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This BLT Salad will be a Mother’s Day Favorite!

If you are looking for a great salad to add to your picnic for Mom’s Day, graduation, or just a get-together, try this BLT Salad…..all the flavors of that favorite  bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich in a bowl! Simple and delicious!

BLT PASTA SALAD

with

Creamy Bacon Dressing

 

To keep the dressing from curdling, be sure to cool the bacon drippings to room temperature before adding to the mayonnaise.

Makes 20 servings 

COOK:

1 lb. dry campanelle pasta
1 lb. thick-sliced bacon, diced

WHISK:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp.sugar

Salt and black pepper to taste

STIR IN:

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce 4 cups halved grape tomatoes

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Transfer pasta to a bowl of ice water; drain well.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper- towel-lined plate. Reserve 3 Tbsp. drippings; set aside to cool.Whisk together mayonnaise, reserved drippings, shallots, basil, vinegar, and sugar in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Stir in pasta, romaine, tomatoes, and bacon; toss to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper.

Dear Friends! I hope you enjoy this delicious salad! This year, I used medium sized ball jars for individual servings….they looked super cute on the table, and made serving easy (the best!).

This year will be my daughter, Jodi’s, first “Almost A Mom’s Day!” They are deciding what to name the baby, and I’m trying to decide what the baby will call Steve and I. 

Check out some of my fun finds! As always, thanks for swinging by and have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Cheers! Laura

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ONE GREAT RECIPE WHEN YOUR FRIDGE BITES THE DUST!

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One of today’s nightmares….YOUR FRIDGE DIES!

As you open your refrigerator and there is a distinct dark quiet that overtakes you, you begin to cringe. No hum, no lights…… and you think, “Shit.” Sticking your nose in to hopefully smell nothing,  you immediately feel the carton of milk to gage the temperature. While quickly reaching for the freezer and opening it, you notice that the seafood, steaks, and everything else has begun to defrost….all at once! Quickly surveying the damage, you resort to throwing out the spoiled and attempting to salvage what is left.

Always stocking up on frozen shrimp, I had quite a bit in the freezer as well as a HUGE bag of scallops, a package of andouille sausage …and OKRA! With the help of a small trip to the grocery store, I came up with this delicious recipe.

SEAFOOD GUMBO (SERVES 8) 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 C. diced onion
  • 1 C. diced green pepper
  • 1 C. diced celery
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen and thawed shrimp
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen and thawed scallops
  • 2 C. each of fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1 C. sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained.
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 2 C. fresh or frozen and thawed sliced okra
  • 1/2 C. chipped roma, fresh or canned & drained
  • Chopped scallions & parsley as garnish
  • Cooked rice

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a large dutch oven, saute in 3T olive oil:
  • 1 C. each: diced onion, diced green pepper,  & diced celery 

IN A SEPARATE SKILLET SAUTE:

  • 1 lb. andouille sausage and add to the dutch oven.

STIR IN:

  • 2 C. each of fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1 C. sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained.

ADD:

  • 1 lb. thawed shrimp & scallops and sauce until pink and tender.

SPRINKLE:

  • 1/2 C. flour over top and blend in the mixture, cooking for 1 min.

POUR:

  • 3 C. prepared Chicken broth over top.

SEASON:

  • 1 t. salt
, 1 t. black pepper
, 1/2 t. white pepper
, 1 t. cayenne pepper, 
1 bay leaf

GARNISH:

  • T. scallions, minced T. parsley

SERVE:

  • With Cooked rice

 

Dear Friends,

It would have been easy to cook up the thawing food and freeze it for another day, but it was fun to get creative. The flavors in the recipe blend beautifully and after purchasing a new fridge, I was able to freeze what we hadn’t eaten for another day.  Serve this dish with an ice cold beer or a crisp sauvignon blanc! If you don’t like seafood, chicken is a great substitute.

Stay tuned for the delicious dishes I made with the thawing steak, chicken and other goodies from my freezer.

Cheers to knowing that if this is the worst thing that happens in a day, life is good. Keeping our thoughts and prayers for victims of the hurricane and our soldiers defending our country is so important.

PLEASE remember to thank our police officers, fire fighters, soldiers and anyone else who provides a service to our country and our safety. In an uncertain world, I do try not to take anything for granted.

Every day is a gift.

Thanks for swinging by & Cheers to you!

