Thursday, July 25, 2013

Holy Stromboli

I stumbled on the easy stromboli idea when I was planning meals for our week-long stay at a cabin. I have tried a few different fillings and doughs. I have settled on this recipe that works great for my dairy-free husband. It's super easy, super good. So good in fact that I have failed to get a good picture of any stromboli... it gets eaten that fast. My family loves it. Daughter loves cheese and pepperoni combination which is pictured here. Husband and I have settled on this version. Do not use non-stick or dark pans; your bread will burn on the bottom.

Holy Stromboli
1 loaf refrigerated french bread dough
15 slices of hard salami
24 slices of hot pepperoni
1 cup Daiya shreds mozzarella flavor

Open the dough and unroll on a greased baking sheet. Layer salami, pepperoni, then cheese on the flattened dough. Roll. I usually fold over one side then the other and seal the edges by pinching them shut. I find if I roll them too tightly the center doesn't bake well. Now just bake according to the directions on the dough package. I bake 23 minutes at 350°F. Cut into slices and enjoy with marinara sauce.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Black Bean and Cilantro Salsa

In the summer, anything with fresh cilantro just tastes awesome. It's so light and summery; I can't get enough of it. Plus it is what makes salsa taste like salsa to me. I don't need my salsa to be spicy if it has cilantro in it. 

I wanted to make a quick black bean salsa to serve on hot dogs for my 4th of July hot dog bar. I had the Thai dogs, the American dogs, the German dogs, and wanted a fresh Tex Mex dog. Some black bean salsa with chopped avocado and sour cream seemed like a great combination. Here's the quick and easy recipe for this Black Bean and Cilantro Salsa plus a peek at the Tex Mex dogs we devoured. 

Black Bean and Cilantro Salsa
1 (28 oz) can of black beans, drained
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cup vidalia onion, chopped
1/2 cup (or more) of fresh cilantro, chopped
2 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all in a bowl and refrigerate for a couple hours to let the flavors mingle. 

That's it. Easy. Fresh. Summer. Yum.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hi-ho Cheerio Bars!

I know it happens to you. You buy some cereal and everyone goes nuts for it for two days, then it sits in the pantry. I had a huge box of Cheerios and a half a box of chocolate Cheerios that my family just would not finish. You know how that goes. The cereal cravings come and go in the house. So... what to do with that much cereal? I knew I could find a recipe for Cheerio bars and I did! But I didn't have all the exact primary ingredients so I improvised! I will post a link to the original recipe to pay homage to the source, but here is the adaptation I came up with that was a huge hit in my house! We love butterscotch (or at least I do and my family doesn't know that's what they are eating!)

Hi-ho Cheerio Bars!
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups peanut butter
Half a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and half a bag of butterscotch chips for a total of 12 oz of chips (about a cup of each)
4 cups regular cheerios cereal
3 cups chocolate Cheerios cereal
Grease a 9x13 pan with a light coating of pan spray on the bottom and sides. In a large saucepan, heat the corn syrup, sugar, salt, and vanilla over medium heat until it comes to a steady boil. Reduce heat to low and add the peanut butter. Stir until it is well mixed. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate and butterscotch chips. Stir until the chips are completely melted. Then add the Cheerios and stir until the cereal is well coated. Spoon into prepared pan and pat down with a spatula. Cool completely and cut into bars. Enjoy!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ramen Noodle Slaw

This could quite possibly be the easiest salad ever. And you get to pulverize something with a rolling pin! How fun, right? I got this recipe from my sister-in-law and it's a go-to salad in the summer time. Great for picnics and potlucks because there's no mayo or dairy to worry about. I even like it the next day when the slaw is a little wilted from the dressing. It's good, simple and quick. Perfect for summer for another reason: there is very little oven work involved. I use my toaster oven for the almonds. It's much quicker to heat up and helps you keep a close eye on the almonds so they aren't over toasted. If you are out of almonds, try sunflower seeds instead. This recipe uses the rectangular kind of ramen noodles that cost like 11 cents on sale. Remember the Maruchan ramen noodles you ate in college? That's the one you want!

