Saturday, October 15, 2011

Layered Salad


1 bunch Spinach
1 head of romaine, torn
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 large cucumber, sliced and diced
2 tomatoes, sliced and diced
1 can sliced olives (I used a big can of olives & sliced them)
1 handful sunflower seeds
2 big handfuls frozen peas
1 bunch green onions
1/2 red onion
grated cheese (I used grated mozzarella)

Other items to consider adding in could be hard-boiled eggs, diced ham, shredded or sliced carrots, bacon bits, avocado chunks, sliced mushrooms, broccoli, small pasta, corn, etc.

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Ranch Dressing Ingredients:
1 cup mayo (I used the mayo with olive oil as ingredient)
1/2 cup milk
1 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons lime juice)
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (ignore directions on packet)
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 cup green salsa (I used Herdez brand)

For dressing, combine mayo, milk, lime juice and ranch packet in a blender and mix.  Add in cilantro and green salsa and blend thoroughly.  Put in fridge so it can thicken up a bit.

For salad, layer ingredients in a trifle type glass bowl.  If you don't like certain ingredients (or don't have them on-hand), then leave them out.  Pour dressing over top of the salad so that it is completely covered.  I didn't use all of the dressing so I saved some in a tupperware for later use.  Cover with plastic wrap and put the salad in the fridge until ready to serve.

P.S.  The salad picture is just a stock photo, not an actual picture of my salad.  But it give you the idea of what a layered salad should look like.

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Ranch Dressing

1 cup mayo (I used the healthier mayo with olive oil as ingredient)
1/2 cup milk (I used non-fat)
1 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons lime juice)
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (ignore directions on packet)
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro (remove the stems)
1/4 cup green salsa (I used Herdez brand)

Put mayo, milk, lime juice and ranch packet in blender and mix.  Add cilantro, garlic and salsa and blend more.  Refrigerate for a while before serving so that it thickens.  Not sure how long this dressing will last because it disappears quickly in our house!  This is a knock off of a dressing they use at Cafe Rio and is delicious on a Mexican salad or a Layered Salad (or any salad really!).

(Recipe from "Our Best Bites" cookbook)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chocolate Waffles with Berry Sauce

I got this recipe from "Our Best Bites" and quadrupled it for my family. The quadrupled recipe made about 14-15 large waffles.  I will freeze all the leftovers for the boys to eat another day.  Next time I may try using wheat flour but it might wreck the light, fluffy texture. We'll see.

Here's the original recipe which would make 3-4 waffles.

2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (I left that out)
1 cup milk (I used nonfat)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (I used real vanilla like always)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I left those out because I didn't want chocolate overload)

Berry Sauce and Topping
1/4 cup raspberry or strawberry jam
2 tablespoons hot water (I just used warm tap water)
3 cups berries,any combination, fresh or frozen
Powdered sugar to taste (I didn't add any)

To make the berry sauce...
In a saucepan I just combined jam (or was it jelly that I had on-hand?), water and some sliced strawberries that I had bought fresh a week or two ago and that were in the freezer. I warmed the mixture up on low while preparing the waffles.

To make the waffles...
Preheat the waffle iron. Whisk together all dry ingredients in one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Let sit til the wet ingredients get a little frothy. Slowly add wet mixture to dry mixture and don't overmix. Add chocolate chips if desired. Batter will be thin. The recipe said not to grease the waffle iron but my first waffle stuck so I sprayed waffle iron with Pam before each waffle and it worked better. Use a ladle to put batter into the iron. Do not overfill or it will leak and you'll have a huge mess to clean up like I just did! Bake according to your waffle iron's instructions.

Serve with berry sauce on top and whipped cream if desired. My husband also tried putting peanut butter on his waffle which was also yummy. These waffles could also be used as a dessert if served with ice cream.

Huge hit with the kiddos!  Even my picky eater complimented the chef :)

Cinnamon Swirl Cake

My friend Tanya made this for us and it was delicious!

Cake Mixture:
1 Yellow Cake Mix (or white)
4 eggs
1/2 cup of oil
1/4 cup of water
8 oz. container of sour cream (1 cup)
1 small package of instant vanilla pudding (not made up)

Cinnamon Mixture:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 to 2 tsp cinnamon

Mix well. Grease and flour bunt pan. Pour half of cake mixture in. Take half of cinnamon mixture and sprinkle it over the layer of cake. Pour other half of cake mix in and then top with cinnamon mixture again. Take a knife and go almost all the way down and swirl it around so cinnamon mixes in (zig zag). Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool for around 10 minutes and then flip over on plate and serve warm with ice cream if desired. Tastes great the next day cold.