Sunday, April 26, 2015

Brown Sugar Balsamic Roasted Carrots

Roasting any vegetable makes it sweeter.   By adding balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, these carrots were almost like candy!!!

Brown Sugar Balsamic Roasted  Carrots
Recipe Courtesy of Let's Dish
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 4 - 5 carrots, washed, dried and sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Coarse salt, to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper, or line with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Place carrots in a medium bowl.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like your carrots).
  5. Pour the balsamic and brown sugar mixture over the carrots and toss to coat well. Arrange in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until carrots reach desired tenderness.
  7. Remove from oven and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with coarse salt and chopped fresh parsley

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

 Do these months just keep going faster and faster or is it me?  Hard to believe it's April and my third month cooking with Secret Recipe Club, Group C!  If you'd like to learn more about how Secret Recipe Club works, check it out here!  I look forward to seeing who had my blog each month, it's such a fun surprise!!

This month,  I was assigned Angels Homestead.  April, the woman behind the blog is a dedicated wife and almost empty-nest, mother of five, as well as Mamaw to two adorable grandbabies. She resides in Southern Indiana, along with her husband Joe and daughter Melissa, and enjoys the quite life on their 3 acre homestead. She enjoys blogging about her adventures in frugal allergy-free cooking, gardening, household tips, and her family.  Stop by her blog, you'll find some delicious recipes and great household tips!!

I must admit I have never made any type of pudding from scratch.  Recalling my childhood, I don't even remember my mother making pudding from scratch.  It's always been the box of Jello pudding.  When traveling in the south, I have enjoyed a bowl or two of  banana pudding.  April's recipe for Old Fashioned Banana Pudding caught my eye.  After all it was time I make a scratch pudding.

I cut the recipe in half and it made enough for two delicious dishes for Tim and I.  I don't think I did the best job of tempering the eggs when combining them with the custard.  When I was assembling the pudding, I did see a few streaks of what may have been scrambled egg.  Be careful when mixing, slowly is the key. 

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding

3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter
3 medium bananas, sliced
Vanilla Wafers


Mix together sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and slowly add milk.
Stir constantly until it thickens. Slightly beat egg yolks and temper with a small amount of the hot custard; stir well.
Add egg mixture to custard and cook 2 more minutes.
Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter, stirring to combine. Let cool.
In a 9 x 9 serving dish, alternate pudding, bananas, and wafers, beginning with pudding and ending with pudding.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Smoked BBQ Glazed Meatloaf with a Bacon Weave

Earlier this year when Tim and I were on our cruise, we met Rick and Nancy, a wonderful couple from Canada.   When discussing things we do in our spare time, we discovered both Rick and Tim liked to BBQ with their smokers.  We shared one of our favorite recipes, Smoked Mac and Cheese.  Rick shared their recipe for this Smoked Meatloaf.

One of the nice things about the smoker is most recipes are pretty simple, glaze or rub the meats and place them on the smoker.  This recipe, not so much.  It requires lots of steps but the end result is well worth the effort.  I'm going to share the link to the original post which goes into detail on how to prepare the meatloaf for smoking.  Needless to say, this is moist and delicious!!!


PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hour 45 minutes
SERVES: 6 to 8

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (80/20)
1 carrot, peeled and diced or grated
1 stalk celery, finely diced
4 oz. mushrooms, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, grated or diced
Olive oil
3 to 4 fresh sprigs of thyme, leaves only
1 egg, beaten
6-8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup condensed tomato soup
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 lb thick-cut bacon
Traeger Honey Bourbon Sauce or favorite barbecue sauce

