Your favorite grocery store probably has an entire aisle devoted to salad dressings. And while there are plenty of good ones out there, there are just as many as not so good ones. Some taste bad, and others are simply bad for you. (I know–where did this health conscious guy come from??) But you can make your own quick and tasty dressing at home, with ingredients you already have in the pantry. This is one I’ve been making a lot lately, and it’s helping me eat more leafy greens. (There’s that healthy guy again.) I like to pour it over a spring mix and toss in a small handful of walnuts.
Maple Dijon Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of minced shallot
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
Salt and pepper
Combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, shallot and garlic in a jar and shake well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over your favorite leafy greens and enjoy.
Okay. I’m a bad food blogger. One of the biggest eating events of the year is happening this weekend and I have nothing new to contribute. I know, shame on me. But – I’m no stranger to the delights of appetizers and party foods. Here are some of my favorites, any of which would be perfect for your Super Bowl celebration. (Click on the photo for the recipe.)
Avocado Fries with Cilantro Lemon Dressing – these are awesome, and the dip is super tasty
Pan-fried Cajun Shrimp – the game IS in New Orleans this year
Soft Pretzels with Spicy Cheese Dip – I would eat these every day if I could
Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms – a favorite of dads everywhere
Deviled Eggs – it’s not a party without them
Cold weather got you down? Seriously, I don’t know how anyone can be happy when the high is just 3º. Eat these super-quick (and vegetarian-friendly) enchiladas and you’ll remember the warm weather lickety-split. Add some extra chipotle peppers and you’ll even feel the heat.
Black Bean Enchiladas
– ½ cup of sour cream
– 3 to 4 canned chipotle peppers in Adobe sauce, minced
– 1 15oz can of black beans, rinsed & drained
– ½ of a jalapeno, diced
– 1 cup of frozen corn, thawed
– 4 medium-sized flour tortillas
– 1 cup of chipotle salsa
– ½ cup of shredded Pepper Jack cheese
– Cooking spray
In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream and chipotle peppers. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes so the flavors can meld.
Heat your oven to 350º.
Put half of the black beans in a food processor along with the diced jalapeno and process until combined but still slightly chunky. Mix together with the remaining black beans, corn and chipotle-sour cream mixture.
Spoon about ½ a cup of the mixture down the center of each tortilla and then roll up. Place seam-side down in a baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray. Top with the salsa and then the shredded cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. Let cool slightly and eat.
Cleaning out the fridge is never fun. Have you ever reached into your crisper for a cucumber only to discover that said cucumber is now a mushy green blob? True story. So to prevent more mushy vegetables and uneaten leftovers, I decided to give the fridge a proper cleaning and find out just what was in there. What I found, aside from 4 different kinds of mustard, were a lot of ingredients I could turn into a quick, tasty dinner. Those bell peppers with no purpose? Sure. That unused half of a zucchini? Why not? Some leftover marinara sauce? You bet. Supplement with a nice can of black beans and some hearty condiments and you’ve got yourself a sloppy yet overwhelmingly satisfying supper. Seriously, have plenty of napkins handy.
Veggie Sloppy Joes
– ½ of a large white onion, diced
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 jalapeno, diced
– 1 green bell pepper, diced
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– ½ of a medium zucchini, diced
– 1 15.5 oz can of black beans, rinsed & drained
– ½ cup of marinara sauce
– ¼ cup of barbecue sauce
– 1 ½ tablespoons of tomato paste
– 1 tablespoon of coarse mustard
– 1 tablespoon of ketchup
– Cracked red pepper
– 1 ear of grilled or boiled corn, kernels removed
– Jalapeno hot sauce
– Salt and pepper
– Olive oil
– 4 Kaiser rolls or large hamburger buns
In a large skillet, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bell peppers and zucchini, season to taste with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the black beans, marinara sauce, barbecue sauce, tomato paste, mustard, a ¼ cup of water and a tablespoon of ketchup for good measure, and stir to combine. Season to taste with cracked red pepper. Simmer about 10 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly. Stir in the corn kernels, a few dashes of jalapeno hot sauce and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. If it’s not as saucy as you’d like, add more barbecue sauce or ketchup. Spoon into your favorite rolls and eat.
