Friday, May 25, 2012

Fast Ideas for Memorial Day Weekend: The Best Grilled Corn Ever and Reese's S'mores

Today, I have some fast ideas for your Memorial Day weekend to get you outside, grilling, and kickin' summer off right. No recipes today, just a couple of great ideas to add to your fun.

The hubby and I love to grill meals where everything goes on the grill, not just the meat. Grilling corn is so easy and you won't even have to shuck the corn. That's right, no shucking, peeling or fighting the silk. 
Say what?
Toss your corn right on the grill, husks and all. Roll them around for about 10-15 minutes. The husks hold in all the moisture and steam those little golden kernels to perfection. 
Some of the outer layers of the husk will fly off into the coals. Give the ears a little squeeze with your tongs, they are done when they have just begun to soften. 

Allow them to rest for a few minutes before peeling off the husks and silk. Use a clean oven mitt if they are still a bit too toasty to handle.
Salt and butter to taste. Enjoy!

Now let's talk s'mores. Remember The Sandlot

"Hey Smalls, you want a s'more?"
"Some more of what?"
"No, do you wanna s'more?"
"I haven't had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?"

If you have even just a little extra time this weekend, I highly recommend you make these Whole Wheat Graham Crackers from Caroline over at Chocolate and Carrots. Caroline has so many gooood things over there, but I think these grahams are my favorite. 

They are truly easy and so very tasty, adding a little something special to your s'more. And they taste just like grahams from the store!

But didn't I say something about a Reese's? 

I truly cannot remember where or who this idea came from, so I cannot give full credit where it is due. Can't claim it for myself either, darn! This is such a genius idea!

Trade your Hershey's chocolate for a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. The chocolate in a Reese's is softer and melts better, adding to the gooey goodness that we love. 
And peanut butter in my s'more? Can't go wrong with the PB!

Get out there, thank a veteran and get grilling. 
Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Spinach Pesto Pasta

Summer weather mean summer food. Less time spent inside in a hot kitchen and more time outside with grass between your toes. 
Pesto is one of my favorite foods. Its fast, full of flavor and versatile. Perfect for summer meals.
Spinach is perfect for pesto, tender and fresh! Serve the pesto with your favorite pasta and top with grilled chicken or shrimp for a complete meal. 

Spinach Pesto Pasta:
Serves 2 as an entree, 4 as a side; Makes about 1 cup of pesto

4 ounces whole wheat pasta
1/3 cup grated parmesan
2 cloves freshly minced garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh spinach (about 2 large handfuls)

Cook pasta according to directions. 

In a blender or food processor, add garlic, lemon juice, half of the olive oil, and salt. Give the mixture a few pulses. Add spinach and continue pulsing, using a spatula to work the spinach down into the blades. Slowly, drizzle in the remaining olive oil. 
When pasta is ready, drain and toss with pesto. 
Grab a bowl and enjoy this pesto on your porch or deck!

If you're lucky, a furry friend might decide you need some help.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Yogurt Coffee Cake

Mother's day is in just two days! Do you have everything ready for the mother in your life?

Sometimes the best thing to share with mom is a memory. My sister and I share one of our favorite memories with mom last Saturday at breakfast. When we were in grade school, mom always packed our lunches. She always wrote love notes on our napkins and tucked them into our lunch boxes. We loved opening our lunches to a love note!

Love notes can come in coffee cake form, too. No worries if you're planning some last minute things for mom. This Yogurt Coffee Cake will please mom with minimal time in the kitchen. Mother's Day is really about spending time and appreciating mom, right? Show mom some love with a quick and healthy coffee cake.

I really just said that.
Healthy coffee cake. Packed with whole wheat flour, oatmeal, and yogurt, this coffee cake gives you a guilt-free memory to share with mom.

Yogurt Coffee Cake:
Serves 9-10

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup quick cooking oatmeal, ground
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the crumble topping:
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cold butter

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 or 9x9 pan. For a little more fun, use a bundt pan or loaf pan. Think about what mom wants.

