Copycat Wendy’s Frosty

I like a good knockoff recipe every now and then like Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuits or this version of the iconic Wendy’s Frosty.  I was inspired by a few different pins on Pinterest and had to try it.  The verdict: this is a great frozen treat that tastes almost exactly like the real thing!

For easier pouring into the ice cream maker,  I mixed the ingredients in a pitcher and I made this in two batches because my ice cream maker is pretty small but that way you can make some for dessert one night, throw the rest in the refrigerator and make frosties again the next night.  Top with sprinkles, brownie bites, chocolate chips or serve plain with a spoon and a straw.  DSC_0518

What to buy (serves 5-6):

  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip
  • 1/2 gallon chocolate milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

What to do:

  • whisk all ingredients until combined
  • pour into your ice cream maker for 25-30 minutes or until frosty has reached your desired consistency

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Summery Gazpacho with Bacon and Feta

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My Mom always made gazpacho in the summertime when we had a garden full of tomatoes.  I never appreciated her fresh healthy soup until later in life when I went to southern Spain for a couple of weeks and ate gazpacho with almost every meal. I sampled the gazpacho and sangria offerings from restaurant to restaurant, amazed by how two were never the same down to their color, consistency and taste.  There are endless variations of gazpacho, some recipes omit the tomatoes and bread in favor of dried fruit, avocados or beef stock.  In Cordoba, Spain, one of the stops on my informal gazpacho tour, the soup is served with a chopped hard boiled egg and ham on top. This  version inspired my summery red Gazpacho that I’ve garnished with crispy bacon and cool crumbled feta. It’s a perfect starter for hot summer nights and great as lunch leftovers.

The tomatoes in my grocery store aren’t great yet and we’re weeks away from having them at the Farmer’s Market so I used canned tomatoes instead of fresh.  I threw all the veggies in my Ninja blender with some of the V8 juice and I though the consistency was great but you could puree for longer or use an immersion stick blender if you want a smoother gazpacho.

What to buy (serves 4-6):

  • 1  cucumber, finely diced
  • 10 ounces Rotel diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups v8 juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 strips of bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup Feta, crumbled

What to do:

  • puree V8 juice and vegetables in a food processor until desired consistency is reached
  • cover and chill for few hours to let flavors develop
  • serve cold with optional toppings

Spicy Sesame Glazed Grilled Corn

DSC_0575I love grilled corn on the cob and this is my favorite recipe yet! I’m not exaggerating when I say I ate three ears last night and could have had more.  The salty, spicy glaze compliments  the sweetness of the corn and the toasted sesame seeds take it over the top.  I made the corn to go alongside a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin as you’ll see in the pictures below. This was an experiment that I’m not sure I’ll re-make because while the pork was flavorful and juicy, the bacon burned to a crisp on the grill.  Next time I’ll do my bacon-wrapped pork in the oven…but this corn I will make again and again….

What to buy (enough for 7-8 ears of corn):

  • 7-8 ears of corn, husked
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce, depending on how much heat you like
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly

What to do:

  • whisk red curry paste, garlic, honey, soy sauce, lime juice, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, pepper and parsley
  • heat grill to high
  • grill corn, turning often and basting with glaze, until grill marks start to appear, about 10 minutes
  • take corn off grill and sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions

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Caprese Cheese Tortellini Pasta Salad

I’m always looking for portable and delicious recipes I can take to work for lunch.  This recipe is so simple I debated even posting it  and my measurements are just a place to start; you can use whatever combination of basil/olive oil/garlic/lemon juice/balsamic vinegar that you like! This pasta salad will get tastier as it sits in the fridge for a few hours or overnight and is perfect for lunch leftovers the next day.  You could serve it on a bed of spinach or lettuce  if you wanted to up the greens. I think it would also be great with roasted tomatoes like my Roasted Tomato Feta Salad recipe.

What to buy:

  • 20 ounces of cheese tortellini (found in the fresh/chilled pasta section of your grocery), prepared according to package directions
  • 16 ounces mozzarella balls, marinated or plain
  • one pint cherry tomatoes
  • 20-30 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

What to do:

  • combine mozzarella balls, tomatoes and basil
  • whisk olive oil, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper and pour over mozzarella mixture
  • toss in warm or room temperature pasta and toss to combine

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Baked Corn with Scallions and Blue Cheese

I hope you had a lovely Easter weekend!  We spent ours at the lake with my parents and our now-water-obsessed Labradors. It was hard to get Red out of the lake and I can’t wait for the water temperature to rise enough for me to swim with her.

We didn’t really have a traditional Easter meal on Sunday, deciding to grill steaks instead.  To go along with the steak,  I planned to make Slow Roasted Corn with Blue Cheese Compound Butter but when the grocery store didn’t have corn on the cob, I came up with this alternative recipe using frozen corn.  If you like the sharp and salty flavor of blue cheese you’ll be a fan of this simple dish.

What to buy (serves 3-4):

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 3 cups frozen corn
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced

What to do:

  • combine olive oil, cheese, salt, pepper and scallions
  • pour over frozen corn, tossing to combine
  • bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until corn is hot and blue cheese is melted

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No-Bake Biscoff Oatmeal Easter Nests

My Mom was at Trader Joe’s the other day when they were handing out samples of Biscoff Spread DSC_0495 and she said it was too good to pass up so she bought me a huge jar. Have you tried it? It has a similar consistency to creamy peanut butter and is made from Biscoff cookies.  Delicious!DSC_0492 It’s so indulgent I wasn’t sure how I’d use up the  one pound jar so I took to Pinterest to search for some ideas and decided to combine the recipes for chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies with the classic Easter nests with chow mien noodles, subbing Biscoff for peanut butter and chocolate and No-Bake Biscoff Oatmeal Easter Nests were born! They’re definitely on the sticky side so you want to spray your parchment or wax paper before you spoon them out and I recommend quick oats instead of old-fashioned as they’ll be less chewy/dense in the finished cookies.

