Thursday, June 30, 2011

Scandinavian Almond Cake

OK, I had to share this one with you.  This cake is so good.  It's like a really light almond pound cake.  Now I do have a special pan to bake this when which I got at the "Uff-Da" shop in Red Wing, MN (1-800-488-3332).  I would imagine with some searching you, too, could find this pan.  But just in case, the dimensions are 12" by 4 1/2" (at the widest part).  But this pan has special grooves in it to make slicing really easy.  Like anyone is going to take just one small slice!

This cake is heavenly!  Since I was just sending this to Jim's office, I only sprinkled it with confectionary's sugar.  However, traditionally it is served with fruit spreads/preserves, fresh berries or any type of fruit or ice cream.  Top with real whipped cream, which is practically a Scandinavian requisite.

P.S.  This cake freezes very well.


Spray pan with Pam or cooking spray.  Sprinkle lots of sliced almonds on the bottom of the pan.

Beat well:
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
2/3 cup milk

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

1 stick melted margarine (Uff-da Shop tried this with butter and margarine and preferred the density of the cake made with margarine)

Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes (mine took 50 minutes).  Edges must be golden brown.  To avoid underbaking, use the toothpick test and don't go by just the color of the cake.  Cool in pan before removing (30-40 minutes).  Cake will break if removed too soon.  Sprinkle with confectionary sugar.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summertime Angel Food Cake

Here's a great, easy, light summertime dessert.  Bake a boxed angel food cake mix.  Let cook per instructions.

For each slice you are serving, cut a couple of strawberries and fan them out.  Sprinkle the plate with blueberries.  Make a drizzle sauce using sour cream, white wine, and powdered sugar.  Mix it to a consistency that can squirted out of a bottle (I use one of those plastic bottles you sometimes use for ketchup or mustard).  Drizzle the sauce to decorate the cake.  That's it!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


OK, let me just say first of all.....this is my FAVORITE summer salad.  And who'd a thunk it?  Bread Salad?  Really???  With a bunch of peppers?  Really???  Oh, yes!!!

I could eat this salad everyday during these horrid hot, humid days of summer.   And so weird!  I'm not a big sweet pepper fan, but this all comes together so beautifully.  I do love cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, basil, and bread.  And these croutons just put it over over the top.   I never in a million years would have tried this recipe, but, once again, working at a (different) restaurant in Minnesota, I came in one morning to find the leftovers of a special that Char had run.  I think I ate them all.  And this was after the croutons had become all soggy.  But the flavor was just incredible.  Char was a big fan of Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) and this recipe came from one of her cookbooks.  She's (Ina Garten) done a variation on this recipe calling it Greek Panzanella where she substitues Kalamata olives for the capers, and adds feta cheese, but we love this salad so much as it is that we've never tried that version.

Now for me, the secret is the croutons.  I will only use Panera Bread's baguette.  If you don't have a Panera Bread near you, please use a high-quality baguette.  I make a lot of croutons for Caesar Salad using bagels and then baking them, but the process here is completely different and results in a dramatically different crouton.  I cover the bottom of a hot Dutch Oven with olive oil, then add salt, then dump in the baguette cubes and stir quickly to coat the bread with the salted olive oil.  It takes a while (maybe 15-20 minutes?) on a medium/medium-high heat to brown the bread cubes, stirring very often.

Also, this recipe makes a nice batch.  Probably 4 entree-servings.  So, since there are just two of us, I'll dice all of the vegetables, but will keep the croutons separate so I dress them them toss them with the vegetables shortly before serving time.  I'll pour the dressing on the croutons (a heavy hand so the extra dressing will also coat the vegetables) about 10 minutes before serving so the croutons will soften a bit.  Then I just keep the diced vegetables in an air-tight container and the dry croutons in a baggie until I'm ready for the next batch.

I really hope you'll try this incredibly wonderful summer salad.  Not only is it visually appealing, you'll be looking forward to the leftovers!

PANZANELLA (approximately 4 large servings)

Cube one baguette.  In Dutch Oven, add olive oil to coat the bottom and add kosher salt.  Add bread cubes and continue to stir until croutons are browned.


