Saturday, July 2, 2011

Salad Bar

I can definitely tell it is summer here in Arizona with everyday temperatures over 110 degrees.  One thing I learned really quickly when I moved here is DO NOT USE the OVEN in the summer unless you absolutely have too. 

Bill and I got back from Chicago this week, and after eating all of the amazing food there we decided we needed to eat something healthy for dinner. In college I used to love to get food from our salad bar because I could choose what was going on my salad. I decided to use the same concept for dinner. I collected some of my favorite toppings and here was dinner! I went to the farmers market that morning too, so everything was really fresh and some of the items were from our garden too.  The best thing about this dinner is you can use whatever toppings you like. Very simple and delicious!

Grill chicken a few hours before ready to eat, so it is nice and cool on salad

Ingredients all prepared and ready to eat!

Just needs cheese...

All ready to eat

Summer Salad
2 chicken breast, grilled, cooled
Steak Rub-anyone you have
1 head of lettuce or spinach
2-3 radishes, sliced
1 can of Artichoke Hearts, quartered
1 cucumbers, sliced
8 large strawberries, quartered
1 large tomoato, diced
1 small red onion, diced
4 hard boiled eggs, quartered
Fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
Salad dressing-your choice

A few hours before you want to eat, pull out your chicken and spread steak rub on it. Turn on grill. When grill is hot, put on chicken and cook until done. Let chicken cool for about 10-15 minutes and slice. Put chicken in fridge.

 While chicken is cooking, place 4 eggs into saucepan and cover eggs with water. Bring eggs to hard boil and let them boil 1 minute. Remove eggs from heat (keep in water) for 10 minutes. Remove eggs from water and run COLD water on them. Place eggs in fridge to until cold.

When you are ready to eat, clean and place lettuce in bowls. Pull out all of the fruits and vegetables, and prepare them for the salad. Pull out eggs, remove shells and cut. Pull out chicken. Set up the ingredients on a platter and ooh la la...dinner! Top with your favorite salad dressing. Enjoy!



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Celery Soup

Last week I made chicken salad and I had extra celery left over. I love celery, but there is only so much I can eat of it raw. I remembered when my parents were here in March my dad made a celery soup, so I decided to pull out the recipe. This is a GREAT recipe to use up the extra celery, so I don't end up throwing it away when it goes bad. I know it is over 100 degrees here right now, and hot soup does not sound the best, but it was delicious! You can always freeze to soup, and eat it when it gets cooler too! It is super simple to make, and REALLY healthy! And of course gluten free + dairy free!

Here is what you need!

Let the onion, celery + potatoes cook a bit

Add the broth and bring to a boil. Then cover, simmer and cook for  about 30 minutes

Puree the soup and enjoy!

Celery Soup

5 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 TBSP butter (I used my vegan Good Earth butter)
1 large onion, diced
1 large Idaho Potato, peeled and diced
1 bunch celery, trimmed, in 1/2 inch pieces (I used the leaves and everything)
1/4 TSP kosher salt
1/8 TSP white pepper (you can use black if you don't have white)
2 TBSP cream, optional (I used my almond milk and it was perfect + makes it dairy free)

Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and stir well to coat. Let the onion cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently then add the potato and celery. Stir frequently. Add the broth, salt and pepper. and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until celery is soft (about 30 minutes).

Puree the soup using a immersion blender (or food processor or blender) until smooth. If you use food processor or blender, do it in 2-3 batches. Enjoy!



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Seafood Pesto Pasta

One of my favorite parts of summer is having a garden. I love just walking outside to pick what I need for dinner.  As we are trying to eat more organic, nothing is better than a home grown garden. I love the smell our garden produces especially as I am down in it picking our biggest tomato or picking fresh basil. One of my favorite things too is the smell basil leaves on your fingers. It is an aroma that will stay with you and of course I always want to make pesto when I smell it.

I feel that pesto is one of those staple summer foods. I ♥ pesto! I will put it on anything I can. I don't remember growing up with pesto, so I am not sure where my love for it began.  My first memory of pesto was actually at my Uncle Jeff's house when I was in middle school. We were over there for some family gathering and he had just made it. I remember watching him use the fresh basil from his garden and adding all of the ingredients.  I just remember how wonderful it smelled. Anything that smells good has to taste good too...right! I am sure my parent's made it when I was younger, but it is curious how our brains will tie something to a specific memory.

It is starting to get hot here in Arizona and pesto pasta just seemed like a perfect meal to make. I have a fantastic recipe from non other than my amazing MIL (mother-in-law). Pesto calls for Parmesan cheese, and since I cannot eat dairy I substituted it for my dairy free cheese. I use daiya cheese, and it is definitely the best I have found. I have found it at Sprouts and Whole Foods! It was fantastic! Bill had no idea until I told him ☺ which always is my test when I am cooking..."if Bill can't tell than it must be okay!"

