vegetables

Halibut Ceviche Veracruz

This Mexican-style ceviche is a perfect light snack or appetizer for these coming summer months.  Truth be told, I have eaten just this for my dinner on a hot, sunny evening.

The flavors here are bold, but still light and refreshing!  Zesty lime juice, brininess from the olives and capers, sweet tomatoes, creamy avocado chunks and a kick of the jalapeno.  I chose halibut for this, but you can use any sashimi-grade, firm white fish that is available to you.

I also love this meal because there is no need to even turn your oven on, keeping your kitchen cool.  So please give this simple, refreshing recipe a try!

The Starting Lineup

• 10oz halibut, cut into 1” cubes
• ½ cup of fresh lime juice
• 2 firm, ripe tomatoes, diced
• 1 serrano pepper, seeded and diced
• 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
• 1 large avocado, chopped
• 12 Manzanilla (green) olives, pitted and halved
• 1 Tbsp capers
• Kosher salt & pepper

In a medium glass bowl, add the cubed halibut and pour the lime juice overtop, making sure all the fish is covered. Plastic wrap the bowl and place in your refrigerator for 2-3 hours, until the fish is opaque and firm.

Drain and pat dry your fish with a paper towel and place back in the bowl. To that, add in the diced tomatoes, serrano, cilantro and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and place back in the refrigerator, covered again, for at least 2 hours/up to 12 hours.

When ready to serve, add in the chopped avocado, green olives and capers. Serve immediately with corn tortilla chips.

HalibutCevicheVeracruz

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Chicken Salad Carrot Crescents

“Hippity, hoppity Easter’s on its waayyyy….”

I can never enter the Spring season without singing that song verse on more than one occasion.  So, now that we’re even closer to this years Easter holiday, it’s in my crawl as much as one of my favorite festive recipes!  These buttery crescents are shaped onto cone molds and when a tinted egg wash is applied and baked, resemble not only perfect vessels to stuff, but cutesy lil’ carrots!

Depending on our Easter plans for each year, I’ll either serve these at lunch, for an appetizer or bring to a potluck to rave oohs and aahhs.  Plus, they taste great!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 (8oz) cans crescent roll dough
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1 tsp water (can add food coloring if desired)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 1/2 cup grapes, halved
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley or dill, garnish

In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, grapes, celery, onions, pecans, mayonnaise, celery salt and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Unroll the crescent dough and pinch seams together.  Using a pizza cutter, cut lengthwise into 6-8 equal strips.  Brush each with egg wash and roll each strip out to about 16″, like a thick spaghetti noodle.  Repeat.

Using either a cream horn mold or foil shaped into a cone, wrap one strip of dough around the mold.  Apply more egg wash.  Place on prepared baking sheets and bake for 7-8 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then carefully remove mold.

Fill each “carrot” with chicken salad (or salad of choice) and top with a parsley or dill sprig, enjoy!

ChickenSaladCrescents

 

Springtime Tortellini Pesto Soup

When it comes to Spring, many ingredients come to mind, but one of my main go-to’s has to be asparagus!  I also let go of my rich, creamy soups for a light, broth version.  I know I’m about to make this soup whenever I can get my hands on that crisp, stalky green vegetable.  I also know I can prepare it on a busy weeknight, as it takes a mere 30-40 minutes to make.  Plus, since it fills a large pot, the leftovers can be had the following day for lunch or dinner!  Pair with a side salad and warm rolls and you have the perfect Spring time supper!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups (64oz) chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto, plus more for garnish
  • 2 (15oz) cans great white northern beans, rinsed
  • 16 oz frozen tortellini
  • 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 oz fresh spinach leaves
  • Precooked chicken sausage, sliced (i.e. HEB Naturals Apple Gouda)
  • Shaved parmesan cheese, garnish
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes (*add garlic towards the end of the 5 minutes, careful not to burn).

To the onion and garlic, add in the broth and whisk in the pesto.  Add in the tortellini and white beans and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Lastly, add in the asparagus, spinach leaves and sliced sausage and simmer until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and top with more pesto and parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

SpringtimeTortelliniPestoSoup

 

Crispy Baked Artichoke Hearts w/ Lemon Garlic Aioli

This may just be my new favorite appetizer!  First off, they’re beautiful!  All gold and crispy-crunchy, a great tangy bite from the artichoke itself AND the dipping sauce, and they’re also more on the nutritious side!  A happy “win” for me!

Plus, if you’re craving a vegetarian option, these are great piled between two soft bakery rolls!  Make sure the bun halves are slathered with the lemon-garlic aioli and fresh slices of tomatoes and butter lettuce!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 (15oz) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Lemon-Garlic Aioli

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt 

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic and salt till incorporated.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Place drained artichoke hearts in a dish and thoroughly pat dry with a paper towel.  In a small bowl, combine melted butter and garlic powder.  In a separate dish, combine the parmesan and Panko breadcrumbs.

Dip each artichoke heart into the melted butter, followed by the breadcrumbs.  Place on prepared baking sheet and repeat with all remaining artichokes.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve alongside the lemon-garlic aioli.  Enjoy!

ArtichokeHeartsAioli

Garlic Butter Italian Sausage Sandwiches (slow-cooker)

Cooking Italian sausages right in your slow cooker equals the most tender, flavorful and simple supper!  Plus, since there is basically no prep work involved (besides slicing the bell peppers and onions), you simply add the minimal ingredients to your pot, cover and be about your day!  You can welcome yourself home to the delightful smell of a gourmet dinner and it’s also great for a crowd!

