STONE FRUIT TOMATO SALAD

STONE FRUIT TOMATO SALAD serves 6-8

DRESSING
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar and oil.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.

SALAD
2 peaches, chopped
3 plums, chopped
1 1/4 cups halved grape tomatoes
1 cup halved cherries
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup FRESH chopped parsley
3 LARGE green onions, sliced thin

  • In a large bowl toss together everything above.
  • Drizzle with dressing, tossing to coat well.
  • Let stand 5 minutes.

LEMON DROP CAKE

This makes quite a large cake, but is quite versatile to change the shape, layers or even makes as cup cakes.

LEMON DROP CAKE
CAKE
6 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cup unsalted sweet cream butter, softened to room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 LARGE eggs
2 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Limoncello

1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup FRESH lemon juice

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 3 – 9inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray
  • In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
  • Using a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla extract until combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients on low speed JUST until combined.
  • With the mixer still running on low, add the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix again JUST until combined.
  • Pour batter evenly into cake pans.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through.

LEMON BUTTERCREAM
3 cups unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
3 teaspoons FRESH lemon juice
3-6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Lemons, thinly sliced for toppings (see notes)

  • Using a standing mixer, cream together ALL of the ingredients until stiff and smooth peaks form.
  • Slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface.
  • Place 1 cake layer on your serving plate.
  • Evenly cover the top with about 1 cup of frosting.
  • Top with 2nd cake layer and evenly cover the top with another cup of frosting.
  • Top with the third cake layer.
  • Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides.
  • Scoop remaining frosting into a large piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe dollops all over the cake.
  • Pipe larger dollops of frosting onto the top of the cake. (see notes)
  • Place the sliced lemons in between the larger dollops

CANDIED LEMON SLICES
Candied Lemons are super EASY to make!

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons FRESH lemon juice
2-3 lemons sliced to 1/8-inch thickness

  • In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer and add lemon slices in a single layer.


  • Simmer over medium-low for 15 minutes, gently flipping once or twice during the cooking process.


  • Transfer the lemon slices to a wire cooling rack or waxed paper and let cool.

 Let the candied lemons sit at room temperature for up to 24 hours before storing in an air-tight container.

NOTES:

  • When you have time, candy some lemons for decorations as an extra treat!
  • You can save any additional frosting for another use if you don’t want to do a bunch of extra decorating.
  • For a simply iced cake, sheet cake or cup cakes cut this recipe in half.

FIG NEWTON CRISP

FIG NEWTON CRISP
1/4 cup PACKED brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour
1 tablespoon salted butter
1/2 cup dried figs, diced
3 CRISP apples, cored and diced
1 orange, juiced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon FRESH grated nutmeg

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Grease an 8×8 baking dish.
  • In a LARGE skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter.
  • Add apples, brown sugar, orange juice, figs, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of salt.
  • Saute 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced.
  • Add Wondra flour cooking and stirring 2-3 minutes more until appleas are tender and everything is well coated.
  • Transfer to prepared baking dish, spreading into an even layer.
  • Let cool 5-10 minutes.

CRUMBLE
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons small chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons salted butter, chilled and small cubed

  • Mix the flour, oats, sugar, salt, walnuts and butter together. Use your hands to work the butter into the dry ingredients until coarse crumbs form.
  • Sprinkle crumble evenly over the fig mixture.
  • Bake 24-28 minutes until topping is browned and filling is bubbly.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

CHEESY MANGO CHICKEN

CHEESY MANGO CHICKEN
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts flattened to
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1-2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
1/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons pickled red peppers
2 tablespoons mango chutney
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl combine garlic and oil, mashing into a paste.
  • Whisk in the mayonnaise and chutney.
  • Add shredded cheese, panko bread crumbs and pickled peppers, stirring to combine.
  • Generously season chicken breasts with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper on both sides.
  • Arrange chicken breasts on baking sheet.
  • Roast for 10 minutes.
  • Spread the mango mixture over the partially roasted chicken.
  • Return to the oven and roast 8-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS with BACON, CHERRIES & APRICOTS

