Saturday, June 28, 2008

Goonies Never Say Die!

I love the Indianapolis Museum of Art. They have a lot of fun things to do that don't involve walking around looking at old paintings. One of which occurs every Friday night in the summer, weather permitting. The Summer-Nights Film Series always has a little something for everyone. This week's movie was Goonies. If you are a child who grew up in the 80's, as did most of my friends, I'm sure you've seen this movie. My friends Sara and Megan and I have been planning the outing to see Goonies since they announced it on the schedule. We thought we'd do a pirate theme, in honor of One-Eye'd Willy, and then also some Italian in honor of the Fratelli's. Unfortunately, due to storms late last night, the film itself was rained out, but we did get to go enjoy a lovely picnic on the museum grounds and watch some pre-movie entertainment. I was in charge of sandwich and drink, so here's what I took...

Fratelli Grinders

1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup black olives, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 (1 pound) loaf round, crusty Italian bread
1/2 pound sliced deli turkey meat
1/2 pound sliced ham
1/4 pound sliced salami
1/2 pound sliced mozzarella cheese
6 leaves lettuce
1 tomato, sliced

In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and garlic. Season with parsley, oregano and pepper. stir in olives and mushrooms. Set aside.
Cut the off top half of the bread. Scoop out the inside, and leave a 1/2 inch outside wall. Spoon 2/3 of the olive mixture into the bottom. Layer with turkey, ham, salami, mozzarella, lettuce and tomato. Pour remaining olive mixture on top, and replace the top half of bread. Wrap securely in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.


Pirate Rum Punch

2 cups Malibu Tropical Banana flavored rum
1 dash grenadine syrup
2 (6 ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 large can (around 20 oz) crushed pineapple
1 orange, sliced into rounds
1 lime, sliced into rounds
1 lemon, sliced into rounds

In a large punch bowl, prepare the orange juice according to package directions. Add the can of crushed pineapple. Stir in the rum, banana liqueur and Grenadine. Float slices of orange, lime and lemon on top.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Take a Chance on These...

Tonight a large group of friends & I are going to Conner Prairie for a picnic and to attend the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's Symphony on the Prairie. Tonight's performance is an ABBA tribute, complete with a Swedish ABBA cover band. We are cheating in packing our picnic dinner with carry out from Dagwood's. I thought I should at least take something Swedish to celebrate, so I found this cookie recipe. They are great!

Chocolate Swedish Angel Crisps

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream together the shortening, sugars, and butter until smooth. Stir in the egg and vanilla extract. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Stir into the sugar mixture.
Roll dough into walnut sized balls. Roll the balls in cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.


Soup-er Easy Supper

This turned out to be a very simple weeknight supper. All you need is some pork chops, an onion, and some noodles!

Speedy Golden Mushroom Porkchops

3 pork chops
Seasoned salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 can condensed golden mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Season porkchops with seasoning salt and pepper, and place in a greased small casserole dish.
Cover porkcops with onion, then cover with soup.

Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 more minutes.

Serve over egg noodles if desired.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Girls Night

Once a month, three of my friends and I get together for our "Girls Night." We rotate houses monthly and have been doing so for going on 3 years I'd guess. It used to revolve around a giant bottle of cheap wine, but as we've aged we've thrown dinner into the mix, and even splurged on some better wine! The fun conversations and sisterhood has not changed though! Last night I served these with grilled filets, roasted corn on the cob, and ice cream sundaes for dessert. I forgot to take a picture though, sorry! They were very yummy and I have to confess I baked and assembled them the night before and just heated them before dinner. It was a great time saver!

Twice Baked Potatos

2 large baking potatoes
4 slices bacon
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar & Montery Jack cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. (Or cheat like I did and use the pre-cooked bacon.)
When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; save skins. To the potato flesh add sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 3/4 cup cheese. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese.

Bake for another 15 minutes.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Three Cheese Chicken Bake

I think one of the reasons I like chicken casserole is that it calls for cooked chicken. Almost anytime I have a recipe that calls for this, I see it as a wonderful chance to cheat and buy a delicous moist rotisserie chicken from the deli. Chloe & Mulligan love this becase it means they get to feast on the left over scraps, assuming Mulligan doesn't wrestle the entire bird off the counter before you can pick it appart.

Three Cheese Chicken Bake

1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 ounces pimientos, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3 cups cooked chicken, diced
2 cups cottage cheese
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a skillet, saute onion and green pepper in butter until tender. Remove from the heat. Stir in the soup, mushrooms, pimientos and basil; set aside.
In a large bowl, chicken and cheeses; add mushroom sauce and mix well. Transfer to a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbly.
Serve over rice if desired.

Jinxed Meatloaf

I hadn't done a crock pot recipe for a while, so we picked this one to try. Sunday night I mixed it together, gingerly placed it in my crock pot liner, and put it in the fridge. Scott is in charge of starting the crock pot the next morning. Well as fate would have it, somehow the temperature setting was turned to "Keep Warm" instead of "Low." I'm fairly sure it would have taken a good 25 hours to cook the loaf at that rate. As luck would have it, I happened to run home at lunch, which I don't normally do, and popped the setting up to low. I figured it wouldn't matter much since we normally eat dinner late. Everything was cooking happily until sometime in the afternoon during a thunderstorm, our power went out. When the power finally came back on around 6:30pm, I finally said to hell with it and threw the meat loaf in the oven. Surprisingly it turned out very moist and tasty, considering its rocky cooking time.

