{Flashback Friday} Craisen Spinach Salad with Candied Almonds and Citrus Vinaigrette

How’s that for a long food title? I just wanted to sound fancy. Really it should say “the most freaking delicious spinach salad you’ll ever have”. I know there are like 452,693 spinach salad recipes floating around pinterest, but this just might be the best one you’ll ever have. My sister passed this along to me years ago and it always gets rave reviews.  Grandma Judy especillay loved this stuff, she would grab a fork and eat it straight out of the bowl and would give the stink eye to anyone who came near. I miss that Grandma Judy, and New Zealand. But I love that it is summer here in the states so that we can enjoy this delicious salad once again. So if you have any barbecues planned for the weekend, make a big bowl of this and you will be loved!

1 pkg spinach
1 chopped apple
1 can mandarin oranges
½ C crasins
1 C sliced strawberries
½ C slicedAlmonds
¼ C sugar

Dressing:
zest of one lemon
2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbs vegetable oil
2 1/2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp mustard seed

Put almonds and sugar in a small pan and heat over high heat. Stir constantly until sugar melts, coat evenly then transfer to a single layer on a plate and refrigerate. Mix dressing ingredients well then set aside to let the sugar dissolve. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl then top with almonds. Right before serving, stir dressing then drizzle on salad and mix well.

Source | Janessa Cazier

Original post here

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzels

{chocolate dipped} Peanut Butter Stuffed Pretzels
These bite sized little babies are seriously so addicting. I mean, I was eating the peanut butter mixture alone by the spoonfuls. And as I was making them I was daydreaming about every possible scenario where these would be needed. Class parties, holiday parties, ward parties, after school snacks, neighbor treats…pretty much these would be appropriate for any of life’s occasions. I got the recipe from a blog I recently came across and have really enjoyed, Crunchy Salty Sweet, and if ever there was a snack that was crunchy, salty and sweet, this would be it!

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzels
In a mixing bowl, beat the peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of butter until smooth and creamy. Mix in the powdered sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and continue to mix at medium speed until smooth. Take 1 teaspoon of peanut butter mixture and roll it into a ball, then gently press the ball between two mini pretzels to flatten.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzels

Place the pretzel sandwiches onto a baking sheet and repeat until the peanut butter mixture is gone. Place the sheet into the freezer for 10-20 minutes, or until firm.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzels

{chocolate dipped} Peanut Butter Stuffed Pretzels

{chocolate dipped} Peanut Butter Stuffed Pretzels

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
70-80 mini pretzels
1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, beat the peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of butter until smooth and creamy. Mix in the powdered sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and continue to mix at medium speed until smooth. Take 1 teaspoon of peanut butter mixture and roll it into a ball, then gently press the ball between two mini pretzels to flatten. Place the pretzel sandwiches onto a baking sheet and repeat until the peanut butter mixture is gone. Place the sheet into the freezer for 10-20 minutes, or until firm. Add the chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 second intervals, stirring between each one, until smooth and melted (or use a double boiler). Dip half of each pretzel sandwich into the chocolate then return to the baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate has hardened.

Source | Crunchy Salty Sweet

{Flashback Friday} Broiled Cheesy Garlic Bread

I have a confession. I’m a carboholic. And I may have to seek counseling for this cheesy garlic bread. I mean, there’s garlic bread and then there’s THIS garlic bread. There’s a secret to making the garlic bread absolutely unbelievable. Let the garlic saute in butter until fragrant and golden, then bake until the bread is buttery and soft before adding the cheese and broiling it to perfection.   Ever since I came across this recipe years ago, it’s the only garlic bread I’ll make. The few extra steps are what hit this recipe out of the ball park!

5 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 loaf of french bread, sliced in half horizontally
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or cheese of choice)

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400. In a small nonstick skillet, cook the garlic, 1 tablespoon of the butter and water over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is straw colored, 7-10 minutes. It is important to keep the heat low or the garlic will burn and turn bitter. The garlic should be lightly browned but not burned! In a small bowl, place the remaining 7 tablespoons softened butter, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Mix in the hot garlic mixture and stir to combine. Using a rubber spatula, spread the butter mixture on the cut sides of bread. Sandwich the bread back together and wrap the loaf in foil. Place the wrapped loaf on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and turn the oven to the broil setting. Sprinkle the bread with the shredded cheese. Broil until cheese has melted and bread is crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer the bread to a cutting board and slice into angled pieces and serve.