BRUSSELS SPROUTS with BACON, CHERRIES & APRICOTS
4 slices bacon, diced
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered
1 LARGE shallot, FINELY chopped
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 pinch of salt, to taste
2 tablespoons Herbs de Provence seasoning
1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/3 cherries, chopped

  • In a large skillet over medium to high heat cook bacon until JUST crisp.
  • Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to drain on paper toweling.
  • Add the Brussels sprouts, cut side down and saute 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the shallots, brown sugar, Herbs de Provence and a pinch of salt. Saute 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add apricots and saute 1-2 minutes longer.
  • Add cherries and mix well.
  • Sprinkle with bacon before serving.

RECIPE REVIEW
TASTE: Full of flavor.
TEXTURE: Crunchy, yet soft and chewy – very satisfying.
EASE: Easy to Moderate.
APPEARANCE: Appetizing and visually appealing.
PROS: Great for a company meal.
CONS: None that I found!
WOULD I MAKE THIS AGAIN? DEFINITELY Yes.

STRAWBERRY PINEAPPLE BANANA BREAD 


STRAWBERRY PINEAPPLE BANANA BREAD
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, DIVIDED
2 JUMBO eggs
1 tablespoon QUALITY cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut flavored rum
1/2 cup golden raisins
8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained WELL
1 cup rustic chopped strawberries
2 LARGE, RIPE bananas

1/2 cup crushed walnuts (optional)

1/4 cup sugar

2 1/4 cups AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with rum. Set aside to soak for 10 minutes and then drain WELL.
  • Combine 1 stick of the butter, brown sugar and bananas in a sauce pan cooking until smooth and sugar is dissolved.
  • Fold in strawberries, pineapple, nuts and raisins.
  • Stir until well coated & set aside to cool.
  • Cream softened butter, sugar and eggs until fluffy.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  • Add this to the creamed mixture gradually until well blended.
  • Add cooled banana mixture.
  • Pour into greased and floured pan(s)*
  • Bake at 350° for 45+ minutes.

*NOTE:* This recipe will make 2 large loaves or 1-2 snack cakes or 18 muffins…

FROSTING (optional)use this if you want to turn it into a snack cake.
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
Juice of 1 SMALL lemon
1 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  • In a medium bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add lemon juice and vanilla. Beat until blended.
  • Add powdered sugar gradually until well blended and smooth.
  • Frost snack cake.
  • Refrigerate 1 hour to set icing before serving.

COPY CAT PAN SEARED PORK CHOPS with BRAISED RED CABBAGE & APPLE

PAN SEARED PORK CHOPS with BRAISED RED CABBAGE & APPLE
1 + 1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 boneless pork steaks
1 SMALL red onion, halved and THINLY sliced
1 LARGE clove garlic, FINELY minced
1/2 pound red cabbage, cored and THINLY sliced
2 LARGE apples, 1 cored & sliced the other cored and grated
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup hot water
1 1/2 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon beef base
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 green onions, minced and separated

  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter and oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Pat pork steaks dry.
  • Whisk together the FRESH ground sea salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne pepper until well blended.
  • Generously season pork steaks on both sides with the seasoning mix.
  • Add the pork steaks to the skillet searing 2-3 minutes on each side.
  • Transfer pork steaks to platter and keep warm.
  • Add the remaining butter to the skillet.
  • Add the onions and cabbage to the pan, 3-4 minutes until slightly softened and beginning to caramelize.
  • Whisk together the beef base, warm water and vinegar.
  • Add vinegar mixture to pan, stirring to blend.
  • Add apple pieces topped with the pork steaks, cover and simmer 5-6 minutes to soften apple and reheat pork steaks. MOST of the liquid should cook off, but DO NOT BURN.
  • Slice pork and serve over cabbage mix.

RECIPE REVIEW
TASTE: Sweet & Tangy
TEXTURE: Tender caramelized cabbage, onions and apples topped with fork tender pork tenderloin. 
EASE: Moderate.
APPEARANCE: Appetizing and visually appealing.
PROS: Great meal for company.
CONS: None that I found!
WOULD I MAKE THIS AGAIN? DEFINITELY Yes.

