July 25, 2012

Strawberry Lime Ice Pops

It's summer.  It's hot.  And don't we all love strawberries and lime?  I'm telling you, these ice pops are the way to go.  Strawberry.  Lime.  Ice pop.  Yum!  Have I convinced you yet?

Image thanks to Blendtec
Strawberry Lime Ice Pops
(from Blendtec)

1 lb fresh strawberries, potentially hulled and sliced, depending on the strength of your blender
2-3 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar

1. Put all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.
2. Freeze them!  You can use a popsicle mold, tiny little dixie cups, ice cube trays...whatever floats your boat.
3. Eat them!  It's summertime.

July 20, 2012

Poppy Seed Chicken and Rice

I have some amazing ladies (aka visiting teachers) that like to come visit me every so often and share a spiritual message with me.  And last month they brought me this amazing dinner.  I took a bite and said to my husband, "I need to ask them for the recipe!"  If you know someone who has recently been sick, bring them this dish, and they will be happy and love you.

Image Source
Poppy Seed Chicken and Rice

2-4 cups cooked rice (depending on the size of pan you want to use/whatever you have on hand)
2-4 cups cooked, chopped chicken
1 large or 2 small cans of cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup butter
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed (I'd put them in a ziploc and go at it with a rolling pin)
2 Tbsp poppy seeds

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Spread rice evenly on the bottom of a 2-3 quart casserole dish.  Top with chopped chicken. Combine cream of chicken soup and sour cream.  Spread over rice and chicken.
3. In a separate bowl or saucepan, melt the butter, then stir in the crushed Ritz and the poppy seeds.  Top casserole with the poppy seed mixture.  Bake for 30-45 minutes or until it's nice and bubbly.
4. Voila!  Comfort food.

July 17, 2012

Tip Tuesday #9 {Eggs: Scramble Fast, Cook Slowly}

There is an awesome web site out there called The Art of Manliness.  Just check it out and you'll see what I mean.  It's a site dedicated to everything manly and how to be an honorable, resourceful, boy-scout-values kind of a man--you know, a real man.  And there's one post about how to make amazing scrambled eggs.  My husband and I tried out the low and slow method, and they truly were amazing.

Image thanks to Art of Manliness
This method takes what seems like forever.  Be ye warned.  BUT...if you really want to make your breakfast special, it's worth the effort every once in a while.  You can refer to the original post for more details, but here are the two main takeaways:

1. Whip 'em.  Whip 'em good.  Whip them with a whisk or a mixer until they're nice and frothy on top.  A few bubbles isn't going to cut it.  You shouldn't be able to tell a difference between the yolks and the whites because they should all be evenly mixed.

2. Cook them slowly over LOW heat.  Low as in, like almost as low as your stove goes.  Okay, okay, if they are truly taking forever to cook, you can turn up the heat a teensy bit.  But seriously, the more slowly you cook them, the more they will retain all that fluffy air that you whipped in, resulting in gloriously fluffy scrambled eggs.

One more thing...my inner nerd requires me to apologize for the title of this post.  I am well aware that it should be "Scramble Quickly" instead of "Scramble Fast," but seriously, quickly just doesn't feel quick enough!  Okay, I digress.  

Happy cooking!

July 12, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Syrup

We have found it!  This strawberry syrup is delicious and healthy and takes approximately two minutes to make.  Imagine strawberry deliciousness on french toast, crepes, ice cream, cheesecake, shortcake, or even mixed into lemonade to make it strawberry lemonade!  The possibilities are nearly endless...

Image Source
Fresh Strawberry Syrup
(adapted from the Blendtec recipe book)

2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
3 Tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.
2. That's it.  Enjoy!

July 10, 2012

Tip Tuesday #8 {Microwave Your Corn, Husk & All}

This week's tip is brought to you by my fabulous  mother-in-law, who has been staying with me and taking care of my son while I recover from surgery.  She is amazing.  And she also knows how to make amazing corn on the cob--without all the fuss of husking it, getting all the silk out, boiling a pot of water, and timing everything just right.  How?  The microwave!

Image thanks to melskitchencafe.com
1. Place a damp paper towel on a plate, and then put your corn on the cob on top (husk, silk, and all!).  Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes per cob, turning them halfway through the cooking time.
2. When the husks feel hot, take them out and wrap them in a towel or aluminum foil.  Let them stand like that for about 5 minutes.
3. Pull off the husks and silk (which is actually a lot easier to do when they're hot than when they're cold), and you're ready to go!
4. Slather that corn on the cob with butter, salt, and pepper, and enjoy!  That was easy.

July 9, 2012

Summer Tomato Sandwiches

I was never a tomato person growing up.  I hated them and anything made with them (including ketchup, spaghetti sauce, tomato soup...).  But somewhere along the road I discovered that I actually kind of like them--especially when they're in season.  Today my husband got to come home from work for lunch.  I told him I was making a tomato sandwich and asked if he wanted one too.  He said that leftover lasagna was really calling to him.  So I made myself a sandwich and went on with life.  A few minutes later I noticed that he had cleaned off his lasagna and was eyeing my sandwich.  I offered him a bite.  He put it back on my plate, and before I could take two more bites, he said, "Are you going to finish that?"  Um, yes.  Yes, I was planning on finishing it, but since it was apparently so irresistable, I told him he could have it and made myself another sandwich.  That is the power of a tomato sandwich.  Okay, okay, this is not really a recipe.  It's more of an idea for something delicious that makes you feel all summery when you eat it.  But here you go.  Enjoy.

Image Source
Summer Tomato Sandwiches
(*Yields 2 sandwiches, so you have an extra handy in case someone wants a "bite" of yours.  Just kidding, sweetie.  I love you.)

4 slices hearty bread
1 slicing tomato
2 Tbsp mayo
Salt and pepper to taste
Spinach leaves

1. Toast your bread and slice your tomato
2. Spread each slice with mayo, then top one slice with tomato slices.  If you get a tomato big enough, you only need one thick juicy slice, which helps your sandwich stay together better.
3. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper, then top it with spinach leaves.  Finish it off with the second slice of bread.
4. Hello tomato.  Let's be friends.

July 3, 2012

Tip Tuesday #7 {Freeze Your Fresh Herbs}

Did you know that you don't have to let all those fresh herbs go bad?  For instance, when you buy fresh cilantro and only use 1/4 of it, freeze the rest and use it later!  Will it come out the same?  Well...not quite.  The texture will be forever lost, but if you're using it in a soup or casserole or other cooked something, the taste is all that matters anyway, and the taste will be preserved.  Here's how you do it:

Image Source
Take the herbs and shake them vigorously in a bowl of cold water to make sure they're totally clean.  Pat them with a paper towel, then go through and remove all the wilted ones.  You only want to save the best.  If you throw out a bunch, don't panic.  At least you're not throwing ALL of them out, right?  Okay, now prepare the herb as you would for a recipe (chopping roughly, etc.)  Grab an ice cube tray and fill each one with the leaves, pressing them down lightly.  Next, fill up the ice cube tray with cold water, making sure that the leaves are submerged as much as possible.  Freeze them, then pop them out and put them in a ziploc bag.  When you need to use it, just pop it into whatever you're cooking.  The little bit of water won't hurt, and the flavor will be just as amazing as ever.  

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