Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My favorite salad ever: Avocado & Orange Salad

When I made my favorite salad the other night for the 1,000th time it dawned on me that I have never put this recipe on the blog! I kind of couldn't believe it because I've shared over 300 recipes yet this is one of my most favorite things to eat of all time. The recipe is my Mom's and she made it all the time when I was growing up. I really can't get enough of this salad, with big chunks of creamy avocado, the pop of citrus from the Mandarin oranges, and the crunch of baked almonds and fresh green onions. A basic vinaigrette finishes off this salad. Make this for yourself and the people you love immediately. You will be so happy you did!
Avocado & Orange Salad
From My Momma
Printable Version
1 head of lettuce
1 sliced avocado
1 small can of mandarin oranges, drained
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 small package of slivered almonds, baked at 400 degrees for 6 minutes
For the dressing:
1/4 cup oil (olive or vegetable)
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash of fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons sugar

Whisk ingredients for dressing and toss with all other ingredients just before serving. Use dressing sparingly!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Chocolate Oat Bars

It is bad that I made these chocolate oatmeal bars solely because I wanted to use up a can of condensed milk? Well that and because I love the combination of oatmeal and chocolate. It's pretty terrific. 

But mostly this dessert came to be because I had a can of condensed milk that was going to spoil soon. After you make these and take a bite and discover how rich, moist, (thanks to the condensed milk) and decadent they are, I know you'll be in gooey chocolate heaven. I had a handful of white chocolate chips left over so used them up in this recipe as well. Another good decision! 
Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
Printable Version
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick cooking oats
For the filling:
1 (15 oz can) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired (I omitted these)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup butter and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. In another bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt. Then stir in oats. Stir dry ingredients into the creamed mixture until well blended; set aside. Pat about 2/3 of the oat mixture into the bottom of a greased 10X15X1 pan. Set aside remaining oat mixture. In a heavy saucepan over low heat combine sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 
Stir until melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla and pecans or walnuts if desired. 
Spread filling mixture over bottom crust of oatmeal in the baking pan and then crumble the remaining oat mixture over the top. 
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Marinated Tomato and Cilantro Salad

Our wonderful neighbors brought us a bunch of farm fresh tomatoes that I decided were the perfect amount for a tomato salad. Since I also had a bunch of cilantro I wanted to use that up too. The marinated salad was super juicy and tangy. It was delicious sopped up with a fresh roll. Now that it's almost summer time and tomato time I know I'll be making this salad again!
Marinated Tomato and Cilantro Salad
An Ashley's Cooking Adventures Original
Printable Version
6 medium sized tomatoes, sliced into fourths
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic salt, and pepper. Place tomatoes, cilantro, and onion in a medium sized resealable container.
Pour the marinade over the tomatoes and seal the container. 
Shake to coat and and leave at room temperature for at least two hours. Serve over cous cous, with crusty bread, or a fresh roll. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

French Toast Casserole

This yummy breakfast casserole is perfect for lazy weekends, when you have company for breakfast, or your next brunch. I made it for a ladies' get together a few weeks ago so I could try it out. It was a tad dry, so I definitely recommend serving it hot with a drizzle of maple syrup. 
This would also be excellent with a fruit topping and some whip cream, but I didn't get that decadent this time! 
French Toast Casserole
Printable Version
5 cups bread cubes
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup white sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon margarine or butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8X8 baking pan. Line the pan with the bread cubes. In a large bowl beat together the eggs, milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar, salt, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes. Dot with the butter and let stand for 10 minutes to allow bread to soak up the egg mixture. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Serve with maple syrup. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Peanut Crusted Pork Satay

A few months ago at a Pampered Chef party I purchased a little cookbook titled, "Grill it Quick" because I figured it would give hubby and I some new idea for grilling out. I put it in my massive collection of cookbooks and kind of forgot about it until last week. As I was browsing through it this recipe for Peanut Crusted Pork Stay caught my attention because it contains cilantro and pork - two of hubby's favorite things. The Asian influenced marinade sounded delicious too - soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, lemon juice. So a couple of days ago when the sun was shining I made the marinade and put it in the fridge only for it to begin pouring down rain by the time we were ready to eat dinner. No outdoor grilling this time. I used my handy dandy indoor grill and the pork still turned out delicious! Very moist and succulent. I had a little bit and the rest was devoured by my carnivorous husband. This recipe is a definite keeper! If you don't like pork you could also substitute chicken breasts!
Peanut Crusted Pork Satay
From The Pampered Chef Grill It Quick Cookbook
Printable Version

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 ¼ lbs)
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon water
¼ cup dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped

Prepare the marinade by whisking together the soy sauce, lemon juice, vegetable oil, brown sugar, garlic, cayenne, and cilantro in a small bowl. Pour ¼ cup of the marinade into a separate container and save for serving. Add the peanut butter and water and whisk again.
Set aside. Slice pork tenderloin lengthwise into two strips. Thinly slice the strips crosswise and place in a large resealable container. Pour the marinade over the pork, seal, and toss to coat. 
Marinate for at least half an hour in the refrigerator. When ready to grill remove pork from marinade and discard marinade. If desired evenly thread pork onto skewers. Grill for 5-6 minutes, turning once, until grill marks appear and the pork is barely pink in the center. 
Remove from the grill. Press one side of the skewers into peanuts and serve with the saved extra marinade.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Virtual Baby Shower

