Everyday recipes, life and craziness from Jen's house.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer Corn Fettuccine

Amanda and her husband
Last night, my friend Amanda posted a message on my Facebook page.

Jen, I made this for dinner tonight and thought of you. It was DELICIOUS! I used corn from the farmer's market. I love reading your blog and seeing what you are cooking up! :)  It isn't that hard to make! I actually made it while attempting to light the grill, which proved to be the harder of the 2 tasks.

I read the recipe and wished that I hadn't already made supper.  I wished that I had been to the Farmer's Market and that I had fresh corn in my refrigerator (along with other ingredients!)  Holy Cow, it looks DELICIOUS!  I can't wait to make this!  The recipe review has 5 starsYUM!

This pasta tastes like corn chowder, a summer favorite of mine. Bring home a bushel of corn at summers end and cook, scrape and freeze summer fresh flavor by making your own frozen corn kernels.


  • Salt
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 6 slices smoky bacon, chopped
  • 6 ears corn on the cob, shucked
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup half-and-half or cream - whatever you put in your morning coffee
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • A few dashes hot sauce or 1 or 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano
  • 1/2 cup torn sweet basil leaves or 1/4 cup chopped tarragon leaves
Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium heat. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook to al dente.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook a few minutes until rendered and crisp. Put a small bowl inverted into a large bowl, steady the corn cobs on the smaller bowl and scrape the ears. Add 3/4 of the scraped corn and any corn liquid to the pan with the bacon. Add the shallots and red pepper and liberally season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
Add the remaining corn and half-and-half to a food processor and puree until smooth.
Pour the stock or wine into the corn and vegetables, and simmer over low heat for a minute to reduce. Stir in the thyme and corn-cream mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, to thicken. Add the hot sauce or cayenne and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Drain the pasta and add it to a large serving bowl. Pour in the sauce, add a couple of handfuls of cheese, about 1/2 cup and toss. Top with torn basil or chopped tarragon and pass the remaining cheese at the table.

P.S.  If you don't know Amanda, she's a really cool friend, a fun Bunco player, an awesome teacher and she has a boat named "The Dollar General," which I find really funny...especially since she and her husband paid $1 for their boat!  :)  

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mothers, Bake Sale Goodies... or goodies to have any time!

Today I'm writing about my Mothers.  I have three:  

My step-mother, Joannie.
Joannie, my Dad, JP and my nieces on New Year's Eve

My mother-in-law, Helen.

My father-in-law, Leonard, mother-in-law, Helen and JP

My mum, Lois.  
My mum, Lois, my nieces and JP on Christmas night

They are all very important to me and I love all three of them!  I'm so blessed to have three wonderful women in my life! (They are all good cooks, too!)
My step-mother, Joannie asked me today if I had any good recipes for Bake Sales.  And I do...  I love Bake Sales...there are always tons of goodies and they all look soooo good.  Usually the prices are reasonable, but even if they're not that reasonable, it's for a good cause (whatever the cause may be!)

I have two recipes I'm going to share.  Both are easy to make, both transport well and both sell like hotcakes.  And both are super YUMMY!  The first is from my mother-in-law, Helen.  Chocolate Brownies.  (Why isn't there a chocolate brown on the color wheel??) Three words describe these brownies:  To Die For.  Yes, they are that good.  If you make them for yourself, they are especially yummy warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds and topped with vanilla ice cream.  Again:  To Die For. 

The second recipe is from my mum.  I'm not sure where she got the recipe...but I know I copied it from one of her recipe cards.  The 3x5 card that it's written on is splattered with batter, the ink is smeared and it was written in my hand writing circa 1983 (or so...give or take a few years...so I was in 5th or 6th grade...I think.)  Anyways...  Apple Cake.  Sweet Goodness.  And hey, there's fruit in this...it's healthy, right???  (On a side note, I've tried many times to lighten up this recipe, and it just doesn't work.)  There is a delicate crust that forms on this cake that is just out of this world!

