Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Quick Fix Salsa

Well, if you lack ambition or time and can't make Holly's delicious salsa recipe below...
check this recipe out. All you need is two fresh tomatoes or a can of diced tomatoes and the salsa packet pictured above. My mom picked up the salsa packets at Fleet Farm and we haven't seen them elsewhere, so Fleet is definitely your best bet.

One the tomatoes are added, you only have to stir, and let it sit for 10 minutes (or longer) and then you can enjoy it! :) It keeps for quite a while in a sealed container in the fridge also.

Enjoy the quick fix!

Creamy Cucumbers.

Let's step back to summer for a moment. Back to when cucumbers are in abundance. My favorite cucumber dish? Creamy cucumbers. Everyone makes them. And they always taste good. The problem - no one measures anything. So when I try to make them they don't turn out.

A while back Gary and I went to a dinner party at Robyn's and she served creamy cucumbers AND she had a recipe!!

Creamy Cucumbers
[adapted from Robyn]
5-6 medium cucumbers (peeled and sliced)
1/2 onion (I like to cut into circles)
salt, pepper & dill to taste
1 cup mayo
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar

Because my grandma always does this - I had to too. Once you slice the cucumber and onion - put it in a bowl with salt. Let sit for several hours. Rinse and drain several times. Then combine everything and enjoy!!

Thanks Robyn!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Triple Cheese Bake.

After canning tomatoes with my friend Robyn on Saturday - and her looking through my recipe box and finding this recipe I have been thinking about comfort food.

With darkness falling upon us early and several cool nights I have been thinking about chili, hot dish, stew, and this - triple cheese bake. Comfort food at its finest. This "grown up" version of mac 'n' cheese is sure to please!

Triple Cheese Bake
1 package pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded swiss cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour, basil, salt, and pepper. Gradually stir in milk over medium heat. Cook and stir until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup cheddar and all the parmesan cheese. Mix well. Stir in pasta. Spoon half of the pasta mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Top with swiss cheese and then remaining pasta mixture. Cover. Bake for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Uncover, top with remaining cheddar cheese, and return to oven until cheese is melted.

My pictures do not do this dish justice; you must try it to reveal in the goodness.

Happy Fall!

Monday, September 14, 2009


As I said in my last post, I made a batch of salsa this weekend. The tomatoes are ripening really slow, but last weekend I gathered enough from my MIL/FIL's garden and our garden to make 4 quarts of canned tomatoes and then had some left over that needed further ripen. Over the course of the week the tomatoes rippend and my mom had some salsa peppers ripen so I went to work and made a batch of salsa.

Still lots more tomato preserving to do though! There will be more tomatoes to can, salsa to make, and sauce to create!

(adapted from Mom and Janet)
16 cups tomato (peeled and cut into chunks)
4 cups onion (chopped)
1 cup green pepper (chopped)
3 salsa peppers (chopped)
2 1/2 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons black pepper
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
12 oz. can of tomato paste

Combine all ingredients. Cook for 1-1.5 hours. Mix 1/2 corn starch with water. Add to salsa mixture and stir well. Place salsa in jars. Process with a hot water bath for 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Season Premiere Cookies

So, Lucas (my boyfriend) is a HUGE Chicago Bears fan. Two weekends ago when I went to visit him I made him the College House Brownie Bars (recipe can be found on this blog!) and these cookies. I went to visit him today and found that he had saved (froze) some of the cookies for the big game which will take place in a few hours!
I usually play the neutral card when it comes to football because the rest of my family are Packer fans which is who the Bears happen to be playing today. Good luck to both teams! :) And, here is the recipe:

Season Premiere Cookies

1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 sticks butter
2 eggs
1 box chocolate pudding
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup blue and orange m&m's (or your teams colors)
1/2 cup chocolate chunks

Combine all ingredients and bake 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Enjoy! And, Happy Football Season!

Black Bean, Corn, & Avocado Salsa.

It's salsa season!! Time to eat salsa and time to make salsa!

