Monday, June 29, 2009

Pineapple Pork Stir-Fry

When I was chatting with my neighbor a week or so ago, we were both complaining about being out of dinner ideas. But when I asked what she was cooking that night, she mentioned this recipe. This was a totally new dish for my family, so we were excited about it. It was easy, different than a traditional ol' chicken dish and yummy!

Pineapple Pork Stir-Fry
(thanks Cheri!)

1 can (20 oz.) Pineapple chunks
1/2 pound pork roast, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 yellow onion, cut into wedges
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tblsp. vegetable oil
2 tblsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 small bunch (about 3/4 lb.) broccoli florets
1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Drain pineapple, reserve 1/2 cup juice. In skillet or wok, stir fry pork with garlic, onion, and ginger in hot oil. Mix reserved juice, soy sauce and cornstarch. Stir into pork mixture. Top with pineapple, broccoli, and nuts. Cover; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until veggies are crisp-tender. Remove from heat and stir all together. Serve over rice.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lemon Lime Tartlets

My friend Chelsea sent me a link to this recipe just the other day. I usually just print things out and add it to my "to-try" box but this sounded so good at the time I made them right away. I had to laugh though--Chelsea thought it would be insulting to me for her to recommend a recipe that wasn't 100% from scratch. WHAT? Whatever Chels. I love easy, simple recipes that taste great--so thanks for sharing!
OH, one more thing...the recipe calls these "mini tartlets," but I would disagree. They are muffin sized, which was fine, but next time I make them, I am going to try them in mini-muffin tins--they would be awesome bite-size!

Mini Lemon Lime Tartlets
1 pkg. (16.5 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Bar Dough
1 can (14 oz.)
NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 pkg. (8 oz.) 1/3 less fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel) or regular cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups thawed fat free, reduced fat or regular frozen whipped topping
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 cup lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lime peel
Additional lemon and lime quarter slices, peel curls or grated peel (optional)

Directions:PREHEAT oven to 325º F. Paper-line 24 muffin cups.
CUT dough along pre-scored lines; place one piece of cookie dough in each muffin cup.
BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cookies will be puffy. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
BEAT sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese in large mixer bowl until smooth. Gently fold in whipped topping. Divide mixture into two medium bowls. Stir lemon juice and lemon peel into one bowl and lime juice and lime peel into other bowl.
POUR about 3 tablespoons lemon cream cheese mixture over 12 cookie cups. Repeat with lime cream cheese mixture and remaining cookie cups.
(this step really confused me--I am not sure what they are trying to say, except to just put a scoop of the lime and a scoop of the lemon in each sugar cookie cup, which is what I did)Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Decorate with lemon and lime quarter slices, curls or peel, if desired. (or slice of strawberry or a raspberry)
TIPS:• Using low and reduced fat cream cheese and whipped topping helps to make these treats lower in fat.• Love lemon but not crazy about lime? Simply double the lemon juice and grated lemon peel in the recipe and leave out the lime, and make 24 lemon tartlets. Tartlets may be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Allow to thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Broccoli with Bleu Cheese

My sister emailed me this recipe a while back. We decided to try it out for our Father's Day dinner, since Marc is a huge bleu cheese fan. We ALL became fans after this recipe--we loved it!

Broccoli with Bleu Cheese
(thanks Rebecca!)

2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 c. milk
3 oz. cream cheese
1/3 c. crumbled bleu cheese
1 1/4 lb. fresh steamed broccoli

Melt butter in saucepan.
Stir in flour and heat until bubbly.
Slowly add milk and stir until mixture thickens.
Add cream cheese adn bleu cheese.
Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
Pour over broccoli and serve.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

S'mores Cookies

Smores are such a traditional camping food. And summer is such a traditional time to go camping. But we live in TX and it is just too darn HOT and humid to camp in the summer. So this cookie recipe came in quite handy--it mimmicks the traditional smore without having to feel like you are in a tent sauna surrounded by singing cicadas!
I pulled this recipe out of this month's MS EveryDay Food. I can usually link to the actual recipe on her site, but for some reason can't find this one. Too bad, because I was hoping you could see her picture--I forgot to take one and they look neat. Oh well, just imagine a stacked cookie, then chocolate, then marshmallow toasted. YUM!

S'mores Cookies
(MS EveryDay Food, July 2009)

1/2 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1 c. all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 c. whole wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. light brown sugar
1 large egg
8 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, but into 30 squares
(I used the snack-size Hershey bars and broke them in half)
15 large marshmallows, halved horizontally

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor, pulse oats until finely ground.
Add flours, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; pulse to combine.
In a large bowl, using and electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg, scraping down side of bowl.
With mixer on low, beat in flour mixture just until combined.
Drop by tablespoons, 1 inch apart, onto two baking sheets.
Top each with a chocolate square.
Bake until just lightly golden, 11-13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.
Remove sheets from oven; heat broiler.
Top each cookie with a marshmallow.
One sheet at a time, broil until marshmallows are lightly browned, 1-1 1/2 minutes.
Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Water Chestnut Appetizers

I was looking for an easy but yummy appetizer for Marc's birthday party last weekend. My college roommate, Courtney, offered this suggestion. It was a huge hit! Definitely the first thing gone and many requests for the recipe, so here it is!

