"It's the company, not the cooking, that makes the meal!" ~Perilee 
(Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Jack's Favorite Salad

We call this Jack's favorite salad for lack of knowing the real name. I think he got the original recipe from one of his sister Echo's cookbooks. In the 12 years I have been married to Jack I have always referred to it as his favorite. This salad is light and refreshing. It is one of those salads though that once you put the dressing on it, it must be eaten up or it goes extremely soggy and doesn't keep well.

Jack's Favorite Salad

1/2 cups sliced almonds
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 head Iceberg lettuce
1/2 head Romaine lettuce
1 cup chopped celery
2 green onions
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges

1/2 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil (we always use canola)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped parsley (can be made without if you don't happen to have it).
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons Vinegar
Dash Tabasco sauce (to taste) {I put for shakes/drops in the last time me made it and it gave the salad a bite. I recommend 1 -2 drops being the best results).

In a small sauce pan over medium heat cook almonds with sugar stirring constantly (5-8 minutes.) Cool and store in airtight container. *Don't put them in plastic containers it will melt because the nuts are so hot!

Mix salad dressing and chill until ready to serve. Add almonds, oranges, and dressing just before serving.

Chess Squares

Recently a group of friends gathered for a surprise birthday party for Nicole. Nicole's mother did a bang up job with a pasta bar and dessert bar menu for everyone. Sharla brought these "Too-licious" dessert bars. I have to admit I ate more than one! They look very similar to a lemon bar. The texture is much the same as well. They are sweet and heavenly. My family loves them. Cameron was begging for me to get the recipe from Sharla so we could have them again.  I finally did it and we served them at our weekly Sunday family dinner. My niece who hates lemon bars, loved these and gave them a BIG 5 stars! Thank you Sharla for finding and sharing this recipe with us.

Chess Squares

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 300 F degrees and spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  Mix cake mix, melted butter, and one egg into a soft dough.  Press into the bottom of the pan. Mix powdered sugar, soften cream cheese and remaining two eggs until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Pour on top of crust.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.

(Mine seemed to take closer to an hour and I had my oven at 325. Just go for the nice golden color and you should be fine.)

Gingerbread Cookie

Quin loves gingerbread! It's hard for me to believe that a young kid can love the ginger flavor so much. It was an acquired taste for me that took a few years. But he loves a real strong flavored gingerbread-to strong for my taste at times. But I am glad he knows what he loves!

These are a cookie that we all love. They are a soft gingerbread cookie not crunchy. I found the recipe from my "pins" for cookies and desserts. It comes from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. We leave the white chocolate step off and enjoy them all the same. I think that it would be just as easy to put a white "kiss" on top too.

Gingerbread Cookies
 (www.culinaryconcoctionsbypeabody.com who adapted it from McCormick and Company Inc.)
**plan ahead needs 4 hours to overnight to chill before baking.**

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons Ginger, ground
2 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg, ground
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips

Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl.

Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies just begin to brown.  Immediately press about 5-6 white chocolate chips into venter of each cookie. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store cookie in airtight container up to 5 days (they never last that long around here!)

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

This cookie is delicious! I got it out of my "The New Best Recipe" book. It is like eating a cookie from a gourmet cookie shop. They add an extra egg yoke and melt the butter, which they say is what helps the cookie keep its soft texture. Like all cookies they are best hot out of the oven. We made a double batch and froze them individually wrapped for school lunches and they were just as tasty.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies "The New Best Recipes", p.776)

2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until just warm
1 cup packed (7 oz) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Adjust the oven racks to the upper and lower middle positions and heat the oven to 325 F degrees.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended.

Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.  Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves.  Rotate the halves 90 degrees and , with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at the base, agin forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough's uneven surface. Place the formed dough ball on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2" inches apart.

Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, the outer edges start to harden, and the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time.  Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a wide metal spatula.

In my convection multi-rack setting of my oven I bake it at 325 convection for 13 minutes and do not rotate my pans.

Grilled Teriyaki Salmon

This recipe is one inspired from my recent Turbo Fire program menus. This marinated fish with a homemade Teriyaki sauce was to die for fish! This like all the fish we grill at home beats most fish dishes we have had at most restaurant for the fraction of the price!

If you enjoy fish. You are going to LOVE this recipe! It was worth standing in the snow and the dark to enjoy this healthy and tasty fish. The marinade is not over powering and gives the fish a well balanced dose of Teriyaki. (Sometimes Teriyaki dishes can be to sweet for me, but this was perfect.  I am going to try it on other meats as well.)

Grilled Teriyaki Salmon

Salmon fillets (fresh or frozen)
If fish is frozen thaw prior to placing in marinade

For the Marinade (from allrecipes.com)

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3 Tablespoons white sugar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
2 1/4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon grated (or minced if you hate cleaning the grater ;-) ) fresh ginger

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together until sugar dissolved. ( It was taking to long for me to dissolve that sugar so I put it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds to heat it up a little. This did the trick.)
Voila- homemade marinade!

I used half the marinade and poured it into a gallon ziplock bag over my thawed fish.  (I used 3 frozen salmon fillets from Costco). Let fish marinade at least 1 hour. (You can let it marinade over night too.)

Grill the fish for 5 minutes on each side.

Grill canned, drained pineapple rings for two minutes and sear.

Serve grilled fish and pineapple with your favorite side of rice and vegetable.

 **Again no picture! Keeping up with my new business jillcarpenter.myitworks.com, my four darling munchkins and my handsome hubby. I am finding less and less time to take my pictures and blog about our good eats. (Which seem to be random at best lately too. Enjoying the season of life which I am in is my goal at this point and time in my life.)

Black Rice with Sweet Potatoes

So this recipe is one my Cameron LOVES! He is always asking, "Mom, can we have black rice?" We bought a bag of Natures Earthly Choice Black Rice from Costco last fall. It was only a small 4 lb. bag. I have been rationing when we make it because like many items at Costco you see them once and may not see them again for a while. At least that's how it goes for us.

I don't have a picture of this new favorite but wanted to be sure to get it on my blog before my next trip to UTAH.  Who knows maybe the Utah Costco's will have some that I can pick up.

This recipe is a quick and simple recipe. Cooks in roughly 35-45 minutes.

Black Rice with Sweet Potatoes

3/4 cup Black Rice
1 1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
3/4 cup scallions ~ 1 bunch (I use sweet onions if I don't have scallions I think I like it this way best.)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, peeled and minced
1 Sweet Potato, Large (12-14 oz) Peeled and diced

Bring rice, water, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil in 1.5-2 Qt. sauce pan, then reduce heat to low and cook rice covered until tender and most of the water is absorbed (about 35 minutes).

Let rice stand covered, off the heat for 10 minutes.  While rice is cooking, heat oil in a 12", nonstick skillet over moderately high heat. Saute scallions, ginger, and sweet potato stirring until coated well about 2 minutes. REeduce heat to moderate and add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, then cook covered stirring occasionally, until potato is just tender, about 12 minutes. Add rice and toss gently to combine.

Serves 4 (For our family of 6 I increase the rice to 1 cup and water to 2 cups. The normal rice ratio ;-) )