Thursday, June 30, 2011

Make Your Own Cherry Pie Filling

This is a great recipe to use all of those fresh picked cherries! I got the idea from the wonderful blog, Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  I like to make a bunch of this recipe and put one pie worth in a mason jar and freeze it.  It is SO nice to go to the freezer when I want to make a pie, or use a recipe that calls for canned cherry pie filling, and grab a mason jar full of fresh cherries and thaw it and dump it in!
Make Your Own Cherry Pie Filling(like the canned version, but much better!)
3C cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted
11/2C sugar
cornstarch for thickening
Combine the cherries with the sugar in a big saucepan(I usually triple the amount to make a few batches at once). Bring this mixture to a boil while stirring.  Mix around 3T cornstarch with 2/3 C water(I like to use 1/3C water and 1/3C cherry juice, leftover from the fresh cherries) and mix this in a cup until well combined. When cherries are boiling add cornstarch mixture a bit at a time while constantly stirring until thickened. You may not need the entire amount of cornstarch mixture, just add a bit at a time while stirring and as soon as it starts thickening up like gel then stop adding it. You want it to resemble the gel like mixture that you would find in a can of cherry pie filling.  Use this right away in a recipe that calls for one 21oz can of cherry pie filling, or freeze in a clean mason jar for later use.
This recipe linked to Totally Tasty Tuesdays!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cranberry Cherry Pie

Cherry season is upon us! We pick cherries from a neighbors trees each year and when we take our walk or bike ride each night we make it a habit to go by the trees to see if the cherries are ready for pickin. It is always around the Fourth of July when they are ready!!!  The kids LOVE picking cherries and then helping me pit them.  I pit some right away to make this yummy pie with and then I freeze some cheeries with the pit to use later and then I also like to make cherry pie filling and put it in mason jars and freeze.  This is a yummy cherry pie that comes together quickly if you use canned cherry pie filling.
Cranberry Cherry Pie
3/4C sugar
2T cornstarch
1(21oz can) cherry pie filling, I make my own
2C cranberries, I used dried
Pastry for double crust pie
In a bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in pie filling and cranberries.  Line a 9inch pie plate with bottom pastry and trim. Pour filling into crust.  Roll out the remaining top crust and make slits in it, or use a star shaped cookie cutter and make several stars in the top crust(looks very festive for the Fourth of July). Put top crust on pie and seal and flute edges. Arrange the star cutouts on top of pastry. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cover edges with foil. Bake at 375 for 55-60minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Garden Fresh Pasta Salad

I get such gratification from going outside to my garden and picking fresh produce to create meals with to feed my family.  It's like going waaaaay back in history and living like people use to, before there were Walmarts. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy today's modern conveniences, but I also enjoy not having to depend on any. Plus with a garden, I control, for the most part, what goes into my food. No pesticides and no chemicals.  This is a fun recipe to use all of that seasonal produce during the summer months. You can sub any veggies for the ones listed.
Garden Fresh Pasta Salad-recipe from my wonderful mother-n-law
1 large bottle italian dressing
1 whole bottle of McCormicks Salad Supreme
1/2 onion, red is best, diced small
11/2green peppers, diced small, I use less, or use a combo of red,yellow,orange,green
2 cucumbers, diced small
2 tomatoes, I use lots of cherry tomatoes,cut up small
11/2small pkg extra thin spaghetti, cooked, I have used just one package and it works fine
Cook spaghetti and rinse and drain with cold water. Chop all veggies and add to the pasta, along with the dressing and salad supreme. Refrigerate atleast a couple of hours. Stir before serving.
*if you don't serve this right away, add 1/2 the dressing before refrigerating and then the rest of the dressing before serving
*this is also good served warm

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sugar Snap Peas and Mushrooms

