Sunday, October 31, 2010

Acorn Squash with Black Bean and Corn Salsa

3 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6-oz bag baby spinach
1 c chopped cilantro
4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp hot sauce
2 tsp lime juice
salt, to taste
crumbled feta, optional

Bake squash, cut sides down in a pan with about an inch of water, in a 350 degree oven for about 45 min or til tender when pierced with a knife. Saute' onion and garlic in olive oil til tender; add rest of ingredients, except cilantro and feta, and cook til spinach is wilted. Add cilantro and spoon mixture into baked squash half; top with feta.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Slow Cooker Oatmeal

1 1/2 c steel-cut or old-fashioned oats (I used steel-cut)
3 c water
2 c chopped apples (leave peel on)
1/2 c sliced or chopped almonds
1 tbsp  cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp flax seed
blueberries, optional

Combine all (except blueberries) in crock-pot (spray with Pam!), cover and cook on low for about 4 hrs. Spoon out and top with blueberries and milk. This is so easy and delicious ~ your house will smell like you just made an apple crisp!

Monday, August 30, 2010


1 c thinly sliced red onion
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves

4 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
wooden skewers, soaked for about an hour

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-lock bag; add chicken. Marinate in fridge for a few hours, turning occasionally. Prepare grill. Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade. Thread chicken strips onto skewers; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place skewers on grill and grill til done, turning once. Serves 8 as an appetizer.

Serve with Tzaziki sauce:
Combine greek yogurt, shredded cucumber, minced garlic, chopped fresh mint and salt to taste.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pasta with Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives and Feta

3 tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 c Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
3 Tbsp drained capers
3 Tbsp fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
3 Tbsp fresh chopped chives
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 lb spaghetti (or your favorite shape)
6 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced

In large bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, feta, capers, parsley, basil, chives, salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Cook pasta until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain. Add cooked pasta and garlic oil to the tomato mixture and toss. Garnish with additional herbs.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Alison's Grilled Jalapeno Poppers

1/2 c softened goat cheese
1/2 c softened fat-free cream cheese
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c chopped, seeded tomatoes
2 Tbsp thinly sliced green onions
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp kosher salt
16 jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
fresh chopped cilantro for garnish

Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Spoon about 2 tsp cheese mixture into each pepper half. Place pepper halves, cheese side up, on grill. Grill til bottoms of peppers are charred and cheese mixture is lightly browned. Place peppers on serving platter and sprinkle with cilantro.

Monday, June 14, 2010


1-15 oz can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1-15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1-11 oz can shoe-peg corn, drained
yellow or orange pepper, chopped
red pepper, chopped
red onion, chopped
cilantro, chopped
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c white vinegar
1/4 c canola oil
3 Tbsp Tiger sauce (found by BBQ sauces)

Combine first 7 ingredients. In separate bowl, combine sugar, vinegar, oil and Tiger sauce. Add to bean mixture and marinate overnight. Serve with tortilla chips.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Roasted Peppers and Cornbread Bites

Red, orange and yellow peppers
Goat cheese (could substitute with feta)
Basil (could substitute with cilantro)
Cornbread (I used my "Killer Cornbread" recipe from an earlier post - from a great restaurant in CA)
Grill, roast or saute' peppers with olive oil, salt and pepper and thinly slice. Cut cornbread into 1-inch cubes and top with peppers.
Crumble goat cheese, place on peppers and top with basil. Easy schmeazy, over the top yummy and you will be calling me YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND!!! You're welcome!! :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Grilled Peppers

3 bell peppers, quartered (I used some mini peppers from Costco, cut in half)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar (I would not use this next time...balsamic is sweet enough)
1/2 c crumbled goat cheese (I used feta)
1/2 c loosely packed torn basil leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Toss peppers with some olive oil and grill for about 5 minutes on each side or until tender; arrange , cut sides up, on a serving platter. Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar (optional); drizzle over peppers. Sprinkle with goat cheese (or feta) , basil, salt and pepper.
A great addition to this wonderful bit of yummmm is grilled, sliced yukon gold potatoes. Slice, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill til tender. Oh yeah...beautiful AND good!! Serve with a garlic aoli for your "dipping pleasure".

