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I have spent the summer enjoying family time, exploring Utah with my husband and kids, and trying lots of new recipes! I’ve been perfecting these garlic breadsticks for a few years now and I think these are pretty darn near perfect. Homemade bread used to scare me (and sometimes it still does) but I think using instant yeast makes things pretty easy-peasy. It’s also easiest if you have some sort of mixer with a dough hook, but this could be made by hand as well. I have been trying to cut down on the amount of butter and I think this is the least amount possible. They are still indulgent, but they do use a lot less than when I first started making them. They go perfectly with so many meals. One of our family’s favorite is spaghetti and we love to have these and a side salad.
6 tablespoons melted butter
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (the green bottled stuff works great)
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
1 1/2 cups warm water (105 – 110 degrees F°)
1 Tablespoon instant yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Add warm water, instant yeast, sugar, salt and olive oil to a large bowl or stand mixer. Stir to combine, using the dough hook if using a stand mixer.
Add 2 cups flour and allow to mix after each addition. Slowly add in the rest of the flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is still slightly sticky. You only want to add the flour a little at a time because too much flour will make the breadsticks not soft and fluffy! Do not add more than 3 1/2 cups, but you may not need all the 3 1/2 cups depending on how your flour was measured.*
Cover the dough and let it rise about 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly-floured surface. Roll dough into a large rectangle and spread garlic filling (recipe above) over all the dough. Using a pizza cutter, cut into about 12 equal strips.
Starting from the bottom of each strip, carefully twist the dough so that the filling is inside the twist. Put on the baking pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat with all the breadsticks.
Cover the baking pan with a cloth and allow the breadsticks to rest about 30 more minutes.
Preheat oven to 425° F and bake 11 to 12 minutes or until golden.
Breadstick recipe adapted from- Life in the Lofthouse
*I was taught to shake my flour a little bit before measuring so it’s not as compact. This helps not to put too much flour in your recipes.
I love a good pico de gallo. I think its delicious eaten alone with tortilla chips but it also adds the perfect flavor and acidity to tacos and other Mexican food. Although most recipes are similar, I have a few tips to make this the perfect pico de gallo. The tricks are in the method of preparing the ingredients.
First, you want to make sure you pick the best ingredients. You will want Spanish or yellow onions that are nice and firm, no soft spots. Pick large limes, with a little bit of give when you squeeze them instead of ones that are rock hard. Choose bright, fresh cilantro with no brown spots. Your tomatoes should be firm and vibrant red.
Okay, so now you’ve rounded up the perfect ingredients and are ready to make the pico!
First secret: After you have removed the outside skin of the onion, slice off the top and bottom and cut the onion in half. Run both halves of the onions under cold water to rinse. This helps to take the “bite” out of the onion. You can also soak your onion in cold water to remove more of the bite, but I find rinsing works great for me. Dice your onion small and put into a glass bowl.
Second secret (and I think the most important): Sprinkle the entire teaspoon of salt over the onions. Using the back of a large fork or spoon you are going to smash the onion down with the salt. Do this for a couple of minutes and your onion should start to look wet and glossy. Now add your lime juice, chopped cilantro and tomatoes. Allow flavors to mix for about 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy with tortilla chips or on your favorite taco or burrito! It is also excellent on this carne asada recipe.
Perfect Pico de Gallo
1 large yellow onion diced
2 large hot house tomatoes (or your favorite tomato), diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped finely (no stems)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 large limes, juiced
Rinse onion and dice. In a large glass bowl, add onion and salt. Using the back of a fork, smash onion pieces down, until wet and glossy. Add lime juice, pepper, cilantro, and tomatoes and stir to coat. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed.