🍻 Laura

PS: Check out these great finds for your kitchen:

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It’s Not Trifle to Make a Delicious 🍓TRIFLE

Ahhhh Summertime! A time to enjoy days filled with warm sunshine and breezy balmy evenings that we hope will never end. Sipping delicious cocktails with friends on outdoor patios dimly lit with the dancing flames of citronella. It doesn’t get much better than that.

If you are looking for a delicious, refreshing and easy desert, I found this great one on PINTEREST. Often I find great ideas on Pinterest that grace the boards of my own pages, but this one really takes thee cake! This Summer Berry Trifle takes a little prep, but is a beautiful addition to your festive summer celebration! ENJOY!

SUMMER BERRY TRIFLE

SUMMER BERRY TRIFLE
This Summer Berry Trifle is light and a beautiful addition to your summer celebration!

Ingredients 

17 oz angel food cake, cut into 1″ cubes (I used 1 1/2 blocks)
1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 lb fresh blueberries

4 or 5 qt trifle dish or individual clear glass ice cream bowls

Lemon Syrup

1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice (from 1/2 medium lemon)

Frosting 

2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened at room temp
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Lemon Syrup

1. In a measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup water, 2 Tbsp sugar and 2 Tbsp lemon juice and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Trifle Cream…YUM

1. Beat together 1 lb cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar (with the whisk attachment) on medium speed until creamy and smooth. With mixer on, pour in 2 cups heavy cream then turn the mixer to medium/high and continue beating until consistency of whipped cream. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Assemble the Trifle:

1. Place 1/3 of your sliced angel food cake into the bottom of your trifle dish and brush with 1/3 of your syrup. Add 1/3 of your cream and loosely spread it over cake pieces. Add 1/2 of the sliced strawberries. Repeat with remaining ingredients (adding 1/2 of the blueberries for the second fruit layer). Frost the top with last 1/3 of cream and decorate with remaining fruit.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

NOTE…In place of the lemon syrup, any liquor will do such as amaretta, peach schnapps, etc.

Dear Friends,

Thanks so much for swinging by. I hope you enjoy today’s recipe and it finds its way to your next summer celebration.

A friend recently sent me a this great quote about life:Don't Waste Time

Sometimes its easy to get caught up in wasted time worrying about things that don’t matter or can’t be changed. Be your best you, love yourself and live for today.

Until next time, Cheers to you❣️

🍹 Laura

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Gimme S’more Lovin’ this Summer!

Ahhhhh….summertime! Picnics and seasonal celebrations calls for putting a twist on your favorite treats! 

All the ‘fixins’ for a desert s’mores buffet seems like a great idea until the next day when the ants have invaded the delicious droppings from the well intended sweet treat. “What was I thinking,” you remind yourself.  

Well, alas, here is an inviting alternative to the work and the mess while preserving the integrity of the sweet s’more…. S’Mores Cookies which I found in a back issue of Cuisine Magazine.

No more long, hot, dangerous pokers prancing around the fire in the dark, carrying a flaming marshmallow in search of that elusive graham cracker and chocolate. This delicious cookie even looks the part!

S’Mores Cookies

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Enjoy the delicious taste of s’mores without the mess with these S’Mores Cookies!

Makes 4 dozen cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup fine graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. each baking soda and kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (8 Tbsp.)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup each granulated sugar and packed
  • brown sugar 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 24 large marshmallows, halved horizontally or the new flat ones 
  • 48 Hershey’s chocolate bar pieces (4 bars)IMG_8128

Preheat oven to 375°.

  1. Whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Cream butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 5 minutes.
  3. Beat in egg and vanilla until incorporated. Blend in flour mixture on low speed just until incorporated.
  4. Scoop dough with #60
    scoop (about 1 Tbsp.) onto ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake cookies 4 minutes. Top each with a marshmallow half and bake until golden, 4–5 minutes more.
  6. Transfer cookies to cooling racks, press chocolate pieces on top, and let stand 5 minutes. 

Dear Friends, Cheers to summertime, picnics and all of the celebrations that create great memories! I love this s’mores cookie, because the thought of rescuing the little ones from flaming marshmallows and dangerous sharp pokers is relieving at best! Feel free to shop my latest finds for trends in style for home and you!

Cheers and happy baking!

🍷 Laura

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SUMMER SALAD OBSESSION!