I did both this weekend! Right now my first batch of the season (recipe to be shared soon) is in processing in a hot water bath. My kitchen smells good, but it's hot in here!

I always wonder what I am going to do with all that salsa. Gary doesn't eat it and I can only eat so much. Well, it's mostly that I only allow myself to eat so much. If only those corn chips didn't have to have fat and calories!!

My Aunt Janet first introduced me to this tasty way to put a twist on plain salsa.
Black Bean - Corn - and - Avocado Salsa
2 pints of your favorite homemade or store-bought salsa
2 avocados (peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks)
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
2 cups frozen corn
you could also add cilantro and/or garlic

Combine ingredients, cover, and refridgerate several hours. Serve with chips!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Grape & Pretzel Salad.

My cousin Amber (hi!!!) made this for another cousin's wedding shower. It.was.so.good. It's similar to another recipe I have and love... Nothing beats the sweet/salty combination of pretzels baked in sugar/butter!

Grape & Pretzel Salad
(from Amber Hiller)

8 oz. cream cheese
16 oz. sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 large containers of purple or red grapes
2-3 cup crushed pretzels1/2 cup sugar1/2 stick melted butter
caramel sundae topping

Beat cream cheese. Add sugar; beat until combined. Add sour cream; beat until combined. Add grapes and gently stir until combined.

Put the pretzels, sugar, and melted butter in a bag; shake to combine/coat. Put on a cookie sheet (covered in parchment paper) and bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Watch carefully as this burns easily.

Put a layer of grape mixture in bowl, layer of pretzels, and drizzle caramel sundae topping. Do another one or two layers. Refridgerate until time to serve!

I used my trifle bowl for this, but you could use any serving dish. Amber used a really long shallow bowl...think huge banana split bowl :) It looks really good in that container as well. I made this twice this weekend - once with the caramel and once without. Although I really didn't use a lot of caramel, I still recommend using it. Just gave it a little sweeter flavor (I like my sweets!).

Although this has been served as a side dish, it could easily double as a dessert!

Monday, September 7, 2009

College House Brownie Bars

After an extended absence for no better reason than being busy, I am back with a recipe for brownie/chocolate lovers. :)
I came up with these last night after wracking my brain for something new I could make for Lucas. He just completed his first week of his last year of college in Eau Claire and I finished my second week of my internship in Abbotsford, so for the extended weekend I headed to EC to visit.
Now, you have to understand that in the kitchen of four college-aged guys... the baking supplies are few and far in between... so, I did what I could. These would be even better if I had made homemade brownies rather than box mix - so, I challenge you try doing that as well. Either way, I will promise a delicious product!

College House Brownie Bars

1 pkg family size brownies (my personal favorite are Duncan Hines brand - Chocolate Fudge)
3/4 cup peanut butter - I used chunky but would personally recommend creamy (but Lucas liked the chunky)
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
2 handfuls of M&Ms, chopped
4-5 Oreo Cookies, crushed
2/3 cup white chocolate chips

Follow the directions on the box and place in a greased 9x13 pan. Then, mix the peanut butter, egg and sugar together. Spoon globs onto unbaked brownies and then using a butter knife, cut mixture into brownies to create a swirled effect and so that there will be peanut butter in each bite! Top with remaining ingredients and add some additional ones if you wish! Bake about 5 minutes longer than box requires. Enjoy!

Zucchini Appetizers.

Last week we had a potluck at work. Talk about a tasty spread! One of our appointment coordinators made these zucchini appetizers - and they were delicious!

Zucchini Appetizers.
(from Linda)

3 cups grated (unpeeled) zucchini
1 cup pancake mix
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon minced garlilc
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4-1/2 cup oil (originally recipe calls for 1/2 cup, I tried to reduce the fat by using 1/4
cup...they turned out fine, but were a little dry....I think I'd add closer the 1/2 cup when making again)
1/4 cup parmasean cheese
3 eggs

Combine all ingredients until mixed well. Spread in a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

You can serve as an appetizer, or probably as a main meal. It does seem kind of "breakfast-y" but tasty no matter what!