Once again we have a nice, sunny day – in the low 60’s with a slight breeze. Looking at the forecast for tomorrow, it’s saying high of 71 degrees F. – WOW! Seeing lots of flowers/trees in bloom: forsythia, tulips, daffodils, narcissus, Star of Bethlehem and something I haven’t seen since I was very young: Bittersweet! If you’re not familiar with this plant/bush, they produce tiny orange berries within a sort of paper-like outer coating. There is a house in our neighborhood directly across from where our community mailbox is and I spotted their little Bittersweet bush (it’s only about 3 1/2 feet tall). I remember we had one growing up, if I remember correctly it was growing up a type of wooden trellis to support it. If you’re not familiar with what they look like, here’s a photo (off the ‘net’):
For me, it was a ‘bittersweet’ moment, being able to draw from my (very old) memory of the name of this plant. If I’m correct, they are mostly used in flower arrangements; the berries (to my knowledge) are not edible.
At yesterday’s Wake for my husband’s cousin they served these (LOVE them!):
(sometimes called “Cheesy Potatoes)
1 stick salted butter
1 (28-32 oz) bag frozen shredded
hash brown potatoes
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/4 C. flour
1 C. milk
2 C. chicken broth
1 1/2 C. grated Monterey Jack
1 C. sour cream
1/2 C. grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 C. kettle-cooked potato chips
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease 9 X 13″ pan with 1 T. butter.
Heat large, deep skillet over medium-
high heat – melt 6 T. butter. Add onions
& cook, stirring occasionally, until they
start to soften, 3-4 minutes. Spinkle
flour over onions & stir to incorporate.
Cook 1-2 minutes to cook out raw flour
but do not let it color. Whisk in milk,
getting out all lumps; bring to simmer
& allow to thicken, about 3 minutes.
Season salt/pepper. Turn off heat & stir
in Mont. Jack cheese, sour cream &
Cheddar. Add hash browns & mix
everything together – place in
prepared baking dish. Melt remaining
1 T. butter in small pan; place potato
chips & Parm. in a bowl & crush chips.
Pour in melted butter & toss to coat.
Sprinkle crumbs over top of potatoes.
Cover with foil & bake 20 minutes;
remove foil & bake until golden brown
on top & bubbling around edges,
about 15 minutes more. Let rest
15 minutes before serving. Serves 12
Shrimp Scampi with Linguine
1 T. salt plus 1 1/2 tsp.
3/4 lb. linguine pasta
3 T. unsalted butter
2 1/2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 T. minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 lb. large shrimp (about 16)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/3 C. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 lemon, zest grated
1/4 C. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 lemon, thinly sliced into half-
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
In a large pot of salted, boiling water
drizzle some oil. Add 1 T. salt & linguine,
cook 7-10 minutes (accordg. to pkg.
directions). In another large, heavy-
bottomed pan melt butter & olive oil
over medium-low heat. Add garlic, saute
1 minute. Add shrimp, 1 1/2 tsp. salt &
pepper – saute until shrimp have just
turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring
often. Remove from heat, add parsley,
lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices &
red pepper flakes – toss to combine. When
pasta is done, drain & place back in pot.
Immediately add shrimp & sauce; toss
well & serve. Serves 3
(recipe: foodnetwork – Ina Garten)
Bacon-Tomato Dip in a Bread Bowl
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, room temp
1/4 C. mayonnaise
1 medium tomato, peeled/chopped
8 strips bacon, cooked/crumbled
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 round bread loaf (1/2 lb), unsliced
assorted crackers, for dipping
In small bowl beat cream cheese & mayo.
until smooth. Stir in tomato, bacon, basil
& pepper. Cover & refrigerate 1 hour. Cut a
1 1/2 inch thick slice off top of bread; set
slice aside. Carefully hollow out loaf, leaving
a 1/2 inch shell. Cut removed bread into cubes.
