Wednesday, December 30, 2015

EASY STOVETOP MACARONI AND CHEESE






My family always requests "homemade" macaroni and cheese for
Christmas dinner. Every year I use a different recipe to find one
they really like. The recipes always involve the oven and at least 
2 different kinds of cheeses. I was looking for a simple recipe using
just one cheese. I found what I was looking for on Food Network.
This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown's Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese.
Delicious. Easy enough for Ben (son) and Mark (son-in-law) to make.


Ingredients:

1 pound elbow macaroni
1 stick of butter plus 1 tbsp.
4 large eggs
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
2 tsps. hot sauce
2 tsps. salt plus extra 1 tsp. 
2 tsps. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1  1/4 pounds sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, not packaged


Directions:

Bring a large pot of water, adding 1 tsp. of salt, to boil.
Cook the pasta to package directions, then drain.
Return pan to stove, add the butter and macaroni.
Reduce heat to low.
Whisk together eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper and
mustard. Add this to the pasta and stir to combine.
Add the cheese a little at a time and stir until creamy,
about 3-5 minutes. Don't overcook.
Serve immediately.
Will keep for a few days in refrigerator. Reheat with a little
milk.

PRETZEL STICK XMAS TREES




Here's a fun way to decorate your cake for a Christmas look.
You can also use cupcakes. I found several recipes on Pinterest
and adapted the recipe.



Ingredients:

1 bag Wilton Green Candy Melts ( found at Michaels )
Bag of Pretzel Sticks ( look for the wider sticks, 3 3/4 in. long)
2 tsps. cooking oil ( like canola, not olive )
1/4 tsp. peppermint oil-based flavoring ( not alcohol-based)
 ( optional)
Colored sprinkles, red-colored sugar, or crushed peppermint candies
  (optional)








Directions:

Take a piece of parchment paper and place on a cookie sheet.
Place 6 pretzel sticks and evenly space on the paper.
Put one bag of melts into a medium size microwave bowl.
Add 2 tsp. of oil to the bowl
Microwave 20 seconds, take out and stir, if not completely 
melted, heat at 10 second intervals and stir. Will be smooth.
Add the 1/4 tsp. peppermint flavoring and stir. (optional)
Using a gallon zip lock bag, add the melted mixture.
Twist the bag until the mixture is in the corner, cut a tiny
tip on the end and starting at the top of the pretzel, put a 
small amount and make squiggle lines to make it look like 
a Xmas tree.
If desired add decorations like colored sugar or sprinkles.
Place the tray in the refrigerator and continue with another
6 pretzel sticks. They harden up in about 5-10 minutes.
*This makes a lot of trees, but you will need to practice to
get it right. 
*They will keep in an air-tight container. I kept them in
my cold garage.
Carefully pick them up by the stick and push into your cake.
(see picture above)




Friday, December 18, 2015

BREAKFAST BURRITO SCRAMBLE





Ron likes burritos, loves eggs, so after checking out McDonalds,
looking at a couple of recipes, here's what I came up with. They
are delicious and easy to prepare. The only issue was rolling them
up: I overfilled and added lots of cheese. Doesn't work. Adjust.

Big plus…they freeze well. Roll up after filling in plastic wrap.
Place several in a freezer bag. To reheat: place in microwave 
and heat for 30 seconds, take out and slightly unwrap and reheat
for an additional 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and let sit
for 1 minute. Yep, thumbs up from Ron. 


Ingredients:

1/2 pound (8 ounces) pork sausage ( I used mild)
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
6 large eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
about 6 dashes hot sauce ( you decide how much)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus a little more
10 flour tortillas (6 inches, they were fat-free). You can
decide the size.. 8 or 10 inches also available.
Optional: salsa and/or sour cream as a topping

Directions:

In a large skillet, brown the sausage and crumble; drain.
Add onion and green pepper to the skillet, cook till tender,
stir frequently.
Add eggs; cook and stir just until set..don't overcook.
Remove from heat and spoon filling off center onto each
tortilla, sprinkle with cheese.
Fold sides in then roll up. Done.
Can place on a plate to keep warm in oven while you make
up several.
If you intend to freeze, cool completely first.
* There will be extra, but good on toast or biscuits with salsa
or eat out of the bowl.

