Monthly Archives: June 2011

4th of July Menu Ideas

 

Another holiday and another reason to eat! The plan should be to plan the day before and set things out when it is time to eat. Don’t spend the day cooking, spend the day celebrating! Well let’s just cut to the chase and give you a few of my favorites and what I plan on making this weekend.

 Bean and Hamburger Hotdish

(This is a great one to put in the slow cooker to simmer away all day)

 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound bacon – cooked
  • 1 pound hamburger – cooked
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large can pork and beans or 2 16oz. cans
  • 1 can kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 can lima beans (drained)
  • 1 can butter beans (drained)
  • 1 large can Bush’s baked beans
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 Tablespoon vinegar

Directions:

  1. Mix and add to beans and hamburger mixture. Put in slow cooker for as long as you wish on low or in oven at 300 degrees for 2 hours. May need to add a bit of liquid from the drained beans if it is getting dry.

Vegetables Vinaigrette

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 cauliflower
  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans
  • 1 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 6 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dill weed

Directions:

  1. Chop vegetables and mix vinaigrette and let sit for several hours before serving. Toss before serving.

Select Deli Salad:

  • 1/2 pound dry rainbow rotini cooked and drained
  • Jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 5 ounces sliced pepperoni
  • 1 cup fresh cauliflower
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup diced Monterrey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Directions:

  1. Prepare rotini and drain. In large bowl combine rotini and remaining ingredients, toss to mix. Cover; chill and toss before serving.

Beer Marinade for Beef

(I always had this as a kid with t-bones, it is yummy)

 Ingredients:

  • Can of beer
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar or honey
  • 4 Tablespoon marmalade
  • 2 minced garlic cloves

Directions:

  1. Simply mix and marinate with meat of choice and then grill meat to desired doneness.

Dirt Cake

(an olide but goodie)

 Ingredients:

  • 1 package crushed Oreo cookies
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 16 ounces of Cool Whip
  • 2 packages instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 cups milk

Directions:

  1. Blend together the cream cheese and the 3/4 cup powdered sugar.
  2. Mix the pudding and the milk.Blend in with cream cheese mixture and Cool Whip.
  3. Put a layer of crumbs, then pudding the another layer of crumbs. Let stand for 4 hours in a cold place.

 To Joyful, Simplified Living,

 MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.ididit-fargo.com/ .

• Interested in starting your own Professional Organizing business, visit http://www.mssimplicity.com/  to learn about how Melissa can help you! 

• Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@mssimplicity.com.

• MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click here to find out the latest offerings!

 For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.

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Filed under Appetizers, Fast Meals, Grill, Main Dishes, Pasta, Salads, Slow Cooker, Sweets

New Direction And 4 New Recipes

So if you subscribe to my 365 Clever Cookbooks blog you may be wondering why no new posts. Well, let me tell you, life got in the way. Simply stated my life in the last three weeks involved 2 great vacations and not a lot of time to cook home cooked meals. But isn’t that the problem with all of us…..too much to do and not enough time. Normally I would just suck it up and get it done however I had a second problem. The second problem was it just wasn’t fun for me anymore. The blogging every day of new recipes, the trek to the library, the cooking because I felt I “had to” just got to be too overwhelming. So I took a break, told my children, announced it on facebook and listened to everyone’s reactions. The most important reaction was from my children, they were disappointed. My youngest and middle, who are the fussy eaters wanted me to keep going. I said, “but you never ate what I cooked”. The response was simple and profound, “but we liked you making it and trying just a bite to see if we liked it”. Wow….blow me over with a feather. I did not expect that at all!

So I have had a week to regroup and this is what I came up with. I will cook like I have always done and just post my recipes. Sometimes you will get photos, sometimes you will not. But the important thing is, I will post recipes that our family loves. What I would love from you is to help me along the way. Do you have some recipes that your family goes ape wild over, if so be a guest blogger for me. Write a blog post and I will post it to share with all my friends. Because lets face it, we all need help in figuring out what is for dinner!

So back to the basics; I am a creature of habit and they way I search for recipes is simple, online. That is the source that I will go back to. It is part of my mission of getting less dependent on recipes found in books and on cards and ones found on-line. I love to search my favorite sites for new and inspiring recipes. So back to my habits of finding a good one online and less on the trek to the library….where frankly I was going to run out of cookbooks!

