Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Spicy.Sausage.Three.Cheese.Casserole

I’ve been such a bad blogger lately.  I get busy and my blog suffers.  Here is a delicious breakfast casserole I made weeks ago…but was completely a hit at work.  And I really hesitated on calling it a casserole, because it gives it such a Grandma connotation.  But then a wise person told me...there’s nothing bad with being compared to Grandma when cooking.  Total Fact.

::Spicy Sausage Three Cheese Casserole::
With Jalapeño ranch topping

The original recipe was found here…but definitely added to it and made some tweaks to make it a bit healthier.

[Ingredients]
3 links turkey sausage, de-cased, rolled into small chunks
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups sliced, fresh mushrooms
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups egg substitute (one small egg beaters carton)
2 cups shredded Cheddar (reduced fat)
1 ½ cups small curd cottage cheese (non-fat)
1 ¼ cups shredded Swiss cheese (1%)
4 cups frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
1 can spicy rotelle

[Directions]
1. In a large skillet, cook sausage. Set aside.
2. Sauté onions in drizzle of olive oil until soft/clear. Set aside.
3. Sauté bell peppers until partially cooked…add mushrooms and continue cooking until soft. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine eggs, egg beaters, cheese, and hash browns.
5. Add all cooked ingredients + rotelle (drained well) and mix together.
6. Add salt and pepper.
7. Transfer to baking dish (13-in x 9-in x 2-in) and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 min to an hour (or until cooked all the way through). Can also let sit over night in fridge and cook in the morning.

Top with salsa and/or jalapeño ranch dip (recipe below).


This breakfast turned out really really well. I made a double batch and had a variety of baking dishes. The smaller, shallower dish cooked better. Prefer the edges that are crispier. Some of the center pieces were a little less firm than desired. But think part of this was due to not draining the rotelle well enough/too much liquid. Overall, was really delicious. And the jalapeño ranch dip was an insane hit (as you can see by the almost-empty container pictured above).

::Jalapeño Ranch Dip::

The desire behind making this was two-fold. 1) thought it would be a good topping for breakfast 2) was going to a UT football game watching party later that weekend and thought this would be good to bring. The recipe was a combination of a few I found online, majority of it was based after the dip from Chuy’s in Austin.

[Ingredients]
16 oz. Sour cream (of course I picked the fat free)
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip powder
1 handful of cilantro leaves
1 cup of pickled jalapeño slices (keep adding more if not spicy enough)
1 tomatillo (this was found on a different recipe…really don’t think it’s a must-have but if you don’t have or want to buy a tomatillo then I’d prob throw in some lime juice…roughly half a lime)


[Directions]
Throw in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender (first time to use…love) or throw in a blender.

Completely delicious as topping or as dip with carrots/bell pepper/etc. Literally might have been more enjoyed by my pod at work than the actual casserole.



Hook 'em Horns!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

White.Bean.Turkey.Sausage.Chili.

It has been wet. And gloomy. And cold (81 degrees) here in Dallas the past two days...and this is what it looks like outside my office.


I was THIS close to digging into the fall shoe section of my closet and wearing some boots today.  But that felt a little aggressive.  However, I couldn't shake the need for something hot for lunch so I went home and made...

::White.Bean.Turkey.Sausage.Chili::
with spicy tomatoes and peppers


Now it may not even be legal to call something chili that took like 11 minutes to make...but I'm going with it.  So fast - so easy - so good.

[Ingredients]
2 turkey sausage links (I like spicy Italian) de-cased and pulled into small balls
1 can of cannelloni beans (rinsed)
1 can of rotelle
Splash of Chipotle Tabasco
Salt
Juice of 1/2 a lime

In a medium skillett over medium-high heat, spray pan with cooking spray and brown sausage...covering until cooked through.  (roughly 5 minutes)

Then add can of beans and rotelle.  Simmer covered 5 minutes.

Then turn off heat.  Add Tabasco, sprinkle of salt, and lime juice.  Stir one more time then enjoy.

Honestly so fast - so easy - so good.



Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nectarines.Two.More.Ways.

