Monday, August 29, 2011

Menu 27: Tomato Pie and Sweet Potato Salad

For some reason, I haven’t made this delicious pie all summer! It made me sad when I remembered the recipe because we love it so much. Tonight we had tomato pie and Sweet Potato Salad With Baby Spinach. The idea for this dish came from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters; of course, I made a few tweaks. This may be my new favorite. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Salad With Baby Spinach
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 oz. baby spinach
Juice of 2 lemons
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 slices cooked and crumbled bacon (optional)

1. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Bake at 400° for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.
3. Spoon sweet potatoes over baby spinach in a serving bowl. Combine lemon juice and next 4 ingredients. Toss with sweet potato mixture. Sprinkle with bacon, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Menu 26: Pizza and Salad

Tonight for dinner we had Bacon Pizza (I used sun-dried tomato pesto instead of the basil variety) and this simple salad. I made it with ingredients that were on hand: grape tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. The dressing is a drizzle of red wine vinegar and olive oil; dried oregano finishes it off. The salad is salty, tangy, and little sweet—just the right accompaniment to the pizza. Enjoy!

Greek Tomato Salad
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine tomatoes and next 2 ingredients. Drizzle with vinegar and oil; sprinkle with oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Menu 25: Brunch

Most Sunday mornings, Andy and I go to our favorite local coffee shop on the way to church. Because we get there right when they open, the scones and muffins are right out of the oven. Andy's favorite is the blueberry scone. I don't make scones very often because, although they aren't hard, I'm not a fan of kneading and shaping dough. The other day I saw a chef on the food network use an ice-cream scoop to make scones. She totally skipped the kneading and rolling! This inspired me to try my hand at developing a good blueberry scone recipe (any zest-and-dried fruit combo would work). I used my favorite 2-tablespoon size scoop that I use for cookies. The results were delicious! To round out the menu, we had Creamy Grits, bacon, and fruit. Enjoy!

Blueberry Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Zest from half lemon
3/4 cup butter, cut into cubes
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup dried blueberries

1. Place flour and next 4 ingredients in food processor bowl; add in butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Place flour mixture in a mixing bowl. Stir in eggs and buttermilk until combined; add in blueberries. Scoop batter onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
2. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until done.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ranch Snack Mix

Over the past couple of months, we have made tons of this snack mix to go in Grace's Kitchen sack lunches. The great thing about the recipe is that it can be made in the microwave; it is based on one from Southern Living. The oatmeal squares cereal adds a hit of sweetness that nicely complements the ranch flavor. Enjoy!

Ranch Snack Mix
1 cup vegetable oil
2 envelopes Ranch dressing mix
1 box Corn Chex
1 box Quaker Oatmeal Squares
1 box Kellogg's Crispix
1 (16-oz.) bag tiny twist pretzels
1 bag Cheetos

1. Combine oil and dressing mix. Heat in the microwave 1 minute; stir and heat for 30 more seconds.
2. Combine Corn Chex and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with oil mixture. Heat in microwave for 3 minutes; stir and heat for 2 more minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cherry Crisp

My in-laws are here for a couple of days to help with some house projects. For dinner we had, Greek-Style Tilapia, mashed potato cakes, and Green Beans With  Bacon. To show our appreciation, I wanted to make dessert. We all love cherries, so I decided on this easy dessert. I halved and pitted fresh cherries (they were on sale at the store), but you could substitute frozen ones. Surprise: I served the crisp with sweetened whipped cream instead of ice cream. This is definitely a keeper! It would also be good for breakfast. Enjoy!

Cherry Crisp
1 lb. fresh cherries, halved and pitted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup butter, melted

1. Combine cherries and next 2 ingredients; spoon into a baking dish. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; sprinkle over top of cherry mixture.
2. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until done.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Menu 24: Steak Sauté

Our friend Jamie came to dinner tonight. I hadn't been to the grocery store, so our menu was comprised of what was on hand. Because it's Saturday, we had this week's installment of our farmers market basket, so we had yummy stuff to work with. For the main dish, I thawed two rib-eyes from the freezer and Jamie thinly sliced the meat. Then I sauté it with onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes. We also had a fresh peach salsa to spoon over the top. Delicious! (We're going to eat the leftovers in tortillas.) On the side, we had mashed potatoes and Fried Okra. Enjoy!

Steak, Tomato, and Bell Pepper Sauté
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Olive oil
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
2 rib-eye steaks, thinly sliced
Montreal steak seasoning
Chipotle chili powder
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
Splash of bourbon or beef broth
Peach Salsa

1. Sauté onion and bell pepper in hot oil for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, salt, and pepper; sauté for 2 more minutes, and remove from pan. Add more oil, if necessary. Sprinkle steak with Montreal steak seasoning and chipotle chili powder; sauté in hot oil for 5 to 10 minutes or until steak is done. Add in bourbon or broth to deglaze the pan. Add in pepper mixture and tomatoes, and sauté for 5 more minutes. Season with additional salt to taste. Top with Peach Salsa.

Peach Salsa:
4 peaches, peeled and chopped
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 Tbsp. finely chopped red bell pepper
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
Zest and juice from 1 lime

Salt and pepper

1. Combine first 5 ingredients; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Goat Cheese-Tomato Crostini

Our farmers market has a goat cheese farmer who participates. His fresh chèvre is fantastic! I love the smoked goat cheese best; my second favorite is the tomato-basil. Today we received a round of the tomato-basil in our baskets. I decided to pair the goat cheese with fresh tomatoes in a tasty appetizer. This is so easy and is perfect for any-size crowd. Enjoy!

Goat Cheese-Tomato Crostini
Thinly sliced French bread
Olive oil
Tomato-basil goat cheese (You can substitute plain goat cheese.)
1 tomato, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper

1. Place bread slices on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle bread with olive oil.
2. Bake at 350° for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden.
3. Spread goat cheese on one side of bread slices. Top with thinly sliced tomato, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Bake at 350° for 2 to 3 more minutes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Menu 23: Fried Chicken and Veggies

Inspiration for dinner came from my farmers market basket. We had Fried Chicken Tenders, Green Beans With Bacon, Fried Okra, Fried Eggplant (recipe follows), and cornbread. I know, I know, that's a lot of fried food, but it's really good! I love eggplant, but Andy doesn't. My father-in-law was here tonight and he likes it too. It's important to salt the eggplant and let it sit for about 30 minutes before you cook it. This draws out the bitterness from the fruit. The batter is pretty simple and doesn't overpower the eggplant. Enjoy!

Fried Eggplant
1 eggplant, sliced and then cut into thick strips
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup panko

1. Salt eggplant, and let stand 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant, and pat dry. Combine flour, panko, salt, pepper, and enough buttermilk to make a thick batter. Dip eggplant into batter.
2. Fry eggplant in about 1 inch of hot oil in Dutch oven for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste.