Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Mango and Avocado Black Rice Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to prepare meals primarily from my pantry and freezer until I had whittled down the food on hand. A large bag of black rice, from Costco, has been sitting there with no great recipes, until now.  I swear I hear Angels sing when I read this recipe.  It is a great salad, side dish and good enough for dessert, too. Black rice has a nutty flavor and texture which pairs beautifully with the other ingredients.  Also check out the history of black rice.

MANGO & BLACK RICE SALAD WITH CILANTRO LIME VINAIGRETTE

1 1/2 cups organic black rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large ripe mango, diced
1 small ripe avocado, diced or sliced
1/4 cup roasted almonds (I used chopped pecans)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup diced red onion
For the Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey (agave nectar if vegan)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
lime wedges, to garnish
  • Rinse rice in mesh strainer. Add to medium saucepan. Add 2 3/4 cups water and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a low simmer, and cook until rice is tender and water is absorbed about 30-40 minutes. When rice is done cooking, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cool for 10 minutes before adding dressing.
  • While rice is cooking prepare the dressing: Combine lime juice, olive oil, garlic, honey (or agave), cilantro, and salt in a food processor. Process for 15-30 seconds or until dressing is combined. Once rice is done cooking and has cooled a bit, stir in dressing. Cover bowl and place in fridge for an hour or until cool and you are ready to add in the rest of the salad ingredients.
  • Before serving, toss salad again with dressing and fold in cilantro, mango, and red onion. Pour into cold salad bowls and top with roasted almonds and avocado. Garnish with a lime wedge or extra cilantro if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe by AmbitousKitchen.com

New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Baked Stuffed Avocados…yummo!

Baked Avocado…a new adventure for me and I loved it. The idea of using avocado as the binding ingredient for quinoa, tomato, cheese was great and included all ingredients I love. This recipe is worth experimenting with and can easily be adapted for a vegan or vegetarian diet.

BAKED STUFFED AVOCADOS

2 large ripe avocados
2 cups cooked quinoa (I used a mix of plain and Tri-Colored Quinoa from Trader Joe’s)
1 medium-sized tomato, diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Slice avocados lengthwise and remove the pit by gently tapping it with a large sturdy knife.
  • Scoop the avocado from the shell with a spoon and place in a mixing bowl.  Add quinoa, tomatoes, feta, salt and pepper.  Mix to combine, but leaving hunks of avocado.
  • Place the hollow avocado shells on a baking sheet and carefully fill each with the mixture.  (I found that I had more filling that the shells would hold and baked the remainder in a small greased casserole dish).
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is sufficiently melted.

recipe slightly adapted from P&G Everday

New Favorite

Mixed Green Salad with Fresh Peaches, Avocado and Pecans

A potluck to go to and what to fix?  I had beautiful fresh peaches, greens from my garden and avocados.  Why not a salad mixing these ingredients topped with nuts?  After reviewing several recipes, I combined a few to make this my own and it is now on my favorite summer salads list.  Can’t wait for Colorado peach season later this summer!

MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH FRESH PEACHES, AVOCADO & PECANS

1/2 pound mixed greens
1 cup sliced peaches
1 avocado, diced
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Dressing:

1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons minced green onions
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper

  • In a blender, combine the vinegar, honey, onions, mustard and garlic.  Puree until smooth, 10-15 seconds.
  • Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the blender until the dressing is smooth.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use (up to a week).

In a bowl combine the greens, peaches, and avocado.  Drizzle with 1/2 of the dressing. Add more to taste.  Toss the salad and serve immediately.

Adapted from:  Food Network

Family Favorites · New Favorite

BLATO (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Tomato, Onion) Sandwich Bar

Family was visiting and we were gathering for lunch at my house.  It occurred to me that a BLT, or better yet at BLATO, bar would be fun.  Standing over the stove frying endless pieces of bacon didn’t sound appealing so I turned to baked bacon instead.

Early that morning I baked 30 pieces of bacon and it was a breeze!  I also washed and prepared the lettuce and sliced the onion for later.  Immediately before serving, I sliced the avocado and tomato.  I provided 2 types of bread along with the option of toasting the bread in the toaster oven and provided condiments of mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup.  In addition, I served sliced turkey and cheese for those that may not like bacon OR prefer to make a mega-sandwich with all of the above!

For the vegetarian or vegan in the group, they can still partake with a wonderful veggie sandwich!

BAKED BACON

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place a baking rack in a large baking, or cookie, sheet. The baking rack allows the drippings to fall away from the bacon.  Place bacon strips on baking rack.  Bake for 10-20 minutes depending on thickness of the bacon.  I used thick sliced bacon that took 16-20 minutes to bake.  For 30 slices of bacon, I baked 10-12 slices per pan.
  • Remove bacon and pat excess drippings with paper towel.  Set aside until time to serve.
New Favorite

Corn Chile Cheese Pie

Corn Chile Cheese Pie has been in my recipe file for years without credit to anyone. This weekend I had the ingredients and decided to try it.  I especially like the addition or corn meal to give a little texture to the pie.  While this recipe indicates no crust, I think it would be wonderful with a crust as well.

I served mine topped with slices of avocado and a side of fresh tomatoes.  Yummy for breakfast, lunch, dinner…anytime!

CORN, CHEESE, CHILE PIE

3 large eggs
16 ounce can whole kernel corn (blenderized)
2/3 stick butter
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup sour cream
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
4 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces can diced green chiles
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease 9 1/2″ pie plate with butter.
  • Beat eggs.
  • Add all ingredients and stir.
  • Pour into dish and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour. Center will be firm and top will be brown.
  • Cool 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

  • Serve with sliced avocado and/or tomatoes.
New Favorite · New Traditions · Vegetarian

Avocado and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Avocado + Goat Cheese + basil + olive oil + tomato = taste bud explosion!

