Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nature at the Fulton House



This butterfly has been on our front porch for a couple of days.  I don't ever remember seeing one so BIG...5 inches!  The top photo is from indoors, the bottom is taken from the porch.

Now, on the fun side of life here today.  Lindie is our official squirrel patrolwoman.  She will sit under a tree for hours with her head tilted up....how she doesn't get a sore neck is beyond me (well, maybe she does).  But I think they play with her sometimes...this dog can actually climb a tree!  It's a hoot to watch.



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Easy Salmon Pasta Salad


Does your market offer those pre-marinated salmon fillets?  What I've found just about everywhere are the bourbon-based marinades which are absolutely wonderful, but a bit pricier than a regular fillet, so I usually just pick them up when they're on sale.

Last week one of our natural food stores (EarthFare, my favorite) had the 6-oz fillets for $3.50 each (generally their about $6 a piece).  Naturally I ran up to pick up enough to load up the freezer but, alas, they were already gone.  But they were substituting their Hawaiian salmon fillets so I went ahead and picked up a couple.

I never thought I'd like anything better than the bourbon fillets, but these were off-the-chart delicious.  So the other night I grilled two of them for dinner.  Again, these are 6-oz fillets and we generally eat about 4 ounces each of fish or chicken entrees, but we ended up splitting just one of these 6-oz servings (just $1.75 per person!)  So I had an entire fillet leftover.  Knowing how well my dill is doing and my cucumber plants have started producing, I figured I'd make a pasta salad with my leftover salmon and all the other goodies I had on hand.

It's easy, quick, and delicious.  And yes, I did load up on both the bourbon and Hawaiian fillets, as they were both on sale this week.  They freeze beautifully and make a delicious dinner any day of the week.  It's recommended that we eat at least one serving of salmon per week (I shoot for two) for those healthy Omega-3s and now I can do it for just $1.75 per serving!  Oh, and it's absolutely delicious, to boot!

EASY SALMON PASTA SALAD (2 servings)

4 oz pasta (I used mini bowties)
4 oz cooked salmon
1 medium pickling cucumber, peeled and diced
3 Tbsp plain nonfat Greek yogurt
3 Tbsp mayo
fresh dill, chopped, to taste
1/2 tsp onion  powder
8-12 grape tomatoes (depending on size), halved lengthwise
S&P to taste

Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil.  Stir in pasta and return to a boil.  Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Drain well, pat dry if necessary.

Transfer pasta to a large bowl.

Toss salmon and cucumber in with pasta, flaking the salmon as you stir.  Add tomatoes.

Combine the Greek yogurt, mayo, dill, and onion powder in a small bowl.

Spoon yogurt mixture over rotini and gently combine.

Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.



Saturday, July 26, 2014

Thai Pork Tacos with Mango Radish Slaw


Here's a really versatile recipe.  You the pork in tacos or it would be great over rice.  Use hard or soft taco shells (I generally use both so the soft shell will catch any of the broken hard shell, plus I just like the dichotomy of textures).  This will make a big batch and it freezes well, so you could put several batches away for another time.

As a taco or over rice, I would definitely still use the slaw on top.  The cabbage lends a great crunch, the mango a cool sweetness, and the radish slices for more color.  Add a bit of chopped cilantro if you'd like.

THAI PORK TACOS with MANGO RADISH SLAW (makes 8-10 cups)

Mango Radish Slaw:
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2" fresh ginger, grated or very finely minced
1 lime, juiced
2 mangos, sliced
3 radishes, sliced
1/2 head green cabbage, sliced

NOTE:  I made the entire dressing recipe (chili sauce through lime), but only used a bit of it since there were only two of us at the time.  The rest will keep in the fridge for weeks.  I buy the mango slices in a jar (found in the produce deparment) and used bagged angel-hair slaw and then just mixed enough of the slaw, mango, and radish slices for one meal with just enough dressing to coat everything.

To make the slaw, in a large bowl, combine the chili sauce, soy, sesame oil, ginger, and lime juice.  Whisk together.  Add the mango, radishes, and cabbage.  Toss to combine.  Store in the fridge to serve, tossing occasionally.


The Pork:
3 1/2-4 pounds pork butt
S&P
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1" fresh ginger, grated or very finely minced
2 Tbsp Sambal Oelek (chili paste)
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
3/4 light or regular coconut milk
2 tsp minced garlic clove
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
corn tortillas
cilantro, optional

Take the pork butt and season on all sides with S&P.  Place in a slow cooker (sprayed with cooking spray).

In a large measuring cup (or bowl), combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, chili paste, peanut butter, coconut milk, garlic, sweet chili sauce, and brown sugar.  Whisk together.

Pour the sauce over the pork, slightly moving/turning the pork around so that the sauce falls through all the crevices.

Cover and turn on low for 6-8 hours until it is fork-tender and easily falls apart.

When the pork is done, remove all the pieces of pork to a cutting board.  Turn the heat on the slow cooker to high.  Remove about 1/4 cup of the sauce, and whisk in the cornstarch.  Add the mixture back to the slow cooker and whisk it into the remaining sauce until it begins to thicken.  Leave the heat on high while you shred the pork, using two forks, pull in the opposite direction.