Crock Pot Meatloaf

2 lbs lean ground beef
2 eggs
2/3 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup ketchup

Reserve 2 T. ketchup. Combine ground beef, eggs, oats, soup mix and remaining ketchup. Shape into loaf and put into crock pot. Top with remaining ketchup. Cover, cook on low 8 - 10 hours.

Source: Rival

Fresh Flavors

Tonight I decided to finally use up the can of pizza dough that has been lingering in the fridge. I thought I'd top it with some fresh summer flavors, and it came out great!

Crista's Pizza Mahgarita


14 oz. crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Saute onions until tender, add garlic and saute for a minute. Add in sauce and other seasonings.


Pre-made pizza dough
sauce (see recipe above)
8oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves

Roll out dough on an oiled cookie sheet. Pre-bake crust at 425 for 8 minutes.

Spread sauce thinly over pizza. Add cheese and sprinkle with basil. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Double Take

As promised, I've re-vamped last nights leftovers into a tasty and healthy dinner! I need to try and do this more often, as it only took me 15 min to have dinner ready! Perhaps I'll have to try some of Robin Miller's menu plans in the near future, as she is always coming up with good ideas.

Fast Fajitas

Left over grilled chicken, sliced into strips
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
salt & pepper to taste
sour cream

Heat oil in a pan over high heat. Add onion, peppers, and seasonings and saute until veggies are tender. Add chicken and allow to heat through. Serve with tortillas and desired toppings.

Sauteed Corn & Green Beans

1 cup left over green beans
1 cup left over corn on the cob, taken off the cob :)
olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat, saute garlic for a minute or so. Add veggies and heat through.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Nothing screams summer like grilled sweet corn! (If you live in Indiana anyway) Even though the best corn is yet to be harvested, the current crop available at the grocery is pretty decent.
Tonight I grilled some chicken and corn, and tomorrow night I have a whole meal planned with the left overs, so be sure to stay tuned for those.

Sweet N' Spicy Roasted Corn

Shuck and clean the corn, then add to boiling water for 10 minutes. Wrap each cob into foil and grill over medium-high heat for 15 minutes, turning frequently.

Serve with the following butter sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat and mix in other ingredients.

Grilled Chicken Marinade

2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons liquid smoke flavoring
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, liquid smoke, mustard, pepper, and garlic powder. Place chicken in the bowl, and coat with the marinade. Cover, and allow chicken to marinate a maximum of 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat the grill for high heat.

Oil grill grate. Discard marinade, and place chicken on grate. Cook 6 to 8 minutes on each side, until juices run clear.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

When the going gets tough...

The tough pick strawberries!

Sometimes life hands you lemons. Maybe your roof keeps leaking, or your roommate thinks you are her taxi. Perhaps you don't like storms or some evil bastard broke your heart. No matter what crappy hand life deals you, you can always pick stawberries and mix them with the lemons for a treat. And heck, if like has been particulary bad, add some vodka!

This fun filled weekend started off by Ali taking me on my very first strawberry picking excursion. We made it back just in time to hear the storm sirens. Since our original plans for watching an outdoor movie were stormed out, our friend Sara came down for a makeshift girls night of pizza, wine, and trivial pursuit. It finally stopped raining Saturday afternoon, so Ali and I ventured downtown to our favorite annual festival, The Vintage Indiana Wine festival. Our goal was to sample wine from every winery there (19) and we did! Although it was very hot and humid, it was fun as always and being the responsible drinkers we are, we asked Scott to come pick us up. What a good guy! Sunday, Scott and I tried a new (to us) breakfast place, a little down home cooking hole-in-the-wall place called Keystone Deli. The home fries were delish! To top it off with a lazy afternoon, Ali and I spent the day at the pool! When I got home, I cooled off with this slushy drink...

Strawberry Lemonade Slushy

16 oz. Crystal Light Pink Lemonade
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup ice cubes

Mix all ingredients in a blender until frothy. Drink!

Source: Adapted from

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Yard Day Mac N' Cheese

Today was "Yard Day." Our dear friend Ali has had a few yard tragedies in the past year (new sewer line, sunken fence, not to mention the ginormous limb that fell on her garage this weekend), so today we all pitched in to get her yard back to normal. Courtney, Lisa, and I supplied our burly men, Brian, Dave, and Scott to do the heavy lifting and labor. Court and Lisa tended to Avery and I took over Ali's kitchen to get lunch ready. After searching all week for the best gooey mac n' cheese recipe, I found one on the Nestle website (using their Carnation Evaporated Milk) and it was AWESOME!!!

Creamy Mac N' Cheese

10.5 oz dry small elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cans (18 fl. oz. total) Evaporated Milk
1 1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 cups (16 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 9x13 dish.

Combine cornstarch, salt, mustard and pepper in medium saucepan. Stir in evaporated milk, water, and butter. Cook over medium-heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in 3 1/4 cups cheese until melted. Add macaroni; mix well. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and light brown.