Italian Romaine Salad and Dressing for Two

Since we are back trying to shed some pre-Christmas pounds/kilos, I find we are eating more salads. This one is very similar to a well known Italian restaurant chain in the US! It’s fresh and very tasty, as well as filling.

Italian Romaine Salad 204 calories per serving

  • 1 head romaine lettuce or 2 small romaine hearts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Grated, parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Pepperoncini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Black olives, sliced or whole
  • 1 pint Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Croutons, store bought or homemade OPTIONAL

Italian Dressing

  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Chilled Asparagus with Citrus Dressing

For a great summer lunch try this chilled asparagus with some salmon poached in wine. I usually do the salmon with cold green beans (blanched), but not having found any at Costco, I went for using asparagus, which I believe you northerners are seeing IN SEASON. We started the meal with a cold strawberry soup ( which is somewhere on this blog if you do a search). The great thing about this meal is that you can easily prepare it all in the morning and just plate it up when company arrives.

Chilled Asparagus with Citrus Dressing

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-pound asparagus, woody ends cut off
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Juice of an orange
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. Add in the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Immediately remove the asparagus from the boiling water and place it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

4. Once the asparagus has cooled remove it from the water, blot it dry with a towel, and place it in a large bowl.

5. In a glass measuring cup combine the remaining ingredients (everything from zest down to pepper) and whisk together to form the citrus vinaigrette.

6. Pour the desired amount of vinaigrette over the asparagus and toss to coat.

7. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, then top with a little more salt and pepper.

Greek Salad and Dressing for Two

Tired of the same old green salads? No lettuce in the house? Greek salad is the answer – minus lettuce, which is not even normally found in a true Greek salad.

Start with a freshmade dressing, refrigerated while you chop up the salad ingredientes. This is one of our new favorites, for sure! And it looks beautiful as well.

You won’t find a better Greek salad anywhere…

Greek Salad and Dressing for Two

Ingredients

  • 1 large clove garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Measure all ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well-blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.

(Alternatively, you may whisk the ingredients together in a bowl, process the ingredients in a mini food processor, or blend them together in a blender.) Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator; allow to come to room temperature and shake well before using.

Greek Salad

  • 1 Roma tomato diced
  • ¼ red onion diced
  • ½ English seedless cucumber large dice
  • ½ red pepper diced
  • ½ cup whole black olives
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Mix all salad ingredients in a bowl. Toss with dressing and refrigerate 15 minutes.

Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers

Normally, when I do sausage and peppers, it is in the oven. Since I had time this week I found a slow cooker/crockpot recipe on Pinterest for this method. Come to find out, I liked it much better without having to use the oven. The texture of the sausage was so very different and the peppers were great. Served this with a little side of steamed broccoli. Perfect dish!

FYI…the sausages I prefer are Obertal Argentinian Chorizos, but that is your choice.

Crockpot Sausage and Peppers

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg Italian sausages (5) My preference is Obertal Argentinian Chorizo
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup chunky marinara sauce I substituted a small jar of PACE Medium Salsa
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Instructions

1. Heat a skillet on medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.

2. Sear the Italian sausages 2-3 mins on each side until starting to brown. You aren’t trying to cook them all the way through, you’re just browning the outside a bit which always increases the flavor while slow cooking.

3. Lay the seared Italian sausages in the bottom of a slow cooker/crockpot.

4. Add the uncooked sliced onions and peppers on top of the sausages.

5. Sprinkle the garlic salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning over the top.

6. Spread the marinara sauce or PACE salsa over the onion and pepper mixture.

7. Cook the crock pot sausage and peppers recipe on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours until the peppers are soft and the Italian sausage is cook through. FYI…mine was done at 4 hours on low!

8. The crockpot Italian sausage and peppers are seriously SO delicious as is, but to take it up a notch, take the sausage and peppers out of the slow cooker and spread into a broiler-safe pan and follow the cheese steps in the optional section.

Optional – Add Cheese

1. Sprinkle 1/2 – 3/4 cups of your favorite shredded white cheese, like mozzarella, Monterey Jack, an Italian blend, or Colby Jack would all be great choices.

2. Broil the Italian sausage and peppers mix for 1-2 minutes 4″ from the heat source until the cheese is melted.

Baked Feta Cheese with Olives and Lemon

If you should get invited to a Spanish ‘tapas’ party, this makes a perfect dish to bring. Okay, in English we might say appetizer, in French hors d’oeuvres ??? No matter it was another great find on Pinterest. It was also quick to prepare.

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Baked Feta Cheese with Olives and Lemons

Ingredients

  • one block of sheep’s milk feta (sold in the brine) about 10-14 ounces
  • 1/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • 1 – 2 cups mixed olives* (recipe calls for whole and pitted) see below
  • a few sundried tomatoes chopped
  • 3 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • a few coarse grindings of black pepper

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Put the feta in a gratin dish or other small ovenproof dish that you will also serve out of.
  3. Pour the olive oil into the dish, followed by the lemon juice. Arrange the olives* (I would suggest using ONLY sliced olives as they whole ones fall off when you lay them on the cheese when serving) around the cheese, with the rosemary.  I quarter the squeezed lemon half and throw that in as well. Sprinkle the red and black pepper over all. I also added some slices of sundried tomatoes.
  4. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. I loosely laid a sheet of foil over mine. You can finish under the broiler if you like for a little charring effect.
  5. Serve hot with toasted bread

Red Thai Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

We likely all grew up with cauliflower smothered with Velveeta cheese. I was never quite sure that I didn’t like the cheese best? As my taste buds have matured I was willing to give roasted cauliflower a chance. I also like Thai foods. Grand slam for this recipe.  You can certainly adjust the amount of Thai red curry paste you like, but as is the recipe is not all that hot. Give it a try and stop looking at that whole cauliflower and thinking CHEESE!

