Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chicken Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

Seems I have gotten off the track again and not been blogging as consistently as I planned to. I will blame it on summer though! With school out and the weather being so nice I am not inside all that much. The beach last week was great. My son swam and swam in the water and thoroughly enjoyed riding the waves! It was cold but not as cold as I thought it would be. I promised him I would get in the water next time. Hopefully the water will be a bit warmer and I won't chicken out. I FINALLY found a bathing suit. There is not much worse as far as I'm concerned than looking for a new bathing suit. Ugh! Mirrors do not lie and 54 years old is not pretty anymore. I don't care what anyone says about age being a "state of mind." When it's time to shop for a bathing suit age is just plain age. I'm just glad the "search" is over.
This is a chicken salad my husband made a few weeks back and it's definitely "blog worthy." A really nice twist on the usual chicken salad since this uses Greek Fat Free yogurt. It has a wonderful and refreshing lemon taste to it. I hope you give this a try because it really is delicious!
2 containers (6 oz each) Yoplait Greek Fat Free honey vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons poppy seed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 cups uncooked penne or rotini pasta
2 cups diced cooked chicken
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
In small bowl, mix dressing ingredients using wire whisk until well blended. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use.
Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Rinse with cold water; drain.
In large bowl, mix cooked pasta, chicken, spinach, grapes and celery. Stir dressing; pour over salad and toss gently to coat. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Stir in almonds, reserving 2 tablespoons for garnish, if desired.
This recipe comes from Betty Crocker.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blueberry Orange Loaf and My 3rd Blogiversary!

Now is the time to bake with blueberries, at least here in Virginia! I made this a few weeks back and it was delicious. Just the right combination of flavors. Great for breakfast, a snack or dessert. I found this over at Taste and Tell blog. They adapted it from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather stays nice and warm over the weekend. We are going to the beach and I can't wait. There's nothing like watching and swimming in the ocean, as long as it's not too rough.

Another note here: Tomorrow is my blogs 3rd Blogiversary!!! I can't believe I have been doing this 3 years already! I still enjoy it and it's definitely become a part of my life. Whenever I cook or bake anything, I'm always thinking "should I post this?" Rarely do I ever cook or bake when my blog does not come to mind!

Hope everyone has a great weekend and the weather stays warm and sunny!

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

zest of one orange

3 cups all -purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 beaten egg

1 1/3 cups milk

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup cooking oil (I used olive oil)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of one 9x5x3" loaf pan; set aside.

In a small mixing bowl combine blueberries, the 1 tablespoon flour and orange peel. Toss lightly to mix. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine 3 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in blueberry mixture.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 1 hour or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. If necessary, cover with foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool thoroughly on wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pasta, Broccoli and Chicken

This is one of those recipes that I just love. Easy to make, tasty and goes a long way. We had this for dinner last week and my son loved it so much that he had it for a snack when he came home from school!!! I found this once again on Allrecipes. Between reading all the food blogs that I do and searching Allrecipes it's a wonder that I would even have cookbooks anymore. It's funny because of all the cookbooks that I do have, I always go back to the first one I ever owned - Doubleday Cookbook.....It's around 30 years old but it still has just about every recipe you would want in it. I have always used this for a reference if I'm not sure how to cook something. Almost like having an old pair of shoes you don't ever want to part with!

It has been hot, hot and hot here the past few days. We spent one afternoon at the pool and that's it. It's even too hot for that! We're talking record breaking temperatures. But that is ok with me. I'd rather it be like this than be cold and have snow - no thank you!!!! Anyhow, this recipe is very versatile. You can use more or less of one ingredient depending on your taste. The recipe below is exactly as it appears in Allrecipes, but I used more of each ingredient since I had about 2 pounds of chicken instead of 1.....

12 ounces rigatoni pasta (I used penne)

1/2 lb fresh broccoli florets

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons pesto (I used 4)

1 cup chopped tomatoes

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and chopped

salt to taste

ground black pepper to taste

In a large pot with boiling salted water cook pasta until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile blanch broccoli florets in a medium size saucepan, remove with a slotted spoon. In same pan saute the minced garlic and pesto sauce in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and set aside.

In a large bowl toss cooked pasta with blanced broccoli, cooked chicken and garlic/tomato mixture. Add grated Parmesan cheese, salt and ground black pepper and mix well. Serve warm.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Strawberry Summer Cake

I baked this cake last week and have already seen this on several other blogs since then. It is one plain and simple cake but absolutely bursting with flavor and so delicious. I plan on making this again next week since strawberries are still plentiful in this area. It's absolutely perfect for a light dessert with some freshly whipped cream. I'd suggest eating this within a day or two since you use so many strawberries and they may become soggy after too long. It only lasted here one day!!! Don't be afraid to overload this with strawberries. Before I put this in the oven it looked like I had too many berries but I could have even used more. Just pile them on top. They will form a jam after a while that just enhances the entire flavor of the cake. I do recommend making this as soon as possible. You won't be sorry. I found this over at Smitten Kitchen and linking this directly to the recipe! Enjoy and hope everyone has a great weekend. We having warm, dry weather here so outdoor activities are a must!!!