Lemon-Blueberry Bundt Cake

I need to go blueberry picking.  Or to Wegmans.

from All You magazine

3  cups  all-purpose flour
2  teaspoons  baking powder
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/2  cup  lemon juice
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
1/2  cup  buttermilk
16  tablespoons  (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2  cups  sugar
2  teaspoons  grated lemon zest
4  large eggs, at room temperature
2  cups  blueberries 

2  cups  confectioners' sugar
1  tablespoon  buttermilk
2  to 4 Tbsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan with melted butter (I use cooking spray), add a few tablespoons of flour and rotate pan to evenly coat, tapping out excess.

Sift 3 cups flour with baking powder and salt into a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, vanilla and buttermilk. In a second large bowl, beat butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add about 1/4 of flour mixture, followed by 1/4 of buttermilk mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Repeat, alternating dry and liquid ingredients, until batter is thoroughly combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Transfer batter to pan, spreading evenly.

Bake until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then unmold cake.

Make glaze: Mix confectioners' sugar, buttermilk and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Glaze should be pourable; if it's too thick, add lemon juice, 1 tsp. at a time, until it reaches desired consistency. Pour half of glaze over warm cake. Let cool for 1 hour, then pour remaining glaze over cake and serve.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

A little labor-intensive, but SO worth it.

Taken straight from this blog.  Have you visited them yet?

 3 c. fresh blueberries (or frozen works too)
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. water
2 c. sugar
6 oz. light cream cheese, softened*
4 egg yolks
3 c. 2% milk*
1 c. half and half*
Optional: 1 prepared graham cracker crust

*If you don't care about the calories (and you really shouldn't when making home made ice cream!) use full-fat cream cheese and substitute heavy cream for the half and half and whole milk for the 2%. It makes it soooooo good.

In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, powdered sugar, and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes and then remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
In a large saucepan, combine milk and half and half (or cream and whole milk if you're taking that route). Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.

While milk is heating, combine cream cheese, egg yolks, and sugar in a bowl and mix well.After you have removed milk mixture from heat, very slowly pour half of the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture while the beater is running. This is called tempering the eggs, meaning that you're slowly acclimating them to heat so you can cook them without them curdling. Mix the egg mixture well and then add the tempered egg mixture back into the hot milk mixture. Over medium-low heat and stirring very often, cook to 160 degrees (use a candy thermometer; 160 degrees is considered safe for most animal products, eggs included). Remove from heat.

Place pan in ice--I actually just put the pan in my sink and then dumped a whole bunch of ice all around it; hey, it's one less dish for me to clean!
Allow to cool to a touchable temperature and then add those gorgeous blueberries and all of the liquid with them. Combine completely and put in the fridge for several hours until well chilled. Because this ice cream is a little more labor intensive that most, I make it up to this step one or even 2 days ahead of time. That way when you're ready to freeze it, it's well chilled and will be ready faster!

Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. After churning it will be like soft-serve. Place in an air-tight container in the freezer to let it set up.

If you're adding the graham cracker crust
: While the ice cream maker is working its magic, go ahead and break up the graham cracker crust. Leave some bigger chunks--the ice cream maker will break them down.

When the ice cream is very thick, add the pieces of graham cracker crust and then stop the motor as soon as the crust pieces have been mixed in. Transfer to a freezer-safe container (I just use a plastic food storage container) and freeze for at least three hours. The real beauty is that for about a week, the longer this sits in your freezer, the better it tastes. So you can make this well in advance if you're having a party.

Another reason why you want to freeze this for as long as possible is because this is pretty soft and seems to have a lower melting temperature than most commercial ice creams.

Blueberry Fool

Save the wisecracks, folks. :)

Simple and delicious -- also wonderful with other types of berries!

2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries (thaw if using frozen), reserving a few for garnish
1 - 3 Tbl. sugar (depending on how sweet your berries are)
1 1/4 c. heavy cream

Add blueberries and sugar to food processor or blender and puree until almost smooth. 
Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Reserve some of the whipped cream for garnish and fold the puree into the rest. Spoon into bowls. Garnish with reserved cream and berries. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 30 minutes.

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

2 c. blueberries
1 ripe banana
6 oz. vanilla yogurt
Sugar to taste (if necessary)
Handful of ice (can be omitted if using frozen blueberries)

Blend together in a blender or food processor.

Ina Garten's Blueberry Crumb Cake

There are no words for how yummy this cake is. 

For the streusel:

1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted (I use salted butter)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (I decreased this to 1 1/4 c.)

For the cake:

6 Tbl. unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest (I substitute a splash of lemon juice)
2/3 c. sour cream
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. fresh blueberries (I use almost 2 cups)
Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling (I don't bother with this)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.

For the streusel:
Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. It will look strange at first, and you will wonder if I've led you astray with this recipe, but I promise it will all come together.  Mix well and set aside.

For the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries (I toss my blueberries with about a tablespoon of flour before adding -- it prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the cake) and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers, crumble the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

Grandma Carter’s Banana Bread

There’s been a little buzz among some of my extended family (in-laws) lately about my grandma’s banana bread recipe so I thought I’d post it for those who aren’t blessed enough to have one of my mom’s prized cook books. ;)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup fruit juice (orange, grapefruit, pineapple, etc.)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Combine all ingredients thoroughly adding the eggs last. Bake in a greased and floured loaf pan at 350 degrees for 60 minutes (mine sometimes takes a little longer—it may be an altitude thing). I usually test mine with a toothpick to make sure it’s done but don’t over bake it.

I also often sprinkle the top of the batter with a little bit of brown sugar before baking. It adds just a touch of texture and extra sweetness. Plus I just really love brown sugar. We like to enjoy our banana bread with a schmear of plain cream cheese. Yum!

Lemon Bars

Tangy, sweet and refreshing. These cookies always make me think of my mom. The recipe comes from my great Auntie Donna. I thought I’d post it in honor of the blog’s new look. :)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (margarine works too but butter is oh, so much better in my opinion)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Combine above ingredients with a pastry blender or with a fork until dough forms. Pat lightly into 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
Combine filling ingredients and pour over baked crust. Bake 25 minutes longer. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cool completely. Cut into bars of desired size. Enjoy!

Easy Roasted Green Beans

roasted green beans I have made this using asparagus as well (heaven!). My sister said she tried it with baby crook neck squash quartered lengthwise and they were so sweet they were almost like candy.

1 pound fresh whole green beans

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon onion salt (or to taste)

1 teaspoon fresh herbs like lemon thyme or summer savory (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Trim the ends of green beans, rinse, pat dry and arrange in a single layer on a large cookie sheet with sides (I use a jelly roll pan). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle all over with the onion salt. Toss to coat. Sprinkle herbs over all and roast in the pre-heated (this is important—I’ve tried it at a lower temperature oven before and the result was not the same) oven for 12-15 minutes or until a little bit of carmelization starts to appear. This is a quick an easy accompaniment to all kinds of meals. Most recently we had it with these ribs for Father’s Day and it was wonderful.

Sweet Cereal Mix

I am a sucker for any type of  "trail mix-type" food.  Even a handful of GORP (Good Ol' Raisins and Peanuts -- with a handful of chocolate chips thrown in for good measure!) makes me happy.  This is a fun twist that I hadn't tried before, but have made three times since finding the recipe.  Maybe I can get a picture next time before my family* scarfs it down.

*by "my family," I mean me.  And my two-year-old.

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 box rice or corn chex
1/3 box of wheat chex
2 cups mini pretzels
1/2 box cheerios
1/2 bag honey teddy grahams 

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Grease 2 deep 9 x 13 inch foil pans. Mix all the cereal, pretzels and teddy grahams together and divide between the two foil tins, set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and then add in the corn syrup and brown sugar. Pour the mixture over the two tins of cereal and mix to coat well. Bake for 1 hour, making sure to stir the cereal every 15 minutes or so. Spread cereal onto GREASED waxed paper to separate and cool. Eat and enjoy your party in sweet-delish style!!

