Friday, May 29, 2015

Fish Friday--Cajun Spiced Tuna Salad

This has been a fun week of salads in our household.  We had salads every day except for last night when we ended up meeting Dick and Jackie at a local restaurant for dinner.  It was such a beautiful day yesterday that after Zumba, Jackie and I decided it was too nice to stay indoors.  Frank had a work meeting in an adjacent city which is right on the water so Dick and Jackie jumped on their Harley and Ting, Melody and I jumped in the car and we went to the Voyageur for dinner.  This is the same restaurant in which we celebrated Tingting's wedding last year.  It is right on the water and the food is always excellent.

So the Vietnamese Noodle salad will need to wait for another day but tonight we did enjoy the Cajun Spiced Tuna Salad.

It was quick and easy which was perfect for today when I had spent the day running errands.  First to Best Buy to get a new cord for my computer since the one we ordered was the wrong one.  Then to Home Depot to get wire for the underground fencing for the dogs.  The bank, Costco, lunch, Barnes and Nobles, grocery store and fish monger before finally coming home to put all the goodies away.

Now we have had dinner and Frank is our mowing the lawn since it is supposed to rain all weekend. Hopefully we will have some breaks in the weather because his brother, Dan, and his wife, Rebecca, are joining us for dinner Saturday and we are hoping to get the pool opened and some flowers planted on Sunday.  Keep your fingers crossed for us and print out this recipe for the next time you want a delicious and quick dinner.

Cajun Spiced Tuna Salad
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue #51

1 orange, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
2 T. sweet orange marmalade 
kosher salt
Cajun seasoning
1 lb. Ahi Tuna Steaks, cut into 2" pieces
2 T. coconut oil
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 T. Miracle Whip
2 T. Honey
8 c. Spring Mix Salad
1/4  of a red onion thinly sliced


Mix 3 T. orange juice, orange marmalade and a pinch of kosher salt together in a bowl.  Add tuna and toss to marinate.  Set aside for 5 minutes.


Whisk together remaining orange juice, lemon juice, Miracle Whip, Honey, salt and pepper to taste.

Tuna and Tomatoes:

Remove tuna from marinade and place on plate.  Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning to taste.  Heat coconut oil in non stick skillet over med high heat.  Sear the tuna so it is carmelized on the outside and rare on the inside.  Remove to a plate.  In the same skillet add the tomatoes and cook until they start to brown and blister, only a minute or so.  


Combine Spring Mix Greens and red onion in a bowl, toss with most of the dressing.  Top with the tuna and blistered tomatoes.  Drizzle with remaining dressing.  Print Recipe

I scream, You scream, We all scream for Ice Cream!!

Guess what I pulled out of the storage room?  Yep, my handy, dandy, cuisinart ice cream maker.  It's that time of the year when you don't want to heat up the house by turning on the oven but you still want something delicious and impressive to serve guests for dessert.  Everyone loves ice cream and I have been know to buy premade ice cream and Sander Hot Fudge. (Which is, without a doubt, the best Hot Fudge in the entire world.  Just my opinion but try it and see if you don't agree with me.) But serving store bought, no matter how good, is just not the same as serving something that was made with love as one of the ingredients.

This recipe is straight from the little booklet that came with the ice cream maker and it is a keeper. Especially if you are a Resee's Addict like me.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream  
Very slightly adapted from Cuisinart

1 1/3 c. good quality peanut butter (not natural)
3/4 c. sugar
1 2/3 c. whole milk
2 1/4 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2  of an 8 oz bag of Resees minis

In med bowl of stand mixer affixed with paddle attachment, combine peanut butter and sugar at low speed until smooth.  Add the milk and continue to mix on low speed until sugar is dissolved, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.  Cover and refrigerate over night.

Pour mixture into an ice cream maker following manufacturers directions.  Five minutes before mixing is complete add the Resees Minis and let mix in completely.

The ice cream will have a cream texture.  If firmer ice cream is desired transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hrs.  Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving. Print Recipe

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Holy it still Wednesday??

I feel like I have lived a whole week in this one day.  It's incredible how some days are calm and relaxed and others are just a whirlwind of activity.  The morning started off intense.  I was sitting in bed with my coffee when Ting yelled for me to come quickly.  I thought I was going to be coming out of the room to see one of Melody's new tricks.  There are many, she is crawling, she is pulling herself up to standing, she stood without holding on for a couple of seconds yesterday, she is refusing to be fed and wants only to feed herself.  It is that feeding herself trick that caused the problem this morning.  Tingting had put Melody into her high chair with some cheerios, strawberries and some cheese.  Melody has had all these foods before but this morning the cheese she was given was the processed slices wrapped in know the ones.  Poor little Mel was breaking out in hives all over her eyes, back of the neck and chest.  Her breathing was fine, thank God, so Ting got on the phone to call the pediatrician and we got on line to look up cheese allergies.  It seems that these processed cheese slices are often the cause of contact allergies because of the dye they use in the cheese.  This made sense to us because Melody rubs her eyes and scratches around her neck so she would have touched herself in the places where the welts were.  We gave her a bath and a bottle of water and it started to subside.  She went down for a nap and when she awoke she was as good as new but it was a scary way to start the day.

