Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lemony Salmon Burgers

I'm always on the lookout for healthy, fresh, summer recipes. I am SO glad I found and tried this one. Absolutely delish! We used 2 cans (7.5 oz. each) of wild salmon, from Aldi as the base. The burgers stuck together pretty nicely, but I sprinkled some extra bread crumbs in to help. Also, forming the patties on wax paper before frying definitely made this easier. I served these on whole wheat deli flats with homegrown lettuce, tomato, and sliced onion. The special sauce is a must! They're also amazing with cocktail sauce. I served this with vegetable couscous and fresh, homegrown beans. Plus we had homegrown cantaloupe for dessert !It was to die for!


16 oz. canned salmon, drained and flaked
2 eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I used 4 tsp. dried parsley...same diff.)
2 TBSP finely chopped onion
1/4 cup Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 pinch red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 TBSP light mayonnaise
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 pinch dried basil


In a medium bowl, mix together the salmon, eggs, parsley, onion, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of basil, and red pepper flakes. Form into 6 firmly packed patties, about 1/2 inch thick.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the patties, and cook for 4 minutes per side, or until nicely browned.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of basil. Use as a sauce for your patties.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lemonade Pie

This cool, rich, and tart dessert is the PERFECT treat for a hot summer night! Plus it takes literally 5 minutes to make...again, PERFECT! Keep leftovers (if there are any!) in the freezer. Side note: make sure the lemonade is frozen when you add it (mine was not, and the mixture got soupy and spilled out over the sides...totally my fault!).

1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust
1 8 oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
1 12 oz. container frozen lemonade concentrate
Optional garnish: fresh lemon wedges

In a large mixing bowl, quickly and gently combine the whipped topping and chilled condensed milk just until blended.

Fold in the frozen lemonade concentrate. Again, work quickly so that all of the ingredients stay nice and cold and do not start to become soupy.

Pour filling into the pie crust and freeze for at least 6-8 hours before serving. Store leftovers in the freezer.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Summer Shrimp Stir Fry

I am in love with this quick, easy, healthy, and tasty dinner! I have SO been craving something nutritious after all the junk I've been consuming lately. This was a real winner and a meal that I will definitely make again! The best part...every ingredient (except the shrimp) can be found in our communal family (mine and my parents) garden! Honestly, only the squash and zucchini came from there, but when I make this later on in the summer (after the corn and tomatoes are up), this meal will be even cheaper! This meal was simply awesome...I usually don't like squash/zucchini, but in combination with those tasty shrimpers, I couldn't help but love this (the butter didn't hurt either!). :)

2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP olive oil
zucchini, sliced diagonally
yellow squash, sliced diagonally
4 garlic cloves, diced (I didn't have these, so I just sprinkled garlic powder in the butter/shrimp during this step--still turned out awesome!)
shrimp (peeled, deveined, tales left on)
2-3 ears of corn, kernels cut off
grape tomatoes, sliced in 1/2 lengthwise
salt and pepper
fresh herbs, if desired

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet (I had to pull out my huge electric skillet!) over medium heat. Add minced garlic (or sprinkle garlic powder). When oil/butter is hot, add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Remove to a plate. Do not clean skillet.

Add the rest of the butter and oil and heat over medium heat. Add zucchini slices in a single layer and cook for one minute, tossing once. Scoot the zucchini to the edges of the pan, then add corn kernels to the middle of the pan. Cook for one minute. Add grape tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and toss around, then add shrimp. Cook for an additional 30 seconds, then remove from heat. Serve on a big platter.

Hint: Much better after it’s been allowed to cool for a bit!

P.S. I served this with CousCous w/ Chives and Saffron, from Darrenkamps. So good mixed together!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Italian Dressing Mix


1 TBSP garlic salt
1 TBSP onion powder
1 TBSP white sugar
2 TBSP dried oregano
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp.dried basil
1 TBSP dried parsley
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1-2 TBSP salt

In a small bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. Store in a tightly sealed container.
To prepare dressing, whisk together 1/4 white vinegar, 2/3 cup canola oil, 2 TBSP water, and 2 TBSP dry mix.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chinese Noodle Casserole

This was new, fun, and easy. I'm not always a huge fan of casseroles, but I would definitely make this again!

