First Tuesday Recipes for September

photo courtesy of stanbalik, pixabay

This year is just flying by! The summer has been busy and the fall promises to be even busier. I’ve got a few recipes for you this month that are good for that transition from summer to fall: filling, but not heavy. There’s a dish that’s great to take to potlucks or get-togethers, a quick meal that’s cooked on the grill, and an easy, cool dessert.

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UFO

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese

2 c. sour cream

onion powder

1 jar salsa, divided

2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1 large tomato, diced

1 can black olives, sliced

1 green pepper, chopped

tortilla chips

Cream together cream cheese and sour cream. Spread evenly over 12-inch pizza platter. Sprinkle generously with onion powder. Layer the following ingredients in order:

3/4 jar salsa

1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

scallions

tomato

black olives

green pepper

remaining cheese

dots of remaining salsa

Chill until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Fig and Your-Choice-of-Cheese Pizza

4 mini flatbreads (I buy the mini naan at the grocery store)

olive oil

1 garlic clove, smashed

1 c. grated mozzarella cheese

1 c. crumbled bleu or goat cheese (or any other kind of cheese you prefer–Asiago is good, too)

8 figs, sliced into sixths

salt and pepper to taste

handful arugula

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar

Heat vinegar in saucepan over medium heat until it bubbles. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until vinegar is thickened and reduced by half. Remove from stove and set aside.

Preheat grill to high. Brush tops and bottoms of flatbread with olive oil. Place flatbreads, top side down, on the grill for about two minutes, long enough to get grill marks. Remove flatbreads from grill.

Rub tops of flatbreads with garlic, then discard garlic. Sprinkle flatbreads with cheese and figs, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and return to grill, bottom sides down. Cook for another two to three minutes, until cheese is melted, and remove from grill. Sprinkle with arugula and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

A variation of fig pizza. I used chopped walnuts instead of arugula. Yum!

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Chocolate/Pistachio/Lemon Lush (recipe courtesy of my dad)

1 stick butter, melted

1 c. flour

1/4 c. chopped walnuts

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

2/3 c. powdered sugar

Large container whipped topping, divided

2 packages instant pudding, your choice of either chocolate, pistachio, or lemon

3 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, flour, and chopped walnuts in a medium bowl. Mix well and press into bottom of 13 x 9″ pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely.

In another medium bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and one-half whipped topping until fluffy. Spread over cooled crust.

In another bowl, mix pudding and milk for two minutes. Spread over creamy layer.

Cover top with remaining whipped topping and chill until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy

 

A Heavy Topic

photo courtesy of pixabay, JuAnnun

For those of you who may not be aware, I’ve been trying to lose weight.

It’s not easy. I’m not following any fancy diet or regimen, just eating less and exercising more. I have been building time into my day for more exercising (being a writer, I have a pretty sedentary job). It’s the “eating less” that gets me. I love to cook and bake, so it’s hard for me to avoid making the desserts I love. But I’m plodding along. Not losing weight quickly, but as they say, slow and steady wins the race. Right?

Right??

So my post today may seem a little counter-intuitive, but what I’m learning is that by keeping track of the calories I consume, I can budget room for small amounts of those things I love (chocolate and cheese, I’m talking to you) and still keep the pounds off.

I’m going to share with you two of my favorite recipes today, both of which still fit into my repertoire as long as I make sure I’m eating healthy (for the most part) and getting daily exercise. One is for a dessert that is pitifully easy and uses ingredients most people have on hand all the time. The other is for a salad that uses mayonnaise, but is so good I just haven’t been able to bring myself to substitute anything else.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

recipe courtesy of my mother

1 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

¼ t. salt

¾ c. sugar

¼ c. plus 2 T. cocoa powder, divided

½ c. milk

2 T. butter, melted

1 c. brown sugar, packed

1 ¾ c. hot water

1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and 2 T. cocoa. Stir in milk and butter.

In another bowl, mix brown sugar and remaining ¼ c. cocoa.

Spread flour mixture in 9” square baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture.

Pour hot water over entire batter. Do not stir. Bake about 40 minutes.

This is best served warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

 

Greek Chicken Salad

recipe courtesy of my father

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped

3 c. diced cooked chicken

1 c. crumbled feta cheese

2/3 c. sliced black olives

1 c. mayonnaise

1/2 c. plain yogurt

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 t. oregano

2/3 c. chopped fresh parsley (I use a sprinkle of the dried stuff)

pocket pita bread

Place cucumbers, chicken, feta, and black olives in a large bowl and mix well. In another bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, garlic, oregano, and parsley. Mix well and fold into other ingredients. Chill before serving in pita pockets.

Until next week, everything in moderation!

Amy