Avocado Chicken Salad

There’s a dish at one of the best places to eat in town, but unfortunately it is only on the spring and summer menu, which isn’t out yet. With the extra warm weather this weekend, we decided to try our hand at making the same dish at home. We seriously lucked out. With a few modifications, this recipe is a near exact copy and was amazing.

Print Recipe
Avocado Chicken Salad
Servings
people
Ingredients
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Roast the chicken in the oven at 375 degrees, spiced with your favorite Mexican seasoning, we like chili lime.
  2. Cook at least 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Dice the onions and the celery in a food processor.
  4. When the chicken is cooked and slightly cooled, shred it with a fork or in the food processor. If you prefer your chicken salad a bit chunky, feel free to dice it instead.
  5. We added the shredded chicken to the food processor and then added the avocados and spices. If you prefer it a bit chunky, just mix everything together in a bowl.
  6. Taste and add lime juice and salt as needed.
  7. When ready to eat, toast the bread.
  8. We brushed both sides with olive oil and toasted each side until browned.

My opinion:
I was starving, so we didn’t wait for this to chill. In the summer, we will definitely chill the mixture for at least 30 minutes. Also, next time we’ll add a bit more cumin and maybe some more lime juice. This would be equally delicious with cucumber slices and bread. If you’d like it a little spicier, feel free to add a jalapeño. We will probably add some serranos from the garden this summer.

p.s. Summer 2016 update: Our toddler adores this dish. we just have to shred the chicken instead of cutting it into chunks and she gobbles it up! 

Advertisements

Tyler Florence’s Roasted Sweet Potato Banana Puree

As promised, now that Thanksgiving is over and we have had a chance to do a post-mortem on what worked and what didn’t, I’ll be sharing the recipes that made the cut. First, is this delicious take on sweet potato casserole.

C found this recipe on the Fabulousfoodshow.com and has perfected it in the last year.  We kept it warm in a crock pot while other dishes took up precious oven and burner space.

Print Recipe
Tyler Florence's Roasted Sweet Potato Banana Puree
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and put them on a roasting pan.
  3. On another roasting pan prick bananas and lay out in a single layer.
  4. Roast sweet potatoes for 45 minutes until very soft and roast bananas for 25 minutes. (If you are in a huge hurry, you can boil the sweet potatoes, but do not try boiling the bananas!)
  5. Remove both pans from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  
  6. In a small sauce pot heat cream with bay leaf until reduced by half, then keep warm until ready to puree potatoes and bananas. 
  7. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into the bowl of a food processor (A blender will work, but only if the potatoes are cool).
  8. Add peeled bananas. Season with salt, add butter, cream (make sure you took the bay leaves out!), cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and puree until smooth (or if you like it a little chunky, a little chunky).
  9. Pour into an oven-proof dish. 
  10. Make the topping by combining flour, cold butter and brown sugar in the food processor and pulse until you have the texture of coarse bread crumbs.
  11. Sprinkle on top of the puree and place under the broiler until golden brown and crispy, about 4-5 minutes.

My opinion:
I really love this dish. This year we actually forgot the topping and it was still just as wonderful! You can make it a couple of days (no more than 2!) ahead of your holiday meal and keep it refrigerated. Then reheat in a crock pot like we did or in the oven. If you are keeping it in the crock pot, sprinkle each serving with the topping and use a brûlée torch to make it golden brown and crispy.

Smoky Chipotle Hummus

hummus

For Oscar night back in February, J found the perfect dishes to go with Argo. After that first try, we perfected this hummus recipe, which was surprisingly easy. Everyone who tried it liked it and I wish we’d made a bigger batch this last time. A side of Garlic Bagel Chips absolutely makes this dish!

Ingredients:
2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste, we found ours in the ethnic isle at HyVee)
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (we didn’t have fresh lemons on hand and just used the refrigerator version)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies (we used chipotles in adobo sauce, which added an extra smokey flavor and we also available at HyVee)
2 large garlic cloves, minced (in truth we used about a tablespoon total)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 4-ounce jar sliced pimientos in oil, drained
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (if you have it, great, if not no big deal)

Directions:
Reserve 3 tablespoons garbanzo beans for garnish if you want, we didn’t and just food processed them in. Tip: do not use a blender. I’ve tried and promise you’ll regret it. Burned out motors do not smell appetizing! Using a food processor, pulse the remaining garbanzo beans and next seven ingredients until smooth. Add pimientos and pulse until pimientos are coarsely chopped. Transfer hummus to medium bowl. Stir in cilantro. Season hummus to taste with salt and pepper (we used sea salt and white pepper). Sprinkle with reserved garbanzo beans. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.) Accompany with bagel chips.

My opinion:
I’ve only recently joined the ranks of those who like hummus and now that I’ve tasted this will never go back to store bought blandness. It was so easy and with the extra garlic and white pepper a future go to dish for carry ins and pot lucks.

Ratatouille from Ratatouille


Also known as Confit Byaldi. I loved Ratatouille. Partially because I love Paris, French cuisine and of course Disney. The tagline from the movie, “anyone can cook!” always makes me smile. I was thrilled when J found that the New York Times published this recipe. I’ve had to modify it because spending three to four hours on dinner just doesn’t work for us.  Bon appétit!

Piperade Ingredients:
1/2 red pepper, seeds and ribs removed (we used a whole red and a whole green, they were small)
1/2 yellow pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic (we used more at least 1 tablespoon)
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
3 tomatoes (about 12 ounces total weight), peeled, seeded, and finely diced, juices reserved (we used a can of petite diced tomatoes)
1 sprig thyme (we used dried about 1 teaspoon)
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley (we also used dried, about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 a bay leaf (we used a whole bay leaf)
Kosher salt

Piperade Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place pepper halves on a foil-lined sheet, cut side down. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely. Combine oil, garlic, and onion (which we precombined in a food processor) in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes, do not brown; add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt, and discard herbs (obviously we left the parsley and thyme in the dish, but removed the bay leaf). Reserve tablespoon of mixture and spread remainder in bottom of an 8-inch skillet.

Ingredients for Vegetables:
1 zucchini, sliced thin
Japanese eggplant sliced thin (if you can’t find Japanese, use regular, we do)
1 yellow squash, sliced thin
4 Roma tomatoes, slicked thin
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (we used more)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Vegetable Directions:
Preheat oven to 275 degrees (we heated the oven to 400 degrees). Down center of pan, arrange a strip of 8 alternating slices of vegetables over piperade, overlapping so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed (this is not an exact science). Around the center strip, overlap vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Repeat until pan is filled; all vegetables may not be needed. Mix garlic, oil, and thyme leaves in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over vegetables. Cover pan with foil and crimp edges to seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife, about 2 hours (if using a 400 degree oven, check after 30 to 45 minutes). Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more. (if using a 400 degree oven, cook 5 to 10 minutes uncovered.) If there is excess liquid in pan, place over medium heat on stove until reduced. At this point it may be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve cold or reheat in 350-degree oven until warm. (If using a 400 degree oven, there will be liquid. We don’t mind the liquid in the bottom. Better to use bread to soak it up! But if you do, follow the same directions for the medium head on the stove top.)

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oi
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Assorted fresh herbs (thyme flowers, chervil, thyme)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Vinaigrette Directions:
Combine reserved piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.

My opinion:
I love this dish in the middle of summer, I love it in winter. It’s just a great refreshing, vegetable filled dish. We serve it with crusty french bread. We serve the leftovers over pasta or blend it into a thick sauce and serve over pasta. Sometimes the second day dishes are a tinge better than the first.