I’ve discovered the joy of making fresh, homemade salad dressings. The bottled dressing has now lost all of its glamour for me. Homemade dressings are quick and easy to make and so yummy! Here are two of my favorites!
Quick & Easy Blue Cheese
Yield: Makes 2 cups
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup crumbled Blue Cheese (may add more)
1/3 – 1/2 cup whole milk (to make the consistency to your liking)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Place the sour cream, blue cheese, milk, mayonnaise, salt, and vinegar in a blender and slowly blend it until completely combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if desired.
I place all the ingredients into a pint jar with a screw lid. I add some chunks of blue cheese to the jar and shake to blend. You can reuse this jar over and over.
Greek Salad Dressing
For the vinaigrette:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil
For the vinaigrette, add the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper into a 1/2 pint jar. Add the olive oil and shake to blend. Store in the fridge and take out 1/2 an hour before serving with your salad. Shake well, just before you pour on the salads.
This is an amazingly simple and good recipe. I made this last night for Jack and he loved it! I was quite surprised as he is not a roasted vegetable fan. Anyway, it is good, so give it a try!
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 slices of bacon diced
- 3 medium carrots (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick circles
- 1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts (about 1/2 pound), halved
- 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch thick slices
- 3 medium parsnips (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary (I used fresh)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (I used fresh)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Grease a large baking sheet pan with extra-virgin olive oil.
- Place vegetables and bacon in the bowl and toss well with oil, herbs and salt and pepper.
- Toss well, evenly coating all the vegetables with the seasonings and oil.
- Add more oil if the vegetables seem dry.
- Pour onto large cookie sheet.
- Spread the vegetables evenly.
- Place on middle rack in oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. stirring occasionally.
When vegetables are nicely browned and done to your desired texture, pull out and eat right away.
Yesterday I prepared an Herb Crusted Prime Rib Roast for dinner. The prep work for this is a bit daunting, as there is a lot of chopping and handling of the meat while rubbing it down with all of the herbs. But the end result was a perfectly cooked 4-pound roast that was seasoned just right!
I used Garlic, Shallots, Rosemary and Thyme, along with Salt, Pepper and Dijon Mustard. You can find the recipe HERE.
We ate it with some creamy horseradish sauce and it was just perfect!
I admit it. I like cooking. I also like it when everything comes out just right. Although the roast was perfect, my roasted potatoes did not come out well! Ugh! They did not cook in the time I had thought they would. So it was the microwave to the rescue.
Today I am planning to make Maribeth’s Marvelous Meatloaf, which I made up when my cousin Larry came to dinner. I took a bit from one recipe and a bit from another and made this up. It should be a good meal.
You can find the recipe for Maribeth’s Marvelous Meatloaf HERE. Aside from some chopping and mixing the ground meat with your hands, this is an easy meal. I’ll make mashed potatoes (and hopefully not mess them up!) and I think a nice garden salad.
Tomorrow I am planning to make my Roasted Chicken. That is a crazy good recipe that is fairly easy. You can find that recipe HERE
This is a Julia Child recipe that I follow and it comes out perfectly every time! I encourage you to try this. Especially if you are a chicken fan like me.
After this, I will have enough leftovers so I will not have to cook for a few days. This will be a very good thing!
If I am honest with myself, I will admit that after all these years, I had gotten a bit sloppy making my Peach Jam. Besides the peaches not being ripe, I think there were a few other things that made the first batches a few days ago, so horrid.
So this week, I did a few things differently. I paid attention to each detail and I actually changed a couple of things. Because I did this, I have written an entirely new recipe, complete with pictures.
Heavenly Peach Jam
- 5 lb. very ripe peaches skinned and mashed
- 7 ½ cups sugar
- 2 Oranges
- 1 large jar maraschino cherries, cherries quartered
- 1 box Sure-Jell
I use Sure-Jell and I swear by it. I have not been compensated in any way for this review of the product. I just feel it helps make the best Jam around. And if Sure-Jell is looking for a new Spokesmodel I am available!
- Peel peaches; remove pits.
- Mash peaches; place in large saucepan.
- Add sugar; mix thoroughly.
- Cut oranges in half.
- Squeeze juice from both oranges; remove seeds.
- Take the rind from one orange and slice thinly and chop.
- Add orange rind and orange juice to the peach mixture.
- Add cherries.
Let rest overnight.
- Bring to a boil. Cook for 1 hour.
- Add Sure-Jell;
- boil for 20 minutes, stirring constantly until the jam begins to jell.
- Ladle into sterilized jars, cover with sterilized lids and return to a water bath.
- Boil closed jars for 8 minutes.
- Set on dishtowels to cool.
Yields about 9 – 11 half-pint jelly jars.
If peaches are not full on ripe, put them in a brown paper bag and close the top. Leave 1-2 days, and then start the process.
To peel peaches, place about 6 in boiling water for 1 minute. Quickly remove them and place them in an ice bath. Continue until all 5 pounds worth of peaches are blanched.
Peaches should be so ripe you can squish them in your hands to break them up after removing the skin. But watch those peach pits! They can really hurt your fingers!
At the end use chilled dessert plates to check your jelling. You want the jam not to run off the plate after a minute on the frozen plate, but to form a heavy drip.
Like this. This was cooled Jam on my finger!
This shows you what you want your jam to do right before you can it. That drop stayed on my finger and hung there. That is perfect!