Ramen Noodle Slaw
1 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1 package cole slaw (or about a half a head of cabbage sliced)
1 green onion, chopped into small pieces
1 package beef ramen, uncooked (such as Maruchan)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 T. sugar

Toast the almonds in the toaster oven on 250°F for about 5 minutes until just lightly toasted. Cool almonds slightly. Put cabbage into a large bowl. Stir in the almonds and green onion. Put the uncooked ramen noodles into a freezer weight Ziploc bag, seal and put on the counter. Pound with a rolling pin until the noodles are broken into small pieces. Stir broken noodles into cabbage. In a small bowl empty the contents of the ramen season packet. Add vegetable oil and sugar. Stir to combine. Pour oil mixture over cabbage and stir to coat the cabbage. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mom's Marinated Salad

Summer time. It's salad time. My mom made this salad often in the summer. The taste of Italian dressing on broccoli is so amazing. That flavor takes me back. And it's so easy. I can see why my mom made this a go-to recipe. I like that this salad helps you can sneak in some fresh vegetables without worry or fuss. You make it the night before so the veggies get well marinated and full of flavor. It works great for potlucks and picnics so you don't have to worry about egg or dairy based salads. You can use whatever vegetables you like, but this combination is our favorite and it's very pretty. Bonus!

Mom's Marinated Salad
1 small head of cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets
1 small head of broccoli, washed and cut into small florets
1 small onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped (I used about 2 cups of baby carrots cut in slivers)
1 package grape tomatoes, washed and cut in half
1 bottle Kraft Zesty Italian dressing.

Combine all ingredients in a large container with a lid. Stir to coat the vegetables with dressing. Cover and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Crockpot Calico Beans

It's the 4th of July weekend! I love when Independence Day lands on a Thursday or Friday, that means the fun can last a few days longer. Kids can stay up late for fireworks and still have the next day to sleep in. We have lots of family coming home for a big school reunion in my husband's hometown. The whole weekend is full of activities. My daughter has been SO excited to see her cousins from out of town.

My in-laws will be feeding close to 20 people for meals so I offered to chip in on some meals. Today we're doing a gourmet hot dog bar! We have fixings for Thai dogs (posted on my blog: Not Your Kid's Hot Dog), Tex-Mex dogs (with homemade black bean salsa which I will share in a future post), German Kraut dogs, and good old fashioned ketchup, mustard, relish dogs.  It's easy and offers something to satisfy everyone's taste. Along with the hot dog bar, I've mixed up a big batch of Crockpot Calico Beans. We LOVE these beans, especially with Schmidt's bacon. I've mentioned Schmidt's before because their meats are so good. This is easy to whip up and feeds a whole mess of people. Great for picnics, potlucks and the 4th of July! 

Enjoy your day and give thanks for the freedoms we sometimes take for granted and give thanks to those who have sacrificed to protect our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Happy birthday, America!

Crockpot Calico Beans
2 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 lb. bacon
1 cup ketchup
2 T. prepared mustard
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 T. white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 large cans baked beans (I used Bush's original)
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 can baby butter beans, drained
1 can red beans, drained

Brown ground beef, onion, and bacon. Add all ingredients to the crockpot and stir. Cook on low for a couple of hours or on high for about an hour. Enjoy! 

(Yes, it's THAT easy! You may also put in a glass baking dish or pan and back about 40 minutes in a preheated 325°F oven. This also freezes well to heat up later.)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Grandma Lally's Peach Dessert

I am posting this recipe in honor of my maternal grandmother, Hilaria "Lally" Ann (Beranek) Schwab. She passed away November 11, 2012. I miss her terribly. She was an awesome Grandma and a hard working, resourceful, farm woman. She could cook and bake, butcher chickens, kill a bat with a pliers (Sorry PETA!), and so many other things. She was tough and fearless and faithful. She could scoop her snow and clean the leaves out of her third-story gutters into her late 80's. Food was how she expressed love. Even as a resident of an assisted living community, she would share snack packs of Fig Newtons and Goldfish crackers with my daughter or send me off with a baggie of frozen apple pastries and a banana. She shared so much with me and I'm happy to share some of her with you. Any recipe I share of hers will be a "Grandma Lally" recipe. I hope you enjoy this one. The crust was of course made with lard, but I've substituted Crisco for the modern baker. If you still use lard or render your own, by all means, go for it. Enjoy the fresh peaches of the season and give this a try.

Grandma Lally's Peach Dessert
3/4 c. Crisco or margarine
1-1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 egg
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 cups of fresh peaches, peeled and sliced (about 9 peaches)
7 T. all purpose flour
1-3/4 c. sugar (works well with as little as 1-1/4 c. sugar if you're looking to cut down)
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 c. cream 
2 T. sugar
Preheat oven to 375°. Mix the base ingredients together as you would for a pie crust. I just use a fork to cut the shortening into the flour until smooth. Press into a 9"x13" pan, bringing the crust up the sides just a little. I put a little flour on my fingers to press the crust without having it stick to my hands. Mix the filling ingredients and put on top of crust. Combine topping ingredients and pour over the peaches. Bake 1 hour and cool slightly. Can be served warm with ice cream or cooled completely.