written by Trenda
Today was a delightful spring day with the sun intermittently shining and sparkling off the lake or hiding behind dark clouds. The warm breeze pleaded with us to come outside and tempted us with bird song, gentle peals from our wind chimes, and distant rumbles of thunder. We happily acquiesced and I made lunch for us to enjoy out on the deck.
Luncheon Menu … Chicken Salad Cucumber Bites, Crisp Parmesan & Cheddar Crostini, Tomato & Cucumber Salad, Chicken Salad, Spiced Iced Tea, and Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting … Yum! (:
To make my Tomato & Cucumber Salad I used a seedless English cucumber. English cucumbers are also known as “seedless” cucumbers and they are longer than the regular garden variety cucumber. Their flavor is milder, the peel is thinner, and they have smaller, less noticeable seeds than their American cousin (; After peeling my English cucumber, I used my favorite kitchen tool from The Pampered Chef which slices cucumber effortlessly into rounds with decorative ridges. I then de-seeded and chopped up a tomato, added sliced red onion, salt and pepper to taste, and Marzetti Classsic Ranch Dressing. I didn’t measure any of the ingredients; I just adjusted the amounts of each ingredient to “our liking” or as a dear uncle would say … “By guess and by golly.” (;
One item I always keep on hand is Italian whole wheat bread loaves. I buy a package of 12 inch loaves in the Bakery Department and then re-wrap each loaf individually in foil and place them in our freezer. I love having these available to pop in the oven to “dress up” a simple meal and they are delicious with soups or to munch on with any salad. To make my recipe for Parmesan & Cheddar Crostini, I take a loaf from the freezer, unwrap it, place it on a chopping board and immediately begin slicing it with a serrated bread knife, “on the diagonal” into thin slices, while it is still frozen. TIP: Slicing bread while it is still frozen makes it easy to slice into precise, even pieces that are not misshapen, which happens when slicing “soft” bread. I only cut as many slices as I think we’ll want from the loaf, then I re-wrap it and place it back in freezer.
- Slice bread and place on a baking sheet lined with foil
- Brush each piece lightly with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, being careful to cover entire surface.
- Sprinkle each slice evenly and lightly with garlic salt and pepper
- Add grated Parmesan cheese (enough to cover entire surface and “flavor” bread, but not so much that it “oozes” over the bread, when melted)
- Then, add a smaller amount of Cheddar cheese on top for additional flavor “depth” and color.
- Sprinkle each slice with a dusting of paprika
- Cook in a pre-heated, 325 degree oven until cheese has melted and edges of bread are a deep golden brown.
Now, for my delicious and super easy dessert … Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting! Make a batch of your favorite brownie recipe from scratch or use a boxed mix, if you prefer. Tip: You will probably have to double your homemade brownie recipe – or use 2 boxes of brownie mix – to fill a 13″x 9″ baking dish. Make brownies according to directions. Place in oven. When brownies are done, take them out of the oven and immediately pour a 12 oz. bag of Nestle’s morsels – or other candy morsels – over the brownies. (I used chocolate chip and mint morsels) After candy has “rested”and softened on warm brownies, use an off-set spatula to spread candy smoothly over the brownies. Let cool completely and slice with a sharp knife.
The candy hardens into a smooth, perfect glaze with no mixing or additional recipe required for frosting! (:
Fitz and Floyd Autumn Harvest Grapes & Leaves Pitcher with matching creamer and sugar bowl …
“Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not!” (: Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting look especially festive when presented in shamrock cupcake liners and under a domed spring green pedestal plate.
Desserts under a dome … Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Hope your day is colored “in green” and has moments tinged with “shenanigan’s and malarkey!” (;
“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Psalms 34:8
From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda
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