Tuesday, July 31, 2012

easy punch












I served this punch at the couple's gourmet club that I hosted.  Although this punch got rave reviews at allrecipes and my kids loved it nobody raved about it at gourmet club.  Maybe the chicken tikka was the star that night.  I don't know.  It was simple to make and I loved the color.  It looked fancy with the floating lemons and blueberries I added which is what I wanted.

easy punch (allrecipes.com)
4 (0.13 ounce packages unsweetened strawberry flavored drink mix powder
2 (46 ounce) cans pineapple juice
3 cups white sugar
4 quarts water
2 liters ginger ale

In a large punch bowl (or cool beverage dispenser) combine drink mix, pineapple juice, sugar and water.  Stir until dissolved.  Stir in the ginger ale.  Add ice and any sliced fruit or berries to make it fancy.



orange cream ice cream









Grandma Anne got this recipe from her visiting teachers or home teachers and served it after our delicious lunch of grilled salmon while we were in town.  Nobody could guess the flavor right away but it tasted a bit tropical; we could taste the citrus for sure.  Now all I need to do is figure how to make this recipe in my Cuisinart.  If you figure it out before I do let me know!

orange cream ice cream (Grandma Anne)
for 4-quart freezer
6 oranges, juiced
2 lemons, juiced
(use a total of 10 to 12 ounces combined)
4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can evaporated milk
1 to 2 pints of whipping cream
whole milk

Mix orange and lemon juice with 4 cups of sugar and salt and set aside until sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently for first hour then occasionally after that.  Add almond extract.  Add evaporated milk.  Add whipping cream.  Fill ice cream container to the top with whole milk if mixture is not enough.  Freeze in ice cream maker (I think if I were to use my Cuisinart then I would simply pour into my frozen container and press start and the ice cream would be ready in 25 minutes!).
If using a standard ice cream maker, "mellow" ice cream for 2-4 hours with 1 part salt 4 parts ice then while making ice cream, crush ice finely and mix 1 part salt 8 parts ice (whatever that means!).  Making ice cream sounds like a pain without a Cuisinart!!

beckham place creamed corn









We spent a glorious week at a family reunion in Southern California a few weeks ago.  While there we enjoyed some wonderful meals with family.  One afternoon Grandpa grilled salmon and Grandma made sides, one of which was this creamed corn.  My son calls it "cheesy corn" and loved it the first time he tried itHe talks about the cheesy corn almost Grandma made and he has turned his nose up at the corn I have served since because I did not have the recipe until now.  Grandma says that her daughter got this recipe while working at a Scottish restaurant many years ago.

beckham place creamed corn (Grandma Anne got the recipe from Beckham Place)
2 packages (20 ounces) frozen kernel corn (it tasted like fresh corn to me!)
8 ounces whipping cream (Grandma likes to cook healthily so used half and half)
8 ounces homogenized milk
1 teaspoon salt
4-5 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons flour

Combine all ingredients except last two and bring to a boil.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Blend butter with flour, add to the corn, mix well and remove from heat.  Serves 8.
Variation: Put finished corn in a heat proof casserole.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and place under a broiler until evenly browned.

baked won ton appetizers









Angeli made these appetizers for our couples gourmet club.  They were bursting with flavor and were delicious! 

baked wonton appetizers (Angeli got the recipe from allrecipes.com)
1 package wonton wrappers (Angeli used round wrappers intended for dumplings)
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1 red pepper shredded or dice
1 small onion, grated or diced
2+ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray then place wrappers in tins, forming cups.  Bake 5 minutes, allow to cool and remove from pans.
Combine other ingredients in a bowl.
Place wonton cups on baking sheet and add up to a heaping tablespoon of the sausage mixture to each cup.  Bake for about 15 minutes being careful not to let the wrappers burn.
To make ahead, store pre-baked cups and filling separately, tightly covered, in fridge or freezer.  This quantity makes enough for 45 to 60 appetizers.


