Friday, July 31, 2009

farmstand produce...

...makes me happy!!
I have big plans for the raspberries & corn, the rest will just be for munching.
My favorite produce stand never disappoints. This is just a small portion of what I wanted to purchase. Unfortuantely, farmstands do not make my kids as happy as they make me so I'll be taking another trip back there tomorrow (alone) for the best looking green beans I have ever seen, red potatoes, watermelon & peaches.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


focaccia or ciabatta bread
1/2 pound salami
1/2 pound prosciutto
1/2 pound provolone cheese
olive oil

I found a loaf of focaccia bread at the bakery and cut it into six portions. You could also use the individual ciabatta rolls (really, whatever works!) Place sliced provolone on each half and meat in the middle. I only used mustard with the salami. Place sandwich together and brush with olive oil. Place on preheated panini press or grill and press down. Cook until cheese is melted and bread is crisp.
I don't have a panini press, but I do have a George Foreman and it worked perfectly. You could get really creative with paninis and make them according to your own taste. A fresh mozzarella, tomato & basil would be fantastic. Adding a little pear or arugula to the provolone and prosciutto would also be great. I wish I had been thinking more clearly and I would have sprinkled a little rosemary on the cheese. That's because this was a last minute dinner and I just started throwing stuff together. Not bad for "one of those nights!"
I served them with some fresh berries and some Italian pickled vegetables. These will be taking the place of a standard grilled cheese. The whole family loved them!
And let me just mention that the cheese that melts on the grill and gets all crusty is one of the BEST parts.

Monday, July 20, 2009

need a lunch/snack idea?...

My kids LOVE this kind of stuff.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

baked ham & cheese rolls...

2 Tbsp dried minced onions
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 stick melted butter (I used 1/2 a stick)
1 dozen dinner rolls
1/2 pound ham
1/2 pound thinly sliced Monterey Jack or Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 325°. In a small mixing bowl mix onion, mustard, poppy seeds, and melted butter. Leaving the dinner rolls intact, slice them open so that you have one solid top and bottom. Place the bottom half on a baking sheet or in a 9x13 inch baking pan, the pan size will depend on choice of rolls. Line the bottom half of the rolls with cheese slices and ham. Return the top part of the rolls and drizzle the butter mixture evenly over top. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Now use a sharp knife and separate the little sandwiches. Serve immediately.

Note- These can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, may require 5 more minutes of baking. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds.

These little sandwiches were a hit. They came together quickly, and were full of flavor. I mean, butter BAKED right on top of a ham & cheese sandwich???YUM! The flavor from the onions and mustard were delicious, as well. The original recipe called for 1 Tablespoon of poppy seeds (which is what I used and is pictured above) but I think 1 teaspoon would suffice. Especially since my kids weren't thrilled about little black dots on their food...whatever.
These would be perfect for a bridal/baby shower. Crank up your ovens (I know, I's hot outside) You'll be glad you did.
Recipe adapted from Big Red Kitchen

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

patriotic mini pies...

pie filling

Roll out crust and cut circles out that are about 1 inch bigger than mini muffin cups. Press gently into muffin pans and crimp edges. Fill about 3/4 full with pie filling. Cut out stars with remaining dough and place on top of each pie. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake according to crust directions. Serve warm or at room temp.

Yes, I know...the 4th of July is over, but who says you can't celebrate all month??? Especially when you can do it with pie!
I made these for our 4th of July bbq and they were a hit! I used my favorite pie/tart crust recipe, and blueberry and apple for the fillings. For the apple I cut the apples pretty small and tossed with a little splash of lemon juice, a little sugar and cinnamon and a little flour to thicken it ( exact measurements here. I just winged it.) I did the same for the blueberry filling.
I made 24 mini pies. If you have filling and dough leftover you can always make a tart or turnovers.
For a more detailed (and entertaining) recipe go

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Greek pizza...

olive oil
diced red onion
diced english cucumber
chopped romaine lettuce
feta cheese
kalamata olives, pitted and halved
greek vinaigrette


Juice of 1 lemon
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Whisk to combine. Store in refrigerator.

Brush pitas with a little olive oil. Place on grill until a little crisp and grill lines are visible. Spread 1-2 tablespoons hummus on to each pita. Sprinkle with feta. Put back on grill just until warmed through. Sprinkle with the remaining inngredients and drizzle with a little vinaigrette.
I could eat Greek salad every day. Pile it all on to a pita, grill it, and you have yourself a winner!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

guilt free chicken alfredo...

2 cups low-fat milk (not skim)
1/3 cup (3 oz) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (room temp)
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
dash of grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp butter
2-3 garlic cloves
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
sliced, grilled chicken

Place milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender.
Process until smooth and set aside.In a non-stick sauce pan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds, being sooo careful not to burn it. Then add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be much thicker now. When it's nice and thick (it should look as thick as a normal alfredo sauce) remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, stir it up and then cover immediately. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Also, if you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

This recipe (thanks to Our Best Bites) is phenomenal! I like the flavor of alfredo sauce, but it is way too rich for me in it's true form. This tastes EXACTLY like the alfredo sauce that we all know and love...minus the coat your tongue richness. The only thing I altered from the original recipe was that I added a little nutmeg (a must in cream sauces) and used a little less garlic. This would make an amazing pasta primavera if steamed vegetables were added.