Thursday, December 10, 2009

Caesar Salad Party Style

Romaine leaves, torn into bite-size pieces
Parmesan cheese
Caesar dressing
Rustic Italian baguette, sliced on the diagonal
Beautiful glasses!
Great friends!

Combine romaine leaves, parmesan cheese and caesar dressing and place into a beautiful glass (martini glass is gorgeous!). Sprinkle parmesan cheese over baguette slices and broil; then place into glass and serve. Cheers!!

Monday, December 7, 2009


1 cup uncooked quinoa
pinch salt
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 c lemon juice
3 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
2 bunches green onions, diced
1 c fresh parsley, chopped
feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Add quinoa to 1 1/2 c water and pinch of salt; bring to boil, then simmer (covered) for about 20 minutes. Flake with a fork when done. When cool, add rest of ingredients and enjoy!

Stuffed Mushrooms (2 fillings)

Sausage, cooked and crumbled
Green onions, chopped
Cheddar cheese, grated
Parmesan cheese, grated
Few drops hot sauce
Frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Cream cheese
Parmesan cheese, grated
Nutmeg (pinch)
FILLING #1: Combine sausage, green onions, cheddar cheese, mayo and hot sauce (all to taste). Fill half of mushrooms with mixture and top with parmesan cheese. Bake 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
FILLING #2: Combine spinach, cream cheese, parmesan cheese and nutmeg (all to taste). Fill half of mushrooms with this mixture and top with parmesan cheese. Bake 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Greek Bruschetta

Chopped sun-dried tomatoes (oil packed)
Chopped scallions (green onions)
Feta cheese, crumbled
Garlic clove, minced finely
Balsamic vinegar
Rustic Italian baguette, sliced

Combine sun-dried tomatoes, scallions, feta and garlic. Add a little balsamic vinegar and a little of the sun-dried tomato oil and place onto baguette slices. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kansas Corn Casserole

2 beaten eggs
1 can whole kernel corn and its juice
1 can creamed corn
2/3 c evaporated milk
2 Tbsp instant onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
12 oz pepper jack cheese, cubed (or can use swiss cheese)
2 c coarsely crushed crackers (saltines or ritz)

Mix all ingredients together in greased dish and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. This is killer good! We make it for all family holiday thankful Thanksgiving is next week! Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
7 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
3 Tbsp minced fresh chives
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, garlic and potatoes in a roasting pan; toss well to coat. Bake at 400 degrees for 60-70 minutes or til tender, stirring after 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Squeeze garlic cloves to extract pulp; discard skins. Combine garlic pulp, remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp oil, remaining 3/4 tsp salt, remaining 1/4 tsp pepper, chives, vinegar and mustard in large bowl; stir well. Add potatoes to bowl; toss well to coat.

Serves 6-8

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Edamame Salad

1 lb frozen shelled edamame
3 c frozen petite corn kernels
1 chopped red bell pepper
3/4 c sliced green onions
1/2 c chopped red onion
1/4 c chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano, marjoram or basil

1/3 c fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Prepare edamame according to pkg directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside to drain thoroughly. Combine edamame, corn, red pepper, green onions, red onion, parsley and oregano. In large bowl, whisk lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add veggies to bowl and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 8.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Zuppa Tuscana

1 (16 oz) pkg Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage (remove casings)
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped (about 3/4 c)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 qt water
4 Tbsp chicken base (get from Costco) ~ don't use bouillion cubes
3-4 medium potatoes cut into 1/4 inch thick pieces (I used red potatoes)
2 c chopped kale
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 c whipping cream
(For thicker soup, add instant potatoes til thickened)

In large pot, cook sausage til done and remove from pan. Rinse sausage with hot water (eliminates the fat from floating on surface of soup). In same pot, fry bacon til crisp and remove; set aside. Drain all but 1 Tbsp bacon fat from pot. Add onions and garlic and cook til tender. Add water, chicken base and potatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15 min or until potatoes are tender. Return the cooked sausage and bacon to pot. Add kale and crushed red pepper and simmer 4 minutes. Stir in cream and cook til heated through, without boiling.


