Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Signature Salad (Cosi)

I saw this recipe on the Brown Eyed Baker's site and decided it sounded delish. Come to find out, it's a copycat Signature Salad from Cosi recipe.
I have heard of Cosi Restaurant, we have one within a 45 minute drive, it's just not something we have ever thought to go to.

We made this as a side dish to a chicken dish, and it went perfectly. Every layer of flavor was perfectly balanced. I then ate off it for two days following. Pleasantly surprised at how the mixed greens held up to the fact that it was dressed. No wilted lettuce here!

I did not take the time to peel my pears, it added another pop of color and we liked it that way. Sherry vinegar was harder to find than I thought, I grabbed what I thought was it, but it was sherry cooking wine. Used it anyway, no problems.

8 oz mixed greens
2 Cup red grapes, sliced in half
2 Pears (peeled, cored, and diced)
⅔ Cup Craisins
½ Cup shelled pistachios
2 oz Gorgonzola cheese

1 Medium shallot, minced
1 Clove garlic, minced
½ Tsp salt
¼ Tsp fresh ground pepper
½ Cup Sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
½ Cup olive oil

1. Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl
2. Combine all dressing ingredients (minus olive oil)  in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Slowly pour olive oil into the vinegar mixture in a steady stream.
4. Pour over salad and toss to combine
5. Serve immediately


Salad Ingredients: Yes, I took the time to shell my pistachios because that is what I had on hand

Dressing ingredients

Dressing, whisked and ready to go

If I had another pear in my house, I would make this again right now!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cheesy Spinach and Bacon Dip

I am a sucker for anything with cheese...or spinach...or bacon...or any dip.
Yeah, I am easy to please.

I cut this recipe off the side of my Velveeta box, but found the recipe online for your ease.

The recipe calls for this to be microwaved. I just used my small crock pot and set it on warm awhile before our guests arrived, stirring every now and again. Everything melted perfectly and the crock kept the dip warm and gooey all day.

A couple of friends and I spent a good portion of the day crowded around said crock pot. Call us sad if you want, but it was so delish we didn't want to walk away. Or maybe we were just making sure nobody else got any of it!

1 Package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
1 Lb (16 oz) Velveeta, cubed
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
1 Can (10 oz) diced tomatoes with chilies, undrained
8 Slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1. Add all ingredients
2. Microwave on high 5 minutes or until Velveeta is melted (stir after 3 minutes)


Ingredients. I am thinking you could get away with using bacon bits, but I like using cooked bacon whenever possible.

Per usual, I forgot an ingredient in the picture. Here is the remaining half of my block of cream cheese.

A special shout out to the girl child for being my dip model. I paid her by allowing her to eat that chip and dip.

Friday, July 26, 2013

White Cheddar and Garlic Mashed Potato

Potato is such a delicious and versatile ingredient. It has so much flavor on it's own, or can easily be manipulated to take on a veritable plethora of different flavors.

Hubby is your stereotypical meat and potato type of man. I don't mind this, as it makes him easy to please. 
Lately I have been beyond busy with other "things" and have been making just quick meals. Feeling guilty of not properly taking care of my family, I decided to do some faves with a twist. 
This night I made him simple steak tips, tomato/feta salad and these mashed potatoes I saw on Closet Cooking.

On hand, I did not seem to have a whole head of garlic. Shame on me! I did have minced, so I used a heaping tablespoon of that, it seemed to work just fine. Left a hint of the garlic flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.
I also like my potato a bit creamier, so I ended up adding another 1/4 cup of heavy cream.
We were really surprised at how much of the white cheddar flavor really did come through! They are subtle flavors, but enough that anyone you serve this to will be pleasantly surprised.

1 Lb potato (peeled and cubed)
1 Head garlic (peeled)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter (room temp)
½ Cup sour cream
¼ Cup heavy cream
½ Cup white cheddar cheese (grated)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Boil potatoes and garlic until the potato is fork tender
2. Drain potato, return to pan, and mash
3. Mix in the butter, sour cream, heavy cream, and cheese
4. Season with salt and pepper

Very simple ingredients. I usually have all of this on hand (or if not, I will now so I can make these anytime!)