ROCKY ROAD BROWNIES






Here is a wonderful chocolatey brownie recipe from the best
Martha Stewart. (adapted by me)


Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter, cut in pieces 
1 cup from 1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Topping:

1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped pecans
remainder of chocolate chips (from above)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 8x8 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray,
line bottom of pan with parchment paper, leaving an 
overhang on 2 sides, (easier to lift out and cut); spray
paper.
In a microwave safe bowl combine butter and chips,
heat at 20 second intervals to melt (stirring gently)
just till melted.
Stir in sugars, then eggs, then flour, stir just until
combined.
Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
Bake 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center
comes out with moist crumbs.
Take from oven. Sprinkle with marshmallows, pecans
and remaining chocolate chips. 
Back to oven, and bake till marshmallows are puffed,
about 5 minutes.
Cool in pan. Take from pan, and cut into squares.

  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

CRANBERRY ORANGE BREAD





Yep, this recipe is from the box, the fat free variety too. It's
delicious and making just a few changes, we are going to
make this as a food gift as well.



Here are 4 decorating ideas for your breads.

Ingredients:

1 box Krusteaz  Fat Free Cranberry Orange Muffin Mix
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1/4 tsp. orange extract (this can be optional)
1/4 cup Ocean Spray Craisins (dried cranberries)
the zest from 1/2 of an orange

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp. orange juice
a little orange zest, (use from the remaining orange)


Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Take the small can of cranberries from the pkg,
open it and pour into a bowl, add the 1/4 cup of
dried cranberries to this. Set aside.
We will be using 2, 3 1/2 inch x 7 1/2 inch small loaf pans.
Spray both pans with a nonstick cooking spray.
Stir together the orange juice and the mix just until
moistened.
Add the bowl of cranberries to the batter, fold in gently.
Pour batter into the 2 prepared pans.
Bake 35 minutes, stick a knife in center, if comes out clean
it's done. If not leave in for another 5 minutes.
Let the breads completely cool before glazing.
Add the orange juice to the powdered sugar, stir
till smooth. Pour over both breads. Allow to dry
completely.
Can be frozen after wrapping with Saran Wrap.
I usually keep the breads in my cold garage, or 
you can refrigerate.





CHEDDAR BROCCOLI BAKE




This is an easy put together casserole from an old Campbells
soup recipe I've had for awhile. Makes a great side dish.

Ingredients:

1 can condensed Cheddar Cheese soup
4 ounces ( 1 cup) sharp cheddar cheese, plus a little more
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
4 cups Green Giant Select frozen broccoli florets, thawed,
   ( 1 pkg.  12 ounces, see picture)


Topping:

2 Tbsp. butter melted
1 cup crushed buttery crackers ( about 20 )


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a casserole baking dish
with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine the soup, milk, cheese (added about
2 extra ounces), we like cheese, and hot pepper sauce; blend
well. (add 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce for a kick)
Add thawed broccoli, stir gently to mix. Pour into casserole
dish.
In small bowl, combine the melted butter and crackers,
sprinkle over top of casserole.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until bubbly. Check the center
to make sure, it's done. 
A good leftover.







Tuesday, December 1, 2015

RICE A RONI STROGANOFF




This recipe is for Jerry. He is the father of my son-in-law Mark.

Tired of left over turkey? Here's another easy recipe using
boxed Rice A Roni. Very tasty. On the table in about 40 minutes.

