Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Squash Skillet Casserole

One way to strectch your family's grocery budget is to make good use of your local farmer's market. Most every town has one and the fruits and vegetables are fresh from the farm. This time of year the market's are full of fresh summer squash and tomatoes.

One of my family's favorite meals is Summer Squash Casserole. I started making this skillet casserole when I was short on time. A few simple ingredients come together easily to make this beautiful and really quite filling dish. Serve it for dinner with a loaf of crusty bread, and the leftovers make a tasty breakfast or lunch. You really can't go wrong with this southern style Summer Squash Skillet Casserole.

Summer Squash Skillet Casserole

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
3 cups diced yellow summer squash
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 cup premade alfredo sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large ripe tomato
8 spears asparagus
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the oil in a 12 in. non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion and bell pepper; saute 3 to 4 minutes until translucent. Add the yellow squash and continue cooking 3 to 4 minutes longer until squash begin to soften.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the copped parsley, alfredo sauce, mayonnaise, eggs and milk. Pour over squash; arrange tomatoes and asparagus over top. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in hot oven and cook, 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid begins to set. Remove from oven and serve hot or at room temperature.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cool Summer Suppers

Everything is a balancing act; it's a constant search for just the right amount of this and that. In the summer, when things seem to be the most hectic, finding the right amounts of this and that is challenging. Chipotle grilled chicken, black beans, sweet summer corn, pineapple and pasta all come together in this cold summer supper with just the right amounts of this and that.

Rushing your kids to sporting events, finding time for family and friends and still finding time to make healthy meals can push our lives a little out of balance. Make a double batch of this salad to keep on hand all summer long. Toss in the greens and tangy honey lime dressing at the last minute and you've got yourself a healthy balanced meal with just the right amounts of this and that!

Chipotle Grilled Chicken Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

2 boneless skinless chicken breast
3-4 ears fresh sweet summer corn, cleaned
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1b box Rotelle pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained1
1 (8 oz) can pineapple tidbits
1 bag salad greens
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon key lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat a gas grill to medium high heat. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with chipotle powder and salt. Place seasoned chicken and corn on hot grill and grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until corn is charred and chicken juices run clear. Remove from grill and let cool.

Add the cooked pasta, black beans, pineapple and salad greens to a large bowl. Slice the cooled chicken into thin strips, cut the corn off the cob and toss in with the pasta. Using the back of a large knife, squeeze the corn milk from the cobs into the bowl.

In a seperate small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon and key lime juice and honey. Whisk in the olive oil. Pour over the salad, toss to coat and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spanish Chicken with Garlic and Bell Peppers

Making dishes that can take you through every season is a great way to take advantage of money saving supermarket sales. This is one of those dishes that can be made on top of the stove in the fall or winter, but can just as easily be made on a grill in the spring or summer.

It's a twist on the classic Spanish Peppered Steak but made healthier by using boneless chicken thighs that were on sale at the local market. This time of year the Farmer's Market is full of inexpensive, locally grown red and green bell peppers. This dish is a great way to take advantage of both sales at one time.

Serve this over some steamed rice and you've got a complete meal in less than 30 minutes. Great for week nights, but even better as an unexpected dish to serve at your next backyard BBQ.

Spanish Chicken with Garlic and Bell Peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
8 skinless chicken thighs
6 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 large Spanish onion, peeled and sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to the pan and brown both sides. Remove from skillet and set aside.

To the hot pan, add the garlic, onion and bell pepper. Cook about 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Return the chicken thighs to the pan. Add the thyme, smoked paprika, vinegar and chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook stirring occasionally about 15 minutes or until chicken is done.

Arrange chicken thighs on a serving platter and spoon sauce over.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chocolate Cake for Valentines Day

Making a holiday special these days can sometimes feel like a daunting task. It's sometimes hard to afford the fancy candy that is associated with most holidays, especially Valentines Day.

But if you think about it, the old addage "It's the thought that counts" is really true. Don't fret about being able to afford fancy stuff, make something special for your special someone.