1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 can sliced mushrooms (I used fresh!)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can chicken noodle soup (optional...did not try this!)
3 TBSP. soy sauce
1 cup frozen peas or broccoli
2 cups roasted chicken, diced (I used 1 cup leftover grilled, marinated chicken thighs)
Chinese noodles (Lo Mein--crispy)

Sauté onion, celery and mushrooms in large frying pan until tender. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup mixed with 1/2 cup water and 3 TBSP soy sauce. Add 1 cup frozen peas or cut up broccoli and simmer 5 min. Add chicken, and two handfuls of Chinese noodles. Put in casserole dish and cover with Chinese noodles. Bake at 350 F for 30 min.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweet Potato Potato Salad

Lately, my recipe experiments have been mainly flops. :( I was so excited to finally find one that I WAS excited about! I lovelovelove this recipe! It makes the perfect potato salad. Seriously.

2 potatoes (I used large new potatoes)
1 sweet potato (I used yellow)
4 eggs
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped (I just tossed in some green onion)
3/4 cup mayonnaise (or a bit less)
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool, peel and chop.

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water; cool, peel and chop.

Combine the potatoes, eggs, celery and onion.
Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Add to potato mixture, toss well to coat. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Raspberry Jell-O/Applesauce

The last post made me think of this one...another winner from my childhood.

1 cup water
Raspberry Jello pkg.
2 cups applesauce

Boil water. Dissolve Jell-O. Mix in 2 cups of applesauce. Refrigerate to set.

Strawberry Tapioca

Can you tell it's Strawberry season? ('ll be over soon). This was a side dish my mom would make often when I was a kid. I think it's tasty enough for a dessert!

2 cups water
1/3 cup minute tapioca
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, crushed
1 cup whipped topping (optional)

Boil water, tapioca, and sugar until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from stove. Add strawberries. Cool and serve with topping.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Strawberry Pie

I got this recipe from our school's secretary. She claimed it was so easy to make, yet it looks so fancy! For some reason, pies really intimidate me, so I might be easily impressed...but this is delicious!! It's the perfect time of year as strawberry season winds down.

3/4 cup sugar
2 TBSP. cornstarch
1/5 cups water (in small pan)
3 oz. pkg. strawberry Jell-O
4 cups strawberries, sliced
9 inch baked pie shell (Eilene used Keebler graham cracker--the one that serves an extra piece)
cool whip/whipped cream

Mix first three ingredients in saucepan and cook until mixture is thick and clear. Remove from heat and stir in Jell-O. Fill a 9-inch bake pie shell with 4 cups strawberries and pour the mixture over the berries. Chill for several hours. Top with whipped cream just before serving (I think Eilene covered the entire thing in cool whip:) )

Monday, May 31, 2010

Shrimp Lasagna

This recipe comes from my husband's aunt. I have made it a handful of times, and everyone always enjoys it! I pull this recipe out when I know I am going to have a houseful of company! Works like a charm. :) I've gotten a bag of mini salad shrimp at Costco, before, and that worked just as well.

Ingredients: 2 lbs. cooked, frozen, shrimp (peeled and de-veined)
1 box pasta trio (multi colored pasta)
8 oz. ricotta cheese
1 cup mayo
8 oz. sour cream
dash of garlic salt
Old Bay
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 tsp. thyme
1 pkg. Monterrey Jack shredded cheese

Cook pasta and set aside. Mix mayo, cheeses (1/2 pkg. Monterrey Jack), garlic salt, Old Bay, scallions, and thyme. Fold in shrimp. Spray large baking dish with cooking spray. Add mixture and remaining Monterrey Jack cheese (on top). Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until bubbling.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

MMMMHHHMM....this soup is a favorite of mine found at Olive Garden. Let's see how this "hack" holds up.

1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups half-and-half
1 stalk celery, diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 carrot, shredded
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped (can use frozen)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper
16 ounces potato gnocchi (found in refrigerated pasta section)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)

Saute the onion, celery, garlic, carrot in oil over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add chicken, chicken stock, half and half, salt and pepper, thyme. Heat to boiling, then add gnocchi. Gently boil for 4 minutes, then turn down to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add spinach and cook for another 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted. (Heat to boiling and add cornstarch dissolved in 1-2 Tbsp water at this point if you want a thicker soup. Ladle into bowls and serve! Yields 8-10.

Banzai Burger

I've not yet tried this exact recipe either, but it is based off of Red Robin's AMAZING Bonzai Burger. If it's even 1/10 as good as theirs, it'll knock your socks off!


Teriyaki Marinade
1-3/4 Cups water
1 Cup soy sauce
1 Cup light brown sugar
1/2 Teaspoon onion powder
1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder

1 5.5-ounce ground beef patty
2 canned pineapple slices
2 Slices cheddar cheese
1 sesame seed hamburger bun
4 Teaspoons mayonnaise
2 tomato slices
1/3 Cup shredded iceberg lettuce

Combine all marinade ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Pour half of teriyaki marinade into a baking dish or a large storage container. Place the beef patties on top in a single layer, and add more marinade to cover. (Be sure to reserve some marinade for the pineapple slices). Cover container and refrigerate 4-12 hours. Place pineapple slices in a separate container with the remaining marinade, cover and chill.

Preheat grill to medium heat. Cook hamburgers 3 to 5 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. When you flip the burgers, add the pineapple to grill and cook until the grill marks show, turning once. About 1 minute before the burgers are done, place 2 slices of cheese on top of each patty to melt.

Spread mayonnaise on the top and bottom of each bun.Place hamburger patty on bottom bun and top with 2 tomato slices and 2 grilled pineapple slices on each bun bottom. Cover with about 1/3 cup shredded lettuce and place top bun on sandwich.

Each serving: About 893 calories, 41g protein, 66g carbohydrate, 51g fat (23g saturated), 3g fiber, 172mg cholesterol, 1,590mg

Baked Tomato Bisque (aka Heaven in a Bowl)

I am beyond ecstatic to finally get a hold of this recipe. It hales from The Brasserie, a local restaurant, and I have never had anything quite like it. The night of our rehearsal dinner, we ate at The Brasserie, and I remember the soup being especially delicious. I haven't yet tried it for myself; yes, the ingredient list is pretty long. Still, I KNOW it will be worth it. Try it, you'll see.

16 1/2 inch thick french bread baguette slices
olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 TB unsalted butter
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with puree
¾ cup tomato juice
3 TB tomato paste
2 TB golden brown sugar
¼ tsp white pepper
½ lb mushrooms, sliced
½ TB chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp chopped fresh oregano
½ tsp chopped fresh basil
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups chicken stock, or canned lo-salt broth
4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 thin slices of Provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place bread slices on heavy large cookie sheet. Brush both sides of bread with oil. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Melt 2 TB butter in heavy large saucepan over low heat. Add half of chopped tomatoes, carrot, celery and half of chopped onion and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Mix in crushed tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato paste, sugar and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Cool tomato mixture slightly. Puree in batches in blender. Set puree aside. Melt remaining ¼ cup butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining chopped tomatoes, remaining onion, mushrooms, parsley, oregano, basil and thyme and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Mix in tomato puree and cream. Soup will be very thick. Add enough stock to thin to desired consistency. Cook until heated through, stirring frequently. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate soup. Store croutons in plastic bag at room temperature. Re-warm soup.

Preheat broiler. Ladle soup in 1 ½ cup oven proof soup crocks. Top each with two croutons. Top with mozzarella and provolone cheese. Broil until soup bubbles and cheese melts, watching carefully, about 1 minute. Serve hot. Yields 8.

Pioneer Stew

Nothing beats my mom's Pioneer Stew on a chilly, winter day. Or hot summer day. Or any day in between. It's THAT good!!

1 lb. hamburger meat
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 lb. can or 2 cups whole kernel corn (just use a pint)
1 lb. can kidney beans
1 lb. can or 2 cups tomatoes
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Brown burger meat and onion until tender. Drain. Then, drain into a bowl: corn, beans, tomatoes. Add liquids, chili powder, and salt to meat and cook until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 (no lid). Add corn, beans, and tomatoes. Simmer 10 minutes. Put cheese on top and serve immediately.

Two Cheese Quesadillas

I got this recipe from my great aunt. It's yummy and fast--what's not to love??

4 flour tortillas (8 inch)
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 small tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup finally chopped green pepper (I don't add this)
1/4 cup chopped onion (I think I used red?)
sour cream and salsa

Sprinkle each tortilla with cheeses, tomatoes, and onion. Fold in half and press edges lightly to seal. On an electric griddle, cook quesadillas over low heat for 1-2 minutes on each side or until cheese melts. Cut into wedges. Serve with sour cream.You can also use the microwave for a softer quesadilla.

Beef BBQ aka Sloppy Joe

This is my mom's classic recipe. Still my favorite BBQ!!

2 lbs. hamburger
1 onion
1/2 cup ketchup
2 TBSP. brown sugar
2 TBSP. vinegar
2 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt

Fry onion and burger in hot fan until it has lost its red color (low) and drain grease. Stir until smooth and then add all other ingredients. Simmer about 20 minutes, covered. Stir often.Serves 8.

Meatball Treat

This was the very first meal I made for my husband! It was actually his mother's recipe, and I believe it won first prize at some sort of fair! It's easy, and delicious. Serves well with peas and crusty bread.

1/2 cup minute rice
3/4 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. grated onion
1 1/4 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
8 oz. can of tomato sauce
1/2 cup water

Combine rice, beef, 1/4 cup water, onion, and salt. Shape into balls (about 1.5 inches in diameter). Place in a skillet. Add 1/2 cup water. Pour tomato sauce over balls to coat them. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

Cheerios Treats

These are an old favorite from childhood. Love that creamy peanut buttery taste. :)

3 TBSP butter/margarine
5 cups cheerios
1 pkg. (6 cups/10 oz.) mini marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup MnMs

Grease 9x13" pan. Microwave butter in a large bowl on High 45 seconds or until melted. Stir in marshmallows. Microwave 1-2 minutes or until smooth, stirring 1/2 way through. Stir in peanut butter. Stir in cereal and MnMs immediately; mix lightly until well-coated. Press into pan. Cool.

Fruit Soup

I found this soup somewhere online...and boy, am I glad I did. It's perfect for a hot summer's breakfast...or anytime, really!

2.5 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
3 TBSP quick tapioca
6 oz. orange juice concentrate
2 cups sliced peaches, fresh or frozen
10 oz. sliced strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
other fruit--blueberries, bananas, etc.

Mix the sugar, tapioca and 1.5 cups water in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thickened and clear. Remove from heat and add juice concentrate, 1 cup water, peaches, strawberries, oranges, and any other fruit.
chill in fridge and add bananas just before serving.

Six Layer Rainbow Ribbon Jell-O

Please note, before attempting to create: make sure that your refrigerator is indeed sitting perfectly level, or you may find your anal-retentive self panicking, crying, and wanting to throw out a perfectly fine-tasting, but perfectly slanted, rainbow ribbon salad, convinced that everyone at your husband's family reunion will notice and judge you for it. ;) *Whew!* Nothing like sweating the small stuff, huh??

This is good, but SO time-intensive. After this last debaucle, I'm still trying to decide if it's worth more tears and frustration. I mean, it's good...but is it 4-hours-work-worth of good? I'm sure anyone enjoying the fruits of my labor would say yes; me, I'm not so sure yet. :) Maybe I'll try a second time and see how that goes??

**The picture included is NOT my creation. I truly wish it were.

1 pkg. of:
Black Cherry Jell-o (bottom)
Strawberry Jell-o
Lime Jell-o
Lemon Jell-o
Orange Jell-o
Cherry Jell-o
16 oz. sour cream

Directions: Make each box of Jell-o with 1 cup of hot water. Mix 1/2 cup Jell-o with 1/3 cup sour cream. Layer in pan. Cool in fridge for 20 minutes. Then pour the rest (regular colored Jell-o) on top. Pour into a spoon first so as not to melt the Jell-o already there. Repeat with all layers.

Takes at least 4 hours to make!!

Mango Strawberry Salsa with Cinnamon Pita Chips

I admit...I haven't actually tried this recipe...YET. Seeing as I'm salivating just thinking about it, I don't think it will be a stretch to say that at least someone in our family will enjoy it. :) I promise if it's really terrible, I'll take it down!