Ingredients:

1 box Beef Rice A Roni
1 pound ground beef cooked and crumbled. You can cook the beef in the 
same skillet and drain off the excess grease, then remove to a separate 
dish.
2 Tbsp. butter
2 1/2 cups hot water
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. pepper
the 3 spices are optional, but remember I put these into all my
savory dishes.
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper (optional--I don't use, but you
might want a kick of heat.)
1 cup of sour cream (let it sit out while you prepare the rice to
take off the chill.)

Directions:

In a large skillet, combine the rice and the butter. Saute
over medium heat till the rice is golden brown. Stir
frequently. 
Add the cooked ground beef to the skillet.
Slowly stir in the hot water and the special seasonings,
bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes
or until rice is tender.
Take off heat after the 20 minutes and stir in the sour cream
to combine. Cover and let sit for about 10-15 minutes, then serve.

This is a great left-over. Will keep in the fridge for about 2 days.




EASY APPLE PIE




Yes, this is an easy apple pie to make. Guaranteed. Plus you
don't have to make the crust, unless you want too. Add ice-
cream or fresh whipped cream, it's delicious.

Ingredients:

Crust

I box Pillsbury pie crust. Take out of the refrigerator as you
begin to slice your apples.

Filling

6 cups peeled, thinly sliced apples
3/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh lemon)
2 Tbsp. cold butter diced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Will need a 9 inch glass pie plate.
Take 1 of the pie crusts and place it into the pie dish.
Press the dough firmly against the bottom and sides.
Combine all the filling ingredients into a large bowl,
(except the butter) stir gently to combine.
Put the apple mixture in the pie dish.
Sprinkle the diced butter over the pie mixture.
Remove the second crust from the wrapper and place
over the apple mixture.
Fold the excess top crust under the bottom crust edge,
and press the edges together to seal. 
Flute the edges.
Cut slits in the top crust.
(optional, sprinkle some sugar/cinnamon on top)
Bake 45 minutes until crust is golden brown, after
the first 20 minutes cover edges of crust with foil
(wide strips of about 3 inches) to prevent the crust
from becoming to brown. Finish baking.
Cool on rack for a few hours, this allows the pie 
to set up. 
Can be made day ahead. After cooling, cover 
with plastic wrap and foil, refrigerate. Take
from refrigerator a few hours before serving,
can be warmed up if desired.

Adapted from pillsbury.com apple pie


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

CHICKEN AND NOODLE CASSEROLE




This is my recipe for a quick dinner casserole using left-over
chicken. Similar to tuna noodle. Plus there are options to
add..celery, onions, mushrooms or peas. You can even 
throw in some shredded cheddar cheese.

Ingredients:

8 oz. wide egg noodles. Prepare to pkg. instructions 
   drain and set aside
3 cups shredded or cubed pieces of cooked chicken.
   You can used canned, rotisserie too.
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 & 3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. sour cream (optional)
1/2 small onion very well diced
1/2 cup diced canned mushrooms
1 Tbsp. celery flakes ( if you use optional diced celery
    don't add the flakes)
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
ground red pepper (optional, use 1/8 tsp for a little kick)
3 slices of buttered bread

Directions:

Butter a 9x13 baking dish
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium sized bowl combine the soups, milk, sour cream,
mushrooms, onion, and spices, blend well. Add chicken, 
stir together.
Put in the baking dish.
Add the cooked noodles and stir gently to combine.
Cube the 3 buttered bread slices and sprinkle on top.

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.



COUNTRY FRENCH APPLE CRESCENT CASSEROLE



This recipe is a favorite going back to the 90's.  I can
almost make it from memory. It's a Pillsbury Crescent
Roll favorite. It's great for breakfast, as a brunch item,
or for dessert. Easy and quick.
Ingredients:

1 8oz. can Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1 large apple, peeled and cored, cut into 8 pieces
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

For the sauce:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1Tbsp. almond extract or Amaretto
1egg

1/2 cup sliced almonds
Cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
You will need an ungreased 9 inch round pie dish

In a small bowl combine the 2Tbsp. sugar and 1tsp. cinnamon
blend well.
Separate the crescent dough into 8 triangles, sprinkle the
sugar mixture evenly over each one and gently press the
sugar into each triangle, flattening slightly.
Place 1 apple slice on the wide end of the triangle. 
Roll up, starting from the wide end and tuck in the
edges around the apple slice. Seal all seams.
Place, tip-side down in the pie dish.
There will be 7 roll-ups around the edges and 1 in 
the center.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden in color.