- 4 pounds To 5 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts Or Thighs
- 1 teaspoon All-purpose, No-salt Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 cup Chopped Yellow Onion
- 2 teaspoons Chopped Fresh Garlic
- 1/2 cup Chicken Broth
- Place all of the chicken into the pot of your slow cooker.
- Sprinkle the chicken with the no-salt seasoning, sea salt, pepper, onion, and garlic.
- Using a pair of tongs, lift and turn the chicken to distribute the seasonings evenly.
- Pour the broth down the side of the pot.
- If you’re using a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 5–6 hours or on high for 3–4 hours.
- Shred the chicken and return it to the pot with the juices. Serve immediately or divide the chicken up into equal portions and chill or freeze.
Can be mixed with barbecue sauce, gravy, or just top a salad with the shredded meat. It also makes a great base for a chicken salad or soup.
I have searched high and low for a good classic Key Lime Pie recipe. Most were okay but nothing to write home about. So I started playing. I played and played with recipe’s until I got it right and here it is. For those of you who love this pie as much as I do and yet couldn’t find it outside of Florida, you will love it. Of course for those with cholesterol problems, this is not for you. I have made it with both the fat-free cream cheese and fat-free condensed milk, but the egg yolks will still kill ya. A special note here. Use only Key Lime Juice. It can be found in some grocery stores bottled, and some specialty groceries will actually carry Key Limes. Regular Lime juice will not cut it! Anyway, save it and make it for a special occasion. I promise you will love it.
Key Lime Pie
1-graham cracker pie crust
8-ounce bar of cream cheese
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup Key Lime juice
1 can sweetened condensed milk
pinch cream of tartar
- Beat cream cheese until soft and smooth.
- Add egg yolks. Beat this until it is completely smooth.
- Slowly add Key Lime juice, blending well, then add the condensed milk and cream of tartar.
- Blend until this mixture begins to thicken just a bit.
- Then pour into pie crust.
- Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until pie has completely set.
- Cool on wire rack.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
- Garnish with whipped cream and a thin slice of lime.
Escarole, Chicken and Meatball Soup
In a large soup pot cook one 3-4 pound chicken in water, with an onion, celery stalk, and carrot. Simmer for an hour or so until chicken is done and is falling off the bones.
5 stalks celery
2 large onions
2-3 heads escarole
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tbs parsley
salt & pepper to taste
Remove chicken from pot retaining all the wonderful broth.
1 lb hamburger or ground turkey
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 tbs parsley
Pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated cheese (I do 1/2 & 1/2 parmesan and romano)
1 tsp garlic salt
Mix meat into small mini meatballs.
Toss into boiling broth along with the above-chopped vegetables.
Then simmer slowly until veggies are done.
Meanwhile, bone the chicken and add the meat to the soup. Add more chicken broth if needed to make soup desired thickness.
- 1 pound cheese tortellini pasta (either fresh or dried – cooked according to package’s instructions)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
- ½ cup canned artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
- ½ cup kalamata olives (whole or sliced)
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ⅓ cup packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- juice of ½ lemon
Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar, cover and shake well, chill. (I needed to add a bit more olive oil as I thought the vinegar was too strong.)
In a large bowl combine tortellini, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, olives, feta cheese, and basil. Pour dressing over the top, then toss to combine.
Serve immediately OR cover and refrigerate up to 6 hours before serving.
Okay, here it is. I use the store brand French Onion Soup mix. Here is what I do to dress it up:
Preheat oven 450 degrees
- I slice thinly three onions.
- Then I take 1-2 tbs. butter and melt that in a soup pot.
- I sauté the onions until they are translucent.
- Then I add 4 cups of water and cook covered for 15 minutes.
- I add the store brand, (I use Best Brand French Onion Soup) mix, cover and cook another 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, I shred about 2 and 1/2 cups Gruyere Cheese and toast a circle of French bread for each bowl.
- I spray the french onion soup bowls with Pam for easy cleanup and then when all is ready ladle soup into bowl within a half inch of the top.
- Place toast into the bowl, (you may have to trim it to fit), and quickly cover with cheese.
- Place in hot oven and cook until golden on top.
OMG, this is so good!!!
I went grocery shopping on Wednesday and found the best deal! Dry Sea Scallops for $9.99 a pound.
Soaked” (also known as “wet” or “treated”) Scallops have been soaked in a bath of phosphates (or more precisely- sodium tripolyphosphate), for the purpose of adding water-weight. When scallops are exposed to a phosphate bath, they absorb it and swell – gaining water-weight. Sort of like women after eating a high sodium meal. These are the yucky kind!
“Dry” is the seafood industry term for natural Scallops, which have not been treated with phosphates. These are the best kind! Natural Scallops have a slightly tan, or “vanilla”-color. Dry Scallops are superior for the following reasons: For searing purposes, dry Scallops caramelize beautifully! Dry scallops taste sweet & natural. You are not paying for added water with dry Scallops.
So, what’s a girl to do? I bought 2 pounds. One to cook tonight and one to freeze. This is really a marvelous deal for those of us who live inland and cannot get fresh dry Scallops at reasonable prices.
I shall be serving this with Pine nut Rice Pilaf and fresh corn on the cob. All in all a great meal! I can hardly wait!
Heat the oven to 350 F.
- Place the Scallops in a buttered baking dish, it should be large enough to hold the scallops in a single layer.
- Sprinkle the scallops with salt, and pepper and some ritz cracker crumbs.
- Bake the sea scallops in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
- Spoon melted butter over the ritz cracker crumbs to coat with butter and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the scallops are cooked through but still moist.
- Serve with butter and herb sauce from baking dish and hot cooked rice or small pasta.