Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Family Reunion: Take 2

You would not believe the incredible week that we have had in SUNNY San Diego. And, to top it all off we had incredible food.

First of all, my sweet Aunt KaraLyn fed us OFTEN in her beautiful back yard. She made us breakfast the first morning we were there. We had Baked Praline French Toast with Praline Syrup, a Hashbrown and Sausage Tart, and watermelon. After our Cook Reunion, she fed us again twice. The first night we had a Mexican BBQ. We had a Shrimp Dip appetizer and Grilled Fajitas with all the fixings (grilled steak and chicken, frefried beans, fresh salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, chopped cilantro) and homemade lemonade. Our final meal with her was panini sandwiches. And my cousins made a Wild Rice Salad and Rhubbarb Upside-Down Cake.

The food from our family reunion was wonderful, too! I am working on pulling those recipes along with other family favorites together on another cooking blog!

Baked Praline French Toast
3 eggs
2/3 C milk
3 T sugar
¼ tsp vanilla
8 slices French or Italian bread (1" slices)
4 T butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the first 4 ingredients. Soak bread in mixture for 2 minutes. Melt butter in 9x13" dish. Put in bread, 1 layer thick. Bake 15 minutes turn and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Praline Syrup
¾ C brown sugar
¼ C light corn syrup
3 T water
Pinch salt
1 T butter
¼ tsp vanilla
¼ C pecans

Combine first four ingredients, bring to a boil, simmer 2-3 minutes, and remove from heat. Stir in butter, vanilla, and pecans.

Hashbrown and Sausage Tarts
hasbrown patties (prepared)
sauteed peppers & onions
brown & serve sausage (diced)
grated mexican cheese mix

Brown hashbrown patties to crisp the outside. Top with peppers and onions, sausage, and cheese. Broil to melt the cheese.

Yucatan Barbeque Shrimp Dip
The amounts of the ingredients are very flexible.
2 lbs Monterey Jack Cheese
1 lb. frozen or fresh small shrimp (tails off)
1 cup fresh salsa
1 tsp cinnamon
Tortilla chips

Slice the cheese in 1/4 inch thick slices. Overlap on the bottom of a heavy frying pan. Layer with shrimp, salsa, and sprinkle the cinnamon on the top. Heat on the barbeque until the cheese is totally melted. Serve with chips.

Panini Sandwiches ala Aunt KaraLyn

Ciabotta Chicken Sandwiches
Cajun blackened chicken breasts
honey, drizzled on one side of bread
thinly sliced green apples
brie cheese, thinly sliced
spring greens or spinach

New York Panini
ham and turkey
red peppers (sweet roasted in jar or can)
munster cheese

Turkey Panini
bleu cheese/mayo (5 Tbsp soft bleu cheese+ 1/3 cup mayo)
shallots (slightly browned in olive oil, about 10 minutes)
cranberry spread
spinach or romaine lettuce

Short Week Dinner Menu

Having just gotten back from a trip, here is our shortened dinner menu:

Wednesday - pizza from our favorite place
Thursday - Nachos, zucchini, fruit
Friday - Bruschetta Chicken Bake, broccoli, garden salad
Saturday - Homemade Tomato Soup, and Grilled Cheese Crostinis

I think I also try this or that for breakfast on Sunday morning. If sticking with my resolve to eat better, exercise and lose those last five "baby pounds"; I will be fixing the latter. But, they both look really good for different reasons.

P.S. After not cooking nearly all month, you would think that I would be more excited to cook. But, dinner was not on my mind while trying to plan. Dessert was, I think that is a bad sign for a "diet".

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chicken Pasta Salad with a Twist!

Okay, so do you remember this? Well, I love to make a 1/2 or 1/4 batch and put it in the fridge for quick lunches for ME. (Sometimes, it is hard to fifnd the time to grab a HEALTHY bite to eat when juggling two kids and their schedules!) Anyway, at the suggestion of my darling cousin, Rachel, I added curry to the recipe. She told me that they have the same thing at the MOA Cafe only it's curried. Well, I tried it and it was so yummy!

