(L)Oven Monday – Easter Dinner 2017 Recap

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If you’ve been reading my blog more than a week, you know how I treasure Sunday dinner.  It makes my heart sooo happy! But how does Sunday dinner get even better?  It’s when Sunday dinner is Easter Sunday dinner.  On top of good food, there’s the blessing of remembering Christ’s resurrection from the dead and celebrating that truth that He lives!

So, yesterday, we did indeed have a big Sunday meal, but we started with a wonderful church service where Christ was exalted! We sang of His resurrection and heard God’s truth about how to be sure you can have eternal life!  Then we came home for dinner and included our daughter and son-in-law and a couple of other special people.  We also incorporated a few family traditions, which brings memories and makes memories.  It was a great day!

Here’s the menu:

 Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
Ruth’s Chris’ Sweet Potato Casserole
Tarragon Asparagus – New recipe
Deviled Eggs
Caesar Salad in Parmesan Bowls
Bunny-Shaped Breadsticks – New recipe
Coconut Cake with Lemon Filling

Let me roll the pictures so you can have a peek into our day and see that I also incorporated all the principles I’ve recently shared about Sunday dinner!

I worked early in the week and got the Coconut Cake baked and layers put in the freezer.  Then at the end of the week, I made the lemon curd and the icing.  It simplifies the process so much!  By Saturday night here’s what was already prepped:

The cake, the rolls, the Sweet potato Casserole, Deviled eggs, and the salad ingredients were totally ready. The table was all set, too.  I also had the roasting pan for the ham set out and ready to bake the main entree.

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When I got home from church it only required to put the finishing touches on everything and bake the casserole.

Here’s how things turned out on Sunday~

Caesar Salad in Parmesan Cups –

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Sweet Potato Casserole – The best in my book!

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Terragon Asparagus – This was new, and it was pretty good.  My asparagus wasn’t as fresh as I’ve ever gotten, so I’m going to try this again before giving it a final verdict!

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Bunny Breadsticks – Another new recipe.  These were fantastic on Saturday when I made them, but they don’t really do well the next day.  Sooo, I won’t make these for Sunday any more, but I sure will use this recipe for other days when I have time to make them for that day.  They were delicious right out of the oven!!  And how cute are they???? They can be baked into regular bread sticks if you want to make them other times of the year!

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Coconut Cake

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One tradition that we’ve had for years is Easter sunrise service outside at home.  That was a challenge (and very cold) when we lived in Indiana, but we would don our coats and head to the tree house where we would have our own Sunrise service!  Then we would come inside and have Cinnamon rolls and scrambled eggs.  Now that it’s just my husband and me, we simply eat breakfast on the patio and read Scripture together.  It’s usually warm enough that we don’t shiver, thank the Lord!  Here’s what we had yesterday:

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We had Fresh farm eggs, Prosciutto, Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, Fresh fruit and Coffee.
It was a great way to start Easter Sunday!  This is a reminder that traditions aren’t just for when your kids are at home.  Keep those traditions going even when they’re gone.  It will continue to build strong home ties, and will also give your grown kids the security of knowing that you’re still making the most of your marriage!

So, another Easter dinner is in the (memory) books, and I’ll have to say, it’s a memorable chapter!  I thank the Lord for the blessing of celebrating our Savior’s life and getting to do it at church AND at home around the Sunday dinner table.

Did you have Easter dinner?  Did you cook?  What made it special for your family?

With love from my country kitchen,

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The Grill’s Not just for Hot Dogs!

We’re in the middle of another session of Apples of Gold – the cooking/teaching mentoring ministry for ladies that I’ve had the privilege of being a part of the last three years.  Each week we learn cooking techniques, study Titus 2, and fellowship together around a home-cooked meal.  It’s a wonderful, encouraging and fun time!

Last Saturday the meal was all about the grill.  Here was our menu:flatbreads.jpg

 

Grilled Prosciutto, fig and Gouda Flatbread
Rosemary and Sea Salt Flatbread
Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken Salad
Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Whipped Cream

For Flatbreads:
Ingredients
  • For the flatbread:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup warm water, plus more if needed
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 6 ounces Gouda cheese, grated
  • A handful of arugula
  • 8 slices of Prosciutto
  • 8 fresh figs, cut into quarters – I used dried figs and they were just as delicious!

