Saturday, April 30, 2011

Garden Rice Salad

I admit this recipe sounds odd. My mother-in-law is always trying to come up with recipes for foods I will actually eat when I'm at her house and she knows that wild rice and cucumbers are high on my list of favorites. Who knows where she found this, but it was amazing. I made it with peanuts for a picnic we're having tonight that includes vegetarians, but it is also yummy with chicken. (Erin -- I know you're going to barf when you see wild rice as one of the ingredients, but I bet you could substitute plain white rice or even brown rice.)


1 package/box long grain & wild rice mix
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup quartered cherry/grape tomatoes
1/2 cup diced cucumbers (I peeled it first.)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts OR 1/2 cup cooked cubed chicken
Seasoned salt and pepper to taste

All you have to do is cook the rice and cool it down. You could even do this the day before if you are as organized as my mother-in-law. If you're like me, you make it at the last possible minute and then chill it in the freezer to help speed the cooling process along. Anyway, mix all the ingredients together in one large bowl and viola! Chill it until you serve it.

* I used sliced hearts of romaine, but the recipe didn't specify type. The recipe also doesn't specify how much lettuce to use, so I just used one romaine heart thing and it turned out great.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

No-bake Nap Cookies

I made these while my kids napped this afternoon, hence the name. I saw a recipe on the back of pomegranate-flavored Craisins (my 16-month-old, Peter, is addicted to them) and modified the recipe a little to match my (1) laziness, (2) supplies, and (3) older child's picky eating habits. You see, while Peter is addicted to pomegranate-flavored Craisins, my three-year-old, Charlotte, will only eat the cherry-flavored kind. We should probably buy stock in Ocean Spray at this point. Anyway, here is the recipe with my modifications:


1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 12-ounce package of white chocolate baking chips (I could only find 11-ounce packages!)
3 cups chow mein noodles (FYI - a 6 oz. package is about 3 cups)
1 cup cherry-flavored Craisins
1 cup granola cereal (nothing this plain existed at Publix, so I bought vanilla)
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (though I didn't toast them)

1. Line 2 large baking sheets with waxed paper. (I only had cling wrap, and that worked just fine.)

2. Combine honey and cream in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until bubbly.

3. Add chips; cook, stirring until chips are melted and mixture is smooth.

4. Combine noodles, Craisins, granola, and almonds in a large bowl. Believe me when I say a LARGE bowl.

5. Pour cream mixture over noodle mixture. Stir until mixed and coated. I dove right in with my hands when the silicone spatula proved worthless. It was kind of a calamity, so don't make this with your toddler unless you have a really high tolerance for messes.

6. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets. Let stand until completely set. Store loosely covered. Makes 30 clusters. (Well, I only got 27, but my tablespoonfuls were heaped awfully high and there had to have been at least one or two cookies worth of mixture stuck to me after I finished hand-mixing them.)

I threw them into the fridge to make sure they cooled and set in time to take them to dinner at our friends' house tonight. Based on the portions I sampled during their creation, they are AWESOME. I bet the kids will love them, but then again nothing is ever certain with those goofballs. Cross your fingers. At the very least, Charlotte can pick out the Craisins and eat them. Here is a shot of the cookies before I stuck them in the fridge. Note the baby monitor next to the baking sheets!