Monthly Archives: August 2016

Mexican White Bean Tuna Salad

Those who know me well, know that I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise.  Like, at all.  I’m not going to be annoying and not eat a sandwich when a friend makes one for me (who am I kidding…that never happens), but mayo is a huge reason I never opt for the tuna salad at most places.  *and yes, I cook with it when necessary, just not in abundance. 

Now THIS!!! THIS I can do!!  It has a bit of tang, a bit of heat, a real freshness and zero of that creamy mayo!  Sold!!!  It’s a much lighter take on the traditional version that you can still eat between sliced bread, a pita or a tortilla..or simply eat it on its own as the ‘salad’ that it is!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 packets/cans tuna, drained
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained AND rinsed
  • 1/2-1 calabacita (Mexican squash), halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4″
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds & pith removed, finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup cilantro, rough chop 
  • 1/8 cup green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil, drizzle (1 Tbsp/ optional)
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper, to taste 

This really can’t be any easier…per usual, prep all of the veggies and protein. 

Next, in a large bowl, combine ALL of the above ingredients and toss together.  Yeah…super easy, right??  *you can cover and refridgerate or eat right away!  

I like to serve ours with sliced and seasoned tomatoes, lemon and lime wedges, pita bread or tortillas….and maybe a margarita or two.  Enjoy!!!

Reuben Dog’s

Change up your hotdog game with this one!  Many people are stuck in the same rut when it comes to the ol’ hotdogs & hamburger toppings.  So move over ketchup and mustard and say hello to a mash-up of this grilling staple with your favorite deli sandwich!

 Your family will thank you, your guests at your next cookout will love you and you can give yourself a pat on the back!  *and it’s soooo easy too!! Sshhhhhhh…..

*If you’re feeling a bit more “south of border”, than please try my Sonoran Hotdogs..also a great crowd pleaser!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg hotdogs (I love Hebrew National)
  • 1 pckg/jar Sauerkraut, drained well (I love Boars Head in the deli section)
  • 1/2 pound deli Pastrami
  • Swiss cheese slices 
  • Dill pickle slices
  • 1 pckg hotdog buns

Simple Russian Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 ketchup 
  • 2 hefty Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

    Yes…I forgot the darn pastrami for the pic, I know.

Let this super easy recipe begin!!  Start up the grill, heat up a pan or turn on your ovens broiler.  

Next wrap each hotdog in a slice of the deli pastrami, place seam side down, continue until all are wrapped.

Simple Russian Dressing:  In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, sweet pickle relish and the salt and pepper to taste.  Toss with the drained sauerkraut.  Cover and set aside.

Now that your cooking element is hot and ready to go, place the pastrami wrapped hotdog (again, seam side down) and brown all sides.  *once the “seam-side” is browned, it almost creates a seal so that the pastrami will not unwrap itself. 

Now if you prefer, feel free to toast the hotdog buns (or not), then place a slice of Swiss cheese down followed by the hot, browned pastrami-dog over top (will help to melt the cheese).  Top with a good helping of the Russian dressed sauerkraut and a dill pickle slice!  We like to serve ours with a batch of homemade fries or chips and a cold beer, enjoy!! 

Crockpot Cuban Sandwiches

This is a REALLY easy and undeniably delicious dinner to make for your family or a crowd..hey, those football parties are upon us!

The origin of this sandwich comes from both Cuba (duh..) and southern Florida.  Now mine may not be perfectly authentic with the traditional roasting of the pork, BUT I can guarantee it’s just as yummy!  Plus, given all of the extra time I had on my hands and little to no clean-up, I am very happy I went with the crockpot method!

The citrus flavored pulled pork goes so great with the tanginess of the mustard and pickles, sweetness from the ham and creaminess of the melted cheese.  Win!

*Cuban bread can be difficult to find, so you can instead easily use sub rolls, Italian/French bread or even make this into sliders!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3-4lb pork butt/shoulder
  • Swiss cheese slices
  • Deli sliced ham (Black Forest preferred)
  • Dill pickle slices
  • Yellow mustard
  • Sub rolls (Cuban bread if you can find it)

Pork Rub

  • 3tsp cumin
  • 2tsp oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Extra virgin olive oilcuban.JPG

To begin one of my favorite sandwich recipes, begin by mixing together the “rub” ingredients in a small bowl (including the oil). cuban3.JPG

Next, place the pork into your slow-cooker and with a sharp knife make 1/2″ slits around your pork.  Massage that rub ALL over it!  Simply cover and turn on low for about 7 hours.cuban2.JPG

Ding! Ding! Ding!  Ok, the flavorful pork aroma has taken over your home and it’s time for dinner!  Remove the lid and the pork and let cool slightly.  Shred and place back in the cooking liquid to keep warm and juicy.

Assembly time!!  Slice the sub rolls in half and spread with the yellow mustard on both sides.  Now layer on a slice or two of the Swiss cheese, pickles, ham and that pulled pork!

**If you’re feeling really crazy, place this sandwich in a panini press or even cook with a bit of butter (press down) on a stovetop skillet!

Enjoy friends!!

CubanSammie

 

 

Buffalo Chicken Kabobs w/ Grilled New Potatoes (& easy blue cheese dressing)

I’m pretty sure I’ve never (ever) met a person that doesn’t like buffalo wing sauce.  Now some may like it on crispy drumette wings, some that prefer it on the battered boneless variety, but everyone just loves that sauce!  Unfortunately, most of us cannot eat that way everyday, so how about combine those great flavors into a healthier grilled recipe!

My lighter, summertime go-to is a full meal that is chocked full of protein, vegetables and even a light(er) Bleu cheese dressing!  So you will feel full without the guilt!  

