Orange Cottage Cheese Salad

Jeff’s family often makes this for family get togethers, and this recipe was in Jeff’s family cookbook from his mom, so I wanted to preserve it. In the picture, I didn’t make it with the pineapple, but I think it would’ve been a nice texture–so I think I’ll try it in the future.

And this one is naturally gluten free.

Orange Cottage Cheese Salad

  • Servings: 8?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Add pineapple for some good texture.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. Cottage Cheese (small curd)
  • 2 c. Cool Whip
  • 3/4 c. Orange Yogurt
  • 3 oz. pkg. Orange Jell-O
  • 2 c. Crushed Pineapple (optional)

Directions

Lightly mix all ingredients until all dry Jell-O powder is dissolved. Refrigerate until set.


 

Waldorf Salad

This recipe was in Jeff’s family cookbook from his mom, and I wanted to preserve it. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of celery, but I think I only added 1 because we’re not the biggest celery fans. We didn’t use grapes in the picture, but it probably would’ve made a nice addition. Also, I didn’t add the tablespoon of vinegar because it seemed acidic enough with all the apples, but it would be worth a try.

And this one is naturally gluten free–just make sure to use a jar of mayo that hasn’t been contaminated with gluten from previous sandwiches or whatever.

Waldorf Salad

  • Servings: 6?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Light and delightful fruit salad.

Ingredients

  • 2 large Granny Smith Apples, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 large Red Apples, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1-2 c. Celery, chopped small
  • 1 c. Walnuts, chopped
  • 1 c. Red Grapes cut in halves (optional)
  • 2/3 c. Mayo
  • 1/4 c. Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar (optional)

Directions

Mix apples, celery, walnuts, and grapes in a bowl. For the dressing, mix the mayo, sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl, then pour dressing over salad and stir until fruit is covered.


 

Marshmallow & Cream Cheese Dip

Jeff’s family made this all the time growing up, and I love it–especially with apples. You could consider it an appetizer or dessert, since it’s such a sweet and delicious thing to serve with fruit. You can also make it more festive by adding food coloring–we colored it green for St. Patrick’s Day.

And this one is naturally gluten free–just serve it with fruit and stay away from graham crackers.

Marshmallow & Cream Cheese Dip

  • Servings: 8?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Simple, yet incredibly delicious. Just remember to soften the cream cheese beforehand.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. Cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (7 oz.) pkg. Marshmallow Creme
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

Directions

Blend cream cheese and marshmallow creme until smooth. Add vanilla and mix. Serve with fresh apples, fruit, or sweet crackers.


 

Egg “Muffins”

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com, and I guess these are kind of like frittatas or omelets made in muffin tins. They’re very versatile in the fillings that you can put in them. I’ve done regular onions and green onions–I feel like the green onions provide a little bit of flavor without a slightly crunchy texture. I’ve done regular sausage and turkey sausage. I’m thinking of trying ham and cheese next time. Oh, and last time I cooked the peppers. I like that there weren’t slightly crunchy peppers in there like when you put them in raw, but the flavor didn’t seem as strong when it was cooked.

These egg muffins are wonderful to make ahead and eat for a few days from the fridge and then freeze the remaining. I like to make a double batch so I can use a whole pound of sausage and so I can have lots to freeze. If I warm them from the fridge, I just microwave them for a minute. And when I freeze them, I generally put two in a sandwich bag (I don’t bother with fancy freezer bags because I know we’ll eat them quickly). Then when I microwave the frozen ones, I put a paper towel around them (optional) and microwave them at 50% power for 2 minutes, then 1 minute on 100% power.

And this one is naturally gluten free.

Egg Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Make ahead for a very easy breakfast.

