Friday, June 29, 2012

Counting Down to July 4th......Cole Slaw!

Baby it's HOT outside!  It's 97 degrees, and it's a scorcher today.  We were outside in the pool, and yes it was refreshing, but it's just too hot! 

I am counting down to July 4th.  We have a big July 4th celebration almost every year, and it's usually at our house, since we have the pool.  I enjoy having my family over, we always have a good time, the food is always great, and everyone always helps with it. 

Cole Slaw, I just love it, and it's a big Summertime food, especially for BBQ's and picnics.  I've been making Cole Slaw for years, but just a couple weeks ago, I made this most delicious Cole Slaw, came up with the recipe all on my own, yeah, I do that a lot......and it came out so good, my hubby loved it. 

What are you cooking for July 4th?  Are you hosting this special Summer holiday?  Enjoy this holiday, invite your family, and friends over for a bbq, try some new recipes, make an ice cream cake, or a flag cake.  When you get the hang of it, entertaining the people you love is very simple, so go for it!

Cole Slaw

1/2 head of regular cabbage, slice thin in little strips
2 whole carrots shreddred or 1 cup of shedded carrots
1 green onion chopped small
Head of Cabbage!

Or you can buy the bagged Cole Slaw mix, but honestly, I feel it gets too mushy, so I buy a whole head of cabbage, it's cheaper! Chop up 1/2 head of cabbage for this cole slaw. Cut up the cabbage, into thin little strips, shred the carrots on a box grater, or better yet buy a bag of shredded carrots, but you only need 1 cup of carrots.  Chop up the green onion.  Put it all in a very big bowl.

The dressing

3/4 cup of Mayo
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tsp. spicy brown mustard
1 TBS sugar (I use Splenda)
3 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and whisk until all blended.  Now taste it, what does it need, more sugar, more vinegar?  It's all up to you and your taste buds!

Pour the dressing over the cabbage slaw and mix really well, taste it again making sure it's right.  Refrigerate for one hour or overnight.  I always make this the day before!  YUMMO!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Counting Down to July 4th....Taco Salad!

It's been a beautiful day here in Northern New Jersey, sunny and HOT!  Exactly what I enjoy in the Summer. We were invited over to my friends house today for lunch and to swim in their pool, it was a wonderful day!  Hanging with good friends is so refreshing especially in a POOL! 

Taco Salad, it's so good.  I love this salad because it has so many good things in it, especially one of my favorites......Doritos! 

This recipe is a great one, perfect for a Summer get-together.  It's easy, and everyone loves it. I usually make my Homemade Italian Dressing, it only takes a few more minutes than whipping up the Good Seasons, it's so fresh, and really easy....try it.  But I know the Good Seasons is so convenient, so it's up to you. 

This will be one of the salads I will be making for our Fourth of July party.  Hope you make it too!  Enjoy!

Taco Salad

2 whole heads of Romain Lettuce chopped
1 Red pepper chopped
1 Green pepper chopped
2 Tomatoes chopped
1 small red onion chopped
1 can of sliced black olives
1 Avocado chopped (optional)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can of black or kidney beans DRAINED and RINSED
1 bag of crushed (yes crushed but not TOO CRUSHED) Doritos (any flavor but I like to use the Taco flavor)
1 lb chop meat cooked in a skillet until no longer pink and COOLED - you can do this the day before
1 pkt Taco seasoning

Get a really BIG BOWL, the biggest one you have in the house! Cook the chop meat in a skillet, drain all the fat, then add the taco seasoning to it and mix really well, cool or do it earlier in the day or the night before. To the big bowl, add all the ingredients, and then pour the Italian dressing on top, and mix really well. Sometimes before a party I will add all the ingredients in one big bowl, and keep in the frig, then right before we eat, add the Doritos and mix it up with the dressing! So easy, so fresh, and so delicious! YUMMO!

Homemade Italian Dressing

1 cup of olive oil or canalo oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tsp, oregano
1 tsp. italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS spicy brown mustard

Mix all the ingredients together with a whisk, or put in a mason jar and shake really well. 

Homemade Italian Dressing!