So as promised, this is the week of nectarines...and below are two more ideas for this delicious fruit...

::Spicy.Nectarine.Salad::
with Jalapeno, Cilantro, and Red Onion


I went to this great little restaurant in Dallas with my Mom the other day called Two Sisters and they had a similar salad that I've tried to recreate.

[Ingredients:]
Everything pictured below...

1/4th or so of thinly sliced red onion
1 jalapeno chopped finely
2-3 nectarines cubed
Juice of 1 lime
Small bunch of cilantro, chopped
Little drizzle of olive oil
Bonus not pictured: the restaurant had mozzarella balls in theirs...wonderful...but didn't have on me and to keep it a little healthier opt-ed out...but seriously good add

Just stir all ingredients together and enjoy.  Fine to eat right away but also gets better with time in the fridge.


Good as kind of a funky fruit salad dessert...or great with grilled chicken.



::Nectarine.Caprese::
with Goat Cheese, Tomatoes, and Basil


I love basil.  Love it.  Just bought a little thing of it and going to try to plant it.  I used to have a pot of basil and rosemary that my Dad planted for me...but for the life of me...not sure why it didn't survive the Winter...


So to make the caprese salad, just slice the nectarines and tomatoes and layer in some cheese.  Standard operating procedure is mozzarella but again...didn't have, so goat cheese gives it an interesting twist.  Then sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and balsam vin.

Delicious and beautiful.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Greek.Yogurt with Strawberries.Blueberries and Walnuts


In case you need to see another variation to convince you to go out and buy some Greek yogurt...here is today's breakfast...

Scoop of Greek yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon.  Toasted, chopped walnuts.  Fresh strawberries and blueberries.

Was really, really good....

Just sayin.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Honey.Cinnamon.Greek.Yogurt with Nectarines and Toasted.Walnuts

I'm completely craving nectarines right now.  They are in season --- and so juicy and delicious.  This week will definitely be dedicated to these little guys...


Yesterday at Central Market I was laughing to myself as I literally tested every single nectarine on display for ripeness.  I wanted to eat one immediately vs. wait for it to ripen so I was lightly squeezing every one.  Probably tested like 50 different ones to try to find one what was ripe enough...and was laughing because it reminded me of Jenga!  You know how you lightly tap-tap-tap each block to find the one that moves?  That was me at the nectarine display.

Besides nectarines, my other new kick is Greek yogurt.  I really like FAGE Total 0% that I found at Whole Foods yesterday.  For 1 cup of yogurt it's 120 cal / 0g fat / 20g of protein.  So this morning, I made the following for breakfast:

::Honey Cinnamon Greek Yogurt with Nectarines & Toasted Walnuts::


Just scoop a cup of the yogurt into a bowl --- sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey (I used sugar free).  Then added fresh, cubed nectarines and chopped walnuts that I quickly toasted on the stove.  Was delicious, healthy, and perfect combination of creamy, sweet, and crunchy.

It can also be made really quickly.  If you know me, you know I'm NOT a morning person.  I'm usually on two-wheels trying to get to work on time while simultaneously eating a bowl of cereal and curling my eyelashes.  I know.  It's terrible.  I've really tried to lock-it up a bit since the great cereal disaster of 2009 (pictured below) and that usually just means forgoing breakfast until I get to work...and get to eat some instant oatmeal out of a styrofoam cup.


However, you can pre-toast and chop the walnuts and dice the nectarine the night before and put the whole thing together quickly.  This was great and easy and delicious.  Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hot.Dog.Challenge.

::Cranberry-Walnut Turkey Sausage Dog::
:with pickled red onions and peppers:




So in an effort to get me to blog more, a friend of mine gave me a culinary challenge: What’s your take on the classic American Hot Dog?


Interesting.


I got excited starting to think about that question and all the different routes I could take. When I think about hot dogs though, the first thing that comes to mind is: Baseball


Maybe because although I probably only average about 1.5 hot dogs a year…they are always at some sports stadium. Wrapped in foil. And the idea of one is usually better than the reality. Or maybe because it’s big news in the Big D right now that Nolan Ryan just bought the Texas Rangers. I’m wondering if because of that, the autographed baseball my dad bought for my sister is worth more? Probably won’t have much impact on the Pete Rose ball he got for me.