Ingredients

  • ½ lb. Sausage
  • 12 Eggs
  • ½ c. Onion or Green Onion, chopped
  • ½ c. Bell Pepper, chopped
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Black Pepper
  • ¼ tsp. Garlic Powder
  • ½ c. Shredded Cheddar cheese (plus optional cheese to top)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° and grease a muffin tin. In a large pan, cook the sausage over medium-high heat until it’s browned evenly and crumbly. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in onion, bell pepper, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Add sausage and cheese. Use a 1/3 cup (maybe a Tbsp. less) to fill each muffin cup, not quite all the way to the top. Optionally top with an additional small amount of cheese. Bake about 20-25 minutes, until a knife comes out clean from inserting into the muffins.


 

Chicken Salad (Loaded)

Chicken salad is great when served of course as a sandwich, but it’s also great with crackers or sliced cucumber. Chicken salad is a nicer sandwich than just lunch meat, but it can also be slightly boring. So we loaded it up with pecans and grapes to make it more exciting and delicious. Note that it does take a fair amount of time to get the chicken off the bone, as well as pulling the grapes off the vine, and chopping everything. But they make great sandwiches for picnics.

If you’re making this gluten free, it’s naturally gluten free as long as you use a new jar of mayo or one that’s dedicated gluten free (so you don’t get crumbs from previous sandwich making).

Chicken Salad (Loaded)

  • Servings: 8-9
  • Difficulty: easy
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Great served with crackers or cucumber slices, or of course as a sandwich.

Ingredients

  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken, pulled to bite-size pieces (Sam’s Club’s is nice and big)
  • 2 Celery Ribs, diced
  • 1 bunch Green Onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 c. Mayonnaise (or new jar/dedicated gluten free jar)
  • 2 c. Grapes, cut in half
  • 1 1/2 c. Pecan Halves

Directions

In a large bowl, combine chicken, celery, and green onions. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper, then stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.


Chili Lime Corn

We actually went looking for this recipe because Disneyland often has delicious-smelling corn on the cob. I can’t remember if we ever actually tried the corn at Disneyland, haha, but we found this recipe on Food Network and adapted it. Since then, we’ve made it a lot over the years.

You can top frozen corn with just the flavorings after microwaving (obviously it’s not 100% the same). And sometimes we’ll be short on time and we’ll boil the corn cobs beforehand and then grill for just a few moments–but the best flavor comes from letting the corn grill from raw. The original recipe called for grilling the ears in the husk, but we didn’t have good results with that–so we went to aluminum foil. And you generally only need one lime for this recipe if it’s large enough and juicy enough.

Sometimes the flavor is very subtle, so we’ve sometimes doubled the butter mixture for the corn. You spread it on with a spoon or pastry brush. Here’s what it looks like with a single batch:

And this one is naturally gluten free.

Chili Lime Corn

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Delicious flavors, but it usually takes longer to make than I think.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp. Butter, at room temperature (you can melt if you’re in a hurry)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Lime Zest

  • 1 Tbsp. Lime Juice

  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder

  • 1/4 tsp. Dried Minced Garlic

  • 1 tsp. Salt

  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper

  • 4 Ears of Corn, husked
  • (Aluminum foil for wrapping)

Directions

Preheat grill to medium. In a small bowl, combine butter, lime zest, juice, chili powder, garlic, salt, and pepper and set aside. Tear off a piece of foil for each ear of corn. Place an ear of corn on the foil, then spread butter mixture evenly on corn with a spoon or pastry brush. Wrap each ear in foil tightly, to keep juices in. Grill for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.


 

Cilantro Lime Rice

I make this rice a lot as a side for taco salad, to go in fajitas, or of course to go with sweet pork burritos or salad. I usually end up getting the rice started to cook and then work on adding the rest of the ingredients–and by the time the 15 minutes of cooking is up, I finally have finished adding all the other ingredients. I think the zesting and juicing the lime takes the most time. But it’s still pretty fast and easy. And often instead of adding chicken broth, I’ll do a heaping 2 tsp. of chicken base with 2 1/4 c. water.

This recipe is adapted from melskitchencafe.com, which has lots of great recipes that you should check out–I’m just including it here for my convenience and because I don’t make any money off this blog.

And this one is naturally gluten free.

