Sunday, June 26, 2011

Calico Baked Beans & Spaghetti Salad

Well... I survived my son Charlie's open house... I had no idea how much work went into one and thank god for my friend and family for helping me out.... I wouldn't have made it without them.. I have been working 10 hours a day 7 days a week for a couple of weeks prior to this so needless to say I am totally and completely exhausted.... Onto to recovery and enjoying the rest of the summer :)

I have added both the slow cooker and the regular instructions to these beans.. either way you make them they are yummy....

I served these beans and spaghetti salad at his open house and they were huge hits.  I made about 15 lbs. of baked beans and 4 lbs of spaghetti to make salad... lots of salad and beans :)  You can use whatever veggies you like in the salad... use what you like... enjoy

Calico Baked Beans

3 large cans of Bush's regular baked beans
1 can each of the following beans, drained and rinsed (Red Kidney beans, butter beans, black eyed peas, black beans, pinto beans)
1 lb. ground chuck
1 lb. bacon, sliced
1/2 cup ketchup
3 T. cider vinegar
3 T. mustard
3 T. molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
seasonings: pinch of red pepper flakes, seasoned salt & pepper, garlic powder)
1 T. worchester sauce
1 onion, finely diced
1/4 green pepper finely diced

In large skillet brown ground chuck, onion, green pepper and bacon cooking until both are browned and done.  In slow cooker add remaining ingredients adding meats.  Stir well and cook on low for around 6-8 hours or until thickened.  Alternatively, you can drain meats, and add remaining ingredients to a large pot and cook simmering on low for around 1-2 hours until thickened. 

Spaghetti Salad

1 lb. spaghetti
1 bottle Good Seasons Zesty Italian dressing
1/2 bottle McCormick's Salad Supreme
1 T. sugar
small can sliced black olives, drained
cut up veggies of your choice,  ( I used red pepper, green pepper, green onion, seeded peeled english cucumber) grape tomatoes (cut in half)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Cook spaghetti as directed on package, drain well. Put spaghetti in large bowl, add remaining ingredients sprinkling salad supreme over all mix well.  Cover and place in fridge overnight to blend flavors... add parmesan cheese if using, mix well and serve. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

No Bake Cheesecake & Bocchini pasta salad

Well since I am back to work full time I am blogging a little less than normal... darn that old work :)  LOL... anyway I am going to try and post 2 recipes at once maybe even 3 depending on the week... we are going on overtime next week and will be working 7 days a week along with my son's upcoming open house so maybe not 3... (being a little over ambitious :)  LOL... anyway... like always these are easy, delicious and yummy recipes...

This cheesecake is perfect for summer when the weather is way too hot to turn on the oven.  You can use any kind of filling to top it off with, cherry,blueberry, strawberry or peach pie filling... or in the summer when fruit is ripe and yummy I often top it with fresh fruit (raspberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries, or even peaches...yum makes me hungry for fruit.. LOL..

This pasta salad is incredibly easy....quick to mix up when you don't have much time... toss it together and forget about it.... Use what veggies you like, (you can even let someone else do the work for you... go to the salad bar at your favorite restaurant/deli and get pre-cut up veggies to save you even more time)....You can add chopped salami or pepperoni to this dish, or chopped cooked chicken which is also delicious to serve this dish as a light lunch or dinner dish with a little crusty bread drizzled with olive oil..... enjoy....

No Bake Cheesecake

1 prepared graham cracker crust
1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened ( I use 1/3 less fat)
1 container cool whip unthawed
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon juice (about a 1/4 of a lemon)
pie filling or fresh fruit of your choice

In large bowl mix softened cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla together with electric mixer till combined.  Add cool whip mixing and using a spatula to scape mixture from edges of bowl.  When combined place in graham cracker crust and spread till even layer.  Cover and place in fridge for a couple of hours until set.  Serve with pie filling or fruit, slice and serve. 

