Sunday, May 15, 2011

Smoky Ham and Corn Salad

Again with the salads--can you tell we are going on a tropical beach vacation soon? :) I am getting so excited! Pool time, good food, and friends, here we come!
I saw this recipe idea on Eating Well and changed it around to fit us (and the ingredients I had in my fridge to use up). Norris kept saying how good the dressing was the whole time we were eating it. He thinks we should use it in wraps, on tacos, and as a spread on sandwiches instead of mayo. Since we only used about 3/4 of the dressing for the salad, we'll have plenty of other places to put it. My guess is that we will have this dressing many more times!

Smoky Ham and Corn Salad
adapted from Eating Well

1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream fat free plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp paprika, preferably smoked chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
8 cups trimmed frisee or mixed salad greens chopped romaine
1 medium tomato, diced
1 cup fresh corn kernels, from one large ear I roasted the ear of corn before cutting the corn off. 425 F oven for about 20 minutes
1 cup croutons, preferably whole grain I tossed some old cubed bread with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and onion powder in a 400 F oven for about 7 minutes
3/4 cup diced ham (about 8 oz) I heated/charred the ham in a skillet before putting over salad
1/2 cucumber, chopped

Whisk together Greek yogurt, chili powder, cumin, salt, vinegar, and pepper in a small bowl.
Toss dressing with lettuce. Toss with all the other ingredients except the croutons. Top with croutons and serve.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Asian Chicken Pizza

For a while, I was making a homemade pizza every week, but I haven't done that in about a month, so figured it was time while I had the time! There is now some pizza dough in the freezer for next week, too!
I didn't tell Norris about this one before I made it because one time I mentioned barbecue chicken pizza and he didn't like the sounds of it. This one sounded too good to pass up so I just made it and of course he really liked it!
Prevention RD described the pizza well--tangy and unique but AWESOME! We both really enjoyed this.
I only made one large pizza instead of the two twelve inchers the recipe calls for, so I would suggest making 2/3 of the sauce recipe rather than all of it. Also, let the sauce cool a bit before pouring it onto your crust, especially if it is super thin like mine was. I don't know why, but when I poured the sauce on, it cut a hole in my crust and I had to do some patchwork. Loved the pizza still, so I imagine if I follow all the things I just wrote, I will love it even more next time!

Asian Chicken Pizzza

12 oz chicken breast, chopped into small pieces (I used about 8 oz)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 1/2 Tbsp honey
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar (I used white wine vinegar and it turned out great)
1 tsp olive oil
2 cups mozzarella cheese
sesame seeds for topping
1/4 cup sliced green onions or chives, for topping

Preheat oven to 450 F.
Combine red pepper flakes, soy sauce, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl--stir well to combine.
Cook chicken in small skillet, then remove from skillet. Pour sauce mixture in skillet and cook over medium heat for about twenty minutes, or until thick and syrupy. Put chicken back in skillet and cook over low heat for about five minutes. Remove chicken from sauce.
Form your pizza dough into the crust while the sauce cools a bit. Rub olive oil over crust. Sprinkle with extra red pepper flakes if desired.
Spread sauce onto crust, then top with chicken, cheese, and sesame seeds. Bake in preheated oven for about 13 minutes. Sprinkle with chives and more red pepper flakes.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Light Cucumber Ranch Dressing

Thank you for all of your notes about my last post. It was really therapeutic for me to write, and I knew I wanted to write it for myself, so I figured I would share. Thanks for your positive responses, thoughts, and prayers for our family.

I finally got back in the kitchen a bit today and found another winner from Skinny Taste. I prepped veggies and salad greens to bring for lunch each day and this is the dressing I'll bring in a separate container. It's slightly tangy, good and garlicky, and will leave you with dragon breath! (especially if you add the extra clove of garlic like I did) Just share with your lunch buddies and nobody will notice your breath:) I made what Kath calls a Hugh Jass salad, which cracks me up every time.