Here is what I made this weekend with the complete recipes for the ones out of my recipe book and the links from the ones that I found on the internet:

Cafe Rio Pork Salad (my adaptation as I have made it much simpler than the version I had found online)

Cafe Rio Pork Ingredients:

  •  pork roast, one that is great for shredding
  • 1 cup of chunky salsa
  • 1 can coke
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Place pork in crock-pot. Mix together ingredients, salsa, coke, brown sugar and put on top of pork. Cook for 6 hours on low. Shred pork with forks, taking out the fat. Leave it on low until ready to serve.

 Creamy Tomatillo Dressing Ingredients:

  •  1 packet hidden valley ranch buttermilk dressing
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 3/4 c. of light sour cream
  • 3/4 cup  tomatillo salsa
  • ¾ bunch fresh cilantro
  • juice from 1 lime (about 2 tsp.)

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients in the blender. Refrigerate.

 SERVING:

 There are two options for this, either serve it as a salad or eat it as a taco. I eat it as a salad and my younger two boys eat it as a taco. For the salad I add whatever fresh vegetables I have around the house such as tomatoes, peppers,cucumbers and avocado. I don’t even add cheese as I think the salad has enough flavor and you really don’t miss having the cheese. For some who are making the tacos, they may like cheese.

 Lemon Thyme Bars

Ingredients:

  • Butter, for greasing dish
  • Flour, for dusting dish

Bar Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves (I have lemon thyme that I grow every year just for these bars)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl combine flour, thyme and salt. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together 1 stick of butter and powdered sugar on high-speed until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. Using damp fingers, press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes until golden. Cool for 30 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice and powdered sugar together until smooth. Spoon the glaze over the cooled crust. Allow the glaze to harden, at room temperature, for at least 1 hour.
  4. Using a metal spatula, remove the crust from the pan. Cut into 1 1/2-inch square bars and arrange on a serving platter or store airtight in a plastic container at room temperature.

The Pioneer Woman Taco Pizza

The Pioneer Woman Red Velvet Cake with The Best Frosting Ever

 

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

 MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.ididit-fargo.com/.

  • Interested in starting your own Professional Organizing business, visit http://www.mssimplicity.com/ to learn about how Melissa can help you! 
  • Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@mssimplicity.com.
  • MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click here to find out the latest offerings!
  • For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.

 

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Filed under Main Dishes, Salads, Sweets

Roasted Poblano Quiche with Queso Fresco

Day 155: Good Day For A Picnic: Simple Food That Travels Well

June 4, 2011

I have been told that real men don’t eat Quiche. I don’t believe it as I had real men not only eat the Quiche, but they made the Quiche as well. Can I tell you how much I love having my children work for a fine dining establishment! He knows how to roast poblano peppers. I know I didn’t teach him that skill. I will take credit for teaching him how to tie his shoes….in a funny way yet endearing way. But the boy can also make gorgeous chocolate dipped strawberries and he isn’t even 18. Lucky mom I am!

Have you been on a picnic lately? I highly suggest you do so. It is good for your soul. My middle son is taking his girlfriend on a picnic this week. I raise some awesome kids! He needs to take a peak at this cookbook to find something to take on the picnic. Lovely cookbook with lovely ideas. Be romantic, and take that special out for a picnic.

The Ruling: I liked it….the men in my life felt it needed some meat added to it. Maybe some ham would have made them happy. I took a short cut and used a premade pie crust, go ahead and cheat, I won’t tell!

Roasted Poblano Quiche with Queso Fresco, pg 131

 Ingredients:

  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped scallions
  • 2 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped, optional
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco or mild feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 recipe Whole Wheat Quiche Pastry in a 9 inch pie pan (page 133)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin, optional
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 recipe tomatillo Salsa (page 134), optional

Directions:  

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil.  Sauté the scallions until they’re soft and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add the poblanos and jalapenos, if desired, and heat through.  Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper, and remove the mixture from the heat.
  3. Layer half of the cheese on the bottom of the Quiche crust.   Add the pepper mixture.  Beat the milk and eggs together and pour them over the Quiche.  Top with the rest of the cheese and the cumin, if desired.
  4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custard is set and the crust is browned.  Serve garnished with cilantro and tomatillo salsa, if desired.
  5. For a picnic, serve the Quiche at room temperature or cold.  Though best the day it’s made, it can be refrigerated for 2 days.  For dining at home, or a backyard picnic, the dish is also good served warm.

