Cheesy Garlic Bread

cheesy garlic bread 2This bread was first introduced to me many years ago by my Aunt. So good! First off, it’s bread and with me being a carb-a-holic, that’s a huge YES please. Second, it has mayonnaise in it. I am a huge lover of mayo. It’s a sick addiction. Third, it has garlic. I also love me some garlic.

So if you happen to be a lover of those three items (in addition to cheese and green onions) well then….this is the bread for you. It’s great for BBQ’s and equally as great with Italian.

Cheesy Garlic Bread

  • 1 Italian loaf, sliced in half lengthwise(or a loaf of bakery French bread)
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 3/4 c. each of shredded cheddar and mozzarella (or Monterey jack)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix mayo, cheeses, garlic and onions together in a bowl. Spread mixture onto the bread in a thin layer and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges and a little bubbly. Cut into slices and serve.

cheesy garlic bread 7cheesy garlic bread 6cheesy garlic bread 5cheesy garlic breadThis bread is gooey, melty, rich and delicious. Enjoy!!!

Sauteed Cabbage & Onions

sauteed cabbageOkay, so maybe my title didn’t grab you. But hopefully my picture did??? I’m getting a little bit better at photography. With my phone.

Anyhow, I like cabbage. Some of you may prefer it in slaws and not cooked, but this recipe will change your mind about eating cooked cabbage. It’s really a great side dish. My secret ingredient to make this recipe lethal? In more ways than one….. Bacon grease! So it’s not the healthiest, but it’s essential to me. Like I said in a previous post, I keep my bacon drippings in a jar in the fridge. (I got this idea from my mom who has always had a jar of bacon drippings in her fridge and of course, still does to this day.) And I pull that puppy out when I want to make some gravy or sauté the occasional vegetable. Defeats the purpose of the veggies maybe, but flavor, flavor, flavor! And indulging occasionally is perfectly all right in my opinion. If you do not have bacon grease or do not partake in that particular ingredient, butter will do just fine.

Sautéed Cabbage & Onions

  • 1/2 head of a large green cabbage, roughly shredded or chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. bacon grease (or butter)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, (medium heat) melt the bacon grease. Add the onions and then the cabbage and sauté for approximately 7 minutes. Add the garlic in and stir around. Add salt (not too much salt, remember, you used BACON grease, which already has a lot of salty flavor) and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and serve.

sauteed cabbage 3I like my cabbage tender but still with a bite. I can tell it’s ready when it’s soft but hasn’t completely lost it’s form. Does that make sense? If not, comment and I’ll help you out as best I can.

sauteed cabbage 2Enjoy!!!!

Frosted Cauliflower

frosted cauliflowerI have been eating this cauliflower for as far back as I can possibly remember. Pretty sure that my mom has been making this side dish my entire life. And according to her, she got this recipe from our old neighbor and dear friend Linda D. And I’ve made this recipe for my family countless times. I would say it’s definitely up there as being a favorite recipe in my house. It’s one thing that everybody will eat. And if your family is like mine, there seems to always be that one person who’s less than enthusiastic about a dish. Even when everyone else thinks it’s great. But this recipe is not that one. Even my pickiest, and she’s really picky, like hunger strike picky, LOVES this. Maybe it has something to do with all the cheese?

So my mom makes this dish much prettier, presentation wise. She steams a whole head of cauliflower, and then “frosts” it with the sauce and cheese. It looks very pretty this way, and reminds me of the 70’s. But I don’t have a steamer that fits a whole head of cauliflower so I’ve adapted this recipe to make it work for me.

Frosted Cauliflower

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, washed and cut into bite size florets
  • 1/2 c. mayo (like a generous half a cup!)
  • 1/3 c. yellow mustard
  • 1/2- 3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Add cauliflower florets to a microwave safe dish and add a little bit of water to cover the bottom. Cover the dish and place in the microwave. Cook for about 6 minutes (depending on how large the head of cauliflower is) or until JUST tender. (Stick a fork in it to see if it it’s tender) You don’t want it too tender because you still have to microwave again. While that’s cooking, whisk together the mayo and mustard. Drain the water from the cauliflower and add the sauce and stir to coat. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top and cook again in the microwave for 2 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

frosted cauliflower 3frosted cauliflower 4frosted cauliflower 2Don’t be afraid of this mayo covered vegetable. I’m a HUGE mayo fan, so of course I like it. But if my picky child approves, I’m sure this will go over well in your household.

