Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Recipes: Fourth of July

I apologize for my absence this week. Brenda has been taking up the slack posting her Monday Gardening Tips and Wednesday Reader's Questions. I on the other hand have been working feverishly on a different project that has consumed all of my time.

However, this weekend in the US we celebrate American Independence Day. I just couldn't bring myself to pass up the opportunity to share some of the amazing recipes that Old Fashioned Living has to offer. Traditionally, we Americans tend to cook out on the 4th, whether it be at a park over a charcoal grill, or at home on the gas grill surrounded by family and friends. 

I've already posted some recipes such as Summer Herb Drinks, a variety of Fruit Salads, several for Iced Tea, and some really great recipes for the grill.

So this week I'm going to focus Pasta Salads and Desserts. I hope you and enjoy them. Brenda and I wish you a happy and safe 4th of July weekend! 

Tuna Macaroni Salad

3 cups uncooked macaroni
2 cans light tuna in water, drained
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 small red onion, chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Cook macaroni, drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl. Add the drained tuna, celery and onion. Toss gently to mix. In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, juice and seasonings. Add to the macaroni mixture and toss with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Chill and serve.

Seafood Pasta Salad

1/2 pound medium or small pasta shells
1 cup salad shrimp, precooked type
1 cup chopped crabmeat, fake is okay
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 can sliced mushrooms
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 can artichoke hearts, diced
1 8 ounce bottle Italian dressing (light or fat free)
Optional: chopped olives

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and chill. Add the chilled pasta to a large bowl and mix well with salad dressing. Add the shrimp, crab, celery, onions, mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Chill again until ready to serve. Just before serving add the eggs and cheese; mix again.

Spicy Macaroni Salad

1 pound elbow macaroni 
4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2-1/2 tablespoons wine, herb or cider vinegar
3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black or red pepper

Cook pasta according to pkg. directions, rinse in cold water and drain. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Add cooled pasta and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Cilantro Tomato Pasta Salad

1 cucumber
1 cup ripe red tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, fresh
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup dry small shell pasta, cooked and drained

Peel the cucumber and cut in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to gently scrape away the seeds. Cut in half again lengthwise and dice the cucumber. Place cucumber, tomato, red onion, lime juice, cilantro, sugar, salt and pepper in a bowl with pasta Toss gently. Transfer to a serving bowl; chill at least 15 minutes before serving.

Bean and Pasta Salad

2 cups cut green beans
1 1/2 cups garbanzo beans
2 cup cooked pasta, macaroni or shells
2 T. red onion (minced)
1 cup Italian salad dressing

Toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss again. Refrigerate several hours. Toss right before serving.

Garden Pasta Salad

2 cups pasta of your choice
1 cup Italian or Caesar dressing
1 cup cubed mozzarella or provolone cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mushrooms
1/2 red onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped smoked ham
1 firm fresh tomato

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside. Cube the ham into medium size cubes. Chop the green pepper. Mushrooms need to be rinsed if canned, or washed and sliced if fresh. Seed and chop the tomato. The red onion should be sliced then cut in half again for smaller pieces. The cheese should be cubed very small. Place the vegetables and meat in a bowl with the pasta, add both cheeses, pour the dressing over and gently mix with a wooden spoon.

Note: If you ask at the deli counter they will give you a section of ham by weight, instead of slices. This recipe should take only about 1/2 pound. You can then chop it at home. You may substitute chicken, turkey or pepperoni.

Italian Rotini Salad

1/2 of a one pound package of Rotini Pasta
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup diced pepperoni
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 large green onions, sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook Rotini according to directions, rinse and drain. Combine Rotini, mushrooms,pepperoni, cheese, and green onions. Blend oil, vinegar and spices. Toss dressing with salad. Serve immediately or chill. Makes 6-8 servings.

Low Fat Potato Salad

10 small New (red) potatos baked in slow cooker with a little water until soft, and then sliced (don't peel) 
1-3 cloves garlic, crushed and sliced
1/4 cup sweet pickles, diced, or relish
1/4 cup firm tofu, diced
Chopped chives, to taste
1 small radish, diced
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/8-1/4 cup mayo
Red pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients the day before serving, chill, and enjoy.

Herbed Potato Salad

1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
4 anchovies, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram
3 cups green beans, trimmed
2 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup red onion, sliced thinly and chopped

Mix olive oil, vinegar, minced shallots and the minced anchovies in medium glass bowl. Whisk in 1 teaspoon each of parsley, basil and marjoram. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside. Cook beans in boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Rinse under cold water; pat dry. Boil potatoes until just tender. Transfer to large bowl. Heat dressing in microwave just until warm, about 30 seconds. Pour half of the warm dressing over potatoes and toss to coat. Place potatoes on a very large platter in the center. Toss the beans and remaining dressing in same bowl. Arrange beans around potatoes. Sprinkle with onion and remaining herbs. Serve warm or at room temperature. Note: You can mix together all the leftovers after the meal to store and eat the next day.

