Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

Thanks for participating in the Cookie Swap--it was so much fun for me!

I am working on my goals for the year, and I will try to do a better job of posting recipes on a regular basis...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Cookie Swap

Oh, how I wish all my friends lived close by and we could have a cookie swap this month! Doesn't that sound like so much fun??? I really want to have one, but I think I should have planned ahead a little more... Oh well. This season always creeps up on me, and then I'm already out of time!

So here's my idea: Let's have an virtual cookie swap! I'm going to post a bunch of my favorite cookie or Christmas treat plate recipes below. Then this is what I want YOU to do: click here to post your favorite cookie/treat recipe, and as I get them I will add it to my page (credited to you, of course). That way, everyone can see each other's recipes and get some new ideas for their own plates this year. Or, even if you don't give out plates--who doesn't want a bunch of yummy treat recipes? Hello??? It's Christmas!

We'll see how this works--hope to hear from you soon :o)

Heather's Peppermint Chocolate Cookies

Yikes, this is hard! Thinking about all of you makes me sad that you're all so far away :o(

Heather Heather Heather... where do I start? Again, we were at Ohio State together--GO BUCKS! Heather is my hero because she has always been thoughtful of others, even though she had three girls under 3 and a husband trying to finish up school, interview for residency, take boards, etc. I have lots of wonderful memories with Heather, but probably my favorite is the night after Book Club when we sat under the tree in her front yard and just talked and talked... until her husband finally came out looking for her :o) Heather is so honest and optimistic... I LOVE MY FRIENDS! Merry Christmas, everyone!!!

Peppermint Chocolate Cookies
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
mini chocolate chips
a few candy canes, smashed

Cream butters and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa powder, soda, powder, and salt. Don't over mix. Add chocolate chips to your liking. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. When fresh out of the oven, sprinkle with crushed candy canes for a festive look and let cool on pan for a few minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Elisa's Christmas Popcorn

Elisa was one of my very first neighbors as a newlywed! We lived in the same 4-plex just south of BYU campus, and we had our first babies just 5 months apart. So we spent TONS of time together and have lots of fun memories :o) It's been over 5 years since we've seen each other, but Elisa is still one of the happiest, most grateful, easy-going people I've ever known! She's still a great example to me...

Christmas Popcorn
1 lb. white chocolate
3 bags popped popcorn
1 peppermint candy cane (crushed)

Melt chocolate (go by package directions). Stir in the crushed candy cane. Pour over the popped popcorn and stir until evenly coated. Let it dry on a cookie sheet--YUM!

Elisa's Molasses Cookies

Molasses Cookies
Elisa says: "We have the tradition of making Gingerbread Men around Christmas time. Here is the recipe. You add more flour until it is barely sticky and then roll it out and do the cut out shapes!"

4 C flour
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 C shortening or margarine
2 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C molasses

Cream together margarine, sugar and eggs. Mix together remaining ingredients. Mix everything together. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Elisa's Caramels

2 C sugar
1 1/3 C Karo
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 C cream
3/4 C evaporated milk
4 T butter

Bring sugar, syrup, 1 C cream, and salt to boiling point, stirring occasionally. Add remaining cream and evaporated milk gradually so candy does not cease to boil. Cook until candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees (soft ball stage). Add butter and continue stirring constantly until mixture forms a hard ball under cold water. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour mixture into buttered pan. When cool, cut into squares and wrap in wax paper.

*Cooling takes several hours or overnight. Place in refrigerator for faster results.

Mrs. Fields' Chocolate Chip Cookies (Lindsay)

Lindsay and I go way back... actually, Lindsay and Jeremy go way back, so therefore she and I do too :o) They worked together at Subway in high school, and then Lindsay ended up marrying Jeremy's mission companion (they were comps twice) and that's when I come into the picture. I saw them the night she and Jake got engaged! We've been friends ever since--and our husbands are both interns this year so we share that burden as well :o) Thanks, Linds!

Top Secret Recipes' Mrs. Fields' Chocolate Chip Cookies
Be careful not to cook these too long. I know it becomes tempting to keep cooking these because they don’t seem to be done after 10 minutes, but they will continue to cook for awhile after you take them out of the oven, and when cool, will be nice and chewy.

1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 twelve-ounce bags semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips.
With your fingers, place golf ball-sized dough portions 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes or just until edges are light brown. Makes two dozen cookies.