Start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open for 4 to 5 minutes or until the fire is established.
Mix together the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and onions in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for about 2 minutes just to soften the vegetables a little.
Let the vegetables cool and then mix them in a large bowl with the ground beef, garlic, thyme, egg, crumbled cooked bacon, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, bread crumbs and tomato soup.
Form the mixture into a loaf and place on a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet.
Make your bacon weave using the thick-cut bacon, weaving it on a large piece of parchment paper.
Gently flip and lay the weave on top of the meatloaf so that the parchment is on top and peel off the parchment paper.
Put the meatloaf on the Traeger and smoke for 45 minutes.
Then take the meatloaf off and turn the heat up to 300 degrees F and allow to preheat, lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes.
Place the meatloaf back on the Traeger and cook for about an hour or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
During the last 15 minutes (once the meatloaf reaches about 140 degrees/145 degrees F) brush the meatloaf with the barbecue sauce to let it caramelize and for the exterior turn into bacon candy gold!
After you take it off the Traeger allow the meatloaf to sit for 15 minutes before you slice into it.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Eggs to Egg Salad

Paxton and I colored Easter Eggs.  We had so much fun and he did a great job.  I was a bit concerned though about how we might react to the fate of these eggs.  I wanted to make egg salad but he seemed a bit attached to his eggs.  The morning after we made them, he got up and asked to see them.  I got them out and sat down and said you know what we normally do with eggs, right?  He said, yes we eat them?  I said okay, we had fun making these but now it's time to say good bye. I'd like to make egg salad with these eggs.  Satisfied with that answer, he said goodbye.  I closed the carton and put them back in the fridge.  Hopefully when he's here this week, he remembers our conversation!!

I was lucky enough in my last job to get to travel most of the major golf events.  The company I worked for sold merchandise in the merchandise tents at these events.  Despite the 12 hour days, on your feet, it's a experience I wouldn't trade for anything.  Thank goodness, I was younger.  I certainly couldn't do it today!  The only major golf tournament we did not work was The Masters.  The Masters is on my bucket list, some day I hope!

If you've been or you read about The Masters, you know unlike many other major sporting events, the food is very reasonable.  One of the items The Masters is known for is their Egg Salad Sandwich.
I hardly ever make egg salad, Tim doesn't care for anything with hard boiled eggs.  Yes, that's right no deviled eggs either.  In honor of this week's Master's Tournament, here's my version of egg salad.

Egg Salad
6 hard-cooked eggs, diced
1/2 c diced celery
2 1/2 Tbsp Ranch Dressing
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients and chill.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Easter Basket Mini Cheesecakes - Fifteen Cheesecakes

My blogging friend Camilla is celebrating her wedding anniversary with the blogging event, Fifteen Cheesecakes.  You see she's been married 15 years and served cheesecake at her wedding!  How fun is this!!!  I love cheesecake and paired with a celebration ...  it doesn't get any better than this!!  Happy Anniversary Camilla.  Thanks for sharing it with me!!

Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts.  There's so many delicious varieties of this creamy dessert.  Personally I am a big fan of mini desserts.   Mini desserts are great when you just want a little something sweet!  Also, perfect for family dinners or parties.  Everyone can serve themselves!!

I found so many cheesecakes I thought about making but settled on a regular cheesecake recipe, decorated for the upcoming Easter holiday.  These would be a fun one to make with the kids.  They can help color the coconut and put the jelly beans on top.  You could also use malted milk eggs.  Fun and easy!!

 Easter Basket Mini Cheesecakes
12 vanilla wafers
2 pkg.  (8 oz. each)  Cream Cheese, softened

1/2cup  sugar

1/2tsp.  vanilla

2 eggs

1-1/2cups  coconut, tinted green

36 small jelly beans

HEAT oven to 350°F.
PLACE 1 wafer in each of 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs; beat just until blended. Spoon over wafers.
BAKE 20 min. or until centers are almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 2 hours.
TOP with coconut and jelly beans just before serving. 

Today we are helping Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla celebrate her 15th wedding anniversary with waaaayy more than #fifteencheesecakes.

Here's what everyone brought to the cheesecake table, listed in alphabetical order. Enjoy!

