Mexican Roasted Corn Salad

I love salads, especially in the summer. J made this the other night for dinner with a seared flank steak and chimichurri sauce. Don’t get me wrong, the steak was delicious but the corn stole the show. Plus, it’s simple enough for a weeknight dinner. He got the recipe here.

Salad Ingredients:
4 ears of corn 3 cups cooked kernels
1/2 cup red onion diced, ¼-inch dice
1/2 cup red bell pepper ¼-inch dice
1/2 cup cucumber ¼-inch dice
1 avocado ¼-inch dice
1 clove garlic minced
1 jalapeño minced (we accidentally left this out the first time and didn’t miss it)
1 tablespoon cilantro chopped, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup queso fresco or cotija cheese (cotija is our preferred!)

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup greek yogurt non-fat, plain
2 tablespoons lime juice and zest of one lime
1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper ground, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon cumin ground
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
black pepper freshly ground, to taste

Directions:
Lightly brush each corn cob with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. We roasted ours in the oven under the broiler. Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side, flipping for about 12 minutes total. You want to achieve some char marks on each side. Set corn aside and allow to cool enough to handle. Carefully cut the corn kernels off the cob on a cutting board. In a large bowl combine corn, onion, bell pepper, cucumber, avocado, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro and ¼ cup of cheese.

For the dressing, whisk together yogurt, lime juice, zest, chipotle pepper, cumin, and salt. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and whisk into dressing until smooth. Taste dressing and add more salt and pepper as desired.

We served the salad and the dressing and extra cheese on the side. You can also add some avocado and more cilantro if you’d like. You can also serve with a side of tortilla chips and eat it like a dip. Delicious!

My opinion:
I was so sad when it was all gone. Luckily, we still had some dressing left over, which made an excellent chicken breast marinade!

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Brussel Sprouts and Bacon

I’ve never liked brussel sprouts. I can recall once that I’ve eaten more than two in one sitting. It was at a local restaurant and the roasted brussel sprouts were covered in marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and came as an accidental side to the dish I’d ordered. Then one day Miss A’s best friend’s mom introduced me to these magical, delectable, drool-worthy brussel sprouts. I’ve eaten them four times in the last two weeks. The leftovers are even good microwaved the next day!

Ingredients:
1 package brussel sprouts
4-6 slices of your favorite bacon
olive oil*
white wine or chicken stock (can also use vegetable stock)
maple syrup
salt and pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425. Cook the bacon until crisp in an oven proof pan. While the bacon is cooking, rinse the brussel sprouts under cool water. Chop off the ends and peel off the outer leaves. (I have no idea why you do this, you just do.) when the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan leaving the drippings. Then crumble the bacon. If you don’t think you have enough drippings *add a bit of the olive oil. Over medium to medium-high heat, sautee the brussel sprouts until they start to caramelize, stirring occasionally. Use white wine or chicken stock to deglaze the pan. Add the brussle sprouts to the oven. Cook for about 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. If you think the brussel sprouts are getting too done, add some more of the white wine or stock. Remove the brussel sprouts and while the pan is still hot drizzle maple syrup over the cooked brussel sprouts. Stir again. Salt and pepper the brussel sprouts. Stir. Add the crumbled bacon. Stir. Serve warm.

My opinion:
I really, really, really like this dish. It’s very hard not to eat the whole pan in one sitting.

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

We’ve been using our crockpot quite a bit lately. We’ve also discovered the wonderful boneless skinless chicken thighs from one of our favorite grocery stores (or go-see store as our toddler calls them). The benefit of cooking the thighs in the crockpot is they dry out less and are more flavorful than the traditional chicken breasts. Cooking Light’s crockpot recipes have become a go-to source. I did not expect this recipe to be as good as it was. Even the toddler ate some of it!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1/2 cup white wine (or chicken stock)
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano (we ended up using dried)
1/4 cup drained capers
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (we left this out because the toddler was eating with us)
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (28-oz.) container diced tomatoes (such as Pomì) (I accidentally used only the 14.5 ounce can)
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cremini mushrooms, quartered (the grocery store was out of these, so we just left them out)
8 (6-oz.) bone-in chicken thighs, skinned (about 3 lb.) (we only had three boneless ones left, it worked fine)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken in half
5 ounces baby spinach
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:
Combine 1/2 cup water and flour in your favorite crockpot, stirring with a whisk. (Note: You can also use corn starch, which we will do next time.) Stir in stock and next 8 ingredients (through mushrooms). Add chicken thighs to the stock mixture; submerge in liquid. Cover and cook on LOW 7 1/2 hours (ours cooked about 9). Remove chicken. Leave whole or chop if using boneless skinless. If using bone-in, wait for them to cool, then remove bones.
Add oil and pasta to slow cooker sauce; cover and cook on HIGH 15 minutes or until pasta is done to your liking. (It took a little longer than 15 minutes for us.) Stir in spinach until wilted. Divide pasta mixture and top evenly with chicken. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

My opinion:
I didn’t expect the capers to add so much to the dish. It was the right amount of salt and sweet from the tomatoes. The pasta cooked perfectly. Next time, I will use the corn starch and reduce the amount of liquid a little for the initial cooking phase. If we need more to cook the pasta, I’ll add more at that time. All in all a good, flavorful dish that is perfect for a weeknight.

Almond Torte Recipe

One of the best parts about holidays in my family is the abundance of once-a-year food. Everything from Passover brisket to a hazelnut chocolate loaf and bunny brioche bread make an appearance as we celebrate the spring holidays. This year my mom adapted a recipe for a new dessert and everyone agreed it’s a keeper.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • Vegetable-oil spray
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°. With vegetable-oil spray, lightly coat inside of a 10-in. pan (we used a pie pan). Sprinkle inside of dish with 1 tbsp. sugar, tilting and turning the dish to coat evenly. Discard any excess. Set dish aside. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks with remaining 1/2 cup sugar for several minutes until pale yellow and thick. Gently stir in almond flour and almond extract. Set aside.
In a large clean bowl, beat together egg whites and salt until firm peaks form. Stir 1/3 of the whites into yolk-almond mixture to combine thoroughly, then gently fold in remaining whites. Pour batter into prepared dish and bake until set and golden brown on top, about 30 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes, slice, and serve with raspberry sauce.

My opinion:
This light and airy dessert is the perfect addition to an Easter brunch or a Passover meal. The raspberry sauce absorbs into the sponge-like texture and is just delicious. The sugar crust adds a touch of sweetness but isn’t overwhelming.

Butternut Squash Soup

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We love love love love love this perfectly fall soup (even the toddler!)

Ingredients
1 butternut squash (roasted at 425 for about 45 minutes)
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallots
1/2 yellow onion
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
4 Cup vegetable broth
2 Tbs butter

Directions:
Coat squash in olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast squash in the oven at 425 for about 45 minutes.

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Peel the squash and set aside.
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In a soup pot, heat up 1 tablespoon olive oil until simmering over medium heat. Add the chopped shallot, onion and salt. Cook, stirring often, until the shallot and onions have softened and are starting to turn golden, about 4-5 minutes.
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Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently. DON’T LET THE GARLIC BURN.
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Add the reserved butternut squash, maple syrup, nutmeg and a few shakes of ground black pepper, plus half the butter.
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Pour in the broth and using your favorite stick blended, blend until smooth. Add the butter and blend again.