Friday Recipe Exchange: Spring Whiplash

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This was my favorite photo from JeffreyW this week. That’s Homer (remember him?) doing his best Egyptian statue imitation.

We are having a week of weather whiplash, so the recipes this week reflect that. Some for those 75 degree days and some for the upcoming wet and wild weekend.

Two soups make the cut tonight.

Chicken Alfredo Tortellini Soup (recipe here), easy to put together and pair with a nice Antipasto Salad (recipe here) for a quick dinner or great for a lunch treat.

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French Onion Soup popped up on my radar several times over the past few weeks. So now I want some. It’s almost sweet onion time (Vidalia, April-May, followed by Walla Walla Sweets – June) and I think they make the best onion soups. JeffreyW’s mouth-watering photo above is only the beginning – entire slideshow and recipe are here.

Lace Cookies2b

Turkey Cutlets and Lace Cookies were on the dinner menu this week. Full menu, recipes and shopping list are here.

What’s on your menu for the weekend? Cooking for summer, spring or winter in your area?

BLT Salad

Tonight’s featured recipe has been one of my favorite salads lately. Especially when the temps were close to 80 degrees.

Confession. I hate avocados. And guacamole leaves me cold. My friends love going to Mexican restaurants with me, I get my guacamole and sour cream on the side, then pass them on to my table-mates. But the avocado dressing for this salad, I can’t get enough. Go figure.

BLT Salad with Avocado Buttermilk Dressing
This recipe serves 2

Salad

  • 4 strips thick cut bacon (or substitute turkey bacon)
  • 2 hearts of Romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 4 to 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cubed*
  • cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

Dressing

  • 1 avocado
  • buttermilk or ranch dressing**
  • limejuice
  • salt & pepper to taste

skillet, bowl, serving bowls

Dressing: halve avocado, remove pit and scoop flesh into bowl, add an equal amount of buttermilk dressing, limejuice to taste (I used about 1 tsp) and mix until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside

Add bacon to skillet and cook on medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel to cool and drain. Slice into 1/2 inch pieces.

While the bacon is cooking, prep the salad fixings. Toss with cooled bacon pieces. Add to serving bowls, top with dressing and garnish with cilantro leaves.

*the easiest way to cube an avocado is to halve it, remove the pit and then score it into cubes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the avocado, then turn the skin inside out and the cubes pop out.

**If you don’t like buttermilk or ranch dressing, you can substitute sour cream and 1 tsp crushed garlic for the dressing.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend…I’ll let you know if it’s two feet of snow or just rain for us – TaMara



 

 

Thursday Night Menu: Tropical Nights Edition

Had a little trouble deciding what to post tonight. We’ve been pretty busy at work and we are all a bit tired, when I asked the guys what I should post, ordering pizza instead of cooking won out.

I pulled three different menus before I decided on a little taste of Sanibel Island. I like the fresh flavors in this menu and I really enjoy tuna and swordfish.

The Butter Pecan Turtle Bars are as decadent as they sound, and a breeze to make.

On the board tonight:

  1. Fish Tacos
  2. Black Bean Tropical Salad
  3. Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

Fish Tacos

  • 1 large mango, peeled & chopped
  • ½ large tomato, chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • 8 taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 lb halibut, swordfish or tuna, 1” thick
  • ½ tsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce

bowl, foil, platter

Combine mango, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, green onion, jalapeno in bowl. Toss with 1 tbsp limejuice and set aside.  Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in the oven or on the grill (keep away from coals) Drizzle remaining limejuice over fish, sprinkle with jerk and grill or broil for 5 to 9 minutes, until fish flakes easily. Cut fish into chunks, fill each tortilla with 1/8 of the fish, fruit mixture and lettuce. Serves 4

Black Bean Tropical Salad

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado, cubed*
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños
  • ½ large tomato, chopped
  • ½ head red leaf lettuce, washed
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained

serving bowl

Seed & slice peppers & jalapenos. Add everything to serving bowl and toss with dressing.

