Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Taco Salad

Family Favorite

I had a busy day today picking and hulling strawberries, running errands, driving my children here and there to places they needed to be, and making a stop at my favorite Re-Uzit Shoppe ☺ so I didn't want to make anything too time consuming for our supper. Plus I knew that my husband was working outside in 90° weather and wouldn't be hungry for too much of anything.

 I thought of this salad that's been around forever and is a perfect summer supper if served with corn on the cob (we had it with this) or baked or mashed potatoes. We ate a lot of this as I was growing up and we never got tired of it! The boys and Lin really enjoy it too, but we are still trying to convince Serena that it is good to eat! Eventually she will come around ☺ certain food textures do not seem agree with her.

It goes together in a jiffy if you have the ground beef prepared beforehand.  It needs time to cool completely.

Meat Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef, browned, drained, and cooled completely
1 medium onion, chopped
2½ Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
8 ounces water

Brown ground beef in a pan with the onion until meat is no longer pink. Drain. I like to pour the meat into a collander and run very hot water over it to remove the unwanted grease. A trick I learned from one of my sisters.☺ What would I do without them?! They have taught me so much!

Return to pan and add the taco seasoning and water.

Stir well and simmer over low heat uncovered until the liquid is gone. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Salad Ingredients:
1½ lbs. lettuce, approx. 3 heads pre-bagged Romaine, I like to use Romaine or sometimes Iceberg because it's a sturdy lettuce, and crunchy
1-2 Tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
½ bag Doritoes Chips, crushed
Diced Tomato

Dressing Ingredients:

1 cup Miracle Whip
½ cup Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Sweet pickle Relish
2 Tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons Taco Seasoning

Combine in a bowl; mix well.

Wash and drain the lettuce. Cut and put into a bowl big enough to mix it in. Just before serving add the onion, ground beef, cheese, chips, and tomatoes.

 Pour dressing over top and toss to coat.

 Serve immediately.

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Be Blessed!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake


This is a simple recipe that my sister Rosanna shared with me years ago and because the topping is one of the best parts I decided I would add a double recipe of topping whenever I bake it. I will give the double dose recipe to you. With fresh picked strawberries from my garden it is hard to beat for an easy summer dessert!

For the cake:
3 cups Bisquick
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup milk

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, melted

In a bowl combine all the cake ingredients and mix. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Spread evenly.

Mix topping ingredients and spread over top.

Bake at 350° for 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

I had baked mine in a smaller pan (11.5 x 8) but it took about 45 minutes and I had to cover the top with foil to keep it from getting to brown and then the bottom of it was too dark so the next time I would bake it in a 9 x 13 pan.

We ate our lunch on our shaded patio today and this is what we feasted our eyes on as we ate.

William Baffin rose

              We were also sitting close to a blooming honeysuckle vine. Oh my!  

Linking to:
Keep It Simple Sunday      
Made It Monday                                      

Parmesan Pasta with Asparagus

I have a friend from church that brings this dish to our Spring potlucks at church and she was kind enough to share the recipe with me. Thanks Mim! It is delicious! and although the recipe says to serve immediately* after you mix it together I think it's better to put it into the crockpot for an hour or so till the oil and the parmesan flavors have been absorbed into the pasta. My crockpot has a *Warm* setting and that is perfect for this.

10 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or fresh red pepper
4-6 dashes hot pepper sauce
½ cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Lbs. fresh Asparagus, washed and trimmed
Salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
½ - 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 lb. angel hair pasta, al dente

Trim asparagus and set aside. In a saute' pan, saute' garlic, red pepper flakes, and hot pepper sauce in oil and butter for 2-3 minutes. Add asparagus, salt, and pepper.

 Saute' until asparagus is crisp - tender. Pour over hot pasta and add parmesan cheese; mix well.

 Serve immediately.*

Linking to:
Savory Sunday
Keep It Simple Sunday
Made It Monday
Sharing Sundays

Be Blessed!

