Yesterday was my 67th birthday and it was a nice, quiet one. Spent most of the day lounging around in my PJ’s (YES! I did!) Husband & I went out to dinner at Outback Steak House and enjoyed a very filling dinner. We both ordered Porterhouse steaks, I had broccoli with cheese (REALLY good), and Parmesan/garlic fries (not so much, ho-hum – husband ate them). We also ordered the Blooming Onion for the appetizer (LOVE those!). While we were waiting for the bill the waitress brought a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with some really yummy (homemade) whipped cream, a maraschino cherry & a tiny candle! That was a tasty surprise (shared with husband, of course). Lots of cards & get well wishes (on Facebook there were 91 Happy Birthday wishes – WOW! Didn’t know I HAD 91 friends – surprise!)
Today is my ‘catch up’ day – suddenly realized that the end of this month is quickly approaching and that means the next issue of my special needs group’s newsletter! This next week is pretty full of things to do so guess I’ll use today to get most of the newsletter set up/envelopes addressed-return labeled-stamped, etc. Also hit me that I’m up for bringing Sunday School snacks this Sunday – have NO CLUE for those; might just go to Gordon Foods & get the ready-made breakfast sweets – we’ll see.
Peanut Butter 7-Layer Bars
3/4 C. graham crackers
1/4 C. butter, melted
2/3 rds of a 14 oz can sweetened
1/2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 C. peanut butter chips
2 ROLO caramels, cut into 4’s
1 C. sweetened coconut, shredded
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place graham crackers in food
processor; grind into crumbs; add
melted butter & stir in with fork.
Line a 8 X 8″ pan with parchment
paper. Pour crumbs into pan &
press flat using your fingers. Sprinkle
on choc. chips, peanut butter chips,
Rolo candies & coconut. Pour sweetened
cond. milk over top as evenly as you can.
Bake 25-30 minutes until bubbly & edges
are golden brown. Remove from oven, cool
bars completely before cutting.
2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled/grated
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, peeled/ thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32 oz) can/carton chicken stock
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 T. basil, minced
8 lasagna noodles
4 cooked Italian sausages, casings
1 C. mozzarella cheese, grated
In large pot heat olive oil; add onion,
carrot, celery, zucchini & garlic; saute
until veggies are tender, approx. 5-7
minutes. Pour in chicken stock, tomatoes,
tomato sauce & basil; bring to boil. Once
boiling, break lasagna noodles into small
pieces & add to pot. Cook until noodles
are tender, approx. 12-15 minutes. Slice
cooked sausage in half lengthwise then
cut into small pieces; add to soup &
continue to boil another 5 minutes.
Equally divided soup into 4 bowls &
sprinkle 1/4 C. mozzarella cheese on top
of each bowl when serving. Serves 4
Easy Zucchini Chips
1 large zucchini
nonstick cooking spray
Preheat oven 225 degrees F
Slice zucchini thin (1/4 – 1/8″)
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick
spray. Lay out all zucchini chips; spray
lightly with nonstick spray. Sprinkle
Bake 45 minutes – 2 hours until they
get to right level of crispness for you.
Eat within 2-3 hours.
Greek Tortellini Salad
1 (20 oz.) pkg. refrigerated cheese
1 1/2 C. grape tomatoes, halved
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 C. kalamata olives, pit removed &
1/2 red onion, chopped
3/4 C. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 C. olive oil
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
salt/pepper, to taste
Cook tortellini accordg to pkg.
directions; drain & rinse with cold
water then place in large bowl. Add
tomatoes, cucumber, olives, onion &
feta cheese. In small bowl whisk
together olive oil, garlic, oregano,
salt/pepper – pour over salad & stir
until salad is well coated. Serve
immediately or refrigerate 1 hour,
your choice. This salad will keep
in fridge up to 3 days. Serves 8
Rice Pilaf with Almonds
1 3/4 C. rice (long grain)
1/4 C. carrots, finely chopped
1/4 C. celery, finely chopped
4 T. butter
4 1/2 C. broth
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 C. sliced almonds
Place 2 T. butter into large hot skillet.
When butter has melted add vegetables
& rice to hot pan; stir together to combine.
Cook rice & veggies until some of rice
turns golden brown. Add broth, a little
salt/pepper & bring to a boil, then reduce
heat to medium. Cover pan & simmer about
15 minutes until all rice has cooked through.
Remove pan from heat & add 2 T. butter,
sliced almonds & parsley flakes; stir to
combine. Taste & adjust salt & pepper.
Crockpot Salsa Chicken
1 1/2 lb. chicken breasts, boneless/
skinless (or any cut of chicken you
1 1/2 C. salsa
1 1/2 C. shredded cheese (Mexican Blend)
fresh chopped cilantro
Lightly spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Place chicken in crockpot; pour salsa
over & cook on High 2 hours.
Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Place chicken in lightly sprayed baking dish &
cover with salsa from crockpot, draining all
liquid. Top with cheese & bake 15 minutes.
(sauce & cheese will begin to bubble when done)
Serve with choice of sides.Â Serves 6
Chicken Macaroni Salad
1 lb. dry elbow macaroni
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 C. chopped celery
2 C. mayonnaise
4 C. cooked chicken, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
In large pot of boiling water, cook
macaroni 7-9 minutes (just until
tender); drain/rinse & let cool.
In large bowl combine cooled
macaroni with remaining ingredients;
mix well. Cover & refrigerate at least
1 hour before serving. Serves 12
Butter Cake Bars
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick (1/2 C.) butter, melted
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 (1 lb) bag powdered sugar-
(about 3 3/4 C.)
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
LIne a 8″ X 8″ baking dish with
parchment paper. In large bowl
mix cake mix, melted butter &
1 egg until a soft dough forms.
Press dough into prepared dish.
Using stand mixer, combine cream
cheese, 2 eggs, sugar & vanilla
until smooth; spread over cake
mix layer. Bake 45 minutes until
edges are golden brown & center
has set to a soft consistency. Cool
completely before slicing into
bars & serving.
How are your gas prices? I nearly went into
shock the other day when I saw it went up
another 10 cents a gallon – right now the
cheapest is sitting at $3.09/9. Yes, I realize
it was much higher last year, but I was
really hoping it would stay in the $2 something
range (a girl can hope, can’t she?). I
reluctantly bought $25 yesterday to
bring my tank up to half in the hopes
that it will drop soon and I can then
fill it up – we’ll see.
Tonight is my special needs group’s last
Gym Night until Fall and we’re having a
Sock Hop in the gym, complete with
vanilla milk shakes topped with
whipped cream & maraschino cherries;
I think the kids will love it – there’s a
live DJ playing 50’s music. Our kids love
to get together and dancing is one of
their favorites; even if they don’t dance,
it should be fun just enjoying the
atmosphere (believe me – I’ll be on the
sidelines just watching them have fun!).
We’ve been blessed these past few days
with very little rain – just a few sprinkles;
the ground is very wet, haven’t had to
water my herbs & hanging basket at
all for a good 4-5 days. Really hoping
the rains hold off for next weekend –
that’s my big fun time at the historical
society’s “Log Cabin Days” – two days
of outdoor fun sitting under a
pavillion knitting or crocheting (in costume).
Speaking of that – last night it occurred to
me that if I’m going to be in early 1900’s
costume I should try to be some-what
authentic – I had been given some really
beautiful rosewood knitting needles by
a friend who is moving to a motor home
and selling all their possessions. She
gifted me with her mother’s needles –
so I’ll be knitting with really nice rose-
wood needles. While thinking about that
it also occurred to me that I won’t be
carrying a purse for my wallet & cell
phone – sometime in the next few days
I’m going to throw together (read that
‘attempt to sew’) a plain cloth draw-
string bag to hang from my waist – I’m
NO seamstress but should be able to do
that without any trouble – we’ll see.
Guess I’d better get off here and get
started putting together the newsletter,
right? Hope you have a great (dry) day
and are able to enjoy the summer
weather a bit.