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Readers and Writers Recipes: Tomato Mozzarella Salad

I had an open house for a couple of dozen people while my daughter was visiting from California. I’ve decided to share 3 of the recipes I fixed. Tomato Mozzarella Salad is the second. Like my last recipe Strawberry Salad, Tomato Mozzarella Salad works well for a church or organization pitch-in, book club or readers’ group get-together, family party, or any other fun gathering. (I’ll add pictures next time I fix it. I was so busy put food out, I forgot to photograph the salads!)

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Ingredients:

2 pints grape tomatoes

1 pound of mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing

1 Tablespoon dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

1- Slice tomatoes in 1/2 and place in a medium-sized bowl.

2- Cut mozzarella into cubes (or pieces) about 1/2 to 3/4 inch square. Add to bowl.

3- Sprinkle basil over tomatoes and cheese. Add vinaigrette dressing.

4- Stir and serve. (Keeps well in refrigerator for a couple of days).

Notes:

1- Two 8-ounce containers of 1/3-ounce mozzarella can be cut into quarters and used for the cheese in this recipe. Likewise, 1-pound of mozzarella cheese sticks can be sliced into chunks and used. 2- Fresh basil can be used in place of dried, but you need 1/4-cup or more. This is a pretty salad.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: guest horror author, M.J. Moore.

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Readers and Writers Recipes: Strawberry Salad

I just had an open house for a couple of dozen people while my daughter was visiting from California. I’ve decided to share 3 of the recipes I fixed. Strawberry Salad is the first. Like my last recipe Olive Jones Vegetable Salad, Strawberry Salad works well for a church or organization pitch-in, book club or readers’ group get-together, family party, or any other fun gathering. (I’ll add pictures next time I fix it. I was so busy put food out, I forgot to photograph the salads!)

Strawberry Salad

Ingredients:

12 ounces raw spinach

1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced

1 can mandarin oranges (drained)

Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

1 Tablespoon grated or finely diced onions

Directions:

1- Mix dressing, set aside until ready to serve.

2- Put spinach into a large bowl.

3- Slice then add to the spinach, strawberries.

4- Add drained oranges to the salad.

5- When ready to serve, stir dressing, then pour over spinach salad.

Notes:

1- Left-overs don’t store well, so make what you think your family/friends will eat. Halve recipe if you don’t think it will be eaten right away. 2- This is a really pretty and tasty salad, so try it out when strawberries are in season.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: links to a 2-part video of me giving a talk on the Young Adult market to Annapolis Chapter, Maryland Writer’s Association. Warning: I am a chatterbox!

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Dear friend, Anne, is a marvelous cook and the source for many of my favorite recipes. I have an abundance of blueberries this year on my blueberry bushes. Anne made the most marvelous cake for a family Fourth of July picnic using blueberries and a lemon cake mix. I share it here today with you. Like my last recipe Brookies, Blueberry Citrus Cake works well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, family party, or any other fun gathering.

Blueberry Citrus Cake

Ingredients:

1 package 2-layer-size lemon cake mix

½ cup orange juice

½ cup water

1/3 cup cooking oil

3 eggs

1-½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1 Tablespoon finely shredded orange peel (1 large)

1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel (2 lemons)

1 recipe Citrus Frosting (recipe below)

Directions:

1- Preheat oven to 350°.

2- Grease-and lightly flour two 8×1 ½ inch or 9xl ½ inch round baking pans; set aside. (Try coating the fresh blueberries with some of the dry cake mix to keep the berries from settling to the bottom of the pans.)

3- In a large mixing bowl combine cake mix, orange juice, water, oil, and eggs. Then, beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; beat for 2 minutes.

4- With a wooden spoon gently fold in blueberries, orange peel, and lemon peel. Pour batter into prepared pans.

5- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

6- Cool layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then, remove cakes from pans and cool thoroughly on racks.

7- Frost with Citrus Frosting (recipe below).

Citrus Frosting

Ingredients:

3-ounce package of cream cheese

1/4-cup softened butter

3 cups powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons orange juice

1 cup whipping cream

1 Tablespoon finely shredded orange peel

1/2 Tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel

Orange peel curls and additional blueberries for garnishing (optional)

Directions:

1- In a medium bowl beat together one 3-ounce package softened cream cheese and ¼ cup softened butter until fluffy.

2- Add 3 cups sifted powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Beat until combined.

3- In a small bowl beat 1 cup whipping cream to soft peaks; add to cream cheese mixture.

4- Add 1 Tablespoon finely shredded orange peel, and ½ Tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel. Beat on low until combined.

5- Frost cake. Garnish with orange peel curls and fresh blueberries, if desired.

Notes:

Store frosted cake in the refrigerator. Serves 12. 

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Readers and Writers Recipes: Brookies

099 These brownie-cookie creations using brownie mix and chocolate chip cookie mix are quick and easy to fix. A hit with kids and grown-ups alike, you’ll always want to keep the ingredients around for a hot-from-the-oven treat for guests. Like my last recipe Chocolate Waffles, Brookies work well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, family party, or any other fun gathering.

Brookies

Ingredients:

1 package Brownie Mix for 9” x 12” pan

   Ingredients to make Brownie Mix

   (usually eggs, vegetable oil, and water)

1 package Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix that makes 36 cookies

   Ingredients to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

   (usually eggs and margarine)

Directions:

1- Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray 30 cupcake tin cups VERY WELL with a vegetable spray like Pam or grease-well.

2- Make Brownies according to directions on package in a bowl.

3- In another bowl, make Chocolate Chip Cookies according to directions on package.