Anthony's Favorite Potatoes

These potatoes are nothing new but my sons Shawn & Anthony finds it hard to get enough of these. Today instead of adding the usual seasonings I added fresh rosemary, thyme, chives, and Spring onions from my gardens and from the sound of their exclamations they liked them even better.

I started with:
2 lbs of small potatoes, boiled and quartered
½ stick butter
1 Tablespoon each fresh rosemary, thyme, & chives, chopped fine
3 small Spring onions, sliced thin

Quarter the potatoes and boil them just so that they are soft. Transfer to a frying or saute' pan add the butter and herbs and onions and fry over medium heat till the potatoes are browned. We like to eat them with ketchup.☺ Even my I-don't-eat-potatoes son ended up eating these and enjoying them. The herbs really perked them up and they were yummy!
Be Blessed!

Linking to:
Garden Variety

Thursday, May 26, 2011

For all my lovely followers and friends ♥

Since life can't be all about food I thought I'd share some flower love with y'all. This is what I gathered this morning.

And this is what I made with some of them. Take a deep breath... mmm, a different kind of delicious!!

Blessings to everyone and have a great day!

Linking to:
Top 5 Yum

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Chillens ♥


L to R: Shawn 14, Anthony 12, Serena 7, and Andre 15

These are the four that keep us busy and make us smile! The boys are ready for some action and Serena was not about to be left out of the picture! This year (and last year) the boys are/were all on the same team which really makes it easy for Mom to watch the game because I don't have to divide my time. Dad is a Coach, and a good one too! He's calm and encouraging and doesn't lose his cool when someone messes up. It's something he's wanted to be for a long time!

ha, I told them to look as mean as they could

Several weeks ago their Grandpa (my FIL) had surgery on colon cancer and so when he came home from the hospital Serena gathered some fresh goodies (Kale, Spinach, Lettuce, and a few Herbs) from the garden for him and Grandma to enjoy. PTL he is cancer free again and has no more doctor visits! It was contained and all other tests were clear! What a beautiful gift!!


These last two show that even bigger kids have posing issues. When everyone else cooperates theres usually one that is cutting up.

Before school

Haha, Anthony told me once that he never knows which smile to use. Made me chuckle, I told him the one that comes naturally is always best!☺

I hope you enjoyed meeting my children, and that their smiles made your day brighter!

Be Blessed!

Fresh Strawberry Pie

These never last long at our place! And they are super easy to make! My son says the picture doesn't give justice to the experience of sitting there eating it. ☺☺

2 baked 9 inch pie crusts

1½ cups strawberry danish dry mix (previous post)
4 cups water
3 lbs. fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
½ Tablespoon cold butter

Combine dry mix and water in a saucepan and and stir with a wire whisk over medium high heat until it comes to a boil and is thickened. Add a ½ Tablespoon cold butter and whisk it in. This gives it a smooth silky texture.

Allow to cool completely before adding sliced strawberries. Fill pie crust and serve with whipped topping or ice cream. Enjoy!

Linking to:
Two Maids a Baking
Monday, MMM Desserts
Home May'd
Made It Monday
Brambleberry Cottage
Wicked Awesome Wednesday
Whisking Wednesday
Home Sweet Home
Foodie Friday
Funky Junk
Top 5 Yum
This Weeks Cravings
Be Blessed!

Perfect Pie Crust


For a while now I've been slacking when I baked a pie by buying the crusts but I have not been pleased with them at all. So this last time I decided to make them myself. Really it's not that hard AND it doesn't take that long! And the quality of the homemade ones is not to be confused with the store bought ones! Think flaky, buttery, and delicious. My oldest son says pies are worth eating just because of the crusts. hmmm, I'm not sure I would go as far as to say that, but a good crust is a must in successful pie baking.

I used to use Crisco to make this crust but theres too much hydrogenation going on in that stuff, so now I use all butter. Definitely better flavor!

