Monday Madness

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down...don't know why, just does.  Probably because there's a lot to catch up on and I try to do it all in one day!  But that's just me. I hope all is well in your life and you haven't stopped cooking for your family.

 There's some yummy veggies ripening in the garden right now and I can't wait to bite into a big, juicy, homegrown tomato!!  Is there anything better??  I'm fixin' to go next door (where the garden grows in my son's back acre) and pick some squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and blackberries!!!  Oh yeah...you're speaking my love language!  I can't wait to make a delicious summer salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, fresh basil (I DO have a little herb garden in my flower bed) and a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar...my mouth is watering...but, first I have to let you know about a couple of recipes that I tried last week.

The Rosemary Roasted Chicken (with potatoes) was really, really delicious.  If you have rosemary growing in your flower bed and haven't used it for cooking, you are missing out!  It is so fresh tasting and fabulous on chicken or potatoes.  This recipe is easy, too.  Paprika gives it a little kick!

Try the Chicken and Avocado Salad for a lighter, cooler meal.  The mixture of flavors is soooo good!  The sun-dried tomatoes mixed with the fresh basil and the balsamic vinegar is really delicious.  I served it with whole wheat Ritz Crackers, or garlic bread would be great, too.

I'm reminding you now about the Avocado Rice Salad that I've posted before.  It is so light and refreshing with ANY Mexican food...tacos, Enchilada Casserole, or fajitas.  The fresh squeezed lime juice makes it taste so cool and fresh.  I make it frequently and everyone just loves it.  Add some fresh spinach to it to make it even healthier.  I added chopped yellow and orange peppers to it this time and it really adds goodness to it.  Here's a pic...



And, finally, my old stand-by...lasagna, easy to make using my recipe.  You don't even have to cook the noodles first, just spread the Ricotta cheese on each dry noodle and layer with the meat and mozzarella...so easy.  Who doesn't like lasagna?  A nice Italian salad and garlic bread...supper...done!!

Until next time, when the cows come home and the rooster crows...take care of yourself and those you love!




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Rosemary Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

6 chicken thighs, bone-in
1 1/2 lbs. small red potatoes (or any potatoes), cleaned and cut into large cubes
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. crushed rosemary leaves, or 1 T. fresh chopped rosemary

Mix oil, all of the spices, and salt in large bowl.  Add chicken and potatoes; toss to coat well.

Arrange chicken and potatoes in single layer in 9x13 baking dish, sprayed with Pam.

Bake at 425 for 30-40 minutes until chicken is cooked thru and potatoes are tender.





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Chicken and Avocado Spinach Salad

4 boneless chicken breasts or pre-cooked frozen chicken strips (use equivalent of 4 breasts) 1 T. olive oil for cooking chicken
1/3 to 1/2 c. olive oil for dressing
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 T. onion, minced
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/2 c. fresh basil, chopped (if you can't get fresh basil, use dried - 2 tsp.)
1 lg. avocado, thinly sliced
12 oz. fresh spinach

Salt and pepper chicken and cook in oil about 12 min., turning once until browned.  Slice into thin strips and place in lg. salad bowl.  (Or use thawed, pre-cooked chicken strips, cut into chunks)

Whisk together salt, pepper, garlic, and vinegar.  Slowly whisk in remaining olive oil.  Stir in onion, tomatoes, and basil.

Spoon 1/4 c. dressing over chicken and toss.

Toss spinach with remaining dressing and divide among 4 plates.

Top with chicken and sliced avocado.

Note:  this recipe makes 4 servings.





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Easy Lasagna

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar pasta sauce or marinara sauce
1 15oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/2 can water
1 pkg. spaghetti sauce mix

1 carton Ricotta cheese
2 c. Mozzarella cheese
8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
Dried parsley

Brown meat in large pot.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes.

Add remaining sauce ingredients.  Bring to slight boil, cover and simmer approx. 30 minutes or more.

Meanwhile, spread Ricotta cheese liberally on each noodle.


Spoon enough meat into 9x13 baking dish to cover the bottom.  Layer with 4 noodles, 1/2 mozzarella, then sprinkle with dried parsley.  Continue layering with meat, noodles, mozzarella, and parsley. 


(I made a larger batch, so I needed more noodles; you'll only need 4 per layer)

Spread any remaining meat sauce over the top.

Cover with foil tightly and bake at 375 for 1 hour.











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Cool Summer Salads

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Since summer is rapidly, or should that be "rabidly"?, since summer does sometimes make you feel a little rabid, as in "crazy", with kids home from school and all the summer activities piling up!!  Anyway, back to the point here...since summer is approaching, I thought some ideas for cool, refreshing salads would be appropriate. 
I made this best-ever chicken salad for my Bunco Babes and it was definitely a hit...not so much with my ability to roll sixes that night...I won the booby prize!  But the salad was excellent served on small croissants.  I doubled the recipe and had more than enough to fill 24 croissants liberally, with some even left over...to die for!  I'm trying not to eat all the leftovers by myself...but it's very, very, hard!

The other salad is super quick and easy, using pre-cooked fajita meat...you know I don't do that often, but it's fantastic for a quick fix meal!!  The ease of pre-cooked chicken mixed with the goodness of fresh spinach, tomatoes, peppers, avocados...it doesn't get any better than that!  Actually, my daughter-in-law, Stacy, made this for lunch one day and I thought it was excellent!!  She's becoming quite the accomplished cook!!  All it takes is a little imagination. 

I'm looking for other summer salad recipes to share, so stay tuned...

until then, happy trails to you!





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Chicken Salad Delight

3 c. chopped cooked chicken breast (a food processor works great for chopping)
1 c. thinly sliced celery
1/4 c. minced onion
1 c. red grapes, cut in half lengthwise
1  2.25 oz. pkg. sliced almonds
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 c. mayo
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Mix all ingredients together in mixing bowl.  Refrigerate for at least one or two hours to chill. 

Serve on a bed of greens, on croissants, or with crackers. 

Makes 6 servings.





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