Thursday, June 30, 2011

Brie, Apple, and Caramelized Onion Panini

I had this sandwich in Boston several years ago and I've remembered it fondly ever since.  Then, it was so unusual to me to have fruit with cheese, and on a hot sandwich, too!  Now, it's so common that every sandwich shop around here has a version.  But I still think it's wonderful.

1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt
1 firm apple (Granny Smith, Fuji), sliced thinly
4 slices thick bread
4-6 ounces brie

Melt the butter over medium low heat in a dutch oven and add onions.  Sprinkle with the sugar and salt, and cook onions, stirring frequently, until dark brown.  10-20 minutes.
Assemble sandwiches with caramelized onions, brie, and apple slices.  Use panini press to cook sandwiches, or just place sandwiches on a buttered skillet and weigh them down with something heavy like a saucepan.   Flip each sandwich and repeat on the other side.  Makes 2 sandwiches.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Grilled Corn with Lemon Thyme Butter

I'm a hamburger purist when I make them at home.  Ground chuck. Salt and pepper.  Hot grill.  Cheddar cheese.  Toasted bun.  That's all. No recipe. No fancy sauces, French cheeses, or caramelized anything.  Meat, cheese, bun.  I don't even do lettuce and tomato (and NEVER pickle, EVER).  John likes all that, but he wasn't here, so we had them my way.  :)

Now, on to the corn on the cob.  I just grilled it until it was brown, about 10 minutes total (with really fresh, sweet, summer corn you don't have to cook it forever) and slathered it with Lemon Thyme Butter.  Delicious. 

Lemon Thyme Butter

1 stick salted butter
1 teaspoon salt
zest and juice of one lemon
3-5 springs fresh thyme, leaves removed

Soften butter to room temperature (or in the microwave for 30 seconds or so).  Add zest and juice of one lemon and salt.  Mix it all together and add thyme.  Serve soft and spread on grilled corn.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wax Bean and Potato Salad with Creamy Basil Vinaigrette

I went to the Farmers Market this morning for tomatoes, and came home with the tomatoes, but also purple and yellow baby potatoes, green onions, and yellow wax beans.  I wasn't sure what I was going to make, so I searched the interwebs and found a great recipe, but I changed it up a little bit.

John tasted the salad and said in a surprised way, "wow, that's so good!"  He fessed up that he couldn't believe a salad with wax beans, potatoes, and arugula could be very tasty.  But it is (and healthy, too).  

Wax Bean and Potato Salad with Creamy Basil Vinaigrette 
1/3 cup walnuts
1 1/2 pounds small potatoes, cut in half
1/2 pound (or so) yellow wax beans
3 or 4 green onions, white and green parts
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
fresh basil, chopped, to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces baby arugula

Toast walnuts quickly in the microwave for one minute.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a colander to drain and cool. Set aside.

Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Return pan of water to a boil. Add wax beans, and cook until just tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Drain.

Whisk together vinegar, yogurt, mustard and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; season with pepper. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Add basil. Set dressing aside.

Arrange arugula, potatoes, and green beans on a platter. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted walnuts; toss to coat.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fresh Peach Pie

This peach pie was magnificent.  I didn't use a recipe because it's so simple I didn't need one.  And I kind of like how it's not perfect (not that I could have possibly made it perfect anyway); it looks homemade.  Don't forget the ice cream!

2 refrigerated pie crusts (the refrigerated crusts are better than my homemade ones!)
6-8 large peaches, peeled and sliced (may need more or less depending on the size of the peaches)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon heavy cream or 1 egg plus 1 teaspoon water

1. Peel peaches.  Bring a pot of water to a boil.  With a small knife, score a small X at the bottom of each peach.  Put the peaches into the boiling water, let them go for 30 seconds to a minute, and remove with a slotted spoon.  Place peaches into cold water (or just running cold water) and skins will just slip off.

