Ingredient Spotlight: Fresh Herbs 2012

I love growing fresh herbs in the garden.  There’s something lovely about wandering out to the backyard and pulling fresh basil leaves to add to the dinner pasta.

Or enjoying the scent by running my hand through the lavender while I water the plants.

Basil is my favorite fresh herb to grow.  It grows well and adds so much flavor to dishes.  But I also like growing chives, rosemary, thyme, mint…  I grow lavender just for the scent.  I’ve never tried cooking with it.  Have any of you? I’d love to see some recipes that use lavender, whether for food or homemade soaps or lotions.

Here are some of my recipes that use fresh herbs:  [Read more…]

Summer Corn Salad

I have wanted to try this recipe for a long time, but somehow I just recently got around to it.  It comes from the cookbook Country Gourmet (a fantastic book that is out of print now, I think).

One of the reasons it took me so long to try it is that the recipe calls for fresh corn cut off the cob.  I’m super lazy.  I think I’ve mentioned that before.

I finally realized I could cheat with this recipe and use frozen corn instead of fresh.  I’m sure fresh would be better, but I also know I’ll be making this salad a lot more often since I can cheat with a bag from the freezer section.

Here’s what you’ll need:  [Read more…]

Gazpacho – Or what to do with zucchini from the neighbors

The fantastic thing about this soup is that it’s really just a bowl full of raw veggies.  But it tastes divine.  So good, you could just eat and eat it.  So good for you that you can do just that with no guilt.

It’s perfect for a hot, summer evening because it’s eaten cold.  I have to admit that freaked my kids out.  They did eat it, but they weren’t sure they liked cold soup.  Jim and I loved it though.

I adapted my recipe from Pioneer Woman, adding red bell pepper, jalepeno and parsley just because they were hanging out in my fridge.  I don’t own a food processor, so I used my pitiful blender that has been partially melted in the dishwasher.  It worked fine, so I guess I still don’t have an excuse to buy a food processor.

Here’s what you’ll need:  [Read more…]

Goat Cheese Biscuits

I have been so excited to share this recipe with you.  In early March, I visited a friend in Chicago and she took me to Table Fifty Two.  The food in that restaurant has a decidedly Southern flair.   Chef Art Smith has been a personal chef to Oprah.  Now he creates dishes such as Fried Green Tomatoes with Feta, Pancetta, Red Onion Marmalade and Kalamata Olive – Amazing!

We sat in the main room of the restaurant where Goat Cheese Biscuit dough was being poured into hot iron skillets and baked in a brick oven.  Our server brought us a serving of the biscuits to share.  Oh my!  They are light, with herbs and goat cheese inside and buttery Parmesan topping.

As my friend and I savored these biscuits and I watched the process of making them, I was pretty sure I could recreate the recipe at home.  And I was right.

These would be perfect for an Easter dinner or brunch.  And they are easy to make too.  The dough is similar to drop biscuits and it can be baked in an iron skillet, ramekins or muffins tins.   Here’s what you’ll need: [Read more…]

Angel Hair with Red Onion and Black Olives

angel hair with red onion and black olives done

This dish is full of flavor – garlic, red onion, black olives, basil, parsley and Parmesan all in white wine sauce.  It pairs up beautifully with grilled chicken, although the chicken didn’t make it into the photo.

Best of all, it is quick to fix.

Here’s what you’ll need:

[Read more…]

Bacon Tomato Ranch Pasta Salad

bacon tomato ranch pasta salad done

Soccer season is presenting a real challenge to dinnertime.  We’ve been picnicking on the field while we watch the games.  But sandwiches can get old, especially if you’ve packed one for lunch too.  I created this easy pasta salad to take with us one night.  It’s creamy and flavorful with homemade ranch dressing.

Here’s what you’ll need:

[Read more…]

Chicken Smothered with Summer Vegetables on a Bed of Couscous

smothered chicken done

5:30pm and I still didn’t know what I was going to make for dinner.  I piled all the likely ingredients from my fridge on the counter – bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, onions, garlic and parsley.  My first thought was an omelet, but when I went rummaging for eggs I found only 5.  Not enough for my family.

Boneless chicken tenders and a box of couscous came to the rescue.  Everyone in the family loved this, even the kids who aren’t crazy about veggies.  In fact, my pickiest eater tried and liked the bell peppers.

[Read more…]

Italian Chicken and Rice Casserole

Italian Chicken and Rice Casserole

I wanted to make a chicken casserole the other day, but I wanted one that I’d never made before.  After pondering for a while, I decided to alter Chicken and Cheesy Rice Casserole and give it an Italian spin.  Everyone liked it.  We had leftovers for lunch the next day and I thought it was even better leftover. [Read more…]

Southern-Asian Fusion Dip

southern asian fusion dip done

By “Southern”, I mean south of the Mason-Dixon Line, not southern Asia.  By “Fusion”, I mean let’s mix some soy sauce with some mayo.

This stuff is good and slightly addictive the way dip is supposed to be.  I adapted the recipe from Polynesian Dip, which I found on Tasty Kitchen.  I had to rename it though, because Polynesian kept reminding me of Chick-fil-A’s Polynesian sauce and this is nothing like that. [Read more…]

Shrimp Scampi

shrimp-scampi-done

I know there is only one lone shrimp to be seen in this picture, but there really are more in there.  I didn’t get the shrimp stirred into the pasta as well as I should have.  Maybe this plate should be called “shrimp skimpi”.  I adapted this from a Rachel Ray recipe.  The original called for grilling the shrimp.  I shortened it by using pre-cooked, deveined, tail-off frozen shrimp.

[Read more…]

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