Mashed, creamy goodness

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mini Cheesecakes

As long as I can remember, my aunt has been making these cheesecakes.
My version of the recipe is scribbled on the back of an envelope during a phone call to her.

With the popularity of Pinterest, I have seen my little cupcakes everywhere!

Auntie usually makes hers with cherry pie filling, but I have used strawberry and blueberry as well. All are delicious! I have a cousin who requests hers plain when they are made for an event. It's all personal preference.

12 oz box vanilla wafer
2 (8 oz each) blocks of cream cheese, softened
¾ Cup sugar
2 Eggs
1 Tsp vanilla

1 Can pie filling

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Add one cookes to each cup.
3. In bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy
4. Fill each cup about to the top
5. Bake for 40 minutes
6. Cool cheesecakes, and top with a spoonful of pie filling


I used cherry this time. Yum!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

If your day is ever glum, or no good, or just not up to par...the easiest way to fix it is to bake some cookies!

I had seen this recipe on the Pioneer Woman's site and had to make them. A slight twist on what we all know and love...sold!

Admittedly, I held on to this recipe for a long time before I made them since apparently no store in my area sells malted milk! I finally googled it and realized I had only been checking the baking section, it never occurred to me to check with the hot chocolate. Never did I find just regular Carnation malted milk, but Ovaltine malted milk seemed to work just fine.

Has anyone tried both and can tell me if they taste a difference?

1 Cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ Cups brown sugar
¾ Cup sugar
2 Eggs
2 Tsp vanilla extract
2 Cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ Tsp baking soda
1 ¼ Tsp salt
⅓ Cup (rounded) malted milk powder
1 (12 oz) bag milk chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Cream butter, then add both sugars and cream until fluffy.
3. Add eggs and beat slightly, then add vanilla and beat until combined.
4. Add malted milk powder and beat until combined
5. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
6. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating gently until just combined.
7. Add chocolate chips and stir gently.
8. Drop by teaspoonfulls and bake for 10-12 minutes.


Buying Ovaltine made me feel 5 again!

Missing Ingredient: SALT
I should start my own collection of stock photos since I always seem to be forgetting something in the picture!

Every time hubby or the girl walks by, they eat one. Guess that means they pass the taste test!

This recipe was shared on: Let's Dish Recipes and Tumbleweed Contessa

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pistachio Cake

Poor, poor pistachio!
More often than not I hear "oh, no thanks...I don't like pistachio"
Seriously people?

Give it a fair try, what did pistachio ever do to you?

Frankly, it's a fave of mine. Pudding, ice cream, shelled nuts, I will eat them all.

This cake was super easy due to the inclusion of a boxed cake mix. I love desserts that come together really quickly and look/taste like you slaved.

1 Box white cake mix
1 Package (4oz) pistachio instant pudding mix
½ Cups orange juice
½ Cup water
½ Cup vegetable oil
4 Eggs
¾ Cups chocolate syrup

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Grease and flour bundt pan
3. Mix all ingredients but chocolate syrup and beat for two minutes on medium-high
4. Pour ¾ of the batter into the bundt pan
5. Add chocolate syrup to the remaining batter and mix well.
6. Pour chocolate batter on top of the pistachio batter
7. Bake for 1 hour


Please ignore the fact that apparently someone attacked my OJ before I got to making this cake

Very moist, and a crowd pleaser!

Original recipe adapted from here

Monday, July 15, 2013

Quick Carne Asada

As a working family, with a daughter who has boat-loads of homework, we are always looking for quick weeknight meals.

This meat was cooked so quickly, that it is perfect for any night of the week. You cam serve it as a main dish, or as a side.
I had some tortillas left over so decided to make steak tacos out of it.