Just a comment...I personally like a thicker soup, so will probably add some instant potatoes next time and see what I think.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lemon Chicken Soup with Spaghetti

8 c low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 c fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 dried bay leaf
1 (2-inch) piece Parmesan cheese rind
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 c chopped onion
1 c (about 2 1/2 oz) spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces (or any short pasta)
2 c diced cooked rotisserie chicken
1 c grated Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
1/4 c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
kosher salt

In large stockpot, bring chicken broth, lemon juice, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, saute carrots, celery and onion to soften. Add to chicken broth mixture. Add broken pasta and cook pasta til tender, stirring occasionally. Add chicken and heat through. Remove bay leaf and Parmesan rind and discard. Stir in 1/2 of the cheese and parsley. Season with salt, to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Garnish with flat-leaf parsley.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Greek Hummus Dip

Hummus (I buy the Traditional Meza Hummus from Costco)
Chopped cucumbers
Chopped red onion
Chopped, seeded tomatoes
Crumbled feta
Chopped kalamata olives
Rosemary to garnish

Layer ingredients and serve with chips (tortilla, pita), crackers or flatbread.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Southwest Cheesecake

1 c ground tortilla chips
4 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp butter
Combine and press into 9" springform pan.

1 lb cream cheese
2 c plain yogurt
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste
1 can diced green chiles (drain well)

Pour into greased pan and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes - can still be slightly jiggly - use your judgement if you think it needs a bit more time. Chill cheesecake before serving. Unmold and serve with assorted crackers.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Baked Tilapia

4 (6-8 ounce) tilapia fillets
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 lime, zest and juice
2 Tbsp butter (could also use olive oil)
Dijon mustard
Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Cilantro for garnish
Lime slices

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray pan with cooking spray and heat in oven before adding fish. On a plate, mix panko, lime zest, salt and pepper. Rinse fish and pat dry. Season fish with a bit more salt (tilapia is a very bland fish), coat with lime juice, spread a little mustard on each fillet and coat in panko mixture. Remove pan from oven and place fish in the pan. Place a pat of butter on each fillet (or drizzle a little olive oil on top). Bake for 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the fish and garnish with lime slices.

Yields: 4 servings

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Alison's Favorite Cookies (Peanut Blossoms)

48 Hershey kisses, unwrapped
1/2 c butter-flavored shortening
3/4 c creamy peanut butter
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
granulated sugar for rolling

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl til well blended. Add white sugar and brown sugar and beat til fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Add flour, salt and soda to peanut butter mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 1o minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place hershey kiss into center of cookie and press down til edges start to crack. Remove cookies to wire rack and cool completely. Serve to your daughter-in-law at Christmas and she will LOVE you!`

(Alison is my daughter-in-law...I LOVE this girl!!)

Yields: 4 dozen

Tomato and Asparagus Salad

4 pints cherry tomatoes
asparagus (or green beans), grilled or steamed
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 serrano chili, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1/2 pound queso fresco or feta cheese, crumbled

Combine all ingredients and transfer to a beautiful platter. Garnish with cilantro.

Yields: 8 sevings

Grilled Vegetables

2 each poblano, annaheim and red bell pepper, halved and seeded
2 bunches scallions
vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1 lime

Preheat grill to medium. Toss peppers and scallions with oil, salt and pepper. Grill peppers, cut side down, until charred, 3-4 minutes, then turn them over and add scallions to the grill. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 2 minutes. Slice peppers, then toss with scallions in lime juice.

These are great if you are having fajitas!

Yields: about 4 cups

Grilled Fresh Corn in Spicy Lime Dressing

4 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
crumbled queso fresco

Preheat grill to medium. Coat corn with oil and grill until lightly charred, turning frequently, about 15 minutes. Whisk lime juice, hot sauce, cilantro, jalapeno, sugar, salt and pepper together in bowl while corn grills. Allow kernels to cool slightly, then slice kernels off cob and toss in dressing to coat. Garnish with cheese.

Yields: about 2 cups

Peppered Pork Tenderloins

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
2 pork tenderloins (about 2 lbs)
1 Tbsp coarsely cracked black pepper

In small bowl, stir together oil, mustard, rosemary and salt. Brush the mixture over the pork. Sprinkle the tenderloins on all sides with the pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 4 hours.

Grill or broil the pork, turning it with tongs so that it is browned on all sides and the meat feels springy when pressed, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and cover with foil. Let rest before slicing into 1/2" thick diagonal slices. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Key Lime Ice Cream

1 1/2 c heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1 15-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c key lime juice (fresh from 8-10 limes or used bottled key lime juice)

Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Slowly beat the hot cream into the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over low heat.

Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble.

Remove from heat and pour the hot custard through a strainer into a large bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the sweetened condensed milk and key lime juice. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight.

Stir the cold custard well, then freeze in one or two batches in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.

When finished, the ice cream will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.

Yields: about 1 quart

Chocolate Nemesis

1/2 c water
1 c sugar
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut up
7 large eggs, at room temperature
Softly whipped cream or creme fraiche
Fresh raspberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease bottom and side of 9-inch springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Dust side of pan with flour. Set pan on wide sheet of heavy-duty foil and tightly wrap foil up outside of pan to prevent water from leaking in during baking.