After Mel went down for her nap I had to go to the hospital for an ultrasound of my right breast because the mammogram was showing some discrepancies and they needed a closer look.  Bottom line is I have several cysts that they will need to keep an eye on so now I get to go for a mammogram every 6  months instead of once a year.

I then went and met my sister in law for lunch and did some shopping for the upcoming color swap . I stopped to see Mom, I had picked up some corn pads for her because yesterday she complained her toe was hurting and I took a look and saw the corn.  As I was putting on the corn pad the nurse came over and advised that the padded panties Mom has been wearing are no longer doing the trick so I ran up to the corner drug store and Mom is now officially wearing "diapers".  That kind of breaks my heart.  When I left Mom the second time, I ran to the grocery store, another drug store to pick up some prescriptions that were ready and then got home and started dinner.

Phew...that get's me to here....sitting with a glass of wine and posting another salad recipe for you. Today I am sharing the Chinese Chicken Salad.  I was going to also share the Steakhouse Salad but it was soooooooo good that I decided to save it for #HotSummerEats so you will just have to wait for that recipe.  Not that the Chinese Chicken Salad was not good.  In fact, it was delicious and I am very happy to share this recipe with you.  I found this recipe in Cuisine at Home but, as always, I only used it as a guideline and incorporated the ingredients I had on hand and switched things around to meet our tastes.

Chinese Chicken Salad
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue # 45

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast meat, cut into 1" chunks
1 c. buttermilk
3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cornstarch
3 T. sesame seeds
2 t. paprika
large pinch of kosher salt
Oil for frying (I used coconut oil)

Place chicken in a sealable plastic bag, add buttermilk, seal and refrigerate for at least an hour. Combine dry ingredients in a second plastic bag.  Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and place into the dry ingredients, shake well to coat.  Fry chicken, in batches, in hot (375*) oil.  Drain on a paper towel.

1 c. Miracle Whip
1/2 c. Cilantro leaves (I used slightly dried from Garden Gourmet)
3 T. rice vinegar
2 T. Dark Sesame oil
1 T. sugar
2 t. minced ginger (I used Garden Gourmet)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

Toast 2 T. sesame seeds in a small dry skillet until golden brown.  Set aside and allow to cool.

1 T. butter
2/3 c. slivered almonds
1/4 c. brown sugar

Melt butter in same pan that was used for sesame seeds.  Add the almonds, stir and cook until golden. Add the brown sugar, stir and cook until melted.  Spread onto a piece of aluminum foil and allow to cool and harden.  Crumble and crush into bite size pieces.

1 head Romaine Lettuce
1 small can chow mein noodles
2 carrots, shredded

Place lettuce, chow mein noodles and carrots in a large bowl and toss with the dressing.  Place into serving bowl, top with the chicken, sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and candied almonds. Print Recipe

Monday, May 25, 2015

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Shells for #SRC

Yes, it is time!!  Every month, on the fourth Monday, I get to try a new recipe from one of my fellow bloggers who belongs to the Secret Recipe Club.

Let me tell you a little bit about our club.  We are a group of over 100 bloggers who are divided into 4 groups.  I am in group D with a bunch of great people including the owner and brainchild of this group Sarah E.  Sarah started this group with the idea that each month bloggers would be assigned someone's blog and secretly go into that blog to learn more about the person and to recreate on of the recipes from the blog.  It was a great idea as is evident by the fact that we grew so large so quickly.

I was lucky enough to be assigned to Sarah's blog, Fantastical Sharing of Recipes, this month.  To say that Sarah has a lot of recipes is the understatement of the century.  You would think that it would be daunting trying to figure out what to make with hundreds of recipes to go through but Sarah makes it very easy for her followers and readers.  All the recipes are listed by course and then again by ingredients.  Each recipe in the index also has a photo included so that you can see what it is before opening the link.  Genius.  

I could spend days reading recipes and I did but when it finally came down to the nitty gritty I chose to make a main dish and I chose to look for one containing chicken for my Weekly Menu.  That narrowed my search down to 152 recipes....yes, Sarah has 152 main dish recipes that contain chicken!!

