Chinese Cabbage Salad

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A little over four years ago, Eric brought me along to a family party. We had only been dating a few months at that point, and it was my first big event with the Jones clan. I remember being a little nervous, but it didn’t take long to realize I had no reason to be. Eric’s family was so welcoming and wonderful and I felt at home right away. Plus, Eric’s Aunt Nancy is one of the best cooks I’ve ever met. She has about a million recipes that are to die for. Baked Beans, Apple Crisp, and this very delicious Chinese Cabbage Salad that she served at my bridal shower. It is crisp, full of flavor and a perfect side dish for your next barbeque or tailgate. She was sweet enough to share the recipe with me and I brought it along to a barbeque a few weeks ago. It didn’t take long for the whole bowl to disappear. Enjoy!
Ingredients:
1package precut cole slaw (1 pound size)
5 green onions, sliced
1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds
1 3-oz package Ramen Noodles, oriental flavor
1-2 cups cooked, cubed chicken or shrimp. (Optional)
Dressing
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup vinegar ( any kind you like)
1/4 cup sugar
Dry seasoning packet from ramen noodles
1.  Break up the ramen noodles into small pieces.
2.  Mix up the dressing.  Shake all ingredients together.
3.  Combine cole slaw, onions, seeds and nuts.
4.  Just before serving, add noodles, dressing and chicken or shrimp and combine.
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Ham and Cheese Sliders

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I’ve never really been into football. Rather than plopped in front of the TV on game days, I ‘ve always been known to be in the kitchen or on a running trail on those important fall days . In high school, I think I only made it to one or two of our high school football games, and I spent more time talking to my friends than actually watching what was happening on the field. I was never the girl who had a favorite Lion or Spartan. Heck, I didn’t even know any of the players’ names. But when I went to college, my dad insisted that I go see the Michigan State Spartans play football. I remember that first game I attended with my best friend LT. We were  freshman, and we went to the game decked out in our green and white.

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I actually paid attention to what was happening on the field, but I still didn’t quite “get” football. But then a few years later I met Eric. And for Eric, football was a passion  stronger than anything. So just like he taste tested all my baked goods, and even went on a run or two with me, I decided to give “liking football” another chance. So we attended game after game our senior year and something happened.

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I experienced the enthusiasm of the student section and sang along proudly whenever our fight song was played.  Through the many, many interviews and Youtube videos Eric watched, I started to recognize the fierce loyalty that the players had to each other and to their coach. I learned to love the sharp focus that Coach Dantonio had, and began to laugh excitedly every time we caught one of those rare moments that he actually smiled. And somewhere along the way, I learned that football was much more than just a bunch of guys tackling each other. It is about loyalty to your team and the happy feeling you get when someone responds correctly to your shout of “Go Green” with a spirited “Go White.” It’s about that common bond you share with everyone who proudly wears the same team colors. And though I still don’t completely understand all of the rules of football, I like to think that I’ve finally begun to”get” football. So when our beloved Michigan State Spartans won the 100th Rose Bowl in Pasadena on New Year’s Day, even I, the former anti-football queen, got a little teary eyed. And while my ecstatic fiance was cheering on the Spartans at the game, I was plopped in front of the TV watching it with my parents. And I got to experience yet another great thing about game day. Game day food. My mom made these somewhat famous Hawaiian Ham & Cheese sliders for our game day meal. You may have seen this recipe on about 100 different websites, and it is definitely worth a try. You use the slightly sweet King’s Hawaiian rolls and a sweet glaze to create the perfect salty-sweet game day food. Bring them along to all of your tailgates next fall-I know I will!

Ingredients: Makes 24 sliders

  • 2 dozen King’s Hawaiian rolls
  • 1 lb. swiss cheese
  • 2 lbs. sliced ham
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Preparation:

  1. Slice rolls in half and layer 2 slices of ham and 1 slice of cheese on each roll; spread rolls out on a lightly greased cookie sheet
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, mustard and Woscestershire sauce
  3. Drizzle butter mixture over all of the rolls, and sprinkle with poppy sides
  4. Cover sliders with tin foil and bake at 325 for 25 minutes

