Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spinach Salad

A number of years ago, I went to a baby shower for my friend Kristal and a lady from our Sunday School class, Kathy, made this salad as part of the main course. It was delicious and I made sure to get the recipe. I've been thinking about making it all summer and I finally bought all the ingredients this week so it's what we're having tonight and I'm excited! It's delicious, fresh and full of flavor! Try some tonight!

Spinach Salad
Use mostly spinach and a little spring lettuce
Garlic herb feta cheese
Chopped Kalamata olives (these are very strong but work really well in this salad)
Grilled chicken
Grape Tomatoes

For the dressing, infuse (blend in a food processor) equal parts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a dash of black pepper. Toss all together just before serving. This is a very flavorful, delicious salad!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Meatless Tacos

Another great way to use up the abundance of squash this time of year. My husband and I loved this. The jury was split as far as the kids were concerned, but hey, at least one of them liked it! I think other veggies would be good as well, such as chopped bell pepper, onion, garlic, etc.

3 T. olive or vegetable oil
1 cup cubed potatoes
2 cups cubed zucchini
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tsp. chili powder
dash salt and pepper
12 taco shells
Toppings as desired: shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, green onion, chopped cucumber

Heat taco shells according to package directions.

Heat oil over med-hi heat. Saute potatoes for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Add zucchini during the last few minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients except toppings. Fill heated taco shells and top as desired.

Spiced Carrot-Zucchini Bread

Everyone's probably baking lots of zucchini bread right now, and here is a recipe with a slightly different twist. My cousin, who is deployed in Afghanistan, said the zucchini bread I sent him was the only one he got that was still moist. My aunt asked me how I did it, and I'm not exactly sure, as it was a while ago!! The only thing I can think of was that I sent him a loaf of this bread, and the carrots kept it moist. Even if I'm wrong on that part, it's still a yummy, easy bread. The spices seem to be louder than in regular zucchini bread. Perhaps the carrots set them off? I like that aspect, but if you're not a huge cinnamon or cloves fan you may consider reducing them a tad.

from The Pampered Chef

2 1/4 c. flour (I usually use 3/4 - 1 cup of whole wheat)
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder (original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp. I live at high altitude and reduce it)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 c. finely chopped carrots - I don't know who has time to finely chop carrots when you could just shred them! That's what I always use. I've also subbed shredded apple in a pinch
3/4 c. finely chopped zucchini (same as above!!)
1/2 c. coarsely chopped nuts
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350. Spray bottom only of greased loaf pan with Pam. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients; stir just until dry ingredients moistened.

Spoon batter into pan. Bake 65-70 min. or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 min. Loosen sides of loaf from pan; remove loaf to cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Amazing Pesto

POWER BASIL PESTO -Osage's infamous recipe
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts, toasted
4 TBS virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp salt
1 to 2 cloves garlic
1-TBS Hot pasta water*

After lightly desteming the basil, blanch the basil for ~1 minute in boiling water. Remove the basil from the water with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander for a short time. This blanching gives the pesto a rich wonderful creamy texture.
In a blender or cuisinart blend the olive oil, garlic, salt and blanched basil. Blend for a minute and clean down the sides of the bowl. Add toasted nuts and blend. Last add the parmesan cheese.
Blend until creamy. * Hot Pasta water as needed. Best served fresh or room temperature.

This recipe is from Osage Gardens and it really is super tasty. They have many other herb recipes as well as other types of pesto recipes. I'll definitely be trying more of their recipes!

The blanching is what sets this pesto apart from other recipes I've seen or made. I don't mind the garlic but if you want the flavor of the basil to be prominent, use a smaller amount of garlic or possibly none at all.