Monday, August 24, 2009

Bacon and Tomato Linguine

Here is another awesome recipe from Cooking for a Cure cookbook, from the same woman who submitted the Easy Taco Casserole. This was really easy to put together and my husband just loved it! It's a nice way to use some of the fresh tomatoes from the garden too.

Bacon and Tomato Linguine

1/2 lb. bacon, diced
2 T chopped green onions
2 tsp minced garlic
1 c. diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried basil
pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Linguine pasta (or any other pasta you prefer, I used angel hair)

Brown bacon, set aside. Saute green onion and garlic in bacon drippings for 1 minute (I drained some of the fat off first). Stir in tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Cook pasta 8 -10 minutes, toss with sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Easy Taco Casserole

Another great recipe from the Cooking for a Cure cookbook. The recipe comes from a woman at work and it is really simple to put together and a nice variation on tacos. It almost resembled a taco salad with all the lettuce and tomatoes and sour cream piled on top. Yum!

Easy Taco Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 c. salsa
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 c. Miracle Whip
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 c. crushed tortilla chips
1 c. shredded Colby cheese
1 medium tomato, chopped
chopped black olives
2 c. shredded lettuce
sour cream

In a saucepan, brown ground beef and drain. Add salsa, miracle whip and chili powder. Mix well. In an ungreased 2 qt. baking dish, layer half the meat mixture, half the chips and half the cheese. Repeat layers. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Just before serving, top with tomato, lettuce, black olives and a dab of sour cream.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Simple Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Muffins

I had been meaning to get this on here yesterday, but was working on a corn freezing project. I was a little tired after shucking 110 ears of corn, blanching them and cutting the kernels off to bag up. 15 quarts of corn! Should be yummy this winter.

Anyway, I try to save recipes that look good as I'm looking through other people's blogs or the emails I get from Better Homes and Gardens or Taste of Home to help me remember to try them later. I got this muffin recipe from and had been meaning to try it for a while. I finally got around to it this week and these were such a yummy treat. They were very good with the pecans so I'd highly recommend adding them.

Simple Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Muffins From

1 1/4 c. quick cooking oats
1 1/4 c. milk
1 egg
1/2 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. chocolate chips
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. chopped pecans
1 1/4 c. flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Combine oats and milk and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease each cup of 12 cup muffin pan. Stir egg, oil, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the pecans into the oat and milk mixture. Mix in the cinnamon and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add oat mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just moist. Fill each cup of muffin tin 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops with remaining brown sugar and pecans. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chipotle Mayonnaise Potato Salad

I've been looking forward to making this potato salad sometime this summer and tonight was a good night for it. We love spicy food and the chipotles in this salad zipped it up nicely. I didn't think it was too spicy, but to some it might be-just cut down on the chipotle amount added. This was a nice potato salad variation and extra special since the potatoes and peppers came from the garden!

Chipotle Mayonnaise Potato Salad From Cider Hill Farm

5 1/2 c. new red-skinned potatoes (5-7 small/medium), boiled until just tender, cooled and cut into 1" cubes (leave skins on)
1 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. roasted red pepper strips (omitted since I don't have any red peppers yet)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. (or more to taste) chipotle peppers with sauce, minced, or chipotle pepper sauce (I put in a whole chipotle pepper from the canned chipotle in adobo sauce)
1 c. diced sweet peppers
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped scallions or chives
2 T. chopped cilantro

Process the mayonnaise, roasted red peppers, garlic and chipotles in a food processor or blender until smooth. Stir together the cubed potatoes, dressing, sweet peppers, scallions or chives and cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Bake

I had some broccoli from the farmer's market to use up (it was getting a little sad looking) so I found this yummy casserole recipe. It was pretty easy to through together and didn't have to cook really long. It turned out really good, especially with the added sausage to make it more of a main dish. Use light and low-fat ingredients for a lighter dish.

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Bake From Taste Of Home

1 can (10 oz) cream of broccoli soup, undiluted
1 can (10 oz) cream of chicken soup, undiluted
2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups uncooked instant rice
2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp paprika, divided
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb bulk sausage, browned (optional)

In a large bowl, combine soups, milk and sour cream. Stir in cheeses, rice, broccoli, onion, 3/4 tsp paprika and pepper. Stir in cooked sausage if using. Transfer to a 9 x 13" baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining paprika. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until rice and broccoli are tender.