OR USE Good Seasons Dressing - if you want buy a bottle of any Italian Dressing, but the Good Seasons, the one where you have to make it with the oil and vinegar is really the best one!
This is the BEST, and use Cider Vinegar!

So YUMMO, don't you want this for dinner tonight!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ice Cream Pie......

I love Ice Cream Cake, but it can be very expensive!  So years ago I started making my own Ice Cream Cake, and it was a hit!  On Father's Day, I wanted to make my hubby an Ice Cream Cake, but a smaller one since it would be just the four of us, so I made an Ice Cream Pie, and did it ever come out GREAT!  Here's the recipe.

Ice Cream Pie

1 Gallon of your favorite Ice Cream (I used Cookies & Cream)
About 3 TBS Chocolate Syrup
1 Cup of chocolate cookies crushed (I used Chocolate Animal Crackers)
1 8 oz container Cool Whip
1 Box Brownie Mix

Cool Whip, Ice Cream, Crushed Cookies and Chocolate Syrup....forgot the Sprinkles and Brownie Mix!

Mix up the Brownie Mix, and pour half of the mixture into a pie plate, and bake in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes. Use the other half for a small tray of Brownies!

Baked Brownie Bottom!

Take out of the oven and let cool.

Meanwhile take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it stand at room temp for 1/2 hour until soft.

To really get the ice cream soft, put it in a mixing bowl and whip it good with the mixer for 1 minute or so.

softened it!

 It should be pourable now, lay it on top of the cooled brownie. 
Ice Cream all smoothed out!

Swirl the chocolate syrup onto of the ice cream, and add the cookie crumbs and get it immediately into the FREEZER for 2 hours!

chocolate syrup

cookie crumbs!

After the 2 hours it should be nice and hard, top it off with the Cool Whip, making nice swirls for decoration.  Sprinkle the sprinkles all around, and put it back into the FREEZER for another 2 hours.

Cool Whip
 I always make this the day before, it's delicious and everyone LOVES IT!  Enjoy!

The Kids!


Monday, June 25, 2012

My Recipe for the Best London Broil.......I Promise it's SO YUMMO!

I hope you all are enjoying the start of Summer.  The kids have been out of school now going on two weeks, and so far, so good.  We have been relaxing by the pool, having friends over, and doing some gardening.  My veggie garden is doing so well, no zucchini growing yet, last year we had NO Zucchini, they all died, one after the other, it was very sad.  So this year I am "stressing out" about my Zucchini, I know I care for my veggies too much.  Had to spray them last night, let's hope the bugs stay away, I have so many delicious recipes for Zucchini!

My Veggie Garden and Chicken Coop in the back!

London Broil, do you like it?  At first I never did.  It's always on sale, and when it is, I can get a nice size London Broil for about $7.00, and it would feed our family fabulously.  But it never came out good.  I would always marinate it in whatever kind of marinade, and they just wouldn't do the trick.  So, years ago, I called my Mom and asked her "what's that marinade you always used for steak when we were kids?"  And sure enough I started using "Mom's Marinade" on my London Broil, and the steak came out tender, and so delicious.

I marinate the London Broil for ONE whole day. YES 24 HOURS!!!  You need to marinate it LONG, it tenderizes the meat.  London Broil is a tough meat, but all so delicious when done right.  It also needs to sear on the grill first, then cook it until YOU like it.  I like mine a little pink in the middle, but not BLOODY........GROSS!  Take it off the grill and let it SIT COVERED for 10 minutes, and then SLICE IT across the GRAIN!  So easy, so delicious, trust m

I use this marinade for grilled Pork Chops, another post, and grilled Boneless Chicken Breasts.  My little boy loves this marinade so much, I give him a little bowl of the "juice" after slicing up the meat, there is so much goodness after slicing up the meat, pour it all over the meat, it's so good!  Try this recipe you will love it!

Mom's Marinade for London Broil

1 London Broil about 2 lbs
Worcestershire Sauce
Seasoned Salt

Two Ingredients!