Lisa's Pfeffernuesse

I know Lisa from Columbus--our husbands were in the same graduating class of medical school at Ohio State. Something I will always remember about Lisa is that during the white coat ceremony (which takes place right before med school starts), when the announcer called out her husband's name, he had to explain that Joe couldn't be there because he was in the hospital with his wife, who was having their first baby! What a way to start out med school :o)

Lisa says: "While "pfeffer" generally means "pepper" in German today, in the old days the term was used to refer to spices."

3/4 cup light molasses
1/2 cup butter
2 beaten eggs
4 1/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. ground nutmeg

In saucepan, combine molasses and butter. Cook and stir over medium low heat until butter melts. Cool to room temperature. Stir in eggs.
Sift together: flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Add to molasses mixture, mix well. You probably will not need all the dry mixture--be careful of how dry the dough becomes. You don't want it to crumble, the dough should form into a soft, somewhat sticky ball. Chill overnight.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls (they will expand in the oven). Bake on greased cookie sheet at 375 for 12 minutes--be careful not to overbake; they are dark so you can't tell if they are burning, they should be a softball shaped cookie. Cool and roll in confectioner's sugar.
Yields 42 cookies.

Laura's Butterscotch Bars

Laura is my friend in my ward here in Maryland. Thankfully, when the Primary president got released last month, Laura was called to take her place--and not me!!! I still haven't quite recovered yet... Thanks for the great recipes, Laura!

Butterscotch Bars
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
¾ cup butter or margarine
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 32 crackers)
1 6-oz pkg butterscotch chips
2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter

Combine eggs, sugar, and butter in saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for 2 min, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool. Add marshmallows, nuts, and graham cracker crumbs. Pat mixture into 9x13 pan. In saucepan, melt butterscotch pieces over very low heat; stir in peanut butter, mix well. Spread over crumb mixture in pan. When set, cut into 1x1” pieces.

Laura's Caramels

Another yummy one...


½ lb butter
2 cups light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
2 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk
½ cup flour (mixed with about ½ cup of the condensed milk)
2 tsp vanilla

Measure and set out all ingredients before you start. Have a spatula and a long handled wooden spoon or scraper handy.
Melt butter in large, heavy saucepan/pot (non-stick works best). Add corn syrup and sugar. Bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring constantly, and boil for 5 minutes. Take pan off burner (don’t turn it off) and stir in 1 ½ cups of the milk, then add the flour/milk mixture. Stir well and return pan to burner. Boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture darkens and reaches a medium hard ball (240). Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Turn into buttered 9x13 glass pan. Cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces with buttered knife. Wrap in small pieces of wax paper.

Yummy Pretzel Rods

I don't really have a recipe for these--but they are easy and fun to make!

Yummy Pretzel Rods
1 pkg. long, thick pretzel rods
melted white chocolate
melted milk chocolate
melted caramel
Optional toppings: coconut, crushed candy canes, toffee bits, chopped-up M&Ms, chopped peanuts or almonds, whatever tastes good to you!

Dip pretzel rod in one melted liquid, then lay on cookie sheet covered with greased parchment paper. Sprinkle with desired topping(s) and refrigerate till hardened.

One of our favorites is the pretzel rod first dipped in caramel, then let sit till hardened. Then dip into milk chocolate and sprinkle with toffee bits.

Other combinations:
white chocolate with candy cane chunks, milk chocolate with white chocolate drizzled on top, etc. etc. etc. The possibilities are endless!

Mildred's Toffee

Brent and Ann, our neighbors in Columbus, gave us a whole tin of this sinful stuff every Christmas and it was always gone way too fast. One time I think Bennett (yeah, let's blame him) got into it and ate most of it, so Jeremy just asked Brent for the recipe so we could make more. Brent not only gave us the recipe, but made a whole new batch for us. Yikes! Not so good for the hips... but worth every second on the treadmill :o)

Mildred's Toffee
1 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans or almonds, divided
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

Spread 1 cup pecans/almonds into a 9-inch circle on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bring sugar, butter, corn syrup and water to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture is golden brown and a candy thermometer registers 290 to 310 degrees (about 15 minutes). Pour sugar mixture over nuts on baking sheet.
Sprinkle with chocolate morsels; let stand 30 seconds. Spread melted morsels evenly over top; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup nuts. Chill 1 hour. Break into bite-size pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Peppermint Bark

I am a sucker for anything mint. If it's mint, I WILL love it (hint hint). I also love anything Paula Deen makes--at least I love watching her make anything. If I actually ate everything she made, I would have a heart attack very soon. But her Peppermint Bark does NOT have any butter in it, and so I will eat it :o) Enjoy! It's a fun one for the kids to help with, too...

