Monday, February 28, 2011

Sweet Pork Salad with Cilantro dressing

Here is another copycat restaurant recipe. This recipe makes enough pork for maybe 8-10 generous salads. You could make the pork and have a salad one day and pork burritos the next. If you don't want too much pork you can use my friend's recipe HERE. She has some great recipes. The dressing is my favorite part.

I start with a tortilla heat it in a buttered pan and melt cheese on top
Add rice
Black beans
Romaine lettuce
Then I add olives, pico de gallo, guacamole, Parmesan cheese, cilantro, a lime wedge and dressing. Such a great meal for a large group of people.

Sweet Pork
4-5 pounds of pork roast (I get mine from Costco)
1 (24 oz) jar of your favorite salsa
2 cups brown sugar
16 oz coke

Cook in a crockpot for 5-7 hours. About an hour before you are ready to serve shred the pork and continue cooking.

Cilantro Dressing
1 package hidden valley ranch dressing seasonings
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tablespoon green salsa verde
3/4 cups mayonnaise
1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce
3/4 cups buttermilk
1/3- 1/2 bunch of cilantro depending on how much you want. I start with a 1/3 and add more to taste.
1 lime, zest and juice (2 if they are small limes)

Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend for about 45 sec.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thift store tray

 I found this wooden tray at the thrift store. It was a couple of dollars. It was very dirty but I wanted to put it to use. After I cleaned it up...
 I took it outside to paint. It was nice enough outside for me to paint on the deck. YAY! I have been waiting a while for warm weather.
 I painted it white with spray paint. Took about 3 coats.
 Here is the finished product. I desperately want to find a buffet table for this to go on eventually but it can stay here until then.

I used some sand paper and a nail file to antique it a little.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Man Birthday Card

Let me just say that I have a very hard time coming up with cards for men. Little boy cards are fun to design but older than 9 I just have a hard time. My friend told me that it's because they just don't care. I am starting to think that's true. I always show my husband cards for feedback and most of the time he doesn't even turn to look at the card and says, "it's nice". 

Here is a fun card I did this month for my card club. I think it would be perfect for a summer BBQ invite. I ran out of bun colored paper to make myself one so I will have to make one for myself sometime.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chicken and Asparagas Lasagna

My daughter helped me make this tasty lasagna. She is very picky but she thought it smelled delicious and looked pretty. Her words:)

Adding Chicken Broth
Nice sauce that's not too runny
All the ingredients ready to start layering

It takes about 1 1/2 hours to make this start to finish which isn't bad when you think that a frozen store bought lasagna that's this size take about 2 hours to bake. You can also make it in the morning and keep it in the fridge until dinner time. This recipe is yummy for left overs too!

Chicken and Asparagus lasagna 

For the sauce:
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup minced sweet onion
8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup white grape juice

1 (14 ounces) can chicken broth
1-1/2 cups whole milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme chopped.

For the lasagna:
8 ounces oven-ready lasagna noodles

2 cups cooked diced chicken
2 cups fresh asparagus, cut into 2-inch lengths
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper, I put it in the oven on broil for a few min on each side to soften
4 cups finely-shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese, divided use
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 5-quart glass baking dish or two loaf pans with vegetable spray.

For the white mushroom sauce:
In a large heavy pot, sprinkle onions and mushrooms with salt and saute in butter over medium heat until lightly browned. Add chopped garlic and saute 1 additional minute. Sprinkle with flour and continue cooking another 2 minutes. While stirring, carefully add the grape juice and cook until flour is incorporated, about 1 minute. Continuing to stir, add chicken broth. Simmer until sauce begins to thicken, then add milk, pepper, and nutmeg. Simmer another 5 minutes, then stir in sage and thyme. Taste for salt and add more if needed. (Remember that the pasta will absorb the salt, so be generous.) Let sauce cool slightly before assembling lasagna.

For the lasagna:
Remove 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese and set aside for the topping. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, then begin layering the lasagna in the following order: lasagna noodles, chicken, asparagus, red peppers, sauce, and mozzarella cheese. You should have at least 4 layers, ending with the reserved 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese on top. Finish by sprinkling the Parmesan on top of the mozzarella. (May be made in advance to this point, covered, and refrigerated up to 1 day. Add 15 minuted of covered baking time if going from refrigerator to oven.)

Cover and bake 30 minutes. Remove the lid or covering and bake an additional 15 minutes. Let rest at least 15 minutes before cutting to serve.

Monday, February 21, 2011

First card for the giveaway winner

Here is the first card I made for Amber. She requested an anniversary card. Now I need to go make the rest:)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Yes these are similar to PF Changs lettuce wraps so if you like those you will love this. They are actually really easy to make you just need a handful of Chinese sauces and seasonings. This recipe is for my Dad. He makes these at home and when I asked him if I could post it here he challenged me to come up with a better recipe than his so here we go!

You will want to buy ground chicken. SO MUCH EASIER!
Here are the products you will need to get. You can find them in any grocery store. I WAS going to use fresh ginger and I decided against it:)
This is what it will look like done, still in the pan.
These two products mixed with soy sauce makes the yummy sauce to pour on the lettuce wraps. YUM!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

2 heads of lettuce
1 pound lean ground chicken
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce plus more for dipping sauce
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce (same one used for sauce)
1 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Rinse your lettuce leaves. Keep them whole and set aside. Cook chicken in large skillet. Add onion, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar and chili sauce. Cook until meat is browned and broken up. Add water chestnuts, and green onions. Cook until onions begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Stir in sesame oil.

