Friday, September 30, 2011

Italian Potato Salad Recipe


In an effort to take a delicious dish to our first potluck at our new church, I new some sort of potato salad would be a winner. I'm really not a huge fan of mayo-laden salads. Yes, I eat them and even enjoy them, but I can rarely bring myself to add that much mayonnaise to a dish. :) I decided to create a mayo-free version. Basically I took my traditional salad ingredients and replaced the lettuce with cooked potatoes. It turned out delicious! And no worrying about how long it's been out of the refrigerator! Bonus. :) 


Italian Potato Salad Recipe
Serves 6-10 

8-10 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, diced
1-1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/4 tsp Paprika
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar 

Add cubed potatoes to a large pot and cover with water by one inch. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and return to warm pot to allow water to evaporate for 10-20 minutes. Add in remaining ingredients, drizzle in olive oil and vinegar (2 turns around the pan for each). Gently toss together. Keep refrigerated until serving.  

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Recipe


For me, ice cream is a food group all its own. Even if I'm making another dessert--brownies or cake--I feel that I need ice cream. And homemade? You just can't beat that. This recipe costs about the same as a half gallon of store bought ice cream and with 5 ingredients. Quick and easy, and SUPER delish, this recipe is a winner! I can't wait to make another batch! (I keep my ice cream bowl in the freezer for spur of the moment ice cream needs.) 

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Recipe 
recipe from Tasty Kitchen
Yields 6-10 servings

1 cup Whole Milk, cold
3/4 cup Sugar
2 tsp Real Vanilla Extract
2 cups Heavy Cream or Half and Half
10 whole Oreo Cookies, crumbled


Freeze your ice cream bowl prior to starting your recipe, as it is very important that it is completely frozen.
Begin by adding the milk and sugar to your mixing bowl, and mix with a whisk until all of the sugar dissolves. Add in the vanilla extract, and the heavy cream. Assemble your ice cream maker, and turn it on, adding in your mixture.

Let the mixer spin for at least 25-30 minutes, adding the crumbled Oreo cookies in the last 5 minutes. Place the bowl back in the freezer for at least an hour or overnight if you prefer harder ice cream. Scoop and enjoy.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Classic Hamburger Buns Recipe


I originally posted this recipe in 2009 and decided it was high time to share it again with you all. Annie's hamburger bun recipe is one of my favorites, and it was the perfect choice for our Labor Day meal. My Mom and Dad, who were joining us for the meal, really enjoyed this special homemade bun as well. 

With a little practice, you'll be able to whip these up in no time--and it's SO worth it. Even if the store variety are only a dollar or two, nothing beats the freshly baked buns made with you own hands. They freeze beautifully as well.  

Classic Hamburger Buns Recipe
recipe from
Makes 8-10 buns

1 tbsp. sugar
2 ¼ tsp. instant yeast
¼ cup warm water (105°-115°)
1 cup warm milk (105°-115°)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
3 to 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. cold water
sesame, poppy or caraway seeds, or coarse salt, for topping

In a bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the sugar and then the yeast in the warm water.  Add the milk, oil, salt and 1 ½ cups of flour to the yeast mixture.  Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.  Gradually add flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Switch to the dough hook and knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough, about 7-9 minutes. 

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl.  Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough in oil.  Cover with a tightly-woven dampened towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface.  Working with oiled hands, divide the dough into 9 equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball, and flatten into 3 ½ -inch disks.  For soft-sided buns, place them on a well-seasoned baking sheet a half-inch apart so they will grow together when they rise.  For crisper bun, place them three inches apart. 

Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. 

15 minutes before you want to bake the buns, preheat the oven to 400°. Just before baking, brush the tops of the buns lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with any desired toppings. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190°.  When the buns are done, remove them from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack.  This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy.

