Monday, August 20, 2012

Creamy Potato Salad

I only have 7 ingredients for my creamy potato salad. And I NEVER put pickles or onions in mine. That's just wrong!
Weekday Chef's Creamy Potato Salad with Bacon! 

This is one of my kids' favorite things that I make for BBQ dinners....great for summer picnics too. 

My 7 ingredients are: Potatoes, eggs,  bacon, celery, mustard, mayo, and salad seasoning. These 7 yummy things makes a great potato salad. But don't eat it that often because it is very high in calories and the egg yolks aren't so good for your arteries. But it's great for a special Summer BBQ.
I like to use either red, new potatoes, or Yukon Gold potatoes. Both just seem creamier to me.
And of course bacon makes everything a little bit better, now doesn't it? 
If I use the red, new potatoes, I don't peel off the skins, ever. But sometimes I do with the Yukon Gold, if I'm not feeling too lazy.
Potato Salad Ingredients List:
13 to 15 small and medium potatoes cut up into bite size chunks so it fills a big salad bowl
7 eggs (boiled with the potatoes, then chopped up)
1 1/4 cups of good quality mayo
3 Tablespoons regular French's Mustard
4-5 pieces of bacon cooked and crumbled
3-4 stalks of celery finely sliced (I like that bit of crunch)
5-7 shakes (to taste) of Salad Seasoning (about 2 teaspoons)

Seasoning salt and pepper if you need more flavor

Top with a few shakes of parsley flakes
It's hard to find this stuff sometimes, but it MAKES every single salad better, pasta, potato, spinach...I use it a LOT! 

The best potatoes to use are these red, new potatoes. Just leave the skins on! 
Yukon Gold also make great potato salads...leave skins on or peel as you please...I peeled mine for this salad. 

It's a great side dish. And it tastes even better the next day when all the seasonings have melded together as leftovers!  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lemon Garlic Pasta with Shrimp or Chicken

I have been wanting to make a yummy pasta dish for a few days. How about some lemon garlic cream sauce to go with it? Doesn't that sound soooooo yummy?

I had purchased some cream (never go to the grocery store hungry) on my last shopping trip, thinking I'd look for some recipes that sounded good.  I perused about 6 of them using lemons, and then I experimented.

Lemon-garlic pasta with chicken.

I liked how this turned out.  If I made it again I would maybe add some cayenne pepper or a few red pepper flakes for some heat. But it was tasty, as it was.  Here are the ingredients. 
1/2 cube real butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic or 2 garlic cloves crushed
1 Tablespoon flour (for thickening the sauce)
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon parsley flakes for garnish
1/3-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup chicken stock
2 T. lemon juice


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. While pasta is cooking fry up the chicken or devein the shrimp. 
2. Put butter and garlic in a fry pan, mince up and saute. Add chicken stock, lemon and flour and mix up. Then add cream and spices. Add chicken or shrimp to the sauce and coat for a few minutes. Add Parmesan cheese and parsley last. Add salt and pepper to taste. If it seems too runny, let it set for 10 minutes and the pasta will absorb the sauce. Serve with some crusty bread and a spinach salad with berries and pecans.

I added a spinach salad with red onion, mushrooms, sliced almonds, blackberries, and raspberry vinaigrette. It was a delicious side dish to the lemon-garlic pasta.

Here is a chart to help if you run out of garlic cloves and have to substitute minced garlic in a jar or garlic salt.  You can also make this recipe with shrimp. Just simmer the shrimp in the sauce for about 3 minutes per side till it turns pink on the edges.  Enjoy!  

1 small clove garlic = 1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced
1 medium-size clove garlic = 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons minced 
1 large clove garlic = 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons minced 
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic = 2 medium cloves 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blackberry-Peach Crisp

I picked these peaches today off of my tree to make some Blackberry Peach Crisp. I'm not above taking a bite out of one right off the tree. They are that good! 
And I picked some Blackberries for this dessert dish. Fresh Blackberry-Peach Crisp with toasted pecans. What a great summer dessert to use up your fresh, homegrown fruits from your garden! 

1 cup of quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter of room temperature butter
6 to 8 medium fresh peaches sliced  (enough to cover bottom of 9 x 9 or larger casserole dish) 

1/2 cup fresh blackberries (or raspberries)
1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons salt 

Always use REAL BUTTER for your Peach will taste better!

Combine oats, sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add butter and mix. Cut butter into oats mixture. Arrange sliced peaches in a 8 x 8 or 10 x 6 inch, oiled baking dish. Cover peaches with a few squirts of lemon juice and a few teaspoons sugar. Spread the blackberries around.  Mix up all the rest of the ingredients in your mixer. Then Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the fruit. Top with pecan halves or pieces. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 350. Let set for 15 minutes before serving. Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Fresh Blackberries from my bushes! I am getting a good crop this year. This yield is just todays, picked from only 2 plants. 
Here are the peaches from my tree right before I peeled them and sliced them for my Blackberry Peach Crisp. 
I peeled my peaches but you do not have to. I've done it both ways. My tree peaches are just VERY fuzzy, so I like to remove the skins and slice them up. 
You can see my blackberries added! Yum!  This is right before I added the pecans and popped it into the oven! 

You can see those yummy toasted pecans. I just lay them all over the top and they toast so nicely! 

This is right before I took a giant bite. mmm.....

