Chicken Pesto Quesadillas

Thanks again to our friend Chuck for this great recipe. Use it for an easy meal or prepare it and cut into quarters as an appetizer. Experiment with different fillings…Larry and I tried it Greek style with feta (instead of the goat cheese), black olives and oregano. Serve it with a side of homemade tsatziki (Greek sauce with cucumber and dill, blended into drained yogurt). I will try to send that recipe at a later date, but you can always buy that at your local grocery store too…

If you do it Greek style, omit the pesto.

You could also do it as a nacho quesadilla with ground beef, taco seasoning, grated cheddar and sour cream. Be daring!!!

Chicken Pesto Quesadillas

12 – 6″ flour tortillas

2 cooked chicken breasts

3 oz goat cheese

3 tbsp sour cream

Pesto sauce ( available in most grocery stores)

Heat oven to 350 F

With a hand mixer, blend goat cheese and sour cream until you have a spreadable paste.  Use more sour cream to thin the goat cheese if needed.

Lay out 4 or 6 tortillas on a baking sheet

Spread a thin layer of pesto on each

Shred or slice chicken and spread out on the pesto’d tortilla.

Optionally add crumbled bacon or diced sun dried tomatoes on top of the chicken.

Spread a layer of the goat cheese mixture on 4 – 6 tortillas, and lay them on top of your existing ones, cheese side down.

Bake for approx. 10 – 12 min or until tortilla turns slightly brown.

Cut into quarters and serve with salsa, pico de gallo, or guacamole.

Shrimp Ceviche

This recipe is from the Jicama Grill and can be found online at Food.Com, along with other great recipes. We made this for my son-in-law’s graduation from Law School and it was a definite hit. You could serve it in individual martini glasses!

NB..If you go to the website, you can adjust the quantities up or down in the event you are having a large group.

Shrimp Ceviche
1 -1 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, diced
1/2 serrano peppers or 1/2 jalapeno, diced
4 limes, squeezed
4 lemons, squeezed
1 oranges, squeezed (preferably sour oranges)
1 large avocados, diced
1 large cucumbers, peeled and diced

Directions:
Prep Time: 30 mins Total Time: 4 1/2 hrs
1 Blanche shrimp in boiling water for about 5 minutes, then shock in ice cold water. Strain when cooled. (TO SIMPLIFY THIS I USE FROZEN COOKED SHRIMP WITH TAILS REMOVED)
2 Cut shrimp into 1-inch pieces and add to bowl.
3 Add citrus juice and marinate for 2 hours.
4 Add red onion, tomatoes, chilies and cilantro, marinate for 2 more hours.
5 Add avocados and cucumber before serving

Grapefruit Mimosas @ Champagne

We don’t know a lot of people who like champagne…LOL. If someone happens to give you a bottle, this recipe is great for an afternoon by the pool! And…it is a great way to use it up quickly…

Grapefruit Mimosas

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons Triple Sec
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 2 cups Champagne
  • 1 slice ruby red grapefruit, cut into quarters

Directions

Place 1 tablespoon of Triple Sec in each of 4 Champagne flutes. Top with 2 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice and 1/2 cup of champagne. Garnish with a wedge of the grapefruit and serve.

Note: this recipe makes a classic, old-fashioned mimosa (more Champagne than grapefruit juice). Should you prefer a more juice-laden drink, feel free to experiment so that the proportions suit your taste.

 

Molasses Marinated Pork Chops

We had these recently at a dinner at our friends – Chuck and Joanne. They were well worth the time and effort, and serving the sauce with them was incredible. Both Chuck and I like to cook, so we often turn to the Internet for new recipes. We can both recommend this one! Thanks, Chuck! …Thanks Alton…

Molasses Marinated Pork Chops
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2009 Food Network

Ingredients
1 cup cool strong coffee
6 ounces molasses, by weight
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6 to 8-ounce) bone-in, 1-inch thick pork chops

Directions
Place all of the ingredients into a 1-gallon zip top bag, seal, and shake to combine. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Remove the pork chops from the marinade. Transfer the marinade to a small saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, and boil gently, stirring often, until reduced to about 1/2 cup liquid, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the thyme stems after the glaze has reduced. Meanwhile, grill pork chops 3 to 4 minutes per side or until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Allow the pork chops to rest 4 to 5 minutes before serving with the glaze.

Cranberry Pineapple Mini Jello Salad

My sister, Sharron,  in Stratford, Ontario likes to make this recipe and she thought others might also enjoy it. Hey sis, now you are a little famous…not bad for my OLDER sister!!!

Cranberry Pineapple Mini Jello Salads
1 – 14 ounce can of crushed pineapple
2 packages of raspberry Jello
1 – 398 ml. can of whole cranberry sauce
2/3 cup walnut pieces
1 chopped apple

Drain pineapple, SAVING the juice.
Add water to the juice to make 2 ½ cups of liquid. Pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
In a large bowl, empty the Jello packets and add hot liquid. Stir until dissolved.

Stir in cranberry sauce, walnuts and apple.

Leave in the bowl to set or put into smaller dishes for individual servings.

Let it set in the refrigerator.

Russ’ Shrimp Creole

This is our friend Russ’ recipe for a wonderfully easy dish which will appeal to the shrimp lovers. FYI…Russ used to live in Windsor, which is where Larry and I first met him. Since Memorial Day is coming up for our American friends like Russ, this recipe is a little tribute to him and them!