I was tempted by the Bacon Wrapped Gouda Stuffed Chicken and I am going to revisit that recipe but I had some chicken that was already cooked so I was looking for a recipe that would incorporate that.
There were several different quesadillas which we love and some great soups but I had just made my Chicken Noodle Soup which was why I had some cooked chicken to use up.  Luckily, for me, Sarah had numerous casseroles from which I could choose.  I chose the Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Shells because my husband is an Alfredo addict.  The only change I made was to use my Homemade Alfredo Sauce.

This recipe was a winner on many different fronts.  It used leftover chicken which made it a quick and easy dish for a weeknight meal.  It incorporated a lot of ingredients I had on hand from sponsors for our Brunch Week that just ended and our Hot Summer Eats soon to begin.  It contained flavors that I knew my family would love and it was delicious.

Thanks, Sarah, for a great recipe and for all your hard work running this great club you created.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Shells
very slightly adapted from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes

1/2 lb Medium Pasta Shells
1 bunch fresh broccoli crowns
2 c. shredded, cooked chicken
1 jar Alfredo Sauce or Homemade Alfredo Sauce
1 1/2 c. Shredded Cheddar Cheese (I used Cabot)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t. garlic ( I used Garden Gourmet Chunky Garlic paste)

Cook the shells and broccoli together, according to the package directions on the pasta.  While the pasta and broccoli are cooking make your Alfredo Sauce or heat the jarred sauce.  Add the cheese and chicken to the sauce, season with salt, pepper and garlic.  Drain the shells and broccoli, toss with the sauce and serve with additional cheese, if desired.  Print Recipe

Take a look at what everyone else found on their Secret Recipe Club search!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Kielbasa and Cabbage Salad

Last week, when I was at the Farmer's Market , I had picked up some smoked kielbasa made by a local farmer.  It did not get on the menu for last week so I wanted to have it this week for sure.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. My normal recipes using kielbasa are more suited for winter meals.  Then I remembered a recipe that I have made numerous times called Beer and Brats.  This recipe came from the June 2011 edition of Cuisine at Home and we enjoy it a couple of times each grilling season.  I knew it would be an easy transition from Beer and Brats to Hard Cider and Kielbasa.

First I made the dressing, using Hard Apple Cider instead of beer.
I kept the horseradish but changed the type of mustard and vinegar used in the dressing.

I kept the technique from the Beer and Brats recipe.
Throwing everything on the grill makes for easy cooking and clean up.

When everything is done cooking, chop it up, toss it with the dressing and serve.
An Easy Peasy Summer Salad Meal!!

Grilled Kielbasa and Cabbage Salad
very loosely adapted from Beer and Brats, Cuisine at Home

For the Dressing:

2/3 c. Hard Apple Cider
2 T. Prepared Horseradish
2 T. Champagne Honey Mustard
1 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together.  Set aside.

For the Salad:

1 small head or 1/2 med head of red cabbage,cored and quartered
1 small head or 1/2 med head of green cabbage, cored and quartered
1 Vidalia Onion, cut into 1" thick slices
1 lb. Smoked Kielbasa
3 thick slices of Onion Rye Bread
1/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Place cabbage quarters, one or two, depending on the size, onto sheets of aluminum foil.  Drizzle each with 2 T. of the dressing. Seal the packets, and set aside.

Place the olive oil in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Brush onto both sides of the onion slices and bread slices.

Place the cabbage packets and the kielbasa onto a preheated hot grill. Cook, turning occasionally for 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the onions to the grill and cook along with the cabbage and kielbasa for another 5 minutes, turning all as needed.  Add the bread slices to the grill and cook along with the rest until the bread is toasted on each side, another 2 or 3 minutes.  Remove all items to a large cutting board. 

Remove cabbage from foil.  Roughly chop everything into bite size chunks and place in a large serving bowl.  Toss with the remaining dressing and serve.  Print Recipe

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Week of Salads

Happy Memorial Day.  The day set aside to remember all of those we have loved and have gone before us and all of those who have died for us serving our country.  No greater love is there than this.  Let us never forget.

Image result for memorial day

For many of us, Memorial Day also marks the beginning of summer.  We start working in our gardens, cleaning up our yards, breaking out the barbecue, opening up the pools.  I love this time of year when the weather is nice enough to spend time out of doors but not yet so hot that you can't breathe.  The bugs are not yet out in full force so you don't have to drench yourself in insect repellant to be able to enjoy a cocktail on the patio.  Our menus change from soups, roasts and stews to grilled meats, fresh veggies and salads.  It just makes me smile.

