Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Grilled Pineapple

Pin It So I'm always trying to be healthy and this is the perfect dessert for those of you wanting to jump on the healthy train without sacrificing all sweets.  It's sweet, crisp and tangy.  Sometimes I enjoy mine with a scoop of ice cream on top (ok, not so healthy...).  This would be a great end to a summer BBQ.

This recipe was shared at Trick or Treat Tuesday and Weekend Potluck.

Grilled Pineapple
1 pineapple, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp honey
sprinkle of cinnamon

1. Slice pineapple into 1/2 inch rounds.  There is no need to core it before grilling.  I think the pineapple would  fall apart on the grill if you did.
2. In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, honey and cinnamon.
3. Grill pineapple for about 3 minutes per side over medium-high heat.  Brush on lime juice mixture.
4. Pineapple is done when the outside starts to caramelize and there are nice grill marks.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

Pin It Albert has a sweet tooth, but he is super picky about his treats.  I usually just buy refrigerated cookie dough at the store and bake them about once a week so Albert has something to snack on.  Well he decided that store bought cookies have too many chocolate chips in them and that they get stale quicker than homemade cookies.  (He's crazy, I know).  Well my track record with chocolate chip cookies is not great.  They usually turn out hard as a rock and they don't spread out.  I always just use the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag.  I have had this problem my entire life despite constantly trying to improve them.  Well, I'm happy to say that I finally found a recipe that turned out perfect!  These are moist, chewy and the perfect thickness for a good cookie.

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies
*Recipe from Lovin' From the Oven
2 cups all-purpose flour
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 3/4 cup butter, melted
 1 cup packed brown sugar
 1/2 cup white sugar
 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
 1 egg
 1 egg yolk
 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Cream melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar in a mixer.  Add vanilla and eggs and mix well.
2. Sift the dry ingredients and slowly add them to the mixer.  Mix until just combined.
3. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
4. Dough will be very sticky.  Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
6. Using a medium cookie scoop, place cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
7. Bake 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Strawberry Nectarine Poppyseed Salad

Pin It I've been on a salad kick for lunches lately.  I think it has something to do with all of the fresh produce that we have in the house from going to farmer's markets.  It inspires me to eat healthy.  I also just recently started making my own salad dressing.  It is surprisingly simple and so much healthier than bottled stuff because you know exactly what is in it.  I also used some of my Glazed Pecans for this salad to add some crunch.  This salad is crisp, sweet and healthy...all around summer perfection.

Check out Trick or Treat Tuesday for some craft and recipe ideas!

Strawberry Nectarine Poppyseed Salad
**Adjust amounts depending on the crowd you are feeding
Romaine lettuce
Nectarines, thinly sliced
Strawberries, thinly sliced
Glazed Pecans
Red onion, thinly sliced

Poppyseed Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tbsp white sugar, or to taste (I like mine a little sweeter)
2 tsp poppyseeds

1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together until well combined.
2. Arrange salad with romaine on the bottom and nectarines, strawberries and onions on top.  Sprinkle with glazed pecans.
3. Drizzle with dressing when ready to serve.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Glazed Pecans

Pin It So I know this might seem like more of a winter/holiday item, but it's not.  I love having glazed pecans in my salads.  They are also a delicious snack.  My mom has always made these and I always shied away from making my own for fear that it would be a mess to clean up and that they had to be complicated to taste so good.  With only 3 ingredients and 5 minutes total cook time you should be able to make these year round, not just at Christmas.  You don't just have to use pecans either, any nut can be glazed the same way. 
Come back in the next few days to see how I used these up!

Glazed Pecans
1 cup chopped pecans
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp water

1. Place all ingredients in a skillet on medium high heat.
2. Stir continuously until sugar melts and coats nuts.  Cook for about 3 minutes after the sugar melts.
3. Spread nuts onto a piece of wax paper to cool.
**Clean up is a breeze if you wash your pan while it is still warm.  I didn't want to wait to find out what would happen if I let the sugar harden.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Boneless Hawaiian Pork Ribs and Veggies

Pin It So here's one meal we used the Hawaiian sauce on.  This meal just screams summer.  Fresh veggies, grilling, delicious sauce...mmmm.  I also liked that almost the entire meal could be cooked on the grill.  The only thing I had to cook inside was some rice.  The leftovers were delicious the next day too!
This recipe was shared at the Weekend Potluck.  Check out all of the delicious recipes!

