Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Recipes: Sandwiches

This week I was so busy with a big project from work. I even forgot to post tips yesterday! So what's a great thing to have on the menu for a busy week? Sandwiches! There are plenty of different ways to make a sandwich: open faced, hot, cold, etc. Here are some tasty recipes from our message boards that I'm sure you will enjoy.

Avocado, Tomato, and Hummus Sandwich
Posted by kaybee

5 min prep -- SERVES 4 , 4 sandwiches

1 medium tomato
1 medium avocado
4 tablespoons hummus
8 slices whole wheat bread

Lay 4 of the slices of bread out on a plate. Slice the tomato into 8 slices and set aside. Cut the avocado in half and slice it longways into 4 pieces on each half and set aside. On each piece of bread that is already out, spread a tablespoon of hummus. Put two slices of avocado and tomato on top of each bread slice. Top each with the last slices of bread and cut in half.

Garden Vegetable Grill Sandwich
Posted by R&R4Me

2 slices red onion (1/4 inch thick)
2 portobello mushroom caps (4-inch diameter)
4 slices zucchini (1/2 inch thick)
1/4 cup KRAFT Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
4 whole wheat rolls, split
1/4 cup PHILADELPHIA 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese with Garden Vegetables
1 tomato, cut into 4 slices
4 KRAFT 2% Milk Pepperjack Singles

HEAT grill to medium. Grill vegetables 5 to 7 min or until crisp-tender, turning and brushing occasionally with dressing. Meanwhile, grill rolls, cut-sides down, 1 to 2 min. or until lightly toasted.

REMOVE vegetables and rolls from grill. Cut mushrooms into thin strips. Separate onions into rings. Spread rolls with cream cheese; fill with grilled vegetables, tomatoes and 2% Milk Singles.

Grilled Open-faced Vegetable, Pesto, And Mozzarella Sandwiches
Posted by Anne

1 red bell pepper, quartered
1 yellow bell pepper, quartered
3 small eggplants (about 1/2-pound total), sliced diagonally 1/4inch thick
olive oil for brushing vegetables and bread
1 14-inch-long loaf Italian bread, halved horizontally with serrated knife
1/2 cup pesto
1 cup diced mozzarella cheese (about 1/4 pound)
3 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil leaves for garnish

For the pesto:
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts or chopped walnuts, toasted lightly and cooled
1 large garlic clove, chopped
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 olive oil

To make the sandwich:
Prepare grill.

Lightly brush bell peppers and eggplants with oil and grill on an oiled rack set about 4 inches over glowing coals about 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Cut peppers into strips.

Lightly brush cut sides of bread with oil and grill, cut sides down, about 2 minutes, or until golden. Spread each piece of bread with 4 tablespoons pesto and divide peppers, eggplants, and mozzarella between them. Grill sandwiches, covered, just until cheese is melted. (Alternatively, vegetables and assembled sandwiches may be broiled.) Sprinkle each sandwich with basil and cut in half.

To make the pesto:
In a blender or small food processor blend together all ingredients with salt and pepper to taste until smooth. Pesto keeps, covered and chilled, up to 1 week. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Creamy Vegetable Finger Sandwiches
Posted by Anne

1 medium cucumber
1 medium-size red bell pepper
3 carrots
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 thin rye bread slices

Peel and seed cucumber; dice cucumber and bell pepper. Grate carrots, and mince garlic. Combine cucumber, bell pepper, carrot, garlic, green onions, and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until well blended. Spread mixture on half of rye bread slices, and top with remaining slices. Cut vegetable sandwiches in quarters diagonally.

Makes 16

Cold Ham Sandwich Pizza
Posted by Anne

1/2 cup cream cheese with chives, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. horseradish sauce
1 prepared Boboli pizza crust
1-1/2 cups chopped cooked ham
1-1/2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1/4 cup creamy Italian salad dressing

In small bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, and horseradish sauce and blend well. Spread over the pizza crust. Top with ham, plum tomatoes, and lettuce and drizzle with salad dressing. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

6 servings

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Reader's Questions: Kitchen Help

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. ~Abraham Lincoln

Today I have some great questions from readers!

