Macaroni Salad

Per my husbands request, I made macaroni salad.

He’s been buying little containers from the store a couple times a week. I guess you could say he’s been craving it like crazy!

A couple days ago he finally asked if I would make some homemade macaroni salad. 

For my first attempt, I hit it out of the ballpark because he ate the whole thing in one day! lol

Not only is it cheaper than store bought but it taste better too.

The best part is, it only took about 20 minutes to make.

a mac saladChop everything up & add it to the wet ingredients.

a mac salad 2Add macaroni & stir!

a mac salad 3Takes about 20 minutes & you’re done!

 

Ingredients

2 cups dry elbow macaroni, cooked, rinsed, and drained
1/3 cup diced celery
1/4 cup minced red onion, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, drained
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup diced vine-ripened tomato
1/2 cup Kraft mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper & a little sprinkle of garlic salt
Recipe adapted from here.
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Homemade Salsa

I love making salsa!

It’s super easy & you can make as much or as little as you want.

Not to mention you can control how spicy it is. 

The hotter, the better in my book!!

My only problem with having an over abundance of salsa in the house, is staying out of it.

I always find myself sneaking back into the kitchen getting into the salsa bowl. 😉

 

salsa

salsa 2

Ingredients

1 can (28 Ounce) whole tomatoes with juice
2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced tomatoes And green chilies)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 whole jalapeño, quartered And sliced thin (I add more than 1, maybe 3 or a couple serrano peppers)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (more to taste)
1/2 whole lime, juiced

In a large food processor or blender, combine whole tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin,

lime juice, and cilantro. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like.

Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips.

salsa jar

This recipe was adapted from the Pioneer Woman.

Beef with Snow Peas

As I’ve mentioned before, I love the Pioneer Woman,

so of course this is another one of her recipes. 

I’ve really been on a mission to create my own Chinese food since finding any

decent restaurants close by has been unsuccessful.  

This particular recipe stuck out because it’s similar to what my daughter orders

every time, beef & broccoli. I knew she would love it. Surprisingly she didn’t question where the

broccoli was, just was curious how to eat the snow peas, lol. She wasn’t sure if

you were suppose to eat the pods or not. After poking at them for a minute or

so she popped one in her mouth & was happy to report how tasty they were.

I know a recipe is a keeper when my family goes back for seconds.

DSC_0267Thinly slice up the flank steak & cover with marinade.

DSC_0269Add olive oil to your pan & cook for a minute or so.

DSC_0273Set aside snow peas & first batch of cooked beef on a clean plate.

DSC_0275 fixedOnce all the beef has been cooked, throw everything back into the pan for an additional 30 seconds or so.

DSC_0285 fixedServe over some jasmine rice.

Ingredients

1-1/2 pound Flank Steak, Trimmed Of Fat And Sliced Very Thin Against The Grain
1/2 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Sherry Or Cooking Sherry
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger
8 ounces, weight Fresh Snow Peas, Ends Trimmed
5 whole Scallions, Cut Into Haf-inch Pieces On The Diagonal
Salt As Needed (use Sparingly)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Crushed Red Pepper, For Sprinkling
Jasmine Rice, Cooked According To Package

In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger.

Pour half the liquid over the sliced meat in a bowl and toss with hands. Reserve the other half of the liquid. 

Heat oil in a heavy skillet or wok over high heat. Add snow peas and stir for 45 seconds. Remove to a separate plate.

Allow pan to get very hot again. With tongs, add half the meat mixture, leaving most of the marinade still in the bowl. Add half the scallions.

Spread out meat as you add it to pan, but do not stir for a good minute. (You want the meat to get as brown as possible in as short amount a time as possible.)

Turn meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a clean plate.

Repeat with other half of meat, allowing pan to get very hot again first. After turning it, add the first plateful of meat, the rest of the marinade, and the snow peas.

Stir over high heat for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Check seasonings and add salt only if it needs it. Mixture will thicken as it sits.

Serve immediately over rice. Sprinkle crushed red pepper over the top to give it some spice.

Lemon Snap Peas

What a tasty little side dish these are!!

I’m always looking for new sides to try because it seems like we

always have the same thing. Broccoli, zucchini, squash etc. 

After awhile those become very boring.

Lemon snap peas are anything but boring.

Fresh organic snap peas, freshly grated lemon &

freshly squeezed lemon juice.

I seriously think I could eat these as a main dish.

They are the perfect compliment to my Cajun pan fried tilapia.

Aren’t they just beautiful!? So vibrant.

Served with tilapia.

Ingredients

1 tbsp. unsalted butter
12 oz. fresh sugar snap peas, de-stringed
1 tsp. lemon zest, freshly grated
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Melt butter in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add the snap peas and toss to coat. Cook snap peas over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the lemon zest, salt and pepper (and thyme, if you wish) and cook an additional 3-5 minutes, until the snap peas begin to puff up and are crisp, yet tender.  Squeeze a little lemon juice over top right before serving. 

