Friday, July 30, 2010

Citrus Punch - Spiked and Virgin

Citrus Punch - Spiked & Virgin

Makes about 20 (8-oz.) servings

Such a great summery drink. It's refreshing and sweet, and my version accommodates guests who are looking for a cocktail as well as guests who are looking for nonalcoholic punch.
Inspired By: Hometown Cooking magazine, June 2000

12-oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed and divided
12-oz. can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed and divided
12-oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed and divided
2-1/2 c. water (for virgin)
2 c. vodka + 1-1/2 c. water (for spiked)
2 cans lemon-lime carbonated beverage, such as 7Up or Sprite
Ice cubes

Divide juice concentrates evenly between two pitchers.
To virgin punch, add 2-1/2 c. water.
To spike punch, add 2 c. vodka and 1-1/2 c. water
Add 1 can of lemon-lime beverage to each punch.
Taste and add more water, vodka, or pop as desired.
Refrigerate until party time.
Add ice cubes to pitchers before serving.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Key Lime Pie with Pretzel Crust

Key Lime Pie with Pretzel Crust

Serves 8-10.

If this looks even remotely good to you, go make it. If you like traditional key lime pies, go make it. If you like strawberry Jell-o salad, go make it. If you have to make a dessert for an upcoming summer gathering, go make it. In a nutshell, there's very few excuses why you shouldn't try this pie. It's easy to make, even better to eat, and I can almost guarantee that you'll receive rave reviews from those you serve it to.
Adapted From: Snyder's Of Hanover

Pie Crust:
5 oz. miniature pretzels
3 T. sugar
1 stick butter, melted

7 large egg yolks
2 (14-oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 c. key lime juice (fresh or bottled)

Lime slice
Whipped cream, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For crust, place pretzels in a food processor and pulse until pretzels have become fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and add sugar and melted butter. Stir to combine.
Press crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" pie plate. Distribute evenly.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

For filling, combine egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and key lime juice. Whisk until well incorporated. Pour into cooled pie crust.

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Center will still be slightly jiggly when taken out of oven and edges will JUST be beginning to brown. You don't want them to actually brown, so once you see signs of browning, remove from oven.

Cool on wire rack and then refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

Garnish with a slice of lime and sprinkle coconut around edges.

A Note From The Little Lady: I made changes in the crust (increasing butter to help hold crust together better) and the filling (doubling amount to better fit pie plate). If you prefer a thin, almost tart-like key lime pie, feel free to reduce filling to original amounts. Divide all ingredients in half. For the egg yolks, the original recipe calls for 4.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Perfect Hamburger

The Perfect Hamburger

Serves 4.

Everyone should have basic recipes for basic foods. Here's a simple burger recipe that tastes great and classic, and is still easy to throw together.
Source: Annie's Eats

Burger ingredients:
1 lb. ground sirloin
2 T. finely chopped yellow onion
1 t. minced garlic
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Making it a sandwich:
4 hamburger buns
Slices of cheese, for those who like it
Sliced tomato
Sliced onion
Torn lettuce
Ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc.

Prepare a grill to medium-high heat.
In a large bowl, mix together the ground sirloin, yellow onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Form into 4 patties.

Grill the hamburgers for about 8-10 minutes, flipping once halfway though. Add slices of cheese during the last few minutes for those who prefer cheeseburgers.

Toast hamburger buns on the grill, if desired. Serve burgers on buns with desired toppings and condiments.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chesapeake Bay Snack Mix

Chesapeake Bay Snack Mix

Makes 14 cups of snack mix.