There are lots of simple but good ideas out there. Try the Duncan Hines website and try these Conversation Heart Brownies — Duncan Hines®

I used a Duncan Hines Cake Mix and made this simple and delicious Mocha Seville Cake for The Fly Rod Gawd. He loves coffee and chocolate and we have plenty of fresh oranges. It is an affordable, easy and delicious way to make this Valentines day special.

Just follow the directions of the Duncan Hines box for a 13X9 inch cake. Substitute half of the required liquid with strong coffee and the other half with fresh orange juice then bake as directed.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pomegranate Hot Spiced Apple Salsa

I’m not sure if anything says "Holiday" more than the smell of warm cinnamon and fresh apples. Especially when it is cold outside, the warm smell of cinnamon is one of the most comforting things I know. It magically brings memories of family to mind and somehow makes you feel like everything is right with the world.

There is always an abundance of apples this time of year and one of my favorite things is the spiced apple rings. I love those vivid red cinnamon spiced rings. They can turn any meal into a work of art.

We eat them on almost everything this time of year. We cut them up and stir them into warm oatmeal, or pour them over pancakes and waffles in the morning. Sometimes we eat them cold with cottage cheese for lunch. My favorite is this Pomegranate hot spiced apple salsa with a crispy pork chop. Just delicious!!!!

You are probably used to seeing applesauce served along side pork, but have you ever thought of trying some spiced apple salsa?

Not only are apples plentiful but so are POM Wonderful pomegranates. If you have never had fresh pomegranates, don’t be intimidated. There is a lot of good information on the POM Wonderful sight. It really takes no time to make, and brings a bit of the unexpected to a familiar dish.

Pomegranate Hot Spiced Apple Salsa

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and diced
8 oz. fresh POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup Fresh Pomegranate arils

In a small saucepan over medium heat add stir together the all ingredients. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened and apples are tender. Stir in pomegranate arils and serve hot with chicken, lamb or pork. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice

This week the people from POM wonderful contacted me and sent me a case of delicious 100% POM Wonderful pomegranate juice. When I was a child we had a pomegranate tree in our neighborhood and would spend a lot of time opening and eating the ruby red averils hidden inside the fruit. We called them Chinese Apples. If any of you know why we called them Chinese Apples I’d love to know.

What we didn’t know then was we were eating one of the earliest cultivated fruits and that some believed that it was the pomegranate, not the apple, that Eve tempted Adam with in the Garden of Eden.
I am so happy that we have pomegranate juice now, saves a lot of red stained fingers. And, did you know, arterial plaque is decreased by up to 30% if you drink just 8 oz. of the tangy juice a day?

I’ve been experimenting with the juice and the whole fruit last week and I will be posting some of those dishes in the weeks to come.

For now, go out and get yourself some POM Wonderful Pomegranate juice………it’s good for you!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cuban Holiday Ham

Summer is hanging on here in Florida. Feels like temperature today is going to be something like 90 degrees. There is a small cold front moving in this weekend and I'm really looking forward to cooling off, even if it is just for a day or two.

I often make a ham when the weather is hot just so I can use the leftovers during the week. No heating up the kitchen for me, especially when I am patiently waiting for Fall to arrive.

Before we know it the Holiday's will be here and I thought I would share with you my recipe for this Cuban Holiday Ham. It combines some of my favorite Florida flavors oranges, limes and cola. Not only does it taste good, it looks great too!


1 6-8 Low Sodium Ham
2 Florida Oranges
2-3 Limes
Several Cinnamon sticks
Salt and Fresh ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 12 ounce can cola
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Remove ham from package, rinse and pat dry. Slice oranges and limes into 1/4 inch thick slices. Stack a lime slice on top of each orange slice. Place the fruit stacks onto the ham and secure each with a cinnamon stick.

In a small bowl mix together the cumin, apple pie spice, cola and rum. Pour half of the mixture over the ham, season with salt and pepper.

Place the ham in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, basting every 2o minutes. Remove from the oven and let set 15 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, add the remaining marinade and raisins to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook gently until thick and bubbly. Transfer the sauce to a small bowl and serve with the ham for passing.