Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Unique Kid Friendly Food!

 Yes, thats right...spaghetti is coming out of those hot dogs!!! I loved this recipe as soon as I saw it! Its such a cool idea! My kids loved this and it was fun to make! I served this with a cheddar cheese sauce, as you can see in my photo! You can use a cheese sauce from your favorite mac n' cheese recipe!

This was fun to make and even more fun to see the look on my kids faces when they saw this on their dish!


Hot Dog Spaghetti
INGREDIENTS:
8 hot dogs 
1/2 pound thick spaghetti
cheddar cheese sauce from your favorite mac n' cheese recipe 
DIRECTIONS:
 Cut each hot dog into 8 equal pieces.  Push 5 pieces of raw spaghetti into each piece of hot dog.

 Fill a 5 quart pot with water and bring to a boil.  Add the hot dog pieces that are skewered with the spaghetti. Let boil for about 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

 Prepare the cheese sauce.  Add the hot dog spaghetti to the cheese sauce. Serve warm.

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This next recipe is always loved by all the kids that eat it...and even the adults!  It's a Corn Dog Casserole!  This can be made a day ahead! The leftovers reheat perfectly!


Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups thinly sliced celery
1 1/2 cups sliced green onion
1 1/2 pounds vegetarian or chicken hot dogs
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (8.5 ounce) packages dry corn bread mix
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a shallow 3 quart baking dish.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter, then saute celery for 5 minutes. Stir in green onions, and saute an additional 5 minutes. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
Cut hot dogs lengthwise into quarters, then cut into thirds. In the same skillet, saute hot dogs for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Mix hot dogs into celery and onions. Set aside 1 cup of this mixture.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, pepper, and corn bread mix. Stir well to combine, then stir into remaining hot dog mixture. Mix in 1 1/2 cups cheese. Spread mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with reserved hot dog mixture and remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

This recipe is adapted from Allrecipes.com

 



                                       













Monday, January 30, 2012

The Buffalo Wing Journey!

I tried many different Buffalo wing recipes but I stopped searching when I found this one! Its perfect! And they're baked, not fried! So it's a little less fattening! This is a mild version, but you can make it as spicy as you like by just adding more cayenne pepper and less honey. This is my slightly tweaked version!

Best Buffalo Wings Ever
INGREDIENTS;

20 chicken wings-split and tips discarded
1/4 c butter-melted
1/2 c red pepper sauce- I use frank's brand
1/2 c flour, seasoned with 1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 c canned plain tomato sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper- add more if you like hot wings
3 Tbsp honey-add less for hot wings

 DIRECTIONS;
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Coat wings in seasoned flour.
Bake wings on a parchment lined cookie sheet for 30 minutes or til baked through and slightly crispy.
Meanwhile in a small bowl combine melted butter, red pepper sauce, tomato sauce, chili powder, cayenne pepper and honey. Mix together well.
When wings are baked, dip in sauce to coat well, then shake off excess and return coated wings to baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) and bake for another 15 minutes to set sauce.
I served these with Ranch dressing! You can use the traditional Blue Cheese dressing instead!
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And how about the perfect margarita to go with those wings! I know that beer usually goes great with Buffalo wings! Well this is a Beer Margarita...its the best margarita I ever had, and I've had many!
I recently discovered this DELICIOUS cocktail! There are many versions of this, but after trying many of them, I decided that I love it this way! It's the perfect blend of sweet and slightly tart, but oh so smooth! This goes down very easily, so be careful because it packs a punch! This tastes exactly like the traditional margaritas, only better!
Perfect Beer Margarita
INGREDIENTS;
6 ounces light beer 
6 ounce tequila
6 ounces lemonade concentrate, frozen 
3 ounces 7-up or Sprite soda 
3 ounces water
DIRECTIONS;
Mix everything together in a pitcher.  Serve chilled or place in the freezer for a few hours to make a slushy type of margarita.
Optionally, rim the glass with coarse salt and garnish with a lime slice.
This makes about 4 drinks!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Unique Snacks