This might be my most favorite post ever! A month or so ago I asked my favorite  bloggers and food blogging friends if they wanted to participate in a virtual baby shower for me. Since Baby's due date is less than a month away and all I am doing now is waiting for baby to arrive, this is the perfect time for the "shower"! I asked the ladies to contribute their favorite shower/brunch recipe since breakfast foods are my favorite (case in point: tonight's dinner was an English muffin and eggs over easy). 

I hope you will take the time to visit the sites of all of the awesome bloggers that participated in my shower! Give them some love by leaving a comment or pinning one of their drool worthy recipes. Here are dishes that they shared for for my virtual baby shower:

Pina Colada Dip
From Val So Cal

Val says, "This sweet dip is the epitome of what Summer is all about!!  Refreshing and oh so good!  I beg you, Like, pleading with you to make this. Turn on some Jimmy Buffet or maybe Bob Marley and have a little fun." I want to dip my finger into this bowl and have a lick right now, don't you? 

Bacon and Red Pepper Breakfast Casserole
From Greens and Chocolate
Taylor picked a perfect recipe for me because I love egg dishes - especially egg casseroles. Taylor wrote, "When I think of baby showers I tend to think of brunch food, so for her baby shower I made a breakfast casserole.  I ended up making this with ingredients I happened to have on hand including a red pepper, a four-cheese blend, green onions, and bacon and it came out really great."

Peanut Butter Crusted Brownies 
From Vanilla Sugar
Dawn at Vanilla Sugar describes these brownies, "I've always wanted to create a cookie/brownie mix. And for me, peanut butter and brownie go so well together, why not put them together?" I completely agree with Dawn and these brownies look to die for!

The Best Bran Muffins
From Food and Whine

Megan of Food and Whine chose these muffins for the shower because, "...muffins in general have been a popular item in my household since having children. I've baked them for visitors who came to see the new baby, I've baked them for myself when I was too busy nursing babies or chasing toddlers to sit for a proper meal, I've baked them for countless playdates and get-togethers with other moms, and I still bake them all the time for snacks and school lunches. They are the perfect food for moms with busy families."

Homemade Granola
From Beantown Baker
Jen, who is the Beantown Baker, explains why she decided to make this delicious looking granola for my virtual baby shower, "I love recipes like this where it's just a ratio of ingredients. That way you can use whatever you prefer or have on hand. It would be great to serve at a brunch themed baby shower. Especially if you package it in small mason jars with a bit of ribbon tied around the top." Homemade is the BEST way to eat granola. Yum!

Chocolate Eclair Dessert
From Dutch Oven
Elizabeth from Dutch Oven describes this delicious dessert, "It is everything a good dessert should be in my mind, creamy, smooth, and chocolaty but not too rich.  It tastes fancy but best of all is super easy to make.  It is also a great summer dessert because it doesn't
require the oven, and is served cold for a nice hot summer day." I love all the layers in this 
dessert and the combination of chocolate, graham crackers, and creamy filling.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Cheryl, who used to be my next door neighbor and shared many of her delicious creations with me, describes this bread as, "a melt in your mouth party! Amazingly delicious...this is something I will be making again and again!" 

Thanks again to all my blogging friends who were willing to participate in this virtual baby shower! It means so much to me that you ladies took the time to help me celebrate this new life that will soon enter the world! I wish we could all be together to enjoy this amazing looking food!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ice Cream Dessert

A couple of weeks ago hubby and I had some friends over for dinner and they all had little kids so I wanted to make a kid friendly dessert. My Mom's Ice Cream Dessert came to mind right away. This was a win-win dessert because kids love ice cream and because ice cream has been one of my pregnancy cravings (along with millions of other women, right?). It's a cinch to make - a crushed Oreo crust with a vanilla ice cream layer and homemade hot fudge frosting. I added sprinkles to the top to make it even more appealing to the kiddos. Everyone gobbled this up. If you have left overs they keep well in the freezer. Just unthaw it for a couple of minutes before serving!
Ice Cream Dessert
From My Momma
Printable Version
1 package of Oreo cookies
1/2 gallon of vanilla ice cream - you can go crazy here and substitute whatever ice cream you want!
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
3 ounces semisweet chocolate

Crunch 25 - 30 Oreos and place in the bottom of a 9X13 pan. Soften ice cream by keeping on the counter for about 20 minutes and then spread evenly over the Oreo crust.
Cover and place in the freezer until hard - about 1 hour. Make the chocolate sauce by combining the powdered sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and chocolate in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Whisk until thick. Cool the sauce for about 5 minutes, then pour over the ice cream. Add sprinkles if desired. 
Cover and freeze again until serving time. Thaw for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.


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