In the summer, there are lots of opportunities to bring salads and slaws to BBQs. I recently brought a sweet & sour apple slaw (light & delicious) and of course there’s always my standby Chinese chicken salad (perfection!) if I’m not sure what to bring. Last weekend I wanted to make something close to a traditional cole slaw, but with a little twist. I dunno why, it has been forever since I had just a cole slaw. I needed that kind of dressing. This is what I came up with. Crunchy apples with moist tender chicken and a killer slaw sauce with a kick from lemon juice and cider vinegar.
You could eat an old shoe with this marinade and it would be delicious. Which is perfect, since that’s how some people think of mushrooms anyway. In my quest to have a meatless meal once a week, I stumbled upon these meaty mushrooms. They would be an awesome substitution for your burger, or sliced up on a salad. I just had them aside some fresh green beans and roasted potatoes. Absolutely delicious.
Obviously mine got a little too much love from the grill. My poor hubby is so used to steaks that the Portobello were a new kind of animal for him. Hee-hee, a new kind of animal. The insides were still gorgeous and full of flavor though so no complains from me. All those onions and garlic just melt into the mushrooms as the grill. Yum, yum!
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
- 3 portobello mushrooms
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Clean mushrooms and remove stems, reserve for other use. Place caps on a plate with the gills up.
- In a small bowl, combine the oil, onion, garlic and vinegar. Pour mixture evenly over the mushroom caps and let stand for 1 hour.
- Grill over hot grill for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
This is not your granny’s salsa. I know it isn’t because it came from my friend Theresa. And she’s nobody’s granny. Actually, her sister’s husband made it so I guess it’s his salsa. Even better. I know for a FACT that HE isn’t your granny. I had it at a bridal shower over the weekend and pretty much flipped out over how delicious it is. Seriously. I think I may be forever branded as “that crazy girl at Jessica’s bridal shower who wouldn’t stop talking about the salsa”. I was a little embarrassing.
I just couldn’t help myself. I’ve never had a more delicious chip dip. And I love dipping chips. I also like teaching them the rhumba. It’s the dance of love you know. If I’m going to love them, they might as well learn to love me back. My cowboy caviar and my sister’s cowboy salsa formally held a tie for my favorite things to shovel into my mouth on crunchy chips. Now, this tart salsa is the frontrunner. It’s full of crisp apples, just the right heat from a jalapeño, a little sweet onion and fresh tomatoes. Perfection for summer. It’s incredibly refreshing and unlike any other salsa I’ve tried.
Since I polished off the entire bowl at the shower, I asked for the recipe, went home and promptly made a batch for myself. I couldn’t stop gushing about it to my husband and knew he wouldn’t understand until he tried it. I should have thought that thru better. I should have told him it was terrible and a “diet” food. That he’d hate it. Epic fail on my part. Now I have to figure out how to nicely forbid him from eating all my salsa.
Make some. Then disappear with the bowl, a lawn chair & a bag of chips. Unless you are a super generous person who doesn’t mind others stealing all your deliciousness. In that case, feel free to have the bowl out somewhere. But believe me once you have some, you won’t want to share.
Granny Smith Apple Salsa
from the Costco Connection Cookbook 2008
1 large tomato, cored and finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 large jalapeño chile, cored, seeded and finely chopped
2 Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and freshly ground
Stir together tomato, onion, lime juice and jalapeño in a medium bowl.
Quarter and core apples and cut into fine dice. Stir apples into the tomato mixture with cilantro, honey, and salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate for up to 6 hours before serving.
To serve, spoon the salsa into a serving bowl and place a bowl of corn chips alongside.
Makes 6-8 servings.
I went thru a lot of product testing to come up with this recipe. For hours I slaved, tasting batch after batch to ensure a perfect drink experience. The things I go thru for you. Really. I wanted something island-y that would harken me back to days spent curling my toes in warm soft sandy beaches. I fell in love with Mai Tais at the same time I discovered fish tacos. Ahhhh, Maui – heaven. Mai Tais on the island are full of fruity deliciousness. However, I didn’t want it to be so fru-fru that you’d need to drink an entire pitcher to have a buzz. These are grand. Sure to provide a truly tropical feeling right in your own backyard. Try them. You’ll see. They are perfection.
The Perfect Mai Tai
makes 1 gallon
2 cups light rum
2 cup dark rum
1 cup Triple Sec
1 cup Amaretto
1 cup simple syrup
10 limes, juiced
4 cups orange juice
4 cups pineapple juice
In a large jar or drink cooler, combine the light rum, Triple Sec, Amaretto, simple syrup, lime juice, orange juice and pineapple juice. Do not use grenadine if you want the true Mai Tai! Serve in 8 to 12 ounce glasses with ice. Top each glass with a floater of dark rum for a pretty presentation, or add the dark rum and combine for use as a punch.
