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From Johnna’s Kitchen: Taco Dip

JK-Photo Easy Taco Dip

A great summer dish that’s easy to make for last-minute party invites, this week’s recipe from Johnna’s Kitchen is Taco Dip!

Taco Dip

Ingredients
1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
16 oz. sour cream
1 package taco seasoning
½ cup salsa
¼ head lettuce, chopped
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1-2 onions, diced (optional)

1 9-in. round serving dish (or similar)

Directions
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream and taco seasoning.

Spread this mixture in a 9-inch (or a little larger) round serving dish.

Top the mixture with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.

Serve with tortilla chips.

From Johnna’s Kitchen: Hot Crab Dip

c3YoqYou wouldn’t think hot summer days and Hot Crab Dip would go great together, but this easy, creamy treat is great for snacks, parties, or any time of the day!

Ingredients

1 lb. crab meat
2 8oz cream cheese
1½ tablespoon milk
1 small onion, chopped
½ teaspoon horseradish
Salt & pepper to taste

1-9×13 Pyrex baking dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
Spray baking dish with cooking spray.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Pour into serving bowl, and serve with crackers and cocktail sauce.

From Johnna’s Kitchen: Baked Macaroni and Cheese

BakedMacCheese

We’re sure that most people have had that delicious, cheesy dinner from the little blue box. What if we told you it was just as easy to make it yourself? Before diving into your next dinner, consider these facts:

Macaroni and cheese is the number one cheese recipe in the United States.

In any given twelve-week period, approximately one-third of the population of the United States will eat macaroni and cheese at least once. About half of all children in the United States will eat macaroni and cheese during this time period.

The most popular cheese used in macaroni and cheese recipes is Cheddar cheese.

In 1993, Crayola named one of their crayon colors “macaroni and cheese.”

This tried-and-true staple will have everyone asking for seconds!

Ingredients

1 lb. elbow macaroni
2 sticks butter
8 tablespoons flour
16 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
6 cups milk
salt & pepper
1 cup Italian bread crumbs

9×13 Pyrex baking dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Directions

Cook 1 lb. elbow macaroni according to the box directions, and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter over low heat.

When butter is melted, add 8 tablespoons of flour to the butter.

Stir the butter and flour until smooth, then add 6 cups of warm milk.

Continue to stir, and add 16 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese.

Stir until the cheese is incorporated with the milk, butter, and flour.

Raise the heat to medium to medium-high, and continue to stir until cheese sauce is thickened, without coming to a boil.

Pour in the macaroni to the saucepan, then add a dash of salt and pepper. Stir until macaroni is coated with the cheese sauce.

Spray the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.

In a separate saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter over low to medium heat.

Once butter is melted, add 1 cup of bread crumbs to the butter, lightly stirring until breadcrumbs are coated with butter.

Pour the bread crumbs on top of casserole, and spread them out over the entire pan.

Bake on 350 for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown.

From Johnna’s Kitchen: Pancake Corn Fritters

Pancake-Corn-fritters

In celebration of National Corn Fritters Day on July 16th, today’s recipe is something familiar on many Southern plates.

Corn fritters are a traditional snack of the South that consist of corn kernels, eggs, flour, milk, and melted butter. Depending on your preference, corn fritters can be fried or baked.

Although corn fritters originated in the South, many other cultures have come up with similar dishes. For example, in Asia “pakoras” are a popular snack. This dish is made with vegetables dipped in batter that are then deep-fried.

Here are more fun facts about corn fritters!

Corn Fritters are often mistaken for Johnny Cakes.

The first historical record of the fritter dates back to 1665. Samuel Pepys, an Englishman who served as a Member of Parliament during the English Restoration period, noted in his diary that he would be enjoying some fritters before Lent!

Corn is grown on every continent except Antarctica.

It takes about 1,300 kernels to make a pound of corn.

Ingredients

1 cup pancake mix
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
¼ cup milk
1 egg
4 Tablespoons corn oil

Directions

Combine all ingredients together lightly in a large bowl.

Heat a frying pan with 4 tablespoons corn oil over medium to high heat.