I love finding new and intertesting snacks to munch on! Well, I came across 2 fun ones this week and I'm hooked on them already! One of them is store bought and one is an easy homemade treat! This first one I found at Trader Joe's market...I love that store!
These are so crunchy! Kind of like a cheese doodle but with a snap pea flavor!  They're low in sodium and fat! They have lots of fiber! So, this is a much better choice than chips! Guilt free snacking...I love it!
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This next snack is not as healthy! I found this recipe through a fellow foodie named Caroline Ann Savage. She posted this recipe on Allrecipes.com and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to try it! Its salty, spicy hot and sweet, all in one crunchy bite! I couldn't stop eating these! They're called Firecrackers!

 I made them using 'Andy Capp Hot Fries', you'll find them in the potato chip isle. I coated them in white chocolate! And then to make them even more spicy, I sprinkle them with cayenne pepper! Caroline's original recipe called for 'Flamin Hot Cheetos', but I couldn't find them, so I used the hot fries! Here's the link to the original recipe...Firecracker Recipe - click here

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

My First Published Recipe!

This recipe was my first recipe to ever be published onto a cooking website in 2008! I was so over joyed when Allrecipes.com picked my recipe for their site!  This is a salad I've made many times for family gatherings! Its a garlic and seafood lovers dream!

Italian Shrimp and Scallop Salad
INGREDIENTS;
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 
3 tablespoons chopped celery leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/2 cup corn oil 
2 cups frozen petite peas 
2 pounds bay scallops
2 pounds peeled and deveined small shrimp

DIRECTIONS;
In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, parsley, celery leaves, salt, and corn oil; set aside. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Pour in the peas, and return to a boil. Stir in the scallops, and boil for 3 minutes, then add the shrimp and continue cooking for 1 1/2 minutes more. Drain well, then cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Once the seafood has cooled, toss it with the garlic dressing until coated. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight before serving. Toss again before serving.

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And this was my second recipe that was published by Allrecipes.com, about 3 years after the first one!
I love the push cart hot dogs, mainly because of the onions they serve on top...so I mixed and matched many different ingredients until I came up with the perfect combination for this recipe! This tastes just like the kind of onions I often would get from my favorite hot dog stands!


Hot Dog Onions


INGREDIENTS;

2 tablespoons corn oil  
1 extra large onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (such as Frank's RedHot®)
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
DIRECTIONS;
Heat the corn oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the hot sauce, yellow mustard, sugar, chili powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the water and tomato paste; simmer until liquid has reduced, about 20 minutes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


My 3rd recipe to be published, by the same site, was this one! Its the salad dressing recipe I've been making for several years! I use this dressing on pasta salad as well as tossed salads! It's a very light dressing that lets the flavor of whatever you put it on, shine through!





Lite Italian Salad Dressing
INGREDIENTS;
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 fluid ounces corn oil
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
DIRECTIONS;
Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, corn oil, salt, sugar, pepper, and oregano in a bowl. Pour into a carafe and use as needed on salads! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Journey For The Best Beef Stew!

Today a food friend gave me a great review of my recipe! So that reminded me to post that recipe here for you! Thank you Laura O'Brien!

I've tried soooo many beef stew recipes! And they were all very good but were always missing something. So I decided to take the best parts of all the recipes I've tried and I came up with the 'Ultimate Beef Stew' ...