Chili Lime Chicken Salad

This was a delicious salad! It was bursting with flavors and full of fresh garden goodness. I got this recipe from my sister and have been waiting to try it until I had some cherry tomatoes from my garden and it was definitely worth the wait. Enjoy!

Chili Lime Chicken Salad

1 lb. chicken tenders
2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
1/4 c. olive oil or salad oil
3 T lime juice
2 T. snipped fresh cilantro
1 T white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
dash ground black pepper
6 cup torn romaine lettuce
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 medium avocado, pitted, peeled and coarsely chopped (omitted since I didn't have, but I'm sure would be awesome in this salad)

In a bowl, toss chicken tenders with chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. In skillet, heat 1 T oil over med-high heat. Add chicken. Cook 8-12 minutes or until cooked through. Turn once. For dressing: in screw top jar, combine 1/4 cup oil, lime juice, cilantro, vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt and dash of pepper. Cover and shake well. Arrange lettuce on 4 salad plates. Top with chicken, tomato and avocado. Drizzle with dressing.

Grilled Peach Salsa

Yum! This was a tasty, different from my usual salsa that I make. It makes a good amount so there is plenty for leftovers. Ryan and I enjoyed this with some chips and a salad. Very summery salsa!

Grilled Peach Salsa From Simply in Season

5 large peaches, washed and halved, pits removed
5 tomatoes
1 1/2 jalapenos (or more for spicier salsa), minced with seeds removed
1/2 cup honey
2 T fresh basil or cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Brush grill grate with vegetable oil and grill peaches (or brush peach halves with olive oil) and grill peaches face down for several minutes. With tongs, flip peaches until skins begin to darken. (This can also be done in a vegetable grill basket.) Remove peaches from grill when they can be pierced easily with a fork or skewer. Allow to cool. Remove skins and chop. Add chopped tomatoes and peppers to the peaches. Stir in the honey and cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Very good salsa dip with chips. Can also serve with chicken or pork.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Carmelized Beets and Garlic

I planted all sorts of vegetables in my garden this year. They aren't all necessarily veggies that I just love or know how to prepare in a way that my husband and I will really enjoy them. Beets is one of those veggies. I thought I liked them, but had never really eaten many beets. My husband had probably never had a beets, but know that he didn't really like them. My first use of beets from my garden this summer was roasting them with other veggies. That was really tasty, though not really beety. Next, I found a recipe for a chocolate cake with beet puree-yummy! Better than I imagined it would be and Ryan really enjoyed it. Now, I found this recipe for Carmelized beets with garlic from Farmgirl Fare, a cute website about a women on a 240 acre farm who loves to cook. This recipe is great and I will definitely make it again. Try it if you have some beets on hand!

Caramelized Beets and Garlic From Farmgirl Fare

olive oil

Scrub a bunch of beets and remove skin if desired (if tough and woody). Dice beets into even sized chunks. Drizzle olive oil in a skillet and heat over low heat. Add beets and cook slowly for 45 minutes to an hour; stirring occasionally. When beets are caramelized, push to the side of the skillet and add a couple cloves of chopped garlic to the center. Cook, but do not let brown. Stir into beets and serve.
**Check out the Farmgirl Fare website for more detailed directions!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fresh Corn-Rice Salad

Tonight we had BLTs for the first time this summer. I've been waiting for the fresh tomatoes from our garden and they're finally ripening. It was such a delicious sandwich! I look forward to more in the next few weeks as my tomatoes continue to ripen. To go with our BLTs I made this yummy rice side dish. I had made it last summer around this time and I thought it was so good. It uses fresh, seasonally available veggies in a great veggie/rice side dish combination. Enjoy!

Fresh Corn-Rice Salad From Better Homes and Gardens

4 ears fresh corn
1 1/2 cups cooked rice, cooled
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup fresh arugula (omitted since I didn't have this)
1 small red onion, cut in thin wedges
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
2 T. rice vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 T. olive oil

Husk corn and remove silk with a stiff brush, rinse. Cook corn in boiling, lightly salted water for 3 minutes. Remove corn; let cool. Cut corn off the cob in planks. Combine cooked rice, tomatoes, arugula (if using), onion and jalapeno pepper. Transfer to serving bowl; top with corn. Drizzle vinegar and olive oil over top. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Of course, another zucchini recipe. I've been getting some wonderful zucchini and summer squash from the garden. My plants are still looking ok and just about every day I go out to find another 2 or 3 good size zucchini. Besides shredding a bunch and freezing it for zucchini bread and muffins throughout the winter months, I'm working on using it in my summer baking. I've never made a chocolate zucchini cake before and this one turned out great. It's a recipe from my aunt that she submitted for a cookbook I was putting together. A great chocolate cake recipe!

