Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lime Chicken Soft Tacos

Source: Allrecipes.com
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Ready In: 50 Minutes
Yields: 10 servings

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat - cubed
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
10 (6 inch) flour tortillas
1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup shredded lettuce
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup salsa

1. Saute chicken in a medium saucepan over medium high heat for about 20 minutes. Add vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper, green onion, garlic and oregano. Simmer for an extra 10 minutes.
2. Heat an iron skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the pan, warm, and turn over to heat the other side. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve lime chicken mixture in warm tortillas topped with tomato, lettuce, cheese and salsa.

Tuna and Egg Salad

I labeled this recipe "no-cook" although it does require some minimal cooking. A great meal for hot days. When I know it's going to be a scorcher, I prep the potatoes, green beans, eggs and bacon in the morning before it's too hot. Keep everything in the refrigerator and serve cold with a slice of crusty bread and a nice glass of sauvignon blanc.

photo credit: Yunhee Kim (taken from original recipe page)

Source: Every Day with Rachael Ray
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 35 min

4 large eggs
1 pound green beans, cut crosswise into thirds
4 red potatoes (1 1/4 pounds), halved
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 avocado, diced
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
Two 6-ounce cans tuna
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the eggs and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 12 minutes. Drain and let cool; peel and quarter lengthwise. Reserve the saucepan.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until crisptender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
3. In the reserved saucepan, combine the potatoes and enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool, then cut into bite-size pieces.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
5. Arrange the potatoes, green beans, bacon, avocado and tomatoes on a platter. Flake the tuna and mound over the vegetables. Top with the eggs. Drizzle the dressing on the salad.

Kitchen tip:
I hoard Meyer lemons when offered them by family members who have lemon trees. I freeze their juice in ice cube trays (about 1 Tbls per cube) so that I always have lemon juice on hand for the recipes that call for just a tablespoon or two.

Chicken Sandwiches with Zucchini Slaw

{print this recipe}

Sounds a little fancy but really all slaw means is "salad." This is one of my favorite meals to serve on those hot summer nights when it's too hot to cook. Serve with a fresh fruit salad. Yum!  The zucchini slaw is spicy so don't forget to cut back on the chipotle or add some more creme fraiche if you're not a fan of the chile heat.  Try serving as a wrap instead of on a baguette!

Source: Food & Wine Magazine
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6

3 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
2 small zucchini, coarsely shredded
Kosher salt
One 5-ounce bunch of arugula, thick stems discarded
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
6 small baguette rolls, split lengthwise
1 roast chicken,  shredded


  1. In a small bowl, combine the crème fraîche with the chipotle in adobo and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the lime juice. You can tone down the spice of this slaw by adding more crème fraîche or a little less chipotle chile. Add the shredded zucchini and a pinch of salt. Let the zucchini slaw stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with the olive oil and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of lime juice; season the arugula with salt and pepper.
  3. Now it's time to build your sandwich!

Using a slotted spoon, spread the zucchini on the baguette rolls.

Mound the shredded chicken on the zucchini and season generously with salt and pepper.

Top with the arugula.

Close the chicken sandwiches and serve immediately.

Kitchen tips:
1. Chipotle chiles are smoked jalapeno peppers. They freeze well which is great because most recipes call for just one. I bag them individually (1-2 chiles per bag) with a teaspoon or two of the adobo sauce. Don't forget to label each bag with the number of chiles. Then place all the bags in one quart-size freezer bag and stick them in your freezer! They thaw very quickly, too.
2. I love to buy a bunch of limes (4-5) and freeze their juice in ice cube trays (about 1 Tbls per cube). I always have lime juice on hand for the recipes that call for just a tablespoon or two.

** Update 06.14.10: This sandwich has become a regular dinner on those hot, hot summer nights.  I have always served it on the mini sourdough rolls pictured above. But, as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I recently received a package of Nature's Pride Premium Harvest(TM) Deli Rolls.  Since we had the rolls on hand, I used those.  They were great with this sandwich!!  They reminded me a little of hot dog buns, but I liked how light they were!  The sourdough rolls I always use have a hard crust so they're not easy to bite through, plus they leave you feeling over-full.  Yay for Nature's Pride Premium Harvest Deli Rolls! Oh, and bonus points for being 100% natural! **

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pasta Salad with Homemade Dressing

{print this recipe}

This pasta salad is fantastic!  It's a huge hit at family parties and I'm often asked to bring it for events.  There is a lot of chopping and prep time but it is worth it!!  I leave the olives whole and yes... I can probably be found picking out my favorite pieces to eat while I prepare the salad.  Shhhh... don't tell!

Source: allrecipes.com
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Ready In: 8 Hours 55 Minutes
Yields: 8 servings

1 (8 ounce) package uncooked tri-color rotini pasta
6 ounces pepperoni sausage, diced
6 ounces provolone cheese, cubed
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 (6 ounce) can pitted black olives
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add rotini pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain, and rinse with cold water.
2. In a large bowl, mix the cooled pasta, pepperoni, provolone cheese, red onion, cucumber, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, olives, parsley, and Parmesan cheese.
3. In a jar with a lid, mix the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, oregano, ground mustard, salt, and pepper. Seal jar, and shake well.
4. Pour the dressing mixture over the pasta salad, reserving just a bit to be added just before serving. Toss to coat. Cover, and chill 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Pour reserved dressing if salad is too dry.

Kitchen Tip
Using a madolin slicer makes for very quick, even slicing. I use mine all the time!

Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake

source: allrecipes.com prep time: 30 minutes
cook time: 45 minutes
ready in: 14 hours
yields: 12-16 servings

Chocolate Crust1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
8 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup coffee flavored liqueur
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Flavored Whipped Cream1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' (powdered) sugar
2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur

Chocolate Leaves2-4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon shortening
assorted fresh non-toxic leaves such as camellia, rose, lemon or orange

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter one 9 or 10 inch springform pan.

2. Combine the chocolate wafer crumbs, softened butter, 2 tablespoons white sugar, and the cinnamon. Mix well and press mixture into the buttered springform pan, set aside.

3. In a medium sized bowl beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup white sugar mixing until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat at low speed until very smooth.

4. Melt the 8 ounces semisweet chocolate with 2 tablespoons whipping cream in a double boiler (or bowl set over boiling water), stir until smooth.

5. Add melted chocolate mixture to cream cheese mixture and blend well. Stir in sour cream, salt, coffee, 1/4 cup coffee liqueur, and vanilla; beat until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

6. Bake in the center of preheated oven for 45 minutes. Center will be soft but will firm up when chilled. Do not over bake. Leave cake in oven with the heat turned off and the door ajar for at least 45 minutes. Remove cake from oven and chill for 12 hours. 

7. To make flavored whipped cream: Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form, then beat in confectioner's sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur.

Just before serving top cake with mounds of flavored whipped cream and garnish with chocolate leaves.

Kitchen Tip:
Chocolate leaves are an easy way to impress your guests!  Choose leaves that are smaller as you don't want your garnish to overwhelm your dessert.

Melt 2-4 ounces semisweet chocolate with a teaspoon of shortening in a double boiler (or bowl set over boiling water), stir until smooth. 

Brush underside of leaves (with the veins) with melted chocolate. 

Carefully wipe off chocolate that may have run onto front side of leaf. Place on a cookie sheet to harden.

Refrigerate until firm and then peel off leaves. 

Refrigerate chocolate leaves until needed.