A Bean Salad, A Potato Salad and A Watermelon Salsa

Summer is in full swing! The weather has been quite spectacular thus far. Days have been in the low 80’s and there hasn’t been that many ridiculously oppressive weather days. You know the ones I am talking about… the ones with the three dreaded H’s – Hazy, Hot & Humid. Fingers crossed it continues like this and August doesn’t rear its ugly head with horrific weather. Nonetheless, pleasant weather or not, it is the summer and one thing is for sure, heavy meals are just not what you want to eat. I know I personally don’t like to eat anything too heavy during the summer months. So today, I am brining you two salads and a salsa that I recently made for my 4th of July BBQ that got rave reviews.

Up first a Greek Chickpea Salad. The most time consuming part of this salad was chopping Persian cucumbers and halving cherry tomatoes. Hence, it was a cinch. What was really nice about this salad is that the leftovers kept well for a few days. There are some salads that just turn into a soggy or sour mess, but, not this once. That could be because the vinaigrette is freshly made as opposed to using something from a bottle.

Next, a Cucumber Potato Salad. It might sound like an odd combination and what might sound even more odd is that soy sauce is added to the mayonnaise, but, thanks to the addition of freshly squeezed lemon & lime juice that soy flavor is really toned down and the two veggies together really complement each other. The red potatoes have a nice creamy texture to them and the cucumbers give the salad a nice crunch.

And finally… A Watermelon Salsa. Yes, a watermelon salsa. My friends more or less had a bewildered or apprehensive look on their face when I told them what the salsa was made of, but, once they tried it their eyes widened in delight. It was supposed to have mango, but, since I didn’t have any on hand I opted to add in an extra cup of diced watermelon. Also, I made this salsa the day before to make sure all of the flavors – cilantro, red onion, basil, lime, etc. – really blended together and then on the day of, before serving it, I transferred it to another bowl and drained some of the juices out of it so it wouldn’t be a watery mess.

So, what salads have you been enjoying or wanting to try this summer?

 

Greek Chickpea Salad

Basic Vinaigrette:

1/4 red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk the vinegar, Dijon mustard, shallot, oregano. 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of the pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly, until the dressing is emulsified and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use and any leftovers.

Salad:

2 15 oz. cans of Chickpeas – drained and rinsed

2 cups Persian cucumber, chopped

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup chopped basil

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss with 2/3 cup of the basic vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper if necessary and refrigerate until serving.

 

Cucumber Potato Salad

Ingredients:

2 lbs. red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. lemon zest plus 1 tbsp. fresh juice

1/2 tsp. lime zest plus 1 tbsp. fresh juice

1/2 cup chopped chives

1/2 cup finely diced celery

1/3 English cucumber, sliced into half moons

1 tbsp. finely diced scallions

black pepper

Directions:

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with about 1 inch of water, add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high and reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Drain and spread the potatoes on a baking sheet and allow them to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl mix together the mayonnaise, soy sauce, lemon zest, lemon juice, lime zest and lime juice, stir together. Add black pepper and the remaining salt. Add the cool potatoes along with the chives, celery, cucumber and shallots. Stir gently and refrigerate until serving, at least 20 minutes.

Recipe from Dale Talde

 

Watermelon Salsa

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tsp. lime zest (about 1 lime)

1/4 fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)

1 tablespoon sugar

Freshly ground pepper

3 cups seeded and finely diced watermelon*

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1 mango, peeled and diced*

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minces

1 small red onion, finely chopped

8 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

Tortilla chips for serving

*Instead of using a mango I used 4 cups of watermelon

Directions:

Stir together the lime zest, lime juice, sugar and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Add the watermelon, cucumber, mango, jalapeno, onion and basil and toss gently. Chill the salsa until ready to serve. If you find the salsa is too watery before serving, drain some of the juices out. Serve with tortilla chips.

Recipe from Trisha Yearwood

 

Southwestern Chicken Egg Rolls

You may recall a while back I made Chicken Egg Rolls that were super simple and quite delicious. Well, the wrappers I used came with a few more recipes and I finally got around to trying one of them out… A Southwestern Chicken Egg Roll.

I began my mixing together chicken, cilantro, salsa, jack cheese and fresh lime juice in a bowl and chilled it in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Instead of cooking chicken I opted to pick up a rotisserie chicken from Costco… they are cheap enough and then I have leftovers to make other things or for lunch.  I should note that the original recipe also called for a slice of avocado in each egg roll and while I had every intention of adding it, my avocado never ripened properly. On a side note, have you noticed that the price of avocados is rising and they don’t taste as good? I guess once something goes mainstream prices must rise. There is that whole rage of avocado toast now, can I just say that I have been eating avocado on bread  – as I always have referred to it as – for years, way before it was cool… LOL!

Next, I filled the wrappers and folded them to create the egg rolls.

 

I ended up with 12 egg rolls…

And then fried them for 2 minutes…

Then transferred them to a baking sheet….

To then bake them in a 425 F oven for about 4 minutes – until they were crispy and the filling was hot.

