Arugula Pesto

Pesto, in pretty much all forms, is delicious. As you may recall, I recently discovered a quinoa pesto from Trader Joe’s which was pretty amazing. Jarred pesto is, quite honestly, the way to go a lot of times. It’s cheaper than homemade, quick, no mess, and delicious.

But there are times you want the real thing. The homemade thing. The equally delicious thing. And this arugula pesto from Bake Your Day certainly comes in handy for that! Arugula is a really hardy leafy green and packs a punch in its own right, and along with the garlic, they are equally show-stoppers. I omitted the walnuts and used slivered almonds instead, and it was great too.

As you can see, I paired it with pasta, but you can really pair it with anything!

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Arugula Pesto

serves 2-4

Ingredients:
-2cu fresh arugula, packed
-2 large cloves garlic, peeled (or more)
-2tbsp toasted walnuts
-1/2cu olive oil
-1/2tsp salt, more or less as needed
-1/2tsp pepper, more or less as needed
-1/2cu Parmesan cheese

Directions:
-Combine arugula, garlic and walnuts in a food processor. Add half of the olive oil and pulse to process it. Continue to process on medium speed while streaming in the rest of the olive oil (for those of us with regular food processors, you’ll have to stop, open the lid, pour in more, then keep going). Season with salt and pepper and then stir in Parmesan cheese.
Note: To toast the walnuts, place the walnuts in a small pan over medium heat. Allow them to toast, shaking the pan often. Watch them closely so they don’t burn.

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Watermelon-Mint Salsa

I vaguely recall promising to post this watermelon salsa recipe several weeks ago…you know…when it was still summer.  And here in the Pacific Northwest, it is going back to our drizzling dreariness (kinda love it, not gonna lie!).  Therefore, the intrigue of summer food has kind of faded away for many of us.
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BUT, since when do I subscribe to social norms?  I have been known to grill outside in rain and windstorms and go out for tacos (mmm I miss Moe’s!) in hurricanes…so why not post a summer salsa recipe in the fall? 😉

In any case, I don’t have a link for this recipe, as it came from a coupon book I got from Fred Meyer.  I made it on a day that we were having company over, I needed to make a yummy appetizer, and we had 1/2 a watermelon gifted to us from my mother that I wanted to use up.  I was a bit worried that our guests wouldn’t like it (not everyone is food-venturous), but 4 of us adults just gobbled it all right up! (though I don’t think the 3 kids in tow tried it).  It was a wonderful blend of spicy/zesty, with a faint hint of sweet, and great to pair with chips (or top grilled seafood or a pork chop with, or whatever you want!).
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Watermelon-Mint Salsa

serves 4-6

Ingredients:
-2cu seedless watermelon, diced (I’m not sure how much I used, I don’t think I actually measured)
-1cu cucumber, diced and seeded (I just used an entire cucumber)
-2tbsp red onion, finely minced
-1tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
-1tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
-1/4tsp hot sauce (I think I added a few extra shakes)
-salt, to taste

Directions:
-Combine all ingredients, mixing gently to make sure they are well incorporated.
-Cover and let chill for one hour in the fridge.
-Leftovers can be refrigerated for several days.

Balsamic Glazed Salmon

I’m from the Pacific Northwest, so I have to represent seafood on this blog every now and then!  A few months ago, my husband and I bought some amazing looking salmon and a pack of cedar planks from Costco.  I was able to divvy up the salmon into several meals, which was a nice treat! 😉  This balsamic glazed salmon comes from Cooking Classy’s blog – and this is definitely a classy meal!  This particular recipe did not involve one of the planks (but check out this Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon dish previously seen on this blog).
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I just looooove balsamic vinegar, yet I so rarely use it.  I have labeled it as one of those “special” ingredients and therefore seem to save it for more “special” dishes.  It can be very potent, but brings such a lovely taste and smell to any dish, that I just cannot resist it.
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This was a pretty simple recipe – the recipe calls for pan-frying it, but you could grill it too!  Also, I apologize that I posted several pictures of basically the same thing.  Lately I have not been taking many pictures of the actual cooking/prepping process, as opposed to the final product.  I promise that I will get more into that!

A few side notes: the original recipe calls for 4 salmon fillets, but I was only using 2, so I reduced the recipe a bit (my Ingredients list is cut in half from the original recipe’s ingredient list).  Despite this, I had a TON of glaze, as you can see from the pictures, so I probably didn’t reduce the ingredients enough.  The second side note is that I forgot to run to my mom’s beforehand and snip some fresh rosemary from her garden, so I used dried.  But it was still tasty!
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Balsamic Glazed Salmon

serves 2

Ingredients:
-1/4cu balsamic vinegar
-/8cu white wine (I used white cooking wine)
-1tbsp honey
-1/2tbsp dijon mustard
-1/2tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, divided
-1 clove garlic, finely minced
-2 (4-6oz) salmon fillets
-salt and freshly ground black pepper
-2tsp canola oil, divided

Directions:
-Allow salmon to rest 10 minutes at room temperature.
-Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar, white wine, honey, dijon mustard, half of the chopped rosemary and the garlic. Heat mixture over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer over medium-low heat until sauce has thickened and reduced about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and pour into a heat proof dish (using a rubber spatula to get it all out) and allow to cool.
-Season both sides of salmon with salt and pepper. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tsp of canola oil. Once pan and oil are hot, add 2 salmon fillets and cook, without moving, until salmon has nicely browned on bottom, about 3 – 5 minutes. Carefully flip salmon to opposite side and continue to cook 3 – 5 minutes longer until bottom is browned and salmon has cooked through.
-Serve warm drizzling each fillet with balsamic rosemary glaze and sprinkling tops with remaining rosemary.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Yes, you are hearing way too much about the Seattle Seahawks from me.  So sue me. Actually, don’t.  But what you SHOULD do is watch this video.  Even if you are not a Seahawks fan, I guarantee it will crack you up anyway.  I have watched it about 50 times in the past few weeks and am not tired of it at all.

