Almost Mexican Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • Green leaf lettuce, rinsed and dried
  • black beans
  • avocado, freshly sliced
  • black beans, low sodium, plain, rinsed and drained
  • plain corn chips (not seasoned, not spicy) or plain toasted corn tortillas
  • flank steak or comparable steak
  • salt, onion powder and/or garlic powder, if desired
  • cilantro, rinsed and dry
  • PLAIN Chihuahua cheese, Gouda, shredded cheddar, or whatever cheese you love that’s safe

—> OMIT: Limes/citrus, bottled dressing, tomato, spicy seasonings, pico de gallo, guacamole because it’s usually prepared with lime, anything acidic, and also avoid spicy cheese like spicy chihuahua cheese.

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Season with flank steak with salt and onion/garlic powder, if desired.
  2. Grill your flank steak for best results.
  3. Make a bed of your clean and dry lettuce, chopped into bite size pieces.
  4. Add your sliced cheese, black beans, chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, corn chips.
  5. If you need a dressing, I have found that bottled dressings are entirely unsafe especially with the preservatives and citric acid!  I use olive oil and honey and never have had a problem.  
  6. Enjoy!

 

 

Grilled Corn On The Cob With Fresh Herbs!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 corn cobs, with husks still attached
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground pepper (if desired)
  • fresh parley
  • fresh chives (or substitute your favorite herb)
  • and any other seasonings you can tolerate/desire.

TIP: The peeled back corn husks become a convenient “handle” when you are eating it! 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Peel back the husk without removing it.  Pull it down in layers until you have lowered all the parts of the husk (without tearing them off!)  If you accidentally remove a piece of the husk, don’t worry, move on.
  2. Remove the corn silk fibers and discard.
  3. Use kitchen twine to tie the husk down, and knot. (See photo)
  4. Prepare your butter herb mixture by softening butter. (Either leave the butter at room temp. for 30 minutes prior to assembly or microwave for about 10 seconds).
  5. Mix butter with your desired amount of seasonings.  I chopped fresh chives and parsley from my garden, added a little freshly ground black pepper, and coarse salt.  Use whatever other seasonings you can tolerate.
  6. Use a culinary brush to smear the butter herb mixture onto all exposed parts of your corn cob, (not the husks).
  7. Heat grill to medium heat.  Place corn on grill, with tied-backed husks hanging over the edge of the grill. (You do not want the husks or twine exposed to direct heat, it will burn).
  8. Cook approximately 2-3 minutes a side until heated.

America’s Test Kitchen’s Roasted Carrots

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This is a beautiful recipe – three ingredients and perfection, thanks to America’s Test Kitchen.  The world is of the day is caramelization.  The perfection is in the preparation and precise directions, which are simple to follow.  Don’t judge, this beautiful dish is next to pizza rolls, and I don’t care what you think. 😉  This blog is for entertainment and sharing the love of cooking/baking, not to impress at every turn.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. carrots, peeled, halved crosswise, and cut lengthwise if necessary to create even pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Table salt and ground black pepper (freshly ground is always best)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In large bowl, combine carrots with butter, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper; toss to coat.
  3. Transfer carrots to foil or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and spread in single layer.  (Use the largest baking sheet that you have.)
  4. Cover baking sheet tightly with foil and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove foil and continue to cook, stirring twice, until carrots are well browned and tender, 30-35 minutes.
  6. Transfer to serving platter, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

 

Crock Pot Cannellini Minestrone Soup

Crockpot Minestrone Soup

This recipe came out of a Crock Pot branded book.  It was fantastic and very healthy.  Don’t be scared of using the escarole.  It looks like lettuce; just rinse and dry it well (or use a salad spinner), and cut into ribbon strips as directed.  It really adds a lot to the appearance and provides healthy vitamins and nutrients.  Make sure you cook on low for at least 6 hours+ as you’re using hard beans.  If you don’t want to do that, get a can of the beans, drain, rinse, put in fridge.  Then add in the 30 mins to one hour of cooking.

