late summer fare

Due to technical problems, this post, which appeared in the newspaper in August, never made it into the blog. The recipes are still delicious! —CMT

Summer means eating light. When temperatures rise, appetites wane. Heavy meals don’t appeal to most of us this time of year, and because they put a significant burden on our bodies to digest them we tend to seek out lighter fare. Here are a few ideas that might increase enjoyment of summer meals.

ramen noodle salad

Crunchy, tangy, and refreshing! And it won’t heat up the kitchen.

ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) bag coleslaw mix
  • 1 package ramen noodles, crushed
  • 1 oriental flavor seasoning packet from ramen package
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (I use dry roasted)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar

directions

  1. Placed dry crushed noodles in a shallow bowl and microwave on high at one-minute intervals, stirring between each, till noodles are lightly toasted.
  2. Mix together coleslaw mix, crushed noodles, and sunflower kernels.
  3. In a small bowl, mix ramen noodle seasoning, oil, vinegar, and sugar and pour over coleslaw and noodles. Mix and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Add sunflower seeds just prior to serving.

variations

  1. If you have toasted sesame seed oil on hand, a drizzle or two before serving is wonderful addition.
  2. Double the amount of dressing (except one package of seasoning is enough) and marinate a cup of diced or pulled cooked rotisserie chicken breast for about 4 hours in the refrigerator.  Drain marinated chicken and add to noodles and vegetables.

spiedies (pronounced “SPEE-dees”)

My husband is from Binghamton, New York, and one summer he took me to the Spiedie Festival. Made popular by Italian immigrants—spiedo means “kitchen cooking spit.” In Binghamton’s industrial heyday in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, “spiedie stands” popped up to feed growing throngs of manufacturing workers in Binghamton, Vestal, Endicott, and Broome County in New York state’s southern tier. Many spiedie stands exist today, and spiedies are still a popular dish at local restaurants.

You can buy prepared spiedie sauce at our local grocery store, but it is so easy to whip up your own fresh version, which has a more authentic flavor. Rub the herbs between your finger and thumb before adding in order to release their essential oils. Beef and lamb are traditionally used—even venison, but lean boneless pork is also excellent. If using chicken, reduce marinating time to 3 hours or less. Other meats can be marinated overnight. This recipe makes six sandwiches.

for the marinade

  • 2 pounds meat cut into 1½ -inch cubes
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼  teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano=
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

for the sauce

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

have on hand

  • Loaf of crusty Italian or French bread

directions

  1. Make marinade and sauce. Combine marinade ingredients in large bowl. Transfer 2 tablespoons of mixture to separate bowl. Whisk in mayonnaise, vinegar, and lemon juice; refrigerate.
  2. Prick meat with fork, cut into 1½ -inch chunks; mix with remaining oil mixture. Depending on meat, refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes for chicken or up to 24 hours for red meats.
  3. On the day, let meat stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Grill on skewers over hot fire, covered, turning frequently until lightly charred and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. No grill? Meat can be browned and cooked through in about 8 minutes in a cast iron pan. A ¼ tsp. Wright’s Natural Hickory Seasoning® (aka Liquid Smoke) added to the marinade will improve the flavor. Wrap bread around meat and drizzle generously with mayonnaise sauce. Serve immediately.

barbecued chinese chicken wrap

You can’t beat the combination of flavors. Lettuce must be uber fresh for the best crunch. Assemble a few hours in advance, and refrigerate. Terrific appetizers or a light summer supper.

ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 pounds thin-cut chicken breast or tenders
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
  • Coarse salt and coarse black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch ginger root, grated or minced pickled ginger (in Asian foods aisle)
  • 1 navel orange, zested
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin, Chinese barbecue sauce (in Asian foods aisle)
  • 1/2 large head iceberg lettuce, core removed, washed and spun dry
  • Wedges of navel orange

directions

  1. Discard tough stems from mushrooms and slice tops. Chop chicken into small pieces.
  2. Preheat a large skillet or wok to high.
  3. Add oil to hot pan. Add chicken to the pan and sear by stir frying a minute or two. Add mushrooms and cook another minute or two. Add salt and pepper to season, then garlic and ginger. Cook a minute more.
  4. Grate zest into pan, add bell pepper bits, chopped water chestnuts, and scallions. Cook another minute, continuing to stir. Add hoisin sauce and toss to coat.
  5. Transfer hot barbecued mix to serving platter, and pile the quartered wedges of crisp iceberg lettuce along side. Add wedged oranges to platter to garnish.
  6. Pile spoonfuls into lettuce leaves, wrapping in thirds around fillings. Squeeze an orange wedge over top to enhance.