This is a tasty and addicting snack that's sure to be a hit at your next party. It has a similar taste to Chex Mix, but is still definitely in a category of it's own. The original recipe calls for Old Bay Seasoning, which I couldn't find at my local grocery store (I will add that this grocery store is smaller than most). If you have Old Bay Seasoning, leave out my list of spices, which I found as a substitute seasoning. Instead, use 3 T. of Old Bay.
Adapted From: Everyday Food magazine, June 2010

6 c. crisp corn, rice cereal, such as Crispix or Chex
3 c. thin pretzels
3 c. oyster crackers
2 c. roasted peanuts
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter, melted
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
3 T. Old Bay seasoning (OR use mix of spices listed below)
-2 t. paprika
-1-1/2 t. salt
-1-1/2 t. garlic powder
-3/4 t. black pepper
-3/4 t. cayenne pepper
-3/4 t. onion powder
-3/4 t. dried oregano
-3/4 t. dried thyme

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a roasting pan, combine cereal, pretzels, oyster crackers, and peanuts.
In a small bowl, mix together melted butter, Worcestershire, lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, and Old Bay seasoning. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture and stir until ingredients are completely coated.
Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Mr. Is Actually The Dr.

Although I've still be referring to him as The Mr., he actually became The Dr. earlier this summer.


I've gone back and forth: should he remain The Mr. or morph into The Dr.?? You tell me.

Anyway, in celebration of this grand feat, I planned a party. This party originally began as plans for an all-out bash; one with many invites, many celebratory drinks, and a large crowd of The Mr./Dr.'s friends and family.

But as the life of a first-year resident would demand, available weekends grew slim, and the one Saturday I had my eye on looked good... until we found out he had to work a 24-hour shift the next day, starting at 7am on Sunday. A sharp pin then deflated my bubble.

As I've been learning the ropes of being "a doctor's wife," I've often told myself that I will go with the flow (which can be awfully challenging for a planner like me). So I forged ahead with the party, and simply cut the guest list down to family, reset the start time for a few hours earlier, and let our families know that the end time would be fairly early as well.

***You'll find the recipes for noted items in this week's later posts.

We were ready to party.

We were ready to grill.

The drinks:
***Citrus Punch - Spiked and Virgin
Beer - Sam Adams, Land Shark, Pacifico, Bud Light, Coors Light
Wine - Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonny, Pinot Noir
Assorted pops
Bottled water

Citrus Punch:

The snacks:
***Chesapeake Bay Snack Mix

French Onion Dip, served with potato chips, Bugles corn chips (a family tradition started my great-grandmother), and carrots.

Forgot to photo: Mexican 7 Layer Dip with tortilla chips (thanks to the Mr./Dr.'s sister and her fiancé)

Circus Peanuts (a family tradition, started by my grandfather, Peppie)

The meal:
***The Perfect Hamburger

Hamburger toppings and condiments:

Cheesy Potatoes (thanks, Mom!)

The Mr./Dr.'s mom makes a great salad:

Fruit salad (again, thanks Mom!)

The desserts:
***Hot Fudge Brownie Dessert with Vanilla Ice Cream

***Key Lime Pie with Pretzel Crust

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bahama Mama

Bahama Mama

Makes 1 drink.

Let's celebrate the first birthday of Pineapple Grass! Raise your glass and make sure it's filled with this tropical, tasty drink!
Source: Maran Illustrated's Bartending book

1 oz. light rum
1/2 oz. Malibu rum
2 oz. orange juice
2 oz. pineapple juice
1 pineapple flag

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Add the light rum, Malibu rum, orange juice, and pineapple juice to a shaker. Shake the mixture vigorously for 5 to 10 seconds.

Pour the drink into the glass and garnish with a pineapple flag.

A Note From The Little Lady: A pineapple flag, as you can see from the picture, is a maraschino cherry skewered on top of a pineapple wedge.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Pineapple Grass!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake... For Two!

Serves 2.

It's been one year since my first post, and after looking back on the first couple weeks, I'm happy to recognize that I've at least made a little bit of progress in terms of presentation and photographs. Not a lot... but a little. :)

To celebrate, here's a small-batch recipe for pineapple upside-down cake that you can share with your sweetie, your best bud, or if you're really into spoiling your pets, your furry friend. It's a real treat.
Source: Small-Batch Baking cookbook

3 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 fresh diced pineapple
1 T. packed light brown sugar
3 T. buttermilk
1 T. light rum
Yolk of 1 large egg
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/8 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place 1-1/2 t. (1/2 T.) of butter in each of 2 small ramekins. You can also use two muffin cups from a jumbo pan, 3/4 c. capacity. Bake until the butter is bubbly and beginning to turn golden, about 1-2 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the pineapple with the brown sugar in a small bowl. Remove the ramekins from the oven and spoon the pineapple mixture over the butter, dividing it evenly between them. Set the ramekins aside.