In another bowl combine 1/2 cup sugar, whipping
cream, almond extract, and egg…using a wire whisk
until well blended.
Spoon sauce evenly over the partially baked rolls.
Sprinkle with the almonds and cinnamon.
Back to the oven and bake an additional 13 to 15
minutes or until a deep golden brown.
Cover top of pan with foil during last 5 minutes of
baking to prevent excessive browning.

Serve warm
great with fresh whipped cream or ice cream




Sunday, October 25, 2015

EASY PUMPKIN CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING




Here is a flavorful, sweet cake to make for for your family or take
to an event to share. It doesn't need the icing, powdered sugar
sprinkled on top would work, but yum who doesn't like cream
cheese. This cake taste wonderful cold.

Ingredients:

Cake
1 15 ounce can pumpkin
1 cup canola or vegetable oil, not olive oil
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger

Cream Cheese Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Spray a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In your mixing bowl, add the eggs and lightly beat,
Add the sugar, pumpkin, oil and lightly beat to combine.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and
soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Whisk together.
Add the dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture.
Mix on low speed just till combine. Batter should be smooth
but don't over mix.
Put into baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. 
Insert a small knife in center of cake, if it comes
out clean…done.
Let cool if going to frost cake.

Frosting:
In your mixing bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese,
beat till combined. Add the powdered sugar one cup, mix on
low speed, add the next cup and beat on medium  speed
till smooth and creamy, add the extract and beat just till 
combined.
Spread on cake. Cover leftover cake and refrigerate.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

CHILI MY WAY



The thyme is right for Chili. It provides a hearty meal when
paired with bread or crackers and topped with grated cheese.
Here is my recipe, adapted from my Mom's and served to my
family for a whole lot of years.  Not a lot of heat, just a teeny-
tiny hint. After all you can add hot sauce or some jalapeƱo 
peppers to kick it up a notch.  It's true, it's better the next day.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds cooked ground beef or chuck, drain off grease
1 large onion diced, yellow or white 
1/2 green pepper diced
4 cans (15 1/2 oz.) mild chili beans
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes with sweet onions
1 can (7 or 8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 package chili seasoning
2 cups water
2 beef bouillon cubes (optional) I smash them first
1 tsp. chili powder ( use more for heat)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika

Direction:

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, combine all.
Bring to a low boil slowly, stirring frequently.
Once you see it start to boil, I turn it back to
medium heat, then down to simmer. 
Continue to stir, and let it simmer for about
2 hours. 
It's ready to eat. 
It's better the next day. 
Serve with toppings of your choice.
Refrigerate leftovers and can be frozen.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

APPLE CRUNCH




This is a recipe from an old cookbook that I purchased
from an antiques store. It is sweet and delicious. Serve
it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Quick and easy.
  
Ingredients:

4 cups chopped apples (I used Gala)

Topping and for bottom layer:
1 cup all purpose four
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp. cinnamon

Filling: 
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup water
1tsp. vanilla

Directions:
 Spray with PAM a 8 or 9 inch baking dish.
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees
 Mix topping ingredients until crumbly.
 Carefully press 1/2 into the bottom of the baking dish.
 Cover with the apples.
 In a saucepan, cook the filling ingredients until
 the sauce becomes thick and clear, about 6-7 minutes.
 Pour over apples.
 Cover with remaining crumbs.
 Bake for one hour.

