My summer blogging efforts continue with the K.I.S.S. method (Keepin’ It Short & Sweet!) This week I want to share a few tried and true EASY dishes and one that looks so good although I haven’ t tried yet!
Years ago when I was a busy, working mom there were times after a busy day at the office I would aimlessly walk through Publix Markets thinking of something new to fix for supper! I had three hungry kids at home and coming up with a dish that all of them would like could be trying at times! This particular day I ran into a neighbor, Lori, and we chatted a while and then I said to her, “Ugh I need to get something different to fix for supper!” In response she gave me the best, easiest taco salad recipe, which was a huge hit and I am still making it today!
- 1 head of lettuce (Romaine or Iceburg – it needs to be crunchy!)
- Sliced black olives
- Chopped onions (scallions are good too)
- Tortilla Chips – broken in bite-size pieces
- One pound of ground turkey or beef (cooked and crumbly and HOT)
- Shredded cheese (any kind)
- Optional: avocado, black beans, cukes, or any other salad ingredients.
- Dressing: Mix half Catalina or French with half Italian. Blend together in bowl or jar.
Start with the lettuce, in a big, deep bowl, layer, in order, the remaining ingredients – pour the dressing over the completed salad. Delicious and this salad is actually better if it sets for a little while and gets “wilty”. I always serve it immediately and then at cleanup time find myself eating every last crumb!!! YUM-O!
A version of this dish is served on the Salad Bar at Jason’s Deli – the first time I had it I knew I had to make it at home!
Cook your desired amount of Pearl Couscous according to directions on package. I buy bulk so I bring 2 3/4 cups of salted water to a boil, add 1 1/2 cups of dry couscous, bring to boil again and then I shut the heat off, put a lid on it and go about doing other things! (Usually make it a lunchtime to use at supper.) Doing it this way does make it clumpy so I sprinkle some olive oil over it and with a wooden spoon break it up and separate the pearls!
To the cooled pearls I add about 1/2 cup of olive-mix tapenade, and about 1/4 cup of basil pesto. THAT is all I do but the options are endless: scallions, raisins, tomatoes, etc. Be as creative as the appetites you feed will allow!
Pearl Couscous is high in calories, with lots of good things in it. “Each 1 cup serving is fat and cholesterol free, low in sodium and includes significant amounts of vitamin C, potassium, protein and fiber. The sad twist, however, lies in the 650 calories each 1 cup serving also contains. Because of this, you need to be careful when cooking pearl couscous, choosing ingredients that increase its flavor rather than its calorie count.” (From www.livestrong.com)
Cold Cucumber Soup
Dang! I love this stuff! In 1983, hubs and I were in Williamsburg VA doing the touristy thing in the old historical village. It was a very hot summer day and I ordered cold cucumber soup at one of the restaurants in the village. Oh my goodness, it was the best thing ever! And, ever since I’ve been looking for a recipe that would mimic the green, creamy, refreshing summer soup. Last summer I came as close as I’ve ever gotten to duplicating the 1983 tasty delight!
3 cups plain nonfat yogurt
1 English cucumber (1 pound), cut into chunks (I peel mine)
1 scallion, white and green parts, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
3 T. chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish ( I LOVE DILL!)
Salt & Pepper to season.
In a blender, combine the first four ingredients. Season to taste with the S&P. Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish choices: thinly sliced radishes, small chunks of garden-fresh tomato, dill sprigs, dollops of sour cream, and/or drizzle of olive oil.
I have not made these but saw them on Facebook the other day and thought they were not only pretty, but probably delicious! From The Comfort of Cooking.
1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed and pat dry
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Graham cracker crumbs, optional
With a paring knife, cut off the strawberry stems. Cut around the inside of the strawberry, hollowing out slightly and creating a well for the cheesecake. (You can also do this with a small melon baller.) Cut off a small portion of the pointy strawberry tip, so that each strawberry can stand. Place each on a large baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, with a standing or handheld electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Place mixture in a pastry bag and pipe into each strawberry, adding a little extra to the top. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Optionally, sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top of each stuffed strawberry. (Don’t they look cute with a blueberry on top?)
TIP: Don’t make more than 5 hours in advance, or your strawberries will sweat and may become a bit soggy.
This post wasn’t exactly “short & sweet” but it was definitely fun putting together and it has made me hungry!
Until next week…
Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.