Monday, August 6, 2012

Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl like Pei Wei

I love going to Pei Wei for Chinese food. My favorites there are the crab wontons and the Teriyaki Chicken bowl.  That place really rocks. I love the neon lights and watching the chefs cook in the giant woks.
Teriyaki-Orange Chicken Rice Bowl 

3 Chicken Breasts seasoned with garlic salt, season salt and lemon pepper
2 medium carrots sliced thinly
1/4 cup red onion
1/4 cup red, orange or green pepper
1/2 cup chopped cabbage in 1/2 inch chunks
6 mushrooms sliced thin
1/3 cup sugar snap peas
a few shakes garlic salt
1/4 cup orange sauce mixed with 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce (or more if you like more sauce) I like the bottled Panda Orange sauce and the Ebarra Spicy Teriyaki sauce.
a slight pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Today I had a yen for some chinese food. But you know, it's just veggies and rice with some stir fried chicken. So I decided to experiement and see if I've got the Pei Wei taste down.

I like to add the Orange sauce with the Teriyaki makes a yummy sauce! 

I decided to use the veggies I had in my fridge, which were, 1/4 of a red and green pepper, 4 mushrooms, some carrots, pea pods, some celery and some cabbage and red onion. Use whatever you have in your fridge. If you love broccoli or bok choy, you could add that instead of some of the others. The picture below shows my teriyaki sauce. I like the taste of the Ebara brand.
I love cabbage with the rice, so I add the chopped cabbage the LAST MINUTE to the rice cooker, just so it gets SLIGHTLY STEAMED. I like it still crunchy but I want it to barely wilt in the rice steamer....

 Be sure and wash your rice so it will not be super sticky. I do 1 1/2 water to 1 cup of rice in a rice cooker. So if you do 2 cups of rice, use 3 cups of water and a few shakes of salt.

Here are my veggies after stir frying them....I just put a lid on the bowl till everything else was ready...
Then I chopped veggies thin (except for the cabbage, chop that in fat pieces) then stir fried the veggies with a few tablespoons of oil in a stainless steel pan.  I ended up with about 2 cups of veggies. I put them aside in a bowl with a lid to keep them warm.
Seasoned chicken breasts...I cut them up into 1 1/4 inch pieces to stir fry them....
After 3 minutes on each side I added the sauce and coated the Teriyaki chicken pieces....

Then I had been seasoning the boneless chicken breasts in the fridge for a few hours with lemon pepper and garlic and some seasoning salt.  Then I sliced the chicken up into 1 1/4 inch pieces and fried them in a grilling steel pan, adding another bit of oil. I turned them after about 3 minutes on each side.
Teriyaki-Orange Chicken Rice Bowl

Then I added the sauce and simmered the chicken for a few minutes turning them in the sauce. Lastly, I added the warm veggies, coating them in the sauce. The sauce is completely made, you only need to warm it up. And boy is it delicious! You can get the Panda orange sauce from Costco.

Here's my finished Pei Wei Teriyaki Chicken with rice and stir fried vegetables. Yummy and healthy too.

I think this recipe is the hub's favorite of all the foods I cook!  Try it. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chocolate Cake with Raspberries and Almonds

Chocolate Cake with Raspberries and Sliced Almonds
3/4 cup of  real butter
1 1/2 cups of sugar
¼ cup cocoa
2 eggs
1 1/2  teaspoons vanilla
½ cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons oil
1 cup of chocolate chips (spread over top of cake before baking)

Dry ingredients
2 cups of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water

Yummy Chocolate Cake
I love chocolate cake. It is probably my favorite dessert. When I have had a long day, am stressed out, or I just want to make an easy, delicious treat, this is what I go for. I use boxed mixes 90 percent of the time. But today I didn't have a chocolate cake mix. This recipe is a pretty easy and great substitute. It whips up quickly and I usually have all the ingredients on hand. 
And it was one of those days where I just needed some chocolate. Ever have one of those days? mmhmm.....chocolate cures just about everything, doesn't it? 
Want some raspberries on your decadent chocolate cake? Yum! 
Start by creaming butter, cocoa and sugar together.  Add eggs and vanilla and sour cream and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl blend the flour, soda and salt together.  Add flour mixture to the cocoa mixture. Then add hot water a little at a time and beat until smooth.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes depending on your oven and altitude.  Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes.
Chocolate cupcakes with raspberries and almonds
I like to make both cupcakes and a cake for my dessert.  My grandkids love cupcakes when they come over and I can give a few away as a gift. (who doesn't like cupcakes?)

Cream sugars and butter and Mix it all up in your Kitchenaide Mixer.....add the eggs and flour mixture....

Pour the batter into a 9 x 9 cake pan and 9 cupcake papers and bake them up in 350 degree oven

I topped my chocolate cupcakes with about 7 chocolate chips make them richer and tastier

 So with this mix I did 9 cupcakes and a square 9 x 9 glass cake pan with the remains. I put about 3/4 cup of chocolate chips onto the cake batter just after I poured it into the pan.  I put about 6 to 7 chocolate chips into each cupcake paper.  I put both just on top, last thing to go into the mix.  

Add the eggs to the mix

With the cocoa and flour and sugar

I used these red, foil, cupcake papers for my chocolate cupcakes
I made a 9 x 9 chocolate cake and 9 chocolate cupcakes....what's with all those 9s? 
Then I baked them, checking the cupcakes after about 18 minutes. I have a convection oven and sometimes it takes longer when I have it on, and sometimes I am surprised how fast stuff cooks in there!! I leave the cake in and start checking it after about 25 minutes. 
I threw about a 3/4 of a cup of chocolate chips on top of my chocolate cake

Homemade chocolate buttercream icing on top of my chocolate cake
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter 
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 + Tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla
  • add more sugar if it is too runny, add more milk if it is too dry. Mix up in your mixer.
Top with sliced almonds and then add 3 raspberries to each cut piece of cake, or cupcake, when serving.
When they were done I frosted them with chocolate buttercream frosting and topped them with fresh raspberries and sliced almonds. Sooooo Yummy! 
Don't you wanna bite of my chocolate cupcake? Hmmm?  YES YOU DO! 


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