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quick chicken pasta dinner

creamy cajun

We’re on a chicken kick at my house. Boneless skinless chicken breast is what I make for dinner when I’m uninspired. Not that that’s a bad thing.

After all, one can’t be creative and “in the mood” to make a “wow” dinner every night!

Even so, this quick and easy pasta dinner put smiles on the family’s faces.

The best part …. even though the cupboards are quite bare … I had everything on hand and didn’t have to make a trip to the grocery store.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

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September 30, 2014   No Comments

roasted vegetable versatility

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Roasted vegetables are one of the most versatile foodstuffs to have on hand.

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Case in point – I roasted up a bunch of vegetables last week for a meeting I had here at the house.

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I used a few cups of the finished product for mini-pita sandwiches, which were devoured between the meeting attendees and my by guys, after the meeting.

roasted vegetable enchiladas

A couple of nights later I used them to make enchiladas for dinner.

vegetable scramble

And all week long, I added them to scrambled eggs for breakfast.

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No need for the sandwich or egg recipes; just stuff mini-pita halves and warm in a skillet before stirring in a couple beaten eggs. The enchilada recipe is below.

The link for how to roast the veggies has three more recipes using roasted vegetables. The only difference in how I roasted them this time, was instead of using olive oil, I sprayed the foil-lined pans with Pam, placed the vegetables on the foil and then sprayed the vegetables again with Pam before seasoning with salt and pepper and placing in the oven.

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September 16, 2014   2 Comments

nom nom nom

Are you looking for a healthy Meatless Monday meal?

meatless

Move along, this recipe is not for you!

This is decadence at its best!

Oh sure, I used chicken breakfast sausage and soy chorizo …  don’t let that fool you, this is not a healthy, low-fat, low-cal recipe. It is deliciousness to the max!

soy

Are you still with me?

Good… Enjoy!

The recipe makes two skillets of Queso. It is best to do this in two small 8-inch cast iron skillets, as it is best eaten hot from the oven.

A larger skillet would allow the queso to cool and harden, which is exactly what we don’t want! It’s best while hot and melty.

queso fundido

Now you don’t have to use cast iron, but look how good it looks! You just need to make sure your skillets are oven-safe, meaning the handle won’t melt. If your skillet is not oven-safe, or if you’re not sure, just wrap the handle with at least 3 layers of foil… now it’s oven-safe and ready to rock and roll!

Assemble both skillets at the same time, cover one and place in the refrigerator until the other is about gone (This is guaranteed to happen within minutes of being placed in front of a hungry group!) then pop the second in the oven.

nom nom

Hungry Queso fans will be hanging around the oven, waiting for it to come out… that’s fine, it takes less than 10 minutes to bake.

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September 15, 2014   2 Comments

cards and dinner

george and Julie

Last night, we had George and Julie over for cards and dinner. You may remember George and Julie as the “side vs. salad” couple from the 4th of July party. That’s George sitting on the cool deck and Julie in the blue top on the far right.

limoncello lemonade

We’ve always been a big “cards family.” We play either Hearts, Spades, Rummy 500, Pinochle, or Gin Rummy with my dad nearly every Sunday. So “cards and dinner” is nothing new at our house, but having another couple over for that explicit reason is.

jars and crackers

I had family obligations all morning and into the early afternoon, so dinner had to be fast and easy. I made a quick cocktail by whizzing a few frozen mixed berries in the blender with about a cup of purchased lemonade. I strained out the seeds and put the mixture in a pitcher and then added the rest of the bottled lemonade and popped that in the fridge to chill. When it was time to serve, I poured the berry-lemonade and an ounce of vodka over ice and topped it off with a splash of homemade limoncello. Cocktail Done!

When Dave got home from work, I asked him to the scour the refrigerator for olives and the pantry for smoked fish and pâté and arrange it on a platter with some crackers and grissini breadsticks.  Snacks Done!

Below is the recipe for one of the two salads I made, the other will follow in a day or so.

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August 2, 2014   1 Comment

zucchini melts

zucchini melts with grilled asparagus and tomatoes

What does this plate say to you?

To me – it screams SUMMER! All those bright and colorful veggies, grilled to perfection!

You can use your outdoor grill or a grill pan to make it. I chose the grill pan … for obvious reasons.

After looking over the post, you almost don’t need a recipe. I took so many photos of each step – so as long as you know that you need enough olive oil, salt and pepper to coat everything, you might want to skip the reading and just use this as a pictorial instructions. Enjoy.

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July 26, 2014   3 Comments

salad color

easter egg radishes

If you can find Easter egg radishes and colorful heirloom cherry tomatoes at your grocery store or farmer’s market, this perfect colorful summer salad!

heirloom tomatoes

If not, I’m sorry for you but it will still taste fantastic without the “fancy” vegetables.

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Isn’t it pretty?

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July 12, 2014   No Comments

colorful summer salad and a tomato tip

tomato halves

I’ve seen this cool tip for cutting a bunch of cherry tomatoes at one time all over the internet and on Pinterest. I’ve used it for sometime now, but keep forgetting to share it with you. It not only comes in handy for this salad but is especially fabulous for THIS RECIPE and any other recipes calling for roasted cherry tomatoes.

Summer Squash and Salmon Salad

Summer Squash and Salmon Salad

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds zucchini, ends trimmed and then thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pepper jelly
3 pound salmon fillet, skin on
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 avocado, diced
1 cup chopped pecans

zuchinni

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Add the zucchini, toss to coat and let marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

coat salmon

Spread the pepper jelly on the flesh side of the salmon. Heat a grill or broiler to high.

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June 30, 2014   4 Comments

Meatless Monday

veggies

After visiting The Simple Farm last week, I was inspired to make a meatless meal.

This meal is “Connor Approved!”

flatbread pesto

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June 9, 2014   2 Comments

Connor’s Summer Salad

summer salad

Connor did not request this salad for his birthday dinner, but I needed something cool, refreshing, colorful and healthy to add to the menu that was heavy with ribs and BBQ sauce.

I’d be happy eating this all summer long! Add some feta or goat cheese if you’d like. I left it out because those aren’t Connor’s favorite things, and on your birthday, you should never have to eat something you don’t like!

summer salad stuff

Summer Corn, Cucumber & Tomato Salad

Cilantro Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
tablespoon chopped cilantro

Salad
16 ounce package frozen corn, thawed
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2  English cucumber, diced
1/2 red onion, peeled and diced
2 avocados, diced

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May 28, 2014   2 Comments

not just any old gazpacho

This was the “main course” for my Pool Party class at Les Gourmettes. It’s a bit chunky, a sorta soupy, kinda spicy, and really good!

fire roasted gazpacho2

Fire-Roasted Gazpacho

1 large onion, peeled and cut into 3 thick rounds
2 zucchini, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
1 each red, yellow, orange bell peppers
2/3 cup olive oil
3 thick slices fresh sourdough bread
4 garlic cloves; 1 of the cloves peeled and cut in half and the 3 remaining cloves peeled and minced
8 large tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
2 English cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 cup Sherry or red wine vinegar
2 cups tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnish
2 green onions, green tops only; thinly sliced on the bias
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 avocado, diced

Preheat the grill to high heat.

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May 12, 2014   No Comments