Zucchini Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp cloves
2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 T cocoa (heaping)
2 cups shredded zucchini
chocolate chips for topping

Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Beat eggs and sugar, add oil and applesauce, vanilla and buttermilk and mix well. Gradually add dry ingredients; mix well. Add zucchini. Pour into a greased and floured pan. Bake at 325 degrees. It is done when toothpick comes out clean. Add chocolate chips when still hot and spread over cake with spatula if desired. If using a 10 x 15 pan, bake 20-30 minutes. If using a 9 x 13 pan, bake 35 to 45 minutes.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops

These were so tasty! They were easy to make too. The vinaigrette was also wonderful on a salad the next day.

Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops From Martha Stewart's Everyday Food

4 bone-in pork rib chops
coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup Balsamic-Rosemary Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Place pork in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Pour vinaigrette over pork, and turn to coat. Cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day).

Heat broiler, with rack set 4" from heat. Remove pork from marinade (let excess drip off), place on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil, without turning, until opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes (if browning too quickly, turn them). Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Balsamic-Rosemary Vinaigrette
In a blender, combine 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 T Dijon mustard, 1 small garlic clove, 1 T fresh rosemary leaves (or 1/4 tsp dried), 2 T water, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp ground pepper. Blend until smooth. With machine running, add 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil in a thin stream; blend until creamy. To store: refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ginger Peanut Pasta Salad

I continue to harvest delicious veggies from my garden every night. My snow peas are finally dwindling down, but I'm thankful that I picked many peas from the small row that I planted. With veggies galore coming from my garden I hesitate to buy any at the store and timing was just about perfect for all the ingredients to this salad. I've made it before in the middle of the winter and it was yummy, but this time it was much better since it contained numerous veggies fresh from our backyard.

Ginger Peanut Pasta Salad

8 oz pasta, cooked
pea pods
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper (I substituted a purple pepper for the yellow and red as mine are not ripe yet)
1 green pepper
green onions
3 T. snipped fresh cilantro
1/3 c. chopped peanuts (I didn't have these and substituted peanut butter for this. I added it to the dressing ingredients.)
1/4 c. oil (sesame and olive oil mix works well)
3 T. rice vinegar
2 T. sugar
2 T. soy sauce
1 tsp grated ginger root

Chop the veggies into bite size pieces as desired. Mix all the veggies with the pasta, including the cilantro and peanuts. Mix together the oil, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and ginger root. Include peanut butter if using. Whisk together until combined. Add to the veggie/pasta mix. This can be chilled up to 3 days.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Zucchini-Honey Bread

Each day I go out to my garden and pick 3-5 zucchini that are perfect for zucchini bread. I've shredded some already and started stocking my freezer for the winter months so we can have zucchini bread all year, but I also make sure I use some fresh in my baking and cooking. I am always looking for new recipes to try and I found this zucchini bread recipe in an old Southern Living cookbook. It turned out really good, especially with some mini chocolate chips added!

Zucchini-Honey Bread From Southern Living

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 T ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine first 5 ingredients; stir in pecans. Combine zucchini and remaining ingredients in separate bowl; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 9x5 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans and let cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Salmon with Yogurt Dill Sauce

I had seen this recipe in my Midwest Living magazine a few weeks ago and was just waiting until I had some ripe cherry tomatoes. Today was the day!! I think I had a few more than the 15 the recipe calls for so I just threw them all in. The fresh dill from my front flower beds was great too! By the way, dill will grow just about anywhere. I had 1 plant last year in a pot on my front deck and this year, I have about 10 volunteer dill plants EVERYWHERE! They are in my garden, my front flower bed, back one behind the propane tank...everywhere. I will have to make a ton of pickles this year I guess. If anyone needs some dill-stop on by!

Salmon with Yogurt Dill Sauce From Midwest Living Magazine

1 1/4 cup plain yogurt
3 lb salmon fillet, with skin, bones removed
20 kalamata olives
15 cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 T chopped dill

Preheat oven to 375. Line a strainer with a double layer of paper coffee filters. Set strainer over sink. Place yogurt into strainer and allow water to strain.

Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil. Place salmon onto pan. Set aside.