Bocchini pasta Salad

1 12 oz. pkg marinated Bocchini
1/2 lb (1/2 1 lb box of pasta, I use mini penne)
1 cup chopped fresh veggies ( I used cauliflower, quartered cherry tomatoes, 3 green onions, and carrots finely chopped)
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. sugar
seasonings ( I used salt & pepper, dried parsley, garlic and onion powder)
2 T. shredded parmesan cheese

Cook pasta until al dente in salted water.  Drain and rinse pasta .  While pasta is cooking chop vegetables small  and place in bowl.  Add  the drained pasta to the vegetables, add the entire package of Bocchini & marinade to the pasta/veggie mixture.  Add red wine vinegar, sugar, parmesan and seasonings and mix well.  Cover and place in fridge to let flavors marry.  Cool completely and serve. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Panzanella (Bread) salad

I made this salad for the first time and it was a hit.  We had a dinner guest who said it was delicious :)  and 1 loaf of bread makes alot of salad... Put what veggies or herbs you like.  It is basically a bread salad with veggies, and a vinagarette dressing over the top.  You can also sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving.  If you have fresh herbs you can use those and leave out the dry ones. I also added mini pepperoni to this salad (but it is optional) .... Enjoy

Panzanella Salad

1 loaf day old (stale) french bread, if the loaves are small use 2), cut into large cubes
1/2 English cucumber, washed, seeded and cut in half and thinly sliced
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced


1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 T. dried parsley
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 T. sugar
1T. course ground mustard
salt & pepper to taste

In large bowl place all ingredients except vingarette.  Toss well.  Mix Vingarette dressing and drizzle over salad tossing well to combine.  Place in fridge for about an hour, toss well before serving. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Shrimp Scampi

This was one of the best pasta dishes that I think I have ever made... My 6 year old said it was "the bomb"....LOL  I was laughing so hard at him... anyway out of the mouths of babes... It was easy and yummy.  I used white wine in this dish, but am sure that you could substitute chicken stock (although I do not drink wine, I like to occasionally cook with it and it made this dish delicious)...
***NOTE*** If you have access to fresh shrimp by all means USE them.. and just adjust the cooking time..... 
I also broke the cardinal "Italian" rule and put cheese on my shellfish... If you don't want to ..skip this step.  Also the red pepper flakes are optional as well... if you like it spicy you can add more... I am cooking for children so I used just a little... and put more on my finished plate.... use what you like..remember a little goes a long way with red pepper flakes. FYI ...

Shrimp Scampi

1 pkg of large frozen shrimp, thawed, rinsed, cleaned, devined and tails removed)  **see note
1/2 stick of butter(more for dressing the dish)
1/4 cup olive oil (more for dressing the dish)
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T. lemon juice
Shredded fresh parmesan cheese
Cooked angel hair pasta
1/3 cup white wine

seasonings of your choice ( I used dried parsley, red pepper flakes, pinch of salt & pepper, sprinkle of onion powder)

In large pan cook pasta in salted water until al dente... drain

While pasta cooks, in large pan (big enough to hold sauce and pasta) melt butter and olive oil until sizzling.  Add garlic and cook about 1-2 minutes or until fragrant (do NOT brown garlic), add seasonings and white wine.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until boiling and sauce begins to reduce.  Add shrimp and cook another 2-3 minutes until shrimp is heated through.  Add cooked, drained pasta to sauce turning sauce to coat pasta.  Add an additonal 1-2 Tablespoons of butter and olive oil, a little more dried parsley flakes and red pepper flakes to pasta.  Stir and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Serve..

Banana Bars

Well I lied..not intentionally tho....I turned on the oven again (it was down in the 60's) so I guess this summer occassionally I might be turning on the oven... In my previous post I said I was done cooking in the oven for the summer... maybe not ;) wink....

Anyway these Banana bars are awesome... I was looking for something different to do to use up some bananas that were going brown (didn't want to waste them :)  I frosted them with canned cream cheese frosting (got the stuff out to make homemade icing and forgot to buy the cream cheese ....duh....) so 1 can will put very thin layer on them 2 cans will be a little thicker.... enjoy

Banana Bars

1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 mashed bananas
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. baking powder

Heat oven to 350.  In a bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder.  In another large bowl mix together with electric mixer the eggs, sugar, vanilla and shortining until combined. Mix in bananas.  Add dry ingredients just mixing until combined.  Spread in a jelly roll pan (I used a 1/2 sheet pan sprayed with non-stick spray).  Bake about 20-25 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean ( my bars stayed light and didn't brown).  Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Frost with cream cheese icing or dust with powdered sugar.  Store leftovers in fridge.