Monday, April 30, 2007

Cheesy Peasy Salad

This salad is one of our all time favorites. It's light and crispy but quite substantial as far as salads go. And so yummy! Company worthy for sure!

What you'll need:
4-6 cups bit sized greens (I like to use a combination of baby spinach, butter lettuce and iceburg)
3 green onions chopped
2 cups fresh or frozen peas (I don't precook them, though you can) If you try this with canned peas I'll be forced to cause you some sort of bodily harm.
1 1/2 cups swiss cheese grated
6-8 Tblsp. Mayonaisse
3 tsp. granulated sugar
5 slices crisp bacon (crumbled or chopped) -- If you try substituting bacon bits for the real deal... well, I promise not to hurt you but I will retract my company worthy rating of the salad!

What to do:
In large bowl layer half of every ingredient. Just sprinkle the sugar evenly and then plop the mayo in blobs on top of the first layer. Repeat the layers ending with the sugar and mayo and cover. Refrigerate for about two hours. Toss just before serving. Bacon can be withheld until after chilling. It will be crunchier this way.

It's Salad Season!

Every Summer I feel the need to make specialty salads for dinner at least once a week. There is just something about the heat of the day that makes me crave light and lucious foods! I love getting new salad recipes! So I'm just going to right ahead and assume that you do too.

I will be posting a couple of sald recipes over the next week as Summer approaches. What can I say? Since there is no snow on the ground it's as good as Summer to me! So I say, bring on the salads!

Friday, April 27, 2007

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rosemary Grilled Chicken Sandwiches

This sandwich is SCRUMPTIOUS! You will Mmmm and Oooh over it the whole time you are rapidly ingesting it.

I wish I had taken pictures of it as I made them because I'm sure you would believe me more fully about how incredibly yummy they are. You'll just have to take my word for it though.

What you will need:

5 medium sized chicken breasts
2 - 3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil
3 tsp. fresh Rosemary chopped small
3 cloves garlic minced
salt (several shakes)
pepper (a few turns of the grinder)
Focaccia bread or crusty buns

Hellman's Mayonaisse
2 avocados sliced
1 tomato sliced (if you like them... I don't)
1 medium red/purple onion sliced thinly
head of butter lettuce
Havarti cheese sliced
1 pkg. pre-cooked bacon warmed

About 30 minutes prior to putting them on the BBQ, prepare chicken by coating them in 2 - 3 Tbsp. of EV olive oil, the minced garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Let them marinate at least 20 to 30 minutes. Of course you can marinate them for longer if you want to. Cook them on the grill. (I won't attempt to tell you how long this takes to do them perfectly. My husband is master of the grill here so I don't really know how long it takes!)

Now prepare the focaccia bread. Cut into sandwich sized wedges. I like to cut them triangularly as they look more attractive this way. I was unable to find focaccia bread this last time that I made these sandwiches so I bought several of the fresh "crusty buns" instead. But herbed foccacia bread is much preferable. I don't like the cheesy focaccia bread with this. But really, whatever you prefer. Now slice the wedges across the center and brush the inside of the "buns" with a bit of olive. When the chicken is done, pop the buns or focaccia buns inside down on the grill for a couple of minutes to make them just ever so crisp. Just some light grill marking is what you are aiming for.

At the table have all of your toppings available on plates. The bacon can be warmed (I just stuck all of them in together for about 15 seconds) or it can be used cold. Assemble your sandwich as you please and enjoy! These are so incredibly yummy and very company worthy. I'm sure there are plenty of variations you can make to the toppings you'd like on them to make them yours.

I think you're going to love them!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Poor Man's Pasta

This very versatile dish can be personalized to your likes and dislikes. My brother in law introduced us to it and told us that he and his room mates (food saavy folks, all of them) would pull out whatever they had in their pantry or fridge and throw it together -- hence the name "poor man's pasta." We have tweaked it enough that it isn't truly a poor man's dish anymore, but oh boy is it ever good!