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mexicali Rice Saute'

1 c brown rice, uncooked (could use quinoa or couscous)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dry oregano
1-2 tsp chili powder (I used 2)
dash (or 3-4!!) hot sauce
chopped red pepper (can use a combination of any color)
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
6-8 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/3 c feta cheese (could use cheddar...but really, WHY??!!)
Cook rice according to package instructions. Heat oil in saute' pan; add onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, hot sauce and red pepper; saute' about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add black beans, tomatoes, juice of 1 lime, cilantro and spinach. Stir to wilt spinach and cilantro a bit; add rice and feta cheese.
Oh all you vegetarians out there...THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!! Soooo good. If you ABSOLUTELY NEED some sort of "meat" in your meal....just add a sliced chicken breast to this. But then, hey, grill it, diagonally slice it and MAKE IT BEAUTIFUL!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wasabi Cream Cheese Appetizer

8 oz block cream cheese
wasabi (in tube)
soy sauce
toasted sesame seeds
poppy seeds
sesame crackers

Slice cream cheese in half and spread wasabi paste on top of one half. Put other half back on and coat in sesame seed/poppy seed mixture. Place in serving dish and pour soy sauce around it. Serve with sesame crackers and enjoy!

Wasabi "packs a punch"...LOVE it!! The cream cheese will slice easier if you put it in the freezer for a bit...20 minutes or so.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Carmelized Onion and Gruye`re Tart

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 c dry Marsala
freshly ground pepper
6 ounces Gruye`re cheese, shredded (1 1/2 c)

Melt butter in oil. Add onions, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring til softened. Uncover pan and cook, stirring occasionally, til onions are very soft and well browned, about 45 min longer; add a little water as necessary to prevent onions from sticking. Add the Marsala and cook til nearly evaporated. Season onions with pepper and transfer to a bowl. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On lightly floured surface, roll out the Buttery Cornmeal Pastry to a 13-inch round, 1/8 inch thick. Wrap dough around the rolling pin and fit it into a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Run rolling pin over the rim to trim off the overhang. Prick bottom with fork and refrigerate til chilled, at least 10 minutes. Line tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 25 minutes, or til edge is golden and center is nearly set. Remove foil and weights, cover edge with foil and bake 5 min. Sprinkle cheese into tart shell and spread onions on top. Bake 10 minutes or til cheese is melted and onions are sizzling. Let cool 15 minutes. Unmold and cut into wedges.
SERVING SUGGESTION: toss mixed greens with a vinaigrette (champagne, white or red wine, sherry), arrange on plate and top with a wedge of the tart.

(This tart can be made ahead, refrigerated overnight and then rewarmed before serving).

1 c flour
1/4 c plus 2 Tbsp polenta
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 stick cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 c ice water
In food processor, pulse flour with cornmeal. Add butter and pulse til size of small peas. Sprinkle with water and pulse til pastry is evenly moistened. Transfer to a lightly floured board and pat into disk. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

(Pastry can be refrigerated overnight or frozen for 1 month).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chopped Coleslaw Salad

2 Tbsp mustard seeds
1/4 c sugar
1/3 c white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
3/4 tsp salt
2 c green cabbage, julienned
2 c red cabbage, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 c sliced red onion
1/4 c green onions, sliced diagonally into 1-inch pieces
romaine leaves for garnish

Toast mustard seeds over med heat for a few minutes, partially covered, til they begin to pop. Remove seeds from pan. Add sugar and vinegar to pan; bring to boil. Remove pan from heat; stir in mustard and salt. Combine seeds, vinegar mixture, cabbage, bell pepper and onions in large bowl; toss well. Cover and chill (stirring occasionally).
Looks beautiful when piled high into the center of a large martini glass lined with romaine leaves.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lentil Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage (bon appetit)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound fully cooked hot Italian sausage, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped (about 3 cups)
2 large carrots, peeled, chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)
2 large parsnips, peeled, chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)
2 large celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 pound brown lentils (about 2 1/2 cups)
3 quarts (or more) chicken broth
1 5-ounce pkg baby spinach leaves

Heat oil in large pot over med-high heat. Add sausage and cook til browned, stirring occasionally. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to bowl. Add onion, carrots, parsnips, celery and Italian seasoning to drippings in pot; cook til onion is translucent and vegetables begin to soften, stirring often. Add lentils; stir to coat. Add chicken broth. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer til lentils are tender, stirring occasionally and adding more broth if soup is too thick, 20 minutes. Add sausage to soup and simmer til vegetables are tender and flavors blend, 10-12 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in spinach. Cook til spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.

Makes 8 servings.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chicken with Lime-Chili Sauce

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp honey
2 tsp fish sauce
2 cloves garlic
3/4 c rice wine vinegar
3/4 c sugar
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro, plus whole leaves
1 Tbsp finely chopped peanuts
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
appetizer skewers

Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes and place in ziploc bag. Combine scallions, oil, lime juice, honey, fish sauce and garlic in blender. Pour over chicken; marinate and chill for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours. For the dipping sauce, cook vinegar and sugar over med-high heat in small saucepan. Simmer until reduced slightly, about 4 minutes. Cool, then add cilantro, peanuts and red pepper flakes. Cook chicken on grill pan or in a large skillet til cooked through. Thread chicken cubes onto skewers with a cilantro leaf and serve with dipping sauce.

Makes about 30 appetizer skewers.