Monday, July 30, 2007

Great Guac

As on of the house guests mentioned below, I contributed a new recipe for guacamole that I found on This is a great basic recipe for guac that can be tailored to any taste. I made this one again last weekend for a girls night and it was the first snack to disappear. My preference is for things to be a little spicier, so I added jalapeno, increased the garlic and added a little more salt than the original recipe. You can also decide whether you like a smooth blended guacamole or a chunkier version. (I prefer to not mash the avocado). Here's my current version of the recipe, but I will continue to play with this one!

3 avocados - peeled, pitted, and mashed (optional)
1 lime, juiced
1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup diced red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
2 teaspoons diced fresh garlic
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1 small jalapeno,diced (optional - include the seeds for even more heat)

In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, garlic and jalapeno. Stir in cayenne pepper. Refrigerate 1 hour for best flavor, or serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

House Guests

This past weekend we had friends visit from Ohio. It was a lot of fun to have the three girls staying with us. It was also really fun to have them helping out in the kitchen. It's amazing how quickly we could get things done with five of us at work instead of just two. On Sunday evening we invited some friends over to play games and get to know our visitors a little better. We spent the afternoon preparing snacks for the evening's activities. I probably looked forward to the time cooking together as much as to the game night itself. We prepared texas caviar, homeade guacamole, brownies, popcorn ball bars, fruit and dip and fresh limeades.

Texas Caviar
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white corn, drained
4 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
1 jalepeno pepper, diced (with seeds for more heat)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bottle Italian dressing (8oz -16oz)

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to blend. Serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pork Burritos

Once a month we get together with two other couples for dinner and cards. We have such a good time connecting, playing games and definitely eating. It doesn't stop with dinner either. We always have a great assortment of snacks to eat while we play. This Saturday was our turn to host, and we had a busy day planned, so we decided to use the crockpot, which had the added advantage of not heating up the kitchen. We made carnitas, a Mexican-inspired pulled pork. The pork was good Saturday night, but my husband and I both agreed that it was even better leftover on Sunday. These burritos are tasty served with shredded cheese, sliced avocado (or guacamole) and sour cream.

Pork Burritos
1 pork shoulder roast (3-4 lbs), trimmed
1 can Rotel tomatoes, undrained
1/4 c. chili powder
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped, seeded jalepeno pepper
1 teaspoon salt (I just put in a pinch, thought it was a little on the salty side last time)

Cut the roast in half and place in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Pour over pork. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or until meat is tender. Shred pork with two forks. Serve with a slotted spoon on tortillas with assorted toppings.
Serves: 8

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake

I made this delicious ice cream cake for Father's Day this year. Everyone was quite impressed and thought I spent HOURS making it. Many guests commented that it tasted better than a Dairy Queen cake. It truly is amazing and an extra special treat!

This recipe comes from Kraft Foods. I attended "Cooking School" online to learn how to make it. If you need visuals (like me), go to


Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake
1/2 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided (I used Cool Whip Lite)
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
8 OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, chopped (about 1 cup)
12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches, unwrapped

1.POUR the fudge topping into a medium bowl. Stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping with a wire whisk until it's well blended. The consistency of fudge topping can vary depending on what brand you purchase. If your fudge topping mixture is too thick to spread easily, stir in 1/4 cup milk. (I did not add milk to mine--it spread okay. 1/4 cup seems like a lot so use your own judgement) Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 minutes or until well blended.

2. CHOP the OREO cookies roughly into chunks. They don't all have to be the same size. Stir into the whipped topping/pudding mixture.

3. ARRANGE 4 of the ice cream sandwiches, side by side, on a 24x12-inch piece of foil; top with half of the pudding mixture. Repeat the layers.

4. TOP the pudding mixture with the remaining 4 ice cream sandwiches. The layers create a neat striped effect when sliced. (It's really pretty--you can't tell it's ice cream sandwhiches)

5. FROST the top and sides with the remaining whipped topping.

6. BRING up the foil sides. Double fold the top and ends to loosely seal the packet. Freeze at least 4 hours before serving. Let stand at room temperature to soften slightly before serving. Store leftover dessert in the freezer. Makes 12 servings.

Hawaiian Cheese Bread

Here is another recipe from the latest issue of "Simple & Delicious". This was a good month for that cooking magazine! Hawaiian Cheese Bread was one of the contest winners in their "5 ingredients or fewer" contest. (They don't count ingredients like water, salt and pepper toward the total). This recipe we so yummy! It is best served hot, right out of the oven!

1 loaf (1 pound) Hawaiian sweet bread
1 block (8 ounces) Swiss cheese
3 slices red onion, chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt

Cut bread diagonally into 1-in. slices to within 1 in. of bottom. Repeat cuts in opposite direction. Cut Swiss cheese into 1/4-in. slices; cut slices into small pieces. Insert into bread. Combine the onion, butter, garlic and salt; spoon over bread. Wrap loaf in foil. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Antipasto Pasta Salad

We had this at my small group leader's house a few weeks ago, and my husband has been asking me to make it ever since. I finally made it this week and served it for supper with grilled pita wedges and fruit. We had enough left over to serve with our 4th of July cookout and still had some for lunch the next day for both of us.

Antipasto Pasta Salad
1 lb small penne pasta (cook then cool under cold water)
1/4 lb. Genoa salami, chopped
1/4 lb. pepperoni, chopped
1/2 lb. Asiago cheese (try not to substitute, the Asiago is really good in it!)
1 (6oz) can of olives, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 (.7 oz) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix

Mix all together, cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

3/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 Tlbs. fresh oregano (substitute dry if you don't have fresh, just decrease the amount)
2 Tlbs. fresh parsley (again, you can sub)
2 Tlbs. grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Combine and pour over pasta salad, mix gently, cover and refrigerate one more hour.

(I also added some diced green bell pepper simply because I had some.)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Blond Butterscotch Brownies

These were so tasty that they didn't last very long. This recipe is from "Simple & Delicious" July/August 2007.

Blond Butterscotch Brownies
2 c. flour
2 c. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate CHUNKS
4 Heath bars, coarsely choppped (I only used 3)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat the butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined. (Batter will be very thick.)
Spread into a 13 in. by 9 in. by 2 in. baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. (I pressed the batter into the pan with my hands, dampened with water.) Sprinkle with chocolate chunks and heath bar pieces. Press lightly into the batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes (mine took about 27) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.
Yield: 2 dozen

Coming Soon

I was off work the last two days which afforded me some much needed time to try out a few new recipes. I don't have them with me right now but plan to post them by the weekend. Here's what was cooking in my kitchen (not all at once, though!):
Barbeque Chicken Drumsticks
Antipasto Pasta Salad - definitely a new favorite!
Hawaiian Cheese Bread
Blond Butterscotch Brownies