Make your Own Salad Dressing

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Each week, I pick up my bag of organic produce from our nearby healthy eatery and find renewed inspiration to mix up some fresh picked greens with my homemade salad dressing. I love that my produce is local and sustainably grown and that the ingredients in my salad dressing are natural. I’m not a purist, but, I do appreciate healthy food that doesn’t require learning ingredient names with a dictionary.

Making your own dressing is simple and fun to personalize. You can almost never mess it up, even if you don’t use a measuring spoon.  Mix it in a cruet or use any small sealed container to shake it up one last time before adding to your salad.

The following is one of my favorite dressing recipes that I keep on hand for the summer.

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National Soup Month

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Recipes | January 20, 2014 | By

There’s no better way to warm up on a chilly winter day than with a steaming bowl of soup. In honor of National Soup Month, we’re sharing this recipe for Kielbasa Bean Soup, which is a hearty meal in itself. It’s perfect for throwing together while the kids are outside playing or putting in the slow cooker so it’s ready when everyone gets home from school and work.

Kielbasa Bean Soup
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups potatoes, ½-inch diced and par boiled*
  2. 2 10.5-ounce cans bean with bacon soup
  3. 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  4. ¾ pound kielbasa sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
  5. 1 onion, chopped
  6. 2 carrots, diced
  7. 2 celery stalks, diced
  8. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  9. ½ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, soup, tomatoes, kielbasa, onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Transfer to a crockpot or large pot.
  2. Slow-cook in the crockpot, set on low heat, for 5 to 6 hours, until thick. Alternatively, simmer over low heat on the stovetop for 2 hours or until thick.
  3. Make sure to serve this with some crunchy bread!
Notes
  1. *To par boil potatoes: Scrub and wash unpeeled potatoes. Dice potatoes into ½-inch pieces. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Add diced potatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Remove potatoes from water. Rinse potatoes in cold water. Drain and use as directed in recipe.
Dream Dinners http://blog.dreamdinners.com/

Bake Cookies Day

Christmas, Holidays, Recipes | December 16, 2013 | By

Just a week before the Christmas holiday, Bake Cookies Day is the perfect reminder to make a few sweet treats to share with family and friends. To get you started, we’re sharing a cookie recipe handed down by co-founder Tina Kuna’s mother. Grandma Rue (as the grandkids who couldn’t pronounce her last name, Ruebush, called her) brought these scrumptious cookies to festive occasions, making every gathering extra special. Whether you’re planning on serving Christmas cookies to your kids, gifting a plateful to friends or participating in an annual cookie exchange, these cookies are sure to be a delicious addition.

Grandma Rue’s Peanut Butter Fingers
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup butter
  2. ½ cup granulated sugar
  3. ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. ¼ cup nonfat egg substitute
  6. ⅓ cup peanut butter
  7. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  8. ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  9. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  10. 1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
  11. 1 cup chocolate chips
For Drizzle
  1. ½ cup powdered sugar
  2. ¼ cup peanut butter
  3. 2-4 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. Spray one 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. In a bowl, cream the butter, sugars, and vanilla together with a handheld mixer until smooth. Add the egg substitute and peanut butter and mix until smooth.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then combine with the sugar/peanut butter mixture until well blended (you may need to mix by hand). Spread the mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the baked cookie dough mixture immediately after removing the pan from the over. Let stand for 5 minutes, until the chips have melted. Quickly spread the melted chocolate evenly over the baked cookie dough.
  6. Mix powdered sugar, peanut butter, and milk until creamy, adjusting the milk to a desired consistency, using just enough milk to make the topping loose enough to drizzle. Drizzle the topping over the smoothed chocolate.
  7. Cut into bars and serve.
Dream Dinners http://blog.dreamdinners.com/
If you’re looking for more cookie ideas, try Martha Stewart’s traditional cookie recipes, these show stopping Christmas cookie recipes and ideas on packaging cookies as gifts from Better Homes and Gardens.

Cinnamon Apple Cake Recipe

Recipes | October 25, 2013 | By

In honor of National Cookbook Month, we’re sharing a recipe from our Dream Dinners Cookbook that is perfect for fall. Chunks of apple and a cinnamon crumb topping make this dense cake a breakfast treat or a delicious dessert that is also perfect for National Apple Month. If you have a little extra time this weekend, take the kids apple picking and then make this cake with your fresh harvest. 
 
Cinnamon Apple Cake
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. Nonstick cooking spray
  2. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  4. 1 cup granulated sugar
  5. ¾ cup canola oil*
  6. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  7. ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  8. 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  9. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  11. 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces
  12. 1 cup buttermilk
  13. ¼ cup nonfat egg substitute*
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Spray one 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, salt, ginger and half of the cinnamon.
  4. Transfer 1 ½ cups of this mixture to a small bowl and add the remaining cinnamon to it. Stir until incorporated. Set aside for the topping.
  5. Add the baking soda, baking powder, apples, buttermilk, and egg substitute to the remaining flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Do not over mix.
  6. Pour into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the reserved topping over the apple mixture.
  7. Bake for 1 ½ hours or until the cake is set and the topping is golden brown.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. *To reduce the amount of oil without sacrificing the cake’s moistness, replace half of the oil with applesauce. If you would like to use real eggs, ¼ cup nonfat liquid egg product is equal to 1 egg. Just crack the egg and whip until smooth, then use like the liquid product (just remember, there are 5 grams of fat per egg).
Dream Dinners http://blog.dreamdinners.com/

 

 

Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe

Recipes | September 10, 2013 | By

In honor of National Rice Month, we’re sharing this authentic Cajun Dirty Rice recipe, which comes from a cook in New Orleans. This would be the perfect dish to serve alongside our Carne Asada Steak Tacos.