If you want to try it too: Cut the original recipe to 1/4 its size. That will leave you with 1/4 C coleslaw dressing and 1/4 C mayo (or plain yogurt) to mix for the dressing. Just mix in 1/2 tsp of curry powder as you go. Stir it together, pour over the other ingredient, and stir again.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Ok, we're off to a slow start this week. Yesterday was crazy because we thought that our toddler had the chicken pox, so I spent all day trying to keep him and the baby separated. Needless to say, there isn't much time to plan a menu when you're doing that - and, now, there isn't much time left before we head off to our next reunion. So, here it is:

Tuesday - Porcupine Meatballs, broccoli, salad (have to use a lot of lettuce from our garden)
Wednesday - Anniversary Chicken, green beans, salad, fruit
Thursday - Smokey Chipotle and Black Bean Chilaquiles (with the addition of some shredded chicken), corn, fruit salad
Friday - YO-YO Dinner (Stands for You're On Your Own. We love you honey, can't wait to see you next week in SD!)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Family Reunion Eats & Treats

We just returned from a wonderful family reunion in Bear Lake, UT. And, as it often is with our family gatherings the food was amazing!

We started off Monday night with Grandpa's No-Bone Ribs, ceasar salad and broccoli.
Every morning Grandpa and the Uncles made a camping style breakfast of eggs, hashbrowns, sausage, pancakes and/or french toast.
Tuesday for lunch we had Chicken Salad Wraps. And for dinner a true BBQ of burgers, Aunt KaraLyn's Potato Salad, chips, and watermelon - followed by Heritage Raisin Cake with Penuche Frosting.
Wednesday we had lasagna, french bread, green beans and of course another amazing Aunt Terri Salad. Wednesday night we had an UN-birthday party with chocolate cake, raisin cake with penuche frosting, and Caitlin's Carrot Cake with Toasted Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.
Thursday was traditional "lake food" with Aunt Louise's "Order-Ahead Quesadillas" topped with sour cream, fresh avocado, salsa and mango salsa.
Then, Friday morning, we hit the road with the best sack lunches we could create.

What a wonderful week of memories. Having a full belly didn't hurt either!

Aunt KaraLyn's Potato Salad
6 med potatoes
1/4 c. chopped onion*
Salt & Pepper
1/4 c. Italian dressing
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. celery
2 hard boiled eggs
1/4 c. chopped pickle or relish*

Wash and boil potatoes for 30 mins or until tender. Drain; cool and peel. Cut potatoes into cubes; combine with onion in bowl. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and cover with Italian dressing. Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, add mayonnaise. Stir in celery, eggs, olives and pickles (if using).

At the reunion, KaraLyn used: chopped bread and butter pickles, chopped olives, and a ration of 1/6 Miracle Whip to 5/6 Mayo.

Ingredients (for a large group): 10 eggs, a whole jar of pickles, 2 small cans of chopped olives, 6 stalks of celery, a large onion, a whole jar of mayonnaise, about a cup of Miracle Whip, a whole bottle of Italian Salad dressing, and salt and pepper to taste

Aunt Louise's "Order-Ahead" Quesadillas
We had a checklist to fill out with our options/choices on it.
Flour or Corn tortilla
Refried beans
Green Peppers

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fourth of July

I've been busy planning a family reunion for my dad's family, and realized that I am "right up against" the Fourth of July. Yipee! Here's a few ideas for a fun and festive Fourth!

I believe is a good old-fashined BBQ on the fourth of July, but I highly recommend you try a new burger this year. Can I say YUM?!?

How about a patriotic version of my husband's favorite dessert with the All-American Trifle. Or a classice childhood favorite of mine: Flag Cake. (Pretty basic really, but the video gives you the idea.) Here is what I will be doing. I LOVE cheesecake, and it is a simple recipe, always good when you're cooking in someone else's home. Next year, when I have more time, I'm going for these. Or, if you're skipping the dessert option, here is a Fruit Flag that you could serve anytime - even breakfast!

For the kiddos, here is a t-shirt idea, and another, and another. Or, you could go with our family favorite of blue and red tye-die! And if you're not into the festive wear, you can throw a couple of these up in your front window.

Okay, there are some fun ideas to help you celebrate one of my FAVORITE holidays. (Wink, wink - I love all holidays, but the fourth of July is definitely toward the top of my list.) Enjoy a burger and the fireworks, and think of me!


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