Makes 6-8 servings, depending on serving size.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups chicken broth*
  • *(If not homemade broth, make sure the first ingredient is chicken, not salt!  If not making it myself, I buy “Better Than Bouillon”) 
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (12 oz) tomato-vegetable juice *****
  • 2 cups escarole, cut into ribbons
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped potatoes
  • 1/4 cup dried cannellini beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (I used dried)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used fresh)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 ounces uncooked ditalini pasta

*****I didn’t buy the tomato-veg. juice; I used a 1/2 can of 14 oz. tomato sauce and added 1 cup vegetable broth.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place all ingredients except pasta into slow cooker.
  2. Stir well to combine.
  3. Cover, cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 4-6 hours.
  4. Stir in pasta.  Cover, cook 20 minutes or until pasta is tender.

 

Zucchini & Turkey Lasagna

zucchini-lasagna-11-2015

This is a wonderful, healthy recipe I took a chance on.  I had never made lasagna without the standard lasagna pasta noodles, ground beef, and multiple cheeses.  The downside of the typical lasagna it can be excessively heavy and greasy.  This healthier version was lighter, filling, and tasty, and packed a good vegetable punch.  We weren’t sure how it would turn out, so we added pasta layers to every other layer.  It was just fine without the pasta layer!

Even though the directions look lengthy, it actually was one of the easiest lasagnas I’ve ever made!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (I used onion powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 (28 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes (Plain or Italian-flavored, if you desire)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (I used dried this time)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (I used 2%)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil.
  3. Add the onion and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up any large pieces with the back of a spoon, until brown throughout, 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until it thickens, about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in the oregano and salt.  Let cool.
  7. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin strips (about 1/8″ thick).
  8. Put 5-6 zucchini slices, overlapping slightly, in the bottom of a 8×8″ baking dish.
  9. Top with 1 cup of the sauce/meat mixture.
  10. Dot with 1/4 cup of the ricotta.
  11. Repeat the layers twice, alternating the direction of the zucchini  (I didn’t find the alternation especially pertinent).
  12. Top with the remaining zucchini and brush the top with the remaining 1/4 tsp. oil.
  13. Dot with the remaining 1/4 cup ricotta and season with the black pepper.  Top with Parmesan cheese.
  14. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the lasagna is bubbling and the top is brown.
  15. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Mahogany Chicken with Pan Roasted Broccoli Side Dish

mahogany-chicken-1mahogany-chicken-3  mahogany-chicken-2

Above: Non-peeled fresh ginger.  Fresh ginger’s a unique art form by itself.  I prefer the smell of ginger freshly sliced than any fake room freshener out there (especially since I can’t even be around those artificial room fresheners).

 

Hot New Glaze! It’s called Mahogany.  It’s usually a mix of soy and honey that gives a dish’s glaze its rich color and caramelized flavor.  It works on pork tenderloin as well, the recipe states.

Next time the only change I’ll make is using bone-in chicken breasts and doubling the entire sauce mixture to cover to bigger breasts.  We are more white-meat people for stand-alone chicken dishes.  But we will definitely make this again and again!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 T. lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 tsp. grated and peeled fresh ginger (see photo above)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs, fat trimmed – (or chicken breasts if you prefer)
  • 1 bunch green onions, cut into 2-inch lengths

Optional Side Dish Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh broccoli florets
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with heavy duty foil.
  2. In large bowl, whisk 2 T. lower-sodium soy sauce, 2 T. honey, 2 cloves pressed garlic, and 2 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger.
  3. Add 1.5 lbs. chicken thighs (fat trimmed) and 1 bunch green onions (cut into 2″ lengths).  Toss to coat.
  4. Arrange chicken, skin side up, and greens onions on 1 prepared baking sheet.
  5. If making side dish: On other baking sheet, toss 1 lb. broccoli florets with 2 T. vegetable oil and 1/8th tsp salt.  Arrange in single layer.
  6. Roast chicken and broccoli in 450 degree F oven 30 mins or until chicken is cooked through (165 degrees F) and broccoli is tender.