So anyways, the following is my culinary twist on an American, summer, hot dog meal. However, I’d like to think I’ve not only made it healthier --- but also a little more interesting.

::Cranberry-Walnut Turkey Sausage Dog with Non-Fried, Paprika French Fries & No Mayo, Creamy Coleslaw::



All the below serves 2 and if you are making the full meal --- prepare in the following order…


::Non-Fried, Paprika French Fries::
[These are are a recipe from my amazing sister Dani and they are seriously delicious]



[Ingredients]
3-5 small red potatoes
Olive oil
Salt
Paprika

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes in half, then into wedges. Add to small mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Mix until well coated. Spread onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt then paprika. Also, feel free to sprinkle with chili powder as well. Put in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes. (No need to move or stir while cooking)






::No Mayo, Creamy Coleslaw::
[The trick is Greek yogurt.  I've been hearing a lot about it 'great source of protein' and wanted to give it a shot.  Seriously tastes very much like normal coleslaw but way less fat.]



[Ingredients]
2 cups of shredded cabbage/coleslaw
3T plain Greek yogurt
1T Dijon mustard
2T vinegar
1T fresh-squeezed lime juice
1T brown sugar
½ t coriander

In small glass/mixing cup dissolve brown sugar with lime juice. Add all ingredients in medium mixing bowl and pour brown sugar/lime mixture over. Stir well then cover and refrigerate.


::Cranberry-Walnut Turkey Sausage Dog::
:with pickled red onions and peppers:

[This is literally amazing.  I impresses myself.  And I'm definitely going to try some other variations.]





[Ingredients]
2 turkey sausage links (I used Jennie-O Italian Hot sausage)
¾ cup coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 red onion
Jar of pepperoncinis
Balsamic vinegar
Bun if desired; your choice…I used Nature’s Own Whole Grain Sandwich Rounds

De-case sausage and put in bowl. Chop walnuts and toast in small skillet, add to bowl of sausage. Add cranberries and ‘knead’ mixing everything together. Re-form into sausage links (3). Cook on grill pan over medium-high heat, coat first with cooking spray. Rotate until all sides are grilled and sausages are cooked through.

While cooking, slice red onion horizontally into thin rings.  Only need roughly four slices.  In a small sauce pan heat drizzle of olive oil.  Separate and add onion rings to pan.  Saute 1-2 minutes until begin to soften.  Add roughly 1/4 cup of pepperoncinis.  Shake in roughly 1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinager...enough to coat.  Stir well...will cook away quickly.


Once every thing is done cooking...plate it all up.  The sausage is seriously amazing even without a bun.  Top with the onion/pepper mixture.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Over.A.Month???

I really can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted!  (And even longer since my last 'original' post!)

My two most loyal readers, and fellow bloggers, Sarah and Heather both recently asked me where I'd been.  I told them I've been cooking less and trying to save money (i.e. no lump crab meat) and honestly have just been eating turkey sandwiches and quakes and those aren't blog-worthy!

Then today, as I was enjoying said meal for lunch I realized, "Dang...I make a good lookin' sandwich!"

[Evidence]


The secret lies in toasting the bread and tomatoes and peppers (pictured below) and cheese before putting on all the other good stuff...


I'll post something new & more exciting soon...my traffic count can't take much more of this...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You.Haven't.Made.This.Yet?

I know it's WAY too soon to already be recycling recipes...but I just have to say...this is my best invention so far...and it was completely an invention...


::Turkey Tacos:: + ::Black Bean Salad:: + ::Summer Twist:: = Heaven.

You are going to have to click back to my March archive for the taco/black bean recipes --- but I promise --- so easy and so good.

Then, my Summer Twist referenced above is simply avocado and mango.  I'm utterly utterly obsessed with mango and don't know what I'll do when they go out of season.  I've literally had one a day for probably the past 2 weeks.  BTW, it cracks me up that yesterday was officially "The First Day of Summer".  Dude, it's been summer for months up in Texas.  "First Day of Summer" to me is mid-May --- like when school is out --- that's summer.  Or as soon as it hits 90 degrees --- which may have actually been April down here.  But whether you are just celebrating summer --- or kinda already OVER summer --- make this, eat this, enjoy this.