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Puff Pastry Cheese Straws

These are such a delicious and simple twist to traditional bread sticks. With no kneading and no rising, they are just about as easy as they come. The cheese and paprika give it such a good flavor and the flaky texture just melts in your mouth. The entire pan was inhaled in no time at all!

Cheesy puff pastry bread sticks- so light and flaky they melt in your mouth, and with no kneading or rising they're not only the tastiest, but also the easiest bread sticks you'll ever make!!

Preheat oven to 400. Roll each sheet of puff pastry a little thinner. Sprinkle with cheese and paprika.

Cheesy puff pastry bread sticks- so light and flaky they melt in your mouth, and with no kneading or rising they're not only the tastiest, but also the easiest bread sticks you'll ever make!!
Fold each sheet into thirds then roll out again until flattened

Cheesy puff pastry bread sticks- so light and flaky they melt in your mouth, and with no kneading or rising they're not only the tastiest, but also the easiest bread sticks you'll ever make!!
Brush both sides of each sheet with beaten egg

Cheesy puff pastry bread sticks- so light and flaky they melt in your mouth, and with no kneading or rising they're not only the tastiest, but also the easiest bread sticks you'll ever make!!
Slice into 1-inch strips and twist each strip. Place on a greased baking sheet

Cheesy puff pastry bread sticks- so light and flaky they melt in your mouth, and with no kneading or rising they're not only the tastiest, but also the easiest bread sticks you'll ever make!!
bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned and puffed.

Cheesy puff pastry bread sticks- so light and flaky they melt in your mouth, and with no kneading or rising they're not only the tastiest, but also the easiest bread sticks you'll ever make!!

Cheesy puff pastry bread sticks- so light and flaky they melt in your mouth, and with no kneading or rising they're not only the tastiest, but also the easiest bread sticks you'll ever make!!

Cheesy puff pastry bread sticks- so light and flaky they melt in your mouth, and with no kneading or rising they're not only the tastiest, but also the easiest bread sticks you'll ever make!!

2 sheets puff pastry
1-2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
1-2 tsp paprika
1 egg, beaten
Ranch or marinara sauce for dipping (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Roll each sheet of puff pastry a little thinner. Sprinkle with cheese and paprika. Fold each sheet into thirds then roll out again until flattened. Brush both sides of each sheet with beaten egg, then slice into 1-inch strips and twist each strip. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned and puffed. Eat plain fresh out of the oven, or dipped in ranch or marinara sauce.

Source | Gran’s Kitchen  Dulcie May Booker

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{simple & elegant} Cream Puffs

This right here is it. The epitome of beautiful and delicious. Cream puffs have been a favorite of mine ever since, well, forever. But when I say “cream puff” I’m referring to the frozen ones from Costco, the ones that never seem to thaw out evenly. But despite the fact that they are eternally half frozen, I always make a beeline straight to the cream puff plate whenever they’re served at a party. When I came across this recipe for a home made version (well, I didn’t really stumble across it, I scoured every page of a cookbook and scrawled out all the recipes on the back of my son’s homework paper that I wanted to try. And then I gave the  cookbook to Grandma Judy for Christmas. Is that bad?), I was intrigued. They looked so dainty and delicate, I figured they must be a bit fussy to make. And I was waiting for a good excuse to make them. So I put it off for months, but they were always there in the back of my mind calling my name. Nobody was throwing any parties, there were no ward potlucks, no baby showers to attend and no reason at all that I would need to make an entire batch of cream puffs. But then we had some left over whipped cream from Sunday brunch that I was about to throw out. And that right there was my excuse. So in celebration of a completely average day, I made cream puffs. And you know what I found out. They are about the easiest things to make. And they are SO.FREAKING.GOOD. Like, they blow your mind and they blow the frozen Costco variety waaaaaaayyyyy out of the water. It’s not even a competition. They are little puffs of sweetened air that just melt in your mouth. You better believe that every single party I attend from here on out, these will be my signature plate that I bring. And you better believe I’m not waiting for an invite to a party to make these again. Without further ado, I present to you the best bite sized little morsels you will ever consume in your entire life. Amen.