Want to print out these recipes? Click HERE.

bits & basics – part 2

Here are some more cooking basics I continue to make over and over. My basics are foundations for more elaborate dishes with ingredients added to spice up my repertoire in the kitchen. You can do the same to save time and effort.

Basic Nine-Day Coleslaw  If you’re a coleslaw lover like I am, you’ll find this recipe valuable. It is mayonnaise-free, really does keep for nine days, makes a ton of slaw, and is great to bring to a potluck.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs cabbage
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 onions
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lite olive oil
  • 2 tsp table salt (or 4 tsp kosher salt)
  • 2 Tbs mustard seed

Directions

Chop cabbage, pepper and onion and set aside in a large bowl. Place the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and pour over vegetables. Toss well to coat. Place in container or jar and store in refrigerator. Best after sitting one day. Optional additions are raisins, shredded carrots, or green onions.

Basic Fruit Cobbler  This is so easy to throw together. You can use most kinds of fruit or berries—whatever is in season, but it is best with apples or peaches.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups peeled and sliced fruit
  • 1½ cups sugar (divided)
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Pour ¾ cup of the sugar over fruit, mix lightly and set aside. Mix remaining sugar, flour, baking powder, milk, and salt till blended. Place butter in a casserole dish and set in oven. When butter is melted, remove dish from oven, pour in batter, and top with fruit, spreading evenly. Bake 1 hour.

Basic Barbecue Sauce  I find bottled barbecue sauce way too sweet and loaded with all kinds of unpronounceable ingredients. This recipe is delicious, and you control how sweet it will be. You can make large batches and put it up in jars to give as gifts (be sure to check your canner instructions).

  • Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbs balsamic or apple cider vinegar
  • 6 Tbs lemon juice
  • 5 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 3 Tbs (or less) brown sugar
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Cayenne or red pepper flakes to taste
  • Liquid Smoke to taste (optional but very nice if used sparingly)

Directions

Prepare onions and garlic. Place tomato paste in a large saucepan. Add water gradually till well blended. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to very low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Adjust salt, pepper, and sugar. Refrigerate in jars. Use within two weeks or so, or freeze in several small containers to extend shelf life.

Basic Roasted Vegetables  What shouts “comfort food” more than oven-roasted veggies? Well, maybe mac and cheese, but really, this is so easy to make and you might even get your kids to eat them.

You can use any root vegetable like potatoes, beets, carrots, as well as apples, onions, fennel bulb, winter squash, and even cauliflower and brussels sprouts.

First, preheat your oven to 425°. Depending on the hardness of the vegetable, you’ll want to cut them according to how long they need to cook. For example, cut carrots and parsnips thin and potato a bit thicker. Apples will not take as long as squash.

You can cut your veggies into chunks or slices. Spread them out on a large cookie sheet with sides. Drizzle with oil (I like extra virgin but you can use whatever you prefer), and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven for about 40 minutes, flipping around about half way through, or till browned around the edges. Test doneness with a fork. Remove the cooked pieces to a serving dish and cover with foil to keep warm. Return any undone pieces to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes or till done. Serve as a side dish with anything. A drizzle of lemon juice and cracked pepper makes it even more yummy. Honey mustard dressing tastes great on this, too.

I added two bonus recipes on my blog last time—basic crepes and basic brown butter sauce—so be sure to log on to get them, and while you’re at it, download a printable PDF, Cook’s Journal-TIPS pt 2 of this post, too!

pasta

ChickenCacciatore

italian three-cheese chicken cacciatore

This recipe is as much about chicken as it is about pasta. Both play an equal role in its deliciousness! This makes a huge amount and is great if you are having guests over or just for a nice family dinner with tons of leftovers for another night. If you prefer dark meat, you can use bone-in or boneless thighs. You can assemble the whole thing ahead of time, cover with foil, and bake later. Baking time would be a bit more if you do that, though. I wouldn’t add any strongly flavored herbs like basil or oregano as they tend to overpower the lovely combined flavors of the cheeses, olive oil, wine and balsamic vinegar.

