Monday, August 24, 2009

Pretty in Pink Summer Fruit Salad

I've been in a food rut the last several weeks. A combination of the heat, busy-ness, and pure unadulterated laziness have contributed to a steady diet of the same few things over and over again. I finally decided to break my boredom streak by making a luscious sweet summer dish that can double as a fruit salad and as a light dessert. It's quick and easy, and be dressed up or down to meet almost any one's taste or budget.

  • 1 large or two small containers of cottage cheese
  • 1 small container cool whip
  • 1 pkg jello, any flavor (I nearly always use strawberry, no matter what fruit I use)
  • fresh, canned, or frozen fruit of your choice
In a large mixing bowl, mix together cottage cheese and jello powder
Stir together until well blended
Add cool whip or other whipped topping

Stir together until the dark pink is completely blended

Add fruit of your choice.
If you use canned or thawed frozen fruit, be sure to drain it. I really really really like sliced fresh strawberries in this, but they looked terrible at the store so I stuck with canned fruit cocktail and sliced peaches, but into smaller chunks. Maybe not just as good as with fresh strawberries, but still well worth making.

You are supposed to chill until time to serve,but I usually eat my first bowlful right away.

Yes, I know that's a margarita glass, but I got it at a lady's luncheon where it was used as a dessert dish, and I use it for that, as well. And since it's the only one I have, I use it as a special "I-feel-like-eating-something-light-and-fluffy-and-pink-and-ladylike" dessert glass.

And since I'm the only one in my family who eats this particular fruit salad (cause they think they don't like cottage cheese), it gets a real work-out when I make this.

And yes, except for the cottage cheese-container-full that I took to my parents, I ate the whole bowl. In two days. For dessert. And snacks. And breakfast.

It has cottage cheese and fruit in it, it has to be good for you, right?

This recipe is being linked to:

Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
at Blessed with Grace

Until next time, good cooking and good eating!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How to Make a Cheap Inexpensive Cut of Meat Taste Like a Million Dollars

Edited to add: I've posted these before, but I'm reposting in order to participate in the Ultimate Recipe Swap Crockpot Edition at Life as Mom.

One of my favorite meals to make in the crock-pot is pot-roast. Using slow, moist heat, almost any cut of beef, including those that are relatively inexpensive, will come out delicious and fork-tender.

The easiest way to do this is use a packet of Lipton Beefy Onion soup, along with a good all-purpose seasoing mix ( I use Tony's Chachere's Creole Seasoning.) If I have them, I usually throw in some potatoes and carrots.

When I don't have any soup mix on hand, I use dried onion flakes and beef bouillion or beef stock paste (my favorite), along with my Tony Chay-chay's.

Sometimes I had a couple of splashes of Worchestershire and soy sauce, but not always.

I have three different slow-cookers, but becuase of the way I travel back and forth between home and where ever it is that my husband is working at the time, I don't always have the right size for the amount of food I'm cooking. A tip I got from Stephanie Odea at A Year of Crockpotting is to use a crumpled up piece of aluminum foil to fill up the "dead space" when the crock is oversized in comparison to the the amount of food I'm cooking.

Some basic tips for using a crock-pot or slow cooker:

  • Always, always, always lightly grease the crock insert or spray with cooking spray. Always.
  • Turn it on high for the first hour or so to get a bit of quick start of bringing your food up to cooking temperature, then turn down to low for the rest of the day.
  • Crock-pots work great for overnight cooking, too. I do this a lot on Saturday night so that I have a meal ready for noon on Sundays.
  • I seldom add any water or liquid when I'm cooking roast, other than Worchesteshire sauce, etc, for seasonings, I find that the meat usually makes enough au jus on it's own.

Sometimes I take it out and slice it, then put it back into the au jus to keep warm--it only gets better and more tender--and leftovers the next day are better yet!

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Cake

It's been a while since I posted a new recipe, hasn't it? I've been in a bit of a rut, cooking the same things over and over again--either recipes that I've already posted here, or everyday things that aren't really noteworthy. Plus the fact that I've been trying to not use my oven--makes for a pretty dull food blog.

I finally have something new and different enough to brave the summer heat for--a recipe I got from one of my tweeps on twitter (!), @michaelannalea, otherwise known as Annalea from Your Marriage Restored.

The wonderful aroma while this was cooking was almost enough to make me forget it was summertime--the combination of spices and sweetness brought visions of fall and winter holidays dancing in my head.

  • 1 29oz can of pumpkin
  • 1 12oz can evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c sugar
  • 4 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 c chopped nuts (I used pecans, you could use walnuts, too)
  • 2 sticks of butter, melted

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaported milk, sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Pour into a greased or Pam-sprayed 9 x 13 pan.

Sprinkle the entire box of cake mix on top

Cover with chopped nuts (I think I used more than 1 cup--I just eyeballed it until I thought it looked right--I like lots of nuts)

Drizzle with 1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter

Bake at 350 degrees for 60-75 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. I baked this for 60 minutes, then covered it with foil and baked for another 6 or 7 minutes, then turned off the oven and left it for another 5-7 minutes or so. I think I should have covered it with foil a little sooner, but that's due to a peculiarity of my oven.

This was a verrrry tasty dessert. I wasn't sure at first (when I burned my mouth on a bite scooped from the corner) if this was going to be a cut-and-serve dessert or a scoop and serve dessert. Served hot, definitely scoop. Served cooled-either one would work.

also mentioned to me that it was really good with vanilla flavored whipped cream on top. Annalea, you are my kind of woman. It was too close to dinner for me to hit the store, or we would have had at least some cool whip or vanilla ice cream to serve with this.

Even without the extra topping, four of us pretty well cleared almost half of it after dinner. Well, before and after dinner.

This recipe is linked to:

Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
at Blessed with Grace
Tuesday at the Table at All the Small Stuff
Foodie Friday at Desings by Gollum

Until next time--good cooking, and good eating!