Sunday, July 27, 2008

Beat The Heat Recipes

My husband’s first words when he comes home from work are not “Honey I am home!” but, “Wow, its hot in here!” And he is not talking about me with no make up, in my apron. He is referring to the pot boiling on the stove and the warm oven that are literally heating our home. So when it seems like summer can’t get any hotter or you start day dreaming about snow pull out some of these “No Heat” recipes.

White Bean Dip
Turkey Lettuce Wrap
Banana Blueberry Smoothie
Your Grocery List

photo from

White Bean Dip

by Cathy Lowe

1 can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon
Hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon rosemary

In food processor combine beans and garlic. Process and add rosemary and olive oil. Squeeze in lemon juice and a dash of hot pepper sauce. Process until smooth. Scoop into dish and serve with toasted pitas or focaccia bread.

Serve with sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto.


• 2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, quartered
• 1 large cucumber, peeled and halved
• 1 onion, peeled and halved
• 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
• 1 (4 ounce) jar diced pimento peppers, drained
• 2 (12 fluid ounce) cans tomato juice
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup croutons
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a blender combine one tomato, half the cucumber, half the onion, a green bell pepper quarter, the pimento and 1/2 cup tomato juice. Blend at high speed for 30 seconds to puree the vegetables.

2. In a large bowl mix the pureed vegetables with remaining tomato juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, hot pepper sauce, salt and ground black pepper. Cover mixture and refrigerate until it is well chilled (about 2 hours).

3.Place remaining chopped tomato, cucumber, onion and green bell pepper in separate bowls. Serve soup in chilled bowls, garnish with chives, and serve chopped vegetables and croutons as accompaniments.

Blueberry Bananna Smoothie

a modified Whole Foods recipe

Add ground flax for omega 3's, fiber and protein.

Serves 2
1 ripe fresh or frozen banana, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
6 oz blueberry yogurt
3/4 cup milk or plain soy milk
1 TB finely ground flax seed
1 TB protein powder, optional
1/2 cup ice cubes, optional

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and whirl at top speed for approximately one minute or until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy. When making fruit smoothies, adding ice to the blender is a matter of personal choice. If you are using frozen fruit in place of fresh fruit you may elect to omit the ice.

Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Turkey Lettuce Wraps (from the Curves diet book)

8 large lettuce leaves (I use green leaf lettuce)
8 slices of deli turket meat
1 cucumber, chopped
1 container "chive & onion" cream cheese

Spread 1 Tbsp of the cream cheese on the lettuce leaf. Sprinkle some chopped cucumbers then place the turkey slice down and roll it all up. Very cool & refreshing in the summer.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Summer Salads

I crave salads in the summer time. In winter time, the roast beef and potatoes calls my name, but in the summer time I just want some crunchy lettuce, tangy dressing and interesting mix-ins. Here is a sampler of some of my favorites. I don't expect anyone to make all of these so no shopping list for this week.

Crunchy Asian Salad
Pecan Cranberry Salad
Broccoli Salad
Three Bean Salad
Annalee's Bowtie Spinach Salad

Broccoli Salad

From Janelle Cluff

¼ cup cooked, crumbled bacon
1 head fresh broccoli florets
½ cup raisins or Craisins
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

In a large bowl, mix together the bacon, broccoli, raisins, onion and sunflower seeds.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, sugar and vinegar. Pour over broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Three Bean Salad

2/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup salad oil
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can small white beans, rinsed and drained
1 10-ounce package frozen lima beans, thawed
2 medium carrots, thinly bias-sliced (1 cup)
2 small fresh jalapeno or serrano peppers, seeded and finely chopped*
1/3 cup snipped fresh cilantro


1. For dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, oil, brown sugar, salt, and black pepper; set aside.

2. In a large plastic bag set in a deep bowl combine chickpeas, white beans, lima beans, carrots, jalapeno or serrano peppers, and cilantro. Pour dressing over bean mixture. Close bag. Marinate in the refrigerator 2 to 24 hours, turning bag occasionally.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl. Makes 8 servings.

Annalee’s Spinach Bowtie Salad

From Annalee Wadell
Serves 4-5

1 pkg (16 oz.) bowtie pasta, cooked and drained
½ bottle Italian or parmesan cheese dressing
½-3/4 bunch spinach, washed and torn
4-5 diced roma tomatoes
½ chopped red onion
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Begin to boil water for the pasta. Meanwhile, prepare the spinach, tomatoes and onion. Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain and mix with ½ the called for dressing (1/4 bottle) to prevent sticking and to help marinade the pasta.

Cool pasta in the refrigerator. Mix the spinach, tomatoes and onion with the remaining dressing and feta cheese. Stir in pasta once cooled and continue to chill the whole salad until ready to serve.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Who doesn't love a knockoff? A cheaper, yet convincingly real version of the original. I love eating out. As much as I love cooking its nice to take a break and I have to admit I have a lot of restaurant favorites. Here are a couple I often imitate at home. The Cafe Rio recipe does take a lot of work but is worth it when you have leftovers for tacos, burritos- whatever. The Outback salad is refreshing and crisp and makes for a good meal after the heavy Cafe Rio dinner. My friend Debbie shared her Chocolate Lava cake with me. It is much like Chili's Molten Chocolate Cake and absolutely delicious.

Your Grocery List
Cafe Rio Pork, Rice and Salad Dressing
Honey Mustard Green Salad
Chocolate Lava Cake

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Chocolate Lava Cake

By Debbie Passey

2 egg yolks
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
2/3 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp flour

Beat eggs together with 1/2 cup sugar until sugar is dissolved

Melt chocolate chips with butter. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool just enough that you don’t cook the eggs when you add it to them. (About 5-8 min should do it)

Slowly stir chocolate mixture into the eggs and add flour

Bake at 450 in greased ramekins (if you want to dump them out). OR cupcake foils in a cupcake tin. I am too lazy to dump them out for the real volcano- we just eat the chocolate goodness right out of the ramekin. Fill the ramekin or foil only half way.

Depending on the size of your ramekin-small bake for 7-8 minutes, large about 12 minutes. No matter what take it out when they are cooked around the edges and liquid in the center. More liquid the better! Otherwise you just end up with brownies...
I would say this recipe serves 3 maybe 4. Better double it and have lots of lava cake to eat!

Cafe Rio Pork Salad

Shredded Pork
3 lbs pork
16 oz. bottle of salsa
1 can coke
2 cups brown sugar

Place pork in crock pot and fill it 1/2 way up the pork with water. Cook on High for 4 hours. OR place in a baking dish, fill it 1/2 way up the pork with water and cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 300 degrees for 5 hours. Drain off water. Cut pork in thirds. Mix together sauce ingredients and put on top of pork. Cook an additional 2 hours on high or at 300 degrees in the oven. Shred pork with forks.
3 c water
4 t chicken bouillon
4 t garlic –minced
½ bunch cilantro
1 can green chiles—or equivalent fresh
¾ t salt
1 T butter
½ onion
3 c rice

Blend cilantro, green chiles and onion together in food processor. Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients, simmer covered 30 minutes.
Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch
1 cup mayo
1 cup cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tomatillos - peel off paper, chop
1/3 - 1/2 cups buttermilk, to consistency you want
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Put in blender and mix.

Make a salad by serving the pork, rice and dressing over
1 head green leaf lettuce
1 onion sliced and carmelized
1 cup frozen corn brought to steaming with onions
2 tomatoes chopped
1 cup crushed tortilla chips

Friday, July 11, 2008

Just like "Outback's" Honey Mustard Salad

I go to outback just for their salad. I know its not the most gourmet and there are so many divine salads out there. Its just so good. The lettuce is always crisp, the croutons are so indulgently buttery, and the honey mustard dressing is the best.

If you google "Outback Honey Mustard Dressing" the only recipe you will find is this one. And just about everyone insists you have to have the Grey Poupon

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup Grey Poupon mustard (no substitute)
1/2 cup honey

Mix well and refrigerate until serving.

