Three’s Company, y’all

Guacamole Sauce

Guacamole Sauce

It’s a marinade, it’s a dressing, it’s Super-sauce!!

Who doesn’t love efficiency in the kitchen?  So if you could spend a few minutes making one thing that could be used all week in several different ways, wouldn’t you be all for it?     I sure am!

Amazing Dip

Amazing Dip

Take this sauce for example… it’s a guacamole you’re going to love dipping into,  it’s a sauce to dress up some roast or grilled chicken, it’s a marinade to flavor fish or tofu, and finally, if you thin it out a little, it’s a dressing to dress up salads, from greens to veggies.

Use on a salad to wake up some greens or veggies.

Use on a salad to wake up some greens or veggies.

As I am prone to say at times like this..”that’s a lot of bang for your buck”.  And speaking of bucks, avocados seem to be plentiful now and the price is right.   Seems like the situation is just begging you to make this sauce/dip/dressing right now.   What are you waiting for?

 

MULTI-PURPOSE GUACAMOLE SAUCE

Yield:   Makes about 1 cup.  Adjust quantities to make more.

Ingredients:IMG_9230

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. ground cumin (according to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper, or dash hot sauce
  • 1 ripe peeled avocado, seeded and coarsely mashed

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Directions:

This couldn’t be easier…..put mashed avocado in a small bowl, add everything else to it, and stir to combine.

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Flavors will blend if you make it about an hour ahead of use time.  Cover and refrigerate till needed.

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 YUM_OH

SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

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Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Grilled Cilantro-Lime Shrimp

Grilled Cilantro-Lime Shrimp

Ever since making the salmon kebabs a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about adapting that recipe idea and using shrimp in place of the salmon.  Grilled shrimp on skewers seasoned with cumin and garlic, and finished with lime juice instead of the lemon.  I loved the look of the kebabs with the slices of lemon separating the chunks of salmon, so why not use lime slices with shrimp.

We loved this recipe with the shrimp.  Since I was using my grill to cook something else, while it was on I also cooked the shrimp, with plans for using them cold in a salad another day.  These would also be great served hot with a rice pilaf, and a big green salad.

These are nice served over a crisp green salad.

These are nice served over a crisp green salad.

CILANTRO LIME SHRIMP

Yield:   4 servings

Ingredients

  • 16 large, raw shrimp,  peeled and deveined
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/2  tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water, 1 hour
  • 1 or 2 limes thinly sliced

Directions:

1.  Heat the grill to medium heat and rub the grates with a paper towel sprayed with olive oil spray.   Season the shrimp with garlic, cumin, salt and half the cilantro in a medium bowl.

2.  Beginning and ending with shrimp, thread the shrimp and folded lime slices onto 4 pairs of parallel skewers to make a total of 4 kebabs.

Thread shrimp on double skewers, separating each one with a lime slice.

Thread shrimp on double skewers, separating each one with a lime slice.

3.  Grill the shrimp, turning occasionally, until shrimp are opaque throughout, about 1 – 2 minutes on each side.  Top with remaining cilantro and freshly squeezed lime juice before serving.

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SOURCE:   adapted from Bon Appetit

Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salsa

I’ve been making this salsa every summer since 2003 when the recipe for it was published in our local newspaper. It uses the kernels of sweet corn cut from the cob plus black beans and anything else you might want to add.  That’s what I like about it;  its so versatile.  If I have a tomato that needs to be used, I cut it in, or perhaps an avocado that’s ripe.    If I don’t have a red onion I use scallions,  likewise if I don’t have cilantro I use parsley.  If you like some heat in your salsa, cut in a small jalapeño.   Put everything in a bowl, mix up the super simple dressing, and Bingo! its done.  We use this salsa as a snack, with  healthy multigrain chips,  or sometimes I use it as a salad.  Just put 1/2 cup on a leaf of romaine, arrange some tomato wedges and cucumber sticks around it, and there it is, a quick salad.

I find that the flavor improves if you make it a day ahead of when you will serve it but that’s hard for me to do.  I always want to sample it right away.  Oh, another thing:  if you like cilantro as much as I do, use twice the amount!

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl mix together all of the following:

  • 2 ears fresh corn, cooked, cut kernels from cob
  • 1 16 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Toss all the above with dressing:

  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons oil ( corn, safflower, or olive)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Serve with tortilla chips or cheese quesadillas.

Pineapple Jerk Chicken and Rice

I made this dish for the very first time just a few days ago, and it came out so good I must tell you about it.  Normally I steer clear of dishes that I think will be very spicy.  From what I know about jerk seasoning, it is quite “hot”  since Scotch Bonnet peppers are usually  amongst the ingredients.  But on reviewing the ingredient list on the bottle of jerk seasoning marinade I became convinced that it would be OK.  So I purchased the suggested brand:  Lawrys Jerk Marinade, and proceeded with the recipe.

This is a one-dish meal featuring chicken breasts, pineapple, black beans, cilantro, onions and the jerk marinade served over brown rice.  It goes together quickly once you have everything prepped.   Mr. D.,  a person who likes spicy foods, was very complimentary when he tasted it.   It does have some heat to it especially with the jalapeño  chile in it, but I could tolerate and even enjoy it, so I know I will be making this dish again.

INGREDIENTS 

SERVES    4

  • 2 cups brown rice,  or 2 bags Boil-in-Bag brown rice, such as Uncle Ben’s
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile–stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple cut into 3/4 inch pieces  (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup jerk marinade, such as Lawry’s
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1.  In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the rice, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes;  drain.  If using bagged rice, cook in boiling water 10-12 minutes, as package directs.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and jalapeño and cook until the onion is browned, 7 minutes;  transfer to a bowl.

3.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the same skillet and increase the heat to medium-high.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the pan and cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the pineapple and jerk marinade and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, another 2-3 minutes.

4.  Stir in the onion mixture, black beans and cilantro; cook until the beans are heated through, about 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper and serve over the rice.

SOURCE:   Every Day with Rachael Ray

Homemade Pesto

When we say pesto most of us think of basil as the primary ingredient.  But pesto(s) can be made from a variety of herbs, vegetables and condiments; or combinations there of.  What is needed is a food processor–and chop, chop–you can be enjoying the flavors of summer all year long.  I include the making of pesto in my series on kitchen basics, because it is so easy, and so useful in a great number of ways.

Depending on what flavor you have on hand you can do any of the following with it:  spread it on grilled corn, toss with grilled veggies for extra flavor, spoon over a spreadable cheese and serve with crackers for an appetizer, use in place of sauce on pizza, stir some into eggs for a seasoned omelet, add a spoonful to soup for an extra flavor hit.   See how versatile it is?  I’m sure you can think of other uses, too.

It is so easy to make that I am giving the general directions first, followed by the ingredients list for four (4) different kinds.  Each one makes  about 2 cups of pesto.  I like to divide mine up into 1/2 – 1 cup amounts and store in the freezer, removing a small container of it as needed.  The flavor stays as fresh as the day you made it.

GENERAL DIRECTIONS

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.  Period!  Did I say Easy?   Divide up into small jars or plastic  containers, and use creatively.

BASIL

1.  BASIL PESTO

  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (pignoli)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tablespoons cold water
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.

CILANTRO

2.  CILANTRO PESTO

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

ROSEMARY

3.  OLIVE PESTO

  • 1  7 0z. jar pitted kalamata olives, drained
  • 1  7 oz. jar pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, drained
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  •  3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

OREGANO

4.  MIXED HERBS PESTO

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, or  1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, or 1  teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (pignoli)
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

SOURCE:   adapted from  Foods, Quick and Easy.