Lunch

A Spring Tea Menu

Noodle Salad

Happy Monday, friends!  I trust your weekend was fabulous!  I had a weekend of watching God at work! I can’t wait to tell you about it!  Thanks to those of you who prayed for me!  I’m so grateful!!

I promised I would share the recipes from the gathering here a week ago, so let’s start with one of the savory dishes!  When I was making my menu for my Spring Ladies’ Tea I knew I wanted some kind of salad that was refreshing, pretty and satisfying.  Then I saw Pioneer woman make an Asian Noodle salad on her show and knew I’d found what I needed!  The original recipe calls for spaghetti noodles, but I wanted to keep the menu to need a “fork only,” so I changed it to pasta shells and I was well satisfied.  This is so colorful, and it made a ton!  The leftovers were really good, too!  You could adjust the vegetables to your family’s liking, of course!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients
Salad:
8 ounces thin spaghetti
One 8-ounce bag julienne/fine-cut carrots (about 1 1/2 cups)
One 6-ounce bag baby sweet peppers, seeded and sliced thinly into rings (about 1 cup)
One 4-ounce bag bean sprouts (about 1 cup)
3 English cucumbers, peeled and sliced
3 scallions, sliced
Up to 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 head or more napa cabbage, sliced
1/2 head or more purple cabbage, sliced
1/2 bunch kale, leaves torn off the stalks and shredded
2 cups peanuts, chopped
Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped

P.S. I added a bottled Peanut Sauce to the salad for a little heat and we loved it!

For the salad: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti to al dente according to the package directions. Drain, rinse and let cool.
Mix together the cooked spaghetti, carrots, peppers, bean sprouts, cucumbers, scallions, cilantro, napa cabbage, purple cabbage and kale. Add the peanuts and toss together.
For the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, sesame oil and garlic in a medium bowl.
Pour the dressing over the salad and mix together with tongs or your hands. If the salad seems a little dry, just mix up a little more of the wet ingredients of the dressing and throw it in. It’s a very organic process.
Transfer to a large platter and serve.

One of the desserts I served that seemed to be a favorite was Key Lime Tarts.  I wish I could say they were so complicated and I labored hours over them, but that is not true at all!  They were the easiest thing I made!  

Key lime tarts 2

I made up my pie crust recipe – 2 Cups flour, 1 tsp salt, 3/4 Cup Crisco, ice water and cut out small circles and baked them in a mini tart pan.  (If you need a video tutorial on pie making here’s one I did several years ago) https://youtu.be/d3Wn-4bLdWI

I froze the shells early in the week then on the day of the Tea, I pulled them out and piped into each shell some Key Lime filling I purchased at an Amish Store nearby.  It was sooo flavorful and delicious!  Then, I whipped up fresh cream with a little powdered sugar added, and piped it onto the top of each tart.  I finished by zesting a lime and sprinkling the zest on top!  Yummy!

key lime tarts

I failed to get a good picture of tea Tea punch I made, but it was refreshing and simple, so I need to share it with you!  The tea was in the punch bowl below!0416161318.jpg

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

3 family-size tea bags
2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 (33.8-oz.) bottle peach nectar
1/2 (12-oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 (1-liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled
1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled
Garnish: fresh peach wedges
Preparation
 Hands-on: 10 Minutes
Total: 9 Hours, 5 Minutes
1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add tea bags and mint leaves. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes.

2. Discard tea bags and mint. Pour into a 1-gal. container; add peach nectar, lemonade concentrate, and Simple Sugar Syrup. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.
3. Pour chilled tea mixture into a punch bowl or pitcher. Stir in ginger ale and club soda just before serving. Garnish, if desired.

My menu also included Chicken Salad, Crackers, Cheese Straws, Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Honey Lemon Drop Cookies (here is my outcome of that recipe). 

Oh, I made sugar cookies shaped into tea cups…and promptly left them in the freezer!  Do you ever do that?!  

With love from my country kitchen,

 

Dinner · Easter

Do Ahead Easter Menu

The result will be something delicious and beautiful, and you won't be exhausted!

It’s Easter week!!!!  This is my favorite holiday!  Without the resurrection, there’s no hope, no eternity in heaven, no joy for today!  But because Christ lives, we have it all!  He lives within m heart, and as a believer, I should celebrate every single day!  I will definitely celebrate on Easter!  We’ll celebrate at church this Sunday as we worship with the Galkin Evangelistic team.  We’re excited about the day/week with them at BCBC!