* Note: This particular dough should be quite slack, i.e. very relaxed in order to make soft and tender buns.  So you want to add only enough more flour, past the 3 cup point, to make the dough just kneadable, sprinkling in only enough more to keep it from sticking to you or the work surface.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream Recipe


We wanted to go out for ice cream. But we were hesitant. Deep down inside we both knew it wasn't the wisest choice we could make, seeing as how we've both gained a few pounds in recent weeks. Then Kevin recalled me talking about this simple banana ice cream. He referred to it as "that banana crap." We laughed at his crud description. Neither of us thought this would turn into anything worth while. 

But it totally did! Within 60 seconds I had a bowl full of soft, creamy banana "ice cream"--totally healthy, and super delicious! You must try this next time (in the event you don't feel like baking another loaf of banana bread. :D) 

One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream Recipe 
recipe adapted from
Serves 3-4

4 large very ripe bananas

Peel bananas and cut into 1 inch pieces. Arrange in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet and freeze for at least 1-2 hours. (You may wrap these and store in an airtight bag or container for weeks if you don't wish to use the bananas immediately.) 

Remove banana pieces from the freezer and add to a powerful blender or food processor. Puree until the bananas are smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. 

Serve and enjoy! 

We added a smidgen of chocolate syrup just for fun! 

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rhubarb Muffins Recipe


With a last wave of rhubarb in the summer harvest, I was looking for a delicious use for this unique crop. These Rhubarb muffins are the PERFECT solution. Kevin and I devoured a muffin (or two) as soon as they were cool enough to eat. Even if you don't think you like rhubarb, you should give it another try and MAKE THESE MUFFINS. :) 

Rhubarb Muffins Recipe
recipe adapted from Amy Jo on Tasty Kitchen
Makes 24 muffins

1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk*
2 cups chopped rhubarb
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

for the topping:
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon 


*to make your own buttermilk, add 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar to just under 1 cup milk. Let sit 5 minutes. Stir before incorporating into recipe. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine brown sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk. (If you do not have buttermilk, combine 1 tablespoon of vinegar and milk to make 1 cup. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, stir and add to recipe.) Beat together well. Add in rhubarb and stir.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Stir into the wet ingredients.

Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full. Mix together melted butter, sugar and cinnamon. Press lightly on top of muffins.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Then, tapping the sides and bottom of the pan, turn muffins out onto a baking sheet and cool completely. 

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Multi-Grain Bran Pancake Mix Recipe


Today we had breakfast for lunch. I heart breakfast for any meal. Do you? Kevin voted for a "grain-y" pancake, and I was all over that. I searched my favorite recipe found just what I was looking for. These pancakes taste like a bran muffin--which both of us love. It uses a fiber cereal and oats, ground, to add a beautiful nutty flavor and texture. 

Aside from the delicious results of this recipe, you are left with a dry mix that can be stored and used later. I keep mine in an airtight container in the pantry, because I'm sure I'll use it up quickly. You can also keep your mix in the fridge or freezer to keep months longer. But I don't think it'll be necessary. :) 


Multi-Grain Bran Pancake Mix Recipe 
recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Makes 4 cups dry mix (each cup yields 6 pancakes)

For the dry mix:
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup Fiber One Original Cereal OR Kashi Go Lean Cereal
1-1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Ground Flax, optional

For making 6 pancakes:
1 cup Dry Mix (recipe above)
2/3 cup Buttermilk*
1/2 Whole Egg, beaten
1 Tbsp Canola Oil


Using a food processor or blender, grind the oats until fine. Then grind the Fiber One cereal until fine. In a large bowl combine the oats and Fiber One, and the rest of dry mix ingredients. Whisk together well. Store in doubled up plastic freezer bags or sealed plastic container. Store in the pantry or for longer life, in the refrigerator.

When ready to make pancakes, combine the pancake ingredients listed above. Then scoop batter out onto a hot griddle and cook until bubbles form on top, then flip and cook the other side until golden brown.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hearty Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe


After the weather turned suddenly autumnal, Kevin and I were in the mood for soup. It was a dark, dreary, rainy evening and nothing sounded more perfect. It had been too long since I made a pot of soup, and I'm so glad I rectified that. Something good came of that rainy day. :)

This particular soup took 5 minutes to throw together thanks to having leftover rice and chicken on hand. I would recommend cooking this soup the night after you've had a dish with rice and chicken (cook extra!) It would be just as delicious using freshly cooked rice and chicken, but utilizing leftovers is just too good to be true. 