1 lb. dried bow-tie pasta (Farfalle)
3 T. Extra-Virgin olive oil
2 lb. skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips (4 breast halves)
2 small or 1 med. large yellow onion, sliced
2 medium green bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced

2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) stewed or diced tomatoes, or use halved cherry tomatoes in season
1/4 C. tomato paste
1/4 C. red wine

1/3 C. balsamic vinegar
1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
1/2 C. grated Asiago or Romano cheese
2 C. (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 large eggs, beaten

1 T. dried parsley (or 1/4 C. fresh, minced)

1 T. capers
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

Bring 3 quarts water to boil in 6- to 8-quart pot over high heat. Stir in pasta and return to boil. Boil, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, 9-10 minutes. Drain and set aside until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat oil in large (12-to 14-inch) cast-iron skillet over medium-heat for 1 minute. Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown it, flipping occasionally, for 6 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove chicken and reserve until ready to use.

In same skillet, cook onion, garlic, and bell peppers over medium heat, scraping up browned chicken bits and stirring occasionally, until onions and peppers are tender, about 8 minutes.

In a bowl, mix well tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, and balsamic vinegar and add to onion and pepper mixture over medium heat. When bubbling, add reserved chicken, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in reserved pasta until distributed.

Stir together ricotta cheese, Asiago cheese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper in medium bowl until well-blended.

Spread ricotta mixture over skillet contents in even layer. Bake in preheated oven 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Serve directly from skillet.

Makes 6-8 servings.

PRINT THIS RECIPE: Italian Three-Cheese


 

ground meats

I was away the beginning of July and realized today that I had forgotten to post the blog for this column, which appeared in the Aroostook Republican on July 2nd. Sorry about that.

Hamburger, ground chicken, turkey, and pork add variety and convenience to your meals. They can be frozen and available at any time and are a tasty background for herbs, spices, and vegetables, rounding out any family meal.

sweet-and-sour turkey meatballs
Whenever my daughter, Bennet, visits, she asks for this dish, and I enthusiastically comply since I love it, too. You can double the recipe for a crowd. And it is easy to make ahead and heat just before serving. Bring to room temperature first.

For the meatballs:

  • ¾ lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 10 crushed saltines
  • ½ cup canned milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • ½ tsp dried savory or rosemary
  • Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with foil coated with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, soften cracker crumbs in milk. Beat in egg. Add remaining items, mixing well. Use a cookie scoop or form balls by hand, about the size of a walnut. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or till nicely browned.

While meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce:

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp lite olive oil
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbs white vinegar
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place cooked meatballs in a casserole. Mix all sauce ingredients and pour over. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour till bubbly. This can also be heated in a crockpot. Check your unit’s directions for temps and times. Serve over noodles with some buttered corn or green vegetable and crusty bread.

hamburger upside-down casserole
This is my mother’s recipe—simple yet delicious. The kids will gobble this right up.

Boil 1½ cups elbow macaroni or small shells according to box directions to make about 3 cups. Drain and set aside. Spray a 9 x 13” baking pan or large casserole dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350°.

In a skillet over medium heat, brown:

  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 lb lean hamburger
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried (or rubbed) sage
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Add two 8-oz cans plain tomato sauce to meat mixture and bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Place in the prepared pan or dish. In a large bowl, mix 8 oz of shredded sharp cheddar with the macaroni. Place on top of meat mixture.

Beat 3 eggs with ¾ cups milk and pour over entire mix. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 minutes more till brown and bubbly.

TIP: If you’re as busy as I am, you forget to defrost things for supper like ground meat or stews and end up with a solid block of ice staring at you at 5 p.m.! Solution? Invest in some good quality zip-seal bags and pack your ground meat flat to fill the entire bag and seal well. A half-inch thick quart-size bag of ground meat will defrost in an hour, or much less if you set it under that faucet and run cold water over it for a while. Same with stew or soup. Fill a large bag about ¾-full. Seal carefully, pressing out the air, then lay it flat in the freezer. No microwave defrosting disasters. So easy to make a last minute meal decision!

white bean and chicken slow-cooker chili
This hearty dish is so easy to prepare and if made ahead, gets better when refrigerated overnight. Go ahead and freeze the leftovers.

Brown 1 large chopped onion in 2 Tbs light olive oil over medium-high heat. When onion is translucent, add 2 chopped garlic cloves, 2 lbs ground chicken, and 1 tsp salt. Cook about ten minutes, stirring often.