Monday, July 30, 2012

curried cucumbers









Amy brought these curried cucumbers to our couple's gourmet club dinner.  It was the perfect accompaniment for our spicy chicken tikka masala.  I thoroughly enjoyed these cucumbers and know this recipe is a repeat for sure.

curried cucumbers (my friend Amy C.)
3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayo
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper blend
1/2 teaspoon original salt free Mrs. Dash

Combine sour cream, mayo, curry, garlic salt, parsley, seasoned pepper blend and Mrs. Dash in a medium sized bowl.  Stir in cucumbers and red onion.  Chill for 2 hours.  Salt and pepper to taste.

couples gourmet club- july 2012

This month I hosted a couples gourmet club and provided Chicken Tikka Masala as the main dish, a tropical punch to drink and English Butter Toffee and Surprise Cupcakes for dessert.  Our guests provided wonderful sides such as won ton cups, curried cucumbers, naan bread (store bought), spinach and chickpeas and spinach craisin salad.  Dinner was fabulous!  I can't wait to get my hands on all the recipes!




































































root beer float pie









What a success!  I made two kinds of pies last week- a lemonade pie and root beer float pie.  This pie was by far the winner.  My kids loved every bit of it.  And if you're wondering, yes it does taste just like a root beer float.

root beer float pie (Taste of Home Healthy Cooking, June/July 2012)
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed, divided
3/4 cup cold diet root beer
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 package sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
1 graham cracker crust (9-inches)
fresh or maraschino cherries, optional

Set aside and refrigerate 1/2 cup whipped topping for garnish (I omitted).  In a large bowl, whisk the root beer, milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set.  Fold in half of the remaining whipped topping.  Spread into graham cracker crust.
Spread remaining whipped topping over pie.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Dollop reserved whipped topping over each serving; top with a cherry if desired.
Taste of Home Editor's Note:  They found that the reduced fat graham cracker crust to be too crumbly for this pie.

What I have to say- I did not use any light, reduced fat or reduced sugar ingredients in my pies.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

oatmeal-raisin bars












These were inspired by the 5 pound box of oatmeal I bought yesterday as part of my recent health kick.  Although these oatmeal-raisin bars are not healthy, they are delicious.  Really, delicious.  While I will stick to my plain oatmeal with fresh fruit (and love every bite, feeling incredibly healthy) my family will love me for these.  And if you're the cook you can't help but love a bar cookie.  Soooo easy to make.  So what are you waiting for?  Go get yourself a 5 pound box of oatmeal and some raisins to go with it.  Then tell me you love me.

oatmeal-raisin bars (Martha Stewart)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.  Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugars, egg, salt and cinnamon until smooth.  Add flour, oats and raisins; fold in just until combined.
Spread batter in prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool completely in pan.  Using paper overhang, lift onto a work surface; cut into 16 bars.

Monday, July 23, 2012

orange jupiter












This is a great drink!  When I went to church yesterday there was a table with items up-for-grabs.  I saw a cookbook and flipped through it.  This was one of a few recipes I thought I should give a go.  I could entice you to make this drink by setting out a nice tablecloth, rolling a few oranges onto the table, putting an orange slice on the rim and setting an umbrella by the straw but let's get real.  I'm a busy lady.  Just trust me and make this for your kids and yourself.  They'll LOVE it.  You'll love it.

orange jupiter (Deseret Recipes, 1981)
3 cups orange juice
1 cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
9 or more ice cubes

Blend together orange juice, powdered milk, vanilla and sugar.  Add ice cubes and blend until well blended.  Makes 4 large servings.