In 4-quart saucepan, heat water and 1/2 c sugar over medium-high heat until sugar completely dissolves, stirring occasionally. Add chocolate and butter to mixture in saucepan; stir constantly until melted. Remove pan from heat; cool chocolate mixture slightly, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat eggs with remaining 1/2 c sugar 6-8 minutes or until mixture thickens and triples in volume. With wire whisk, fold warm chocolate mixture into egg mixture until completely blended.

Pour batter into prepared springform pan; place in large (17"x11") roasting pan and set on oven rack. Pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up side of springform pan.

Bake cake 30-35 minutes or until edge begins to set and a thin crust forms on top. Carefully remove springform pan from water bath and place on wire rack. Cool cake to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

About 30 minutes before serving, run sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen cake; remove foil and side of pan. Invert cake onto waxed paper; peel off parchment. Turn cake right side up onto platter. Serve with whipped cream and berries.

This recipe takes a little time, but it is to die for...really, it's that good! Really decadent, so a little goes a loooooong way.

Yields: 16 servings

Buttery Polenta

5 c chicken broth (can use water)
1-2 garlic cloves
3/4 tsp salt
1 c dry polenta
1/2 c or more goat cheese (can use feta or parmesan)
2 1/2 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
chives or rosemary for garnish

Combine broth, garlic and salt in a pan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Gradually add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring often. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, cheese and pepper. Garnish with chives or rosemary.

Goat Cheese-Pesto Crostini

1 rustic baguette
1/2 c pesto
5 ounces goat cheese
1/3 c sun-dried tomatoes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut baguette into 1/2 inch slices and place on baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes. (Can drizzle with olive oil before baking). Spread some goat cheese over the baguette slices and then top with pesto. Place a few sun-dried tomato slices over the top for great color.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Teriyaki Meatballs

1 1/2 lbs ground turkey (substitute chicken or pork)
1/4 c thinly sliced scallions
2 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 c thick teriyaki sauce (Yoshida's is great)
1 egg
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
toasted sesame seeds for garnish
thinly sliced scallions for garnish

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk egg, scallions, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, garlic and pepper until blended. Add turkey and mix until combined. Shape into about 30 balls. Saute' meatballs aboaut 5 minutes, or til lightly browned on all sides. Place meatballs on greased baking sheet. Brush with teriyaki sauce. Bake 8-10 minutes, brushing once with remaining sauce, until cooked through and glazed. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

My Brother's Flank Steak Marinade

1/2 c soy sauce
1/4 c olive oil
2 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp mustard (I use Dijon)
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
6 cloves minced garlic

Combine and pour into a ziploc bag; add flank steak and marinate (overnight is great) in fridge. This marinade makes enough for 2 flank steaks.

Grill 5-6 minutes per side. Let sit for a few minutes; slice against the grain.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Killer Cornbread (aka Carol's Cornbread!)

1 c butter, room temperature, plus butter for greasing pan
1 c sugar
4 eggs
1 15-ounce can cream-style corn
1 or 2 4-ounce cans diced mild green chilies, drained
1/2 c Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 c shredded Cheddar cheese
1 c flour
1 c yellow cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 dish with butter. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in creamed corn, chilies and cheeses. In a seperate bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to corn mixture; stir until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in middle of oven for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Update: (8/22/09) I made these in mini-muffin tins for a dinner party...400 degrees for about 13 minutes...turned out great!
Update: (6/13/10) Just made these again and cut the sugar by 1/4 cup...also, used all pepper jack cheese along with 2 cans green chilies...YUM!

Yields: approximately 24 squares

Cherry Tomatoes Filled with Goat Cheese

24 cherry tomatoes
1/4 pound goat cheese
1/4 c minced fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cut the top off of each tomato. Using a small spoon, scoop out the pulp to make a hollow shell. Drain off any juice that accumulates in the shells.

In a bowl, combine cheese, basil, salt and pepper. Mix with fork until well blended.

Using the small spoon, fill each tomato with about 1 tsp of the cheese mixture. Arrange on a platter and serve.

Wasabi Shrimp Crackers

8 oz cream cheese, softened
3-4 tsp wasabi paste (Japanese horseradish paste)
30 thin rice crackers
30 peeled, cooked small shrimp
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Puree cream cheese with wasabi (to taste) until smooth. Mound 1 tsp cream cheese mixture on each cracker and top with shrimp. Sprinkle with scallions.