4- Divide the Brownie batter evenly between the 30 cupcake tin cups.

5- Put a scoop of Chocolate Chip Cookie batter in the center of each Brownie-filled cupcake tin cup, making sure to use all the cookie batter.

6- Bake for 12-17 minutes (depends on your oven & mixes used). Watch the Brookies. They’re done when the cookie batter in the center is lightly browned.

7- Remove cupcake tins from oven. Cool briefly. Remove Brookies from tins with a clean knife.

8- Serve warm or cold, with or without ice cream. Keep leftover Brookies in an air-tight container. Brookies also freeze well.

Notes:

1- Again, make sure your cupcake tin cups are well-oiled, well-greased, or well-sprayed with a vegetable cooking spray (like Pam). Brookies will stick to the pan if you don’t.

2- When finished baking, only cool Brookies slightly, then remove from muffin tin cups. The only down-side to Brookies is that they’re a little challenging to remove from the muffin tin in perfect condition. Of course, imperfect Brookies will still taste fabulous!

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from author, Alesha Escobar.

 

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Readers and Writers Recipes: Pepperoni Pizza Dip

This tasty dip recipe is one I got from my friend, Anne. It’s a real crowd-pleaser. Like last week’s recipe, Pepperoni Pizza Puffs, Pepperoni Pizza Dip works well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, family get-together, or any other fun gathering.

Pepperoni Pizza Dip

Ingredients:

1- 8ounce package of cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 cup pizza sauce

1/2 cup chopped pepperoni

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped green peppers

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions to make:

1- Preheat oven to 350° F.

2- In a bowl beat together cream cheese, sour cream, garlic and red pepper.

3- Spread cream cheese mixture evenly in a 9 to 10 inch pie plate that’s been coated with vegetable cooking spray (like Pam).

4- Spread pizza sauce over top of the cream cheese mixture.

5- Sprinkle chopped onion, green peppers, and pepperoni over top of the pizza sauce.

6- Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and top with the mozzarella cheese.

7- Bake 5 more minutes until mozzarella is melted and mixture is heated through.

8- Serve with green pepper strips, broccoli, cauliflower, bagel chips, crackers, etc. for dipping. Or add a small knife, and Pepperoni Pizza Dip can be spread on toasted, thinly-sliced French bread.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from author, TW Fendley.

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Readers and Writers Recipes: Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

This fabulous appetizer originated in Everyday with Rachel Ray. It was altered slightly, then posted on the Lick the Bowl Good blog where my daughter-in-law, Dawn, saw it. Dawn served it to my husband and I, and it was delicious. But, of course, I had to tweak it. Like my last recipe, Calico Beans, Pepperoni Pizza Puffs work well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, family get-together, or any other fun gathering.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Ingredients:

3/4 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning

a pinch of salt

3/4 cup milk (I use skim)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup cubed pepperoni

1/2 to 1 cup store-bought pizza sauce

Directions to make:

1- Preheat oven to 375° F.

2- Spray a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with vegetable cooking spray (like Pam).

3- In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, Italian seasoning, and salt. Then, stir in the milk and egg. Next, stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan, and pepperoni. Let stand for 10 minutes.

4- Stir batter again, then divide among the mini-muffin cups.

5- Bake until puffed and golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.

6- When the pizza puffs are nearly ready, pour the pizza sauce in a microwavable bowl and microwave until warm.

7- Remove pizza puffs from oven when done, place on a serving plate, and serve with the warm pizza sauce (for dipping).

Notes:

1-These simple, appetizers go quickly, so you might want to make 2 batches if you’re having more than 4 people.

2- I use skim milk and part-skim mozzarella cheese, but if you like a richer taste, you can use whole milk and cheese.

3- If you don’t have any pizza sauce on the shelf, a well-seasoned store-bought tomato sauce will work. By the way, the amount of sauce varies depending on how much you and your guests like to “dip.”

4- Since mini-muffin pan cups vary in size, you might have a little batter left. It can be baked in additional mini-muffin pans or full-size muffin cups if necessary.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from author, Mary Holland.

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Readers and Writers Recipes: Calico Beans

This flavorful recipe can be baked as casserole in the oven or cooked for a longer period of time in a slow cooker. Like last week’s Crab Appetizers, Calico Beans work well for a book club, readers’ group, or family pitch-in or cook-out. The addition of meat gives Calico Beans more protein and a rich flavor.

Calico Beans

Ingredients:

1/2-pound ground beef (ground turkey can be used)

1/4-pound bacon (turkey bacon can be used)

1 cup chopped onion.

1-pound can of kidney beans

1-pound can of pork and beans

1-pound can of lima beans, drained

1/2-cup ketchup

1/2-cup brown sugar

1-teaspoon salt

2-teaspoons vinegar

1-teaspoon dry mustard

Directions to make:

1-If baking in oven, preheat oven to 350º F.

2-Brown ground meat, bacon, and onions in a large pan coated with a vegetable spray like Pam.

3-Add remaining ingredients and stir until well-mixed.

4-If baking in oven, coat a large casserole dish with vegetable spray. Add bean mixture.

5-Cover casserole with lid (or aluminum foil) and bake for 40 minutes. Serve hot.

6-If using a slow cooker, place beans in cooker, cover, then cook for 3 hours on low.

Notes:

1-You can beat these beans for a cook-out. Serve with hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken from the grill or other cook-out favorites. They also make a nice addition to a meal.

2-If you have trouble finding 1-pound cans of beans (often they come in 10 to 15-ounce cans), you can always add an extra can of beans so the total amount equals 3-pounds (or 48-ounces).

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from author, Rachael Ikins.

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