Cilantro Lime Rice

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Great with sweet pork, taco salad, and fajitas.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. Butter
  •  1 1/4 c. Rice
  •  2 1/4 c. Chicken Broth (or 2 heaping tsp. chicken base with 2 1/4 c. water)
  •  1 scant tsp. Salt
  •  1/4 tsp. Pepper
  •  Juice and Zest of 1 Large Lime
  •  2 Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped
  •  1/4 tsp. Cumin

Directions

In a pan, melt the butter and add the rice. Stir, letting the rice and butter cook for 1-2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 15-16 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes (I’m usually in too much of a rush for this step). Fluff with fork and serve.


 

Cafe Rio Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

This dressing is amazing! And it’s easy because you just throw everything in the blender. It’s great on a sweet pork salad and also inside a sweet pork burrito. I adapted this from a recipe on The Recipe Critic. It often turned out pretty runny and not spicy enough (albeit still delicious), so I made some adjustments. I’m not sure if it’s 100% a Cafe Rio copycat, but I love it. Sometimes 2 jalapenos can be really hot, but I think I’d prefer a little too much heat in the dressing to basically none. Otherwise you might as well make plain ranch.

And this one is naturally gluten free.

Cafe Rio Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

  • Servings: 10?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Use 2 jalapenos if you want it to have any heat (1 is usually very mild).

Ingredients

  • 1 packet Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 c. Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tomatillos, husk removed and cut in chunks
  • 1/2 bunch Fresh Cilantro (discard stems)
  • 1 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1-2 Jalapenos with seeds, cut in chunks (2 if you want any heat)
  • Up to 1 c. Buttermilk for desired consistency (or 1 c. milk + 1 Tbsp. lemon juice) (or just use regular milk)

Directions

Place all ingredients except buttermilk in a blender and pulse until smooth and creamy. Then blend in milk gradually until you reach your desired consistency. Sometimes you won’t need to add much milk at all.


 

Pico de Gallo Salsa

If I’m going to have chips and salsa, I love to have pico. I love the fresh made salsa at Harmons and wish I had a recipe for it, but this is a pretty good recipe adapted from one on All Recipes. Just make sure you give it lots of time to sit, so it can absorb the flavors.

And this one is naturally gluten free, just like the tortilla chips you eat with it.

Pico de Gallo

  • Servings: 8?
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Chopping takes a while, but it’s delicious and easy to come together.

Ingredients

  • 6 Roma Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large Red Bell Pepper or 2 small Green Bell Peppers, diced
  • ½ White or Red Onion, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • Juice of 1 lime (or 1/2 if it’s very juicy)
  • 1 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • 1 pinch Garlic Powder
  • Salt (quite a bit) and Pepper to taste

Directions

Stir all ingredients in a bowl, then cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours so flavors can meld.


 

Magic Shell (Any Flavor)

When I was growing up, my favorite dipped cone at Dairy Queen was butterscotch. But of course they discontinued it. And they don’t do cherry anymore either. But I’d heard that all you need to make Magic Shell is baking chips and coconut oil. And you know what? They’re right! It’s so easy! If you want to dip, just get a glass and make sure your scoops are secured well before dipping. Hurray for the return of my butterscotch dipped cones!

And luckily this one is naturally gluten free. But if you want to save it for future use, make sure everyone else only uses gluten free ice creams and cones in the dip.

Magic Shell & Dip

  • Servings: 6?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Fun and easy for summer

Ingredients

  • 1 c. Baking Chips (any flavor, like butterscotch, peanut butter, chocolate, mint chocolate, etc.)
  • 3 Tbsp. Coconut Oil (measured when solid or liquid)

Directions

Microwave the chips and oil for 30 seconds in a medium glass, then stir until smooth (microwaving 20 seconds more if needed). Allow to cool for a few minutes before topping your ice cream or dipping. For dips, scoop your ice cream and make sure it’s secure before turning upside down and dipping. Allow the excess to drip off, then flip rightside up again. Store excess at room temperature in a sealed container, then microwave and stir well before using again.