Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer Strawberry Salad & Balsamic dressing

Homemade croûtons

2 cups cubed French bread (day old)
1 - 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees
2.  In a skillet, toss everything together 
3.  Place in oven for approx 25 mins (at the end I broiled on LO for 3 mins to brown them up & it worked perfectly)
4.  Set aside while assembling the rest

2 cups of Arugula (approx 1 cup per person)
4 to 5 Strawberries sliced
6 whole Kalamata olives cut in half
6 small Bocconcini (small mozzarella balls)
1/8 cup Red onions thinly sliced

Balsamic Dressing 
Whisk together the following:
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon
Salt & Pepper to taste

Inspired by

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Southern Roasted Sweet Potatoes

This is the perfect side dish for anytime of year.  As a southern girl, I love sweet potatoes and they are one of my favorite comfort foods.  My hubby often snares when I place a sweet potato on his plate but last night he was going nuts over these.  Guess I will be making them like this more often.     

1 medium Sweet Potato cubed
1-2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (just enough to coat them & help the spices adhere)
1 teaspoon Chili powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
Salt & Pepper to taste
Garnish with your favorite Honey Mustard dressing 

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Cube up your sweet potatoes (NOTE: I cube mine a little bigger than I want them to be when I eat them because they shrink once they have been cooked)

3. In a cast iron skillet, add potatoes, toss them in olive oil, chili powder, cinnamon, thyme and salt & pepper to taste.

4. Place them in the oven for 15 - 20 mins. When you can tell they are done by taking a knife & piercing them, if it goes in easily then they are perfect. Remove.

5. Drizzle them with Honey Mustard dressing & serve. ENJOY!!!

NOTE:  Please feel free to use more or less spices depending on your tastes but this flavor combo is unbelievable.  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quesadilla Lasagna

What can I say about this but, WOW!! When it comes to cheese layered up with avocados, lean ground turkey, black beans, red onions, cilantro..etc, this dish has comfort written all over it. Each layer hugs your taste buds & warms your tummy. Perfect served along side an Arugula Salad. Enjoy!!!

6 small flour tortillas (can cut off 1 side of each tortillas to help them fit better)
1/2 lb Ground turkey cooked 
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 to 8 mushrooms sliced or approximately 1/4 cup
1/4 cup black beans
1 - 2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 pound grated cheese (Sharp Cheddar & Monterey Jack

Bottom layer: Black beans & Red Onions & Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Middle layer: Mushrooms & Meat & both Cheeses
Top layer: Monteray Jack, diced Avocado, Cilantro & Smoked Paprika 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees for 15 mins.  In a skillet, over med high heat add 1 tablespoon butter & brown mushrooms. Remove from heat season with salt & pepper to taste, a dash of garlic powder. Set aside. In skillet, over mid high heat brown turkey, add worcestershire, chili powder & cumin, salt & pepper to taste. In an 8x8 baking dish spread melted butter on sides & bottom of dish.  Place 2 overlapping tortillas on the bottom of the pie dish. Bottom layer: cheese, black beans, and red onions. Middle layer: 2 more tortillas topped with mushrooms, ground turkey and both cheeses. Top layer: 2 tortillas, brushed with melted butter, Monteray Jack cheese, avocado, cilantro & garnished with smoked paprika.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly. Enjoy!!!

NOTE: Brush melted butter on the bottom of the pan to keep the tortillas from sticking & will help keep them from drying out when you bake them. It will also aid in the browning process. I tried using Pam on 1 layer but that did not turn out well. My advice is, don't skip the butter, you will be glad you used it come time to serve it. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Peach Salsa

2 ripe, but firm medium peaches diced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 packets True Lime (or 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice) 
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 1/2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
white pepper to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine peaches, lime, olive oil, red onion, cilantro, salt, chili powder & pepper to taste.

2. Allow it marinate in refrigerator for several hours. The longer you can let it rest the better. Serve with chips  & enjoy!!

NOTE: True lime is a crystallized lime product that is fairly new on the market. It makes things so much easier because it can keep for extended periods unlike fresh limes. It can be used in a variety of ways & I came across some free samples & have been itching to try it. In my opinion, its a great substitute!! (Adapted from)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Now that's a Corned Beef Sandwich!!!

