salt

Mix all together in a blender.  Can be stored in fridge for a long time.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Homemade Oreo Cookies

Need cookies fast?  Keep two boxes of devils food cake mix and a can of frosting in your pantry, and you can have cookies start to finish in about 15 minutes.  These are yummy, too- way better than store-bought Oreos!

Homemade Oreo Cookies
2 Devils Food Cake mixes
4 eggs
1 cup oil
1 can cream cheese frosting

Heat oven to 350.  Mix cake mixes, eggs, and oil in a bowl until combined.  Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake about 8 minutes.  Cookies should still be soft.  Let cool.  When cool, stick two cookies together with the frosting.  Easy as that!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Sautéed Beet Greens

My spring veggies are coming on strong in my garden. So I found a recipe online (I think
) and figured out how to make a yummy side dish using the beets that I thinned. 

Thin your beets and wash the pulled ones thoroughly. Then cut the tap root off and discard. Cut the stem into 1" pieces and set aside. Heat 2 tsps of olive oil in a pan and add the stem pieces along with one large chopped clove of garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes then add the chopped beet greens and saute another 3-4 minutes. I added 1/4 cup of water and put on a lid to steam them as well. I also added 6-7 chopped fresh basil leaves and sprinkled on some balsamic vinegar at the end. It's yummy!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Sauteed Spinach

I love spinach- always have.  I think it's because of Popeye.  If you don't know what and who I mean, you are young.  My mom always boiled it in salt water and served it in little glass bowls with butter and vinegar.  I love it that way, but sauteed may even be better.  It takes less than five minutes- is easy and healthy.

Sauteed Spinach
Put a couple of Tablespoons of olive oil in a hot skillet.  Add some crushed or minced garlic to the oil and cook for about a minute.  Add several huge handfuls of spinach. Fill your pan.  It really cooks down.  Sautee until the spinach is wilted. It will just take a couple of minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice overall.  So yummy!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Pantry Pick of the Month:Kirkland Basil Pesto/ Pesto Penne Pasta

This month's "reach" was into my fridge. When at Costco last, I picked up a bottle of Pesto.

 Now what do I do with it?  One of my husband's and my favorite restaurant in our town is The Pasta Factory.  I often order the Creamy Pesto Sauce over my pasta.  I decided to try to make my own with this jar of pesto. Did it taste like theirs?  Not exactly.  But it was so delicious.  AND I had dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes- start to finish, including sauteed spinach and garlic bread.  This is a great, get the meal on the table in a hurry meal.  Just remember when at the grocery store to pick up a box of penne, a jar of pesto, and a box of grape tomatoes.  It just couldn't be easier.

Pesto Penne Pasta
1 box of penne pasta (or pasta of your choice)
12 ounces or so of basil pesto (I used about half of the jar of Costco's)
2-3 Tablespoons Cream
Pasta water as needed
2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Dash Red Pepper flakes

Cook the pasta about 10 minutes in rapidly boiling very salty water.  Test the pasta.  It should be el dente. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.  Put the pasta back in the pot and over low heat.  Add the pesto and cream and mix well.  Add enough of the pasta water to make a nice creamy consistency.  Add the tomatoes, pepper flakes and cheese and mix.  Serve immediately.

For other Pantry Picks of the Month, click here.

Monday, June 1, 2015

What's For Dinner? June

Here's what's cooking in June:
Neiman Marcus Chicken Salad on Croissants

Pork Choppese- a recipe that has stood the test of time.  I've been making it for nearly 50 years!

Foil Dinner Casserole

Lemon Grilled Salmon
German Pancakes with Buttermilk Syrup

Chicken Bow Tie Pasta Salad
Taco Dinner
Spaghetti and Meatballs

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Crockpot Beef Stroganoff over Noodles
Curried Chicken Salad  Love, Love, Love this delicious salad!

Mama's Meatloaf

Chicken Stir Fry  I'm going to add scrambled eggs this time.  I just had it like this(Michelle's father-in-law made it) and it was delicious.

Ragu Bolognese   (I have some in the freezer from last time I made it.  Easy meal!)

Grilled Steaks / Potato Salad

New Recipes to Try:
Thai Tom Yum Soup
Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice
Pantry Pick of the Month: Kirkland Basil Pesto/ Pesto Penne Pasta

Copycat Wendy's Frosty

Double Layer Chocolate Pie