Thursday, May 14, 2009

Summer Cooking

One of the unfortunate things about Spring and Summer is that some days it's just too hot in the house to do majoring cooking in the kitchen. As soon as we pick up a new tank of propane, we'll be busting out dinner on the grill. But in the meantime I'm trying to come up with delicious meals that require little effort. Because of the heat, yes. But also because I'm lazy sometimes.

For instance, tonight I made a delicious salad plate of tuna salad, mixed lettuce with vinaigrette, chopped tomatoes, cheese, olives and a few baked chips. Light, yummy, doesn't require me to stand in front of the stove.

I've found out that the trick to really good tuna salad is to make your own relish. Don't use the garbage in the jar. Mix together chopped pickles, onion, dill and garlic and you've got yourself better relish than Heinz will ever make.

A couple of days ago when it was cold and rainy I made Runza pie. (Trust me, it's good.) I couldn't make it in a regular pie pan because mine disappeared, so I had to shove it into an oval shaped pan. I had a few scraps of the pie crust leftover and I didn't want to throw it away... So I made a quick and easy leftover dessert. Mmmm. Leftover dessert. Doesn't that sound awesome?

I pressed the leftover dough into little circles and baked them in ramekins. I only had enough for two, but pretend there was an entire pie crust there and I made a dozen.

Then I whipped together equal parts softened cream cheese and Cool Whip. Again, I happened to have about 3 ounces of cream cheese sitting in the fridge, but lets say I had a whole package and mixed it with about half a tub of Cool Whip. Then I beat in powdered sugar until it tasted sweet enough - but not to sweet. For a whole batch I would try a 1/4 of a cup and go up from there. I scooped that on top of the crust...

...Then covered it with fresh strawberries.

Mmmm. Delicious.

After I took that picture I drenched them in extra Cool Whip. I didn't take a picture of it because it's embarrassing. I recommend you do the same though. It was so delicious.

P.S. Who else thought of Family Guy when I mentioned Cool Whip?

Here's a sort of recipe if anyone wants to make these:

Package of premade pie shells
8oz block of cream cheese (you can use the light or fat free kind)
1 tub of Cool Whip(you can use the light or fat free kind)
Powdered Sugar
Fresh strawberries

1. Make small circles out of the pie crust (maybe with a cookie cutter?) and put them in the bottom of muffin papers. Bake crust according to directions on the box, but keep an eye on the time since these are a lot smaller.

2. Whip together the cream cheese and a cup to a cup and 1/2 (depending on your taste) of the Cool Whip. Beat in the powdered sugar according to taste. Try starting with a 1/4 cup. Drop spoonfuls into the muffin cups.

3. Cover the cream cheese mix with fresh strawberries.

4. Add a spoonful of Cool Whip to the top if your heart desires. And I'm guessing it will.

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