Monday, July 22, 2013

Black Bean Pasta Salad

Looking for a yummy summer salad to perk up your picnic?  Look no further!  I have a hard time resisting a pretty colorful salad, and this one just looked like a party.  It tasted pretty good, too.  I did take some liberties by adding a bit of salt, pepper, paprika and a couple others things, because I felt it was pretty bland on it's own.  I will confess that my kids weren't crazy about this one.  Just too much going on I guess, and I couldn't get them to really eat it.  I liked it, but be warned that it makes a big batch, (or probably more like: I don't messure very carefully and it all grows... a lot) so unless you have a crowd, you might want to half it... or eat the left over for a couple meals after like me. :)

Black Bean Pasta Salad (Kraftfoods)
2 cups  shell macaroni, uncooked (I used whole wheat pasta)
1 can  (15 oz.) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 can  (7 oz.) corn, drained
1 can  (4 oz.) chopped green chiles, drained
½ cup  chopped celery
½ cup  chopped onion
¼ cup  KRAFT Mayonesa con Limón (I just added a little lemon juice to regular mayo and I think it worked fine.)
(I also added 1 red bell pepper- I think it really enhanced taste and look.)
(Defeintely add some sald and pepper or other seasonings, to taste.)

COOK macaroni as directed on pkg.; drain.
ADD remaining ingredients; mix lightly. Cover.
REFRIGERATE several hours or until chilled.


Substitute canned garbanzo or pinto beans for the black beans.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Lip Smackin' Ribs

Who needs a grill when you've got a crockpot to make those ribs tender and juicy!  These ribs were tasty and VERY easy to prepare.  They are a perfect 4th of July picnic dish, because while your slow cooker is doing the work, you have time to prepare some yummy side dishes and visit, PLUS you end up with "Lip Smakin' Ribs" in the end. Yum!
Happy 4th!

(I know this is probably a crime to admit, but I actually don't much care for ribs.  Yes, the meat is great, so much work to get to-- and so messy.  It just seems like a lot of fat, bone, and tendon.  I think when I try this recipe again, I will get a boneless cut of pork and enjoy it a whole lot more.  Mind you, this is just between you and me. :)

Lip Smackin' Ribs (Simple and Delicious)
3 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup prepared mustard
2 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons dried savory
1 teaspoon salt

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Brown ribs in batches; transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours or until meat is tender. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutritional Facts
1 serving equals 474 calories, 20 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 109 mg cholesterol, 1,117 mg sodium, 43 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 31 g protein.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Best Red Velvet Cake

I never have quite enough food coloring to make a truly red Red Velvet cake... It's kind of tragic really.  They always end up more of a pinkish hue; however, what they lack in color, they make up for in flavor. :)  Or at least, that is what I like to tell myself.  I was in a hurry, so I didn't want to make the cake completely from scratch, but I also didn't want it to taste like a cake mix.  This one met both demands and turned out pretty good.  I think the addition of these different ingredients really dressed it up.  Just make sure you have enough red food coloring. :)  I thought it would be fun to add blueberries to the mix and make it kind of a festive patriotic dessert.  
Happy Independence Day!

The Best Red Velvet Cake (The Cake Mix Doctor)
Solid vegetable oil shortening, for greasing the pans
Flour, for dusting the pans
1 (18.5-ounce) package plain butter recipe golden cake mix
2 ½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease 3 9-inch round cake pans with shortening, then dust with flour. Shake out excess flour and set the pans aside.

Place the cake mix, cocoa powder, buttermilk, food coloring, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, baking soda and vinegar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until ingredients are incorporated, 1 minute. Stop machine and scrape down side of bowl with rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes longer, scraping the side of the bowl again if needed. The batter should look well-blended. Divide batter evenly among 3 prepared pans, about 1 ½ cups batter per pan, smoothing the tops with rubber spatula. Place pans in the oven. If your oven is not large enough to hold 3 pans on center rack, place 2 on that rack and one in the center of the rack above.

Bake cake layers until they just start to pull away from the sides of the pans and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, 17 to 21 minutes. The layer on the higher rack may bake faster so test it for doneness first.

Transfer cake pans to wire racks and cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edge of each layer and give the pans a good shake to loosen cakes. Invert each layer onto a wire rack, then invert it again onto another rack so the cakes are right side up. Let the layers cool completely. Make frosting.

To assemble the cake, transfer one cake layer, right side up, to a serving platter. Spread the top with some of the frosting. Place a second cake layer, right side up, on top of the first and frost the top. Repeat this process with the third layer. Frost the side of the cake with a thin coat just to set the crumbs. Use the remaining frosting to go back over this and liberally frost the side, working with smooth, clean strokes. To make slicing easier, place uncovered cake in the refrigerator until frosting sets, 20 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
Place 1 (8-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese and 1 stick (8 tablespoons) of room-temperature butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Stop machine and scrape down side of bowl with rubber spatula. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 4 cups sifted powdered sugar; beat on medium speed until well combined. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat the frosting for 1 minute longer.

Posted by Picasa