Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chicken Waldorf Salad

If wishing would make me ten pounds lighter I would be doing the happy dance right now.  If wishes would make me lose my sweet tooth I would continue that happy dance....Alas, wishes just don't seem to do it.  That left me searching for a light sandwiches layered with wonderful tasty meats, cheeses and secret lunch dates with Mr. T.  Those always lead to overeating.

As I thought about a lighter lunch, I remembered back to a really tasty salad that I used to make to take to work.  The recipe was part of the 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program.  Forty percent of your daily calories from  carbohydrates, 30% of your daily calories from protein and 30% from good fats (olive oil, avocados, almonds, fish, etc.)  The formula is a nutritional  ratio....balanced nutrition personalized to your  specific requirements....anyway,  I remembered the salad and I hope to remember some other lighter meals, too!

Chicken Waldorf Salad

4 oz. cooked chicken breast, cubed
2 Tbsp celery, diced
2/3 cup grapes, red or green, sliced
1 apple, medium, diced
2 Tbsp walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp low fat mayonnaise
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 leaves Romaine lettuce

Blend cooked chicken, celery, grapes, apples, and walnuts with mayonnaise and lemon juice.  Serve on romaine lettuce leaves.

On this day the lettuce at my house looked rather, romaine leaves next time.


This is a really filling and delicious light lunch...or dinner.

I am participating in Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage as well as Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm and Seasonal Sundays hosted by The Tablescaper!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Navajo Tacos - Beef and Three Bean Chili

I mentioned in an earlier post that one of the ways to serve Navajo fry bread is as a taco.  My mother-in-law made the best Navajo tacos!  The girls loved going to Grandma's for them.

When I started making the tacos I used a type of pot bean as the base when I built the taco.  I guess I should mention that Navajo tacos we make aren't really a "fold over" taco...they are more of a tostada where you layer all kinds of good things on top  of the fry bread!

As time has gone by, our tastes have changed and we wanted to use a more spicy beef and bean chili mixture.  The best part about a chili recipe is that it can easily be adjusted to meet your individual's a good thing because I misread teaspoon for tablespoon and created a snappy version of chili!!

Navajo  Tacos

Prepare Navajo fry bread, recipe is here.
Prepare the chili.
Prepare the fixings desired.

Beef and Three Bean Chili

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large jalapeno, minced with seeds
1 pound lean ground beef
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 cup beer
2  14.5 oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 can water
1 small can tomato paste
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp salt

In a dutch oven over medium heat, cook onion and pepper in olive oil until softened, about five minutes.   Add garlic and jalapeno and cook, stirring, for another minute, then add the ground beef.  Cook, breaking up the meat with the edge of a egg turner to remove chunks, until meat is no longer pink.  Drain any fat from the pan and return to heat.

Add the two chili powders and cumin, and cook the spices and the meat together, stirring, for a minute or so.  Add the beer and stir.  Allow it to simmer while opening the cans of tomatoes and opening, draining and rinsing the beans.  Add the tomatoes, one can of water (14.5 oz), tomato paste, and beans.  Stir well.  Bring the mixture to a slow boil and then reduce the heat to low.  Simmer, partially covered, for an hour.

As the chili simmers, stir it occasionally, and taste to adjust spices.  (The salt is added at the very end of cooking.)  Once the chili reaches the desired thickness, add the salt and taste.  Eat immediately or cool and refrigerate overnight.  The chili tastes wonderful the next day.  It also freezes well.

To use the chili with the Navajo tacos, prepare taco fixings that you like, such as:  Chili, lettuce, thinly sliced, Bev's Homemade Salsa , avocado, sour cream, cheese, and cilantro.  Layer the fixings on the fry bread.

Of course, the Beef and Three Bean Chili is great just in a bowl with maybe some cornbread on the side!


I am so happy that I decided to "tackle" the box of clippings and recipes that had been waiting for so long!

I am participating in Full Plate Thursday hosted by Mix Helen's Country Cottage.  Take a look, you will  be amazed at the many dishes being prepared!

Tzatziki - Yogurt and Cucumber Dip

I can't believe how quickly a month passes is reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club.  This month I have had the pleasure of perusing the vegetarian blog, is a wonderful cultural cuisine experience.  What a treat!  There were so many recipes that I wanted to try:  Mango/Chutney Jam, Cauliflower Curry, Peas and Potato Curry to name a few.  As soon as I get some jars, I will for certain be going back to make the jam!

