Monday, March 30, 2015

Bow Ties with Walnuts

To toast nuts, put them in a small, ungreased skillet over low heat and stir occasionally until they are toasted.  Way quicker than using the oven, and easier to keep from burning.

Bow Ties with Walnuts

1 lb. Bow tie noodles -- cooked (reserve 1/2 cup cooking water)
1 cup Walnuts -- chopped and toasted
6 tbsp. Butter
1 1/4 tsp. Sage
2 1/2 tbsp. Lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1 1/3 cups Shredded Romano (or Italian blend) cheese

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add spices and lemon juice. Remove from heat. Stir in pasta and 1/2 cup cooking water. Stir in cheese. Garnish with toasted nuts.

Bow Ties with Peas

Mmmmm, bacon!

Bow Ties with Peas

6 slices Bacon -- cut into strips
1 can Italian-style Diced tomatoes
1/4  cup Water
4 cups Bow Tie noodles -- cooked according to package
2 1/2  cups Frozen peas
4 oz. Mascarpone cheese
1 tsp. Basil
1 tsp. Salt
1/2  tsp. Pepper
 Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, fry bacon until almost done. Drain fat and add tomatoes, water, salt, and pepper. Bring to boiling, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add peas to tomato sauce, stir, and bring to boiling. Cover and cook for 6 minutes. Add mascarpone and basil. Mix well and stir till cheese melts. Stir in pasta and garnish with Parmesan.

Bow Ties with Ham

A great way to use up leftover ham from Easter.

Bow Ties with Ham

1 12-oz. box Bow Tie Pasta
1 16-oz. jar Alfredo sauce
1 bunch Asparagus -- trimmed and sliced 1" long
1 8-oz. jar Sun dried tomatoes -- drained and chopped
2 cups Ham pieces
8 oz. Havarti cheese -- shredded and divided.

Mix 1 cup Havarti cheese and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a 3-quart casserole, cover, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Top with remaining cheese.

Perfect Peaches and Cream Pie

I got this recipe from Taste of Home a few years ago.  I'm considering making this for Easter lunch, and thought I'd share it.  The pictures are my own, from when I posted this on a different blog a few years ago.

Perfect Peaches & Cream Pie 


1 1/4 cup honey graham cracker crumbs (regular would be okay too)
1/4 cup sugar 6 Tbsp butter -- melted


4 oz cream cheese -- softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup frozen whipped topping -- thawed 


1 pkg (3 oz) peach gelatin
1 pkg (3 oz) cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
1 1/4 cups water
2 cups sliced peeled fresh peaches (about 2) or canned sliced peaches

In a bowl, mix cracker crumbs and sugar. Stir in the butter. Press onto bottom and sides of an ungreased 9" pie plate. Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes or until slightly brown. Cool completely. In a small bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioners' sugar. Add whipped topping and mix. Spread over crust with a rubber/silicon spatula. Refrigerate until set. In a small saucepan, combine gelatin and pudding mixes. Stir in water and bring just to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Arrange peach slices over filling. To get it to look like a flower the way I did, start at the edge, putting the slices down fat-side toward the edge. Do a whole ring that way, then do a ring inside that, and a ring inside that, until you've filled the whole pie with a layer of peach slices. Spoon gelatin mixture over the peaches. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until chilled and set.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Banana Oat Bites

Another one I found on Pinterest -- the original is here.  I don't like to call them cookies because they're not quite the right texture for that, but they are small and round and sweet!  And they are staggeringly quick and easy to make.  Not to mention, extraordinarily healthy.

Banana Oat Bites

2 large bananas -- ripe or overripe
1 cup rolled oats -- quick or regular
1/4 cup or so raisins OR chocolate chips OR chopped nuts OR whatever else you want to try

Put bananas and oats in a bowl and mash them up together with a fork until they form a dough.  Mix in whatever you want to mix in.  Form into balls and bake on a well-greased or parchment-paper-covered cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes at 350.  They don't spread much, so you can get the whole batch on one sheet.

Makes 12-16, depending on how big your bananas were and how big you make the balls.

Banana-and-Peanut-Butter Blender Mini-Muffins

I found this recipe via Pinterest -- the original is here.  As per the recipe's original creator's wishes, I have rewritten all the instructions myself so I can post it here.  She also has a chocolate version, which I have not yet tried.

My kids totally love these, and I give these to them as their after-swimming-lessons snack a couple times a month.  With all the good stuff in them from the peanut butter and bananas (and no refined sugars except in the teeny chocolate chips), I feel like they're a great pick-me-up for them after they've use up all that energy.  These freeze really well, so I can store them up and just pull them out of the freezer before we head to lessons.  Also, I happen to think they're super tasty when frozen, so they're a quick treat for me sometimes too :-D

Banana-and-Peanut-Butter Blender Mini-Muffins

1 medium ripe banana -- peeled
1 large egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (store-bought peanut butter works best)
3 tablespoons honey (can substitute agave or maple syrup)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Grease 24 mini muffin tins or use paper liners.  Put banana, egg, peanut butter, honey, vanilla, soda, and salt directly into your blender and blend on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.  Stir in chocolate chips by hand (the blender will turn them into chocolate bits, so don't use it for this).  Use a spoon to fill muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted into their center comes out clean.  Because they're small, they burn quickly, so watch them.  Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing.  Store in an airtight container or the freezer.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Flexible Oatmeal Cookies

I call these "flexible" because you can tweak them to suit your tastes.  I got this recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens:  Homemade Cookies recipe book, copyright 2000, but I've changed it around a bit so that I can make it the way I like it.  They suggest using M&Ms or gumdrops as an add-in instead of the ones I've specified here, and I've always wanted to try them with dried cranberries instead, but here I'll just put the two I make and love.

Flexible Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter -- softened
2 cups brown sugar -- firmly packed
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
3 3/4 cups flour
2 cups rolled oats

Beat the butter in an extra-large mixing bowl on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add the sugars, baking powder, and baking soda, and beat again until combined.  You'll have to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice.  Beat in the eggs, milk, and vanilla all at once, just until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can, finishing up with a wooden spoon.  Then stir in the rolled oats.

Divide the dough in half.  Use one of each of the variations below to make your cookies, one in each half, or else double the amounts below and make all of one kind.  Once the additions are mixed in, drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet.  These don't spread a lot, but they do a little, so I recommend parchment paper or non-stick pans, not a greased pan.

Bake at 375 for 9 to 11 minutes or until edges begin to brown but the centers are still soft.  Cool on the baking sheet for the first minute, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.


Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies Ever

1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

1 1/2 cup chopped Heath candy bars (about 5)
3/4 cup hazelnuts -- chopped

Makes about 3 dozen of each kind, so 6 dozen all together.

Cranberry Cookies

Back when we lived in Wisconsin, I had a coworker who worked at a cranberry bog and would bring in fresh cranberries for anyone who wanted them.  I found this recipe to use the cranberries I got, and it's become a favorite of ours.  In fact, Cowboy can't decide if he loves these or really fat sugar cookies more!  I made these for fellowship time at church this weekend, and half a dozen people asked for the recipe :-)  So I'm sharing it here too.

Cranberry Cookies

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar -- firmly packed
1/4 cup butter -- softened
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries -- halved (it's easier to cut them when they're frozen)
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 375. Grease cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper. In large bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar and butter, and beat them until they make light and fluffy crumbles.  Add the milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and egg, and mix well.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix well again. Stir in cranberries and almonds. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes or until edges are just beginning to brown.   Immediately remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks.  Makes 3 dozen.