Tomatoes and cucumbers are the staple of just about every summer kitchen. I had plans to do an elaborate salad for the holiday weekend, but when it came down to it, I went quick and easy with my tomato cucumber salad. As a non-mayo, vinegar based salad, it travels well and doesn’t go bad quickly on a hot summer day. If you don’t want to mess with a dressing, store bought will work just fine and save even more time.
- 2 whole cucumbers.
- 4 tomatoes
- 2 green onions
- fresh parsley
- fresh dill
- Olive Oil
- Red Vineger
- Peel skin from cucumbers, slice in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon.
- Slice the cucumber in half again and slice thinly across all down the length of the cucumber.
- Place the cucumbers in a bowl.
- Slice the tomato to be in a similar size and shape as the cucumbers; leaving the seeds and juice behind add the tomato to the cucumber in the bowl.
- Thinly slice the green cucumbers and add to the tomatoes and cucumber.
- Add 1 tbs red wine vinegar and 2 tbs of olive oil to a small container.
- Finely chop parsley and dill and stir into bowl or jar (that has a lid) with oilve oil and vinegar.
- Place lid on top of the bowl with the dressing and shake.
- Add to the tomato cucumber mixture and toss
I’ve been making Tomato Caprese for years, and I see it served almost everywhere. I’ve made it and seen versions of it done so different ways. I placed it on a platter for a gathering, but we’ve had it chunky with mozzarella balls or small tomato pieces with small mozzarella pieces in a bowl or even mozzarella and basil stuffed cherry tomatoes. No matter how you slice it or stack it, it’s just a perfect side dish to a meal. It’s fast and easy and delicious. It goes very quickly and no leftovers. Not only that, but it’s such an easy recipe, that once someone sees it they copy it for their own gatherings because it’s both delicious and beautiful.
- Tomatoes – different color tomatoes best for contrast
- Basil – Fresh from my garden
- Light Balsamic Vinaigrette (Newman’s own is my favorite)
For a holiday gathering, I took slices of the tomatoes and alternated them with slices of mozzarella. I chopped up the basil and sprinkled it on top and then drizzled with the vinaigrette. It went too quickly, I should have made another platter.
- Tomatoes - different colors
- Mozzarella - soft fresh Mozzarella
- Basil - fresh picked
- Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Rinse and dry tomatoes.
- Halve tomatoes and then slice so they have the shape of half moons.
- Slice Mozzarella to resemble the tomatoes
- Tear up basil and sprinkle over top.
- Drizzle with vinaigrette.
Today as part of the summer series round robin, Sheena from Hot Eats and Cool Reads is guest posting today – I like her idea of Slow Cooker Smoked Turkey Red Beans and Rice to keep the kitchen cool on a hot summer day.
Hi everyone! I’m Sheena and I blog at Hot Eats and Cool Reads! I am so excited to share with you today here at Cookerati! I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years and absolutely love coming up with new recipes. I’m a single Mom to a 7 year old daughter and we live in Central, Minnesota! Besides recipes, you can find book reviews, restaurant reviews and product reviews over at the blog. I would love if you stopped by!
We all love slow cooker recipes, so I’m bringing you my recipe for Slow Cooker Smoked Turkey Red Beans and Rice! They have tons of flavor and are really good leftover for lunch the next day at work. I love the smokey flavor from the turkey and the beans taste amazing. I’m such a fan of the slow cooker in the summertime. No heating up the house using the stove! I hope you enjoy this recipe!
- 1 pound dried red kidney beans
- 1- 1 pound smoked turkey wing
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 cup bell pepper (yellow or red) or mini sweet peppers
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons creole seasoning
- salt and pepper, if needed
- 6 cups water
- cooked white rice
- Rinse and sort through the dried beans.
- Put all ingredients in the slow cooker and pour the water over the top.
- I used about 6 cups water total.
- You may need to adjust accordingly.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the beans are tender.
- Within the last hour, take out the turkey wing, and shred the meat from the bone and stir back in with the beans.
- Serve over cooked white rice.
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Since it’s National Garlic Day on April 19th, I wanted to come up with a dinner that had some nice garlic flavor. Originally I was going to make a salad with garlic chicken and asparagus, but while I was at the store other thoughts entered my mind and I went with it. I grilled asparagus on a grill pan first, but maybe it doesn’t really need it. We loved the whole meal and I will definitely do it again when my daughter’s home, she enjoys it when I come up with something delicious. Chicken stuffed with Asparagus and Herbed Garlic Chevre is something your family would enjoy too.