Once the pork is shredded, turn the heat down to "Keep Warm" or turn it off completely.  Add the pork back to the thickened sauce and toss well to fully coat.

Whether using soft and/or hard taco shells, load in the pork and top with the slaw.  Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

NOTE:  You'll want to have some extra napkins on hand....these can be a bit "juicy!"

Recipe Source:  www.fabtasticeats.com


Friday, July 25, 2014

Easy Baked Cod with Lemon Butter Dill Sauce


I have started keeping cod in the freezer along with Swai and tilapia.  These are all pretty interchangable, but there is a subtle difference and sometimes I just want that difference.

The fish generally come in four-ounce portioned pieces, a perfect serving size and thaw quickly (float sealed packages in cool water and they should be thawed within the hour).

This has just a few ingredients and if you are as lucky as I am with my fresh dill flourishing in the herb garden, here's a great place to use it.

EASY BAKED COD with LEMON BUTTER DILL SAUCE (4 servings)

1 1/4 pounds fresh or thawed cod, cut into 4 pieces (or 4 individual 4-oz pieces)
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 Tbsp minced fresh dill (or 1 1/2 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt
fresh pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.  Pat the fish dry and arrange in a single layer in the baking dish.

In a small bowl combine the butter, dill, lemon juice, garlic powder, S&P to taste.  Drizzle over the fish.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork (about 5 minutes in the NuWave 4" rack).

Recipe Source: Eat What You Love by Marlene Koch, p. 347

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Grape Salad


I had this salad years ago when visiting Jim's dad in Texas.  I pretty much ate through the entire batch, it was so good.  And then I forgot about it until my friend, Sharon, told me about this grape salad she had just made.  I knew it had to be the same one and asked her to forward the recipe to me, which she did (thank you, friend!)

I would love to know the origin of this super-simple recipe.  It reminds me of something likely found in a 1950's or 60's church ladies cookbook.  The original recipe calls for 4 pounds of green grapes, but I quartered the entire recipe since they're just for me.  Also, I used 1/2 green and 1/2 red grapes for a prettier presentation.  And reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream work great.

As hard as it might be, try not to eat them all as soon as you've made them...let them chill at least a couple of hours to allow the flavors to meld the the consistency to firm up. 

GRAPE SALAD

4 pounds of green grapes, stems removed and rinsed
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
8 oz sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz chopped pecans
2 tsp brown sugar

Mix everything except the grapes until you have a creamy, smooth consistency.  Stir in grapes.  Chill several hours before serving.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Chicken with Buffalo Cream Sauce




Talk about easy and what a delight!

A note about this entree.  This is a Publix demo and they used this package of Buffalo sauce and coating mix (found in the spice aisle).  However, I found out that (after demo-ing it), they ran out of these packages and substituted Buffalo Wing sauce and fried onions (you know, the kind that people use in holiday green bean casseroles).  Luckily, I had a can of Trader Joe's fried onions my friend, Donna (thank you, Donna) had sent me (since we don't have a TJ's in Chattanooga) and I just picked up some hot wing sauce (although you can make your own with butter and hot sauce) and save a few $$$.

This was served with the that wonderful bleu cheese slaw (posted yesterday).

CHICKEN with BUFFALO CREAM SAUCE (4 servings)

1 egg, beaten (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1 (8 oz) package Buffalo sauce  and coating mix
1 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line baking sheet with foil.  Place egg in shallow bowl; place coating mix in second bowl.  Dip chicken into egg (allowing excess to drip off), then dip into breading mixture, pressing with fingertips to evenly coat.  Arrange chicken on baking sheet (wash hands).  Bake chicken 12 minutes.

Turn chicken over; bake 10-12 more minutes or until chicken is 165F and breading is well browned (***in the Nu-Wave, I cooked it about 8 minutes on each side of thin chicken cutlets).

Combine buffalo sauce (from mix) with yogurt, then stir in onions.  Slice chicken.  Serve chicken with sauce.

Recipe Source:  www.publix.com/aprons


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Blue Cheese Slaw


As a big lover of cole slaw and bleu cheese, I was excited to run across this recipe.  I've seen bleu cheese cole slaw recipes before but had actually never made any of them.

This one is a bit more varied.  When I first read the list of ingredients, I did a double-take.  It sounded like a pretty convoluted mixture, but odd enough I just had to try it!  Really: cole slaw with cheddar cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and bacon, not to mention the bleu cheese?

Yet after trying it, I can't make imagine leaving a single thing out of this slaw.  The sun-dried tomatoes really surprised me (I used smoked sun-dried tomatoes).  It gave the salad a bit of tartness.

I mixed everything together a few hours ahead of serving time and then dressed it at the last minute.  I have some leftover from last night so it should be good for a few days by waiting until serving time to add the dressing.

BLEU CHEESE SLAW (4-8 servings, depending on serving size)

1 (16 oz) bag shredded 3-color coleslaw mix
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sun-dried julienne-cut tomatoes
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/3 cup crumbled bleu cheese
1/4 cup cooked bacon pieces
1/2 cup bleu cheese salad dressing

Place all ingredients (except dressing) in salad bowl.

Chill until ready to serve.  Stir in dressing, toss until evenly coated.

Recipe Source: www.publix.com/aprons