Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fresh Corn And Avacado Pico de Gallo

I have to admit I have a slight addiction to chips, salsa and pico de gallo. None of this stuff from the jar. I'm talking fresh! Nothing is better then the combination of peppers, tomato, onion and lime on a slightly salted chip! A perfect snack for a hot afternoon! I made this recipe for the 4th of July and it was a crowd pleaser. It's great served with chips, but I think it would also be great as a side to grilled chicken and fish! Enjoy!

What you need:

1 Poblano pepper

1 Sweet pepper (red, orange, yellow)

2 Cups grape tomatoes quartered

1 Cup corn

1/4 Cup finely chopped red onion

1/4 Cup cilantro

1/2 teaspoon shredded lime peel

2 Tablespoons lime juice

1 Teaspoon sea salt

1-2 Cloves garlic

Splash of hot sauce

1 Avocado, seeded and chopped (added just before serving)

How to make:

Place poblano and sweet pepper on a foil lined baking sheet and put into broiler. Turning occasionally, broil until skins get blistered and slightly blackened. Remove from broiler and allow pepper to cool. Once cool, remove blackened skins, stems and seeds. Chop peppers into small pieces.

In a bowl combine peppers and all ingredients except avocado. Mix until combined. Cover with foil and chill for 24 hours. Prior to serving dice avocado and mix into pico de gallo. Serve with chips and preferably a margarita!!


I made a slightly larger batch then the recipe called for because I wanted to use a combination of different roasted peppers. I added more lime juice and a bit more seasoning to adjust to more ingredients.

I think pineapple or black beans would also be great added to this recipe!

Grilled Poppers

All I have to say is YUM! My cousin was in town over this past holiday weekend and shared with me his fabulous recipe for grilled poppers! These are so easy to make, and are the perfect appetizer or side for any BBQ! What a great way to take advantage of all those great peppers available at this time of year!

What you need:

Jalapeno peppers
Cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, cream cheese)

How to make:

Clean jalapeno peppers and pat dry. Slit peppers length wise and remove seeds. Do not cut off top of pepper. Stuff peppers with your favorite cheese. Wrap bacon around entire pepper and use a toothpick to secure it. Grill on medium heat until bacon and pepper are cooked.

These are delicious as is or you can serve with your favorite dipping sauce! A great tasty and spicy addition to any meal!

****Thanks Chris for the recipe! This one is a keeper!!!!

Cooking Spaghetti Squash

I love fresh summer produce, and I do enjoy vegetarian dishes. I recently discovered a new way to cook spaghetti squash without having to put my oven on in the heat of the summer. You can simply boil it in a large pot of water for 15-20 minutes and it's done!! Much faster then roasting it in the oven.

Here's how to cook it:

Using a sharp knife, split the squash in half. (This is the hardest part because it can be difficult to cut. If you have a knife sharpener, this would be a great time to pull it out and use it before trying to split it.) Once split, remove the seeds. Place squash directly into a large pot of boiling water. The water will naturally drop temperature when the squash is placed in the pot. Wait until the water starts boiling again to begin your cook time. I used medium sized squash and it took about 15-20 minutes. Poke with a fork to test if it's done. If the fork is easily removed then it's cooked. Remove from water and scoop our the squash from the skin. Squash should easily fall apart into the spaghetti like consistency.

Serving ideas:

- Use as a side dish and top with butter and Parmesan cheese.
- Top with your favorite pasta sauce
- Make stuffed squash. Saute a variety of mixed vegetables in olive oil and garlic. Stir in spaghetti squash and add your favorite cheese and seasoning blend. Place mix back into skins of the squash. Drizzle balsamic and add a bit more cheese to the top and bake in the oven at 350. You can also place squash on foil on the grill, on medium heat, and cook until it is warm and cheese has melted.

Hope you enjoy this summer favorite!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

French Bread

I've always wanted to master the art of making bread from scratch. Without using a bread machine, and not making a simple sweet bread like banana or zucchini. I do have to admit I'm intimidated by it, and have never had great success with making bread. I blame the yeast, or lack of patience on my part. Something in the rise of the bread always seems to go wrong when I make bread. I think bread making is truly an art in itself. Such simple ingredients go into it, but water temp, yeast, room temp, kneading too little or too much all effect how well that bread is going to come out.

Recently a friend of mine sent me a French bread recipe to try. I decided it's been a while since I last attempted to make bread so I figured I'd give this recipe a try. Very simple recipe. If you have time on your hands and can handle letting the dough rise for 45 minutes and then rise again, this is a nice recipe to try. I have an 11 month old at home who isn't quite into too much trouble yet, so I was able to test this recipe out today.

It does take time, but was well worth it! Bread came out great, and can't wait to try making it again! I don't claim to be Panera, but I can keep practicing! Hope you like it as much as I did!

