Thursday, June 18, 2015

Shrimp, Avocado and Roasted Corn Salad

When I saw the two ingredients for this month's Improv Cooking Challenge, I KNEW I had to participate! Fish and avocado? How can that go anywhere but delicious? There were lots of options here - tacos, appetizers, sandwiches, but now that's it's summer, I knew the perfect way to combine them - in a salad. This salad is not your ordinary dinner salad - it's special - and not just because of shrimp and avocado. But those two ingredients shine when paired with bacon, ROASTED corn (sounds harder than it is, I promise!) and a super yummy dressing with pesto as the star. No oven required, just a skillet over the stove, and dinner will be on the table and in your belly super fast.

Shrimp, Avocado and Roasted Corn Salad

2 ears of sweet corn, shaved off the cob
3 strips of bacon, diced
1/2 lb. large cooked shrimp, tails removed
4-5 cups chopped Romaine lettuce or Spring Mix
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

Buttermilk Pesto Dressing:

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup pesto
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a large measuring cup and whisking well. (Note: you will only use about 1/3 to 1/2 of the dressing for these two servings, so save, covered in the fridge, for another use.) Set aside.

For the salads, heat a skillet over high heat. Add the corn kernels and let them dry-roast for about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until their edges begin to brown and caramelize. Transfer the corn to a plate to set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium-high. In the same skillet, add the bacon. Fry for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, then wipe out most of the grease, leaving about 1-2 tsp. in the skillet. Add the shrimp and saute until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Remove shrimp and set aside.

Divide the lettuce between two plates, then drizzle on the dressing. Top evenly with the shrimp, corn, bacon and avocado. Serves 2.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Monday, June 15, 2015

White Chocolate Raspberry Scones

The BEST scones I have ever had were at a coffee shop in my parents' town. I have resolved to make my own ever since I tasted one of those beauties several years ago. Obviously my resolve wasn't very strong...probably because I knew that when I made these, I would want to eat every single one of them as quickly as possible. So when I saw that Nicole had a recipe for these same scones - white chocolate raspberry! - I knew it was the recipe I would choose for this month's Secret Recipe Club.

Nicole lives somewhere I would love to visit - New Zealand! - and her blog is full of amazing recipes. I know you'll find something there you would love to make.

I made these scones as drop scones - like drop biscuits - instead of fashioning the dough into a circle and cut into wedges. It was simply a personal preference - I've made scones the other way too, so do whatever you like best. And I loved that Nicole uses her food processor to combine the flour and butter; that's how I do it, too! Here's to a wonderful breakfast, tea time or treat - thanks for a great recipe.

White Chocolate Raspberry Scones

3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 Cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 Cup white chocolate chips

Combine the buttermilk, sugar and egg in a bowl. Whisk well to combine then set aside.

In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and butter; process into a coarse crumb.

Transfer the flour/butter mixture into a large mixing bowl, and gently fold in the buttermilk mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips and raspberries.

Drop the dough by large spoonfuls onto a silpat or parchment-lined baking tray. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Makes 12.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

CanvasPop winner!

Jessica is the lucky winner of the CanvasPop giveaway. She was comment #1, which was the random number generated from all the comments. Jessica says she will order a picture of her mom celebrating her birthday with them. Sounds like a great canvas! Congratulations, Jessica, and thanks everyone for entering!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Caramel Banana Tiramisu

I've had this recipe pinned for a little while, and finally had all the ingredients to make it. Ooh la la. This is SO delicious. Weeks later, I am still being asked, "Is there any of that caramel banana dessert left?" It was a big hit. It's similar to the chocolate eclair dessert made with graham crackers - that was a ubiquitous pan of goodness at nearly every church potluck growing up - but this time, bananas mix in with pudding and caramel to create a different, but totally delicious take on that famous dessert.

Bananas and caramel are one of my favorite combinations. And they work really well together here. I served this two ways - once just out of the fridge (I made it the night before so it had plenty of time to set up), and once after being completely frozen.

I think I like the frozen version just slightly better, but if I had the opportunity, I would allow it to thaw awhile so it's not completely frozen - somewhere between refrigerated and frozen. But don't stress about that - just eat it whenever you can. As often as you can. It does have fruit in it, after all.

