Saturday, July 31, 2010


After watching many a table side guacamole at various Mexican restaurants, I decided to make my own based on what I saw them adding.  I'm sure it is very similar to many other guacamole recipes, but I wanted to share my standby guacamole recipe. It is my go to snack recipe, whether it is just for Bill and I or for a big group.

From: Elizabeth's Dutch Oven
Prep time: 10 min

1 avocado
1-2 tsp onion (chopped small)
1 small clove garlic (minced)
1 plum tomato (chopped)
1/2 lime juice (or whole lime if not very juicy)
1-2 Tbsp Cilantro
salt (kosher or sea salt) and fresh ground pepper


1. In mortar and pestle (or medium bowl) add onions and garlic and smash them against the side to get the juices out.

2. Add avocado, lime juice, salt & pepper and mash with two spoons to desired consistency (I don't like mine totally smooth).  Taste and season to desired preference.

3. Add tomato and cilantro, mix together, and serve with chips!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Checca Sauce

I found this recipe in the Everyday Italian cookbook. I was looking for something light and healthy, but still wanted a pasta.  This was perfect.  The sauce is not a warm sauce, but is more like a fresh Italian salsa for your pasta. Bill said he thought it tasted like bruschetta but on top of pasta instead of bread - and that is a pretty accurate description.  It is perfect for the hot summer nights we have been having and best of all it doesn't take very long to make!

Checca Sauce
From: Everyday Italian

1 (12oz) bag of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 scallions (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 (1oz) piece of Parmesan Cheese, coarsely chopped
8 fresh basil leaves
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 Oz fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4 - 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1.  Pulse cherry tomatoes, scallions, garlic, Parmesan, basil, and oil in food processor until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped (Do not puree).

2.  Transfer sauce into a large bowl.  Stir in mozzarella cheese and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper.

3. Toss sauce immediately with your choice of cooked pasta (I used whole wheat angel hair pasta).

(as you can see I may have pulsed one or two more times than I should have, but I liked the consistency!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vegetable Pizzazz

This is one of my favorite recipes to make in the summer because it includes a ton of fresh vegetables!  I got this recipe from my mom and it is very hearty and filling without even having any meat! It is really best if it can simmer or sit longer than 20 minutes, but I usually can't wait longer than that because it always smells so good!

Vegetable Pizzazz
From: My Mom

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup chopped red onion
5 cloves garlic (crushed or minced)
2 Tbsp Chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (or 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes)
1 15oz can black beans (undrained)
1 cup water (or red wine)
1 cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 can corn kernels (if i have fresh I just cut it off the cob and saute it for a few minutes)
1 cup chopped mushrooms (optional)
1 cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/8 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large pot heat oil, add onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Saute for 5 min.

2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Then lower heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

3. Serve over rice, garnish with shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, or avocado

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fish Tacos with Lime - Cilantro Crema

I like to order fish tacos almost anytime it is listed as an option at a restaurant, and have been looking for a easy recipe to make at home. This recipe fits the bill - it is easy, quick, light, and delicious!!!  I heard about this recipe from a blog I read called BooMama which lead me to the recipe on My Recipes.  I especially loved that the recipe has you bake the fish instead of frying it like most of the fish taco recipes I've found.  You can make this in 1/2 hr, and actually probably more like 15-20 minutes!  I made it last night for the first time, and will probably start making it part of our weeknight dinner rotation! 

Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Crema
From: My Recipes

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp mayonnaise (regular or fat free)
3 Tbsp sour cream (regular or light)
1 tsp grated lime rind
1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 lbs red snapper fillets (we used Tilapia)
cooking spray
corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cabbage

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees

2.  To prepare crema, combine the 8 ingredients for the crema in a small bowl and set aside

3.  Combine Cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, ground red pepper, salt, and garlic powder in a small bowl.  Sprinkle spice mixture evenly over both sides of fish.

4.  Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (I might try cooking it on aluminum foil next time).  Bake at 425 for 9-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Remove fish from pan and break into pieces with a fork.

5.  Serve fish with tortillas, cabbage, and crema.

NOTE:  next time I make it (and there will be plenty of next times)  I will probably try mixing the crema with the cabbage.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Italian Pasta Salad

This is a recipe I got from my mom and it is a great salad to bring to a summertime bbq.  It is easy to make, refreshing, light, and even the pickiest eaters usually like the salad. If you are looking to try a new pasta salad to bring to your 4th of July festivities, give this a try!

Italian Pasta Salad
From: My Mom

1 16oz shell pasta
1 12 oz tri-colored spiral pasta
16oz cubed cheese (sharp cheddar)
1 3 oz pepperoni
1 can sliced black olives
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
other veggies if you want (I usually include green pepper)
16oz zesty Italian dressing.

1. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box

2. Mix cooked pasta with all other ingredients (add 1/2 of the Dressing when you make the salad, and the other half right before serving).


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