Monday, June 21, 2010

Lime Cilantro Dressing

I have mentioned this dressing in a couple recipes and have finally gotten around to sharing it with you.  I used to be a ranch only kind of girl, but I have been discovering there are a plethora of tasty toppings for  your salad out there!  This one has only recently been added to my arsenal, and doesn't stray too far from ranch since you actually use a ranch packet when you make it, though you don't follow the directions on the back.

You will need:

1 ranch mix packet
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup milk
juice from 1 lime
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup green salsa (I used Arriba fire roasted Mexican Green Salsa)

Put all of it in the blender and blend.

Eat on salads, burrito bowls, with a spoon. . .

Store covered in the refrigerator for about a week. . . if it lasts that long.

Burrito Bowl

For a family that eats a LOT of Mexican food (sure, it's largely Americanized, but we love it all), I have to admit that this recipe has only recently entered my kitchen via my neighbor's kitchen. . . with a few alterations.  But that's what is great about this recipe, you can throw in what ever tinkles your taste buds, and every bowl can be customized.  It tends to be more of a burrito bowl bar at our house.

Start with rice-- sticky rice, white rice, brown rice. . . you pick.  We usually use brown rice.

Then pick your toppings.  Our favorites are:

black beans
plum tomatoes
sour cream

You can add salsa, or eat it with just your choice of toppings, but I love to add a little zing with Lime Cilantro Dressing.  YUM.

Pile it all in a bowl and try not to overeat, I dare you.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Confetti Cupcakes

Signe was sick on Friday, so for our Friday Family Fun Night activity we let her choose dinner, dessert, and evening activity at home. For dessert she picked confetti cupcakes.  These turned out both lovely and delicious.  They were their own little party on a plate. . . only I don't think any plates were actually used.  The girls certainly had fun lavishing on the sprinkles--at three points in the process.  So if you plan on making these more than once you might want to invest in the large bottle of dot sprinkles, like I did.

For this fun and flavorful treat you will need:

1 1/4 cups of flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 Tbs multicolor sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F) and line your cupcake pan with paper cups.

In mixer, blend flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add milk, butter and vanilla.  Beat on low until combined and then on medium for two more minutes.

Turn off mixer.  Add egg, beat on low until incorporated then on medium for an additional two minutes.

Using a wooden spoon stir in sprinkles. (this picture is misleading--I DID use a spoon and not the mixer whisk.  You don't want to break up your dots!)

Pour batter into prepared paper cups.  In case you don't think there are enough dots (like my girls) sprinkle additional dots on top of each cupcake.

Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting I use a random assortment of cream cheese, butter, milk (or cream) powder sugar and vanilla.  This time I used approximately these proportions:

3 cups of pdr sugar
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup of butter
1-2 Tbs cream or milk
1 tsp vanilla

Add pdr sugar if you want it thicker or milk if you want it thinner.

Signe chose blue food coloring for our frosting.

And then Hannah topped them with yet MORE sprinkles.

It was a party. . .

on a cupcake.

Or rather, a dozen little parties.

We thought it looked so fun we invited it into our mouths. . .

we suggest you do too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The "Stuff in My Fridge/Garden" Salad + Chicken

I have tons of produce in my refrigerator and garden that I need to eat.  Like rows of lettuce in my garden and a crisper drawer of stuff I picked or bought and need to eat while it's still fresh.  What better way than salad?  It actually turned out quite tasty so I am sharing it here (and documenting it for myself so I can replicate it later) so you can enjoy it also.

First I chopped:

four or five little sweet peppers
a stalk of celery
a handful of parsley (from my garden)
a couple green onions (from my garden)
about a half a cup of cheese (I used cheddar)
a large tomato
and while I would like to say I grilled up a chicken breast (which I highly recommend) I was lazy and threw on a can of chicken I picked up at Costco

Then I picked red lettuce and green lettuce and spinach from my garden.

I tossed the chopped ingredients in a bowl and piled a scoop onto my lettuce.

I topped mine with lime cilantro dressing which is oh-so-good, but which I have yet to post a recipe for.  So you may top it with whatever your heart desires. . . and soon I will post the recipe for the lime cilantro because you really should introduce it to your palate.  It will thank you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Crock Pot Hot Cereal

I should really come up with a better name for this cereal, even though I got the recipe from my neighbor, because that title doesn't begin to describe how good this cereal is.

The hardest thing about this recipe is remembering to put it in the crock pot the night before.  It gets me half the time.  But on days like today I am so glad I remembered, even if it was at 11:00 at night.  But since I DID remember, it topped off a good Sunday morning.  We slept late, almost until nine which is unheard of around here with two kids and two dogs.  It must have been due to the gloomy pouring rain outside.  The temperature was warm enough to have the windows open so the pounding of the rain on the roof outside our window lulled us.  Not to mention the smell of rain in the morning. . . It was a relaxing way to start the day.

Then we rolled out of bed just after nine, after the girls had piled on our bed (and one dog) and headed down stairs to breakfast waiting for us.

To experience this kind of lazy Sunday morning you will need five ingredients:

Wheat Berries
Rolled Oats
Shredded Coconut
Brown Rice

Mix them in a storage container with a 1:1:1:1:1 ratio.

I managed to get two cups of each in my container and it just filled to the top.

Then when you make it, put one cup of the premixed cereal in the crock pot per three cups of water.  I usually double it, so 2 cups of cereal and 6 cups of water.  Leave on low over night.

It is good just like that.  It is usually a little soupy the first day, but if you store the left overs, you will want to add milk the next day.

But I don't leave it plain.  I add a dash of cream, a sprinkle of brown sugar and a handful of craisins.  YUM.  You, of course, may add whatever suits your fancy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lemon Curd and Buttermilk Biscuits

Every spring I get a craving for all things lemon. I have been wanting to try a lemon curd recipe for some time and this one is pretty easy and oh so yummy.

For the curd (don't you think that word sounds awful? It does not begin to express the delightfully light and creamy texture of this treat!) you will need:

3 eggs
1/3 cup lemon juice (2-3 lemons) To get the most out of your lemons juice them at room temp rather than right out of the fridge and roll them along the counter with the heel of your hand before juicing. Strain after juicing.
1 Tbs. lemon zest
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Place a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (I stacked two pots--one fit just inside the other without touching the bottom to the water).  Whisk together eggs, sugar and lemon juice and add to the pot/bowl.

Cook, stirring constantly to prevent curdling (ironically, since it IS called CURD!) until mixture becomes thick like hollandaise sauce. About ten minutes.

Remove from heat and pour through a fine strainer to remove lumps.

Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk until melted.

Add lemon zest and cool.  The curd will thicken as it cools.

Cover immediately to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for up to a week.

OR. . .

barely wait for it to cool while whipping up some biscuits to lavish your fresh curd upon.

For the biscuits you will need:

2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. unsalted cold butter
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 Degrees F.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl or food processor. Then cut the butter into chunks and cut into flour with pastry cutter or the food processor until you have a course meal. I used a pastry cutter because a food processor large enough to make biscuits or pie crust is still on my wish list.

Add buttermilk and mix only until just combined. (If it's too dry add a little more)

On a lightly floured surface pat the dough out until it is about 1/2" thick. The less you work the dough the better the biscuits will be.

I bought this set of round cutters in various sizes at Williams Sonoma that comes in handy for oh so many baking situations.  I love them.

Cut you dough into circles.

Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden brown on top.

Then slather with lemon curd and take a bite of bliss.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Clam Chowder

It has been kind of rainy lately and cold grey weather always makes me crave soup.  Hannah agrees with me.  The other night we let her decide what we would make for dinner--sort of a consolation for not going out to eat, which is what both girls wanted to do.  She chose one of her favorites: clam chowder in bread bowls.  This recipe is simple and basic, and my favorite chowder ever.

You will need:

2 cans of minced clams (6.5 ounces)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely diced celery
2 cups finely diced potatoes
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
4 cups half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Place onion, celery and potatoes in large saucepan

Open clams and drain juice into pot-- reserve clams.  Add enough water to barely cover and simmer (covered) over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Melt butter in a sauce pan and stir in flour. Whisk until blended and golden.

Add half and half, whisking until smooth and thickened. (It may seem lumpy at first but keep whisking!)

Pour half and half mixture into pot with veggies.  Add salt and pepper.

Add clams.

Stir well.

We like to eat ours out of sourdough bread bowls.  I have yet to make my own, but can't complain about these yummy bowls.

Prepare the bread bowls by cutting open the top and hollowing out the middles.


Of course, it's still nearly as good sans the bread bowl.