Oh, and by the way...the best news of all:  NO CALORIES.  That's right, no calories.  HA!  Gotcha!  Just take a sliver of each and give the rest to the bake sale!  It's for a good cause!  :)

Helen's Chocolate Brownies

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate 
2 sticks of butter or margarine
4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 t. vanilla
1-1/4 c. flour
1/4 t. baking powder
3/4 c. walnuts (optional)

In a large sauce pan, melt the chocolate and butter together.  Remove from heat and cool.  Add the sugar and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each egg.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Spray a 12x17 inch sheet pan with cooking spray.  Pour the batter into the pan and bake in a 300* oven for 25 minutes.

1 c. sugar
6 T. butter or margarine
6 T. milk
1/2 c. chocolate chips

In a sauce pan, bring the sugar, butter and milk to a boil.  Boil for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add chocolate chips.  Stir until melted.  Pour over cooked brownies.  Let the brownies/frosting cool completely before cutting.  

Apple Cake

1-1/3 c. oil
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
3 c. peeled and chopped apple (Granny Smith's work well)
1 c. raisins
1 c. shredded coconut
1 c. nuts (any kind, optional)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 c. flour
1 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350*.  In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar and eggs.  Add apples, raisins, coconut and nuts.  Stir thoroughly.  Add baking soda, salt, and vanilla.  Stir in the flour.  The batter will be very stiff.  Bake in a greased and floured bundt pan for 1 hour.  

Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before turning it onto a plate.  Once the cake is completely cool, dust with confectioners sugar. 

Chicken Rice Bowl

JP and I had Chicken Rice Bowl for supper last night.  It was pretty darn good!  It was so good, that I completely forgot to take a picture!  I had several similar recipes and decided to create my own marinade/sauce.  Enjoy~

Chicken Rice Bowl
serves 4

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs with visible fat removed

1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. white wine
1/4 c. frozen orange juice concentrate
1/4 c. honey
1 T. sesame oil
4 green onions, sliced (white and green part)
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 inch piece ginger, shredded

2 c. cooked rice, any type
2 c. steamed broccoli 

In a large Ziploc type bag, combine the soy, wine, OJ concentrate, honey, oil, green onions, garlic and ginger.  Mix well.  Add the chicken thighs.  Squeeze most of the air out of the bag and seal.  Refrigerate for 2-24 hours.  Preheat oven to 350*.  Remove from the refrigerator.  Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray.  Pour the chicken and marinade into the pan.  Make sure the chicken is all bone side up or bone side down...it doesn't matter, as long as all the pieces are the same.  Cook for 20 minutes, remove from oven and turn the chicken over.  Bake for 15-20 more minutes, making sure the sauce doesn't burn.  Remove from the oven.

In 4 pasta size bowls, spoon 1/2 c. of cooked rice into each bowl.  Add 1/2 c. of steamed broccoli.  Place 2 chicken thighs on top and pour cooked sauce over it all.  Enjoy~

You can substitute other steamed veggies rather than broccoli, or even use a veggie mixture.  You could also substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but if you use them, the chicken won't be as flavorful or juicy. 

Tip:  Ginger...fresh ginger is awesome!  An easy way to peel ginger is to use a spoon (just a regular teaspoon!) just like a potato peeler.  A spoon gets into those little corners and just takes off the thin skin.  I use a Kycera grater.  Watch out, those spikes are sharp and will cut you!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Egg Rolls

They look good, don't they??
 JP and I decided to have sushi (aka California roll) and egg rolls tonight for supper.  I love egg rolls.  They are so yummy, but oh so loaded in fat and calories.  But not these!  They are made with turkey and are baked!  They taste a little different from ones that are fried, but they are very good in their own right.  I'm not going to post the recipe I used for the California roll.  The picture looks better than they tasted.  They were very bland and chewy, not at all like what we buy in the store.  Almost a TLS recipe but not quite.

On to the Egg Rolls!  This is not a quick recipe...it will take 30-40 minutes to make them, and another 10-14 minutes to bake.  But don't let that stop you!