2 TBSP. balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 TBSP. lime juice
2 diced fresh mango
2 pints strawberries, diced small

10 10-inch flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar

Stir together the balsamic vinegar, orange juice, lemon juice, and lime juice in a large bowl. Gently fold in the mango and strawberries until blended. Allow the mixture to rest at least 20 minutes before serving. Only 51 calories!

Preheat oven to 350. Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.

Bake in a preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture

Citrus Slush

This is another recipe from my Aunt Yvonne. She made this for a special meal (Thanksgiving? Christmas?), and then I replicated it again when my husband's family came last summer. One of the best punches out there! This makes a lot; make sure you have a large punch bowl! Please note: this recipe needs a night to freeze.

2.5 cups sugar
3 cups water
12 oz. can of frozen orange juice concentrate
12 oz. can of frozen lemonade concentrate
12 oz can of pineapple juice concentrate (or 46 oz. pin. juice)
3 cups cold water
2 2-liter lemon-lime soda, chilled (4 qts).

Over high heat, bring sugar and 3 cups of water to a boil. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in juices and 3 cups cold water until well blended. Pour into 2 9x13" baking pans or pint freezer boxes. Cover and freeze overnight until juice mixture is firm, then cut each pan of frozen juice into 24 squares. Place in a 2-gallon punch bowl. Slowly pour chilled soda over squares in punch bowl.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!

I got this recipe from my Aunt Yvonne, and I think it is safe to say that, with their secret ingredient, these cookies really ARE the BEST EVER!!!

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup shortening
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. INSTANT vanilla pudding
2 eggs (medium)
1 cup or more chocolate chips

Mix together. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for approx. 10 minutes.

Polynesian Sandwiches

My mom grew up with this recipe, and I love it because it's so simple and delicious. My husband isn't a fan of mixing fruit with meat, so I just leave off his pineapple!

sliced ham
pineapple rings
American cheese

Toast bagels, then butter. Place on broiler pan. Add ham and a pineapple ring to each sandwich. Broil a bit to warm it up. Place cheese on sandwich and broil until melted.

Baked Oatmeal

My mom's recipe...I love it hot OR cold, with milk! I think I usually double this?

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown or white sugar
1 large egg, beaten
2 cups uncooked oats
1 1/3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup milk

Combine oil, sugar, and egg. Add oats, baking powder, salt and milk. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Jalapeno Poppers

Yet another one from good old PW. What a great recipe! My husband despises cream cheese, but LOVES these poppers (by the way, I keep typing "poopers"...not sure what that says about me!). One important step with these instructions, make SURE you wear gloves when seeding the peppers!! Do it outside, if possible, or turn on the fan in the kitchen. Otherwise, your eyes, nose, and fingers will sting SO bad! :( Trust me on this one...

fresh jalapenos 2-3 inches in size
softened cream cheese
thin, regular bacon, sliced in thirds

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise. With a grapefruit spoon, remove the seeds and white membrane (the source of heat). Smear cream cheese into each half or pipe it in using a bag with a hole. Wrap jalapeno with bacon pieces (1/3 slice). Secure by sticking a toothpick through the middle. Bake on a broiler pan in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. You don't want the bacon to shrink so much that it starts squeezing the jalapeno. If, after 20 minutes, the bacon doesn't look brown enough, just turn on the broiler for a couple minutes to finish it off. Serve hot or cold.

Variations: mix w/ cream cheese: chipotle, onion powder, garlic salt, shrimp

Glazed Julienned Carrots

My S-I-L made these for us when we went over for a meal in their new apartment last week. I am not a huge carrot fan, but these are SO delicious. They remind me of my mom's carrot recipe. I love the sweetness that they have because I think my biggest complaint about carrots is that they are sometimes NOT sweet. The best part is that these are so easy, and use ingredients I always have on hand.

Ingredients: (Laura halved the recipe and it fed 4 of us comfortably)
2 lbs. carrots, julienned
1/3 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt

Directions: In a large skillet, combine all ingredients. Cover and cook over medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until carrots are crisp tender. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yields 8 servings.