2. Prepare crusts.  Place first crust into bottom of pie plate.  Cut second crust into strips.

3.  Cook filling.  Melt butter and sugar in medium saucepan until sugar dissolves.  Add sliced peaches, flour, cinnamon, and salt.  Cook for a couple of minutes, or until the sauce thickens a bit.  You can cook the peaches longer if you like them mushy.  I like the peaches a little bit firm in the pie.

3.  Assemble pie.  Pour peach filling into first crust.  Arrange the second crust strips into a lattice design.  Flute edges, brush crust with heavy cream or egg wash, sprinkle with sugar.

4.  Bake pie.  Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, or until crust is golden.  If the edges of the crust start to burn, cover the edges with foil.  You have to cool the pie before you cut it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lemon Butter Tilapia with Fresh Pineapple Salsa

My kids ate fish tonight! It was all on the promise of after dinner sno cones, but they ate it. YES!

 Fresh Pineapple Salsa

about a half of fresh pineapple (NOT canned, not ever)
half a small red onion
a bunch of cilantro (I use a lot)
juice of a lime and salt

Chop pineapple, red onion, and cilantro, and add lime juice and salt.  Make salsa up to 8 hours in advance and store in refrigerator. 

Lemon Butter Tilapia
4 tilapia fillets
salt and pepper
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp butter

Thaw fish and pat dry with paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook in HOT nonstick skillet drizzled with olive oil on one side until it's brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip fish and cook the other side, another 2-3 minutes. Remove cooked fish from pan, turn off heat, add butter, and juice of half a lemon.  Place tilapia on top of rice, pour over lemon butter, and top with pineapple salsa.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Greek Nachos

I saw a picture of Greek Nachos on Pinterest (are you on Pinterest yet? It's my favorite thing.), but the recipe the picture was linked to, I didn't want to use.  So I kind of made up my own, based on this article.  It took longer than I had expected, because I was making it up (and because my son kept trying to sneak jello out of the fridge before dinner and I had to keep putting him in time out), but I'll bet it would only take you 30 minutes or so.

Greek Nachos

For the sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
4 ounces feta cheese
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 lemon, juice and zest
about 1/4 cup cubed seedless cucumber, more or less
salt and pepper

In a blender combine feta, yogurt, olive oil, mint, and zest and juice of lemon; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.  The liquid in the cucumber thins the sauce, so add the cucumber little by little until sauce is at a pourable consistency.  

For the beef:
1 medium red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound extra lean ground beef
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
salt and pepper

4 pita pockets
chopped tomatoes and cucumbers
extra crumbled feta for the top

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut pitas into wedges, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for about 10 minutes, or until crispy.

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon of oil to a skillet, and cook onion and garlic until transparent.  Add ground beef, cumin, dried oregano, cinnamon, a big pinch of salt and pepper, and paprika.  Cook until brown.  If it starts to dry out, add a little water to the pan.  Before serving, toss in the fresh oregano and stir well.

To assemble nachos, put chips on a serving plate and top with beef, sauce, tomatoes, cucumbers, a little extra feta, and olives (if you like olives, I do not so I left them out.)

Homemade Frozen Yogurt with Hot Fudge Sauce

My name is Amy, and I'm an addict.  A fro yo addict.  My favorite shop is downtown and you have to pay to park; it's the only thing keeping me from going every evening.  Thanks, city of Fayetteville, for keeping my weight under 200 pounds!

I ALWAYS get original tart flavor with a little chocolate syrup and walnuts.  And now, I've made it at home. This is dangerous. If you make this and try a different flavor, let me know!  I like the plain vanilla, but others in my fam prefer the flavors.