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Faygo Cola Baby Back Ribs

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New Yorkers may have their cheesecake and Chicagoans may have their deep dish pizza, but here in Detroit we have Faygo. If you aren’t from Michigan you may not have heard of Faygo, but it’s a Detroit brand of pop (or soda) that comes in a ton of fun flavors. From Orange Crush to Rock n Rye to Pineapple, Faygo has pretty much every flavor of pop covered. So it came as no surprise that a Faygo recipe contest was held here in Michigan a few years back. Winning recipes included Rock n Rye Braised Pot Roast and Pineapple Faygo Pound Cake. But the recipe that really stuck out to me was the Grand Prize winning Faygo Cola Ribs. I received the Faygo recipe contest cookbook for Christmas, and have been waiting for barbeque season to give this winning recipe a try. And this past weekend I made the Faygo Cola ribs for my family, and we were blown away by just how good they were. And the recipe is so easy that it made me wonder why I don’t make ribs more often. The ribs were incredibly tender and the meat fell off the bone easily. The Faygo Cola barbeque sauce was slightly spicy, and full of flavor. Definitely the perfect new recipe to try for your Memorial Day Barbeque this weekend. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Serves 6-7 , Recipe adapted slightly from the Faygo Recipe Cookbook

  • 6 pounds of baby back pork ribs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup Faygo cola
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Preparation:

  1. Place ribs on a large cutting board and use a paring knife to remove the white fatty membrane from the underside of the ribs (the side closest to the bone)
  2. Rub ribs with salt, pepper, and steak seasoning and place in a large roasting pan and cover with tin foil
  3. Place ribs in the oven, and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours
  4. To make the Faygo barbeque sauce, combine next 8 ingredients in a large bowl (garlic salt through hot sauce)
  5. After ribs have cooked for the first hour and a half, remove from oven and pour Faygo barbeque sauce evenly over the ribs
  6. Cover ribs with tin foil, and return them to the oven for another 1 1/2 hours of cooking time
  7. Remove ribs from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes before serving

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Peanut Butter Oats in a Jar

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I’m a firm believer that peanut butter makes everything taste better. Back in high school my friend Hollis tried to convince me that spreading peanut butter on pancakes and drizzling them with maple syrup was delicious. And I just told her she was weird and gross. (I swear we’re close friends)Well, I tried it recently and alas, Hollis was right. It was delicious. I still think she’s weird though…just for a variety of other reasons. Just kidding, I love her. ANYWAY. Lately I’ve been seeing a pretty genius idea pop up on a few blogs I read. It is a delicious way to use an almost empty peanut butter jar. Because letting peanut butter go to waste is a travesty. All you have to do is make oatmeal, and pour it in said jar. All of the leftover peanut butter melts into the oatmeal resulting in an incredibly filling and tasty breakfast. And even though this is not much of a recipe I thought I would share it all with you. Just keep in mind that you may get a few weird looks when eating “oats in a jar” but no worries…it is totally worth it.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • a splash or two of almond milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Kashi or granola

Preparation:

  1. Place the oats & brown sugar in a bowl and mix in water
  2. Microwave oats for 1 and a half minutes
  3. Stir in almond milk until oatmeal reaches desired consistency (I like it a little loose)
  4. Pour oatmeal in empty peanut butter jar
  5. Sprinkle Kashi or granola on top

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Mushroom & Sweet Pea Risotto

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I may have mentioned this before, but I am a total Food Network junkie. I can spend hours watching cooking show after cooking show and never get bored. But my favorite Food Network chef by far is Giada DiLaurentiis. I love her. And whenever someone tells me they don’t like her, I get personally offended. How can you not love Giada? She’s so perky and fun and makes the most delicious food. And I think she loves chocolate as much as I do. I may or may not be her biggest fan. Well this recipe is one of Giada’s. And I think it would be a perfect side dish for your Easter dinner. The recipe does take a lot of time and attention but the result is an incredibly creamy and cheesy risotto that pairs with a number of different main courses. I recently made it for a family dinner and served it with Pinterest Greek Yogurt Chicken. My brother asked for the leftovers. And that, my friends, is always the indication of a great recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes 8-10 servings, Adapted slightly from Food Network

  • 8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Bring the broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan and set aside
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat
  3. Add olive oil to melted butter
  4. Add onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes
  5. Add the white mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes
  6. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes
  7. Add wine and stir occasionally until the liquid is completely absorbed, about 2 minutes
  8. Reduce heat to medium low and add chicken broth one cup at a time, stirring often
  9. Repeat until all broth has been added into the pot and rice has absorbed all the liquid, about 30 minutes
  10. Stir in the thawed peas and freshly grated parmesan
  11. Season with salt & pepper to taste
  12. Serve immediately

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Italian Mini Meatball and Tomato Soup

 

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As much as I love living in Michigan…I gotta say, I am getting really sick of this cold weather. Maybe we’ve just been spoiled the last couple of years, but usually by mid March, 20 degree weather is a thing of the past. Last year, we were blessed with 60 degree temperatures and plenty of sunshine by St. Patrick’s Day. 2013 is a different story. Nowadays I get really excited if it’s above 30 degrees in the middle of the day. And the biggest bummer is that these somewhat frigid temperatures are totally screwing up my running schedule. I know, I know. First world problems. But having to bundle up with layer after layer of under armour is definitely making training for my next race a little less fun. I have a 10K in 3 weeks and am having a hard time fitting in longer distances without having my lungs freeze…or ya know, falling flat on my face and breaking my finger.

