Spiked Apple Cider

Everyone loves a warm drink during the chilly days of fall, and this one is a delicious twist on traditional apple cider.  Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 cup apple brandy or Apple Jack
  • a few cinnamon sticks
  • a few cloves

Combine all ingredients in a large pot on the stove.  Bring to a simmer and then lower the heat and keep warm. This was a wonderful compliment to the brunch served at the Festive Fall Bridal Shower for Holly’s sister-in-law.  It is great in the slow-cooker, on the stove, or in a thermos for tailgating.  Just be sure the kiddos don’t sneak a drink!

Taco Bar – Perfect for Cinco De Mayo or any other Night

Make your own taco night is a staple at our houses, but you can kick it up a notch for Cinco de Mayo or any other night by adding our Simple Summer Margarita and decorating with our Colorful Mexican Paper Flowers.

We serve:

  • soft flour tortillas and hard corn tortillas
  • ground beef, seasoned with packaged taco seasoning (‘cuz it’s easy)
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • lettuce
  • guacamole
  • refried beans (not pictured)
  • Spanish rice (not pictured)
  • tortilla chips (make a great topper if you choose to go the taco salad route)Our kids love this do-it-yourself meal because they get to play a role in their own meal prep.  Our husbands love it because it is delicious and they can get their fill. We love it because it is fun and it is always a crowd pleaser!

Muy bien!!

Tequila Lime Tart

This creamy dessert is a deliciously tart treat with a to-die-for crust.

Tequila Lime Tart

Crust:
1 box (12 oz) Nilla wafer cookies
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Filling:
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 large limes)
1/4 cup tequila
Preheat oven to 350*.  For crust, combine 10 oz of the Nilla wafers (there will be about 8 leftover cookies from the 12 oz box) and the pine nuts in a food processor to make fine crumbs.  In a bowl, stir together the crumbs and melted butter until all the crumbs are moistened.  Set aside 3 tbsp crumbs for topping.  Press remaining crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-ince tart pan with removeable bottom.
For filling, beat egg whites and sugar on high speed in a medium-sized bowl until soft peaks are formed.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and tequila until thoroughly combined.  Fold in beaten egg whites.  Pour filling into crust and bake for 25 minutes or until set.  Cool tart completely.  Remove from pan before serving. Garnish with reserved crumbs and fresh whipped cream.

Steak and Potatoes

Celebrate the dads in your life this Father’s Day with steak and potatoes.  Our twists on these favorites will keep you out of the kitchen.

Crockpot Baked Potatoes

Scrub and prick potatoes.  Put in the slow cooker while still wet.  Cover and cook on High for 5 hours.  Enjoy!

Baked Potato Bar

Set up all the fixin’s for those oh-so-easy baked potatoes, and let everyone top their own spud.  Our bar included:

  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • crumbled bacon
  • sour cream
  • butter
  • chives

Steak Marinade

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pour marinade over the steaks in a zip-top bag.  Seal the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

If your guy likes his tea Southern-style, check out our recipe for Sweet Tea for a Sweetie.

 

Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Crumbled Blue Cheese and Walnuts

This salad is so perfect it can charm the crowd as an ideal side dish or steal the show as the main course.

Salad Ingredients

  • 6 oz raw spinach
  • 1/2 pound strawberries, rinsed, drained and sliced
  • 1/2 cup candied walnuts
  • 4 oz of blue cheese or Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Dressing Ingredients (mix and refrigerate overnight)

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Toss the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.  Drizzle dressing as desired and toss.  It is likely that you will have dressing leftover.  Enjoy!

Penne Pasta with Asparagus and Spinach

This pasta is a wonderful dish for any meal.  Since it can be served cold it is the perfect buffet side.  Use it to complement a meal, or top it with cooked shrimp to make a one-dish delicacy.

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 pound penne pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1 1/2 pounds of asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces and blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes, drain
  • 6 oz of raw baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup cashews

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Prepare dressing.

Dressing

  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 c. green onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 6 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Whisk ingredients together until thoroughly blended. Pour over pasta and toss.

Kid Pleaser Jumbo M&M Cookies

Whether you need to bake cookies for a class party or simply want to put a smile on a little one’s face with a yummy treat, these Kid Pleaser Jumbo M&M Cookies are sure to be a hit.

Ingredients (makes 4 dozen jumbo cookies)

  • 1 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 c margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 c shortening (we love the Crisco sticks because they are easy to use)
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/2 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups of M&Ms

Heat over to 375 degrees. In a large bowl mix margarine and shortening with the brown sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Add flour, baking soda and salt, mix thoroughly.  Finally, add M&Ms.

Drop by heaping spoonfuls (or use a large scoop) onto a cookie sheet.  Stoneware (like the ones from Pampered Chef) is great for baking cookies.

 

 

Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes.  Let cool.

Enjoy (if you are lucky enough to get any after the kiddos dive in)!

Raspberry Cocktail

This cocktail is delightfully refreshing (and for the girly-girl in you it’s pretty too).  It was a real hit with our book club gals.
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 3 1/2 (12 oz) bottles of chilled beer
  • 1 (12 oz) container frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1/2 cup vodka
Combine all ingredients and serve over ice.  If you are making this ahead of time, combine the lemonade concentrate and vodka.  Add the raspberries and beer just before serving.

Chicken Bundles

Chicken Bundles with Caprese Salad and Fresh Green Beans

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 3 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, presse
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 pkgs (8 oz each) crescent rolls
Preheat oven to 375*.  Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl.  Unroll crescent rolls.  Press seams of two triangles together to make a rectangle.  Do this with all crescent rolls to make 8 rectangles.  Put a scoop of the chicken mixture onto each rectangle.  Gather the edges of the crescent rolls around the chicken mixture to form a bundle.  Place bundles on a cookie sheet.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with Caprese Salad and Fresh Green Beans for a lovely meal.  If you are wondering about the Raspberry Cocktail pictured, it is fabulous!
Caprese Salad
Combine equal parts tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.  Sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste.