Friday, June 19, 2009

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

This salad is SO delicious. It is kind of a mix of tastes and so heavenly!

You can add the following ingredients to taste.

1 pkg. penne/bowtie pasta.
Grape/Baby Tomatos
Calmatta Olives/OR Reg. Black Olives
Artichoke Hearts
Parmesean Cheese
Red Onion
Salt and Pepper
Shredded/Chopped Grilled Chicken


1/2 c. olive oil

1/2 c. red vinegar

1/2 t. dried mustard

1 t. dried basil

1 t. oregano

1/2 t. garlic powder

3/4 t. sugar

Mix and pour over salad and chill for several hours.

A Sort of Raspberry Cheesecake

This is very delicious, and VERY easy. You can half it and it still works pretty well.

1 pkg. white cake mix (sometimes I use cherry chip or even have used chocolate)
2 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened at room temperature
4 c. powdered sugar
1 pint whipping cream, whipped
2 16-oz. cans raspberry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9x13 pans. Prepare cake according to pkg. directions. Pour half cake batter in each pan. Bake for 20 mins or until done. Remove and cool.

In a med. bowl, whip cream cheese and powdered sugar together until fluffy. Whip whipping cream separately, then add to cream cheese mixture. Divide the mixture and spread half on to each cake. Then spread one can pie filling on top of each cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


I've been meaning to post a ribs recipe for many, many months now, but it is kind of complicated, so I've put it off. There are many ways to cook ribs and many kinds of ribs. You can boil your ribs first and then barbecue for a few minutes with the sauce on at the end (not my favorite option). You can just straight up barbecue them on a low temperature for a long time (difficult to control on a gas grill). Below is my preferred method of baking ribs.

I always buy PORK (because Chad prefers it to beef in the case of ribs). Sometimes spareribs, sometimes country style boneless, and for this special occasion weekend I'll splurge on baby back.

Use either a roasting rack or a roasting pan with a rack laid over it. Pour an inch or two of water in the basin to keep the ribs moist during baking. I usually season the ribs with a rub (e.g. Montreal Steak Seasoning or your own creation). I bake the ribs in the oven at 225 for about 3-4 hours (DEPENDING ON YOUR SIZE AND QUANTITY). For the last 20 minutes I baste the following sauce recipe on and either broil the ribs or (more often) grill them so they'll get that nice stickiness.

8 pounds pork spareribs
3 c. ketchup
1 c. barbecue sauce
1 c. brown sugar
2 1/2 T. lemon juice
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 dash hot pepper sauce, or to taste
3 T. steak sauce, (e.g. Heinz 57)
2 cloves garlic, minced

In medium saucepan, combine ketchup, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, steak sauce and garlic; blend well. Cook the sauce over medium heat for approximately 20 minutes. (Please note that the above ingredients are all to taste. Use more or less of anything you like. I never make the ribs the same way twice!)

I hope this isn't too confusing--comment with questions.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Super Fast, Super Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

These are my favorite recipe that I've tried for cinnamon rolls. Most others are either too dry and "bread like" or too dough and dense. These are fluffy like a bread, moist like a cake, and chewy like a good cinnamon roll should be. Enjoy! And, the best part is they don't take that long to make! Sometimes I make them the night before and put them in the fridge to rise until morning.

2 c. warm water
1/2 c. sugar
4 t. dry yeast
2 eggs
1 t. salt
1/3 c. oil
6-7 c. flour

Cinnamon/Butter mixture:
1 c. brown sugar
2 1/2 T. cinnamon
1/3 c. butter, softened

6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
3 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt

Dissolve yeast in the warm water. Let sit for a minute or two. Add the sugar and salt. Mix. Add the cooking oil, 2 eggs, 2 c. of flour and beat until smooth. Stir in 3 more c. flour. Begin kneading dough, adding the final cup of flour. If the dough seems too sticky, knead in more flour, a 1/4 c. at a time.

Let the dough "rest" for 15-20 mins. Roll the dough into a rectangle that's 24-30 inches long by about 16 inches wide. Spread with cinnamon/butter mixture and roll into a log.

Cut the roll into equal sized slices (about 1 inch wide or slightly more--I use non-flavored dental floss to cut) and place in two greased 9x13 pans. Put in warm place and rise for 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (or until golden brown).

Allow to cool for 5 mins and then turn out of pans and top with frosting.


As Homer Simpson is to sub sandwiches, I am to the trinity of onions, cilantro, and tomatoes. Add some avocado and you've got quite the waterfall of saliva going for me. This guacamole is too delicious for words. I realize it might not fit your fancy, but it does mine! For the first time ever I made cheese and grilled chicken quesadillas for dinner on a casual night and topped them with this guacamole. It made a plain jane meal into a blue ribbon worthy feast.

3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. cayenne
1/2 med onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 T. chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

Baked Potato Topping

My mother-in-law passed this along to me and it is SO yummy. Especially for those of us who are huge baked potato fans, this is a delectable treat. The point is to have all the toppings mixed together and refrigerated to magnify the tastes. I personally add about 3-4 times more green onions. Make it to taste. I half the recipe for our little family.

2 c. sour cream
1 cube butter (softened)
3 green onions
1/2 lb. diced, cooked bacon (or more to taste)
Grated cheddar cheese (to taste)
Salt (to taste)

Whip sour cream and butter together. Fold in next three ingredients and mix well. Add salt to taste.

Serve on hot baked potatoes. The flavor blends the longer your let it set beforehand.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Banana Pudding

I recently had this banana pudding and it was DELICIOUS! It does take some time to set, so make sure to start plenty ahead of time. This came from the restaurant's cookbook. It says that you should not let it chill for longer than 8 hours, but we ate ours the next day and it tasted just as good, if not better!

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups heavy cream
1 (12-ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers
4 cups sliced ripe bananas

In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours - or up to 8 hours, but no longer! - before serving.