#CookoutWeek: Berry Icebox Cake

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It's super surprising to me that I'd spent my entire life never having an icebox cake. My mom definitely wasn't a fan of baking so this recipe would have been right up her alley, but I suppose she never knew about it as the first time I saw a recipe for an icebox cake, my reaction was "what in the world is that?"


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In case you also currently reside under the rock I was under, an icebox cake is a dessert made with graham crackers and whipped cream. Pudding or cream cheese is optional and mixed in with the whipped cream. As the "cake" rests in the fridge, the mixture seeps into the graham crackers softening them into a crust of sorts. I mean, really, how easy is that? The hardest part is remaining patient while the cake is in the fridge.




Berry Icebox Cake
Source: Cake’s Cottage
Servings:12-16 servings
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Ingredients:
    • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • 2 3.4 oz. packages instant vanilla pudding
    • 2 ½ cups milk
    • 12 oz. Cool Whip, lightly thawed
    • 1 box graham crackers
    • 2 lbs strawberries, thinly sliced
    • 1 pint blueberries

Directions:

1. Add cream cheese and both packets of instant vanilla pudding to the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until combined. Slowly add in the milk until combined.
2. Add all but ½ cup of the cool whip to the mixer, mixing until just combined.
3. Use the remaining ½ cup of the cool whip to spread in an even layer on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
4. Arrange graham crackers over the cool whip, breaking the crackers as needed to fit the shape of the baking dish.
5. Top with a generous layer of the pudding mixture, followed by the strawberries and blueberries.
6. Repeat with 2 more layers until the top of the baking dish is reached. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but up to overnight.
7. Slice cake into squares and serve immediately. Cake will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge but is best eaten within 24 hours of making.




Do you have a meal or dessert that you didn't learn about until much later in life?




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#CookoutWeek: Bahn Mi Hot Dogs

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#CookoutWeek is here again! I had such a great time participating in the event last year that I knew I wanted to join up this year.

As a kid, I used to eat plain hot dogs cold, a concept that as an adult makes me shudder. Ick. I'm still not a fan of them on a bun because I feel like the bread to meat ratio is never properly met and I do enjoy them served with less common toppings. Mustard will do if there isn't anything else, but I'll pass on the ketchup, relish and onions.



I like the more unusual toppings and when I saw a recipe using bahn mi ingredients on a hot dog, I immediately knew I needed to try it.

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Standard bahn mi ingredients are pickled carrots, cucumber slices, fresh cilantro and sliced jalapenos. I prefer to pickle the jalapeno as well, which I did for this recipe.



Bahn Mi Hot Dog
Inspired by: multiple Pinterest images
Servings: 8 hot dogs
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Ingredients:
    • 1 package (8) hot dogs of your choice
    • 1 package (8) hot dog buns
    • ¼ cup mayonnaise
    • 2-4 tbsp. Sriracha, to taste
    • ¼ cup matchstick carrots
    • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
    • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 2 tbsp water
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • ¼ cup cucumber, thinly sliced
    • fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:
1. Heat a grill to medium high heat.
2. While the grill is heating, combine mayonnaise and sriracha together to your desired level of spiciness and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water and sugar. Add carrots and jalapeno slices and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
4. Grill hot dogs for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
5. Add cilantro and cucumber to the bun. Place the hot dog in the center and top with the pickled carrots and jalapenos.
6. Drizzle sriracha mayo on top and enjoy.




What is your favorite way to dress a hot dog?



