Sunday, August 25, 2013

BLT Pasta Salad

This is another super easy summer pasta salad. I think I got the recipe from one of the Pasta Shoppe packages. I'm making it for our Labor Day cookout (not on Labor Day), which also happens to be National Bacon Day.

BLT Pasta Salad

16 oz. pasta, any shape is fine; I usually use rotini or bow ties, wagon wheels would be good as well
2 green peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and cut into pieces
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Toss with the peppers and tomatoes. Add mayonnaise to your liking and salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving add the bacon and stir again, adding more mayo if needed.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

As most of us do at one time or another (or quite often) I had some bananas that were past the point that anyone in our house would eat. I made some banana bread the other day and usually make muffins but had cake on my mind today. It made a great dessert for Sunday dinner. After a short search, I found this really easy, quick recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker blog. Just a note about the frosting, you can double the recipe easily and that will actually take it to what she had on her blog. Although I love cream cheese frosting, I found that half the recipe (which you'll find below) was perfect.

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
serves about 12

For the cake:
2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 c sugar
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c buttermilk

For the frosting:
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch salt
2 c powdered sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375*. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Using a mixer, beat the sugar and oil together on medium speed until completely combined. Add both eggs and beat, then add the mashed bananas and vanilla; beat until combined. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, mixing until combined. Pour into pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and salt. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it has all been combined. Add the vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy.

Spread the frosting over cooled cake, cut into squares and serve. Leftovers should be covered with plastic wrap and kept at room temperature or in the fridge for up to four days.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Crockpot Baked Potatoes

Thanks to Lynn's Kitchen Adventures, I know now about making baked potatoes in the crockpot. Never would have thought of it, but it sure is a great way to make baked potatoes in the summer. I also think it will be nice in the winter, throw them in at breakfast, eat at lunch.

Crockpot Baked Potatoes

Four baking potatoes fit nicely in the bottom of my crock. I'm not sure how it would work if you stacked them, they'd probably need to cook all day. You'll have to figure out how many will fit in your crock.

Wash the potatoes and stab them with a fork a few times. Rub with olive oil, put in the crock and sprinkle with sea salt. You can also salt first, then wrap in foil. Cook on high 6-7 hours.

Steak and Spinach Pinwheel with crockpot baked potato

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I had a hankering for some homemade ice cream the other night. We've got a small ice cream maker, which works great. The only problem I ran into was that it was filled with an inch of ice (it has a canister you have to put in the freezer and somehow it got a bunch of water in it). Once that defrosted and I could get it out, I refroze the container and we were good to go.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
makes 1 quart

1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 c whole milk
1/2 c sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 c mini chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions, stirring in the chips towards the end (before it gets too hard).