Hearty Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe 
Makes 4 servings 

Canola Oil 
1/2 Large Onion, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, minced 
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Thyme 
1/2 lb Baby Carrots, cut in half if desired 
2 cups Cooked Brown Rice
1-1/2 cups Cooked Shredded Chicken 
2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
4 cups Water 

Heat a 3 or 4 quart pot to medium high. Drizzle with canola oil. Saute onion and garlic until soft and fragrant. Stir in seasonings. Add in carrots, rice, chicken, bouillon cubes, and water. Stir. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 1-2 hours. 

Serve with a slice of whole wheat bread. 


Friday, September 16, 2011

100% Whole Wheat Bread Recipe (Bread Machine)


For the sake of comparison, I decided to give the bread machine a chance to stand up to that delicious handmade 100% Whole Wheat Bread I made recently. I have to say, the results were quite delicious. Because the bread machine makes life so easy, I would probably use this recipe most of the time. But I know I'll keep loving the handmade version.

100% Whole Wheat Bread Recipe (Bread Machine)
recipe adapted from Sunbeam Deluxe Bread Baker Manual
Yields 1 loaf

1-1/4 cup Water
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
2 Tbsp Honey 
3 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Yeast

Add ingredients to your bread machine pan according to manufacturer's directions. Select the "dough" setting, if desired. Otherwise, bake from start to finish in the bread machine. If using the dough cycle, wait until the dough is finished. Turn dough onto a lightly floured clean, dry surface. (For visual instructions click HERE.)Form into a 8x15 inch rectangle. Roll up along the length of the dough pinching after each turn. Place the log into a loaf pan that has had the bottom sprayed with non-stick spray. Use the non-stick spray on the top of the loaf to assist with browning without adding fat. Cover with a light tea towel and let rise 30 minutes or until almost double--dough should be risen a bit about the edge of the loaf pan. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes--until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.  


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rhubarb Sauce Recipe


I am a bit new to the rhubarb thing. I hadn't even heard of this vegetable/fruit/anomaly until Kevin's family introduced me to Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. It was delicious, but I still wasn't sure what part the rhubarb played in the pie. It seemed like a strange filler to me. 

Thankfully, when we were given 15+ stalks of fresh rhubarb from a friend's garden, my husband had loads of ideas--sauce, jam, muffins, cakes. The sauce intrigued me. What would you use this sauce for? I quickly heard my answer--"It's great on top of pancakes or vanilla ice cream or yogurt or just on its own." I started researching recipes and discovered how easy this was going to be.

Sure enough, with 3 ingredients and within 10 minutes I had a beautiful, delicious sauce. This is one of the easiest recipes of all time and totally worth it! Now, to go make some vanilla ice cream!

Rhubarb Sauce Recipe
Makes 3 cups 

8 cups rhubarb (8 large stalks)
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar 
1/2 cup water

Chop rhubarb into small (1/2 inch or less) pieces. Combine rhubarb, sugar and water in a large pot. Turn burner on high heat until water begins to boil. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Cook until no large pieces of rhubarb remain. Taste the sauce, adding additional sugar until desired sweet to sour ratio is attained. Store in an airtight container. Serve warm or cold, on its own or as a condiment for meat, a topping for dessert, etc. 


Monday, September 12, 2011

Refried Beans Recipe {from dry pintos}


I have become a big fan of refried beans--especially now that Kevin and I have, what we call, "Mexican fiesta" at least once a week. I make a quick batch of pico de gallo and guacamole. We doctor up a can of refried beans. He grabs the chips and sour cream. And we're off to deliciousness!

After tasting homemade refried beans made by my authentically Mexican friend, I knew I needed to try to make my own. I had no idea they were made with pinto beans, but once I discovered this, I thought why not try them from dry beans--cheaper and bit a more gratifying. Yes, the process takes a little longer, but if I used my crockpot, there would be hardly any work to do. I'll try that next time!