Chocolate-Mint Icebox Cake

Oh Martha.  You had me at "mint."  Or maybe it was "chocolate."  If not, it was definitely "cake."

from Everyday Food magazine

1 3/4 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon mint extract
1 package (9 ounces) chocolate wafers
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
Make the mint cream: With an electric mixer, beat heavy cream, sugar, and mint extract until stiff peaks form.

Line a serving platter with two sheets of wax paper side by side. Assemble the cake: Spread each wafer with about 1/2 tablespoon mint cream, forming stacks. Lay stacks horizontally along seam of paper, pressing gently to form a log. With small spatula or knife, cover log with remaining mint cream. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

To serve, gently remove wax paper from underneath cake (holding cake in place with a metal spatula, if necessary), and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Slice cake diagonally with a serrated knife.


I love refreshing, fruity drinks anytime of the year, but especially during the summer.  This drink is tasty and simple to make;  I found grenadine in the aisle with sparkling water/club soda/"hard" drink mixes.

from Better Homes and Gardens magazine

3 c. ginger ale
4 Tbsp. grenadine
4 Tbsp. orange juice
3 scoops orange sherbet

Blend all ingredients together and serve over ice (I didn't bother with the ice).


One of the amazing things about NY is the regional cuisine.  I had never heard of spiedies (pronounced "speedy") before Amy and Sean (a central New Yorker) introduced them to me.  You can purchase a spiedie marinade locally, but I found this one to be much more flavorful.  Traditionally, they are served on soft rolls, but I like to use this soft wrap bread.  I also top with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, along with the mayonnaise mixture.

from Cook's Country magazine

1/2 c. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbl. finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 Tbl. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp.pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 Tbl. mayonnaise
1 Tbl. red wine vinegar
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 sub rolls (or hot dog rolls)

Combine oil, garlic, basil, oregano, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes in large bowl. Transfer 2 tablespoons oil mixture to separate bowl and whisk in mayonnaise, vinegar, and lemon juice; refrigerate.

Prick chicken breasts all over with fork, cut into 1¼-inch chunks, and transfer to bowl with remaining oil mixture. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

Remove chicken from marinade and thread onto six 12-inch metal skewers. Grill chicken over hot fire, covered and turning frequently, until lightly charred and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to sub rolls or bread, remove skewers, and drizzle with mayonnaise mixture. Serve.

Soft Wrap Bread

Love this bread with cold cuts, chicken and egg salad, grilled meats and veggies (Italian sausage with peppers and onions is amazing!), and especially these.

Recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour
3 c. flour
1 1/4 c. boiling water
1/4 c. potato flour OR 1/2 c. potato buds or flakes
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. vegetable oil
1 tsp. instant yeast

Place 2 cups of the flour into a bowl or the bucket of a bread machine. Pour the boiling water over the flour, and stir till smooth. Cover the bowl or bucket and set the mixture aside for 30 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the potato flour (or flakes or buds) and the remaining 1 cup of flour with the salt, oil and yeast. 
Add this to the cooled flour/water mixture, stir, then knead for several minutes (by hand, mixer or bread machine) to form a soft dough. Note: You can allow the dough to go through the entire kneading cycle(s) in the bread machine, but it's not necessary; about a 5-minute knead in the machine, once it gets up to full kneading speed, is fine. The dough should form a ball, but will remain somewhat sticky. Add additional flour only if necessary; if kneading by hand, keep your hands and work surface lightly oiled. 
Let the dough rise, covered, for 1 hour.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces (each about the size of a handball, around 3 ounces), cover, and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes. 
Roll each piece into a 7"- to 8"-circle, and dry-fry them (fry without oil) over medium heat for about 1 minute per side, until they're puffed and flecked with brown spots (I did three at a time on my electric griddle). Adjust the heat if they seem to be cooking either too quickly, or too slowly; cooking too quickly means they may be raw in the center, while too slowly will dry them out.
Transfer the cooked breads to a wire rack, stacking them to keep them soft. Serve immediately, or cool slightly before storing in a plastic bag.