Boneless Hawaiian Pork Ribs and Veggies
2 lbs boneless pork ribs, country style
1 green pepper, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
1 small summer squash, diced
1/2 cup pineapple, diced
Hawaiian Sauce

**any vegetables would be delicious.  Next time I plan on using some red pepper and shredded carrots.

1. Heat grill to medium high heat.  Cover a grilling basket with foil for the veggies.  My basket is from Target or Kohls.  If you don't have a grilling basket, fold a piece of foil to make a shallow dish.
2. Cook meat on one side of the grill, basting with sauce and cook veggies on the other side.  Boneless pork ribs should cook about 5 minutes per side depending on the size of your pieces.
3. When vegetables start to brown, add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the Hawaiian sauce and let the sauce and veggies simmer for 3-5 minutes.
4. When pork is almost done cooking, add it to the veggie pan so that it really gets coated in the sauce.
5. Serve over rice, with extra sauce if desired.
My grilling basket
Just before serving

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hawaiian Sauce

Pin It I'm the queen of sauces.  I choose restaurants based on their condiment selection.  For example, I love Bandana's BBQ because they have about 8 different sauces just sitting on the table for me to enjoy.  I go to Red Lobster just because of their pina colada sauce and TGI Friday's because of their balsamic vinaigrette.  My husband makes fun of me all the time because of my obsession with smothering food in sauces because he is the complete opposite and hates adding sauce.  I was thrilled when I found a recipe for a sweet and sour type sauce while browsing Pinterest.  Silly me didn't pin the recipe and didn't bookmark the page so I can't give credit to the original inspiration.  If it is you please let me know!  Anyway, this sauce is fabulous.  Get excited for several yummy recipes coming later this week using this delicious sauce.

Hawaiian Sauce
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Soyaki sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp cornstarch

1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Whisk to combine the cornstarch.
2. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until sauce thickens. 
3. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.  Sauce will thicken when cooled so I bring mine to room temperature before using.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Garden Vegetable Quinoa

Pin It I'm always looking for interesting side dishes for dinner.  While I do love baked potatoes and pasta, I get bored.  I had a box of quinoa and had just gone to the farmer's market and inspiration struck.  I chopped up some veggies and tossed them with quinoa.  Simple, delicious and healthy.  Use any fresh vegetables that you have on hand.  Next time I make this I plan on adding some asparagus, squash and eggplant.   A great summer side dish!

Garden Vegetable Quinoa
1 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked according to package directions
2 cups diced fresh vegetables (I used onions, peppers and cherry tomatoes)
olive oil
garlic powder
salt and pepper

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside.
2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Saute vegetables for 3-5 minutes or until starting to get tender. 
3. Season veggies with salt, pepper and garlic.
4. Stir quinoa in with veggies.  Allow to cook for about 3 minutes or until quinoa is heated through and flavors combine.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bacon Wrapped BBQ Scallops

Pin It Summer grilling season is in full swing.  I bet I use our grill at least 4 nights a week when the weather is nice.  Tonight I tackled scallops.  These were absolutely amazing.  I definitely regret not making a double batch so I could have leftovers (or just eat 3 helpings for dinner).  We will be having these in the near future for sure.

Bacon Wrapped BBQ Scallops
12 oz scallops - I used small 40-60 count, but feel free to use any size you want (I will probably use larger next time)
8-10 slices of bacon
1/2 cup BBQ sauce of your choice (I used Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ)

6 skewers

1. Lay bacon on a papertowel covered plate and microwave for 2 minutes or until partially cooked.  (You could also partially fry the bacon on the stove, just don't cook it all the way)
2. Wrap bacon around scallops and place on a skewer.  Because my scallops were small I could get 3-4 scallops wrapped with one strip of bacon.
3. Grill skewers for about 1-2 minutes per side, basting with BBQ sauce.
4. Scallops are done when they become opaque.  Bacon will also get crispy.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chubby Hubby Truffles

Pin It I saw this recipe a few months ago, but never had a reason to make them until this weekend.  My brother and sister in law were in town and I brought these over for dessert.  They were inhaled and they were such a hit that they were requested for my sister's wedding shower in a few months.  These are a mixture of sweet, salty, crunchy and creamy...All the best parts of a dessert rolled into one delicious ball.

