Chickpea Cucumber Salad

Chickpea and Cucumber Salad

In late February, Mike and I tried Blue Apron meals for a few weeks.  We really enjoyed them and ended up trying many new foods as result.  It was a fun experiment and I think we will probably do a few more weeks again in the future.

One of the recipes we tried was a chickpea and cucumber salad.  It was paired with salmon and I ate the leftover salad for lunch the next day.  Since then, I haven’t been able to get the salad out of my head — so I made my own last night, with a few modifications. This recipe is loosely based on that meal.  Even Mike ate it — and these are mostly ingredients he won’t typically eat.

This salad makes a great side dish for fish or poultry.  It’s also a great lunch dish or a side to take to a cookout or potluck.  It seems perfect for the season as everything is finally turning green in our area after a very long, snowy winter.  This salad tastes like Spring!

Chickpea Cucumber Salad
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Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup soft, crumbly goat cheese
  • ¼ tsp. garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ of a red onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp. dill weed, minced,
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, goat cheese, garlic salt, and pepper. Stir to combine into a dressing-like texture. Set aside. In a larger bowl, combine the chickpeas, cucumber, red onion, and dill weed. Mix well and add dressing -- stirring to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

 

Pumpkin Mini-Chocolate Chip Bars

Things have been crazy here at the Five Wooden Spoons house — you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t posted a recipe in eons.  Well — this is due to a lot of factors — too much work, three kiddos with school and activities, and I’ve just felt uninspired to photograph food lately.  I’m still cooking — we have to eat — but I just never love the photos I take, so then I stop taking them.

Ultimately, no one cares (but me…) if my photos are perfect.  So I just need to get over it. Hence, another imperfect photo.

I’ve also been busy being social.  We constantly have something going on with friends these days – which is definitely a good thing!  Last Friday, I hosted a “Mom’s Night Sleepover” at my house.  I invited a big group of moms to my house in their pjs or yoga pants to eat, relax, and chat.  We had good intentions of playing a game, but that never happened. Three of us – Jamie, Jocelyn, and myself — somehow stayed awake the entire night.  I was awake and going for just over 31 hours before I convinced Bo to take a nap with me.  Crazy.

But anyway, for the sleepover, I made these pumpkin mini-chocolate chip bars and they were delicious.  Bo and I cut them into squares and ate all of the edges before the moms arrived.  These are perfect for fall and were perfect for a gathering.

Pumpkin Mini-Chocolate Chip Bars
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Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini-chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with Baking Pam. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg, vanilla, and pumpkin. Reduce speed and add dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the mini-chips. Spread the batter in the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

 

 

Taco Salad Dip

Happy 4th of July! (And Happy Birthday to me…) Are you looking for a recipe to take with you to a pool party or pre-firework’s bash?  This one is a great pick!  And super easy!

Last week, Mike was motivated to make this yummy taco salad dip.  Life has been a bit chaotic – we had a large garage sale and all of the setup and house cleanup that comes with it – combined with three small children and a full-time job (plus a few side jobs) mean that I haven’t had much time in the kitchen recently.

On Saturday, while I was outside working the garage sale, Mike took the kids to the grocery store and bought the ingredients for this dip which he made on Sunday.  It’s tasty!  We ended up eating it for dinner but it would be a great dish to bring for a picnic or potluck — or even just to serve as an appetizer.

I took the leftovers in a small container on a picnic with the trio on Tuesday.  The kids wouldn’t touch the stuff — but that just meant more for me!

Kudos to Mike for this yummy dip.  And from rescuing us from another meal of foraging through the pantry. 🙂

Taco Salad Dip
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Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • ½ lb. hamburger, browned
  • 1 - 15 oz can refried beans
  • 8 oz tomato paste
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion
  • 2-3 drops tabasco sauce
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ tsp. chili powder
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1-2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 small tomato, diced
Instructions
  1. Brown hamburger and drain. Add refried beans, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, chopped onion, tabasco, and garlic sauce. Simmer until heated through and bubbly. Spread into a 9x13 pan. In a small bowl combine the sour cream and chili powder. Spread over the meat mixture. Top with cheese, lettuce, and diced tomato. Good served hot or cold with tortilla chips or corn chips.

