Category Archives: Recipes

Recipes – Obsessed! Avocado Chicken Egg Salad

Recipes – Obsessed! Avocado Chicken Egg Salad

I’ve determined that I’m a serial salad eater. From time to time, I’ll become obsessed with a particular salad concoction and eat it nearly on a daily basis for weeks on end. Then, I may never resurrect it again.

My current favorite salad was created by cleaning out my refrigerator on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I was hungry but too lazy to head out in the rain to get something to nosh, and in no real mood to cook. I opened my refrigerator door and grabbed whatever grabbed me. The result? A salad I am now obsessed with and everyone I’ve served it to loves it, too!

The first thing I noticed when I opened my refrigerator was the unopened Marie’s creamy ranch dressing that I’d purchased for entertaining over the holidays. It had an expiration date in about a month so I decided I’d best get to eatin’ it!

A bag on the second shelf held a chicken tender from the local grocery store. Rummaging through the vegetable drawer, I found some mixed baby greens, grape tomatoes and a small avocado. It all sounded good, but it still seemed something was missing.

The answer was on the top shelf. In a small Lock&Lock were black olives that called my name, and I remembered I had nearly a dozen hard boiled eggs. My sister always tells me to keep hard boiled eggs at the ready in case I need a quick snack or something to add to a recipe. She was right!

I chopped, tossed, seasoned and mixed and voila! My new favorite salad!

I’ve included a make-shift recipe for those that require one, but generally when I make salads – well, almost anything – I just go by gut. You can certainly substitute if you like, perhaps grilled chicken for the chicken tender, or low-fat ranch dressing. It’s an easy recipe with good things in it; just tweak it to your taste!

Just so you know, in my house you can never have too many black olives or coarse ground pepper on anything.

Avocado Chicken Egg Salad

2-3 cups mixed baby greens (your choice)
6 grape tomatoes
1 hard boiled egg
1 small avocado
I chicken tender
Black olives
1 TBSP ranch dressing
Salt and pepper to taste

Place greens and tomatoes in bowl. Slice hard boiled egg. Add thinly sliced chicken tender. Dice avocado. Add olives, seasoning and dressing. Mix. Eat!

If you try the salad, please let me know how you like it. I’ve eaten it about 20 times already. I’m sure once summer comes, I’ll switch to something else but this salad is where my taste buds are right now.

Enjoy!

Cindi

Recipes – Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

turkey

Right about now, cooks around the country are stressed big time over the looming Thanksgiving holiday dinner. Maybe you tried a recipe last year that you didn’t quite like, or you’re searching for something different or perhaps it’s your first time making a turkey. Relax.

I have to say, for some reason, I’ve always found turkeys easy to prepare. In the past, I would baste and baste for hours, but over the years, I’ve created a recipe that seems to work with every turkey I’ve tried, from the least to most expensive. I do it every time I have dinner, and the turkey is moist and tasty. What more could you ask for?

So, here’s my makeshift recipe for an easy Thanksgiving turkey.

First, be sure it’s fully thawed. We usually have around a 20 pound turkey to feed our family with leftovers, so it’s out of the freezer and into the fridge by Sunday.

On Wednesday night, I pull out all the extras – neck, gizzard, heart – and make a broth in a big pot with lots of celery, onion, carrots and parsley. That gets used for the stuffing on Turkey Day.

Now, back to the turkey.

Thanksgiving morning, I slice several onions on the bottom of the roasting pan. If you’re using the disposable aluminum pans from the store, either use two (double the pans) or place a sturdy cookie sheet underneath because the turkey can get a bit unwieldy by the time it’s done and you don’t want to spill juices all over your oven.

Once you’ve sliced the onions, rinse the turkey thoroughly inside and out, then pat dry with paper towels. Place it on top of the onions. Coat the turkey with a thin layer of olive oil all over.

Inside the turkey for flavoring, I place a stalk of celery, a sprig or two of parsley, two or three baby carrots, a small peeled onion and a whole lemon. Rinse the lemon skin and poke it several times with a fork before you put it in the turkey.

In the roasting pan, I pour one can of Vernors Ginger Ale. You can use another brand, if you like, or even beer. I happen to like Vernors. Don’t pour it over the turkey, just pour it into the bottom of the roasting pan on top of the onions.

vernors

I tent the turkey with aluminum foil and place it in the oven for an hour at 450 degrees. Then I reduce it to 325 degrees until it’s ready. If you buy a turkey with a pop-up thermometer, that’s easy. Otherwise, your meat thermometer should read 165 in the thigh. For a large turkey like this, it usually takes around 4 1/2 – 5 hours, depending on how finicky the turkey is.

Carefully remove the turkey from the oven and let it sit for 15-30 minutes before slicing. Eat!

Wasn’t that easy? No basting, no nothing. It comes out a beautiful golden brown. The oil seals in the juices while the lemon and ginger ale soften the meat.  Be very careful removing the pan from the oven as there will be a ton of juices, which can later be used to make gravy.

We got lazy on the mashed potatoes over the years and now buy the Trader Joe’s frozen mashed potatoes. They are perfect and delicious every time! They also have frozen mashed sweet potatoes.

nov7-mashedpotatoes

For the stuffing, we use two packages of Pepperidge Farm blue (regular), one red (herb cubed) and one yellow (corn). We cut up the meat and veggies from the Wednesday broth and mix it with the stuffing mix, along with the broth to moisten it. This really has to be done by feel – not too moist but not too dry. Spread it in a couple of 9×13 pans and bake. It usually takes about 20  minutes if I’m not mistaken. I don’t make the stuffing so don’t quote me on that. I just observe.

