Stir-fried Sesame Asparagus

stirfryasparagus  This was an easy stir-fry asparagus which I served with an Asian marinated salmon and rice pilaf.  It was a great side dish.

ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oriental sesame oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed, cut on diagonal into 2-inch-long pieces
  • 4 teaspoons sesame seeds

preparation

Stir soy sauce and sugar in small bowl until sugar dissolves. Heat oil in heavy large skillet. Add garlic and stir 15 seconds. Add asparagus and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add soy mixture and toss until asparagus is coated, about 1 minute longer. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Chicken Dorito Casserole

chickenDoritocasserole Oh, how low I have sunk since my Going MediterrAsian blog and all the fresh, healthy, Mediterranean or Asian dishes I was preparing.  I think the cold, dank winter has me craving warm, creamy, comfort food.  This was a very easy, very tasty casserole.  It hit the spot, but now I feel like I need to make a light fish dish this week to balance things out.

CHICKEN DORITO CASSEROLE

3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1/4 cup diced green onions
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 can of corn, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese, divided
1 bag of nacho cheese Doritos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.  Cover bottom of pan with about 2/3 bag of crushed Doritos; set aside the rest of the chips.  Mix together 1 cup of cheese with remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour chicken mixture over the Doritos.  Top casserole with the remaining crushed Doritos and cheese.  Bake about 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Creamy Crab Mac & Cheese

crabmac&cheese

Total comfort food for a winter’s evening!  This dish was delicious except for one small problem; the recipe called for the addition of salt.  The cheese sauce had been perfect before I added the salt and afterward, too salty.  Whoops!  Next time I make this (it will probably be a “once a year” treat), I will skip the salt.  (The following recipe was adapted from here: Crab and Gnocchi Gratin.)

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. (a bit more) penne pasta (or favorite pasta)
1 lb. cooked crab meat
4 Tb. butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 pint half and half
5 oz. shredded Gruyère cheese
4 oz. shredded Havarti cheese
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

salt to taste

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to the package instructions.

Drain, add the crab meat and mix.

In sauce pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour followed by the garlic and lemon zest. Cook for another minute, then add the half and half and whisk until smooth.

Once the mixture is warm, add the cheeses. Stir to blend, then add nutmeg (and salt if using).  Once smooth, pour the cheese mixture over the crab and pasta.  Heat in microwave, or conventional oven (350 degrees for about 20 minutes), until hot.

Cheesy Chicken Chowder

cheesychickenchowder

I have a similar recipe which I could not find, so I tried this version and it was delicious.

CHEESY CHICKEN CHOWDER

1 TBS olive oil

2 cups diced potatoes (red are my favorite and I don’t bother to peel them)

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced onion

3 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup flour

2 cups milk

8 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded

2 cups cooked, diced chicken (I used rotisserie from my grocery store)

1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. salt

pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a 4-quart saucepan, heat oil and saute onion until translucent.  Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan; stir in flour until smooth.  Gradually stir in milk.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Reduce heat; add cheese, stirring until melted.  Add cheese sauce to soup.  Add Worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste.  Heated through and serve.

Salmon over Cucumber Salad

salmoncukesalad_1

This recipe is going to be sketchy because I can’t find the web site with the original recipe (which I switched up a bit) to remind me of everything I did.  I do want to post the general idea, though, so I can remember next summer and prepare this dish again.  I made this during our last hot week of summer and it hit the spot perfectly.  A seasoned, grilled piece of salmon was placed on top of cucumbers tossed in tzatziki sauce over greens and sprinkled with feta.  The original recipe had more of an East Indian flair, which I tried and enjoyed, but I prefer this Greek version.

Salmon over Cucumber Salad

Season and grill salmon to your liking.

Early in the day, prepare tzatziki sauce.  My favorite recipe is here: Anghelika’s Tsatsiki sauce

Peel and slice one or two cucumbers into matchsticks and toss with tzatziki.  Scoop dressed cucumbers onto bed of favorite greens.  Sprinkle with feta cheese, if desired, and top with salmon.

salmoncukesalad

Swiss Chard and Mango Salad

chard&mangosalad

Awesome!  I made this salad to go with a marinated/BBQ shrimp dinner and it was excellent.  In the past I’ve been one to shy away from fruits in a vegetable salad, but I’m over that.  This was so good that I can’t wait to make it again.

Ingredients:

1.5 bunches swiss chard, stalks removed, leaves sliced
1 lemon, juiced
3 T. canola oil (or other mild oil)
2 t. honey
1 t. white wine vinegar
1 mango, diced
2 T. toasted almonds
2 T shredded coconut
Salt and pepper to taste

Yield:  2 entree servings, or 4 sides

Prep time:  20 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes!