 

Laura’s Coca-Cola Cake

*****The Weitl clan is on vacation so this post was graciously written by the infamous Laura.  Special thanks to one of my BFFs for contributing!!******

I love Coca-Cola. I love chocolate. I love cake. What I didn’t realize until recently is that I could put all of those things together and come up with delicious yumminess.

I love the get togethers we have with the Weitls. I was supposed to bring a dessert for one of our family dinners and decided to make Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake. I had made it once before and shared a few pieces with Jamie and she really liked it so I decided to make it again. No one was disappointed.

Before this recipe, I had never made a cake from scratch. I didn’t see the point since opening a box was so easy. After this, though, a box cake just isn’t quite good enough. The ingredients are easy to find. In fact, I had all of them in my house when I decided to make it the first time except for one… buttermilk. That was easy to remedy though. Just put ½ Tbsp. of white vinegar into a ½  cup measuring cup and then fill the cup with milk. Let it stand for 5 minutes and you have buttermilk substitute. Clean up is easy as well. There aren’t a lot of dishes to deal with. The hardest part is waiting for the cake to cool a bit before pouring on the frosting.


Coca-Cola Cake
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Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • Cake Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • ¼ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 c. Coca-Cola
  • ½ c. buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I used Jamie’s Homemade Vanilla)
  • Frosting Ingredients:
  • ½ c. butter
  • ¼ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ c. Coca-Cola
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Cake Directions: Preheat oven to 350degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside. Put butter, cocoa powder, Coca-Cola, and buttermilk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and pour it into the flour mix. Stir until combined. Add 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla. Mix. Pour into greased 9x13. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. I like to take it out a little early so it is nice and moist.
  2. Frosting Directions: Combine butter, cocoa powder, and remaining Coca-Cola in a saucepan (I use the same one I used for the cake) over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk in powered sugar until smooth. Pour frosting over warm cake.

 

 

This cake receives 10 Wooden Spoons — a very high honor!  5 from the Weitl clan and 5 from the Kilmartin clan.  We all loved it and devoured it — as you can tell from Cade’s chocolatey face above!

Jack Daniel’s Sauce

When I was in high school and college, one of my favorite places to go out to eat was TGIFriday’s.  I loved the Jack Daniel’s sauce — especially the appetizer with chicken tenders and the grilled chicken and salmon.  Last week, I was craving it, and without a TGIFriday’s in our area, I set out to recreate the dish at home.

I threw this sauce together on a weeknight and it made for a very tasty dinner.  I baked the salmon for about 12 minutes and made the rice and vegetables in the rice cleaner so overall it was fairly painless.  This sauce packs all the flavor and must be very close to TGIFriday’s recipe.  Since only Mike and I ate the salmon, I saved the rest of the sauce glaze chicken from the grill over the weekend.  Also a hit!  Both Mike and I approve — and we didn’t offer any to the children… 😉

Jack Daniel's Sauce
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Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 whole finely chopped red onion
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup teriyaki sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup white grape juice
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • ½ tsp. Tabasco
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic. Add all ingredients and bring to a slow boil. Lower heat and let simmer for 20 minutes or until it begins to thicken and becomes more sauce like. Great served with grilled chicken, salmon, or steak.

 

Taffy Apple Salad

I’m not one that typically enjoys random side dishes but this recipe works great as a tasty side for a cookout or potluck.  It’s also a great snack or dessert.  I originally found this recipe when I was doing Weight Watchers made with sugar free/fat free pudding and Cool Whip free.  However, this batch was fully leaded.

I thought my kids might like it but they weren’t even willing to try it.  Neither was Mike.  It’s a strange combination of ingredients but the flavor and taste is quite delicious.  It’s also pretty quick to throw together for a last minute gathering.

Taffy Apple Salad
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Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 4 green apples, chopped
  • 1 - 16 oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 1 small instant butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1 container Cool Whip
  • ¾ cup peanuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a blender, puree the crushed pineapple. Add the butterscotch pudding mix and whip until well combined. Fold in the Cool Whip. Add the chopped apples and fold in. Garnish with peanuts and chill before serving.