Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bringing home the bacon

This bacon and Swiss pasta salad is an easy and yummy side dish. It would be great for a barbecue. The ingredients are simple but flavorful, and you could always adjust them to your preference. I got the recipe from my lovely friend Kylie.


16 oz. spiral pasta, cooked
8 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
12 to 16 oz. bacon, well cooked then crumbled
5 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced


2 c. mayonnaise*
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. sugar

Make salad and dressing separately, then combine in large bowl. Refrigerate at least an hour. I recommend reserving some of the dressing to stir in immediately before serving. The pasta soaks up the dressing during refrigeration, so the last-minute addition will preserve the creaminess.

*I used Kraft's olive oil mayo to cut down on fat.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Our compliments to the Irish

This recipe is a delicious twist on mashed potatoes. It's called colcannon -- a mix of potatoes and cabbage -- and it's a traditional Irish side dish, which made it a perfect choice for St. Patrick's Day. Our family loves to try new things, and this was a winner. It was a great complement to our corned beef. We will definitely make this again.


8 medium potatoes (between 2 1/2 and 3 pounds)*
1 stick butter
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
1 c. milk
7 green onions, white and green parts chopped

Scrub potatoes and cut into chunks. In a large pot, boil potatoes in water until they easily fall off after being pricked by fork. Drain, then mash with butter, salt and pepper. I use an electric mixer.

Mix milk and onions in small saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are tender and milk is frothy and has absorbed their flavor. Pour into potatoes and mash together.

In large pot, bring water to boil, then add chopped cabbage. Boil only about 2 minutes, so cabbage is just tender but NOT mushy. Drain well, then stir into mashed potatoes. Do not use electric mixer on this part.

*I used red potatoes and left the skins on.

Below you'll see a plate of our St. Patrick's Day feast.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cinnamon rolls reinvented

Oh dear. It's terribly rude of me to suggest you should have these cinnamon roll pancakes for breakfast, because they aren't very healthy. But you should. You probably have a special occasion you could use as an excuse. Ours was St. Patrick's Day, as you'll see from the picture below with the green glaze. This recipe was delicious. I got it from a website called Recipe Girl. You can go there to find helpful tips for making these.


Cinnamon swirl
Cream cheese glaze
Pancake batter

Heat a large skillet or griddle to medium heat. On my electric stove top, No. 4 worked great. Make pancakes as usual, except squirt a swirl of cinnamon onto each when bubbles start forming on the batter. Keep the swirl about an inch away from the edge of the pancake.

Flip pancakes when bubbles pop and bottom of pancake is golden brown. Cook a couple of minutes more, until other side is nicely browned. Wipe out pan with paper towel, then repeat the process. Serve pancakes with cream cheese glaze. Makes about 8.

Cinnamon swirl:

4 Tbsp. butter, very softened
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

Stir together ingredients and spoon into a piping bag or thick plastic baggie with tip cut off. Tip should have about a 1/4-inch opening.

Cream cheese glaze:

4 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Milk for thinning

Whisk butter and cream cheese together. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, then thin with milk as desired.

Pancakes: (or use your own batter)

1 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1 egg
1 Tbsp. cooking oil

Mix dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients and mix until just moistened.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pick your colors

I thought this glass block Jell-O looked so cute when I saw it on Our Best Bites. I just had to make it. What's funny, though, is I don't really love Jell-O unless it's been spruced up, like this or this. So, even though the recipe made a festive side dish for St. Patrick's Day, I didn't think the taste was anything special. You Jell-O fanatics out there will probably beg to differ.


4 3-ounce packages Jell-O, any colors
2 packets unflavored gelatin (such as Knox)
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Find as many containers as you have colors of Jell-O -- Tupperware or glass baking dishes will do. I used an 8x8 baking dish for my green because I had three packages of it. I used a small square plastic container for my yellow because I only had one package. If you choose four different colors, you will need four small containers. Spray with cooking spray. Clear out a shelf in your fridge.

Mix 1 cup boiling water with each package of Jell-O. That's it. Stir until dissolved and pour into containers so that Jell-O is up to an inch deep. Refrigerate several hours, or until firm.

Mix unflavored gelatin with 1/2 cup cold water. Let stand until thickened. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water and sweetened condensed milk. Allow to cool while slicing colored Jell-O into small squares and tossing together in sprayed 9x13 pan. Pour milk mixture over all. Try to poke down any squares that want to stick out. Refrigerate overnight.