Now add:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbs chili powder

Stir constantly until spices are very fragrant, being careful not to burn. Deglaze pan with ¼ cup of lime juice, scraping off brown bits from the bottom of the pan, then add 32 oz chicken broth. Mix well and place in a 3½-quart slow-cooker. Next, add 30 oz of white beans (cannelini), drained and rinsed, and mix well. Cook on low setting for at least four hours. Pass the shredded Monterey Jack, sour cream, and pickled jalapenos. Serve with warm flour tortillas.

marsha’s hamburger pie
When I lived in Silver Spring, Maryland, Marsha and her family lived in the apartment below us. She was a true Southern Belle and the cousin of actress Stella Stevens. Marsha made this for me once when I was down with a bad cold. Believe me, the flavors came through as this is very tasty. You do have to make your own pie crust for this one, but it is totally worth it. You can find Cousin Ralph’s Magical Piecrust recipe at the end of the Memorial Day post in this blog.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cousin Ralph’s top and bottom piecrust, prepared (see directions)
  • ½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 or 3 dashes cayenne pepper
  • 1½ lbs ground chuck
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 can beef bouillon (1¼ cups)
  • 1½ cups dry unseasoned bread crumbs
  • ½ tsp each salt and black pepper
  • ¼ tsp each dried thyme and marjoram
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare pie crust adding cheese, paprika, and cayenne to the flour before stirring into shortening mixture. Divide crust in two, roll out and place in a pie pan. Cook onion and beef in a skillet till browned. Mix bread crumbs and bouillon and let sit a few minutes. Add beef mixture and remaining ingredients. Mix well, and pour into pie shell. Roll remaining crust and put over top. Pinch to seal edges. Cut vents.

Bake on the lowest shelf of your oven to set bottom crust. Bake 45 minutes or more till golden brown. Brushing the top crust with whole beaten egg imparts of wonderful sheen and makes your dish look like it was prepared by the finest chef!

PRINT THIS POST! HERE’S THE LINK:  CJ-7-3-14-GROUND MEAT

full of beans (plus bonus recipes)!

Beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and minerals, are fat-free, with a low glycemic load—important to those watching their carbohydrate intake.

south point veggie chili
I named this dish after our wonderful location on Madawaska Lake. I have been making it for about twenty-five years. It is meatless, but I have served it to many guests who, after finishing the meal, swore it had meat in it! Meatless means easy on the budget, too. You’ll find it is deeply satisfying, and the secret lies in the spices and how they are carefully toasted to bring out their flavor.

Main Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs light olive oil (divided)
  • 3 cloves garlic (or use garlic powder to taste)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 sweet peppers (I use one red and one green), diced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 8 large button mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 3 15-oz cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Seasoning Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 Tbs ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tbs dark brown sugar (if your diet allows, as this one of the secrets to the great taste)
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste; I use about a ½ tsp)

Directions

Place a 5-quart pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Place two tablespoons of oil and heat about a minute. Add peppers and onions and stirring often, cook till they begin to soften. Add garlic and mushrooms and stir well till coated.

Push vegetables back to form a small well and reduce heat to low. Place remaining oil in the well and add chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Stir spices in the well with a wooden spoon for a minute or so, taking care not to burn, until the mixture is aromatic. Stir in the vegetables to coat, and continue to cook for another minute or so till bubbling.

Deglaze pan by adding tomatoes and their juice, scraping up brown bits. Turn the heat up again. Add brown sugar, vinegar, salt, cayenne, carrots, and beans. Mix well, cover, and simmer, stirring often, for about a half hour or until carrots are soft.

Stir in corn. Simmer another half-hour. If too watery, set the lid off a bit to allow some to cook away, or thicken with a tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in a tablespoon of water. If too thick, add water or tomato juice. Simmer for several minutes afterward to insure the starch is thoroughly cooked and juices are clear. Make final adjustments for heat and salt. Serve with shredded Jack cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, and hot flour tortillas.

white turkey or chicken chili
This stew is a welcome change from ordinary chili. Again, toasting the spices provides a rich “umami,” that indescribable, savory deliciousness missing from many dishes. This calls for boneless chicken or turkey breasts, but you can also use ground chicken or turkey if you prefer.