Note that I am putting it in the KISS category, as it is so simple to prepare!

What you need
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 T. butter
  • Smidgen of cayenne pepper or Tabasco
  • 1 T. flour
  • 6 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 pounds of raw shrimp
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
make it
Saute onion and garlic in butter. Blend in flour. Add remaining ingredients except shrimp. Simmer 10 minutes. Add shrimp. Simmer 10 MORE minutes. Serve over rice.

* may need a little more flour for thickening!

Stuffed Pork Loin

This recipe came to me all the way from the Isle of Man, courtesy of our recent house guests, Deirdre and Ann. For those who do not know it is between Ireland and England…a 20 hour flight from there to here!

This was part of a very special meal prepared for us on their last evening in Progreso. It also included some wonderful Dauphinoise potatoes (like scalloped without the mushrooms). I will post the potato dish at a later date. I know you will also enjoy it!

You also might like to check out the Isle of Man website –

http://www.isleofman.com/Tourism/FactFile.aspx

Ingredients:
2 pork steaks (we used a pork tenderloin from Costco which had a little marinade)
bread crumbs
Half an onion, chopped
1 cooking apple, diced
3 oz. apricots (dried)
2 oz. butter
2 cloves of Garlic chopped
Dried and fresh herbs, to include:
sage, basil, marjoram, salt and pepper (or use your favorite Italian seasoning)

Method:
Prepare the stuffing, cutting up the apple, (skins on) and apricots into small cubes, add all the dry ingredients, and pour over melted butter.

Butterfly each pork steak or the loin. Add the stuffing down the middle of each, fold the meat around the filling, and either tie up with string, or silicone bands! (found in most cooking stores in Canada).

Place in a medium oven, for about 50 minutes, covered in foil, check and remove the foil for the last few minutes to brown.

Baked Thai Tofu

Since we have two vegan friends, I am always on the look out for an interesting and tasty main course. I came across this excellent baked tofu recipe which I use quite often with non vegan friends as well. The key is to use extra firm tofu!  I know every one says it can taste like chicken (LOL), but in this marinade it is very good. The last time I made it we used it in a stir fry, adding it near the end and then just warming it through before serving. The tofu can be baked ahead….

Thai Tofu for Stir-Fries, Pasta or Salad

The marinade below is sufficient for two packages of extra firm tofu.

Before doing anything you need to remove excess liquids from the two blocks as follows –

Wrap blocks in a clean cloth towel and place in a small dish. Put a large can or a brick on top to weight the tofu down for maximum liquid removal. This should take less than an hour.

Once that is done slice it horizontally and then cut into cubes of about one inch square. Place all of the cubes in a Pyrex dish along with the marinade below –

Thai Tofu Marinade:

•             1/2 cup fish sauce (or soy sauce) [I prefer the fish sauce]

•             1/2 cup rice wine (or sherry)

•             1/4 cup palm sugar (or brown sugar)

•             Splash of rice vinegar

•             Juice from 1/2 lime

•             1 small shallot (or half onion), finely minced

•             1 tbsp chili paste – Sambal Oleek can be found in the Oriental Foods section at the grocery store. Use less for less heat!

•             1 tbsp finely minced lemon grass (fresh or dried) [not important if you do not have].

Let marinate at least FOUR hours!

Heat oven to 250 F or 120 C depending on the accuracy of your oven temps. Place the marinated tofu in the oven for about ONE hour, turning after 30 minutes. It should turn brown and have the texture of tender chicken.

Serve it in freshly cooked pasta, along with some previously steamed vegetables and a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

It is also great in any salad or in a stir fry!!! Try it as an appetizer as well, in place of meatballs.

Baked Salmon with Mango, Radish and Lime Salsa

When buying fresh salmon, the key is that it not smell too fishy. We often buy a whole one and cut it in half, freezing one piece for future use (especially when the price is right).  Our friend Joe introduced us to grilling salmon, but we have come to prefer this one baked, sorry Joe! This is a simple marinade, using only fresh ingredients. We discovered the mango radish and lime salsa while surfing my favorite website –

http://www.foodnetwork.com/

Salmon Marinade

Juice of 1 lime and the zest

1/2 cup oil

1 teaspoon fresh dill (we grow our own)

1 head of garlic

salt and pepper

1 teaspoon of fennel seed

Mix all ingredients together and pour over the salmon (skin side down) in a pyrex dish. Let sit for several hours.

Bake 15 to 25 minutes at 375F or 190C, testing for doneness at the 15 minute mark. Serve with mango salsa and a good quality wild rice dish.

THE Salsa

2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks

1 red onion chopped

6 red radishes, chopped

2 limes peeled and cut into segments

1 handful fresh cilantro leaves

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Southwest Spice Mix (I buy Emerill’s, but buy what you can find)

Put all ingredients into a processor and pulse. We tend not to like it too finely chopped….

Refrigerate until the salmon is ready to be served.

NOTE: This salsa is great as a condiment with poultry as well!

Let us know if you try it and like it…

Buen provecho!

Garlic Chicken

Garlic Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
Marinate chicken in marinade for two hours. Drain and reserve marinade from chicken. Cook chicken in oil until almost done. Add marinade mixture and cook until thickened. Add green onions at last minute. Serve with snow peas and rice.