Monthly Archives: May 2012
Growing up,we pretty much had the same meals every week. Both of my parents worked full days, and most of the time I can remember my cousins staying with us, giving our parents that many more mouths to feed. While my mom was no super chef, but what she did make every week, she made extremely well. One of those dishes, which I constantly make today, is always a hit anywhere I go. That dish is my mother’s Broccoli Salad.
This salad has such simple ingredients, and, as much as I try to add or subtract from the list, it is always the best just the way she makes it, with one exception, the dressing. My mother uses a simple bottled Cole Slaw Dressing, where I’ve spiced things up a tad bit by using a mixture of Cole Slaw and Honey Mustard Dressings. I think it adds just a bit of a kick and takes it up to that next level.
This salad is good for pretty much anything. It’s makes a great vegetarian option for lunch, goes great with burgers and chicken, and is especially complimentary to BBQ. I also wouldn’t count it out with a nice hearty piece of breaded talapia or some fish sticks for the kids. Without further adieu, here’s my spin on my Mommy’s Broccoli Salad.
- 4 C Broccoli, chopped into florets
- 3/4 C (about 1/2) Red Onion, small dice
- 3/4 C Cheddar Cheese, shredded or small dice (Pepper Jack makes a lovely substitute as well)
- 1/2 C Bacon, crumbled or chopped (About 4 slices) **Leave out for vegetarian option**
- 3/4 C (about 2 stalks) Celery, halved and diced
- 1/2 C Cole Slaw Dressing
- 1 TBSP Lt. Honey Mustard Dijon Dressing (or make your own, combining, 2 to 1, Dijon Mustard to Honey)
1. Begin by slicing strips of bacon into “lardons”, or small strips. Cook them in a pan until brown and crispy. You can also cook full strips and chop them after. Either way is fine.
2. Chop your broccoli into florets. The stalk is completely edible and tastes pretty good. You want to chop your large head into smaller heads. Slice the stalk until you reach the head, Then, begin slicing it into small florets.
3. Chop your red onion in half and remove the paper on the outside. **Here’s a tip: to help you hold the onion as you chop it, pull the paper, or inedible outer skin, of the onion to the end, but not off. As you get to the end of the onion, this will give you more to hold onto. Slice the onion horizontally about 3 times, then vertically. Now, chop into a small dice.
4. Chop your cheese any way you like. I found this handy dandy cheese slicer on sale while I was in Germany, but they are definitely sold all over the world. It utilizes a handle with a small wire that slices through any cheese like butter. If you cut a lot of cheese, and I LOVE cheese, this is an awesome little gadget to have, and you can find them on sale all the time. This one is marble, and keeps the cheese nice and cold, but they come in other materials, like wood and plastic, as well.
5. Slice celery stalks in half. Feel free to use the leaves as well, and dice.
6. Dump everything into a bowl and toss it lightly. Mix the dressings and pour over the salad. Toss until everything is coated. All Done!
You can make this salad the night before or earlier in the day. If you plan on making this early, my suggestion is to wait until at least 2 hours before serving to add the cheese. I find the cheese tends to get mushy if left in the dressing all day or overnight. I don’t like that much dressing on mine, so I usually don’t have to worry too much about it going mushy if I make it the night before, or eat it a day or 2 later. Make this salad! You will not be sorry. ENJOY!
How many times have you wanted a quick, but satisfying lunch without sitting in a line full of cars or using the same lunch meat as always? I work at home, and I find it so easy to either forget to eat, or to get very frustrated by eating the same old thing. Recently, I had a chicken wrap from a fast food restaurant. It was so good. I thought to myself, “I can do this at home.” So I did!
Ingredients per wrap:
- 1 piece of cooked chicken, crispy or grilled and cut into strips
- 1/2 Tomato, thinly sliced
- Red Onion, thinly sliced
- 2 slices of Baby Swiss Cheese
- Handful of Arugula, or Baby Spinach (really any green leaf will work here)
- Honey Mustard Dressing (1 TBSP Mustard, 1 tsp Honey, Salt & Pepper)
- 1 Flour Tortilla
- Drizzle dressing on tortilla.
- Layer with your ingredients, leaving about 2 inches at the bottom for folding.