RASPBERRY RICOTTA ALMOND CAKE

I took a Ricotta cheese making class several months ago at a local winery, Joseph Jane. It was a wonderful night that culminated in this cake after a tasty lasagna meal. I also discovered my new favorite wine, Pink Panik.

RASPBERRY RICOTTA ALMOND CAKE
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 LARGE eggs
16 ounce container of FULL fat ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups raspberries, plus a few for garnish
1/4 cup sliced almonds

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line a 9 inch spring form pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Whisk together the eggs, ricotta cheese and vanilla until smooth.
  • Stir egg mixture into the dry mixture.
  • Fold in cooled melted butter until smooth.
  • GENTLY fold in raspberries.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Scatter the almonds and remaining berries over the top of the batter.
  • Bake 50 minutes or until golden brown and center is cooked through.
  • Let cool 20 minutes BEFORE unmolding.

Honestly making your own ricotta is easy, but ALSO time consuming and in my opinion not really worth the trouble when there are so many less expensive options. That said, if you really want to give it a try, here’s the recipe. The original recipe came from Career Girl Meets.

You will need some cheesecloth and a candy thermometer for special equipment.

1 gallon WHOLE milk
1 quart buttermilk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt

  • In a LARGE pot stir together the above ingredients.
  • Clip a candy thermometer to the pot. This is a crucial step as you are looking for an exact 195°.
  • Cook over low to medium heat and stir liquid occasionally. You will begin to see the milk separate and the curd form.
  • When the temperature reaches 195°, REMOVE the pot from the heat and let it sit for 35 minutes. DO NOT STIR DURING THIS TIME.
  • Line a colander with three layers of damp cheesecloth.
  • Place colander over a large bowl. This bowl will catch the excess whey as it drains.
  • Pour the cooled curds into the colander.
  • Use a spatula and GENTLY stir the ricotta to drain the whey from the cheese.
  • Wrap the cheese in the cheesecloth and GENTLY squeeze to allow the excess whey to drain.
  • Place the cheese in the refrigerator for several hours.
  • After several hours, unwrap the cheese and discard the cheesecloth.
  • Keep refrigerated.

RECIPE REVIEW
TASTE: Just sweet enough, but not overly sweet.
TEXTURE: Tender crust with a pop of berry here and there and crunchy almonds.
EASE: Easy to hard – depending on whether you make your own ricotta cheese.
APPEARANCE: Appetizing and visually appealing.
PROS: Great meal for company.
CONS: None that I found!
WOULD I MAKE THIS AGAIN? DEFINITELY Yes. BUT, I would use store bought ricotta for the ease.

CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD PUDDING with MAPLE SAUCE

CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD PUDDING with MAPLE SAUCE yields 2 pans

PUDDING
12 cups combination of torn croissant pieces and sourdough pieces
6 cups half and half
12 LARGE eggs
2 cups VERY ripe mashed bananas (about 6 LARGE)
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons PURE vanilla
1 tablespoon QUALITY cinnamon
2 cups mini chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 9×13 pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Toss bread and croissant pieces with the chocolate chips.
  • Mash bananas.
  • Whisk together the eggs, half and half, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.
  • Fold in bananas.
  • Arrange bread and croissant mixture loosely in the pans.
  • Pour banana egg mixture evenly over bread pieces.
  • Gently press the the bread into the custard mixture so bread absorbs the custard.

TOPPING
1 1/2 cups toasted chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups PACKED brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter

  • In a small bowl combine brown sugar and chopped walnuts.
  • Drizzle butter into brown sugar nut mixture, stirring to mix well.
  • Sprinkle the nut mixture evenly over the bread pieces.
  • Bake 40-45 minutes until golden and cooked through and set well.

SAUCE
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup PACKED brown sugar

  • In a sauce pan whisk together the maple syrup and brown sugar 5-7 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and mixture ALMOST boils.
  • Remove from heat and serve over warm banana bread.