Stuffing 1Stuffing 2Stuffing 3

Anyway, I just wanted to share my turkey recipe with you. I’m always interested in hearing what others are doing, so please share! And, if you do make your turkey like I do, let me know  how it turns out.  I shared my recipe with a friend and he said he spreads honey all over his bird, then plops some inside. I haven’t tried that yet but it sounds yummy!

In the end, the holiday is not about the food but about the loving company of family and friends, thankful for another year together with great memories to share. I hope you and  yours have a happy, safe and blessed Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble!

Cute-Thanksgiving-Turkeys-13

 

Enjoy!

CIndi

Recipe – Obsessed! Kale and Parmesan Salad

If you recall, back in the spring I was totally obsessed with California Salads (read post here). I just couldn’t seem to get enough of the tuna/avocado yumminess! My obsession lasted for weeks until I got to the point I couldn’t look another avocado in the eye – unless of course, we’re talking about guacamole!

I had several non-committal weeks, then suddenly as fall temperatures started to descend upon our fair desert city, I had found a new obsession: Kale and Parmesan salad!

Doesn't this look yummy!

Doesn’t this look yummy!

I know, I know, kale is the new hip vegetable. Well, it’s almost so readily expected to be part of everyone’s diet that one forgets there are more ways to consume the veggie than in a morning green beverage.

I personally put a bit of chopped kale or spinach into nearly everything I make. There are so many nutrients in them a little bit never hurts. My Mom, who lives with me, hates raw kale. She says it tastes like paper but she eats it when I sneak it into one of my recipes.

I honestly don’t recall how my new salad concoction came about. I think I was just cleaning through the refrigerator and this assortment of goodies wound up on the counter. Regardless, I’m so glad they did because I eat this salad nearly every day. Sure, I’ll get sick of it in due time, but for now, I love it!

I just place some freshly washed kale on a plate, then add cherry tomatoes, black olives (i can never get enough olives!), shredded Parmesan cheese, a heavy dose of coarse ground black pepper and just a hint of your favorite ranch dressing, from vegan to all-out Marie’s. Mix it all together and it is absolutely delish!

I’ve used different types of kale in the salad, and they are all good. Sometimes I’ll buy a large bag of chopped organic kale. Other times, I want the baby kale leaves. Occasionally, I can find the small leaf Italian Lacinato kale in the organic section at Von’s. It’s positively fabulous, probably my favorite kale to use.

I told some friends of mine about my recipe and they chimed in with their own versions. One adds just a dash of balsamic vinegar to the salad as I make it, including the ranch dressing. He says it’s a whole new level of awesome!

Another friend switched out a couple of ingredients. Instead of kale she used spinach and replaced the shredded Parmesan with shredded mozzarella. She also added chopped roasted red peppers. I haven’t tried that version but she says her taste buds go wild!

I’ve always been a salad lover, so I’m sure I’ll have more cravings in the future. In the meantime, give this recipe a shot and let me know what you think!

Enjoy!

CIndi

 

 

 

Recipe – Obsessed! California Salad

California Salad

California Salad

Growing up in Detroit back in the twentieth century, I had limited exposure to both avocados and artichokes. In fact, I don’t think I ate an artichoke until I moved to California. However, once I ate them, I fell in love. I mean, really in love.

I tend to eat mostly Mediterranean style, with lots of olive oil, capers and plain old olives. Veggies are a big deal as are chicken and turkey. But, I do love tuna fish as well. So, lately I’ve been craving what I call a California salad. We do meatless Fridays around here, and this meal fits the bill.

In an Internet search, if I prepared this salad properly, it would be called something like the California Stuffed Avocado Salad. However, i like to do things my way, so I switched it up a bit and skipped the stuffing. It’s very simple yet very delish!

I start out by preparing a version of my sister’s tuna fish recipe. Basically, once you’ve drained the water from the tuna (using coffee filters rather than paper towels), you add frozen peas, chopped radishes and chopped artichoke hearts. Occasionally, I mix in a few chopped green olives.

For seasoning, I add Old Bay, pink Himalayan salt, Lawry’s seasoned pepper and onion powder. You can add fresh onions if you prefer. Add a dash of Miracle Whip (for the veggies) and Trader Joe’s organic mayo (for the protein), mix it all together and let it sit overnight.

The next day, I take half a Hass avocado, cut it into chunks, and form a circle around the plate. I season it with some chunky pink HImalayan salt and coarse ground pepper, then add the tuna salad. That’s it!

If done properly, instead of taking the avocado out of the shell, I would simply have topped the avocado with the tuna, but that just gets too messy. Plus, I’d rather not have the avocado shell to deal with on my plate.

You can prepare the tuna any way you like. I have a friend who uses tarragon and maple sugar pecans. And i absolutely love the cranberry tuna from Whole Foods. Pretty much any sort of protein salad can be used, including chicken, shrimp and crab.

If you insist on eating some carbs alongside the salad, Sun Chips are a good addition, as are whole grain Wheat Thins.

So, there you have it! This summer’s food obsession for meatless Fridays. It’s a refreshing, quick and affordable meal that anyone should love. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Here are some avocado cookbooks to keep you happy all year long!

Enjoy!