Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Grilled Corn Salad

I've been making this salad this summer and everyone loves it everywhere I take it. I know it's technically not summer anymore because Labor Day has passed and we're not supposed to wear white shoes (I don't actually own any white shoes) or summery dresses. But it's 94 degrees here and I'm really pregnant so I'll eat corn salad and wear summery dresses if I feel like it. Just sayin'.

Have you grilled corn? It's smoky and sweet and absolutely delicious. Mixed with the other salad ingredients - like feta cheese - downright addictive.

That's probably all I need to say about this.

Go forth and make it while the corn is still fresh-picked and delicious.

Grilled Corn Salad

8 ears of corn, grilled until slightly charred (I usually brush it with olive oil before grilling)
3 avocados, diced & tossed with the juice from one lemon (to prevent browning)
2 cups tomatoes (I use garden-fresh heirlooms or grape tomatoes), chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 (heaping) cup crumbled feta cheese
English cucumber, peeled and diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

6 T apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cut the corn from the cob and toss it with the other veggies and feta cheese. Whisk the vinaigrette together and mix it with the salad. Serve this immediately at room temp (yum!) or chill it in the fridge for up to a few hours. Best served the same day you make it.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Kale & Quinoa Salad

There's something about summer and pregnancy that makes me crave salads like crazy! I can't get enough salad. I've made this kale & quinoa salad several times (and I've eaten Panera's Greek Kale & Quinoa salad several times…delicious…and Malone's kale & quinoa with salmon…fabulous). No one else in my family is wild about this combo of flavors/textures, but I think it's awesome. (Matthew is not a picky eater but raw kale is a bit too…chewy for him. And that's okay. More for me.)

So you just cook the quinoa (takes only about 15 minutes), throw in the minced kale and Craisins, toss it with the vinaigrette and top with the sliced onions and goat cheese. Hello delicious.

I've eaten this warm, room temp & cold. All 3 ways are my favorite.

Kale & Quinoa Salad

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed well in a sieve
2 cups water
1 bunch kale, leaves stripped from stems and finely chopped
heaping 1/2 cup Craisins
Sliced almonds, toasted (about 3/4 cup, but do as many as you like)
Goat cheese, crumbled (about a cup, maybe more)

Lemon Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons, juiced)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cook the quinoa in the water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Stir in the chopped kale and Craisins. Toss with the vinaigrette. Add the almonds and goat cheese to taste - you can sprinkle on top or mix them into the salad. (I tend to sprinkle them on top because goat cheese tends to dissolve into salads if you mix it too much.)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tex-Mex Fried Rice

It's summer and I am thankful for that. I love having my kids home with me! It's wild and crazy and loud (did I mention that it's loud?) and dirty and messy but it's fun. We play outside (a lot). And I've even had time to make a few new yummy recipes.

So I have another Pioneer Woman recipe to share…I added a few things to it to make it work for our family and everyone LOVED it! It was pretty delicious and easy…and good left over. I'll definitely make this again.

Tex-Mex Fried Rice
Adapted from Pioneer Woman

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
15 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
4 oz. can chopped green chiles
10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes
3-4 cups cooked white rice (leftover rice works well)
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
1 T garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T worcestershire sauce
4 green onions, sliced thin
Juice of 1 lime
1 bunch cilantro, chopped fine

Brown the ground beef with the onion and bell pepper in a large deep skillet, crumbling as it cooks. Drain any excess grease. Stir in the corn, black beans, green chiles and Rotel. Cook for a minute. Stir in the rice and remaining ingredients and heat through. Ready to serve! Delicious by itself or topped with cheese, salsa, avocado (or guacamole!) & sour cream.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Heavenly Hummus Wrap (PW Recipe)

Hi y'all. This is not my original recipe, and it's so delicious exactly the way it's written that I really haven't changed anything. PW knows what she's doing. Which is, I guess, why Food Network deemed her worthy of her own show. And she has several cookbooks. And her own line of KitchenAid mixers. And dishes.

Let's face it. She's an empire. So who am I to mess with one of her recipes.

I have a thing about wraps, so when I saw her make this veggie wrap on her show, I knew I needed one. It's really delicious. There's just something about the cool and creamy hummus, the warm and sweet caramelized onions, the cool veggies, the salty bite of feta and the balsamic-dressed greens.

Mmmmm...I'd like one right this moment. But I've de-prioritized cooking this week year while I finished up my painting projects. I've nearly finished painting the main floor and gotten a start on the second floor. Whew.

Heavenly Hummus Wrap

Spinach wrap (sold where the tortillas are)
Hummus (I make it but you can buy it)
1 onion, sliced thin
2 tsp butter
Roasted red peppers, sliced
Canned quartered artichoke hearts, drained
Feta cheese, crumbled
Handful of leafy greens (spring mix, arugula, spinach, etc.)

Smooth a generous amount of hummus on the center of the tortilla. Caramelize the onions in the butter over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or so until sweet and browned and delicious. Spread desired amount of onions on top of hummus. Next layer the roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts on top and sprinkle with feta. Toss the greens with balsamic dressing and place on top of the wrap. Roll it and enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

(How to) Can Fabulous Salsa

Last summer my dad grew more tomatoes than I can even describe to you. No lie. Buckets and buckets.

