Cover Reveal! (and First Tuesday Recipes for August)

I’m thrilled to share the cover of my next release, Ghouls’ Night Out, Book 4 in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series! A quick blurb before you scroll down to see it…

Halloween is just around the corner and the goblins are out in force in Juniper Junction. A crotchety merchant, a malicious next-door neighbor, and some ghoulish trick-or-treaters are causing hair-raising problems for Lilly Carlsen’s boyfriend, Hassan Ashraf, and things are about to get much worse.

When Hassan finds himself at the center of a police investigation following the deaths of two of his tormentors just days apart, Lilly is ready to help in any way she can to bring the real fiends to justice.

But with Lilly’s daughter having trouble adjusting to college, her mother continuing a downward spiral into dementia, and possible romantic strife on the horizon between Lilly’s brother and her best friend, Lilly’s Halloween is beginning to look especially frightful.

You can pre-order the new book here and thank you!!

Ready?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you like it as much as I do.

And now for the recipes for August!

Chicken Monte Cristo

6 chicken breasts

salt and pepper

3 slices deli ham

3 slices Swiss cheese

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1/2 c. seasoned breadcrumbs

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Flatten chicken to uniform thickness of about 1/4″ and sprinkle each breast with salt and pepper. Cut each piece of ham and cheese in half. Place one piece of ham and one piece of cheese on each chicken breast. Roll up the chicken lengthwise, tucking ends under; secure with toothpicks.

Dip chicken rolls in egg whites; dredge in breadcrumbs.

Place rolls on greased baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until juices run clear.

***

Pork Pita Pockets

(with thanks to my former roommate and still-friend, Dr. Jennifer Rea Cahill 🙂 )

1 lb. boneless pork loin

4 T. olive oil

4 T. lemon juice

1 T. prepared mustard

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t. oregano

1 c. plain yogurt (I use Greek yogurt)

1 c. peeled, chopped cucumber

1/2 t. crushed garlic

1/2 t. dill weed

Pita bread with pockets (this recipe makes at least four servings, depending on how thick you like your pita sandwiches)

red onion, chopped (garnish, optional)

 

Cut pork into thin strips and place in a glass bowl or a zip-top plastic bag.

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, minced garlic, and oregano. Pour marinade over pork. Cover (if using a bowl) and refrigerate for 1-8 hours.

Stir together yogurt, cucumber, crushed garlic, and dill weed. Cover and refrigerate.

Remove pork from marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Stir-fry pork in non-stick skillet or wok over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until cooked through.

Halve pita pockets and fill with pork. Top with cucumber mixture. Garnish with red onion, if desired.

***

Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs

1 c. sugar, divided

2 T. packed light brown sugar

1/4 c. butter, melted

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 c. creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly-ground)

1 T. vanilla

1 1/2 c. chilled whipping cream

hot fudge sauce

 

Mix graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 c. sugar, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add butter and stir until well-combined. Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of a 9″ pie plate; refrigerate.

Beat cream cheese, peanut butter, vanilla, and remaining 3/4 c. sugar in a large bowl until smooth.

In another bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form (using a chilled bowl and chilled beaters gives even better results!); gently fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture in four additions. Spoon filling into prepared crust, mounding it in the center. Freeze until firm.

Serve wedges drizzled with warm hot fudge sauce.

Enjoy!

Do you have any recipes you’d like to share? Please let me know in the comments below or by emailing me at amymreadeauthor[at]gmail[dot]com.

Until next time,

Amy

Pesto Presto!

If your garden is like mine, you have So. Much. Basil. right now. You also have poison ivy, and you have cucumbers and squash growing where your hydrangeas used to be, in a flower bed right in front of the house, but that’s another story.

Anyway, what to do with all the basil?

Make pesto, of course!

Now, I’ve never made pesto, so I thought I would share my first attempt with you through photos. And since it turned out to be DELICIOUS, I hope you’ll give it a try in your own kitchen!

Here’s what my basil looked like before this activity:

 

I know. Bushy and overgrown, much like quarantine hair. I cut quite a bit of the basil and ended up with an armful that looked like this:

 

I washed the basil and snipped off the leaves (just using my fingers, which are now green) to measure two packed cups. I put the basil in the food processor. Then I added 1/3 cup of pine nuts, which I had toasted in the toaster oven for just a few minutes.

 

This is what it looked like:

 

I pulsed the mixture several times, until it looked like this:

 

Next I minced 3 cloves of garlic and added that to the mixture in the food processor, along with 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

 

Then I pulsed the mixture several more times, after scraping down the side of the processor.

 

Then I added 1/2 cup of olive oil in a thin stream while the food processor was running. I let it run for about ten seconds (and yes, I did try to fancy-up the photo).