There’s no need for a dipping sauce for these egg rolls as the salsa added to the chicken mixture kept the filling moist and quite honestly I didn’t miss the avocado! I can’t wait to make these again!

Southwestern Chicken Egg Rolls

  • Servings: 12 Egg Rolls
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups chicken meat, cooked and shredded

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

3/4 cup salsa

1/4 cheddar jack cheese, shredded

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

12 egg roll wrappers

oil for frying

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mix chicken, cilantro, salsa, cheese and lime juice together in a bowl and set aside in the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes.

With a wrapper in front you in a diamond shape moisten all 4 edges of the wrapper. Place 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture just below the center and fold up the bottom corner, then fold in the sides and finally roll the egg roll and seal the top corner.

Fry for 2 minutes in 350 F oil and then place on a baking sheet. Once all the egg rolls have been fried place the baking sheet in the oven for 3-5 minutes until the egg rolls are crispy and the filling is hot.

Recipe adapted from JSL Foods

Slow Cooker Sunday: Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew

So, I personally think that one of the best things to make in a slow cooker is soup / stew. I consider them to be more or less one in the same. And this week I am bringing you a Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew that is the ideal Slow Cooker Meal. The only prep is some dicing, chopping and cutting. No sautéing veggies or heating the aromatics to develop the flavors. You control the level of spice with a jar of salsa. I got this recipe in the cookbook I mentioned last week… Slow Cooker Family Favorites. I’m 2 for 2 with the recipes in this book… Yay!

I began by stirring together salsa, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper in the bowl in my slow cooker.

img_0463

I then added in diced potatoes, frozen corn, cut celery & carrots, a diced onion and minced garlic.

img_0464

I gave everything a few good stirs to make sure the vegetables were coated by the salsa mixture.

img_0466

And finally, I placed 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs on top of the vegetables and poured in a can of chicken broth.

img_0467

So, according to the directions the stew was to be cooked on high for 4 hours, or until the chicken was cooked through and the vegetable were tender. After 4 hours the chicken was cooked through, so I removed it from the slow cooker and shredded it using two forks. But, my vegetables were still a bit undercooked, so I returned the chicken to the slow cooker and cooked everything for about another 2 hours.

img_0468

Which I think was the best thing. The end result were vegetables that were perfectly tender, but, better yet, the chicken was really able to absorb the flavors of the stew. YUM!

img_0469

I packed a bowl for lunch the following day and I must say it was even better then and each subsequent day!

img_0472

Spicy Chicken Mexican Stew

Ingredients:

1 16-oz jar spicy salsa*

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes**

1 16 ounce package frozen corn***

2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs****

1 14.5-oz chicken broth (approximately 2 cups)

 

*I used Chi-Chi’s Medium Thick & Chunky Salsa

**I used 2 medium sized potatoes and 1 small one

**The package I used was 12 oz.

****About 1 3/4 pounds of chicken

 

Directions:

In the bowl of a slow cooker stir together the salsa, cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper.

Add the potatoes, corn, celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Toss everything to coat the vegetables.

Place the chicken on top and then pour in the chicken broth.

Set to cook on high for 4-6 hours, until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Once chicken is cooked, remove from the slow cooker and shred with two forks and return to the slow cooker. Season for taste.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

2 Salads & A Salsa

With summer in full swing you are probably heading to quite a few BBQ’s or hosting a few yourself. Today I would like to share with you two salads and a salsa recipe that are super easy & super quick to make for any BBQ you may be hosting or invited to or for those days that you just want to make something quick and easy for dinner that doesn’t involve much effort or thought. With all of these recipes I suggest making them a few hours in advance and refrigerating them so all of the flavors can marinate together.

Green Bean – Cucumber Salad

IMG_8395

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. green beans, trimmed

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 English cucumber, sliced

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Bring a pot of water to boil and add green beans. Boil the green beans until they are tender – approximated 7 minutes – and then drain and rinse under cold water.

2.  In a large bowl toss the green beans along with the remaining ingredients and then season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Black Bean – Corn Salad

IMG_8396

Ingredients:

2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed

1 cup canned corn

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons honey

Juice of 3 limes

salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Whisk together the olive oil, honey and lime juice in a measuring cup.

2.  In a large bowl add the black beans, corn, pepper, scallions and cilantro. Add the olive oil mixture to the black bean mixture and toss all the ingredients together. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the dice avocado. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

IMG_8383

Ingredients:

1/2 cup diced white onion

1 20 oz. can pineapple slices in juice*

2 tomatoes, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Kosher salt

*Alternatively can use 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into rings.

Directions:

1. Soak the onion in cold water for 15 minutes then drain.

2. Preheat an indoor grill pan over medium heat and lightly oil the pan (you could also grill the pineapple on a grill.) Grill the pineapple rings until marked, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and chop.

3. Combine the pineapple, onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, ginger and cilantro in a large bowl. Add the lime juice and season with salt then toss. Serve with tortilla chips. This salsa also tastes great over salmon and grilled chicken.