Friday, June 29, 2012

BLT and Avocado Pasta Salad

I love my fellow bloggers.  Found this tasty recipe over at Greens and Chocolate - a blog that you must visit as Taylor always has great recipes.  I am always wanting a new summer salad for our grilling nights.  This BLT and Avocado Pasta Salad was a great new find.   Also, a few other great summer salads to try - Craisin Salad, Summer Chicken Salad,  Oriental Cabbage Salad and the Easy Living Salad.  Enjoy!

BLT and Avocado Pasta Salad

12 oz penne pasta (or other favorite pasta)
6 slices bacon
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 tsp tried parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cook pasta according to direction for al dente pasta.  Meanwhile, cook bacon as you would like.  Set aside and let cool.  In small bowl, combine mayo, yogurt, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.  Mix well - set aside.  In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, spinach and bacon.  Once pasta is cone cooking ,drain and pour over vegetables and bacon to slightly wilt spinach.  Toss with dressing and avocado.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Serve Cold.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Frosted Brownies

As I mentioned before, I haven't been cooking much since summer started.  I am working full-time now and everyone is always on the go.

I searched in my old recipes and found this recipe from years back.  I noticed a friend from church, Liz, sent this to me via email back into 2001.  I am not sure why I haven't made it til now.  I had all of the ingredients on hand, trusted Liz's good judgement and gave these brownies a try.  We loved them.  With so many kids coming in and out, these were gone the next day!  Thanks Liz for a new recipe!


2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup melted margarine (i used butter)
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Mix together and bake in a greased 9 x 13 at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

Frosting (make while brownies are baking)

3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Boil together sugar, milk and butter until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and add chocolate chips.  Stir well.  Make frosting towards the end of the baking time for brownies.  Spread quickly because this frosting hardens fairly fast!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Chicken Tamale Bake

I just haven't been cooking much this summer.  It seems like no one is ever  home!  I did find this recipe over at The Daily Smash 101.  It reminded me of the Mexican Cornbread that my family loves so I gave it a try.  We enjoyed it.  The Daily Smash thought it was a good weekday meal and gave it a 4 1/2 rating.  I can taste the cornbread more in Mexican Cornbread.  I would probably let this bake til the cornbread is done before adding the sauce and chicken.  I still think it was a good choice for an easy weekday meal.  I used precooked grilled chicken from Costco that I cut into bite size pieces and heated it in the skillet with salt/pepper and some Mexican seasonings.  We were quite pleased!

Top with favorite toppings if desired - we enjoyed it as is!

Chicken Tamale Bake

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
 1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp chili powder
1 ( 14 3/4 oz) can cream corn
1 (8.5 oz) box Jiffy cornbread mix
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce
1 lb shredded or diced chicken
toppings - sour cream, lettuce, tomato, cilantro, etc.

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray a 9 x 13 with cooking spray.  Mix cheeses in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cheese, milk, egg, cumin, chili powder, corn, muffin mix and green chiles.  Stir just until moistened. Pour into 9 x 13 and bake for 15 minutes or until done. While cornbread is baking, cook chicken in a skillet over medium heat until cooked completely through.  Drain and season with salt and pepper.  Remove cornbread from oven. top with enchilada sauce, cooked chicken and the rest of the cheese.  Bake for another 15 minutes or so.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Loch Ness Bars

Found this new bar recipe in my Junior League Celebration Cookbook.  It is from the Children's Party Book in Hampton Roads, VA.  It is similar to a Scotch-a-Roo with more chocolate and added marshmallow.  I loved it - we all did but I think we all like Scotch-a-Roos better.  Still another great bar to try!

Loch Ness Bars  (Children's Party Book - Hampton Roads, VA)

1 stick butter
12 oz chocolate chips, divided
1 cup peanut butter
1 (10 oz) pkg miniature  marshmallows
4 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup peanuts (optional)
6 oz butterscotch chips

Combine the butter, 6 oz. chocolate chip and the peanut butter in a large saucepan.  Cook over low heat until melted, stirring until smooth.  Add the marshmallows and stir until melted.  Blend in the cereal and peanuts.  Spread in a  13 x 9 inch baking pan.  Chill until firm.  Melt the rest of the chocolate chips and and the butterscotch chips together, blending until smooth.  Spread on the chilled cereal mixture.  Cut into 1 x 2 inch bars.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Crack Dip

I just haven't gotten back in my cooking mode after a crazy graduation season.  I was looking around other blogs to be inspired.  I love Annie Bakes.  You should totally visit her blog - she just posted the coolest Orange Jell-O Wedges.  She always has new and fun recipes for me to try.  We are always in more of a "snacky" mode in the summer so when I saw her recipe for "Crack Dip", I just knew we had to try it.  Yes, it is has this unique name due to the addictive nature of the dip!  We loved it!



16 ounces sour cream
1 packet Ranch Dressing Mix
1 (3 ounce) jar Real bacon bits
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium size bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. Serve with crackers, baguettes or pretzels.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

EASY Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Love this new recipe!  Donna teaches with me at preschool and she made this for us.  She was nice to share the recipe.  It is easy and makes two loaf pans.  We scarfed it up.  Enjoy!

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

1 pkg lemon cake mix
1 small box instant coconut pudding
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil

Mix cake mix, pudding, eggs and oil together on medium speed for two minutes - then set aside for 15 minutes or longer.  Mix 1 cup boiling water and 1/4 cup poppy seeds and let stand for the 15 minutes.  Mix the two together and put into two greased bread pans or muffin tins.  Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes or until done in the middle.  Allow to cool slightly in pan then top with favorite glaze or frosting.

Lemon Glaze

2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh if have it
1 tsp lemon rind

Whisk together and drizzle over bread.

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