For the balsamic glaze:

  • 1 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

Instructions:

For the flatbread:
To a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, salt, and baking powder, mix well.
Add the olive oil and mix.
Add the water and mix until the dough comes together, either using your hands or a wooden spoon.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge about 10 minutes before using to allow to come to room temperature.

Preheat your outdoor grill.
Divide the dough in fourths and roll out onto a floured cutting board into your desired shape.
Brush with the olive oil on both sides.
Grill on each side for about 2-3 minutes until you have good grill marks and the dough is crispy.
Remove from the grill and add your toppings.
Return the flatbread to the grill and grill only long enough until the cheese is melted.

For the balsamic glaze: – Make this while the dough is in the fridge

In a medium saucepan, add the balsamic and stir in the honey.
Bring the vinegar to a simmer over medium heat.
Simmer for approximately 30 minutes until the vinegar has reduced by ½, keep an eye it and check until it has the consistency of molasses.
Drizzle over the finished flatbread.

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For Rosemary/Sea Salt Flatbread – 

Combine 1 tbl. finely chopped fresh rosemary and about 2 tsp sea salt.

Brush flatbread with olive oil and grill until browned.  Remove and brush with more olive oil.  Rub Rosemary and salt mixture over oil.  Serve warm.

Griled chicken salad

Honey-lime Grilled Chicken Salad

Ingredients

For Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken
  • 4 small chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • zest from a lime
  • juice from a lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

instructions

  1. In a bowl add the Honey lime chicken ingredients; olive oil, honey, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Place each chicken breast between plastic wrap and gently pound using a meat mallet until chicken is about ½ inch in thickness. Place chicken in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Marinate overnight.
  3. Grill chicken over medium high heat until cooked through.

For Salad:

Ingredients:

Spring Mix
Sliced Strawberries
Blue Cheese

Place salad ingredients on plate, top with grilled chicken.

Honey-Lime Dressing – 

1/4 Cup olive oil
Juice and zest of a lime
2 tsp Honey

 In a small bowl, whisk the juice of the remaining lime, the honey and 1/4 cup olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Now for dessert:

Pineapple

Grilled Pineapple

  1. Slice fresh pineapple in one-inch slices.
  2. Sprinkle with a cinnamon/sugar mixture
  3. Grill on medium high heat 2-3 minutes or until soft and pineapple has grill marks.
  4. Garnish with whipped cream, and fresh mint.

Coconut Whipped Cream

Ingredients

Full Fat Coconut milk
Vanilla
Sugar

Place coconut milk in fridge overnight. The next morning, put mixing bowl and beaters into freezer for ten minutes.  Turn milk can upside down, open and pour off liquid.  Pour rest of milk into chilled mixing bowl.  Beat until whipped up.  Add 2 tbl sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.

This meal is so delicious!  Fire up the grill and get some restaurant worthy foods cooking on your back porch!  

With love from my country kitchen,

 

Fourth of July Salad

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I hope you’re getting to spend some time today with family as you celebrate our great nation! We’ve been invited to join friends for a picnic lunch.  I’m taking my watermelon salad.  This is really refreshing on a hot day!  I’ll add blueberries to this and call it a Red, White, and Blue Salad!

Could I encourage you to make sure to spend some time in prayer for our country?  Let’s ask God  to help us to be brave as we hold the standard of righteousness in our personal lives, our cities and our country!

What are you cooking/grilling/baking or churning up today?

With love from my country kitchen,

 

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!  

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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,

 

The Best and Easiest Honey/Lime Salad Dressing (and a great salad to put under it!)

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I found this Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad in Rachel Ray’s Magazine and it called my name! It appealed to me for many reasons, but I’m bringing it to you for one reason – IT IS SOOOO GOOD! The kicker for me is the super simple Honey/Lime dressing that goes over the salad. I think I am done buying pre-made salad dressings! Homemade vinaigrettes are just so much better!

