Saturday, April 30, 2016

Gooey Pineapple Upside-Down Dump Cake

I literally threw this dessert together last night!  It took just a few minutes (the longest part of assembling was melting the butter in the microwave).  We had rented a movie from Redbox, and although I wanted to have a warm dessert to enjoy, it was Friday evening, and I had just finished loading the dishwasher!  Time to get a non-messy way!  Here's what I did:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Get out a large pan or glass casserole.  Melt 2 sticks of butter(or margarine)in a glass measuring cup in your microwave.

2.  Mix 1 can of crushed pineapple plus the juice with 2 C brown sugar in the bottom of your casserole.

3.  Sprinkle a box of yellow cake mix over the pineapple mixture.  Finally, pour the melted butter on top and distribute evenly with the back of a large spoon

4.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until the top is golden brown.  Let cool a little and then serve pieces inverted onto dessert plates.  A cherry on top would be pretty, but I didn't have any in the pantry.  This is a very rich dessert and so vanilla ice cream would be nice on the side, too.  We really enjoyed the buttery pineapple taste warm...right from the oven!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Pea and Pimento Salad

It's Spring and time for a fresh-tasting, easy-to-make pea salad.  I always enjoy making this version because the red pimentos give it a beautiful color.  Put it in your glass bowl and it makes people take notice!  The dressing is boiled and adds a nice tangy flavor.  It's a handy little salad recipe because, other than the pimentos, most of the ingredients are basics.

Pea and Pimento Salad

2 cans of peas, drained
2 TBSP Dromedary chopped pimento
1 can of shoe peg corn, drained
1/3 C each of finely-chopped sweet onion, celery and yellow bell pepper (or green)

1 C sugar
3/4 C white vinegar
1/2 vegetable oil (I used canola)

Bring to a rolling boil and then cool.  Toss with peas and chopped vegetables and chill for several hours.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Pralines from a New Orleans Cookbook

  Hubby and I recently enjoyed a long-awaited trip to New Orleans.  We went with a group of friends and had a wonderful time!  It wasn't a long trip, but we fit a lot of sightseeing and eating into our limited stay in,"The Big Easy"!
  We sampled a couple of their best restaurants and brought home pralines from Aunt Sally's.

  While we were out shopping, the husbands spent the afternoon at the WWII Museum.  We followed our shopping with lunch at Red Fish Grill;  I recommend their BBQ Shrimp Po Boy!

  When I got home from the trip, I passed out the pralines that I bought (for gifts) at Aunt Sally's.  (They are very delicate and only last for about 2 weeks before they turn to sugar.) I think our sons ate them quickly and so they were still fresh!  But, after the pralines were gone...I really missed New Orleans.  I got out the cookbook that I brought home and decided to give praline-making a try.
  My pralines weren't as pretty as Aunt Sally's, but they had that wonderful taste of butter, brown sugar, vanilla and pecans, so we were very happy.  Not bad for a first try.  

Here's the recipe I used for Pralines.  I made part of the batch without pecans...just for hubby.

Here are some photos of the process, in case you've never made pralines before. Good luck!

You need a heavy pan that's deep.

Dissolve that sugar and have your candy thermometer close by.

Have your butter, measured pecans and vanilla ready and set aside.

Butter a surface or spread out waxed paper.

It's important to keep scraping any crystals from the sides of the pan and keep an eye on your temperature.

Here's the part with pecans.  Stir it until creamy.

And, here's the separate non-pecan part

Drop them off the end of a large spoon.

So good!

Friday, April 1, 2016

My Make-Ahead Macaroni Salad

This is the macaroni salad I've made for years.  Every Easter it is requested because it goes so well with ham.  We really like it as a side with grilled meats, too!  It is rich and not low-fat, so I just make it for special occasions like Easter and those patriotic cook-out holidays in the summer.  (My son, Blake, is a particular fan of this salad, along with his Aunt Mona and Aunt Nila.) 
 I've given family members this recipe, verbally, across the table at holiday get-togethers, but now they'll have the photos to walk them through the process! 

1.  Boil 1 small box of medium seashell macaroni in well-salted water.  Drain and set aside.  Also, cook 2 or 3 hard-boiled eggs, cool and peel the shells.

2.  To macaroni, add 1/2 C shredded carrots, 1/4 C cubed sweet pickle and the boiled eggs, cubed.  Add 1/2 C cubed Velveeta Cheese (no substitutions).

The Dressing:

3.  Stir together the dressing in a separate bowl.  1 C Miracle Whip, 1 TBSP yellow mustard and 1 TBSP sugar. Stir until smooth and sugar is dissolved.  Thin out, very gradually, with a little cold water until it's the consistency of pourable salad dressing.

4.  Pour dressing over the macaroni, vegetable, cheese mixture and fold in, gently, until it's all combined.

5.  Put in a tightly covered container to chill in the refrigerator for a few hours.  This salad is even better the second day, so it's a great make-ahead recipe!