IMG_5326Balmy summer nights and all of the wonderful fresh produce have made me hungry for a variety of savory dinner salads. This whole obsession began with Steve, my husband of ten years this month! Steve decided that WE are getting a little chubby……(we???), so he would like to have salads for dinner. Most salads aren’t exactly low cal and diet friendly, however, loving fresh salads and vegetables (we could easily be vegetarians except for and occasional big ass burger:) I accepted the challenge! 

Last night, Steve and I were having a refreshing cocktail on the deck while I grilled the chicken to top our Greek Cobb Salad. So light and flavorful, it was a hit! I plated it on an oval serving dish and we each had our own side. I am not a big egg fan, and Steve isn’t a big cucumber fan, so we each had our own side of the dish! It was perfect! So perfect, in fact, that we ate to the middle and he took the middle for lunch today:)

IMG_5327

On Pinterest this morning, I went a little wild in the salad department. I counted 21 pins on my SALAD BOARD! I decided to hold off until I had time to try a few of the recipes. 

Here’s the favorites!

Greek Cobb Salad

Serves 6 servings 

 

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE, WHISK:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. each fresh lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • FOR THE SALAD, TOSS:
  • 12 chicken tenders, seasoned with salt and black pepper (11/4 lb.)
  • 4 pitas (6-inch), brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and black pepper

Chop:

  • 5 cups chopped hearts of romaine (about 1 head)

ARRANGE:

  • Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush grill grate with oil.
    For the vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, 3 Tbsp. oil, garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. For the salad, toss tenders with 2 Tbsp. vinaigrette, then grill, covered, until cooked through, 3 minutes per side. Transfer tenders to a plate, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Chop tenders, then toss with any residual juices. 
  • grill heat to medium.
    Grill pitas until marks appear,
    1 minute per side. Cut pitas
    into 6 wedges.
    Arrange romaine in a large serving dish. Arrange eggs, tomatoes, feta, olives, red onion,  cucumber, chicken, and pitas on same dish; drizzle vinaigrette over the top.

I am ALL OVER this one for tomorrow night from  Pinterest!

BUFFALO CHICKEN SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE CILANTRO RANCH DRESSING (Adapted from Carlsbad Cravings)IMG_5334

ce484a8bae3633522fc776d82cb1a4f9

Does this look amazing?????

INGREDIENTS

Buffalo Chicken Salad
1 recipe Buffalo Chicken (see below), sliced or chopped
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped (about 8 cups)
Fresh corn kernels from 1 ear of corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large avocado, chopped or sliced

Blue Cheese Cilantro Ranch
1/2 cup real mayonnaise (I use lowfat)
1/2 cup sour cream (may sub Greek yogurt with a pinch of sugar)
3 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup cilantro, packed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons dry parsley
1 teaspoons dry chives
1/2 teaspoons dry dill
milk (as needed)

An easy shortcut would be to use purchased ranch dressing, seasonings & blue cheese crumbles.

Garnish
Blue cheese crumbles
freshly squeezed lime juice
bacon crumbles (optional)

Easy Croutons
1/2 loaf garlic/herb French bread
olive oil

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Buffalo Chicken: Prepare Buffalo Chicken according to directions (see below)
Blue Cheese Cilantro Ranch: While your chicken is marinating, add all of the dressing ingredients to your blender and chop then liquefy until smooth, adding milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Chill until ready to use.
Croutons: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cube bread into bite size pieces and add to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread bread in an even layer onto baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden.
Assemble: If not expecting leftovers, add all of the Salad ingredients to a large bowl and drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss to combine. Garnish with blue cheese crumbles and croutons. If you are expecting leftovers, toss all of the salad ingredient together in a large bowl except avocados. Garnish individual servings with avocados, croutons and dressing.

 

BUFFALO CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS
2-3 chicken breasts (approx. 1 pound), pounded thin
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Buffalo Marinade
1/4 cup Frank’s Hot WINGS Sauce for more heat OR Frank’s ORIGINAL Hot Sauce for less heat
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Buffalo Glaze
Reserved marinade (in directions)
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
INSTRUCTIONS

