Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tea Party

For the Royal Wedding I hosted a tea party.  The menu included egg salad sandwiches, scones with strawberry jam and cream, and a chocolate cake with coffee frosting. 

Egg Salad

12 hard boiled eggs
1 1/2 C mayo
1 Tbsp mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp pickle relish
1/2 tsp dill
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cut eggs into chunks. Mash with a fork for finer bits.
Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Taste for salt and pepper.  Add more mayo and mustard for a creamier salad.

Yields 5 sandwiches.
For the tea party I cut the crust off the bread and quartered each slice.  I also served some sandwiches with slices of green apple.

Welsh Scones

2 1/4 C flour
1/3 C sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp butter (1 stick), cut into 12 slices
1 egg
1/2 C milk

Preheat oven to 450.
Mix dry ingredients.  Cut butter into mix until texture is mealy.
In seperate bowl, beat egg and milk together.
Toss egg and milk mixture with flour mix.
Turn out on counter, gently knead about 4 times. 
Make 2 six inch discs; place on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Cut 1/2 way through dough into 8 sections.  (It may be easier to cut if the knife is dipped in sugar or flour.)
Bake 12-15 minutes.

Serve topped with strawberry jam and whipped cream (or clotted cream if you can find it!).

Coffee Frosting

This recipe is based off a recipe found in the May 2011 Real Simple magazine.  My mom was sure this was the best frosting she ever had - in her whole life.  It kinda tastes like a mocha frappe.

3 sticks butter at room temperature (I used 2 butter, 1 margarine)
3 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 pinches kosher salt
1 Tbsp instant decaf coffee mixed with 1 Tbsp hot water

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high until it is light and fluffy - about 4 minutes.
Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add sugar.
Mix in vanilla, salt, and coffee.
Beat until smooth, scraping the side of the bowl as needed.

This made enough frosting for a small layer cake.
I used it on a chocolate cake (store bough mix) and then pressed crushed chocolate cookies into the side of the cake.

Monday, April 18, 2011


The only thing more amazing than how easy it is to make this is how awesome it tastes.  Seriously.

Also, this is the way to my grandfather-in-law Arlo's heart. 

3 ripe avocados
3 Tbsp chunky salsa
2 tsp minced garlic
salt to taste (at least 1 1/2 tsp)
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Cut avocados in half, remove pit, and scoop out into bowl.
Smash up avocado with fork or potato masher.
Add remaining ingredients.
Add salsa, garlic

Mexican Lasagna

This recipe comes from Rachel Ray.  We loooooved this dish.  It was relatively easy to make and was so, so good.  We topped ours with sour cream and served it with salad, chips, and guacamole.  Yum!

The recipe below is not Rachel's original, but how I altered it.  Hope you like it!  Also, it could easily be converted into a bare cupboard meal if you make the tortillas from scratch.  Or at least in this house since I'm ridiculous about always having black beans and canned tomatoes in the house.


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14-oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
8 (8 inch) wheat flour tortillas
2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or shredded pepper jack
2 scallions, finely chopped
sour cream

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - twice around the pan. Add chicken and season with chili powder, cumin, and red onion. Brown the meat, 5 minutes. Add stewed tomatoes. Add black beans and corn. Heat the mixture through, 2 to 3 minutes then season with salt, to your taste.

Coat a shallow baking dish with remaining extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon oil. Cut the tortillas in half or quarters to make them easy to layer with. (I used a round Corning Ward dish and didn't have to cut the tortillas!)  Build lasagna in layers of meat and beans, then tortillas, then cheese. Repeat: meat, tortilla, cheese again. Bake lasagna 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Top with the scallions and serve.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mexican Mac and Cheese

From the March 2011 Better Homes and Gardens. 

I made this dish thinking it would be easy and okay tasting.  It was worth a shot, I figured.  But man oh man was I ever underestimating this dish.  It was so good!  I split it in two, freezing half, and we scarfed down the other half.  Travis and I were both impressed and Lydia and Bennet liked it, too.

1 box rigatoni pasta
1 lb sausage
1 C chopped onion
1 16oz jar medium hot salsa (I used mild for the kids' sake.)
4 C Monetary Jack cheese (I used 2 C)
tomato wedges, sliced jalapeno peppers, and salsa

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease 3 qt baking dish; set aside. 
Cook pasta according to package.  Drain; set aside.
Meanwhile in large skillet cook sausage and onion until meat is browned and onion is tender.  Drain fat and return sausage and onion to skillet.  Stir in salsa.
In prepared dish layer noodles, sausage, cheese.  Repeat.
Bake, uncovered, for 35 mins.  Let stand 10 mins before serving.  Top with tomato, jalapeno and fresh cilantro.  If desired, serve with additional salsa.
Makes 12 servings.