Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cream of Zucchini Soup

Are your counters filled with zucchini like mine are? I planted one plant in my garden and its been producing all summer long...plus we've been getting a few zucchini from my in laws. While I love zucchini, it's been a little overwhelming this year. I've made muffins several times and have 12 quart sized bags frozen to use in the winter to make bread and muffins. I think one week we ate zucchini noodles or grilled zucchini every night. So needless to say, I was excited when I saw this recipe on Pinterest for a new way to use zucchini!

My kids refused to try the soup, but I'll work on them next time I make it. It's super simple, only a few ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Plus, it goes great with crusty bread!

1/2 small onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium zucchini, cut into large chunks (leave the skin on)
1 qt reduced sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp sour cream
salt and pepper
shaved Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, combine the onion, garlic, zucchini, and broth. Bring the mixture to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Allow the soup to simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the zucchini is fork-tender. Remove from the heat and puree using an immersion hand blender, Add in the 2 tablespoons of sour cream and then puree again. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Top with shaved pieces of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil if desired. 

Source: Skinny Taste

Monday, August 18, 2014

Cookbook Review: Pioneer Women Cooks: A Year of Holidays + Giveaway

Welcome to the second month of the Cookbook Club Reviewers FB group! Last month was so much fun, and I was looking forward to this month! We reviewed Ree Drummond's Pioneer Women Cooks: A Year of Holidays. I knew I would have a hard time narrowing down recipes to make because the entire book is so good! The book includes 140 step-by-step recipes for 12 different holidays throughout the year. I had this cookbook on my wish list since it was released and was thankful our review gave me a reason to buy it!

After drooling over all the pictures, I settled on two recipes, Grilled Corn Dip and Peach Cobbler. I know I'll be making the recipe for yogurt, brown sugar and berry parfaits next time we have guests over for dinner. The chimichurri shrimp looks amazing too! I don't think you can wrong cooking from this book!

Grilled Corn Dip: I was excited to try this recipe - grilled corn mixed into a creamy, cheesy mixture. The recipe made a lot and I was glad to have enough left over to use it for filling in quesadilla for lunch. I took half of the recipe to a family picnic, it was a huge hit and I just served it with tortilla strips.

Peach Raspberry Cobbler: I had a bunch of peaches and raspberries ready to use and it was perfect timing to make a cobbler. I loved the topping, it was really good and the cobbled came out great. We all loved it and I love that the recipe is versatile that I could use any type of fruit and it will come out great! I'll be posting the recipe later this week, so make sure to come back and check it out! 

We're also excited to offer a chance to win a copy of this cookbook! Enter below!! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Grilled Corn Dip Quesadilla

I found this amazing roadside farm stand last summer and they had the best corn on the cob that I've had in a long time. The corn kernels are small, juicy, and we've been enjoying corn from them again this summer. I'm actually going to be picking up another 1/2 dozen for dinner tonight after I'm done with this post. I have been wanting to grill corn and bought a couple extra ears that last time, just so I could make this recipe.

The dip is so easy to make and it made enough to take to a party...plus leftovers! One of the recommendations to use this dip was to use it as a filling for a quesadilla. Let me tell you...it was AMAZING!!! Melty, gooey and the crunch of the tortilla...PERFECT! I know I'll be making this recipe again and again!

4 ears of corn, shucked and grilled 
8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
4 scallions, sliced
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz monterey jack cheese, shredded
4 oz queso fresco
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
juice of 1 lime
couple dashes of hot sauce

After the grilled corn has cooled, cut the kernels off the cob and set aside. In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, sour cream and scallions. Beat the mixture with a handheld mixer until everything is combined. Stir in the three cheeses and mix until well combined. Add in the spices, lemon juice and hot sauce. Mix in the grilled corn and then transfer to a smaller bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours for the flavors to combine. 

You can stop right here and eat the dip with tortilla chips, or you can slather into between two whole wheat
tortillas. Place the quesadilla on a warm skillet and cook until the tortilla is browned and the dip is warm and melting. 

Source: The Pioneer Women Cooks: A Year of Holidays

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blueberry Cheesecake Trifle

Is this summer flying by for anyone else? I can't believe its only two weeks until my daughter goes back to school, but she's ready to start second grade! I'm ready too!

Over the weekend, we went to our friend's house to hang out with some of our friends from college. It was great to back in that area and catch up with everyone. My husband volunteered me to make a dessert to bring and I knew immediately I wanted to make a trifle. They're great for parties because they make a lot and I wanted to use my trifle bowl. I searched around for different trifle recipes and then I saw this one from Mel's Kitchen Cafe! I had all the ingredients except for angel food cake. Win in my book!

It turned out really good and was a hit at the picnic! We had about half of it left over, so it was still good for a couple more days. It dried out a little, but I just poured a little milk on it was just as good as the first day.

12 oz frozen blueberries
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
boxed angel food cake, made according to instructions and completely cooled 
16 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp powdered sugar

To make the blueberry filling, combine the blueberries, 2 tablespoons of sugar, cornstarch, water and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, simmer for 5-7 minutes stirring often. Remove from heat and allow cool to room temperature. 

For the angel food cake, I made it in two loaf pans. I used 1 1/2 half of the loaves in the trifle to make sure it stayed moist and didn't try out. Cut the cake into bite sized pieces with a bread knife. For the cheesecake filling, add the cream cheese, milk and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Add in the cubed angel food cake and stir to coat all the pieces of cake. 

Whip together the heavy cream and powdered sugar with a mixer until peaks form. 

To assemble the trifle, place half of the cake pieces on the bottom of the bowl. Spread a layer of the blueberry filling and then top with half of the whipped cream. Repeat the layer one more time. Top with additional blueberries if you have any. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Black Bean and Corn Salsa - The Secret Recipe Club

Welcome to the August edition of The Secret Recipe Club! I was happy to see this month's assignment hit my email! I have seen posts from Kathy at A Spoonful of Thyme since I joined the SRC. Kathy has created many unique recipes that I haven't seen before, so it's always fun to see what she's been up to in the kitchen. I had a hard time narrowing down a recipe to pick from and I was thinking about her recipe for zucchini fritters, but then I came across this recipe for salsa. It was perfect since I had two ears of corn leftover from dinner the previous night and had a bunch of jalapenos that were ready to be picked.

The salsa is so fresh! I loved the combination of cilantro and jalapenos. It's the perfect dish to bring to a summer party. I bought an extra can of black beans at the store so I can make this salsa again! Kathy thank you for this great recipe!

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 ears of corn, kernels removed from cob
2-3 firm tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup cilantro, minced
2 jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1/4 cup lime juice
fresh ground pepper

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least two hours to allow flavor to develop. If desired, serve with diced avocados. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies #FilltheCookieJar

It's time for the August edition of Fill the Cookie Jar! I love cookies and was so excited for this month's theme - Back to School/Kids Favorites. I polled my friends on Facebook to find out their kids favorites since my kids like any variety of cookie. The overwhelming comment was chocolate chip cookies...but I have already made several recipes and next up was oreos. That was a good idea! I love a good sandwich cookie and you can't beat the combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

These cookies are soft and not crisp like a traditional oreo. The peanut butter filling was AMAZING! I could have just eaten it right out of the bowl, but that probably would have not been good for my "diet." I didn't realize these cookies would be so big, and would make them half the size next time. I made them for a playdate my daughter was having and one cookie was too big for each of the girls...though one was perfect sized for me. :)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups flour
1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and flour. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars. Add in the vanilla and egg until the mixture is smooth. Slowly add in the dry ingredients until combined. 

Scoop two tablespoon sized balls (or 1 tablespoon if you want smaller cookies) onto the prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they lose their glossy shine. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to completely cool.

Once the cookies are cooled, make the filling. 

1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 tsp whole milk or heavy whipping cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and peanut butter. Add in the salt and slowly beat in the powdered sugar. Stir in the vanilla and 2 teaspoons of milk. Add another teaspoon of milk if the filling is not the consistency you want. Transfer the filling into large ziploc bag and cut one of the corners off. Pipe the filling onto half of the cookies. Place another cookie on top and press down softly to spread the filling out. There will be left over filling as the recipe makes a lot. I froze the remaining in an airtight container and plan to use it the next time I make zucchini muffins. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Veggie Quiche

As you know we love breakfast for dinner. I had two frozen pie crusts and eggs that I needed to use, so quiche was the perfect solution. I made one with vegetables and the other with ham and cheese. I knew the kids would eat the ham and cheese one with no problem, but I wanted one with veggies. I used what was in the fridge, but you could use whatever your have laying around. They're easy to reheat and could be frozen too.

8 or 9 inch premade pie crust
3 large eggs
1 cup skim milk
1 cup shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack cheese)
Assorted vegetables (mushrooms, spinach and cherry tomatoes)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together the milk and eggs. Season with salt and pepper. In the bottom of the pie crust, spread a layer of cheese and the vegetables (except tomatoes). I precooked the mushrooms and spinach before adding them to the quiche. Pour the egg-milk mixture slowly over the vegetables and then add the halved cherry tomatoes over the top. 

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the eggs have set.