 

This is what the pesto looked like when I turned off the food processor:

 

Finally, I added a pinch of salt and let the food processor run again for several seconds. Then I put a dollop of pesto on three bread rounds and we tried it. Yum! For those of you who might be wondering, I do not normally garnish our plates like this. I did it purely for your visual enjoyment. In truth, we would normally just scrape the pesto up with the bread and eat it over the sink like uncivilized boars.

 

If you make pesto, be sure to put it in the fridge, covered with plastic (press right down onto the surface of the pesto) so the air doesn’t get to it. In this case, the pesto filled one of my glass jars right to the top, so I didn’t need any plastic wrap.

Here’s a recap:

2 c. basil, well-packed

1/3 c. pine nuts, toasted

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 c. olive oil

dash salt, if desired

Place basil and pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse several times. Add garlic and grated cheese; pulse several times again.  Make sure you’re scraping down the side of the food processor occasionally. Using the food processor’s tube, pour the olive oil into the processor in a thin stream while the machine is running. Season with salt.

Pesto is delicious on bread, but you can also mix it into soups, try it in place of pasta sauce, replace pizza sauce with on your favorite homemade pizza, jazz up a sandwich, or make a compound butter with it.

Next I’m going to try oregano pesto. We’ll see how it goes.

What is your favorite thing to make with garden bounty or summer vegetables and herbs from the farmers’ market/grocery store?

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for June

photo courtesy of Jill Wellington, pixabay

I know it seems like 2020 has lasted for years, but we’re actually only five full months in. Don’t ask me how that happened. I hope you’re all staying safe and being careful.

This month I’m sharing three recipes that are easy to make and generally well-received by everyone (i.e., picky eaters). If you have a recipe (or more than one) that you’d like to share, email me at amymreadeauthor[at]gmail[dot]com and I’ll be happy to include your contribution!

***

Macaroni and Cheese

This one comes courtesy of my father

12 oz. elbow macaroni

6 T. butter

6 T. flour

3 c. milk

12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

salt and pepper

breadcrumbs

Cook macaroni al dente according to package directions; drain well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat (I use the same pan I used to make the macaroni). Add flour and whisk for a full minute. Add milk and continue to whisk sauce until slightly thickened. Add cheese and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add cooked macaroni and stir until well coated. Pour macaroni and cheese into a greased casserole dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs to your liking (my family prefers seasoned breadcrumbs). Bake for about 35 minutes or until nice and bubbly.

***

Pizza Stromboli

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed

2 eggs, separated

1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

1 T. olive oil

1 t. dried parsley

1 t. dried oregano

1/2 t. garlic powder

1/8 t. pepper

8 oz. pepperoni slices

2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

4 oz. mushrooms, sliced, either cooked or canned

a handful of sliced pepperoncini

1 sm. red or green pepper, diced

other fillings of your choice

1 can pizza sauce, warmed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a greased baking sheet, roll out bread dough into a 15 x 10″ rectangle.

In a small bowl, combine 2 egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, oil, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper. Brush over dough, using all of mixture.

Layer pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and other filling ingredients (everything but the pizza sauce) on dough. Roll up from one of the long sides. Pinch seam and tuck ends under loaf.

Beat egg whites with a fork. Brush egg whites onto loaf.

Bake immediately for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with pizza sauce.

***

Frozen Creamy Fruit Pops

1 1/4 c. frozen raspberries

1 1/4 c. frozen strawberries

1/4 c. honey

1 T. lemon juice

dash salt

7 oz. plain Greek yogurt

2 T. buttermilk

Place first 5 ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine yogurt and buttermilk; stir until well-combined. Pour fruit mixture into yogurt mixture and stir gently until mixed. Divide mixture among 10 2-oz. pop molds. Top with the pop mold bases or make your own: put a foil lid on each pop and insert craft stick into yogurt mixture until it’s poking out about 1 1/2 in. Freeze completely.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy

P.S. I almost forgot! Cape Menace: A Cape May Historical Mystery is out! Thanks to everyone who preordered and if you didn’t, you can get your copy here: https://books2read.com/u/mv5ao6. You can order a paperback from Amazon, too!

Cover Reveal…Followed by First Tuesday Recipes for September!

It’s here! First my street team saw it, then my newsletter subscribers, and now it’s time to show the rest of the world. The cover of The Worst Noel is here and I love it! Are you ready?

The Worst Noel is available to pre-order as an ebook through all the major online retailers and, through some glitch that is no doubt my fault, as a paperback from Amazon. Other retailers will have the paperback in November.

Want to order a paperback copy? Click here.

Want to order an ebook from Amazon? Click here.

Want to order an ebook from another retailer? Click here.

If you’ve already ordered, THANK YOU! As we get closer to the ebook release date, I’ll be posting more about The Worst Noel, so stay tuned. And feel free to use the share buttons below!

And now for The First Tuesday Recipes for September. If you get my newsletter, you already have the recipe for Muddy Buddies. Here on the blog this month we’ve got a summery salsa, a dessert, and a fabulous side dish that’ll go with almost anything.