Baked Egg Rolls

1/2 pound ground turkey breast
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 inch piece of ginger, grated
4 green onions, thinly sliced (use the white, pale green and some of the green part)
1 can of bean spouts, drained or 8 oz. fresh bean sprouts
1/2 bag of shredded cabbage (made for cole slaw) or 1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
1 small bag of shredded carrots or 4 carrots, shredded
2 T. sesame oil
3 T. soy sauce
1 T. fish sauce
2 T. oyster sauce
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. corn starch
2 T. cold water

1 package egg roll wrappers
1 small dish of cold water

In a large pan, brown the turkey.  The meat needs to be in small pieces, so break up any large pieces.  Add the cabbage, carrots, green onions, garlic, ginger and pepper.  Cook for 3 min on medium heat.  Stir the soy, fish and oyster sauce together.  Add the corn starch and water and mix well.  Push the meat mixture to one side in the pan.  Pour the liquid into the free area of the pan.  Stir well until thickened.  Turn off the heat and stir all of the thickened liquid and meat mixture together.

Preheat the oven to 400*.  Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.  Moisten 2 paper towels with cold water.  You will use 1 moistened paper towel to cover the egg rolls you make, and the other one will cover the stack of egg roll wrappers.  This will keep the egg roll wrappers pliable.  

Follow the directions on the egg roll wrapper package to fill the egg rolls.  You will need to use a scant 1/3 cup of the filling for each egg roll.  Use the small dish of cold water to seal the egg rolls.  

One they are all rolled, remove the damp paper towel and spray the tops of the egg rolls with cooking spray.  Place in the oven and cook for 10-14 minutes.  The egg rolls should be lightly browned.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Awful Waffles (they're not really awful at all, I just like how awful rhymes with waffle!)

So once every few months, JP gets a "Rule Day."  When it's Rule Day, he gets to make the rules and decide what to do, where to go, what to eat, what to watch on TV, etc.  All within reason, of course.  When he was planning his Rule Day, immediately JP thought of skydiving.  Um, no.  I nipped that one in the bud.  (Which, is one of my favorite sayings...if you don't know what it's from, watch here!  Even if you know Barney, you should watch this video.  It cracks me up!)  I also put the kibosh on a few other things like visiting grandparents in Maine (sorry, 1 day is just too short to make the trip!)

So what did JP decide to do?  We went out to eat for lunch at JC's 1950's Diner (instead of Smash Burger...we're waiting for Papa to come home from Iraq to go there!)  We also rented a Muppet Movie and the Ghost Buster's Wii game.  We're planning a trip to the playground...the "train park" on Ft. Riley and for supper tonight, guess what we're having??  That's right, Awful Waffles (but they really aren't awful!)

I think it was my dad was the one who came up with "Awful Waffles."  Update:  I now know why my dad nicknamed them "Awful Waffles."  I guess I'd forgotten this...  It is a pain in the A&& to clean the waffle iron...it's an awful mess.  But don't let that stop you from making these!  They are soooo gooood!  Awfully good!  :)

So here's the recipe for Waffles.  It's from adapted from "The King Arthur 200th Anniversary Cookbook."

Hearty Waffles

1/2 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. oat meal
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1 c. whole wheat flour
1-3/4 c. unbleached flour
1/4 c. Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal (if you don't have this, you can use 1/4 c. cornmeal instead)
1 t. cinnamon
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda

5 T. honey
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 T. vinegar
scant 2 cups skim milk (put vinegar in measuring cup and add milk to equal 2 cups)
2 cups plain, fat-free yogurt
1/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. olive oil

2 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture.  Stir until just mixed.  If using fresh blueberries, fold the berries in.  

Prepare a waffle iron.  Preheat, spray with cooking spray (remember to spray top and bottom!) and use an ladle to spoon batter onto waffle iron.  If using frozen blueberries, sprinkle a few on the batter once you spoon it onto the waffle iron.  A waffle usually cooks in 2-4 minutes.  

You can also make these into pancakes if you'd rather not have "Awful Waffles."   Also, this recipe makes A LOT of waffles (or pancakes.)  Feel free to half the recipe to make a smaller amount.  I usually make the full amount and freeze the waffles in small packages.  That way, it's really quick and easy to have a healthy breakfast...pull them out of the freezer and pop into the microwave or toaster oven!  Enjoy~

I'll post pictures tonight, after we've make the Awful Waffles!

Update:  Here are some pics of our "Awful Waffles."  I made about 32 waffles with my waffle iron.  Don't they look awfully good???

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Spicy Chicken Taco Salad

Spicy Chicken Taco Salad
Serves 4

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 c. Southwest Seasoning (like my Southwest Seasoning found here)

1 head romaine lettuce, sliced and chopped
2 Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 can corn, drained
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
4 T. sour cream
2 2-ounce bags of Doritos chips, crushed 

Catalina or Russian salad dressing
Chopped black olives
Chopped avocado
Black beans

Place chicken breasts in a small crock pot.  Pour the Southwest Seasoning over the raw chicken and stir around to coat.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Shred the chicken and turn off the crock pot.  You can serve the salads with warm chicken or cold chicken...it's up to you!

To make the salads, assemble the ingredients in bowls or plates.  Each bowl/plate will need 1/4 of the chopped lettuce, 1/2 of a chopped tomato, 1/8th of the chopped onion, 1/4 of the corn, 1/4 c. shredded cheddar, 1 T. sour cream and 1/2 of a bag of crushed Doritos.  Spoon 1/4 of the shredded chicken onto the prepared salad.  Top with salad dressing, salsa, avocado, black beans, olives if desired. 

Review:  This salad is very easy and yummy!  You can mix up the ingredients according to your tastes.  We enjoy using a little Catalina or Russian dressing to top the salad.  Since the chicken is cooked in the crock pot, it doesn't heat up your kitchen on a hot day.  This is also easy to prepare ahead of time for a quick meal.  I find that using the small bags of Doritos helps with portion control.  Enjoy~

Chicken Flat Bread Sandwiches

Last night JP and I attended a geocaching event, Riverside Pond Fireside Chat.  It was a lot of fun seeing some of our geocaching friends!  I made Chicken Flat Bread Sandwiches to take to the picnic and got several comments of how great they looked!  So without further ado...

Sorry about the half eaten sandwiches...they were just so yummy (and huge!)  This picture was taken this morning...these are the leftovers from last night!  You can see that JP ate the tomatoes and red peppers out of sandwich! 

Chicken Flat Bread Sandwiches

Makes 2 extra large sandwiches

2 pieces of flat bread (I bought a package of garlic flat bread from Walmart.  The label said "Flat Bread" and "Naan.")

1/4 c. mayonnaise
8 basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/8 t. garlic powder
1/4 c. hummus (like my Yummy, Yummy Hummus! but any type of hummus will do)

1 Chicken breast, thinly sliced (you can use any type of lunch meat, or combination)

4 slices Cheese  (you can use any type of cheese you'd like!)
1 thinly sliced red pepper
1 thinly sliced tomato
1/2 onion, thinly sliced

 Mix the mayo, garlic and basil together.  Stir well.

To make each sandwich:  Cut each piece of bread in half.  Place one half on a large piece of tin foil.  It should be about in the middle, but fold up the bottom edge of the foil to make sure you have enough to cover the bread.  This will help hold in the juicy goodness of your sandwich.  Unfold the tinfoil and prepare your sandwich!  Spread half of the mayo mixture on 1 piece of the flat bread.  Spread the other piece of flat bread with half of the hummus.  Layer on the sliced red pepper, tomatoes and onion.  Also add the thinly sliced chicken and cheese.  Top with the flat bread that has been spread with hummus.  Fold up the tin foil to cover the sandwich.  Tuck in the sides and secure the top.  

When you're ready to eat, just peel back the foil from the top of the sandwich.  You'll have a little pouch that will hold the juicy sandwich in!  You can peel the foil back as you eat and save your shirt from any drips! 

Review:  This sandwich is very versatile.  You can use any type of meat or cheese (I just happened to use left over chicken breasts from the night before!)  You can also use any type of veggies that you like.  Cucumbers would be great in this sandwich, along with feta cheese!  Next time, I might use a wrap type bread instead of the flat bread, just to try something different.  Enjoy~

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yummy, Yummy Hummus

Cabbagetown Hummus by daveleb.

JP and I were at the Commissary (aka Grocery Store for those of you who aren't familar with the military) today and I snagged 2 cans of garbanzo beans (aka chick peas.)  So when I got home, I knew I was going to whip up some hummus.  This isn't my usual recipe, but I thought I'd give it a shot.  I stumbled across David Lebovitz's website via Google.  You should check it out sometime.  There are some really great recipes!  And the rest is hummus history!  Enjoy~


Makes 6 to 8 servings Adapted from the Cabbagetown Café Cookbook (Crossing Press) by Julie Jordan

3 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped, I used 2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup (180g) tahini (sesame paste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup (80ml) freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 cups (350g) drained canned chickpeas, (reserve the liquid) I used 2 cans
1 cup (15g) gently-packed parsley leaves, preferably flat-leaf I skipped the parsley...didn't have it on hand!
1/8 teaspoon chile powder
6 tablespoons (or more) of chickpea liquid

I added 1 jar of Libby's Roasted Red Pepper, drained

1. In a blender (I used a food processor), whiz together the garlic, salt, tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice until the garlic is finely-chopped.
2. Add the chick peas, parsley leaves, chile powder, and 6 tablespoons of chick pea liquid, and pulse until smooth. Stop the machine a couple of times during blending to scrape down the sides to make sure everything gets well-incorporated.
3. Taste, and add more lemon juice or salt if desired, and more of the chick pea liquid until it reaches a thick, but spreadable consistency. You can make it as smooth, or as coarse, as you want. I like mine mid-way between the two.

Serving: I make a well in the center and drip in some good olive oil and cracker pepper in the crater. Serve with toasted pita chips, baguette slices, or whole wheat crackers. Sometimes I'll add a generous sprinkle of chopped chives or scallions along with the parsley to my hummus as well. It's also good with raw vegetables, as a dip.
Storage: Hummus will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days. You can also freeze hummus, well-wrapped, for up to two months.

Review:  I really liked this recipe!  It's a little different from the one that I usually use, but this will be added to my (ever expanding) recipe file!  Enjoy~

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Spicy Pasta Salad and Southwest Seasoning

JP LOVES this Spicy Pasta Salad.  He begs me to make it at least once a week.  It takes a little while to chop the vegetables, but it is a fairly easy recipe to follow.  This salad is great for a meatless dinner, or as a side dish.  I use whole wheat pasta, plain fat-free yogurt, and lots of veggies to make this salad healthy.  I make my own southwest seasoning, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.  Spice up the salad (or tone it down) according to your tastes!  Enjoy~

 Southwest Seasoning

I am really picky about my Southwest Seasoning.  I don't care for packaged taco seasoning...too much salt and lots of other things I don't want to have in my food!  I also like things a little spicy, so I make my own Southwest Seasoning with that little extra kick! I use this Southwest Seasoning in my Spicy Pasta Salad, or in any recipe that calls for Taco Seasoning.

McCormick has a Southwest Seasoning.  Also, Penzeys has a Southwest Seasoning and a south of the border spice, Arizona Dreaming.  I haven't tried any of these blends, but can't wait to try them, especially Arizona Dreaming!  According to Penzeys website,
  •  "Arizona Dreaming is simply a delicious all-purpose coming together of spices. The flavors of South of the Border combined in ways that Americans love so much. Great for just about everything, use frequently to season: Vegetables, Rice, Beans, Beef, Pork, Scrambled Huevos, Ground Turkey, Cheese, Salad Dressings."

Jen's Southwest Seasoning
1/2 c. chili powder, I use Penzeys Medium Hot
1/3 c. paprika, I use Penzeys Smoked Paprika
1/4 c. cumin
1/4 c. onion powder
1/4 c. garlic powder
1/4 c. cornstarch
3 T. chipotle powder, I use Penzeys Ground Chipolte Pepper
1 T. salt
1 T. cayenne pepper, I use Penzeys Ground Cayenne Pepper
1 T. oregano
1 T. crushed red pepper, I use Penzeys Crushed Red Pepper

Pasta Salad

Spicy Pasta Salad

1 package pasta, cooked according to directions, I use Ronzoni's Healthy Harvest Rotini

1 c. plain fat-free yogurt
1/4 c. mayonnaise
4 T. southwest seasoning (use less if you like things less spicy)
1 lime, zested and juiced

1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/8ths, or 1 tomato, chopped
1 can of corn, drained
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded, I use 2% cheddar
1/4  bunch cilantro, chopped

Mix yogurt, mayonnaise, taco seasoning and lime zest and juice together in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, mix the cooked pasta, chopped peppers, onion, jalapeno, tomatoes, drained corn, shredded cheese and cilantro.  Pour the prepared dressing over the pasta mixture and stir well.

Refrigerate.  Stir well before serving.