Dilled Potato and Green Bean Salad

dill-potato-green-bean-salad-Jan

 

Here’s a very scrumptious carb and vegetable combo side.  You have the perfectly cooked red potatoes with the fresh green beans mixed together in a savory red wine vinegar/oil sauce similar to a German potato salad flavor.  Since the “six medium potatoes” is a little vague of a measurement, I used four medium potatoes because that looked like enough potatoes for four servings.  Don’t use frozen green beans here, this is a 100% fresh-from-the-produce-section recipe.  This recipe was from Daily Bites Blog -click here.  I omitted the scallions and added more dill and parsley.  Enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 medium red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs. fresh dill, chopped (from about 4-5 sprigs)
  • 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs. red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cover potatoes by 2-inches with cold water in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook at a rolling boil for 7 minutes.
  2. Add green beans; continue to boil for 5 minutes or until potatoes are just tender when pierced with a knife but not falling apart. They will continue to soften a bit as they cool, so do not overcook them. Drain vegetables well.
  3. Toss boiled vegetables with scallions and herbs (see hint below). Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the salad needs more kick, add additional vinegar and salt. If it’s too tangy or salty, add an extra splash of olive oil.
  4. My added hint: Don’t mix too much while this mixture is piping hot.  Even if you don’t overcook the potatoes, if you mix hot potatoes round and round with the sauce, your potatoes will get mushy.  So let it cool slightly and gently fold veggies & sauce together. 
  5. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled. Every way is delicious!

 

Roma Tomato, Fresh Basil, & Tofu Soup

tomato basil tofu soup

 

This tomato basil soup made with tofu was shockingly good.  I found this recipe in my Ninja blender recipe booklet.  I’ll post the original recipe, but I had to substitute the 4 roasted garlic cloves for garlic powder, to be safe.  It’s a quick, simple lunch soup or a dinner starter.  You can’t even taste the silken tofu, it just adds an awesome creamy consistency!  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, roasted
  • 3 T. tomato paste
  • 6 oz. silken tofu
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 T. fresh basil leaves, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place the tofu and broth into the blender pitcher and blend on medium until smooth.
  2. Add the tomatoes, garlic, paste, olive oil, salt, and pepper into the pitcher.  Blend on medium until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a large saucepan and add basil.  Warm over medium-low heat for about 15 mins, or until heated through.

Green Beans With Cherry Tomatoes

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This is a wonderful vegetable recipe.  It’s simple and bursting with flavor.  I highly suggest using fresh veggies, not canned for optimal flavor.  I used the entire pint of cherry tomatoes because I felt like it and I think the extra tomatoes added even more flavor to the juice as well.  This is a definite keeper!  It paired well with the proscuitto & basil stuffed chicken, and also the brown rice.    

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. green beans
  • 1 T. butter
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic salt 
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • salt 
  • pepper 
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook beans in water, until tender.
  2. In a fry pan, melt butter and add garlic salt, sugar, basil, salt and pepper.
  3. Swish cherry tomato halves around until barely soft and heated, but not squishy.
  4. Add the drained beans and mix well.
  5. (TO SAVE TIME, you can use drained canned green beans instead of fresh green beans and canned stewed tomatoes instead of fresh cherry tomatoes. Just add the canned vegetables to the butter/basil mixture and heat through. I do this frequently and it works o).

Black Bean and Corn Salad (Salsa)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We made this today, it’s excellent and perfect for summer (or anytime you wish it was summer)!  We halved the recipe and it made about 8 cups!  I’d definitely suggest adding extra salt, cilantro, black pepper, and customizing it to your liking.  I took others’ advice and halved the oil; it seemed right!  Enjoy!

  • /3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil  (I halved the oil with no ill effect)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced  (I used powder, it was fine)
  • 1 teaspoon salt  (Add some extra sea salt)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper  (I added extra black pepper too)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 avocado – peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced  (I used onion powder, it was fine)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I suggest doubling)

Directions

  1. Place lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small jar. Cover with lid, and shake until ingredients are well mixed.
  2. In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, avocado, bell pepper, tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro.
  3. Shake lime dressing, and pour it over the salad. Stir salad to coat vegetables and beans with dressing, and serve.