Fill shell with dip. Serve with bread cubes &
crackers. Makes 2 cups/serves 16
Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
2 boneless skinless chicken breast
halves, cut into thin strips
4 oz. linguine, cooked al dente
2 tsp. cajun seasoning *
2 T. butter or margarine
1 thinly sliced green onion
1-2 C. heavy whipping cream
2 T. chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
Place chicken & cajun seasoning in
a bowl – toss to coat. In large skillet
over medium heat, saute chicken in
butter or margarine until chicken is
tender, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce
heat, add green onion, heavy cream,
tomatoes, basil, salt, garlic powder,
black pepper & heat through. Pour
mixture over hot linguine & toss
with Parmesan cheese. Serves 2
Prepare Cajun seasoning – use
2 tsp. for this recipe – makes extra
2 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. ground black pepper
In container of food processor or
blender, combine all spices-process
on high speed until reduced to a fine
powder. Transfer to a container with
tight fitting lid.
Peach Fluff Salad
1 (21 oz) can peach pie filling
3 C. mini marshmallows
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple,
1/3 C. chopped pecans
1/8 – 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
Combine pie filling, marshmallows,
pineapple, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg-
stir until well mixed. Gently stir in
Cool Whip until well mixed.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours before
serving. Serves 6
Crockpot Italian Chicken
6 frozen chicken breasts
1 pkg. dry Italian salad dressing mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, cut into
Place all ingredients in crockpot. Cover
& cook on Low 5-6 hours.Serve over cooked pasta, rice or potatoes(recipe: Crockpot Moms)
Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars
2 1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C. granulated sugar
zest of 1 large lemon
3/4 c. butter, room temp.
1/4 C. powdered sugar
2 large eggs
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. unsalted butter, room temp.
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
zest of 2 lemons
2 T. fresh lemon juice
5 C. powdered sugar
colored sugar sprinkles, optional
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. In medium bowl whisk flour, baking
powder & salt. In a small bowl combine
gran. sugar & lemon zest – rub together
with your fingers until fragrant. In bowl of
stand mixer beat butter & lemon/sugar
until combined. Slowly add powd. sugar &
beat until light & fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add eggs, lemon juice & vanilla; beat until
smooth. Slowly add flour mixture & beat
until just combined. Evenly spread cookie
dough into prepared pan. Bake 12-14
minutes until bars are slightly set in middle.
Remove from oven & let bars cool completely.
In bowl of stand mixer beat butter & cream cheese
until smooth. Add lemon zest & lemon juice;
slowly add powd. sugar, 1 cup at a time; mix
until smooth. Frost cooled cookie bars &
decorate with colored sugar or sprinkles,
if desired. Cut bars into squares; makes
NOTE: Store bars in air-tight container in
refrigerator up to 2 days.
crocheted baby blanket – this is a ‘difficult to
use’ yarn – it’s sport-weight (which means it’s
a bit thin) and it’s a blue & white twist. Sounds
really nice, right? It is – by itself, without knitting
or crocheting it but make it into any kind of a
pattern and it just looks like denim-colored; the
pattern doesn’t shine at all. I was doing a
“Bubblegum” pattern which is really easy (almost
boring) but just decided I wanted to do something
a bit more ‘showy/fancy’ so I just started on another
baby afghan in “Diagonal Box Stitch” (crochet pattern)
years ago. (Mind you – I still have to go to the directions
for how to start AND decrease this, but it’s an easy
pattern and goes fast). Am going to TRY to post the
green blanket – have about 3 1/2 feet done so far. I was
happy, yesterday, when a lady I didn’t know came up
to me and asked if I was the one who made the Cherry
Cobbler (yes). She kept going on about how it was one
of her all-time favorites & she’d forgotten all about it.
I offered to give her the recipe but she said she
remembered how to make it, she just hadn’t made it
in a long time. Knowing I’ll hear from you if I don’t
post that recipe, here goes (sorry I can’t get this font
or Cherry Dump Cake1 large can cherry pie filling
1 large can crushed pineapple,
1 box white or yellow cake mix
1 stick margarine (or butter),
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13″ baking pan with
nonstick spray. Spread cherry
pie filling in bottom of pan; top
with pineapple – spreading both
out to cover pan. Sprinkle the
entire DRY cake mix on top and
drizzle the melted marg/butter
on top. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour.
Serves 8.NOTE: this recipe can be doubled-
for the wake I used a big aluminum
pan and 2 cans pie filling/2 cans
pineapple – prepared same way.
You can vary the pie filling flavors;
I’ve heard of using blueberry or
apple (I personally just like the cherry).
weather – even if it’s cloudy or rainy, it’s
SO much better than snow & cold!Hugs;Pammie