Chef Adler's Dressing

This recipe takes me back to the good old days of youth group Soup and Salad fundraisers. Ahh...I could go for one of those meals right now...:) This dressing was a staple there, and always one of the most popular dressings of choice.

Ingredients (might want to halve or third)
3 cups mayo
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1.5 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable/Mazola oil
1 tsp. onion salt

Mix in blender (or with mixer). Stays fresh in the fridge for a bit.

Hot Bacon Dressing

This is not the original dressing that I was looking for (BIH, my restaurant, uses salt and no mustard), but it IS still delicious! Definitely one of my favorite dressings!

1/2 lb. bacon
2 cups water
3/4 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 heaping TBSP. prepared mustard
3 eggs
3-4 TBSP. flour

Fry, drain, and crumble bacon. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat, stirring until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in bacon pieces. Serve warm over lettuce or fresh spinach.

Grandma Jane's Devilled Eggs

This is a recipe handed down from my husband' maternal grandmother, so, of course, the fact that it's "vintage" means I'm going to love it. Actually, I just saw on the recipe card that it actually came from Great-Grandma Day! Even better!

Now, I will say that at one point in my life, I completely abhorred anything and everything to do with eggs. I had gone to a birthday party (at around the age of 10 or so?) and had gotten sick from a hardboiled egg. SO...for the next 5 years or so, the sight, smell, taste, texture of anything-egg made me seriously gag. Thankfully, I was able to get over it because these devilled eggs are amazing! I think they were the first devilled eggs I had post-incident. :) They helped lure me back into the world of amazing egg products. I love this recipe because it has just the right amount of kick! I'm still not a fan or the rubbery egg whites, but the yellow filling more than makes up for it.

12 extra large eggs
2 TBSP. yellow mustard
2 TBSP. vinegar
2 TBSP. mayonnaise
salt and pepper

Cover eggs with water and boil 20-25 minutes. Cool and peel eggs. Slice in half lengthwise and place yolks in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Using a pastry blender or potato masher, mash yolks thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Fill egg halves and top with paprika. Hint: Since yolk size varies, add more or less mustard, mayo, or vinegar, according or your tastes.

Spanish Green Beans

Another favorite from the Pioneer Woman. Definitely a unique take on green beans. Not sure why they're called "Spanish" though? Plus, they're considered healthy...right?

4 cans whole green beans (or 1-2 lbs. fresh)
2 cans whole tomatoes
1 medium onion
5 slices bacon
cayenne pepper

Slice bacon into short strips. Put large sauce pan/dutch oven on med-low and throw in bacon. Cook until bacon turns brown. Dice onion. Drain off a bit of the fat and add the onion. Cook until they all turn a nice color (don't let bacon get crisp). Drain beans and throw them into the pan. Add whole tomatoes with their juices. Stir. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 45 minutes. Add a bit of cayenne pepper.

Gourmet Potatoes

My mom's! They're delish. :) They're probably my second favorite way to have potatoes (my first favorite being this).

6 medium potatoes
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/5 cups sour cream or milk
1/3 cup onions, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 TBSP. butter

Cook potatoes in skins. Cover 3/4 of the way with water, boil til soft, then take off skins. When cool, shred coarsely. Melt cheddar cheese and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream, onion, salt, and pepper. Pour into greased 2 qt. casserole dish. Dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Red Lobster's Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

I found this recipe when I used to work at Borders. I forget the exact title of the book it came from, but it was based on restaurant rip-off recipes. I remember covertly copying down the recipe on a scratch sheet of paper from my purse...haha...I wonder what I thought was going to happen to me if someone saw? Oh my. I was just too cheap to buy the book myself when I really only wanted one recipe from it! :) They're delicious and taste so authentic!

2.5 cups Bisquick
4 TBSP. cold butter
1 heaping cup cheddar cheese
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (is NOT the same as garlic salt!!)
1/2 tsp. dried, minced onion (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Combine Bisquick with cold butter using a large fork or pastry blender. Do not mix too thoroughly. There should be pea-sized chunks of butter left. Add cheese, milk, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder. Mix by hand. Don't overmix. Drop 1/4 cup portions onto an ungreased cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop.

Bake 15-17 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

Topping: melt 2 TBSP butter in microwave. Stir in 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and parsley. Spread over biscuits.