 

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

 

MS. Simplicity

 

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.ididit-fargo.com/.

  • Interested in starting your own Professional Organizing business, visit http://www.mssimplicity.com/ to learn about how Melissa can help you! 
  • Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@mssimplicity.com.
  • MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click hereto find out the latest offerings!
  • For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Main Dishes

Tomato Bread With Prosciutto

June 3, 2011

How good is this recipe? So good we forgot to take a picture and ate it all before we remembered. If I could pick two words to describe this recipe, it would be yummy and fast. Enough said. Seriously, so good and so easy. A quick char of the bread on the grill. A quick whir of the food processor and you are done.

I have blogged 2 of Bobby Flay’s cookbooks in the past. They are always full of good recipes. This one is no exception. The subtitle of the book is “125 Reasons to Light Your Fire”. As if we need any reasons to grill!

The Ruling: As stated above, we all loved it! Well, youngest child just ate the grilled bread. It was nice and light and really hit the spot. So quick to make. You could even use this as a fast meal, serve with a salad and you are good to go!

Tomato Bread with Prosciutto, pg 37

 Ingredients:

  • 6 very ripe plum tomatoes or 3 beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 8 slices ciabatta or other crusty, country-style bread, about 1/ inch thick
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto, Serrano, or Smithfield ham

Directions:  

  1. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor or blender.  Puree until smooth, transfer to a bowl, and stir in the thyme.  Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.  (The puree can be made up to a day in advance, covered, and kept refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before serving.)
  2. Heat your grill to high.
  3. Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill the bread for 1 minute on each side, until lightly charred.  Remove the bread from the grill and generously brush each slice on one side with the tomato puree.  Top each one with a slice of prosciutto and serve.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.ididit-fargo.com/.

  • Interested in starting your own Professional Organizing business, visit http://www.mssimplicity.com/ to learn about how Melissa can help you! 
  • Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@mssimplicity.com.
  • MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click hereto find out the latest offerings!
  • For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.

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Filed under Appetizers, Fast Meals, Grill

Queso Fundido

Day 153: Mario Tailgates Nascar Style

June 2, 2011

Doesn’t everything taste better with cheese? At least that is my motto. My middle child loves queso of any type and since we are trying to get him to gain weight, I thought this would be a great choice of a recipe. The rest of us don’t need to gain any weight, but I am a mom and want to do what is right, so I made him this calorie laden dish…..because I am a good mom….right?

Did you know that there was a NASCAR Style of cooking? I know I did not. Did you know that Mario Batali is an officially licensed NASCAR tailgating cookbook? I was surprised about that one too! Well he must be serious about his NASCAR and I know he is serious about food, so you must know that this cookbook is full of some yummy recipes.

The Ruling: We had a hard time with this one. Our cheese would not blend with the wine and whatever we did, we could not get it to work. I am sure that if we were to make it blend, it would have tasted lovely. The way it turned out for us, we had a hard time even getting it on a chip.

Queso Fundido, page 45

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white wine
  • ½ pound mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ½ pound Monterey Jack cheese, rated
  • ½ pound goat cheese, crumbled
  • Two 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles
  • ¼ pound cooked chorizo, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Tortilla chips for serving

 Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the wine to a simmer.  Immediately remove it from the heat, and the mozzarella cheese and Monterey jack cheeses, and stir continuously until they are melted.  You’ll need to place it back on the grill for a few seconds to help it along.  (if using a gas grill, reduce the heat to low for this step.)
  2. Stir in the goat cheese, green chiles, chorizo, and garlic.  Continue heating and stirring for 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a fondue pot and serve with tortilla chips

 To Joyful, Simplified Living,

 MS. Simplicity

 MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.ididit-fargo.com/.

  • Interested in starting your own Professional Organizing business, visit http://www.mssimplicity.com/ to learn about how Melissa can help you! 
  • Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@mssimplicity.com.
  • MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click hereto find out the latest offerings!
  • For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.