Why, oh why, oh slimy snakies, do you have to bother me? I don't know why snakes like to find me, maybe I'm a snake whisperer and I just don't know it yet? Maybe if I let them live long enough they would tell me what they are wanting, but I just don't give them a chance.  It doesn't matter where I have lived, or where I am walking, the snakes always find me.  I have learned to keep my trusty shovel or hoe near by so I can chop their little heads off when they sneak out of nowhere to scare me.  I know it is not their fault, they are just being snakes, trying to make their way through the world(without some woman chopping their head off!).  But, I can't take it when I'm trying to water my plants or garden and they want to surprise me,or they surprise my kids and then they won't play in the backyard again until they see mom kill it and see the proof of its dead body.  It really is a tough world for the poor things, not many people like them.  I don't mind them really, it is more about their sneaky snake appearances that bother never know where and when they will yesterday when I was headed out to the garden and I stepped on one! About a two footer and I stepped on it just right to make it go up in the air! About the same time my sandal flew off while I was trying to kick it(out of pure reaction)it took off under the fence, which was fine, but I know the summer is young and I know I've got to go out to that garden a million more times yet, and I do NOT want to think I'm going to step on that slimy snake every time I walk out to the garden! So, I watered and weeded the garden and then headed back to the house, knowing any step I take may send a slimy snake up in the air again if I step on it! So, I was being oh so cautious, I guess too cautious, because there was that darn snake again and I only missed stepping on it by a few inches....again! I swear I was looking intently before each step I took, but somehow those slimy critters are right in front of you and you can't even see them down in the grass until they move.  Darn things, why do they have to be so sneaky? Like last summer, my daughter was outside playing at my grandparents house in the country and I knew something was wrong when she was on a dead sprint toward me, with a look of terror on her face. Sure enough, up by the water faucet at the house, a 4-5 foot bull snake was cooling himself off.....which was bad news for me, because this momma wasn't going to let it get away so that later on one of my kids could find it again and get bit while playing..SO, off to get the shovel I went(and my grandpa!) and between the two of us with shovels trying to chop its head off, I'm sure it was pretty comical to watch! That 4 foot snake put up a good fight and boy the bigger ones sure have tougher skin, we couldn't even break its skin! But, with sheer mommy determination and about 30 minutes time, grandpa and I got it....pure teamwork! Each summer I end up killing a few, and a few get away, I guess this summer will be no different, ugh! I guess I will just have to hang moth balls off my clothes when I go outside!
Very soon my sugar snap peas and brussel sprouts in the garden will be making their way to our dinner table, so I have rounded up some of my favorite ways to eat them to share with you.  Sugar snap peas are one of those veggies that you don't tend to think much about, they aren't like the popular corn and green beans.  But, they are so very good and crunchy, with the perfect combo of tart and sweet. They are great by themselves(year around you can find them prepackaged by the bagged salads) or to put in salads or pasta dishes.  There is a huge difference between snow peas and sugar snap the store they are right next to each other. Snow peas are not as sweet, and in my opinion, not as good, so I always get the sugar snap peas.  You just eat them whole, you don't crack them open like regular pea pods and only eat the pea.  I hope if you have never tried them that you will very soon, I think you will like them. And if you don't like them raw, here is a great way to eat them with added flavor.  It is so fun trying new foods and trying new ways to cook foods. Fresh produce is always better than canned....and very often has a totally different taste than canned. Enjoy the summer and all the seasonal flavors that are out there....go taste something new, you just may like it! Go find your local farmers market and support the local farmers, and buy fresh!
Sugar Snap Peas and Mushrooms
1T olive oil
1/2pound sugar snap peas
8oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
2T, more or less, soy sauce
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and stir in the peas and mushrooms and cook until they are tender, 4-6minutes or so.  Turn off the heat and add in soy sauce and stir to combine.  Taste and add more sauce if desired.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Creamy Frozen Fruit Cups