Homemade Frozen Yogurt
3 cups plain Greek yogurt (either whole-milk or 2%, NOT nonfat..I tried it, it won't work)
3/4 cup  sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Mix together the yogurt, sugar, and vanilla. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

And because I NEEDED chocolate sauce, I made a quick hot fudge sauce:

Hot Fudge Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a microwave safe measuring cup, heat cream to almost boiling, about 60 seconds. Pour over chocolate chips and vanilla. Allow to rest for 35 seconds, or long enough for the chips to start melting. Whisk until chocolate is smooth and glossy.
Save leftover in fridge, and just microwave for a few seconds to reheat.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mint and Rosemary Quinoa with Roasted Beets

I'm kind of on a quinoa kick right now.  It's quick, so healthy, and great cold as leftovers.  But my kids don't like it. At all.  So I've been making them pasta instead.  They all gave it a good try though, and I'm satisfied that they aren't fond of the texture.  They'll come around...

Mint and Rosemary Quinoa with Roasted Beets  (adapted from Eat, Live, Run)

Beets get a bad rap.  Those weird magenta things on salad bars are technically beets, but they are nothing like roasted beets.  Roasted beets are hard to describe, but they are earthy and kind of sweet.  You should try them for yourself!  Just remember they will stain anything and everything, including your hands.

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Quinoa
3 large beets, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
4 heaping tablespoons goat cheese
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
salt and pepper to taste
fresh rosemary and fresh mint to taste (I used about 1 tablespoon chopped total)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Scatter the chopped beets on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil.   Add salt and pepper to taste.  Roast for 25-30 minutes, until tender.

While the beets are roasting, prepare quinoa according to package directions, it takes about 12 minutes to cook.

When the quinoa is done, add the goat cheese, walnuts, and herbs, and stir until melty and creamy. Add the beets.  Add a little more goat cheese to the top before serving.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Creamy Lemon Squares

Like Lemon Squares? I sure do.  Well, these Creamy Lemon Squares knock them out of the ballpark!  They are even better cold.  It's funny how the recipe says it makes 12 squares.  Ha! It was about 4 squares in my good.

Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares

from the Pioneer Woman

1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, slightly softened
1 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
1 cup oats
1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
½ cups lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix butter and brown sugar until well combined.
Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Add oats and flour to butter/sugar mixture and mix to combine.
Press half of oat crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan.
Mix together condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread onto the bottom layer of the crumb mixture. The other half of the crumb mixture mix and knead together with clean hands so that the butter that you added earlier gets incorporated then crumble on top of lemon layer but don’t press.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Allow pan to sit on counter for 30 minutes after baking. Cut into squares and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until cool.
Serve cool. Makes around one dozen.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nachos made with Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

I wish I could say that I made this taco seasoning mix because the stuff in the yellow packet is so unhealthy or so I could save money.  But really, I just made it up because I'm home alone with a sick child and I had to have leftovers for dinner... But now that I've made it, I'm glad I did! The yellow packet stuff is truly full of unpronounceable ingredients and it's like a dollar and ounce. 

When you make up the taco meat, don't forget to add salt, because there isn't any in the mix.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

Yield: Enough to season about 7 lb. of ground meat
Prep Time: 5 minutes

4 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Over medium heat, brown 1 lb. of ground beef and drain. Add 2 tablespoons of seasoning mix and ¾ cup water and 1 tsp salt to the ground beef. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens and coats the beef, and there is not much liquid left.
3. Store remaining seasoning mix in an airtight container at room temperature.

I really don't think I even need to say this: put chips on a cookie sheet, cover with taco meat and cheese.  Broil until bubbly, one minute. Top with salsa, sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro.  Duh, right?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ham, Cheddar, and Peach Panini

We're right in the middle of peach season, and my Sam's has got some great ones right now.  I like to buy produce locally when I can, but these Sam's peaches are so good that it's hard to pass them up.  We've been eating them with every meal!  Anyway, we had this delicious ham, cheddar, and peach sandwich with a simple green salad dressed with only lemon juice and salt and pepper for dinner.