Let’s talk about the Easter dinner today!  Some of my favorite foods to fix for Easter are already posted here on my blog, so I thought I’d do an Easter Round-Up and share some of my favorite recipes that would make a wonderful Easter dinner, in case you need some suggestions for your menu this coming Sunday!  These aren’t just good recipes, most of them are things that can be made in advance, which will lighten your load on the weekend!

Let’s talk dessert first!  This Coconut Cake has been an Easter tradition for many years at my house.  On the link you’ll find the recipe and my instructions of how to put the cake together easily.  This cake is THE BEST!  It’s worth the effort, and if you do the steps one at a time, a few days in advance, it won’t even be that much effort!

The result will be something delicious and beautiful, and you won't be exhausted!

This frozen fruit salad is so delicious and is made ahead of time, which is always a winning recipe in my book!

 

Frozen Fruit Salad

1 can jellied cranberry or cranberry sauce
1 can crushed pineapple, drained

2 bananas chopped in small pieces
1 c. chopped pecans
1 8-oz. container Cool Whip

Place jellied cranberries or cranberry sauce in mixing bowl and using a whisk, break it up well. Add pineapple, banana, and pecans and combine. Fold in Cool Whip.

You can put this in a 9 x 13 dish or make individual servings by placing cupcake papers in cupcake pan and filling with mixture. Freeze. When ready to serve, peel paper of and serve on a piece of leaf lettuce.

Fresh Broccoli Salad is often covered with a heavy dressing, but this one is a lighter version, but every bit as good!  We love it.  It would go well with a ham dinner.  You can mix this together the night before.

  • Fresh Broccoli Salad
  • 4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
  • 1/4 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup (1-inch-thick) slices red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 center-cut bacon slice, cooked and crumbled (drained)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

    Preparation
    Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine vinegar, sugar, and oil in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to combine. Pour vinegar mixture over broccoli mixture; toss gently to coat.

Do-Ahead potatoes are a great time saver on Sunday.  This recipe has been a favorite of ours for about 30 years!

Gourmet Potatoes
6 medium potatoes
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 C butter
1 1/2 C sour cream (I used light)
1/3 C chopped onion
1 t. salt
paprika

Peel the potatoes. Leave them whole. Cook in boiling water ’til tender. Cool.
Shred potatoes coarsely. In medium-sized saucepan, melt butter and cheese. Stir ’til melted. Remove from heat; blend in sour cream, onions and salt. Fold in potatoes and pour into a 2 qt. casserole dish.
Sprinkle with paprika on top. Refrigerate overnight. Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Lastly, if you need a great do-ahead roll, these are my very favorite.  You make them up to the point of just par-baking them, then pop them in the freezer.  They only require about 10 minutes of baking from their frozen state when you need them!  I make up half of this recipe and keep these rolls on hand for last minute dinners after the holiday meal is over!

rolls

This is Lee Drummond’s recipe.  You can find it on this post.

Working on your menu a little at a time this week will cause less stress on Sunday.  It’s all about the Lord Jesus Sunday – so make wise choices this week so you can focus on Him rather than having to fuss with the meal!

Do any of these strike your fancy?  What will you be fixing for Easter dinner?

Lovingly,

 

 

baking

Sugary Fall Treats

We tend to think of decorated sugar cookies only at Christmastime, but autumn is a great season to make up pumpkins and leaves for some yummy fall treats!  We love these cookies because they’re soft and just sweet enough.

 I love to decorate them and then put them on display for my family to enjoy!

This is my standard recipe:

Sugar Cookies
2/3 Cup shortening
3/4 Cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
4 tsp. milk
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream shortening, sugar and vanilla. Add egg and milk; beat till light and fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients; blend into creamed mixture. Divide dough in half. Wrap in waxed paper or saran wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.

On lightly floured surface, work with half of the dough at a time*. Roll to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cutters. Bake on ungreased cookies sheet at 350 degrees about 7 minutes. Cool slightly; remove. Makes about 3 dozen.
*Chill other half till ready to use.

For the glaze, I use about 1 cup powdered sugar and a few teaspoons of milk, adding slowly and mixing so as to have a thick glaze. After icing cookies, sprinkle with decorations. Let set so the icing will harden.

