Monday, August 29, 2016

BLT Pasta #secretrecipeclub

It's back to school! Can you believe it?  Labor day is knocking out our doors.  I am not sure where the summer has gone but I will say I am ready for Fall. Hooded Sweatshirts.  Apple cider. Yep, count me in.

But before we bid summer good-bye the Secret Recipe Club is back for a special themed posting to celebrate quick snacks and meals. Perfect for those busy and stressful weeknights. 

I was assigned Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm.  A fellow former Group D member and a member of the ‪#‎thebookclubcookbookCC I have had the pleasure of reading her blog off and on for many years. Besides all of her blogging duties she stays busy with a grandchild, foreign exchange students, and a working farm with raising animals and fruit trees and vegetables. Some day we hope to be able to raise some animals and have a much larger garden. Not only does homemade/homegrown taste much better but it is so much fun to be able to show Miss O where the food we eat comes from.  I don't know how Wendy keeps it all up. 

After a bit of hunting I found this pasta dish. I always find pasta quick and easy plus super comforting.  I liked this one because it had some bacon and veggies. Meat for my man and veggies for all. Plus who doesn't like a BLT sandwich. This pasta is a BLT pasta.  Yum right?

This meal is perfect for a stressful evening. While the pasta is cooking you whip up some bacon and then saute the tomatoes, onions and spinach in the bacon grease. Once everything is cooked up you toss together along with some herb oil.  Fast and oh so delicious. 

Beside the pasta I also eyed these wonderful Salmon burgers and apple cider bundt cake and brownie hot fudge sundaes. Too bad you cannot live off of brownie hot fudge sundaes for too long.

BLT Pasta

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: entree bacon pasta tomato
Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 3/4 lb. Rotini (or whatever pasta you have on hand)
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, diced
  • 1 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pkg. organic baby spinach leaves
  • 2 T. flavored dipping oil or olive oil mixed with 1 t. Italian Herbs
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese for sprinkling 
Cook the pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is boiling, cook bacon in large skillet over med high heat until crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel. Pour off all but 1 T. of the bacon grease.

Return pan to burner over med high heat, add onions to pan and cook until tender, stirring to loosen any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook until slightly softened. Add the spinach and toss until wilted.

Drain the pasta and immediately toss it with the vegetables. Add the dipping oil and toss to coat. Serve with the grated cheese.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps

Not sure how it came to be Wednesday already.  Where does the time go?  We have so many things going on right now it is no wonder I don't remember the days.  We are in the midst of a bathroom renovation. The demo is complete and now it is time to put everything back together. We started car shopping.  I forgot how much I HATE car shopping.  And then there is the real work stuff with trips in and out of Cleveland every other week. 

With everything going on I am all about quick and easy these days. Oh yes, recipes must also not use the oven.  Connecticut is still hot and humid.  These Asian Beef Lettuce wraps were a way to use up some ground beef without making burgers.  The result was an easy recipe with amazing flavor.  It was a great new week day meal to switch things up a bit. Filling but not too heavy in your stomach. We made it for dinner but you could easily have smaller portions for party appetizers.  

Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: saute entree appetizer ground beef Chinese
Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 16 leaves Boston Bibb lettuce
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1⁄4 cup Hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside.

In a medium skillet over high heat, brown the ground beef in 1 tablespoon of oil, stirring often. Drain, and set aside to cool.

Cook the onion in the same pan, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar, and chili pepper sauce to the onions, and stir. Stir in chopped green onions, and sesame oil, and continue cooking until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.

To plate, arrange lettuce leaves on plate and pile meat mixture in the center. Serve with rice if desired. Wrap the lettuce around the meat like a burrito.
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Friday, August 12, 2016

Frozen Hot Chocolate

The dog days of summer are here. It is hot and humid.  The weather has been like this for a few days now and the forecast is to continue through next week.  Yuck!  We don't have A/C and all I want to do is seat under a fan and not move.  Life doesn't really allow for this; life with a toddler certainly doesn't.  If I can convince Miss O to stay near me under the fan it is normally because she is on top of me.  A hot little baby on your lap does not help. 

Typically I can have hot chocolate year round. I love the stuff. It is my special little treat without being too indulgent.  Even in the summer I probably have a mug once a week.  Well this week the heat has won and I couldn't image drinking anything room temperature let along hot.  Good thing there is a such a thing as frozen hot chocolate. 

I whipped this up the other afternoon when I happened to have the house to myself.  I drank and drank and drank and sat under the fan. Now if only this could continue each day even after the heat let's up. 

Now if you are looking for hot chocolate this is not it.  It is more liked a whipped frozen chocolate drink. Certainly good but not quite hot chocolate.  The whipped cream and chocolate toppings make it extra special.

Frozen Hot Chocolate

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: blender dessert beverage chocolate
Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups ice
  • Whipped cream
  • Shavings from a semisweet chocolate bar or mini chocolate chips.
Combine the sugar, dry milk powder, cocoas, and salt in a small bowl.

Pour the milk into a blender. Add the dry mixture and ice. Blend until all the ice is crushed and the drink is smooth.

Pour into a large goblet or two 16-ounce glasses. Top the drink with whipped cream and shavings from a semisweet chocolate bar.

Pour into two cups and top with whipped cram and chocolate shavings.
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