Tag Archives: quick recipe

Simple side

17 Sep

Fall is in the air, but I am still savoring the end of summer.  I have made one last big batch of summer barbecue  and slaw, but I could not resist adding a twist to my tried and true barbecue menu.  It was so delicious and refreshing that I am now adding it to my list of favorite simple sides.

Fresh delicious side!  Loaded with flavor, packed with nutrition!

Fresh delicious side! Loaded with flavor, packed with nutrition!

Just look at that!  Beautiful on any picnic table, dinner table, or brunch table!  It was a snap to make, and a healthy side dish.  I like crisp textures, a visually appealing presentation, and natural pure  tastes.  Here is my recipe:

Amy’s Fresh Greek Melon Salad

  •  1/4 of a watermelon, about 2 cups,  chopped
  • 1/2 cantaloupe, about 1 cup, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 serrano chili, chopped
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 T. chopped mint

Keep ingredients refrigerated in separate containers until serving time.  Just before serving, toss together.  Serve.  It is that easy.  And this is a fantastic recipe to adjust to what you have on hand, to fit into a certain budget, or for the personal taste of who will be eating it.

Personally, i enjoy the taste of fruits and vegetables together,  There is nothing like a good fall lettuce salad with chopped apples or pears.  You may not think that you will like the cucumber mixed in with the melons, but cucumbers are mild and sweet, and the pairing just works.  Give it a go, add your own flair, and enjoy!

What’s for dinner? (the next night!)

6 Aug

Think you don’t have time to cook?  Think again.  I truly believe that a well planned nutritious meal can be on the table in less time than going to the drive thru.  Sure it takes some planning, but running a good meeting, a good press conference, a well run home takes planning.  If I can do it, anyone can!

As most of you know, meals made from my fridge are among my most creative, flavorful, and easy.  I am a busy working mother, so time is my most precious commodity these days.  I need to use every moment to my best advantage to get things done.  Spending 5 minutes digging things out of the pantry, fridge and freezer, and another couple of minutes cooking is a great way to bring a budget friendly meal to the table.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I took a minute and grabbed a pork tenderloin out of the freezer.  I put it on a plate, popped it into the microwave, and started defrosting it.  When I left for work, I took it out of the microwave and put it in the fridge to finish defrosting.  It was going to sit in there all day, so it had plenty of time to finish defrosting.  It was ready to use when I got home.

Fast forward to 6:00.  I came in from work and started to oven, setting the temperature to 400.  While chatting with my children, I grabbed an oven safe  skillet, sprayed a little non stick spray in it, and turned the burner onto medium high.  I took the tenderloin, drizzled it with olive oil, salt and pepper, then quickly browned it up in the skillet.  I sprinkled it with a little herb de Provence as it browned.  Then I popped it into the hot oven.  It would only need about 20-25 minutes to cook.  Next,  I poured a glass of wine and changed into comfortable clothes.

Now relaxing, it was back to the kitchen to start some wild rice.  I added 2 cups of vegetable broth, 1 cup of wild rice, and a little pepper to a sauce pan.  I put it on  a high heat until it started boiling.  Down to a low simmer, lid on, that would be ready in about 15 minutes.  Now for the vegetable.

I like to keep frozen and canned vegetables handy to use when time is short.  This was such an occasion.  I got a family size bag of frozen broccoli/cauliflower out of the freezer and put it in the microwave to begin cooking.  The tenderloin came out of the oven.  I put in on a plate and tented it with foil.  It is critical to tent meat and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.  The juices flow back into the meat, assuring it will be juicy.

The rice was ready, the tenderloin had rested, and the veggies were good and hot.   The children had set the table while dinner was cooking, so onto the table it went.  We were having a wonderful family dinner in no time!  Simple, fun, and delicious!

Dressings just aren’t that hard!

14 Jul

Its time to step up here.  Beautiful summer vegetables are bursting out of gardens and farmers markets.  They can be fixed a million ways.  Vegetables can be steamed, sautéed, roasted, grilled, blanched.  The list goes on, but as the summer steamy weather is also upon us let’s go for something cool and refreshing.  Many veggies can be prepared then chilled, or eaten raw.  When we prepare vegetables that way we can also add a nice dressing.  And they just aren’t that difficult to create.  So let’s get busy!

I have passed along to you my bleu cheese dressing recipe.  Now let’s just focus on a simple vinaigrette.  Vinaigrettes are fabulous on a salad, but also on cold vegetables.  Like cooked fresh green beans?  Try cooking them, cooling them and serving them chilled with a lovely home made vinaigrette.  Once you get the hang of this super easy dressing, develop your own relationship with it, and let it reflect your own personal taste, I promise you will quickly become an enthusiast!  Soon you will be dousing your cucumbers and cold carrots with a light vinaigrette to reflect the season!