Learn from me....soft corn tortillas do not make for awesome tacos. The taste is yum, but they broke apart all over the place. Daughter and hubby went back for seconds...and a fork and knife! They just piled everything on and ate it as is. Whatever works!

1 Lb flank steak
Red, green, or yellow peppers
1 Onion
1 Tbsp oil
¼ Tsp salt
¼ Tsp pepper

1. Slice steak into ½ inch strips, cutting against the grain
2. Slice peppers and onions
3. Heat oil in frying pan and begin to cook meat
4. Season with salt and pepper
5. Add in peppers and onions and cover for 5 minutes
6. Stir occasionally
7. Cook until juices have reduced and meat is cooked through

Basic ingredients. I did add a bit of garlic powder while it was cooking

Hubby making his taco #1.
Yes, I ambushed him in the kitchen. Thankfully he is a patient man.

Recipe adapted from here

This recipe was shared at: Call me PMC

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Bread

I did question if this qualifies as a recipe. It only has two ingredients for Pete's sake!
"In Ree we trust!"
(I do enjoy the Pioneer Woman, she is just so relate-able!)

I made this to go along with some soup.

This is the best bread I have ever had.
Hubby keeps eating the leftovers.
He even melted cheese on some of it.

While at the grocery store this weekend, he convinced me that we need it!
So, as I type this, my butter is sitting out to soften.

Warning: This is not for dieters.

1 Loaf French bread, split lengthwise
2 Sticks salted butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Spread one stick of softened butter onto each half of the bread
3. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes
4. Put broiler on high and bake for 3-5 minutes, watching the whole time
5. Bread is done when butter has started to brown and blacken


Simple simple simple

Oh so sweet...and tastes like so much more than bread and butter!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cheddar Ale Spread

We were having friends over just for a quick visit, like a drop in on their way to an anniversary dinner.

My mother raised me to always have something. I cannot have people come over, or go somewhere without food in hand!

Knowing they were going out to eat shortly after leaving our house, I didn't want anything too heavy. Something they could just nibble at and still leave room for dinner.

This recipe had been floating around my mountain sized pile of "to make" recipes for quite some time, and this was the time to use it.

So easy, and made with foods I already had on hand, it was made in no time flat!
I served this with pretzels and celery...both were the perfect taste match.

8 oz cream cheese (softened)
2 Tsp dijon mustard
2 ½ Cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp heavy cream
¼ Tsp salt
¼ Cup beer (anything but a light beer)
2 Tbsp fresh or 2 Tsp dried parsley

1. Combine everything except the beer. Process in food processor for 30 seconds.
2. Add the beer and continue processing until very smooth.
3. Pulse in the parsley until just dispersed.
4. Serve immediately. Or take out of the refrigerator an hour before serving.


Ingredients: And yes, it is very important not to use a "light" beer, it will mess with the deep flavor

You know you want to reach over and dig right in!

Monday, July 8, 2013

York Peppermint Ice Cream Bars

My daughter and I share the love for everything mint chocolate.

We are not sure if our obsession has to do with just complete love for the flavor...or out of desperation for something hubby won't grab for when he is in a sugar mood.

The girl and I know that we can have peppermint patties, Thin Mints, and mint chocolate chip ice cream undisturbed.

While at BJ's one day, my daughter spotted these. She had the big, wet, puppy dog eye look of course I said "yes" ulterior motive....nooooo.

From the first bite we were in love.

Not too pepperminty (is that a word?)
Not too chocolately (another questionable word)

But very, very large. We tend to cut them and split them.
Would I buy these again? Absolutely!

Disclaimer: This is my opinion and my opinion only. There has been no compensation for this posting.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Snowball Cookies

My daughter had a friend over and I thought these cookies would be fun for them to make. I ran to the store, grabbed the ingredients and set the butter out to soften.
The night went on, and they were too interested in watching movies. Cookie time with Mom was out of the question.

Fast forward to the next day, I came home from work thinking we would get right into cookie rolling.
Nope...her friend had a school project to work on and was going to be leaving shortly, in fact, her father was on his way.

