Sunday, August 30, 2009

Luscious Slush Punch

Oh my goodness, this was GOOD!!!!! I really enjoyed this punch and it made a lot. We only ended up using half the recipe. We're having a tailgate party at work this coming Wednesday and I'll be bringing it with me to use up there. I'm already looking forward to tasting it again.

Luscious Slush Punch

1 1/2 cups white sugar
6 cups water
1 (3 oz) package strawberry-banana gelatin
1 (3 oz) package cherry gelatin
1 (46 oz) can pineapple juice
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 quart orange juice
2 (2-liter) bottles lemon-lime flavored soda

1. In large saucepan, combine sugar, water, and gelatin. Boil for 3 minutes. Stir in pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Divide mixture in half and freeze in 2 separate containers. (I used gallon-size ziploc freezer bags).
2. When ready to serve place frozen contents of one container in a punch bowl and stir in 1 bottle lemon-lime soda until slushy.

Source: adapted from

Friday, August 28, 2009

Marshall Field's Chicken Salad

When we first started to attend our church last year I received an invitation to attend a ladies luncheon for new women who were visiting the church. It was a lovely afternoon and I met some fantastic women. However one very memorable thing for me was the chicken salad that was served. I'm not sure if this is the same recipe but it was very close. I had never considered adding grapes or crunchy nuts to it before (I was very much a rookie in the kitchen at this point). It blew my taste buds away.

When I was planning Carson's baptism lunch I knew I wanted to have chicken salad sandwiches and had this recipe that I wanted to try. It was fantastic. My babysitter actually still mentions how great it was every morning when I drop Carson off and the party happened nearly 2 weeks ago.

Marshall Field's Chicken Salad

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard (I used honey dijon)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper (I used coarse ground black pepper)
2 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken breast, cooked
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
2 Tbsp green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup pecans, toasted & chopped
1/4 cup seedles grapes, halved

Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Source: Recipezaar

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Peach Tea

My in-laws went peach picking (is that even the right term?) a few days before they came down for Carson's baptism and mentioned they would be bringing a lot of peaches for us. So I went hunting for ways to use them up. Babyfood won out for most but I did want to incorporate them into the baptism party food in some way.

I personally don't care for tea so I can't say whether this was good or not but there really weren't any leftovers so take it for what you will.

Peach Tea
3 cups water
3 family size tea bags
2 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp stevia powder

1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the tea bags, and steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags.
2. Meanwhile, place peaches with 1 cup water into the jar of a blender (I used food processor), and blend until very smooth. Pour the peach mixture, tea, and stevia powder into a 1 gallon pitcher. Fill the pitcher to the top with water, and stir until blended.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

French Toast

I love French Toast. When I was pregnant I had my husband make it probably every other weekend. Ok, so that is exaggerating but I do love it. When I was trying to plan out what to make when I had everyone at the house for Carson's baptism I knew one morning I'd want to make it. I chose Saturday morning because it was just my husband, parents, Grandma, and I. My in-laws aren't really into French toast and they weren't getting into town until later that day.

Usually I just wing it but I actually used a recipe this time. I thought they were good but I'm still going to keep looking for that jaw-dropping fabulous recipe.

French Toast
Makes 6 servings

12 thick slices bread (I used texas toast)
4 eggs
1 1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Beat together egg, milk, spices, and vanilla.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides. Place on griddle and cook on both sides until golden. Serve hot.

Source: recipe doubled from

Monday, August 24, 2009

Honey Yogurt Dip

I knew I wanted to have a fruit tray at Carson's baptism and I immediately thought of this dip. I had seen it on this blog and thought it sounded absolutely delicious. Let's just say that it did not disappoint. Absolutely fabulous! Do yourself a favor and give it a try. I served it with both green and red grapes, strawberries, blueberries and sliced granny smith apples. I think the strawberries were my favorite to dip in it but everything tasted just great.

Honey Yogurt Dip

1 (7 oz) container 2% Greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey
Ground cinnamon, to taste

Combine the yogurt and honey in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly until smooth and well combined. Add a very small amount of cinnamon, taste, and adjust accordingly. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with fresh fruit.

Source: Annie's Eats as adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mini Banana Creme Pies

I made another Banana Creme Pie for dinner Saturday night and had more creme filling and meringue than I could use with the pie crust. So we decied to make some mini-pies using Nilla Wafers and ramekins.