Berry Rhubarb Pie

Sean requested a berry rhubarb pie for dessert for Father's Day this year. I was excited when I found this award winning recipe on allrecipes.com!

I omitted the pie crust part of the recipe and used Melissa D'Arabian's pie crust instead.

1 cup fresh blackberries (I think I ended up with closer to two cups of frozen blackberries
1 cup raspberries
2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I ended up using 1/3 cup of flour because of the increased fruit)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon lemon juice ( I omitted this, as I felt that the rhubarb was tart enough)
1 1/2 tablespoons half-and-half cream
2 tablespoons white sugar

To Make Filling: In a medium bowl, combine blackberries, raspberries, and rhubarb. In a separate bowl, mix together 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Sprinkle over fruit mixture and stir gently. Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.
Mix 1 tablespoon melted butter and lemon juice into fruit filling, then spoon into pastry-lined pie pan. Roll out top crust and place over filling. Crimp edges and cut steam vents in top. Brush lightly with half and half and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake an additional 40 to 50 minutes, until crust is golden brown

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Dipped Banana Pops

Chocolate.  Peanut Butter.  Bananas.  Are you kidding me? 

taken from Simple Bites.

3 bananas
1 c. chocolate chips
2 Tbl. peanut butter
chopped peanuts (optional)
wooden popsicle sticks (this makes it easier to dip, but you can get by without them)
parchment or waxed paper

Peel bananas and cut into three pieces.  Insert popsicle sticks (if using) and place on a parchment lined pan in the freezer.  Combine chocolate chips and peanut butter in microwave-safe dish and microwave on medium power for a minute or two.  Stir until smooth.

Pour melted chocolate into a tall, narrow glass or container.  Remove bananas from freezer and dip, one by one, into the chocolate, coating the banana.  Place on tray and sprinkle with nuts (if using).  Return to freezer until solid, usually about 30-60 minutes.  Remove from freezer a few minutes before serving.

Salt Potatoes

These are a great addition to any summer meal, or you can dress them up a bit (sour cream, handful of cheddar, a sprinkling of bacon) and serve with a green salad.  Here in NY, you can buy a bag of "salt potatoes,' but I figured I'd post the recipe for those of you who aren't quite as lucky!

from the June issue of Food Network magazine, but seriously, it's not brain surgery.

4 lbs. small potatoes, such as baby Yukon Gold
2 1/4 c. kosher salt (I know this seems like a crazy amount, but trust me)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Put the potatoes, 8 cups of water and salt in a large pot.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until fork-tender, about 30 minutes.  Drain the potatoes in a colander and let dry, allowing some of the salt to crystallize.  Return to pot and pour butter over the top, stirring to coat each of the potatoes,

Strawberry Lemonade

If my husband could choose one drink to have for an entire month, it would be lemonade.  If he could choose one drink for the rest of his life, it would be strawberry lemonade.  I think I'm going to switch it up a bit and try lime juice next time!

2 c. strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
2 tsp. sugar
3/4 c. sugar (more or less according to taste)
1 c. lemon juice (sometimes I add a bit more to prevent it from getting diluted when I serve it over ice)
5 c. water  (1 1/2 c. hot water, 3 1/2 c. cold)

Combine strawberries and 2 tsp. sugar in a blender or food processor until desired consistency (I like to leave it a bit chunky).  Mix remaining sugar with 1 1/2 c. hot water until dissolved;  add lemon juice and remaining water.  Stir in strawberries.  Chill and enjoy.

Chocolate Milk Ice Cream

This is really easy. It doesn’t freeze really solid in the ice cream freezer but you can always ripen it afterwards in your refrigerator’s freezer if you like it more firm.

1/2 gallon chocolate milk

1 can sweetened condensed milk

8-ounce carton Cool Whip (or other non-dairy whipped topping)

Mix all together and add to an ice cram freezer. If you have a large freezer, milk may be added up to the fill line if desired (I would use cream  or half and half instead of milk). Follow manufacturer's directions for freezing.

