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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Zucchini Bread! And Erin and Abby were at it again.........

I love it when Erin and her friend, Abby, take over my kitchen.  You may remember their cheeseburger cake from a previous post.  This was their latest creation:
Totally yummy.

Happily devoured by the two families!

They are already planning their next masterpiece.

I'm not sure that the recipe for zucchini bread that I'm about to give you qualifies as a masterpiece.  But it sure will come in handy when those zucchini in your garden start multiplying so quickly that you run out of people to give them to.

Bake zucchini bread instead!    Moist and bursting with the flavor of cinnamon,  this zucchini bread is a big hit in my house.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Prosciutto and Mozzarella Panini

With the 100-degree heatwave last week, I was running out of oven-, stove- and grill-free cooking methods.  I'm so glad I had my panini press to rescue my family from the salad-and-rotisserie chicken rut I was falling into! 

The inspiration for these flavorful panini came from my local farmers market.

It's usually the fresh fruits and vegetables that inspire me.

Last week, however, it was the fresh mozzarella and the bread from Clear Flour Bread that were the catalysts for this recipe.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

100-Degree Weather? The Perfect Dessert: Fresh Berries With Creamy Custard

Gus doesn't want to venture out into the heat.  He's content to sit at my feet while I blog instead of trying to cajole me into a game of fetch.

This is what we call the "frog-dog" position.  His head is resting on the trestle under the table, but if I get up from my chair to get a better shot (and let's face it, with my lack of photography skills, there is no such thing as a "better shot"), he's going to get up as well and I won't get any picture at all.

The thermostat hit 100 degrees today.

I'm not complaining.

I'm thankful for indoor air conditioning, and an outdoor pool to float in.

However, I'm not going to turn on the oven or the stove for an extended period of time.  Or worse, fire-up the grill.  Stand in front of an open flame?  In this heat?  Nuh-uh, that would be cruel.

Instead, I focused on the blueberries and raspberries that I bought yesterday at the local Farmers Market.

Today's recipe is so refreshing and very easy to make.  It's so quick, you only need a playlist with four songs!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Linguine With Chicken And Sun Dried Tomatoes

Boil water and cook your pasta while you prep and cook the additional ingredients, and then throw 'em all together.

I wouldn't lie to you.

This recipe really is that easy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm Still On A Lemon Binge--Today, It's Lemon Bars

Last night's post about my love of lemons put me in the mood for another lemon recipe.

On a ninety-degree afternoon, I'm not willing to turn my oven on for an hour for just any old dessert.  Even with the AC on, a hot oven sure heats up the place quickly.  This one is worth it, however!

I think that my friend, Gayle, would agree.  When life was less hectic and we had time to get together on a weekly basis to bond over the latest episode of "Desperate Housewives" or our favorite reality show du jour,  lemon bars were an important part of our evening!

I was feeling all nostalgic and put a plate of lemon bars together to bring to Gayle and her family tonight but as luck would have it, they were not home.  So I emailed her instead to let her know a plate of lemon bars was waiting in my refrigerator to be delivered to her tomorrow.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lemon-Poppyseed Muffins

What's your favorite fruit?

I can't pick just one.  I can narrow it down to five:  watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, cherries (Golden Rainier cherries!).

But if I had to pick one fruit I could not live without?  It would have to be lemons. 

Think about it!  Drinks I can't live without:  ice cold water with a slice of lemon, or fresh-squeezed lemonade.

I need lemons to make scampi, piccata, and endless desserts.  Even though today's recipe only has lemon extract in it, I still count it as a lemon recipe!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Taco Chicken Fettuccine

Sometimes I sit and look at the screen and spend more time trying to come up with a snappy title or catchy name for a recipe than I do actually writing the blog post.

Tonight was one of those times.

How do I translate this pasta and chicken recipe with a creamy taco-inspired sauce into few words?

Hmmmm....... I can't figure that out, so the utilitarian "Taco Chicken Fettuccine" will have to do.

This recipe is very easy and fairly quick to will be able to saute your chicken and make a creamy, spicy sauce while you wait for your water and pasta to boil .

Monday, July 11, 2011

Salty Or Sweet? Or BOTH?!!

Do you like your snacks salty and crunchy?

Or do your prefer something that's sweet and rich?

This recipe covers all of the above!

It's sweet and rich and salty and crunchy.  And only four ingredients--one for each adjective!

It's so easy to prepare, and so quick that you only need a six-song playlist to prepare it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas with Spinach

I didn't plan very well and had to cook my chicken as I was preparing this meal.   If you're more organized than I am and prep your chicken in advance, these quesadillas are a snap to make!