- Fold tortilla by bringing the bottom 2 inches toward the top. Fold the left over the middle, repeat with the right.
- EAT and Enjoy! How hard was that? Not at all.
I know this is so simple, but when I want something fresh and easy, but certainly different than my usual lunch meat sandwich, this is where I turn. It’s packed with fresh veg and protein. I always keep precooked chicken strips on hand, so all I have to do is pop them in the oven or microwave for a few. I slice and prep everything else, and by the time I’m finished with that, the chicken is ready, and I’m eating. It’s quick enough that I can stop working and pick right back up where I left off, and easy enough that I don’t have to worry about tons of steps. Hope you enjoy this quick lunch!
Did I just say Dessert Nachos? Indeed! There’s this awesome little restaurant my friends and I used to go to all the time called Tres Pesos. I know the name doesn’t sound German, but that’s where it was, I promise. It’s this awesome Mexican restaurant on a corner of Niederwerrner Strasse. They have some amazing food, but what my friends and I loved the most, was making a quick lunch stop on a hot summer day for their dessert nachos. This place made their own tortilla chips which were super large, dusted in cinnamon and sugar, topped with ice cream and drizzled with caramel sauce. It was A-mazing!
So, with the weather warming, I thought to myself, why not relive a little of that experience and bring some of my favorite German Mexican restaurant home to California. If that makes any sense. Hahaha. Here’s how I did it.
Start with my recipe for Sweet or Salty Tortilla Chips. Here’s a quick refresher:
- Cut corn tortillas in quarters.
- Fry in oil heated to 360˚ F.
- Remove and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. You may want to use more cinnamon than sugar to bring out the sweetness for this dessert.
**Note** I don’t recommend making these chips days ahead of time. I’ve made these a couple days before and put them in an airtight container and they were slightly stale. Not horribly, though, so you may be able to get away with a day ahead of time. You will definitely be okay making them earlier in the day and storing them in a plastic bag.
So, that took all of, maybe, 10 minutes. When you’re ready to serve, layer your dessert just like nachos!
Use whatever ice cream and toppings you like. Here, I used some Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet I’d been experimenting with.
Lay your chips on the bottom, as many as you like, depending on how many you’re serving. Top with your ice cream. It looks wonderful when it’s filled up with a variety of ice creams, but there are only two of us. You can make it a sundae by crumbling brownies over the chips, then topping with ice cream, or using fruit pieces like sliced bananas, kiwi, strawberries, mango, pineapple, etc, to top your ice cream. Then, you don’t feel so bad about eating it.
I chose to keep it simple by drizzling some of my homemade caramel sauce around and over the top. There’s nothing better than these sweet and crunchy tortilla chips covered in caramel sauce. Oddly enough, I would feel horrible just eating these chips with caramel. Somehow the ice cream makes it all seem better.
I love making these chips alone as a snack, but I love them even more as a simple, but elegant dessert when I have company. Who doesn’t love ice cream, and this is a great way to present it, and offer your guests something a little special. Enjoy!
Don’t forget to also use these tasty treats to dress up your desserts! A simple Vanilla Dream Ice Cream, with or without my Edible Coffee Chocolate Bowl, drizzled with a sauce of your choosing will turn your regular dessert from ordinary to OMG THIS IS FABULOUS!
I love these chips because, like most of the foods I try to publish, they are super simple. I have seen so many people make variations of these, and I finally decided, I have to try them. I did, and they were wonderful! Make them any shape you like, dust them with any spice that suits you, but MAKE THEM. Here’s how I did it.
- 6″ Corn Tortillas (Each tortilla makes 4 triangles)
- Oil for frying (I use peanut oil)
- Heat Oil to 360˚F. You can use a deep fryer, but I use a small pot with about 4 inches of oil.
- Slice tortillas vertically and horizontally, like slicing a pizza.
- Once the oil is hot, drop in the tortillas, 4 at a time. If using a pot, you may have to flip them. Watch for browning along the edges. It takes about 30 seconds per side. Remove them to a paper towel.