Let cool for about 1/2 hour.
Refrigerate leftovers but put into another dish and cover,
as the bootom layer may harden.

adapted from Betty Miller


Sunday, October 4, 2015

EASY MEXICAN LAYERED DIP



This is a recipe I've used many times, easy to prepare, and a great
snack or appetitizer.


Ingredients:

1 can refried beans, any variety
1 1/2 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Salsa (mild or hot)
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or mexican style)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped black olives
chopped tomatoes (optional)

Directions:

you will need a 9 inch pie plate

*Mix together the refried beans and the taco seasoning mix
blend well.
*Spread this onto the bottom of the pie plate.
*Add the sour cream on top of the bean mixture. Spread to
the edge or leave about an inch of the bean mixture showing.
*Top with salsa, lettuce, then the shredded cheese, the green
onions, and olives.
*Add the tomatoes right before serving (optional)
*Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about 3-4 hours

Serve with tortilla chips (the lime variety is a favorite),
Doritos, or a seasoned cracker

CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE





Ingredients:

1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour 
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 c. shredded zucchini
  
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a mixing bowl, combine the oil, sugar and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, 
baking soda and salt.
In 3 batches, add the flour mixture to the oil/sugar mixture
beating well between batches and scraping sides of the bowl.
Batter will be crumbly but will moisten when zucchini is added.
With mixer on lowest speed, add zucchini and mix well.
Pour batter into  prepare 9x13 pan.
Bake 30 minutes. Knife in center should come out clean.
Cool. Dust with powdered sugar before serving if desired.

Delicious, easy to prepare. Not terribly sweet but the powdered
sugar helps. Could add a few mini chic. chips to batter and could
ice the cake as well. But it's a moist cake and tastes very good.
I have a convection oven, took 23 minutes for my cake.

SHREDDED CHICKEN SANDWICHES & POACHED CHICKEN




This shredded chicken sandwich is delicious.
Makes 6 (1/3 cup ) sandwiches.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups shredded chicken (see recipe below for poached 
chicken)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers (20 round crackers =1cup)
1/8 tsp. each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, 
and sage
6 sandwich buns (I used stadium sized buns but I would 
suggest regular size hamburger buns..your choice)
(If you want a kick add a little ground red pepper)

Mix soup and seasonings in large saucepan, add crackers, 
mix well.
Add chicken, stir together. Heat to very hot but no boiling 
on medium to medium high heat. Stir frequently. Won't 
take long at all. 
You can serve immediately. Each bun will get 1/3 cup of 
the chicken mixture. (a little more, little less, you decide)

Save leftovers in refrigerator. I kept for two days. Just reheat.




Poached Chicken: (to give you shredded) 
3 large chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 32 ounce chicken broth (plus an extra one)
1 small individual size white wine or 1/2 cup (optional)
1/2 onion small chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sage
1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. celery flakes
1 tsp. parsley
Add all to large pot or dutch oven, cover and bring to boil,
reduce heat and simmer until chicken is tender.
(Add additional broth if needed to make sure chicken is 
covered. I added extra because I wanted the chicken broth
to freeze for another time. You will strain after removing
chicken then let cool, skim fat, and freeze.)
Remove chicken and cool slightly, then shred.
You can freeze shredded chicken.
1 breast =2 cups
So you will have 6 cups of shredded chicken (see picture)
This chicken has the best taste and seasoned well.
You can also use this for other dishes too.
Add to gravy and use over mashed potatoes, or noodles,
in tacos, or quesadillas, with rice or in other casseroles.
This taste so good you could just eat it all by itself!

PS…You need to have in your pantry ground onion
          powder and ground garlic powder! I use both 
          in just about everything. And the powder is 
          better than the salt version.


CUCUMBER, TOMATO AND ONION SALAD

CUCUMBER, TOMATO AND ONION SALAD




This is one of my favorite recipes I got from my mom.  I 
can remember this dish prepared with meatloaf, green 
beans and potatoes (fixed in one pot, seasoned with bacon 
grease) and biscuits (the baking powder and shortening 
kind,)  and that meal was to die for. Round that out with
a home-made fruit pie, mmmmgood.