Chicken Turnovers

These are tasty fresh out of the oven or at room temperature.  

2 c. chicken, cooked and shredded
1/2 medium onion, diced
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tubes of crescent rolls
1 can cream of chicken soup (or use this awesome recipe, omitting the chicken)
1/4 c. milk (omit if using the chicken gravy recipe)
1/4 c. cheddar, shredded

Combine chicken, onion, cream cheese, and pepper.  Unroll crescent dough and place a heaping tablespoon on each triangle,  Roll up dough from the widest side and place on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Combine soup, milk, and cheddar in a saucepan and heat through.  Serve over finished turnovers.

Caprese-Style Stuffed Chicken Rolls

Another Rachel Ray recipe.  I'm not a huge fan, but the recipes I've made over the past few weeks have been very well-received in my house!

4 chicken cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup basil leaves
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
2 tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced (I used a can of petite diced tomatoes)

Preheat a grill to medium. On a work surface, arrange the chicken cutlets in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Divide the basil among the cutlets in an even layer, then top each with some of the mozzarella and tomatoes. Roll up the cutlets and secure with toothpicks; brush the rolls with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the chicken rolls on the cooking grate, cover and grill, turning occasionally, until deep golden-brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes; transfer to a work surface. Let stand for 5 minutes, then remove the toothpicks and thinly slice crosswise.

BLT Salad

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 head romaine lettuce, cut into strips (6 cups)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 c. seasoned croutons
4 scallions, sliced
4 to 6 tablespoons Creamy Parmesan Dressing or bottled Caesar dressing

 In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.  Serve immediately.

3 Great Dressings

In an attempt to make more things from scratch, I've been experimenting with some salad dressing recipes.  These three from Real Simple magazine are currently on rotation at my house.  Each keeps for about a week in the refrigerator.

Creamy Parmesan Dressing

1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
1/4 c. sour cream
2 Tbl. white wine vinegar (I just used regular white vinegar)
kosher salt and black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, Parmesan, sour cream, vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Balsamic-Dijon Vinaigrette

1/3 c. olive oil
3 Tbl. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
kosher salt and black pepper

In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the oil, vinegar, mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Lemon and Shallot Vinaigrette

1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. honey
1 shallot, finely chopped
kosher salt and black pepper

In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the oil, lemon juice, honey, shallot, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.


Make.  Eat.  Enjoy.  This is sometimes called "leftover salad" because you can add pretty much anything to it.  Sometimes I'll add hard-boiled eggs, chunks of mozzarella, tuna, pepperoni, salami or garbanzo beans, depending on if  it is going to be a side or main dish.  Measurements are up to you -- whatever looks good!

Tomatoes, cut into chunks (or use grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half)
Red onion, thinly sliced
Bell pepper, thinly sliced
Cucumber, seeded and quartered
Fresh parsley, chopped
Salad dressing, approximately 1/2 c. (go with vinegar/oil-based dressing -- I love Newman's Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette)
6 c. cubed Italian bread, toasted

Combine tomatoes, onion, and dressing, and allow to sit for 20 minutes.  Add peppers, cucumber, and parsley and let stand for another 15 minutes.  Just before serving, add bread cubes and toss to blend.

Grilled Strawberry Cheesecake Towers

I am sorry in advance if you are tempted to make this. :)

from Every Day with Rachael Ray (they seriously knocked it out of the park with this issue!)

1 lb. strawberries, hulled
Two 12-ounce pound cakes, cut into twelve 1/2-inch slices
4 Tbl. butter, melted
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (I used low-fat or American Neufchatel cheese)
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup strawberry jelly, melted (microwave for about 15 seconds)

Preheat a grill to high. Thread the strawberries onto skewers and place on the grill. Cook, turning frequently, until lightly charred, 5 to 7 minutes; transfer to a bowl (I cheated and just placed them in a foil pan on the grill for a bit longer -- they didn't char, but were still great). Lower the heat to medium. Brush the pound cake slices on both sides with the melted butter. Grill, turning once, until toasted and grill marks appear, about 8 minutes.