Paula Deen's Peppermint Bark
1 1/2 cup crushed candy canes
2 lbs. white chocolate
Peppermint flavoring (optional)
Red food coloring (optional)

Place candy canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4-inch chunks or smaller.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or in the microwave in VERY short increments, stirring in between, so you don't burn it. Stir 1 cup candy cane chunks into chocolate, and add peppermint flavoring at this point, if desired.
Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or waxed paper. Drop 2-3 drops of red food coloring in different places on chocolate mixture; use a toothpick to "marble-ize" for a red-and-white swirled look. Sprinkle remaining candy cane chunks on top, and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm.

Previously on KarensRecipes...

A while back I posted some recipes that are perfect on Christmas plates...

Click here for Heather's Gooey Chex Mix--it has craisins and white chocolate chips and would look so pretty. You could probably just do a huge batch, wrap it in cute cellophane with a ribbon, and pass that out on its own. SO GOOD!

Also, my sister-in law Ashlee requested my recipe for Magical Mint Kisses. When they are straight out of the oven, they are literally to-die-for.... I told you I love anything mint! Click here for that recipe.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


So sorry I have completely fallen off the bandwagon this season. I love Fall and all the yummy warm recipes that come with it, but for some reason I just haven't found the time to sit down and put them up. I feel like life is running away from me and I'm just trying to keep up right now--not doing a very good job, I should add.
Anyway, I will try to do a better job. Does anyone even check this, or am I having feelings of guilt over nothing???? Let me know...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Summer is winding down! I know it's technically Fall, but that summer heat seems to linger longer every year. So I am willing Fall into existence--I pulled out my Fall decorations, I've got my yummy Cranberry Autumn candle going, and I'm whipping up some Fall recipes. I don't seem to have much time lately, but I promise I will post them, even if it's just one by one. What are your favorite Fall recipes? Feel free to post them as comments, or you can email me and I'll post them for you. I want this to be a communal effort :o)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I'm taking requests...

Yahoo--it's summertime! I hope you're enjoying the sun, the water, and the oven-free recipes I put up last month. But summertime also means that my brain is on vacation, and I'm drawing a blank as to what kinds of recipes I should post for July.

So I have decided to take requests... Is there anything you would like to see? Please take a minute and comment back to me on what kinds of recipes you'd like me to compile, or if you have specific recipes you'd like to know more about--that's fine, too. Just let me know! Now that we have reliable internet (cross your fingers for us), I should be able to respond pretty quickly. I will post my answers below, so keep checking back!

Can't wait to hear from you!!!

Meat Marinades

My sister's friend Amber asked for some new marinating ideas. I know what you mean--they get pretty boring. I don't have all the answers, but I have tried a few recipes that have worked for me. Here's a little list:
  • Good Seasons Italian dressing--you buy the dry packets and make it up yourself; it's really the only salad dressing we have, we love it so much! Try soaking your chicken in it, too.
  • Have you ever tried Sprite or 7up? The carbonation is a great tenderizer--I've heard that Coke works too, but I've never done it.
  • Lawry's makes a whole line of good marinades. Just go down the aisle and see what pops out at you--we've had lots of success with the baja lime one.
  • My friend Jennie makes an awesome Teriyaki Chicken, this is the marinade she uses: equal parts ketchup, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Make up as much as you need to cover the amount of chicken you have, and you will not be disappointed. I make a lo mein stirfry dish to go with this chicken, and it's amazing. I will try to remember and put it up soon.
  • You can always try something new on your own! Experiment by doing something like olive oil and lemon juice, throw in fresh minced garlic and some Parmesan cheese. Sometimes simple is incredible--basting a steak with butter, then a dash of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper right on it while it's grilling is my dad's specialty. Be creative!
Those are my only ideas for now. I hope they help! If anyone else has good marinades, please feel free to post them in the comments section...

Peanut Butter Cookies

I've had some requests for cookies--which I know have gained their popularity not by my efforts at all. Jeremy is the baking master in this house... So here are a couple of his famous ones!

Peanut Butter Cookies (from BH&G)
1/2 C butter
1/2 C peanut butter
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
Granulated sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter with mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Beaet till combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and vanilla till combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour. If necessary, cover and chill dough till easy to handle.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in additional granulated sugar to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten by making crisscross marks with the tines of a fork. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes or till bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Makes about 36 cookies.
***You can also add the Hershey kisses to these, of course.

Magical Mint Kisses

We always put these on the Christmas plates we pass out to our friends during the holidays. They come with this stipulation: if you're not eating them right out of the oven, stick them in the microwave for 10 seconds and you're in for a treat!

Magical Mint Kisses
1 C butter, softened
2/3 C sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C cocoa
About 48 Hershey's Mint Kisses
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until creamy. Stir together flour and cocoa; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Mold scant tablespoon of dough around each Hershey's Mint Kiss, covering completely. Shape into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool about 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Roll in powdered sugar. Roll in sugar again just before serving, if desired. Yield: about 48 cookies.

Grilled vegetables

OK, so Lisa H. asked me to post some good ideas for veggies on the grill. Perfect timing, because recently I went to Target's outdoor section, and they had all their grill stuff on clearance. So I bought a little metal basket-type thing with holes in it for grilling veggies... right up my alley! You don't HAVE to have this little contraption in order to grill veggies, but it's made it a lot easier for me. You can also form a low-lying rectangular box with edges out of foil and put it right on the grill. It's just a little more precarious.
Here's what I did: I just cut up all different-colored peppers, fresh mushrooms, yellow squash, pre-boiled red potatoes, and an onion (red or yellow), tossed them with some olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh-ground pepper, threw them in my little basket and put the basket on the grill next to my chicken. It's that easy! Just turn the veggies a couple times and cook them till they look right to you. You can also toss in some minced garlic and/or parmesan cheese, if that's more of what you're in the mood for. Just experiment and have fun!

Summer Veggie Bake

Here's another idea for using those wonderful, colorful summertime vegetables.... This dish is great with grilled or broiled fish. I'm trying out a new Parmesan Salmon recipe next week and will post it if it's good!

Summer Veggie Bake

2-3 large tomatoes, sliced
2-3 green bell peppers, sliced into rings
1-2 large yellow squash, sliced
1 red onion
3-4 T butter, cut into small pieces
salt & pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese

Spray the inside of an 8x8 or 9x13 glass pan (depending on how much you want to make). Layer it kind of like lasagna--one layer of each vegetable, then sprinkle on a little salt, pepper, butter, and parmesan cheese. Repeat as many times as you need until the dish is full. Then sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on top, cover it with foil and bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. For the last 10 minutes or so, take off the foil and allow the cheese to brown.
***Feel free to use other large vegetables--whatever you have that will go well together. The point is to keep it colorful and make it taste good. Good luck!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

It's been toooo long!

Sorry it's been so long, everyone. We've been busy around here, but I just keep thinking "I need to put up more recipes! It's getting to be summer and everyone needs stuff for hot weather." I hate heating up my house when it's already hot enough outside, so I will try to put together some recipes that use minimal heat, OK? And thanks to everyone who's checking (and USING) this blog--I love getting your feedback!!! It makes me feel like I'm doing something good to help others :o) And for those of you who are reading this but AREN'T responding, please do! I want to know what you think and what you'd like to see. You can either post a comment or email me...
Anyway, here are a bunch of good ones to make up for the last couple months. Enjoy!

Thai Red Curry Chicken

Can you tell I LOVE curry? This is not your average nightly meal, but it’s honestly our family’s favorite dinner. Bennett asks for it at least once a month. Invest in the ingredients, and you’ll use them. You can find most of them at the normal grocery store (“Thai Kitchen” and “Taste of Thai” are good brands). It’s best when served over jasmine rice. Be brave and have fun!

Thai Red Curry Chicken
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
½-1 tsp red curry paste (depending on the heat level you’re going for)
¼ cup fish sauce (smells awful, but you can’t taste it in the dish—I promise!)
2 T sugar
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1-2 fresh tomatoes, diced
1 small can pineapple chunks or tidbits
½ green pepper, thinly sliced
5-8 Kaffir lime leaves (optional)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (optional)

Combine ½ the can of coconut milk with red curry paste in large skillet. Add chicken, fish sauce and sugar. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until chicken is done. Add remaining coconut milk, tomatoes, pineapple, and green pepper (and lime and basil leaves if you have them). Heat through and serve over rice.

Tandoori Chicken

Here’s another unique recipe; it’s very good and very healthy! We like this chicken best when it’s grilled on the BBQ, but you can also broil it in the oven.