Review:  If you like things a little spicy (like I do!), add an extra jalapeno or two!  Or leave out the jalapeno if you'd like.  This is a really versatile salad, you can add ingredients you like (like chopped olives) or leave out ingredients you don't like.  I've used a can of canned, chopped tomatoes when I didn't have cherry tomatoes on hand.  Enjoy~

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Raspberry Swirl Brownies


I got together with my Bunco group tonight and made some yummy brownies!  My Bunco group meets once a month and we play a couple of games of Bunco.  We talk, laugh, gossip and eat some scrumptious food. 

I hemmed and hawed about what to bring tonight.  I wanted to use up some frozen raspberries, I had a package of cream cheese and a brownie mix on hand.  So I looked at several recipes on allrecipes.com and combined a couple to make up my recipe. 

Raspberry Swirl Brownies

1 package brownie mix
10 ounce package of frozen raspberries, slightly thawed
8 ounce block of 1/3 Less Fat "Neufchâtel"cheese (or regular cream cheese)
1/3 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
plain fat free yogurt

Mix the brownie batter according to the package, except decrease the oil by half.  Replace the oil you didn't use with plain, fat free yogurt.

In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar and egg together.  Smash the raspberries and add to the cream cheese mixture.  Swirl raspberries in, but don't mix until combined. 

Preheat oven to directions on box of brownie mixture.  Spray a 9x11 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour half of the brownie mixture into the prepared pan.  Spoon the cream cheese and raspberry mixture onto the brownie batter in the pan.  Top with the remaining brownie batter.  

Drag a knife through the brownie mixture, up and down and back and forth to swirl the cream cheese and raspberry mixture in with the brownie batter.  Bake according to the package directions.  

Review:  These were very good brownies!  Everyone at Bunco enjoyed them.  The cream cheese added a tang, while the raspberries added depth and great flavor.  Next time, I would add 1 T. of flour to the cream cheese and raspberry mixture.  The flour would make the cream cheese mixture a little bit more firm.  This brownie recipe will go into my recipe file.  Enjoy~ 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Julia Child with a Dash of Jenny!

Tonight I was checking Facebook and I received a message from my friend Jenny.  I've know Jenny for about a year now.  She and her husband, Jeremy, are fellow geocachers!  If you'd like to learn more about geocaching, click on the link!  I also have a geocaching blog, as do Jenny and Jeremy.  (Shameless plug, I know.)  Anyways, Jenny had a wonderful new recipe to share!  I can't wait to make this!  Enjoy~

 Here's a picture of Jenny and Jeremy with their 1,000th geocache find!

This last weekend, I had Outback Steakhouse's French Onion Soup. It was delicious, as usual. But I couldn't get the taste out of my mouth, so I began to hunt for recipes. Low and behold, I come across Julia Child's full-proof and simple recipe for the soup. Here's the recipe and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good, hearty soup any time of the year.

 French Onion Soup

¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, pressed
3 lbs onions, thinly sliced
2 cups dry white wine
1 teaspoon white sugar
8 cups beef broth
6 slices Provolone cheese
12 toasted French baguette slices or Texas Toast, flavored croutons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Melt the oil and butter in a big pan over a medium heat, and then add the sugar, garlic, and onions. Sauté until they are slightly colored for about 6 minutes. Add the white wine and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the temperature back down to medium and cook for 5 minutes, then pour in the broth.

Turn the temperature up to medium high, and then back to low.

Let the onion soup simmer for 90 minutes, uncovered.

You can freeze the soup at this point if you like.

Preheat the oven to 400. Put a couple of slices of toasted bread on each one, and then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Put the soup bowls on a shallow baking pan and bake until the cheese melts.

This will take about a minute.

(Serves 6)

*I served it with grilled cheese sandwiches, filled with Thousand Island dressing and Swiss Cheese - kind of a play on the Reuben minus the meat, but meat could be added easily.

*Season with salt AFTER it has simmered for 90 minutes and taste to see if it is salty enough. Keep in mind the cheese and croutons add a lot of salt to it, too.