Cajun Dirty Rice
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cups uncooked long grain white rice
  2. 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  3. ½ pound sausages, cooked and crumbled
  4. ½ cup yellow onions, diced
  5. ½ cup celery, diced
  6. ½ cup green bell pepper, diced
  7. ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  8. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  9. ¼ cup red pepper pesto
  10. ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  11. 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  12. 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  13. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  14. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  15. 1 cup chicken broth
  16. ¼ cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Cook the rice according to the package directions and cool in the refrigerator.
  2. Place the remaining ingredients in a 1-gallon resealable freezer bag and mix in the cooled rice.
  3. Toss the bag to coat the rice.
  4. Place the contents in a sprayed baking dish and cover tightly.
  5. Bake in a 350°F oven for 1 hour or until the liquid is fully absorbed and the rice is hot and fluffy.
Dream Dinners http://blog.dreamdinners.com/

Back-to-School Breakfasts

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Recipes | September 3, 2013 | By

During the first week of school, mornings can get a little hectic as kids (and parents) figure out the new routine. With the perfect outfit to pick out, lunches to be packed, and paperwork to be signed, it can be hard to make sure kids head off to school with a filling breakfast that will last them until lunchtime.

Here are some ideas for some quick but healthy breakfasts to start every morning off right:

– Our Breakfast Eggs with Potato Crust recipe can be made the night before and put in the oven for 30 minutes while the kids are getting ready.

– For a breakfast that is easy to eat on the go, top a container of Greek yogurt with jam, honey and chopped almonds or fresh fruit and granola.

–  Make quick breakfast quesadillas by sprinkling shredded cheese on a whole wheat tortilla, layering thin apple slices, and topping with a second tortilla. Microwave or cook in a skillet until the cheese is melted.

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August is National Peach Month

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Recipes | August 2, 2013 | By

It’s August, which means it’s not only mid-peach-season, but it’s also National Peach Month – time to head to the local farmers’ market or grocery store to pick out the perfect juicy peaches! Since peaches only develop flavor and sweetness on the tree, make sure to pick ones that yield slightly to pressure. Then, use your ripe peaches to make our Fresh Peach Sorbet!

Fresh Peach Sorbet
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound peaches, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  2. 1 cup simple syrup*
  3. Juice of 1 lime
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
  5. *You can buy simple syrup at your local grocery store or make it yourself by combining 1 cup water and 2 cups sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring. Reduce the heat and continue to stir until the sugar dissolves. Cool to room temperature.
Instructions
  1. Combine the peaches, syrup, lime juice, and mint in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium speed until the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
  2. Pour the mixture into a 6-8 cup plastic container. Seal tightly.
  3. The sorbet can be placed in the freezer in the plastic container.
  4. Serve frozen.
Notes
  1. Alternatively, pour the contents into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Dream Dinners http://blog.dreamdinners.com/

Layered Strawberry Gelatin Salad Recipe

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Recipes | June 13, 2012 | By

This light, refreshing crowd-pleaser is not only delicious but also colorful on a buffet or the dinner table. This salad can’t be frozen, but it can be prepared 2 days ahead.

Layered Strawberry Gelatin Salad
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 18-ounce box Strawberry gelatin (Jell-O)
  2. 2 10-ounce boxes Frozen strawberries
  3. 1 8-ounce can Crushed pineapple, drained
  4. 2 ripe Bananas, mashed
  5. 1/2 cup Nonfat sour cream
Instructions
  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil and add 1 package of Jell-O
  2. Add the frozen strawberries, pineapple and bananas
  3. Put half of the mixture in a 9×13-inch baking dish
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes (leave the other half of the mixture out on the counter)
  5. Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and spread with sour cream
  6. Pour the remaining mixture over the sour cream
  7. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and chill for 8 to 12 hours
  8. Remove the plastic wrap and serve
Dream Dinners http://blog.dreamdinners.com/

Turkey and Red Grape Salad

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Recipes | May 25, 2012 | By

Turkey and Red Grape Salad
Serves 6
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Combine the following in a large mixing bowl
  1. 4 cups cooked turkey, cut in 1 inch cubes
  2. 1 cup chopped celery
  3. 2 cups red grapes, halved
  4. 1 cup slivered almonds
  5. 1 cup Swiss cheese, cut in 1 inch cubes
  6. Dressing
  7. ¼ cup non fat sour cream
  8. ¼ cup lite mayonnaise
  9. 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  10. 2 Tbsp sugar
  11. 1 tsp kosher salt
  12. ½ tsp pepper
  13. ¼ cup finely chopped parsley (optional)
Instructions
  1. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl, pour over turkey mixture and toss to coat.
  2. Refrigerate.
  3. Best served chilled over a bed of red leaf lettuce.
Dream Dinners http://blog.dreamdinners.com/

Oriental Turkey Salad

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Recipes | May 23, 2012 | By

Oriental Turkey Salad
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 small head of Napa Cabbage, shredded, approx. 4 cups
  2. 1 small head of green leaf lettuce, chopped, approx. 2 cups
  3. 3 green onions, chopped
  4. 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  5. ½ cup slivered almonds
  6. 3 cups cooked turkey, chopped
  7. 1 package of Oriental noodles (like Top Ramen), crushed
  8. Dressing
  9. ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
  10. ½ cup vegetable oil
  11. 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  12. ¼ cup sugar
  13. 1 tsp kosher salt
  14. 1 tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine chopped vegetables and turkey.
  2. Whisk dressing in small bowl.
  3. Add almonds and crushed noodles into salad and toss with dressing just before serving.
Dream Dinners http://blog.dreamdinners.com/