This is a refreshing and cool and somewhat healthy dessert for those hot summer days! My mother-in-law served this a few years back and I fell in love with its yumminess.  It is elegant enough to serve compay and kids love it.  Enjoy!
Creamy Frozen Fruit Cups
8oz cream cheese, can use light
1/2C sugar
10oz jar cherries,drained
11oz can mandarin oranges, drained
8oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2C chopped pecans, optional, but very good!
8oz cool whip, light
Halve 9 cherries and set aside, along with 18 slices of mandarin oranges, for garnish.  Mix the rest of the ingredients together.  Place cupcake liners in 18 muffin tins.  Pour mixed ingredients into 18 liners and top with the cherries and slices of oranges you had set aside for garnish and then freeze.  Remove from freezer atleast 10minutes before serving.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fast Eggs for Busy Mornings

I don't typically make my eggs in the microwave, but I am NOT a morning person, and there are going to  be mornings that these recipes below will come in handy for me.  I'm not sure why my brain doesn't want to wake up in the morning, but it is bad...real bad.  I literally can't function in the morning until that first cup of coffee...and I only drink two cups.  I'm talking it is so bad that I bump into the walls all the way down the hallway to get to the kitchen to get the cup of coffee! It is terrible because my husband is a major morning person and he is already whistling when he turns off his alarm in the morning and then (when he is brave) he will try to wake me up by talking to me, or snuggling me....and this has proven to be dangerous at times....but, bless his heart, he just wants me to be awake like he is...and I really do want to be awake and in a good mood, but my brain is just so foggy in the morning.  He has learned after all of these years, and a few blows to his arm, to quietly exit the bedroom after he turns off the alarm in the morning and go directly to the kitchen and start the coffee, God bless him! That is love!
I got these recipes from the magazine, Kraft foods.
Quick Egg Sandwich
1 english muffin (or toast, or biscuit)
1 large egg
2 strips cooked bacon (optional)
1 slice cheese
Place an english muffin half on a microwavable plate and carefully crack the egg on the muffin, so that the egg white does not run off the sides. (this is kinda tricky at times) Microwave on high for 40 seconds.  Fold bacon strips in half and place over the egg and then add the slice of cheese. Top with remaining english muffin half. Microwave on high for 30 seconds longer or until egg white is set and yolk is thickened around the edges.  If you decide to use toast or a biscuit you may want to create a whole to hold the egg, so it won't run off the edges.

Cheddar Eggs
Spray a small microwavable cup(I use a coffee cup) or bowl with cooking spray.  Add 1 egg and 1Tbsp water; beat lightly with fork.  Stir in 1/4C shredded cheese.  Microwave on high for 11/2minutes or until egg is cooked, stirring after 1 minute.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 'Stuff'

My kiddos camping in the backyard!
My daughter(on back) with her best buddy Kenzie

My daughter finally wearing her dress I made her last summer!

My daughter and her bestest friend Sadie

Our neighbor graciously allows us to have our garden behind his house in the alley, the closest is pumpkins, then burpless cucumber, then brussel sprouts and sugar snap peas

Tomatoes, zucchini, spinach

potatoes, carrots, tomato

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Peachy Fruit Salad

I actually got to sit a bit yesterday and catch up on my food blogging! I love when that happens. Although the reason I got to sit was because I was under the weather, but atleast something good came out of it and I got to browse through tons of recipes and catch up on some of my favorite food blogs.  I got this easy and delicious recipe from a very wonderful blog, Real Mom Kitchen.  Laura has the best pictures and recipes and even has a cookbook pictures on my blog are terrible and when you visit this blog you will know just what to compare them with..oh, to have a nice camera and be able to take pictures like this gal does....and to have a cookbook! To have my own cookbook, well, that would just be a dream of mine, how fun and exciting!  This fruit salad is just perfect for hot summer days and the pie filling makes a wonderful sauce for the fruits, yum!
Peachy Fruit Salad-Real Mom Kitchen
1 (21oz)can peach pie filling
1 (20oz)can pineapple chunks, drained
1 (11oz)can mandarin oranges, drained
2 firm bananas, sliced
1C mini marshmallows
1C sliced grapes(I didn't use grapes)
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix and refrigerate until serving.

