No-Churn Mango Coconut Lime Ice Cream

So fresh, delicious, and unusual!  This was really easy to whip up and since I never have my ice cream freezer bowl ready  to go (too much stuff already in my freezer!) this is nice if you want to make ice cream last minute.  (Picture credit goes to Beaming Baker).

In a blender, blend the following:
1 1/2 cup frozen mangos (prefer Trader Joes brand--they are less fibrous)
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 14 oz can coconut cream (not milk)
1/2 tsp coconut extract
3-5 drops lime oil (or can use juice/zest from one lime)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
-After blending, pour into a baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze at least 6 hours or overnight.  Let soften about 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Chicken Toscana Soup

This is a comfort food soup for sure!  I prefer using "mini" gnocchi for this if you can find them, but large ones work great too.  It's summer...but hey I'm already craving the fall!

1 TBS olive oil                                                      
1 med onion
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced                                                          
1 clove garlic, minced                                                     
6 TBS butter
6 TBS flour                                                           
1 c half and half
8 c chicken broth                                                  
3 c chopped, cooked chicken                                           
1 c chopped fresh tomato (about 2-3 romas)                    
1 c chopped fresh baby spinach
1 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese     
16 oz gnoochi
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp pepper
2-3 shakes of Turmeric (for color)
Sauté onion in oil until nicely cooked.  Add garlic, celery, carrots, and butter and cook on med until butter is melted.  Add flour to make a roux and cook 1 min, stirring constantly.  Add half and half and stir till well incorporated.  Slowly add in chicken broth.  Add rest of ingredients (except Parmesan cheese) and simmer. Just before serving, remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. 

Regan's 8-7-6-5 Costco Pork Tenderloin (Grilled)

(Picture credit: Epicurious and Grilling Companion)  My camera broke awhile ago, so I haven't been taking any of my own pictures.  It actually works pretty well to pull others' pictures that look just like what I made :)

I'm a bit intimidated by cooking meat.  Meat is expensive and it can be a bit painful when it doesn't turn out right.  I have my typical routine meat recipes, and I can make a good roast, but I'm not one to branch out much in the meat department!  We also don't eat much meat, but we do love it!  Pork Tenderloin is a cheaper meat, so this is a nice way to try something new if you're scared like me!

   I finally decided to break out of my comfort zone and try something new.  I'm grateful for my sister and her husband for sharing this failproof recipe with me.  I'd eaten this delicious dish at their home a couple of times.  My brother-in-law Regan has this cooking process down to an exact science.  He assured me if I followed his instructions "EXACTLY" it would turn out perfect.  

It Did!

-Marinade of choice (marinate for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling).
Pork Tenderloin from Costco (comes in a package with two packaged together.  Each package contains 2 tenderloins)
Grilling Instructions (8-7-6-5):
1.  Turn grill as high as it will go.
2.  Place tenderloin fat side down.  Shut lid.  Grill 8 minutes
3.  Open grill, flip tenderloins.  Shut lid.  Grill 7 more minutes.
4.  Without opening grill, turn it off and let tenderloin cook 6 more minutes.
5.  Remove Tenderloin.  Place it on platter.  Cover tightly with foil and let it sit 5 more minutes.
6.  Cut and serve immediately!

Grilled Chicken with Cobb Salad

I LOVE Cobb salad.  Here is another slight variation from Food Network (picture from them too).  I wish I could just pull this from my fridge without any effort!



Pound the chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap with a mallet or heavy skillet until 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Transfer to a large bowl and add the onion, 3/4 cup buttermilk, the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, turning, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; reserve the drippings for the dressing. Chop the bacon.
Fill a small bowl with ice water. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the eggs and cook 4 minutes, then transfer 1 egg to the ice water using a slotted spoon. Continue cooking the remaining 2 eggs until hard-boiled, 6 more minutes; drain and let cool.
Make the dressing: Remove the 4-minute egg from the ice water and carefully peel (it will be soft); transfer to a blender. Add the vegetable oil, reserved bacon drippings, remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk, the vinegar, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and blend until smooth and slightly thick, about 1 minute. Refrigerate while you cook the chicken, at least 15 minutes.
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium high. Lightly brush with vegetable oil. Drain the chicken and onion, discarding the garlic; pat the chicken dry. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken, turning once, until just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Grill the onion, turning occasionally, until tender and lightly charred, about 10 minutes; roughly chop.
Peel and chop the hard-boiled eggs. Toss the romaine, grilled onion, tomato, avocado, blue cheese and 1/4 cup of the dressing in a large bowl. Divide the chicken among plates and top with the salad; top with the bacon and chopped hard-boiled eggs. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and season with pepper.

Birthday Bike Cake

Cakes can be rather intimidating...but this is a SUPER forgiving child's birthday cake and it tastes great!  I love Dream Whip frosting.  If you've never used it, it is tasty and fluffy.  It has more of a similar taste/texture to whipping cream.  

We made this for my son's 5th Birthday party. For the party, the boys' spent a couple of hours riding their bikes in the dirt and on paved roads. We also had a few races!

9x13 chocolate cake
Create "hill" with cake scraps skimmed off top to make cake flat...
Frost with Dream Whip Pudding Frosting (use Chocolate Pudding)
Crush Graham Crackers for "sand" look
Crush Keebler Grasshopper cookies (or Oreos) for dirt mountain

Birthday Money

                            This came from my mother-in-law for my son's birthday. Such a cute idea!

Coconut Ice Cream with Fresh Fruit

Picture credit goes here.
Oh, Spring is here and so is my major craving for delicious seasonal fruit!  
My brother-in-law whipped up this simple, colorful, fresh, and beautiful dessert just last night.  I had to post it and share.  

Chop up a variety of fresh fruit such as kiwi, mango, strawberries.  Add other fresh berries.  Generously spoon fruit mixture over coconut gelato or ice cream.

The is the ice cream he used:

Zucchini Pizza

For a super easy and healthy pizza alternative...

use zucchini (or yellow squash) 
as your pizza base instead of bread.  

This is a common dish when our zucchini plants are in full garden swing!  
Top zucchini with sauce, cheese, and then desired toppings.  
Bake at 475 for 12-15 minutes.  
Don't overcook.  
You want the zucchini to be crunchy-not water and soggy!

Valentine Dinner

Super Simple table setting for an Italian Valentine Dinner
Centerpiece:  Clear candle votives (purchased at Walmart)
Favor: Lindt Chocolate Candy Bar Sticks
Appetizer:  Bruschetta with balsamic glaze
Lights:  used Christmas icicle lights to add extra ambiance

Sesame Thai Noodles with Vegetables

  • This is a great quick vegetarian dinner ready to go from start to finish in 20 minutes.  Pre-cut all your vegetables, then while you cook the pasta mix sauce.  My family loved this.  For those that like extra heat, you can garnish with red pepper.

  • Cook pasta according to directions:
  • 12-14 ounces spaghetti, linguine, or angel hair pasta

  • Sauce (Make while pasta is cooking)
  • 2 TBS  sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 2 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press
  • 1 TBS minced fresh ginger (don't settle for dried!  This is a critical ingredient!)
  • 5 TBS soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or Tabasco)
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 TBS toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp salt

While pasta drains, toss the following into pasta pan and stir fry for 3 minutes on high:
  • 4 green onions, sliced thin on diagonal
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 1 c. pea pods (whole or cut in half)

  • Add cooked pasta to pan.  Stir in Sauce and add:
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • sesame seeds for garnish
  • chopped peanuts for garnish (optional)