Use this recipe to make the creme and then place some Nilla Wafers in the bottom of a ramekin. Top with creme filling and then with meringue. Bake in oven alongside the pie to brown meringue.

Soooo delish.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ranch Mashed Potatoes

I made these mashed potatoes to go along with the pot roast for dinner Saturday night.

It thought that while they were good, I'll keep looking for my "go-to" mashed potato recipe.

Source: Cooking Light

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pot Roast

My parents and Grandmother came into town on Friday night (when I served the lasagna and strawberry spinach salad). On Saturday we were also joined by my in-laws. A friend from high school also mentioned she was going to be passing through town that night and she, her husband, and daughter *may* stop by as well. So I wasn't sure if I would be cooking for 7 or 10. A pot roast sounded just about right.

This recipe wasn't based on any one in particular but more just me combining many different recipes that I looked through. None of them looked just right to me so I combined the best parts of many to create this. I'm not a huge pot roast lover but this was pretty good.

Pot Roast
1 (4-5 lb) beef pot roast
1 can coke
2 cans cream of roasted garlic and mushroom soup
3-4 carrots, sliced
3-4 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 packet French onion soup mix
Salt and pepper to taste.

Place chopped onion at bottom of crock pot. Place roast on top and season with salt and pepper. Place remaining vegetables around the roast. In a mixing bowl combine coke, soups, and onion soup mix. Pour mixture over roast. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Soure: A Julie original

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

World's Best Lasagna

I tend to be leery of recipes that proclaim to be "world's best" because given how diverse the world is, I can't imagine anything being declared the best. However this recipe was very highly rated on by nearly 3000 reviewers so I figured it was definitely worth a shot.

My Sicilian Grandmother was coming down to visit for the weekend and was getting into town on Friday as well as my parents. I wanted to make something that I knew they would like that would also easily feed 5 adults. I knew it had to be lasagna. I have made baked ziti before and lasagna rolls here and here, but never have I actually made a lasagna.

I served the lasagna alonside a strawberry spinach salad. It was a very delicious meal.

World's Best Lasagna

1 lb sweet Italian Sausage, casings removed and crumbled
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 oz) cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarse ground black pepper
4 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
18 lasagna noodles
16 oz ricotta cheese
Dash nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 lb mozzerella cheese, shredded
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large stockpot, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel, italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and 2 Tbsp parsley. Simmer, covered for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer you simmer the better the flavor.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse in cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, nutmeg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 tsp salt.
3. Preheat oven to 375F.
4. Layer as follows: Spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in a 9x13 inch baking dish (I used a disposable 9x13 pan since it is deeper and it worked better. I think it would have gone over my glass 9x13 pan). Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with 1/2 of ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1/3 of mozzerella and sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Top with last 6 noodles and remaining mozzerella and Parmesan. (Next time I make this, and there WILL be a next time, I will top the top layer of noodles with meat sauce and then the remaining cheeses).
5. Cover with foil sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Ok, if you are a female, this salad is to die for. I made this our first night of company when it was my parents, my grandmother, my husband and I. Carson is still too young for table food so he was a silent (well not so silent) observer. Pretty much everyone said it was 5-star good...except my husband. But let's face it, if it's got veggies in it and no meat he's typically not too thrilled. He said it was good, but not 5-star good. I disagree. Try it for yourself and you can decide. I personally think all you need to do is add some grilled chicken or shrimp and you'd have a truly lovely dinner.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp minced red onion
1 bag baby spinach
1 quart strawberries, cleaned, hulled, and sliced
2-3 Tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, worcestershire sauce, and onion. Cover, chill fot 1 hour.
2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries, walnuts, and feta. Pour dressing over salad and toss.

Source: adapted from

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cranana Bread

The houseguests have mostly left (my in-laws are still here) and thankfully my baptism-party, many houseguest cooking and baking is finished. I will have a flurry of posts related to all the cooking that was done. My kitchen was VERY busy for the last few days. At one point my Mom, Grandma, myself, and my son (who was in his backpack carrier) were all in it at once preparing things. It was great!

I made this recipe about a week ago and ended up taking it into work to share. Everyone thought it was delicious. I'll definitely be making it again.

Cranana Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
4 bananas, mashed
1 cup greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs, mashed bananas, yogurt, and vanilla. Mix in cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and flours. Stir in dried cranberries and walnuts. Bake 70 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Source: A Southern Grace

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sausage & Mushroom Pizza

Since I had leftover chicken sausage and mushrooms from the lasagna rolls I decided to make a homemade pizza. I'm still not brave enough to try from-scratch dough but I know I will eventually.

All amounts here are approximate since I didn't really measure anything.

1 tube Pillsbury pizza crust dough
3 links chicken sausage sliced into about 1/2 inch thick slices
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup or so pizza sauce - enough to generously cover pizza dough
2 cups four cheese pizza blend shredded cheese (yes we like our cheese so we use a lot)

1. Roll out dough according to package directions. Preheat oven as directed on dough package.
2. We prefer a crisper crust so I baked the crust by itself in the preheated oven about 5 minutes.
3. Coat dough generously with pizza sauce.
4. Place toppings over sauce. Cover all with cheese.
5. Bake in preheated oven an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is fully cooked.

NOTE: My chicken sausages were already fully cooked but if you are not using precooked sausages make sure to cook them up separately prior to placing them on the pizza.

Source: A Julie original

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sausage, Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna Rolls

As with most things cooking, once you learn the method you can substitute in pretty much whatever you want and voila - a new meal. Last month I made these lasagna rolls and both my husband and I really enjoyed them. I wanted to make something similar but this time with some meat in them.

I keep seeing people posting about chicken sausages in their food blogs and I couldn't find them at either our Food City or Kroger here so I headed out to Earth Fare (no Trader Joe's here) to see if they had them. Much to my delight they did so I bought them and decided to make lasagna rolls. I had leftover mushrooms and spinach from another meal so those got added as well. Oh my goodness ... can you say yummy!

Sausage, Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna

6 lasagna noodles, cooked to package directions
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
2 links chicken sausage, casings removed and crumbled
2 cups primavera sauce
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Prepare an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray. combine ricotta, 1/4 cup mozzerella, Parmesan, egg white, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
3. Heat skillet on medium-high. Add olive oil and saute mushrooms and sausage for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute or so until fragrant. Add spinach and stir until it wilts. Remove from heat and let mixture cool slightly.
4. Combine sausage mixture with ricotta mixture. Spread the cheese mixture over noodles in a thin layer. Roll up noodle and place in baking dish seam side down. Repeat process with remaining lasagna noodles.
5. Spoon primavera sauce over each and cover with foil. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with remaining mozzerella and bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes.

Source: adapted from bakin and eggs

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hamburger Cupcakes

Ok I know I took a little bit of a break. I'm an accountant and last week was our month-end close. It's always a really busy time for me so I don't get to really blog like I want to. And this weekend I decided to just take time and relax since we're having both sets of parents and my grandma down next weekend for Carson's baptism. But I'm back now.

I first saw these cupcakes on Bakerella and thought they were super cute. She took more time in decorating that I did since I was in the middle of close. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to make them for a guy's birthday and my boss's birthday was last week. They turned out really cute. The pictures don't do them justice. Everyone thought they were just adorable and a great idea.

And really they couldn't be simpler. It's not really a recipe so much as a process. Normally I like to bake things from scratch but since it was close and the finished product is more about the cuteness than the taste I took some help from the grocery store and used boxed products.

So in order to make these you'll need:

1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients to prepare per box
1 box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare per box
1 container white frosting
Red, Yellow, and Green Food coloring

1. Mix yellow cake mix and bake in standard size muffin cups. I got 24 muffins. Allow to cool completely.
2. Mix brownie mix and bake in 9x13 pan. Allow to cool completely.
3. Slice each cupcake in half horizontally to make the bun.
4. Cut brownies into 24 pieces to make the patties. (Bakerella uses her cute round cutter but I didn't have one and so my "patties" were square like at Wendy's) Place brownie piece on top of bottom cupcake half (bottom bun).
5. Divide frosting into three bowls and use food coloring to make red (ketchup), yellow (mustard), and green (lettuce). Place frosting into piping bags or make your own bag with ziploc sandwich bags and snip a hole in the corner. Frost the top of the brownies as you would top a burger.
6. Place cupcake top on top of frosting. If desired, you can brush some water on the top and sprinkle sesame seeds to make the buns look even more authentic.

Bakerella also make super-cute sugar cookie fries with hers and I tried but my fries looked REALLY bad so I scraped them.

Source: Bakerella