Place the buttermilk, rum, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk to mix.

Sift the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together into a medium-size mixing bowl. Add the remaining 2 T. of butter and half of the buttermilk mixture. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the batter is lightened and has slightly increased in volume, 45 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour in the remaining buttermilk mixture and beat on medium speed until well blended, 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Spoon the batter over the pineapple in the ramekins, dividing it evenly between them, and then smooth the tops.

***If you are using a jumbo muffin tin, fill the empty muffin cups half-way with water to prevent them from scorching.

Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean, about 17-22 minutes.

Remove the ramekins from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Place a large plate over the ramekins and invert the cakes onto the plate. Serves with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Salad

Serves 12.

I love this stuff. It's so incredibly easy, and a great potluck addition. It's summery and sweet, and can be whipped up 10 minutes before you have to be out the door.
Source: 5-Ingredients or Less cookbook

16-oz. container sour cream
10-oz. bag flaked coconut
24-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
20-oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained
1/2 pkg. miniature marshmallows

Gently stir all ingredients together in a serving bowl. Cover and chill until serving.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Aloha Pizza

Aloha Pizza

Serves 2-3 (about 8 small wedges of pizza).

A great pizza recipe! And when you use homemade pizza crust, it's that much better. The Mr. and I both really enjoyed this.
Slightly adapted from: Pampered Chef Season's Best recipe collection, Spring/Summer 2008 issue

10-oz. pizza dough (I recommend this homemade recipe)
1 T. olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 c. barbecue sauce, divided
2 c. (8 oz.) grated mozzarella cheese
2 c. diced cooked chicken
1 c. pineapple tidbits, from fresh pineapple
1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Shape dough into a circle on a floured surface (we use our pizza peel). Gently stretch and press dough to form a 12-inch circle. Combine oil and garlic, and brush evenly over crust. Spread half of barbecue sauce over the crust. Sprinkle cheese, chicken, pineapple, and red pepper over the crust. Bake, ideally on a pizza stone, for 14-16 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven.

Garnish with green onion. Serve with remaining barbecue sauce.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pineapple Pork Tacos

Pineapple Pork Tacos

Serves 4.

Later this week, on Thursday the 22nd, Pineapple Grass will turn one year old! In celebration, each recipe this week will star pineapple as an ingredient. Enjoy!

A great taco recipe! Something different than "the norm," but still full of that familiar tex-mex flavor we all love.
Source: Good Housekeeping, July 2010 issue

1 chipotle chile, plus 2 T. sauce (from 1 can chiles in adobo sauce)
3 T. honey
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 small pineapple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 lb. boneless pork chops
1/2 small white onion, sliced
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
8 tortillas, warmed

Preheat grill to medium.
In a blender, puree chile, sauce, honey, garlic, half of pineapple slices, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Pour 1/3 cup sauce into a pie plate; pour remainder into a small bowl for serving.

Add pork to sauce in plate; turn to coat. Let stand. Grill onion and remaining pineapple 4-6 minutes, until tender, turning. Transfer to cutting board.

Grill pork, thinly coated with sauce, 6-8 minutes or until meat just loses its pink color, turning once.

Chop onion and pineapple; place in bowl. Stir in cilantro and 1/4 t. each salt and pepper. Cut pork into chunks; place in tortillas with pineapple mixture. Serve with reserved sauce.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Makes one, two, or three crusts.

The original recipe calls for only all-purpose flour, but by substituting whole wheat flour for half of it, you get added health benefits without losing much taste. The Mr. and I love the rich, slightly denser taste of whole wheat crust. If you want, feel free to adapt the amounts however you'd like. Use 75% all-purpose and only 25% whole wheat - it's all up to you!
This is a great basic recipe, and since you have the appropriate amounts for one to three crusts, you can make pizza for two, or pizza for a crowd.
Slightly adapted from: Betty Crocker's Italian Cooking

One crust:
1 pkg. regular active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water (105-115 degrees)
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar

Two crusts:
2 pkgs. regular active dry yeast
1 c. warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 to 1-1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 to 1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. olive oil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar

Three crusts:
3 pkgs. regular active dry yeast
1-1/2 c. warm water (105-115 degrees)
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. olive oil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in half of the flours, the oil, salt, and sugar. Stir in enough of the remaining flours to make dough easy to handle.

Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until smooth and springy. Place dough in greased bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place 20 minutes.

Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 48 hours. If dough should double in size during refrigeration, gently push fist into dough to deflate.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grilled Chicken with Mango Corn Salsa

Grilled Chicken with Mango Corn Salsa

Serves 2, with extra salsa for tortilla chip dips.

This was relatively easy to prepare and both The Mr. and I enjoyed the fresh taste. The sweetness of the mango, paired with the spiciness of the green chiles and the tartness of the lime made for a very flavorful dish. Use up the extra salsa by serving with tortilla chips!
Source: The 3-Hour Diet cookbook

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 t. olive oil
1/2 t. seasoned salt
1 c. diced mango
1 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 lime, juiced
4-1/2 oz. can chopped green chiles, drained
1 t. minced garlic
1 T. fresh cilantro

Heat a grill to medium-high.

Brush the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Place on the grill and cook for 5-10 minutes per side, depending on the thickness and size of the chicken breast.

Meanwhile, mix the diced mango with corn, lime juice, chiles, garlic, and cilantro in a small bowl.

Place a chicken breast on each plate. Top with mango corn salsa and serve.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Beach Trip

Beach Trip by Cathy Holton

As you might assume, Beach Trip is a good book to read while on a beach trip. It follows the lives of four girlfriends, who being their friendship in college and maintain the bond throughout their lives. But this friendship doesn't always come easily. And when they reunite for a vacation on the beach, there is hesitation and some doubt as to whether the trip will be a success. Although light with stereotypical stories of friendship and the constant accompaniment of booze, there are some deeper portions of the novel that make you ache with -- and maybe even relate to -- the characters.

From Publishers Weekly on

Break out the tissues, sunblock and margarita mix as four old friends reunite after 23 years for a beach party in Holton's feast of Southern friendship (after The Secret Lives of the Kudzu Debutantes). Mel, Sara, Annie and Lola head out to Wild Dunes, a beachfront palace owned by Lola's super-rich husband on exclusive Whale Head Island in North Carolina's Outer Banks. Spacy Lola is miserably married and leans heavily on medication to deal with her husband's manipulations. Obsessive-compulsive Annie still broods over a college fling with a married professor even though she's got a great husband. Social worker Sara still envies glamorous Mel, a witty crime novelist (I'll Sleep When You're Dead is her latest) living in New York who's unlucky in marriage. At 45, each stands at a familiar crossroads covered by many novels of the midlife-empowerment genre, but Holton refreshes the action with winning humor, especially with Mel, whose take-no-prisoners attitude inspires everyone to embrace their present and let the past go. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Potstickers, Beans, & Greens

Potstickers, Beans, & Greens

Serves 2.

This was so good! And a nice change of pace from some of my go-to meals of protein, starch, and veggie. This meal still combines all three, but in a fresh new way. The original recipe calls for store-bought frozen potstickers, but I used some homemade ones I had in my own freezer. If you're in a pinch, go for the store-bought, but if you have the time, make them homemade!
Source: 3-Hour Diet cookbook

2 t. peanut oil
10-12 frozen potstickers, store-bought or from this recipe
1/4 c. chicken broth
2 c. frozen edamame
Coarse salt
1-1/2 c. baby bok choy, leaves separated and coarsely chopped
1 t. toasted sesame oil
2 t. soy sauce
1/2 c. prepared Asian dipping sauce (or extra soy sauce)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat and add the oil. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Put the potstickers in the skillet and panfry, without moving, until the bottoms are golden and crisp, about 4 minutes.