First, thanks to Maggie King for submitting her recipe:

Cucumber and Avocado Salsa

1/4 c. diced and seeded cucumber

1 lg. avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 sm. Roma tomato, diced

1 1/2 T. red onion, minced

2 t. Serrano chile, minced

1 t. fresh cilantro, minced

3/4 t. salt

2 T. fresh lime juice

Carefully fold all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, guacamole-style. If doubling, don’t double the lime juice.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Thanks to my mother for this side dish recipe:

German Potato Salad

6 medium potatoes

6 slices bacon

1/2 c. chopped onion

2 T. flour

2 T. sugar

1 t. salt

1 t. celery seed

dash pepper

1 c. water

1/2 c. (you may like a little less) white vinegar

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Cook potatoes until tender, then drain well, peel, and slice. Cook bacon until crisp; drain, reserving 1/4 c. drippings. Crumble the bacon and set aside. Cook the onion in the reserved drippings until tender (and a little browned). Stir in flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, and pepper. Add water and vinegar; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes more. Stir in bacon and potato slices. Heat through, tossing lightly. Add egg slices; toss gently just to mix.

And last, but certainly not least, thanks to Sharon Aguanno for contributing this dessert recipe she found here on allrecipes.com:

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Foil Packets

1 1/2 T. brown sugar

1 T unsalted butter

1 pineapple ring

1 maraschino cherry

1 shortcake dessert shell

Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional, but why wouldn’t you include it??)

Preheat grill to medium-high or an oven to 450 degrees.

Tear off a 12′ x 12′ square of aluminum foil.

Mound the brown sugar and butter in the center, then top them with the pineapple slice and the cherry.

Top with the dessert shell, flat side up.

Fold in the sides of the foil and seal to form the packet. Grill each packet for 12-13 minutes.

To serve, flip the cakes over. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

 

Thanks to everyone who contributed! And thanks for being part of my cover reveal for The Worst Noel. If you haven’t subscribed to my mostly-once-a-month newsletter, click this link.

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for June

The unofficial start of summer may have been over Memorial Day weekend, but according to Mother Nature’s calendar, summer officially starts this month.

In the spirit of lazy summer days, I have three recipes for you this month that are a combination of easy and cool.  Serve them if you have people over, but make sure they’re people you like–because I guarantee they’ll be back after they taste these offerings.

 

Sharon’s Potato Salad

I tried this recipe just a couple days after Sharon sent it to me and it’s my new favorite potato salad. I have one child who hates potato salad and she asked for seconds. It’s that good. A quick note: I only had half an onion, so I used that instead of a whole onion. I also grated it instead of chopping it.

8 Small/medium potatoes

4 hard-boiled eggs, 1 for the top if you want to make it pretty

1 medium onion (optional), chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup milk

3 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoons prepared mustard

2 or 3 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Paprika

1 In a large pot, cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain and cool. (I like to refrigerate for at least an hour to keep potatoes firm.) Peel potatoes; cut into bite size pieces. Chop eggs, saving one for the top, and add to the potatoes. Add chopped onion.

2 Dressing: combine mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over potatoes; toss well. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Spoon into a serving bowl. Garnish with egg slices and paprika. Chill until serving. Yield: approximately 8 servings.

 

Orange Slush: for adults only!

9 c. water, divided

2 c. sugar

2 teabags, your choice of flavor

1 12-oz. container frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1 12-oz. container frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 qt. vodka

In a medium saucepan, boil 7 c. water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.

Heat remaining 2 c. water and add the 2 teabags. Set aside while tea steeps, then discard teabags.

In a 13×9″ baking dish, mix the orange juice concentrate, lemonade concentrate, and vodka. Add sugar water and tea, stir to combine well, and place in freezer. Allow mixture to become slushy, stirring occasionally.

To serve, fill glass 2/3 full with slush, then top with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda.

 

Four-Layer Dessert

Crust:

I stick butter, melted

1 c. flour

1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Filling #1:

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened

2/3 c. powdered sugar

1/2 large container Cool Whip

Filling #2:

2 3-oz. packages instant pudding (either chocolate or pistachio are best, in my opinion)

3 c. milk

Topping:

remaining Cool Whip

To make:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine topping ingredients until crumbly. Press into 13×9″ dish. Bake for 15 minutes, then allow to cool completely.

In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, mix ingredients for Filling #1 until fluffy. Spread on cooled crust.

In another medium bowl using an electric mixer or whisk, mix ingredients for Filling #2. Spread over first filling layer.

Cover entire dessert with the remaining Cool Whip and chill until ready to serve.

 

I hope you enjoy this month’s selection of recipes. I’m always looking for new stuff, so if you have anything to share, please let me know! I’d love to feature your recipes in upcoming posts.

Until next time,

Amy