1 Foccacia Loaf
1/2 lb Corned Beef
2 - 4 slices of Swiss Cheese
1/2 lb Artichoke & Spinach spread (Fresh Market)

1.  Cut bread in half

2.  Layer up corned beef, then swiss cheese

3.  Smear the top loaf with the spread, I didn't use quite all of it.

4.  Cut into equal wedges, I was able to get 6 total individual sandwiches

NOTE:  I made this up today for my hubby to take to work all week.  It's easy to assemble & any meat & cheese combo works great.  Keep it simple because the spread is sooo flavorful & adding additional condiments could compromise & overpower the other ingredients.  But by all means feel free to add whatever you like.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stuffed Tuna Salad

Tuna Salad is my go to lunch on a weekly basis.  My father has eaten this for years & growing up I wasn't a big fan of tuna.  But when I came up with this recipe, I instantly feel in love.  I am a hot tuna melt-y cheese kinda girl.  Place these under a broiler for a quick lunch or snack anytime.  Enjoy!!!  

1 (12oz) can solid white tuna in water (drained)
6 tablespoons of cream cheese 
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tablespoons diced Red Onion 
1 tablespoon chives (dried works just fine)
1 tsp dill (dried works just fine)
Salt & Pepper to taste 

Mix together & serve hot or cold 

NOTE: The longer it sits the better it is, so if you can make it a day ahead go for it.  

How to assemble the sandwich 

1 Hoagie roll, cut in half & center hulled out
Filled up with creamy tuna Salad
3 slices Avocado
Monterey Jack cheese
Garnished with red onion
Sprinkled with smoked paprika


1. Hull out the center of the Hoagie

2. Stuff it with Tuna & top with slices of avocado, cheese, sprinkled with smoked paprika

3. Stick in in the broiler until cheese has melted

4. Garnish with red onions & ENJOY!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cuban Panini

2 Hoagie rolls
2 slices of Roasted Pork
4 slices of ham (Boars Head Low sodium is our fav)
2 slices of baby swiss
2 slices of long sandwich dill pickles
2 tablespoons Dijon
Extra Virgin Olive oil

1. Slice each Hoagie in half length wise and hull out each half (top & bottom) to make a cozy home for the ingredients.

2. Starting with the bottom roll, layer up 1 slice of pork, 2 slices of ham,1 slice of dill pickle and 1 slice of swiss.

3. Take the top piece & smear on approximately 1 tablespoon (or more depending on your desire) Dijon. Introduce the top to the bottom & allow them to fall in love. Coat the outside of the top piece with Extra Virgin Olive Oil to prepare it for the panini press.

4. Now repeat steps 2 & 3 for the 2nd (and so on).

5. On med-high, place the sandwiches on the panini press & cook for 3 to 5 mins, until crunchy on the outside & melt-y goodness is coming from the inside.

6. Cut each on a diagonal & serve with Sweet Potato Fries..ENJOY!

NOTE: If you do not have a panini press you can use a cast iron skillet or any skillet & place something heavy on top to weight it down. Just be sure you press it, so it cooks up in the 3 to 5 mins.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Diner Mac & Cheese

This macaroni & cheese recipe came to life after watching an episode of Diner, Drive In's & Dives.  Of course, this is my favorite comfort food in the world.  But what makes this recipe so special is how it reminds me of the kind of mac & cheese that you would find in a diner or cafeteria.  Southern diner food has got to be some of the best stuff EVER eaten.  Your family will flock to the table, when they hear this is what's for dinner.  It has loads of sharp cheddar & gruyère cheese that strings out over your plate, as its being served.  What more could you ask for?!!   

2 cups uncooked elbow noodles (approx 8 oz)
1/2 stick melted butter
1 12 fl oz can evap milk
2 eggs
1 cup of grated Gruyère Cheese (all in)
8 oz of sharp cheddar (3/4 in & 1/4 on top)
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper
Smoked Paprika on top
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

Bring water to a boil over high heat & add salt (be sure it tastes like the ocean). Add pasta, cook until al dente, according to package direction. Drain.

Spray an 8x8 baking dish, coated with nonstick spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk mix together eggs & evaporated milk for several minutes. Then add melted butter, onion powder and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the pasta & stir in all the Gruyère & 3/4 sharp cheddar cheese (reserving 1/4 to add to the top) & then pour entire mixture in the baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and dust with smoked paprika.

Bake until the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve & enjoy!

Serves 4-6

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