- While they are still hot, sprinkle them with your spice mixture. For nachos, or regular tortilla chips, I like to simply use kosher salt. For dessert nachos, I like using a salt and sugar mixture. You can sprinkle them by hand if using spices, or you can put your spice mix in a small paper sandwich bag. Drop in your chips and shake in the bag to coat.
- Remove them and set to the side. Repeat with each batch.
- Serve however you like. These are great with salsas, dips, spreads, you name it. They make great thick chips. Try them with cinnamon and sugar to make some awesome Dessert Nachos.
These nachos are super easy and super quick, especially with my shortcut. What is this shortcut? Precooked chicken. I like to make these with the chicken I use for my chicken stock. You can also use a rotisserie chicken. Here’s how I do it.
- 1 Whole Chicken, precooked
- Tortilla Chips (Try my recipe)
- Shredded or Nacho Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Green Onions
- **You can use any nacho ingredients you want. They’re your nachos!
- Prep the chicken. It’s messy, but simple. Just peel off the skin and pull the meat off the bone. Shred it with your hands or two forks. Mix the chicken with your favorite BBQ Sauce. My favorite sauce is Sweet Baby Rays. I like to use the original and spice it up according to what I’m having, but you can go with the Hickory and Brown Sugar or Sweet Vadalia Onion flavors and you don’t have to add a thing.
- Layer your nachos. Start with the chips, top with the chicken, then layer the rest as you see fit. Now Enjoy! Was that easy or what?!
Making your own stock or base always sounds like a daunting task. Since the first time I ever made my own chicken stock, I’ve worked in my circle of friends and family to promote making chicken stock at home. It’s so simple, why wouldn’t you? Now, to set the record straight, I still buy boxed stock. I have my favorite, and I usually use it when I run out and need it in an emergency, or to mix with my own when I’m using it in multiple recipes.
What’s the benefit to making your own? Well, pretty much the same as anything else you could make from scratch. First and foremost you can determine exactly what goes into it. You feel good about using it and not worrying about the sodium or fat content, because you’re controlling it. You can add as much or as little flavor as you want to! Not that any of your stock would lack in flavor, but say you’re an onion fan, a garlic fan, a mushroom fan… whatever the case may be you can give your stock that flavor. You can make it for specific recipes, too. Probably one of my favorite things about homemade stock is that it cleans out your veggie drawer. Hahaha. Oh, the possibilities. The next question, how do I make this Oh So Simple, Oh So Satisfying chicken stock? Here’s how I did it.
- 1- 3-4 LB Chicken, innards removed
- 6 to 8 C Water
- 2 Carrots
- 2 Celery stalks, with leaves
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1 White or Yellow Onion
- 5 Button Mushrooms
- 1 TBSP Peppercorns
- ** You can add as much or as little of any of these as you like. For this particular batch, I also added a couple parsnips. Mostly because I had a bag of them that needed used.
Now, I know it seems like a lot of water, but I prefer to begin with a ton of water for 2 reasons. 1, it’ll cook down and you can cook it longer to get the most out of all the flavors you’re using. 2, It’ll cook the chicken, and when you’re finished, you’ll have a fully cooked chicken when all is said and done.
- Rinse chicken, remove any innards (heart, neck, liver, etc). Place in a deep stock pot and add water. I like to add enough water that it almost covers the chicken, but not quite. Once you add the veggies, the water will rise.
- Add veggies. You don’t have to peel anything as long as it’s clean. I still peel my onions, carrots and parsnips if they’re really dirty. otherwise, a rinse is fine. Just cut them in halves or quarters and toss them in the pot with the chicken.
- Boil for about 2 hours. Once it’s finished, you will notice it is the color of regular chicken broth. Taste it. It should have a rich chicken flavor.
- Strain the chicken and veggies into a bowl.
- A lot of people let the stock cool. Then, they scrape off the fat layer from the top. I just put the whole thing in the fridge in a container. The next day, the fat will have risen to the top and hardened. It’s easier to remove this way in my opinion. You can now put it in the freezer for up to a month, or back into the fridge for up to a week.
- Discard the veggies or use them in a soup. They’re full of flavor and perfect for blending. As for the chicken, it will fall right off the bone. Use it in a soup, sandwich, or try my shredded BBQ Chicken Nachos recipe.