Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Salad Bites on a Stick with a Creamy Parmesan Dressing

I have noticed that anything on a stick seems to be popular right now. And why not?! Everything on a stick is cuter, and more appetizing!! These salad bites on a stick that we are making today are great for a little change from a regular salad. They can be the greens for a family dinner, served at a party on a platter, or grace a buffet table. Their uses are limitless, and so are the combinations of  various items the salad bites can be made with. I went pretty basic on today's salad bites. I used cucumber, grape tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and romaine lettuce.
 Some other things I could have used are onions, carrots, celery, artichokes, bacon pieces, even salami if you want to give your salad bite an antipasto edge. There are so many more. Oh, how about cranberries, feta cheese, pecans,(if you can get them on the skewer) and spring mix. Yum!
I also made a dressing to put on the side. Creamy Parmesan! So, so good. Now, this dressing can be drizzled on the salad bites, or you could just put the creamy goodness on your plate along with a few salad bites, and then just dip your bites into it. That's how I did it.And it was gooood!
Salad Bites on a Stick

Romaine Lettuce
Grape Tomatoes
Cheddar Cheese (block form)
The first thing to do is to score the cucumber.
This gives the cuke a pretty look when you cut it.
Take a fork and run it down the length of the
cucumber. Then start over at the top again and 
continuing doing this until the entire cucumber is scored. 
You can't really mess it up. The deeper you dig the
prongs of the fork into the cuke, the more defined the
cut design will be. Next, just slice the cucumber into about 1/4" slices.
This is what they will look like when you are done. 
 Let's make our dressing now.  
Put 1 cup of sour cream, and 1 clove of chopped garlic
in your bowl.
 Add a 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese.
 Start mixing with a whisk and as you are doing so,
add your buttermilk a little at a time, while continually 
Cover it and refrigerate for a couple hours 
before serving.
Cut the cheese into small blocks. Cut your cucumbers in half.
Tear the lettuce pieces into small strips.
On your skewers, thread cheese, both cucumber halves, grape
tomatoes, and lettuce pieces. 
I fold the lettuce pieces, and then fold them again. 
Here is a blurry close up.(Sorry!)
Drizzled with dressing.
Thanks for joining me today.

Tomorrow we are making Chicken Fingers with
Homemade Honey Mustard & Ranch dressing.

I hope to see you then!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Roasted Roma Round Up with Balsamic Reduction

Today our appetizer is one that makes the best of the roma tomato. It is roasted, topped with melted cheese, and swirled with a little bit of balsamic reduction. It is delicious! It can be served at room temp, or warm from the oven. It is a great way to start off a meal, or the perfect appetizer for a party. It goes with chicken, beef, pork, or fish. It is really versatile!
3 Roma Tomatoes
Old Bay Seasoning
4 oz.  Mozarella (shredded)
2 oz. Cream Cheese
Pita Chips
2 cups Balsamic Vinegar
Place 2 cups of  Balsamic Vinegar on the stove.
Put on a low simmer.
Let the vinegar reduce to about 3/4 of it's original amount.
It will take between 1-1 1/2 hours.
It will get slightly thick, but it will get thicker
after you take it off the stove.
You don't have to stir it.
While Balsamic Vinegar is doing its thing, 
we will go ahead  and get everything else done.
Wash your tomatoes, and then cut 
both ends off of the tomatoes.
Discard ends.
Slice the tomatoes to about 1/4" thickness.
Place your tomatoes on a baking sheet, evenly spaced.
Sprinkle tomatoes with Old Bay seasoning.
Don't use a lot, unless you like it spicy hot!!
This is how much seasoning I used on each tomato.
Top each tomato with shredded mozzarella.
Checking in on the balsamic. It is looking pretty good.
It is getting thick, and is looking done.
Take it off of the heat, and let it cool a little.
Set your broiler on high.
Put your roasting pan under the broiler
and watch the cheese and the tomatoes 
carefully as they roast.
Aren't they pretty? All toasty and brown.
 Put a swipe of cream cheese on each pita chip. 
This will help hold the tomato on the chip, and add a little sweetness.
After the balsamic cools, pour it into a plastic bottle.
Put a tomato slice on each pita chip.
Drizzle a little balsamic reduction on each one.

Thanks for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed 
learning how to make a balsamic reduction and how to roast tomatoes.

Tomorrow we will be making a green garden salad on a stick 
accompanied by a Creamy Parmesan Dressing.

See you Tuesday!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's Grocery Time!!

I will make this quick today: I have a great menu for you this week. We are going to be learning a couple new things with this menu. We will be roasting tomatoes, making dressings, making a reduction, baking cupcakes, and frying the best homemade chicken fingers you have ever had! I promise! So lets get started. Here is your menu and grocery list:

Appetizer~Roasted Roma Round Up with Balsamic Reduction

Salad~Green Salad on a Stick

Entree~Homemade Chicken Fingers w/ Ranch and Honey Mustard

Side~Grandma's Potato Salad

Dessert~Alex's Nilla Wafer Cupcakes

Here's what you need:

Roma Tomatoes( 3)
Old Bay Seasoning
Pita Chips
Mozzarella  Cheese(Fresh-if possible)(8oz)
Cream Cheese(1)
Balsamic Vinegar(1 bottle)