Coarsely chop the strawberries. In a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Beat in the heavy cream until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Stir in three-quarters of the chopped strawberries.

Brush the cake slices with the jelly, then spread each with 3 tablespoons of the strawberry cream. Stack them in twos, cream side up, to make 6 double-decker stacks. Dollop each with the remaining strawberry cream and chopped strawberries.

Grilled Fruit Sundaes

This time of year, I am all about the grill, and while s'mores are an oh-so-delicious and reliable treat, I love to take advantage of the bounty of fresh fruit that is available!

 from Every Day with Rachael Ray

3 peaches, nectarines or plums, cut into 8 wedges each
6 Tbl. sugar
1 pinch salt
6 waffle cups (pizzelle cookies are a terrific substitute, just serve them on the side)
French Vanilla ice cream

In a bowl, toss the fruit with the sugar; let sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cover the grates of a grill with foil and preheat to high. Arrange the fruit, skin side down, on the foil, close the grill lid and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the wedges to one of the cut sides, cover and cook for 2 minutes more. Flip the fruit to the other cut side and cook, covered, for another 1 or 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop. Add the fruit and any juice to a bowl and stir in the salt; let stand for 5 minutes.  Fill each waffle cup with ice cream and top with the fruit and its juices. Serve immediately.

Double-Decker Stuffed Portobello Sandwiches

Now, I could never in a million, trillion years get my best guy to eat these, but boy HOWDY are they yumm-o!

from Every Day with Rachael Ray

6 potato rolls
12 portobello mushroom caps, stems discarded
1 red onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices (I  made mine a bit thinner)
1/4 c. olive oil
Salt and pepper
8 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (next time I am going to try it with Boursin)

Preheat grill (or grill pan) to high.  Grill the rolls until lightly toasted.  Brush mushroom caps and onion with the olive oil;  season with salt and pepper.  Place on the grill, cover and cook, turning once, for 8 minutes.  Transfer onion to a plate.  Divide the blue cheese among 6 of the mushroom caps, stem side up, and top each with a remaining mushroom, stem side down.  Cover and grill until the cheese "melts," about 1 minute.  Place a mushroom stack on each of the roll bottoms and top with the onion and roll tops (I found it a bit easier to top the cheese with the onion and then the second mushroom).

Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese-Bacon Vinaigrette

A Guy Fieri recipe.   Served with garlic bread this makes an awesome summer meal!

4 Tbl. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 c. chopped red onion
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 heads romaine lettuce, cut in 1/2 lengthwise
1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the grill to high heat (or use the coals left after cooking).

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a saute pan over high heat. Add the onions and bacon and cook until the bacon is crispy. To the same pan add the balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

Brush the romaine lettuce with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, place on the grill cut side down, and quickly sear.  Serve the lettuce, cut side up, and drizzle the balsamic dressing over the lettuce. Sprinkle with blue cheese and garnish with cracked black pepper.

Bacony Barley Salad

Do yourself a favor and make this today.

3 strips bacon, chopped
1 1/3 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. barley
1 lb. peeled. cooked shrimp, tails removed, coarsely chopped
1/3 c. lime juice
2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. finely diced red onion
1/2 c. chopped fresh soap leaves, I mean cilantro
2 Tbl. extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 avocado, peeled and diced

Cook bacon in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until crispy, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towel; discard fat.
Add water and salt to the pan and bring to a boil. Add barley and return to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 35 minutes.
Combine shrimp and lime juice in a large bowl. Add the cooked barley; toss to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the barley to absorb some of the lime juice. Add tomatoes, onion, cilantro and the bacon; toss to coat. Add oil and pepper and toss again. Stir in avocado and serve.

Ding Dong/ Twinkie Filling

5 TBSP flour
5 TBSP sugar
1 cup milk

Cook over medium heat until thick, let cool in fridge

Combine and beat for 6 min;
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Add cooled milk mixture and beat for 5 more minutes