I had a seafood medley (shrimp, scallops + calamari)  from Trader Joe's in my freezer ($5.99) and gluten free pasta in the cupboard. For our sides we had caprese salad (I don't have cheese on my salad) + zucchini all from our garden. This entire meal was gluten and dairy free!  We had one of my favorite Oregon wines too...Evolution from Sokol Blosser. Our entire meal (minus the wine) was less than $10 and we got 3 meals out of it! The wine doubled our meal price, but as my FIL (Father-in-Law) says "Life is too short to drink bad wine!"

Here is what you need!

mmm...i love pesto!

1 cup tightly packed fresh basil (stems removed), washed and dried on paper towels
1/2 cup olive oil
3 TBSP freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used my dairy free cheese)
2 TBSP pine nuts
3 small gloves of garlic
1/2 TSP salt or to taste
1/4 TSP ground white pepper

In the bowl of food processor, place in all ingredients. Pulse until well blended and smooth. 

Makes about 1 cup

Seafood Pasta

Cook pasta according to package.

Add olive oil to a saucepan. When warm, add seafood and cook 3-5 minutes or until opaque color. While cooking add salt + lemon pepper to taste.

Add pesto to pasta. DO NOT ADD ALL OF THE PESTO. Keep adding pesto in small doses and mix until all pasta is covered. Add seafood and mix. Enjoy!



Friday, June 10, 2011

Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Well I officially on summer break, so one of my goals is to blog more! I have tried some amazing recipes recently, and I need to share them with. My first recipe today is perfect for hot summer days!

With it being a 100 degrees today, I decided I wanted a nice cold salad for dinner tonight. This has become one of my favorite salads, and it can definitely be a complete meal. The best part is it's healthy, gluten free + dairy free! Quinoa can be expensive, so I recommend getting it at Costco. You will obviously get a lot, so if you have never had it before Trader Joe's had great price for organic quinoa in smaller box. All of the fruit, veggies and herbs were on sale, so I made this enter salad for less than $5. We will get at least 4 meals out it, so it is a VERY cost effective meal! 

The first time I saw this recipe it made me think of something I would take to a family potluck. As many of you know, my family is LARGE so for every family gathering everyone brings something to share. From pastas to salads, we never run out of food! I will have to make this next time I am in Oregon ♥

Black Bean Quinoa Salad

1 mango, peeled and diced small
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 TBSP canola oil (vegetable oil works too!)
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1/4 TSP salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled (about 3/4 cup raw)
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 finely diced jalapeno peppers (optional)

Mix everything together. Put in the refrigerator to cool completely + serve cold if possible. Enjoy!



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Seafood Pasta

I found the recipe in my  at blanchard's table  cookbook, and it was wonderful. The recipe calls for shrimp but I adapted it. I love seafood, but living in Arizona it is always very expensive! At Trader Joe's I found a frozen seafood medley (shrimp, scallops + calamari $5.99), which actually worked well. Obviously fresh seafood would be better, but you learn to adapt quickly when you are on a budget :)

Also, since I am watching my gluten intake, we used Gluten Free pasta. If you have never used GF pasta, it is worth trying. It cooks a little differently than normal pasta, which caused our sauce to be a little creamer than expected, but we love it. Bill even ate it (and had seconds) which as you know passes the "make it again test!" Since I used GF pasta ($2) the meal was a little more expensive than it would be if you used normal pasta. The entire meal was about $8.50, but we got 3 meals out of it! We were lucky enough to use lemons from our tree and basil from our garden! One of the MANY pluses to having a garden!!

Penne with Shrimp, Garlic, Lemon + Basil

1 pound penne (or whatever pasta you have lying around!)
3 TBLS olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 TSP dried red pepper flakes
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut in half lengthwise (or Trader Joe's Seafood Medley)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 TSP salt
1/4 TSP freshly ground black pepper
             Freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil in high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender. Drain well and return to the pot.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, pepper flakes, and shrimp, and cook stirring, just until the shrimp turns pink (2-3 minutes).

Once the pasta is back in the pasta pot, add the shrimp, lemon juice and basil, and toss well. Add the salt and pepper, adjusting to taste and add more lemon juice if desired. Serve immediately with plenty of Parmesan cheese! Enjoy!



Sunday, April 17, 2011

Delicious Chicken Tacos

Here is another fabulous pioneer woman recipe pioneer woman chicken tacos! Usually I alter recipes a little, but this one didn't need any altering. Bill and I absolutely loved them, and they were easy to make!  We of course had our homemade salsa bill + meggan's salsa and lettuce from our garden! We had plenty of leftovers too, so we had them two nights last week.