Yields: 30 hors d'oeuvres

Chipotle Pumpkin and Shrimp Bruschetta

1/2 c canned pumpkin
1/4 c goat cheese
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
1 c salad shrimp (can use more)
2 c mixed salad greens
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c fresh chives, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 c toasted hazelnuts
1/4 c olive oil
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Rustic country baguette
1 Tbsp olive oil
shaved parmesan cheese

Preheat broiler. In medium bowl, combine pumpkin, goat cheese, 1 Tbsp vinegar, honey and chipotle pepper -- set aside. In large bowl, combine shrimp, salad greens, onion, chives, hazelnuts, 1/4 c oil, 2 Tbsp vinegar, salt and pepper -- set aside. Brush bread with 1 Tbsp oil. Arrange on a large baking sheet. Broil 3-4 inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes or until toasted. Spread pumpkin mixture over warm bread. Top with shrimp mixture and shaved parmesan cheese.

"Hearty" Poppers

12 jalapeno peppers
1/2 pound lean ground turkey
1/4 c finely chopped red onion
4 ounces fat-free cream cheese
1-1 1/3 c shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 Tbsp minced cilantro
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise, leaving stems intact; discard seeds. Set aside. In a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook turkey and onion; drain.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/3 c mozzarella cheese, cilantro, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir in turkey mixture. Spoon generously into pepper halves.

Place in a baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray; sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Yields: 2 dozen

Mediterranean Orzo

One pound orzo, uncooked
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 c sun-dried tomatotes, drained and coarsely chopped
1 each yellow, green and red pepper, chopped
1/2 c kalamata olives
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 c chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 c red wine vinegar + 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste

Cook orzo according to pkg directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet. Add garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and peppers. Saute until soft. Toss together hot orzo, cooked vegies, olives, seasonings, parsley, red wine vinegar and feta cheese

Yields: 8 servings

Amazing Grilled Asparagus

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 c olive oil
1 tsp finely chopped shallots
2 pounds asparagus
3/4 to 1 pound grape (or cherry) tomatoes, halved
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

In small bowl, whisk balsamic and red wine vinegars, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil in a thin stream. Stir in shallots. Cover and set aside until ready to use.

Grill asparagus (or steam) until tender. Arrange asparagus and tomatoes on a large platter. Sprinkle with feta. Drizzle with half of the dressing. Serve remaining dressing on the side.

This may be served warm, room temperature or chilled.

Yields: 8 servings

Rustic Winter Vegetable Tarts

8 c winter vegies (such as squash, sweet potatoes, red onions, beets, turnips, carrots, etc)
4 slices thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 pkg (15-oz) rolled refrigerated unbaked piecrusts (2 crusts)
1 c crumbled goat cheese (4-oz)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 cloves minced garlic
Fresh rosemary sprigs to garnish

In large bowl, toss vegies with bacon, 2 Tbsp of the oil, thyme and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Spread evenly in 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Roast 35 minutes at 425 degrees, stirring occasionally until golden and tender.

Meanwhile, roll each piecrust to about 12 inches square. Cut each square into four free-form shapes; divide between two parchment-lined baking sheets.

Remove vegies from oven; stir in 3/4 c of the cheese, the vinegar and garlic. Set aside. Leave oven on; adjust racks to lower center and upper positions.

Divide vegie mixture among dough shapes, leaving generous 1-inch borders. Fold dough borders around vegies, pleating as necessary to form tart edges. Sprinkle vegetables with remaining 1/4 c goat cheese.

Bake 20 minutes or until tarts are golden brown, exchanging baking sheet placement on racks and rotating sheet pans after 10 minutes. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and garnish with rosemary sprigs.

~~ After roasting, vegies can be covered and refrigerated up to 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before assembling tarts.

~~ Baked tarts can be set aside, uncovered, at room temperature up to 2 hours. Reheat in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Yields: 8 servings

Chicken Tortilla Soup

3-4 chicken breasts
2 15-ounce cans black beans, undrained
2 15-ounce cans Mexican stewed tomatoes, or Rotel
1 c salsa (your choice in terms of heat level)
4-ounce can chopped green chilies
14 1/2-ounce can tomato sauce
tortilla chips
grated cheese
sour cream

Combine first 6 ingredients in large slow cooker. Cover; cook on LOW 8 hours. Just before serving, removing chicken and either shred or cut into bite-sized pieces. Stir back into soup. To serve, put a handful of chips in each bowl. Ladle soup over chips. Garnish with cheese, sour cream and cilantro.

Yields: about 8 servings

Avacado-Orange Salad

1/4 c fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
4 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
2 c orange segments (4-5 oranges)
1/2 c red onion, thinly sliced

Whisk lime juice, oil, garlic, honey, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Add avacado, orange and onion; toss to coat.

