Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Re-Make Recap

I can't believe that July is over already!I feel like I say this every month, but this month went by so quickly. August is one of my favorite months -- we celebrate our anniversary and take time off from work -- but this year it's also a little bit bittersweet, since Andrew starts kindergarten in a little over three weeks. Talk about time going by so quickly; wasn't he just a tiny, sweet little burrito baby yesterday?

Anyway, I could write about that for a few more paragraphs, but I'll start to cry, so let's just talk food. A lot of delicious things happened in my kitchen this month.


I think this is the second month in a row that this creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese has appeared on my recap, and with good reason. It's so delicious and simple and a great way to feed a crowd. I made it for the Fourth of July to go with the pig we roasted (yes, we roasted a pig; more about that soon), and everyone loved it, as always.

The base recipe for these mint chocolate cookies is the best chocolate cookie base I've ever tried. The texture is fantastic; the cookies are crispy on the outside but still soft on the inside. I made them this month minus the mint add-ins, and instead used a combination of dark, milk, and white chocolate chips. They were fantastic.

You guys know by now how much I love my Crock pot, and I used it this month for these slow cooker chicken tacos with cheddar, beer, and black beans. These tacos are so simple and flavorful. When I made them this time, I topped each taco with a sprinkling of lime juice, which really brightened the flavor and worked so well with the flavor of the beer.

I think everyone has a handful of "back pocket" recipes, and this farfalle with bacon, onions and gouda is one of those recipes for my family. It literally only takes about 15 minutes to make, and it's absolutely delicious. I made it twice this month.

This sweet and spicy pork and asparagus stir fry is Andrew's favorite meal, so you can expect to see it appear on lots of future recaps. He ate three helpings and asked to take the leftovers to school for lunch the next day. My friend Sarah made this on the same night I did this month, and she served hers over angel hair pasta. I'm doing that next time for sure. We like it with the rice, but have you ever served rice to three- and five-year-old boys, then walked on your dining room rug after dinner? It's...not the most pleasant experience.

My friend Stephanie made this recently, which inspired me to make this grilled pesto chicken with tomato cream penne again. I'm telling you guys, this is such a fresh and flavorful pasta dish. I could eat it once a week, and probably will for the rest of grilling season.

As I mentioned on Monday, peaches are definitely my favorite summer fruit, and these peach pecan chicken sandwiches with jalapeno mayonnaise are still one of my favorite sandwiches ever. The sweetness of the peaches pairs so perfectly with the earthy pecans and the spicy jalapenos, and the crispy chicken and soft peaches have the perfect textural balance. And, I just thought of this: I think maple syrup would work really well with the rest of the flavors, so next time I make them I may try adding a drizzle of it to the sandwiches.

The chicken marinade that I posted in the recipe for these grilled chicken Caesar flatbreads has become my very favorite chicken marinade. I made chicken Caesar salads this month, and I used that marinade for the chicken. I was planning to cook it on the grill, but we ran out of propane, so I cooked it inside instead. I added bacon to the Caesar salads, so I just cooked the chicken in the bacon drippings. It was delicious, of course.

If you're looking for a delicious brinner recipe, look no further than this jalapeno popper breakfast scramble. It's delicious and simple and made with pantry ingredients, and it works great as leftovers. I only used about half a pound of bacon and six eggs this time, and it still turned out absolutely perfect.

This summer vegetable spaghetti with pesto cream sauce is an excellent way to use summer produce. In true Cassie fashion, I added a bit of bacon to it this time, and I loved the way the earthiness of the pesto paired with the smoky bacon.

I've been just slightly obsessed with sandwiches this summer, so it was high time to revisit one of our favorites: these pork sandwiches with sour cream sauce. I added a little bit of Worcestershire sauce to the sour cream mixture this time, which I thought added a delicious flavor dimension to the sandwiches. In my book, you could put mushrooms, onions and Swiss cheese on just about anything and it would be delicious. These sandwiches are no exception. Andrew devoured his sandwich; he's becoming such an awesome little eater.

This Mexican sour cream rice is definitely my favorite side dish for any South of the Border feast. It's so creamy, and just slightly spicy, and has a great balance of textures. I can't wait to share the chicken fajitas that I served the rice with this month.

And, finally, I made one of the boys' absolute favorite dinners this month: French bread pizzas. The boys love this dinner because they get to customize their own pizza and make it themselves. In a stroke of inspiration, I actually used a loaf of garlic bread for the base of the pizzas rather than regular French bread. That was a very good choice; it made them even crispier and added another layer of flavor.

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