Chubby Hubby Truffles
Original recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff
1 cup crushed pretzels
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 Tbsp butter, softened
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 cup crushed pretzels
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 tsp vegetable oil

1. Mix peanut butter, butter and brown sugar in a bowl until well combined.
2. Stir in pretzel pieces.  Then mix in powdered sugar.
3. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop rounded balls onto a wax paper covered cookie sheet.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
4. Remove balls from fridge.  Melt chocolate chips and vegetable oil in the microwave for 1 minute, stirring every 30 seconds.
5. Dip  balls into chocolate and return them to the wax paper cookie sheet.
6. Melt peanut butter and vegetable oil in microwave for about 30 seconds or until able to be drizzled.
7. Top truffles with pretzel pieces and peanut butter.
8. Return truffles to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.
9. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Smashed Potatoes

Pin It I try to avoid packaged pasta and potato dishes because of the ridiculous amount of salt and preservatives in them, but cooking potatoes as a side dish can get kind of boring.  You can only eat so many baked, mashed or roasted potatoes.  When I found this recipe on Pinterest I knew I had to try it.  Besides being creative this side dish will not heat up your kitchen because you do not have to bake these at all.  Just a short trip to the broiler and you are done.  This is more of a method than a recipe.  Feel free to use any seasonings or toppings that you want.

Smashed Potatoes
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
6-8 small Yukon gold potatoes (depending on the size of your crowd)
olive oil
shredded parmesan cheese
garlic salt

1. Place your potatoes in a large pot, covered with water.  Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender.
2. Drain potatoes and place them on a foil covered broiler pan.  Smash potatoes down with a potato masher so they become flat and spread out.
3. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garlic salt (or any seasonings you want).
4. Place potatoes under the broiler on low for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Oreo Brownies

Pin It I'm working at a summer camp for gifted children during the month of July.  I'm super busy and exhausted at the end of each day which explains my lack of posting recently.  (I will try to get better).  Anyway, we always have snacks in the kitchen area of camp for all of the teachers and assistants.  I made these to share and they were inhaled by lunchtime.  Everyone kept asking for the recipe and it's so easy it's almost embarrassing.  I will definitely be making these again.

Check out Weekend Potluck for some amazing recipes! Also head over to Strut Your Stuff Link Party for some great recipes and craft ideas.

Oreo Brownies
1 box brownie mix - plus ingredients to make brownies (oil, eggs, water)
20 Oreo cookies, divided
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Make brownies according to box directions.  Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Pour half of the brownie batter on the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan.
4. Press 16 Oreos into the batter.  Pour remaining batter on top of Oreos making sure to cover the cookies completely.
5. Crush the remaining 4 Oreos and sprinkle on top.
6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Snickers Apple Salad

Pin It Who loves no bake desserts???  I do, especially when the temperature has been in the triple digits for over a week.  This 3-ingredient gem is perfect for a potluck, picnic or just for snacking.  It can be whipped together in under 5 minutes and doesn't require time to set in a refrigerator or anything.  What's not to love?

Snickers Apple Salad
6-8 granny smith apples, cubed (leave skin on)
1 tub whipped topping (like Cool Whip)
2 regular size Snickers bars, chopped

1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

**Leftovers are good for about 2 days

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Best Kabob Marinade

Pin It Summer is here and that means grilling out all the time.  I love kabobs because you can pretty much put anything on a skewer and cook it up quick.  This marinade is a fmaily recipe that gets passed on to every bride in the family.  You get a cookbook full of family recipes at one of your wedding showers.  I grew up with this recipe and it is amazing!  Impress your friends at your next outdoor bbq!  These would be great for the upcoming 4th of July!

Check out Six Sisters' Link Party for some great ideas!

The Best Kabob Marinade
4 Tbsp ketchup
10 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1/8 tsp black pepper

3 lbs beef, chicken or pork (I used stew meat)
Veggies of your choice, cut up (I like onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and cherry tomatoes)

1. Mix all marinade ingredients in a large zip top bag. 
2. Add meat and marinate 2-8 hours in the refrigerator.
3. Put meat on skewers with your choice of veggies.
4. Grill 15-20 minutes turning often.