Sunday, May 25, 2008

Black Bean & Corn Salad

This is also great served with chips.

2 cans black beans
1 can corn
2 c. fresh tomato, diced
1 med. onion, finely diced (or can use green onions)
1 med. bunch cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Juice of one lime

Combine all ingredients and toss gently.

Loaded Potato Salad

This is my original recipe.

8 med-lg. potatoes, boiled & cubed
10 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
¼ c. onion, finely chopped
1/3 c. celery, chopped
½ c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tbl. fresh chives, chopped
2 tsp. fresh dill
1 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients.

2/3 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. yellow mustard
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Combine and pour over the salad. Gently mix to combine.

Macaroni & Cheese

This is a slight variation on Ina Garten's recipe. Sooo good!

Vegetable oil
1 lb. elbow macaroni or cavatappi
4 c. milk
8 Tbls. unsalted butter, divided
1/2 c. flour
8 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
8 oz. extra-sharp cheddar, grated
4 oz. smoked cheddar
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
3/4 lb. fresh tomatoes
1 1/2 c. fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, cheddars, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Thinly slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Note: To make ahead, put the macaroni and cheese in the baking dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Put the tomatoes and bread crumbs on top and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chocolate Chip Almond Muesli Cookies

I came up with these cookies to use some ingredients I had on hand (almond butter and muesli). We really liked them!

1 c. butter
1-1/2 c. brown sugar
14 oz. almond butter (could use peanut butter)
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. muesli
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (white chocolate would be also delicious!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, almond butter, vanilla, and eggs. Add flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir in the muesli and chocolate chips. Drop by Tablespoonfuls on baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown on the outside. Cool slightly before removing to cooling rack.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in thin strips
2 bell peppers (green and red or yellow), cut in strips
1 med. onion (red or sweet), cut in strips
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Saute chicken in oil until done. Remove from pan. Add peppers and onions to pan and saute until tender crisp; add chicken back with seasonings.

Put pepper and chicken mixture in warm tortillas and top w/cheese, salsa, guacomole, lettuce, and tomato.

Onion Rings w/Spicy Dipping Sauce

This is a Rachael Ray recipe.

Vegetable or canola oil for frying
2 large sweet Vidalia onions
2 cans evaporated milk, 5 ounces
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Coarse salt

Dipping sauce:
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Heat 1 inch of vegetable or canola oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.
Cut onions across into 1-inch rings and separate. Discard the outer layer of skin on your rings. Pour evaporated milk into a small, deep bowl. Mix flour with seasonings in a pie plate or shallow dish. Dip individual rings in milk, then coat in flour. And repeat for a double dip. Fry in a single layer in hot oil until golden brown. Remove to brown paper bag or paper towel lined surface to drain. Salt while hot, to your taste.

For dipping sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir.

Mushroom & Swiss Sirloin Burgers w/Balsamic Mayo

This is a Rachael Ray recipe.

1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/3 pounds ground sirloin
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Steak Seasoning Blend or, coarse salt and pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling plus 1 tablespoon, 1 turn of the pan in a slow stream
4 crusty rolls, split
4 portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and pepper
4 slices Swiss cheese
3 tablespoons aged Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise or reduced fat mayonnaise
Coarse black pepper
1/4 pound baby spinach
2 vine ripe tomatoes, sliced
2 scallions, chopped
4 romaine leaves, optional

Preheat grill pan or large nonstick skillet. Saute onions in a small pan over moderate heat for 3 to 5 minutes until tender. Combine meat with Worcestershire sauce, Sauteed onion and steak seasoning blend or salt and pepper. Form 4 large patties. Drizzle patties with a touch of extra-virgin olive oil. Quick toast your split rolls, then add burgers to grill. Grill burgers 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium well doneness.

Heat a small to medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add a little oil and mushrooms. Season mushrooms with a little salt and pepper and saute until just tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Pile mushrooms on top of burgers just before you are ready to take them off the grill or out of the pan. Fold each Swiss cheese slice in half and rest on top of mushrooms. Place a loose tin foil tent over the burgers and turn heat off under pan or grill. Allow the cheese to begin to melt down over mushroom and burgers, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Combine balsamic, mayonnaise and coarse cracked black pepper in a small dish. To assemble, place burgers with mushrooms and Swiss cheese on bun bottom. Slather tops of buns with Balsamic black pepper mayonnaise and baby spinach. Set burger tops in place and serve with sliced vine ripe tomatoes, drizzled with oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and garnished with scallions.


2 avocados
1/2 c. salsa (can use fresh)
1/3 c. plain yogurt or sourcream
Lime Juice to taste
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 bunch cilantro

Mash avocado, add the rest of the ingredients. Serve with chips.

Fresh Salsa

This is our favorite salsa recipe. You could add jalapeno if you like it spicier. I adapted this recipe from Pampered Chef.

6-8 tomatoes, diced
1/2 med. onion finely diced (I like red or sweet)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper

Combine all ingredients and serve with tortilla chips.