Drop teaspoonfuls of the pancake mixture into frying pan. Flatten pancakes by pressing on them lightly with the back of a spatula.

Flatten pancakes by pressing on them lightly with the back of a spatula.

When pancakes are golden brown, flip over and cook until both sides are golden brown.

Cover a large plate with paper towels, to absorb extra oil from the pancakes as you remove them from the pan.

Sprinkle pancakes with powder sugar when slightly cooled, as desired.

From Johnna’s Kitchen: Summer Steamed Clams

They can be found all over the beach, and are a staple at many summer parties. They’re CLAMS! This tasty mollusk has over 2,000 varieties, most of which can be prepared many different ways. Some of the most common types to the East coast are Steamers, Cockles, Quahogs, Cherrystones, Littlenecks, Topnecks, and Razor clams.

These tips from homecooking.about.com will help with the most important part; the prepping!

How to Prepare Fresh Clams

First, scrub the outside of the clams thoroughly with a stiff brush. Since clams naturally burrow in the sand, they need to be purged of grit lest crunching down on grains of sand diminish your enjoyment of this flavorful seafood. Sand should be removed before cooking by covering the clams with salt water (⅓ cup salt to 1 gallon of water) and let sit for several hours. Adding ¼  to ½ cup of cornmeal to the soaking water helps expel the dark matter and sand from the stomachs and also whitens the meat.

If you are shucking your own, the shells will be easier to open if you freeze them for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and let sit a few minutes before attacking the shells. As they warm up, the muscles relax and the shells will open slightly so you can get your clam knife in. Remember to shuck over a bowl to save all that wonderful juice known as clam liquor.You may wish to remove the tough skin covering the neck of longneck clams. Slit the skin lengthwise and remove it. You can ground the skin and add it to chowder or creamed clam dishes.

Clam Cooking Tips and Hints

If clams do not open after cooking, discard them, as it means they were not alive to begin with and may be contaminated with bacteria or toxins.

The smallest clams are the most desirable for eating raw. The larger they get, the tougher the meat.

Extended heat further toughens the meat, so cook gently at low heat settings.

Clams may be substituted in most oyster, scallop, and mussel recipes, and vice versa.

Directions

Scrub clams under cold running water.

Place in a kettle with a cup of water, a teaspoon of garlic salt, and (optional) a small bottle of draft beer.

Cover and Steam for 8 minutes or until all shells are open. Discard any clams whose shells did not open during the cooking process.

Serve in shells with melted butter, lemon juice, and cocktail sauce.

From Johnna’s Kitchen: Strawberry Pretzel Salad

This week we have three ingredients with interesting histories to make a unique – and delicious – recipe!

Strawberries: Members of the rose family, the strawberry plant is a perennial. This means if you plant one now, it will come back next year and the following and the year after that. It may not bear fruit immediately, but once it does, it will remain productive for about five years. Native Americans ate strawberries long before European settlers arrived. As spring’s first fruit, they were a treat, eaten freshly picked or baked into cornbread. The ancient Romans thought strawberries had medicinal powers. They used them to treat everything from depression to fainting to fever, kidney stones, bad breath, and sore throats.

Jell-O: There were four original flavors of Jell-O in 1904— lemon, orange, strawberry, and raspberry. More than just a great treat, Jell-O played a part in several epic films: in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1923 silent film, The Ten Commandments, Jell-O was used to aid in the parting of the sea effect. In the 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz, the colorful horses in the Emerald City got their hues from Jell-O powders.

Pretzels: In 610 A.D. while baking bread, an Italian monk decided to create a treat to motivate his distracted catechism students. He rolled out ropes of dough, twisted them to resemble hands crossed on the chest in prayer, and baked them. The monk christened his snacks “pretiola,” Latin for “little reward.” Parents who tasted their children’s classroom treats referred to them as brachiola, or “little arms.” When pretiola arrived in Germany, they were called bretzels. Hard pretzels were “invented” in the late 1600s, when a snoozing apprentice in a Pennsylvania bakery accidentally overbaked his pretzels, creating crunchy, seemingly inedible, knots. Julius Sturgis opened the first commercial pretzel bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania, in 1861. He received his original pretzel recipe as a thank you from a down-on-his-luck job seeker after Sturgis gave the man dinner. Until the 1930s, pretzels were handmade, and the average worker could twist 40 a minute. In 1935, the Reading Pretzel Machinery Company introduced the first automated pretzel machine, which enabled large bakeries to make 245 pretzels per minute, or five tons in one day.