Friday, June 17, 2011

No Cook HomeMade Ice Cream

I can't remember where I got this recipe, but I'm sure glad I found it! It has no eggs and no cooking! You must like vanilla in order to like this recipe because the vanilla flavor is fabulous! Fresh fruit or chocolate is wonderful on top of it, but I enjoy it all by itself in all its glory!  I have not made this yet this summer, it has not been hot enough here, but I saw this recipe and I thought I would share it with those of you who have already experienced some hot summer days and are craving homemade ice cream! Really you don't need hot weather to make this, but it does help it taste that much better!
No Cook Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
2quarts Half-n-Half
1/2pint heavy cream
11/2C sugar
4tsp vanilla
pinch salt
Combine ingredients in a large bowl and pour in your ice cream container and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions.  YUMMMY!!!! Rich and creamy and vanilla-eee!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I made this recipe for my husband for our first Valentine's dinner 13 years ago.  I remember being in the kitchen most of the day preparing everything so it was just right when he came  home from work.  I was so nervous and wanted everything to be just perfect for him.  This chicken recipe was nice because after it is assembled it cooks in the crockpot and you can prepare other dishes.  I remember it smelled wonderful and it tasted even better.  It is one of those dishes that is simple, yet it tastes elegant.  Our first Valentine's dinner turned out perfect and he seemed very impressed.  But, about 5 years later when I made this dish again and I reminded him how it was our first Valentines dinner, he didn't seem to remember....oh well.....that is a man for ya!  I have learned over the years not to take it personal when stuff like that happens! Men and women just don't see things the same....period!
Chicken Cordon Bleu-crockpot
4-6chicken breasts(pounded)
thin slices of ham, one per chicken
slices of swiss cheese, one per chicken
1/4C flour, with salt, pepper, cayenne mixed in
mushrooms, sliced
1/2C chicken broth
1/4C parmesan cheese
2cans cream of mushroom soup
After the chicken is pounded, put a slice of ham and cheese on each chicken breast and roll up.  Secure with a toothpick and roll in the flour mixture.  Put mushrooms and broth in bottom of the crockpot.  Then place the chicken on top and pour the soups over the chicken and top with parmesan cheese.  Cook in crockpot on low for 6-7 hours or on high 3-4hours.  Serve with rice and place the chicken rolls on top and cover with the soup mixture sauce.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Punch

This is quick and very yummy! If you don't like cranberry juice, switch it up with a juice you prefer. Very refreshing on a hot summer day!
Summer Punch
1 frozen can cranberry juice(partially thaw)
1 can full(from the frozen cranberry juice can) of OJ
1 can full(from the frozen cranberry juice can) of sprite
Mix together in pitcher and serve right away

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Banana Cream Pie

I love no cook recipes during the summer and this one is fast and easy and kids love to help make it!  You will have to plan on eating this whole pie in the same day you make it, or the bananas will be black by the next day and not so I give you permission to eat a lot of this pie.....or, if you don't have a big family, you will need to share it with someone!   I like my grandma's homemade banana pudding pie MUCH better, but this is a quick version and still very tasty.
Quick Banana Cream Pie
1 graham cracker crust
5 bananas
1 tub cool whip, light
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
Follow the pie directions on the pudding package.  Slice a layer of bananas on the bottom of the crust and mix the rest of the banana slices into the pudding mix, reserving a few slices for the topping.  Pour mixture into crust and spread cool whip on top.  Garnish top of pie with a few slices of banana.  Chill atleast a couple hours before eating.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fresh Green Bean Pasta Salad

