Monday, April 25, 2011

Tuscan Bean Salad

This recipe gives a new meaning to bean salad. It is so tasty, but a big bonus is that it is a healthy dish, too. The two don't usually go together, but this recipe does that very well. This is the perfect side dish for the warmer days ahead--cold beans on a hot day. Now, how cool is that. Also, my Stud Muffin loves this, and it is one of my favorites as well. Tuscan Fagioli Insalata, enjoy!

  • 1 (1 lb. 13 oz.) can Goya garbanzo beans
  • 1 (1 lb. 13 oz.) can Goya black beans
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 (15-16) oz. can butter beans
  • 1 (15-16 oz.) can pinto beans
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped basil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic from jar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅔ cup aged white wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 3 spring onions (sliced green tops too)
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly ground sea salt to taste

Drain and rinse all beans in a colander. Place in a large mixing bowl. Cut sun dried tomatoes into slivers with kitchen scissors and clean and slice green onions. Add to beans.

Add remaining ingredients to beans. Stir well. Place in an airtight bowl and chill overnight.

Serve as a side or have a bowl of beans for lunch. Healthy can be delicious. Feel free to change the bean selection around. I have used Fava beans, black soy beans, pigeon beans, etc.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chicken Salad

This recipe is a very popular one, it's unique and refreshing. I have made these little sandwich treasures for a rehearsal dinner, weddings, birthdays, funerals and anniversaries. Yesterday was the best reason of all. I made them for my daughter-in-law Katie's baby shower. Now how about that, I will soon be a first time Grandma. Baby James is due on June 9th. I have not met the little guy yet
and I can hardly wait. I am already in love with my grandson--Nonna is waiting. You don't need a special occasion for these treasures. Chicken Salad is great for the hot spring and summer days ahead. Enjoy!
  • 2/3 cup petite frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 (12.5 oz.) can chicken breast packed in water, drained
  • 1 cup mayonnaise, I use Hellman's light or Aldi's Fit & Active
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. ground white pepper
  • 2/3 cup sliced spring onion, tops and root trimmed, sliced thin
  • 2/3 cup diced celery

Thaw peas in cold water. Meanwhile, open and drain chicken. Place chicken in a large bowl and break up chunks with fingers. Add mayonnaise, mustard and white pepper, mix together well. Chop celery and onion, drain peas well and mix all 3 into chicken salad. Cover and chill overnight.

This chicken salad tastes best on potato rolls. I make them on Martin’s potato party rolls (24 pk). They make a nice small sandwich. Or you can use the burger buns too.
I use reduced fat mayonnaise and it is still delicious. Also I can not stress the importance enough to use petite frozen peas, they have a sweetness to them that the larger peas do not.

My recipe is an awesome twist on chicken salad. This is a very requested recipe. I buy large cans of chicken from the wholesale food clubs. Don't let the fact that the chicken is canned fool you, it tastes better then one you would cook up fresh and does not get that flavor change that whole cooked chicken does.

 If making a lot of sandwiches this tip is a time saver. Refrigerate the 24 count packs of Martin's party potato rolls, this makes slicing easier. Pull out 12 attached rolls at a time, do not separate them, slice in half horizontally all the way through. Then remove all 12 bun tops leaving them still connected. Using a small cookie dough scoop up chicken salad and place a dollop on top of each of the 12 roll halves. Top with bun tops and cut with a long knife to separate into 12 mini sandwiches. Repeat until done. This is a great assembly line technique to prepare them.

This is a pic of my expecting daughter-in-law Katie. We just had these chicken salad sandwiches at her baby shower over the weekend and they were a hit.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Deviled Eggs

Well, I must say Easter dinner would not be the same without the lamb shaped butter and my deviled eggs. As a matter of fact, I'm supposed to make these every time we have a crab feasty too. Funny how certain foods get connected to special meals. There is something special about the sweetness of the egg and the saltiness of the olive. It makes my mouth water to just think about them. You can save time by buying the eggs that are already hard boiled and peeled. If you do not, please remember the fresher the egg the harder it is to peel. This is another favorite of my Stud Muffin's. Happy Easter!

  • 10 whole hard boiled eggs, peeled
  • 3 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 5 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 ½ Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • green olives stuffed with pimentos (large)
  • paprika

Hard boil and peel 10 eggs or purchase a bag of eggs already hard boiled and peeled (10 count). Slice eggs in half and gently remove egg yolks and place into food processor, set aside egg whites.

Then add mustard, mayo, sugar, vinegar and salt to food processor. Whirl ingredients in food processor until smooth. Scrape out egg mixture into a gallon size bag. Remove excess air from bag and seal off. Snip a small corner of bag and squeeze a little into each egg white dividing evenly until gone. Then sprinkle tops of egg lightly with paprika.

Slice olives into 3 pieces and place one slice on top of each deviled egg. Refrigerate overnight. Serve the next day. The saltiness of the olives compliments the sweetness of the deviled eggs. These are a favorite in the summertime. Also I am not allowed to have a crab feast or serve Easter dinner without them. Do yourself favor and buy the precooked and peeled eggs that are available.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Baked Stuffed Poblano Peppers

The flavor and mild heat of the pepper is a perfect blend with the cheese and chicken. They are so tasty it will be hard to eat just one. Truly an ethnic treasure here, enjoy!!! In the pic to the right, one pepper has more cheese than the other, serve it either way and they will taste great.
  • 8 large poblano peppers
  • 1 (12.5 oz.) can chicken breast packed in water, drained
  • 1 (4.5 oz.) can chopped green chiles
  • 1 cup medium or hot salsa
  • 1 (8oz) pkg. of Mexican style grated cheese, reduced fat
  • 1 large brown paper lunch size bag
  • 8 toothpicks
  • cooking spray
  • sour cream, optional garnish

Place all eight peppers on a baking sheet and broil sides until bubbly and blackened. Turn peppers every few minutes until blackened all around, being careful not to get burned. Then remove from broiler and place peppers in brown paper bag and fold close. Let sit for 15 minutes to cool down and steam will loosen skin. Then remove from bag and peel off skin, also removing seeds and stems, cutting pepper open and lay open flat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl place drained chicken breast and break up chicken chunks with fingers. Then add: salsa, green chiles, and cheese. Mix together well. Spray a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pyrex dish with cooking spray. Evenly divide chicken mixture between the peppers skewering them closed in the middle with a toothpick. Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and serve immediately with some beans or rice. Serve with optional sour cream.

I love the flavor combo of this chicken, cheese mixture with the peppers. It has just enough heat without being too spicy. If you are a wimp about spice you may stuff sweet bell peppers instead. Be bold and try it truly is not too hot. Enjoy!!!