My first experience with fish tacos was in Maui. My husband and I went to a little dive in Kihei and drank Mai Tais and enjoyed numerous fish tacos. It was bliss. I was hooked (ha-ha-ha) at first bite (ok, I’ll stop now). Since returning from our second honeymoon, I’ve tried recreating the delicious spice and zest of the original tacos I fell in love with, but never quite got it right. Until these. Oh, baby.
First of all, let me calm your fears. Fish tacos are not hard. In fact, they are super simple. And absolutely incredibly delicious. Flaky light fish drenched in a spicy marinade gets grilled up and topped with fresh veggies and a creamy cilantro lime sour cream. I totally forgot to bring the avocado to my mom’s BBQ and these were still gobbled down by everyone I shared with.
The fish is so flavorful with just the right heat. Topped with a cool but BOMB dressing — oooh they are just divine. For a truly Hawaiian experience, I served these with Mai Tais. More on those tomorrow! I highly recommend corn tortillas for these – and, heat them up over the grill! Yuuuuumy!
Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Cream
adapted from Allrecipes.com
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into chunks
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
1 (10 ounce) package tortillas
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 avocado, cubed
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 small head cabbage, cored and shredded (or a bag of coleslaw mix)
Shredded cheese (optional)
2 limes, cut in wedges
- To make the marinade, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, honey, garlic, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning, black pepper, and hot sauce in a bowl until blended. Place the tilapia in a shallow dish, and pour the marinade over the fish. Cover, and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours.
- To make the dressing, combine the sour cream in a bowl. Stir in the lime juice, lime zest, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning. Add salt, and pepper in desired amounts. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.
- Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Set grate 4 inches from the heat.
- Remove fish from marinade, drain off any excess and discard marinade. Grill fish pieces until easily flaked with a fork, turning once, about 9 minutes. Or, bake in a 350° oven for 9-11 minutes.
- Assemble tacos by placing fish pieces in the center of tortillas with desired amounts of tomatoes, cilantro, and cabbage; drizzle with dressing. To serve, roll up tortillas around fillings, and garnish with lime wedges.
Full of bright colors, tang and texture, this bean salad is sure to be a hit at your next get-together. This salad requires a little time to hang out at the vinegar dressing dance party (aka: in your fridge), but if you know your way around a can opener, you throw the salad together in about 5 minutes. Why on earth would you buy the giant jug of this stuff at the store when making it yourself is so incredibly easy and delicious! Bonus, you won’t be eating a bowl of something that’s been salted and pickled beyond recognition.
The trickiest part of this salad is finding the wax beans. You’ll find the chickpeas and kidney beans with the chili, northern beans and navy beans – in the bean aisle. But the wax beans and green beans will be together hanging out with their friends in the canned vegetable aisle. I don’t want to admit how long I spent scouring for yellow wax beans among the jalapeno pinto beans. Sigh. Does anyone else think “beans” no longer looks like a word?
Fabulous Four Bean Salad
adapted from Food.com
1 can chickpeas
1 can green beans
1 can wax beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 red bell pepper (any colour can be used)
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Drain a can of chick peas (garbanzo beans), rinse well, then drain again; place in a large mixing bowl.
Drain a can of green beans and a can of wax beans well and then add to bowl.
Drain a can of red kidney beans, rinse well then drain again; add to bowl.
Dice up a colored bell pepper and add to beans.
Peel a small red onion and slice into very thin strips and add to bowl.
Lastly, add about 1/2 cup of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley.
Now make dressing: in a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegars, oil, sugar (I use a scant 1/3 cup), minced fresh garlic, worcestershire, and salt and pepper.
Pour dressing over salad ingredients and toss.
Cover and refrigerate overnight, stirring occasionally (before serving, taste, as it may need more salt or pepper to taste).
When ready, spoon bean salad into a serving bowl using a slotted spoon, to drain off most of the dressing before serving.
Summer is here!! Time for long evenings watching the waning rays of sun disappear behind shadowed evergreens, enjoying a cocktail as the day slips away. Family, friends, cookouts and s’mores! It is no secret that I love s’mores. But sometimes, I want the flavor without having to fire up the flames. I love this easy dessert because I can make a batch and keep these delightful cups stashed in the freezer for when the chocolate graham cravings hit.
I put these babies in individual baggies so they are all ready for me to eat up (usually around midnight). They are sweet and cold with perfect layers of graham, chocolate, mallow and more chocolate. Topped with a cool and creamy hit of cream!
If you like s’mores, you will LOVE these. They are lip smacking good. I topped mine with a little graham sprinkle and some mini chocolate chips. Gorgeous!
You may have to devour more than one! And there’s nothing wrong with that!
Frosty S’mores Cups
from Easy Baked
- 18 graham cracker squares (9 sheets)
- 1/3 c. butter
- 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips
- 1/4 c. whipping cream
- 2 c. mini marshmallows
- 1 1/2 c. cold milk
- 1 box (4 servings, 3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding
- 1 (8 oz) container of Cool Whip (thawed in fridge)
- 1/4 c. mini chocolate chips (as topping)
Crush graham crackers into fine crumbs. Melt butter and add to graham crackers, mixing until well combined to make crust.