Pour the chicken broth into the pan and quickly cover to capture the steam. Reduce heat to low and steam until the dumplings are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

When the large pot of water is boiling, add the edamame and boil for 3 minutes. Drain with a slotted spoon and season with coarse salt. Set aside and keep warm.

Pour out all but 2 inches of water the edamame was cooked in. Put a steamer basket in the pot and add the bok choy leaves. Cover and steam for 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and place the bok choy evenly between two serving plates. Drizzle with sesame oil and soy sauce.

Divide the potstickers and edamame evenly among plates. Serve with dipping sauce.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chicken & Cheese Tostadas

Chicken & Cheese Tostadas

Serves 4.

Both The Mr. and I really liked these -- and they came from a diet cookbook! Spices and seasonings, such as the fajita seasoning used in this recipe, help add flavor without adding fat and calories. Honestly, despite being "so good for me," I would never feel deprived eating this for dinner.
Slightly adapted from: The 3-Hour Diet cookbook

4 tortillas (we used whole wheat)
1-1/4 oz. pkg. dry fajita seasoning mix
6 oz. cooked chicken breast meat, diced
15-oz. can diced tomatoes with peppers and onions
3/4 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 c. mixed salad greens

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high and spray with cooking spray. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Spray the tortillas with cooking spray (or brush with olive oil) and place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the fajita seasoning mix. Bake until crisp, about 6-7 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, the remaining seasoning mix, and the tomatoes to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 c. of the cheese.

Place one tortilla on each of four plates. Top with salad greens and the chicken mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

A Note From The Little Lady: I don't know what happened, but I completely forgot about the salad greens when I was putting these together (as you'll see in the picture). Later, when I realized, I was so bummed! Don't make the same mistake I did!

Another Note: The picture also shows our double-decker tostada. One wasn't going to be enough for The Mr., and if you're extra hungry or without many side dishes, it may not be enough for you either.

Friday, July 9, 2010



Serves 1.

A fun summer drink. It looks innocent but packs a decent punch!
Source: Cocktail Bible

1 oz. fresh strawberries
1 T. powdered sugar
1-2 drops fresh lime juice
3 measures vodka, well iced

Reserve 2-3 strawberries to add later.
Crush the rest in a bowl with the sugar and lime juice. Strain well.
Pour the vodka into an iced martini glass and add the puree and reserved strawberries.

A Note From The Little Lady: The original recipe calls for 1 oz. of fresh strawberries, but upon seeing that, I wasn't sure how to read it. If we were talking weight, I would need slightly over 2 large strawberries (one strawberry weighs 12 grams and there are 28 grams in an ounce). Or, we could look at it that there are 8 oz. in a cup, so we were need 1/8 cup of strawberries. Either way, that's not very many, especially when you are instructed to reserve 2-3 right off the bat.
To make things easier, I would recommend using 2-3 strawberries in the puree and 1-2 strawberries for garnish. But play around with it and do whatever best suits you.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mixed Mashed Potatoes

Mixed Mashed Potatoes

Serves 2.

We all know that sweet potatoes have more nutritional value than standard white potatoes. But they also come along with a very different taste. Some people love sweet potatoes, while others would rather not touch them with a 10-foot poll. Is there someone in your family that is the latter type but you are hopeful their taste-buds will adapt? Try this recipe -- it blends the two types of potatoes and is a great way to start making the switch. Don't get me wrong, the white potato will always have a place in my life. But I want the sweet potato to as well.

1 white potato
1 sweet potato
2 T. butter
Milk or heavy cream, as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Peel potatoes and cut into 2" cubes.
Place cubed potatoes in a saucepan and cover with at least 2" water. Heat over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until potatoes fork-tender.

Drain and return to saucepan. Add butter, salt and pepper and mash with a potato masher. Add tablespoons of milk, as needed, to reach desired consistency.

A Note From The Little Lady: If you do not have a potato masher, you can also use a hand/stand mixer. Feel free to substitute sour cream for milk or cream, if you prefer.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Same Kind of Different As Me

Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent

This book was recommended to my by a friend. She let me borrow her copy, and conveniently enough, I was about to finish The Secret Garden and was ready to have a book on deck. Plus, I had a vacation coming up which would offer extra reading time on the plane. This was a good read. Something different and enlightening. A true story, it highlights a relationship that wouldn't form on its own, but ends up impacting both parties in multiple, strong ways. Same Kind of Different As Me can't help but make you want to be a better person.

