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I had lunch today with two sweet nieces and an awesome sister-in-law. If you are looking for a simple and delicious menu, give this one a try!
We ate outside and each place had a tissue paper flower party favor filled with chocolates. I used these instructions, but used toilet paper rolls cut in half (what I had on hand at 10:00 pm) instead of the clear acetate containers. These were simple to make and inexpensive.
We ate salad with mandarin oranges and candied almonds along side a tomato pie.
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
10 fresh large basil leaves chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Hellman’s light)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used light)
salt and pepper
1 9″ pre-baked deep dish pie shell
Lightly sprinkle tomatoes with salt and place in a colander to drain for at least 15 minutes. I prepared all of the ingredients early in the morning and then assembled just before baking. This gave the tomatoes plenty of time to drain to keep the crust from being soggy.
Combine grated cheeses, mayonnaise and sour cream.
Mix tomatoes, basil and onions and spread in the bottom of the pre-baked piecrust. Spread cheese mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.
Let set 15-20 minutes before serving. This is also good served at room temperature.
Mandarin Salad Dressing (from my friend Jenny)
Mix the following in a container that can be shaken:
1/4 olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt (I use Kosher)
a dash of Tabasco pepper sauce
1 T chopped fresh parsley
I think it is best to make this dressing ahead of time to allow the flavors to come together and fully get the sugar dissolved. Shake well before dressing the lettuce. This makes enough dressing for about 4-5 nice size salads (about 6 to 7 large handfuls of lettuce)
In a dry skillet place 3 T sugar and heat over medium heat. As soon as you see any of the sugar melting add in 1/2 cup slivered almonds. The sugar will turn to syrup and coat the almonds. As soon as you see the slightest color change on the almonds– remove from heat. The almonds will continue cooking and it is very easy to burn them. Sometimes when I make these I get more of a crystallized looking coating. It doesn’t matter—is is all good!
Toss mixed greens with dressing, a regular sized can of drained mandarin oranges and the candied almonds. Serve immediately after dressing the salad.
For dessert, Miniature Cherry Cheesecakes
I used this pan, but I think these could be easily made in mini muffin tins.
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese (I used light)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup ground pecans
1/3 of a stick butter melted
3 T sugar
1 can cherry pie filling
Spray pan with nonstick spray. Blend cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla. Set aside. Mix ground nuts with butter and 3 tablespoons sugar. Divide the nut mixture between 12 cups. Press in bottom and up sides. Fill cups evenly with cream cheese mixture. Bake about 14 minutes at 375 degrees. Let cool on rack about 20 minutes and then remove from pan. Place cherries on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. These freeze beautifully without the cherries on top. Makes 12 miniature cheesecakes.
Oh and for drinks, try a little lemon-AID!
Here is a printable version of the recipes