Friday, June 29, 2012

Creamy Italian Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is one of my favorite dinners during the summer. They're fast and easy and they don't heat up the whole kitchen.

Creamy Italian Pasta Salad
1 (12 oz.) box multi-colored pasta
several handfuls baby kale or spinach (spinach would have a milder flavor)
1 (14 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 large can olives, drained and chopped
1-2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved (I used yellow)
1-2 c. cooked, chopped chicken
1 c. italian dressing
1/2 c. mayonnaise
salt and pepper

Here are the ingredients I used:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Before draining, add kale to the pasta.
 Stir and cook just until kale wilts (it only takes about 30 seconds).
 Drain pasta and kale. Rinse with cold water.
 To prepare dressing, whisk together italian dressing and mayonnaise.
 Toss all ingredients in a large bowl with dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 I was unsure if my kids would even touch the kale in this salad. They usually just eat the noodles and leave the veggies. But they actually ate it all! I am delighted whenever they get excited about a new food. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Rainbow Swirl Cookies

Recently on Pinterest I found this idea for rainbow cookies and this idea for homemade cookie mixes. I mashed the two ideas together and VIOLA! Boy, do I love Pinterest!

 Rainbow Swirl Cookies
3 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 t. almond extract
food coloring

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, soda, baking powder, and salt.
Stir in butter, eggs, and almond extract.
 Divide dough into 5 bowls. Add desired food colorings and mix.
 Roll each color into a log and lay them tightly side by side.
 Carefully roll into a log about 18" long (the length really doesn't matter too much, as long as it's all rolled together.)
 Cut into 24-30 pieces. You can do more if you want smaller cookies.
Roll each piece into a log about 6" long. 
 Starting at the middle, coil each piece into a spiral on an ungreased cookie sheet.
 Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes.
 My little girl chose the goodie today. She was really happy with these cute cookies. I like to cut them in quarters so they look like little rainbows.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sweet Potato Bean Dip

Yesterday on Pinterest, I saw this recipe for Sweet Potato Burritos and they looked so good. Unfortunatley, I didn't have all of the ingredients to make them. So I used that recipe as inspiration for this dip. The sweet potatoes bring such a delicious sweetness to this fun snack.

 Sweet Potato Bean Dip

1 can (14-15 oz.) refried beans
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1 sweet potato, cooked with skin removed (about 1 & 1/2 c.)
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
drizzle of olive oil
1/4-1/2 t. cumin
pinch of chipotle chile pepper powder (optional)
salt and pepper
1 c. grated cheddar
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 avocado, chopped

Combine refried beans with garlic and onion powder. Spread in a casserole dish.
In a mixing bowl, mix sweet potato, jalapeno, olive oil, cumin, and salt & pepper. (Or you could just mash the sweet potato. I do that sometimes.)
Spread sweet potato mixture over beans. Bake at 400 F for 12-15 minutes or until hot.
 Top with cheese and bake another 5 minutes until cheese melts. Right before serving, top with cilantro and avocado.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake

For Father's Day I wanted to make a really special dessert for my hubby. I had a half gallon of cookie dough ice cream in the freezer and decided to turn it into this delectable confection.

Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake
1 box devils food cake, prepared
1 container (half gallon) cookie dough ice cream
1 jar (11-12 oz.) hot fudge
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1 t. vanilla
1-2 T. mini chocolate chips
mini chocolate chip cookies (I used mini Chips Ahoy)

For bottom layer, crumble cake and mash it up with a spoon.
Prepare a 9" springform pan by placing parchment paper (or wax paper) around the edges.
Press crumbled cake into the bottom. Freeze for 1-2 hours.
 Let ice cream soften at room temerature until spreadable. Spread ice cream over cake. Return to freezer for 1-2 hours.
 Spred hot fudge over ice cream. Freeze for a couple more hours.
 In a mixing bowl combine butter, sugars, flour and vanilla with an electric mixer until well combined slightly fluffy. Spread frosting over fudge. Top with mini chocolate chips.
 Place mini cookies around the edges of the frosting. Freeze again for 1-2 hours.
 Let soften at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.
 I'll tell you, this is one rich dessert! But it is totally worth it. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Toffee Nut Butterballs

A few weeks ago I bought 12 cookbooks! They were on sale, don't judge me! :) Anyway, I keep finding awesome recipes that I must try. These little cookies are a blend of toffee, pecans, and shortbread. Delightful!

Toffee Nut Butterballs

1 c. butter, softened (not unsalted)
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 small box instant vanilla pudding (lemon or butterscotch would be great as well)
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. toffee bits
1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl combine butter, sugar, pudding, and vanilla.
 Add remaining ingredients and mix until it forms a dough.
 Drop rounded tablespoons on an ungreased cookie sheet.
 Bake 325 F for 12-15 minutes.

These are a fun and delicious little shortbread cookie. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Carrot Bread

I have a 5 lb. bag of carrots sitting on my kitchen counter, so I've been putting them to good use. This recipe is basically the same as Zucchini Bread, but I used carrots instead. Delicious! 

Carrot Bread
3 eggs
1 c. oil
1 T. vanilla
2 c. finely grated carrots
2 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
3 c. flour

Mix wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients and mix until blended. Divide batter into two greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 325 F for 40-60 minutes.

This was a big hit at my house. Enjoy!