...so my "mango-a-day" habit got me wondering how good/bad these guys are for ya.  It's basically like eating an apple in terms of calories (130), carbs (35g), fiber (4g), protein (1g); however, it has more sugar (31g vs. 25g) which gives it the glycemic index of a banana (51) vs. the 38 index of an apple.  I don't exactly know what that means...but that's not great.

...one final thought...thanks to Gwen Stefani...literally anytime I write "banana" I hear in my head B-A-N-A-N-A-S!  Literally.  Every time.  Am I the only one?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Apple & Basil.Chicken.Salad.

This is absolutely delicious.  It's a great mayo-free chicken salad.  And took like 15 min to make.  Original recipe came from RealSimple

[Ingredients]
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup lime juice (roughly 2 limes)
1 T vinegar
2T brown sugar
4 scallions (or green onions or leeks)
2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
1/3 cup peanuts, roasted and chopped
2T mint, thinly sliced
1/2 cup basil, thinly sliced

[Directions]
1. Pound chicken to even thinness.  Cut into strips.  Place in large saucepan and add enough water to cover chicken by 1/2 inch.  Add 3T of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  Let simmer.  Cook until no pink remains; roughly 8-10 minutes.

2. While chicken is cooking, in a large bowl combine: lime juice, vinegar, and sugar --- stirring until sugar dissolves.

3. Add peanuts to small saucepan and toast --- stirring frequently.

4. Add scallions and apples and toss.

5. Drain and pat chicken dry.  Dice and add to apple mixture, along with peanuts, mint, basil, and remaining salt and pepper.  Toss and plate.

Enjoy!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Southwestern.Breakfast.Bake.




[Back Story]

If you are interested, here is a little back story --- otherwise skip right on down to the recipe.  Where I work, no one has offices.  Not even the owner of the agency.  We all sit in cubes --- some are just significantly larger than others.  Anyways, the cubes are arranged in groups of 8 or so --- which are referred to as "pods".  Well, every Friday my pod takes turns bringing in breakfast.  Given I've been cooking more, they told me my usual fare of Einstein Bagels or Taco Cabana breakfast tacos wasn't going to cut it.

I did some research and came across this casserole recipe on MyRecipes and I liked it because it's on the healthier side --- at least relative to others.  Then I added a few things to spice it up --- and changed the name because the term "casserole" either evokes grandma or Thanksgiving green beans.

[Ingredients]


Cooking spray
12 ounces turkey breakfast sausage (3-4 links)
2 cups milk (I used skim but whatever you have)
2 cups egg substitute (one of those small egg beaters cartons)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
16 slices white bread (pretty much a loaf)
1 cup finely shredded reduced-fat extra sharp cheddar cheese
Paprika

[Adds]

What I added:
1 can black beans
1 can rotelle
But you could also add mushrooms, chopped bell pepper, green chilies, chopped onions etc.


[Directions]

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. De-case sausage and add to pan.  Stir and break sausage to crumble, cooking roughly 5 minutes or until browned.  Doesn't have to be cooked all the way through since will go in the oven.  Set aside to cool.
2. Combine milk and next 6 ingredients (stop at bread) in a large bowl and whisk.

3. Trim crusts from bread. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes. Add bread cubes, sausage, cheddar cheese, and any "adds" to milk/egg mixture, stirring to combine.

4. Pour bread mixture into a 13 x 9 baking dish coated with cooking spray, spreading egg mixture evenly in baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

5. Remove from fridge and let stand 30 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 350°.

7. Sprinkle evenly with paprika and bake for 45-55 minutes or until lightly browned and egg is set.  let stand 10 minutes --- then enjoy!


When serving --- top with salsa.  I used my favorite "Joe T's" salsa.  I'm pretty sure it was a hit...






Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Avocado.&.Banana.Salad.


