Monday, July 18, 2011

Two-Cheese Squash Casserole

With the abundance of yellow squash coming out of my garden, I am thinking of different ways to cook it. Of course the traditional squash casserole is not really very different, well, not for this Southern girl so I had to make it at least once during "squash season". And it seems I never use the same recipe each time I make it and this time was no different.

I found this recipe at It was published in their May 2010 edition. Most Southern cooks know you just can't go wrong with a Southern Living recipe so I decided to try it and of course, it did not disappoint. It actually is probably the best squash casserole recipe I've tried to date! Very flavorful! You, too, will enjoy it!


4 pounds yellow squash, sliced
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs, divided
1 1/4 cups (5 oz.) freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook yellow squash and onion in boiling water to cover in a Dutch oven 8 minutes or just until tender; drain squash mixture well.
2. Combine squash mixture, Cheddar cheese, next 5 ingredients, 1 cup breadcrumbs, and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Spoon into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
3. Stir together melted butter and remaining 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over top of casserole.
4. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. Pin It

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I've made Chicken Cordon Bleu a few times before in the past, however, it's been quite some time as I can't even remember the last time. So, I found this recipe and just had to try it. Barbie, my cubemate at work, and I will eat well for lunch next week!!

Chicken Cordon Bleu (from Cooking Light, December, 2005)


1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
5 teaspoons butter, melted
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 thin slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°.

Place broth in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave at high 15 seconds or until warm. Stir in butter and garlic. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and paprika in a medium shallow bowl; set aside.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound each to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt, oregano, and pepper. Top each breast half with 1 slice of prosciutto and 1 tablespoon mozzarella. Roll up each breast half jelly-roll fashion. Dip each roll in chicken broth mixture; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place rolls, seam side down, in an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour remaining broth mixture over chicken. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until juices run clear and tops are golden. Pin It

A Spin on Traditional Strawberry Shortcake

It's July and that means it's peach season!! Yeah!! Love 'em and I love pound cake. I can't think of a better combination than peaches and pound cake - my take on the traditional Strawberry Shortcake!!

The pound cake recipe I tried this time is a buttermilk version. It is very good - dense and full of flavor. I did substitute almond extract for the lemon extract.

For the peaches, I simply peeled and cut ripe peaches, tossing them in a few tablespoons of raw sugar and about a half teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

Why not try this quick and easy dessert for your next family gathering? Don't forget to top with fresh whipped cream!!

Buttermilk Pound Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease one 9 or 10-inch tube pan. Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the lemon and vanilla extracts. Gently mix in flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 90 minutes. Do not open oven door until after one hour. When cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan, it is done. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Pin It

The Many Faces of Reading Paws

I just thought I'd share some pictures from our Reading Paws adventures. Lucy appears in some to not be "reading", however, she is following along and as my Dad might say, "is just resting her eyes".

We have a great time performing this little bit of community service, if you will, that is certainly helping many children. I wish there were many more R.E.A.D. teams and many more libraries and schools accepting of the program!

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Monday, July 04, 2011

Yummy Chocolate Cookies

I have been searching high and low for a recipe for a chocolate cookie topped with pecans that might match that magical chewy pecan cookie my Mom used to buy for us at the local Winn-Dixie bakery. I think I've come close in this one, but it's still not quite the same. I don't think the cookie at the WD was as chocolatey as it was pecan flavored. And, my Mom isn't here to help me scrutinize the recipe. I'm sure she would know exactly what is missing!! This one is a good one though, however, I will continue my search until I find the right one!

The first batch I used my cookie press to make the cute flower cookies you see above. The second time, I pressed the dough into a large cookie sheet, pressed chopped pecans into the top, then baked and cut into squares.

The dough is quite versatile so lends itself to whichever form you desire the end result to be!! Just have fun with it! They will be delicious!!

Rolled Chocolate Cookies

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Sift the flour, cocoa and salt into the bowl and beat at low speed until the dough comes together, 2 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Flatten into 2 disks, wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out each disk of dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to a scant 1/4-inch thickness. Using a floured 1 3/4-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out as many rounds as possible; transfer to the baking sheets. Gather the scraps, reroll and stamp out as many cookies as possible. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, until puffed and set, shifting the baking sheets for even baking. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets.

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Friday, July 01, 2011

The Mojito

I decided to try making my own Mojito from scratch. I've used the mixes and while they are good, I honestly know that you can't beat anything that is homemade!!

My cubemate had given me a mint plant so I had fresh mint on hand as well as club soda and rum. And I always have limes.

I used the recipe provided by Bacardi on their website. I must say they are very yummy and as I usually do after making something from scratch, I'll never go back to using a mix for my Mojitos!! It's a little extra work, but well worth it!!



1 1/2 Oz. Bacardi Superior Rum
Club Soda
12 Mint Leaves
1/2 Lime
2 Tbsp. Simple Syrup or 1 Tbsp. Sugar


Muddle 12 fresh mint leaves and 1/2 a lime. Cover with 2 Tbsp. of simple syrup or 1 Tbsp. of sugar and top with ice. Add 1 1/2 oz of BACARDI Superior Rum and top with Club Soda. Stir well and garnish with a lime wedge and sprig of mint. Pin It