Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fresh Corn and Blueberry Salad

I'm probably getting obnoxious with talking about how much I love summer produce and how everything tastes like summer, but this is another one of those. I loved this salad and you could really customize it however you want as far as veggies and grain. Don't change the dressing--it's so good and a great balance with all of the other flavors! Enjoy summer produce while it's here!!!

Fresh Corn and Blueberry Salad

1 cup quinoa, rinsed very well (I used millet)

2 cups chicken broth

3 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs
1 cup blueberries
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped small (peeled if outside is thick and tough)
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon chopped basil
1/2 jalapeno, minced

1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 Tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 lemons worth)
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon honey

salt & pepper

Rinse quinoa or millet very well in a fine mesh sieve under cold running water. Add to a saucepan with the chicken broth then bring the broth to a boil. Place a lid on top, lower the heat to medium-low, then cook until quinoa is tender and broth is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely.
For the dressing: Combine lemon zest and juice, extra virgin olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper in a jar or bowl. Shake or whisk to combine. Set aside.
Combine corn, blueberries, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, basil, jalapeno, and cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Pour dressing over and mix well to combine. Serve with grilled or sauteed shrimp, chicken, or fish.

from Iowa Girl Eats

Monday, August 6, 2012

tip: freezing chipotle peppers

I love the flavor "chilpotle":) peppers add to dishes, but I have never used the whole can at once or even within a week's time. I finally decided to try freezing them instead of wasting them, and it works great! I love freezing pesto and having just a cube of it ready to go, and it works just as well with the peppers. It makes it easy to thaw out one at a time and I didn't notice any difference in texture or taste.
Just spoon a pepper and some of the adobo sauce they come in into an ice cube tray and freeze them. Pop them out of the ice cube tray and store in a freezer ziploc bag or container until you need one. It helps if you remember the night before, or you can run the bag under water and thaw it out pretty quickly.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bangin' Good Shrimp

Lately, I've been making quite a few things Norris has absolutely loved (no, the baked zucchini wasn't one of them; that was all for me!:). When he finished this, he asked if we were having it for dessert, with the hopes that I had hidden some leftovers that he could have. It really was excellent and tasted like a restaurant dish, but was a lot cheaper and better for us. This came together quickly and would be a great weeknight dinner,especially if you already had the peels and tails off the shrimp. The texture combinations here are awesome. You can add, omit, or sub any of the pasta/veggies.We'll be having this again!

Bangin' Good Shrimp

1/3 cup light mayonnaise (thinking you may be able to sub at least half with Greek yogurt!)
1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce (or to your taste preferences)
~2 tsp Sriracha (or to your taste preferences)
1/4 cup chicken, shrimp, or vegetable stock

1 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and patted dry
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vegetable oil
4 cups coleslaw mix or shredded purple and green cabbage
2 oz whole wheat angel hair pasta, cooked
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Combine the mayonnaise, chili sauce, and Sriracha in a medium bowl and set aside.
Coat the shrimp with cornstarch in a bowl.
Heat vegetable oil in wok over medium high heat. Once oil is heated, add shrimp and stir fry for about three minutes, or until pink and done. Stir shrimp into mayonnaise sauce.
Stir fry bell peppers in work for about two minutes, or until crisp-tender. Remove from pan and set aside.
Remove pan from heat and add the stock to it. Add shrimp with sauce to the pan and stir, whisking away any clumps that form. Leave in pan until sauce is heated through.
To plate, put the pasta on, then the cabbage, then shrimp/sauce, then peppers, then peanuts, then onions. Serve with extra Sriracha if desired.

adapted from Skinny Taste


Smoker Saturdays

Just a typical load on the smoker! Norris is awesome with that thing!

Light Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

I spotted bags of key limes at my grocery store for $1 a piece, so I had to snag a bag. No idea what I was going to do with them, and didn't realize how much extra time it would take to juice that many little limes instead of a couple big ones, but I was determined to make something out of them. Same store sold blood oranges for super cheap in the spring. Just have to know where to look there!
I really liked this ice cream--tangy and tastes a lot like key lime pie. I think it definitely needs a little crushed graham cracker on top of each serving just to make it taste more like the pie. It was so easy and doesn't require the patience of cooking the mixture, then waiting for it to cool, THEN freezing it. Just mix and freeze, and you could even eat it as soft serve if you don't want to wait for the second freezing could have homemade soft serve key lime pie ice cream in less than thirty minutes! This is a perfect summer treat!

Light Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
serves 6

1 1/2 c 2% milk
1/2 c key lime juice (can use bottled)
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
dash of salt
14 oz fat free sweetened condensed milk
2/3 c crushed graham crackers, divided
lime wedges, optional

Combine milk, lime juice, cream, salt, and condensed milk with a whisk. Freeze in an ice cream maker, then stir in 1/3 cup graham crackers, then freeze until solid. Serve with remaining crushed graham crackers and lime wedges.

from Cooking Light

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

Why does my can of "chipotle" peppers say "chiLpotle"????

Made with chipotle or chilpotle peppers, this dressing is full of flavor and a great spicy balance with all of the other ingredients in this salad. As I was assembling it, I was thinking it would be really pretty in a glass bowl or trifle dish for a party or shower. You can adjust the ingredients to your liking. Norris and I both enjoyed this and it's really filling for a salad!

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad
Serves 4 entree salads
1/3 c chopped cilantro
6 oz sour cream (I used plain Greek yogurt)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo
1 t cumin
1 t chili powder
4 t lime juice
1/4 t salt

4 c shredded romaine
2 c cooked, cubed chicken breast
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 or 1 avocado, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
15 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
9 oz frozen corn, thawed (could also use no-salt-added canned corn)

Combine dressing ingredients in a food processor until well blended.
Assemble all other items and toss salad with dressing. Stores (dressed) well overnight in the fridge without getting soggy, which doesn't normally happen!!

from Cooking Light myrecipes

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake

I have to borrow Kalyn's line for this: "If you like zucchini, fresh basil, and cheese, you'll love this Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake." Girl is right--this stuff is so good. Like, I was eating it with my fingers when I should have been putting it in a container good. I know, again with the zucchini, but take advantage of what's good in the garden right now and make some of this! It would probably be close to free for some of you--zucchini and basil from the garden and I guess if you milk your own animals and make cheese, you can even save there:) I kept talking about this the whole time we were eating. I could have had just this for dinner. It was totally the star of my plate and took up the most space! It's light and filling and absolutely delicious!

Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake

makes 4 side servings (I only made half the original recipe, which said it made six, but those would be gigantic servings even for me, the lover of this stuff)

1 zucchini, cut into half-moons (rondelle)
1 yellow squash, cut into half-moons (rondelle)
2-4 T chopped fresh basil
2 T thinly sliced green onions
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup cheese, divided (suggested: pizza blend cheese, mozzarella, or grated Parmesan)
salt and pepper, to taste

Spray 8x8 pan or a small rectangular pan with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine everything but cheese in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese and mix thoroughly.
Bake for 25 minutes uncovered, then add cheese and bake for another 15.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Norris' favorite chicken marinade

This title doesn't tell you much about the recipe except that it's chicken and Norris loved it. That's because the original recipe is called "Grilled 7up Chicken" and our propane tank was empty, so it was baked, and I used Sprite instead of 7up, so it's really "Baked Sprite Chicken"!
Anyway, Norris told me he would eat this every night of the week. At the end of the meal, he said "I really liked it. That means I'd like you to make it again. Like, soon....not in three months." :) He knows me too well...I like to try new things so often that our "regulars" aren't even that "regular" most of the time! I will be happy to oblige (if he's reading this, I wonder if he'll hold me to it...) because this was super easy and cheap, and I like cheap and easy!

Baked Sprite Chicken aka Norris' favorite :)

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp horseradish
6 oz lemon lime soda (NOT diet. the sugars from the regular caramelize on the outside of the chicken when you grill it)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 large chicken breasts (or three regular sized)

Combine all ingredients and let marinate for at least thirty minutes and up to overnight. Grill or bake until chicken tests done.

adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff (yup, found on pinterest)