Monday, June 28, 2010

Super easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This Pineapple Upside Down Cake uses a packaged cake mix that you alter with pineapple juice in place of the water. I baked it in my iron skillet and I was not sure if I would be successful in "flipping" the cake onto a plate, however it came out just fine after letting the cake cool for ten minutes. Some topping was left behind and I simply scooped it out and put it back in place. I followed some of the reviewer's advice and made it the day before I needed it. The cake was very moist (I used a yellow cake mix with butter) and the topping was sweet and buttery.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Blueberry Coffee Cake

I am on a quest to use up my blueberries in as many ways as possible. I made this Blueberry Coffee Cake last night and it was super easy. I brought it in to work and people RAVED about it. I have one piece left, which I promised to a coworker, but if he does not come get it soon, I will have to eat it myself!

Monday, June 7, 2010

June 6, 2010

Appetizer – Angie (Easy Asian-Style Chicken Appetizers)
Salad – Tonya (Insalata Caprese (tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella salad) with Basil Vinaigrette)
Bread and Wine – Carol (Fresh Herb Spoon Rolls, Buttermilk-Oat Rolls, Light as a Feather Refrigerator Rolls and Zucchini Muffins)
Side – Teresa (Cilantro and Chipolte Brown Rice)
Main Dish - Mary (Chili-Rubbed Tilapia with Asparagus and Lemon)
Dessert – Janet (Blueberry Ricotta Squares and Avocado Pie)

Our theme this month was light, summer recipes. We started off with Easy Asian-Style Chicken Appetizers. I had roasted a chicken on Friday and this was a good use for some of the breast meat. This appetizer did not blow me away, however it was simple and used fresh ingredients (snow peas and green onions) and was easy to prepare. Only thing to watch out for is the crackers will get soggy if made too far in advance. I made a few at a time and did not have this problem. I also used bigger crackers than Ritz.

Tonya’s Insalata Caprese (tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella salad) was delicious and very refreshing. After she plated the salad (making sure everyone had some of the riper tomato), I believe she sprinkled with salt and pepper and then the vinaigrette. It was perfect.

Carol brought not one but four types of bread, along with star shaped butter pats!!! She also brought three bottles of wine. I already thought I was in heaven when Janet announced she brought two desserts! BE STILL, MY BEATING HEART. All the bread was delicious and I will not pick a favorite as I could have eaten bread alone and been happy. Oh, and wine. Bread and wine, like communion.

Buttermilk-Oat Rolls (so tasty, especially warm with a smear of butter)

Light as a Feather Refrigerator Rolls (these were like kolaches! Heaven!)
Makes 4 dozen

1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
6 cups all-purpose flour
4 tbs butter, melted

Place shortening, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the boiling water. Beat with electric mixer until the shortening is melted and the mixture has cooled slightly. Add the eggs, continue beating.

Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Add to the shortening mixture, beating well. Add flour gradually, continuing to beat until a soft dough forms. If dough becomes too stiff for electric mixer to handle, add remaining flour by hand. Cover tightly, store in the refrigerator up to 10 days.

When ready to bake, remove the desired portion to a floured surface. Roll to less than ¼ inch thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter. Brush surface with butter; fold over, pinching edges together slightly. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Cover; let rise until doubled in bulk, 1 ½ to 2 hours. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Brush tops with butter.

Zucchini-Muffins (the bacon is a nice touch. I could eat these by the handful)
Makes 18

1/3 cup extra-light olive oil
¼ cup plus 2 tbs whole milk
1 large egg, room temperature
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup crumbled, cooked bacon
3 tbs chopped fresh basil
2 tbs sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp coarse salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 cup grated zucchini

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Spray 24-cup miniature muffin pan with nonstick spray.

In large bowl, combine oil, milk and egg, whisking well. Set aside.
In another large bowl, combine flour, bacon, basil, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, whisking gently until just combined. Gently fold in zucchini. Divide batter evenly among 18 muffin cups of prepared pan.

Bake until tops are golden brown and puffed, 15 to 20 minutes.

** To make zucchini-muffin sandwiches, slice each muffin in half crosswise. Spread a bit of cream cheese on both cut sides. Place 3 or 4 thinly sliced radish slices on each bottom half of muffins. Top with remaining halves of muffins. Insert skewers, if desired.

Teresa did not make it but she sent along her Cilantro Chipotle Brown Rice (I think that was the name). I am always looking for ways to dress up brown rice and this fit the bill. It also looked pretty with the specks of green.

For our main dish it was Chili-Rubbed Tilapia with Asparagus and Lemon. This was light with a bit of a kick from the chili powder. A great summer entree!

Janet’s two desserts were Blueberry Ricotta Squares and Avocado Pie! Janet tricked us and at first called the pie “light and summery pie”. After our first bite she asked what the secret ingredient was and Carol said “avocado”. RIGHT! It was creamy and refreshing and tasty! The blueberry squares were tasty as well and made use of blueberries which are in season!

Finally, before I rolled to my car, much like an Oompa Loompa from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Mary gave us personalized wine glasses! Mine had cats, Carol butterflies, Tonya “Diva”, Janet “Happy Hour” and Mary’s was pink. Teresa gets a “New Mom” glass.

July we will be at Janet’s!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I went blueberry picking with my dad this weekend. BRIGHT AND EARLY! We started off at 6:00 am and were picking by 6:45. In only 45 minutes I picked 4 pounds and my dad picked 4.5 pounds. I think I ate .5 lbs as I would test the berries quite often to make sure the ones around it would be sweet. This is probably the fifth year I have picked and the farm gets busier every year. With all the recent rains this is the best crop Moorehead 's Blueberry Farm has ever seen!

My first blueberry recipe was To Die For Blueberry Muffins. As the name suggest, they were delicious. How can you go wrong with a sugary, buttery topping?
Stay tuned for more blueberry recipes!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quinoa. Huh?

I wanted to make something healthy to eat for lunches this week and I found a recipe from Self magazine for Quinoa Stir-Fry with Vegetables and Chicken. As I always do, I made some modifications. I used 1/2 pound of shrimp instead of chicken. I also used pre-slivered carrots as well as threw in some green onions I had. Finally, I opted out of including the red chile. I thought it was plenty spicy without it because of the ginger and cilantro.

I thought it turned out really tasty! Also, if you figure out how to rinse the quinoa without losing half in the process, please let me know. Or, if you even know why you have to rinse it, let me know that too!