Friday, June 25, 2010

Wednesday's Recipe - Peach Cobbler

Yes, I know today is Friday. :P Where do all the days go?

I bought fresh peaches this week. Voila! Peach Cobbler. Easy as...cobbler! Even as much as I enjoy making pie, cobbler is much easier.

Peach Cobbler

1/2 cup margarine (1 stick)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
7-8 ripe peaches, washed, peeled, and chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place margarine in a medium casserole dish. Put in oven to melt margarine. Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add milk. Stir. Pour over mixture over melted margarine. Add chopped peaches. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned.

Serve warm or cold, with or without ice cream. Can substitute 3-4 cups of chopped apples, raspberries, mulberries, blackberries, or pears for peaches. Or try a combination!

Happy Baking!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Molly the Motivator

Today I got a kick in the backside to hurry up and get published. While shopping for shoes to wear to an outdoor wedding tomorrow, I met a romance fan. How do I know she's a fan of romance, you ask. Well, I sort of got distracted by a few little black dresses--a perfect match for the black evening sandals I got for the Golden Heart/RITA Awards at the RWA National Conference next month. Yes, I bought the shoes first. What can I say? I love shoes.

As the salesperson is ringing up my purchases (one pair of shoes and one little black dress), she asks if I'm buying them for a special occasion. I tell her about the wedding and the writers' conference.

"What do you write?" she asks.

"Romance," I say.

"Really? Romance is my guilty pleasure!"

"You have nothing to feel guilty about." I grin. Why do women think of romance as a secret indulgence?

She goes on to ask for titles of my books. When I answer I'm working on getting published, she gives the kind of encouraging response every writer wants to hear. "Oh, I'm sure you'll get published." Then she asks if I have a website. (A savvy reader, how cool is that?) I tell her about my blog and that I'm on facebook and twitter. She says she loves blogging. Can she have my blog address?

So, this blog is dedicated to Molly. Thanks for the motivation boost. Follow me and I'll make sure you're one of the first to know when I get published. : )

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wednesday's Recipe - Foil Dinners

I couldn't resist going rustic with this week's recipe after spending four days at Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. Okay, so I didn't rough it in a tent, or even a camper. A cabin is much more relaxing at the end of five miles of rugged hiking. Look for pictures of Rock House and Cantwell Cliffs in a couple days.

Foil Dinners (makes 1 packet--double or triple as needed)

2-3 chicken breast tenderloins
1 medium onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1/8 inch thick
3 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons margarine, cut into 4 pieces

Start a charcoal fire before assembling foil packets. Use about 3-4 lbs. of charcoal for one packet, 5-6 lbs. for two packets, 7-8 lbs. for three packets. Fire should be very hot for cooking.

For each packet--begin with a sheet of foil about 26-30 inches long, shiny side up. Place chicken in the center of the foil. Salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley. Top with sliced onions, then sliced potatoes. Salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley. Dot with margarine. Top with sliced carrots. To close packet, bring side edges together. Fold until flat against the top of the mound. Fold in top and bottom edges. Squeeze firmly.

Tear a second piece of foil the same size as the first. Wrap again, right side up. Make sure to turn so center seams form an X instead of lining up on top of each other. Fold closed as instructed above. Squeeze firmly. **Always double wrap with foil**

Level out hot coals, setting aside 5-6 briquets per packet. Lay packet directly on coals. Top with set aside briquets. Cook 20-25 minutes. Be very careful of escaping steam when opening packets!

Tips--Can use steak, boneless pork chops, hamburger patties, or go meatless. Try garlic and herb seasoning or paprika for different flavor.


Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wednesday's Recipe - Magic Cookie Bars

Yeah, I know. Late again. Sorry, I was out of town for a couple days visiting IU and the area nearby. On Wednesday my son and I hiked two miles in the pouring rain at McCormick's Creek State Park while Dad/Hubby attended a meeting on campus at the Indiana Geological Survey. Thursday we all met with the director, one of the advisors, and the special ed. coordinator for IU High School, a virtual correspondence/online diploma-granting school. We're hoping to replace homeschooling with their program. After the meeting we returned to the park for a couple more miles of rugged trails--with no rain, but lots of bugs. My son and I decided we prefer rain. :D

This week's recipe is one of my all-time favorite cookie recipes. Have everything ready before you begin and these heavenly bars will be done in about 40 minutes, including prep.

Magic Cookie Bars

2 packages graham crackers, crushed (packages, not boxes--2/3 of a box)
1/2 cup margarine
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 11.5 oz. package milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1/2 cup coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put margarine in a 13"x9" cake pan; place in oven until margarine is melted. Remove from oven. Pour graham cracker crumbs over margarine to make a crust in the bottom of the pan. Pour and spread sweetened condensed mik over crust. Sprinkle on milk chocolate chips. Combine walnuts and coconut. Sprinkle mixture over chocolate and press with fingers. Return pan to oven for about 20-22 minutes or until golden brown.

These are fantastic served warm with a scoop of ice cream. Top with hot fudge and caramel sauce. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Or serve cool. They're great that way, too!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

May Report

May was a tough month--three birthdays, two holidays, and one family emergency. The bad news...I had only 29,330 words for the month, not quite making my 1000 words a day goal. The good year-to-date total through May 31 is 151,517 words (or just over 1003 words a day average). Not too shabby, huh? I'm already pushing myself harder this month. I plan to make up for May!

Happy Writing!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wednesday's Recipe - Pick Your Own Combo Pasta

I'm a couple days late in posting this week's recipe, but sometimes life gets in the way. Want another quick and easy recipe with only a handful of ingredients? Pick your meat, pick your vegetables, pick your pasta. Ready in about thirty minutes, including prep!

Pick Your Own Combo Pasta

1 cup Italian salad dressing, divided
1 lb. peeled shrimp or boneless skinless breast
1 medium onion, chopped
16 oz. can quartered artichoke hearts, drained or 2 cups broccoli florets
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. pasta (I usually use shells or rotini)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare pasta according to directions on box. While pasta cooks, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup salad dressing, onion, and shrimp or chicken. Saute until cooked through. Add vegetables. Cook broccoli until crisp-tender, artichokes and mushrooms until heated through.

Toss remaining salad dressing with cooked pasta. Add contents of skillet and mix gently. Serve. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

I prefer shrimp and artichoke or chicken and broccoli, but feel free to substitute or interchange.

A light, easy-to-prepare meal for those hot summer days!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!