Roasted Squash and Poblano Dip

Roasted Squash and Poblano Dip

 

We recently ate at a new Mexican restaurant in town. They had a Butternut squash dip on the menu, I liked the idea of it but theirs was very greasy. Here is my attempt of a healthier and more delicious dip.

Roasted Squash and Poblano Dip

1 small butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed

1 c eggplant cubed ( peeled or unpeeled is fine)

2 poblano peppers cut into 1 ” pieces

1 onion peeled and sliced into 8ths

1 tomato sliced into wedges

1 T olive oil

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1 t chopped garlic

2 t cumin

1 T lime juice

Queso Fresco and Chopped Cilantro for garnish if desired

Place cut vegetables on a baking sheet ( I used a silpat to prevent sticking) add oil and toss until vegetables are coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes or until squash is fork tender/soft. Let cool for 5 minutes. Add to a food processor or blender or mash by hand until smooth but not pureed, I like it better with a little texture. Stir in cumin, garlic and  lime juice. place in serving dish and top with queso fresco and chopped cilantro if desired. Serve with tortilla or pita chips. This would also be a great filling for veggie enchiladas or tacos.

Roasted Squash and Poblano Dip

Roasted Squash and Poblano Dip

Roasted Squash and Poblano Dip

 

 

 

Shredded Chipotle Chicken

Shredded Chipotle Chicken

 

This chicken is great in tacos, enchiladas, burritos  or rice bowls.

Shredded Chipotle Chicken

6 chicken thighs

3-4 chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce chopped, plus 3 T of the Adobo sauce

1 yellow onion cut into eighths

1 T chopped garlic

1 tomato chopped

1/2 c tequila (optional)

2 limes juiced plus 1 t of zest

2 T cumin

3 c chicken broth

Add all ingredients to a crock pot / slow cooker.  Cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 on low. Move chicken to a platter and shred with 2 forks, spoon 1/2 c cooking liquid over the chicken and serve or fill tortillas.

Shredded Chipotle Chicken Tacos

 

 

Cheesy Chipotle Chicken and Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Salad

Cheesy Chipotle Chicken

 

Cheesy Chipotle Chicken

4 chicken breasts

1 c mexican creama, found in the dairy section  ( or 3/4 c sour cream and 1/4 c mayo mixed)

2 chipotle chilis in adobo chopped

1 1/2 c queso fresco (mexican cheese found in the dairy section), crumbled

 

Preheat oven to 350, mixed chopped chipotle chilis with crema in a shallow bowl/dish. Crumble queso fresco onto a plate or shallow dish. Dredge chicken breast in creama mixture, then dredge into cheese and place in a baking pan.

Cheesy Chipotle Chicken

Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken in no longer pink ( use a meat thermometer)

Cheesy Chipotle Chicken

 

A great accompaniment to this dish is a Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad. Mix one bag cooked frozen corn with 1 c chopped cherry tomatoes and 1/2 chopped avocado. Add 1 T chopped cilantro. Squeeze the juice from half a lime over the top and add salt and pepper.

Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad

Easy Fresh Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce

Easy Fresh Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce

Fresh is best. I hate to use canned or jarred soups and sauces unless I have to. The good news is tomatoes are coming into season here in Florida, which means better quality and cheaper prices. This sauce is so easy and so much better than jarred, try it once and you may never go back. Pour it on your favorite pasta or over chicken or pork.

Fresh Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce (serves 2, can be doubled)

1 T olive oil

2 ripe tomatoes chopped

salt and pepper

1/4 c chopped onion

2 t garlic chopped

3 T heavy cream

1 T fresh chopped basil

Sprinkle chopped tomatoes with salt and pepper. Heat oil over med/high in a large skillet, add tomato, onion and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes. Turn heat to low and add cream, cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil. Serve.