I have a question, I often have to prepare scalloped potatoes or potato salad for a group of 20 people. How do I know how many pounds of potatoes I need to buy? I have checked cookbooks with help sections and they only give the quarts amount in prepared form. I need the basics. ~Maurine

The recipe below is for 20 servings, so I think you could go with a general rule of 5 pounds in recipes that serve this many people. It's a very basic potato salad that you can add your own variations to.

Potato Salad for a Crowd

5 pounds potatoes, peeled
1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 cup dill pickle relish
3/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
2 cups chopped celery

Place the potatoes into a large pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and cool. In a large bowl, stir together mayonnaise, relish, mustard, hard-cooked eggs and celery. Cut the potatoes into cubes, and add to the bowl. Mix gently until coated. Makes 20 servings.

As a child, cans listed a can size. Number 3, number 10 etc. Many of the recipes passed down in my family were written this way and I don't know how much product this is. Does anyone have a list of the amounts that were in these cans. I remember how fond I was of some of grandmas meals and would like to be able to make these recipes for my family. ~Sarah

This is the information I found and it should help!

No. 1 = 1 1/4 cups or 10 1/2 to 12 ounces
No. 2 = 2 1/2 cups or 20 ounces
No. 2 1/2 = 3 1/2 cups or 27 to 29 ounces
No. 3 = 5 3/4 cups or 51 ounces
No. 10 = 3 quarts or 6 1/2 pounds to 7 pounds and 5 ounces
No. 300 = 1 3/4 cups or 14 to 16 ounces
No. 303 = 2 cups or 16 to 17 ounces

Quite a few years ago, I used to make a Friendship Cake. You added fruit and sugar to the starter and then after about a month you were able to make the actual cake. I no longer have any starter nor do I know anyone that has it. I remember reading a long time ago about making the starter using brandy and fruit. Do you know of this recipe or one that will make the starter? ~Ellen

There are variations all over the internet and in my cookbooks for Friendship Cake but this one sounds like what you are looking for:

Brandied Friendship Cake and Starter

1 1/2 cup Brandy
1 can (1-lb) peaches with juice (up to)
7 1/2 cup sugar; divided
1 can (1-lb) pineapple tidbits or chunks; with juice
1 can (1-lb) fruit cocktail; with juice
1 jar (10-oz) Maraschino cherries
1 box yellow cake mix (up to)
3/4 cup oil (up to)
4 eggs
1 pack (small) vanilla instant pudding
1 1/2 cup fruit from starter
1 cup nuts; chopped

For starter: Mix thoroughly brandy, peaches with juice and 2 to 2 1/2 cups of the sugar. Put in glass jar loosely covered. Let stand 10 days at room temperature. Stir every day. On the 11th day, add 2 to 2 1/2 more cups sugar and pineapple with juice. Stir every day. On the 21st day add remaining 2 to 2 1/2 cups sugar, fruit cocktail with juice and Maraschino cherries. Stir every day. On the 31st day, drain juice; save for starter or give to a friend. Use fruit for cakes. This makes enough for 3 to 5 cakes. Fruit can be frozen to keep or is great over ice cream. Starter can be kept in refrigerator 4 weeks.

Cake: Mix together cake mix, oil, eggs, pudding mix, 1-1/2 cups fruit from starter and nuts. Grease and flour Bundt or angel food cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.

On OFL we have some neat tidbits on April Fools Day:

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Organizing Your Recipes

If you're anything like me, when you find a recipe on the internet you either print it off or add it to your growing number of bookmarks. Then there's all those torn out pages of magazines and newspapers, as well as the recipes that have been saved from pasta packages, and other food labels. Then there's your mom's, aunt's and grandma's hand written recipe cards! That's quite a growing collection of paper, but will you ever get to make any of these recipes? Not sitting in a giant pile or shoved in a drawer.

Some ideas for sorting out your recipe collection:

Three-Ring Binder
Many of the plastic sleeves come ready punched for 8 1/2 x 11-inch 3-ring binders. Organize the recipes in categories that are handy for you to use in this binder. I personally don't use the plastic sleeves, I use white lined school paper. I tape or glue clipped recipes onto the sheets and insert them in the binder. I use the plastic sleeve on the front of the binder to hold my menu plan for the week. I keep all previous menu plans behind it in order to refer back and remind myself of something we haven't had in a while!

Filing System
Purchase a carrier with handle designed to hold 8 1/2 X 11-size sheets. Place your recipes in plastic sleeves in this and separate into easy to locate sections with dividers. This would work somewhat like an oversized recipe card box.