What I have to say- next time I will use half the sugar; it was pretty sweet.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

brooklyn pad thai









Finally, the recipe I've been waiting for!  My friend Kris served this at a gourmet club a couple months ago and I've been wanting to make it for my family ever since.  I love the flavor of this dish.  It's delicious!  You'll need to make half at a time or the noodles will get mushy and the sauce won't be well distributed so you'll need to divide the ingredients between each cooking session.  You might want to use tongs to mix everything so as not to mush up the noodles.  Easily serves 6.

brooklyn pad thai (my friend Kris found it here)
1 pound rice noodles
for the sauce:
6 tablespoons tamari
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Asian hot chile sauce (use less for those sensitive to spice)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons lime juice
for the pad thai:
6 tablespoons peanut oil
1 pound tofu, drained and pressed and cut into small triangles
1 medium sized red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely minced lemongrass (Kris omitted this because she couldn't find it)
2 cups bean sprouts
8 scallions, sliced into 1.5 inch lengths
2 small dried red chiles, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
lime wedge for serving

Prepare the rice noodles according to the package directions.
Mix together the ingredients for the sauce.
Preheat a large nonstick skillet or wok over moderate-high heat.  Pour 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil into the pan and heat, then quickly add the tofu.  Stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, until the tofu is crisp on the outside.  Remove from pan and set aside.
Pour 2 tablespoons more of the peanut oil into the pan.  Add half the red onion and stir-fry for 30 seconds.  Add half the garlic and half the lemongrass, and stir-fry for 30 more seconds.  Add half of the sauce and when it starts to bubble, add half the noodles.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then add half the tofu, bean sprouts, scallions, chiles, and peanuts.  Stir for 30 more seconds.  Transfer to two serving plates and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

corn salsa with tomato









I think of this dish as more of a salad than a salsa but it was a nice accompaniment to tonight's dinner.  Very simple to make and fresh-tasting. This was the recipe of the week in THE WEEK magazine and from Keith Dresser with Cook's Illustrated.

corn salsa with tomato (The Week Magazine, week of June 29, 2012)
3 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (2 1/4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 tomato, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 shallot, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat,  Stir in corn, baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt; remove pan from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.  Drain corn and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
Whisk lime juice, oil, honey and 1/8 teaspoon salt together in a bowl.  Add corn, tomato, shallot, jalapeno and cilantro; toss to combine.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve atop chicken or fish or with corn chips.  Makes 3 cups.

Monday, July 16, 2012

crispy chicken (or fish) salad with pickles and lima beans









Thanks again, Real Simple.  Last night every person in our family enjoyed fish (enjoyed fish!) and the salad.  We just returned from a fabulous week in Southern California and I'm back and ready to get serious about healthy cooking and eating which at least this week involves calorie and fat counting so I can see exactly what is going on here (yes, I know age but don't rub it in).   You're probably thinking that I shouldn't be worried about a few extra pounds, right?  Wrong!  A few extra pounds each year over the next 20 years would not be a pretty picture so here we go!  This salad was super great.  It will be repeated again and again!  Did I mention not one person said anything negative about the lima beans?

crispy chicken (or fish) salad with pickles and lima beans (adapted from Real Simple, July 2012)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (we used 5 tilapia loins from Costco)
1 cup frozen lima beans
1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 head romaine lettuce, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces (6 cups)
1/2 cup diced dill pickles
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced (I used a sweet onion)

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Season each piece of chicken or fish with salt and pepper.  Dredge in panko bread crumbs the place on a prepared baking sheet.  Bake until cooked through (took about 20 minutes for our fish).
Cook the lima beans according to the package directions; drain and let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayo, vinegar, 3 tablespoons water (I used 1), and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Add the lettuce, pickles, onion and lima beans and toss to combine.  Serve topped with the chicken or fish.

What I have to say- Next time I will serve the fish on the side instead of on top of the salad.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

vanilla ice cream with chunks of fudge mint cookies












This ice cream is a real treat- a fun variation of your basic vanilla ice cream.  Loving my Cuisinart!

vanilla ice cream with chunks of fudge mint cookies (Cuisinart recipe booklet)
1 cup whole milk, well chilled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1 to 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract to taste
1 cup coarsely chopped fudge mint cookies (or any kind you choose!)

In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer or a whisk to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes on low speed.  Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla to taste.  Turn the Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt & Sorbet Maker on, pour mixture into freezer bowl through ingredient spout and let mix until thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Add the cookie crumbs the last 5 minutes of mixing.