She has a “Welcome to August!” menu this week

aug pc 1 aug pic 2 aug pic

Welcome to August!  It is good to be back in the kitchen cooking and dancing with my disco lights going and Pandora playing.  Part of getting  ready to head back into the school year is freezing meals for the busy weeks ahead.  The blackened chicken will freeze well, this week in addition to some of the other recipes of the past few weeks.  In a few more weeks, I will be gathering up all the last of the summer harvests at the farmers market at putting together sauces and freezing fresh corn.  Just some things to look forward to on the blog.  I hope you take time to slow down this week and enjoy the “lazy” days of summer. Connect with loved ones and friends, dance, and breathe.

Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce/Tomato Salad and Brussel Sprouts

Ingredients

Blackened Chicken:

  • Four, 4-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons blackened seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced

Avocado Cream Sauce:

  • ⅓ cup plain, Greek yogurt
  • ½ avocado, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken breasts and blackened seasoning in a large resealable bag. Seal and shake a few times to evenly coat the chicken.
  2. Lightly coat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, cook the chicken breasts for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the Avocado Cream Sauce: Add the Greek yogurt, avocado, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt in a food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy.
  4. To serve, place 2 tablespoons of the Avocado Cream Sauce and garnish with ½ tablespoon of the green onions.

Brussel Sprouts

Ingredients:
1 lb brussel sprouts
¼ lb bacon – chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sea salt or Kosher salt
Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Peel off any bad leaves from the brussels sprouts and cut off bottoms

2. Cut sprouts in half lengthwise.

3. Heat olive oil on high. Add bacon and cook until almost crisp.

4. Add Brussels sprouts and fry until they brown and the bacon crisps.

5. Add garlic slices and fry 1 minute until softened.

6. Drain sprouts to remove excess oil. Serve hot.

The Tomato Salad can be found on this blog.

Salmon Tacos with Mango Salsa

Fish
ingredients 

• 1lb. fish (salmon or you can use cod, tilapia, or halibut)
• 1 t. lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
• 1 t. paprika
• 1/2 t. chili powder
• 1/4 t. salt

how to make the fish…
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with tin foil.  Pat dry fish, leaving skin on if any.  Drizzle a light coating of olive oil on both sides of fish, and place skin side down on baking sheet.  Pour lemon juice over fish.  Combine paprika, chili powder, and salt in small bowl.  Season fish with herb mix.  Bake until fish is cooked through, about 12-15 minutes, or until it becomes flakey when pulled with a fork.  Break apart into bite size pieces.

Chili Pepper Cream Sauce
ingredients

• 1/2 cup greek plain greek yogurt
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• zest and juice of 1 lime
• 1/2 t. paprika
• 1/2 t. chili powder
• 1/2 t. oregano
• 1/2 jalapeño, minced and seeded
• 1 t. cilantro minced

how to make the sauce…
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, stir until combined.  Store in refrigerator.

Mango Salsa
ingredients

• 2 ripe mangos, peeled and diced – or buy already prepared mangos and dice (I am not a fan of peeling mangos)
• 1/4 cup red onion, diced
• 1/4 cup red pepper, diced
• 1 t. cilantro chopped
• zest and juice of 2 limes

how to make the salsa…
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, stir until combined.  Store in refrigerator.

Not it is time to put the tacos together:  Warm up corn tortillas in 450 degree F oven for 2-3 minuets.  Layer pieces of fish onto tortilla, spoon cream sauce over fish, add some arugula, and top with mango salsa.  Serve warm or chilled, either way is delicious.

Rice with Cilantro, Lime and Black Beans

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1-2 jalapenos, chopped, seeded and deveined (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups long grained rice, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons green chilies
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add red onions and jalapenos sauté 3-5 minutes or until tender.
  2. Add garlic and cumin and sauté 30 more seconds (adding more oil beforehand if necessary). Add rice and sauté for a few seconds. Add beans, green chilies and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for approximately 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
  4. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in butter to melt and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.

NOTES: You can easily customize this rice by stirring in sour cream, cheese, etc. after cooking and garnishing with avocados, etc. You can also cook with a can of drained tomatoes.

