Monday, June 11, 2012

Italian Pasta Salad

Well, my friends, next week I'm cooking at girls' camp again!  So you might be hearing about that adventure soon!  Today, I'm posting a recipe we'll be making up there for one of the lunches. I've been making this easy pasta salad for a long time and it's changed a bit from time to time but it's held pretty steady for awhile a now :)  It's got lots of veggies and the sauce is very easy to make.  My girls wont touch potato salad and many other picnic type salads with a 10 foot pasta salad is always my go to.  It's also a great recipe for a large group because it makes a ton for a pretty small price.  And that's why it's going to girls' camp with me!

Italian Pasta Salad
1 box tri-color rotini pasta
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 can olives, sliced or chopped
1 cup slice pepperoni (optional)
1 cup italian dressing
1 cup mayonaisse

Cook and drain pasta.  Rinse cooked pasta in cold water.  Add fresh vegetables, olives, and pepperoni (if desired).  In a separate bowl whip Italian dressing and mayo together until smooth.  Pour dressing mixture over pasta and veggies.  Toss until well coated.  You can play with the amount of dressing and mayo until you get it to the consistency your family likes. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Low Fat Apple Bran Muffins

I combined a few of my favorite muffin recipes to create one super recipe!  These muffins are sweetened by honey and applesauce so you don't have to add the cup of sugar that usually comes along with the word muffin.  They are also loaded with fresh chopped apples.  My kids gobble them up every time I make them.  If you want to make them a little sweeter you could use sweetened applesauce or add 2 T. of sugar.

Low-Fat Apple Bran Muffins
Non-stick cooking spray
1 1/4 cups bran flakes
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup flour (whole wheat flour works well too)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 cup finely chopped apples

In a medium bowl combine milk and bran flakes.  Set aside and let soften into mush.  In a large bowl, combine dry products and make a well in the middle.  Set aside.  To bran mixture add egg, applesauce and honey.  Add bran mixture to dry products.  Stir just until moistened.  Fold in apples.  Bake at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes.

Note: Do not use pan liners as these muffins are really moist and will stick to the paper.  Instead use a non-stick baking spray with flour in it and spray down your muffin pan really well.  This recipe makes one dozen muffins.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Candied Pecans

So someone pointed out that it had been a month since I posted last...time flies when you have 11 month old twins. :)  At any rate, here's a new recipe for everyone to try!

I got this recipe from my sister, Annah!  They are delicious by themselves or in a salad. I love them in spinach with strawberries or apples.  The flavor goes well with raspberry vinaigrette dressing too!

They are super easy to make and they make your house smell awesome while they bake.  This recipe makes 3 cups of pecans (which you can store) but you can scale it down if you just want enough for one salad.  Give them a try!

Candied Pecans
3 cups pecan halves
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a large jelly roll pan (15x20) with butter and set aside.  In a large saucepan, combine 1/4 cup butter with sugar and water.  Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved.  Add spices and pecans.  Stir until pecans are well coated (about 4 or 5 minutes).  Transfer pecans to prepared baking pan and bake 10 min. or until golden.  Allow to cool before serving. Store leftovers in a refrigerated air-tight container.