24 May 2010

taco salad

I don't know how other people do it, but I'd never had taco salad like this. It was easy, make a LOT, and is good for leftovers. If you've got a crowd to feed, this is a great thing. Too bad Aaron decided to make all that for just two of us. Lots of lunches already made now though!

  • Head of lettuce
  • Pound of ground beef
  • Taco seasoning
  • 6 tomatoes
  • Catalina dressing
  • Chips
  • Cheese
  • Tortillas

Brown the meat and add any sort of spices you want. We did most of a packet of taco seasoning and some chipotle peppers. Chop up the entire head of lettuce and tomatoes and put in a large bowl. Crush handfuls of chips for some crunch, and add the ground beef. Add plenty of catalina dressing to moisten everything without drenching it. Either mix in the cheese or let people add it themselves. Best served in homemade taco bowls with a few extra crushed chips on top.

Taco bowls are the easiest thing to make! Just push a tortilla gently into an oven proof bowl and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350-400 degrees. Be sure to watch it so it doesn't burn, but that's all there is to it. We had whole wheat tortillas, and they turned out delicious!

22 May 2010

green bean salad

Not a Utah green bean salad with French onions or corn flakes, or however it's made out there! This is from a Lebanese cookbook that we got at the library called "The Lebanese Kitchen" by Monique Bassila Zaarour.

Steam green beans until tender, and then toss with this dressing:

2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp salt
4 tbl lemon juice
5 tbl olive oil

For some reason, I'm thinking Adam used lime instead of lemon one time when he made this last week. (We've had it twice.) So there's a possible variation for you.

Also, we think they taste much better the second day - they taste fine when they're freshly made, but the taste mellows quite a bit when they've sat for 24 hours and you have the leftovers for a second dinner the next day.

Greek green salad

This is called maroulosalata, which means ... I have no idea. It's from the island of Cos, and we found this in a book called "Real Greek Food." Apparently, there's a restaurant somewhere called Real Greek, and this book has their recipes.

lettuce shredded very fine - we used Romaine
scallions finely chopped, including the green parts

150 ml extra virgin olive oil (I have no idea what that measures to - Adam made the dressing and I'm just typing it out of the book)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
pepper and sea salt

Seems really basic and maybe even a little weird. But I liked it!

16 May 2010

homemade chocolate pudding

This was the trigger for me wanting pudding:

Adam found it online somewhere and posted it on his Facebook page. Now he keeps saying, "Pudding, you say?" So I told him I wanted some. So he made some. From scratch. It seriously has the same consistency as from a box, and tastes better. Yay!

Homemade chocolate pudding

1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in margarine and vanilla. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in refrigerator until serving.

focaccia bread

We normally buy this bread but won't anymore ... we decided on Italian for dinner tonight after Adam had already been to the grocery store and he wasn't going to go back. So he found the recipe to bake the bread - totally easy, really good, and why pay 4 bucks for a small loaf of this when it's cheaper to make it?

focaccia bread

* 1 teaspoon white sugar
* 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
* 1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt


1. In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with flour; stir well to combine. Stir in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour is absorbed. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for about 1 minute.
3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
5. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly. Pat or roll the dough into a sheet and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the dough with oil and sprinkle with salt.
6. Bake focaccia in preheated oven for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired crispness. If you like it moist and fluffy, then you'll have to wait just about 10 minutes. If you like it crunchier and darker in the outside, you may have to wait 20 minutes.

Adam changed the recipe by tripling the amount of yeast. It would be good to add some Italian dried herbs - we'll do that next time. And then have it with motz cheese and balsamic vinegar - yummmm!

Be aware that baking it at such a high temperature means it cooks REALLY fast - we pulled it at 9 minutes, and the bottom was just about to start turning black.

07 May 2010

Chicken Pasta Salad


1 lb. cooked, shredded chicken (I usually use can of Costco chicken)

1 lb. cooked rotini noodles (or bow tie)
2 heads broccoli, finely chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/3 onion, chopped
1 can sliced olives
1 cup shredded cheese (optional)
1/3 - 1/2 cup ranch dressing (don't skip this--it's what holds it all together)

2 envelopes dry Italian dressing mix
6 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
4-1/2 Tbs. water
3/4 cup oil (you can reduce this some)

Combine cooled chicken, chopped vegetables, and olives. Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over vegetables and chicken. Mix together. Add ranch dressing and cheese. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving (I usually am not organized enough to do this and it still gets devoured). Serves 8 - 10.

04 May 2010

spinach and apple salad

Well, check me out! I told Adam recently that I was bored with the typical garden salad we were eating - leaf lettuce with chunks of tomato, bell pepper, onion, etc. with Italian vinaigrette. I even asked for fresh spinach to make salads with - how weird is that?!? (My sisters will tell you that it's very weird!) Anyway, this is the dressing Adam found to go on fresh spinach leaves and ... here's more weirdness - I don't normally like fruit in my salads but I liked this! My eating patterns just expanded a bit more. Crazy.

apple vinaigrette for spinach salad

Of note on the recipe:

1. This makes quite a bit of dressing, so you'll probably want to cut the recipe if you're feeding only a couple of people.

2. Adam cut the amount of apple cider vinegar in half (1/2 cup to 1/4 cup) and left the other amounts the same. I think if you put in the full amount of vinegar, that would be ... well, a lot!

3. He mixed it in the food processor so the apple and onion were pretty much mushed but there was still texture to it.

4. The salad is just the spinach leaves and the crumbled bacon. We did not use bacon because we didn't have any. Adam put in chunks of apple (mmm, Pink Lady apples). Next time, I will plan to use bacon because I'm curious about the mix of spinach, apples, and bacon.