What to buy (makes about a dozen cookies):

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup Biscoff cookie butter
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick cook oats
  • about 36 M&Ms or other egg-like candies

What to do:

  • combine butter, milk, Biscoff and sugar in a saucepan, bring to a rolling boil
  • after sugar mixture boils, remove from heat and add vanilla and oats, stirring to combine
  • spray wax or parchment paper with cooking spray and place 2 inch rounded spoonfuls of cookie onto paper, I used an ice-cream scooper which worked great
  • flatten a bit to get a nest look and place candies on top
  • refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to completely cool and help set

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The {We Finally Have a Grill!} Perfect Steak Marinade

This is my favorite steak marinade that is easy to throw together and will give you delicious steaks whether you marinate them from two or twenty-four hours.  I always change things up slightly each time I make it based on what I have on hand but this is the basic outline. As I wrote in my last post, we had family over for dinner last night and we successfully used our grill for the first time.  Is anything better than food hot off the grill (and a clean kitchen to boot!)

What to buy (serves 6-8):

  • enough steak to feed your crowd (I made 6 smaller filet mignons and 3 flank steaks to feed 6 with some leftovers)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coffee grounds

What to do:

  • whisk all of the ingredients except steaks until combined
  • pour marinade over steaks and marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator, discard marinade
  • grill steaks on medium high to your desired heat

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Charred BLT Salad with a Pesto Vinaigrette

Happy Friday friends!

We had my family over for dinner last night and marked the occasion by firing up our grill, a hand-me-down from my parents, for the first time! It was great to have my Dad on hand to teach Joe the ins and outs of the grill that he has mastered over the last 10 years.  We’re excited about using this puppy all the time this spring and summer.  DSC_0465

These puppies were banished to the yard when the smell of meat started to fill the air.  DSC_0463

Fully in the grilling spirit, I decided we’d grill everything for dinner including steaks, potatoes and our salad, the Charred BLT Salad with a Pesto Vinaigrette.  This salad is based on the classic BLT sandwich with bacon and tomatoes. We grilled the tomatoes in foil  and finished the salad with cheese that melts as it hits the warm lettuce.  If you’ve never had grilled romaine I recommend you give it a try because it’s delicious and a crowd pleaser. The grill adds a lovely smokiness and the high heat releases great flavor in the romaine.

What to buy (serves 6):

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling on lettuce
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 romaine hearts, halved lengthwise
  • 8 strips bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated

for the pesto vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons kale pesto (or whatever pesto you like)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard

What to do:

  • to make vinaigrette stir all ingredients until combined
  • make an aluminum foil packet large enough for the tomatoes and sprinkle them with salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • preheat grill to medium high heat
  • drizzle cut sides of lettuce with olive oil and place lettuce, cut side down, on a grill rack coated with cooking spray
  • wrap tomatoes in foil and add to grill, cooking for 10-15 minutes or until tomatoes shrink and are soft to the touch
  • cook romaine side for 5 minutes or until the leaves begin to wilt and are marked with grill marks, remove to a platter
  • top romaine with  cheese, bacon, tomatoes and pesto vinaigrette

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Spicy Cucumber Cashew Salad

The Roasted Tomato Feta Salad I posted last week was so well recieved I decided to share another one of my favorite healthy, simple and flavorful salads.  This salad will taste best if you have some time to let it set in the fridge for a few hours before serving chilled or at room temperature.  The fish sauce gives it a delicious Thai flavor and you could substitute mint, parsley or your favorite herb for the cilantro.

What to buy (serves 4-5):

  • 2 large cucumbers, halfway peeled and sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Texas Pete or other hot sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1/2 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves

What to do:

  • cut ends off cucumbers, then peel but leave thin strips along the cucumber so that you get a striped effect when you slice them
  • combine salt, pepper, lime juice, olive oil, fish sauce, sugar, Texas Pete, garlic and ginger, stirring to mix well
  • pour dressing over cucumbers, sprinkle with cilantro and cashews

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Roasted Tomato Feta Salad

Joe has to travel a bunch this week for work which means I’m cooking for one.  Well for one and a half; this baby of mine has been demanding an inordinate amount of Panera bagels and mac n’ cheese, and not the made from a roux kind,  the Kraft, bright orange, squeeze from a pouch kind.   To mitigate these meals and in the absence of my carnivorous husband, I’m also eating a lot of big salads and roasted veggies like these cherry tomatoes. Roasting caramelizes and intensifies their flavor and they’re perfect with salty feta, sharp balsamic and fresh basil.  Substitute mozzarella if you want to go the traditional Caprese route.  DSC_0411

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 12 fresh basil leaves

What to do:

  • preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan (I line mine with aluminum foil for easier cleanup)
  • combine olive oil, balsamic, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper and drizzle over tomatoes
  • roast for 20-25 minutes until the tomatoes skins begin to shrink
  • sprinkle with feta and scatter the basil on top
  • serve warm or at room temperature

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