Put the London Broil in a 9x13 casserole dish.  Sprinkle a nice amount of the Seasoned Salt over it, about 1 TBS, turn it over, and sprinkle again on the other side.  Shake a nice size amount of the Worcestershire Sauce, about 2 TBS, over the Seasoned Salt, turn the meat over and shake about 2 more TBS over it again.  Cover with plastic wrap, and put in the frig and marinate for 24 hours, ok so if you don't plan it out, do it in the morning, that will give you like 8 hours or so :)

All Marinaded Ready for the Grill!

Take out and start grilling, sear it for 5 minutes on High,  turn over and sear other side for 5 mins. Flip over and lower heat until you think it's perfectly cooked for your liking.  I like mine a little pink inside, so it should take about 15 more minutes or so, it all depends on the size and thickness of the meat.  A good way to test if it's done is touching the meat, if it feels soft and mushy, it's still pretty raw, if it feels a little firm then it's medium, if its firm then it's well-done....if it's hard as a rock, you overcooked it!

Take off the grill and let sit on a plate covered for 10 minutes so all the juices stay in the meat.  Slice against the grain, into VERY THIN SLICES, on an ANGLE, a sharp knife will help......There will be a puddle of "juices" from the resting meat, pour it over the meat, so delicious!  Enjoy!

Slicing Very Thin Against the Grain! 

All ready to EAT!  London Broil, Fried Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, and Wedge Salad! 

Note: Discard any leftover marinade from the raw meat.  Or do what we do, pour it all over the meat when you first put the meat on the grill.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Our Get-Away, and Corn Souffle!

Well, we are back from our little get-away to Lancaster, County in PA.....Amish Country is what I call it!  What a wonderful time we had.  We've been going to Lancaster now for almost 24 years, and each time we go, we just love it.  The countryside is absolutely breath taking, farms, beautiful scenery, flowers, animals, and the Amish people are so interesting. 

My hubby and I have been going to Lancaster since we've first were married, many years ago, and when we had our babies, we introduced the love of Lancaster to them.  Becca and Davey always enjoy going, they are never bored, and love our family traditions of this very special trip. 

The Amish have a way in gardening, cooking, and baking.  Their veggie gardens are always beautiful, along with their flowers and their homemade breads, and pies.  Everything they make is homemade, and if you know me, I "try" to cook and bake from scratch too.  I love to garden, bake and cook, and going to this very special place inspires me. We really enjoyed our time away, relaxing by the pool, eating at our favorite "spots", and of course shopping, and I found some wonderful "great finds"...... We even went to see the show "Jonah" at "Sight and Sound"'s wonderful going away, but it's always wonderful coming HOME! 

Here's a recipe from the past, Corn Souffle, it's easy, and perfect for a Summer get-together.  Everyone loves this moist almost creamy "corn bread", a real pleaser, and of course so delicious! 
So delicious!!!
I've been making Corn Souffle for only a couple years now, and it's a hit each time I make it. It's such a simple recipe, you'll only need one mixing bowl, and all the ingredients can be found in your pantry, well you do have a well-stocked pantry, right? That's for another post, I guess...... This recipe calls for Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, and one day I didn't have any in my pantry....shh, don't tell Martha! So, instead of running to the grocery store, I got onto the internet and found a Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix"clone." I had all the ingredients, and it came out so good! This is not like a "corn bread", which can be on the dry side, but moist and creamy. It's a great side dish for a barbecue in the summertime, and even goes great with Thanksgiving dinner. Enjoy!

Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix Clone

2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup corn meal
3 tbs sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbs vegetable oil
Sometimes a recipe will call for a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. Here's the clone recipe you can make at home. This is equal to 8.5 ounce box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.

Combine flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix well with a whisk. Whisk in veggie oil and mix until dry mixture is smooth and lumps are gone. This is the stuff that is actually in the box. If you want to make muffins, you just add 1 egg and 1/3 cup milk...stir until combined, fill muffin tins, and bake 15 -20 min.

Corn Souffle

1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (or the recipe above without the egg and milk)
1 (8oz) can cream corn
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup oil or melted butter(I used the butter)
1/2 tsp. salt
Beat eggs and butter, add salt, and corn bread mix. Mix in corn and sour cream. Pour into casserole dish and bake 35 minutes on 350. Bread is done when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fresh Fruit Tart....Perfect for Summer!

