Thursday, September 6, 2012

mint and lemonade slushy {winner!!}

Mint and Lemonade Slushy from Jenn:

2 1/3 cups water
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 lemon thinly sliced
2 1/3 cups fresh lemon juice (about 10 lemons)

Bring water and sugar to a boil in medium saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cover and boil for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the sliced lemon. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice. Pour mixture through a strainer into an 8-cup glass pitcher and discard the lemon slices. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours or until chilled.


4 cups ice
Mint leaves - to taste

Pour ice into blender. Add mint leaves as desired and pour lemonade to the top of the ice. Blend until slushy. Serve with a sprig of mint or a lemon slice.

lemon fennel chicken skewers with peanut sauce.

Lemon Fennel Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce from Brittany:

1 Tbs. fennel seeds
Zest of two lemons
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. honey
1/3 c. olive oil
4 tsp. salt
3 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes

In small saute pan over medium-high heat, toast fennel seeds, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; cool 5 minutes. Using spice grinder (I just used the end of my rolling pin) finely grind seeds. Transfer to a large bowl. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, olive oil and salt; whisk to combine. Add chicken, cover and refrigerate 6 hours - or overnight.

Thread chicken onto wooden skewers. Cook on medium high grill 8-10 minutes, turning twice to grill on all sides. Serves 6.

Peanut Sauce

1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbs. light brown sugar
1 Tbs. Thai red curry paste
1 Tbs. fish sauce
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

In small sauce pan, cook coconut milk, brown sugar, curry paste, fish sauce, ginger and garlic over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 more minutes.

Reduce heat to low and stir in peanut butter. Cook for 3 more minutes, or until peanut butter is well blended. Serve warm.

coconut shrimp curry.

Coconut Shrimp Curry from Michelle:
Adapted from

For the shrimp marinade:
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
1-2 pounds large or extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium red or yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, from about a 1-inch peeled piece of ginger
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can coconut milk, light or regular
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Hot cooked rice for serving, if desired
For the simple shrimp marinade, toss the shrimp with the salt, pepper, cayenne and lemon juice in a resealable large bag or in a bowl. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat until rippling and hot. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pepper, ginger, salt, garlic, coriander, turmeric and curry powder. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture is very fragrant and the onion is soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the undrained tomatoes to the pot and cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, for about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Add the coconut milk, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the shrimp and any accumulated juices from the marinade. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the shrimp are curled, lightly pink and cooked through, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve over hot, cooked rice, if desired.
*I cut down the salt as suggested, leave off the cilantro and sprinkle with coconut.

cookies and cream cookies.

Cookies and Cream Cookies from Heidi:

1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (4.2 ounce) package instant Oreo Pudding mix
2 1/4 cups flour (I used just a little more)
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 King-Sized Hershey's Cookies N Cream Candy Bars broken into small pieces (I used 3 regular)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup was plenty for me)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream together butter and sugars. Beat in pudding mix until blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour mixture and mix to combine. Stir in cookies n' cream pieces and chocolate chips.

Using a cookie dough scooper, place golf ball sized dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. You do not want to overbake these! Let cookies cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before moving to a cooking rack. Store in air-tight container. Makes two dozen (I made them smaller and got 3 dozen).

caramel apple dip.

Caramel Apple Dip from Shalee:

1 block of Cream Cheese
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
Toffee pieces (optional)

Allow cream cheese to soften to room temperature. Beat in sugars. Top with Toffee pieces if wanted. Serve with apples.

easy peanut butter squares.

Easy Peanut Butter Squares from Erin:

1 cup corn syrup
1 cup sugar

Boil syrup and sugar for 1 minute and add:

1 cup peanut butter

Mix together. Add:

8 to 9 cups Special K cereal

Mix together. Spread in 9x13 pan.

In separate bowl microwave:

1 bag chocolate chips
1 bag butterscotch chips

Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Keep microwaving and stirring until melted. Spread over pan. Let cool in refrigerator for 1 hour. Enjoy!

roasted pears with brie and pistachios.

Roasted Pears with Brie and Pistachios from Tamara:

  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ripe pears, preferably Bosc
  • 2 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 4 slices
  • 4 teaspoons chopped pistachios, toasted (see Tip) 
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat an 8-inch-square (or similar-size) metal baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk mustard, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Cut pears in half lengthwise, hollow out the core and slice a small piece off the other side so they will lie flat when served. Brush all over with the mustard glaze and place cored-side down in the prepared pan.
  4. Bake the pears for 30 minutes, basting halfway through with the glaze. Gently turn them over, baste again and place a piece of Brie in the hollow of each pear. Bake until the pears are tender and the Brie is slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle each pear half with 1 teaspoon pistachios.
Tips & Notes
  • Tip: To toast seeds and chopped, small or sliced nuts (pages 30, 40, 63), cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

*Tamara used candied pecans instead of pistachios.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

muffins {winner!!}

Muffins from Heidi:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, or to taste
2 large bananas, mashed
1 (4.5 ounce) jar baby food squash
2 carrots, grated
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1 tsp baking soad
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 24 mini muffin cups or 12 standard muffin cups. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in the mashed bananas, squash, carrots and eggs. Stir in the flour, oat bran, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt until just combined. Spoon the batter equally into the prepared muffin cups. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 15-20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. Store at room temperature for up to two days or freeze.

pizza on a stick and dessert kebabs.

Pizza on a Stick from Jenn:

Grape tomatoes


Canadian Bacon

Assemble on a skewer

Dessert Kebabs from Jenn:

Pound Cake or
Brownie Bites

Assemble to your liking. Can drizzle with chocolate or leave off if packing in a lunch bag.

pasta chicken salad.

Pasta Chicken Salad from Beckie:

Pasta Shells (about 1 box) - cooked and rinsed
chicken (about 2-3 breasts) - cooked and chopped
1 can tidbit pineapple, drained
sliced red grapes
1 chopped green onion
celery, chopped
1 cup mayo
1 bottle coleslaw dressing

Mix - if storing in the fridge, add cashews before serving.

black bean, edamame, corn and quinoa salad.

Black Bean, Edamame, Corn and Quinoa Salad from Jocelyn:

1 cup shelled edamame
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup cooked black beans
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup fresh chopped chilantro
1 cup tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tsp minced red onion
1 tsp ground cumin
2 T fresh lime juice
2 T red wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil. Cook edamame for 10 minutes. Bring a fresh pot of water to boil and steam corn for 3 minutes. Combine edamame, corn, black beans and quinoa. Make salsa dressing by combining tomatoes, red onion, cumin, lime juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and cayenne. Combine dressing, cilantro and salad; toss and serve.

Turkey Tortellini Salad

Turkey Tortellini Salad from Brittany:

Mixed Greens
Cheese Tortellini
Kens Italian Dressing with Aged Romano
Deli Sliced Turkey
Havarti Cheese
Red Peppers
Black Beans

Cook Tortellini and marinate in dressing a couple hours or up to overnight. Assemble salad to your liking. Can use additional Italian dressing as needed.