Whisk together all of the Buffalo Marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Measure out 1/4 cup and add to a shallow dish or freezer bag, along with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add chicken and toss evenly to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 2 hours up to overnight.
To the remaining marinade, make your Buffalo Glaze by whisking in 1 tablespoon honey and 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
STOVETOP DIRECTIONS
Let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (time permitting).
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook, undisturbed for 3-5 minutes, or until nicely browned (or blackened if you prefer) on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 5-7 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Brush chicken with desired amount of glaze – for more heat, more glaze; for less heat, less glaze.
GRILLING DIRECTIONS
Let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (time permitting).
Meanwhile, grease and preheat the grill to medium heat, 375-450°F.
Grill chicken undisturbed for 5-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 155 degrees F.)
Remove chicken from grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Brush chicken with desired amount of glaze – for more heat, more glaze; for less heat, less glaze.
NOTES
*The chicken is flavorful but not very spicy without the glaze. You can completely customize the heat of the chicken by adding more or less glaze. The more glaze the spicier the chicken
*Try tossing the chicken with your favorite BBQ sauce – amazing!
*Chicken is incredible on sandwiches, in wraps, salads, tacos, etc.
*Total time does not include marinating chicken as this time will vary per individual.

I hope you enjoyed today’s read and have a chance to try these amazing main course salads. I always aim for little fuss, and great flavor, so these two have definitely nailed it!

Don’t forget to check out todays shopping!

Cheers! Laura

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WALKING TACOS

You know, I have never heard of a walking taco until I was on a recent visit to Lubbock, Texas. The airport was an experience in itself. 

I had heard that everything in Texas is big, but I just didn’t have a clue exactly what that meant. Surrounded by belt buckles, leather accessories,  Jumbo Texas Fly Swatters, 61qYNzwytXL._SL1200_and cowboy hats of every shape, size & color, I encountered a FRITO PIE STAND!  wild-game-chili-pie

The guy at the stand looked up at me, smiled a crooked smile and announced in his very southern, southern, drawl, “Get your tastebuds ready to buckle up, Little Lady!  What can I get ya?”

Eyeing the spicy chili, jalapeños, and coleslaw, and knowing I was about to board a small plane, I began to rethink my lunch choice. I imagined those poor people around me as my stomach began to rumble and thought better of it.

 “Wellllll,” I politely answered, “I have a flight, so I’m not sure I have the time to eat.”

“I’m happy to fix that!” he pressed on. He proceeded to open a small bag of fritos, and piled on the chili, onions, coleslaw and sour cream, put a fork on top and said, “There you go! On the House!” I graciously took the bag, tipped the guy, and thought to myself, “I need to at least taste this…..” AMAZING!

My Steve LOVES fritos and chili, so I knew he would love this. I hurried back to the stand and asked the guy to make me a few to go, which he was more than happy to oblige!

What happened next is….a Laura story……

Entering the plane, I put the bag of frito pies to go in the overhead bin, making sure the bag was tied tight at the top. Sitting next to me was a young man dressed in a crisp white dress shirt and jeans. As he was telling me about his recent job interview, mid sentence he sniffed his sleeve.  He apologized for his smell, as he had been in the same shirt all day, and had nervous sweat during the interview. This poor guy thought he had B O and he was SO relieved when I told him that it was my fruit pies in the overhead bin! I offered to share one, which he declined, but told him if the plane gets delayed, we will have food!

 

deans-frito-pie

BUFFALO CHICKEN FRITO PIE

Ingredients
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups rotisserie chicken, 1” pieces
1 teaspoon season salt
½ cup frank’s hot sauce or siracha
ÂĽ cup cream
ÂĽ cup butter
½ cup Mexican cheeses
1 bag FRITOS® Original Corn Chips (do not portion)
3-4 tablespoons ranch dressing
ÂĽ cup tomatoes, diced into ÂĽ inch pieces
ÂĽ cup green onions, chopped into ÂĽ inch pieces & sliced jalapeños
GOES GREAT WITH…
FRITOS® Original Corn Chips

Instructions
Add broth and chicken to sauté pan, then season with salt.
Heat until broth is reduced by a little more than half
Add hot sauce and cream, then let reduce
Add butter and half the cheese, and incorporate.
Pour FRITOS Corn Chips into a bowl and top with chicken mixture and remaining cheese.
Drizzle with ranch dressing, then top with green onions, sliced jalapeños  and tomatoes and serve immediately.

 

WALKING TACO

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 ea white onion, diced
2 tbsp garlic, chopped
2 bottles light beer
2 tbsp corn oil
3 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
3 tbsp light chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
32 oz ground tomatoes
1 cup water
Salt and pepper

FOR GARNISH:
2 2 oz bags FRITOS® Original Corn Chips
Sour cream
Shredded Vermont cheddar or mexican shredded cheese
Scallions & prepared coleslaw & sliced jalapeños
GOES GREAT WITH…
FRITOS® Original Corn Chips

 

Instructions
1. Saute Onions and Garlic in oil.
2. Add all ground meats and beer.
3. Cook, until all meat is cooked through.
4. Add spices, Tomatoes, Water, and beef base.
5. Let cook for minimum of one hour over low heat.
6. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.