Here is how I make the rest of the salad for about 4:

1 head green leaf lettuce, washed, trimmed and broken into pieces
1/2 small to medium red onion, cut into rings
1 tomato, sliced in wedges
1/2 cucumber- diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Croutons to taste

I sometimes make my own croutons by breaking bread into chunks, spraying them with olive oil mist or baking spray and baking them at any old temp until they are crisp. I find the store bought ones are best if you really need to satisfy the butter/salt need in you.

Assemble the salad by mixing the lettuce and vegetables and serve individual servings with cheese, croutons and dressing so you can save leftovers without any sogginess.

Note: The salad- like most menu items at Outback- is not in very bite size pieces. So if you prefer to not go at your salad with a fork and knife, cut the onions and tomato into bite size pieces.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Whether you are tired of the same old cold cereal for or like to eat breakfast food during the dinner hour, here are some recipes not to be missed. Breakfast may be a little bit more time consuming but its hard to go back once you get used to the taste of a hot breakfast. My version of the English “Mc” Muffin is a harder to put together than a bowl of cereal but make it a few times and you will get it down to quite a routine. I did, after I found out my husband was lactose intolerant, and before I knew about lactose free milk…Oh the newlywed days….The quiche with a hash brown crust couldn’t be a tastier, less fattening way to make a pie crust. The banana bread is not an “everyday food” but we all deserve a treat sometimes, especially in the early morning hours.

Your Grocery List

Holly's English “Mc” Muffin

Hash Brown Quiche

Banana Bread

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Holly’s English “Mc” Muffin

4 Split English Muffin
4 Slices cheddar cheese (or 8 if you are slicing from the end of a small block)
4 eggs
3 Tbsp water
Salt and pepper
4 slices tomato
Optional- 4 slices of breakfast sausage, Canadian bacon or ham

1. First thing you want to do is, split your muffins, slice your tomato, cheese and breakfast sausage if you are going to use it. I just buy the roll and slice off the number of slices I need (each about ¼ inch thick). Set your sausage in a saucepan to cook- no need for ham or Canadian bacon.

2. Mix your eggs, water and salt and pepper to taste. Once the sausage is done, remove them and set on a paper towel. Take another paper towel and wipe out the extra grease from the pan. Pour the eggs into the pan, stir to scramble and begin cooking.

3. Right away, put the English muffins into the toaster. Stir the eggs to keep from sticking.

4. Once the eggs are done, assemble the muffins with as much egg as fits into the diameter of the muffin, top with your meat, tomato and cheese on top. Place the top muffin over the cheese and pop in the microwave long enough to melt the cheese and heat your Canadian bacon or ham, about 30 seconds.

Get creative and use hot sauce or salsa if you need a change

The tomato makes this meal not so “Mc” but hey- that’s a good thing sometimes.

Hash Brown Quiche

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

You can bake the crust and prep your ingredients the night before. Then simply mix and pop in the oven in the morning before you get in the shower- remember to set a timer you can hear! Or better yet try it for dinner. Nothing better than quiche after a long draining day.

3 cups, shredded frozen hash browns, thawed and drained
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup diced cooked ham
1/2 cup diced green onions
1 cup shredded Cheddar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Gently press the drained hash browns between paper towels to dry them as best as possible. In a 9-inch pie plate, toss the hash browns with the melted butter into the plate. Press them into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. When the hash brown crust is ready pour the egg mixture over it and return to the oven.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for about 30 minutes until the quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed.

You can serve this with your leftover tomatoes, if you have some, sliced over the top.

Banana Bread

Make this the night before and treat yourself to dessert in the morning. Microwave it for a few seconds so you feel like its straight from the oven.

½ cup butter, softened (on the melty side)
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks beaten stiffly
4 large bananas, mashed
2 cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a bread pan by lining it with wax paper- the bread will be easiest to get out this way. If you are presenting this for a brunch however, butter and flour the pan since the wax paper can make lines or creases in the bread and it won’t look as pretty.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the butter. Then sugar, bananas and nuts. Fold in the egg yolks last.

3. Pour batter into the pan and bake until the bread has a deep crack down the middle, is browned on top and a toothpick comes out from the middle clean.