Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese,
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.
 from 5/29/2013


  • 2 cans apple juice concentrate (thawed) (We splurged and bought the Wal-mart Great Value brand!)
  • 1 (2 liter) bottle club soda (Again, we decided to pull out all the stops and bought the exclusive Kroger Store Brand)
  • Mix.
Were you able to catch all of that? Do you need me to repeat it? ;-)
It was SO good! I really didn’t hold out too much hope that it could compare with the “real” thing…but honestly, I think I liked it BETTER than Martinelli’s.  And it was SO pretty in the beverage dispensers I picked up on sale this week. (Which I am KICKING MYSELF for not getting a picture of!)  Next time I will add apple slices (like the above photo) purely for aesthetics. :-)
I do love a S I M P L E idea that is such a crowd-pleaser. Give it a try at your next gathering…and I can practically guarantee a happy crowd. :-)

Neopolitan cupcake

I found THIS recipe and modified it by using strawberry cake mix and then topped it with Vanilla icing. There are tons of possible flavor combos with this recipe!

Mexican Stuffed Shells

1 lb. ground beef
1 package low-sodium taco seasoning (or better yet use this Taco Seasoning!)
4 oz. cream cheese
14-16 jumbo pasta shells
1.5 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce (This is a smooth, tomato based sauce found in the Mexican section)
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup monterey jack cheese
3 green onions
Sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a frying pan cook ground beef; add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions.  Add cream cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside and cool completely.  While ground beef is cooking, cook the pasta shells according to directions; drain. Set shells out individually on cutting board/baking sheet so that they don’t stick together.
Pour salsa on bottom of 9×13 baking dish.  Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place shells in 9×13 pan open side up. Cover shells with taco sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 more minutes, with the foil removed.  Top with any condiments you’d like (green onions, black olives, etc.) Serve with sour cream and/or more salsa.
Adapted from:  A Pinch of This & That


1 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 quarts oil for frying
1/2 cup white sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1.In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a ball.
2.Heat oil for frying in deep-fryer or deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pipe strips of dough into hot oil using a pastry bag. Fry until golden; drain on paper towels.
3.Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll drained churros in cinnamon and sugar mixture.
adapted from:

Hawaiian Grilled Chicken & Pineapple

* 3 tablespoons soy sauce
* 3 tablespoons brown sugar
 2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar or sherry
* 1 tablespoon sesame oil
* 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 2 inch pieces
* Fresh Pineapple cut into slices
* 1/2 c. fresh pineapple, chopped into small pieces, juice reserved
* skewers

Basting Sauce
* 1 T. Cornstarch
* 1/4 c. cold water
* Leftover Marinade 

In a small bowl mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic powder. In a Marinating dish, (if you don't have one you can place them in a 9x13 casserole dish, place the chicken pieces and several pineapple slices that have been chopped into small pieces into the dish, pour over the marinade, stir until well coated. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. If using a marinating dish, flip it over after an hour. I don't recommend marinating overnight if you're using fresh pineapple as the enzymes in the pineapple will break down the chicken and change its texture.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Soak 10-12 Wooden Skewers in a tall glass of water. This prevents the skewers from burning during cooking.

Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs
Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers. Now, you're left with some tasty leftover marinade.
If you'd like to baste your chicken during cooking, you can make a light basting sauce. In a small sauce pan add the leftover marinade (with pineapple pieces) over medium heat, stirring occasionally. While it is heating in a small bowl mix cornstarch and COLD water (Cornstarch only thickens once!), once your marinade is bubbling hot, add the cornstarch/water mix. Bring to a boil until thickened and no longer cloudy (this means the cornstarch is thoroughly incorporated into your sauce). 

Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill the chicken kebabs 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally, or until chicken juices run clear. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the pineapple slices, grill lightly on both sides.

Alternatively, you could use canned pineapple chunks and make Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs by alternating pieces of chicken and pieces of pineapple.

This dish is perfect with steamed jasmine rice!