1 large onion sliced or diced (your preference)
a couple of large chicken breasts
1 box of pasta (your choice - colored fusili) cooked
5-7 fresh mushrooms sliced
1 can artichoke hearts drained and quartered
1 jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained and julienned
1 can of olives (I use a whole can of whole olives and slice them. You could also of course just use two cans of sliced)
broccolli or roasted asparagus
salt to taste
Drizzling of EV Olive Oil
sprinkle of basil

Bring water to boil and cook your pasta. In hot skillet saute onions and chicken (salt to taste) in extra virgin olive oil until cooked through. Meanwhile steam your broccolli or roast your asparagus (instructions below.) When chicken is a couple minutes away from completion, add your sliced mushrooms. When the chicken/onions/mushrooms are fully cooked, add all other canned ingredients to heat and add a sprinkling of fresh or a few small shakes of dried basil.

Once heated through, in large serving bowl stir in your chicken mixture, your pasta and add in your broccolli. (p.s. you do NOT want to overcook your broccolli for this dish. It would not taste right at all. It ought to be bright green as opposed to a very sad looking dark green.) Stir well to mix. If you are doing asparagus with it you can either serve it on the side, whole or you can cut them into small pieces and mix them in. Over all of it drizzle a Tablespoon or two more of EV olive oil, salt it to taste. You can garnish it with a bit of mozarella or parmesan.

This one is a crowd pleaser. We always make extras because everyone wants seconds, even the kids (who can pick out the goodies that they dislike and hand them all over to a parent who can truly appreciate them!) It also makes wonderful leftovers. It can even be eaten cold as a pasta salad the next day for lunch and it is still simply delicious! Play with it. Add some stuff that you love. Take out some stuff that you hate. It's pretty hard to really mess this up.

VARIATION: You can also grill the chicken rather than pan cooking it, just pan cooking the onions/mushrooms, etc. alone.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Roasted Asparagus

This is absolutely delicious. My picky oldest son even says of them, "Wow!! They are sweet!"

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Wash asparagus. Cut off or break off the bottoms (I usually cut off about 1 1/2 inches though you really can just break each on individually off and where it breaks is generally where the toughness ends.)

Lay flat on a cookie/baking sheet and brush with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Make sure they are covered well in the OO but not dripping otherwise the oil will splatter and make stinky burning smells in your oven and hence in your kitchen and your fire alarm will go off and your guests will think you don't know how to cook and you are burning down the house. And you will be really embarrassed. Ask me how I know.

Sprinkle kosher salt over them. Use regular salt if you must but Kosher salt is better. :^D

Place in oven on middle rack for approx. 12 minutes. Might need up to 14 or 15. I keep my eye on them for the last 5 minutes and just gauge them by their color. You want them to start having some dark brown spots (carmelization).

Check them by poking a fork into their tender little bums, making sure that they are nice and soft. You should feel very little resistance on the fork as you poke them.

Pull them out and place them in a serving dish if you wish. (ooh, I feel like Dr. Suess.) Eat. Revel. Drool. Beat yourself with cactus fronds for not having made them before. Plan to buy two bunches next time.

An optional garnish is Feta cheese. So good.

And don't be shocked the next time you pee and find that it smells really really terribly awful. It's what asparagus does to pee. Nothing to be worried about. Don't page your urologist.

This one comes with a story...

I originally blogged this recipe here at my regular blog.

Yummy Brussel Sprouts (Maybe even if you don't love brussel sprouts. Maybe not.)

My Brussel Sprouts Recipe:
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Halve and wash as many Brussel Sprouts as you want to consume. When water comes to a boil, dump in the Brussel Sprouts. Boil gently for 8-10 minutes or until Brussel Sprouts are just fork tender. Do NOT overcook or they will become mooshy and bitter. Strain and rinse with cold water.
Slice or mince about 4 or 5 garlic cloves. In large hot pan pour a few Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Place garlic in pan and brown. When the garlic begins to brwon nicely, add the Brussel Sprouts and cook on med/high heat for about 3-5 minutes, stirring very frequently. You want some of them to go a bit golden on the edges but you obviously don't want them to burn so keep them moving. Remove from heat and serve.

They are DELICIOUS no matter what my Mom thinks!