Friday, July 29, 2011

Penne Pasta with Mozzarella and No-Cook Tomato Sauce (Because who wants to turn on the oven in this heat?)

 Normally by this time in the summer I have so many fresh tomatoes I have started making tomato sauce and freezing it because I can't seem to use them fast enough.  It has been so hot and dry here in central Kansas that I have had a total of about 15 tomatoes.  A few I purchased at the local farmers market and the others were given to me by a friend. 

 If your lucky enough to have gotten some fresh locally grown tomatoes you have got to try this recipe.  If you don't have any you can use plum tomatoes from the store, but trust me you want to use fresh if you can get your hands on some.  The tomatoes marinate in their juices and are fantastic.  Who wants to turn on the oven in the middle of this heat wave?With this delicious pasta sauce you won't have too.

Couple of cooks notes.  I don't seed my tomatoes I just core them.  My family doesn't mind them and I think you lose a lot of the juice if they are seeded.  Also, you'll notice that the vinegar is optional, it is great either way.  I love Balsamic vinegar but my  younger ones don't, so I leave it out and maybe put a dash or two of vinegar in my bowl.  
Penne Pasta with Mozzarella and No-Cook Tomato Sauce

6  large fresh tomatoes, cored and cut in 1/2 inch dice
3  small cloves garlic, minced
1/4  cup fresh basil, chopped
3  tablespoons olive oil
1  tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne pasta
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced
Freshly grated parmesan cheese 

Combine chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, vinegar (if using), salt and pepper in a non-reactive bowl.  Cover and let sit for 1 hour, gently stirring occasionally.     

When ready to serve, boil pasta according to package directions in salted water.  Drain and toss warm pasta with the tomato mixture and mozzarella cheese.  Top with freshly grated Parmesan if desired.

Serve pasta in bowls. Also, I would suggest serving with some good Italian bread to soak up every bit of the sauce.  This sauce is very versatile.  Spoon over chicken, use drained tomatoes as the sauce on grilled pizza, or just grab a spoon! 



Linked to the following:
Walking on Sunshine and the Foodie Friends Friday   
Every Day Mom's Meals Church Supper
Gooseberry Patch Recipe Roundup Recipes to Beat the Heat
Katherine Martinelli Tomato Blog Hop

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Diet Cherry Limeade

One thing that says summer to me is a Diet Cherry Limeade from Sonic.  I'm sure I have spent a small fortune on them.  If I am anywhere near sonic during their "Happy Hour" I am there.  I have seen a lot of recipes that copy the recipe and I have just tweaked a basic recipe for my family.  These are super simple to make and very refreshing, which will be great today when our forcast here in Kansas is a high of about 107 degrees!  Here's what you need:

1  16 ounce jar maraschino cherries
       (You won't use all, this is probably enough
       for 2 batches of cherry limeade.)
1  12 ounce can Frozen Limeade, thawed
1  2-Liter Bottle of Diet Sprite
3  limes (save 1 for garnish)

Combine the frozen limeade and Diet Sprite in a pitcher.  Juice 2 limes and add juice and rind to the pitcher. Add about 1/2 of the juice from the jar of cherries, reserving the cherries for garnish.  Taste and add more juice to desired sweetness.  We use a little over 1/2 of the juice for my family.  You can always add the juice to the glass to make it sweeter for someone who doesn't like it so tart.
Serve over crushed ice and garnish with lime slices and cherries.