My only child spent the rest of the night in hiding. She (forever!) has needed decompression time after a friend leaves, or when she comes home from a friend's (especially one with siblings). She is one of those very few who enjoy being an only child and only remembers when she deals with sharing her "space". cookies then either.

Fast forward again. I came home from work, made dinner, and then sat down on the couch with a book.
All of a sudden my hubby is going "what in the world ARE you doing"?
I couldn't stand it anymore.
I had ingredients. I had soft butter.
I was baking cookies at 9 pm on a work night. Anyone who knows me knows this is too "late" for me to start a project on a work night.
There was no way I was going to be able to sleep without these being made.

Hubby test-ate one for me that night. He gave it two thumbs up.
Brought a couple with me to work the next day for an afternoon treat. Oh yum!

I can see these easily making their way into my Christmas cookie list. The original recipe has candy sugar rolled on it for the holidays. Hint taken!

6 oz peanut butter chips
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
¼ Cup powdered sugar, sifted
¼ Cup peanuts, finely chopped

3 Cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ Cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Powdered sugar

1. Combine chips in a double boiler and heat until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
2. Add powdered sugar and peanuts. Mix well.
3. Let chocolate mixture sit at room temperature until firm enough to shape.
4. Roll ¾ inch balls and set aside.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
6. In large bowl combine flour, butter, and vanilla.
7. Knead until well blended.
8. Shape into one 11-inch roll log. Cut into ¼ inch slices.
9. Take a slice of dough, and use your fingers to gently spread out.
10. Place a chocolate ball in the center of the slice.
11. Shape dough around filling, seal and roll into a ball.
12. Roll ball in powdered sugar.
13. Place on un-greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
14. Cool slightly, and then roll in powdered sugar again.


Filling Ingredients

Dough Ingredients

Slightly lumpy, but very much delicious snowball cookies!

This recipe was shared on: Let's Dish Recipes

Monday, July 1, 2013

Meatball Minestrone (Crock Pot)

I am always online in search of new recipes to try. I have even hoarded multiple versions of the same recipe...just because sometimes slight variations make a world of difference.

I came across this recipe here, on the Jamie Cooks It Up site. It looked easy, family friendly, and (of course, my fave) was made for the crock pot!
I did change the directions, the original called for frozen meatballs (so feel free to use if you would like) I preferred to make my own.

My daughter's friend was going through a rough time the other day and so she decided to invite her over. Get out of the house, change of scenery, laughter with know what she was aiming for.
This soup happened to already be in the pot cooking away for dinner.
It seemed like it was "meant to be". Broken hearts need comfort...what better comfort than a big bowl of delicious homemade soup with people who love you?
Now that is good for the soul!

I will add, even with the four of us eating this..and then me taking it to work for lunches, there was still a LOT left. This does freeze well, which means another meal is ready to go!
If you decide to put your pasta in the crock to cook, it will get mushy. It will soak up most of your broth.
Your call, but consider this a public service announcement!

3 (14.5 oz) cans Italian style stewed tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
4 Cups beef broth
1 ½ Cup carrot, sliced
½ Cup onion, chopped
1 Cup green beans
1 Tsp oregano, dried
1 Tsp Thyme, dried
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can garbonzo beans
6 Cups meatballs, cooked
1 (16 oz) box ditalini pasta
1 (10 oz) can tomato soup
Parmesan Cheese

1. In large crock pot, pour 3 cans tomatoes and 1 can tomato sauce.
2. Add beef broth.
3. Slice up your veggies, add to crock pot.
4. Add seasonings.
5. Add beans
6. Add meatballs
7. Cook on high for 6-8 hours.
8. Add tomato soup. Mix well.
9. Cook pasta according to package directions.
10. To serve, add pasta to bottom of bowl and spoon soup over. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.


Ingredients: Fresh green beans can be used, but I had frozen on hand

Little baby meatballs for my soup!

This was so hearty and filling, yum!