My best friend loves cucumber sandwiches, so whenever we have a tea party or other excuse for finger foods, I make them for her. These are an upgrade from my last cucumber sandwiches, made more elegant with a round shape and fresh dill garnish.

Ingredients

Seedless English cucumber, sliced thin but not too thin
Blue Isle Yogurt Spread, plain*
Fresh organic dill
Sea salt
White sandwich bread (1 loaf will make 12 sandwiches)

How I Made Them:

My sweet sous chef S recommended cutting the bread into circles by using a glass. Smart and easy! He cut the bread for us by pressing the glass into the center of each slice of bread.

Assemble the sandwiches by spreading the yogurt spread on the slices of bread. Arrange the cucumber slices on one piece of bread and sprinkle with salt. Top with the second slice of bread. Garnish with fresh dill (I used a spot of yogurt spread to make the dill stick).

How The Turned Out:

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Fresh and light and perfect. The Supersonic Seven Year (formerly known at the Stupendous Six Year Old) announced to his mother (my best friend, the cucumber sandwich connoisseur) “These are great! We should make them at home.”

 *I stumbled onto this new Blue Isle Yogurt Spread when I was looking for cream cheese. I tried out the plain flavor for this recipe, and liked it so much that we whipped up a lovely veggie dip with a little garlic and dill.

 

This is a simplified version of a Southern staple of picnics and church potlucks. Using frozen fruit instead of canned reduces the sweetness, and the yogurt adds a nice zing.

Ingredients:

8 ounces (1 container) Noosa lemon yoghurt
1 container original Cool Whip
2 packages Dole Mandarin Sunshine Blend frozen fruit (thawed, drained)
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

How I Made It:

Gently mix the yogurt and Cool Whip with a rubber spatula. Fold in the coconut and then the fruit.

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Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

How It Turned Out:

Yummy!

 

 

This year’s Easter supper was a wonderful success, thanks to my spectacular new sous chef (my friend S is a wonder in the kitchen). This year we had a traditional feast with few fresh twists.

Brie en Croute

Cucumber Sandwiches

Deviled Eggs

Hummus with Snap Peas, Carrots and Radishes

Ham with Apricot Maple Glaze

Essential Macaroni and Cheese

Roasted Broccolini

Ambrosia Salad

Homemade Rolls

Lemon Curd Cakes with Strawberries, and Whipped Cream

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The Stupendous Six Year (my favorite munchkin) is a fan of Minions. And bananas. And cake. Mostly he’s a fan of cake. So for Family Night Dinner, I made a banana bundt cake for dessert.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
5 eggs
3 bananas, mashed
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbs maple cinnamon toast sprinkle
5 oz plain greek yogurt

How I Made It

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a bundt pan with baking spray or butter with a bit of flour.

In a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugars together.  While that goes, sift together — in a separate bowl — the flour, baking powder, salt, and toast sprinkle.

When the butter and sugars are combined, add the bananas and continue to mix on medium speed. After that’s combined, add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each.  Add the vanilla.

Slow the mixer to low and add 1/3 of the flour mixture. After that is mostly combined, spoon 1/3 of the yogurt in. Continue alternating the flour and yogurt until everything is in the bowl. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and finish mixing the batter. It will be thick.

Transfer the batter to the bundt pan, spreading evenly in the pan.  Bake in the center of the oven for 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester comes away clean but for a few crumbs.

Let the cake cool before turning it out of the pan.  Serve with whipped cream or a little vanilla icing.

How It Turned Out

A dense, moist cake with super banana flavor. The pile of homemade whipped cream was a lovely complement.

 

Banana Cake (2)

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Mornings are not my best time of day, so breakfast is usually just coffee and more coffee before I leave the house.  This week, I’m going to have a hot, protein packed breakfast with that coffee — because I made these scrambled egg muffins that I can just reheat in the microwave.

Ingredients

7 cage free eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 tsp cracked pepper
6 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled or cut into small pieces
1 cup of cooked broccoli florets, cut into little florets

How I Made Them

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with olive oil or baking spray. (I used a regular sized muffin tin and got 7 muffins).

Whip the eggs, cheese and pepper together like you would for scrambled eggs. Divide the bacon and broccoli among the muffin cups. Fill 3/4 full with the egg mixture.

Bake with the muffin tins on a cookie sheet (in case they overflow) in the center of the oven for 30 minutes or until the egg tops are set and lightly browned.

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How They Turned Out

Tasty! 20160124_134850 (2)

The BFF and her boys get home from two weeks of holiday travel today, so I want to be sure that settling back in is as stress-free as possible. And, because I’m southern, the answer to that is making a casserole for their supper tonight.

This is a lightened version of chicken parmesan, baked in casserole form.  It’s easy peasy to make.

Bake three chicken breasts, covered with Italian or balsamic dressing, in a foil packet (400 degrees for about an hour).  Cook your choice of pasta (I don’t recommend long noodles) as directed.

Prepare a largish baking dish with olive oil or a foil lining. Transfer the pasta to the baking dish, filling it about a third full.  Cut the chicken up into bite-size pieces and top the pasta.

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Cover the whole casserole with marinara sauce. I like to use the organic marinara from Safeway, with a box of Pomi chopped tomatoes mixed in.

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If you’re not going to bake it right away, cover the casserole and put it in the fridge. When you’re ready, top the casserole with shredded cheese (an Italian cheese blend or parmesan) and bake it for 20-25 minutes, uncovered, at 350 degrees until the cheese is bubbly and the casserole is heated through.

Of course, this is not a recipe for some sort of astronaut food.  It is, however, the revelation that prime rib is perhaps the easiest “fancy food” to make.

Go ahead and splurge on a really beautiful rib roast. It will be spendy but it is worth it.

To cook it, place a rack toward the bottom of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a roasting pan with heavy foil, and place the roasting rack on top of the foil.

Rinse and pat the rib roast dry.  Place it on the rack in the roasting pan.  Season it some, but do not be seduced into using a heavy rub.  A used a basic garlic and herb mix from Spice Islands.

Put the rib roast in the oven and let it cook, uncovered, until it reaches the desired temperature (check out this Prime Rib Cooking Chart).  Mine was 7 pounds and I let it cook about three and a half hours (but we don’t like our meat too rare — the ends were medium, and the middle was medium rare.).

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That’s it. No fuss, no muss. A decadent meal to share with friends and family (and all the mess in the pan goes straight into the trash).

I served it with Stonewall Kitchen Cranberry Horseradish Sauce (which I love!) and traditional horseradish. Yummy!

(Have you noticed that I don’t always have photos of the food I make, or of the final product before it’s eaten?  That’s because the food is made to be eaten, and too often I forget to grab the camera before everyone starts eating.  For a while I didn’t post a recipe if I didn’t get a “final” photo, but I think I’ll relax a bit about that from now on.)

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