So I’ll get straight to it- there is Spam in this recipe (Wait! don’t stop reading yet!) I know there are two camps of people. You either love Spam or you hate it. Well, maybe three camps. You think you hate it because you would never, EVER try canned meat. I grew up eating Spam and I am definitely in the “love it” camp. I was born on Guam, and according to some fun facts I found online, Guam is the largest consumer of Spam per person, per year. Now, I don’t think I eat that much Spam, but I do love it in this fried rice recipe. But, if you are not a Spam lover, you can easily substitute diced ham (or even cooked chicken) in its place and still have some delicious fried rice. An added bonus to Spam, is its easy storage convience in my pantry and the saltiness of it makes this rice so savory and good! I love to make this rice for dinner either as the main meal with an egg roll on the side, or we have it as a side with another dish like these lettuce wraps.
Fried rice at home is easier than you might think. There are two important tips I can tell you that will affect the taste of your rice. First, make sure to use the right type of rice- medium or short grain. Most of the white rice that is readily available in grocery stores is long grain. The short grain is a sticky rice and is what I prefer to use for fried rice. I usually buy a huge bag of Calrose short grain rice at Costco because we eat lots of rice, but I have found it is usually in the Asian food section at grocery stores. The second tip is to use a good quality soy sauce. There are a lot of different kinds of soy sauces, from light to dark, and Chinese to Japanese. Some soy sauces are chemically or artificially produced. These will not taste very good if you use them. I love to use Kikkoman soy sauce which is available in most grocery stores.
This is a simple recipe, and you can easily jazz it up by adding sesame oil instead of vegetable oil, some green onions, other vegetables like mushrooms, fresh ginger, or even some fresh garlic instead of powdered. I like it the simple way because it means I have usually have everything I need already in my pantry. This recipe is great for those weeknight meals when you aren’t sure what to cook. I use frozen mixed vegetables to make the meal quick (no chopping) and I also have a rice cooker which makes cooking the rice easy.
Spam Fried Rice
5 cups cooked Calrose rice (2 1/2 cups uncooked rice)
1 can Spam diced into 1/2 inch cubes or 2 cups diced ham
1 tablespoon vegetable oil*
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cups mixed frozen vegetables
In a large pot or pan, heat vegetable oil and add Spam, allowing it to brown for 5-7 minutes, stirring periodically. Add the garlic powder and black pepper and stir. Crack your eggs into a large bowl and whisk. Moving the Spam to one side, add the eggs and scramble them. (You can also cook the eggs in a separate frying pan if desired, I just try to save myself washing two pans). Add the frozen mixed vegetables and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes until warmed through. Add the cooked rice to the pot and mix to incorporate everything allow to cook for another 6-7 minutes. Slowing add the soy sauce and stir until incorporated. Add a few more tablespoons if rice seems like it needs more. Serve with egg rolls.
*You can also use sesame oil if desired.
This is one of those dips that is great for a crowd of people. I love it because it’s super easy to make (5 minutes prep!) and if you bake it in the dish you mix it in, there’s only one thing to clean up afterwards! It’s one of my favorites and is always a crowd pleaser. I went to an awesome New Year’s blogger party last night at Sodalicious hosted by Natashia (canaryjane.com) and brought this with me. I had such a fun evening meeting other bloggers, making cards for the Children’s Miracle Network, and making a cute New Year’s banner using paper from My Mind’s Eye. The awesome Cricut ladies helped me cut out my banner using the fabulous Cricut Explore™ Air Gold machine (you can see my banner in the picture below). My husband told me when I was leaving, make sure you bring me any leftovers. Well, sadly for him it was wiped out! This yummy dip also won me the cutest dress from Agnes & Dora in the appetizer contest. It’s definitely one you’ll want to make for all your parties.
Hot Artichoke and Green Chile Dip
1 can (14.5 oz) quartered artichoke hearts (drained)
1 can (4.5 oz) diced green chilis
3/4 cup light mayo (I like Best Foods/Hellman’s)
1 (8 oz) block light cream cheese, softened (Neufchatel)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl or in a casserole dish. Bake at 300 for 25-30 minutes until warmed through, slightly golden brown and bubbling. Serve warm with corn chips (my favorite), sliced baguettes or crackers of your choice.
Recipe Source- Adapted from a family friend