Today, however, I chose Tzatziki, a light and refreshing Yogurt and Cucumber Dip.  When I spent a summer studying in Indian I was introduced to this dip as raita.  It accompanied the meal and served to cool  the pallet after eating the wonderfully spicy foods served.  I love it!!

Mr. T commented on how refreshing it was....and, he is right.

Tzatziki - Yogurt and Cucumber Dip

500g 0% Fat Greek Yogurt (plain)
1/2 cucumber
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 coves garlic
1 pinch paprika

Empty one pot of 0% Fat Greek Yogurt into a bowl and mix well.

Peel the cucumber and cut in half, remove the seeds and grate it.  Place the grated cucumber into a sieve.  Squeeze it to remove the surplus liquid.

Peel the garlic and finely mince it into a paste.  (I crushed the garlic.)

To the yogurt add the cucumber, garlic, olive oil and salt and mix well.

Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of sweet paprika.

Serve with warm  toasted pita bread or crackers.

In case you are not familiar with the Secret Recipe Club, I will give you some background.  Each month club members are assigned a secret blog from which we select recipe to prepare and write about in a blog post.  We keep our assignment secret until  reveal day when  we when everybody's posts appear at the same time.  That takes a little behind the scenes coordination by our new leader, April at Angel Foods Kitchen and Group C's leader, Angela at Big Bear's Wife.  Thanks to both of you!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Navajo Fry Bread

This is another recipe pulled from "the box".  It brought back all kinds of memories.  When we first got married, we were invited over to my in-laws for Navajo fry bread and Navajo tacos...okay, what is it?

Navajo fry bread is one of the breads of the Southwest Indians and an important part of their heritage.  Each group--Apache, Hopi, Navajo, Papago, Rio Grande Pueblo, Zuni and others--has its own traditional  techniques and recipes related to location and custom.

Navajo fry bread is one of the three most familiar Indian breads; the other two are paper bread and ash bread.  Fry bread is puffy and golden.  It can be served as a bread or used as a tortilla to wrap foods.  That night the fry bread was going to be used for tacos...

Navajo Fry Bread

Yield:  6  fry breads

2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup instant nonfat dry milk
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lard or shortening
3/4 cup water

Mix together the first four ingredients.  Add the lard or shortening and with you fingers, rub the mixture until it is evenly combined.

Use a fork to stir in the water; mix until the dough clings together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until it is smooth and velvety; it takes 2 to 3 minutes.  Divide the dough into 6 equal portions; shape each into a ball, then flatten to form a 6 to 7 inch round by patting between your hands.  Lay the rounds, side by side, on a floured board and cover with plastic wrap until all are shaped.

In a deep pan (about 9 inches wide), heat 1 1/2 inches salad oil to 375° F.  (I use my electric skillet so that I can control the temperature.)  Cook rounds of dough, one at a time, in oil until puffy and golden brown, about 2 minutes; turn once or twice.  Drain on absorbent material.

Serve hot; bread may be kept in the oven at 300° F. or a warming oven until all are cooked.  Or, let cool, them package airtight to chill until the next day; to reheat, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in a 375° F. oven for 5 to 8 minutes.

Top the bread with powdered sugar or honey and eat as a treat or dessert; or, top with a chili and taco fixin's for lunch or dinner.


About that time I was in the classroom and teaching Southwest Indians was part of the curriculum.  At the end of the unit, we made fry bread and sprinkled powdered sugar on it.  Such fun!!

Today I am participating in Full  Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen't Country Cottage and Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bev's Homemade Salsa

I do believe that there are as many ways of making salsa as there are ways of making macaroni and cheese.  Everybody has a recipe and their own particular tastes when it comes to salsa.  This particular recipe is my cousin's.  Cousin Bev is a great cook!  I love it when we get together as she always has wonderful food to share.  Of course she would be a good cook,  her mom was also!  It is a family thing!

I had forgotten that Bev had shared this recipe with me until last week when I tackled the pile of papers, clippings and cards that were stacked in a box waiting for me to "do something!"  I decided doing something would be categorize, for now.  Four hours later....I finished categorizing.  And, yes, I set aside a number of forgotten recipes that I was determined to prepare.