Listen. I know it sounds crazy. I get it. But TRUST me. This.Is.Amazing. The salty crunch of the pistachios mixed with the sweetness of the banana and the bite of the chili and lime is all interesting and delicious.

Let me tell you a quick little story though. So yesterday I was clicking on some blogs I follow and came across this one on FussFreeCooking and decided I was so buying the ingredients and going to try it.

Later that day I got a notification that someone had commented on my blog --- and it was a STRANGER. That may not excite you but it excited me. I really only thought my friend Sarah and my Mom ever read my blog so to get a legit comment (and compliment no less) from just a random reader --- Ex.Citing!

It gets better. I then clicked on her name to see who this random fan was and believe it or not --- it took me back to FussFreeCooking! Literally the girl who's blog I'd been on earlier that day and who made the recipe I decided to try --- was the girl who commented on my blog.

Crazy great --- and this all went down on my birthday!

Ok --- on to the recipe, this makes 2 servings:

[Ingredients:]
1/2 avocado, diced into cubes
1 banana (at preferred level of ripeness), diced into cubes
1/4 or 1/2 small red chili, finely chopped
1T olive oil
Juice from 1/2 a lime
2T coriander, chopped -OR- 1t ground coriander seed powder (in bulk spices section)*
2T pistachio, toasted and chopped
Salt and Pepper

[Directions:]
1. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl except for pistachios and stir

2. Plate mixture and sprinkle with pistachio

3. Enjoy as is or with crackers, chips, or bread (I just had it plain)



*Literally just realized I read the recipe wrong when I made it. I bought the coriander powder thinking it was the spice that was needed. Didn't realize it even came in "leaf" form. When I was making it I could tell there was some sort of leaf in the picture but assumed it had been left out of the recipe --- kinda looked like cilantro. Then I just realized I read it wrong.

HOWEVER --- I thoroughly enjoyed my "powdered" option and definitely recommend going that route if desired!

Lemon-Basil.Lump.Crab.&.Corn.Salad.



So this was a recipe I gave a slight twist to from AllRecipes.com --- following serves 2:

[Ingredients]
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lime
2T vinegar
1T olive oil
1t honey
1/2T dijon mustard
1/8t salt
1/8t pepper
1 ear of corn / roughly 1/2 cup kernels
1/4 cup sliced basil
1/4 cup red bell pepper
2T finely chopped red onion
8oz / 1/2lb of lump crabmeat*
2 beefsteak tomatoes
6 cherry tomatoes

[Directions]
1. If using a fresh ear of corn, shuck it (ha ha), then rub with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika and garlic salt. Grill or roast in oven at 400 degrees for 15 min --- rotating occasionally.

2. Combine zest, lemon and lime juices and the remaining ingredients up until the corn in a medium bowl and whisk.

3. Add corn, basil, bell pepper, and onion to juice mixture and stir until coated.

4. Slice or chop tomatoes and divide on two plates. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with scoop of crab mixture.

Enjoy!



*Crab meat is expensive!! Like the 8oz jar is roughly $15

Here's what went down at Whole Foods this evening:

Me talking to the butcher guy behind the fish counter: Do you have any lump crab?
Him: Yes, right here.
Me: How much is it?
Him: $18.99 a pound
Me: How much is that little container?
Him: A pound
Me (in my head not out loud): OMG! Should I just cook some chicken instead??


They have less expensive crab meat in a jar --- bought the "mid-grade" and picked "lump crab" vs. the high-end "jumbo lump crab" and the low-end "claw meat"
Point of the story --- maybe a recipe for a special event rather than a Wednesday night! :)

[Update]
Here's an idea for a twist on any of the leftover crab salad for day two...

Put on top of tomotoes and lettuce
Add diced avocado
Add chopped red chili pepper
Add more fresh basil and squeeze of lime
 
Still liking it day two...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Beets.Are.Delicious! Who.Knew?

Seriously. I learned today --- scratch that --- 2 hours ago --- that Beets.Are.Great. To think of all the salads in the past I've scanned and quickly passed up upon reading an ingredient is beets. What a shame! I don't know why I thought I didn't like beets. To be honest it might be my mom's fault --- sorry mom --- because I'm pretty sure she is anti-beet. But I will be changing that. And let's be honest, the word "beet" is really not that sexy.

