Jul 14, 2011

New Favorite Summer Recipes

I have been stuck in a mac & cheese, hot dogs and pickles and tacos and beans slump for a while.  I have just not had any new recipe inspiration and cooking has become a dreaded chore (I partly blame the heat and humidity which is something unusual for the desert where we live).  But thanks to my hubby ordering the wrong cookbook for me for my birthday and Deseret Book for not having the one I really wanted I ended up exchanging for this:
I have been eyeing this cookbook for a while and I must say it is so worth every penny I spent on it.  I am like a whole new cooking woman.  What I love most: the recipes are realistic and practical for moms.  Everything looks so good and I haven't made anything I haven't liked yet.  If you don't have the cookbook the website has tons of great recipes too.  The thing is the website doesn't have all the recipes the book has and visa versa so pretty much you need to talk yourself into getting this (especially if you need recipe inspiration).
Here is a link to the website:

A couple of favorite recipes from the website are:
Brazilian Lemonade -this stuff is super delicious.  Make it when you are having company because it doesn't last.  We made a double batch and guzzled it.
Glazed Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf -I have meatloaf.  Pretty much I don't think the two words should ever be used together.  I partly blame a guest speaker we had in one of my college cooking classes that was a microwave expert and showed us how to make meatloaf in the microwave and then "disguise" the awful grey color of the meat with a red sauce.  BARF!!!!!  But I was kinda craving a meatloafish creation a while back and I searched their site and found this recipe and it is fantastic.  I used all ground beef and found it was just fine.  The glazed bacon is scrumptious and pretty much I might find myself just making it from time to time.

Recipes from the cookbook:
Oven Roasted Broccoli which basically you take your broccoli florets, drizzle them with olive oil and some salt and pepper, spread them on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes.  The ladies say it takes broccoli to a whole new level and I have to agree.  Good thing I just picked 3 gigantic heads of broccoli from my garden yesterday. 
Grilled Stuffed Zucchini (but you will have to wait until this Friday's Project Zucchini for that one).

One other recipe I am lovin right now:
Sesame Almond Romaine Salad  I needed a recipe for a pot luck and this was perfect.  I love the combination of flavors.  One of my new favorites.
Recipe (with my changes in red)
1/2 cup butter cubed (salad with butter-Paula Dean would be proud)
1 tbsp sugar
2 packages Ramen noodles crushed (flavor packet saved for another time)
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup slivered almonds (I used raw sunflower seeds instead)
2 heads of romaine torn (I chopped mine and it worked just fine)
4 green onions thinly sliced
1 can mandarin oranges (drained)
3/4 cup olive oil (didn't have any so I used canola)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup read wine vinegar (didn't have any so I used regular vinegar)
1 tbsp soy sauce

In large skillet melt butter and sugar over med head.  Add ramen noodles, almonds and sesame seeds.  Cook and stir for 6-8 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from heat and cool.  In a large bowl combine lettuce, onions and oranges.  Mix dressing in a separate container (I used the above recipe but only needed half the dressing so i was able to make another salad later and use the rest).  Add cooled noodle mixture to salad.  Dress and toss gently just prior to serving. 

And for a couple of random but hopefully useful cooking tips:
1. I don't cook with potato flakes (except in my bread recipe).  I don't think they make very good potatoes on their own.  However if I want to stretch my regular good old mashed potatoes a little further, just prior to mashing them I add some potato flakes (depends on how many potatoes I have to mash -could be as much as a cup of flakes) in with my milk and butter and mash them all together.  You can't even tell they are there but suddenly you have more potatoes.  This is also good if you are mashing potatoes and add a bit too much milk-just add some potato flakes (then you won't have runny potatoes).

2. Don't waste your money on store bought, premade hamburger patties (unless they are cheaper than actual ground beef-then do waste your money on them if they are 100% ground beef).  Instead buy ground beef when it is on sale and make your own patties.  I use the lid from a cottage cheese container (which happens to be practically an official measurement term in Canada-that and ice cream pail...but I digress) and use it to form my patties.

 Flip the lid over so you can have a perfect sized burger (I saw this on the Food Network)
 Then you can place the patties on a cookie sheet and freeze them until firm and bag em up for later use.
 Like making gigantic burgers like this:
 He's lovin' it.
Happy Cooking and Eating!!!!
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