Fabulous Chicken Tacos 
16 whole Corn Tortillas (small Size) 
4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Pieces 
Salt, Cumin, Chili Powder To Taste (or Use Taco Seasoning) 
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil 
2 cans (4 Ounce) Diced Green Chilies 
1-½ cup Finely Grated Cheese  
Sour Cream 
Hot Sauce (Chulula Or Other Brand) 
2 cups Thinly Sliced  Lettuce 
4 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced 
Canola Oil, For Frying Tacos

Season diced chicken liberally. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for a couple of minutes. Dump in the diced green chilies. Stir and cook until chicken is totally done inside. Turn off heat and set aside.

Have all other ingredients—grated cheese, sliced lettuce, diced tomato, sour cream, and hot sauce—ready.

Also have a plate ready, as well as a stack of five or six paper towels to hold in your hand.

Frying the Tacos
BE CAREFUL...THE OIL IS HOT & SPLATTERS (i know from personal experience)
To fry the tacos, heat a couple of inches of canola oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high. Place some chicken in the middle of a tortilla, then fold tortilla in half. Clamp the tortilla shut with a pair of heat-proof metal tongs, then carefully lay the taco—one side down—in the oil. As you lay it in the oil, use the tongs to hold the top side down for a few seconds to form it in place. Once it stays put, repeat with two other tacos. Turn tacos after 30 to 45 seconds, or when each side gets light golden brown (not too brown.)

One at a time, remove tacos from the pan with tongs, holding sideways as you remove them to allow oil to drip out of the sides. Place the taco in the stack of paper towels. Fold the sides and corners around the taco to tightly hold it, then give it three or four shakes to remove excess oil. Remove it from the paper towels and place on a plate. Repeat with other tacos in the pan.

As you continue frying the other tacos, have someone carefully place some grated cheese inside the tops of the tacos (gently pry them open just enough to place the cheese in). Then just let them sit until ready to serve—the cheese will melt as it sits in the warm taco.

To serve, garnish in this order: a smear of sour cream, dashes of hot sauce, shredded lettuce, diced tomato. You’ll need to slightly open up the tops of the tacos to get all the garnishes in there.
Tacos will be hot for a minute or two after frying, so don’t rush into eating! They’ll stay nice and warm for a little while after frying. Enjoy!



Posted by on March 31 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Something my dad would cook!

My dad is always finding different healthy recipes to try, and when I saw this my first thought was "my dad would love this recipe!" I originally got this off a gluten free website, but of course I adapted it to make it my own! For all my gluten free friends out there, if you don't follow this site, she has some great recipes!

I had a ton of vegetables from the farmers market I wanted to use, so I just roasted all of them and added them to the recipe. I had bought kale too for the recipe, but I ended up eating it all before I made it. I am sure kale would be fabulous in this too! I cooked the beets the night before just to make it easier (and I wanted to make sure I did not forget to use them!), but you could cook them the same day, and just put them in a little earlier than the rest of the veggies.

When you cook the brown rice, I HIGHLY recommend using 1/2 water + 1/2 white wine (whatever you have opened). It makes the brown rice even more DELICIOUS! TRY IT...

Try this meal cold too! I had it the next day for lunch, and I LOVED it cold. It reminded me of a nice summer salad I would eat on a hot day ☀

Dad's Vegetable + Rice Salad
4 beets-any color, scrubbed, leaves trimmed
4 carrots, cut into bite size pieces pieces
12 asparagus
3 zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
8 pieces kale, stems removed and torn into pieces
Olive Oil
3/4 cup kalamata olives
salt + pepper
cheese- goat or fresh mozzarella (I used my dairy free cheese)

2 cups of cooked brown rice or quinoa

1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pinch kosher salt and cracked black pepper

red pepper flakes-to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Coat beets lightly with oil. Wrap beets in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven until cooked through, approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, and then peel and cut into large slices.

Put the carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini and asparagus onto the baking sheet. Toss them with the oil and salt and pepper. Toss them in the olive oil until they are coated. Put the baking sheet into the oven and roast the vegetables until they are browned on the bottom and softened, about 20 minutes. If you use kale, throw in the kale pieces and toss the vegetables on the sheet again. Roast until the kale is a bit wilted, about 3 minutes.

While the veggies are cooking, go ahead and make the vinaigrette. Grab a small jar with a lid. Pour in the lemon juice, mustard, pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Shake the jar. Add the oil. Shake the jar. Taste the vinaigrette and adjust the ingredients if necessary.

Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and toss them with the brown rice, the cheese, and the kalamata olives. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss. Enjoy!