Taco Salad

With summer officially beginning in a few days, swimsuit season is finally here.  Not that I wear swimsuits that often, it’s not a pretty sight (it’s not terrible either).  But the point is, it’s time to slim down for a few months, before autumn comes around and I fill up on stews and pies and soups and turkeys and cookies and…can it be autumn yet?

Anyway, when it’s hot, and you’re in a season full of fresh vegetables, the obvious choice is to have a salad. But with so many options, what kind of salad do you have?  The choice is always obvious for me: a taco salad!

I love a taco salad. It’s spicy, it’s flavorful, and when you use salsa as the dressing, it is practically guilt free (in my mind).

It’s also super easy to make, and an easy lunch to assemble if you need to take it to work. I’ve been eating them all week!

I use ground turkey meat, because it’s “healthier,” but you can use whatever meat you want.  You can also totally use packaged taco seasoning, and I won’t judge because it’s delicious.

I sauté some onions, and then added spices like cumin, coriander, chili, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and then let them warm up to really bring out the flavors.

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Add the meat in, brown it, add a little water to let the spices really get into the meat, and you’re halfway done!

For the salad, I chop up some mini-peppers, tomatoes, and radishes.

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Next, add some chopped avocado, black beans, olives, corn (I used canned because I’m lazy), and some pickled jalapeño peppers for a nice kick. Toss all that with some lettuce and a few tablespoons of whatever salsa you love, and crumble a taco shell over it for good measure.

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There you have it, a tasty, satisfying, delicious lunch salad!

To use it during the week, keep all the components in separate containers, and it makes assembling them a breeze, and keeps them from getting all mushy.

TACO SALAD

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 lb ground turkey
1 small onion
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Lettuce
1 tomato, chopped
5 radishes, chopped
1 bell pepper (or a handful of mini peppers), chopped
1 avocado, cut into cubes
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 small can sliced olives
Pickled jalapeños
Salsa of your choice (I prefer green)
Taco shells or tortilla chips

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion to pan, saute for 3-4 minutes until soft.
3. Add cumin, coriander, chili, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant. (*Add more or less of whatever spices you love/hate!)
4. Add 1/3 cup water, and stir.  Cook until water evaporates, and then season to taste.
5. In a bowl, combine lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, pepper, avocado, black beans, corn, and however many jalapeños you enjoy.  Toss all that together.
6. Put some salad on a plate, and top with 1/2 a cup(ish) of meat mixture.
7. Break a taco shell or some tortilla chips on top of the salad.
8. Top with a few tablespoons of salsa, and garnish with cilantro if you have any.

Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

I was at an event last night, you know, hobnobbing with the Hollywood elite.  Or, you know, at least the people who work for the Hollywood elite.  Or really, just the common folk while the Hollywood elite conversed among themselves.  The point is, I was at a party on a Thursday!  What a rebel.

Anyway, I was talking to a very nice woman and she was telling me that her version of cooking is going to the prepared foods area at Whole Foods, which is not going to land her a man (her words!).  I told her cooking is a lot easier than people think, you just need to know where to start and find some simple recipes that are big on flavor, enough to impress a man people. Once you have a few of those down, you’ll get more comfortable and want to try more adventurous things!  Before you know it, you’ll never go to the Whole Foods prepared section again!  And maybe you’ll land a man.

Today’s recipe is one of those recipes that is delicious, simple, and impressive.  It’s got a ton of flavor, you probably have most of the ingredients already, and, if you’re into it, it’s low carb!  Something for everyone!

It starts by combining flour with some spices in a paper bag.  It’s like you’re own Shake-n-Bake!

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Then you coat each piece of chicken in that mix, and put it in a pan to brown.

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It starts like this…

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…and ends up like this!

 

 

After the chicken is golden brown, remove it, and add in half & half, cooking sherry, and a lot of parmesan cheese to make a flavorful sauce.

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In a baking dish you layer the chicken on top of a bed of chopped broccoli, and top each piece with prosciutto.

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Pour the sauce over the whole thing, and add more parmesan!  Never enough parmesan.

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Bake for 30-35 minutes until it’s perfectly done.

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Serve to guests who won’t understand how delicious it is until they take a bite and fall over in their chairs.

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You can use more or less chicken, you can cut the chicken breasts in half (so you have an excuse to use more prosciutto!), it works either way. The chicken is perfect, the prosciutto is crispy, and the broccoli absorbs the flavors and cheese from the sauce.  I encourage everyone to give it a try and report back. It’s super easy. And will definitely impress everyone who eats it!

CHICKEN & BROCCOLI CASSEROLE

INGREDIENTS:

6 chicken breasts

1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 tbsp sage

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp paprika

3 tbsp unsalted butter

4 cups chopped broccoli

6 slices prosciutto

1/2 cup half & half

1/4 cup cooking sherry

2/3 cup parmesan or romano cheese

salt & pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Heat oven to 350.