Ultimate Beef Stew
INGREDIENTS;
2 tablespoons corn oil
1 very large white or yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped 
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds stew beef, cut into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup of Guinness Extra Stout beer (must be extra stout for more flavor) 
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons honey 
1 bay leaf
DIRECTIONS;
 1. Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Saute all the veggies until the onions are tender, stirring constantly.
2. Combine flour, salt, and pepper.  Dredge the meat pieces in the seasoned flour until well coated. Add to the sauteed veggies and continue to cook until the meat is browned. Add salt and pepper to taste (I use 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper).
3. Add the Guinness stout, beef broth, honey and bay leaf. Stir well.
4. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 2 hours or until meat  is tender.
I like to serve this with crusty homemade bread or with mashed potatoes on top.
by LauraOB     Jan 27, 2012
Loved it! My husband called it "the beefiest" beef stew I have made yet.  He is not a honey fan but subbing 2 Tablespoons Agave works perfectly.  I also threw in some potato flakes to thicken it, per the hubs request.  It didn't change the taste, it just thickened it to his preferred consistency.  Great Recipe, Lillian!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
With the beef stew I love to serve this no knead ciabatta bread! I love this bread recipe because its the easiest bread I've ever made! No kneading and hardly any mixing! It rises overnight, then you just dump it onto a baking pan and bake it! You can't get any easier than that!  This bread is nice and crispy on the outside, with a soft airy inside!

EASIEST CIABATTA BREAD
INGREDIENTS;


  • 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt 
  • 2 cups luke warm water
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • olive oil - to rub on top of bread before baking 
  • herbs of your choice to add on top before baking
  • parchment paper
  • cornmeal to dust on parchment paper

  •    DIRECTIONS;
    In a large bowl mix yeast and luke warm water with the salt.
    Add flour and stir til flour absorbes all the water. The batter will be very sticky and lumpy, but thats perfect!
    Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temp with no drafts. I keep mine in my oven, with the oven light on. Its the perfect place because its warm and draft free.
    Let rise for 12 hours.
    When ready to bake, cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle the paper with a very thin layer of cornmeal. This will keep the bread from sticking.
    Take the dough out of the oven, if thats where you put it to rise, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    Now just dump the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, scraping it out of the bowl with a wooden spoon. Do not punch down the dough. The less you handle the dough the more airy it will be...which is just what you want.
    Now gently rub some olive oil over the top and sides of the dough. Then sprinkle with desired seasonings...I used garlic powder and grated parnesan cheese.
    Place on middle rack and bake for 25 minutes or til VERY brown, as in my photo.Then remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 mintues. Then slice and serve warm.I love to serve this with herbed olive oil for dipping or I serve this with stew to soak up the gravy!


    Thursday, January 26, 2012

    Check Out This Free Food Offer...

    Its a 'Love with Food' tasting box, Free!!!
     Gourmet food items shipped to your door! I just ordered a monthly membership! When you use coupon code FBVIP, the 1st tasting box is free! They ask for credit card info, but you will not be charged unless you continue your monthly membership, after your 1st shipment! And you can cancel before the next shipment! Check it out at this link        https://lovewithfood.com/subscriptions
    Hurry! Offer ends Jan. 31, 2012

    I am not paid to mention this offer! Its something I just want to share! Read all the details at that link before ordering!

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    Super Quick & Easy Candy

    
    Chocolate Cherry Porcupines

    Ingredients;
    Dried Cherries - Benjamin Twiggs Dried Red Cherries
    Dark Chocolate-melted-Olive & Sinclair
    Shredded Coconut

    I made another candy using the ingredients from the Foodzie Tasting Box that I showed you in this post...'It Pays to Be Good'... This is really good!  I love dried cherries and I love coconut...and who doesn't love chocolate! All I did was dip the dried cherries into melted dark chocolate and coated them in shredded coconut! Then I put them in the fridge to set! This is one of those candies that you just can't stop eating! I call them Chocolate Cherry Porcupines! My foodie friends gave me the idea for the name!


    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    It's a Party!