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
8 slices whole wheat bread
1 peach, halved, pitted and thinly sliced
4 ounces sliced ham
6 ounces thinly sliced sharp Cheddar

1. Preheat griddle or panini press.
2. Spread mustard on bottom half of each slice of bread, and add half a slice of cheese.  Arrange peach slices on top. Lay ham slices on top of peaches. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the peaches, and top with a half slice of cheese, then remaining bread slices.
3. Put sandwiches on buttered griddle or press in panini press, and cook until brown and crisp, 4 to 7 minutes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

BLT Salad

It's been so hot here (about 10 degrees above normal for June) that all I can think about cooking is salad.  This one is one of my favorites.  You must try making your own croutons.  Not only are they a fraction of the cost of boxed ones, but they are delicious!  And for salads, I like to cook bacon in the microwave because it gets really crispy.

BLT Salad

Homemade Croutons
BLT Dressing

Homemade Croutons

The best way:
Cube leftover, stale french bread into equal size chunks, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, or until brown and crispy. 
OR the way I did it because I was in a hurry:
Cube regular whole wheat sandwich bread, fry in a skillet on medium-high heat for 10 minutes until really golden brown.  The croutons are a little more chewy this way, but still really good.
BLT Dressing

1/4 cup real mayo (Hellmans)
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 cloves of garlic, grated
juice of half a small lemon
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste 
basil and chives to taste

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chicken Taco Salad with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

Who doesn't love a taco salad?  Even a bad taco salad (e.g. Taco Bell) is still pretty good, in my opinion.  I set out to make a fresher, healthier, more tasty one for dinner tonight, and I think I succeeded.  And I love how colorful it is!

For 4 salads:
1 rotisserie chicken (I only used the white meat)
salad greens
2 avocados
4 small tomatoes
2 ears of fresh corn
fresh salsa from deli case (my new Walmart Neighborhood Market has a fresh salsa in the deli case that is pretty good)
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack
tortilla chips
salt and pepper
Cilantro Lime Sour Cream (recipe follows)

Before assembling the salad, prep all the ingredients.  Shred the chicken from the rotisserie chicken.  Cut up avocado and spritz with lime juice if you're not using it immediately to keep it from browning.  Cut corn off the ears and microwave for just one minute to cook it.  Cut up tomatoes. Shred cheese. Assemble salad to your tastes, salt and pepper the whole thing, then top with the Cilantro Lime Sour Cream. 

Cilantro Lime Sour Cream
1/2 cup light sour cream
juice of one whole lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
salt and pepper

Mix well. And that's it. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

S'mores Bars

Have you noticed the theme of healthy, family friendly dinners has been lacking around here lately?  Well, I hurt my foot a little while ago and I can hardly walk, much less exercise, so I've taken to baking for the time being! :)

I ran across photos of these bars on Pinterest the other day, and I couldn't wait to make them! We all love s'mores, and these are even better than the real thing (if that's possible).  They were gone before I even had a chance to take some to the neighbors like I had planned. 

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 king-sized Hershey bars (or a bunch of little ones)
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme (not melted marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.

Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan.

Place chocolate bars over dough. 2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick.

Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (most easily achieved by flattening the dough into small shingles and laying them together).

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Makes 16 cookie bars.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Texas Sheet Cake

This is not a new recipe for anyone who lives in the south, I'm sure.  It's a staple at group gatherings, not only because it's a big cake (it's the size of Texas, get it?), but because it's really good and super easy to make.  And if you live in Maine (@pajiba) or somewhere, you can call it Maine Sheet Cake if you want!

Texas Sheet Cake

2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
¼ teaspoons Salt
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
2 sticks Butter (the original recipe I have calls for Oleo. This recipe is an oldie!)
1 cup Boiling Water
½ cups Buttermilk
2 whole Beaten Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla

½ cups Finely Chopped Pecans (leave these out if you want)
1-¾ stick Butter
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
6 Tablespoons Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 pound (minus 1/2 Cup) Powdered Sugar

Note: I use an 18×13 sheet cake pan, it's also called a half sheet pan, jelly roll pan, or a cookie sheet.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.

Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together. Add the pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Creamy Pesto Penne

Pesto is so good during the summer, but it can get a little boring on pasta.  So tonight, I added some cream cheese to leftover pesto....We ate by the pool and it was a great summer meal.