Green Salad on a Stick
Romaine Lettuce
Grape Tomatoes
Block Cheddar Cheese(8 oz)
Sour Cream
Buttermilk(1/2 cup)
Garlic(1 clove)
Parmesan Cheese (finely grated)

Homemade Chicken Fingers
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast(1.5 lbs)
Garlic Powder
Dried Basil
Salt and Pepper
Sour Cream
Dijon Mustard
Lemon Juice
Buttermilk Powder
 Dried Parsley
 Dried Chives
 Dried Oregano
 Dried Tarragon
Garlic Salt
 Lemon Pepper

Grandma's Potato Salad
Idaho Potatoes(3 lbs)

Alex's Nilla Wafer Cupcakes
Baking Powder
Mini Vanilla Wafers

That is everything for the week. Stop by tomorrow and we will start with the Roasted Roma Roundup with a Balsamic reduction. Thanks for joining me. See you Monday!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Do I Really Need That?

Today we are considering the necessity of a melon baller. I have had one for a long time. I have used it many times for making melon balls and I have also used it to form balls when making truffles, mini cookies, and once when I needed to form mini balls of cheese. It worked great. Earlier this week I saw a melon baller for sale for only $1.00. I know you can find some that cost more.  The only difference I could see between the $1.00 gadget and the more expensive ones was the quality of the materials used to manufacture them. I don't remember how much I paid for mine, but it was very much worth purchasing. One thing I might note, is that I don't keep mine in my gadget drawer. It gets use, but not all the time. So I keep it on a shelf in the pantry, where I can get to it quick enough, but I don't have to move it a hundred times when I am looking in my gadget drawer.
 Lets Make a Fruit Bowl!

1 Cantaloupe
1 1/2 cups Strawberries
2 Bananas
1 individual size Watermelon
Cut your watermelon just a little north of the half way point.
This one sits evenly. I checked it at the store before I bought it.
If you get one that doesn't want to sit evenly, just slice a
little off the bottom until you are happy with it.
Start scooping the watermelon. 
Put all the scooped balls in a bowl and refrigerate.
Set the watermelon shell aside.
Cut your cantaloupe in half. 
 Scoop out the seeds and membrane.
I used a Tuscan Cantaloupe. This was the first time I have ever had one,
and it was by far the best cantaloupe I have ever had!
 Scoop the cantaloupe out of the melon.
Place in a separate bowl or in the bowl with the watermelon.
Wash the strawberries.
Trim the top off of each strawberry, 
then cut each strawberry in half.
Slice 2 bananas.
 Start to fill up your watermelon half.
I layered watermelon, the cantaloupe, strawberries, 
and then one banana. 
Then I layered it again until it reached the top. 
There it is. Simple and delicious!!

Thanks for joining me today! 
Tomorrow I will post the grocery list for next week!
Have a great weekend!
See you tomorrow.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's S'Mores Season!!

S'Mores are popping up every where! Have you noticed? I see them, beautiful and glossy on the cover of magazines while I am in line at the checkout. I saw them today at Sam's being given freely to whoever would take one! It's madness! Because who can resist their rich chocolatey goodness, their plump marshmallow, so soft and sweet, and the crisp crunch of the graham cracker struggling to hold it all together?
The answer~NOT ME!
And that is the problem!!! Ever since my girl scout days I have sucumbed freely to the addiction of the S'mores.
I can't help myself. I love them! So, what to do? I have decided to keep eating them until I get tired of them!
HA! Like that will ever happen!(But it was a good plan) I have decided it is a weakness I will have to deal with.
So today I dealt with my problem by making S'Mores Bars for our dessert this week! (Ididn't say I was good at dealing with this) I know you will enjoy these and they are easy to make.
 1 cup Shortening
3/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup packed Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
Pinch Salt
2 cups Miniature Marshmallow
1 1/2 cups Milk Chocolate Chips

6 planks Graham Crackers(6 long rectangles),coarsley crumbled
4 tablespoon Butter, melted
1/2 cup Miniature Marshmallow
1/2 cup Milk Chocolate Chips

Combine both sugars and the shortening in your mixing bowl.
Mix well.
Add your eggs, one at a time.
Beat well after each egg addition.
Add your vanilla, and beat well.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
Add flour mix to creamy mix.
  Add it a couple of spoonfuls at a time.
Mix it in.
Mix in the marshmallows and the chocolate chips.
Spread into a 13"X9" baking pan.
Smooth the mix into the pan. I used the back of 
a spatula to pat it down.
Place the graham crackers in a zip lock plastic bag.
Take a rolling pin over the crackers in the bag, 
so they become coarse crumbs.
Put the crumbs in a bowl, and add your butter.
Mix together. It works best if you mix using gloved hands.
Sprinkle the graham cracker mix over the cookie dough.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips and marshmallows.
Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.
Cut into bars.
They are easier to cut if they are chilled.
Enjoy your addicting S'Mores!
I know I will!!

Thanks for joining me today.
I hope you liked everything on the menu this week.
Remember, if you ever have any questions about, or problems with,
any of my recipes, please send me an email. I will be glad to help!

Tomorrow we will be making a decision about another kitchen
gadget. A great recipe will follow. A recipe that can be
served for dessert, an appetizer, or even as a salad.
What is it?
Check us out tomorrow!!
See you then