Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Easy Fruit Dip

Photo courtesy of the Cooking Corner.

     A few weeks ago we had another wedding in the family. This time the hubby's oldest daughter came up from Texas just so she could make it legal in front of the family. How sweet. Now the bride-to-be wanted to keep it simple, not fussy but with plenty of food. Sometimes simple, especially on short notice, is a good thing.
    While browsing through the grocery store circulars that week I noticed bright pretty pictures of strawberries, blue berries and raspberries. This made me think that a fruit tray would be a good idea for the happy day. Even big kids like fruit. I know how grapes get snatched up at our house and they were a grocery feature as well.
    The fruit tray also seemed like an easy thing to prepare in advance and assemble just moments before needed. I'd never made a fruit dip before so I checked my friends recipes and then consulted the internet. I found one that was as easy as could be. It only called for 3 ingredients. How can you beat that? One block of softened cream cheese is whipped with brown sugar and vanilla. 

    Later I realized that I should have used sliced fruit instead of the berries that were in season. Apples, pears or even oranges would have worked just fine - the pretty blueberries and raspberries, not so much.

Easy Fruit Dip
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 T. vanilla extract

fruit options
1 qt. strawberries
3 apples, sliced and soaked in lemon juice
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
3 bananas, cut in 1/2 inch slices

In small bowl, beat cream cheese until well whipped. Add brown sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into plastic container with lid and refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Easy Chicken and Noodles

    A few weeks ago a coworker had a family situation come up. She was making daily trips to the hospital that had to be physically and emotionally trying at best. Because no matter what's happening in life, there are still those daily chores of laundry, bills, dishes and dinner.
    When I just couldn't shake the thought of what she was dealing with, I picked up an extra package of chicken breast and noodles at the store. I cooked 3 chicken breasts in the slow cooker and added one to some noodles for her and saved the other two breasts for us. I won't forget the surprise and gratitude in her eyes for such a simple act of kindness. This is so easy, you can do it, too

Easy Chicken and Noodles
1-2 cooked chicken breasts, cut in chunks or shredded
5 cups water
5 tsp. chicken base or bouillon
1 - 7 oz. bag Oakland noodles*
2 T. butter
1 T. parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp. celery seed (optional)

Bring 5 cups water to boil and add chicken base and noodles.
Cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes per package directions.

Reduce to simmer and add all other ingredients.
Warm for 10 minutes more to combine flavors and heat chicken. 

Serves 4-6.

*Oakland noodles are a brand of Amish type noodles that I get from a local produce shop. They always turn out great.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Strawberry Punch

Photo courtesy of the Cooking Corner.

     During my graduation party travels I came upon a strawberry punch that was just delightful. I've had the standard orange sherbet punch and liked it better when the recipe was upgraded to raspberry, but I've never had a strawberry punch. I'm a huge fan of strawberry anything so this was a treat.
     Since we had a wedding in the family coming up within days, I asked the proud momma of the grad to share her recipe. I thought it would be perfect for the happy occasion. This is just too good of a party staple not to share. It will be perfect for the baby and bridal showers coming up as well as a nice thought for an Independence Day party punch.

Strawberry Punch
Recipe courtesy Lisa Young,

Princeton, IN

5 bananas
3 cups water
2-3 cups sugar
2 cans frozen orange juice concentrate
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
1-46 oz. can pineapple juice
1 qt. strawberries, blended
6 bottles lemon/lime soda
few drops of red food coloring, optional

Mash 5 bananas with 3 cups of water and 2-3 cups of sugar in a blender. In a bowl mix 2 cans frozen concentrate orange juice and 1 can frozen lemonade and pour into banana mixture. Stir in one can of pineapple juice. Add blended strawberries and food coloring, if using. 

Mix well and put in plastic containers with lids and freeze. Remove from freezer and let set out to thaw slightly before serving.

To serve, empty one frozen container and mix with 2 bottles of lemon-lime soda in a large punch bowl. Refill as needed. Makes 4 large punch bowls.

Taste Of Home Recipe of the Day