1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lenghwise
1 English cucumber or 5-6 pickling cucumbers (I like to strip four strips of skin, then cut the cuke into four lenghtwise cuts, then dice the cuke into about 1/4-1/2" cubes)
1 red, orange, and yellow sweet pepper, diced (I like to cut pieces small/large enough to get a piece of pepper, tomato, cucumber, crouton, onion, caper on each fork-full!)
A couple of semi-thick slices of red onion, diced
about 20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp capers


1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup EVOO

When read to serve, mix all of the vegetables with the croutons and vinaigrette.  If serving at different times, keep the vegetables and croutons separate so the croutons don't become soggy, then dress the croutons and then mix the vegetables in.  Let me know if you try it and love it as much as we do!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chicken Lo Mein

Oh YUMMM!!!  This is such a great recipe!  And talk about will be so easy to change this around.  As usual, I made the recipe as I found it, but I will definitely be adding some (LOTS!) of sweet onion next time.  When I order lo mein in a restaurant, I usually just get vegetable LM, with extra onions!  This would be a great meat-less Monday dish, or you could certainly substitute shrimp or pork.  Also, this recipe calls for uncooked chicken, but I had some leftover chicken from the Beer Can chicken, so I just put the soy and cornstarch on the cooked chicken, simply adding the chicken with the cooked vegetables.  And one more huge plus I found out by mistake:  We lost power just before I was ready to start cooking.  I had everything ready to go, so I simply wrapped it all up and cooked it the next night.  Talk about make-ahead meal!  The ingredients sat for 24 hours and it still came out wonderfully. And the leftovers are wonderful!

CHICKEN LO MEIN (approximately 4 servings)

1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, sliced very thinly (I used about 8 oz cooked)

1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp beef broth
1 Tbsp granulated sugar

8 oz linguine or lo mein noodles, prepared to al dente
1 tsp sesame oil

1/4 cup canola oil (I used about 2 Tbsp)
1 clove garlic, chopped (heaping tsp for me)
1 large carrot, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup chopped cabbage, such as Napa (I used cole slaw mix)
1 cup sliced mushroom (more for me next time)
1-2 cups bean sprouts (2 for me)
3 green onions, sliced in 1" segments, white and green parts
Salt to taste

Combine marinade ingredients with the chicken and allow to sit for 20 minutes.  While the chicken is marinating, prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, beef broth, and sugar,  Set aside.

Boil noodles as per package instructions.  Drain the noodles and toss with the sesame oil.

Heat a wok (or large frying pan) over medium-high heat.  Add the oil, heat, then add chicken.  Stir fry chicken until cooked, about 5 minutes.  Remove from wok and set aside.

Add another Tablespoon of oil to the wok if needed.  When the oil is hot, add the garlic.  Stir fry until garlic begins to brown (don't burn!!!), then add the carrots.  Stir fry for about one minutes, then add the cabbage and mushrooms (I cooked all vegetables at the same time since I had prepared them the night before).  Cook for about 2 more minutes.  Add the noodles, bean sprouts, and green onions and cook for about 2 more minutes.

Add the sauce to the wok.  Return the chicken to the pan.  Mix everything together and serve hot.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Caramel Brownies

WARNING!!!  These are not for the faint-of-heart.  These should only be eaten by extreme chocolateholics.

Absolutely, the richest, most decadent dessert I have ever made.  These leave my Snickers bars in the dust.  A brownie base is cooked alone and then smothered with creamy caramel and another layer of brownie batter along with chocolate chips and chopped pecans.  I prefer to eat these slightly chilled, just because they are so gooey.  And they are much easier to cut up if chilled, much less messy!  Cut these on the small-size....a little goes a long, long way!


For the brownies:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
12 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped (optional)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the caramel filling:
14 oz caramel candies, unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy cream (I have used everthing from half&half to skim with fine results)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a 9x13 baking pan with foil and grease the foil well with butter or cooking spray.  In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and butter.  Microwave in intervals of 1 minute at 50% power until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, stirring in between intervals.  Whisk in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until incorporated.  Stir in the flour and salt just until combined.  Spread about half of the brownie batter in the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 18 minutes.  Remove from the oven (keep the oven on) and let the brownies cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the chopped pecans (if using) to a medium skillet over medium heat.  Toast, stirring occassionally, until fragrant and light golden brown (keep a close eye on them, do not use them if they burn).  Remove from the heat and set aside. 

To make the caramel filling, combine the caramels and cream (or milk) in a medium microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power.  Stir.  Repeat the process, keeping a close eye on the mixture as it can burn.  Continue the microwave process until the caramels and cream are melted and combined.  Stir in half of the pecans to the caramel mixture. 