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#CookoutWeek: Welcome

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 Get those grills fired up... because it's #CookoutWeek 2017! This week, I'm joining forces with over 40 food blogger friends to bring you delicious recipes perfect for every backyard BBQ, picnic, summer party, or cookout. We also have a fabulous giveaway featuring products from the brands who have made #CookoutWeek possible! You can enter below to win:
  • From blog host The PinterTest Kitchen: $100 Amazon gift card, to use to buy all the supplies you need for your next cookout
  • From our sponsor The French Farm: A gift pack of gourmet products hand-crafted by small businesses and using only the finest ingredients - La Favorita Genovese Pesto, Caprichos del Guadalquivir Cadenera Orange Marmalade, and L’Abeille Occitane Lavender Honey
  • From our sponsor Smokin'-Os: A sampler pack of their "smokin'-os" wood rings, to help you add wood-fired, smokey taste to your grilled foods, even if you don't own a smoker
  • From our sponsor Primal Kitchen: $200 of Primal Kitchen goodies, including condiments made with avocado oil and bars and shakes with grass-fed collagen
  • From our sponsor Langers Juice Company: Your choice of 10 bottles of Langers Juice, with flavors including traditional Apple and Grape, as well as interesting mixes such as Pineapple Orange Coconut, Cranberry Blood Orange, and Mango Peach
  • From our sponsor True Made Foods: A 3-bottle sampler pack of sauces with real flavors made from real vegetables and less sugar - Ketchup, BBQ, and Veracha
This prize pack has an ARV of over $400! You have until July 1 at 11:59 PM to enter by following our sponsors and bloggers on social media: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stay tuned... remember, throughout the week, all of the participating bloggers will be posting delicious cookout recipes.

Here are all the bloggers who are part of #CookoutWeek 2017: 
2 Cookin Mamas
A Day in the Life on the Farm
A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Amy's Cooking Adventures
Ashees Cookbook
Baking Sense
Body Rebooted
Bottom Left of the Mitten
Chef Sarah Elizabeth
Cook's Hideout
Cookaholic Wife
Cooking with Sapana
Eat, Drink, Be Healthy!
Fairyburger
Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
Family Around the Table
Fix Me a Little Lunch
For the Love of Food
Full Belly Sisters
Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Home Sweet Homestead
Join Us, Pull up a Chair
Kate's Recipe Box
Kelly Lynn's Sweets and Treats
Little House Big Alaska
My Southern Sweet Tooth
Our Good Life
Oven Tales By Syama
Palatable Pastime
Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
Savory Moments
Seduction in the Kitchen
Sidewalk Shoes
That Recipe
The Freshman Cook
The Mad Scientists Kitchen
The Pajama Chef
The Redhead Baker
The Saucy Southerner
The Spiffy Cookie
The Weekday Gourmet
Tramplingrose
Turnips 2 Tangerines
Uncle Jerry's Kitchen 

 As one of the bonus entries in the giveaway, leave a comment on this blog post... what is your favorite dish to eat at a cookout?



Improv Cooking Challenge: Sweet and Spicy Grilled Cheese

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I feel like no matter how old you are, you simply can't go wrong with a grilled cheese sandwich, which is why I decided to make one for the Improv Cooking Challenge this month. The two ingredients were jalapenos and cheese.



Which are also two of my favorite pairings. Needless to say, I've been pretty excited for this ingredient combination for quite some time now. There are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of recipes that I could making using the two ingredients, but I got the idea to go sweet and spicy. And the idea to add strawberry jam and jalapenos to a classic grilled cheese sandwich was born.



Sweet and Spicy Grilled Cheese
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings: 2 sandwiches
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Ingredients:
    • 4 slices bread of your choice (I used potato)
    • 2 tbsp strawberry jam (or other fruit flavor)
    • 1 tbsp butter, softened
    • 6 slices cheese of your choice (I used American and Provolone)
    • ¼ cup pickled jalapeno slices
Directions:
1. Divide strawberry jam and spread onto one side of each of the four slices of bread.
2. Layer two slices of cheese of your choice, followed by half of the pickled jalapenos. On the other half of the bread, place one slice of cheese and place on top of the other, creating a sandwich.
3. Repeat with the remaining sandwich, then divide the softened butter, spreading it on both outside pieces of each sandwich.
4. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Place the sandwiches in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip each sandwich over to cook the other side.
5. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the skillet, allowing steam to finish melting the cheese. After two minutes, check the sandwich for doneness, cooking another minute or so until the cheese has melted and both sides of the bread are golden brown.
6. Slice in half and serve immediately.






Whatever expectations you may have when hearing about a sweet and spicy grilled cheese, this sandwich meets. There is this faint hint of sweetness from the jam, a kick of spice from the jalapenos and the wonderful flavor of bread, toasted with butter. And the cheese of course, but  I'll leave it up to you to decide which cheeses you'd like to use.

If you're interested in participating in the Improv Cooking Challenge, read more about it on my page or check out our Facebook group. We post on the second Thursday of every month and ingredients are paired together at the beginning of the year to give bloggers tons of time to try our recipes and decide what they will make. 