I've been making this Fresh Fruit Tart for years.  My Mom use to make a similar Fruit Tart years ago for special occasions, and I loved it so, it was fresh, delicious, and pretty, and never knew how easy it was to make   I found this recipe years ago from Paula Deen, and you all know how I enjoy Paula. 

 I like to make this Fresh Fruit Tart during the Summer months, especially for Fourth of July. The crust can be made in the food processor, but I don't have one, so I simply use a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter into the sugar and flour. I like to use strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi, and of course top it off with fresh whipped cream.  This tart is made in a tart pan where the bottom can be removed, so easy for serving!

Try this recipe, you will Wow everyone, just don't tell them how easy it is to make. Enjoy!

Fresh Fruit Tart

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

In a food processor add all the ingredients and pulse until crumbed and looks like little peas. OR do it by hand and use a pastry blender, cutting the butter into the flour and sugar until crumbled and looks like little peas.

Pastry Blender
Get a Tart Pan with a removable bottom, and press all the dough into the pan, up the sides evenly, then with a fork "dock" the crust with the fork all over the crust, do this so the crust doesn't "puff up".
Tart pan with removable bottom!
Pressing the dough into the Tart Pan!
Before baking chill the crust for 1/2 hour in the frig. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake the crust for about 10 - 12 minutes until lightly brown. Let Cool, do not remove from the tart pan, you can decorate the tart while the crust is in the tart pan.

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling and topping: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Spread over the cooled crust

Fresh strawberries, kiwi slices, blueberries
Cut the strawberries into 1/4-inch slices and arrange around the edge of the crust. For the next circle, use kiwi slices. Add another circle of strawberries, filling in any spaces with blueberries.

1 jar of Strawberry Jam

In a microwave heat the jam for 20 seconds, and brush the jam on top of the fruit, making sure the whole tart is covered lightly with the jam. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight. Remove the tart from the tart pan right before serving.  Put on a pretty platter, and serve with a dollop of Whipped Cream YUMMO!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pulled Pork Sandwiches.... Easy and Delicious!

What a beautiful day we are having today, it feels like Summer, and I am loving it!

Tonight I am making a most delicious dinner, Pulled Pork, and I can't wait to eat!  Pulled Pork is something we never ate growing up, actually we hardly ate pork, I don't know why, but my family loves pork, and this recipe is so easy.

I used "Boneless Pork Loin RIB END for BBQ" it's just boneless spareribs, and I started the pork off in the crock pot.  It's popular these days to add a can of "soda" to your Pulled Pork, but you know I just can't seem to do it.  If you do, let me know how it came out. I just used BBQ sauce and spices, and it came out so delicious!  I hope you try it.  YUMMO!

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

3lbs Boneless Pork Loin RIB END for BBQ (looks like spareribs but boneless)
1 whole onion chopped
3 cups water
1 packet beef bouillon
1 tsp salt

In a crock pot, add the pork, chopped onion, water, and beef bouillon. Put the crock pot on High...set it and forget it for about 5 hours. After the 5 hours, using a slotted spoon, take all the meat and onion out, and put it in a big bowl, drain all the liquid except 1/2 cup, the meat will be so tender and will fall apart, that is what you want..... if there are any big pieces just simply shred them with 2 forks.

The Sauce

2 Cups of your favorite BBQ sauce (or make your own)
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 TBS Chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp black pepper

Add all the above ingredients to the pork, stir, and put back into the crock pot for about 1 more hour.  Taste it, what does it need?  I tasted mine and needed a little more chili powder.  Serve on hamburger buns, or your favorite rolls.  So YUMMO!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The BEST BBQ Chicken!

Well, it's the last day of school for my daughter Becca.  Yesterday was my little boys last day.  I am excited that Summer has finally arrived in our household.  After a year of running, lazy mornings are so welcomed here. This all can be bittersweet for me, the end of school also means that my kids are growing up!