Banana Split Squares


1 large package (21.5 or 23.7 ounces) fudge brownie mix

2 bananas, thinly sliced, dipped in lemon juice and drained

1/2 cup crushed nuts

2-3 flavors of your favorite ice cream

Chocolate topping, whipped cream, extra nuts, cherries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie mix as package directs; spread in a 9x13 pan. Bake 20-25 minutes; cool. On brownie, layer bananas, nuts and four cups one flavor ice cream, then 2 cups another flavor and 4 cups another. Cover and freeze for 6 hours or until firm. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Cut into squares; offer additional toppings. Serves 12-16.

White Chocolate-Mint Tart with Strawberries & Blueberries

Makes One 9-Inch Tart; 6 to 8 Servings
5 tablespoons unsalted butter 
2 tablespoons sugar 
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs 
4 ounces white chocolate 
1 1/2 cups heavy cream 
1/4 teaspoon pure mint extract 
1 pint fresh strawberries
handful of blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in the butter warmer or saucepan. Combine the sugar and graham cracker crumbs in the medium-size bowl and stir in the melted butter. Press the graham cracker mixture evenly across the bottom and all the way up the sides of the tart pan, packing it tightly with your fingertips so it is even and compacted. Bake until crisp and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to let cool.

2. Finely chop the chocolate and place in a large bowl. Heat the heavy cream in the saucepan until almost boiling. Whisk the hot cream into the chocolate until smooth. Whisk in the mint extract. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

3. Whip the chocolate mixture with the electric mixer until it holds soft peaks. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 hours. Spoon into the cooled tart shell and smooth with the spatula.

4. To serve, slice the tops off the strawberries and slice thin. Place wedges of the tart on 6 individual dessert dishes and spoon some strawberries and blueberries alongside each wedge.

Patriotic Swirl Cake

1 box French vanilla or white cake mix
1/2 can cherry pie filling
1/2 can blueberry pie filling
Frozen whipped topping, thawed

Mix the cake as directed on the box, pour into a 9x13 pan that has been buttered or sprayed well. Open the cherry pie filling and dot on tablespoons full of the glaze/liquid part of the filling in 3 or so spots on top of the batter. Alternate pattern using the blueberry pie filling. Using a butter knife run it through the batter and the filling to swirl it together. Bake according to the box directions. When cake is done and cooled add the remaining cherry and blueberry pie filling over the top of the cake evenly. Cut and spoon out pieces of the cake onto plates and top with a spoonful of whipped topping.

Variation: You can frost the cake with the whipped topping and spoon the filling over the whipped topping.

Tip: Save the remaining 1/2 cans of pie filling to spoon over pudding or ice cream!

Sponge Cake with Raspberry Sauce

6 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon or orange peel
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cake flour
2/3 tsp. salt

1 cup fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease and flour the bottom of a 10 inch tube or Bundt pan. Sift flour and salt. Set aside. Break eggs into a large bowl. Add lemon juice and grated rind. Beat at high speed with electric mixer until soft peaks form, 12-16 minutes. Add sugar to egg mixture in a fine stream while beating eggs for about 2 more minutes. Change to lowest speed and add flour mixture. Scrape sides and beat for 30 seconds. Pour batter into pan and bake 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Place pan upside down on cooling rack, but do not remove cake until cooled.

Sauce: Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water; stir to make a smooth paste. Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in sugar, raspberries, and cornstarch mixture; bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Cool. Cut the cake into slices and top with sauce. You can sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and top with chocolate shavings for an extra touch.

Amazing Fruit Salad

1 pint fresh blueberries
1 pint fresh hulled strawberries or raspberries
2-/12 cups fresh pineapple chunks
2 cups seeded watermelon chunks
2 bananas, sliced 1/2"
2 tbs. lemon juice
2 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
2 pkg. (3 ozs. each) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1-1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
1/4 tsp. grated lime peel

Toss bananas and lemon juice to keep from browning. Place in a glass bowl. In a layering effect, place the pineapple, blueberries, one half of the strawberries, oranges, kiwifruit, watermelon, and the remaining strawberries/or raspberries.

In a bowl, with a mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar slowly and continue beating. Add lime juice and incorporate; then the lime peel. Lower speed, and add one-half of the whipped cream. Mix until blended. Lower speed again, and add the remaining whipped cream. Pour dressing over fruit allowing it to drizzle inside the bowl. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Patriotic Poke Cupcakes

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix 
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry or cherry flavored gelatin mix 
1 cup boiling water 
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed 
1 (3 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 cup milk
fresh blueberries, red and blue sprinkles, nonpareils or colored sugar

Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for a cupcakes. Poke holes in cupcakes while still hot with the round handle of a wooden spoon. Be careful not to poke all the ay through to the bottom. 

Make gelatin with only 1 cup of boiling water. Pour gelatin over cupcakes while warm. Cool the cupcakes. Beat together whipped topping, pudding mix, milk and vanilla extract. Frost mixture over cooled cupcakes and refrigerate until ready to serve. Easy but good!

Decorate with fresh blueberries, red and blue sprinkles, nonpareils or colored sugar.

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