4 cups Flaky Pie Crust flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1-1/3 cups cold butter, grated
1 egg
½ cold water
1 Tablespoon Vinegar

In a stand mixer bowl, mix the dry ingredients, then grate the cold butter into the bowl.

 (I like to roll the stick of butter in the flour so it's easier to hold. I also like to work the gratings into the flour periodically so theres not a big clump of butter stuck together when I'm finished.)

 Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until it resembles small pea sized crumbs.

little hands, happy helper☺

 In a separate bowl combine water, vinegar, and egg.

 Beat together.

Using paddle attachment, turn mixer to medum-low and slowly pour liquid into flour mixture

 and mix only until no dry ingredients remain. I learned this trick from my sister Becky. I always had trouble with either overwoking it or unevenly mixed dough. But with this method it gets right for me every time.

 This is important! Overworked pie dough will be elastic-y and will shrink when baked without a filling.

This dough will still be kind of wet so I use a fair amount of flour on the surface when rolling it out.

Take 12 ounces of dough and form into a ball, roll into flour on rolling surface,

 and pat into a flattened circle. With a rolling pin roll evenly into a 5 inch circle starting at the center of the circle rolling out towards the edge. Working your way around the circle always starting at the center

When it is half the size I want it to be (10 inches) I like to flip it around, making sure theres enough flour underneath to prevent sticking.

Continue rolling till you have a 10 inch circle.

Loosen the edges and underneath with a sharp metal spatula,

 fold in half

and transfer to a 9 inch pie plate (I use deep pie plates).

 Unfold and fit into the corners without stretching it.

Using a kitchen scissors cut off excess overhanging dough, leaving about a half inch hanging down. I like to tuck the extra in behind the crust to give it a nice sturdy edge. Then crimp the edges.

If you are using the crust for an unbaked filling prick with a fork on the bottom and around the sides. This also prevents shrinking.

 Bake at 375° for 15 to 20 minutes.

There it is, flaky, buttery, delicious and ready for filling! I filled 2 big ones and 1 small one with fresh strawberry filling and they were gone in a flash! Yum!!

This recipe makes 4 large and 1 tiny crusts and they freeze well for later use. I usually freeze them unbaked without the fork pricks in them so that I have options when I go to use them. I like to have options, don't you?☺

Linking to:
Two Maids a Baking
Monday, MMM Desserts
Made It Monday
Brambleberry Cottage
Wicked Awesome Wednesday
Whisking Wednesday
Home Sweet Home
Foodie Friday
Be Blessed!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Strawberry Danish

Seventeen (almost) years ago when I married and moved here from Ohio I was sure the folks in Pa. were woefully deprived because strawberry season came and I couldn't find anywhere the Danish Dessert (in a box) that my Mom always used for pies and desserts. Thankfully my MIL shared this recipe with me and I have never since then wished for a boxed Danish Dessert from Ohio.☺ Makes me laugh now to think how I was sure that I couldn't cook without that stuff.☺

This recipe only has 3 ingredients. It is super easy and so yummy!

I mark favorite recipes with a smiley☺

1 cup clear jel, (cook type)
2 cups sugar
2 pkg. strawberry Kool-Aid

Mix together and store in an airtight container.

When ready to use mix ¾ cup dry mix and 2 cups water. Cook over medium heat until it thickens, stirring constantly.

When I don't have fresh strawberries on hand I thaw the chopped frozen ones (1 quart) from our freezer and drain the juice and use it as part of the water. This gives your topping a true strawberry color and also enhances the flavor. I prefer that taste and color but I like the fresh strawberries in season too, so sometimes I enjoy the best of both worlds but today I just used the fresh ones and the recipe as is. I hope you try it!☺

When I use it to make strawberry pie I like to add a lot of fresh sliced strawberries to the cold danish till it's the right consistency. If I'm using the thawed, drained berries it works to add them before it's completely cold.

Be Blessed!