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Wednesday
Jun152011

Field of Greens


Strawberry Fields Spinach Salad
Salad:
6 ounces baby spinach leaves
4 grilled chicken breasts, thinly slices (or meat from Rotisserie chicken torn into bite-size pieces)
1 cup thinly sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 red onion, sliced extremely thin 

Tomato Balsamic Vinaigrette:
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

Prepare Vinaigrette:  In a small food processor or blender, combine tomatoes, garlic, shallots, vinegar and mustard and process until smooth.  Continue to process and add olive oil in a slow, steady stream.  Add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning.  Can be made ahead and refrigerated.

In a large bowl, toss spinach with vinaigrette dressing, starting with 1/3 cup and adding gradually until lightly coated.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.  Decoratively arrange chicken, strawberries, feta and walnuts on top of the spinach.  Top with thin onion slices.  Drizzle with additional vinaigrette as disired and serve at once.

4 servings.

Did You Know:  Strawberries are packed with good health.  One cup of strawberries offers 3 grams of fiber, as well as vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.  A serving of strawberries provides more than a full day’s recommended dose of vitamin C—an antioxidant that in addition to other benefits, helps keep skin healthy. 

Monday
May302011

Hungry Cowboy

Many little boys dream about cowboys.  My son dreamed about Cowboy Cookies.  The moment he sunk his teeth into one of these oversized oatmeal mini-chocolate chip treasures, he was hooked.  They were his favorite then and they remain so today.  Easy to make, with broad appeal--you can't go wrong!   

Cowboy Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups oatmeal (regular, not quick-cook)
1 cup semisweet mini-chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat butter and sugars in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and continue to beat until well mixed, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture.  Mix well.  Add oatmeal, mixing until smooth.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop about 1/4 cup of dough onto parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheets. Stagger about 3 inches apart as cookies will spread as they bake.  Bake in preheated oven until golden brown but still spongy when touched on top with fingertips, about 13 to 15 minutes. Do not overbake.  Let cookies cool about five minutes before removing from baking sheet.

Makes about 20 big cookies.


Cowboy cookies make wonderful gifts!  For a unique touch, prepare the cookie dough, shape into logs, roll in parchment paper and freeze.  Present frozen cookie dough rolls in new hot mitts--attach baking instructions and full recipe.

Saturday
May282011

Recipes Remembered

 
The intoxicating aroma of bacon sizzling in a hot pan always transports me back to my Grandma's sunny love-worn kitchen.  Her wilted lettuce salad made with home-grown leaf lettuce was my top request every visit.  To this day, I treasure her hand-written recipe and the memories of working side-by side with her, trying to glean all of her kitchen secrets.

 

 

 

 

Her notes on the back of the recipe card include:  "I very often double this and keep in refrig.  Nice for working people.  So easy to just heat when I want it."  Grandma was ahead of her time and very "hip"--the owner of the most popular music store in town.  In addition to being an amazing cook, she always new what songs and bands were at the top of the charts!  I've modified her recipe slightly, but the inspiration is all hers....

Wilted Lettuce Salad
5 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar 
5 green onions, sliced
1 large head leaf lettuce, washed and drained
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Optional additional toppings: small cherry or grape tomato halves
                                           sourdough croutons
                                           freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Cook bacon pieces in a heavy skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Drain off 1/4 of the bacon drippings (grease).  Add vinegar, sugar and chopped onions to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces and place in large salad bowl.  Pour dressing over lettuce, add bacon pieces and toss lightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

If desired, add additional toppings, such as baby tomatoes, croutons and/or cheese.

Makes 6 servings.

Wednesday
May182011

Quick Bites

Wontons wrappers make creating appetizers, small bites, dim sum, soups and even main dishes a snap.  They are readily available--in the refrigerated produce section of most major grocery stores and in gourmet or Asian specialty markets--and eliminate the tedious process of making home made dough. 

Wonton wrappers can be fashioned into lucious ravioli, fried Rangoons or Wontons, Asian filled dumplings (wontons), crispy edible "cup" containers, and more...

Asian Chicken Salad in Crispy Wonton Cups
Chicken Salad:

3 tablespoons Sesame Ginger (or other Asian-style) prepared salad dressing
1 tablespoon Mayonnaise (low fat or regular)
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
8 snow peas, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Optional Garnish: fresh chives, cilantro and/or toasted sliced almonds

Mix dressing and mayonnaise in medium bowl until well blended.  Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.  Serving suggestions: serve in crispy Wonton cups (recipe below), on thin rice crackers or as lettuce wraps, wrapped in Boston, Bibb or other soft lettuce.  Garnish as desired with fresh chives or cilantro and/or toasted sliced almonds or other chopped nuts.

Crispy Wonton Cups
WonTon wrappers
Vegetable cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat mini muffin cup pan lightly with vegetable cooking spray.  Fit a Wonton wrapper into each cup, decoratively folding them to fit and pressing them lightly into the sides of the cups.  Bake in preheated oven until crisp and lightly browned, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Fit Wonton wrappers into individual mini muffin cups.

Bake until crisp & edges are browned.
Fill Crispy Wonton Cups with Asian Chicken Salad & garnish as desired.

Did You Know:  The Chinese phrase, dim sum, means "touch the heart."  Dim Sum is more widely known as a variety of small delectable snacks or appetizers such as crispy wontons, pastry stuffed with a mixture of pork, beef or seafood, noodles, dumplings and soups. 

Thursday
May052011

Sunsational

The colors and flavors of the sun inspired the creation of this recipe a number of years ago.  It remains a favorite!  The skewers work equally well as an appetizer or main dish in a variety of settings--stand up, sit-down, on a picnic blanket...  

Sunsational Chicken Skewers with Avocado Sauce
4 Pilgrim’s Pride boneless skinless split chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds), cut into     1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Sauce:
1 medium avocado, peeled and pitted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1-2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup low fat dairy sour cream
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Garnish (optional):
2 navel oranges, peeled, thinly sliced
Mixed baby greens
1 red onion, cut into thin slices

Place chicken pieces in shallow dish and drizzle with 3 tablespoons orange juice.  Combine chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper in bowl and sprinkle over chicken.  Preheat grill and lightly coat with oil or cooking spray.  Thread chicken pieces on skewers leaving space between each piece. When grill is ready, place filled skewers on prepared grill 4 to 6 inches from source of heat.  Cook 10 to 12 minutes or until meat is no longer pink inside. Turn at least once during cooking.

To make sauce, place sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender and process on high speed until smooth and creamy. Place in serving bowl.  To serve, arrange greens, orange slices and onions, separated into rings, on serving platter. Place skewered grilled chicken on top of greens.  Serve with sauce.

To serve as appetizer or snack, remove chicken from skewers and place each grilled chicken piece on a decorative toothpick. Place filled toothpicks on top of greens and, if desired, garnish with orange and onion slices. Serve with sauce.

Makes 4 to 8 servings.

Did You Know:  You can discover other easy delicious chicken recipes from the Pilgrim's Pride Winning Taste Recipe Contest at http://www.winningtasterecipe.com/archive.aspx.