Tuesday, April 19, 2016
We were invited to some friends home for dinner last Saturday night. I asked what we could bring and received the response, "Appetizers." I had a long week, so I decided to create an easy cheese plate...Three kinds of good cheese, pate, grapes, and crackers. We talked, drank lots of wine, and most of the cheese. Then we ate the delicious dinner my friend prepared and gobbled up the dessert.
Cue Sunday morning. Too much wine, too much dessert, too, too much cheese! Breakfast was hot tea and toast. I didn't feel like lunch. By dinnertime, I craved something tasty and healthy. These carrot fries came to the rescue.
Crispy, crunchy, spicy, salty AND healthy. How nice does that sound? These carrot fries are simple to make, delicious to eat, and, best of all, healthy. Picture roasting carrots, but keeping them cooking until they are crunchy. That's it. Serve with your favorite dip and you have the perfect side for hamburgers, sandwiches, grilled chicken, or just as a healthy snack. Enjoy!
Healthy Spicy Carrot Fries
2 lbs carrots, unpeeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon Chinese spice powder
coarse sea salt
ground black pepper.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Cut carrots into french fry sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and drizzle olive oil over the top. Add the paprika, cayenne powder, and Chinese spice powder. Using your hands, evenly coat the carrots with the oil and spices (not the salt and pepper). Add the carrots to the prepared pan in an even layer. Liberally sprinkle sea salt and black pepper over fries.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and, using tongs, flip over carrots. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until crispy. Watch carefully; the fries go from roasted (not what you want) to burnt very fast. (again, not what you want).
Serve immediately with Ranch or Spicy Thousand Island dressing.
It is Carrot Week at Food Network's Sensational Sides roundup. Do you have a carrot recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network.
The Lemon Bowl: Vermicelli Noodle Bowls with Shrimp
TasteBook: Carrot Ravioli with Vadouvan Butter and Carrot Top Pesto
Feed Me Phoebe: Salmon Poke Bowls with Pickled Carrots, Avocado and Spicy Ponzu
Taste with the Eyes: Chickpea Spaghetti with Roasted Carrots, Cilantro Dill Pesto #glutenfreevegan
Red or Green? Healthy Spicy Carrot Fries
Healthy Eats: 6 Quick Ways to Serve Carrots This Spring
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Citrus Carrots with Ginger
FN Dish: 6 Sensational Ways to Take Carrots Beyond Snacking
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
When I was a child, salad often consisted of iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and Thousand Island Dressing. Remember Thousand Island Dressing? Gloopy, gloppy, and ever so sweet, this was the salad dressing of the seventies. Salad, hamburgers, fish sticks; TI was served with everything.
Then ranch dressing became all the rage, and I forgot all about the reddish, pinkish, pickle-flecked sauce. Fast forward almost 40 years and I am sitting in a restaurant ordering a salad, and it comes (by mistake) with...you guessed it...Thousand Island. I was in a hurry so told the waitress to leave it. Out of curiosity, I tasted it. It was...not horrible, but not something I would order again. But I kept imagining the sauce not as sweet, not as bland, not as thick. I experimented and decided a spicy version could be the answer. It was.
This dressing is, of course, good on green salads. And on burgers and roast beef or chicken sandwiches. Rubens, of course, are classic. Try on grilled cheese and bacon, or fish tacos. But, I think my favorite is drizzled over roasted vegetables. Spooned over roasted asparagus is especially delicious. Make a batch; you will quickly go through the entire recipe. Happy Spring!
Roasted Asparagus with Spicy Thousand Island Dressing
1 lb asparagus
extra virgin olive oil
best quality balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and peel if stringy. (You probably will only need to peel very thick stalks. Thin stalks are usually fine as is. Place the asparagus in a single layer on prepared sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Using your hands, roll the asparagus in oil until coated on all sides and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Generously season with salt and pepper.
Roast in the oven for 15-30 minutes or until the asparagus, begin to brown and caramelize. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the asparagus stalks. Remove from oven and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon Spicy Thousand Island Dressing over asparagus and serve with additional dressing on the side.