What you need:

1 Packet yeast

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 Teaspoons salt

2 Cups warm water

4 Cups flour

How to Make:

Dissolve yeast, sugar and salt in warm water. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes. Add flour and stir until combined. Turn dough out on floured surface and slowly begin to lift and turn dough until it sticks enough to knead. If dough is real sticky add a little additional flour. Knead dough for about 10 minutes until it feels smooth and elastic. Place dough in a bowl, cover, and set in a warm place for 45 minutes or until dough has doubled.

Turn dough out on floured surface and pat it until it's flat. Fold dough in half, and then in half again. Place back into bowl and let it rise again for another 30 minutes.

Turn dough out once more and divide into 4 sections. Gently roll sections into balls and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape each ball into a loaf and place on a greased cookie sheet. Let bread rise again until loaves doubles in size.

Bake at 450 for 20-25 minutes.

Enjoy! The only bad thing about making home made bread is you can't stop eating it! Yummy!


I brushed the tops of bread with olive oil, and sprinkled some herbs on them. I also made a home made garlic herbed butter. I simply mixed butter, garlic powder and a green onion herb blend together. Very easy to make and was the perfect compliment to warm bread from the oven.

Thanks Hannah for sharing the bread recipe!!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Eclair Cake

It's summer, and there are certain foods that I always associate with this season. One of them is Eclair Cake. I love bringing this to BBQ's. It's easy to make, travels well, and is the perfect ending to that summer meal. It's sure to be a crowd pleaser!

To make the cake:

1 box of graham crackers

2- 3 1/4 ounce box instant french vanilla pudding

3 1/2 cups milk

1 - 8 ounce container Cool Whip, thawed

For the frosting:

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1/3 cup milk

2 teaspoons light corn syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla

How to make:

Spray the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with one layer of graham crackers. In a bowl, mix pudding with milk and beat for 2 minutes. Once set, pour half of the mixture of the graham crackers. Place another layer of graham crackers over pudding. Pour remaining half of pudding over second layer of graham crackers.

For the frosting, mix the sugar and cocoa together. Add butter and milk. Once combined add corn syrup and vanilla. Mix until creamy. Spread frosting evenly over cake. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.


Cake needs to be made 24 hours in advance prior to serving. The graham crackers need time to soften and absorb some of the moisture from the pudding.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Caramel & Chocolate Toffee Kettle Corn Bars

I saw this recipe a couple of weeks ago, and could not stop thinking about it! I just had to make them! They are the perfect blend of sweet and salty!!! Great for summer BBQ's and easy to make! All the summer farmers markets make fresh kettle corn, so you can buy it there or pop it yourself from the grocery store. These are a keeper for sure!!

What you'll need:

8 Cups popped kettlle corn
1- 8 ounce pkg of chocolate covered toffee pieces
1 Cup chopped pecans
2/3 Cup light corn syrup
2/3 Cup Sweetened condensed milk
1/2 Cup light brown sugar
5 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1- 12 ounce pkg milk chocolate chips
1/4 Cup caramel ice cream topping
2-3 Teaspoons course sea salt

How to make:

Line a 13x9 inch pan with aluminum foil, extending the foil over the edges. Pop 8 cups of kettle corn. Combine corn, toffee pieces and pecans in a bowl and set a side.

In a saucepan, add corn syrup, condensed milk, brown sugar, butter and sugar. Stir until butter is melted and ingredients are combined. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Gently boil mixture for 6-8 minutes or until light brown . Remove from heat and mix in vanilla.

Pour hot mixture over kettle corn mix. Stir until corn is well coated. Transfer corn to the 13x9 inch pan and spread evenly. Press firmly with back of spoon to get the mix flat.

In a small sauce pan or microwave, melt 12 ounces of milk chocolate. Once melted, spread chocolate on top of corn mixture. Drizzle caramel sauce over chocolate, and sprinkle sea salt over the top.

Chill for about an hour in frig or until chocolate is set. Cut into bars and enjoy!

***Store in cool place!

I'm Back

It's been a while since my last post (that sounded like an intro to an AA meeting)! I however, have had a very busy and exciting last year! I stopped blogging for a while because I was pregnant, and priorities changed and spent a lot of time getting ready for baby. Once I had my baby girl I of course was 100% in "MOM" mode ! Totally consumed with everything baby! My baby girl is the best thing I have ever done in my life and just can't get enough of her! I can't even believe my little one will be 1 next month! She truly is a blessing to me, and I thank my lucky stars for her everyday! Now that she is getting bigger, and a little independent, I figured I would go back to my other love! Cooking and Food! I can't even wait until my daughter and I can stand side by side in the kitchen and bake cookies! It's still a ways away, but she all ready sits on the floor of the kitchen and just watches me cook all the time! So stay tuned for new yummy recipes!!!