BLT

Makes 2 large sandwiches

roasted tomatoes
4 ripe tomatoes, sliced into ¼ to ½ inches
2 garlic cloves, sliced
4 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
smoked chilli aioli

3 egg yolks
juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp each smoked and hot paprika
1/2 tsp crushed smoked chilli
1 tbsp fine sugar (I grind regular sugar with a mortar and pestle or food processor)
1 tsp salt
1 cup canola oil
to assemble the sandwich
½ Lb  bacon, cooked
4 slices sourdough, lightly toasted in the oven
ice berg lettuce

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 and line a jelly roll pan with foil.
  2. Place the sliced tomatoes on the foil, add the garlic, thyme and season with salt & pepper. Drizzle over the olive oil and place in the oven.
  3. Allow the tomatoes to cook for about 45 minutes to an hour until they are starting to look slightly dried out and the edges start to caramelize.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. To make the smoked chilli aioli, place the egg yolks, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, paprika, smoked chilli, sugar and salt in a blender and blend for 30 seconds until well combined.
  6. As you blend, slowly pour the oil in a thin stream until half of the oil has been incorporated. The remaining oil can be poured in a little quicker as the mixture has already been emulsified at this stage. If your aioli seems very thick you can add a few tbsp of water to thin it out, just make sure that you blend it well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  7. Scoop the aioli into a bowl and set aside.
  8. To assemble the sandwich, dollop a generous amount of aioli onto 2 slices of toasted sourdough and spread to cover the bread.
  9. Place a few leaves of Iceberg lettuce on top of the aioli followed by roasted tomatoes and cooked bacon.
  10. Place the remaining slices of bread on top and cut in half.
  11. Serve immediately.

Spaghetti Squash with Thai Peanut Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons crushed peanuts

Peanut Sauce:

  • 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
  • ⅔ cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar or light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste

INSTRUCTIONS

Spaghetti Squash:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Half the squash and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Drizzle inside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes.

Alternative is to cut squash in half, place on moist paper towel in the microwave.  Cook for about 7 minutes on each side.  Remove from microwave and scoop out seeds.

Peanut Sauce:

  1. Place all sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then turn down to low and simmer for 5 minutes while stirring almost constantly.
  2. Take off heat to cool sauce.
  3. When spaghetti squash is done roasting, take it out from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Then, using a fork, scrape out the spaghetti squash strands. If your squash is very moist, you might have to place the strands in a colander and pat with paper towel.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic, chopped parsley and ¼ cup of the peanut sauce pan and combine. Add spaghetti squash and crushed peanuts, stir to combine and cook until heated through (about 2 minutes).
  5. Plate and garnish with a little more crushed peanuts and chopped parsley.

Grilled Pizza

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough (I use Trader Joes pre-made)
  • Olive oil
  • Standard toppings of tomato sauce, herbs, cheese (mozzarella works the best), thinly sliced onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, or pepperoni
  • Some flour or corn meal for dusting the cookie sheet or pizza peel

Method

1 Make the pizza dough or use prepared pizza dough.

2 Prepare the grill for high direct heat. Prepare a small bowl with olive oil for greasing the grill grates and for brushing the pizza. Prepare the toppings so they are ready to go on the pizza—tomato sauce, cheese, and anything else that sounds yummy.

3 Shape the pizza dough by flattening it with your hands on a slightly floured surface. Either use your fingers to stretch the dough out, or hold up the edges of the dough with your fingers, letting the dough hang and stretch, while working around the edges of the dough.

Once you’ve stretched the dough, let it sit for 5 minutes and then push out the edges with your fingers again, until you have a nice round shape, about 12-inches in diameter. Do not make a raised rim, it will mess up your grilling process.

4 Once the grill is hot (you can hold your hands an inch over the grates for no more than 2 seconds), wipe the grill grates with oil. Then place a pizza dough round on a lightly floured (or you can use cornmeal) rimless cookie sheet (or pizza peel if you have one). Let the dough slide off the cookie sheet onto the hot grill grates. Close the lid of the grill and let cook for 2 minutes.

5 Check underneath the dough to see if it is getting browned. If it is not beginning to brown, cover the grill and continue to cook a minute at a time until the bottom has begun to brown. It should only take a couple minutes if you have a hot grill. The top of the pizza dough will start bubbling up with air pockets.

6 Once the pizza dough has browned lightly on one side, use your cookie sheet or pizza peel to remove it from the grill. Use a spatula to flip the dough over so that the grilled side is now up. Keep the grill covered so it retains its heat for the next step.

7 Paint the grilled surface of the pizza with a little olive oil, then cover with sauce (1 ladle of sauce – no more, or you’ll end up with a soggy pizza). Sprinkle on your toppings.  Remember to go light on the toppings, or your pizza will be heavy and soggy

8 Slide the topped pizza back onto the grill. If you are using a gas grill, reduce the heat. If working with a charcoal grill, close the vents on the cover almost all the way. Close the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until the bottom begins to char and the cheese is bubbly. Pull off the grate with a spatula onto a cutting board or other flat surface and let rest for a couple minutes before cutting into slices. Serve with a lovely tossed salad.

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