I came across a beet and orange salad that looked like something I couldn't help but like and decided to give beets a shot. Actually ended up making two recipes tonight and I honestly cannot say which one is better. Both amazing.



One more thing before we get into the recipes --- did you know beets had to be cooked?!?! I'm not sure why this came as a surprise to me as I didn't even know what a raw beet looked like (thank you Albertson's associate) but I guess I thought you just started slicing away. Not true.

For both of the below, cut the stems (and tails) off the beets and put into a medium saucepan covered in water. Bring to a boil and boil for 30 minutes until they can easily be pierced with a fork.

The skin should be soft enough that you can just slide it off with your fingers. Let the beets cool a bit first! Or use a knife to peel/cut the skin off. Warning: change into dark clothing and consider gloves.



Although this is the "before" washing hands picture --- the "after" does not look much different! I'm not a hand model though (although I bet I could be) so it's not that big a deal. :)

[Beet, Basil, & Orange Salad]
Following serves ~4

2 medium beets, peeled and cut into eighths
2 oranges
2T balsamic vinegar
3T chopped basil
salt and pepper to taste
3T olive oil

While beets are boiling, in a small mixing bowl combine the following:
- The zest of one orange
- 2T of balsamic vinegar
- 3T of chopped basil
- Salt and pepper


Whisk then slowly add the 3T olive oil while continuing to whisk. Set aside.

Then peel and section the orange so you have just the wedges without the skin/pulp. Arrange on serving plates. Then arrange the beet wedges on the plate. Drizzle with basil vinaigrette.

D. Lish. And gorgeous.


[Beet Salad with Goat Cheese & Walnuts]
Following serves ~4

2 beets
2T red wine vinegar
3T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup walnuts
Goat cheese
Lettuce: Bibb lettuce pictured, arugula and escarole used in original recipe

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the 2T of vinegar, salt and pepper, and slowly whisk in the 3T of olive oil.

Cut the beets into bite-size wedges/cubes and add to the marinade. Put in fridge and let sit at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees and spread walnuts on cookie sheet. Toast for roughly 8-10 minutes until browned --- stirring occasionally. Once toasted, cut into smaller pieces.


On serving plates place handful of lettuce. Top with marinated beets. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts then crumble desired amount of goat cheese on top.


Enjoy!
Then tell me which of the two is better!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Summery.Italian.Chicken


This is a GREAT dish. It was inspired based on two things:
1. This amazing chicken sandwich my sister Dani made over mother's day weekend
2. This amazing chicken sandwich I had at a little cafe in New York down the street from Magnolia Bakery

[All you need:]
Grilled chicken
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Jar of sun-dried tomatoes
Jar of roasted red peppers
Clove of garlic
Basil, small handful, chopped
Garlic salt

Grill chicken. Take a forkful of the sun-dried tomatoes and a forkful of the roasted red peppers from the jars and chop into small pieces. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat one clove of chopped garlic. Add the peppers and tomatoes. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Warm through.

Slice chicken. Cut two slices of mozzarella, then cut in half and layed on top of chicken. Top with pepper/tomato mixture. Then sprinkle wi thbasil.

Simply delicious. A good italian twist but still fairly light. Would be wonderful on toasted ciabiatta bread if desired --- but also just great with a knife and a fork!

Summer.Salad.

I'm really not a huge salad fan but this is simply delicious. And full of fresh summer ingredients. The secret ingredients are lemon zest and mint!
















[Salad ingredients:]

1 package of bibb lettuce
1 lemon's worth of zest
Handful of cherry tomatoes
Diced avocado
Handful of mint, chopped (basil if store is out of mint)
Handful of chives --- cut into 1/4 inch pieces
Handful of pine nuts --- toasted
Grilled chicken if desired

[Dressing:]
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
1T of dijon mustard
1T of honey
1t of Chipotle Tabasco
1T of vinegar
3T of olive oil
Salt & Pepper



Combine all salad ingredients in bowl. To toast pine nuts just swirl in dry skillet/small saucepan over medium heat until turn brown. Combine all dressing ingredients in small mixing bowl and whisk. Toss over salad. Top with chicken.

