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!

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Simple Summer Flavor: Grilled Chicken and Vegetables with Lemon Mint Yogurt Sauce

Let’s admit it, simple, clean flavors are the best. Especially in the summer when produce is at its peak. This uncomplicated dish sings Summer and lets the true flavor of the food shine through. Delicious, filling and healthy, the chicken and vegetables are kicked up with the acid of the lemon, the freshness of the mint and a subtle kick from cayenne. Perfect for a Labor Day cook out or any day of the week.

Grilled Garlic Lemon Chicken and Vegetables

3 lbs of chicken ( I used boneless skinless thighs and breasts)

4-5 T olive oil

1 lemon juiced

1 T garlic

1/4 t cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

2 zucchini sliced in 1 inch rounds

2 cups eggplant cut in 1 inch chunks

2 sweet yellow onions halved

2 red bell peppers cut into 2″ x 2″ chunks

Combine 2 T olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Lay chicken in a shallow baking dish and por marinade over chicken using , tongs to turn chicken so it is coated on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and refrigerate covered for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile chop vegetables and place in a large bowl, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat, add salt and pepper .

Thread on skewers. I like to do each skewer with an individual vegetable so they cook evenly since different vegetables have different cooking times.

Preheat Grill and place chicken and veggie skewers on grill.

Cook until vegetables are slightly charred and softened slightly. The onions and zucchini will cook slightly longer.

Cook chicken to preferred temperature or until no longer pink. About 5 min per side.

Lemon Mint Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain greek yogurt

1 lemon juiced

1t lemon zest

1 t garlic

2 T chopped fresh mint

salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl

Serve with grilled chicken and vegetables

Greek Stuffed Zucchini

To low carb or not to low carb, that is the question. Yes, I know I lose weight this way, especially belly fat. But sometimes it is unrealistic, I have 2 teen boys, there is no way they are giving up on bread, pizza crust and cookies. My husband wants to, but he loves cereal and beer too much. I don’t think I can ever swear off potatoes for ever. So where does that leave us, weeknight dinners that cut down on the big bad carbs, pasta, white refined sugars, rice, potatoes and bread. We are still keeping fruits and veggies, all types. Beans and legumes are ok in our book. An occasional splurge on weekends and whole grain cereals for breakfast are fine too. I am not saying that we are going on a big strict diet, we are just going to try and incorporate more vegetables into our diets and leave out bad carbs when they are not necessary.

So that brings us to my Greek stuffed zucchini, it has all the flavor of yummy stuffed zucchini, just without the bread crumbs, which don’t add flavor anyway, just filler.

Greek Stuffed Zucchini

3 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

1/4 cup chopped or grape tomatoes

1 T lemon juice

1 T minced garlic

1 T fresh oregeno

3 oz  feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a spoon, scoop out the middle of the zucchini halves and add to a food processor bowl.

Add remaining ingrediants to food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth mixture, Fill the empty zucchini shells with the tomato and cheese filling.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until zucchini shell is tender and filling is bubbling.

Serve as a side dish, snack or appetizer.

Happy National Sneak Some Zucchini on to Your Neighbor’s Porch Day AKA National Zucchini Day

Well I love Zucchini but had no idea about this holiday. It was started by Tom Roy, a man from Pennsylvania, and this holiday encourages sharing of large zucchini crops. “Due to the overzealous planting of zucchini, citizens are asked to drop off baskets of the squash on neighbors’ doorsteps.” and apparently creativity is encouraged in this endeavor. I don’t have any crops of zucchini but I will share some recipes and tips.

Zucchini can be used as pasta in any recipe, delicious, low carb and gluten-free.

To make ribbons like papperdelle, uses a regular vegetable peeler and make thin strips, yo can leave the skin on or off.

To make smaller “noodles” use a julienne peeler. Available at most home stores and cooking shops.

Now just add your favorite sauce, no cooking required. The heat of the sauce will warm the zucchini without making it too soft or watery.

Also try Zucchini Orange Salad

 

Greek Stuffed Zucchini

And my favorite, Calabacitas

What is your favorite way to eat zucchini, or sneak it on to someone’s porch?