Creamy Pesto Penne
3/4 lb whole wheat or enriched penne
1/2 cup pesto
1/2 cup lowfat cream cheese
heavy cream, half and half, or milk
fresh basil

Boil the penne in salted water and drain when done.  Meanwhile, melt the cream cheese with the pesto.  Thin with whipping cream, half and half, or milk until desired consistency.   Toss drained penne with the sauce and top with fresh basil.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Toasted Caprese Sandwich

The Caprese Salad is one of my favorites when the tomatoes are ripe.  Basil, olive oil, mozzarella, tomatoes....what a great combo. Tonight we made it into a sandwich!

rustic white Italian bread
sliced tomato
basil pesto (recipe follows)
fresh mozzarella (not the shredded stuff you use for pizza)
salt and pepper

Spread both sides of the bread with pesto.  Slice the mozzarella thinly, and place on each slice of bread (this is the glue).  Put the tomatoes on and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Put the bread together, melt butter in a pan or on a griddle, and toast the sandwich like you would a grilled cheese.

Basil Pesto

I use this recipe as a guide (as I do most recipes) and sometimes use walnuts instead of pine nuts, use less or more oil, or different amounts of garlic depending on the pungency of the garlic.  But it always has freshly grated parmesan cheese (I find it in the deli case at my Walmart in a block and I grate it in the food processor) and fresh basil.  Tonight it was so neat to just go out to my Mother's Day garden and grab a big handful of basil!

3 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely grated (2/3 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups loosely packed fresh basil
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

With food processor running, drop in garlic and finely chop. Stop motor and add nuts, cheese, salt, pepper, and basil, then process until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil, blending until incorporated.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Quinoa Citrus Salad with Avocados

This salad was perfect for the excruciatingly hot and humid weather we're having this week.  It's cold, creamy, crunchy, tangy, and healthy.  You can see perfect pictures and descriptions here, but here is my adapted recipe.   I can hardly wait to eat the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Quinoa Citrus Salad with Avocados
serves 6-8

for the salad:
1/2 red onion, minced
2 large grapefruits, divided into segments and chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
3 ears fresh corn, kernels chopped off (I microwaved the fresh corn for one minute to get rid of the starchy taste)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 large (ripe but firm) avocado, diced
1 small bunch cilantro, minced

for the dressing:
juice of 3 limes
1 tsp cumin
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Bring quinoa to a boil with 2 cups water with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from stove and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Place red onion, grapefruit, cilantro, bell pepper, avocado and shucked corn kernels in a large bowl. Toss to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Add quinoa to salad then pour over dressing. Toss well and serve.
Salad will keep in sealed tupperware containers for up to five days in the fridge.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chicken Salad with Basil and Pine Nuts

Now this is a QUICK meal.

Rotisserie chicken
Spinach and Arugula salad mix (something NEW at my NEW Walmart Neighborhood Market!)
Cherry Tomatoes
Fresh Basil (I got mine from my awesome Mother's Day garden)
Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
Toasted Pine Nuts
Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic , crushed through a press or grated on a microplane
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • large pinch of sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper , to taste
Combine the balsamic, mustard and garlic in a small jar. Season with salt and pepper and add sugar.  Add olive oil and shake well until combined and thickened. Toss with greens and reserve leftover for lunch salads throughout the week.

Our Favorite Homemade Ice Cream

I haven't cooked in days.  Seems like weeks!  But I broke out the ice cream maker to make dessert for dinner with friends.  I don't make homemade ice cream very often, not because it's difficult, but because I will eat it all.  It's my favorite dessert!  Add some oreos to it and I can eat it for breakfast. My friend made a Texas Sheet Cake, too, and I'll share that recipe later this week.

 Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
(adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz)

2 cups heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk (I used skim because that's what I had)
¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour 1 cup of the cream into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and salt. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from the heat and add the remaining 1 cup cream and the milk and the vanilla extract.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Stir in crushed oreos by hand when ice cream is finished.  Transfer to covered container and freeze until firm.