I love Eat Smart's Broccoli Slaw and almost always have some in the house since it is healthy and versatile. It's great for topping salads, adding to stir fry, and for making different types of slaw. Good thing I had some on hand because I hadn't really thought about slaw being a great side to last night's dinner, thanks mom for the suggestion! In a rut, I searched online for a broccoli slaw recipe and found a great one to base my creation off of. I had to do a bit of improvising due to what I had in stock, but it worked out great! This Broccoli Slaw is creamy, sweet, and guilt-free.
I've been a little MIA, thanks to a combination of a busy schedule and laziness, but I'm back with a bang. The Amsterdam Sandwich is a replica of an incredible creation I ate a couple of months back in Amsterdam (I probably could have been a bit more clever with the name). My gal pal Gina and I shared the original for lunch at a Dutch outdoor cafe and we fell in love- with the sandwich that is. It was so good that we didn't shut up about it for weeks. We decided it was time for a reenactment. This replica was just as delicious, although we did miss the beautiful Amsterdam scenery that surrounded us. The men in our lives (who were left behind while we traveled abroad) also agreed that this sandwich was a blue ribbon winner and I know you will too!
After wrecking my brain about what I wanted to serve as the main course for this year's holiday dinner for my lady friends, I decided to create a pasta dish that was different, but would still appeal to everyone attending. This dish is like a collaboration of Baked Ziti, Spinach Lasagna, and Chicken Alfredo. It worked out perfectly because I was able to make a vegetarian version too (just doubled the recipe and left out the chicken on the second pan). Both were delicious and had plenty of flavor. I really enjoyed the change from red to white sauce, as it gave the dish a creamy texture, yet was still not heavy and overbearing.
Asparagus has gained popularity over recent years and it has taken me some time to come around to them. I must admit that I am partial to the size of asparagus that I care for. I am not a fan of the big, thick stalks, but I really love the thin, pencil sized asparagus. Whenever I pass a bunch in the produce section that is full of the "skinny" ones, I have to grab it. Asparagus is even a good find when I don't know what's on the week's menu since it goes well with all meats and fish (although I dislike when they stick it in my sushi roll).
You can mess with asparagus by boiling/blanching or steaming it, but I really like to roast it. Aside from it being real easy to do, I like the softer texture and the flavors that come out when it is cooked at a high temperature. I am sure there is a chef out there that would say I am ruining or overcooking the vegetable, but I think you'll agree when you try this simple preparation, that the texture is fun to eat (kinda like cooked green beans) and the taste is excellent thanks to an uncomplicated combination of balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
The other day my mom met me for lunch (@ Max's Grill), and as usual, brought me a couple of "gifts." She got me flowery photo clips since I love to display pictures and green avocados. A strange combo, but Mom knows what I like. I immediately started thinking of the possibilities, and thought "I'll make guacamole for a Mexican meal."
But, right before I went to defrost the chicken and get the fajita fixin' check list out, I had a change of heart. I wanted to do a fish dish and use up the rest of my veggies (see Ratatouille) but still wanted to get use out of these "alligator pears." So I opted to make an ideal for the summer, Avocado Salad. It is a refreshing dish with a bit of zest and of course tons of health benefits from lowering cholesterol to cancer prevention.
I'm not sure what took me so long to finally make one of my favorite preparations of broccoli, but just this afternoon, I asked my mom how she makes her casserole and hours later, we were enjoying it for dinner. Had I known how easy it really is to make, I probably would have been serving this side dish for years. The simplicity of its ingredients and preparation make it a no brainer and the added bonus is that it is low in fat, while still nutritious. This recipe works well with cauliflower too!
Move over sweet potato casserole (but not too far 'cause I like you too), there's a new side dish in town- Butternut Squash Souffle. This recipe of sweet, cinnamony, warm goodness is derived from one that a family friend used to make years ago for Thanksgiving. Since then, I have made it a number of times and tweaked it to the point where it has minimal fat, but still gets the rave reviews. Add this sweet side to your holiday table and they'll be sure to ask for it every year- and you won't have to worry because a simple list of ingredients, including frozen squash, along with the 4 step directions, makes this recipe so easy to replicate.
Sweet mushrooms. When I first heard that such a thing existed, I was in disbelief. How could fungi be sweet, let alone have the scent of maple syrup? I was so intrigued that I actually entered a recipe contest where Marx Foods would send out a bagful of Dried Candy Cap Mushrooms to participants to see who could come up with the best recipe.
I'll be honest, once I received my shrooms, I perused the web to learn a bit more about them and some applications done by others. I even consulted with my brother (former culinary student) to see what he would suggest- the obvious being a dessert. I'm not a dessert fanatic (don't get me wrong, I love a good after dinner treat every now and again), so I wanted to steer clear of the already done cookies, cakes, and ice creams. I just had to figure out something that I could incorporate a maple-like flavor into. Being that we're close to the holidays, I wanted something relevant to the season too. Then it clicked, Cornbread. And then it clicked once more, Candy Cap cornbread Stuffing! The key was making a syrup out of the Candy Caps to get out the flavor and aroma. It played out well and the results were interestingly enjoyable. My taste testers and I were pleased with the subtle sweetness mixed with the savory combination of the stuffing. Even the cornbread itself was great, tasting like a cornmeal pancake with built in syrup.
A fan posted a picture of some lovely Chapati on my Facebook page while I had some Chicken Curry cooking up in the crock pot. I thought it was too coincidental, so it inspired me to make some of my own to go with our curry dish (it must have been really inspiring considering I made it while the A/C was broken). The results turned out much better than the last time I made Roti. I was cramped for time (and cold air) so the shape of my Chapati were less than perfect, but they still tasted great! We enjoyed each piece for its light, fluffy, and warm texture and it made the Chicken Curry Quinoa meal complete!