Baja Fish Tacos w/ Fresh Pico de Gallo and Dill Sauce

That’s a mouth full!

A mouth full of delicious fish tacos that is!

My husband has been talking about fish tacos since we’ve been

together & I don’t think we have tried making them once.

So when I found this recipe from a sweet pea chef who happens to be

from California, who also happens to eat tacos from Baja California, I knew this

was the prefect time to make fish tacos!

Who better to give me instructions on how to make yummy

fish tacos besides her!?

I was correct, she has a fantastic recipe not only for tacos, but for fresh

Pico de Gallo & creamy white dill sauce.

My husband liked them so much he ate 3 1/2. lol!

So healthy!

Pico de Gallo

2 medium tomatoes on the vine, diced – small

1/2 small red onion, chopped

1/2 tsp. jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

4 sprigs cilantro, roughly chopped

1 green onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

whole lime – fresh lime juice

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/8 tsp. cumin

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with additional salt, lime, pepper and/or cumin to taste. Let sit for at least an hour.

Creamy White Dill Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup plain yogurt

juice from 1/2 a lime (approx 2 tbsp)

1 tsp. jalapeno pepper, minced

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. dried dill weed

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Season with additional salt, lime, pepper and/or cumin to taste. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

*Once again I used tilapia instead of cod*

Fish

1 lb. fresh rock cod or sea bass fillet, cut into strips of 2-3 oz. portions
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp. water
Canola or vegetable oil
1/2 head medium cabbage, thinly sliced
8-10 good quality corn tortillas

Directions

In a flat dish, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. In a separate dish, combine egg with 2 tbsp. water.

Pour enough oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of  1/4 inch. Heat oil on high heat until hot and then turn to medium high heat.

Dip fish into egg and then dust lightly with flour-cornmeal mixture. Fry until golden brown on all sides, approximately 4-6 minutes. Remove promptly and drain on a plate covered with paper towels.

Wrap tortillas in a damp cloth or paper towel and microwave on high for 10-15 seconds.

To serve, place a few pieces of fried fish on corn tortilla (you can use single or doubled tortillas, depending on your preference). Drizzle fish with desired about of Creamy White Dill Sauce and Fresh Pico de Gallo. Top with sliced cabbage.

Homemade Garlic Bread

At work yesterday the aroma of Italian food filled the hallways & the break room.

It smelled so incredible, I asked the hubby if we could have spaghetti & garlic bread for dinner.

Immediately I knew I was making everything from scratch besides the pasta.

One day in the future I’ll work up to that but for now, store bought it is.

The online search began for homemade garlic bread. Not that I thought it would be difficult,

 I just really wanted to find an actual recipe.

AND I found an AWESOME one from this cute little blog.

This bread is soo good, I will never even consider buying store bought or frozen ever again.

I highly doubt you will either after trying this! 🙂

Homemade really does make a world of difference!!

After you have mixed all the ingredients, your spread should look like this.

Normally with garlic bread you would use is french bread or a baguette, but my

husband picked out the biggest, widest loaf he could find for our little family of 3.

Needless to say we couldn’t eat it all. HA!

Ingredients

6 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf fresh bread (ciabatta, french, baguette, sourdough), cut lengthwise
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (plus more to sprinkle on top if desired)

Preheat your oven broiler on the Low setting.

In a small mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients to make a paste/spread (you can also use a food processor if you’d prefer).  Using a flat knife or spoon, spread the butter mixture evenly over the non-crusted portion of the bread. Sprinkle with additional grated parmesan if desired.

Set both sides of the bread, spread-side up, on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and place in the center of the oven under the broiler until the butter is melted and the top starts to becomes golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Take care to pay attention to the bread so it does not burn — it can cook quickly under the broiler.

Once golden, remove from the broiler and set on a cutting board. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes in order to handle. Using a serrated bread knife, cut the bread into portions and serve.

I used 100% whole wheat spaghetti topped with homemade marinara sauce w/ Italian sausage.

Garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese & parsley.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Who doesn’t love french fries?!

You can pair them with tons of different meals & you can transform

the average salty fries into tons of tastey treats. The list is endless!

But sweet potato fries take it to a whole new level.

They are healthier & taste amazing!

Recently my husband told me about his love for sweet potato fries so

it was time to make them.

I paired them with a bourbon bacon cheese burger that you can check out here.

Ingredients

2lbs sweet potatoes

3 tbs olive oil

 2 pinches of salt

fresh cracked black pepper

pinch of cayenne

Wash & dry sweet potatoes. Cut into 1/4 inch long slices.

Put slices in a bowl & evenly coat with olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt, black pepper & cayenne.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper & place sweet potatoes slices in a single layer.

Heat oven to 425. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes turning once.

Sweet potatoes should be tender & golden brown.