I've been making this BBQ Chicken for years, and it's really easy and delicious. I don't know how you all make your BBQ Chicken, but for me it has to be cooked before I put it on the grill, especially if I'm using "chicken on the bone"...... the chicken doesn't cook all the way through, and there's no way I'm eating "pink" chicken.
I cook the chicken first in the oven, in a dutch oven with about 3 cups of water, low and slow, for about 1 hour. Then on the grill it goes, topped with our favorite BBQ sauce, grilled to perfection, not BURNT!  The chicken comes out so moist, and tender, and caramelized, just the way we like it.  Try this way of BBQing your chicken, you'll NEVER go back!  ENJOY!

BBQ Chicken

1 package of a whole chicken cut up (or cut up a whole chicken)
Your favorite BBQ sauce (or make your own)

I always remove the skin from the breast and thighs from the chicken first, the skin gets mushy.

 In a dutch oven add the chicken and enough water to cover.  Cook in the oven for 1 hour on 350.

Skin removed and ready for the oven!

All cooked and ready for the GRILL!

Take out of the oven, and drain all the water, and start grilling, basting the chicken with the BBQ, sauce.  You can keep reusing the BBQ sauce because the chicken is fully cooked.  Make sure you cover every bit of chicken with that delicious BBQ sauce!  Grill until the chicken is all caramelized and delicious looking, it will be very tender so be careful it doesn't fall apart....YEP, it will be delicious and YUMMO! 


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blueberry Muffins!

We are having a rainy day here in New Jersey, and the kids only have 2 more days of school left.  I am excited for our Summer to start, but I'm not enjoying this weather. 

I like to make muffins for my family.  Blueberry Muffins is a favorite, but my little boy doesn't like the blueberries. I can't leave my little boy out, so I make a batch with blueberries, and a batch without, and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the tops right before baking.

These Blueberry Muffins are easy, and really delicious, perfect for a lazy Summer morning, and I plan on having many of them this Summer!  Enjoy!

Blueberry Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup Blueberries

Topping: 2 TBS sugar, with 2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all the dry ingredients together, and whisk to incorporated.  In a separate bowl combine the oil, milk and egg, and mix with a fork, add to the dry ingredients, add the blueberries, and stir just to combine.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, and fill each with a heaping spoonful or use an ice cream scoop.  Mix the 2 tbs of sugar with the 2 tsp cinnamon and sprinkle on the tops of each muffin.  Bake in a 350 oven for 20 minutes.  ENJOY!

HINT:  Since my little boy doesn't like blueberries, I make a double batch of these muffins, and divide the batter into two separate bowls, one bowl for the blueberries, and the other bowl for plain muffins. YUMMO!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chocolate Banana Pudding Trifle!

I'm linking this recipe up with The Better Baker's Weekend Potluck! Go take a look-see!

been a while, I've been so busy getting ready for "Summer".... and loving it all!  The kids last day is this coming Wednesday, June 13th, and let me tell you how excited we all are around here!

We went to a friends house today for a get-together, and I made a delicious Chocolate Banana Pudding Trifle.  It's very similar to the Banana Pudding Trifle that I've posted a while back.  I didn't have enough time to make the chocolate pudding from scratch, I know now don't faint, but the box pudding did the trick, was really delicious, and I took an empty bowl home!

I hope you make this dessert, it's so easy, perfect for a Summer treat!

Chocolate Banana Pudding Trifle

2 boxes of Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix
4 Cups whole milk
2 TBS powdered sugar
1 quart of Heavy Cream
4 Banana's sliced
About 1/2 box Vanilla Wafer Cookies
1 small dark chocolate candy bar chopped up for decoration

Prepare the pudding, using the 4 cups of milk, whisk it and put in the frig for about 15 minutes.

  Prepare the whipped cream, with an electric mixer, whip the cream until fluffy, adding the powdered sugar at the beginning. Don't over whip the cream, it will turn to butter, you want nice soft peeks.

To Assemble the Trifle

Cut up the banana's, and open the box of cookies......

Get a nice Trifle bowl, or if you don't have one, simply use a clear big bowl. Layer the whipped cream then the pudding......

Then add a layer of the banana's............

And finally a layer of the Vanilla Wafer Cookies........

Continue layering about 3 more times, ending with the whipped cream,  Chop up the chocolate bar, and sprinkle the chopped chocolate on top of the whipped cream.

Chill in the frig for 3 hours or better yet, overnight!

So YUMMO!  Enjoy!