Find more great recipes at Inspire Me, Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Clever Chicks, Tasty Tuesday, Create Link Inspire, Totally Talented, What's Cooking, Full Plate, Showcase Your Talent, Friday Flash, Friday Frenzy, Foodie Friday, Flashback Friday.

Caramel Banana Tiramisu

1 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 - 3.4 oz. package instant banana pudding (vanilla works well too)
1 cup cold milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 - 8 oz. container whipped topping
1 1/2 sleeves of graham crackers
3-4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling on top

Combine pudding mix and cold milk in a medium bowl and whisk to thicken. Place the caramel topping in a glass measuring cup and microwave at 50% power for 45 seconds. (This will make it easier to pour.) Add 1/3 cup caramel topping and sour cream to the pudding and whisk to combine. Fold in the container of whipped topping.

Arrange a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of an 7x11 baking dish. Top with 1/3 cup of caramel topping.

Layer bananas over the top of the caramel. Spread 1/2 of the cream mixture on top of the bananas. Then repeat the layers- graham crackers, caramel, bananas and cream.

Sprinkle cinnamon on top and put dessert in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight before serving. Freeze if you want to, and thaw slightly before serving with additional bananas on top, as well as a drizzle of caramel.

Recipe Source: Butter with a Side of Bread

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Strawberry Almond Cake Bars

Here's a fun recipe to take you into the summer. All the goodness of strawberry shortcake with everything all built in - these bars are great with ice cream but also stand well on their own. The toasted almonds really add a wonderful dimension to these morsels, and the strawberries add great color, not to mention flavor. These would work well on a picnic, on the deck, or on the couch - wherever you happen to need dessert!

Find more great stuff at What's Cooking, Full Plate, Showcase Your Talent, Foodie Friday, Friday Flash, Friday Frenzy.

Strawberry Almond Cake Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 pint strawberries, sliced
powdered sugar, for dusting

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, using electric mixer, cream together softened butter and brown sugar until the mixture becomes light in color and fluffy in texture, about 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and continue beating until well combined. Add flour, baking powder and salt and beat on low speed until well combined. Mix 3/4 cup toasted almonds into the batter.

Spread batter into a greased 8 or 9-inch square pan. Scatter sliced strawberries and remaining 1/4 cup almonds over the batter in a baking pan.

Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean or only with a few crumbs on it.

Dust with powdered sugar before cutting into slices. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!

Recipe Source: Adapted from Julia's Album

Monday, June 1, 2015

CanvasPop Review and GIVE AWAY!

I don't know about you, but I'm not the greatest at keeping up with photo books, scrap books and the like. The digital age has made it somewhat easier, but I think the easiest is having a lot of pictures displayed at home! At my house, you'll find pictures in frames on the wall, on side tables, on nightstands, even on bathroom counters.

I love reliving memories by just looking around. So I was excited to be contacted by CanvasPop to do a review of their product.

I chose a photo from our recent honeymoon and sent it to CanvasPop. This is one of our favorite photos, and I was anxious to see how it would translate to a canvas. They sent me (and fast!) this!

I am so pleased at how it turned out - and I love the attention to detail, like the side wrap that keeps the photo going.

You can also choose a black or white wrap, but the photo wrap worked the best for this picture. I love how the colors pop and how the texture of the canvas really brings the photo to life. Now I can relive our fabulous honeymoon every time I look at this wall.

I should also mention that the canvas is super easy to hang - it comes with the hardware that you need and is quick and nearly effortless.

If you have great photos that would benefit from some special treatment, head on over to CanvasPop to see all they have to offer. And, as a reader of Cook with Sara, you can receive 35% off your order when you enter the code COOKWITHSARA35. This discount is good until August 1.

But wait, there's more!!! One lucky reader will win a 16x20 canvas print with free shipping from the great folks at CanvasPop!! Just leave a comment telling me what special memory you would like to have on canvas, and I'll draw a winner on June 8. You'll have a year to claim your print, but I'm sure you won't want to wait that long.

These are just too fun, and such a unique way to dress up the walls of your home.

CanvasPop provided me with the pictured print above to review at no charge. All opinions are my own.

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Clever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, Foodie Friday, Friday Flash, Friday Frenzy.
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