- 2 large chicken breasts – sliced in half, then pounded flat.
- 16 spears of asparagus
- Herbed Garlic Chevre
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Herbs – basil, parsley
Dollop the Herbed Garlic Chevre on the flattened chicken breast and place 4 spears of asparagus on top. Roll the chicken up around the asparagus. Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese, Salt, Garlic Pepper and Herbs. Place in glass pan, or casserole dish, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in the oven on 350 until Chicken is done. About 10 minutes before it will be done take the aluminum foil off.
Herbed Garlic Chevre
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 oz basil garlic chevre
Sauté garlic in oil to soften. Peel parsley, basil and thyme off stems and coarsely chop. Put it into bullet or other small processor or chop finely, and chevre, and whirl to combine. Use this to dollop on the chicken breasts.
- 2 large chicken breasts – sliced in half, then pounded flat.
- 16 spears of asparagus
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Herbs – basil, parsley
- Dollop the Herbed Garlic Chevre on the flattened chicken breast and place 4 spears of asparagus on top.
- Roll the chicken up around the asparagus.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese, Salt, Garlic Pepper and Herbs.
- Place in glass pan, or casserole dish, and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake in the oven on 350 until Chicken is done.
- About 10 minutes before it will be done take the aluminum foil off.
- Sauté garlic in oil to soften.
- Peel parsley, basil and thyme off stems and coarsely chop.
- Put it into bullet or other small processor or chop finely, and chevre, and whirl to combine.
- Use this to dollop on the chicken breasts.
You could really smell the garlic in the kitchen while it was cooking and taste it in the cheese.
I served this with resmashed potatoes. I added a little cream, some gouda, and parmesan, salt, garlic pepper and herbs. Place in ramekins, sprinkle with garlic pepper, then parmesan cheese – It will have a nice cooked brown parmesan top to it when it’s ready. Throw it in the oven with the chicken for about 20 minutes (place in pan with water).
Dinner was a success. Though the chicken didn’t need a sauce or gravy – it wasn’t dry, the bottom of the pan was filled with good stuff my husband and I kept scraping, so maybe deglazing the pan and making a sauce with it is something I might try next time.
The lamb neck is often an overlooked piece of lamb that people don’t ask their butcher for. I went to a lamb cutting class and when asked which part of the lamb was the favorite, I don’t remember what my response was, but I remember the response of another person, because he said lamb neck. The butcher said it was one of the lower costing and under-valued. My Braised Lamb Neck Stew Over Polenta is a delicious way to prepare this under utilized part of the lamb that is so delicious.
Lamb neck is a very fatty piece, with a lot of bones, because of this the meat is full of flavor. It also means, that it’s more of a stew piece instead of a steak or thick roast. After you cook it, you have to wade in with your fingers, pull the meat out and the bones and also drain all of the grease to get to the flavor filled stock. It’s a bit of work, but really worth it. I served it over polenta this time, but a nice root vegetable mash or potato mash would be great. Serving it over a nice thick Sourdough would work well for sopping up that great gravy.
This is not a quick and easy worknight meal. You can put it into the crockpot, but the meat has to cool, so that you won’t burn your fingers. The gravy will need to cool a little also before you whirl it around in the food processor.
- 1 lamb neck
- 3 tbs cooking oil
- 1 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 2 tsp paprka
- 1 pint lamb or chicken broth
- 4 carrots sliced into 3 inch pieces
- 2 large turnips quartered
- 3 large tomatoes (or a can of stewed tomatoes)
- 1 cup of red wine
- (as needed)
- 1 cup of water
- all spice
- Using a dutch oven, heat the cooking oil.
- Sear all sides of the lamb neck.
- Throw onions, garlic, sprinkle with cumin, all spice, ginger and paprika.
- When the onions are soft, add 1 pint broth and simmer for about an hour.
- Add in the carrots, turnips and tomatoes and simmer until the vegetables and soft and the meat is ready to come apart.
- Place the meat on a plate to cool so that you can work with it.
- Place the cooked vegetables (except tomatoes and onions) in a bowl with a cover.
- Drain the stock into a gravy separator.
- Using the wine deglaze the dutch oven and turn the heat off.
- Pour the gravy without the grease into a food processor along with the tomatoes and onions or use an immersion blender to make the sauce smooth.
- Add water to thin and spices to taste and return to dutch oven if you used a food processor.
- Pull the meat off the lamb neck and discard the fat and bones then add the meat to the dutch oven.
- Slice the turnips and carrots into smaller bite size pieces and add to the dutch oven.
- Simmer on low the vegetables, lamb neck meat and sauce.
- Prepare the polenta.
- Boil 4 cups water.
- Add in cornmeal.
- Stir until the cornmeal seems suspended and no longer falls to the bottom of the pot.
- Place lid on and give it a stir every so often until thickened.
- Ladle the polenta into a bowl, place a serving of lamb neck stew over the center.
Spring is officially here, and the time has come to change things up from the vegetables and fruit that overwinter in the basement to the freshly growing like asparagus. Red pepper isn’t too local right now, but the southern states have a little coming ripe right now. This Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata is light, but full of flavor. It’s great for Sunday Brunch or even for a quick worknight dinner.Diana
St. Patrick’s Day is coming up and Green is the color of choice (or if you are anti-green, then it’s orange but that’s a different story). Deviled eggs are great for any gathering and with the help of Wholly Guacamole, my Deviled Green Guac Eggs are a fast way to put together an appetizer for your St. Paddy’s Day gathering. I put my own ingredients together along with a sample of Wholly Guacamole that I received and when my son saw what I was mixing up, he was intrigued and delighted. He said that it had to be healthier than mayo, and I had to agree. My husband had a taste when he came home from work and he was equally delighted. We all agree that this makes a fantastic bite.
You can find Wholly Guacamole in the refrigerated produce section of the store. If you have more time, you can make up your own guacamole using avocados, garlic powder and lemon or lime to keep from turning brown. If you wish for a little more heat use the Spicy Guac or add some hot peppers. More Wholly recipes can be found on Pinterest – and if you like discounts check out the coupon tab on their Facebook Page.
Green pea shoots make a great 3 leaf cloverish like green to sprinkle around the eggs and give it a little Irish flair on your serving plate.Diana
So breakfast this morning uses up the black bean dip that I made last night. I’ll get that recipe in here too, but I wanted to show off my soft tacos that we had this morning. It was fast and easy to put together and eat – before heading out to shovel more snow.
Scramble eggs, throw a soft tortilla spread with black bean dip (or refried beans if you like) and some swiss cheese (or cheddar or your favorite) onto a cookie sheet with a silicon sheet lining it into the oven. Top with some quick guacamole made with chopped up avocado and minced shallots. Fold it up and eat.Diana
I told you I was going healthy for the Superbowl. We brought this – Chicken, Chard, Bean and Butternut Squash Soup. We also brought some berries and greek yogurt with honey – plus vegan chocolate avocado cupcakes. We did splurge though because my sister in law made some awesome queso with sausage that was great with chips and they also had some Buffalo Wild Wings. It was a small gathering, but there was plenty of food and even though our favorite team disappointed, we had a good time (well most of us).
I bought my butternut squash last fall at the farmer’s market. We put them into baskets and stored them on shelves in the unheated basement. The food doesn’t freeze down there, but it does get rather nippy downstairs. Last year I tried storing them in a warmer spot, but some of my squash went bad. This year, they are in perfect condition and not even drying out. I’m thrilled that we put up a nice shelving unit to use for winter storage.
Anyway, I also have been trying to work with beans more, but dry beans not canned beans, and so that was the start of this soup. I roasted most of the vegetables in a glass pan in the oven until almost cooked. I also baked the chicken breast rather than fry it up. I wanted the broth to be clear when I served it and not muddied, which is why I did it this way. And to give it a nice bright taste, I grated lemon peel and squeezed lemon juice into it. This soup is one of my best tasting, I recommend it for family dinner, or a gathering of friends, or just the two of you.Diana
When thinking of appetizers, cauliflower and potatoes smashed together make a great combination, while adding a little more nutrition. Your family and friends may figure out that there is something a little different about the potatoes, but only a little different. I went a little further to make it healthy, by cutting down on the sodium. I added a little chevre, some herbs and bread crumbs.
Bread is one of the worst when it comes to sodium, and regular bread crumbs are really bad. In order to still have a breadcrumb that works, I buy my own low sodium bread (there are a couple of gluten-free rice bread brands that work), and then make my own breadcrumbs. Bake the bread on low until it hardens, and then using mini-blender or smoothie maker grind the toasted bread into crumbs.