*easiest way to slice an avocado is to cut in half, remove pit, cut cubes with a knife, then scoop out.

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • ¼ cup light olive oil
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic

In jar or mixing cup, mix all ingredients together well.

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips

well oiled 9×13 baking dish, bowl, saucepan

Combine flour, brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter; blend until crumbly. Pat mixture firmly onto bottom of pan. Sprinkle pecan halves over the unbaked crust.

Topping: In small saucepan, combine brown sugar & butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Drizzle caramel over pecans and crust. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until caramel layer is bubbly and crust is light brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Spread chips evenly as they melt. Cool completely before cutting.

Shopping List:

  • 1 large mango
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 jalapeños
  • 8 taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 lb halibut, swordfish or tuna, 1” thick
  • 1 head red lettuce
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips

Also: lemon juice, limejuice, Jamaican jerk seasoning, light olive oil, crushed garlic

Copyright 2014 What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Summer Edition

Chicken Enchiladas

DSC_5083 [1600x1200]These were a slap dash affair:  I fried a couple of boneless chicken thighs in olive oil after beating them flat with a meat hammer.  I sliced the chicken and rolled the pieces into corn tortillas along with Monterey jack cheese.  Those went into a small casserole with green salsa from a jar, a can of green chilies, and a few slices of hot pepper cheese, with additional shredded Monterey jack on top.  It made a hot delicious mess of enchiladas.DSC_5088 [1600x1200]We had some diced avocado and some fresh pico for sides.  There are leftovers, so I’m thinking a reprise this afternoon, only in red salsas and yellow cheese.

Black Bean and Cheddar Burgers

Originally published 08/25/12:

Now for something completely different to grill.  I love black bean burgers, but the frozen ones can leave a lot to be desired.  So I’ve been looking around for a good recipe.  I found this one, but cannot tell you where, sorry to say.  I’ve changed up few things, made it a bit spicier and a bit moister.  Grill or fry on medium heat to keep the burgers from drying out.  Makes 4 good sized burgers, though you may want to double the recipe to serve 4-6 people.

Black Bean and Cheddar Burgers

  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar, grated (about 1-1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs* soaked in 1 to 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or Italian parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped, pickled jalapeno
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsps minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Serve with:

  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Tomato and avocado slices for garnish

In a mixing bowl, with a potato masher, mash half of beans into coarse puree; add remaining ingredients.  Work mixture together by hand until it holds together easily. Shape mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties. Oil a large piece of aluminum foil, place on a grill set to medium heat and place burgers on the foil. Cook for about 8 minutes per side or until browned on outside and heated through to center. Serve on buns, topped with tomato and avocado.

You can also fry these on medium heat in a covered, well oiled skillet.

*for gluten free, use quick oats instead.

Week one of burger week…

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Vegetarian Delights

Cross posted at Balloon-Juice

I’m travelling, en route to San Diego, so you’re on your own – no keggers and try not to riot. Tonight we’re going vegetarian with two recipes. I’m often asked for vegetarian recipes, so I’m always on the lookout for good ones, can’t wait to see what you guys come up with. Next week: Fruit Desserts

I love black bean burgers, but the frozen ones can leave a lot to be desired.  So I’ve been looking around for a good recipe.  I found this one, but cannot tell you where, sorry to say. I’ve changed up few things, made it a bit spicier and a bit moister.  Grill or fry on medium heat to keep the burgers from drying out.  Makes 4 good sized burgers, though you may want to double the recipe to serve 6-8 people.

Black Bean and Cheddar Burgers

  • 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained, or dry equivalent
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (about 1-1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs soaked in 1 to 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or Italian parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped, pickled jalapeno
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsps minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Serve with:

  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Tomato and avocado slices for garnish

In a mixing bowl, with a potato masher, mash half of beans into coarse puree; add remaining ingredients.  Work mixture together by hand until it holds together easily. Shape mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties. Oil a large piece of aluminum foil, place on a grill set to medium heat and place burgers on the foil. You can also fry these on medium heat in a covered, well oiled skillet.  Cook for about 8 minutes per side or until browned on outside and heated through to center. Serve on buns, topped with tomato and avocado.