*serves about 10 people.  If wanting something other than sandwiches, or for leftovers, you can serve over al dente noodles or polenta.

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 packages Italian sausage links (appx 10 links, sweet, mild or spicy)
  • 24oz jarred Italian diced tomatoes (I love Racconto organic San Marzano’s)
  • 3 Bell peppers, cut into strips (I used red, orange and green)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pepperoncini’s 
  • 1 tsp each salt, pepper and garlic
  • 10 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese
  • 10 hoagie rolls
  • 1 container garlic butter (often found in deli or bakery section)

To your slow cooker: add in the sausage links and top with the sliced bell peppers, onions, pepperoncini’s and the seasonings.  Pour the jarred Italian diced tomatoes over top and set to low for 6-7 hours or high for 4-5.

On a baking sheet, split the hoagie rolls and generously slather on the garlic butter to each side.  Place under broiler for 1-2 minutes until just golden brown.  Fill each roll with a sausage and your desired amount of sauce and veggies.  Top with the cheese and place under your broiler for another 1-2 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

ItalianSlowCookerSub

Chiles Relleno Breakfast Casserole

Classic chiles rellenos are a bit tricky and time consuming to make, especially if making for a crowd.  Now while this may not be the traditional dipped, battered and lightly fried at the perfect temperature, this recipe gives you the same flavor and is a breeze compared!  Plus, it is still served with that perfectly seasoned thin tomato sauce that is a must have and is a bit lighter given the “no fry” here.

So give this a whirl for your next brunch or south-of-the-border craving!

The Starting Lineup

  • 8 fresh poblano peppers
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 28oz can tomatoes
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage (can sub chorizo), cooked
  • 1 cup cotija cheese (can sub feta)
  • 1 tsp each: cumin, Mexican oregano, kosher salt
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack/ and or cheddar cheese, shredded

 

STEP 1:  Char the poblano chiles over an open flame or under the broiler.  Transfer to a paper bag (close) or a bowl topped with plastic wrap and allow to steam for 15 minutes.  Once done, gently remove the blackened skins, slice vertically (without cutting all the way through) and scrape the seeds out.  Set aside.

STEP 2:  Meanwhile, in a sauce pan over medium-high heat, sauté the onions in the olive oil till softened, about 5 minutes, then add in the garlic for another minute.

Next, add in the tomatoes, gently breaking up with your hand or a wooden spoon.  Stir in the cumin, Mexican oregano and salt to taste.  Bring to a simmer, set to low for 15-20 minutes and remove from heat to cool.  The sauce should be the consistency of a thin spaghetti sauce, not too thick.  If so, add a bit of chicken broth or water to thin.

STEP 3:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish ladle in the prepared and cooled sauce.  In a large bowl, mix together the cooked breakfast sausage/chorizo with the cotija cheese and 1 cup of your shredded cheese. Stuff each poblano chile with the sausage-cheese mixture, it’s ok if it spills out a bit.  Place your stuffed poblano peppers overtop the sauce.

STEP 4:  In a large bowl, beat the dozen eggs and then whisk in the flour, baking powder and a hefty pinch of salt.  Pour the eggs over top the stuffed chiles and sauce.  Top with the remaining shredded cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes at 375 degrees until eggs are just set.  Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Serve with fresh fruit and warm tortillas if desired.  Enjoy!

ChileRellenoCasserole

 

Southwest Flank Steak Chili & Grits

My days growing up in hot & spicy Arizona has met our southern grit life here in the south with this one!  All of the flavors of a traditional chili soaked up into yummy, bacon and cheese loaded grits.  The juxtaposition of textures and flavors is on point with this recipe!

*If the flank steak cooks a bit longer and shred’s apart, that is just as yummy too!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1-3/4 lbs flank steak
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 14oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles
  • 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4oz can green chilis, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 4 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 cup American-cheddar blend cheese, shredded (pepper jack or cheddar works too)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen fire-roasted corn
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Prepared grits (I loaded ours up with green onion, bacon crumbles and cheese)

 

To your slow cooker, whisk together the chicken broth, 2 Tablespoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, the tomatoes, pinto beans, green chiles and jalapeno.  Roughly tear 2 of the corn tortillas up and add to the liquid mixture.

Butterfly the flank steak horizontally, without cutting all the way through (opening like a book).  Lightly pound the steak until about 1/4 inch thick.  Season with salt, pepper, 1 Tablespoon of the chili powder and 1 teaspoon of the cumin.  Press the cheese over the steak in an even layer, followed by the cilantro and arrange the last 2 of the corn tortillas over top, overlapping if needed.  Starting with the long side, roll up into log-form/pinwheel and tie with kitchen twine; tuck ends in and tie lengthwise as well.  Transfer your steak pinwheel to the slow cooker and spoon some sauce over top.  Cover and set to low for 7 hours.  *Add corn in 30 minutes prior to eating.

Remove the steak and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Slice into pretty pinwheel medallions and serve over loaded, bacon’y, cheesy grits with a ladle of the slow cooker juices and vegetables over top!

*If the flank steak cooks a bit longer and shred’s apart, that is just as yummy too!!

ChileGrits

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