Monday, February 25, 2008

Salad with Grape Tomatoes and Hearts of Palm

One of my favorites. Hearts of palm are sort of similar to an artichoke heart. They're insanely delicious. They are also high in fiber content and low in calories... Can I get a "hell yeah"?!

Here's a recipe for a single serving.

Salad with Grape Tomatoes and Hearts of Palm
This recipe makes enough for 1 salad.


3/4 Cup Baby Spinach
3/4 Cup Mixed Field Greens
A handful of Grape Tomatoes, halved
5 Sticks Canned Hearts of Palm, sliced horizontally into 1" pieces
1-2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinagraitte Dressing (I use fat free)

Combine all ingredients in desired proportions.

Prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: Zero! Eat it now!!!111

Salad with Oranges and Almonds

I've fixed this salad for a lot of summer picnics and it's always a hit. Very simple to make! Not sure on exact quantities here- so adjust them to your tastes.

Salad with Oranges and Almonds
The following recipe makes enough for 6-8 people, I guess?

1 or 2 Cans (depending on how orangey and sweet you want it) Mandarin Oranges, drained
Baby Spinach and Mixed Field Greens, enough to fill a large bowl
1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds
Balsamic Vinagraitte Dressing (you can add to the salad or leave out and let people add their own)

Combine all ingredients in desired proportions.

Prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: Zeeero! Ready in 5 minutes.

Chicken Pockets

This is a recipe from John's mom. Very yummy. I've fixed it for some people who are very picky- everyone has enjoyed it!

I am hoping to try some new versions soon. Probably a ham and cheese (cheddar or swiss? Maybe some of both). And I'm hoping to figure out a vegetarian version...

Chicken Pockets
This recipe serves 4-5 people.

4 Tablespoons Butter
6 Ounces Cream Cheese (I use fat free or lite)
3 Chicken Breasts (or about 1 pound of Breast Tenderloins)
3 Tubes Pillsbury Croissant Rolls (I used the reduced-fat kind)
1 1/2 Teaspoons Melted Butter
Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs in a can

Heat oven to 350.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
If using chicken breast tenderloins, add them to the boiling water and cook until they are done, about 10 minutes. If using chicken breasts, cut them into chunks about 2 inches in size and boil them until done, about 10 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, cut the 4 tablespoons of butter into pieces into a microwave safe bowl. Add the cream cheese. Soften these in the microwave by heating at Low to Medium power for about 20 seconds. Blend butter and cream cheese mixture.

Remove chicken from water and cut into smaller-than-bite-size pieces.
Add chicken to the cream cheese and butter mixture. Blend mixture until chicken is covered in sauce.

Open 1 tube of coissants. Unroll croissants.

Use 2 triangles together to make 1 rectangle on a baking stone or baking sheet.
Add heaping spoonfuls of chicken and sauce mixture to the center of croissant rectangle.
Fold edges of croissant over to fully enclose chicken and make a "pocket."

Repeat this procedure for remaining croissants and chicken mixture.

Brush the tops of each pocket with melted butter.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs over each pocket.

Bake until tops of croissants are golden brown, 15-20 minutes.

Prep time: 30 minutes. Cook time: 15-20 minutes.

Hawaiian Kalua Pig in Slow Cooker

We've made this for more than one party and it's always a hit. We usually have leftovers (because it makes A TON!) but they are fantastic when reheated the next day!

Hawaiian Kalua Pig
This recipe makes 12-15 servings.

1 (3.5 pound) Pork Butt Roast
1 1/2 Tablespoons Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke Flavoring*
Approximately 12 Rolls (we like Hawaiian Bread Rolls or Potato Rolls.)
Barbeque Sauce, if desired

*Liquid Smoke flavoring can usually be found with the sauces or marinades in the grocery store.

Pierce pork all over with a carving fork or steak knife. Rub salt first, then liquid smoke all over meat. Place roast in a slow cooker.

Cover, and cook on Low for 16 to 20 hours, turning once during cooking time. Remove meat from slow cooker and shred. Place on rolls with a dab of barbeque sauce (if desired).

Prep Time:10 Minutes. Cook Time:20 Hours.

Slow Cooker Olive Beef

This one sounds bizarre, but it is soooo good if you like olives!