Berry Cheesecake Bars by Baking and Creating with Avril
Cherry Cheesecake Bites by Cookaholic Wife
Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake by Dancing Veggies
Chocolate Cheesecake by My Hobbie Lobbie
Chocolate Topped Peppermint Cheesecake by Amy's Cooking Adventures
Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars by Tara's Multicultural Table
Easter Basket Mini Cheesecakes by Little Bit of Everything
Everyday Cheesecake by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Irish Cream Cheesecake by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Layered Cinnamon Streusel Cheesecake Cake by
Famished Fish, Finicky Shark
Lowfat Blackberry Cheesecake by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Matcha-Yuzu Cheesecake with a Meyer Lemon Glaze by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Mini Churro Caramel Cheesecake by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Mini Maple Pecan Cheesecakes by Join Us, Pull up a Chair
Mudslide Cheesecake by Sew You Think You Can Cook
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake by Angels Homestead
Samoa's cheesecake by Goodie Godmother
Skinny Vanilla Bean Cheesecake by Renee's Kitchen Adventures
Twix Cheesecake Brownie Torte by Making Memories With Your Kids

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Baked Macaroni and Goat Cheese - SRC

It's my second month participating with Group C in Secret Recipe Club.  If you want to learn more about Secret Recipe Club, take a look here!

This month I was assigned the blog Rainstorms and Love Notes.  Don't you just love that name?  Who doesn't love rainstorms and love notes!!  Ashley is the creative blogger behind Rainstorms and Love Notes!  She says, "Rainstorms and Love Notes is where I share new recipes, write about life and love, and talk about my obsession with binge-watching TV shows, our 3 cats and the Pittsburgh Steelers."

Ashley has some great recipes on her site, it was hard to choose just one.  Since we're big Mac n Cheese fans at our house, her Goat Cheese Mac n Cheese spoke to me!!  I've never had goat cheese mac n cheese before and wasn't sure what to expect.   The tang of goat cheese makes a delicious mac n cheese.  I love the crunchy addition of panko on the top!!  If you're looking for a new Mac n Cheese recipe, give this one a try!!!

Baked Macaroni and Goat Cheese 
Recipe Courtesy of Rainstorms and Love Notes
Serves 4
2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour, plus 1 tbsp
4 1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 pound macaroni
6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
olive oil, for drizzling
Heat the milk in a pan over medium heat just until it starts to bubble, or about 5 minutes.

In a separate pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Meanwhile, boil the macaroni according to package directions.

Add the flour into the melted butter and whisk constantly, until the mixture is slightly thick.

Remove the butter mixture from heat and slowly add in the milk, whisking constantly. Once the milk has been added, set back over medium heat and continue to whisk until the mixture is silky and thick, about 3 minutes.

Add the goat cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and green onions to the milk mixture and melt over low heat, just until the goat cheese has melted.

When the macaroni has finished boiling, drain and stir in to the goat cheese mixture.
Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and top with the Panko breadcrumbs.

Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs have started to brown.

Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts

We love brussels sprouts at our house.  Unlike the brussels of our childhood that were overcooked and a soggy mess, today's brussels are crispy and delicious.  Normally brussels are a side at our house.  This recipe is our hands down favorite!  When I saw this recipe in Food and Wine featuring brussels as a main dish, of course I pinned it for a future dinner.

We liked the flavors in this dish but found it a little dry. I think next time, I would combine a little pasta water with the pasta, brussels and sausage, toast the panko and toss them on top. 

Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts and Sausage Breadcrumb Topping

1/2 pound spaghetti 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling  
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, thinly sliced (about 3 cups) 
1/2 pound loose pork sausage  
1 cup panko 
2 tablespoons snipped chives  
Kosher salt 
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the brussels sprouts and sausage and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the sausage is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the panko and cook until crisp, 3 minutes. Stir in the chives and season with salt and pepper. Drain the spaghetti. Top with the brussels sprout mixture, drizzle with olive oil and serve with lemon wedges.