Creamy Grape Salad

Last night we had family over for my daughter’s birthday. The food was so yummy and I have some recipes to share with you per quite a few requests. I made teriyaki beef and chicken skewers (will post that recipe later), corn on the cob, this Creamy Grape Salad, Funfetti cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting, and butterscotch cheesecake. My grandma made her Italian style pasta salad that everyone loves (will post this recipe as well), and my mom made a green salad with strawberries and fresh steamed golden beets (my daughter loves fresh beets). I’m posting this recipe first because my best friend wants to make this for her family BBQ today. Miss, I hope they love it as much as we did! This is so easy to make and soooo delicious! I made it earlier in the day, put it in the fridge till I was ready to serve it. Right before I was ready to serve it I sprinkled the brown sugar and chopped pecans over the top. I have to say I actually contemplated not putting the chopped pecans on, I was worried that some wouldn’t like the nuts. I am so glad that I put them on though, It really added to the dish and gave it a little texture. No one complained and even if they didn’t like nuts it was only sprinkled over the top so they could easily get some without. So here it is Creamy Grape Salad, (I got the recipe from Taste of Home).

The ingredients are:

  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds seedless red grapes
  • 2 pounds seedless green grapes
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until blended. Add grapes and toss to coat.
  2. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans just before serving.

Yield: 21-24 servings

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Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella

My Aunt Johnnie brought this Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella salad over to one of our family dinners and we all loved it! I had never tried Panzanella salad before but had been curious about it for a while now. I thought that the bread would get soggy and yucky and that didn’t appeal to me at all. The bread in this salad was delicious and even though it absorbed some of the flavors it still stayed crisp arround the edges. The bread with the fresh tomatoes, artichokes and olives was wonderful! Aunt Johnnie adapted the recipe from one of Giada De Laurentis’.

The ingredients are:

  • 3 cups 1-1/2 inch-cubed Ciabatta bread
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts in water (it looks like halves or quarters)
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 3 large red tomatoes, cut into wedges (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup manzanilla olives, halved
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  1. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the bread until golden brown at the edges, about 6 minutes total, turning every 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bread from the grill and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and basil to the bowl and toss to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

Agave Fresh Fruit Salsa with Sugar N Spice Chips

My family gets together almost every single Sunday (unless the kids sports prohibits me from being there) for Family Dinner. It’s a tradition that has been going on for as long as I can remember. Nowadays we choose themes for our sunday meals and everyone brings a dish to go with our theme. On this particular Sunday our theme was summer/bbq foods. My mom brought this Agave Fresh Fruit Salsa and we all loved it! What says summer more than fresh, sweet, juicy fruit? This fruit salsa was delicious, light and refreshing. She got the recipe out of the Wholeliving July/August 2012 magazine.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries
  • 4 apricots or 2 large peaches (mom used peaches)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh, chopped pineapple
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 1/2 TBSP fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup organic light Agave Nectar or 1/2 cup Organic Sugar (mom couldn’t find Agave Nectar so she used Raw Sugar)
  • 1-3 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
  1. Dice strawberries, peaches and pineapple into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large bowl, combine all fruit and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine lime juice and Agave Nectar/Sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of chili powder (increase by teaspoonfuls to reach desired flavor); mix well.
  3. Add agave mixture, cilantro and mint to the fruit, tossing until combined. Serve immediately.

Sugar N Spice Chips

  • 1 bag (8.5 to 10.5 oz) corn tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup Organic Sugar (mom used raw Sugar)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. chili powder
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Grease two cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. Dip tortilla chips into melted butter. Using a pastry brush, remove excess butter to give each chip a thin, even layer of butter on both sides. Place chips on prepared cookie sheet. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and chili powder to taste. Sprinkle over buttered chips, and bake for approximately 5 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

No-bake Strawberry Cheesecake, the perfect summer dessert! Easy, delicious, and I didn’t have to turn on my oven! This is the dessert I made for our kick off the summer family BBQ and we all loved it. Garnish with some blueberries and this would make a perfect red, white, and blue fourth of July dessert! I found the recipe in an old Food & Family magazine (summer 2008).

After a couple small changes from me,the ingredients are:

  • 12 Honey Grahams, finely crushed (about 2 cups crumbs)
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 4 Pkgs. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 Cup strawberry preserves
  • 2 Cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip whipped Topping, thawed
  1. Mix graham crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup of the sugar; press onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
  2. Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup of the sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Add preserves; mix well. Place strawberries and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar in small bowl; mash with fork. Stir strawberry mixture and whipped topping into cheese mixture. Spoon over crust; cover. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Store in refrigerator.

Makes 16 servings

Grilled Shrimp And Sausage Skewers With Smoky Paprika Glaze

We had a summer kick-off BBQ with the family last Sunday. Of course sun, swimming, and lots of yummy food was involved. I made these Grilled Shrimp And Sausage Skewers With Smoky Paprika Glaze. I found the recipe in an old Bon Appetit magazine (June 2010). Shrimp and sausage are great right? Well this smoky paprika glaze just threw it over the top. You could really taste the smokiness from the paprika and the fresh thyme and garlic. Not your typical kabob, so much flavor. Everyone loved this!

I adapted the ingredients slightly to our taste.

The ingredients are:

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 5 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 uncooked extra-large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 12 1-inch long pieces kielbasa sausage
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 12 2-layer sections of red onion wedges

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Special equipment

6 long metal skewers or 3 long bendable ones

  1. Whisk oil, garlic, thyme, smoked paprika, vinegar, salt, and black pepper in medium bowl to blend for glaze. Transfer half of glaze to small bowl and reserve for serving.
  2. Alternately thread shrimp, sausage pieces, cherry tomatoes, and sections of onion wedges on each of 6 long metal skewers. Arrange skewers on large rimmed baking sheet. (Do Ahead: Can be made up to 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill skewers and bowls of glaze separately.)
  3. Coat grill rack with nonstick spray and prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush skewers on both sides with glaze from 1 bowl. Grill until shrimp are opaque in center, turning and brushing occasionally with more glaze, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Arrange skewers on platter. Serve with remaining bowl of glaze.