*I also added about a 1/4 cup port wine to add some depth of the beef broth, this seemed to help a lot. I would highly recommend keeping the white wine as the base, though and not flip-flopping the red for white.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! It's definitely going to be a stand-by meal from now on at our house!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Quick and Easy Sloppy Joes (aka Maid-Rites or Loose Meat Sandwiches)

My mum made Sloppy Joes when I was growing up.  It is a quick and easy meal and oh, so tasty!  When Jeff and I were dating, I made Sloppy Joes for dinner.  Our conversation went like this:

"Here you go, enjoy your dinner (this was before I called dinner supper)!"

"Oh, these are Maid-Rights."

"Maid who???"

"Ya know, Loose Meat." 

I replied, "Loose what???"

I had never heard of Maid-Rights or Loose Meat.  I knew these tasty sandwiches as Sloppy Joes.  Oh wait, I had heard of Loose Meats...back when Roseanne was a popular TV show, she had a restaurant that served Loose Meat.  That was before Google and the ability to have information at your fingertips in seconds flat.  I don't know what I thought Loose Meat was, but I never imagined it to be a Sloppy Joe!

Jeff has come to love my Sloppy Joes.  As I said earlier, they are quick, easy and good.  We usually have Tator Tots and corn...if I start the Tots cooking, by the time they are done, the Sloppy Joes are done, too.  Enjoy~

Sloppy Joes
serves 4-6

1 lb. hamburger (I use 96%)
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (or 1/2 t. onion powder)
2 cloves of garlic, pressed (or 1/4 t. garlic powder)
2 t. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 c. relish
3/4 c. ketchup

Brown the hamburger with the onion and garlic (or onion and garlic powder, if using) until the meat is done.  Add the Worcestershire Sauce, relish and ketchup.  Stir well to combine.  Turn to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve on a toasted hamburger bun or English muffin.  Top with cheese if desired.

Review:  I usually use English muffins instead of hamburger buns (because that's what we usually have on hand!) and I top it with a slice of cheese.  You can add more/less ketchup to taste.  More ketchup makes for a sloppier joe, but will increase the number of sandwiches you can make.  Sometimes I serve this without any type of bread, just a scoop on a plate.  Jeff enjoys corn mixed into his Sloppy Joes.  He's an Iowa boy at heart and loves the meat and corn mixture...toss in some potatoes (tots!) and he's in 7th heaven!  Enjoy~

Monday, July 5, 2010

Family, Food and Fourth of July

JP and I traveled to Dunlap, Iowa to spend the Fourth of July with my in law family.  We had lots of laughs, lots of great food and lots of fun.  We even got to meet (and hold) the newest member of the family.

Dunlap is a small town that has a big Fourth of July.  The Fourth kicks off with the Boy Scouts raising the flag and a Fun Run/Walk.  There are two parades:  a kiddie parade, a "regular" parade.  The kiddie parade is always a big hit.  Kids ride decorated bikes, trikes, scooters, or just about anything with wheels!  Those not old enough to pedal on their own are pulled in wagons or strollers.  The kiddie parade goes around the block with kids trying not to crash and parents walking (or running when they get going fast enough!) along with them.  After the parades, there are activities in the park.  There are food stands, Bingo, a hot dog eating contest, kiddie games, bouncy slides, a BBQ contest and of course, visiting with family and friends.  Throughout the day, there are picnics, parties and fire cracker!  It all ends with a spectacular fire works display.  The volunteers who put this big event on every year deserve a round of applause.  The volunteer fire department deserves a standing ovation for the fireworks they set off every year.   This year was a little different, though.  


Even though the kiddie parade, the regular parade and the park activities were canceled, we still had a great time!  Grandma Ronk still had her annual picnic.  We still laughed and visited with friends and family.  Despite the rain, we had a terrific time.  I love spending the Fourth of July in Dunlap! 

My sister-in-law, Kelly, made grape salad for the picnic at Grandma Ronk's.  I don't have her recipe, but my mum made a similar recipe when I was growing up.  Enjoy~

Sour Grapes

4 c. seedless green grapes
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. brown sugar

Wash and remove the stems from the grapes.  Dry the grapes with a paper towel.  Mix the sour cream and brown sugar together.  In a medium bowl, mix the grapes and sour cream mixture together.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Enjoy~

Review:  This is a refreshing dessert.  The tart grapes blend well with the sweetness of the brown sugar.  This recipe is easy to transport to picnics and is great on a hot day.