A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.

An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.

A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.

A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.

Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Serves 2.

I tag this as a "Little Lady Original," but let's be honest, it's pretty basic, extremely simple, and has probably been a published recipe in numerous different places. But the point of this blog isn't overly impressive foods with long recipes and grueling preparation. The goal here is to collect a variety of recipes that mesh with every day life. Recipes that are easy to prepare, yet tasty. Some that are comforting and fattening, but balanced with others that are light and healthy. This falls into light and healthy. A great summer meal when you're prepping your beach body for vacation or a day at the pool with friends.

2 chicken breasts, 4 oz. each
1/2 c. Buffalo sauce marinade
1 T. olive oil
1/4 c. blue cheese
1/4 c. thinly sliced red onion
Ranch dressing
6 c. mixed salad greens

Marinate chicken in Buffalo sauce for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook, about 8 minutes per side, or until no longer pink in the middle. Slice into bite-size pieces and set aside to cool slightly.

Prepare plates by arranging 3 c. mixed salad greens on each one. Top evenly with chicken, blue cheese, red onion, and croutons.

Serve with Ranch dressing.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Asparagus with Vinaigrette Sauce

Asparagus with Vinaigrette Sauce

Serves 2.

An almost slightly tangy asparagus. The vinegar really adds a kick!
Slightly adapted from: Williams-Sonoma Vegetarian cookbook

1/2 lb. asparagus
1/8 c. olive oil
1 T. chopped shallots
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T. chopped fresh parsley

Cut or snap off any tough, woody ends from the asparagus and discard.

Select a large frying pan large enough to hold the spears flat in a single layer and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the water simmers gently with just a few bubbles breaking the surface. Lay the asparagus spears flat in the pan (they should be covered with about 1" of water). Cook until tender-crisp, about 4-8 minutes. Begin testing with the tip of a knife after 4 minutes; the timing will depend on the thickness of the spears. Remove from the heat and drain well.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, shallot, vinegar, and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add the parsley.

Arrange the spears on a warmed serving platter. Spoon the dressing over the warm asparagus.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Vegetable Marinara

Vegetable Marinara
Serve with Merlot

Serves 8-10 small plates; 6 main courses

A very traditional marinara sauce. If you like a lot of sauce, though, I recommend doubling the recipe. As written, it doesn't offer much sauce per serving when using 1 lb. of spaghetti as suggested.
Source: Williams-Sonoma Vegetarian cookbook

2 T. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 lb. fresh white mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced
28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/3 c. dry red or white wine, or water
1/4 c. tomato paste
1/2 t. dried thyme, or oregano, or mixed Italian herbs
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb. dried spaghetti
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese

To make the sauce, in a saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and cook, stirring often until the vegetables are soft, about 7 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, wine, tomato paste, and thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then return the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens slightly, 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water, stir well, and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes or according to package directions.

Drain the spaghetti and place in a warmed shallow serving bowl. Pour the sauce over and toss briefly to combine. Serve at once. Pass the Parmesan at the table.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Miniature Open-Face Hamburgers

Miniature Open-Face Hamburgers
Serve with Zinfandel

Makes 8 sliders or 4 burgers.

How cute and yummy are these? Probably my favorite pairing of the night, they were classic comfort, amazingly tasty, and doing it all with great presentation. I will definitely be making these again -- both as sliders and as regular burgers.
Source: The Grilling Bible cookbook

1 lb. ground beef
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1-1/3 c. french fried onions, divided
1/2 t. garlic salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper
Freshly grated cheddar cheese
8 slices of French baguette, or 4 hamburger buns

Combine beef, Worcestershire sauce, 2/3 c. french fried onions, garlic salt and pepper. Form into 8 miniature patties or 4 standard-size patties. Place on preheated grill and cook about 2-3 minutes per side (5 per side for standard). Top with freshly grated cheese and remaining 2/3 c. onions.