 I would suggest baking a few boneless breasts in advance:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Brush a roasting pan with a teaspoon or so of olive oil.

Brush some olive oil on your chicken as well, and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for about 18 minutes, until cooked through.

Use two forks to shred the meat into tiny pieces.  Keep in your refrigerator.

Better yet, buy a rotisserie chicken and you won't have to cook the chicken yourself.  You'll only have to shred it.

(Sometimes I feel like I should have named this blog "Hey, Mom! What Are You Gonna Make With That Rotisserie Chicken Tonight?")

Today's playlist is short, because if you've done your prep work in advance, your dinnertime preparations/cooking time will be less than 20 minutes!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins

I love weekend mornings when we have nothing on our schedule that forces us to get up at an ungodly hour.

Even more, I love it when I'm alert enough to get up while the rest of my family continues to sleep.  It gives me a chance to putter around in my kitchen, making breakfast while they sleep peacefully.

This morning was one of those mornings.....I was up and at 'em at 7:20, waaaaaay before anyone else.

I did not turn any music on, because I did not want grumpy, cranky people coming down the stairs complaining that I woke them up.  But I'll give you a suggested playlist, just in case you do your baking at a more reasonable hour! 

Friday, July 8, 2011

And Now Back To..........Another Summer Dinner Salad

I'm still here, I didn't abandon you! 

 I would like to say I've been super busy, and with the recent/finally decent weather we've been having, I've been trying to fit even more activities into each day.

Activities like floating in the pool....

as I watch flowers grow.

Or sitting on the deck...........

while watching flowers grow.

Making time to read every day.  ( I highly recommend "Unbroken."  Without a doubt the best, most fascinating, downright-riveting non-fiction book I've ever read. )
Watching someone else cook!  (In this case, my youngest daughter.)

Finding the time to take a foray to Fenway....... watch batting practice......

.........say "hello" to Big Papi.....
and--oh, yeah--watch a game.  Ellsbury lofting the first pitch in the bottom of the first for a solo shot. 

Go Red Sox!!

Caitie taking a picture of her feet to prove she was actually on the field...... if being this close to her two favorite players (Ellsbury and Pedroia) wasn't proof enough.

Okay, back to the salad I promised you.

I'm also giving you a dressing recipe that is to die for; a creamy, dreamy buttermilk dressing that is so much better than anything you will ever find in a bottle or jar. 

I couldn't come up with a catchy name for this recipe.  "Salad Greens With Warm Chicken, Sauteed Apples and Toasted Pine Nuts With Yummy Buttermilk Dressing" is the only title that will do it justice.

I'm going to cop-out like I did with the Summer Cake and just call this "Summer Salad with Buttermilk Dressing."

To save some time at dinnertime, make the dressing and prep the greens ahead of time!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fourth of July Toffee Apple Tart

I wanted to make a dessert, and with this being the fourth of July weekend, decided I would try to give it a patriotic flavor.  Pun intended.

So I added a li'l red, white and blue to my toffee-apple tart in the form of cherries, ice cream and blueberries.

Cherries, ice cream and blueberries would be a yummy dessert on its own but add them to this apple tart and it lifts it to a whole new level.

What did I listen to while I baked?  No, not a John Philip Sousa march.  Go ahead and put on "Stars and Stripes Forever" if that's what it will take to put you in the mood.  Me, I still prefer my alternative favorites while I bake.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Inspired By The Farmers Market

Our local Farmers Market has returned for the summer.  For the past three Wednesdays (and for every Wednesday until October), the inspiration for what to prepare for dinner comes directly from my purchases at the market.

Last week was tough, because of the rain.  I was looking forward to making ravioli primavera, but the pasta vendor wasn't there.  I was so discombobulated by the forced change of plans that I found myself wandering around, wondering "What will I make for dinner? What will I make for dinner?"

And then I ran into Libby and her son, and she asked, "What's for dinner?"  And the only response I could give her was "I don't know!!!"

It turned out okay, I bought some wonderful bread and made the chicken sandwiches with satay sauce that I blogged about last week.

This week, I made up for last week's indecisiveness.

Two types of ravioli, fresh mozzarella (so happy to see the pasta vendor return!), tomatoes, sugar snap peas, spinach, strawberries, zucchini, onions, broccoli and basil from the farmers market all managed to make their way onto the dinner menu this Wednesday in the form of Ravioli Primavera, Caprese Salad and Strawberry-Spinach Salad.