Mom's Amazing Baked Corn

My mom makes this for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners every year. Maybe only having it twice a year makes it so special? Regardless, it's amazing, and everyone loves it!

Ingredients: (I have already doubled the recipe, below!)
2 pints frozen (thawed) corn
approx. 1 cup milk
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (find at Weis)
4 TBSP. minced onion

Topping: 1 cup cracker/ bread crumbs mixed with 2 TBSP. melted butter

Pour into large greased casserole dish. Top with 1 cup dried bread crumbs/cracker crumbs mixed with 2 TBSP melted butter. Bake about an hour at 350.

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

My mom got this recipe from someone at the greenhouse. Definitely my favorite way to eat asparagus so far!

40 asparagus spears (about 2 lbs.)
salt and pepper
2 TBSP. butter
2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet (line with foil) and coat with cooking spray. Salt and pepper. Bake at 400 for 12 minutes, or until tender.

Melt and brown butter (on High heat; move butter at all times). Stir in soy sauce and vinegar. Drizzle over asparagus. Toss well to coat. Yields 8 servings.

Carrots with Honey Mustard Sauce

Another recipe from my mom! Love it.

baby carrots
2 TBSP. butter
1/4 cup (4 TBSP.) brown sugar
2 TBSP. mustard
1/4 tsp. salt

Fill a small pot 1/3 full of water. Add a bit of salt. Add carrots. Bring to a boil and cook. Once booked, place in another bowl.

In the pot, cook the remaining ingredients until dissolved. Pour over carrots.

Corn on the Cob--Oven Style

If you have never had oven-roasted corn on the cob, you are missing out! This is a million times better (and easier) than boiling the ears! We get our corn fresh, and cheap, from the Corn Wagon. :) It is so delicious this way, that it doesn't even need butter or salt (my husband eats in plain).

as many ears of corn as you would like

SLIGHTLY husk the ears (get rid of the big, outer leaves, but be sure to leave the ears covered). Place husks directly on the oven rack in a 350 degree oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Do NOT place ears on top of one another. After you remove the ears from the oven, husking and silking will we super easy! Enjoy!

Spinach Strawberry Salad

I also made this when my husband's family visited. It's a unique summer salad! The salad does not keep as well if you mix the dressing right in, however.

12 oz. fresh spinach
1 qt. fresh strawberries, sliced
2 TBSP. sesame seeds
1 TBSP. poppy seeds

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1.5 tsp. grated onion
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup cider vinegar

Layer spinach, strawberries, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds in a large salad bowl. Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender (I used my mixer). Blend for 2 minutes. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the spinach and toss lightly to coat.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Pure far, the BEST chocolate cake I've ever made/had. I even freeze zucchini so that I can make it in the winter. Side note: to freeze the zucchini, grate, then put into a pint container. COVER WITH PLASTIC WRAP, then the lid. When you thaw it out, you may have to squeeze a little water out, but be sure to leave some liquid so that it is moist. I made this for the cabins last year, and everyone loved it!

1/2 cup margarine, softened (pretty sure I used butter)
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
2.5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 TBSP cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk ***
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips

***Easy way to make buttermilk: For 1/2 cup, pour 2 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar into a measuring cup. Fill with milk to the 1/2 cup mark. Stir and let stand for 5 min. Stir again before using.

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips. Pour into 9x13" pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of batter before baking. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes.

Southwestern Chicken Salad

I got this recipe from my mother, who first had this at one of my sister's basketball meals. You can follow the recipe as-is, or my mom mentioned that she found a frozen bag of southwestern veggies that worked well. Just cook for a couple minutes, then cool.

Perdue ShortCuts/pre-cooked chicken (southwestern, original, roasted...doesn't matter)
Romaine lettuce
can of whole kernel corn, drained,
can of black beans, washed and drained
shredded cheddar cheese

Assemble. Top with Ranch dressing or crushed taco chips, salsa, and sour cream.

Mom's Stromboli

My husband LOVES this recipe from my mom! I used to not like it as a child, but am loving it now!