This is my Bitty Baby. She's 19 months old. Hurts my heart. 
I was thrilled. I made tomato sauce and froze it. We ate fresh tomatoes every day. I made fresh pico all the time. And (drumroll please) I canned salsa!

Canning salsa has been on my bucket list for quite some time. (Remember, we're not to judge others' bucket lists.)

You're gonna wanna do this, peeps. Eat it with a spoon, drink it with a straw, just get it in your mouth.

I shared it with my family and my brother said it was the perfect amount of "sweet and heat." Mission accomplished.

Once I became a pro at canning salsa, I went to town canning pears & apples from our orchard. By next summer, I'm going to be a canning machine. Watch out. It's juicy, messy & sloppy but so worth it.

Here's how I did it.

(How to) Can Fabulous Salsa

8-10 cups of peeled, chopped & drained tomatoes (I used Roma tomatoes & plum tomatoes)
2 large sweet onions, chopped
2 green peppers
1/2 cup jalapeno peppers, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 T cumin
2 tsp pepper
2 T kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
15 oz. can tomato sauce
12 oz. can tomato paste
Juice of 2 limes
Bunch of cilantro, chopped fine

Place all ingredients except for lime juice & cilantro into a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to create the consistency you want. I like it pretty pureed (though not completely). Taste it and see what you think. You can always add more heat, salt, sugar, whatever, to suit your taste. Stir in the cilantro & lime juice. Ladle into canning jars, seal with lids and cook in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

*Just a canning tip: the jars may not feel completely sealed on top when you remove them from the water; if the lids don't pop after the jar has cooled, you know you have a good seal. If it still pops, process in the water for another 10 minutes.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Barbecue Chicken Nachos

I just noticed that I last posted in September. That was four months ago. It's now 2016. I'm not even going to ask you where my life is going because I know you don't have an answer either.

So. What's happened in the last 4 months. Matthew and I stayed awake ALL THE WAY TO MIDNIGHT on New Year's Eve!!! This is news, people. We haven't rang in a new year since we had children.

Exciting item #2. We acquired a new family member. It is a baby kitten! Ugh. Kittens one of God's cutest creations. We named him Tubby. He's clearly a smart cat since he chose our house to come howl in front of. And I'm a total sucker for animals. And my dad is a vet! Told you Tubs is smart.

It was a dark and stormy evening (for real), my dad dropped Matthew off from their afternoon of hunting and we heard a kitten crying in the bushes. My dad and I hunted around in the bushes, using our flashlights because it was dark as night and raining and calling "here, kitty" about a thousand times. We caught him and the rest is history. Tubby is adorable and sweet and positively adores our children. Well, he adores the two older girls. The two littles are a bit rough with him. He's sweet and tolerant anyway.

It goes with the territory. I just remind Tubby that he picked us. He loves our dogs, he loves our other cat, Harry, and I'm sure he will love the bunny we're getting this spring when Mary Beth turns 8. (We're on our way to a petting zoo. Just how I planned it. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Christmas break was wonderful...I love all of my kids home with me. I considered not sending them back to school this semester. Learning is overrated, no? (Matthew does not share these thoughts. Hence the reason children need mothers AND fathers. That is not a political statement. It's just a factual statement.)

Christmas break...where was I...oh, yes, these nachos. Um, yum is all I can say about these. My sister-in-law makes these and my brother loves them and she told me all about them and I said yes I'll be making those soon and so I made them in December. Matthew and I LOVED them!!!

Quantities are approximate because it simply doesn't matter. (Plus, I don't have time to measure anymore. I just empty out the refrigerator and dump stuff in. Things turn out okay. Usually, anyway.) A pile of chips, a pile of cheese, chicken, bake. Top with green onions, sour cream, BBQ sauce & pickled jalapeno slices. Devour.

So easy. Please make these. And by all means, use Neely's BBQ sauce recipe (I tweaked it a bit and blogged it here). Bottled BBQ sauce is just too...gloppy. Neely's is perfect. You'll lick your plate, despite your New Year's resolutions!

Barbecue Chicken Nachos

Tortilla Chips
Shredded Cheese (I used a combo of Pepper Jack & Cheddar)
Cooked chicken, chopped (I used grilled but sauteed or even rotisserie would work!)
Black beans (I just used canned, drained & rinsed)
BBQ Sauce

Sliced green onions
Sour Cream
Pickled jalapeno peppers

On a large baking sheet, spread a layer of tortilla chips and top with cheese & chicken. Spread another layer of chips on top with cheese & chicken. Bake in a 375 degree oven until cheese is melty & bubbly. Remove from oven and generously top with BBQ sauce. (If you put the BBQ sauce on the chips before you put it in the oven, the chips get soggy. Just FYI.) Sprinkle green onions on top. Top each serving with sour cream and jalapenos.

My mouth is watering. Can't wait to make these again.