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Saturday
May172014

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad

A few summers ago, I bought a strawberry plant with hopes of being able to pick baskets of berries all summer long. I was new to gardening and I bought it in the distressed plant section of the nursery, but I still had high hopes. Unfortunately, the strawberries never grew. I’m not sure if it was the plant, the soil, or me, but I never saw a single berry. This year, I decided to try it again. This time, I bought a healthy strawberry plant and plan to plant it in its own container with fresh, good soil. Hopefully I end up with lots of berries. When those berries come, I plan to make this salad all summer long. Simple and flavorful, with just the right amount of sweetness from the berries, saltiness from the feta, and crunch from the almonds. It is the perfect salad for any hot summer night!

For the Salad:
6 ounces Baby Spinach
1 cup Strawberries, sliced
2 Avocados, chopped
1/4 cup Sliced Almonds (I used chopped)
1/4 cup Feta Cheese

For the Dressing:
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Milk
3 tablespoons Sugar
4 teaspoons Cider Vinegar
2 teaspoons Poppy Seeds

Combine the spinach, strawberries, avocados, almonds, and feta in a large salad bowl. In a small jar with a lid, combine the mayonnaise, milk, sugar, vinegar, and poppy seeds, and shake to combine. Pour about half of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Add more dressing, if desired. 

SOURCE: The Recipe Critic

Sunday
May042014

Buffalo Chicken Burgers with Spicy Celery Slaw

Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Summer is quickly approaching, which means I need to beef up my collection of burger recipes for causal cookouts. I’ve said it before, but being from Buffalo, normally the “buffalo” flavor isn’t really our thing, but on a whim, I gave these burgers a try. Man, am I glad I did, though I never should have doubted how amazing they would be, since the recipe comes from a Buffalo-native! The burgers themselves have the perfect amount of spiciness, and the coolness from the slaw on top brings everything together to make one outstanding burger for your next cookout. Placed on homemade whole wheat burger buns, this easily has become one of our favorite burgers! 

For the Burgers
2 1/2 tablespoons Butter (I used less)
1 Onion, finely diced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 pound Ground Chicken Breast
2-4 tablespoons Hot Sauce, to taste (I used Frank’s)
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Cool slightly. In a large bowl, add the onion mixture, chicken, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Combine the mixture with your hands, being careful not to over-mix. Divide the mixture into four portions and shape each into a patty. Grill the burgers until the chicken has cooked completely, being careful not overcook. Place each burger on a bun and top with slaw (recipe below).

For the Slaw
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
1-3 teaspoons Hot Sauce, to taste (I used Frank’s)
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
3 Celery Stalks, thinly sliced
1 Carrot, shredded
4 Scallions, thinly sliced
3 ounces Blue Cheese, crumbled

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, hot sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; stir well. Add the celery, carrot, and scallions and stir until coated with the sauce. Gently fold in the blue cheese crumbles. Add additional salt, pepper, and hot sauce, to taste. 

SOURCE: An Edible Mosaic

Monday
Apr282014

Surprise Carrot Cake

Surprise Carrot Cake

Spring has sprung (finally) and with it has come another Secret Recipe Club reveal day. This month, I was assigned to Lynn’s blog, Turnips 2 Tangerines. Lynn is semi-retired from the retail/restaurant industry and is a certified Gourmet Chef and Caterer! Lynn married her junior high school sweetheart and now lives on a picturesque lake in an old home that she and her husband renovated on their own. She has quite the arsenal of recipes on her blog and I encourage you to take a look!

We hosted Easter dinner for my family this year and I needed a dessert to “wow” the crowd. For some reason, carrot cake seems like the most appropriate dessert for a spring holiday, although I’ve never made it before. I liked that this particular carrot cake recipe had something that set it apart from most. The surprise filling made it special. This cake was amazing! We all had a slice on Easter, and even after giving some to my mom and my sister-in-law to take home, I ended up with half a cake left. I ate some for breakfast and treated myself to dessert each night. I finally finished it up on Friday. It held up well in the fridge for almost a week! Thank you, Lynn, for sharing such a special dessert recipe!

For the Filling
1 (8 oz) package Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Sugar
1 Egg

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Refrigerate the filling while making the cake batter. 

For the Cake
3 Eggs
1 3/4 cup Sugar
3 cups Shredded Carrots
1 cup Vegetable Oil
2 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar. Add the carrots and oil and beat until blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the carrot mixture and mix well. Stir in the walnuts. Pour half of the batter into a greased bundt pan. Spoon the cream cheese filling into the bundt pan and top with the remaining batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to cool completely. 

For the Frosting
1 (8 oz) package Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Butter, softened
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 cups Powdered Sugar (I only used 2)

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar until the frosting has reached the desired consistency. Frost the cake and store it in the fridge until ready to serve.  

SOURCE: Turnips 2 Tangerines

Tuesday
Apr152014

Roast Beef, Pepper, and Cheddar Sandwiches

Beef and cheese sandwiches

Sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking. It’s nights like those when I need quick meals in my repertoire to keep me from eating out. Like this one. Reminiscent of a fast-food beef and cheese sandwich I remember from my youth, but way better and more grown up. Perfectly cooked roast beef, sautéed onions and peppers, and a sauce actually made of cheese make for a very quick and very delicious weeknight meal. A word of warning…leftovers make for a messy lunch, but so worth it!

1 pound Roast Beef, medium-rare and thinly sliced
1 Onion, thinly sliced
1 Green Pepper, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated
1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
4 Hoagie Rolls, split in half

Divide the roast beef between the 4 rolls on a baking sheet, and heat in an oven at 350 degrees for about 5-8 minutes, or until heated through. Meanwhile, sauté onions and peppers with olive oil in a medium pan until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. In a small saucepan, stir together the cheese and evaporated milk over medium-low heat until the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper. Top the roast beef with the sautéed onions and peppers and drizzle with the cheese sauce. Serve immediately. 

SOURCE: Cooking For Keeps

Monday
Apr072014

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

Last week, we needed a quick meal for dinner. I’m usually not good at thinking on my feet when it comes to recipes, but on the way home I stopped by the grocery store and picked up a few ingredients to pair with some produce in the fridge that needed to be used. Once home, one thing led to another and those ingredients ended up in a bowl with some quinoa and we hoped for the best. When the fork hit our mouths, we were impressed by how delicious our spur of the moment salad was. It was a salad that we didn’t mind eating for lunch all week too. In fact, I’ve already made it a second time! 

For the Salad
1 cup Quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cup Water
1 cup Spinach, chopped
1/2 an English Cucumber, diced
1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and diced
1/2 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 can Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped (or 1 cup Marinated Artichokes from the olive bar)
Dressing, recipe below

In a medium sauce pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the quinoa and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and take off the heat. Add the spinach and stir around so that the heat helps it to wilt a bit. Add the cucumber, feta, tomatoes, and artichokes and stir to combine. Pour the dressing over the top and toss to evenly coat. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.

For the Dressing
1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar
2/3 cup Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Dried Oregano
Pinch Garlic Salt
Black Pepper, to taste

Put all ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake until combined. 

SOURCE: Fried Ice and Donut Holes Original