TO PLATE THE DISH (or fill the bag):
1. Open snack size bags of FRITOS Corn Chips 
2. Ladle hot chili on top.
3. Garnish with sour cream, coleslaw, sliced jalapeños cheddar cheese and scallions. Top it with a fork!

Hola & thanks for swinging by today! Check out these deals from Amazon and try your hand at these amazing walking tacos! You won’t be disappointed.

Until next time, Adios! Laura

DOWNLOAD THE AMAZON PRIME APP FOR AMAZING DAILY DEALS!

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MAKE A MEMORABLE MEMORIAL DAY With these Delicious Dishes

happy memorial day

MEMORIAL DAY IS THE OFFICIAL KICK-OFF TO SUMMER, and if you are fortunate to live where you will have great weather,  all you need is plan A. But if you need to keep PLAN B in place, all it takes is a little planning ahead, so you won’t be caught in the rain without an umbrella!  For large and small crowds, self serve works best and makes for casual fun. Have a long table, (Plan B: clear your sink for serving!) Put paper plates & utensils on one end and leave room for platters & serving utensils. For drinks, I usually put out pitchers of lemonade and water with a bucket of ice on the side. I leave the harder stuff on the sink! My bar is always simple & self-serve! Beer and red & white wine. I love to serve vodka drinks, and if time allows, I may make a pitcher of vodka, cranberry & grapefruit juice.

MEMORIAL DAY IS MORE THAN PICNICS AND PARTIES

Memorial dayThrough all of the picnics and parades celebrating the beginning of summer, we need to remember that Memorial day is a holiday dedicated to honoring those who died while serving in the United States armed forces. I do think that particularly in today’s world, its important to give special thought to those  who have given their lives for us.

I vividly recall my last week of teaching before I retired. The high school choir invited the young students to an end of the year program. Teaching second and third grade for so many years enabled me to watch the children grow into young adults, having babies of their own. The very last performance on this day was a slide show of all of the former students who had graduated from our district and were in the armed forces as well as a remembrance those who had lost their lives. During this, the performing students sang the song, “I’m Coming Home” by Skylar Gray. I can tell you that every teacher in that auditorium worked hard to fight back tears quite unsuccessfully. I just remember thinking how unjust it is to find those who our lives had touched, were lost. 

On a happier note:

GETTING READY FOR THE KICK-OFF TO SUMMER CELEBRATION just takes a little planning. memorial day pic

Here is my list:

L. PLAN THE MENU

The menu should be simple summer food! Ribs, BBQ chicken, burgers, hot dogs, steak, fruit, and all kinds of salads, are popular this time of year. A great secret to entertaining is to make everything ahead, leaving only the grilling to do. That way, you can enjoy your guests and the fruits of your delicious cooking! Also, if someone offers to bring something, LET THEM! Many people wonder if its polite to assign a special dish, such as salad, desert, an appetizer. I do believe that if an offer is made to make your life simpler, they won’t mind. I’m also great with shortcuts! To save time, purchase the dip for the veggie tray, or frozen corn for the salad. My menus are all make ahead so you can enjoy your party and your guests!

FRESH VEGETABLE APPETIZER PLATTER WITH HUMMUS STUFFED CUCUMBER ROUNDS 
Cucumber Cup Veggie tray

This is a simple appetizer that you can make ahead and looks beautiful on your table. Below are recipes for the hummus and ranch dip, but feel free to use store-bought to save time!

 

FOR THE VEGGIE TRAY

  1. Unwrap the plastic covering on the english cucumber, rinse & cut into 1 1/2 in. slices.
  2. Using a melon scooper, carefully scoop out the center of each cucumber slice, being careful not to pierce the bottom. Cucumber cups
  3. Fill a pastry bag or a baggie with humus. If using a baggie, cut a small corner from the bottom of the bag to substitute for a pastry bag. (I love this shortcut because you can toss the bag for EASY cleanup:)
  4. Pipe the humus into each cucumber cup. Garnish with sliced red pepper.
  5. Slice a yellow pepper lengthwise, remove seeds & fill one side with ranch dip & the other with sliced red peppers.
  6. Cover & refrigerate.