Tandoori Chicken
2-3 lbs chicken pieces
1 ½ cups plain yogurt
2 T lemon juice
2 T fresh minced ginger
1 T minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground coriander
2 T chopped fresh cilantro

In a bowl, combine yogurt with lemon juice and spices. Add chicken and toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Lightly oil grill and preheat for 5-10 minutes (or preheat broiler). Place marinated chicken on grill or broiler pan. Cook chicken 8-10 minutes per side, basting occasionally with juices. Serve over cooked rice sprinkled with cilantro (basmati rice is best!).

Kay Curtiss Salad

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law, who got it from her sister-in-law's sister (whose name is Kay Curtiss--go figure!) We love it as a main dish in the summertime. In fact, we just had it at Lake Powell last week!

Kay Curtiss Salad
Romaine lettuce
Green pepper, sliced
Broccoli slaw (by bagged lettuce)
Cooked chicken, cubed
Red grapes, sliced in half
Sunflower seeds
Peppercorn Ranch dressing

Just toss everything in this one together to your liking, and enjoy!

Kristin Farnsworth's Las Vegas Ward Salad

Don't I have the greatest names for salads?☺ I make this almost every time I’m asked to bring a salad, so you’ve probably already had it. Oh well... I love it!

Kristin Farnsworth’s Las Vegas Ward Salad
chopped Romaine lettuce and spinach
1-2 gala or fuji apples, sliced and diced
Toasted pecan pieces (or sliced almonds or pine nuts)
**Optional—crumbled Feta cheese

Dressing: Make up one Good Seasons Italian salad dressing packet according to directions. Add ½ tsp sugar and ½ tsp. rosemary; shake it up well, pour over salad, and toss!

BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad

I had this salad at Max & Erma’s when we first came looking for a place to live in Columbus. It’s since been taken off the menu, for some dumb reason. I wrote down all the ingredients and now think I make it better anyway—who needs a restaurant? Or maybe my memory is just failing…

BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad
2-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Romaine lettuce
black beans
small corn tortillas
BBQ sauce
Ranch dressing

Grill (or broil) chicken with some BBQ sauce on it—keep basting it on during cooking. Meanwhile, cut up lettuce, avocado, tomatoes and cilantro. Slice corn tortillas into long strips and fry in a little oil till crispy, then remove from oil to a paper towel and salt them a bit if desired. When chicken is done, cut up into strips and serve on bed of lettuce with all the toppings. For dressing, combine BBQ sauce and Ranch dressing till it tastes good to you. Pour on the goodness, and enjoy!

Pesto Chicken Pasta

OK, I made this one up on my own. I put a whole bunch of ingredients that I love together in one recipe. So if you don’t like it, that’s fine. Find your own!

Pesto Chicken Pasta

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into bite-size pieces
about 12 oz. basil pesto (homemade or storebought)
1 small can marinated sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 small can marinated artichoke hearts, drained
about ½ cup toasted pine nuts
1 package uncooked bowtie or penne pasta
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions; drain and set aside. In a large skillet, brown chicken in a little bit of olive oil (or some of the pesto sauce). Add sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts; mix together. Add pasta to skillet, along with the pesto sauce and pine nuts, then toss to coat everything. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese generously on top, put lid on skillet for a few minutes to let cheese melt, and dig in!

Tortellini Salad

This one's great for hot summer evenings--make it early, throw it in the fridge, and enjoy a chilled meal later on when you're too hot to cook...

Tortellini Pasta Salad
20 oz. fresh cheese tortellini, cooked and drained
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
¼ lb. salami or ham, cubed
¼ lb. havarti, mozzarella or swiss cheese, cubed
1 red or green pepper, chopped
½ cup black olives, sliced
2 green onions sliced

3 T red wine vinegar
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ cup olive oil
¼ tsp salt

Blend dressing ingredients in food processor or blender till well-mixed. Then combine ingredients and toss with dressing. Let chill for at least 2-3 hours.

Carrot Soup

I love this recipe—it’s light, so it makes a perfect summer or fall meal! Serve with crusty bread on the side, and you can clean your bowl with it...

Carrot Soup
½ cup butter
2 large onions, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ inches fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
3 lbs carrots, chopped
2 pints vegetable stock (chicken broth works too)
1 large bunch cilantro, chopped

Melt butter in large pot. In butter, sauté chopped onions and garlic. When onions are tender, add ginger and coriander. Add the chopped carrots and vegetable stock to the sautéed veggies and cook until carrots are tender. Put mixture in blender and puree; return to pot. Stir in chopped cilantro just before serving.
**Optional garnish: small dollop of sour cream on top.