2 loaves frozen bread dough (get this at Walmart; I tried a roll of pizza dough, which was ok, but not the best)
1 lb. ground beef, browned with onion
4 oz. can mushrooms
6 slices Turkey Ham
pepperoni (this was my addition; got a bag on sale at BB's and layered them in on top...amazing!)
chopped tomatoes
mozzarella cheese

Thaw bread dough and roll out to size with rolling pin. Layer ham, ground beef, pepperonis, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cheese. Fold up dough and close ends. Turn over onto a cookie sheet. Cut diagonal slits into top of the dough. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.
Serve with heated spaghetti sauce on top, if you want.

Broiled Tilapia Fillets

This has been our favorite way to eat tilapia so far! It makes a fairly bland fish taste GREAT!

1.5 lbs. frozen tilapia, thawed (use 1/4 lb. fillets)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce

Place tilapia fillets in a shallow dish; sprinkle with garlic powder. Combine melted butter, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Pour over tilapia and turn to coat. Let stand 15 minutes. Place fish on broiler pan and broil 5 minutes, or until it flakes. (Make sure to line the bottom of the broiler with tinfoil to aid clean-up!).

Alice's Imitation Crab Salad

My M-I-L made this recipe for a family reunion, and I was hooked! I then made it for my whole family, and they loved it! This recipe sure makes a lot, but the way that my family ate it, that wasn't a problem!

6 eggs
1/2 loaf (1 1b. sourdough bread, cubed)
1 1b. imitation crab meat, flaked
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 cup mayo
2 TBSP sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
dash of lemon juice

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Turn to medium and let boil for 15 minutes. Dump hot water off and run in cold water . Let them sit. (My mom taught me that HB eggs are easier to peel if they're not fresh--i.e. older than a week). Cool, peel, and chop.

Trim crust from bread and dice into cubes.

In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, eggs, crab, celery, onion, mayo, sour cream, salt and pepper. Mix together well and refrigerate.

Variations: Can add green onions or bacon bits (have not tried).

Twice Baked Potatoes

I found these on the Pioneer Woman's website, and they have become a favorite. I've made them about 4 or 5 times now, and always get rave reviews. They are SO bad for you, but SO amazing delightful. :) Make sure to bake them on a broiler pan so that the excess fat can drip off. By the I the only one who has issues remembering how to spell "potato?" (Did I get it right?). You really can't go wrong with these ingredients...just add a little of this and a little of that. Very time-intensive, but SO worth it. :)

8 baking potatoes
2 sticks butter
1 cup crumbled bacon pieces (just buy in a jar at the store, unless you have time to make your own)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1+ cup grated cheddar jack cheese
pepper to taste
2/3 sliced green onion

Wash, then place 8 baking potatoes on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 1:15. Slice 2 sticks of butter into pats. Add to a large mixing bowl. Add bacon pieces. Add sour cream.

When potatoes are done, cut in half lengthwise and scoop insides into the bowl. Lay hollowed out shells on a cookie sheet.

Use a potato masher to smash all ingredients. Add seasoned salt and 1 cup cheese. Add pepper and green onions.

Add the mixture back to the shells. Top them with more cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350.

Baked Salmon with Mushrooms, Tomatos, and Spinach

I found this recipe on the KRAFT website, and boy, is it AMAZING! My husband loves salmon, and this is one of his favorites. The recipe also states that Red Snapper or Orange Roughy could work, but do NOT try this with tilapia. Way too bland! I made this (with salmon) for all 7 of us and tripled the recipe. We barely had leftovers! I got the salmon on sale at Darrenkamps BOGO, which ended up being $1/a quarter pound fillet or $4/lb.

**Please note, picture is taken from the KRAFT website.

4 salmon fillets (1 lb.)
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tomato, chopped
1/3 cup sun-dried tomato dressing (or Italian)

Heat oven to 375. Place fish, skin-side down, in 9x13" pan/baking dish sprayed w/ cooking spray. Mix remaining ingredients until blended; spoon over fish. Bake 20-25 minutes of until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Other suggestions include topping with garlic, green onions, or feta cheese. We have not yet tried this.

My Very First Blog Post...Ever!

We'll see how this goes! Right now, the idea is to compile all of my family's favorite recipes into one large, online database easily accessible from ANYWHERE. :) So welcome!