I've linked this to the Weekend Potluck.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wonderfully Creamy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese

Wonderfully Creamy One Pot Mac and Cheese

A few days ago on her website, The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond posted some recipes from cookbook author Pam Anderson.  As I scrolled through the pictures from Pam's Day of Deliciousness my mouth began to water! All of the recipes came from two of Pam's cookbooks.  This recipe for Mac & Cheese is from Perfect One-Dish Dinners.  As an avid cookbook collector who owns all of Pam's cookbooks, I had bought this cookbook when it first came out.  I had looked through it and loved the beautiful photography and thought as usual the recipes looked delicious, but for some reason set it aside and didn't make anything out of it.  As I was flipping through it the other evening this Mac & Cheese immediately caught my eye.  I LOVE homemade Mac and Cheese and had always used recipes similiar to my Nanny's.  Her recipe is old school where you make a roux and your own cheese sauce but it is a lot of work.  My family has always liked it, but have never been over the moon about homemade Mac and Cheese.  My 3rd child, Caroline, even said one time she would rather have the Blue Box.  WHAT?

Another reason this recipe intrigued me was it is in a cookbook called Perfect One-Dish Dinners.  For someone whose kitchen always looks like a tornado went through it that also really appealed to me.  Technically this recipe took 2 dishes, one to cook the pasta and one to mix the ingredients that go in the Mac and Cheese.  I thought about just dumping it all in the warm pot after I drained and returned the pasta, but decided to follow the directions and mix them all in a seperate bowl and then add the warm pasta.  The recipe also has cottage cheese in it, which my younger two think is "gross."  I had never made a Mac & Cheese recipe with cottage cheese and have always wanted to try one.  If you don't like cottage cheese either don't let that stop you from trying this dish.  You won't even taste it. I did have to add it on the sly as I had little ones running around!  Here is the recipe.

Wonderfully Creamy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound medium-size pasta shells (I used whole wheat)
1 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 container (16 ounce) cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 container (16 ounce) sour cream (I used light)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry bread crumbs (I used Panko)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Bring water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.  Cook until just done.  Drain.

Meanwhile, mix cheeses and sour cream in a large bowl.  Add the hot pasta and mix well.  Add salt and pepper to suit your tastes.  Transfer to baking dish (I added a little more shredded cheddar on the top).

Mix bread crumbs, parsley, and butter in a small bowl and sprinkle over shells.  Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30-35 minutes.

I cooked mine for 30 minutes.  If my children hadn't kept coming in and informing my they were starving to death I would have left in for 5 more minutes to brown the Panko a little more.

My girls loved it!  Even little miss "I like the Blue Box." I will definitely make this again, it was so easy and delicious.



Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pecan and Pepper Jelly Dip

Welcome to the Sunflower Supper Club blog!

First a disclaimer...we have no idea what we are doing. We think this might be a fun way to connect with our clients and friends and also share some yummy recipes and other items maybe of interest to people. We have tried to post recipes through our Facebook page, but are tired of the hassle and think a blog might be easier for us and friends.   We love to read food blogs and decided we'd love to share a little bit of our homes with you. 

We still have our web page and will keep it updated, but this should be a lot more fun!   We welcome any comments, suggestions or recipe ideas. 

Trying to decide where to begin, we thought we'd start with an appetizer.  It has been so hot and dry here even we have been trying to keep our kitchens as cool as possible.  This is a great appetizer recipe for many reasons, the main one being it is positively addictive. 

This recipe is from Kim's sister-in-law Stacy.  She can always be counted on for fabulous food and this dip is no exception. 

We are always on the lookout for quick and easy dips that can be thrown together on a moments notice.  This dip is a favorite at Kim's house.   They call it the "Ugly Dip," or the "What is That? Dip."  The real name is, "Pecan and Pepper Jelly Dip."    

It only has 5 ingredients and is really easy to throw together.   It actually tastes better if you prepare it ahead of time so the flavors can blend.   It's fun to see people try to figure out what is in it.  Perfect to throw together for your next BBQ.

Pecan and Pepper Jelly Dip


2 cups pecans, chopped
2 cups cheese, shredded
8-10 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon mayo
1 10.5 ounce jar of green pepper jelly

Mix all ingredients and let sit for a few hours for flavors to blend.  Or if you don't have a few hours enjoy right away. Best served with Frito's Scoops. 


I've linked this to:
Gooseberry Patch 
Katherine Martinelli's Nut Blog Hop