This bowl of beans makes a perfect dip, an appetizer for your next party, or a side dish to Mexican meal!


Refried Beans Recipe {from dry pintos}
Serves 6-8

1/2 pound dried pinto beans
canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped (seeded to remove heat)
1/2 tsp cumin

Drain and rinse beans until water runs clean. Be sure to remove any small stones that may have sneaked their way into the package.

In a large sauce pan or stock pot, combine beans and 3 cups water. Bring to boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then simmer for 2-3 hours, or until beans are completely cooked. 

Drain beans. 

While the beans are draining, in the bottom of the stock pot, drizzle canola oil and heat over medium. Saute garlic and jalapeno until softened. Add beans to the pot. Stir in cumin, salt and pepper. Mash beans until desired consistency is reached. 

Serve warm, as a side or as a dip. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Creamy Spicy Macaroni


This pasta dish was created on a whim and in a flurry before my husband arrived home. I was inspired by the abundance of peppers in my fridge, and, knowing my husband's love of pasta, I set to work. This dish takes a few more pots and pans than I normally like to work with, but it's totally worth it! Even as cold leftovers, this creamy macaroni dish was delicious. If you like spice, you'll love Creamy Spicy Macaroni! 


Creamy Spicy Macaroni 
Serves 4

2 cups short cut pasta (i.e shells, cavatappi, etc)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup water, optional
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 cup shredded Muenster cheese
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno, diced (seeded if you wish to lower the spice)
1/2 banana pepper, sliced
1 Roma tomato, diced
 Canola oil

In a 2 quart sauce pan, boil water and cook pasta to al dente. 

Heat a second sauce pan to medium heat and add butter. When butter is melted, sprinkle in flour. Whisk together and allow the flour flavor to cook out for a moment. This mixture will be very clumpy. If it isn't, sprinkle in additional flour. Slowly add in milk, whisking as you pour. Stir together until lumps are gone. Cook 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally. As sauce continues to simmer and thicken, add in 1/4-1/2 cup water to achieve desired consistency. Stir in cumin, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese until melted and evenly combined. Continue to stir occasionally while simmering sauce. 

Meanwhile, bring a medium skillet to medium high heat. Drizzle with canola oil. Saute garlic and peppers for 5 minutes, until softened according to your taste. Add in tomato. Cook an additional 2 minutes. 

Drain pasta. Add the pepper and tomato mixture to the cream sauce. Stir in pasta. Serve. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Baked Summer Squash Fries


With the abundance of squash in this summer's harvest, I wanted a fun way to incorporate the vegetable into our evening meal. When I came across Two Pea's Zucchini Fries recipe, I knew I had been inspired. I altered a few ingredients, assuming the method would work well for squash as it did for zucchini. It was total success!! Kevin and I loved these so much, they comprised our entire meal and I had to make a second batch! You can't beat eating baked fresh vegetables for dinner! 

This is a perfect side dish or a great party appetizer. Fun to dip in marinara or ranch dressing, everyone will love these! 

Baked Summer Squash Fries 
serves 2

2 medium yellow summer squash, sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch thick rounds
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

In a shallow bowl, beat egg until light and frothy. 

In a second shallow bowl, stir together bread crumbs, Parmesan, oregano, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper. 

Working in assembly line fashion, take one squash slice, dip it in egg to coat, then gently dip it in bread crumb mixture to coat on both sides. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all slices are battered and arranging on the baking sheet. 

Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each slice over. Bake another 10 minutes. 

Serve with pasta sauce or ranch dressing. 


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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mac & Cheese Success

Just wanted to share some exciting news--my Macaroni and Muenster Cheese recipe was featured on Pattitude's blog in a Mac & Cheese Link party. I am so honored! Patti tells me she followed the recipe to a T, and both she and her husband loved the result. 

So go check out the link party recipes and give my Mac and Muenster Cheese a try! 

Thanks, Patti!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

100% Whole Wheat Bread


I have always been a bread lover, especially when it comes to hearty varieties like this one. With flax seed adding to the whole wheat goodness and a hint of sweetness from the molasses, this bread is out of this world. My new favorite whole wheat bread! It's great for sandwiches, toast, or an afternoon snack. 

Honey Oatmeal Sandwich Bread
Makes 1--9x5 loaf

1-1/2 cup (12 Ounces) Lukewarm Water
3 Tbsp Melted Butter or Canola Oil
2 Tbsp Honey, Molasses, Or Maple Syrup
3-1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten
2 Tbsp Flax Meal, Optional
1-1/2 tsp Salt
1-1/2 tsp Instant Yeast

To prepare the dough:

(Hand Method)
Combine all of the ingredients, and mix them till you have a shaggy dough. The dough will seem wet, but remember: wetter is better. Let the dough rest, covered, for 20 minutes, then knead till smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 2 hours, or until it’s puffy and nearly doubled in bulk.

(Mixer Method)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine all ingredients and mix them till you have a shaggy dough. The dough will seem wet, but remember: wetter is better. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes, then knead by machine until fairly smooth, about 10 minutes. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 2 hours, or until it’s puffy and nearly doubled in bulk.

(Bread Machine Method)
Place all ingredients in bread machine pan and set to the dough cycle.

To shape the loaves:
After the dough has risen, gently deflate the dough, shape it into a log, and place it in a lightly greased large (9×5 inch) bread pan or two small bread pans. Cover the pan with a towel or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow it to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, till it’s crowned about 2 inches over the rim of the pan. Preheat your oven to 350°F about halfway through the rising time.
To bake the loaves:
If desired, brush the top of the loaf with milk or egg white and sprinkle with oatmeal, poppy seeds, nuts, etc. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 45 minutes or until it turns a deep brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Yellow Summer Squash and Corn Soup


When I saw Love and Olive Oil's post about this delightful summer vegetable soup, I was hooked. I had all of the ingredients ready and waiting in my fridge. I could hardly wait until the next evening to prep this lovely (not to mention totally healthy!) soup for dinner. 

This was fast and SO, so easy to prepare. And Kevin and I both loved it. This is a must make, must eat, must repeat.  


Yellow Summer Squash and Corn Soup
recipe adapted from
Serves 2-3


1 pound (1-1/2 whole) yellow summer squash
2 ears corn
1/2 small onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh jalapeƱo chile, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 cups water
for garnish--Sour cream, cilantro, jalapeno, tortilla chips

Cut summer squash crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Shuck corn and, working over a bowl, cut kernels from cobs. Halve cobs. Chop onion and mince garlic. Chop chile, with seeds if desired.

In a 5-quart heavy kettle heat oil over moderate heat with all ingredients (including cobs) except water and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in water and simmer mixture until squash is very tender, about 15 minutes. Discard cobs. In a blender puree mixture in batches until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), transferring to another bowl. Season soup with salt and pepper. Divide soup between 2 bowls and garnish with corn, chiles, cilantro, small dollops of sour cream, and squash.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo


I love being able to whisk together a creamy alfredo sauce in no time. Once you've mastered the skill of making a roux (combining equal parts flour and butter, whisking in liquid until thickened), you have got a serious skill under your belt. 

This dish was exactly what Kevin and I love about home cooked meals and my Italian heritage. Vegetables, pasta, and cream sauce--how could you go wrong??

Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo
Serves 2-3

4 oz fettuccine noodles
1 cup frozen broccoli
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1-1/2 to 2 cups milk 
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese

Boil water in large sauce pan. Cook fettuccine noodles to al dente (10+ minutes).

Heat a 3 quart sauce pan to medium heat. Add in butter. Saute onions and garlic. Sprinkle in flour and whisk together. Mixture will be thick. Whisk in 1 cup milk until flour mixture is evenly combined and no lumps remain. Stir in another 1/2 cup milk. Turn heat down to medium-low. Stirring occasionally until it begins to thicken. If it becomes too thick, stir in extra milk and cook over low heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Simmer on low while pasta cooks. 

Cook frozen broccoli on stove top or in microwave according to package directions. When all ingredients are cooked, drain pasta and broccoli and stir into sauce. Serve.