Ingredients for 4 people
No store bought items please, go to the Farmers Market.
Fresh, Fresh

1 med. to large SWEET onion   They are out right now.
3 cups of cucumbers (about 3- 4) good size, firm
3 large tomatoes or 6 small ones 
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt or kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cider vinegar (you can use distilled, but I like apple cider 
      vinegar)
2 tbsp. Canola Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk  together the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper
until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
In a large bowl,
Peel and slice the onion and separate into rings. You can cut them
up a little if they are too big.
Peel the cucumber (the waxy green covering) and slice, not paper
thin about 1/4 inch, I don't seed them.
Cut the tomatoes into chunks, they hold up better than sliced.
Set aside.
Add the oil to the vinegar mixture and stir.
Add this mixture to the veggies and stir carefully.
Cover with plastic wrap (my mom used a plate.)
Put in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill.
Stir again gently to coat the veggies and serve.
Great sweet/sour taste.

I would make this the day of serving. If it will be
several hours, then add the tomatoes 30 minutes
or right before to avoid mushiness. 
You can half the recipe too.

You can add green pepper, or dill or parsley but
then it becomes something else, not my moms.
But that's ok!
Easy and cheap!
If your having a grilled hamburger or chicken
add some fresh corn on the cob, this salad, and
you're set.

EASY SPANISH RICE

EASY SPANISH RICE



I'm sure you're familiar with boxed RICE A RONI. Find it in the
packaged rice section. We love it in our house. Easy to prepare,
add a salad, vegetable, and you're set to go. You can also add meat,
veggies, etc. to make a complete meal. Here's one version using
Spanish Rice. It is delicious and great as leftovers or to take as lunch
the next day.
You can add hamburger but I add Turkey Sausage. Lower in fat too.
One 16oz. pkg. gives you 2 long links. You can slice this up or just
cut into 4 equal links. If that's too much meat just use the one link.

Ingredients:

1 6.8oz. pkg. RICE A RONI Spanish Rice Flavor
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Cups water
1 Can (14 1/2oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
    (see picture above ) I like the petite cut with
    green chilies added. There's a hot and mild variety.
    or just use without chilies.
1/4 cup chopped fresh green pepper
*a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, or there is a ground
red pepper too, but just a pinch. This stuff packs a punch.
So unless you really like a kick, go very easy. You can
leave out as well, I have done that too. You don't need it.

Directions:

I use my electric skillet.
Follow directions on box and
add the green pepper when you add the tomatoes.
When you begin to let it simmer for 20 minutes, add
the sausage, cover until rice is tender.
This is very good.
Leftovers will keep for a few days.


*If you like ground beef use 1lb.
  I brown the ground beef in the microwave, drain off
  any grease and add like I do the sausage.
*I use my microwave to brown ground
  beef ahead and keep it in the freezer.

*I will share later RICE A RONI Stroganoff using
the beef flavor, hamburger and sour cream.

STRAWBERRY JAM OATMEAL BARS

STRAWBERRY JAM OATMEAL BARS




Ingredients


1 & 3/4 stick butter, cut up. can use right from fridge, but not
                                softened or melted
1 & 1/2 cup flour (all purpose)
1 & 1/2 cup quick oats
1 cup dk. or light brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 12.75oz. jar Smuckers Sugar-Free Strawberry Jam Preserves
                       plus 2 Tbsp. extra jam (I wanted a little more)

Directions

This is an easy recipe.
Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees. Next butter a 9x13 glass
baking dish. You could spray with a cooking spray but butter is better,
(isn't it always).
Next mix your butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt
in a medium bowl. I just used my fingers to work the butter into the
dry, or you can use 2 knives, or a pastry blender if you have one. I
don't, but I didn't want to get the food processor out. The mixture should
be crumbly.
Take 1/2 of this mixture and put into dish, gently pressing down to
cover the bottom.
On top of this spread the strawberry jam evenly over the crumb mixture.
Take the rest of  the crumb mixture and sprinkle on top. Press carefully
down on the top to finish. (make sure all the jam is covered).
Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Don't over bake. Mine took
about 43 minutes. Depends on your oven.
Cool. Cut into 20-24 bars. You determine the size.
I had to try them warm. Oh so buttery tasting, the crust.
They can be refrigerated.
See wasn't that an easy recipe for snack or dessert.