Pour about 1/4-1/2 cup soy sauce in small bowl. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of the Hot Chinese Mustard and 1/2 teaspoon of the Chili garlic sauce. Mix together. You can add more of the two condiments if you like it spicier or add more soy sauce if it's too spicy. 

This recipe makes about 7 dinner sized wraps and about 12 appetizer portions. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

Are you ever watching a cooking show and wish you could taste the food they are making? I love the show Worst Cooks in America that plays on Food Network. As I was watching this last episode I wanted to taste this dish so bad so I thought WHY CAN'T I? If that girl who someone thinks is the worst cook in America can make that then I have a fighting chance. I think that it turned out really tasty and it fit in my hubby's diet.  I changed a few things from the original recipe:)

Chopped Mango in a bowl
The recipe calls for grape seed oil which I learned it has one of the lowest levels of saturated fat among cooking oils. 
Cook your fish in a non stick pan!
I timed my rice and my fish to finish ALMOST at the same time. I was pretty proud of myself:)

Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa over a bed of rice

For Rice:
I used brown rice. I put 2 1/4 cups water, 1 cup rice, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves and 1 tablespoon green onions chopped (reserve some more for a garnish) and a little salt in my rice cooker and started that cooking.

For Salsa: 
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup grape seed oil
Juice from 1 lime
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in bowl and let sit until ready to use

Mahi Mahi
2-4 Mahi Mahi fillets
1/4 cup grape seed oil
Salt and Pepper

Heat a large, nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat.

Rub the fish fillets with the oil, salt, and pepper. Place in the hot pan and sear until golden on 1 side, 3 to 4 minutes.

Turn the fish over and cook until cooked through, another 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the fish. You'll know the fish is done when the flesh springs back. Remove the fish to a plate.

When the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork and gently stir in the cilantro and scallions. Season with salt, to taste.

Place a mound of rice on each plate. Top with mahi-mahi. Spoon the mango sauce over each fillet and top with chopped scallions. Drizzle the liquid from the mango sauce around the rice.

And the winner is...

{ a m b e r } said...
As perhaps your original reader I have told a few friends about it and I will announce it on my facebook page right now too. Made the too good but maybe a little evil cookies again yesterday and delivered them to my new neighbors. 
This was the 3rd comment on my post so Congratulations to Amber! You won my first ever giveaway:)  Email me at the five occasions you would like your cards to be. They can all be different or the same it's up to you. If you would like any of them a specific color I would be happy to do that as well. I can't wait to design some cards!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Post a Comment to WIN!!

**I will use to pick a winner at 12pm Mountain time today!!**
If you thought 5 cards was an awesome giveaway think again:) I am going to add to the winnings this awesome stamp set from Martha Stewart! I bought one for myself and LOVE it so I thought I should give one away as well.  You can personalize the stamp to be your return address for mailing cards or make a monogram you can stamp on napkins. Just a few ideas but it's a really fun stamp set so I wanted to share. PLEASE just post a comment below and you are entered to win:) Good Luck!

In honor of Valentines Day I want to give away 5 personalized cards for a lucky reader! If you read my blog and like what you see tell a friend about it. Then comment on this post and you could win 5 handmade cards. The winner gets to choose occasion (birthday, thank you, baby...) for each card. A winner will be picked on Friday:)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Heart Pizza

This is our meal for Valentine's Day. My kids are still young so fancy dinners don't impress them much. They still prefer pizza, chicken nuggets and mac n cheese on a regular basis so we made these fun personal sized pizzas. No I didn't make my own pizza dough. I have before and will again but not this weekend. I didn't feel up to it.
I used kitchen shears to cut the precooked dough into a heart shape
The kids got to top them anyway they like. Too bad that's pretty much just cheese
I cut the pepperoni the same way. Too cute!

Here is a cooked plain one.

Best Double Chocolate Chip cookie recipe

There is a method to my madness I promise.I had an idea for a valentines treat for my kiddos which required a chocolate cookies. **Post for that is below** I haven't made many double chocolate chip cookies before so I decided to seek out the perfect recipe. First I looked in my Williams-Sanoma desserts cookbook and then I looked through other recipes I had. I came up with two VERY different recipes I wanted to put against each other. One uses real chocolate and one uses cocoa powder. One uses baking powder and one uses baking soda. One uses butter and the other uses butter and shortening. After making the two I thought they both were tasty so I needed other opinions.

From the cookie poll post the cookie on the left was the cookie I came up with and the cookie on the right was the Williams-Sonoma recipe. I had a few people taste both and while they said both were amazing the winner for taste was the Williams-Sanoma! Even though my cookie looked more appetizing 6 of 8 preferred the cook book one so here we go! I think that I will post my recipe later in the week as well in case any of you want to try it.

Williams-Sanoma Double Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Put your chopped chocolate in the top of a double broiler. Whisk until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt until blended. In different bowl, beat together butter, shortening, brown sugar and sugar until fluffy. Beat in chocolate. Add egg and vanilla and mix until blended. Add dry ingredients and once that is mixed add chocolate chips.
Roll into balls and place on the baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake cookies until puffed but still look moist. About 12 min. Cool on rack. Store in airtight container.

Heart Ice Cream Sandwich

I came up with this little or should I say HUGE dessert for my kiddos for Valentines Day. I am sorry the pictures aren't so great. My camera is on it's last leg. Plus I am SO late getting these out but I wanted to share.  Enjoy!
I baked the double chocolate chip cookies from my blog but I made them extra big! Then I used my cookie cutter to cut them into hearts. This was pretty hard. I consider myself strong but it took muscle!
I bought strawberry ice cream and made the sandwich. YUMMY