First, a word about vinaigrette.  Generally, the base is one part vinegar to 3 parts good olive oil.  You can use a bold vinegar like balsamic, a mild vinegar such as apple cider, or get a little crazy with grapefruit infused vinegar!  But best to start slowly and let your flavors grow and develop as you get the hang of making this.  Also, you can add a little lemon juice to your vinegar. Here we go.

  • 2 T. vinegar
  • 1 t. lemon juice (optional)
  • 6 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard or dried mustard (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • a pinch of fresh herbs in season, or dried, such as  parsley, chives, or tarragon.

Put vinegar in a bowl.  Whisk the vinegar with a pinch of salt.  This is the time to add your mustard if you prefer it in your vinaigrette.  Whisk until salt is dissolved.  Add other ingredients and whisk until well incorporated.  Sometimes I make my vinaigrette in a jar with a lid and shake it.  That is all there is to it.  Budget friendly, delicious, simple and easy.  Start making yours today.  Dress your salad or cold vegetables and celebrate the season with this chilled refreshing twist!

Comfort Food (in summer??)

10 Jul

That’s right.  I started craving comfort food.  But that seems a little counterintuitive when it is 100 plus degrees outside.  The south is reeling from a blazing heat filled summer, yet I want some warm filling food.  Usually good summer meals for my family consist of grilled meats, lightly prepared vegetables, and cold salads.  For some reason, though, today I needed comfort food.  So that is what I made!

I started letting my taste buds run amok, listening to them with wild abandon! I needed some heat and some spice.  So I decided to make roasted red pepper soup.  I made the recipe up as I went along, and I must say, it was fabulous!  Let me share the recipe with you.

Amy’s Summer Roasted Red Pepper Soup

1 clove garlic, minced

1 sweet onion (I used Vidalia) finely chopped

2 T olive oil

1/2 cup white wine

3-4 cups chicken stock

1 t. thyme

2 jars roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed and chopped  (my short cut!)

Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Heat olive oil and add onion and garlic over medium heat.  Stir and let brown a bit.  Add the white wine a little at a time. scraping up the garlic and onions.  After all the wine is added, cook down for 5 minutes over medium high heat.  Add the chicken stock, red peppers and seasonings.  Let cook for 30-40 minutes.  Use a stick mixer (also called an immersion blender), being careful of the hot liquid, to blend the mixture to a smooth consistency.  Turn heat to low.  This can be served this hot, warm, or chilled to use the next day.

I was pretty heavy handed with my black pepper and red pepper flakes.  It is easy to adjust the heat level of this soup.  It could also be cooled down for the palate by whisking in some cream, about 1 cup, toward the end of the cooking process.  The intensity of the roasted pepper flavor can also be easily increased by adding more roasted peppers.  And of course you can always roast your own peppers.  But I needed a short cut so I used jarred peppers.  Soup is so easy to make, and easily adjusted to match any desired flavors.

I made open faced tuna melt sandwiches on french bread to go with the soup.  We ate it hot, and the 4 teenagers gracing my dinner table gobbled this up.  Evidently I was not the only one needing a little comfort food!  Sometimes you just have to give into cravings.  Bon appetite!

Open a can!

30 Apr

Short on time?  A nutritious dinner can be made quickly with a little creativity and by opening a couple of cans.  Keep some good staples in the pantry as well as the freezer, and dinner can be a snap.  Grab the can opener and let’s go!

Here is a super easy pasta sauce.  Put the sauce together, get a big pot of water boiling, microwave some frozen broccoli, grab some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some crusty bread.  Dinner is ready.  Here is the sauce recipe:

Amy’s Clam Sauce

  • 3 cans minced clams, drained
  • 1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 8-12 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 T. basil
  • 1 T. parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Also, 1 lb. fettucine, 1 large bag frozen broccoli, 1 loaf crusty french bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar.  This serves my family of 4 easily.

Mix together all sauce ingredients except clams in large sauce pan over medium heat.  Turn heat to a low simmer after sauce begins to boil.   Stir occasionally.  While sauce is simmering, boil large pot of water for the pasta.  Cook pasta.  Slice bread.  When pasta is nearly done, add clams to pasta sauce to heat through and microwave broccoli.

Voila!  Dinner is served!  I serve crusty bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip the bread into, and sometimes sprinkle a little cheese onto broccoli while its hot.  This is a quick and easy dinner.  Try it!  Let me know what you think!  Bon appetite!