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

EASY NO BAKE STRAWBERRY ICE BOX CAKE

EASY NO BAKE STRAWBERRY ICE BOX CAKE





This recipe has been around for a long time. Usually see
it about this time of year. Strawberry Season.
I've seen it on Pinterest, Pampered Chef, and you can
Google it as well.
This is my version. Light very easy, refreshing.

Ingredients:

3 cups sliced fresh strawberries (use them all)
2 8 ounce containers of Cool Whip ( used sugar-free)
27 half squares of graham crackers

Directions:

Using a 8x8 or 9x9 square glass or metal pan, spoon
a small amount of Cool Whip on the bottom.
Top this with 9 graham crackers. I had to break a couple of
   the crackers to fit.
Layer Cool Whip on top of the crackers.
Layer strawberries next, put them close a good layer.
Repeat twice the same layers, so you will have 3 layers
   of graham crackers. Strawberries will be on top.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours so
    the grahams will soften to cake-like. Keeps well 2 days.

Tip: Don't layer too heavily with the Cool Whip,
         I used both containers and probably  just needed 1 1/2 
         instead of 2.

CORN ON THE COB, MY WAY

CORN ON THE COB, MY WAY




I don't care for corn prepared on the grill, steamed in the husks, or
boiled to death. This is how my parents used to fix fresh corn.
Buy only what you will cook that day.
Buy from your local farmer's market if possible.

Bring water to boil in a large pot, add pinch of salt.
Add ears of corn, when water starts to boil again,
cook for 3-4 minutes. That's it.
Take out and butter each ear all over. Don't be shy.
Salt and pepper if desired.
Sweet, buttery, tender, juicy kernels.

GARDEN PASTA SALAD

GARDEN PASTA SALAD

                                                                       
This is an easy, very tasty pasta salad.
I made up the dressing when I could not find the dressing
  I generally use. It's worth it to buy both bottles of dressings.
  You will use up by summer's end, also they both come in
   low-cal versions as well.
The McCormick Salad Supreme Seasoning is great on a salad,
   pasta dish or vegetables. And it keeps a long time. It will be
   the only seasoning you will need for this dish.

Ingredients:

1 12oz. box Rotini tri-colored pasta, cooked to pkg. directions, drain
    put in the bowl you will use and put in the fridge to chill.
1 cucumber peeled and seeded, chopped.
1 green onion (optional), diced. Should use for color and taste.
1/2 green pepper, chopped fine.
4 radishes sliced thin (optional), I used because I freshly picked them
   from my garden.
1/2 pkg grape cherry tomatoes sliced in half. When summer tomatoes
   are ready, use them (optional). But put in right before serving.
   I didn't use them this time.
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Western Salad dressing.
1 cup Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian dressing (sweet and rustic).
2 Tbsp. McCormick Salad Seasoning, adjust to your taste.

Directions:

To your chilled pasta add cucumber, onion, green pepper, radishes.
Add tomato if you're going to serve that day. If going to serve next day,
   add then.
Mix the 2 dressings together and add to pasta, then sprinkle with the
   seasoning. Toss well, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at
   least 4 hours or overnight.
The pasta will soak up the dressing, I will make up extra dressing and
   add as needed. I like more wet than dry.
Will keep for few days, can add more dressing as needed.
There are lots of choices to add to your pasta salad, cheese, olives,
   salami, other veggies, etc.
But this version, simple, works well. It doesn't need all the other stuff.