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!
Preheat oven to 400. In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, heat water and butter until it begins to boil. Gradually add flour and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat, mix in sugar and vanilla then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg before adding the next. If it looks like a gooey hot mess, then you did it right.

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!
Line a large tray with parchment paper, use a tablespoon to scoop out a ball of dough and place at least one inch apart. I know, I was a little skeptical at this point too. It doesn’t look like these will amount to anything, but just you wait….

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!
Bake for 30 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned. See, I told you! Beautiful, huh? Transfer to a cooling rack and split along the side to release any moisture.

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!
And just one more, because they’re so flippin cute.

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!
When they’re completely cooled, fill the split with whipped cream then dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate sauce to serve

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!

1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 cup flour
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
freshly whipped cream (to fill)
powdered sugar (to dust)
chocolate sauce (to drizzle)

Preheat oven to 400. In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, heat water and butter until it begins to boil. Gradually add flour and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat, mix in sugar and vanilla then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg before adding the next. Line a large tray with parchment paper, use a tablespoon to scoop out a ball of dough and place at least one inch apart. Bake for 30 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned. Transfer to a cooling rack and split along the side to release any moisture, then when they are completely cooled fill the split with whipped cream, then dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate sauce to serve.

Source | Gran’s Kitchen Dulcie May Booker

Baked Caprese

Garden fresh tomatoes are just about as good as it gets.  The only thing that can be better than garden fresh tomaotes are garden fresh tomatoes on top of a crisp olive oil brushed baguette topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a basil leaf. Yep, now that’s as good as it gets. I look forward to this little treat all year long and as soon as my tomatoes are ripe this is one of the first things I make with them.  I could easily pop like six of these babies in a row, and now that my kids have gotten older and their palates have matured past the peanut butter and jelly stage (some more so than others), it’s always a fight over who gets the last one. I kid you not, there were actual tears shed over it tonight. It’s a good thing my garden runneth over with fresh tomatoes…

IMG_6194

1 baguette, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or Sea Salt
5 Roma tomatoes, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 pounds fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
Leaves from 1 bunch of fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 450°. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet, brush with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until the bread is pale golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Top each slice of bread with a slice of tomato, sprinkle with salt and pepper then top with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Return the baking sheet to the oven until the cheese and tomato are just warm, about 3 minutes (the cheese and tomatoes should be just warmed through and softened, but not melted or falling apart). Arrange the toasts on a serving platter. Top each toast with a basil leaf. Using the brush, drizzle the remaining olive oil over the basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.

Blender Salsa

We can all agree that fresh salsa tastes so much better than anything you can find on the shelf at the store. But we can also all agree that making homemade salsa takes a lot longer than just cracking open a bottle of Pace Picante. But what if there were a happy middle? A salsa that tastes fresh, but takes half the time? Wish granted! By using canned tomatoes you avoid the time it takes to blanch, peel and seed the tomatoes (and your hands aren’t made raw in the process) and this can be made year round when tomatoes aren’t in season. But blending in fresh vegetables with the canned tomatoes is what gives it that amazing fresh homemade taste! I actually prefer this texture over salsa with fresh tomatoes which tend to get a bit watery with all the tomato juice.  10-15 minutes tops and you’ve got fresh salsa on the table ready to be devoured! And believe me, it will be.

IMG_6084a

1 can regular diced tomates
2 cans “Rotel” brand diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Juice from 2-3 limes
2 garlic cloves
half a white onion, chopped
½ c green onions, sliced
1 green bell pepper (can add a red too if you like), chopped
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar

In a blender or food processor blend all ingredients, except one can of diced tomato, stir that in after it is blended to add a little texture. Can eat immediately, but if refrigerated in a covered bowl for a couple hours the flavors meld beautifully. This makes a lot, so you can also half the recipe.

Source | Brooke Maureau