Main Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs olive oil (divided)
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 1½ lbs of boneless, skinless turkey, chicken breast, or thighs, cut in 1-inch chunks
  • ½ bag frozen shoe peg corn
  • 2 15-oz cans white beans (cannellini) drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • ½ small box of button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tbs lime juice
  • 1 small can green chilis
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (or garlic powder)
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch in 2 Tbs water

Seasoning Ingredients

  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp dried oregano

Directions
Pat poultry very dry with paper towels. Salt liberally and brown in 2 Tbs oil. Remove from pan, add onions, garlic, and mushrooms, and follow the directions for South Point Chili to toast spices, taking care not to burn. Deglaze with broth and lime juice, add beans, browned meat, chilis, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer till meat is cooked through. Stir in cornstarch mixture. Add corn and simmer another fifteen minutes. Pass the hot sauce, sour cream, shredded cheese, jalapenos, and warm flour tortillas.

tip of the week – cooking oils

Admit it. We don’t give much thought to cooking oils, and you probably grab whatever’s cheap or on sale like the generic “vegetable oil” or “canola.” But I’d like to put a bee in your bonnet about that choice. Do yourself a favor and buy only pure light olive or grapeseed oil for your general cooking. Both are excellent since they do not impart any strong flavors to a dish, and both are free of any controversy regarding genetically modified content.

Cheaper “vegetable” oil can be a mix of soy, corn, or canola oils and is often over-processed with no nutritional value. Light olive oil is a healthful way to provide valuable nutrients.

If you do a fair amount of high heat frying, like French fries, fried chicken, and the like, choose peanut or safflower oil. They stand up well of sustained heat and will not smoke at higher temperatures.

Although a popular TV “chef” uses it for everything, extra-virgin olive oil is much more expensive and has a strong flavor. It also has a low smoking temperature so it isn’t suitable for everyday frying. Reserve it for dishes that require that deep, “olivey” flavor like salad dressing, Italian sauces and the like. Happy cooking!

bonus recipes
These recipes are not included on my newspaper column because of space constraints. Checking my blog every week will reward you with several more meal ideas and handy tips.

three-bean salad
This classic salad is so easy to make, you’ll never go back to buying that stuff in a jar. This is a tasty dish that even kids will eat, and you can keep a container of three-bean in your ‘fridge year round. This is a nice accompaniment to any meal and is an easy fix for potluck suppers—just double or triple the amounts. When fresh beans are available, you can use them, but they’ll have to be cooked tender-crisp before you can use them in this recipe.

  • 1 can cut green string beans (Blue Lake variety is best)
  • 1 can cut wax beans
  • 1 16-oz dark or light red kidney beans
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup sugar (or substitute of your choice)
  • 1/3 cup light olive or grapeseed oil (Reduce or eliminate if you are restricting fats)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste

Drain and rinse all canned vegetables and place in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl place vinegar, sugar, and salt, and stir till sugar is dissolved. Add oil and whisk till emulsified. Pour over vegetables, add onion, pepper, and mix thoroughly. Place in a covered container and refrigerate 18-24 hours, mixing now and then to distribute dressing. Serve cold. Delish!

tuna & white bean salad
This is a fun lunch, but very nutritious. I prefer chunk light tuna because it has a more defined taste, but you can use whatever you like. Water-packed is best for this recipe. Serves four.

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ tsp salt (if you use coarse salt, increase to ½ tsp)
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • ½ sweet red pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 can cannellini (white kidney) beans
  • 1 pouch or one 5-oz can chunk light tuna (or albacore—your choice), drained and flaked
  • Basil (fresh is best, but dried is fine) You can also substitute fresh parsley.
  • Lemon zest (optional but it makes a huge difference in the flavor)
  • Directions

In a small bowl, mash garlic with salt using the back of a spoon. Mix in lemon juice and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Add lemon zest and set aside.

In a medium size bowl, toss red pepper, onion, and beans together. Add tuna and mix, tossing lightly. Mix in garlic and oil dressing and basil.

Serve at room temperature in lettuce cups or over garden greens with some crisp toasted bread or crackers.

black beans & rice
This delicious dish requires a special seasoning made by Goya. It’s available in almost any grocery store and adds an authentic Mexican touch.

  • 1 can undrained black beans (Goya brand is best quality)
  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 packet Goya Saizon Without Annetto
  • 1 Tbs white vinegar
  • ½ brown sugar
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • ½ cup each diced green bell pepper and diced onion
  • Prepare rice and keep steaming hot. While rice is cooking, sauté peppers and onions till soft. Stir in remaining ingredients, heat till blubbing, and pour over rice. Serve immediately.

WANT TO PRINT THIS POST? HERE’S THE LINK:  CJ-7-23-14-BEANS