FOR THE HUMUS (You can use store-bought if you prefer)

  • 1 C. dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained, or canned
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 6 C. water
  • 1/3 C. tahini
  • 1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
  • 8 ice cubes
  • 1 chopped clove garlic
  • salt to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Stir chickpeas & baking soda in a pot over high heat for 2 min. Add water & bring to a boil, skimming any foam or skins that float to the surface. Boil till tender, 20 min. Drain & cool.
  2. Pulse chickpeas in a food processor, adding tahini, lemon juice, ice & garlic.
  3. Process until smooth. Season with salt & drizzle with oil.

FOR THE RANCH DIP

Mix together & refrigerate:

  • 3/4 C. sour cream
  • 1/2 C. mayonnaise
  • 1/3 C. chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 C. chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 t. minced garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste

 

GRILLED ITALIAN SAUSAGE SANDWICHES WITH ,VIDALIA ONIONS, RED & YELLOW PEPPERS 

Roasting the peppers & onions saves huge time and mess in your kitchen. Grill the sausages ahead and combine to keep warm in the oven, or ‘man the grill’ before serving!
Italian Sausage and peppers

  • 3 large vidalia or sweet onions cut into large chunks
  • 6 red, yellow & orange peppers, sliced
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3-19 oz. packages of sweet, hot or a combination italian sausages.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine onions, peppers, olive oil & salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. Pour into a roasting pan making sure they are spread evenly into the pan.
  4. Place in the oven for 30-40 min. tossing constantly for even cooking.
  5. Grill the sausages, browning evenly on all sides.
  6. When ready to serve, place onion mixture in a long platter. Place the sausages on top & serve with a side basket of buns. 

CORN SALAD WITH CILANTRO, LIME & HONEY

Corn salad

This is a switch on serving corn on the cobb at your picnic. This time of year, seasonal corn may not be available, so this is a great do-ahead delicious side! You can make this with fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed sweet corn.

  • 6 C. fresh corn kernels, or frozen, thawed
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2T. fresh lime juice
  • 2 t. honey
  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 T.each diced onion & red pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Blanch fresh corns in boiling water 2 min. & drain. Rinse in cold water & dry in a salad spinner & place in a bowl. If using frozen corn, thaw, drain & dry in a salad spinner.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, honey & cayenne for the vinaigrette.
  3. Toss together corn, vinaigrette, cilantro, onion & red pepper, season with salt & black pepper. 

 

CAESAR POTATO SALAD 

This is a nice twist on the traditional side of potato salad & caesar salad, combined with all of the great flavors of both!

  • 1 1/2 lb. red potatoes unpeeled & cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 T.  extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 t. sugar
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 1/2 t. anchovy paste, optional
  • ground pepper
  • 1 C. romaine leaves cut into strips
  • 1 C. salad croutons, store-bought or homemade
  1. Boil potatoes & egg in salted water  12-15 min. Drain & set aside
  2. Combine lemon juice, oil, Parmesan, mustard, sugar, garlic, anchovy paste, & pepper in a bowl.
  3. Toss hot potatoes in dressing and let stand for 10 min. 
  4. Add romaine & croutons.
  5. Serve salad warm or at room temperature.

S’MORE COOKIES 

Delicious and festive! These cookies have all the taste and look of the real thing without the mess!

smores cookies

FOR THE COOKIES:

  • 1 C. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 C. fine graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 t. each baking soda & kosher salt
  • 1 stick softened unsalted butter (8 T)
  • 1/2 C. peanut utter
  • 1/2 C. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C. packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 24 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally
  • 28 Hershey’s chocolate ba pieces (4bars)
  1. Preheat oven to 375*
  2. Whisk flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda & salt together in a bowl
  3. Cream together  butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar & brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed 5 min. until light & fluffy:
  4. Beat in egg & vanilla.:
  5. Blend in flour mixture on low-speed just until incorporated.
  6. Scoop dough with #60 scoop (about 1 T.) onto ungreased baking sheets.
  7. Bake cookies 4 min, top each with a marshmallow half & bake until golden 4-5 min. more.
  8. Transfer cookies to cooling racks & press chocolate pieces on top.
  9. Let stand until set, 5-10 min.

I hope you have a wonderful and memorable Memorial Day with these favorite and flavorful dishes of mine. I’d love to hear about your celebration and feel free to share your favorites as well! I can put them in my next post!

Cheers! Laura

happy memorial day