In small bowl, mix olives, tomatoes, dried oregano and garlic. Remove 3/4 cup of yogurt and transfer to small bowl. Mix in a tablespoon of chopped dill. Spread dilled yogurt in thin layer over salmon. Top with olive/tomato mixture, evenly covering all of salmon. Bake for 30 minutes.

Stir remaining dill with yogurt. To serve, slice salmon and transfer to plates. Garnish each plate with a dollop of dill sauce and a fresh oregano sprig.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

My zucchini plants are really starting to produce finally. I think they were all dead by this time last year, but I'm glad we're finally able to enjoy that delicious summer squash! I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website and it was really good. Ryan said he never would have guessed that the "crust" is actually zucchini!

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can (15 ounces) Italian tomato sauce
1 medium green pepper, chopped

Place zucchini in strainer; sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Squeeze out moisture. Combine zucchini with the eggs, Parmesan and half of the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Press into greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce; spoon over zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; add green pepper. Bake 20 minutes longer or until heated through.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Yip Yap Banana Snaps (Dog Treats)

I love to cook and bake and since we don't have any kids yet, of course I sometimes spoil my dogs with fresh homemade treats. This recipe comes from a co-worker who spoils her dog even more than mine and makes dog treats for all the dogs she knows every Christmas, even the ones at the animal shelter. She submitted this recipe for our Cooking for a Cure cookbook, a cookbook a friend and I put together for a breast cancer fundraiser. Make your best friend happy and try this recipe-they'll love it! :)

Yip Yap Banana Snaps (Dog Treats)

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup canola oil
2 to 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
1 3/4 cup quick rolled oats

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in the oil, bananas, honey and egg until smooth. Fold in the oats. Drop the dough by the rounded teaspoonful, 1 1/2 inches apart, on 2 ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until light golden. Cool to room temperature before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or wrap well and freeze for up to 2 months (thaw before serving).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jalapeno Popper Mac 'n' Cheese

There is a good-sized garden where I work and they always sell excess produce that they don't use in the kitchen. I doubt they use any of the jalapenos in the food for the nursing home residents though, so maybe they just sell all the peppers to the staff that they produce :) Anyway, they had some jalapeno peppers available a couple of weeks ago (my plants are just starting to produce this last week) so I picked up about 3 dozen for $2. Not bad. I happened to find this recipe in my latest Rachael Ray magazine and thought it sounded delish. It was!

Jalapeno Popper Mac 'n' Cheese From Everyday with Rachael Ray

salt and pepper
1 lb hollow, ridged corkscrew pasta, such as cavatappi (I used elbow macaroni)
extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3 jalapeno chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
2 serrano chiles, seeded and thinly sliced (I didn't have these and used an extra jalapeno)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I substituted skim)
8 ounces cream cheese
2 T dried minced onion
2 cups shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and return to the pot. In a skillet, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium heat. Add the peppers and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add to the pasta.

Preheat the broiler. In a saucepan, combine the milk, cream cheese and onion over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until smooth, 5 minutes; stir into the pasta. Stir in the cheese; season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pasta to a baking dish and broil until browned, about 3 minutes.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Taco Seasoning

I've been using this recipe for taco seasoning for a while now. I didn't have any of the little packets, but wanted to make tacos one night. I found this recipe on or a site like that and it is tasty. I don't think I'll ever buy the packets again!

Taco Seasoning

1 T chili powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp each: cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano and sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Add each to your cooked ground meat. Mix well and add about 1/2 cup of water. Simmer for a few minutes and enjoy!

Kate's Blue-Ribbon Coffee Cake

This coffee cake was delicious! I love baking recipes that use sour cream in them. If you've never tried it you should. The cake turns out so moist and tasty. This recipe was fabulous and easy to put together. It looks so fancy too, baked in a bundt pan.

Kate's Blue-Ribbon Coffee Cake From Midwest Living Magazine

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 8-oz carton sour cream
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla

Spray 10" bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease and flour pan; set pan aside. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, stir together eggs, 1 cup sugar, butter and 1 tsp vanilla. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; stir until just moistened. Add sour cream and stir vigorously until batter is smooth.

For streusel: In a small bowl, stir together walnuts, brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon and 2 tsp vanilla.

Spoon 1/3 of batter into bottom of prepared pan; spread evenly. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the streusel. Repeat layers with remaining batter and streusel.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove cake from pan, cover with an inverted serving plate and turn cake over onto the plate. Serve warm.