2. In a paper bag, mix the flour, sage, oregano, and paprika.  Add chicken breasts, one by one, and shake to coat.  Like Shake-n-Bake!  Shake off the excess,and place aside.

3. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan.

4. Pour excess oil from the pan, and add half & half.  Bring it to a light boil over high heat, stirring to scrape off the delicious brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

5. Add the sherry, boil for one minute.

6. Add all but 3 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted.  Remove the pan from heat.

7. Place chopped broccoli in a layer at the bottom of a baking dish, and place chicken on top.  Cover each piece of chicken with a slice of prosciutto.

8. Pour sauce all over chicken and broccoli.  Sprinkle remaining parmesan on top of each piece.

9. Bake in oven until the chicken is tender, and the sauce is bubbling. About 30-35 minutes.  Serve hot!

Lamb with Easy Tzaziki

Happy Monday, everyone!

Weekends are always busier than I like them to be.  There are cars to be washed, hair to be cut, groceries to be bought, and TV to catch up on.  This Sunday I helped a friend move to a new apartment, which cut into my usual Sunday-Culinary-Experimentation time, but that just meant I needed to find a simpler recipe to try out.  Fortunately, Ina Garten to the rescue!  (If someone could please sketch an image of her with a cape, I’d absolutely put that in my kitchen).

In Make it Ahead, Ina has a recipe for Lamb with Easy Tzaziki that is simple, and ready in just over 30 minutes!  Just what I was looking for after a long day of (watching other people do most of the) moving.

Lamb is a very polarizing protein.  Personally, I love it, though I know for a lot of people it’s too rich and game-flavored.  But the nice thing about it is that you have to try really hard to overcook it, which means if you forget to set a timer, chances are you’ll still have a delicious piece of meat.

First you whirl together some garlic, rosemary, oregano, and olive oil.

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Then you spread it on the lamb, and put it in the oven at a high heat and forget to take a picture of it for your blog.

While you’re waiting, you work on the tzaziki, which is much easier than you think. You put the following in a bowl: grated cucumber, greek yogurt, garlic, dill, sour cream, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

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A quick mix and:

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It looks great, right?  Cool and refreshing.  Except for the fact that I over-salted it.  Whoops!  Still delicious though.

Okay, the lamb is done!

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How dreamy is that? It was perfectly done too. All that’s left is to roast some vegetables and put it on a plate:

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The combination of the herby lamb and fresh tzaziki is divine, and it’s hard to believe all that flavor is created in such a short amount of time.  It was so quick I had time to make a cocktail while I was waiting for the lamb to finish, and really, isn’t that the most important thing?

Buy Make it Ahead here!

Sunset + Kimchi = *swoon*

Sometimes you come across a recipe that combines so many things that you love dearly and you know instantly that you have to make it.  So, when I read this recipe for Pork and Kimchi Stew in Sunset Magazine, I knew it was destined to get in my belly.

For those who don’t know it: Sunset Magazine is just the best.  It’s full of useful information and tips for your home, vacations around the West, food, and more.  If i were to live inside a magazine, this would be the one.  I renewed my subscription through 2016…back in 2011, because it’s a love affair that will never end.

For those who don’t know it II: Kimchi is a wonder that you must taste to understand.  It’s a spicy, fermented vegetable side dish from Korea that I have loved since I was a kid.  It’s fiery hot, crisp, salty, tingly on your tongue, and apparently really good for you too, which is why I eat a lot of it…yeah…that’s why….  I haven’t attempted to make it myself, but it will happen soon!

Ok back to the stew, which I feel is more of a soup, but stew sounds so much more delectable and could not be easier if you tried.  Though you could have someone else make it for you and that would be easier, I suppose.  But it’s so easy you don’t need anyone else (we’re all independent women).

First you start by browning some pork.

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Then you add the magical trio of onion, garlic, and ginger. Anything that starts with these is going to be heavenly.

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THEN COMES THE FUN PART: Add the kimchi and jalapeños! HOT HOT HOT!

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I’m not kidding about how much I love kimchi. I add it to eggs, I have it with a steak, I just eat it for a snack. I have a problem.

After that you add in various other things like sesame oil and soy sauce, and you let it boil and bubble for a few minutes.

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And finally you add in some tofu, and serve it piping hot!

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Just look at it! It’s a stew the color of kimchi!If you want it heartier, serve it over some rice!  And about 20 minutes from start to finish so you have no excuse not to go make it right now.

RIGHT. NOW.  GO!  And report back!

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RECIPE: Pork and Kimchi Stew via Sunset Magazine