Couscous Salad

I got this recipe from a family in Saudi Arabia, so it's obviously good for hot weather! You can either make it as a main dish (with chicken) or side (w/out chicken). Don't be scared by couscous if you've never made it--it's kind of like rice, but so much easier to make and it tastes fantastic! Look for it in the ethnic section of the grocery store...

Couscous Salad
1 ¼ cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth if vegetarian)
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 T butter
½ cup olive oil
3 T lemon juice
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp prepared Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
black pepper to taste
1 cup chicken, cooked & diced (omit for vegetarian)
1-2 spring (green) onions, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
1 large green apple, cored & diced

In saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil; add couscous and butter. Bring to a boil again and cover. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with fork and let cool. In small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, coriander, mustard, garlic and pepper—mix well. In large bowl, combine cooled couscous, chicken, onions, apple and celery. Add olive oil mixture bit by bit to moisten, and toss to coat. Don't use all of the olive oil mixture if it looks like it's going to be too oily...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Garlic Lime Chicken

This is one of FlyLady’s favorite recipes, so I can't take credit for it. We love this recipe with Black Bean & Mango Salsa either on top of it or on the side with chips...

Garlic Lime Chicken
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp thyme
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
½ cup chicken broth
4 T lime juice

In a bowl, mix together all the spices. Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken. In a skillet, heat butter and olive oil together on medium high heat. Saute chicken until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes each or until chicken is no longer pink inside.
Remove chicken and add chicken broth and lime juice, whisking up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Keep cooking until sauce has reduced slightly. Add chicken back to pan to thoroughly coat and serve.

Black Bean & Mango Salsa

This is the salsa that goes great with Garlic Lime Chicken. It’s also amazing by itself—just add a bowl of tortilla chips and prepare to be impressed. And addicted...

Black Bean & Mango Salsa
1 envelope Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix
1 16-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 10-oz. package frozen white corn, thawed
1 cup chopped ripe mango
½ cup chopped red pepper
1/3 chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup lime juice

Mix all ingredients until well blended; cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

French Dip

This is the best crockpot recipe I've got! We have church from 3-6pm right now, so I'm all about the crockpot... We come home from church and want to eat the walls of our house—it smells so good!

French Dip
1 beef chuck roast
2 cups water
1/2 c. soy sauce
1 t. dried rosemary
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
3-4 whole peppercorns
Split hoagie or dinner rolls

Put all in crockpot (except rolls, of course). Cover and cook on high 5-6 hours or till beef is tender. About 30 minutes before it's done, add 1 large onion, sliced into rings and let soften. When done, remove meat from broth; shred with fork & keep warm. Strain broth and skim off fat--make sure you get the peppercorns out!
When serving, put shredded meat and onion on rolls and use the broth for dipping sandwiches.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Gooey Chex Mix

My friend Heather made this for our Book Club meeting last month, and I think we've all made it at least once since then. It's so good! And it's a perfect treat to make with your kids for a movie or game night, FHE dessert, etc...

Gooey-but-oh-so-good Chex Mix
1 cup butter
1 cup light Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
6 cups Rice Chex
6 cups Golden Grahams
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup cashew halves
1 cup coconut
1 cup Craisins
1 cup white chocolate chips

Stir butter, Karo syrup, and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes. Pour over the top of combined remaining ingredients. Mix well. Spread mix on wax paper and let sit for 1 hour or longer--if you have some self-control :o)

***You can mix and match the last 5 ingredients to your liking--for example, I did 2 cups of almonds and no cashews. Don't mess with the butter/syrup/sugar combination, though.

Yellow Curry Chicken

This is just a really easy one, good for nights when you need a fast dinner. My friend Tamara told me about the yummy yellow curry sauce from Trader Joe's--she puts it in the crockpot with sweet potatoes. I needed to make it fast tonight, so I made it like my red curry chicken (I'll add that recipe later), and it turned out really well!

Yellow Curry Chicken
1 bottle Trader Joe's Yellow Curry Sauce
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 of one green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 of one small onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice (preferably Jasmine)
a few springs cilantro, finely chopped

Cook the rice according to directions. While rice is cooking, pour entire bottle of curry sauce into large skillet and start simmering on medium heat. Add chicken, green pepper and onion and cook until chicken is fully cooked. When rice is done, fold cilantro into it, and serve chicken over rice immediately.
**This recipe's got a little kick to it, so be prepared :o)