Bev's salsa was one of the recipes that I set aside.  Bev's salsa has a great flavor and isn't overly spicy.  While it includes an entire jalapeno, seeds and all, the hotness doesn't dominate and make you run for a glass of water...or an ice cold beer!  (Of course, that is all dependent upon the jalapeno...)

Bev's Salsa

1 14.5 oz. can of whole tomatoes with juice (I used a can of diced tomatoes as that was what was in the pantry.)
2 thick slices of a large white onion
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1 jalapeno, seeds included, stemmed
1-2 small cloves garlic
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

That's it.  Easy, isn't it?  This recipe can be easily changed to fit one's taste.  I think the next time I make it, I will play with the flavors....I think I will use fire-roasted tomatoes and add a bit of chili powder or chipotle chili powder.  I might even substitute a serrano chili for the jalapeno....I like hot salsa, too!


This is especially good over pot beans!  

Thank you Bev for sharing!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

It is so much fun to have a girls night out!  Last week we met at a local restaurant for dinner.  As we talked about the menu everybody seemed to be leaning toward Beef Stroganoff...really?  Beef Stroganoff?  That is so 1950s!  I do like it but I was thinking seafood.  The ladies said that they had had it before and it was too delicious to pass up.  They said that were trying to figure out what was in this sauce that made it special.  So...being up for a challenge...Beef Stroganoff for all four of us!

The first recipe for Beef Stroganoff appears in 1861 in Elena Molokhovet's classic Russian cookbook.  The dish consisted of beef cubes, mustard, bouillon, and a little sour cream.  There were no onions or mushrooms in the recipe.

By 1912, The recipe had spread throughout Russia and into China where tomato paste and onions were added. Before World War II, those immigrants brought the recipe to the United States where it included beef, onions, mushrooms and sour cream served over pasta or rice.  The popularity of the dish increased after WWII when United States servicemen brought several versions home.

The recipe spread to other countries but it was in the United Kingdom where Pubs served it in a creamy white wine sauce.

The ladies were was delicious!  The sauce was creamy and very flavorful.   We decided that the secret ingredient was Marsala instead of white wine.  The quest:  Find a recipe that just might come close to having the same flavorful sauce.

Beef Stroganoff
adapted from Chaos in the Kitchen

Serves 4

1 lb top sirloin, trimmed and thinly sliced
6 Tbsp butter, divided
8 oz mushrooms
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup Marsala (or white wine if preferred)
1 cup beef broth or stock
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp flour (if needed for thickening)
1 Tbsp  flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
12 oz extra wide egg noodles, cooked al dente

Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot.  Add 1 Tbsp butter.  As soon as it melts but before it browns, add half of the steak slices.  Toss then cook without stirring for a minute or two or until well browned on one side.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Flip the steak pieces over and brown the other side, about one minute.  Remove steak to a warm plate.

Repeat the process with another tablespoon of butter and the remaining steak slices.  Remove steak to the warm plate.

Add one tablespoon of butter  to the pan.  When it has melted, add one half of the mushrooms.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Stir until soft.  Remove mushrooms to the same plate as the steak.  Repeat the process with the remaining mushrooms.

Reduce the heat, and add 2 Tbsp butter.  Add the onions and garlic and saute until soft.

Add Marsala to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits  in the pan.  Once the alcohol has cooked off, add sour cream and beef broth, stir and heat until smooth.

If the sauce seems too thin, you can prepare a paste of Marsala and 1 Tbsp of flour.  Add it back into the sauce and stir until thickened.  (If preferred, you can remove 1/4 cup of the sauce to mix with the flour and return that to the sauce, stirring to thicken.)

Add the steak and mushrooms to the sauce.  Stir and simmer until hot.  (Do not boil the sauce as it will cause the sour cream to separate.)

Taste and add salt and pepper .  Stir in parsley.  Serve over egg noodles.


This was so tasty!  This recipe comes very close to replicating the meal we had last week...I am so happy that I had Beef Stroganoff for dinner!  I was also happy to have some leftover for lunch the next day.  Yum!