Summertime Pasta Salad

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There are a lot of condiments and foods that I love and Tom won't come anywhere near them. One of the items on that list is cold pasta salad. He will eat cooked pasta. He will eat veggies pureed into a sauce, but he will not eat cold veggies (or even pepperoni) with cold pasta and a dressing.

Cold pasta salads are great in the summer. Aside from cooking the noodles, you don't need to turn on the stove or oven, making your house any hotter than it needs to be. Plus, they last for nearly a week when stored in the fridge. Talk about an easy side dish!



Anyway, since I know that my family likes cold pasta salads and they were coming up to visit a few weekends ago, I immediately added one to my menu.

Ah, sweet cold perfection! I love the crispness of the veggies, the flavor of the dressing and who can go wrong with pasta?



Summertime Pasta Salad
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings: 2 servings
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Ingredients:
    • 2 cups pasta, cooked and drained
    • 1 cup asparagus, chopped into 2-inch pieces
    • 1 cup broccoli florets
    • 1 cup mini bell peppers, chopped
    • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
    • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
    • ¼ cup Italian dressing
    • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
    • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
    • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Rinse pasta and set aside.
2. Return the reserved cooking liquid back to the pot over medium heat until simmering. Add the asparagus and broccoli and cook for 2-3 minutes or until just tender crisp.
3. Meanwhile, add cold water and ice to a medium bowl. Transfer the broccoli and asparagus to the bowl to stop from cooking.
4. In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta, asparagus, broccoli and other raw veggies. Toss to combine.
5. Pour dressing on top. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

This recipe will keep in the the fridge for up to 5 days.




I made two versions of this dish, first one that used tri-color rotini pasta and standard Italian dressing for when my family came to visit. There were no leftovers, which was okay because I wanted to make a version approved for the Fast Metabolism Diet. 


FMD Changes: use brown rice pasta, replace asparagus with another P1 compliant veggies and use an oil-free dressing such as Jacob's Raw, Simply Girl or one from the books. This recipe will make 2 servings for 20 pounds or less. Protein will need to be added for dinner, protein and fruit for lunch. 


#FillTheCookieJar: Red, White and Blue Cookies

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How in the world is it June first? I feel like barely a week has passed since I came back from the cruise at the end of March. I supposed closing on a house, moving into it and then my husband working and traveling for nearly the entire of month of May will do that...



Fill the Cookie Jar is a blogging event hosted by Cynthia of Feeding Big. June's theme was "summer". With the first holiday weekend that typically kicks off the start of summer just behind us, I decided to go that route with my cookies.

These cookies come together so quickly. You don't need to worry about softening butter or a ton of ingredients. Instead these are made using cake batter which results in a light as air fluffy cookie.




Red, White and Blue Cookies
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings:3 dozen
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Ingredients:
    • 1 box white cake mix
    • 2 eggs
    • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
    • ¼ cup vegetable oil
    • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
    • red food coloring
    • blue food coloring

Directions:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the powdered cake mix, eggs, applesauce and vegetable oil. Mix on medium speed until combined.
2. Divide batter evenly into three bowls. Add red food coloring to one bowl and mix until you reach the desired color you want.
3. Add blue food coloring to another bowl and mix until you reach the desired color you want. Refrigerate each bowl for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Drop tablespoon sized dollops of batter into the powdered sugar and roll to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheet, 1 inch apart. Repeat with each color.
6. Bake for 9 minutes or until centers are set. Allow to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 





You could use all applesauce or all vegetable oil in this recipe if that's what you have on hand. 


These cookies are so light and fluffy they are very similar to the texture of angel food cake. 




Make sure you take some time to see what the other home bakers have been creating!
  S'mores Sandwich Cookies by Jolene's Recipe Journal
  Pink Lemonade Cookies by Palatable Pastime
  Lemon Bars by A Day In The Life on the Farm
  Double Strawberry Hazelnut Cookies by Cindy's Recipes and Writings
 Red, White and Blue Cookies by Cookaholic Wife 
  Basil Lime Cookies by Join Us, Pull Up a Chair 
  Orange Drop Cookies by Big Rigs n' Lil' Cookies
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