I grilled several pieces of chicken at once when I made this (more than I needed), so I could put the meat in other recipes through the week. It makes sense that if you’re going to heat up the grill to cook chicken, do extra and have it on hand for the week! I’ll share my other recipes at the end of this post. But first, here’s the delicious Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad…

Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad with Lime Dressing

  • 1 cup heavy cream or Mexican crema
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, pureed or finely chopped
    This salad is wonderful witihout the Crema!
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (breast or thigh)
  • 2 large ears corn
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of 2 limes (about 4 tbsp.)
  • 2 teaspoons acacia honey or light agave
  • 6 cups chopped romaine hearts
  • 4 ounces Manchego cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler – I used a Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado, sliced and dressed with lemon or lime juice to slow browning
Directions

  1. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill over medium-high to high.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and chipotle over low, stirring occasionally. Simmer until it thickens a bit, about 5 minutes. Keep warm.
  3. Drizzle the chicken and corn with a little oil. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and cumin. Grill the chicken and corn until the chicken is cooked through and the corn is charred in spots, turning occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes. (If using a grill pan, cook the corn first.) Invert a small bowl in a large bowl. Place one corncob upright on top of the small bowl. Cut the kernels off the cob (they’ll fall into the big bowl). Repeat with the other corncob. Slice the chicken. Douse the chicken and corn with the juice of 1 lime.
  4. Dressing: In a large bowl, whisk the juice of the remaining lime, the honey and 1/4 cup olive oil; season. Toss with the greens. Divide among plates; top with the cheese, chicken, corn, chipotle crema and avocado.

I also used the grilled chicken for this soup (with a few changes). I also cut the corn off the cob before adding it to the soup!

My  husband used the grilled chicken and made us Quesadillas for lunch one day (isn’t he sweet?!). He added the chicken, tomatoes, and cheese and it made a great lunch dish!

So, do yourself a favor and make this Lime Dressing, if you don’t try anything else. Do yourself a second favor and fire up the grill and get some really flavorful meat in your fridge for the rest of the week!

What have you cooked up in your kitchen this week?

With love from my country kitchen,

What’s Cookin’ in the Country?

What did you bring (to the potluck)?

Ever get asked that when you go to a family or church gathering?  I think it’s the most popular question!  Who cares where you went on vacation or how you’re feeling after having the flu for two weeks?  We want to know what you brought that was yummy for us to eat! (Just kidding!)

A great to-go recipe is sometimes just a simple something like an old recipe.  That’s what I took to our church’s Friend Day picnic yesterday.   I made a salad that I’ve been making for close to thirty years.  Sometimes I forget to go back to those old tried and true recipes!  What was I thinking for leaving this recipe in the dust?  It’s so delicious, so pretty, and it is made the night before!  

What is it?  It’s the trusty Seven-Layer Salad. Have you ever made it?  Has it been in your recipe box forgotten and tucked away? Why not make it for your next gathering or for your dinner one night this week?  You can vary the ingredients you add, making it just what you and your family love.  I like it, too, because it takes common foods that I usually have on hand. It stays fresh and crispy with the dressing on top.  Put it in a clear bowl so each layer will show off its colors!

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Seven Layer Salad  – Original recipe – Serves 12

1 pound bacon
1 large head iceberg lettuce – rinsed, dried, and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 (10 ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed
10 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white sugar
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Crumble and set aside.
In a large flat bowl, place the chopped lettuce and top with a layer of onion, peas, shredded cheese, cauliflower and bacon.
Prepare the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, sugar and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle over salad and refrigerate until chilled.

I did try a new dessert for the picnic…Butterscotch Blondies!  I found these in my Cooking Light Baking Cookbook.  I seriously don’t miss any of the fat in the “normal” recipe!  This is another recipe that has common ingredients .No tofu or agave needed – just less of the normal baking supplies!  I love that!  These are rich and gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside!  All they need is a cold glass of milk!

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Butterscotch Blondies

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
2 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 Egg whites
Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, firmly packed light brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

Place butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook 6 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Pour into a small bowl, and cool 10 minutes.

Combine butter and egg whites, stirring with a whisk. Pour butter mixture over flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray; smooth top with spatula. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 24 squares.

Those blonde brownies are a yummy treat!  Don’t wait for a special potluck to make them.  You need these this week!

Have you made any of your old recipes recently?  What was it?

With love from my country kitchen,

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