 

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Filed under Appetizers, Grill

Father’s Day Grilling Menu

There seems to be a rule that if you are a father, you love grilling. Maybe it is just if you are a man, you love grilling! So what to make for that man who loves to grill on his special day? I have been grilling a lot lately, so I will share with you what I think would be a great menu to show that special father how much you love him! Note to my dad….come and visit and your grandsons will make this for you! Note to my kids….make this for dad as I will be on an airplane flying back on Sunday. I will be sure to make sure my kids read my blog today!

Appetizer: Grilled Shrimp, Scallion and Bacon Quesadillas with Smoky Guacamole

Side Dish: Grilled Potato Salad With Crisp Bacon

Salad: Grilled Asparagus Chopped Salad

Main Dish Chicken: Curried Chicken Breasts

Main Dish Beef: Grilled Steak With Blender Chimichurri

Dessert: Grilled Chocolate Raspberry Burritos

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity 

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.ididit-fargo.com/.

  • Interested in starting your own Professional Organizing business, visit http://www.mssimplicity.com/ to learn about how Melissa can help you! 
  • Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@mssimplicity.com.
  • MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click hereto find out the latest offerings!
  • For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.

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Filed under Grill

Grilled Pizza Dough

Day 152: Let the Flames Begin: Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Real Live Fire Cooking

June 1, 2011

Have you ever grilled a pizza? The first time we tried it, it ended in disaster! I remember coming home after my husband had grilled the pizza and my oldest son asked if we could order some “real” pizza. Needless to say, our kids were not impressed at our first attempt. That was about 10 years ago and I felt it was time to try it again. I know that people have great success with grilling pizzas, so I knew I had to try it again.

Did you know that grilling cookbooks don’t always just cover the traditional grilling recipes that you imagine. Sometimes they expand to do pizza dough! This is a fun cookbook for those who love to grill as for those who are new to grilling.

The Ruling: We made this with friends on their smoker grill. We grilled the bread and then added some non traditional ingredients, such as pesto and artichoke hearts as well as tomatoes, garlic stuffed green olives and mozzarella. One thing that I loved is that the dough that did not stick to the grill, like I thought it would. Success! I liked the addition of the beer, it added a level of flavor that was unexpected.

EZ Grill Bread with Personality, pg 77

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • ½ cup beer of your choice, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup yellow cornmeal, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

 Directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the yeast and ½ cup of the flour.  Add the warm water and mix until just blended.  Cover with a damp towel and let stand in a warm, draft-free place (inside the oven with the pilot light on, for example) for 30 minutes, until the mixture is thick and foamy and gives off a sound sort of like soda fizz when you stir it.
  2. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil and the beer to the yeast mixture and mix well.  Now add the ¼ cup of cornmeal and the teaspoon of salt, then begin adding the remaining 2½ cups of flour, ½ cup at a time, to form a soft dough (you may not need all of the flour).  Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead , adding as much of the remaining flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking, until the dough is satiny and slightly sticky, about 8 minutes.
  3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1½ hours.  Divide the dough into quarters, then form each one into a ball.  Sprinkle a cookie sheet with cornmeal and put the balls of dough on the sheet, then cover loosely and let rise again for 30 minutes.  Or, if you want, at this point you can cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until about 1 hour before you want to cook the bread.)
  4. Build a multi-level fire in your grill:  leaving one quarter of the bottom free of coals, bank the coals in the remaining three quarters of the grill so that they are three times as high on one side as on the other.  When the coals are all ignited and the temperature has died down to medium (you can hold your hand about 5 inches above the grill grid, over the area where the coals are deepest, for 4 to 5 seconds), you’re ready to cook.
  5. Stretch each ball of dough into a rough circle or rectangle about 1/8 inch thick and 10 inches across.  Brush with additional olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt, then place on the grill directly over the coals and cook until black spots from on the bottom and bubbles form on the top, about 4 minutes.  Flip the bread and grill the other side until golden and crusty, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove from the grill and serve.

 

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.ididit-fargo.com/.

  • Interested in starting your own Professional Organizing business, visit http://www.mssimplicity.com/ to learn about how Melissa can help you! 
  • Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@mssimplicity.com.
  • MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click hereto find out the latest offerings!
  • For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Appetizers, Grill, Main Dishes