What’s cool is that you can literally add any leftover vegetables to this mixture. Mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, ground beef – wait, skip that one. How do you use your leftover ingredients? What have you found hidden in the dark parts of your fridge?
Hey folks! If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted in a week and a half, you obviously didn’t read my last post. (Ha, just kidding.) But if you did, then you know I went to Montana for a friend’s wedding, followed by a few days in Yellowstone National Park. It was an amazing trip with truly unbelievable sights. If you’ve never been to that part of the country, book a trip. Now. And remember to pack your camera and your appetite. Here’s a small sampling of some of the food and scenery I experienced. (I say some because I didn’t have my camera with me at every meal, so a few things like the smoked bison & elk jalapeno cheddar bratwurst didn’t get photographed. But believe me, I’m going to remember them fondly. Along with the Arby’s roast beef sandwich I ate on the road. But that’s another story.)
One afternoon we rode horses through this spectacular valley in northern Yellowstone. It was literally my second time on a horse — and the first time I was a small kid and just sat there. So it was kind of a big deal. My horse was named Senior, and he even had a small mustache. (Ole!) After the ride, they treated us to a genuine Cowboy Cookout, complete with grilled steak, potato salad, cole slaw, a corn medley, awesome corn bread muffins and incredible ranch-style beans. I loved that it was served on an aluminum plate. It got me nice and full for the horseback ride back to the corrals.
Since my friends & I had never been to Yellowstone, we figured some organized tours would be the best way to get a good look at the park, and we were right. One of the tours took us around the entire park in a day, giving us a glimpse at all the major sights, including Old Faithful. We scarfed down a quick lunch so we made sure we were ready to see the geyser erupt. But even a fast meal deserves a little pick-me-up, so along with a pre-made ham & cheese croissant sandwich, I sipped on Old Faithful Ale, a golden beer that was crisp and flavorful and very drinkable. There are a ton of great beers brewed in that area — my favorite was Bent Nail IPA.
That’s a pretty spectacular sight, right? So to celebrate, we got ice cream. Huckleberry is a flavor found all over those parts so simply I had to try the Old Faithful Inn’s huckleberry ice cream. It was sweet and tart and a beautiful lavender color.
Our last night in Montana, we stayed in Bozeman, a kinda quaint, kinda hip college town. At the suggestion of our newly married friends, we had dinner (and many beers) at Montana Ale Works.
Rather than eat another bison burger (I already had 3 that week), I went for the Montana meatloaf, which was also made with bison along with beef & pork, and the whole thing was wrapped in bacon. (I know, right??) It was served with incredibly soft mashed potatoes and caramelized onion gravy. I also got a side of their baked beans, which had giant bits of pork in it. I swear, if the TSA laws allowed it, I would have carried on a vat of those beans. Smoky and saucy and porky … my mouth is watering just thinking about them.
Okay, so the photo above isn’t food-related, but this sign made us all laugh. There’s no thin crust pizza in Yellowstone, but there’s a lot of thin crust — that is, areas of the earth where the ground is so thin that you could fall through. So watch where you step.
This one’s also not food-related (at least I hope he didn’t get turned into a burger) but this big guy wandered around our cabins the entire time we were there. We named him Norm. He seemed friendly enough, at least from a difference. I’ll miss him.
Lastly, a big CONGRATS to my friends Chris & Melissa! Thanks for inviting us all to such a beautiful place to watch you guys get hitched. It was touching and fun and amazing and so incredibly special. So maybe we can all celebrate your first anniversary under a Big Sky too? Ehh? Whaddya say???
I hope the Easter Bunny was good to everyone. Need some last-minute recipes for today’s feast? There’s still time to make a quiche for brunch. Or an easy potato side dish to go with your ham. Or some delicious cheesy rolls. And yes, everyone’s favorite, deviled eggs.
Happy Easter everyone!