I found the recipe on when looking for new things to try in our slow cooker. Apparently I modified the recipe a little, now that I look at the original link. But I'm sure the original version is just as good!

Slow Cooker Olive Beef
This recipe makes 8 servings.

2 Pounds Boneless Chuck Roast
2 (14.5 ounce) Cans Stewed Tomatoes, Chopped
1 (approximately 4 ounce) Jar or Can Pitted Green Olives, Chopped, 1/2 Liquid Reserved
1 (approximately 4 ounce) Jar or Can Pitted Black Olives, Chopped, 1/2 Liquid Reserved
2 Tablespoons Capers
8 Kaiser Rolls (or Sliced French Bread)

Place chuck roast, stewed tomatoes, capers, and olives with the reserved liquid into a slow cooker. Cook 6 hours on Low, until the roast falls apart easily.
Serve over kaiser rolls.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes. Cook Time: 6 Hours. Ready in 6 hours 15 minutes.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

I took 3 or 4 different recipes for Pumpkin Soup and added/adjusted things from each until it tasted how we wanted. We've made several batches of pumpkin soup with small changes here and there, and the following is how we've gotten it to taste best.

The first time I made this soup, I actually bought a pumpkin from the store, cut it in half, scooped out the insides (and of course roasted the seeds with some salt as a snack, RIDICULOUSLY YUMMY), cooked the pumpkin in the oven for a couple of hours, then peeled the skin off and pureed it.... Um, . Seriously, you may think doing every. little. thing. from scratch like that will make you some kind of domestic goddess....
Man, just buy the pureed pumpkin in a can!!!

Creamy Pumpkin Soup
This recipe serves 4 people.

29 Ounces Canned Pumpkin (unspiced*)
14.5 Ounches Vegetable Broth (or Chicken Broth)
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
Dash Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon White Pepper
1 Pint Half & Half
Pine Nuts, if desired

*seriously. UNSPICED.
I accidentally got the spiced kind one time, and thought I could get away with omitting the cinnamon/nutmeg etc. from the recipe and it would be fine... it was GROSS.

In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients except half & half. Mix well.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in half of the half & half until well blended.

Cover and simmer until heated through.

Serve immediately with the remaining half & half on the table, for people to add to the soup as they wish. Pine nuts (toasted in the oven if you like) can be sprinkled in a small pile on top of the soup as a garnish.

Prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: 20-25 minutes. Ready in about 30 minutes.

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

We made these for a luau party last summer and everyone really enjoyed them! No leftovers! (Which can be bad or good.... depending on how you look at it.)

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs
This recipe serves about 8 people.

3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Sherry
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
8 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast halves - cut into 2 inch pieces
1 (20 ounce) Can Pineapple Chunks, drained (or use fresh!)

In a shallow glass dish, mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic powder. Stir the chicken pieces and pineapple into the marinade until well coated. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 6 (or more) hours.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate.

Thread chicken and pineapple alternately onto skewers. Grill 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until chicken juices run clear. (You can thread pineapple vs. chicken onto different skewers if you prefer, however, if you thread them alternately as directed, the pineapple adds flavor to the chicken!)

Prep Time: 10 Minutes. Cook Time: 20 Minutes. Ready In: 6+ Hours 30 Minutes.

Summer Pasta Salad

You can make a vegetarian version of this recipe by leaving out the imitation crab meat.
It's fantastic with or without it!

Summer Pasta Salad
Makes enough for 6-8 people, depending on how much of everything you use.

1 Small Box of Spaghetti (or other preferred pasta, such as drill bits)
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped into Bite-Size Pieces
1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped into Bite-Size Pieces
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Chopped into Bite-Size Pieces
1 Can Black Olives, Halved
1 Cup Brocolli Florets, Chopped into Bite-Size Pieces
1 Cup Snow Peas
1/2 Cup Grape Tomatoes, Halved
Other Veggies as desired
1 Package (chunks) Louis Kemp Imitation Crab Meat (if desired)
1/2 to 1 Full Small Bottle Italian Dressing (I use Kraft Free Zesty Italian)

Cook entire box of spaghetti as directed on the box. Drain spaghetti, place in a large bowl, and place in the fridge to cool.

Place vegetables into a microwavable container. Add a little bit of water to the container, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on High for about 3-4 minutes- just enough time to lightly steam the vegetables (or use a metal steamer). Vegetables should still be firm- don't over cook them.

