What’s Cooking Wednesday: Guacamole

One of my very favorite snacks is tortilla chips and guacamole. Seriously. I cannot get enough. I call it a guilty pleasure, and my husband always points out that there’s nothing bad in guacamole. In fact, avocados are good for you. The tortilla chips though? Not so much. They balance each other out though, right?

Although I love guacamole, I can’t eat brands sold in stores. I don’t know what it is about it. I’m just weird. So, I make my own. It takes virtually no time at all (unless you’re like me and you suck at chopping). When we got back from our vacation, I was seriously craving some guac (probably because our brother-in-law made some for us at my in-laws’ cabin), so I whipped some up. It was so good. Now, I need to stop talking about it before I make my hubby drive out to the store (while we’re under a tornado watch) to get some avocados!

4 avocados
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
Jalapenos (the amount will vary on how spicy you want your guac)
Garlic salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
Black pepper to taste

Scoop avocados out of their shells and mash in a bowl. Add onion, garlic and spices, and mix together. Chill.

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Stovetop Popcorn

This week, I don’t have a main dish or side dish, but I do have a fun, easy recipe for you. We came up with this over the weekend and tried it last night with Lucy. She always gets a kick out of Jiffy Pop when my in-laws make it for her, so we thought we’d try to make our on popcorn on the stove. It worked wonderfully and was SO good! And, a bag of popcorn will last you a while, making this very economical.

Put a thin layer of canola oil in a sauce pan, add the popcorn kernels and turned the stove to medium high heat.

Cover the pot with a lid but leave a little bit open on one side. Then, wait for it to start popping! Once it starts to pop, cover it completely, and once it starts to pop a lot, start shaking the pot.

And then you get yummy popcorn! It’s way better than microwave popcorn.

Lucy gave it two thumbs up!

Canola oil
1/4 and 1 TBSP popcorn kernels

1. Pour a thin layer of oil in a sauce pan, add kernels and turn stove on medium-high heat.
2. Cover pot leaving a little spot open.
3. When kernels start to pop, cover pot complete and shake pot.
4. Enjoy!

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Haystacks

In my denomination, we have several foods that are “native” to us, so to speak. One of those is my favorite — haystacks.

When I first met my husband (and my non-Adventist friends) and I suggested we make haystacks for a meal, they all looked at me like I was crazy and asked, “What??”

And so, I told them. And, they loved it. Now, haystacks is one of our favorite quick meals. It’s easy to make, it’s fun and it’s DELICIOUS. I’m going to have to put this on my menu for the week now. I will warn you, though, this can get big VERRRY quickly. I always seem to forget that, and then I have this massive pile on my plate.

We make ours with chili beans, but you can use anything. I also like refried beans on it. Yum. We also don’t use cheese or sour cream (Well, I don’t. My husband sometimes puts cheese on his.), although I’m adding them in the ingredients. Really, you can put anything that sounds good to you on this! Be creative, and make it your own. :)

Fritos (The number of bags you need will depend on how many you’re feeding. We use most of one bag.)
2 small cans or 1 large can of chili beans
Shredded cheese
Sour cream

Heat up beans in sauce pan. Put Fritos on plate, then add toppings, starting with the beans. Enjoy!

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Cady’s Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is my go-to dish whenever we go to a potluck or have friends over. It’s super simple to make, a dish I always have ingredients for in my stockpile and I always get compliments on it.

And, it’s a dish that you can do pretty much anything with. I whipped up a batch yesterday to go with the hamburgers (hubby’s) and portabello mushrooms (mine) that we grilled out for dinner because in my mind, nothing is a better side dish for a cookout than pasta salad. My recipe makes up a HUGE batch of pasta salad (because we eat it like it’s going out of style), so you can half it if you don’t want as much.

2 boxes tri-color rotini
1 bottle Italian salad dressing
1 large can sliced olives
1-2 stalks broccoli
Several handfuls cherry tomatoes

1. Cook pasta according to directions on box.
2. Put into bowl and toss with salad dressing.
3. Add olives, broccoli and tomatoes.
4. Chill in refrigerator.

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Cady’s Mustard Potato Salad

I LOVE potato salad, but since I don’t eat mayonnaise (have you noticed how picky I am??), I have to constantly look to find potato salad that is made with mustard instead. I’ve found that to be quite difficult; in fact, Bi-Lo is the only grocery store I’ve found to carry mustard potato salad.

Since I figured it couldn’t be *that* hard to make (I mean, you’re basically just substituting the mayonnaise for mustard, right?), I decided to whip up a batch. It didn’t take long since there are just two of us eating it. I definitely didn’t have to use as many potatoes.

We made it the same as you would any other potato salad, using Gulden’s spicy mustard to hold it all together. This is one of our favorite dishes, and it was a great addition to our barbecue over the weekend. If you try this, let me know what you think!

10 Russett potatoes
1 small jar Gulden’s spicy brown mustard
2-3 stalks celery
1-2 dill pickles

1. Peel and cube potatoes, boil until soft.
2. Spread potatoes on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes to cool. While cooling, chop celery.
3. Combine potatoes, mustard and celery in a bowl. Grate pickles over salad.
4. Chill in refrigerator.

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Mushroom Ravioli

I love mushrooms, and one of my favorite dishes when I go out to eat is mushroom ravioli. I tried to recreate it, and I think I did a pretty good job. I used wonton wrappers instead of pasta sheets because I couldn’t find the latter at my store.

I sauteed baby portabella mushrooms in oil with garlic salt and black pepper, and then add a few splashes of soy sauce. There’s nothing better to me than mushrooms in soy sauce. Let me tell you — they were flavorful! I could have eaten the whole pan.

After the mushrooms were cooked, I pulsed them in my blender (since I don’t have a food processor). I ended up leaving several big chunks, which is how I like the filling. Then, I started filling the wonton wrappers. I didn’t measure out how much filling I used for each wrapper, but it wasn’t much. I started out with too much, and it came out of the sides when I sealed them, so I had to use less.

Sealing the wrappers was the most difficult for me, though I think I made it harder in my mind than it actually was. I got very frustrated because they didn’t seem to be sealing, but once I let them sit when I moved on to filling the next wrapper, they sealed.

After I sealed them, I would drop three at a time into my pot of boiling water. I would advice sliding them off of a spatula. It seemed to be less “traumatic”, so to speak, and worked well for us. Boil them for 3 minutes.

The raviolis were a little slimy on the bottom, probably because I put them directly onto a plate when I took them out of the water. Next time, I will put them in one layer on a paper towel. Hopefully that will help a bit. All in all, though, they were really good!

1 package baby portabella mushrooms
Garlic salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Soy sauce
1 package wonton wrappers
Spaghetti sauce

1. Saute mushrooms in oil, adding garlic salt and pepper to taste. Add splashes of soy sauce, and continue cooking.
2. Put mushrooms in blender and pulse until desired texture.
3. Spoon filling onto wonton wrapper. Put another wrapper on top, and seal edges with water.
4. Put wontons in boiling water, cooking for 3 minutes. Serve with spaghetti sauce on top.