Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Caramel Crusted French Toast.

I am a sucker for French Toast. Absolutely love it! I am also a sucker for caramel. So, imagine my delight when this recipe for Caramel Crusted French Toast was delivered to my inbox on Wednesday! I couldn't wait for the weekend to come so that I could pull out the griddle and whip up a batch of caramel crusted french toast.

Caramel Crusted French Toast
(Adapted from Framed)

1 stick of butter
7 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 pieces of french bread (cut 1-inch thick)

In a small bowl, combine butter and brown sugar until completely mixed. Whisk milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined. Dip slices of bread into egg mixture - covering each side. Spread one side of the bread with the butter/sugar mixture. Place on a griddle butter/sugar side down. Cook until bottom is golden brown. Repeat with the other side of the bread. Serve with or without maple syrup.

The result: amazing! So good! A treat in itself! Take the time to make this, you will not be disappointed. I promise.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oatmeal Cookie Cheesecake Bars Studded with Blueberries.

Earlier this month I was faced with ten pounds of blueberries to either eat fresh, bake with, or freeze. While searching for blueberry recipes I found lots of breads, muffins, and pancakes. And then I saw these. You know I'm interested in a recipe when I have it bookmarked and in my mouth in less than 24 hours!

Think oatmeal cookie meets blueberry studded cheesecake! Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and indulge! And, yes, these will be served in my house again.

Oatmeal Cookie Cheesecake Bars Studded with Blueberries
(Adapted from The Art of Two Tarts)

Oatmeal Cookie Crust & Topping:
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups oatmeal

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined. In a separate bowl, combine dry (remaining) ingredients and slowly add to butter/sugar/egg mixture. Separate cookie dough so that you have 3/4 for the crust and 1/4 for the topping. Press the crust portion evenly into a 9x13 baking dish. Reserve the topping portion for later.

Cheesecake Filling:
12 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups blueberries

Beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat until combined. Spread cheesecake mixture evenly over the top of the prepared crust. Drop blueberry over the cheesecake filling. And finally, drop small clumps of reserved cookie dough as the final layer.

Bake for 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy cold (and with ice cream).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Supreme Pasta Salad.

I first had this pasta salad about five years ago when a co-worker brought it to a pot luck. See, I told you in my last post that pot lucks are THE BEST for new recipes! The best part of this recipe - it's perfect every time no matter which vegetables are in season or you have on hand. The magic ingredient - McCormick's Salad Supreme.

Supreme Pasta Salad
(adapted from McCormick)

1 box of your favorite pasta (about 12 ounces) (cooked according to package directions)
4 cups of fresh chopped vegetables (think broccoli, pepper, carrot, cauliflower, zucchini, tomato, cucumber, radish, onion - anything!)
1/2 package mini pepperoni
1.5 cups of italian salad dressing
4 teaspoons McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning

Toss all ingredients together. Store in the refrigerator.

This dish can double as a side dish or main dish. All those vegetables make it more than filling. And it can be made vegetarian by eliminating the pepperoni without losing any deliciousness. It comes together quick and is the perfect way to use of the bits of vegetables you have sitting around.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tangy French Dressing.

One of the best things about pot lucks and attending other people's parties: the opportunity to try new things and learn new recipes.

As I thought about the lettuce taking over my garden and my grandfather's upcoming 80th birthday party I recalled attending my friend's "Salad Party" a couple years ago. Any salads were game! Pasta salad, lettuce salad, fruit salad. You name it, she had it! This included a homemade french dressing for the lettuce salad.

Through the magic of facebook I connected with her (hi Jacki!) and had the recipe in no time! I adapted it the ingredients I had on hand and viola!

Tangy French Dressing
Recipe Adapted from JW

1/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried garlic
1/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Place all ingredients into a shake proof container. Shake until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use. Shake again. Drizzle over your favorite greens!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Baked Pasta with Meatballs.

As much as I love brats, burgers, and steaks on the grill. As much as summer means potato salad and baked beans. I was hungry for some comfort food. Something that would made my oven work. Something that would go well with the spinach strawberry salad that I had ready to go.

I headed over to For the Love of Cooking knowing that I would find something wonderful. After bookmarking several recipes I decided to go with a baked ziti of sorts.

Baked Pasta with Meatballs

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons dried onion
3 medium sized mushrooms (thinly sliced)
4 teaspoons dried garlic
1 quart crushed tomatoes
1 quart tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
(This is my standard from my canned tomatoes - you could also use 1-28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, 1-15 oz. can of tomato sauce)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a slow cooker. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender. Add the remaining ingredients and allow to cook on low for 3-4 hours.

1 pound ground beef
3 medium mushrooms (diced into small pieces)
2 tablespoons dried onion
1/4 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried garlic
1 egg
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and mix well. Form into small meatballs. Cook in a large skillet over medium heat until browned on all sides. Remove from skillet and add to the tomato sauce.

1-box favorite pasta
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh basil (chopped)

Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Combine pasta with sauce. Add half of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Pour pasta mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses and chopped basil.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

This recipe did not disappoint! It's a nice variation on spaghetti and meatballs or traditional baked ziti. The meatballs are delicious and smell so good when cooking. And who doesn't love melted cheese!!