Whisk all of the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Whisk together brown sugar and eggs. Add yogurt and vanilla and whisk until just combined.
Fold the yogurt mixture into dry ingredients. Scoop the patter into the prepared pan and spread to the edges.
In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, whole wheat flour, and brown sugar. Using a box grater, shred the butter into the mixture. Use your hands to finish breaking up the butter until the mixture is crumbly.
Spread crumb mixture over the batter. Bake 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow the coffee cake to cool a few minutes before taking a slice and a fresh cup of coffee to mom.
Cake can be served warm or at room temperature. Bake it the night before for more time with mom on Sunday!

Be sure to share a great memory with the mom in your life!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Whole Wheat Tortillas and Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Guacamole

Cinco de Mayo is coming!
Would you like some healthy options? Well, of course you do.
While I could live on chips and salsa forever, that would be no bueno for my waistline. I wanted to share a couple of recipes that you could enjoy guilt-free this weekend.
Let's start with these tortillas.

Have you ever made tortillas at home? Since my father-in-law picked up a tortilla press at a flea market, I've gone a little crazy. They are so easy! Once you taste them, you will know they are worth that little bit of extra work. These warm, soft little guys only have five pantry-staple ingredients, so they are just as easy on your pocket.

This recipe can easily be doubled for more tortillas.

Whole Wheat Tortillas:
Makes 8 6-inch tortillas

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

Whisk the dry ingredients together.
With a spatula, stir in the water and oil, mixing until the dough just comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead for just one minute. The dough should be soft.
Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes before shaping the tortillas. This is where you can brown taco meat or prepare fajita filling. 

After the dough has rested, place a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Divide the dough in half and then into fourths for eight tortillas. Form each portion into a ball.
Cover your friends with a towel. Using a rolling pin or a tortillas press, roll one dough ball out to about a 6-inch round. If necessary, use a little additional flour to roll out the tortillas. To keep the tortillas soft, you'll want to add as little extra flour as possible to the dough.
Lay the tortilla in the dry skillet and cook for about 1 1/2-2 minutes on each side. The tortillas just need to be cooked through, not necessarily browned. This will keep the tortillas soft and pliable.
Layer all of your soft little friends into a towel-lined tortilla warmer.
Finish with the rest of the dough and enjoy fresh, warm, soft tortillas!

Do you want something to put in these tortillas?
Me, too.

Surely its guacamole you want. Right?

There really is guacamole in there. Its under all that cool, creamy queso fresco. Roasting the red onion and tomatoes adds a great layer of flavor to the cool and creamy avocados. I like a very chunky guacamole, so the onion and tomatoes are roasted in larger pieces. Cut them as large or small as you want.

Roasted Red Onion & Tomato Guacamole:
Makes 4 very generous tacos, Serves 5-6 as an appetizer

1/2 large red onion
1+ cup cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 avocados
juice of 1 lime or lemon
1 teaspoon dried cilantro or 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste

Turn your oven on to broil and place a rack directly underneath the broiler. This could also be done out on the grill if your party is outside, just load your veggies on skewers.

Slice the onion into 1-inch pieces and half the tomatoes. Toss them with the olive oil.
Spread out the onion and tomato in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil 10-12 minutes, until the edges of the onion are toasted and the tomatoes have burst.
Allow to cool on the counter for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make friends with your avocados. Tell them how wonderful your tortillas are and that they will be the best of friends.
Half and pit the avocados, removing the skin from the flesh. Toss the halves into a bowl with the lime or lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Use a potato masher to break up the avocados. Mash in the garlic and cilantro.
Add your cooled roasted onion and tomatoes. 
Let the flavors hang out together in the fridge for about 20 minutes. 
Then introduce the guacamole to the tacos. Enjoy!

Can't get enough Cinco de Mayo? Don't forget these goodies:

Check out these other great recipes from around the blogosphere:

Chicken Tamale Casserole by Table for Two blog
DIY Tostada Shells by at Bake at 350
Cilantro Lime Quinoa by Two Peas and Their Pod

What's your favorite way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?