    CLICK ON PICTURE TO ENLARGE
    Everyone loves party poppers! These are the ones I made when my kids were in elementary school! I would send these to school, with cupcakes, for the class to celebrate! It was always a huge hit with the kids because it was different and fun to open! And its so easy to customize for any occasion...birthdays, baby showers, holidays, etc....Just save your empty toilet paper tubes. Then just take a 13" x 13" piece of wrapping paper and wrap it around the tube, tape it and twist one end closed. Then tie the end with a piece of ribbon. Fill the tube with candy and trinkets. Then twist that end closed and tie with another piece of ribbon. Everyone loves to rip these open and see what's inside! These cost a fraction of what the store bought party poppers cost! Plus YOU can decide what to put inside!
    Wrap toilet paper tube with wrapping paper, fill with candy and trinkets, twist ends close, tie ends with ribbon...and done!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     And speaking of parties...how about a cool recipe to bring to a Super Bowl party! I made these Cream Cheese Penguins (click here for recipe) for the Super Bowl, a few years ago, and the men still rave about it! I never saw so many grown men, be that happy, about cute little penguins! I guess as long as it has something to do with football, its a winner!
    Click on the photo to enlarge
    The football is a cheeseball covered with chopped walnuts.
    I added powdered ranch dressing mix to the cream cheese in the penguins, to give it more flavor. And for the scarfs, I cut jarrred red peppers into long thin strips!

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    It Pays To Be Good...

                  ...to your friends! Today I received a nice surprise in my mailbox! It was a Foodzie Tasting Box! I was given this gift through the Cooking Channel Cookie Swap Contest! I didn't enter that contest, but my food friend (Wendy Rusch) did! She asked her friends to vote for her 2 cookie entries, everyday, until the contest was over. I did just that! And about a week ago I received an email from the Cooking Channel that said my name was picked from the list of voters, and that I will be receiving my gift shortly! I never even considered this during all the times I was voting for her cookie recipes!  I guess 'one good turn deserves another'! Here is my Foodzie Tasting Box. To see a larger view just click on the photo.
    This box contains Saigon Cinnamon, Dried Cherries, Dark Chocolate Almond Brittle, Hazelnut Butter, Hard Red Winter Wheat Flour, 67% Dark Chocolate Bar and Recipe Cards for these ingredients!
     If you would like more info on Foodzie, check out this link                      http://foodzie.com/how-it-works/

           Thank you so much Cooking Channel and Foodzie!

    I decided to try a recipe that came with my Foodzie package! The recipe caught my eye because it sounded very unique! It's called Sponge Candy. The reason it's called that is because it looks like a sponge, as you can see in my photo. But it is definitely not soft like a sponge! This candy is very crunchy, chewy and sticky!
    This candy is not for people with delicate dental work! The flavor is like peanut brittle without the peanuts!

    Sponge Candy
    Ingredients;
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 cup light corn syrup
    1 tbls. distilled white vinegar
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1 tbls. pure vanilla extract
    1 tbls. baking soda
    3 oz. dark chocolate - optional

     Directions;

    Liberally grease a 10-inch round spring form cake pan with vegetable oil. Trace the bottom of the pan on a piece of parchment paper. Line the bottom of the pan with the parchment paper circle. Line the sides of the pan with a parchment paper so that the parchment paper creates a collar that sits 1 to 2-inches above the pan. Liberally grease the parchment paper.

    In a deep medium saucepan add sugar, corn syrup, vinegar, salt and vanilla. Over medium-high heat bring the mixture to a boil (without stirring) and cook until hard crack stage, i.e. until temperature reads 300 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. This should take about 10 minutes. If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan during the cooking process, brush the sides of the pan with a clean pastry brush dipped in water.

    Remove from heat. Working quickly, add the baking soda and quickly blend to incorporate the soda into the sugar mixture, about 5 seconds. The mixture will bubble up when you add the baking soda. Be very careful not to touch the hot mixture.

    Immediately pour the hot toffee into the prepared pan.
    Let cool and set completely before touching.
    Cut into pieces. It will makes a huge mess, but the messy little crumbs can be saved for your ice cream! You can stop here if you like or you can take it to the next level by melting the chocolate and drizzling it over the sponge candy pieces.

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    A Slow Cooker Kind of Day!

