Sunday, January 08, 2017

Chef Salad With Homemade Ranch Dressing

I love a great salad and a chef's salad is one of my favorites.  And what's a salad without homemade dressing.  I like blue cheese but this time I went with my homemade ranch dressing.  Oh Yum!

Chef Salad With Homemade Ranch Dressing

1 head of lettuce 
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup cooked ham, sliced into strips
1 cup cooked turkey, sliced into strips
3 medium whole fresh tomatoes, quartered
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced

At least an hour before serving the salad, wash and dry the salad greens, and tear into bite-size pieces.  Wrap in paper towel, and place in refrigerator. Meanwhile, get your other ingredients ready. Peel and slice hard-boiled eggs.

Place lettuce in large bowl. Toss lettuce to lightly coat leaves with dressing.  Add more dressing if necessary and salt and black pepper to taste. Add the remaining ingredients and toss lightly. Serve chilled.

Ranch Dressing

1 cup of Hellman’s or Dukes Mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon dried chives
½ teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dill weed
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, parsley, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Orange-Honey Sticky Wings

I am not into spicy hot wings. But I love sweet sticky wings like honey or honey mustard. Last year for the big Super Bowl game, I made the regular hot and spicy wings as usual, but I also came up with my own version of sticky wings with orange and honey and they were a huge hit! 

Orange-Honey Sticky Wings

2 pounds fresh chicken wings, cut in 2 pieces at joint or 2 pounds frozen chicken wings, thawed.
1 16 oz. can of frozen orange juice, thawed.
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
4 cloves of finely chopped garlic 
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
A pinch or two of red pepper flakes if you like them hot and spicy too! 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine honey, sesame oil, Worcestershire sauce, orange juice, brown sugar, and garlic in large bowl. Toss in your chicken wings. Arrange two 9 x 13 baking pans with your wings. Brush wings with a little additional sauce and cover with foil. 

Bake wings at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove foil and turn wings over and brush with more sauce. Bake uncovered for another 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil. Broil wings close to broiler element, turning occasionally, for 8 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Remove wings to a serving dish and spoon more sauce from the foil over top. 

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Nacho Scoops

Listen, I'm all about throwing parties but I don't like to do a lot of work. So I am constantly looking for simple ideas that taste great and take minutes to make.  Put a tray of these little morsels out for the next football game and count how many times you have to put out a new tray! They are delicious. They are addicting.  Lately I have gotten very creative with what I fill them with but for now I will start off with the basic recipe.  If you can call it that!  

Nacho Scoops 

1 bag of Tostitos Scoops 
2 cups of Mexican Blend cheese 
1/2 pound of ground beef 

In a large skillet, brown the beef and salt and pepper to taste.  Drain off all fat from beef and set aside in a separate bowl. 

Lay out scoops in a baking dish. Choose any size depending on how many you're making.

Fill scoops with ground beef and top with cheese.

Add cheese up over the top of the scoops as it will melt down.

 Bake in a 350 oven until cheese is melted. Serve warm! 

Now let's talk about what  you can add to these if  you want to be creative:

Chili with or without beans
shredded chicken
different cheeses
refried beans
chili peppers
hot sauce
lettuce and tomato
sour cream

The sky's the limit!

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Caramel Cream Cheese Spread

Need a quick appetizer when unexpected guests arrive?  I'm almost embarrassed to call this a's more like a tip!  This is my go to when I'm caught totally off guard!  I literally throw this together in 2 minutes and they love it! 

Caramel Cream Cheese Spread

1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese
1 jar of caramel sauce (I use ice cream topping)
toffee bits or chopped pecans

bread rounds, crackers, sliced apples, pears, pretzels for serving

Place cream cheese on a pretty serving plate. Pour as much caramel topping as you want evenly over cream cheese and let it run down the sides. Sprinkle with a nuts or toffee bits.

Oh Yum!  It's especially good served with sliced apples or pears.

