Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Taco Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

 I first tried this salad at a work party 16 years ago.  I have been making it ever since.  It's one of the only salads my kids (or husband) will eat.

1 head of lettuce
(I used a combination of green leaf and spinach.)
1 lb. ground beef
taco seasoning
1 can of kidney beans
1 small can of sliced olives
2 tomatoes
1 avacado
1 cup of cheddar cheese
frito chips

  • Brown meat in a skillet.  Drain and season it according to your taste.
  • Place all ingredients (except fritos) in a large bowl and mix. 
  • Top individual servings with fritos and favorite salad dressing.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

¾ cup light mayo
¾ cup greek yogurt (I used fat-free.)
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice (about ½ a lime)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup milk
1 small bunch (~1/3 cup, packed) cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds.  Check consistency and if needed blend for another 30 seconds.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Breakfast Casserole

1 lb bacon
1 sweet onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup zucchini, shredded
6 eggs, slightly beaten
4 cups frozen hash browns, thawed
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups swiss cheese


  • In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crispy.  Set aside until cool and then dice or crumble.  Put the onion, pepper and zucchini in the skillet and cook in a small amount of the bacon grease.
  • In a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients.  Stir in the bacon and onion mixture and place in a greased 9X13 pan.
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until set. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Apricot Pineapple Jam

I'm always trying new jam recipes.  This one turned out to be really good.

5 cups apricots, pitted (about 4 pounds)
1 cup of fresh pineapple, cut into small pieces
1 box of pectin
6 cups of sugar
1 tsp butter or margarine
Sterilized jars and lids

  • In a food processor, pulse the apricots until they are smooth but not pureed.  You can also do this by hand with a potato masher.  Do the same with the pineapple and then combine the two fruits into a large pot over the stove.  
  • Add the pectin and the butter.  The butter helps the jam not to foam during the heating process.
  • Over medium high heat, heat the mixture until it reaches a boil that doesn't stop when you stir it.
  • At this point add the sugar.  Cook until it reaches a boil again and let it boil for 5 minutes.
  • Pour in sterilized jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Apricot Chicken

This recipe is delicious, but my favorite thing about it is how easy it is.  The whole time I was cooking the kids were asking me what smelled so yummy.

7-8 pieces of skinless or skin on chicken
(I used breasts but you can use thighs)
1-2 tsp of salt
3 Tb herbes de Provence*
2 Tb olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 sweet onion, diced
6 medium apricots
1/2 cup apricot preserves

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9x13 pan.
  • Season the chicken by rubbing the meat with salt and 2 Tb of herbes de Provence.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the garlic and onion until the garlic is fragrant.  Add the seasoned chicken to the skillet and cook for 5-10 minutes, turning the chicken so all sides are browned.  Sprinkle the remaining herbes de Provence over the chicken, making sure all the chicken pieces are covered on all sides.  Place the chicken in the greased pan and cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear.
  • In the skillet, add about 1/3 cup of cooking wine or water.  (If adding water, make sure you remove the pan from the heat and add it slowly so the oil doesn't spatter.) 
  • Add the fresh apricots and apricot preserves and simmer on low until the chicken is done cooking in the oven.
  • Add the chicken back to the skillet and heat with the sauce for another 5 minutes.
  • Serve with rice.
* Herbes de Provence is a mixture of several herbs that are typical in French cooking.  There is no standard recipe for it and many recipes include lavender.  Since this might be difficult to find in stores (I happened to buy mine in France), I found a recipe by Emeril to make it yourself.

Herbes De Provence

2 Tb dried savory
2 Tb dried rosemary
2 Tb dried thyme
2 Tb dried oregano
2 Tb dried basil
2 Tb dried marjoram
2 Tb dried fennel seed

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container.  Makes 1 cup.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I think this is the healthiest you can make a cake.  It turned out really moist.  It was a huge hit and I didn't feel bad about eating it.

1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups shredded zuchini

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 pan.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl mix applesauce, sugar and vanilla extract until well combined.  In another bowl combine flours, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda.  A little at a time combine the flour mixture into the sugar mixture.  When combined, mix the zucchini into the mixture and spread evenly in the pan. 
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cake gently springs back when touched.

You can use any chocolate frosting recipe you like.  It is such a moist cake and has such a nice chocolate flavor that you really only need a simple white sugar glaze on top.