Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cheesy Pesto Bread

One of the best things about this recipe is that it complements almost any dinner!!! From a fancy Italian dish to a down home casserole this bread makes the perfect appetizer or side. It is surprisingly easy but looks like you spent lots of time preparing it.  The flavors are mild and cheesy which makes this very family friendly.  
Cheesy Pesto Bread

1 loaf French bread
1 container of prepared Pesto
1 package of sliced Mozzarella cheese
season to taste…..Mrs. Dash Italian Medley, Garlic powder, grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and lightly spray with Pam. Slice bread in the center into two pieces and place on the cookie sheet. With a long knife, score the bread lengthwise (but don't cut all the way down to the base of the bread) and then cut going the other direction crosswise. You will end up with little squares of bread. Using a small spoon spread the pesto down into the crevices of the bread.  Next tear the mozzarella slices into thirds and push down into the slices of bread. If desired, sprinkle a few dashes of Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper and grated Parmesan cheese over the top of the bread. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese is melted. 

The possibilities for this bread are endless!!! You could add your favorite type of sliced cheese such as monterey jack, cheddar or smoked gouda. Even a drizzle of melted butter over the bread as it comes out of the oven would be delicious! Serve large slices of this warm and gooey bread to your grateful dinner guests!!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

7 Up Jello Salad

I have always loved a good jello salad!!! Every holiday gathering that I attended at my grandparent's house always included some type of jello dish. I often scooped out seconds into a bowl as a "dessert".  One of the best things about this side dish is that it is a super easy recipe to prepare and goes great with any type of meal!!! 
7 Up Jello Salad
1 (3 oz.) package lime jello
1 cup hot water
 8 ounces 7 UP soft drink
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

In a small bowl, dissolve jello in 1 cup hot water; add 7-UP and set aside.  In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and pineapple until smooth.  Add sugar and vanilla. Stir in jello mixture (and pecans).  Pour into serving dish and refrigerate until set or overnight.  
What is so unique about this jello salad is the bubbly zip of lemon and lime created by the addition of 7-UP. Along with the combination of tart pineapple and lime jello….it results in the perfect spring time dish!!! If you like, you can easily double the ingredients and then use a 9 x 13 inch glass pan.  You can also substitute lemon jello instead of the lime. Keep this recipe in mind the next time you need a tasty sweet side dish!!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fast French Bread Pizza

This past week included many busy evenings. Instead of our usual sandwiches before soccer practice, I decided to change it up a little bit. This recipe is not a "new" concept. I'm pretty sure I have had almost every version of homemade pizza…..including pizzas made out of biscuit dough, english muffins and crescent rolls. What makes this recipe unique is the way that it is baked…..hot and fast!!!!
Fast French Bread Pizza
adapted from the blog What's Cooking with Ruthie

1 large loaf of French Bread
1 jar of Pizza Sauce
2 cups Italian Five Cheese, shredded
*any other toppings you like….sliced black olives, sliced mushrooms, finely diced veggies, pepperoni slices, Italian sausage (cooked), etc….

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Cut the French Bread in half lengthwise and place on a cookie sheet open faced. Spread pizza sauce on top of all the slices. Cover all slices with cheese and your favorite toppings. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.  Cut into 2 inch wide strips and serve!!!
What makes this recipe super delicious is the flaky crunchy outside crust….yet you still get the "easy to eat" soft insides with the perfectly melted Italian cheese. Let your imagination run wild with flavor combinations….it truly is limitless!!! It is a definite kid pleaser and great to grab as you are running out the door!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Easy Lemon Bars

This recipe could not be any easier!!! It only takes two ingredients to create this delicious sweet lemon bar. It is super convenient whenever you have a luncheon or need a quick dessert for a spring time get together. Lemon is one of my favorite flavors especially during the warmer months. It pairs perfectly as a tart treat following any meal!!!

Easy Lemon Bars

1 box Angel Food Cake Mix
1 can Lemon Pie Filling

Combine the cake mix and the can of lemon pie filling into a large mixing bowl. Stir together until well blended. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. When cooled, sprinkle the top lightly with powdered sugar. 

This recipe creates such a sweet spongey "melt in your mouth" texture!!! A light sprinkling of powdered sugar on top nicely enhances the mild flavor of lemon. If you are crazy about anything lemon…. then you can also make this recipe with 2 cans of lemon pie filling. Adding the extra can will increase the lemon flavor and produce a less cakey bar. Just a warning….Easy Lemon Bars will not last long….they disappear quickly!!!