Immediately spread the caramel mixture over the bottom brownie layer.  Scoop the remaining brownie batter in spoonfuls over the caramel layer and spread it evenly across the caramel layer (spooning the batter in piles over the caramel layer and spread it evenly across the caramel layer (spooning the batter in piles helps to get an even layer of batter over the caramel.)  Sprinkle the chocolate chips and the remaining pecans on top of the final brownie layer.  Bake for 20 minutes. 

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely (I then refrigerated for a couple of hours)  before slicing and serving (or placing in a air-tight container, storing in the frig). 

Lift the brownies from the pan using the edges of the foil.  Remove the foil and cut the brownies into individual squares.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

We went to Bonefish Grill the other night and I had garlic mashed potatoes with my Sea Bass.  I hadn't made them in forever and they just tasted so good.  Generally when I've made them before, I've used roasted garlic.  It's too hot to roast garlic, so I went in search of an alternative recipe.

Thank you Alton Brown of the Food Network!   Absolutely decadent, fluffly, and delicious.  His recipe is in no way, shape, or form a low-fat recipe.  I did read alot of the reviews others had made on this recipe and some did use skim milk or chicken broth with good results.  I will definitely lighten these up next time, but I almost always like to make a recipe as listed the first time to taste what the author was trying to achieve.   I generally step down a bit each time I try it (half-and-half to whole milk, then 2%, then skim).  Also, you must be a garlic-lover to truly love these potatoes.  Roasted garlic is a much lighter, subtler flavor.  However, even the gently-simmered raw garlic in the half-and-half is cooked just enough to take the bite out of the raw garlic. 

I'll list the complete recipe as Alton lists it, and in parenthesis let you know how much of each I used to make a smaller, but substantial amount of mashed potatoes (I'd guess at least six side dishes, plenty of leftovers which would make some awesome potato pancakes!)  And FYI, I was initially reluctant to use the complete amount of H&H because when you add this much liquid, it looks like potato soup.  But after mashing it all together, adding the Parmesan, then letting stand for 5 or so minutes, they come out perfectly.


3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (2 #)
2 Tbsp kosher salt (1 Tbsp)
16 oz half-and-and (8 oz/1 cup)
6 cloves of garlic, crushed (3 large for me)
6 oz grated Parmesan (I used 2 oz)

Peetl and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size.  Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil.  Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.

Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering.  Remove from heat and set aside (do this step while the potatoes are cooking to further mellow-out the garlic).

Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water.  Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture and Parmesan; stir to combine.  Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Oven Beer Can Chicken

Have you ever made a beer-can chicken?  They are absolutely wonderful, so so so moist with incredible flavor!  Generally, these are done on a grill, but ours isn't large enough to accomodate the can and chicken.  So I looked on-line for an oven version and believe me, this is every bit as good as the grilled version.  Plus, I happened upon this can holder some time ago and just got around to using it.  The recipe came from


Before you begin to cook your chicken, you will want to ensure that it has been thoroughly seasoned.  You can purchase a rub or season from your local store, or you can make your own.  Here is a recipe for Beer Can Chicken Rub that will ensure your chicken is seasoned to perfection.

Beer Can Chicken Rub (I used half of the rub for this chicken, so I have enough left for another chicken)

2 Tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne (I only used 1/8 tsp)
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dry mustard

Combine all ingredients in a jar.  You can store the rub in an airtight container for up to six months.  Make sure to shake the rub thoroughly before using.

Wash the whole chicken thoroughly, and remove all innards.  Be sure to pat the chicken dry.  Next you will use the rub on the inside and outside of the bird.  You will need one can of beer that has been set at room temperature.   Open the tab, and also use a bottle opener opening a couple more holes (this helps the beer escape while it cooks).  You will need to empty out some of the beer.  Make sure that half of the beer is left in the can.  You can add some (2-3 Tbsp) of the Oven Beer Can Chicken Rub through the holes to flavor the beer.

The next step is to place the chicken over the beer can.  Holding the chicken upright, place the chicken over the beer can until the can is snugly fit inside the chicken.  The chicken is then placed into a roasting pan to prevent any drippings from falling into the oven.  You can also use the drippings to create your gravy.  If your chicken is unstable, you can use skewers to help it stand.  Roast in the oven at 350 for 2 hours (mine took about 1 hour and 15 minutes.....I used a thermometer inserted into the thigh until it reached 170), or until the skin is crisp, the chicken meat is done, and the juice runs clear.  You don't need to baste the chicken; the beer will ensure that the chicken remains moist.  Remove the chicken from the oven and separate the chicken from the beer can.  Let stand ten minutes before carving.  (You can also use a wedge of apple or orange to block the neck-cavity hole).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hawaiian Chicken

Personally, I'm just not a big fan of canned pineapple. Never have been.  But this recipe (as usual, I cut this recipe in half) called for just 6 Tbsp of fresh pineapple and also some juice, so I just bought a small can of crushed pineapple and used the juice with that.  And it worked great!  I think this is probably a revised 60's-era Hawaiian Chicken (remember the pineapple rings with the maraschino cherry in the middle?).  Instead, this is a pineapple-based salsa on top of a marinated and grilled chicken breast.

I found the recipe in "Cooking Light-Five Star Recipes."  I especially like this cookbook because it gives menu suggestions (do you ever come up with a great entree, but can't figure out what to serve with it?).  So, as recommended, I served it with yellow rice and steamed broccoli with lemon slices.  This is a great make-head dish, as the chicken and salsa need to sit for several hours.


1/4 cup unsweetened orange juice
2 Tbsp unsweetened pineapple juice
1 tsp minced fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp salt
4 (4 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp finely chopped sweet red pepper
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp unsweetened orange juice
1 tsp seeded, finely chopped jalapeno pepper
Vegetable cooking spray
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine first 4 ingredients in a shallow dish, and stir well.  Add chicken, turning to coat.  Cover and marinate in frig for 2 hours, turning occassionally.

Combine pineapple and next 5 ingredients, stir well.  Cover and let stand at room temp for 2 hours.

Remove chicken from marinade, reserving marinade.  Place marinade in a small saucepan; bring to a boil.  Remove from heat; set aside.

Coat grill rack with cooking spray; place on grill over medium-hot coals (I use a George Foreman grill).  Sprinkle 1/2 tsp pepper over chicken.  Place grill on rack; grill, covered 5 minutes on each side (mine took less time), basting with reserved marinade.

To serve, top each chicken breast w/3 Tbsp pineapple mixture. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chicken Salad with Grapes

OK, I'm sure you've all made this salad before.  But I had to post this just in case you hadn't, or had just forgotten about it, I had to post this one.

I found some chopped up chicken in the freezer from several months ago and since I'm, again, on a mission to try to use up stuff in the freezer, I pulled this out.  There wasn't much, about a cup.  I used some in Teriyaki Fried Rice (see 12/29/10) last night so thought I'd just mix up some chicken salad.  I don't know why this was just so good this afternoon, but it was!  The chicken was exceptionally tasty (I think I had probably made some stock: onions, carrots, celery, herbs, with the whole chicken) and had a great texture (freezing too long, well, you can get kinda rubbery).

So, I just cut some red grapes in half, minced some onion and celery, and finely chopped some pecans.  I didn't feel like going out to the garage to get the mayo, so I had just added some Buttermilk Dressing (see January).  So good.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cheese and Buttermilk Biscuits

This is a home-made version of Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits.  Now, I have made the knock-off recipes before and have always been pleased with the results.  This recipe is very similar, but it's they're completely all Bisquick, no shortening.  Since these biscuits use butter instead of shortening, they won't rise as high, but they're absolutely light and fluffy (camera position poor here....they look more like cookies, but they do indeed come out looking like biscuits!)

I'd like to try this recipe again adding some garlic into the dough, not just the butter on top.  But they're wonderful, just as they are.  And they freeze wonderfully.  This recipe will make 12-14 biscuits, depending on how much of the extra dough you use after cutting the original 12.

Cheese and Buttermilk Biscuits (makes 12-14 biscuits)

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cold
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 baking soda
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
about 3/4 cup buttermilk

2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 450.  Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Cut butter into flour mixture using pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in cheese then stir in enough buttermilk so dough leaves the sides of the bowl.  Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead very lightly until dough forms a soft ball, about 10 times.  Do not overwork the dough to result in fluffier biscuits.  Roll or pat 1/2" thick.  Cut with floured 2 1/2" biscuit cutters.  Place 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. 

Mix together melted butter, garlic salt, and parsley flakes.  Brush the tops of the warm biscuits with the garlic butter and serve hot.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mango Quinoa Salad

A wonderful summer side salad with my favorite grain, quinoa.  I've been eating this suddenly-fashionable grain for years and love it's nutty flavor and subtle crunch/snap.   I make a lot of black bean/corn salad, especially during the summer, but had never added mango.  How refreshing!