Corn Salad

corn saladThis, my friends, is a summer staple! It goes great with Mexican food as well as good ole’ American BBQ food. With bright colors and fresh flavors, it’s the perfect side dish to serve at your next gathering.

Corn Salad

  • 2, 15 ounce, cans of corn, drained
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped (or 4 romas)
  • 2 tbsp. red onion, chopped (I used white because I didn’t have any red)
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp. prepared teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • pinch of salt

Add the first five ingredients into a bowl and squeeze some lemon over the top. In a separate bowl, add the remaining ingredients and whisk until blended. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix together. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

corn salad 4corn salad 3corn salad 2Now, I know it’s not summer just yet. But where I live, it’s already starting to feel that way. Hope you’re enjoying the weather, wherever you may be!

Thousand Islands

1000 island 2My youngest refers to 1000 Island dressing as Thousand Islands. I keep correcting her, but it’s just not taking. She really likes this dressing, as does her mommy. It’s one of my faves. My husband doesn’t understand my love for this dressing even though he basically demands it for our burgers. Hmmm… I think he has a secret love affair with Thousand Islands.

My love for this dressing comes from my dad. He would whip up some ketchup and mayonnaise and slap that stuff on a salad. And I thought it was great. I remember him bringing me dinner to work one night when I was in high school. And he had made me a salad with that dressing on it. And it made me happy 🙂

Since then, I’ve made Thousand Islands a lot and have jazzed it up just a bit. But of course, it’s still so simple, fast and easy. I love it on burgers, salads and dipping my pizza in it. Don’t knock it till you try it! It’s great on a lot of stuff. I mean, it has mayo in it. What has mayo in it that isn’t good?

1000 islandThousand Islands

  • 3/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c. ketchup
  • 1 dill pickle spear, finely diced or 2 tbsp. relish
  • 1-2 shakes worchestire
  • just a dash of seasoned salt

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until smooth and refrigerate until ready to use.

Begin your love affair with Thousand Islands.

 

 

Grilled Romaine Hearts w/ Balsamic Dressing

grilled romaine 4It’s getting hot out! Well, at least here in my neck of the woods. Should hit the triple digits today. Know what that means? It means I DO NOT, and I repeat, I DO NOT, want to turn my oven on. Time to head outside to grill.

This recipe is great for a hot day, but I could eat it pretty much any time of year. If you’ve never had grilled salad before, try it out. It may sound strange but it’s oh so good! Really!

I like this salad best with balsamic dressing. If you don’t have time to make it yourself, there’s some really great store bought options out there. But I’ve included below a creamy balsamic dressing recipe that I found from Pinterest. It’s simply delightful. This salad is also great with just some extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar drizzled over the top. Your choice!

Grilled Romaine Hearts

3 romaine hearts, washed and cut in half lengthwise with the base slightly trimmed (you want the heart intact still)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

grilled romaine

Washed and drizzled with olive oil

grilled romaine 2

Cooking the salad? Weird, but delicious

grilled romaine 3

Get some good grill marks

Preheat your BBQ to a medium heat. An indoor grill pan will work too. Drizzle your romaine hearts with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place romaine hearts on the grill and let cook for a few minutes, until they start to brown and wilt slightly. Flip over and do the same to the other side. Once cooked, place on a plate, drizzle with dressing and freshly grated parmesan.

grilled romaine 5

Dig in!

Balsamic Dressing (original recipe at My Life as a Mrs.)

(makes 1 2/3 cups of dressing)

4 cloves garlic, grated
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons Morton’s Nature’s Seasoning (I didn’t have this so I omitted this ingredient)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra light olive oil

Whisk together garlic, mayo, lemon juice, dijon mustard, sugar, Nature’s Seasoning, and salt until well combined. Add the balsamic vinegar and whisk well. Slowly add in the olive oil (while whisking). Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Vanilla Bean Fruit Dip

vb dip 6Did I have you at vanilla bean? Hope so! Well, I love the flavor of vanilla beans. But they’re expensive! Luckily, a friend told me about vanilla bean paste. Yay! Where has this product been my whole life? Sad that it took me so long to “discover” it, but glad I now have it in my possession. And I’m taking every opportunity available to use it.

vanilla bean paste

Me love you long time

That being said, I made this dip for Easter brunch last week. It was born out of necessity. I had some pretty strawberries and it was absolutely necessary that we have a cream cheesy type of dip to go with those red gems. First thing I thought of was this dip that my aunt made throughout my childhood. You’ve probably had it or something similar. Hers consisted of cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, and amaretto. And I always LOVED it when she brought that out. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any marshmallow fluff OR amaretto. But I did have turbinado sugar (think Sugar in the Raw). Which also reminded me of another childhood memory. Another aunt of mine would always serve strawberries with Sugar in the Raw whenever we came to visit. I also LOVED that whenever she brought it out. With those two memories in mind, this lovely dip was born.

Vanilla Bean Fruit Dip

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (or Neufchatel), softened
  • 1/2 c. sour cream (I used light)
  • 1/4 c. turbinado sugar (granulated sugar will do just fine too!)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste

Add the cream cheese to a stand mixer. You can also use a bowl and use a hand mixer. Beat cream cheese until smooth and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with strawberries, blackberries, pineapple, etc. Whatever fruit you fancy.

vb dip 4

Lovin those specks of vanilla bean in there

Don’t save this recipe for holidays! I will definitely have this dip and some fruit at my next BBQ.

vb dip 3

This fruit dip is also great without fruit. And just on a spoon. Don’t judge me.

Yo Quiero Queso

quesoI really like queso. A lot. And this recipe uses real cheese. Not that other stuff. I’m not going to talk smack, but I’ll just say that I don’t cook with it.

We eat this in my house, often. It’s very easy to make and eat straight out of the pot, or you can transfer to a small crockpot, keep on low and serve to guests. It’s also versatile as far as using different types of cheese. And I bet if you make this once, you won’t go back to that orange-ish block of expensive “cheese”.

queso ingredientQueso Blanco

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 c. onion, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped (if you like it spicy, leave the seeds and membrane)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/8-1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 c. milk (I use 1%)
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese *see note below

Melt butter in a saucepan or small pot on medium heat. Add onions and jalapeno and sauté for approximately 3 minutes. Add garlic, stir, then sprinkle with flour and stir together. Add milk, cilantro and tomato. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat. It should be a thicker consistency. Add cheese a little bit at a time, making sure to stir and let it melt before adding more cheese. *If you like a little kick, half Monterey Jack and half pepper jack is a great choice. Or half sharp cheddar and half Monterey Jack makes for a sharper flavor. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

queso 2

You want to eat just this for lunch? Go ahead. I’ve done it myself.

Rice, Rice, Baby

rice pilaf 4Good side dishes can be hard to find. So if you’re stuck in a rut and wanting to try something new, here it is. This came from my mom and she’s made it my entire life. And I’ve always loved it. It’s quick, easy, and not just your regular plain white rice. I make it on a regular basis and it’s a family favorite.

Mom’s Rice Pilaf

  • 1 cup of long grain white rice
  • 3/4 c. vermicelli broken up (spaghetti & angel hair are what I usually use)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Salt & pepper to taste

rice pilaf 3Add butter to a smaller pot. Let melt on medium heat and add in the broken up pasta. Cook and stir for a few minutes until it starts to toast up. Don’t let it burn!

rice pilaf 2Add in the white rice and stir together. Pour in the chicken broth and add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer (low), covering with a lid. Let cook for 20-25 minutes. 23 minutes on my stovetop is the magic number! Stir together and serve immediately. rice pilaf

Bacon Brussel Sprouts

brussel sproutsBrussel sprouts are little gems of deliciousness. They have quickly become one of my family’s favorite veggies. So I was really excited when I saw my brother-in-law making them as a side for Christmas dinner. And they were really tasty. I’ve always baked them in the oven and although very yummy, that recipe takes 45 minutes and requires me to shake the pan every 5-7 minutes. This recipe is so much quicker and so very good that it’s a must try.

Bacon Brussel Sprouts

  • 1 lb. brussel sprouts, rinsed, trimmed, halved & dried as much as possible
  • 4 bacon slices, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • Ground pepper, to taste

Heat a sauté pan on medium. When heated, add bacon pieces and cook until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper towel to drain. Very important, LEAVE all that wonderful bacon grease in the pan. Add the brussel sprouts and sauté for a few minutes, until they are browned. Pour in the chicken broth and reduce heat to medium low. Put a lid on, leaving it a little to the side for steam to escape. Let cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove lid and sprinkle with brown sugar and pepper. Add the bacon back in. Stir to melt the sugar and eat!

bacon brussel sproutsI’m pretty sure you will inhale these scrumptious brussel sprouts!!