Monday, August 22, 2016

Southwest Pasta Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

There are a few weeks left of summer, so there's plenty of time to get this great pasta salad onto the menu of your next picnic or get together. This salad has the best flavor! A spunky dressing combines with corn, black beans, onions, cilantro and of course, pasta, to really make your taste buds sing! It's a nice change of pace from the traditional Italian pasta salad, and would be great alongside grilled meat or even fajitas!

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Southwest Pasta Salad With Chili Lime Dressing

2/3 cup light sour cream
1 tsp. chili powder
zest and juice of 1 lime
salt & pepper

3 cups pasta shells
1 can corn
1/4 cup green onions, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 to 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

Whisk all dressing ingredients together until smooth. Taste and adjust salt as necessary. Chill, covered, until ready to use.

For the salad, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water. Drain and rinse with cold water.

To the cooked pasta, stir in the corn, green onions, black beans, cheese, jalapeno, and cilantro. Add the dressing and stir well to combine. Refrigerate a couple hours to let the flavors meld.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Jo and Sue

Monday, August 15, 2016

Barbacoa Beef {Crock pot!}

Taco night is a frequent occurrence at our house. We enjoy ground beef, chicken, shredded pork tacos and now, I am thrilled to have found a great recipe for Barbacoa Beef from Stephanie's blog, Dessert Before Dinner. I was first introduced to barbacoa beef at Chipotle, like I'm sure many of you were. But if you're like me, and want to minimize the risk of E coli, you can make this at home! And I promise, it will be even better than the restaurant's, and much more economical, too.

This recipe has a long list of ingredients, but I'm sure you already have most of them in your pantry. The beef gets a nice kick from chipotle peppers (adjust to your family's tastes!) and all the ingredients (even orange juice!) work together nicely to produce super moist, delicious meat.

The best part? It cooks up in the crock pot all day, and then it only takes a few minutes to heat up tortillas, make guacamole, cut up tomatoes, and assemble all the other fixings your family loves on tacos (especially homemade salsa!). This beef is obviously very flexible too - instead of tacos, you could make burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, salads, even a great sandwich!

Thanks to Secret Recipe Club for a great blog to visit, and a great recipe to add to my rotation!

There are more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Show and Share, Full Plate, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy, Hearth and Soul, What's Cookin, Wow Me, Wow Us.

Barbacoa Beef

2 lbs beef chuck roast
1/4 cup orange juice
3 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped small
1 tsp. adobo sauce

Place roast in crock pot. Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium measuring cup, and then pour over roast. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Shred with two forks and then use in tacos, enchiladas, burritos, tamales, etc. Serves 6-8.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Blueberry Pancake Ice Cream

I saw this recipe last year and knew I would have to make it this summer. Ice cream with maple syrup and blueberries??? Yes please. I adapted this recipe to be more like the Jeni's creations, not using eggs, but instead using the cornstarch/cream cheese method (this is how I refer to it!). This worked really well on this recipe. It did help that my whole milk was near its expiration date, so my ice cream naturally had that buttermilk pancake zing... I served it at a dinner party to rave reviews. And I've never met something that so easily could be used an excuse for "ice cream for breakfast!" It is called blueberry pancake, after all...

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us.

Blueberry Pancake Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk (+2 Tbsp.)
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. butter extract (or butter buds)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese

For the blueberry sauce:

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a large saucepan, combine whole milk, maple syrup, and sugar, heavy cream and butter buds. Heat on medium-low heat until the mixture reaches a boil. Stir together cornstarch and 2 Tbs. milk and gradually add to the milk mixture and continue boiling until slightly thickened. Slowly stir this mixture into the cream cheese and whisk well until combined. Refrigerate overnight.

About an hour before churning your ice cream, make your blueberry swirl. In a small saucepan, heat the blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice on medium heat until the blueberries just slightly begin to release their juices. Remove from heat and allow to chill for at least 1 hour.

Once berry mixture is chilled, pour ice cream into your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Once the ice cream is done churning, scoop half of it out into a container. Pour half of your chilled blueberries over the ice cream. Repeat this process with the second half of your ice cream and blueberries.

Use a spatula to gently swirl the blueberries into the ice cream. Cover and allow to freeze for another 12 hours. Makes 1 quart.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Broma Bakery

Monday, August 1, 2016

Chicken Thighs with Ginger-Sesame Glaze

I like to cook with chicken thighs once in a while as a change of pace from chicken breasts. And they work wonderfully with Asian-inspired flavors such as this treatment. The chicken marinates all day in a soy/gingery mixture and then cooks quickly on the grill. If you don't have a grill, you can easily bake the chicken (see Teriyaki chicken) or cook on a grill pan, about 5 minutes each side.