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Crab Bites!

These are my most requested party food. Whenever I ask, "what can I bring to the party,"  these always come up. I make them for my own parties too and needless to say, they are usually gone in less than 10 minutes. Of course this is my popular Maryland Crab Cake recipe just made into an appetizer. You can make them bigger and serve them for dinner.  

Crab Bites

2 slices white bread, crusts removed
2 teaspoons milk 
1 tablespoon Hellman's mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried parsley 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon OLD BAY Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 pound FRESH jumbo lump crab meat

I make my own breadcrumbs by adding bread to food processor and pulsing until fine crumbs. Then moisten the crumbs in the milk.

Add mayo, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, baking powder, OLD BAY, salt, egg and the crab meat mixing very lightly so as not to break up to much of the crab. Using a small scoop or your hands form the mixture into small balls and lay on parchment paper on a baking sheet. 

Refrigerate crab bites for 30 minutes which will help them hold their shape while cooking. You can choose to broil or fry.

If baking or broiling: Make sure you drop a couple of ice cubes onto the baking tray between the crab bites before you bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. This will keep the bottoms from burning while they bake.

To deep fry as shown in my photo: Fill your deep skillet with peanut oil or vegetable oil and deep fry your bites in batches until golden and crispy on the outside...about 5 minutes or less. Then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. You can also use a deep fryer with a basket to make these.

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

I love making breakfast casseroles. Not only are they easy to make, I like to freeze them and heat them up anytime I feel like it.  There are so many to choose from, but I think this one is my favorite, especially when I have leftover ham. It has everything I love for breakfast, fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy hash browns, ham and lots of  cheese. Try it, you’ll start making breakfast casseroles more often! 

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

1 cup diced or cubed ham
1 (30-32oz) bag frozen shredded hash browns
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
8 eggs
2 cups whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish with butter or
spray with non-stick spray.

In a large skillet, fry the frozen hash browns until lightly crisp and golden. 
Pour hash browns into casserole dish and top with ham and ¾ cup of each

Whisk together eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and milk.
Pour over hash brown mixture. Top with remaining ¼ cup of each cheese.

You can refrigerate at this point until ready to bake or bake immediately at
350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes or until eggs are set in the middle. 

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My Mom’s Honey Buttermilk Bread

Let's face it, there is nothing in this world like the taste (and the smell) of fresh homemade baked bread still warm from the oven. I grew up on this wonderful heavenly comfort food and watched my Mom make her own bread many times. Making her own bread was like second nature to her and she did it with such confidence and knowledge.  I thought it was so much fun to watch and could hardly wait for it to rise so I could watch her punch it down and shape it into that loaf that made the best sandwiches.  But my favorite way to eat my Mom's bread was hot out of the oven with butter and jelly.  I make my own bread now and serve it the same way.

My Mom’s Honey Buttermilk Bread

1 envelope yeast (or 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup warm water
2 cups warm buttermilk
 cup honey
¼ cup butter, melted and still slightly warm but not hot
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
6 cups white bread flour
In a large bowl, mix the sugar, yeast, and water and set aside for five minutes.  Then mix in the buttermilk, honey, salt, baking soda with the yeast mixture.  Add three cups of flour and mix with an electric mixture for about five minutes on low speed.  Mix in the warm butter until you see no traces of it.

Add the remaining flour one cup at a time and keep mixing on low speed.  When the dough pulls from the sides of the bowl remove it from the mixer to a floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth.

Place in greased bowl and brush a little melted butter all over it. Cover with greased plastic wrap put in a warm place to rise for about 1½ hours.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and form it into two loaves. Then place the dough into greased loaf pans and brush more butter on top of each loaf.  Cover again with greased plastic wrap and allow to rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes, covering tops with foil if they brown too fast. Remove loaves from oven and brush with more melted butter. 

Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes and then turn out and cool slightly on a rack. Cover the loaves if you want soft crusts.

Makes 2 loaves

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