I halved the original recipe and this made about 4 nice-sized side salads.

1 cup prepared quinoa (I like to cook mine in chicken broth)
1/2 can 14-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium mango, peeled and diced, or to taste
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
chopped cilantro to taste, about 2 Tbsp
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp EVOO
1/2-1 Tbsp freshly-squeezed lime juice, to taste

Place first six ingredients in a bowl (quinoa through cilantro).  In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice.  Pour on top of salad.  Toss to combine and add S&P to taste.  Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Baked Swai

Have you ever heard of Swai?  I hadn't, and I thought that if I had not eaten every kind of fish and seafood out there, I was sure I had at least heard of them.  Wrong!  And of all places to find this new catch?  Wal-Mart in Chattanooga, TN!

So, the bag says "mild, flaky white fish."  Sounded kinda like tilapia, which we each quite frequently, so I picked up a bag.  I looked on-line for a very simple recipe because I wanted to taste the fish, not  the sauce or coating. 

We weren't disapppointed at all.  Loved it!  I found it to be quite similar to tilapia.  I've since learned more about Swai on-line.  While I really liked this recipe, I will be trying it other ways, but we'll definitely be coming back to this one.  And compared to prices on so many other seafood varieties, this is a steal.  I think I bought a two pound bag for under $7.

I'm listing the recipe I found ( in the amounts they listed, but I only used 2 fillets (about 4 oz each), less olive oil,  and I used Panko breadcrumbs instead of that other stuff.  I used an 8x8 baking dish, and my baking time was a few minutes shorter since my fillets were smaller.  I served this with brown rice and that wonderful Green Salad with Orange Dressing (see previous post "Go-To Summer Salad" posted on May 31st). 

BAKED SWAI (4 servings)

1 Tbsp butter
4 Swai fillets, about 6 oz each
3 Tbsp EVOO, divided
1 cup breadcrumbs, plain

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly butter 13x9 baking dish.  Brush Swai fillets on both sides with EVOO.  Season with S&P.  Dredge in breadcrumbs on both sides.  Arrange fillets in pan.

Drizzle 1 tsp EVOO over each fillet.  Bake until cooked through, 12-15 minutes.

Turn oven to broil.  Broil until crust is golden, watching closely to avoid burning, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to plates, squeeze lemon over top, and serve.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rice and Noodle Pilaf w/Edamame and Grilled Shrimp

I ran across this recipe the other day in the Chattanooga Free-Times Press newspaper on their Wednesday food section.  And what a winner!  What an interesting combo!  Loved it, loved it, loved it!  I only wish I would have doubled the recipe so I could have had left-overs!  You know I love shrimp and I also really love edamames (soy beans), and I really love dill.  No wonder this will be on our table all summer long.  So, thank you, Timesfreepress for a wonderful new recipe!


1/2 Tbsp+ 1 tsp EVOO
1 Tbsp lemon juice
8 oz large raw shrimp, deveined and peeled
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 oz Canadian Bacon, finely chopped
6 Tbsp fine egg noodles, broken up
6 Tbsp instant brown rice
2 Tbsp dry white wine
1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame (you could substitute baby lima beans or even black-eyed peas, but don't you dare!!!!)
3/4 cup chicken broth
S&P to taste
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, plus a few sprigs for garnish

Light a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill to high (I roasted my shrimp as I have become the BIGGEST roasted shrimp advocate ever!  I used 25-30 shrimp and roasted them in the oven for 6 minutes). 

In a bowl, whisk together 1 tsp olive oil and lemon juice.  Add the shrimp, toss to coat, set aside.

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, the remaining 1/2 Tbsp of oil.  Add the onion and bacon and saute until the onion becomes translucent, about 2 minutes.

Add the noodles and rice and cook, stirring often, until the noodles begin to brown, about 3 minutes.  Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until the wine has evaporated, about 2 minutes.  Add the edamame and chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, thread the shrimp onto 4 bamboo or metal skewers.  Season both sides with S&P.  Grill, until the shrimp are pink and firm, about 1 1/2 minutes per side (as stated previously, I roasted my shrimp, about 6 minutes for 25/30 shrimp).

