Cucumber dill salad

This is a simple oldie and goodie.  My sister makes a cucumber dill salad that is yummy. Since its the unofficial start of summer, it called to me to make this super healthy salad to go with our burgers Saturday night. It felt especially fitting since we have dill going to town this summer.  Traditional salads include red onion, but I have mixed feelings on onions, so I don't include them. Likewise i know there are a lot of traditional versions of this with a creamy base, but i prefer the healthy and super tangy version with the vinegar. A little bit goes a long way. I did use this excuse to pull out my mandolin. Every opportunity to use a kitchen gadget is a good opportunity. 

1 English cucumber sliced thinly
3 tbl white vinegar
2 tsp sugar 
2 tbl fresh dill. 
Pepper to taste 

I started out with slicing the cucumber up on the mandolin. 

In a small bowl I mixed up the vinegar, sugar, dill, and pepper.  

Toss the vinegar sauce with the cucumbers and let it soak up the deliciousness. They were even better the second day :)


Blue Cheese and Gingered Pear Quesadillas

Last year I mysteriously started getting Family Circle Magazine. I'm assuming its some sort of marketing ploy to get me to love the magazine and start buying it myself, or someone gifted me and forgot to tell me. This months issue had an interesting recipe at the back. I'm not sure why it jumped out at me, because its way fancy for a 'burgh girl like me and Mr Meat 'n Potatoes. 

We braved it and I deemed it a nice easy success. Meat had his without the pear, which meant more for me :). To make for it I gave him a little extra blue cheese and prosciutto - a fair trade in everyone's eyes. I enjoyed mine on high fiber la tortilla factory tortillas, so it really was just enough. I felt it was light, tasty, and just enough without feeling grossly full (needed after stuffing my face at St Nicks Greek food festival Friday and my friend Jen's birthday Sunday). David wondered who would think to put anything other than beef or chicken with Mexican cheese on a quesadilla, but never says no if it involves prosciutto. I think it's likely we will add this to our rotation.  It's basically a fancy grilled cheese in quesadilla form. Next time I might just place the prosciutto on the tortilla as a whole slice and finely slice the pear instead of dicing and then cover with a blue cheese/lime/ginger mix. 

This may have been my first foray into fresh ginger. Nor sure why I avoided it previously? 

1 pear, diced
1/2 tbl fresh ginger, minced
Juice of a lime
4-5 tbl blue cheese, crumbled
4 slices prosciutto, cut into pieces
4 large tortillas 

Combine blue cheese, finer, lime juice, and pear. Mix well. 

Put a tortilla on the quesadilla maker or hot pan (may need a spritz of oil). Cover with half of prosciutto and half of the fruit and cheese mixture. Place another tortilla on top and grill. Repeat and enjoy :)

Both the most beautiful picture, but tasty none the less. 


Honey Sesame Chicken

I've been trying to expand our culinary horizons lately.  Last summer I introduced David to Sriracha sauce. It was love at first sight. Lately I've been feeling a little Asian, so I was quite interested in this Honey Sesame Crock Pot Chicken from skinnytaste.com; however, I was not digging the four hours in the crockpot.  Hello, I work outside my home, 4 hours isn't going to work for us.  I refuse to use frozen chicken breasts directly into the crock pot to extend the cook time the way people suggested in the comments - that is just asking for a bacterial disaster that I don't want to induce.  So I changed this up a little based on our likes and dislikes and this is what we ate.  it was a definite win as far as dinner go.  We ate the shredded chicken with pasta - I used orzo to simulate the brown rice that I was really jonesing. I added broccoli slaw to mine with a side of fresh pineapple.  We both really liked this one and I've since made it again.  It had a slight sweetness from the honey, and the Sriracha gives it kick, but its a kick that you don't taste initially.

I even enjoyed the leftovers the next day.  In order to make it a little easier, I've thought about chopping up the chicken prior to cooking and serving the chicken pieces over pasta/rice with plenty of yummy sauce.  I used tomato paste the first time, but didn't feel it was lacking when I didn't have any in the house the second time.  This makes 3 good sized servings for David and I given the typical chicken breast size.

pepper to taste
2 boneless chicken breasts
3 tbl honey
2 tbl soy sauce
1 tbl tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1.5 tsp Sriracha sauce
1 tbl rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbl cornstarch

Mix the honey, soy, tomato paste, garlic, Sriracha, vinegar, about half a cup of water, and sesame oil in a small bowl.

Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of a small dutch oven or pot. Pepper to taste and cover with the honey-soy-sesame mix.  Cover tightly and cook on the lowest setting for about an hour.  Check periodically and add water as needed.  Remove the chicken from the dutch oven and shred.  Meanwhile add cornstartch to the pot and mix well.  Keep on low and cook until thickened slightly.  Return chicken to the dutch oven and mix well.  Enjoy! 


Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

We are invited to a cookout for my fried Jen's birthday this weekend. By the time I got around to asking what we could bring the savory was pretty full up, so I decided to make these cupcakes I had seen at skinnytaste.com. I wanted to make them at Easter but wound up doing plain chocolate cupcakes with homemade frosting in an effort to please the masses. 

These were pretty easy, and rather tasty if I do say so myself. No verdict from the other half, but he is excited to get his own personal cake shown below and give we a try. 

1 box funfetti cake mix
1 packet kool aid pink lemonade mix
1.5 tbl sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tbl oil
1 cup water. 

Preheat oven to 350 and put liners in muffin tray

Mix water, lemonade mix, and sugar in a small bowl. 

Combine cake mix, lemonade mix, oil, and applesauce and mix well. Place in cupcake liners. Add sprinkles if desired (I used non-perils, and bake for about 22 minutes until fully cooked. Cool and enjoy :)

David's special cake because I love him so much (vomit) and since he is putting up with my work friends two weekends In a row :) 


Greek Meatball Stew

Saw this one in this month's Food Network Magazine (Thanks Mom & Dad!) and wanted to give it a try.  It was pretty easy and definitely quick with a few modifications.

I thought it was pretty good, although some of my meatballs did fall apart.  next time i might spray them with oil and bake in the oven and then add to the stew once cooked.  This was David's first foray into butter beans.  He thought they were huge, but yummy.  He was able to pull out the meat and beans, so we consider this a family success.  Next time I'll probably try to do this with a little mint mixed into the spice mix too.  It was definitely pretty quick for a weeknight and flavorful.  I think you could easily just do one can of tomatoes instead of the two since I'm the only tomato eater here.

2 tsp chicken soup base
2 cups water
1-28 oz can diced tomatoes
1- can diced green chilies
1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 tbl oregano
3 tbl chopped dill
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
12 oz to1lb ground round
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1-14 oz can butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium zucchini coarsely chopped
1 lemon

1. Combine the soup base, water, tomatoes, and chilies and begin boiling

2. Combine the red onion, oregano, dill, and pie spice in the food processor and process until onions are finely ground.  Take half of the mixture and add to the stock mixture.

3. Combine the ground round, spice mixture, and 1/4 cup bread crumbs in a bowl.  Form small meatballs (approx 25) .  Add to the stock mixture and cook the meatballs, stirring as needed.

4. Add in the butter beans and zucchini and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add in lemon juice and enjoy.