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Monday, June 28, 2010

Mixed Berry Jam (Clear Gel)

Making your own jam is really easy, and in my opinion tastes much better than the store bought kind.
A while back I wanted to make jam, but I didn't have any Pectin (the usual thickening agent), so I figured out how to make it using Clear Gel instead.
It turned out perfectly.
This flavor is my personal favorite.
Mixed Berry Jam (Clear Gel Recipe)
about 3 qts. Fresh (I've even done frozen) Berries:
(enough to equal 6 c. crushed)
- blackberries
- boysenberries
- raspberries
- blueberries
8 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. clear gel

Wash berries.
Mash with a potato masher until you have 6 cups.
Mix sugar and clear gel completely in a seperate bowl.
In a saucepan, bring berries to a rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop boiling when stirred).
Keep on high heat, stirring constantly.
Quickly stir in sugar and clear gel mixture.
Return to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
If foam apears, add 1/4 tsp. butter or margarine.
Remove from heat, and remove any foam on the surface.

Ladle into sanitized jars, filling to within 1/8" of the top.
Wipe the rim to remove any jam.
Cover with lids and screw the bands tightly in place.
Turn jars upside down (on their lids) for 5 minutes.
Turn right side up and let cool for 24 hours.

Lids should seal over the 24 hour cooling process, which can be distinguished by a noticable "pop".
If center of lid springs back, it isn't sealed correctly and it needs to be refrigerated.
Write the month and year on the lid.

Store unopened jars in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.
Refrigerate opened jam up to 3 weeks.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Barley Salad with Chicken and Corn

I was talking with my sister in law about finding more recipes with barley, and a few days later I found this...
Yum!
The perfect summer time dish - light and delicious.

Barley Salad with Chicken and Corn
recipe modified from Martha Stewart

1 c. barley
1 tsp. chicken bouillon
6 scallions, cut in 1/2" pieces
2 cans corn (or 3 cups)
3-6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (I used 3 romas)
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 chicken breast, shredded
1 tsp. lemon juice
5 oz. spinach
salt and pepper to taste
avocado (optional but recommended)

Cook barley according to package directions.
Drain and let cool.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450.
Place scallions and corn in a bowl and toss with 1 Tbsp. oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place on a foil lined baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

In a large bowl, combine barley, roasted vegetables, tomatoes, parsley, chicken, spinach, 2 Tbsp. oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.  Add remaining oil if salad is too sticky.

Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature (room temp is my preference).
Garnish with avocado chunks.

**My photo doesn't include the avocado, but I added one the second day when I had it as a leftover.  It made a world of difference!  It was WAY better!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Steak Fajita's

I love fajita's.
It is a regular go to when we have left over meat.
Steak, chicken, roast, pork... we've used it all, and it is always delicious!
Steak Fajitas
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. cooked steak meat (or other leftover meat), sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin and cut in half
1 red/orange/yellow bell pepper, sliced thin and cut in half
1 small yellow or red onion, sliced thin
1 pkg. fajita seasoning mix (or you can make your own using the recipe below).
1-2 Tbsp. water

Heat oil over medium heat.
Add onions and cook for 2 minutes.
Add peppers and meat, cooking until peppers are crisp and meat is heated through.
Sprinkle with seasoning mix.
Add water and stir to combine.
Cook a few more minutes until sauce thickens.

Serve with tortillas, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, etc.

Fajita Seasoning Mix
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. hili powder
1 tsp. sugar
1 chicken or beef bouillon cube, crushed

Mix all ingredients.
Store in an airtight container until needed.

2 Tbsp. = 1 regular seasoning packet

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lime Cabbage Jello

This is a perfect way to sneak some veggies into an unexpecting dish.
The cabbage gives it a nice crunchy texture.
And my kids loved every bite!
Lime Cabbage Jello
1 large pkg. lime jello
2 c. boiling water
1 1/2 c. mini marshmallows
1 1/2 c. finely shredded cabbage
3/4 c. crushed pineapple
1 c. whipped cream

Combine all ingredients except whipped cream.
Set half way and then fold in the cream.
Chill and serve.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Roasted Asparagus Bundles

Did I mention that I love asparagus?
By far one of my favorite vegetables.
Another favorite is onions, so I knew I had to try this.
Roasted Asparagus Bundles
Recipe from Robin Miller

1 bunch asparagus
4 green onions
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with tin foil and layer asparagus over onions.
Drizzle evenly with olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bake for 20 minutes.

Divide asparagus into 4 bundles.
Tie each bundle in a knot with a green onion.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Beef and Leaf

This is more of an idea than an actual recipe.
I saw someone eating one of these at Chadders, and thought it was a cool idea.
We tried it at home and it was delicious.
Perfect for nights when you don't have hamburger buns!
Beef and Leaf
4 hamburger patties
toppings of choice: tomato, lettuce, pickle, bacon, cheese, etc.
8 green leaf lettuce leaves

Cook patties and pile with toppings.  
Wrap in 2 lettuce leafs and enjoy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Italian Herbed Oatmeal Focaccia Bread

This is a great focaccia bread for sandwiches, as a side to soups and salads, or just eaten plain.  Super delicious!
Italian Herbed Oatmeal Focaccia Bread
2 Tbsp. cornmeal
1 1/2 - 2 1/4 c. flour
1 c. Oats
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning, divided
1 pkg. (2 1/4 tsp.) quick-rising yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt, divided
1 c. water
1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
4-6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (optional)

Lightly spray a 9x13" baking dish, and coat with cornmeal.
In a large bowl combine 1 c. flour, oats, 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning, yeast, sugar and 1 tsp. garlic salt; mix well.
In a small saucepan, heat water and 1/4 c. olive oil to 120-130 degrees.
Add to flour mixture; mix well.
Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic (I used a kneading blade and did it in my mixer).
Cover; let rest for 10 minutes.