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Yeah, that happened. A few weeks ago I slipped on some ice at 6am and wound up with a swollen and purple index finger. But once I got to work, my boss whipped out a makeshift splint for me which obviously left me looking super cool. What can I say? I have a talent for attracting catostrophes. But I must say, the one upside to the cooler temperatures is I’ve had a little more time to try out the warm winter-y recipes I’ve been saving. Like this recipe from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life. This soup is warm and comforting, and thanks to the mini meatballs is total “guy food.” (but it is still pretty healthy) I used medium size shell pasta the first time I made it, but I would recommend using macaroni noodles or mini shells because the pasta does tend to soak up a good amount of the broth. The result is a rich tomato soup perfect for a chilly winter…or spring evening.

Ingredients: Adapted from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life

Mini Meatballs: Makes 40 mini meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Soup

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cans ( 10.5 oz each) lower sodium beef broth
  • 1 can (28 oz) Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup mini pasta shells or macaroni

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, place all meatball ingredients and mix well until spices are well incorporated (mixing with your hands is the easiest way!)
  2. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet, evenly spaced
  3. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes, or until cooked through
  4. In a large soup pot, place 2 teaspoons olive oil and heat over medium heat
  5. Add onions and let cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onions begin to soften
  6. Add garlic and let cook for 1 minute
  7. Stir in broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil
  8. Add in pasta and reduce heat
  9. Cover pot and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until pasta is tender
  10. Stir in meatballs and stir until heated through

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“Pinterest” Greek Yogurt Chicken

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I remember the first time a coworker told me about Pinterest. It made absolutely no sense to me. I did not understand how a collection of links to other websites could really be all that addicting. Flash forward a year and Pinterest has become a huge craze. And I finally understand why. The ability to save and organize recipes, wedding ideas and home decor tips all on one convenient little website is really pretty cool. But my only problem is that I almost never make or use any of the ideas that I so carefully pin and save. Until now. I had seen this recipe for Greek yogurt chicken pinned a number of times, and the reviews were always fantastic. So when we had a family dinner this weekend I decided to give this recipe a try. And I was very pleasantly surprised. This chicken is not only incredibly easy to make but it is also really delicious. The Greek yogurt mixture locks in the moisture of the chicken and the flavor is fantastic.  And it’s a healthy recipe? Can’t get much better than that. Well played Pinterest, well played.

Ingredients: Makes 4 servings

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt (I used Lawry’s)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Place chicken breasts on a lightly greased cookie sheet
  2. In a small bowl, combine next 5 ingredients (yogurt through pepper)
  3. Spread yogurt mixture on the tops of each chicken breast
  4. Bake chicken at 375 for 45 minutes
  5. Remove chicken from the oven and turn to broil on high heat
  6. Return chicken to oven and broil on high for 3-4 minutes until topping is slightly browned

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Super Crunchy Granola

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I’ve made homemade granola quite a few times, and while I’ve found some fantastic flavor combinations, I hadn’t yet found a granola recipe that satisfies my need for that extra crunch that you find in the pricey store bought varieties. Until now. This weekend I finally found a recipe that results in tons of extra crunchy granola clusters. This type of granola is perfect sprinkled on top of oatmeal, swirled in some Greek yogurt, or just eaten by the handful. And you can feel free to add whatever mix ins you’d like. Chocolate chips, dried fruit, coconut flakes, you name it. Whatever add-in floats your boat will work in this easy recipe, because the flavor of the granola is incredibly versatile. Subtle enough to add in whatever punch of flavor you would like, but sweet enough on its own. I think the key to crunchy granola might be the “low and slow” cooking method. I threw this batch in a 300 degree oven and let it cook for 45 minutes. My only hope is that I can make it last all week without devouring the whole batch.

Ingredients: Adapted slightly from Espresso and Cream

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup nuts (I used chopped walnuts)

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk first 6 ingredients together (egg white through cinnamon)
  2. Pour oat, flaxseed, sesame seeds and nuts into bowl and stir until mixture is well coated with wet ingredients
  3. Spread mixture on a cookie sheet and bake at 300 for 40- 45 minutes, stirring granola every 10-15 minutes

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