NOTES:

  • Mash bananas, but leave them a bit chunky.
  • A powdered sugar sprinkle makes a good alternative to the maple sauce if serving for a potluck or buffet.
  • Adding rum soaked raisins gives it a real kick too!

SHORT CUT APPLE PIE CUPCAKES

SHORT CUT APPLE PIE CUPCAKES

yields 24 cupcakes PREP 15 minutes COOK 15 minutes TOTAL 30 minutes

A fun and easy apple pie cupcake recipe made with a spicy cinnamon roll dough, spicy apples and a sweet crumble topping. Is there anything better than the sweet smell of an apple pie baking? I think not.

APPLE FILLING
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced in to 1/4-inch cubes
6 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons QUALITY ground cinnamon (I use red ape)
3/4 teaspoon FRESH ground nutmeg
SCANT 1 teaspoon salt
Juice from LARGE lemon

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the diced apples and cook 5 minutes or so, tossing occasionally, until they start to soften.
  • Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and the salt.
  • Cook 5 more minutes, or until tender.
  • Stir in lemon juice.
  • Set aside.

CRUMBLE
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup WONDRA
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon
1 teaspoon FRESH grated nutmeg

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

  • Add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and walnuts to a medium bowl.
  • Grate the butter with a cheese grater over the bowl.
  • With a pastry cutter work the butter in until crumbly.
  • Set aside.

CUPCAKES & ASSEMBLY
3 cans (8 count) refrigerated cinnamon roll dough (store bought or home made is up to you!)

  • Heat oven to 400°.
  • LIGHTLY spray muffin tins with cooking spray.
  • Separate cinnamon roll dough into 24 rolls.
  • Flatten each into 4-inch round then place into each muffin cup so it comes up the sides evenly.
  • Divide the cooled apple filling mixture evenly into muffin cups.
  • Top with the crumble topping.

  • Bake the cupcakes 15 minutes or until bubbly and tops are light brown.
  • Cool in the pan 5 minutes then transfer to a cooking rack.

TOPPING – your choice – store bought or home made is up to you!
Whipped cream
Ice cream
Caramel sauce drizzle

  • Serve the cupcakes with topping of choice.

SHEET PAN PANCAKES

Hubs LOVES pancakes, but they’re not something I can tolerate much anymore so this is a simple recipe that keeps well for reheating too. It’s also simple enough to reduce for a small size.

SHEET PAN PANCAKES
2 1/2 cups WHOLE milk or half & half
2 EXTRA LARGE eggs
1 tablespoon PURE vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick salted butter, melted
2 cups WILD blueberries
butter & syrup, for serving

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla, blending well. Using a blender or hand mixer works well also.
  • Add the flour mixture gradually, blending until smooth.
  • Add half of the melted butter, blending well.
  • Spread half the remaining butter on a sheet pan, swirling to coat the bottom and sides.
  • Pour pancake batter over the butter evenly.
  • Sprinkle with most of the blueberries, reserving a few for garnish.
  • Bake 20 minutes until golden.
  • Brush entire pancake with remaining butter, cut into squares and serve with syrup or powdered sugar.

BALSAMIC MOZZARELLA WATERMELON SALAD

This recipe so SIMPLE, but also EXTREMELY refreshing and with all the textures really yummy too for any summer meal. PERFECT for any BBQ, PICNIC or POTLUCK! BALSAMIC MOZZARELLA WATERMELON SALAD serves 4-6
2 cups cubed seedless watermelon
2 cups marinated mozzarella pearls **(see notes)
3 LARGE green onions, sliced **(see notes)
1/2 cup FRESH chopped parsley or cilantro
1/2 cup FRESH broccoli micro greens
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup QUALITY balsamic vinegar
2-3 cups baby greens

  • Toss the watermelon, mozzarella balls, basil or parsley and onions together.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Pour vinegar all over the mixture and gently toss.
  • Chill until ready to sever.
  • Just before serving gently toss with the micro greens and lettuce if using.

NOTES:

  • I like to quarter the mozzarella pearls so they make it into more salad bites.
  • Red onion works well also.
  • The baby greens are great for a crowd where you know you will have no leftovers, but if you want to save any for the next day, the greens get wilty. 😀