Strawberries, pretzels, AND Jell-O? How can this be anything but amazing?

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups crushed pretzels
¾ cup butter, melted
3 T sugar
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
12 oz. whipped cream
2 cups boiling water
3 cups strawberries, sliced (leave some aside for top)

1-9×13 baking pan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Directions:

Combine melted butter and sugar. Stir in the crushed pretzels. Press evenly on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8 minutes. Let cool completely.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and whipped cream. Beat until smooth. Spread over pretzel crust. Make sure to get the cream mixture tight against the edges of the pan to prevent the Jell-O mixture from seeping through.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Remove from stove and add Jell-O. Stir until Jell-O is dissolved. Add sliced strawberries. Pour over cream layer and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Top with whipped cream and strawberries to serve.

From Johnna’s Kitchen: Famous Crab Cakes

Crab-Cakes

 

Crab cakes are a yummy summer dish that are surprisingly easy to make! Did you know there are two types of crab cake? The two most common styles of Maryland crab cake are Boardwalk and Restaurant. Boardwalk-style crab cakes are typically breaded and deep-fried, and often filled with stuffing and served on a hamburger bun or, most popularly, with saltine crackers. Restaurant-style crab cakes (aka gourmet crab cakes) are often prepared with no filler, consisting of all-lump crab meat served on a platter or open-faced sandwich.

The choices of sides are usually french fries, cole slaw, potato or macaroni salad. Crab cakes can be served with a lemon wedge and saltine crackers; or condiments such as tartar sauce, mustard, cocktail sauce or ketchup. Eating them plain or with a dash of Worcestershire sauce is considered the traditional ‘Baltimore’ way. Crab cakes vary in size, from no bigger than a small cookie to as large as a hamburger.

No matter which way you eat them, we hope you enjoy this week’s recipe!

Ingredients
3 lb. crab meat (equal to 48 oz.)
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
3 dashes Tabasco sauce
3 eggs, whisked
1½ tablespoons dry basil
1½  tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
2 cups mayonnaise

Baking pan/sheet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Directions
Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl.

Shape into equal-sized balls, and lightly flatten into patties.

Place onto baking pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, spaced at least ¼ inch apart.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes; 15 minutes per side.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve with lemon and garnish, if desired.

From Johnna’s Kitchen: Spaghetti Squash with Peas & Parmesan

Actually a fruit, but known as a vegetable, “squash” comes from the Narragansett Native American word “askutasquash,” which means “eaten raw or uncooked.” Squashes come in many different shapes and colors including tan, orange, and blue. Did you know Presidents Washington and Jefferson grew squash in their gardens? The more yellow the squash, the more flavorful – and healthy! Spaghetti Squash is loaded with potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and other antioxidants. And – to add to the appeal – it’s low in calories (only 40 calories in one cup cooked), fat, sodium, and carbohydrates. So, if you are watching your weight, this veggie makes a tasty alternative to pasta and it’s high in fiber to keep you feeling full longer.

Serve this delicious dish as a side, or as a healthy “spaghetti” for the kids!

Spaghetti Squash with Peas & Parmesan

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups spaghetti squash, cooked
¼ cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic salt to taste

Directions:

Poke spaghetti squash all over with a knife and cook in the microwave for 8 – 12 minutes until soft. If you don’t have a microwave, place the poked squash on a baking pan and bake at 375° F for 45 to 60 minutes.

Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and scrape the flesh from the peel with a fork. It should flake off easily in strings, resembling spaghetti.

Heat olive oil and garlic in a pan until garlic is browned.
Add the cooked spaghetti squash, peas, and combine with garlic.
Cook until peas turn brighter green.
Season with garlic salt, salt and pepper, and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
Serve as a main or side dish.

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