Easy Fresh Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce

Lebanese Please: My New Favorite Food

Lebanese Please:Herb Tossed Salad with Lemon Coriander Dressing and Fried Potatoes with Lemon, Red Pepper and Cilantro

 

On a recent trip to London I was amazed by all the great food. It is not just the land of Fish and Chips and Bangers and Mash. They are utilizing fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients creatively. Also there are many ethnic restaurants that span the globe. I was intrigued by the amount of Lebanese restaurants we found around Kensington. So being the foodie I am we had to try one. After reading about the 5 freshly squeezed lemonades on the menu I was hooked and had to try Comptoir Libanais. I think it might have even been a chain restaurant but it still was delicious. My friend and I shared a Falafel Wrap and Salad, Baba Ghanouj, and a dish called Lebanese Fries. I also had the fresh squeezed Apple, Ginger, and Mint Lemonade. (It is the glass full of green stuff) It was all delicious and so fresh and tasty. The potatoes and the salad were my favorite, though the pickled turnip on the falafel wrap was pretty darn good too. So I came back inspired and wanted my husband to be able to get a hint at the taste and feel of the food.

Comptoir Libanais in South Kensington

I gave it a try and even if it was totally wrong it had the same fresh feel with the emphasis on fresh herbs and citrus which is what I was looking for. Perfect for Summer, I will be making these again and again.

Lebanese Style Fried Potatoes with Lemon, Red Pepper and Cilantro

4-5 cups diced potatoes, I used Yukon Gold

1/2 stick butter

1 lemon juiced

1 t red pepper flakes

2 T fresh cilantro chopped

1 t salt

Melt butter in a large pan over med high heat. Add potatoes and cover and cook for 15 minutes. Uncover and stir and cook 15 minutes more or until golden and crunchy on the outside.

Fried Potatoes with Lemon, Red Pepper and Cilantro

 

Add lemon juice and red pepper flakes and toss to coat, cook about 5 minutes more over med heat. Then toss with cilantro and serve.

Fried Potatoes with Lemon, Red Pepper and Cilantro

 

Tossed Salad with Herbs and Lemon Coriander Dressing

Lemon Coriander Dressing

2 T lemon Juice

1 T olive oil

1 t ground coriander

1/4 t black pepper

1/4 t salt

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl, serve over salad.

Tossed Salad with Herbs

4-6 cups of fresh crisp torn greens ( I used hearts of romaine and spring mix)

1/2 c thinly sliced radishes ( Soak the radishes in ice water after slicing that will remove some of the bitterness and make them crisp)

1/2 c grape tomatoes

1 cucumber peeled and sliced

2 T chopped fresh parsley

2 T chopped fresh mint

 

Toss the salad with the dressing and serve immediately, I topped with grilled chicken and served with warm pita bread.

Herb Tossed Salad with Lemon Coriander Dressing

Herb Tossed Salad with Lemon Coriander Dressing

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Cinco De Mayo is this weekend and I will be in London but here are some recipes for you to enjoy while I am gone.

Spicy Tequila Pulled Pork

Spicy Tequila Pulled Pork

Beer Ritas

Beer-ritas

Chicken Frito Pie

Chicken Frito Pie

Chicken Frito Pie

Cactus Pear Margaritas

Cactus Pear Margarita

Salsa and Guacamole

Homemade Salsa and Guacamole

Calabacitas

Calabacitas

IMG_3571 IMG_3554

and here are some ideas for decor

Enjoy!

Rigatoni with Sausage and Sriracha Tomato Cream Sauce

 

 

Pasta with cream, spice, and everything nice, including one of my favorite condiments sriracha sauce, that tangy hot sauce found in Thai restaurants.

 

Rigatoni with Sausage and Sriracha Tomato Cream Sauce

5 links Chicken Italian Sausage sliced into rounds

1/2 c chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic chopped

2 T sriracha sauce

3 c tomato sauce

1/4 c cream

1 T butter

1 package rigatoni pasta cooked and drained

1/2 t black pepper

1/4 c grated parmesan

1/2 c chopped fresh arugula

In a large pan, saute sausage and onions over medium high heat until sausage is cooked and no longer pink. Add garlic cook for 1 more minute. add Sriracha sauce and cook another minute . Add tomato sauce and bring to a simmer and cover for 5 minutes, add butter, pepper and cream and heat through.

Add Sauce to drained pasta and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes. Toss with Parmesan and arugula and serve.