AVOCADO AND GOAT CHEESE BRUSCHETTA

Baguette
1 avocado
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
basil leaves
1/4 cup goat cheese
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt flakes and freshly ground pepper

  • Slice the baguette and toast the bread.
  • Slice and pit the avocado.  Scoop out the flesh with a spoon, place in a bowl.
  • Mash the avocado and mix in the lime juice and chopped basil.
  • Add the goat cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix together,
  • Spread the mixture onto the toast.
  • Add a basil leaf to each piece of toast and top with a half of a sun gold tomato (or cherry tomato).
New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Summer’s Harvest Salad

Every two months a group of great friends meet for a themed potluck before our book club gathering.  This month, an hour before our meeting, I had nothing.  It had been a busy day and I was fresh out of ideas and time.  After writing about food it seemed tacky to run to the grocery store and buy something…God forbid!

I stood in my kitchen and contemplated my next move when suddenly I saw a bowl of sun gold tomatoes from my garden and an avocado.  Hmmmm.  I quickly looked up a few recipes using those ingredients and then decided, ‘what the heck’, I’ll just through a bunch of vegetables in a bowl and toss with Greek Dressing (or vinaigrette) and call it good.

What resulted was a yummy refreshing summer’s harvest salad.  It’s a keeper!

SUMMER’S HARVEST SALAD

Sun Gold (or cherry tomatoes) halved
Fresh Sweet corn, cooked and cut from the cob
Chopped Avocado
Chopped green or sweet white onion
Chopped fresh basil
Salt & Pepper
Balsamic vinaigrette (or Greek Dressing)

Family Favorites · Vegan · Vegetarian

Cowboy Caviar

When I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up to be a rootin’, tootin’ cowgirl just like I saw on TV…Sky King, Roy Rogers, Gunsmoke and so many more. I really have dated myself. My parents indulged my desire, with my dreamy cowgirl outfit and boots. Smokin’ hot, right?

Cowgirl Cathy

Now, the closest I get to being a cowgirl is 1) taking my once a decade horse ride or 2) making Cowboy Caviar.  I feel so rustic, and healthy, when I eat it, aside from the chips that are a ‘must serve’.  Ordinary tortilla chips are good but my new favorite, Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Chips, are the best! Even better, they are gluten-free.

COWBOY CAVIAR

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salad oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 firm-ripe avocado
15 ounce can black-eyed peas
11 ounce can corn kernels
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 pound Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
salt chopped
fresh cilantro to taste
1 bag tortilla chips (or 2 cups finely shredded cabbage for salad)

  • In a large bowl, mix vinegar, hot sauce, oil, garlic, and pepper. Peel, pit and cut avocado into 1/2 inch cubes. Add to vinegar mixture and mix gently to coat.
  • Drain and rinse peas and corn. Add peas, corn, onions, cilantro and tomatoes to avocado, mix gently to coat. Add salt to taste.
  • Serve pea mixture with chips as an appetizer or add cabbage to make a salad.
Family Favorites

Mexican Quiche…easy, tasty, wonderful!

Mexican Quiche hit my recipe box via Sunset Magazine circa early 1980s. Over the years, I have made with it with chorizo or more often with a savory sausage.  Topped with a fresh slice of yummy avocado and tomato, it presents beautifully.

Recently I served Mexican Quiche at my annual Mother’s Day Coffee.  There were a few pieces left over and were equally tasty the next day.

When serving a crowd, I often make the Quiche the night before and have it ready to pop in the oven the next morning.  Enjoy!

MEXICAN QUICHE

1 pound chorizo (or savory) sausage
2 medium-size onions, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons diced green chiles
10 eggs
2 cups half and half or milk
1 can sliced ripe olives, drained (2.5 oz.)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained (8.75 oz.)
3 cups shredded Jack cheese
Avocado and Tomato Slices
Fresh cilantro sprigs

  • Remove casings (if necessary) from chorizo. Crumble or finely chop meat and place in a wide frying pan; cook, stirring over medium-high heat until browned. Add onions and saute until tender. Drain off excess fat. Stir in salt, pepper, and chilies. Remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl, beat eggs and half-and-half just until blended. Stir in chorizo mixture, olives, corn and cheese. Evenly spread in a greased 10×15″ jelly roll pan.
    3. Bake in 375F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Garnish with avocado, tomato, and cilantro.

Adapted from Sunset Magazine, Circa early 1980s

Family Favorites · My Roots

Traditional Midwest Red Chili

Cold weather means it’s chili time! My mother’s traditional red chili is still a favorite of mine, but I confess I now used canned, diced or crushed tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes.

When I was a child, the only thing served with chili was saltines.  Who knew there wer so many ways to serve Chili (or is it Chile?).

Red Chili served with tortilla chips and shredded cheese

Now I have been awakened the versatility of chili and how to serve it. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Chili served on top a baked potato with shredded cheese (add sour cream if desired)
  • Chili served on top of a half of peeled and seeded avocado
  • Chili with crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, green onions
  • Chili with cornbread
  • Chili on top of hot dogs with onion

    Red Chili on baked potato with grated cheese

What are unique ways that you serve chili?

Today, I am sharing my Mother’s chili recipe. Add as much chili powder or crushed peppers as desired and enjoy!

MOM’S RED CHILI

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 can chili beans
1 quart tomatoes (I prefer crushed)
1 tablespoon sugar
chili powder to taste
salt & pepper

  • Brown and drain hamburger. Add onions and cook until tender.
Browning ground beef, onions and peppers
  • Add rest of ingredients and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
Red Chili simmers
  • Serve naked (as is) or with chopped onions, cheese, tortilla chips, crackers or try one of the versions listed above.