July 1, 2013

Ella’s Kitchen

July already! The time of picnics, outdoor living, casual evening meals or hurried evening meals before a grandchild’s ball game. Whatever your meal or schedule, enjoy!!!
– Ella

[Ella can be contacted at ellaweeza@yahoo.com or Ella – 50+ Lifestyles, 804 W Lombard Street, Davenport, IA, 52804]

Ice Cream in a Bag – 10 Minutes

2 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup half & half (or light cream)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarse salt or canning salt
gallon-sized Ziploc bag
pint-sized Ziploc bag

Mix the sugar, half & half and vanilla extract together. Pour into a pint-sized Ziploc baggie. Make sure it seals tightly.
Now take the gallon-sized Ziploc bag and fill it up halfway with ice and pour the salt over the ice. Now place the cream filled bag into the ice filled bag and seal. Make sure it is sealed tightly and start shaking. Shake for about 5 minutes (or 8 minutes if you use heavy cream.) Open the gallon-sized bag and check to see if the ice cream is hard, if not keep shaking. Once the ice cream is finished, quickly run the closed pint-sized baggie under cold water to quickly clean the salt off the baggie. Open the baggie and pop in a spoon and enjoy! What a fun treat to do with grandchildren. Each can make his own. NOTE: You can make flavored ice cream. Add any flavor you like. You may also substitute almond or coconut milk for the cream.


Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup brown Sugar
1/4 cup white Sugar
2 eggs
1 small pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 pkg ( 12 oz) Milk Chocolate Chips

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat the butter, both sugars, pudding mix, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat until creamy and fluffy. Then slowly mix in flour and
baking soda. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by tablespoonfuls, onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for ONLY 9-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool at least 10 minutes before eating.
Place some in a zip lock bag and take along to watch a child’s ball game or swim meet.


You-Got-Your-Chocolate-On-My-Peanutbutter Bars

1 cup salted butter (melted)
2 cups keebler graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 (11 oz) bag milk chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips in a medium sized bowl. Stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Pour peanut butter mixture into a 9×13 pan.
Melt chocolate chips in the microwave (at 50% power) for 1-2 minutes. Stir chocolate and pour over the peanut butter mixture. Spread chocolate with a spatula. To even out chocolate, tap pan on the counter. Refrigerate bars for one hour.
Cut while bars are still cool. Enjoy!


Spaghetti Salad (My latest variation)

8 oz thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta, broken into 2 – 3 inch lengths
1 small package frozen mixed vegetables (I used a steam-in-the-bag package)
1 1/2 C diced or chopped tomatoes (if cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in halves)
1 C chopped ripe olives
1 C chopped green olives
1/2 C chopped roasted red peppers
1 C Italian salad dressing or more to taste
2 Tb McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning (or to taste – this is the secret ingredient)

Cook spaghetti in rapidly boiling water for about 4 – 5 minutes. You will want it done but still firm, not mushy. Steam frozen vegetables. Again, not too long. The instructions on the package said 5 -6 minutes, I did 4. Mix together and pour salad dressing over the mixture. Refrigerate over night. This will act as a marinade for the vegetables and spaghetti. I usually use French’s Italian dressing. I have used that for years as a marinade for meats and vegetables. However, this time, Paul Newman’s Balsamic Vinaigrette was what I had on hand and it gave the salad a nice flavor.
After letting the spaghetti and vegetables marinate, add the tomatoes, olives and roasted peppers. Sprinkle on seasoning and stir well!. Enjoy.