May 31, 2011

Yummy Summer Foods

After this last long weekend, I've decided that there's just something about Summer-Food. It's always so scrumptious and refreshing! I mean, you've got fresh sun-ripened tomatoes, sweet, juicy corn-on-the-cob dripping with butter(oh yes), along with sweet and plump strawberries and blueberries. The list goes on and on....There are so, so many delectables our summer month's bring. To be kind, I tried to slim the list down: here are my Top 5 Summer Must-Haves:

1) Fruit Produce Treats
There's just something about light snacky, finger foods. I love popping berries into my mouth as I work. (Guilt free!!) I love how refreshing the tastes of ripe peaches and strawberries are on a hot summer afternoon. I love the crisp, juicy POP! of cherry tomatoes as you eat them fresh from the garden. This Fruit Pizza is a classic and always a good thing when it comes to light summer treats.

Thank you SUNSHINE for this yummy picture and recipe!
Easy Fruit Pizza
1 package Sugar Cookie Mix
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Enough bright, colorful fruit to cover your pizza. You can use fresh or frozen. Just thaw frozen fruit before you place on pizza. 

Crust: Preheat oven to 350.  Slightly grease the bottom of a pizza pan.  Prepare sugar cookie mix as directed and spread evenly on the bottom of pizza pan.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until slightly brown around outside of crust.  Cool completely.

Cream Cheese Layer: Beat cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar & vanilla until smooth & creamy. Spread on cooled cookie crust.

Fruit: Wash, dry & cut fruit as necessary. Arrange on top of cream cheese layer in a circle pattern, starting from the outside and going in.

2) Pasta Salad 
Oh pasta salad....How I love you so. I love sneaking into the fridge and stealing a forkful every few hours. I love finding little cubes of cheesy-love hiding behind a dressing soaked noodle. I love the light-heartiness you are so I can eat a little bit of you and not feel stuffed. I love the scrumptious mixture of flavors you can create: Italian and zesty, Creamy and savory, Crunchy and sweet... the list is endless. 
This recipe was one shared by my Mother In Law and is one of my absolute favorites. I don't get to make it very often because of how much a recipe makes(a freaking TON!) so when I do make it, it's a treat for sure.
Thank you to KRISTEN for this gorgeous pic!

Chicken Pasta Salad 
24oz Cooked Rotini
4 - 5 Cooked Chicken Breasts; chopped
1 lg can Pineapple Tidbits; drained
4 Green Onions; chopped
4 ribs Celery; chopped small
2 c Red Grapes; halved
4oz Salted Cashew Pieces (cashews are the best for this)
2 cans Water chestnuts; sliced/drained
2 c Mayonnaise
1 16oz bottle Kraft Coleslaw Dressing

Mix all ingredients except mayo and dressing, together. In a separate bowl, combine the mayo and dressing together - you can add some herbs here if you'd like(ie: tarragon, basil, etc) - and pour over the salad. Stir to combine well and chill until ready to serve; at least 1 hour.
*Serves 15-20!
3) Classic BBQ
When thinking of Summer-Food, my first thought was of BBQ's. I love picturing Daddy out on the deck or back patio, grilling up some burgers or some scrumptious ribs. I love the yummy grilled crust a juicy steak gets after cooking over charcoal for a while. I love the smokiness zucchini gets when skewered along with Kielbasa or pork and grilled to perfection. I love the crispy-tenderness a chicken breast gets after spending some time over the hot coals.
This San Pete Marinade is my very favorite for chicken and turkey - one of the birds we don't use very often for grilling. After a bite of this, you'll never use anything else!!!
Heaven!!! Thanks all you girls over at The Mother Huddle for this great pic!
San Pete Turkey Marinade
2 cups Sprite or 7up
1 cup cup Soy Sauce
1 cup oil
1 TBSP horseradish sauce
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
5 lbs  fresh turkey breast or fresh chicken breast

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl (Use a clean 5 quart ice cream bucket.) Once you have the marinade mixed well add the meat and put a very tight fitting lid on it. Refrigerate over night. You can also use zip-lock bags. If you use zip lock bags you will probably need to divide the meat and marinade evenly between two gallon size bags. Refrigerate over night or at least 12 hours.  Pull the meat out and grill it on your barbecue until cooked through.YUM!

4) Homemade Ice Cream
This is the classic of all classic's. I remember 4th of July picnics, playing with my cousins and hearing the grind of the ice cream machine in the front yard - knowing you get a taste of that cold, creamy treat. That is the best memory I have of all my 4th of July celebrations. 
Growing up, my mom loved tangy strawberry ice cream and we 4 kids knew we'd get this treat at least a couple of times during the summer. As I've grown older, I've found that I love the creaminess without the zing! of the lemon my mom loved so much. This recipe is FANTASIC-LY creamy and perfect for a hot summer afternoon.
Thank you JulieVR for the Recipe and Picture....I'm drooling already!
The Very Best Strawberry Ice Cream

1 lb. ripe strawberries, hulled and halved
1/2 cup sugar or 1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream, 18% coffee cream or half & half

In a bowl, mash the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice with a potato masher (or squish them between your fingers, or whiz in the food processor); stir in the cream. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. If you want it firmer, transfer to a container or bowl and put in the freezer until firm. 

5)  Fruit Salad or Jell-O Salad
 Growing up in Utah, you know you can expect to see Jell-O salad at most every group luncheon or picnic. I love creamy orange Jell-O salad with mandarin oranges and orange sherbet. 
I also love fresh fruit salads! One of my favorite fruit salads is just fresh fruit-of-the-season, mixed with lemon, cheesecake, or vanilla pudding. IT'S TO DIE FOR!! My mom told me she's even had a fruit salad with the pudding and little Keebler Elf Cookies mixed in. Hello?!? Where has that been all my life!!? 
This Cherry Salad was served at a church dinner I went to a couple of years ago. My MIL's best friend made this and I honestly haven't stopped thinking about it since. The parent's were just out here at the first of May and my loooovely MIL was able to track this recipe down for me! I'm sooo happy to say that I'm storing it here so it's never lost again! XOXOX Mom!

Fluffy Cherry Salad

1 large can Cherry Pie Filling (fat size can)
1 large can Crushed Pineapple; drained
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup Pecans or Walnuts; chopped
12oz Cool Whip; thawed

Mix all together and chill until ready to serve. THIS IS THE YUMMIEST. I PROMISE!

May 20, 2011

Make your own fondant

First of all, this sounds soooo much easier than I ever gave it credit for. Secondly, this recipe sounds about 50x's yummier than fondants I've had in the past. Check out the recipe HERE at A Glimpse Inside blog.