Combine with rice pilaf (or even plain rice!) and a green vegetable, and you have a winner of a dinner. (And it's a chicken dinner!)

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us.

Chicken Thighs with Ginger-Sesame Glaze

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)

In a 1-cup measuring cup, combine brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, chili garlic sauce. Whisk to combine. Stir in 1 tsp. sesame seeds and 1/4 cup green onions. Place chicken in a 11x7 baking dish (or similar) and pour marinade over. Let chicken marinate for at least one hour or up to all day, in the refrigerator.

Heat a gas grill to medium heat. Add chicken; cook over indirect heat for 15-20 minutes, flipping twice. Meanwhile, transfer marinade to a small saucepan and bring to boil; cook and stir for one minute.

Transfer chicken to a platter; drizzle with reduced marinade and top with remaining sesame seeds and onions. Serves 4.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sweet and Spicy Mango Shrimp

This is a SUPER FAST and delicious recipe, perfect for a busy weeknight. Start the rice cooking before you start the stir fry, and then it will all be done together. Even including the chopping, this can be on the table in 15 minutes! That's faster than pizza, and better for you.

The shrimp and mango are a great combination, and cooking the onion in coconut oil adds to the tropical flavors. You can use more or less chili sauce and more or fewer red pepper flakes to adjust the heat to your tastes. Personally, I didn't find this spicy at all using the measurements below. Serve over rice and with a steamed green vegetable, and you have a winner of a dinner in no time at all.

Get more inspiration at Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Show and Share, Full Plate, Foodie Friday, Food on Friday, Friday Frenzy.

Sweet and Spicy Mango Shrimp

1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 large red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. sweet Thai chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 oz. large cooked shrimp, thawed and tails removed
1 mango, chopped
chopped green onions for garnish

Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add red onion and saute for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, soy sauce, lime juice, Thai chili sauce, red pepper and shrimp to the skillet and toss to combine. Cook for 2 minutes until warmed through. Add the mango, stir to incorporate and warm through. Serve over rice, garnished with green onions.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Running to the Kitchen

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Banana Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt

It's already mid July and this is the first time I've brought out my ice cream maker this summer. For the shame. But now I've got the bug again and you can be sure there will be some more recipes yet to come this summer. I found a great deal on banana greek yogurt at the store recently, and bought a bunch to eat and bake with. As you know, there's never a shortage of frozen bananas in my freezer, so I decided to use some of them along with the yogurt to make frozen yogurt!

I was really pleased with the results here. If you like yogurt-y frozen yogurt, this will be right up your alley. We especially liked it topped with caramel sauce to add a little more sweetness.

Find more inspiration at Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Tasty Tuesday, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us.

Banana Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt

4 oz. light cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
3 - 6 oz. containers banana greek yogurt
2 medium bananas, mashed

In a large batter bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, sugar and whole milk until smooth. Add in the yogurt and stir until smooth. Stir in the mashed bananas.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn for 15-20 minutes or until soft serve stage. Transfer to a freezer safe container. Cover and freeze for several hours or overnight. Makes 1 quart.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Peach and Almond Loaf Cake

As usual with summertime, I have been loving all the fresh fruit! We're eating tons of raspberries, cherries, blueberries, strawberries and peaches...and loving every minute of it! Last week I made fruit crisp for a weeknight dessert and the whole pan was devoured! The whole pan. But I didn't have to feel too badly about it since it was FRUIT after all. I think you could make that case for any dessert with fruit in it. It's fruit! So let's bake a cake with fruit.

This delicious cake is courtesy of Helen's blog, Casa Costello. The subtitle of her blog is "cakes, cooking, kids" and I noticed she takes part of a lot of challenges or clubs that are cake related, not to mention having her own cake business. So, I thought one of her cakes would be a terrific pick for this month's Secret Recipe Club.

I was right - it was a terrific pick! This is a wonderful pound-cake like cake, without the pound measurements! Studded with peaches and almonds, it is a wonderful summer dessert. We only had vanilla ice cream on hand, but I think it would amazing with a blueberry or raspberry ice cream - the more fruit the better!

Peach and Almond Loaf Cake

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 Tbsp. milk
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 small peaches, peeled, pitted and diced

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating continually and scraping down the sides of the bowl so that the batter is thoroughly mixed. Beat in the almond extract.

Reduce the speed to low and alternately add the milk and flour mixture. Stir in the peaches and almonds.

Scrape batter into a greased 9" loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick comes out completely clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes then carefully remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack completely.

Serves 8-10.

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