    Yes, its just another one of those days! Plus, I can use it to get more points in the Allstar program! This month the Allstar members were encouraged to try at least 3 slow cooker recipes from the Allrecipes.com site! We get one point for every recipe we make (up to 3 points)...these points go towards chances to win a prize at the end of each month.

    So, today I'm planning on making a cassoulet...isn't that just a fancy way of saying casserole!  The 'cassoulet' has chicken and kielbasa in it! Along with beans, onions and some other tasty ingredients! It sounded unique, so I thought I would try it because I just LOVE unique recipes! If its a winner, I'll post it here later...with pics!

    I just realized that I blab...I mean blog, so much about the Allstar program, but I've never supplied ALL the info on the program! Here's the link to everything you may want to know about this fun program! If it sounds like something you might be interested in, then sign up! Its free and fun!                       Allstar Program Info - Click here

    ~~~Update~~~

    The cassoulet tonight, needed a super tweak! I tasted it before I served it and it was very bland! So I decided to fix it by adding some liquid smoke, chicken broth, shredded cheddar cheese and cream cheese. This gave it some creamy texture and a perfect smokey, cheesy flavor! Here is my photo and the link to my version of the recipe!

                          Here's a little kitchen tip that I'd like to share! I've been doing this for many years and it's so helpful! I used to have such a problem with where to put my recipe while I'm cooking...no matter where I would put it, it would always be in the way! So I finally came up with a solution! I  glued a magnet on the underside of one of my top kitchen cabinets. This is just a piece of a refrigerator magnet. You know the kind that local businesses give away as advertisement! I cut it into a strip and just glued it under the front edge of my upper cabinet.
    Strip of magnet glued on underside of upper cabinet.
        Then I cut another same size strip to use as the holder for the recipe. So when I want to keep my recipe at easy sight, I just put it between the two magnets and its right there for me to see, without being in my way! The recipe stays off my counter top and out of my way, but not out of my sight!

    This is how the recipe hangs from the cabinet. Its right next to my stove. 


    Saturday, January 21, 2012

    Snowed In! So LOTS of Cooking Today!

    Well, we finally got our first snow storm of the year today! It's only about 5 inches so far, but it's enough to keep all of us home! YAY! I love it when my whole family is home! Today is the perfect day to try some of those tasty looking recipes I've been wanting to make! I already have the slow cooker going with a posole recipe! I also have an applesauce loaf in the oven! I'll be making a couple of loaves of crusty bread to go with the posole! And I want to make another Chef Boyardee concoction to enter in the that contest that I mentioned in my other post! If the recipes turn out REALLY good, I'll post them here later!

    I wonder what my fellow foodies are cooking today!

                                      ~~~~ Update ~~~
    The applesauce loaf is delicious! The aroma of apple/cinnamon spice filled my house while this was baking! I just enjoyed 2 slices with a cup of coffee! What I love about this recipe is that it is VERY low fat...only 2 tbls of butter and 1 egg! And its not overly sweet either!  Here is my photo and  recipe link to my tweaked version of this tasty snack! http://allrecipes.com/customrecipe/63073538/applesauce-loaf/detail.aspx 
    

    The posole recipe was a winner....such hearty, authentic, flavors! Perfect for this snowy day! Here's my photo and the link to my tweaked version of this tasty recipe!

    And this is the bread I made to go with the posole... I always use this recipe because it tastes just like the bread I get from my favorite bakery! And its so easy to make with a few simple ingredients!
    http://www.justapinch.com/recipe/lilliancooks/simply-easy-french-bread/other-bread?k=french+bread&m=Lilliancooks&p=1&o=r

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Product Review

    I was given this product by the Swanson company through the Allrecipes Brand Ambassador Program. I was very interested in trying this new product! It hadn't been released to stores yet, but I liked it as soon as I read the package! Each flavor boost packet is to be mixed with 1 cup of water to make a broth. I was sent the chicken flavor. They also make a beef flavor. I just loved this idea because it saves soooo much room in my pantry. I usually have about 4 cans of every flavor broth...which takes up lots of room. This one box of flavor boost, contains 8 packets! That equals 4 cans of broth. I tried it and loved it! The flavor is very much like a really good homemade broth. I think its a stronger flavor than the canned broths! I can't wait to be able to buy this in grocery stores! 

