Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pig Picking Cake

The title comes from the south. Something about BBQ, I think. Yes, the name is grody, but the cake is amazing, perfect for the summer. Trust me.

1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
2 (11 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (15 ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 (16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 - 8 inch pans.
2. Prepare cake mix according to package directions with the addition of mandarin oranges and nuts. Pour into 3 - 8 inch pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.
3. To make the filling: In a large bowl, combine crushed pineapple with juice and pudding mix. Fold in the whipped topping. Spread between cooled cake layers. Chill in refrigerator

Or, if you don't feel like doing a layer cake, just put the thing in a 9x13 and put the filling on top for frosting. Not as pretty, but much simpler in the heat.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

2 EASY Summer Recipes to help beat the heat!

Hey everyone! Been keeping meals simple and cool for the summer. Here are two easy faves we've been enjoying. Both very adaptable to what you have on hand.

Romaine Caeser Wraps
(Courtesy of the the Tanimura & Antle bag at Costco!) ;-)

  • 2 heads of romaine hearts
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken (approx. two 8oz boneless chicken breasts-- but canned chicken is so worth it for summer-- who wants to spend time cooking in a hot kitchen??!)
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (mmm Parmesan! Actually, I substituted mozzerella once and we fell in love with it so we use that a lot instead)
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup creamy Caesar dressing (I usually use Ranch just cuz we have it on hand.. of course, then you can't call it a "Caeser Wrap")
  • 8 9-ince flour tortillas, plain or flavored
  • Anything else you have on hand that sounds good and doesn't require cooking! Last night we had avocado in ours-- thanks Tia for the avococado tool-- freakin' amazing!!!!!! ;-)

  1. Chop Romain hearts into bite-size pieces: place in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients, except tortillas, and toss well to coat.
  2. Soften tortillas in microwave oven (about 20 seconds on high)
  3. To make wraps, place tortillas on plates and spoon Casear salad along center. Drizzle with additional dressing if desired. Roll tortilla from one side, burrito style, folding bottome up and in to hold in salad. Repeat for remaining tortillas. Makes 4-6 servings.
  4. Eat 'em up while they're nice and crunchy!

If you want to turn some delicious summer fruit into something a little more special:

Lime-Ginger Honeydew

  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 large honeydew melon, cut in chunks (approx 10 cups)
  • 1/3 cup Sugar & 3 Tbsp water
  1. Bring 1/3 cup sugar and 3 Tbsp water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat; stir to dissolve sugar. Refrigerate 5 minutes to cool.
  2. Grate zest and juice lim. Stir 2 tsp zest, 1 Tbsp lime juice and the ginger into the sugar syrup. Pour over melon chunks and stir gently with a rubber spatula to mix and coat.
  3. INDULGE! =)
I rarely have everything on hand for this (fresh ginger and limes). For a cheater version of this I will just blend up some honey, bottled lime juice and powdered ginger, then toss in the honeydew and coat. A bit different, but very tasty. I love honey on fruit! The lime zest really does add a nice dimension if you're choosing between buying lime or fresh ginger.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Sort-of Cafe Rio Steak Salad

Dying for the Cafe Rio, I adapted a recipe from ~j for the dressing. (Because I am lazy and do not want to measure.)

So, take a good cut of steak--strip or skirt or whatever, but not very fatty. Cut it into strips. Put a round of Olive Oil in a skillet, and put the strips in. Sprinkle about 3 T cumin and a package of Sazon on top. Fry over medium heat intil done as you like. (We likes the rare, so we cooks for about 4 minutes.)

In a blender mix:
1 block of cream cheese (we used the fat free ghetto kind)
2 T sour cream
7 oz (the little can with the pop top) of tomatillo salsa. You can get this in the salsa section--don't need to be fancy, just get the one that costs 67 cents.
1 pkt of Sazon
as much cilantro as you want

Add water if you want it watery-er. Add spices if you want it spicier.

Get your lazy bag of salad, throw it in a bowl, add some black beans and some choppy vegies if you have them, the steak, and the sauce.

15 minutes max.