Scrapbook Journal
You might want to do this only with your favorite recipes or ones that have a family significance. By including recipes, stories about family occasions when they were served, even photos of family get-togethers or the food itself you will develop fun family projects and books you can give as gifts.

Recipe Cards
Write the recipes on index cards of desired size. Place in a recipe box separated into sections. This entails more work, but gives you a very concise filing system.

Personal or Family Cookbook
Eventually you may want to organize your recipes into a book format. This often includes your recipes and other family favorites. While it will take some time, it's a great reference you can keep on your computer as well. Type your recipes out and print them off. You can also create a cover and laminate it.

Organizing Your Bookmarks
Your favorites on your computer are only limited by you. You can create folders within folders within folders if you want to! I have a main bookmark folder called "RECIPES", then I have subfolders underneath to categorize them better. I have desserts, sides, beef, chicken, bread, etc. Create folder based on your preferences and then when you find a recipe online, add the bookmark right into the appropriate folder.

Here's some ideas for building your meal plan to keep you more organized as well!

Old Fashioned Living has some great ideas for organizing your recipes into a family collection.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Garden Tips: Growing Roses

How I would love to be transported into a scented Elizabethan garden with herbs and honeysuckles, a knot garden and roses clambering over a simple arbor... ~Rosemary Verey

Growing roses successfully can be a challenge, especially if you are trying to do it organically. I've been researching and experimenting since last summer and wanted to share more of what I have found. What do roses need? A good, rich soil that is amended with compost, humus and, if you have it, aged manure. They also need at least 6 hours of sun per day and deep, weekly watering-which is best done in the morning and below the foliage, not from above. Good air circulation is also important. Do not crowd your roses. Give them the room they need on all sides, which will help keep fungus to a minimum. These are the basics, but there are more things you can do to encourage your roses.

If your roses had black spot last year, remove all the old mulch from each plant. Give the ground a bit to dry and air out, then replace with new mulch. Before doing that you can add some nutrients to the soil around the plant. There are MANY combinations that rose gardeners swear by, and you'll have to find the one that is right for your soil and your roses. You can try 1/2 cup blood meal, 1/4 cup Epsom salts and 1 cup of lime. Do not dig it in where it will touch the stems or disturb the roots. Work it in around the plant carefully. Some gardeners prefer Sulfate of potash magnesia to Epsom salts-- it can be found at garden centers. If your soil is not acidic you can use gypsum instead of lime in the same measurement. You can also use alfalfa meal as a soil additive or make this "tea" for your roses: Add 10 cups of alfalfa pellets and 4 cups Epsom salts to a 32 gallon plastic garbage can. Fill with water, stir and brew the tea for a day or two. Use one gallon per rose bush.

Mildew can be a problem with roses too. First, give your plants space as I mentioned--- no crowding. If you've had the problem on a regular basis you can start spraying with a mixture of 1 tbsp. baking soda to 1 gallon of water. Spray on the foliage before as a preventive measure. Also, always keep the mulch away from the stem of the plant.

You can also try companion planting to aid your roses. Any garlic related plant is a good choice for rose companions. You can plant regular or elephant garlic, chives, or society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea). These help repel pests, while the following plants will help attract good insects to your roses: dill, alyssum, coriander, and gypsophila (baby's breath). Do be careful not to disturb your rose's roots when planting any of these companions.

Roses like a good, deep soak to promote deep rooting and they will actually develop drought tolerance if established this way. Frequent light waterings promote shallow roots that will depend on frequent watering. Applying the water slowly with soaker hoses or drip irrigation allows the water to soak in rather than running off, keeps water off the foliage (wet leaves spread fungal diseases), and reduces the puddling which can cause clay soils to form a hard surface less permeable to water.

Epsom salts has long been used to feed roses because it helps grow stronger stems, new growth and can even improve the color. If your roses are new this year, start with 2 teaspoons Epsom salts in early spring mixed into the soil a couple inches from the base of the plant. Older roses can handle more-- about a 1/2 cup worked into the soil four times per season. You can also use Epsom salts for your tomatoes. Mix 2 tablespoons in with a gallon of water and water the plants about 2 months after they have germinated.

Learn how to grow miniature roses on OFL: