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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Made with LOVE

The other day as I was making dinner for my family, I realized that I was using a recipe a good friend gave to me.  As I remembered my friend, I started to remember when I first met her and all of the wonderful moments we have had since.  It got me thinking about the recipes that I have accumulated over the years  from ladies I would've never gotten to meet if it wasn't for the military.  We all have family recipes that are passed down, but I have been very lucky to have many wonderful friends who know what good food taste like. This was long before Pinterest and a few of the recipes are even handwritten.  Many of these recipes come from cookbooks or magazines, but they have been passed on to me during block parties, dinner parties, 'husband is deployed' meals, and 'new baby' meals.  I think that's what makes them even more special.  They're not only delicious, but they were given as a gift.  I love to eat and I will forever eat as if I'm eating for two, but the best part is knowing that I can always count on a great friend who will do the same.  Friends and food kind of go hand in hand.  Let's face it, laughing with a friend over a bowl of nachos is the cheapest form of therapy that I can think of.  And if I know my friends than I know they would love for me to pass on these recipes. These are just a handful of my favorites and I love knowing that with every new base will provide more recipes which will soon hold wonderful memories.

Tuxedo Brownie  by Pampered Chef
My friend, Christie, shared this treat while we were stationed at Goodfellow AFB, TX .  I will sometimes send a batch to Eric's work and they go fast! Christie is the queen when it comes to baked desserts.  She was always whipping something up that was too good to be true.  Our first get together at our first base was hosted by Christie!

Cook time: 15 Min  Serves: 4 dozen
nonstick cooking spray with flour
1 pkg fudge brownie mix (plus ingredients to make cake-like brownies)
2 squares white chocolate for baking (1 ounce)
2 Tbsp milk
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c powdered sugar
1 c frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 pt small strawberries, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray with flour. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for cake-like brownies. Fill wells of pan two-thirds full. Bake 14 minutes or until edges are set. (Do not over-bake) Remove pan from oven, immediately press tops of brownies to make indentations. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove brownies from pan; cool completely. Wash pan, repeat with remaining batter.
2. Combine white chocolate and milk in large microwave-safe bowl; microwave on HIGH 1 minute. Stir until smooth; cool slightly. In large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar; mix well. Gradually stir in white chocolate mixture until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.
3. Pipe cream cheese mixture into brownie cups. Top with strawberries. Refrigerate 1-3 hours before serving.

Angel's Banana Bread 
I make this all the time because it's easy to freeze ( I have three in my freezer now! ) and the kids love having it as a snack.  It's sooo good and goes by fast!  Angel and I were stationed together at Goodfellow AFB and we both were brand new to the life of being a military spouse.  It was nice having someone to experience a new journey with and we spent a good chunk of our time volunteering at the base thrift store and romanticizing about motherhood.
1 1/2 cup of Sugar
1/2 c shortening ( I use apple sauce)
2 eggs
1/2 c Sour milk
1tsp baking powder
2 c flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
12/c walnuts or pecans
3 ripe bananas
Preheat oven to 350. Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and sour milk. Mix all dry ingredients and add to mix. Add bananas, vanilla and nuts. Bake at 70-75 mins in a greased loaf pan or  45-50 minutes in the mini loaf pan. Let sit in pan for 15 mins and transfer to a cooling rack.  Tip- 1) Mix 1/2 cup regular milk with a 1/2 tbsp of vinegar for sour milk.  2)  Bananas are best if they have been frozen before use.  Once bananas get too ripe to eat, toss them in the freezer and take them out to fully thaw before following the directions.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread 
This is the perfect recipe for fall!  I have given these out as gifts and I haven't had a single complaint.  I got this recipe from Shiela while we were stationed together at Goodfellow, AFB.  Shiela was a veteran spouse and gave me a wonderful example of the type of spouse that I wanted to be like.  I still remember how she would smother Ethan with kisses every time she would see him.
Ingredients - Makes 3 loaves or 6 mini loaves.

3 C. Sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. Veg oil
1 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. salt
1 Large ( or 2 small) cans of Pumpkin
1 tsp. nutmeg
2/3 c. water
1 tsp. allspice
3 1/2 c. Flour
1tsp. cinnamon
1 c. chocolate chips
Cream sugar and oil together. Add eggs and pumpkin. mix well. Sift together dry ingredients, add to pumpkin mixture one cup at a time alternating with water. Add chocolate chips and pour into (3) greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.

Perini Ranch Dressing 
Crystal brought us our very first meal as new parents.  I remember it like it was yesterday which is strange because I can barely remember last week!  I think the reason is why because along with a fantastic meal of  lasagna, salad, and dessert, she brought along a jar of homemade dressing. Who does that ?!  I have given people salad as a side dish since then and totally relied on them to provide their own dressing. Well apparently, Crystal, the amazing wife and mother does!  We were stationed together at Goodfellow AFB. This is one of those recipes where the ingredients alone make the recipe look daunting, but it's quite simple.

1 cup of buttermilk
1 cup Texas Mayonnaise
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
1-2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tsp. minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt  
Combine all ingredients and shake vigorously to combine thoroughly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow flavors o blend before serving.

Texas Mayonnaise
1 egg
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
3tbl. fresh lemon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/2 cup corn oil
1/2 cup olive oil
Fresh Parsely, basil, oregano leaves (optional)
 In a blender, place first 5 ingredients and blend for 1 minute. On the lowest speed, slowly add oil until mayo is thick. Add more salt and pepper if needed.      

Baked Caprese Salad by Giada De'laurentis
My good friend Carmen gave me this recipe and she is just as much of a food junkie as I am. We were always swapping recipes and enjoyed many dinners together.  I relied on her a lot as a new mother. Our sons are pen pals!!  Stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB and our husbands went to AFIT together.

8-12 appetizer servings

1 loaf baguette, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (about 30 to 36 slices)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 1/4 pounds fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, stemmed
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Arrange the sliced baguette bread on a baking sheet. Brush with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until the bread is pale golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Top each slice of bread with a slice of tomato and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each slice of tomato with a slice of mozzarella and sprinkle with salt. Return the baking sheet to the oven until the cheese and tomato are warmed, about 5 minutes. Arrange the toasts on a serving platter. Top each toast with a basil leaf. Using the brush, drizzle the remaining olive oil over the basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.

Buffalo Chicken Dip 
This dip doesn't look very appetizing, but it's DELICIOUS!  My friend, Kimberly, brought this dip to one of our Bunco nights and the recipe was in high demand! Eric's favorite dip, by the way! Kimberly and I met while we were stationed at Wright- Patterson AFB. It still makes me smile when I think how she went from 0 kids to 3 kids in the short amount of time that we were stationed there.  Us AFIT wives still swear that there was something in the water! ;)

Mix together in a bowl:
8oz brick of cream cheese, softened.
1 cup of ranch dressing
1 cup Franks Red Hot Buffalo Wing sauce- Original
Add: 1 large can of  shredded chunk chicken  and stir.  Put in a baking dish and cover with 8oz. of shredded cheddar cheese. Heat at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

Mexican Bean Dip by Pampered Chef 
I hosted a Pampered chef event at my house while we were stationed at Wright- Patt and it was the first time that I meet the representative, Gina.  She made Mexican Bean dip and I fell in love. With Gina and the bean dip!  We instantly clicked over dip!

1 can (16oz) 99% fat free re-fried beans
3/4 cup Mexican bend, divided
1/2 cup Thick and Chunky salsa
2 tsp. lime juice
2 garlic cloves pressed
2 tsp. Southwestern seasoning mix (taco seasoning)
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup whole kernel corn
cilantro and sour cream topping

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Mix beans, 1/2 cup of cheese, 1/2 cup of salsa, lime juice, garlic and seasoning. Spread into Baker ( small casserole dish). Sprinkle 1/2 cup of bell pepper and corn evenly over bean mixture. Bake 22-25 minutes. Top with remaining cheese, bell pepper and cilantro. Garnish with sour cream.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Borracho Beans
While we lived in San Antonio, we fell in love with our next door neighbors; Joanne and Trey Rodriguez. So much so that they are Godparents to Lexie and their son, Gavin, is our godson! We spent many of nights sitting outside on our porches enjoying each others company! Joanne shared her father's recipe for beans and I'm drooling just thinking about them.  So good!!

Ingredients (For about 30 people so cut in half for less)
4lbs pinto beans
Bacon-6 strips cut into pieces
2 large jalapenos chopped
1/2 onion chopped
1 tomato medium sized chopped
Cilantro (optional amount is based on your liking)
Cooking time is about 3 hours
Soak beans overnight. In the morning drain beans and rinse beans. Place beans in pot with water. Water should be 1-2 inches above beans. Cook on medium. After one hour check beans they should look brown or reddish. Add bacon pieces to beans. Let beans & bacon cook for one hour. After the hour add remaining ingredients: chopped jalapenos, chopped onion, chopped tomato, and chopped cilantro. Let beans cook for 1 hr. After hour taste beans & add salt if needed

Roman Style Chicken by Giada De'laurentis
I got this recipe from my friend, Catrina. She had us over for dinner and it honestly looked like she spent all day preparing it, because it was delicious.  We spent many dinners together and our kids got along fabulously. We first met at Wright- Patt AFB, but didn't really get to know each other till we were stationed together at Lackland AFB.  I still keep my fingers crossed that we will be stationed somewhere together for a 3rd time!

4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs
2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.
If serving immediately, add the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve. If making ahead of time, transfer the chicken and sauce to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate. The next day, reheat the chicken to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the capers and the parsley and serve.

Amanda's Taco Soup
Amanda is another friend that I met while were stationed in San Antonio.   However, Amanda didn't make me this dish while I lived in San Antonio.  We were living here in Maryland, Eli was working on his third shunt surgery and my husband was out of town. She threw her kids in the car, drove 10 hours from where she was living at the time and jumped right in. She filled my freezer up, watched my children so I could be with Eli and made me this delicious, yet simple meal.  Perfect ending to that intense month!

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning
2 cans Rotel
2 cans cream of potato soup
1 can beef broth
1 can tomato sauce
1 can corn
1 can chili beans
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 bag Fritos
Sour cream
Brown and drain ground beef. Pour all cans (Do NOT drain) into large crock pot. Add beef and stir until blended. Cook on low 4 hours or until heated throughout. Serve with chips, sour cream, and cheese.


Anonymous said...

These look wonderful. Thanks for sharing them along with the story of where and who they came from.


Anonymous said...

I love this blog post, and I love you!!!