I am participating in Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.  Take a look at all of the wonderful recipes being shared today.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bainbridge Island, Washington

We had a wonderful trip to Bainbridge Island, WA!

Filled with beautiful views...

Filled with good food...

Filled with walks along the shore...

It was fun watching the clams squirt!

The trip was a great escape!  

I am participating in Outdoor Wednesday hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer.  Visit Susan to find other great escapes!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta Salad

I had the best pasta salad last night!  I had had the recipe for almost a year but had never made it.  I am so glad that I finally did.  Mr. T went camping this week and I have been spending my time between the sewing machine and a good book.  No laundry and housework for me this week!

I had invited a friend over as I needed advice on a quilt square I was tackling and figured that I should make us dinner.....something light to go with the warmer weather we have been having....something to go with roasted asparagus...something to go with strawberries!  This Mediterranean Chicken Pasta Salad was simple and perfect.

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta Salad

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used two.)
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and Pepper, to taste

8 oz. bow tie pasta, cooked al dente
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, roasted   (I forgot to do this and it still tasted fine....)

1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 love garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp hot sauce
1 Tbsp dried oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix vinaigrette ingredients together and set aside.

Marinate chicken for 20 minutes to two hours in the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.  Remove from marinade and bake 30 minutes at 350° F. or grill  on a hot grill.  Cool and shred or cube.

Combine chicken with the remaining salad ingredients.  Fold in the vinaigrette and serve at room temperature with French bread lightly brushed with olive oil, grilled and rubbed with garlic.


The recipe came from the very first food blog that I discovered, Wives with Knives.  Cathy is an amazing cook and I love trying her recipes.  Be sure to visit her when you have time, you will not be disappointed!

I am joining Yvonne for On the Menu Monday at StoneGable.  This is another stop that you really must make!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spicy Meets Drunken Beans

How many ways can one prepare beans?  I am thinkin' the answer is hundreds!  When it comes to beans, everybody has their favorite.  I seem to have multiple favorites.  I thought I had already posted this but I can't seem to find it.  Sorry if this is a repeat but if it is, it is worth it anyway!  This is one of my "go to" recipes, especially for summertime barbecues.

Spicy Meets Drunken Beans

1  pound pinto beans
1  1lb.  cooked center-cut ham slice, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1  1/4 pound piece salt pork, rind scored in crisscross pattern
1  large onion, chopped
2  cloves garlic, minced
6  Tbsp chili powder
1  Tbsp Mexican oregano
1  jalapeno, minced
2  tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1  tsp hot pepper sauce  (Hold back and taste test first... if you aren't certain you'll like it really spicy.)
1  bay leaf
1  12 oz bottle dark Mexican beer such as Negra Modelo
Salt, to taste (Be sure to taste first!)

Place beans in heavy Dutch oven.  Add enough water to cover by 3 inches.  Boil two minutes.  Remove from heat.  Cover and let stand 1 hour.  Drain.   (Or, soak beans in cold water at least 4 hours and up to 12, then drain.)

Return beans to Dutch oven.  Add enough water to cover by 2 inches.  Add all remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium.  Simmer until beans are tender and liquid thickens, stirring frequently.  About 3 hours.

I like to prepare the beans the day before so that the flavors have a chance to meld.

The recipe is pretty flexible...the last  time I made these, I didn't use the ham or the salt pork.  Instead, I substituted some leftover sirloin.  It was delicious!!


Today's post is linked to two blogs that are favorites of mine.  Stop by for a visit this weekend, you will love see the tasty dishes being prepared across the country and around the world!

Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's County Cottage
Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Majestic Bald Eagle

On a recent trip to Bainbridge Island, Washington, we took a day trip up the Olympic Peninsula to Cape Flattery, the most Northwestern point  in the lower United States.  As we drove up the coast, we were amazed at the number of Bald Eagles that we saw.  In the wild, I had only seen them perched at the top of  a tree or soaring over a lake.  As I gazed out at the Strait of Juan de Fuca, I was surprised to see them at the edge of the water!

We counted 24 Bald Eagles on our short drive.  What an exciting day it was.

Bald Eagles are so majestic!

I am linking up to Outdoor Wednesday, at A Southern Daydreamer.  Take a minute and stop by.  It is fun to see where everybody has traveled!