From: - Hawaiian Grilled Chicken & Pineapple | Grilled chicken Recipes

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Honey-Lime Dip

Recipe by Our Best Bites
1 lb peeled sweet potatoes cut into 1/4″ match-sticks
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t coriander
1 t kosher salt
1 t parsley
1/8 tsp black pepper
*you want 1lb sweet potatoes after they are peeled, sliced, etc. If you weigh them at the store make sure you have a little more than a pound to allow for the peeling, and tossing of small pieces.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a small bowl combine cumin, oregano, coriander, salt, parsley, and pepper. 
Place sweet potatoes in a pile directly on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Use hands to toss until all pieces are well coated.  Sprinkle seasoning mixture on top and toss again with hands to coat. 
Arrange sweet potatoes in a single layer so that pieces are not touching each other.  Place pan in oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Use a metal spatula to gently flip fries and then return pan to oven. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until fries are starting to lightly brown and crisp.  Remove pan from oven and cool 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.
Honey-Lime Dip
6oz container plain, low-fat yogurt
1 T mayo (low cal is fine)
1/2 T honey
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/4 t cumin
1/8 t oregano
1 t parsley
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t kosher salt
Mix all ingredients until combined.  Chill until ready to use.

Coconut Chicken Curry

Adapted from:
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. Indian curry powder
1 small onion, diced or thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can light coconut milk
1 14.5 oz. can crushed diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
3 Tbsp. natural cane sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, to thicken (optional)
2 cups brown rice
4 cups water (or low-sodium chicken broth)
crushed peanuts, for serving
fresh cilantro, diced, to garnish

1.Bring rice and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 45-55 minutes until the water is absorbed and the rice is soft. (If you are using par-boiled brown rice follow the package directions for how long it should take.)

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add curry powder and cook for about two minutes, stirring often. Add onions and garlic, and cook for several minutes, until soft. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Toss to lightly coat with curry oil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the edges are browned.

3. Pour coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar into the pan. Stir to combine. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is somewhat reduced. (At this point I add 1 Tbsp. cold water mixed with 1 Tbsp. cornstarch to thicken. Unless you were to simmer for an hour or so the sauce won't thicken enough on its own.)

4. Serve curry over a bed of brown rice. Top with crushed peanuts and cilantro.

Serves 6.

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

Adapted from Our Best Bites:

Monte Cristo Sandwich

I had one of these in San Fransisco and it was AMAZING!!!
White sandwich bread
Thin sliced deli ham
Swiss cheese, sliced
2 eggs
1 C milk
2T flour
Strawberry Jam (or raspberry works too)
Powdered sugar
optional: dijon mustard or maple syrup
Whisk flour and milk and then add in eggs and whisk until well-blended and place in a shallow dish.Now this isn’t rocket science- basically you want to put the cheese and the meat on the inside of the bread, then dip both sides of the sandwich in the egg/milk mix, then grill in a hot buttered skillet until the bread is browned and toasty and the cheese inside is melted.Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with Jam. Done.

However, I’ll tell you how I find it easiest to do.When I tried to build the sandwich first, and then dip it, it was hard to keep everything together and I had egg stuff dripping all over. Apparently I’m not as coordinated as Dawn is because that’s how she did it and it looked effortless!
Soo…I dip one side of one piece of bread in the egg mixture and place in a hot, buttered skillet. Then immediately build the sandwich on the bread in the pan, starting with the cheese on the bottom, then meat, then cheese again. (This way, the cheese melts and “glues” the sandwich together.) Then I dip one side of the 2nd piece of bread in the egg and place it on top (egg side out).
Let the sandwich sizzle for a few minutes until the bread on one side is nice and brown, and flip.
To serve, slice in half and sprinkle with powdered sugar.I like it served with the classic strawberry jam.I place a little bowl on the side, but you can just grab a knife and slather some on the inside too.When I had these at my friend’s house in addition to the jam, she also had maple syrup andDijonmustard (not to be eaten together- just to pick one or the other!)So it’s really up to you and your preference.