Light Cucumber Ranch Dressing
(for Nutritional information, go to Gina's site)

1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk (I used 1 1/2 tsp vinegar plus milk to equal 1/2 cup and let sit for five minutes before using. Otherwise I would just waste the rest of the buttermilk)
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1 small cucumber, peeled and seeds removed
3 tbsp fresh parsley
1 clove garlic (used 2)
1/4 cup chives or scallions (my chives are raging in the pot outside, so I used chives)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/8 tsp garlic powder (omitted)
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Chill.
Makes 1 3/4 cup/7 servings

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A "see you later" to a wonderful man

I have been absent from the kitchen for the last few weeks for a few reasons, and I know I already mentioned soccer being one of them. The other is that we have been spending the last few weeks with my father-in-law Norm.
On April 8, he had an accident and was admitted to a hospital in Lincoln and we thought it was all over that night. We were blessed with his recovery over the next few days. The next weekend, we went back up to Lincoln Friday night and were planning on leaving Saturday afternoon to get a few things done at home. Norris' aunt, uncle, and their two adorable boys had just come up and we hadn't gotten to really talk to Norm much with him being able to see and understand us, but we thought we had to leave. We left town and got 20 minutes outside of Lincoln, stopped for gas, and wound up driving straight back to where we came from. We couldn't leave. At the time we didn't know why but now I'm sure God told us exactly what to do (like He always does, but sometimes we don't listen...). We spent the evening with the family and when we arrived at the hospital the next morning, we met a friend in the parking lot who had just come out of Norm's room and said he was sitting in a chair, they shook hands, and he was doing really well. We were so surprised and all but ran up to his room to see this. When we got there, we were able to talk to him, touch him, and have him know we were there. We were able to tell him we love him and he was able to understand. We had no idea that would be the last time we would be able to do that.
He was moved to a rehab hospital a few days later and was really making progress. Unfortunately, at some point while he was lying in the bed there, he developed a blood clot in his brain that the doctors deemed inoperable. That was a Saturday, and we were back in Lincoln by 11 that night. They sent us to a room where we could all (including Norm) be comfortable. Over the next six days, we all took turns sitting with him, talking to him, and spending time with him. It was tough to watch, but we couldn't imagine that Norm would have done it a different way had any of us been in his place.
Friday, April 29 was the day Norm went on. We were all able to be in his room surrounding him with love as he passed. As hard as it was to be there, it was so important for us to be there. I have said this many times--as a Christian, I already believed that the body is just a vessel while you're here on this earth and the spirit passes on to leave the shell here when you leave this world. Never before have I actually experienced those words until April 29. I am able to confirm that there is no way we were watching Norm in the last ten minutes. His spirit had gone on and his shell was just finishing its job here on Earth. It was an incredible moment to be a part of and I am so thankful that God shows us that he takes care of our loved ones when they leave us. I will never forget that experience but will always remember Norm by the way he lived and loved, not by what we experienced that night.
Norm and Deb have always made me feel like their daughter rather than an "in-law". I have been incredibly blessed by all of Norris' parents and family members to feel like a full member of their family. Norm always had a smile and an incredible boisterous laugh to go with it. He always made sure everyone was comfortable and happy around him and wanted everyone to have a good time. As we kept saying this week--he worked hard and played harder. I never knew him in his working years, only in his retirement years, but I can see by what he has built and the people he knew that he worked really hard during those working years. He was a great man and will truly be missed.
We had services for him at their cabin on the lake and it was the most personalized service I have ever attended. Every detail was covered from the pallbearers' red ties (he was a big Husker fan) to the song selections by Deb. His friends did the service and they were great. At the graveside, another friend brought a riderless horse which was so thoughtful. We had a reception afterward at the country club, his next favorite place to be. The whole day felt like we were surrounded by Norm's spirit and for that I was thankful.
Norm, I love you and miss you. Thanks for the wonderful memories.