Friday, September 5, 2014

5 Favorite Summer Recipes 2014

Labor Day weekend has passed and the kiddies are back in school; that means summer is over--even if the temps are still in the 80s. To say goodbye to summer, here are some of our summer favorite recipes.

1. Parmesan Veggie Crisps
    Made with shredded zucchini and carrots, these crisp chips are not only healthy but delicious, and pair  
    perfectly with hummus.

1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
seasonings, if desired (garlic powder, rosemary, etc.)

Remove the excess moisture from the zucchini and carrots by placing them between a couple of paper towels and squeezing out the extra liquid.

Mix all the ingredients together. Line a microwave-safe plate with waxed paper and spray with cooking spray. Spoon about a tablespoon of the mixture on a plate then flatten with the bottom of the spoon. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes on High. Every microwave is different so start at 2 minutes, then add 30 seconds as needed. 2 minutes worked perfectly for me. Allow to cool about a couple of minutes before serving.

2. Smores Cookie Cups
     I've made quite a few smores desserts but these cookies are without a doubt one of the best. They are
     seriously addicting.

1 package Ready to Bake Pillsbury Sugar Cookies (or this sugar cookie recipe, halved)
4 tablespoons chocolate spread (I used Hershey, but Jiffy makes one too)*
4 tablespoons marshmallow fluff
3 graham crackers, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees if using refrigerated cookie dough. (If using my sugar cookie recipe, preheat to 375 degrees). Grease a two mini muffin tin with cooking spray.

Place crumbled graham crackers in a bowl. You can crumble them as fine or as coarse as you like.

Roll each section of refrigerated cookie dough (approximately a tablespoon of cookie dough from scratch) into a ball. Roll each ball into the graham cracker crumbs and place in the muffin tin.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 350 or 7-8 minutes at 375 (for scratch).

As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, press the centers in gently using the end of a wooden spoon. Allow the cookies to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cooled, spoon 1/2 teaspoon of chocolate spread into each cup. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon marshmallow fluff on top of the chocolate spread. Place cookie cups onto a cookie sheet.

Set oven to broil and pop the cookies back into the oven to toast the marshmallow. This only takes about 30 seconds so don't walk away or even look away from your cookies or else you risk burning them. When the marshmallow reaches the desired shade of golden brown, remove from oven.

Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature.

3. Quick and Easy Chicken Parmesan
      I love chicken parmesan and have tried a lot of recipes over the years. I never would have expected one
      this simple would have been the winner.

4 chicken breast
3/4 cup panko
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup marinara sauce
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

In a shallow dish, combine, panko, oregano, basil, and Parmesan. Place melted butter in a second shallow dish. Set aside.

Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally so you have 8 thin chicken breasts. Dip the chicken breast in the butter then coat it in the panko mixture. Place on cookie sheet and repeat with the rest of the chicken.

Lightly spray a little cooking spray on the top of the chicken breasts. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip chicken over and bake for another 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove from oven and spoon 1 tablespoon of sauce over each chicken breast and then sprinkle with mozzarella, dividing the cheese equally between the breasts.

Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

4. Soy Wax Beans with Sesame Seeds
     I don't think I would have ever bought wax beans on my own. But my mother-in-law gave me some and
     had to figure out what to do with them. Little did I know that I'd fall in love with them. We are easily
     going to eat these beans every summer.

1 pound wax beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 pinch ground ginger
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar, packed
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the wax beans with olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until beans are tender and browned in spots. Toss beans halfway through.

Mix together soy sauce, ginger, lemon, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add roasted beans and toss. Garnish with sesame seeds.

5. Strawberry Chocolate Chips Muffins
     These muffins were something a little different than your run-of-the-mill muffin and turned out to be a huge
     hit in Eric's office.

1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Crumble Topping
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a small bowl, combine all the crumble topping ingredients until you have a texture of coarse crumbs. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

In a second bowl, combine egg, oil, and milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir (be careful not to over mix). Fold in blueberries.

Divide equally between the 12 cups. Generously sprinkle crumble on top of the muffins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the center of the muffins set.



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