This recipe comes from Kraft foods, but I switched it up a bit.  Use those garden fresh green beans and tomatoes! Nothing better than that!  This is so simple to throw together and light and full of flavor and the colors are beautiful too!
Fresh Green Bean Pasta Salad
1C penne pasta, uncooked
1/2pound fresh green beans, cut into 1inch pieces
1medium tomato, chopped
1/4C zesty italian dressing
1/4C parmesan cheese
cubed cheese
Cook pasta and add beans to the pasta cooking water for the last two minutes.  Drain; rinse with cold water.  Place in medium serving bowl.  Add rest of the ingredients and mix lightly.  Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate.  If refrigerating, add more italian dressing before serving because the pasta tends to soak up the dressing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Corn and Broccoli in Cheese Sauce

This is another recipe for the crockpot....I'm all about keeping the heat out of the house while I'm cooking during the summer.  Kids will eat their broccoli with this dish because it has velveeta on it! This recipe comes from a Healthy Cooking magazine.
Corn and Broccoli in Cheese Sauce
1(16oz) pkg frozen corn
1(16oz)pkg frozen broccoli florets
4oz reduced fat velveeta, cubed
1/2C shredded cheddar cheese
1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
1/4C milk
In a 4qt slow cooker, combine the corn, broccoli and cheeses.  In a small bowl, combine soup and milk;  pour over veggie mixture.  Cover and cook on low for 3-4hours.  Stir before serving.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Crockpot Lasagna

This is a great dish from the wonderful cookbook collection, Gooseberry Patch.  It is great during the summer heat because it is made in the crockpot and doesn't heat up your kitchen.
Crockpot Lasagna
1-2pounds cooked ground beef
26oz jar spaghetti sauce
8oz pkg bowtie pasta-cooked(I use egg noodles)
12oz cottage cheese(I use the full 24oz container)
16oz pkg mozzarella cheese
Mix beef and sauce.  In crockpot, layer 1/2 beef mix, 1/2 pasta, 1/2 cottage cheese, 1/2 cheese.  Repeat. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.  Serves 8
I added pepperoni and mushrooms
When I made this in my 6qt crockpot it came clear to the top and it cooked on high it took 3-4hours

This recipe linked to:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Salsa Rice

This is a super simple side dish and very good.  It comes together very quick and perfect results every time.  It's very good served next to some enchiladas!
Salsa Rice
11/2C water
11/2C salsa
2C instant rice, uncooked
1C shredded cheese
Bring water and salsa to a boil.  Stir in rice.  Remove from heat and cover.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir in cheese, cover and let sit for 30 seconds or until cheese is melted.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dreamsicle Salad

This is a lot like my Orange Fluff Jello that I have on this blog, but this is even quicker to make.  You can use any combo of fruit and jello. I got this quick recipe from a very cute blog, One Crazy Cookie.  Tiffanee has some wonderful recipes on her blog and she is so nice!
Dreamsicle Salad
1large box, or 2small boxes, instant vanilla pudding
1small box strawberry jello
13/4C water
2C strawberries, cut up
8oz cool whip light
Boil the water. In a large bowl add pudding and jello mixes and stir to combine.  Add boiling water and mix well.  Add fruit and stir and then cool a bit.  Add cool whip and stir well and refrigerate.
You can use raspberries with raspberry jello, mandarin oranges with orange jello, etc etc
I think this is my worst picture yet! LOL We had bad lighting and I just couldn't get a good one...sorry!
It tastes MUCH better than this looks! I'm hoping someone will feel sorry enough for me for the camera that I own
and send me a nice one!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tortellini Pasta Salad

I love tortellini in pasta salads, yummy! This is refreshing and cool and colorful, perfect for a summer dish! And healthy to boot!
Tortellini Pasta Salad-Taste of Home(adapted)
1pkg(9oz) refrigerated cheese tortellini
1pkg(16oz) frozen corn
2C cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved
1/4C finely chopped green onions
1/4C finely chopped fresh basil
2T grated parmesan cheese-use fresh
4tsp olive oil
1/4tsp garlic powder
1/8tsp pepper
Cook tortellini according to package directions and add the corn to cook the last five minutes, drain and rinse under cold water.  In a large bowl,  combine the tortellini mixture and the remaining ingredients and toss to coat and refrigerate.
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