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    Did You Know...

    ...that hamburger buns are great for making stuffed french toast?

    Well, I found this out when I had some burger buns that I wanted to use up! It was morning and I felt like having stuffed french toast, so I took the burger buns and made a stuffing with sweetened cream cheese ( that's just cream cheese with sugar to taste), chopped bananas, and blueberries. I spread this cream cheese mixture into the buns as if to make a sandwich. Then I pressed the buns slightly to flatten them. I dipped it in an egg wash made of eggs, a splash of milk and lots of cinnamon powder. Then I just pan fried them with a little butter til browned on both sides. I served it with powdered sugar. I think I'll make my stuffed french toast with burger buns from now on because it can really hold up to all the filling!

     I crave this now!!!

    My Own Creations!

    ~My Recipes~
    I enjoy making other peoples recipes more than trying to create my own! Although sometimes I end up tweaking someone's recipe so much (super tweak...sounds like 'super freak'. Now try to get that song out of your head! lol!) , that it becomes a totally different recipe! And once in a while I will get a craving for something...that's when I start creating my own recipes! So, most of my own recipes that I will post are created from those super tweaked recipes or from my cravings!

    This recipe just won me my 4th 'Blue Ribbon' on the 'Just a Pinch' cooking website! I love that site!
    This was a 'super tweaked' recipe creation that I call 'Chili Stroganoff"...If you love chili and you love beef stroganoff, you will love this recipe! Here is the link to my recipe...

    I also entered this recipe in their chili cooking contest! I wonder if it will win!

    And this recipe below was born from my cravings! I love any food that is smoked! I crave smokey foods ALL the time...I must have been a cave woman in another life!
    So I went into the kitchen and made this for dinner that night! It was a huge hit with my family! This also won a 'Blue Ribbon' and was a 'Featured' recipe on the 'Just a Pinch' cooking site.

     Crunchy Smokey Pork Chops

    Here is the link to my recipe...
    http://www.justapinch.com/recipe/lilliancooks/crunchy-smokey-pork-chops/pork?k=crunchy+smokey+pork+chops&m=Lilliancooks&p=1&o=r

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Allstar Program

    Allrecipes Allstar Ambassador Program

    I was invited to be an Allstar Brand Ambassador by Allrecipes.com, when the Allstar program first started in June 2011...And I gladly accepted!
    As part of the program, Allstar members are often given food items from various manufactures. We are asked to use these food items in different recipes and to then give our honest review of that item, along with a photo of the finished recipe. On this page I will show the products and recipes I have made with these items. This is a fun program for me because I'm doing everything I love doing...trying new recipes, reviewing recipes and photographing recipes!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
    I was given this product and asked to make a Hidden Valley Ranch recipe from the Allrecipes.com site. I chose this recipe...

    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/out-of-this-world-pasta-salad/detail.aspx

     And it was very good! Of course I tweaked the recipe, as I usually do! This is my photo of the finished dish along with my review.

    This was very good! I made it as written except I used regular broccoli...I couldn't find the alien kind! And I used all wagon wheel, no spiral. I may add some green onion next time...just for more flavor! I did use the black olives, as suggested, and it went very well with this salad!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
    This was an easy one for me because I've always liked this product! We were asked to make 2 recipes using this item. Here are my photos and reviews. 