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, add the chard, half the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and a bit of salt.
  • Massage for 2-3 minutes, until the greens get soft and wilt some.  Set aside while you make the dressing.
  • In another bowl, add the remaining oil, the other half of the lemon juice, honey and vinegar.  Whisk it up until well combined, and then add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour the dressing and the mango over the chard and toss well.  Top with almonds and coconut and enjoy!

*** To toast almonds, bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for five to ten minutes until golden.

**** This recipe was adapted from Your Full Plate

chard&mangosalad2

Spring Seafood Pasta

seafoodfettucine

This is a rich, creamy pasta dish with scallops and smoked salmon from one of my favorite cookbooks, Cold Weather Cooking.  I only make it about once every year or two (because it’s on the naughty side), but I thoroughly enjoy it every time I do.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 4 TBS vodka (which I always skip because I never keep any in my house)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into small bits
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into small pieces
  • 4 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 3 TBS fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 TBS fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound linguine or fettucine, cooked and drained

Instructions

  1. Combine cream, 3 TBS vodka and lemon zest in a medium saucepan.  Heat to boiling and cook until reduced by half.  Stir in cream cheese and salmon.  Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in skillet and sauté onion and tomatoes for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in dill and tarragon and cook two minutes longer.
  3. Add the salmon/cream mixture, bay scallops and salt & pepper to the tomato mixture.  Heat over medium heat until hot and scallops are cooked through.  Swirl in remaining vodka (if using) and toss with pasta.  Serve at once.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

everythingcookie

Oh, YUM.  These were awesome.  I have never been a huge fan of peanut butter cookies because they seem to dry out rather fast and get crumbly.  These cookies contain a cup of oats which I believe turned them into “chewy” peanut butter cookies (after the first day).  In fact, they remained moist and delicious for the better part of a week, which was a wonderful surprise.  Usually I will eat homemade cookies on the first and second days after baking them.  After that, I turn my nose up because they are not fresh enough, in my opinion.  These cookies remained delicious for much longer!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal (quick or old-fashioned oats)
  • 2 TSP baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Cream the margarine, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar in a mixer.

2. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix. Combine the flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt and add to the cream mixture.

3. Add chips to dough and mix by hand.

4. Scoop dough into balls (about 1″) on a cookie sheet about 2″ apart. Just slightly flatten dough balls.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let cookies sit on pan for 3-5 minutes after baking for easy removal from pan.

Crab & Potato Salad

crabpotatosalad

This was a delightful chilled (or room temp) salad to kick off the beginning of summer.  It’s similar to the classic Salad Nicoise, but instead of tuna, there is crab and instead of tomatoes and olives, there are radishes and celery.  While my husband mumbled something about this being a good dish for a “ladies luncheon,” the poor guy is probably going to see it on our dinner table again.  I enjoyed it very much.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, cut into eighths
  • 1 pound crab meat
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 6 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add beans and cook until bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander using a slotted spoon; refresh under cold water.
  2. Add potatoes to the boiling water. Cook until tender when pierced with a fork, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander; refresh under cold water until room temperature.
  3. Toss the green beans and potatoes with crab, celery, radishes and onion in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk garlic, lemon juice, vinegar and mustard in a small bowl; slowly whisk in oil. Whisk in basil, salt and pepper. Discard the garlic; pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

*** I did not have red-skinned potatoes on hand, so I used what was in my pantry, but they would be my preference.

Ginger Mint Fruit Salad

fruitsalad

Refreshing!  This is a fruit salad with mint leaves tossed in a ginger syrup.  It was an excellent addition to our lamb dinner.  For some reason, the recipe makes a huge quantity of the ginger syrup.  I would at least halve the syrup the next time I make this.  I found the recipe here: Playing House.

Ginger Mint Fruit Salad
Adapted from Gourmet
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

For ginger syrup
3 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 cups thinly sliced fresh ginger (1/2 lb; from a 10-inch piece), left unpeeled

For fruit salad
4 cups (1-inch pieces) fruit (I used strawberries, cantaloupe, blueberries and apples)
3 tablespoons small mint leaves

1. Bring water, sugar, and ginger to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan, then stir until sugar is dissolved. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes. Pour ginger syrup through a sieve into a bowl, discarding ginger.

2. Chill, covered, at least 2 hours.

3. Toss fruit and mint with 1/4 cup syrup, or to taste. Extra syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.