 

I’m a Little Bit Country: Classic Tomato Pie

As much as I like big bold flavors and exotic dishes, sometimes I just have to get back to my roots. Born and raised in the South, comfort cooking will always have a place in my heart and kitchen. One of my favorite recipes is old-fashioned tomato pie. I love this easy, take anywhere, dish. The tomatoes have been good here the last couple of weeks so I decided to whip one up. These are great for a vegetarian dinner, bring along to a potluck, picnic or party or as a side to some classic southern fried chicken.

1 9″ pie crust cooked ( I used the frozen variety)

2 large ripe tomatoes sliced

2 T chopped fresh basil

1 c mayonnaise

1/2 c cheddar cheese

1/2 c mozzarella cheese

1 T chopped chives

Salt

Cut tomatoes in slices, place in colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for about 20 min, so juices run out. Preheat over to 350.

Place a layer tomatoes in bottom of cooked pie crust

Sprinkle with chopped basil, then repeat with another layer of tomatoes and basil.

Mix mayo, chives and cheeses in a medium sized bowl

Spoon mounds of the mixture on top of the pie

Then smooth out evenly over pie and bake for 30 minutes or until top is browned.

Let cool before slicing, serve warm or at room temperature.

Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce

This tomato sauce is so easy and versatile, you don’t need to buy jarred ever again. I made a big batch with meatballs to take camping this weekend, it’s perfect for get togethers or potlucks.

Here is what you need:

1 carrot peeled diced

1 small onion diced

1/2 stalk of celery diced

3 cloves of garlic chopped fine

1 can of whole peeled tomatoes

1 tsp salt

1T dried Italian seasoning

ground black pepper

2T  Half and Half

1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

In a medium sauce pan saute carrot, onion celery and garlic for 3 minutes over med heat until softened. Add tomatoes, salt, Italian seasoning and pepper to taste. simmer on low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes with your spoon. (or longer if you need to, could even throw it in a crock pot on low in the am)

Your sauce should look like this and still be slightly chunky, if this is how you like it, stop here and serve over pasta. I wanted a smoother, creamier tomato sauce so I used the immersion blender to puree ( stop here if you don’t want to add the cream and it is a perfect pizza sauce) and then added the half and half and Romano cheese. This is what it looks like pureed with the cream and cheese. Serve over your favorite pasta, this amount is enough to cover one box of pasta.

 

Fresh vs. Frozen, The Seafood Debate and Mahi Mahi with Veracruz Sauce

Ah the forbidden seafood, I have been cooking for a long time but I was always intimidated by fish. Not that I didn’t eat it, I grew up in Florida on the West Coast where there is plenty of it. It was just always something we ate in restaurants, unless you counted fish sticks, but I don’t. Fish Monger, who has a Fish Monger, what do I look for, how do I know its fresh, how do I know if it is really the fish they say it is? I’m not an ichthyologist, I can’t even say that word. Besides it can be expensive, what if I mess it up, or worse someone gets sick?

Well my husband decided he was not going to eat red meat a few years back and let me tell you there is only so much chicken one person can eat. It was time to try it out. I read up and decided to try frozen, yes frozen fish. It saves me a lot of guess work and worring. My local grocery store, Publix has several varieties in the freezer case and guess what they are fresh and tasty. Most seafood you find sitting on ice looking at you in the glass case has been previously frozen anyway, especially the shrimp. So unless you want to wait for the boat to come in yourself, frozen fish is safer, fresher and tastier than it’s supposed “fresh” counterparts.

Here is an easy and great recipe for fish, I used Mahi Mahi (Dolphinfish, not Flipper) but Snapper or Grouper would work too, go ahead and try it.

1package of Frozen Mahi Mahi (two fillets feed 4 people)

2T vegetable oil

1 yellow or white onion chopped

4 garlic cloves finely chopped

1 jalapeno sliced (Use 2 if you like it spicy)

3 large ripe tomatoes chopped

1/2 cup green olives chopped

1t dried oregano

1T lime juice

1T Salt

Black Pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook onion until soft, add garlic and jalapeno cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook about 5 minutes, then stir in olives oregano and lime juice, Salt and Pepper. Add Mahi Mahi to the sauce and spoon some of the sauce over the fillets. Reduce heat to med and cover pan, Cook about 7-9 minutes or until fish is opaque. Check for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if needed.