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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flank Steak with Cilantro Almond Pesto

We are still on a grilling roll over at our house. I just don't even feel like using the oven anymore unless, of course, for pies! This Cooking Light recipe was super easy and delicious and I saved the leftover sauce to use on chicken later in the week. The sauce was so good with the meat although I ended up adding extra yogurt to ours to taste so it turned out to not be a traditional pesto.


3/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
jalapeño pepper, chopped (use less if you don't want it too spicy)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tablespoons plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed
Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Combine first 6 ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped (about 15 seconds). Add yogurt and lime juice, process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare grill. Season flank steak with seasoning salt and pepper. Grill steak for 6 minutes on each side, or until cooked to desired temperature. Remove from grill and allow steak to rest for 5 minutes. Slice diagonally against the grain into thin slices. Top with pesto and garnish with cilantro sprigs.
Servings: 4
Calories: 209
Adapted from Cooking Light.


Linked to Prairie Story Recipe Swap Thursday Beyer Beware Hunk of Meat Monday and Delightfully Dowling Mangia Monday.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Spicy Grilled Tuna with Fresh Tomato Salsa

I picked up some gorgeous tuna from the farmer's market and decided to try out this recipe from Rick Bayless. We were using a brand new grill and unfortunately overcooked the tuna a bit (we like ours super rare in the middle) but it was still tasty and the fresh tomato salsa was perfect on top of it. This is a great easy summer meal!

8 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
Fresh hot green chilies to taste (roughly 2 serranos or 4 jalapenos), stemmed
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
6 5- to 6-ounce fresh tuna steaks about 3/4-inch thick
3 cups chopped (1/4-inch dice) heirloom tomatoes, whatever varieties you can find (you'll need about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs like cilantro or basil
Olive oil for brushing the fish

To make the marinade, roast the unpeeled garlic and chilies over medium heat in a small, dry skillet. Turn them occasionally until the skins begin to blacken and they are soft. This will take about 15 minutes for the garlic and 5 to 10 minutes for the chilies. Allow them to cool, then peel the garlic. Place the peeled garlic, chilies, and lime juice in a food processor or blender and blend until pureed. Season with salt, about 3/4 teaspoon.

Pour about 2/3 of the marinade mixture into a large baking dish. Lay the tuna steaks in the marinade and smear the mixture on all sides of the fish. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the salsa, for no more than 30 minutes.
To make the salsa, scrape the remaining marinade into a medium bowl. Mix in the tomatoes. Place the onion into a strainer and rinse with cold water. Shake off any excess water and add the onion to the tomato mixture. Stir in the herbs. Season with salt, to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon.

Heat grill to medium-high. Allow the cooking grate to heat up for about 5 minutes. Remove the fish from the marinade and brush generously with olive oil. Place the fish on the hot grill. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Flip the fish, cover again and cook 1 to 2 minutes more for medium rare.
Serve the tuna topped with the fresh salsa and additional herbs, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Adapted from Rick Bayless.


Linked to Fudge Ripple Tuesday Night Supper Club and Good Cheap Eats What's On Your Plate?

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fiddlehead Ferns

I have definitely heard of fiddlehead ferns and seen them at restaurants but I had never actually had one before. Or, if I did, they were mixed in with some creamy sauce that didn't let me experience their true flavor. When I saw them at the farmers' market this past weekend I jumped on the chance to try them.

I had to do a little googling to learn more about them and how they should be prepared. I learned that they grow wild in wet areas of North East America, particularly in New England, and are only available for three weeks in May. They are a good source of Omega 3 and 6, iron, fiber and potassium. When cooking, treat them as you would asparagus as they have similar flavor and texture. Most people recommended blanching and then sauteing them.

The first time I cooked them, I just threw a bunch of  them in with a mix of veggies, with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and grilled them in my grill basket. This worked really well and I really loved their flavor. The second time I decided to try the blanch/saute method which was equally as good. I am definitely going to enjoy these guys while I can each Spring.

Bunch of fiddlehead ferns
Garlic clove(s) chopped, to taste
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Lemon juice and zest

Wash and dry ferns, removing any brown silky parts that remain. Trim ends to 1/2 in of the furl.

Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Prepare an ice bath in a bowl. Add ferns to boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and drain ferns. Dump drained ferns into ice bath. Remove ferns and pat dry.

Heat oil in saute pan. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add ferns and saute until edges are slightly brown and ferns are tender but still crunchy, about 10 minutes. Top with Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, a couple squeezes of lemon juice and some lemon zest. Serve immediately.


Linked to Little Brick Ranch Foodie Friday and Real Sustenance Seasonal Sunday.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Grilled Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables

Awhile ago, I bookmarked a similar recipe from that calls for roasting the chicken and veggies in the oven. I decided to change it up and grill it instead. The result was fantastic! Balsamic goes so well with chicken and vegetables and you can use a wide variety of veggies based on preference. This is a great healthy summer meal and super easy done on the grill.

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat 
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, cut in half
2 red bell peppers
1 large red onion, chopped in large chunks
8 oz cremini mushrooms, cut in half
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
2 tbsp fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, smashed and sliced
2 tbsp thyme
4 leaves fresh sage, chopped

Combine the asparagus, bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, and any other vegetables you chose to use in a large bowl.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic, thyme, and sage. Drizzle some of the mixture over vegetables, tossing gently until they are all evenly coated. Set vegetables aside.

Pour the rest of the mixture into a ziplock bag. Add the chicken thighs and allow to marinate 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Preheat the grill and add the vegetables to a grill basket. Grill veggies until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Remove chicken from ziplock bag and discard marinade. Grill on one side for 10 minutes, flip and grill an additional 5-10 minutes or until no pink remains (an instant read thermometer should read about 165 degrees).

Serve chicken over grilled veggies. Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Skinny Taste.

Linked to Prairie Story Recipe Swap Thursday and Mangoes and Chutney Fat Camp Friday.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Southwestern Chopped Salad

I had this at a Cinco de Mayo party at a friend's house and loved it. I have been making variations of it ever since. Try adding in different beans (black, pinto), chopped red peppers, onions, black olives, chicken, the opportunities are endless. This recipe makes a big salad so it is great for parties/barbeques. I have been making the salad and dressing separately and bringing it to work for lunch. Combine the salad with the dressing last minute or it will get soggy. Also try putting a slightly damp paper towel in with the lettuce/salad to keep it from wilting.

1 head romaine lettuce, finely chopped (be sure to rinse and dry well)
1/2 cup cooked chick peas
1/2 cup cooked pink or red beans
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup fried blue corn tortillas, diced (I omitted these)
1/2 cup diced Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients together until combined. When ready to serve, drizzle the dressing over the salad mixture, tossing as you go, until salad mixture is evenly covered with dressing. 

Adapted from Bobby Flay.

Linked to Little Brick Ranch Foodie Friday and Shine Your Light Mangia Mondays.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Last week I travelled to Johnson City, TN for work. At the hotel restaurant they had black-eyed pea hummus. I was intrigued because I love me some hummus. It was good, albeit a little on the dry side. I knew I had to make some homemade when I got home. I saw that Kayln's Kitchen had a recipe that sounded perfect. It was delicious! Definitely different tasting than traditional hummus, but it was a nice change and Casey and I both loved it. I will be sure to make this one again. I liked it served with cucumbers and it would be great with other veggies, too. 

2 15 oz. cans black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 small garlic clove
4-6 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice, to taste (I used 5 tbsp)
1/2-1 tsp. salt, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3 tbsp tahini, or more to taste
Water to thin hummus, as needed (I used 4 tbsp)
2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling on hummus
Paprika, for garnish
Pita or veggies for dipping

In a food processor, combine black eyed peas, garlic, 4 tablespoons lemon juice, salt, and olive oil and process until peas are pureed, about 1 minute.

Add the cumin and 3 tablespoons tahini and process until combined. Taste and add additional lemon juice or tahini, if desired. I typically like a lot of tahini, but thought this hummus didn't need any more. I added an additional tablespoon of lemon juice.

If the hummus is thick, add water, a tablespoon at a time, and process to achieve your desired consistency. I like mine to be fairly creamy and added 3-4 tablespoons of water.

To serve, drizzle olive oil over hummus and sprinkle with paprika. This hummus tastes great served immediately, no need to chill prior to serving. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Adapted from Kayln's Kitchen.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

My mom shared this recipe with me and it is most excellent if you are looking for something healthy for lunch or dinner. I am trying to cut down on carbs and load up on protein, fruits and veggies so this is really the perfect meal for me.

It is best the second day so it makes a perfect lunch to bring to work, which I did several times. I love that it is mayo-free and it is so good, I don't think you'll miss it!  I think I will play around with the ingredients and try out different combos. Maybe some sundried tomatoes and olives next time?

1 15 to 19 ounce can beans, such as chickpeas, black-eyed peas or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 5 to 6 ounce cans water-packed chunk light tuna, drained and flaked (I used Wild Planet sustainably caught skipjack light tuna which has less mercury than albacore white tuna, is dolphin and turtle safe, and is delicious)
1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 cups mixed salad greens

In a medium bowl, combine beans, tuna, bell pepper, onion, parsley, capers, rosemary, lemon juice and  olive oil. Season with pepper. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, place salad greens in a large bowl. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle mixture over salad greens and toss to coat. Divide salad mixture among four plates. Top with tuna mixture.

Servings: 4
Calories: 326

Adapted from Eating Well

Linked to Fudge Ripple Tuesday Night Supper Club

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Maternity Shoot with Kelly and Tyler

A couple weeks ago I met up with my good friend, Mrs-in-Training and her hubs to take some maternity shots. Unfortunately, the weather plagued us a bit and the session was cut short when it started raining too heavily. Overall, though, we got some good shots. It doesn't hurt that they are both so photogenic!

Thanks guys for letting me practice my skills! Can't wait for baby G to be here!


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Feta and Olive Turkey Burgers with Tzatziki

These burgers were AMAZING! They are super flavorful, and I actually recommend not eating them with a bun. I think it just takes away from the tastiness. Next time, I will have my burger on lettuce with the tzatziki sauce, sans bun. I highly recommend that you try these this spring! I served them with Alexia Spicy Sweet Potato Fries. Recipe adapted from Pinch My Salt.

2 medium cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup chopped green olives

1 cup plain Greek strained yogurt (I recommend Fage)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and shredded
3/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tbsp finely chopped dill

Prepare the tzatziki by placing all the ingredients in a bowl and stirring to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make a paste with the garlic and salt by combing together with a mortar and pestle.

In a large bowl, add turkey, garlic/salt paste, parsley, dill, olive oil, paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, feta and olives. Using your hands, combine the ingredients until well incorporated. Break the meat into 6 equal balls and shape into 1 inch thick patties. Place the patties on a plate or sheet pan and freeze for 10-20 minutes.

While the burgers are freezing, prepare your grill. Grill the burgers over medium heat until cooked through, or until an instant-read meat thermometer reads 165.

Serve burgers with pita or lettuce, topped with tzatziki sauce.

Linked to Not So Homemade What's Cooking Wednesday and Delightfully Dowling Mangia Mondays.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo! As we all know, I love Mexican-inspired dishes, and I really love fish tacos. I typically make Baja Fish Tacos, but when I saw these on Tasty Kitchen, I knew I had to try them. They were fabulous! The avocado cream and spicy slaw are perfect with the grilled fish. I had some of both accouterments left over, so I made these again the second night with grilled chicken instead of fish. The chicken tacos were equally delicious, so if you don't love seafood, I recommend trying this recipe out with chicken. I served these with Smashed Black Beans. Adapted from Patio Daddio (via Tasty Kitchen).

6 tilapia fillets (or other flaky, white fish)
12 6-inch corn tortillas
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp hot sauce
Canola oil

1/3 cup canola oil
Juice of two limes
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tbsp adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)

Avocado Cream
1 large avocado, peeled and seeded
1 cup sour cream
Juice of one lime
1 tsp garlic salt

Combine marinade ingredients in a large zip lock bag. Place the fish fillets in the bag, making sure they are evenly covered with marinade. Seal the bag and allow fish to marinate for 30 minutes.

Mash the avocado in a medium bowl, add the sour cream, lime, and garlic salt and whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate (may be made up to a day in advance).

Start the grill to cook at 450-500. Remove fish from marinade, drain excess marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Coat each fillet with a teaspoon or so hot sauce. Lightly oil the fillets with canola oil.

Oil the grill grate with canola oil. The oil will smoke slightly so wait for the smoke to stop before adding the fish to the grill. Add the fish to the grill, cooking three minutes. Flip fish and cook one minute longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove the fish to a plate and drizzle with lime juice. Warm the tortillas on the grill.

Using a fork, separate fish fillets into chunks. To serve, smear the avocado cream on a tortilla, top with fish chunks, slaw, and cilantro.

Linked to Prairie Story Recipe Swap Thursday, EKat's Kitchen Friday Potluck.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Southwest Slaw

I made this rendition of coleslaw to go along with fish tacos (I will post the recipe for them soon) and both Casey and I loved it. We love spicy things, and this slaw had just the right amount of kick. Not your typical, goopy, mayo-y slaw. I pretty much can't stand mayo so this works really well for me. This would be great as a side or on burgers, tacos, anything really! Adapted from patiodaddio on Tasty Kitchen.

¼ heads green cabbage, sliced thin
⅛ heads red cabbage, sliced thin (alternatively, you can do what I did and buy a bag of premade coleslaw mix)
¼ medium red onion, sliced very thin
¼ cup cilantro, chopped (reserve some for garnish, if desired)

3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 whole limes, juiced
1 whole chipotle chile, in adobo sauce (from a can)
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the can)
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Combine the red and green cabbage, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl.

Blend all of the dressing ingredients together using a stick blender or a food processor until fully combined.

Add the dressing to the cabbage mixture, a little at a time, tossing to coat. Continue adding more dressing until the cabbage mixture is evenly coated.

Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving. Garnish with reserved cilantro.

Makes roughly 4 cups.


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C + C Marriage Factory: May 2011

C + C Marriage Factory