Pat dough into pan, pressing dough out to edges.
Using fingertips, poke indentations in surface of dough.
Brush dough with remaining oil.
Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning and 1/2 tsp. garlic salt.
Arrange dried tomatoes across top, and sprinkle with cheese.
Cover; let rise in warm place 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Cut into strips or squares.
Serve warm.
Yields 12 servings.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Asian BBQ Chicken

This was such a wonderful recipe.
It smells good, looks good, and tastes even better!
Definitely going to be using this over and over again!
Asian BBQ Chicken
Recipe from Bishop's Kitchen

1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. curry powder (I used Cajun seasoning)
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 chicken breasts (or chicken of choice)

Put ingredients into quart or gallon ziplock bag.
Marinate in fridge for 4 hours, turning occasionally.

Put chicken on grill.
Put remaining marinade in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Boil for 1 minute.
Baste chicken with marinade while cooking.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Asian Vegetable Salad

This was originally an Asian Green Bean Salad,
but I didn't have any at the time, so I used carrots and red peppers.
I got this recipe from my cousin, and she used sugar snap peas and broccoli,
so I decided to just call it a vegetable salad.

** As a side note, this salad works perfectly as a main or side dish.  It is also great hot or cold.
Asian Vegetable Salad
Recipe modified from Bishop's Kitchen

SALAD:
8oz. linguine
1 c. diagonally sliced celery
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1-2 c. vegetable of choice (I used carrots)
1/4 c. green onions
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro

DRESSING:
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
1 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. sugar
pinch fresh ground black pepper
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red jalapeno pepper (I used green), seeded and finely chopped

To prepare salad, break linguine in half.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Drain and rinse with cold water.
Drain again, and place in a large serving bowl.
Stir in celery, bell pepper, veggies of choice, onions and cilantro.

In a separate bowl, combine dressing ingredients.
Stir with a whisk until blended.
Add all of dressing to salad.
Toss well.
Cover and chill.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Eclair Cake

This is a great 'cold' cake for those hot summer nights.
Eclair Cake
Recipe from Sandy Bishop

DOUGH:
1 c. water
1 stick butter
1 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs

Boil water and butter.  Add salt and flour.
Stir until dough leaves the sides of the pan.
Cool slightly.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, stirring after each one.
Spread onto greased jelly roll pan or large cookie sheet.
Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes, checking periodically to break bubbles with a fork.
Remove from oven and cool.

FILLING:
2 small pkgs. (or 1 large) instant vanilla pudding
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 c. cold milk
12 oz. cool whip

Mix cream cheese, vanilla pudding and milk for 15 minutes, until smooth, alternating pudding and milk slowly.
Put pudding mixture on crust, and let set for 10 minutes in fridge.
Spread cool whip on top of pudding.
Drizzle with Icing.

ICING:
1/4 c. milk chocolate chips
1/2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. + milk

Melt chips and butter.
Add sugar and milk, till drizzling consistency.

Store leftovers in fridge.
** This is also delicious with fresh fruit on top instead of the chocolate icing.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bowties with Chicken, Bacon and Veggies

This is such a perfect summer-time dish.
It has a delicate, light sauce, but is still very satisfying.
I always mix and match whatever vegetables I have on hand - this particular picture shows asparagus.
Bow-ties with Chicken, Bacon and Vegetables
Recipe modified from Giada de Laurentiis

3/4 lb. bow-tie pasta
6 slices bacon, diced
2 c. cooked chicken, cubed
1 c. chicken broth
2 c. fresh vegetables of choice
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Cook pasta 2-3 minutes below regular cooking time.
Drain and rinse.
Pour into large serving bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, crisp up diced bacon in a skillet over medium heat.
Drain on paper towels.

Remove excess bacon fat, and add chicken and vegetables to skillet.
Stir in broth, and bring to a simmer.
Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

Pour mixture over bow-ties and stir to combine.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with bacon crisps on top.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Southwest Quinoa Chopped Salad with Chicken and Creamy Salsa Dressing

My sister in law shared this recipe with me (Thank you Charisse!)
She got it from a 'cooking with grains' class.
IT IS SO GOOD!
The best quinoa recipe I've EVER had!


Southwest Quinoa Chopped Salad with Chicken and Creamy Salsa Dressing
Recipe from Charisse Moore

1 c. quinoa
1 tsp. sea salt
1 c. salsa
1/2 c. sour cream or yogurt
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
juice and zest from 1 lime
sea salt to taste
2 c. rotisserie chicken, cubed or shredded
1 c. black beans, rinsed
1/2 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 c. corn
1 avocado, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 large head romaine or iceburg lettuce
cilantro and lime wedges for garnish

Bring 1 1/2 c. cold water to a boil.
Rinse quinoa (for instructions on how to do so, click here)
Put quinoa and salt in boiling water.
Bring back to a boil.
Cover and reduce to a simmer, cooking for about 15 minutes.
Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes.
Drain in fine mesh strainer and set aside to cool.

Place salsa, sour cream, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice and lime zest in a blender.
Pulse until smooth.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Put in fridge to chill.

Toss cooled quinoa with chicken, beans, pepper, corn, avocado and tomato.
Add just enough dressing to coat evenly.

Serve over chopped lettuce.
Garnish with lime and cilantro.

** This salad can be served chilled, but I prefer it served immediately, or at room temperature.  Because of this, if you are planning on having leftovers, I would leave the tomatoes and avocado out, since they don't reheat well.  Just serve them as a garnish.