Prepare muffin pan by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray. Evenly divide crust mixture into all 12 cups, saving about 1/4 cup to use as topping later.
Place milk chocolate chips and whipping cream into a small bowl and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
Spoon chocolate into a zip top bag, cut a tip off and evenly pipe chocolate into the center of each cup, on top of the crust.
Divide Marshmallows among cups.
Mix cold milk with pudding on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in 1/2 of the Cool Whip container (the rest will be used as topping).
Spoon filling into a large zip top bag (and ZIP it or you might have a mess!) Clip a corner off and pipe pudding into each cup evenly. Try to pipe it in between the marshmallows so that the whole cup is filled. I did have a little left over (which was really tasty straight out of the bag!) Use a knife to smooth the tops level with the top of the pan. Freeze for at least a couple of hours.
Allow the pan to warm just a bit before running a butter knife around the edge and popping out each dessert cup out.
For topping, I just piped a little bit of the left over Cool Whip on each dessert using a decorating tip. Then I sprinkled the remaining crust and mini chocolate chips on top.
Serve cold right away– or put them in a sealed container and freeze until you are ready to serve.
I got this recipe out of a BHG magazine and I absolutely love it. Kick up your standard boring coleslaw with the addition of sweet apples, tender chicken and a great dressing. It all comes together in a flash, perfect for the 4th of July and summer BBQ’s!
This is also an incredibly light meal with less than 300 calories in about two cups of salad! Enjoy!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Slaw
12 ounces cooked chicken breast, shredded or chopped
4 cups packaged shredded cabbage with carrot (coleslaw mix)
1 cup fresh pea pods, trimmed and halved
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup raspberry or strawberry spreadable fruit (the all fruit jam)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 red apple, cored and chopped
1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cabbage, pea pods, apple and onions; set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together spreadable fruit, oil and cider vinegar.
3. Add dressing to cabbage mixture and toss to combine.
4. Salt and pepper to taste if desired.
No, this isn’t a “real” recipe. Just something I want to share with you all since campfire season is upon us. And that means kicking back listening to the crackle of wood burning and being mesmerized by logs turning to coals. I have to give a shout out to my amazing father. The beautiful stone fire pit you see in the background? Yeah, he built it. He threw it together this afternoon for my mom so all us kids could come over for a campfire this evening. I’m not kidding. He’s so awesome.
When the embers are just perfect, it is time to make s’mores. Classic campfire food. Did you know s’mores are not required to have plain chocolate on them. No, there’s a world of other possibilities for making gooey, melty marshmallow goodness.
My favorite is using Ghirardellis caramel squares instead of regular old Hershey bars. First of all, it’s better chocolate. Second, it’s filled with gorgeous oozing caramel. It is amazing. Try it at your next campfire. You’ll never go back! Do you have a go-to chocolate replacement in your s’mores?
Ghirardellis Caramel S’mores
Ghirardellis Caramel Squares
First, you take the graham. You put the chocolate (caramel square) on the graham. Then, you toast the mallow. Onto the chocolate it goes, top with another graham and mmmmmmmmm, enjoy.
As a special treat this week, I got to help my mother prepare for my sister’s birthday party. I don’t know why it took until I was in my 30′s for us to team up throwing soirées, but I’m so glad we finally got our acts together. We both love to cook and bake, and have the “go overboard on everything” gene. Parties with my madre are the best. I generally serve as the Sous-Chef while we prepare – and this weekend in addition to my knives, I brought my camera. I’ll be featuring a couple of my favorite desserts from my momma’s kitchen this week, and hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
We begin with berries. Lots of berries. My mom got a little giddy when slicing up the strawberries for this bountiful delight. I’m pretty sure it was because of all those gorgeous reds and blues and the rich sweet mascarpone. But, it could just have been the limoncello.
We did a little dance in the kitchen after it all came together because it just looks so amazing. This dessert is very simple to make and I absolutely LOVE it. My mom said she could just eat this for a week solid and never grow tired of it. I completely agree. Fresh bright berries with a hint of tartness, piled high and topped with heavenly creamy mascarpone. Oh yum.
Mixed Berries with Mascarpone-Limoncello Cream
from My Momma’s Kitchen
1/4 cup chilled whipping cream
1/2 of an 8oz container of mascarpone
3 T + 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 T limoncello
8 cups of assorted fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries…)
1/4 cup raspberry preserves
1 T grated lemon peel
Combine whipping cream, mascarpone, 3 T sugar, and limoncello in a large bowl. Beat until soft peaks form.
Combine all berries, raspberry preserves, lemon peel and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in another large bowl; toss gently.
Chill until ready to serve. Top berries with cream and enjoy!