Red Thai Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

Ingredients

  • 1 whole cauliflower head
  • 1 Tbsp red curry paste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (plus a little extra to coat pan and for little pieces)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Remove the leaves of the cauliflower and then wash
  3. Place the whole cauliflower head on a cutting board, with the stalk of the cauliflower facing up; then slice with a large, sharp knife into about 1 1/2″ thick slice, aiming to get 4, but if it’s a small head, you’ll get about 3. It isn’t a perfect science. Expect small pieces to break off (save these).
  4. Coat the bottom of a large cast iron skillet or sheet pan with a little olive oil
  5. Place your “steaks” on the pan
  6. Mix together the red curry paste, olive oil and a little salt and pepper (based on your preferences – I go heavier on the pepper and wait until I taste later to add salt).
  7. Coat the cauliflower steaks on the side facing up (only) with the red Thai curry/oil mixture and then pop into the oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, take the smaller pieces and put them into the bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil and a little salt and pepper.
  9. After the 20 minutes, ip the “steaks” and add the small pieces
  10. Roast for another 10-15 minutes or until soft in the middle and slightly charred. Enjoy!20190905_134246

Roasted Parmesan Garlic Shrimp

“Honey, I’m home!” (for all of those familiar with that old greeting from some TV show?) Welcome back former followers. Your encouragement is appreciated. A recent house sitter left behind some really nice frozen shrimp and (Pinterest to the rescue) I decided to thaw them out- 24 beautiful specimens which only required peeling and deveining. Once done, I put them in some cold water with a little salt and put them back in the refrigerator awaiting dinner prep.  Some fresh asparagus was also waiting to be used. Everything came together with very little prepping…

  • 1 pound medium raw shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Cocktail sauce for dipping (1/2 cup ketchup + 2 tablespoons horseradish)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with oil.

Place the shrimp in a single layer on the sheet. Evenly distribute olive oil, Parmesan, garlic, oregano and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss together with your hands and spread out again.

*Place the pan in the oven and roast the shrimp until just pink, firm and cooked. This should take 9 minutes. When done sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with whatever side you have chosen.

*NOTE…since the oven was on I also roasted the asparagus which was drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan. If you choose to do the asparagus, put it in the oven 10 minutes before the shrimp and leave them in until the shrimp are done.

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Creamy Cauliflower Chowder

Baby its cold outside (in the North, actually here in Mexico too, trust me on this one…). Great time for a hearty chowder – vegan if you leave out the bacon!

It calls for a whole head of cauliflower, but here we can but 1 lb. packages of florets which simplifies the recipe. I think you’ll really like this one my friends…great start to the New Year!

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Creamy cauliflower chowder

Prep Time: 10 minutes         Cook Time: 30 minutes       Yield: 4-5 people

Creamy Cauliflower Chowder is a healthy, easy, comfort food recipe and ready in under 30 minutes. It’s gluten free, low carb and keto friendly.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup diced Onion
  • 5 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 cup diced Carrots
  • 1 Whole Head of Cauliflower (cut into small florets)I bought a one lb. bag of florets
  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • Salt to taste

Olive Oil and cooked bacon (4 strips) for topping

 Instructions

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat butter and add onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until the onions are soft.

Add carrots, cauliflower, vegetable broth, pepper, oregano and salt to the pot. Bring this to a boil, and slow the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or so till the cauliflower is tender.

Switch off the flame and using a blender, blend the soup partly in the soup pot. If you don’t have a hand blender, pour half the soup into a blender and pulse a few tips till creamy.

Switch the flame back on and add a cup of water or broth along with the cream cheese. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and switch off the flame. Feel free to thin the soup further if  you like with some more broth or milk. Top with olive oil and bacon and serve hot.

Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Rice

New diet equals new foods! Just in at Costco – Cauliflower Rice! Pinterest has recipes for almost everything…shown here with roasted peppers, grilled salmon and avocado salsa. Supposedly all Keto friendly.

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Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower “rice” is now widely available in many supermarkets, including Costco Merida. There are many different recipes for using it, but this one is very simple!
Ingredients
5 cups cauliflower rice
3 T butter
3 garlic cloves minced
7 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. EVOV (Extra virgin olive oil OR coconut oil)
Chopped parsley
Directions
In a small saucepan, combine butter and garlic, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t let it burn!
In a separate fry pan, skillet or wok add 1 Tbsp. EVOV (Extra Virgin Olive oil OR coconut oil). Medium heat. Stir in the cauliflower rice and continue stirring until it is warmed through.
Pour I the butter mixture and stir to blend.
Top with the shredded Parmesan and mix well. Add chopped parsley! SERVE.
Instead of the butter and cheese, try pesto sauce…OR cilantro and lime…

 

Green Beans with Lemon and Feta

This is a great and easy accompaniment to a great steak and maybe a potato! Can you tell this by the photo?

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Great for BBQ season as well…

GREEN BEANS WITH LEMON AND FETA

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 to 1 pound of fresh green beans (stem end snipped off), washed
  • 4 heaping tablespoons feta cheese
  • juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add about 1/2 inch of water to a medium-sized sauté pan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Add beans, cover and continue to cook on medium-high for 4-5 minutes or until fork tender but still crispy.
  3. Drain and return to pan. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and toss to coat. Place green beans on a plate and sprinkle with feta, then lemon juice, then pepper (and salt if desired).
  4. Serve immediately. (But they are also pretty great cold!)