“What Does The Hawk Say?”

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This is one of those recipes that is so easy, it’s hard to call it “cooking.”  But since an oven is involved, I suppose it is!  It is also super cheap.  The ingredients totaled a little less than $5, and it made about 5 cups!

This tomatillo salsa verde from She Wears Many Hats was a total hit at my office’s “Snack Food Friday” last week.  Colleagues were coming up to me all day saying it was the best salsa they ever had, how did I make it, can they get the recipe, etc and so forth.  If you make this for your Super Bowl party (or heck, just make it to gobble it up yourself!), it is guaranteed to be a total hit.  It is GREEN (go Seahawks!!) and is literally all vegetables.  You can’t beat that.

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Why yes, I like to make a mess when I cook.  Doesn’t everyone? 😉

Side note: I was a bit hesitant to add all 6 jalapeños at once, so I added a few at a time.  My husband taste-tested the recipe and said it was fantastic, and only mildly spicy with all six.
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Tomatillo Salsa Verde

serves a lot

Ingredients:
-2lbs tomatillos, husks removed and washed
-6 jalapeños
-4 garlic cloves
-1 medium onion
-2/3cu fresh cilantro leaves (or however much you want, really)
-salt, to taste

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 400, then chop the onion in half, crush the garlic, and leave the jalapeños and tomatillos whole (do not peel the onion and garlic). Roast on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes, turning halfway through the roasting time.
-Peel the garlic, de-seed the jalapeños, and peel and roughly chop the onion.
-In a large food processor, add all roasted ingredients, plus cilantro, and pulse until all ingredients are chopped and it reaches your desired consistency. Add salt only as needed.
-Serve with chips, crackers, or whatever you want!

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I am going to keep this blog entry short and sweet, since I know I am SUPER behind in posting, I want to crank some out tonight while I have the time!

A week or two ago I ventured to make sweet potato fries for the first time ever – and they were so tasty!  I only recently started enjoying sweet potato fries (and only in restaurants or bagged from the grocery store, until now).  But I have not liked every sweet potato fry I have tried.  They are so mushy sometimes and just so sweet (obviously).  But this recipe had a great crispiness to it.  I think I’ll make sweet potato fries again, but they’re honestly just as tasty, inexpensive, and a whole lot easier to just buy a bag! 😉

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This recipe came from Creme de la Crumb and I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a new (or first) sweet potato fry recipe!  Feel free to also poke around her blog for other delicious-looking recipes!

Also, I paired it with simple pre-made hamburger patties (I have never bought the pre-made ones myself, cuz I like to mix in my own spices and marinades, but they were in the freezer), so it was a perfect pair!

Side note: I *definitely* added sriracha sauce to my fry sauce!!

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Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

serves a lot!!

Ingredients:
-2 large sweet potatoes
-2tbsp olive oil
-1/4tsp, each, paprika, salt, onion powder, chili powder, cumin
-1/8tsp, each, garlic powder and black pepper
-1/2tsp sugar
Fry Sauce
-1/4cu mayo
-2tbsp ketchup
-1/2tsp lime juice
-1/8tsp, each, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, celery salt

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 450. Cut the potatoes in half, length-wise, then cut again, to make traditional “fry” shapes (check my pix or the pix on the original blogger’s page). Place the potatoes in a bowl and toss with olive oil.
-In a smaller bowl, mix all the seasonings together. Sprinkle and mix them into the potato bowl, then spread onto a baking sheet.
-Bake for 10 minutes per side (20 total). While baking, mix together all of the ingredients for the fry sauce.

Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

Today we are in Long Island, visiting my husband’s relatives.  He hasn’t seen most of them for 10+ years, so obviously I have never met them.  It is also my first time in Long Island.  I’m sure I’ll have some pictures to post next week!  Additionally, it has been SO HOT OUT.  If you have been following the news (or if you live on the east coast yourself), you know just how hot it’s been.  On Thursday, it was 102 with humidity.  Yesterday it was almost 100 with humidity.  I’ve heard that in Florida it is about 115 with humidity.  It is just gross.  And it can be really dangerous – so if you have to be outdoors for long periods of time (or are at the beach), make sure you lather up with sunscreen, wear loose and comfortable clothing, and most importantly – stay hydrated!  I love carrying around my blue water bottle with me, and when I’m at home I keep it in the fridge, so it’s always cold when I have to take it with me to go somewhere.  What are some of your stay-cool tactics?

I’m a little embarrassed to post about salad dressing.  I have never really made my own dressing before (I don’t think).  I wanted to do something “different” last week with our salad, so I quickly googled something simple that included ingredients we already have on hand.  I found this recipe by Rachael Ray.  I altered her recipe drastically, only because my salad was just feeding two people.  I also added a bit too much vinegar, so I had to sweeten it out by adding a bit more of the other ingredients.  I also cut down on the “EVOO” (as she calls it) quite a bit, because I didn’t want it to be just plain oil.  I’ll post the recipe as she has it, and you are free, of course, to make your own adjustments.  Also, I just served this over a bed of mixed greens with a sprinkling of shredded parmesan cheese – but obviously you can add a multitude of other veggies, or even grilled chicken, to make it a main dish!

WW value of dressing per one bowl of salad: 3

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Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
-2/3cu extra virgin olive oil
-1/4cu white or red wine vinegar
-1tbsp dijon mustard
-2tsp honey
-Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
-Combine all ingredients in a jar, close lid, and shake vigorously.