Calabacitas: Simple, Healthy, and Delicious

This is one of my favorite things to eat. I first had them at a small hole in the wall restaurant in Tarpon Springs, FL. It was called El Jalapeno, their decor was not the finest but the food was delicious, homemade mexican with clean and simple flavors. I would eat there at least once a week and in fact had my first date with my husband there over 20 years ago. Sadly it closed, but I continue to make this dish at home. Calabacita means “little squash” and zucchini is the star here. It is buttery and delicious, highlighted by the sweetness of the tomatoes and the slight crunch of the red onions. Back in the lean years this was dinner, we served it over some black beans or in a tortilla with some cheese. It also make a great side dish on taco night.Don’t underestimate the flavor in this dish because of it’s simplicity, try it tonight.

Calabacitas

2 T canola oil

3 medium sized zucchini quartered and chopped into 1 inch pieces

1 carton grape tomatoes chopped in half

1/2 large red onion chopped into 1 inch pieces (about 1 cup)

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet, add vegetables, saute over med heat for about 5-7 min, stirring occasionally. Vegetables should still be slightly al dente, toss with salt and pepper. Serve as a side, over black beans, or in tortillas.

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

We all have seen and love  food in miniature, pizzas, sandwiches, sliders, everybody likes a little single serving of their favorite food. I was making chicken pot pie for dinner and decided to try to shrink them, just for the cute factor. I kind of had a plan, use my regular pot pie filling, refrigerated biscuit dough and a muffin tin, but I had never done it before so I made sure I also had a back up plan incase things went wrong, as they do a lot in my house. The incredible thing is that they actually worked, cooked through and were as cute as a button, the bad news is that unless you are carb loading or only want cute the bread to filling ratio is off. Easy enough to fix by spooning extra filling over the top at the end, kind of like a popover. Or skip the cute part and just spoon filling over baked biscuits, country style, which was my back up plan and equally as delicious.

Chicken and Vegetable Filling

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

2 T oil

1 zucchini chopped

2 potatoes chopped

1 c chopped carrots

1 c chopped leeks

1 clove garlic minced

2 tsp seasoning salt

1/8 c sherry

1 3/4 c chicken stock

1/4 c flour

2/3 c milk

In a large pan heat oil and saute chicken and potatoes about 5 minutes, add leeks, garlic and carrots continues to cook over med heat until chicken is cooked through and potatoes have started to soften.sprinkle with flour and cook one minute,

Add sherry and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom. Add chicken stock and zucchini and seasoning salt and stir, bring to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Add milk and stir, heat through, turn heat to low.

To make Mini Pot Pies,pre heat oven to 350. Use a non stick muffin tin and separate your refrigerated biscuit dough in half. I used Grands.

Place on half into each tin and spoon in filling

Place the other half of the biscuit over the top and press to seal (doesn’t have to be perfect, sort of seals itself while cooking).

Use a sharp knife and cut a 1 inch slit into the top of the dough of each pie. Cook according to biscuit directions.

Voila, cute on a plate.

Option 2, cook biscuits according to package direction, split in half and spoon chicken pies filling over top.

Zucchini and Orange Salad

Sometimes you just have to pretend you are on the Food Network Show, Chopped. I end up with a little bit of this and a little bit of that left in the fridge and I need a side dish. Well zucchini and oranges were on sale this week and I guess I over bought and the Italian parsley was overtaking my whole garden. I guess that is what was in my “basket”. I have eaten stranger combinations in my life and I was going to have to throw it out any way, and if it works I look like a culinary genius. Game on.

So I got out my vegetable peeler and sliced my 2 zucchini into ribbons, Peeled and sectioned 1 orange and chopped my parsley, about 2T. Threw that into the bowl, added 1T red wine vinegar and about a Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, some salt and pepper.

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So the moment of truth, Will Ted be calling my name to be Chopped? I liked it, really light and fresh, the citrus woke up the zucchini, which can be a dull and flavorless vegetable, especially when raw. Cue my husband entering for dinner, he sees I have a weird look and questions me and what I will be serving. I say with confidence, “Zucchini and Orange Salad”. Really he asks, I tell him to just try it it’s good. He does, but with caution and says” it’s not bad, better than I thought.” I think to myself, well I liked it, and he doesn’t really like vegetables anyway. But then I notice he keeps taking more and more from the bowl throughout dinner. I guess that makes me the Chopped champion.