Image result for grilling clipart

I decided to take that train of thought and continue it throughout the week with a Weekly Menu filled with salads.  I hope you enjoy them. Please stop by each day for photos and recipes and join me on Monday at MPM so we can see what other's have on the menu this week.

Grilled Kielbasa and Cabbage Salad

50th Wedding Anniversary in the afternoon.
BBQ at Roz and Ron's in the evening

Meatless Monday
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad  BBQ at John and Kirsten's

Chinese Chicken Salad

Chop House Salad

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Fish Friday
Spiced Tuna Salad

Friday, May 22, 2015

Lengua Tacos for Food n Flix

This month's Food n Flix  selection was The Goonies from 1985. This party is hosted by Heather of Girlichef and there is still time to join us.  You will find Heather's invitation post here.


I had never sat and watched the entire movie before.  I did see bits and parts of it because my kids were of an age to watch it when it came out even though it contains some "naughty words".

Since I am probably the only person in the world who had not seen this movie in the 80's, I will not bore you with a recap.  Suffice it to say it is a typical 80's genre movie with kids getting themselves into trouble and coming out heroes.  It was fun seeing all the actors in their younger days.

There were lots of food references in this movie.  Mostly by Chunk who was forever hungry but my favorite food reference scene is the one I shared with you at the top of the post when Mouth sasses off to Mama Fratelli and says he wants some Veal Scallopini and Fettuccine Alfredo.  Mama grabs him and a knife and says they only serve tongue.

I loved the look on the kids faces when she asked them if they liked tongue.  Had she asked me, I would have said "yes, please but make it cow's tongue".  Now, if you try to feed your family tongue they will probably have that same look of horror on their faces so.....Don't tell them.  Instead let them know you are eating Lengua, a wonderful delicacy, and unless you are Spanish or Mexican or they are fluent in the Spanish language, they won't have a clue and they will love it!

Don't let them see it like this.
Unless you have kids like my friend, Cam, who will be excited.
Make this on a day when they are in school or out playing.

I have fond memories of watching my Mom cook Beef Tongue.  I was fascinated as I watched her peel the skin off revealing beautiful pure meat.  Mom always sliced hers and we would make sandwiches with it.  I did slice some of mine up for sandwiches as well and then used the rest to make Mexican Sandwiches aka Tacos.  It is also good in soups or any braised dishes.  Tongue is all muscle so it needs to cook a long time to break it down and make it tender.

Cover the tongue with cold water, add your seasonings and aromatics.
I use salt, pepper, garlic, onions, celery and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let simmer for at least one hour per lb or longer.
The skin on the tongue will turn white and the visible flesh will be easily pierced with a fork.
Add water as needed to keep tongue submerged.
Alternately, you can place it all in a crockpot for 8 hrs.

When done cooking, remove from pot and immediately submerge into ice water.
The skin will easily pull off.  Trim off any hard nodules or roots on the bottom side of the tongue.
You can now slice or dice your meat to use in sandwiches or meals.

I sliced some to use in sandwiches.

And diced the rest to use in today's recipe.

Now that you have done all the rest in secret, you can make dinner in the open.
Saute up some onions and pepper in butter.
Add the diced meat, some cilantro and some garlic.
Add a 1/4 c. of Tomatilla Salsa and cook until warmed through.
Serve on warmed flour tortillas topped with additional salsa and avocados.

Lengua Tacos

1 beef tongue
half an onion, quartered
1 stalk celery, broken into thirds
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, smashed
large pinch of kosher salt
5 or 6 peppercorns

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot.  Cover with cold water and place over med high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least one hour per pound or longer, covering with additional water as needed.  Alternately you can place all ingredients in a crock pot and cook for 8 hrs.

Remove tongue from cooking pot and plunge immediately into an ice bath. Peel off the skin and cut off any hard nodules or roots from the bottom of the tongue. Dice up the remaining meat.

For Tacos

Remaining half of onion, sliced
1 jalapeno, cored, seeded and minced
3 sweet peppers, cored, seeded and sliced (I used one each of yellow, orange and red)
2 T. butter
Diced meat from lengua
1 t. Garden Gourmet Cilantro (or 1 T. fresh cilantro, chopped)
1 t. Garden Gourmet Chunky Garlic (or 1 garlic clove, minced)
1/4  c. Tomatilla Salsa,store bought or make your own, plus more for serving
1 Avocado, sliced
1 pkg. Flour Tortillas

Saute onion and peppers in butter over med high heat in a large skillet until tender.  Add lengua, cilantro, garlic and salsa, Continue to cook until heated through.  While filling is heating warm tortillas on a griddle or in a microwave.  Place filling onto tortilla, fold in half and drizzle with additional salsa and top with avocado slices.  Print Recipe