Chef Kate Summer Salad

salad-small

This is a wonderful recipe I acquired from Chef Kate, a local chef who appears at the library for cooking classes.  It’s a wonderful healthy mix of good ingredients for your body!  The only changes I made were to substitute feta for the blue cheese and omit raw onion.  I made the avocado dressing and will post that in a separate post – it was so yummy, I will make that dressing all by itself again!  For an event, I made double the salad and one recipe of the salad dressing.  It was a very good amount of food!  I love the mix of beans, cheese, and crunchy and soft textures.  It’s a tasty and attractive salad that is easy to prepare!

If you want it with the avocado salad dressing complement, click here.

Summer Salad 

Serves 4

1 cup corn, either fresh or frozen
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
2 cups Fresh lettuce, any kind is fine. I used baby lettuce
1/2 cup onion, sliced thinly
1 cup red peppers, juilenned
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, drained and diced
15 oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (or feta, etc)

1.) In a small saucepan, cook the peas and corn. If the corn is on the cob, just slice it off with a sharp knife. Once cooked, drain and set them aside.
2.) I lined my plates with lettuce and piled up the vegetables as I cut them. You could place all the vegetables in a large bowl, toss them together and than place them on the beds of lettuce.
3.) Crumble the cheese over the vegetables, divide the beans on top, drizzle with dressing and serve.

Wacky Cake Fish Shaped Birthday Cake

P1030111-small

This is a simple wacky cake (Depression Era cake that uses no egg or any expensive ingredients) yet maintains a wonderful consistency and flavor.  It was for my son’s 7th birthday, he loved it!  I found the idea on Pinterest.  We use it a lot because my husband is allergic to eggs.  We made a 9×13″ cake and a 8×8″ cake to make sure we had enough to work with.  We attached the parts with toothpicks to the main body.  2 lollipops for the fish mouth, M&M’s for the scales, a marshmallow and M&M for the eye, and just decorate as you wish from there!  You can used any boxed mix or cake recipe you have.

P1030113-small

Banana Oat Muffins

oatmealchocmuffin-small

 

I like to make some healthy dessert options when I can to offset the more decadent ones.  This is from a cookbook called “Fast Fix Family Food” by Better Homes and Gardens.  These banana oat muffins are definitely on the healthy side but the chocolate chips and sweet banana flavor offset that.  I knew I should have added vanilla for a little more flavor, but this is one I want to try again.  I did the food processor trick of processing the rolled oats because I did not have oat bran.  I used chocolate, next time I will try raisins. I used 2% milk. (I always use muffin cups!  It beats cleaning off a crusty muffin pan any day.)  Finally, not to toot my own horn…okay, I will.  I think my photo looks more appetizing than theirs!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups oat bran*
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces or raisins

*If you don’t have oat bran, place 2 cups regular rolled oats in a food processor.  Cover and process until finely ground.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Lightly coat the bottoms of 12 2.5″ muffin cups with spray, set aside. (Or use muffin liners).
  3. In a bowl, stir together oat bran, flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, banana, milk, honey, and oil. 
  5. Add banana mixture to well in flour mixture.
  6. Stir just until moistened (battery should be lumpy).  Fold in chocolate pieces.
  7. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  8. Bake 14-16 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.  Makes 12.

P1100007-small

 

Grilled Luau Kebabs

image

This was such a flavorful recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks “The Best Simple Recipes” by America’s Test Kitchen.  We were not in a pork mood, so we used boneless skinless chicken.  Instead of garlic, I used garlic powder.  Likewise, I omitted the onion and used onion powder.  The combination of the fresh pineapple, soy sauce, and red bell pepper flavors was out of this world, and the olive oil made the whole dish juicy and bursting with flavor.  Only use fresh pineapple here, the dish deserves nothing less than that.  A+!

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless center-cup pork chops (about 6 oz. each) 3/4 to 1 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, & cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large red onion cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions:

  1. Cut pork chops into 1 1/4 inch cubes.  Combine 1/4 cup oil, garlic, soy sauce, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper into bowl.
  2. Add pork, toss to coat, and marinate for 15 minutes. 
  3. Toss pineapple, peppers, and onion with remaining oil in another bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Thread pork, pineapple, peppers and onion onto eight 12-inch metal skewers.  Brush skewers with any remaining marinade.
  5. Grill kebabs over high heat, turning skewers as needed, until pork is well browned and cooked through, 8-10 minutes.  Serve.

 

 

 

 

Creamy Chicken Soup With Rice

image

The first recipe is from my brand new soup book I got for my birthday, in March, it is a creamy chicken soup with rice.  It’s the first recipe I have tried from the 500 plus page book “The Ultimate Soup Cookbook” by Reader’s Digest, with over 900 recipes.  It’s on page 106.  I’d say it serves more like 6+.

It came together quickly.  I like recipes that use a butter/oil mixture, they usually have more flavor.  I made the stock from bouillon and omitted the onions, and used onion powder.   I used Basmati rice and the fresh parsley was from my garden.  I opted for milk instead of half-and-half.  I used a very tiny pinch of nutmeg.  It was tasty, creamy, and the smell was great.  I will experiment next time to add a little more flavor, maybe even more bouillon.  A!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk or half-and-half
  • pinch of ground nutmeg (technically optional)

Directions:

  1. In a 5 quart Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter and heat oil.  Add chicken and saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Add stock, carrots, celery, onion, rice, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes or until rice is tender. 
  3. In a small bowl, blend cornstarch, milk, and nutmeg.  Then stir into soup.  Cooking, stirring, until soup returns to simmer and thickens. 

 

 

Welcome!

Welcome to my first cooking blog post! 

Cooking is my favorite hobby and I love to cook for my family of three daily – often three times a day!   I’m in the kitchen hours per day and I love it!  Thankfully, I’m doing more cooking versus cleaning than I used to.  I hope to share my great recipes with everyone who loves cooking!  I cook almost everything – the only items I don’t cook with are fish (excluding tuna), mushrooms, and olives, because well – I can’t stand them.   I believe that the art of cooking is sadly disappearing and I think that’s a bad direction to go in.  Less people are cooking at home and opting for take out, drive-thrus, restaurants, frozen meals, and boxed kits.  We do that too, but in extreme moderation.  I like to cook as naturally as possible while saving time with some pre-made ingredients that aren’t too bad for you.  I avoid a lot of preservatives, fake ingredients, chemicals, and high fructose corn syrup when I can.  This blog will be a mix of healthy cooking, decadent cooking, healthy baking, and decadent baking.  If it’s decadent, I just eat a much smaller portion than usual.  Everything in moderation!  I get my recipes from many places including Allrecipes.com, the internet, my personal cookbooks, and the cookbooks at the library.  I hope my recipes and photos  urge you to get back into your kitchen and cook fresh for your family!  🙂