So good.

Mangos.


I'm utterly obsessed with mangos right now. They are so summery and delicious. I love to just eat them raw and sliced.

To check ripeness --- squeeze them and they should be soft like an avocado.

As pretty as the skin is --- you don't eat it. I just use a potato peeler and it comes right off. Then slice the fruit from the core. Mangos have some crazy pit similar to an avocado but you can't just twist the fruit into two halves --- slice wedges of the fruit around the center.
Enjoy!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Yes.Peas.

To be honest...I never used to be a fan of peas. But they have really grown on me. They have a nice soft and crunchy sweetness.

This recipe is delicious and so springy!


Olive oil
Prosciutto, Pancetta, or turkey bacon (Prosciuttopictured) --- roughly 3 slices, diced or pulled into small pieces [you can cut or break into even smaller chunks once cooked]
1/4 of a chopped onion (white or yellow) --- roughly 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 bag of frozen peas, thawed* --- 12-14oz bag
Grated Parmesan
Salt and Pepper

Heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add a drizzle (1-2 Tablespoons) of olive oil. Add the Prosciuttoand cook until crispy. Remove from pan but leave the oil.

Add the onion and cook until soft and clear and just beginning to brown. Then add the garlic and cook for one more minute.

Add peas to the pan and cook until heated through (2-3 minutes). Add procuitto, stir, and remove from heat. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

Plate and top with freshly grated Parmesan .

*To thaw the peas I put them in a pasta strainer and ran water over them --- then set the strainer in a large bowl of water to thaw as I chopped the ingredients. Water does not need to be hot at all --- just room temp.












Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My.Lunch.Was.Better.Than.Yours.


I like this time of year. Spring makes me think of basil and goat cheese and cantaloupe and tomatoes. Here's what I had:

[Top]

:: Ashley's Twist on a Caprese Salad::
Slice roma tomatoes
Sprinkle with garlic salt
Scatter sliced, fresh basil
Top with crumbled goat cheese
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar


[Right]

::Scrambled Eggs with Black Bean Salad::
I'm really trying hard to give eggs a chance. I wanted this for breakfast but just didn't have the time to make it and still clock in by 8:29:59 --- so I made it for lunch.

Trick I read --- add a few drops of water to the eggs before scrambling --- makes them fluffier. I concur. Then when they were almost done I added some of my Black.Bean.Salad mixture I'd made a few days ago. So good. Maybe eggs I like --- it's just omeletes I don't?

[Bottom]

::Edemame Confetti::
I just made that name up. But that's totally what it looks like to me. I made this last night for the first time. Was a hybrid of two recipes I found online.

[Dressing:]
3 T oil (canola or olive)
1/4 c vinegar (rice or white wine or tarragon...whatev)
2 T agave nectar or honey (this agave sounds interesting...but all I had was honey...next time)
1/2 t cayenne pepper or chili powder
1/4 t ground chipotle pepper (I used my Chipotle Tabasco)
1/4 t sea salt
1 lime juiced
1 clove of garlic, minced
Small handful of chopped cilantro

Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until blended. Set aside.

[Mixture:]
1 bag frozen, shelled edemame
1 can sweet yellow corn
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced (I sauteed mine a bit first b/c I'm not a fan of raw onion*)
2 serrano peppers, finely chopped (or one red jalapeno pepper...or don't use...whatever)
1 large tomato, diced
1 large mango --- I know, exciting!

Combine all above ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss together. Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge for an hour or so.

[Chef's Notes:]
This made a ton! You could totally half the recipe --- or freeze part of it after. I ate it just as a side today, but could also go on top of salad or with grilled chicken/fish.

I think a good twist which I'm going to try next time is to use lemon and mint instead of lime and cilanto. Maybe even add in feta.

*Melissa, if you actually read these you'll remember Dona taught you that..."Si, Assley le gusta cebolla...pero no cebolla CRUDO...solamente cocinado" (pronounced co-cine-ow)