Remove the pilaf from the heat and let stand, covered for 3 minutes.  Stir in the dill and season w/pepper.  Serve the pilaf topped with shrimp.  Garnish with additional dill, if desired.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Orange Blazed Bundt Cake

Easy-peasy!  Great basic coffee cake to make for yourself or someone else.  I made this for Jim's office.  However, if I were making it for myself I would lighten it up a bit by substituting Egg Beaters (1 cup) for the 4 eggs, and I would use 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup oil, plus I would use light sour cream.  I would also only use half of the powdered sugar for the glaze.  Still moist and tasty.


1 package yellow cake mix
1 small instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2-1 tsp orange zest (optional)


1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2-4 Tbsp orange juice
1/2-1 tsp orange zest (optional)

Beat all ingredients until light and fluffy.  Pour into a well greased and floured bundt pan (I use the Baker's Cooking Spray which has oil and flour and it works great for me).  Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes (mine came out fine at 45 minutes).  When toothpick comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs sticking to it, it is done. 

Let cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan.  Cool completely before drizzling whisked glaze over.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer Tortellini Salad

It may not be June 21st, but I'm telling you, summer is here in Chattanooga.  Mid to upper 90's all week.  If I'm going to be using the oven, it will be first thing in the morning or not at all.  This means just one thing to me:  time to pull out the salad recipes.  This is a new one I ran across last year and never got around to using.  What a shame!  It's a wonderful twist on traditional pasta salad.  And of course it would be so fun and easy to change it up everytime you make it, adding or substituting new vegetables like broccoli, yellow squash, peppers, whatever you have on hand.  And although the original recipe listed below didn't include it, I grilled a 4 oz chicken breast and shredded that into the salad.  Serve it on a bed of lettuce and a crusty baguette.  A great, complete hot-weather meal.

SUMMER TORTELLINI SALAD (this recipe serves two)

6 oz cheese-filled tortellini (I used frozen, but you could certainly use the fresh or dried version)
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, peeled and thinly sliced (or a couple of baby carrots)
1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if extra large)
2 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley (or 2 tsp dried)
1/4 cup (or to taste) of your favorite Ranch dressing (I use our favorite Buttermilk dressing, found under January 2011 recipes)
Parmesan cheese, to taste
Shredded or chopped grilled or rotisserie chicken, optional

Cook tortellini according to package directions, drain and rinse under cold water.  Place tortellini in a large colander and drain.  Add vegetables to tortellini.  Pour salad dressing over salad.  Grate parmesan and mix.  Cover and refrigerator at least two hours before serving.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Royal Wedding Gifts!

OK, once again not the best photo, but I just had to share what my friend Donna sent me for my birthday gift.  I simply could not believe what showed up in the mail on Saturday!  Donna flies internationally with American Airlines and guess where she was on April 29th, the date of the Royal Wedding?  LONDON!  I remember when Charles and Diana got married and apparently the big souvenir item was, get ready.....Tea Towels!  I thought that was such a hoot, so I asked her to pick up a few for me.  And, as usual, Donna didn't stop there.  So here's a list of my bounty:

2 crystal high-ball glass with 24 carat gold embossed "William and Kate" with the royal crest and wedding date
the most gorgeous beveled paperweight, also with W&K, crest, date.  It is stunning.
The Official Programme from the wedding
Pitkin Guide W&K Royal Souvenir book
beautifully embossed Christmas ornament
key chain with a photo of the couple
frig magnent with photo
three tea towels (two for sharing......HAH!!!)
three newspapers...I hadn't even thought of that!  And there so cool.  Two are from that morning (The Times and the Daily Mail), and then at 2:30 (the ceremony was at 11 a.m.) the London Evening Standard released the first paper showing the newlyweds!  Donna said when she got it the ink was still wet. 

She said it was so amazing to be there that day and I cannot thank her enough for the incredibly wonderful gifts she sent.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Greek Omelette

Help Wanted!  Food Stylist/Photographer!

That being said, I still had to post this omelette.  Those who know me know I do not like breakfast foods!  Give me a salad before you give me breakfast!  But Jim and I have a weekly date with a local restaurant and we go every Sunday morning because you can order anything on their menu, not just breakfast.  But he has ordered their Greek Omelet a couple of times and I absolutely love it.  No recipe here, so simple and so good.  All it is is eggs (I use Egg Beaters), tomatoes, and feta cheese.  I am so bad about thinking outside of the box and never thought beyond cheddar or jack cheese for an omelette, but feta just puts these eggs over the top!  Give it a shot if you are a feta fan.  Yummy!!!