Water Chestnuts & Bacon
(thank Court! )

1 5 oz can of WHOLE water chestnuts, drained
1/4 c. soy sauce
8 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise (good quality maple bacon like they have at Costco works well for this recipe)
1/4 c. sugar

Bake bacon in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Combine drained water chestnuts and soy sauce. Let stand for 30 minutes. Discard soy sauce. Roll chestnuts in sugar.
Wrap bacon around each chestnut. Put a toothpick through it to secure it in place.
Arrange in broiler rack.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Drain on paper towel and serve immediately.

Note: Do not use the fancy toothpicks with the foil stuff at the top. It burns and isn't so pretty. Trust me on this one.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Yesterday was one of those days when I called Marc at work and asked what he wanted for dinner. I honestly had no ideas, didn't feel like anything specific and just needed a little inspiration. This is what he asked for and we all loved it!

Spaghetti Carbonara
(thanks to

1 pound spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 slices bacon, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
4 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain well. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and set aside.
Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook chopped bacon until slightly crisp; remove and drain onto paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat; add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and heat in reused large skillet. Add chopped onion, and cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add minced garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Add wine if desired; cook one more minute.
Return cooked bacon to pan; add cooked and drained spaghetti. Toss to coat and heat through, adding more olive oil if it seems dry or is sticking together. Add beaten eggs and cook, tossing constantly with tongs or large fork until eggs are barely set. Quickly add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and toss again. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that bacon and Parmesan are very salty).
Serve immediately with chopped parsley sprinkled on top, and extra Parmesan cheese at table.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Everything Salad

This is yet another salad recipe from my Rochester, NY recipe swap group. Still making it, 7 years later, and people are still asking for the recipe. Here it is!

Everything Salad
(thanks to Jessica Lee)

Salad greens (preferably spinach, or a “spring mix”)
Sliced mushrooms
Red onion
Feta Cheese
Blueberries (FRESH!)

½ red onion
2 c. sugar
4 tsp. Dry mustard
1 tsp. Salt
1 c. red wine vinegar

In Cuisinart, blend until frothy. Then slowly add 2 c. extra virgin olive oil.
(**Makes a LOT of dressing—you can store it for a while, or just cut the recipe in half)

Cafe Rio Pork Tacos

I have only eaten at Cafe Rio in Utah once or twice, so I am not the fanatic like others I know, and don't really know if this truly tastes like the real thing. Probably not--most knock-offs are a let down. But this recipe is still REALLY good--a favorite of mine--and it came with the name "Cafe Rio Pork," so I'll stick with it.

Cafe Rio Pork & Tomatillo Dressing
(thanks to Cami Arnold for passing this along during our online recipe swap!)

1-2 lb. pork loin
1 can tomato sauce
1 can green chiles
½ c. brown sugar

Put all 4 ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for about 8 hrs.—just cook until pork can pull apart easily & shred.

**This can be adjusted depending on how much meat you need to cook or how sweet or spicy you like it.

**I love the small, individually wrapped pork loins you can get at Costco. They come individually wrapped and sold in sets of 3.

Serve in tortillas with cheese, cilantro, lettuce, tomatoes, avacado, pico de gallo, etc………….whatever you like, but make sure you don’t forget the tomatillo dressing—it is the key!!!

Tomatillo Dressing
1 Buttermilk ranch dressing packet (Hidden Valley recommended)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayo (do not use low fat or fat free)
2 tomatillos, husk removed and diced (usually sold near tomatoes- they are green)
½ bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic
Juice of one lime
1 jalepeno – remove seeds- unless you like lots of spice (you could substitute a few drops of green tobasco)

Use a food processor to blend the ingredients well. Refrigerate for one to two hours before using.

**I halved the recipe and we still had more than enough, and also left out the jalepeno and/or tobasco because I didn’t’ have it, and it was still great and had enough kick.

Double Chocolate Brownies

A co-worker of mine brought these into work one night. I just about died. I LOVE brownies and these are some of the best I've tried. Maybe it's because I have gotten used to box brownie mix, I don't know, but these from-scratch brownies are amazing! They have a kind of crispy/flaky/sugary top and are super moist inside. DE-lish!

Double Chocolate Brownies
(thanks to Neal for sharing his mom's recipe!)
3/4 c. butter or margarine (1 1/2 sticks)
4 oz. (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate
(can substitute 12 Tblspn. cocoa powder + 1 tsp. margarine)
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. vanilla
1 (12 oz.) bag chocolate chips (2 cups)
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 9 X 13 pan with nonstick foil, leaving overhang.
In a large glass bowl, heat butter and unsweetened chocolate in microwave for 2 minutes.
Stir until smooth, and let stand for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
Whisk in sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla.
Stir in nuts and 1c. of the chocolate chips.
Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, until top is dry to the touch.
Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Lift brownies from pan with foil, cut and serve.