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Crescent-Pizza-Pockets/Detail.aspx


    I made these exactly as written, but I used the reduced fat crescent rolls! I just shaped them into domes because it was so much easier! These were VERY good, as I knew they would be because I love anything made with crescent rolls! These were like little fluffy pillows of pizza goodness!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pulled-Chicken-Crescents/Detail.aspx


    This was pretty good...but I would probably use my own pulled chicken recipe next time!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Barber Foods
    This was one of my favorite Allstar assignments so far! The Barber foods company sent us 9 coupons for free stuffed chicken breasts. My family loved this product! Here is the link to their website and below is my photo of their product!
    http://www.barberfoods.com/Our-Products.aspx


    I selected their chicken Parmesan stuffed chicken and their broccoli & cheese stuffed chicken. Both were very good! Just bake for 30 minutes in the oven! I served it with a recipe from the Barber foods site...grilled sweet potato fries. http://www.barberfoods.com/Dinner-Ideas/Easy-Side-Dishes/sweet-potato-fries-recipe.aspx
    I highly recommend their recipe! And the dipping sauce in that recipe is just PERFECT with the grilled sweet potatoes!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips
    We were given this product to use for a Cookies Across America campaign. The Allstars were to bake Nestle Toll House cookies for the holidays and give them away! I always make dozens of cookies for the holidays, so this was a pleasure! 
    This is the photo of my cookies...
    I made my chocolate chip cookies into biscotti shapes!





    Related Posts;

    Recipe Photo Contests!

    Recipe Photo Contest!

    This was a fun contest! Contestants just needed to post their own photo of a potato recipe! I had plenty of those because I love to cook different kinds of potato dishes. Well, I entered mine and it became a finalist!
    Citrus and Herb Oven Roasted Potatoes

    I'll find out on Jan. 23rd if I'm a grand prize winner!
    Below is the link to the contest!

    ~~~Update~~~
    I just found out that I was the 1st place winner in the contest! I'm so happy and would like to thank all my friends who voted for me everyday! xoxo
    I won a $300 Visa Gift Card!

    Screen shot of the winners page.
    Click photo to enlarge.
    I just realized that I should post the recipe for that photo, thanks to Tammy Boykin (my Facebook friend).
    This recipe was created for me by my food friend named Michael Trigiano. He created this when I was looking for a unique potato recipe! This delicious masterpiece is what he came up with!

    INGREDIENTS:
    • 2 lb. yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into thick wedges about ¾ inch thick
    • 2 Tbs. Kosher salt; more for seasoning
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
    • 1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives - sliced
    • 2 cloves of garlic - crushed
    • 1 Teaspoon fresh thyme leaves stripped from stems and chopped
    • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley - chopped
    • a squeeze of fresh orange juice from 1/2 an orange
    • orange slices for garnish from the other 1/2 of the orange
    DIRECTION:
    • Line a baking sheet with foil.
    • Preheat oven to 400F.
    • Heat the oil with the garlic and thyme set aside to infuse the oil with the garlic and thyme about 20 minutes.
    • In a large bowl toss all the ingredients except the parsley and kalamata olives.
    • Spread potato mixture onto sheet pan and bake until potatoes are golden brown and fork tender about 35 to 40 minutes.
    • Remove from oven add kalamata olives toss and return to oven for another two minutes just to heat through.
    • Remove from oven to a large bowl and add parsley and toss serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh orange juice.
    • Garnish with orange slices.

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    And this photo was a winner in a super easy photo contest!
    That's a photo of my "Antipasto Salad Bowl' recipe. The photo won me a $100 Amex gift card! All I had to do was upload the photo to this Facebook page...http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fruits-VeggiesMore-Matters/103391981984?sk=app_225131720862670

    and wait for the weekly random drawing! I entered each week for 3 weeks before I won...so easy!

    The Recipe Diva Contest!

    This was my recipe entry...
     This was a great contest because I just had to post my recipe and members of the cooking site would vote on it...the contestant with the most votes won the grand prize. There were 4 levels of prizes and my recipe won second place, which was the prize I was hoping for! A Breville Smart Oven!!!

    This is my prize! I love it!!!