*If you prefer ranch over Bleu cheese than go right ahead.

*Use whatever vegetables you prefer on your kabobs.

*Can be made outdoors on the grill or even on a stovetop grill-pan.

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, combine 1 cup of regular milk with 1 tbsp of either white vinegar or lemon juice, stir.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Done!

The Starting Lineup
Chicken

  • 2lbs chicken (breasts, tenders or thighs), cut into 2″ cubes
  • 2 Bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 red onion
  • 8 oz Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • Salt & Pepper

Potatoes

  • 2 1/2lbs New/Red Potatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Celery Salt

Bleu Cheese Dressing

  • 8oz reduced fat Blue cheese crumbles
  • 8oz light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • Salt & pepper

Garnish (optional)

  • Celery, VERY thinly sliced
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Jalapeños, sliced 

SAUCES:  

Buffalo Wing Sauce:  In a small pan or in the microwave melt the butter.  Whisk in the bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and set aside.

Easy Bleu Cheese Dressing:  In a small bowl, whisk together the Bleu cheese crumbles, sour cream and buttermilk.  Salt & pepper to taste, cover and transfer to the refrigerator till needed.

Start by rinsing and cutting the vegetables and the chicken into kabob-sized pieces. 

Skewer and salt & pepper to taste.  *If using bamboo sticks, make sure to soak the skewers in water for 20 minutes prior.   If using metal skewers, make sure to lightly coat in oil so the meat doesn’t stick.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water and the potatoes to a boil.  Cover and simmer till just fork tender (about 20 minutes).  Transfer the par-cooked potatoes to a bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and the celery salt to taste (about 1 tsp).

With either the outdoor grill or your grill pan indoors, heat to medium-high heat and make sure to oil the grill grates or pan.  Once ready to go, start your kabobs and cook through (15-20 minutes).  Transfer the kabobs to a tray and brush on the buffalo wing sauce.  *You can start to brush the sauce on during the last few minutes of grilling, just add a little at a time and finish once done to avoid flare ups.Next, add the potatoes to the grill/pan and turn often for 10 minutes, until crisped up.


SERVE:  On a large serving platter, lay out the grilled potatoes and drizzle on the Bleu cheese dressing you made earlier and sprinkle on the celery, green onions, jalapeños.  Top with the buffalo chicken kabobs (you can remove from the skewers if preferred) and serve with the remaining buffalo wing sauce for dipping. 

Simple Ground Beef Stroganoff

One pot!  Yep, again, here is a family-filling meal that can be made all in just one pot!  Easy cleanup is always an incentive to cook a homemade meal for your family..or at least to me it is.

Now this may not be your traditional Russian ‘Beef Stroganov’ made with strips of beef, brandy etc., BUT it’s pretty darn tasty, quick and good on your pocketbook!  With a family that is paramount for me.  Also, since it uses a lot of fresh ingredients, you can feel good about serving it to your loved ones. 🙂

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 8oz package mushrooms, sliced/quartered
  • 1/2 diced onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 3 cups beef broth (low-sodium)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8oz pasta noodles
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh parsley garnish, optional

Begin by rinsing and prepping your veggies!

Next in a large pan (remember it’s a one pot meal!), heat 1 tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil to medium heat.  Add in the mushrooms and sauté for 4-5 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.


To that same pot, heat another tbsp of oil and add in the onions and sauté for 5 minutes (till translucent) followed by the garlic for another minute.  Now goes in the ground beef, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Cook completely through; taste for more seasoning if needed.


If you used a lean ground beef, you likely won’t need to drain excess grease.  However, if you used an 80/20 blend (which is perfectly fine) you may need to drain some of that grease out (also perfectly fine).

To the cooked beef, add the beef broth and noodles.  Gently stir together and bring to a boil.  Cover and lower heat to a simmer for 18-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remember to cover friends! I didn’t think taking a picture of a pan with a lid on was too interesting…


Finally, remove from heat and stir in the sour cream and mushrooms.  Top with fresh parsley and dig in!  Enjoy!!

Baked Peaches a La Mode

My father-in-law came in to town to help us with a major home project….Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!   As most of y’all know we live on a lake (amazing), but as our lil boys get older and have outgrown playing on the gated back porch, it poses a safety concern.  So we are finally adding the fence that we have wanted since we moved in, and considering we have a good size sloped yard, it’s not an easy project.

Anywaayy, besides the amazing help he has been, another great, like-minded fact about him, he REALLY loves peaches.  So after a long day of hard work, I figured a homemade dessert was the best way I could show my appreciation.  

This literally took just minutes to make, was fresh, and every plate was basically licked clean!  If you have 20 minutes to spare, I highly advise serving this summertime dessert at your next gathering!

*If you live in Texas and are close to an HEB or Central Market grocery store, I highly advise the below flavored of ice cream with this!  I used a scoop of each and a drizzle of honey alongside the baked peaches.  Ridiculous!

The Starting Lineup

  • Peaches, halved and pitts removed (I used 4 peaches for 8 servings)
  • Butter, sliced (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 2-3 Tbsps Brown sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Honey (optional)

Sooo stinkin’ easy!!  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the peaches in half and remove the pit.  Place each peach halve, skin side down, onto a baking sheet or oven safe pan.

Next add a small piece of butter to the middle of each piece.  

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt.  Sprinkle an even amount over each peach halve.

Place into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.  Remove and immediately serve (you want it warm!!) with a scoop of ice cream and possibly a drizzle of honey!  Enjoy!!!  *Feel free to also scoop up any of that caramelized pan drippings and spoon overtop as well!

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