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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Hasselback Potatoes

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At the end of December my mom’s very best friends threw me a beautiful bridal shower. My “aunts”, as I call them, put so much thought and detail into the special day. From the green and white “Michigan State” color scheme to the perfectly festive Christmas centerpieces, everything about it was perfect. They even gave every guest a jar filled with cookie ingredients with an attached recipe.

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Our festive table

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My beautiful bridesmaids and best friends

But one of my favorite details had to be the Recipe Box that they gave me, filled with recipes from all the guests who were able to attend. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gift and will serve as a wonderful memory of such a great day. So now, well after the holiday season has calmed down, I am finally getting around to sampling the recipes that were carefully stuffed into my recipe box. The first recipe I tried was a recipe for Hasselback Potatoes from my Aunt Renee. You slice russet potatoes and sprinkle with herbs and cheese for a delicious and decadent side dish. Make sure you fan the slices out well, or the potato will not bake through all the way. I served these potatoes with a simple pork loin and it was an incredibly delicious dinner.

Ingredients: Makes 4 servings

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh herbs ( I used a combination of chopped thyme & sage)
  • 4 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Preparation:

  1. Scrub and rinse potatoes
  2. Cut potatoes into thin slices but not all the way through
  3. Put potatoes in a baking dish, fan them slightly
  4. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with melted butter. sprinkle with dried herbs
  5. Bake potatoes at 425 for 50 minutes
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheeses
  7. Bake potatoes for another 10-15 minutes until lightly browned, cheeses are melted and potatoes are soft inside

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Healthified Bob Evans Biscuits

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According to Eric, one of the things that he likes about me is that I am not a food snob. Although I certainly don’t mind eating at upscale restaurants when I can, I definitely do not turn my nose up at chain restaurants either.  I love the Asian Chicken Roll Up at Applebees and don’t even get me started on the Cornbread from Boston Market. And yet another one of my other favorite chain restaurant staples are the buttery, flaky biscuits from Bob Evans. And although I love these delicious biscuits, I know they are definitely more of a “now and then” food than something I should eat every weekend. So I was excited to find a lightened up recipe for flaky, homestyle biscuits in my latest issue of Cooking Light. This recipe uses a mixture of butter and canola oil to add moisture, whereas the Bob Evans classics most likely contain butter and *gulp* lard. And seeing as lard is not an ingredient I want to consume regularly, this Cooking Light recipe is a great one to have on hand. The result is a soft, slightly nutty tasting biscuit that is perfect when topped with a swirl of honey or jam. Serve with my Homemade Buffalo Wild Wings Naked Tenders and you’ve got yourself a dinner straight from chain restaurant heaven.

Ingredients: Makes 12 biscuits

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Preparation:

  1. Place dry ingredients (flours through baking soda) in a large bowl and mix until just combined
  2. Place butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute, or until butter has melted completely
  3. Add cold buttermilk into hot melted butter and stir until small clumps form
  4. Add canola oil to buttermilk mixture
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined (do NOT overmix, as it will dry out the biscuits)
  6. Drop batter in mounds of 2 tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 450 for 11 minutes

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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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Pumpkin Cornbread

I’ll admit it. Come October, its a pretty good bet that I have already become completley obsessed with pumpkin. Pumpkin Oatmeal, Pumpkin Scones, Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I am all about this quintessential fall ingredient. But since I’m not always in the mood for a sweet baked good… Ok that’s a lie. Since I try not to have a diet that consists solely of sweet baked goods…I wanted to find a recipe that could incorporate my favorite fall baking ingredient into a more savory dish. And since adding pumpkin to baked goods is a great way to cut back on fat and cholesterol while maintaining a moist texture, I was delighted to find a savory and healthy baked good to appease my pumpkin craving. This recipe for Pumpkin Cornbread was found on one of my favorite food blogs, Daily Garnish, which is written by vegetarian chef Emily Malone. Her recipes feature simple and healthy ingredients that are great for the whole family. The pumpkin flavor of this bread is subtle enough to dunk in your favorite soup, but sweet enough to be eaten all on its own.
Ingredients: Makes 12 squares, From Daily Garnish
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole corn kernels, drained & rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (cornmeal through cloves)
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients ( pumpkin through eggs) and whisk until smooth
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined
  4. Pour batter into greased 8×8 baking dish
  5. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes

Cheddar Corn Muffins

For anyone who loves cornbread, this recipe is for you. These quick and easy corn muffins are the perfect dish to bring along to your Fourth of July Barbeque, and you won’t waste too much of your sunny holiday in the kitchen. I started with a box of Jiffy Corn Bread Mix, and with a few extra ingredients, this salty sweet snack was born. Whole corn kernals and grated cheddar cheese take the classic Jiffy mix to a whole new level. And might I suggest pairing them with these Brown Sugar Baby Back Ribs and this utterly summery Lemon Cake? Your Fourth of July menu is ready to go….now go enjoy that sunshine.

Ingredients: Makes 12 muffins

  • 1 box Jiffy corn bread mix
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 cup whole corn kernals
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling on top of muffin

Preparation:

  1.  In a large bowl, place Jiffy cornbread mix and paprika and mix well
  2. Separate egg, placing egg white in a separate bowl and egg yolk in cornbread & paprika mixture
  3. Beat egg white with electric mixer until light & fluffy, set aside
  4. Add corn kernals & buttermilk to cornbread mixture and mix well
  5. Lightly fold egg white into cornbread mixture
  6. Fold in in shredded cheddar
  7. Divide batter into 12 muffin liners and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheddar cheese
  8. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes

Corn & Black Bean Quinoa

Sometimes, after a vacation of eating lots of delicious, but not so healthy food, your body starts to crave something fresh & packed with nutrients. Well,  this dish definitely satisfies that type of craving. Quinoa is a complete protein which … Continue reading