This salad can be assembled up to 2 hours in advance, but don't add avocado and onion until just before serving. Makes 5 cups.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

1 eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
1 each red, yellow and orange bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 red onion, 1-inch diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 box orzo pasta
4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
3/4 pound feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves, julienned

1/3 c freshly squeezed lemon juice ( about 2 lemons)
1/3 c olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss eggplant, peppers, onion and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper on a couple of large sheet pans. Roast for 40 minutes, turning once.

Meanwhile, cook orzo in boiling, salted water for 7-9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add roasted vegies to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over the pasta and vegies. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta and basil. Serve at room temperature.

Yields: 8 servings

Tomato Feta Salad

2 pints cherry tomatoes, red or mixed colors
1/4 c diced red onion
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3/4 lb feta

Cut tomatoes in half and place in large bowl. Add onion, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, basil and parsley and toss well. Dice feta into 1/2" to 3/4" cubes. Gently fold in and serve at room temperature. Serves 6.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Ginger-Lime Marinade


1/2 c lime juice
1/2 c olive oil
3 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 (1 to 1 1/2 pound) pork tenderloins

Whisk ingredients together and pour into ziploc bag. Add tenderloins and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Remove pork from bag and discard marinade. Grill pork about 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from heat and let rest about 5 minutes before slicing.

This makes a generous amount of marinade. You could actually cut it in half or use the other half to marinate some asparagus in for grilling.

Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin


2 ounces Wright's Liquid Smoke
2 ounces Dark Sesame Oil
Yoshida's Original Gourmet Sauce (about 1 1/2 cups)
Pork Tenderloins (I get them from Costco - use 1 of the 2 bags)

Marinate as long as you can...over night is great...two nights is even better. Grill until medium rare and remove from grill. Let meat rest, covered with foil, about 10 minutes. Slice diagonally.

Balsamic Onion Stacks

8 (1/2 inch thick) sweet onion slices (or red onion)
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 (8-ounce) pkg fresh mozzarella, cut into 4 (1/2 inch thick) rounds
fresh basil leaves
4 (1/2 inch thick) fresh tomato slices
basil sprigs for garnish

Arrange onion slices in a single layer in a large baking dish. Stir together vinegar and next 4 ingredients. Pour over onion slices and let marinate for a few hours. Remove onions from dressing, reserving dressing. Grill onion slices, covered with grill lid over medium-high heat 2-3 minutes per side. Layer half of grilled onion slices each with 1 cheese round, basil and 1 tomato slice; top with remaining half of onion slices. Grill onion stacks, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve onion stacks with reserved dressing. Garnish with more basil.

Yield: 4 servings

Chicken and Feta Tabbouleh

3/4 c uncooked bulgur (could use couscous, quinoa or your favorite pasta)
1 c boiling water
2 c chopped, cooked chicken breast (or rotisserie chicken)
1 c chopped tomato
1 c chopped cucumber
3/4 c chopped parsley
1/2 c crumbled feta
1/3 c finely chopped green onions
1/4 c chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Place bulgur in medium bowl; cover with 1 c boiling water. Let stand 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Combine chicken and remaining ingredients in large bowl. Add bulgur to chicken mixture; toss to combine.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size 1 1/2 cups)

Lime and Cilantro Chicken Salad

1/3 c seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 c fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp pureed chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 c canola oil
1 c chopped fresh cilantro, stems and leaves

3 ears corn, shucked and grilled (best!) or boiled
4 large chicken breasts, seaoned with salt & pepper, cooked and julienned
1 1/2 c diced tomatoes
1 pound mixed baby greens
2 c grated jack cheese
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 c toasted, salted pumpkin seeds
Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish
Lime wedges for serving

In blender, combine vinegar, lime juice, garlic, chipotle chile, honey and salt and process until combined and smooth. With machine running, gradually add oil to form an emulsion. Stir in chopped cilantro.  Set aside.

To assemble the salad, cut off othe corn kernels from the cobs -- you should have about 2 cups. Add chicken, tomatoes, greens, cheese and black beans to the corn. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to coat.

Transfer salad to chilled salad plates building height in the center. Scatter pumpkin seeds over the servings. Add cilantro sprigs on top and garnish with lime wedges.

Yields: 6 servings

Mediterranean Meatloaf

1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes
10-ounce pkg frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 c diced red onion
1/2 c crumbled feta
1 1/2 lb ground turkey
1 c oats or bread crumbs
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg

Combine all ingredients and put into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes. YUM!!

This is great served with a Greek Salad.