Monday, June 22, 2009

Patriotic Fun

The Fourth of July is on its way, and for every holiday I love having fun foods to create for the kiddos!!!! These are two they love, that I have picked up since being a Mom! Hope you enjoy them too!!!
Patriotic Pops
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Cherry Flavor Gelatin
1 cup sugar, divided
2 cups boiling water, divided
ice cubes
2 cups cold water, divided
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Berry Blue Flavor Gelatin 1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed

COMBINE dry cherry gelatin mix and 1/2 cup of the sugar in medium bowl. Add 1 cup of the boiling water; stir at least 2 min. until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add enough ice cubes to 1 cup of the cold water to measure 2 cups. Add to gelatin; stir until ice is completely melted. Pour evenly into 16 (5-oz.) paper or plastic cups, adding about 1/4 cup of the gelatin to each cup. Freeze 1 hour.
MEANWHILE, combine dry blue gelatin mix and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in medium bowl. Add remaining 1 cup boiling water; stir at least 2 min. until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add enough ice cubes to remaining 1 cup cold water to measure 2 cups. Add to gelatin; stir until ice is completely melted. Refrigerate 1 hour.
SPOON about 3 Tbsp. of the whipped topping over red gelatin in each cup; top evenly with blue gelatin, adding about 1/4 cup of the gelatin to each cup. Freeze 1 hour or until almost firm. Insert wooden pop stick or plastic spoon into center of each cup for handle. Freeze an additional 4 hours or overnight. To remove pops from cups, place bottoms of cups under warm running water for 15 sec. Press firmly on bottoms of cups to release pops. (Do not twist or pull pop sticks.) Store leftover pops in freezer.
Firecracker Cupcakes

1-1/2 cups BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut, divided
4 drops each: blue and red food colorings
24 yellow cupcakes
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
24 red string licorice pieces (4 inch)

PLACE 1/2 cup of the coconut in each of two separate resealable plastic bags; set remaining 1/2 cup coconut aside. Add blue food coloring to coconut in one bag and red food coloring to coconut in second bag. Seal bags; shake until coconut is evenly tinted.
SPREAD tops of cupcakes with whipped topping. Sprinkle with red, white (uncolored) and blue coconut as desired; press coconut gently into whipped topping to secure.
INSERT licorice piece into top of each cupcake for the firecracker's fuse. Store in refrigerator.

Toss It Up

I don't know about you, but during the summer months I enjoy eating things a bit on the lighter side! Don't get me wrong, I love a good hearty meal; but the heat leaves me less eager to eat one. So I've decided to share a recipe this week that can be used as lunch, dinner, or any time you need a great pasta salad for a party!!!

Chicken Pasta Salad
12-16oz. cooked linguine
1lb. chicken cooked and cubed
1 1/2c. chopped walnuts or pecans
14oz. can marinated artichoke hearts (chopped)
1 small can asparagus spears cut (or use fresh)
1/4c. Parmesan cheese
1/4c. basil
*Toss ingredients with 1 cup Bernstein's Italian dressing and 1/4 cup olive oil!!!
*Another great thing is you can eat it warm or cold, just Toss It Up!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cheese Steaks and Cheesecake

For our first post, we thought we would share some favorite family recipes. We hope you'll send us some of your favorites as well. We are eagerly trying new recipes and looking for ones we can share.

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

This is a recipe I found from Bobby Flay on the Food Network. I tweaked it a little to fit our budget and my cooking skills.

* 1 lb or more of thinly sliced steak (Bobby called for the good stuff- strip loin steak, but I just use the affordable kind and slice it really thin.)
* Olive oil
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* Soft hoagie rolls, split 3/4 open
* Provolone Cheese
* Caramelized Onions, recipe follows
* Sauteed Peppers, recipe follows


Place steak in freezer for 30 to 45 minutes; this makes it easier to slice the meat. Remove the meat from the freezer and slice very thinly.

Heat griddle or grill pan over high heat. Brush steak slices with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 45 to 60 seconds per side.

Place several slices of the meat on the bottom half of the roll, place cheese on the meat, and top with the onions, and peppers.

Caramelized Onions:
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1-2 large onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook slowly until golden brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

Sauteed Peppers:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 bag frozen cut pepper strips (These are located in the frozen veggie section of most supermarkets. You can use fresh peppers but I thought it was easier to use these. We use the leftover peppers for fajitas later in the week.)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in medium saute pan over high heat. Add the peppers and cook until soft. Season with salt and pepper.

Mini Cheesecakes

2- 8oz.cream cheeses
3/4 c. sugar
2- eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice

Beat all ingredients until light and fluffy.
Take 24 vanilla wafers- place one in each cupcake wrapper and place in a muffin tin.
Then spoon cream cheese mixture on top of vanilla wafers.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes
*Serve with pie filling on top of each (any kind)---- My favorite is cut up strawberries mixed with strawberry glaze.
You can cut the recipe in half if you only wish to make 12!