 What fall treats do you enjoy?
dessert

Cooking Up Fresh Cherry Dessert in the Country

Last Friday I shared about buying fresh cherries recently.  I wanted to bake them up into something yummy and I came across this recipe on the Internet…

20150627_175648_resized

It turned out to be a not-too-sweet dessert, but a really delicious one.  It took me longer to pit the cherries than it did to assemble the crumble.  It made six small servings; perfect after dinner with a scoop of ice cream on it!

I found Rainier cherries that look like this…

20150627_133902_resized

They have a yellow/red skin and are mild flavored.  They were developed in Washington state and are named after Mount Rainier.  They are considered to be a premium cherry. This yellowish colored fruit doesn’t stain your fingers when you’re working with them!  I loved them.  They’re pretty, and tasty and perfect for this dessert of Cherry Crumble!  Here’s how it was made:

Fresh Cherry Crumble/Crisp Recipe

makes 6 small servings
For cherry mixture

2 cups pitted, fresh cherries
2 tbsp sugar (this will produce a mildly sweet crumble. add more sugar if you like)
4 tbsp water
1 tsp corn starch

Cherry Crumble
Click on picture to enlarge

For streusel or crumb topping
3/4 cup flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
a pinch of ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted plus more to butter baking dish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Place the pitted cherries and sugar in a saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes or untill the cherries are lightly softened. Mix together the corn starch and water and add it to the cherries. Cook for about 1 minute or till the mixture thickens.

To make the streusel or crumb topping, combine the flour, brown and white sugars, cinnamon and salt together. Mix well. Then pour in the melted butter. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it forms a crumbly mixture.

Lightly butter a baking dish (I used 6 individual sized creme brulee dishes). Divide the cherry mixture among the dishes. Place the crumb topping on top and bake for 15 minutes or till the topping has lightly browned.

Who could resist this:

20150627_175659_resized

Have you ever used Rainier Cherries?  What did you make?  This dessert is fancy enough for a special occasion, but simple enough for a weeknight.  Good stuff!

With love from my country kitchen,

dessert

What’s Cookin’ in the Country?

A couple weekends ago I had eight people for dinner after church on Sunday.  I needed a dessert that was quick and wouldn’t heat up the house because it was a hot day!  I immediately thought about a Frozen Peanut Butter Pie that I’ve made lots of times from Southern Living.  I knew I had all the ingredients except one on hand, so one dessert was checked off in my mind.  That’s a great feeling!

The next pie recipe I went looking for was something with strawberries.  I stumbled across a recipe for a Strawberry Mousse Pie that sounded really refreshing for a June day.  I also had all the ingredients for that yummy dessert in my freezer and pantry!  Bingo!  Here are the results:

PicMonkey Collage No Bake pies

 

I decided to make a Chocolate Graham cracker crust for both pies.  Why?  Because I love both chocolate covered strawberries and Peanut Butter cups!  The crust was a cinch to make!  Here’s my recipe:

Chocolate Graham Cracker Pie Crust Recipe
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

Place all ingredients in a bowl, and mix until combined. Press the mixture into one regular sized pie tin. Chill while preparing the filling.  I really even found that it’s best to freeze it so it won’t crumble.

20150607_141136_resized

 

Ingredients

1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored Jell-O®
2/3 cup boiling water
3 cubes ice
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced (I used frozen, sliced berries)
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust

Directions: In a medium bowl, combine gelatin and boiling water. Stir 3 minutes, or until gelatin is dissolved. Add ice and stir until gelatin thickens and cools. Fold in the whipped topping and strawberries. Chill until mixture will mound, then spoon into crust. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Now for the Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

20150607_140947_resized

 

Ingredients
1 cup whipping cream (or use Cool Whip!)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9-inch) prepared chocolate pie crust

Preparation

1. Beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

2. Combine cream cheese and next 3 ingredients; beat until creamy, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon cream cheese mixture into piecrust. Freeze 1 hour.

This is also super yummy with a small peanut butter cup as a garnish.  Or I’ve also sprinkled the crust with peanuts before adding the filling.  Aaaaand, if you double the recipe, you can fill three crusts!!!!

These are great do-ahead desserts.  You could keep both pies in the freezer until needed and then whip them out to look like the hostess with the mostess!

Anything special being baked up in your kitchen this week?

With love from my country kitchen,