Drain the vegetables and let them cool.

Break apart the crab meat into smaller chunks, slightly smaller than bite size (you can do this while the vegetables are cooking).

Mix the pasta, vegetables, crab meat, and 1/2 of the bottle of Italian dressing together in a very large bowl.
Adjust the Italian dressing to taste.

Refridgerate the pasta salad and let it cool completely before eating.
Prep Time: 1/2 hour. Cook time: 15 minutes.

Chayote Squash with Pine Nuts

We discovered the sheer joy and happiness that comes from the Chayote Squash last summer. They look like a pear, but have a more firm consistency similar to an apple. And in the middle? A scrumptious little seed that you can cook along with the squash and give it a more nutty flavor. Hence why this past weekend, I decided to try the squash with some toasted Pine Nuts. Oh, yes!!!! Sooo good.

Chayote Squash with Pine Nuts
This recipe serves 2-3 people as a side dish.

2 medium to large chayote squash (the size of apples or larger)
1/3 cup Pine Nuts
2 Tbsp. Extra virgin Olive Oil

Cut the chayotes into bite size pieces.

Heat the EVOO in a large skillet, over medium-low heat.

Add the squash to the pan and cook for a few minutes, then add in the pine nuts.
Continue to cook over medium-low heat and turn the squash and nuts frequently. The nuts will fall to the bottom of the mixture and continue to sit on the hot surface of the pan, making them nice and toasted.
The chayotes are done when tender and can be easily stabbed with a fork, like a cooked apple. I like to get them a little browned, too, if I can, sometimes increasing the heat a little to do so.

Prep time: About 10 minutes to cut up the chayotes. Cook time: 20 minutes. Ready in about 30-40 minutes, depending on how long you cook your chayotes.

Mediterranean Kale

I got this recipe from the site . It's one of my favorite cooking/food websites. I try to make one of their recipes at least once a week, even if just a side dish, because I like trying new things- especially new HEALTHY things!

Mediterranean Kale
This makes enough to serve 2-3 people as a side dish.

2 bunches of kale (i used enough to fill up my metal steamer)
2 tablespoons* of lemon juice
1 teaspoon* of soy sauce (i use kikkoman less-sodium soy sauce)
3 medium cloves* of garlic, pressed
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

* Adjust these to your taste... the great thing about this recipe is you can start off by adding the flavorings little by little to the kale and if it's not strong enough, gradually add more until it tastes how you want.
In my case i only used 1 clove of garlic, but that's because i really don't care much for garlic at all.

Prepare your kale by washing it thoroughly, then discard the thick stalks of the leaves. I ripped my kale into 2"-3" sized pieces.
Bring salted water to a boil, and then steam kale in a steamer over the water for 7-9 minutes or until it is tender.
Toss in a bowl with the other ingredients (add them all at once, or just add them gradually if you're unsure). Serve.


Prep time: 15 or so minutes (if you're like me... I am not a fast kale washer-cutter-upper.) Cook time: <>

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Seasoned Kale

If you're like me, you probably eat more than your fair share of Ramen noodles. And if you're really ghetto (like me), you sometimes eat them raw as a snack.

But what to do with the left over flavor packet? I have just zee theeng!

Ghetto Kale

This makes enough to serve 2-3 people as a side dish.

1 Ramen Noodles seasoning packet*
3-ish cups water

*for vegetarian version, use Top Ramen Oriental flavoring (i am pretty sure this is vegetarian, someone correct me if i'm wrong!) or a vegetarian bouillon cube, etc. :)

Wash your kale throroughly.
Rip it off the stalks and into 2"-3" sized pieces.

Boil water in a small saucepan. Pour in the seasoning packet.

Place your kale into a metal steamer (I always use a metal steamer to cook my kale- I've tried it a few ways and it always comes out best this way). Place the steamer over the boiling water, reduce the heat of the water a little (cause you don't want too much to evaporate), and steam for 8-9 minutes or until it starts to become tender.

Take the kale out of the steamer and add it to the the boiling seasoned water for an additional minute.

Pour everything into a collander (or do what I did and just use the steamer to drain your kale) and serve!

Prep time: 15 or so minutes (if you're like me... I am not a fast kale washer-cutter-upper.) Cook time: 10 minutes. Ready in about 25 minutes.