Tag Archives: Nut Free

Fresh Salsa

Summer and roadside produce stands seems to hand in hand. Local farmers have plentiful bounties and are always willing to sell straight to the customer ! We all love the idea of a bargain, but when I read the sign ” all local organic produce” , “fresh herbs”  and “plum tomatoes” I had to stop!

For days  I’d been thinking on how to vamp up the flavor of our grilled chicken breast  without the use of a grilling sauce  and there it was: fresh tomatoes, herbs, fresh peppers  and spring (green onions). Mix up, serve as a dipping side and yum, yum, yum!

The man had harvested the goods that same morning. Oh what a treat it was… the freshest, truest flavor of salsa I’ve ever had. It’s simple, has 4 ingredients and is chock full of flavor. Careful handling the Jalapeno  , it could irritate sensitive skins! The actual heat of the pepper is concentrated in the seeds and  white stuffs inside the pepper, so discard if you like less heat, or leave it all in for a fiesta in your mouth. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 red plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 medium jalapeno pepper, finely chopped ( leave seeds and white out for less heat)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Salt to taste

Mix the tomatoes and shallots in a bowl, toss in the cilantro and salt. Mix in jalapeno to taste. Serve immediately. This salsa can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Buffalo Chile

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We love chili! Not the greasy chili that will send you to the pepto bismol but the tasty chili that is lean flavorful delicious and nutritious. We tried making chili with several types of meats , from turkey to venison, they were all chili in the academic sense but some struck a lovely note with all tasters. The top one was made of buffalo meat. Why Buffalo? Doesn’t it taste gamey???. Not quite. The buffalo or bison kept as we  we consume today is far the free roaming herds from the past, and in many cases they are kept  like regular cattle “sans le hormones. Mainly we chose to make chili with buffalo because it is lean and delicious, and has some described it , buffalo has a slightly sweeter taste that beef.
Not into bison? No problem,  the second place (with similar tasting rating) was made of lean  chopped sirloin beef. It was also lean and flavorful

 

2 lbs chopped buffalo or 90% lean chopped sirloin meat
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbls ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbls powdered garlic
3 Tblsp Chile powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 yellow pepper diced
1 large onion diced
2 cloves garlic chopped
10 oz ( one can or 1 and 1/2 cups) of fresh chopped tomatoes
Chopped green onions (optional)

In a dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp of oil and  brown bison  on low heat . Add the  dry seasonings and cook till there is no liquid left. Remove from dutch oven into a tray and cover to keep warm. Place dutch oven back on heat  add 1Tblsp of oil and cook the onion and  pepper for 5 minutes or till slightly caramelized. Add  the garlic, stir for 30 seconds then add the meat with all the juices,the tomatoes, stir, cover and set heat to low. Let cook simmering for 30 minutes. It will taste just as if you were cooking it all day!
 Serving suggestions: Put a few broken tortilla chips in the bowl before ladling in the chili. Top with grated cheddar cheese.

Guacamole

guac

How we love guacamole! But how do we not love the store-bought weird grey- looking stuff! Our quest for the perfect guacamole started a couple of years ago thanks to the generosity ( and overstock) of a neighbors guacamole tree. Although avocados might have a bad rap or being fatty,  they contain 0 trans fats and do contain 20 vitamins a a cargo load of minerals such as potassium.  In our search for the perfect flavor we discovered a couple of useful facts: you MUST use lime, lemons an guacamole do not jive, and second: you must use fresh peppers. Use serrano peppers if you prefer mild, use jalapenos is you prefer a bit more spice.  ENJOY!

 

Ingredients: (for 2 cups)

2 large ripe avocados
3 firm medium tomatoes, diced
3 jalapenos or Serrano peppers, finely chopped
1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 green onion with the stalk, chopped
the juice of 1/2 or 1 lime
salt to taste

Cut the avocados in half, remove the seeds. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and place it in a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and mix. Place the diced tomatoes and onions into the bowl, mix well and add jalapenos and salt to taste, depending on the desired spiciness. Toss all the ingredients together evenly. Let stand for 10 minutes to let the flavors blend. Taste for salt and spiciness. As with all salsas, if too mild add more peppers; if too spicy, add more tomatoes

Use as a dip or as a condiment for fajitas and grilled meats.

Kale and Zucchini Pie

kale-and-squash

Kale is a leafy green vegetable related to mustards, broccoli and collards. It is incredibly packed with vitamins A , C and K, and is considered a great anti-inflammatory. It’s glycemic load is 3 ,This means it will not make your blood sugar spike .
But how does it taste?
It’s zippy and simply yummy in traditional soups and stews but, did you know it can take full center stage in a pie? Well it can! We added thin slices of yellow zucchini and cheese instead of a  pie crust top and presto!  A delicious , nutritious and figure friendly  is born . So from our kitchen to yours to enjoy : Kale and zucchini pie.

Ingredients:

3 cups chopped kale
1 onion , chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup part skim ricotta
2 tbls olive oil
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 yellow zucchini or 2 yellow crooked neck squash , thinly sliced
1 pie crust ( bottom only)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Meanwhile in a large skillet, saute the onions with the oil, salt and pepper over medium heat  till slightly brown. Add the chopped kale and saute till slightly wilted. Turn off the heat and add the nutmeg, ricotta and the eggs. Mix lightly till incorporated.

Place the mixture in the bottom pie shell, distributing evenly, sprinkle  with the grated cheese, then top with the thin zucchini slices till all the mixture is covered. You can get as fancy or as simple as you like, stacking in a fan-like fashion or randomly.

Place in the middle rack of the oven and let bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven , let cool slightly, slice and enjoy!

Variation: you can also make individual pies, just adjust cooking time to 25 minutes.


Green Beans, Sausage & Sweet Tomatoes

Are you short on time and want to prepare a wonderful dinner?  As they say necessity is the mother of many inventions,  but don’t let the lack of time deprive you and your family from enjoying a delicious dish! Nowadays you markets have an assortment of chicken sausages. They have less fat than the traditional pork sausage and come in varieties such as apple and spice, smoked paprika, and if you like it spicy andouille and jalapeno!  Use fresh vegetables ( or a shortcut with frozen ones) and inexpensive  Queso Blanco and you’ll make a great  dinner for any time of the year.

Ingredients:

2 cups pole or green beans, blanched ( use frozen for a shortcut)
2 smoked chicken & apple sausages chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1/2 cup Queso fresco diced
2 Tbsp olive oil

Brown the sausage in a skillet with the olive oil, take the sausage out, keep warn.; lower the heat and place the tomatoes and queso in the drippings, stir gingerly till queso starts to melt.

Arrange the beans on a serving dish, layer on top the sausage and the tomato-queso mix. Serve with spicy tortilla chips for a snack, or over whole wheat pasta fir a dinner.