The pasta caprese has appeared here before.  I make it both vegetarian and gluten free, so it’s my go-to recipe for company.  From one of our Thursday Night Menus (link includes my favorite chocolate cake):

Pasta Caprese

  • 9 oz dry pasta
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 oz cubed mozzarella
  • salt & pepper to taste

saucepan and large serving dish

Prepare pasta according to package directions. While it’s cooking, mix remaining ingredients together. Drain pasta completely (dab with paper towels, if necessary) then add to tomato mixture. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to let flavors blend. Serve warm or you can refrigerate and serve cold. Add a nice loaf of bread for a complete dinner.

I use a fairly expensive mozzarella for this dish because it’s softer, tastier and absorbs more flavors. Any locally produced mozzarella would work. Also, my local farmers’ market has a pasta vendor, who hand-makes many flavors of pasta. This dish works very well with flavored pastas – fire roasted chili, lemon pepper, tomato basil, red bell pepper – the list goes on. You can also change-up the cheese to a Queso Blanco (again, use a fairly expensive or locally produced one), use cilantro instead of basil and use a chili flavored pasta for a whole new dish. The possibilities are endless.

Here are Some Great Picnic Ideas….

…and none of them are mine, but they sound delicious.  And there is a how-to video to boot!  Click on the link below to see all the recipes and the video:

Avocado Cilantro Yogurt Dip  &  Smoked Turkey Wraps with Mango and Curried Mayonnaise 

Avocado Cilantro Yogurt Dip

  • – 1 16-ounce container plain nonfat yogurt (scant 2 cups)
  • – 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • – 1 large avocado, peeled, halved, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • – 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • – 2 teaspoons minced jalapeño
  • – 1 small garlic clove, minced

Set strainer over medium bowl; line with double layer of cheesecloth. Place yogurt in cloth-lined strainer. Cover with plastic wrap; chill overnight.

Discard liquid drained from yogurt. Transfer yogurt to processor. Stir cumin in small dry skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cumin to processor, then avocado, 3 tablespoons cilantro, jalapeño, and garlic. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer dip to small bowl. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Press plastic wrap onto surface of dip and chill.) Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cilantro.

Smoked Turkey Wraps with Mango and Curried Mayonnaise

Curried mayonnaise

  • – 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • – 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • – 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Sandwiches

  • – 2 low fat wheat wraps
  • – 8 ounces thinly sliced smoked turkey
  • – 4 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
  • – 2 cups thinly sliced seeded peeled English hothouse cucumber
  • – 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • – 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • – 1/2 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, thinly slices
Recipes courtesy of  Chef Len from At the Diner in Zeeland and WZZM in Michigan.

Zucchini-Avocado Salad

This is the time of year I start wanting fresh vegetables from the produce department and knowing my choices are limited where I live.  But usually you can get fairly decent zucchini (choose small, thin ones for best flavor) and avocados (though you may have to ripen them in a paper bag – add a banana to speed the ripening along).   A nice light, fresh side to any dinner.  I’m thinking with fish.  I’ll post a nice fish recipe later this week.

Zucchini-Avocado Salad

  • 2-3 small zucchini, sliced
  • 8 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ green pepper, julienned
  • 4 oz can green chilies, drained
  • green lettuce leaves
  • Oil & vinegar dressing (bottled, or make your own: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, dash of lemon juice, salt & pepper)

bowl, serving bowl, skillet

Heat oil and sauté onions & zucchini, about 3 minutes. Remove to bowl and refrigerate. Cut avocado in half, remove pit and cube, don’t pierce skin. Use a spoon to scoop out avocado, add to serving bowl, toss with lemon juice, add green peppers and green chilies,  add zucchini mixture and toss everything with dressing. Serve on lettuce leaves.