Spicy Thousand Island Dressing
(makes 2 cups)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup greek plain yogurt
1/2 cup spicy chili sauce (I use one made for buffalo chicken wings)
1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
pinch sea salt
pinch black pepper
Add all ingredients to a small bowl. Stir to combine.Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Chill for 1 hour.
Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
It is Asparagus Week at Food Network's Sensational Sides roundup. Do you have an asparagus recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network.
Creative Culinary: Bacon Wrapped Asparagus with Garlic and Parsley
Homemade Delish: Asparagus Crostini
Devour: 25 Ways to Use Asparagus
Feed Me Phoebe: Spring Quinoa Mujadara with Asparagus
In Jennie's Kitchen: Asparagus & Arugula Panzanella
Healthy Eats: 5 Fresher Ways to Prepare Asparagus
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Asparagus, Onion & Pesto Pizza
Red or Green: Roasted Asparagus with Spicy Thousand Island Dressing
The Mom 100: Millet Greens Salad
Taste with the Eyes: Modern Asparagus Spring Rolls - Red Chili, Black Sesame, Almond
FN Dish: 6 Ways to Bundle Up Asparagus This Spring
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
This is one of my favorite salads. Crisp greens and a delicious combination of fresh vegetables, olives, and black beans, tossed with a tangy ranch salsa dressing. Crunchy tortilla chips and roasted pepitas are added just before serving, and you have the perfect vegetarian main dish salad. Throw in some grilled chicken, beef or pork for added protein if you wish, but I like it as is.
The Ranch Salsa Dressing is the perfect finishing touch; tangy and spicy. I make batches all the time. It is wonderful on salads, but I also like it as aa dip for corn tortilla chips and fresh vegetables. It is also really good drizzled on tacos, baked potatoes or steamed vegetables. I provide the recipe for making this dressing from scratch, but if you are pressed for time, purchase best quality prepared ranch dressing and add a couple of tablespoons of salsa. I do not recommend buying the powdered ranch mix. The ingredients and preservatives in the ingredients scare me!
10 cups romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup small cherry tomatoes
1 cup sliced red onions
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained (or use fresh)
1 cup sweet corn (frozen and defrosted or fresh)
1 cup sliced red bell pepper
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 black olives (sliced)
1/2 cup sliced radishes
Ranch Salsa Dressing (recipe follows)
2 handfuls corn tortilla chips, crushed
1/2 cup pepitas, toasted
Place lettuce in a large bowl. Arrange the remaining vegetables as pictured in the first photo. Add 1/4 cup Ranch Salsa Dressing. Toss. Add additional dressing as desired. Add the chips and pepitas along with a large pinch salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings and/or dressing as desired.
Tip. Assemble the salad earlier in the day you plan to serve. Do not add dressing, chips or nuts until just before serving.
Ranch Salsa Dressing
(makes 3 cups)
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk, plus additional to thin1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup chopped dill
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1/4 cup minced chives
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 tablespoon white onion, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons salsa (this recipe or best quality purchased brand)
Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, buttermilk, parsley, dill, basil, chives, garlic, onion, Worcestershire sauce and salsa in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Chill in refrigerator for a minimum of two hours (4-6 is best). Thin with additional buttermilk if needed when ready to toss with your salad.
Keep covered in the fridge. Makes a terrific dip for chips or fresh vegetables. Drizzle over baked potatoes or steamed veggies.
It is Spring Salad Greens Week at Food Network's Sensational Sides roundup. Do you have a favorite green salad recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network.
Devour: 6 Protein-Heavy Salads to Make Your Desk Lunch Less Sad
Homemade Delish: Napa Cabbage, Mango and Bacon Salad
Dishin & Dishes: Buddha Power Bowl
Creative Culinary: Iceberg Wedge Salad with Bacon, Croutons and Buttermilk Herb Dressing
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Green Salad With Emerald Green Vinaigrette
Red or Green: Southwest Salad With Ranch Salsa Dressing
Healthy Eats: Balance Spring Meals with These Leafy Green Side Salads
TasteBook: The Ultimate Green Salad
Taste with the Eyes: Blackened Barramundi Salad, Blackberry Vinaigrette
The Mom 100: Pea Shoot Salad with Shrimp, Goat Cheese and Citrus Vinaigrette
FN Dish: How to Eat Salad for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (and Not Be Mad About It)