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Tuesday
May152012

Rhubarb crunch

I have such fond memories of my childhood in Scottsbluff, Nebraska: learning to ride a bike, being tortured by my older sisters, endlessly swinging on our swingset with my best friend Matt, running from crazy storms and the lollipop cakes my mom made for my birthdays. There was also the patch of rhubarb in our back yard, among the stray cats and the huge oak trees. I have vivid memories of gnawing at those bitter stalks. There was something so special about eating something straight from the earth, especially when combined with sugar, of course! Ha!

My good friend Paula (P-licious) contacted me recently and said, "Megan, you should make a rhubarb recipe!" Ok! And then she offered up her great grandmother's Rhubarb Crunch recipe, which meant the world to me. Thanks, P! 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9x9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup shortening, softened

Mix well and press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

In a medium saucepan, combine:

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and clear, about 15 minutes.

Add 4 cups of chopped rhubarb and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.

Pour the rhubarb mixture over the crumbs in the pan and top with the remaining crumbs.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until crumbs are lightly browned. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Enjoy! This one is a keeper!

Printable recipe: Rhubarb crunch

Friday
May112012

Leek tomato & mushroom quiche

I absolutely cannot write this post without sharing my funny story about quiches. It's funny now. It wasn't so funny when it happened. A few years ago my incredibly thoughtful husband asked me if I would like for him to make me a quiche for Mother's Day. Now, please keep in mind that I was pregnant at the time and very close to delivering Sammy. I flipped out on him upon suggesting quiche! "QUICHE?! You men always get Famous Dave's for Father's Day and that is so much better than QUICHE!" An argument occurred, me wondering how he could possibly suggest QUICHE (and not bbq ribs) and him wondering why I was being so ridiculous.

I claim Pregnancy Crazies because goodness, what a very thoughtful thing for him to consider! Quiche is delicious! And it is a standard go-to for a Mother's Day brunch.

So hopefully you, too, have a thoughtful husband who offers to make you quiche for Mother's Day and hopefully you aren't hormonal and irrational about suggesting such a thing!

Although we joke about that argument often, I don't know if I have ever genuinely told Dan that I'm sorry for being so silly. Husband, I am sorry! I would welcome a quiche made by your wonderful self any day, especially on Mother's Day! I apologize for being a crazy pregnant lady!

This is the first quiche I have made since the Quiche Fight, and I must say that it turned out quite delicious. I hope you enjoy it, too!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Unroll two 9-inch ready-to-bake pie crusts and press them into two 9-inch pie plates. Poke plenty of holes into the surface of the dough with a fork.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 leek (halved lengthwise and thinly sliced; white and light green parts only) and cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

Halve an 8-ounce container of grape or cherry tomatoes.

Chop fresh flat-leaf parsley to equal 1/4 cup.

Coarsely chop 8 ounces of fresh sliced mushrooms.

In a medium bowl, combine:

Sliced leeks

Halved tomatoes

Chopped parsley

Chopped mushrooms

Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix well.

Add 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and mix well. I used Kraft Triple Cheddar, which contains white cheddar, sharp cheddar and mild cheddar with a touch of cream cheese. This might be my new favorite!

Mix well.

Divide the mixture between the 2 pie plates.

In a medium bowl, combine:

8 large eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

Whisk together and divide between the 2 pie plates. Pour over the top of the veggie-cheese mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked through. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Who needs Famous Dave's when a mama can have something as delicious as this?!

Printable recipe: Leek tomato & mushroom quiche

Wednesday
May092012

Salted caramel pie

It's been another weird week. I wonder how many weeks I have labeled as "weird" in the past year. The older I get, the weirder my life feels. Or maybe it's just the constant sleep deprivation? Elijah and I spent a night in the hospital this week, trying to get some scary croup under control. Nights in the hospital are always quite the experience, resulting in general weariness.

In my weary state of mind, I created this oh-my-goodness-heavenly pie last night and this morning. It's a bit of a messy one, but it is totally sinful and delicious beyond words. I adore the salt-caramel combo that seems to be so trendy these days.

(Recipe adapted from: Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2012)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor, combine:

13 graham crackers, broken into pieces

1/4 cup light brown sugar

5 tablespoons salted butter, melted

Pulse until moistened fine crumbs form. Press the crumbs evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

Pour two cans of sweetened condensed milk into a glass baking dish. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt evenly over the top. Cover the dish with foil. Place the baking dish inside a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with 1 inch of hot water.

Bake in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so. Replenish the water in the roasting pan as needed.

Let cool, stirring occasionally.

Pour the caramel filling into the prepared crust.

Spray a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it over the pie, sprayed-side down. Chill in the refrigerator until the filling is set, about 4 hours.

In a medium bowl, combine:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 5 to 6 minutes, or until firm.

Remove the plastic from the pie and mound the whipped cream onto the pie.

Cut into wedges and serve!

Printable recipe: Salted caramel pie

Friday
May042012

7-layer taco dip

I find it impossible that I haven't shared this recipe yet. This is one of my all-time favorites! Dan and I make this 7-layer dip a handful of times every year, and for various occasions. One being Cinco de Mayo! We plan to celebrate the holiday tomorrow night with our skydiving friends, Dan in his beer holster, me in my chili pepper earrings and the boys in their sombreros. Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! (I will try to get a picture of all of us in our festive attire.)

I spent literally years perfecting this recipe, and let me tell you...it is PERFECT! Please trust me on this. Prepare it exactly as it is, and you will not be disappointed. Your guests will adore you, I promise!

In a medium bowl, combine:

16-oz. can refried beans

1 heaping tablespoon taco seasoning (I use Ortego Chipotle-flavored seasoning)

Mix well. Spread mixture evenly onto the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

In another medium bowl, combine:

10 oz. sour cream

8-oz. package cream cheese, softened

Mix well. Spread mixture over the bean mixture in the pan.

Top with:

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

16-oz. jar salsa

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 of a head of iceberg lettuce, coarsely chopped

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with chips. Enjoy the fiesta!

Printable recipe: 7-layer dip

Friday
May042012

7-layer ice cream cake

My gorgeous and wonderful husband passed his skydiving course this week, so the little boys and I are very proud of him and his efforts! It was a long and grueling week for him. This weekend I plan to take the boys out to our camper at the dropzone for the first time this "summer," so we are all looking forward to that. And hopefully some of our skydiver friends will be able to enjoy this dessert that I made tonight because it is yummy! I stole the idea from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Magazine. It is such a deliciously pretty dessert!

Remove 1 frozen (thawed) pound cake (10 3/4 ounces) from its pan and cut it horizontally into 4 slices. Line the aluminum loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 6-inch overhang on 2 sides. 

Build the cake layers as follows:

Bottom cake slice

1 cup lime sherbet, softened

Cake slice

1/2 cup Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped

1 cup vanilla ice cream, softened

Cake slice

1 cup raspberry sherbet, softened

Top cake slice

Wrap in plastic and freeze for a minimum of 1 hour, or up to 3 days.

In a heatproof bowl, lightly whisk together 2 eggs whites and a pinch of cream of tartar.

Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until the whites are foamy. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup sugar and cook, whisking, until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove the bowl from the heat and, with an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. 

Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat for another minute. Remove the cake from the pan and dollup the meringue over the top.

Serve immediately! Enjoy! And come skydiving with us this summer!

Printable recipe: 7-layer ice cream cake