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Caesar Salad

28 Jul

It’s been a salad-for-dinner type week at my house! My AC went out, so there was no cooking allowed. Plus, on holidays that allow fireworks, people in my neighborhood go crazy! We are total cheapskates and don’t ever bother purchasing our own. There really is no point! We just set up our lawn chairs and rotate as necessary – there are fireworks going off everywhere! My three year old is the most excited about the fact that she is not afraid of fireworks this year. People probably think she’s terrified because she runs around screaming like crazy. But she’s just so darn happy to enjoy them. 🙂

Fireworks are awesome (especially since aerials are legal now!), but they make for some late nights for little people ’round my house. But how do you say no? Especially since the booms would keep them up anyways? Plus we hit the water park, went horseback riding, ran a marathon…ok…just kidding. But we are worn out! And sometimes get distracted until everyone is way too hungry to wait for dinner to take forever to make. Anyone else run into this issue during the summer? Too much of too many good things…at least you can’t get too much of this too good salad. Whip it up, and enjoy it sitting in your lawn chair while you watch other people’s pyrotechnic displays.

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

3-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

3 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 cup olive oil

2-3 Tbsp milk (if needed)

8 oz chicken breast

1-2 heads romaine lettuce (about 12 cups chopped)

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Dressing:

Combine mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a blender and process until smooth. With blender running on low speed, slowly pour olive oil in a steady stream just until fully incorporated. Only if needed, add milk by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reached. Place 1/2 cup dressing in a zip lock bag with chicken and marinate at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight. Place remaining dressing in refrigerator to chill.

Salad:

Remove chicken from marinade and grill until cooked through. Wash lettuce and chop into bite-sized pieces. Toss with Parmesan cheese and prepared chicken (can add croutons). Toss with dressing, to taste.

 

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Potato Corn Chowder

4 Nov

It snowed yesterday. Sigh. Not sure why I live in Utah when I really don’t like the cold. I think winter is beautiful – I just wish it could look as beautiful about 30^ warmer and last about 3 months shorter. Oh well…at least it waited until after Halloween. And at least I have yummy soup to keep my belly warm. My local market has some fun and festive bread bowl options right now. I though maybe serving soup in a pumpkin shaped roll would excite my kids into forgetting that there are potatoes in this soup. It didn’t work. I guess that means more for me and hubby!

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Ingredients:

5 pieces of bacon

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

2 cups milk

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

1 cup sweet corn

1 tsp salt

dash of pepper

In a large frying pan, cook bacon to crisp. Break bacon up into small pieces and set aside. Cover potatoes with water in a pot and heat until potatoes are soft. Drain. In a large pan, make sauce by melting butter and adding flour and milk. Stir until thick. Add potatoes to sauce. Add corn, bacon, salt, and pepper. Heat until thick.

*Tip: Great served in bread bowls!

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Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup

15 Oct

Fall=soup weather. Yay for soup. Don’t be scared away by the cauliflower in this one – my husband is not a fan of cauliflower and almost refused to try it, but I talked him into it and, surprise! I did not spare him the, “I told you so.” I actually like to mix mine with the Roasted Tomato Soup – kind of a half and half concoction. Yum!

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Ingredients:

2 Tbsp butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups milk

32 oz chicken broth

1 head (2 1/2 lbs) cauliflower, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 tsp Dijon mustard

8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

In a 4 qt saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and salt; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually stir in milk and chicken broth. Add cauliflower and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender – about 10 minutes. In blender, with center part of blender lid removed to allow steam to escape), blend cauliflower mixture at low speed in small batches until very smooth. Return cauliflower mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in mustard and 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted and smooth. Garnish soup with remaining cheese and serve.

Roasted Tomato Soup

1 Aug

Yesterday, baby woke up from his nap and was making it very clear that he wanted to be picked up. Problem was, I was busy cleaning up a rather large pee accident and couldn’t get him just yet. I noticed my four year old head upstairs and a minute later, baby quieted down. When I finished up, I headed to the nursery and found her standing by his crib, singing him a song with her finger stuck in his mouth. She was my thumb sucker, so to her, a finger to suck on is the answer to all the world’s problems. And it worked! And it was so sweet…until she woke up in the middle of the night with a fever and sore throat. A little trip to the doctor, and we’re nursing a case of good ol’ strep throat. Sigh. Suddenly that finger in the mouth is causing me stress. Here’s hoping that good intensions kill germs.

So, it’s a get-well-soup kind of day. I’m not really a huge fan of tomato soup – I guess I should say canned tomato soup. Bleh. But I got talked into some tomato soup at Zupas one time and loved it! This Roasted Tomato Soup is the closest I’ve gotten to that – it has a nice, hearty flavor that screams Fall (I know it’s only August, but good soup is good soup…crank up the a/c and pretend it’s cold out).  Super yummy with grilled cheese sandwiches!

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Ingredients:

6 cups (3 pints) cherry tomatoes

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup chopped onion

1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes

4 cups chicken broth

1/2 tsp thyme

1 cup whipping cream

Heat oven to 400^F. On a baking sheet, combine cherry tomatoes, 2 Tbsp olive oil, and salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients to coat evenly and spread them in a single layer. Roast the tomatoes until they are shriveled with brown spots, about 35-45 minutes.

In a large pot, heat the butter and the remaining Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute until softened – about 6 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, broth, thyme, and the roasted tomatoes, including any liquid on the baking sheet. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered for 40 minutes.

Using a food processor or blender, puree the soup until it’s smooth. If pureeing while hot, make sure you only do small amounts at a time and hold the lid on with a large towel or hot pad – the steam will make the lid pop right off! Return it to the pot and stir in the cream. Without letting the soup boil, warm it over medium heat, stirring often, until steaming.

Summer Salad

30 Jun

Not sure why, but I lose my appetite when it’s hot. I just don’t feel like eating much. Snacking I can do, but full meals? Blah. We have been enjoying a heat wave in these parts (I have to remember that I was craving this kind of weather a few months ago when the snow didn’t seem to want to go away!), so lately, my creative dinner juices have just not been flowing. I have one little munchkin that loves salads and she begged me to buy some lettuce on our last trip to Costco. Costco sized lettuce means that you have to make a serious effort to eat salad…a lot…before it goes bad. Luckily, this Summer Salad hit the spot for all of us – light and fresh for me, full of lettuce for her and my Costco stash. I don’t have too many measurements for the ingredients – I usually have small bowls filled with optional toppings and let everyone make up their own. So have fun with this one! But make sure not to skip out on the candied pecans – there can never be enough of those on my plate!

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Ingredients:

Lettuce

1 or 2 diced apples

Cooked chicken – cubed or shredded

Candied Pecans

Craisins

*Grapes and strawberries are also a great addition

Toss together and top with dressing

Candied Pecans:

1/2 cup pecans

1/4 cup sugar

To make the candied pecans, pour the sugar in a small skillet and pour the pecans on top. Cook over medium heat until sugar melts and turns a caramel color stirring constantly so that the nuts and sugar do not burn. Once the sugar turns a caramel color coat keep stirring to coat the pecans with it. Pour pecans onto greased wax paper or aluminum foil to cool. Once pecans are cooled, break them into pieces. I usually double this – I like a lot of pecans 🙂

Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing:
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1-2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup canola oil
In a blender, combine vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper. Place lid on blender and blend on high. While blender is running, add oil in a steady stream. Store in refrigerator for about 2-3 weeks. Shake well before serving.