Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sesame chicken and Mandarin orange salad

Salad season is here. This salad is filling and tasty and is definitely enough to be a main dish. I made this salad because I had some snow peas that I was trying to figure out how to use in something other than a stir fry. Snow peas are one of those vegetables that always steer me in an Asian direction. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to make an Asian-themed salad. I don't usually give out amounts for salads, because I think salads are a very personal thing. Isn't that why there are salad bars? This way, you can make your salad as big or as small as you want and you can proportion all the fixings to your greens in a way that makes you happy. Therefore, I like to just list the ingredients and let you decide exactly how much lettuce you want (I mean, it's not like I measured out the lettuce, anyways)! I will, however, provide the marinade and dressing recipe. I marinated two chicken breasts (1 for each salad). 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Five bean salad

Bean salad is one of my favorite summer picnic salads. I love that while it may contain a lot of sugar, it's still packed with protein and fiber and doesn't contain mayonnaise. Probably almost everyone has had some version of a bean salad in their life, or has their own family recipe for one. This salad is really versatile - you can use three beans, four beans, five beans and almost any kind of beans that you like. The ones in this recipe are the ones that I generally use. I brought this to a family picnic over Father's Day weekend, but I also enjoy making up a batch to have on hand for lunches during the week. I try to buy all organic and low-sodium beans for this recipe so that I can control the salt content. I also use fresh green beans, but you could substitute canned and/or yellow beans. This recipe will make a large bowl, suitable for a picnic.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Banana and pineapple sage smoothies

These smoothies are something I've been making for a few years, but only when I'm lucky enough to find a pineapple sage plant for my herb garden. I found this recipe all over the internet years ago when I was first trying to find ways to use this interesting herb. I've slightly modified this recipe over the years to the one below. This smoothie has a tropical taste from the pineapple sage and the banana. I love fresh herbs and finding interesting ways to use them in my food. Use the smallest, newest leaves as they have the most pineapple flavor. It's perfect for a breakfast or brunch drink on a warm morning.

This smoothie is my entry for this month's Healing Foods event which features banana. Bananas have many nutritional benefits such as being high in potassium and fiber and containing a range of B vitamins. As I've mentioned before, bananas are something we try not to purchase too frequently because of the distance they must travel to get to us. When we do buy bananas, we only get organic ones because of the harm that the pesticides cause to songbirds. But, we do love bananas and enjoy them a lot when we have them. I love the combination of the fruit with fresh herbs in a drink. This recipe will make two servings.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cheese ravioli with roasted vegetables

I will say right away that I did not make these ravioli. I bought them pre-made and have yet to venture into the world of pasta making. I am lucky to have a really great local place to purchase these delicious ravioli that are fresh and homemade. They are great to have around for a really quick meal. The ravioli are very simple in their cheese filling and paired very nicely with these roasted vegetables. I have been buying a lot of produce as the farmer's markets heat up and then I'm left trying to decide what to do with all of it before it goes bad. So, instead of just some pre-made tomato sauce or some garlic butter on these ravioli, I decided to make a roasted "sauce" full of fresh vegetables. I thought that this dish was really, really good. It's simple, fresh, and very flavorful. I used a pint of baby tomatoes to create the sauce and then added some roasted asparagus and zucchini. You could add many other vegetables though - yellow squash and eggplant would be great. This recipe will make enough for about two people.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Potato and Swiss chard hash with eggs

Words cannot explain just how much I love a hearty brunch filled with eggs and potatoes. It reminds me a lot of when I was a kid and my grandfather would make me breakfast when I stayed over at my grandparent's house. His breakfasts were always huge and smelled wonderful. Food has that way of reminding you of people and events in your life. Just the smell of potatoes cooking up in some butter with onions reminds me of those days.

This brunch was inspired by some farmer's market finds. I thought that combining the potatoes and greens would make a lovely bed for some fresh-cracked eggs. This hash is meat-free and is still very filling and satisfying. The measurements of the potatoes and chard and not exact because they were just bought up in the size/container at the market that was available (i.e., they weren't weighed). These sort of recipes are very forgiving though. I think that as long as you have a good ratio of potatoes to greens for the number of people you are serving, you will be all set. You can also crack more or less eggs on top depending on how many people you are serving and their appetite. I made this for two, and cooked two eggs a piece. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chicken, mango, and cashew stir fry

This was always one of my go-to weeknight meals, but for some reason I hadn't made it in quite a while. So when I thought to make it again recently, it was as delicious as ever and something I knew I needed to share. I love stir fry meals - they are quick, colorful, healthy, and flavorful, not to mention that the variety of combinations and ingredients are almost endless. This stir fry is really tasty and the sauce is a nice combination of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy - the perfect Asian flavor combination. This recipe will make enough servings for four people, depending on appetite.