Watermelon Salsa

I make this refreshing salsa so often this time of year, I don’t even need to pull out the recipe anymore! Anyone who’s ever tasted it has either asked me how to make it or asked me to bring it when we’re invited to a picnic or BBQ.  I think you’ll agree, it’s the perfect summer accompaniment to chips and a margarita and takes only minutes to pull together. So get to it… and Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Serves 6 – 8

  • 3 cups chopped seedless watermelon
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped (approx 4 tbsp)
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • pinch red pepper flake
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a medium size bowl combine watermelon, cilantro, jalapeño and onion.
  2. Season with lime juice, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flake and pepper (to taste) and toss to coat.
  3. Chill for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.
  4. Just prior to serving gently fold in the avocado and sprinkle with salt.
  5. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

Suggestions:

Adding the avocado and salt at the end prevents the avocado from turning brown and the salt from leeching all the water from the watermelon creating a soupy texture.

*Adapted from Watermelon Salsa courtesy of Paula’s Pantry

German Style Potato Salad

My dad Rudy makes the BEST potato salad, drawing inspiration from his German heritage.  Although I draw my inspiration from his original recipe, I use less vinegar. What we both have in common is mixing everything together while the potatoes are still warm.  It makes a huge difference in the profile and complexity of this rather simple dish; as the potatoes cool they absorb all the flavors and the result is pure deliciousness! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Feeds 8

  • 3 lbs baby Yukon Gold potatoes (skin on), quartered
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 3 eggs, hard boiled, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped (plus more as garnish)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil with the potatoes in the pot. Once boiling, stir occasionally and cook approximately 15-20 minutes until you can easily pierce a potato with a fork and go all the way through. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the warm potatoes with the mayonnaise, mustard and apple cider vinegar. Gently fold in the chopped celery, egg and scallion.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. This salad can be served warm, however, I like to let chill 2 – 3 hours in the fridge before serving to allow time for the flavors to develop. Garnish with additional chopped scallion if desired.

 

Pasta Salad with Pesto

Made this for our neighborhood Fourth of July gathering in our cul-de-sac. We are so fortunate to have great neighbors who are more like friends and family than simply people living in close proximity! This is an easy pasta salad with a mediterranean twist, perfect for sharing and feeding a small crowd! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Feeds 8-10

  • 1 lb rotini pasta
  • 1, 15oz can artichokes hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1 small cucumber chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 8 oz mozzarella pearls (or feta, cubed)
  • 6 tbsp prepared pesto
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus additional if needed)
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain/rinse with cold water and set aside to partially cool.
  2. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine the artichokes, cucumber, tomatoes, olives and mozzarella.
  3. Once pasta has cooled some, toss it in a large bowl with the prepared pesto, olive oil and vinegar to coat. Gently fold in the artichoke mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover and let chill at least 30 minutes. Toss before serving and season with additional salt/pepper/oil if needed.

*Adapted from Pioneer Woman Magazine

Texas Caviar

I cannot take credit for the catchy name or the tasty combination of ingredients; I know quite a few home cooks who have their own version of this recipe on file! However, I can tell you how I make it as well as list a few unique ways to repurpose your leftovers!

Ingredients: Serves 10 – 12

  • 24 oz frozen corn, thawed
  • 1, 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro (loosely packed), chopped
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (plus extra)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (plus extra)

Directions:

  1. Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the last six ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Add the liquid to the corn mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Adjust seasoning to your personal taste preferences by adding additional salt and/or pepper..
  5. Let chill 2 – 3 hours, allowing flavors to develop.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips.

Leftovers:

IF you have them… consider the following (drain any liquid that accumulates first):

  • Add it to eggs in a scramble or a quiche, or use it in egg cups (search site for recipe).
  • Fold into corn bread batter to jazz up your corn muffins/corn bread.
  • Top grilled chicken or fish with a scoop.
  • Toss it with a green salad.

Kale and Berries Salad

An Instagram follower (you know who you are;) asked me to post this recipe, so here it is! It’s the perfect homage to summer!! Enjoy!

Ingredients: Feeds 2 – 4

  • 4 cups torn kale, ribs removed (I use organic red leaf)
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced or chopped almonds

Directions:

  1. In a large serving bowl, mix torn kale with lemon juice and salt. Massage kale with your hands to tenderize it.
  2. Drizzle massaged kale with olive oil and season with fresh cracked pepper.
  3. Toss kale with strawberries, blueberries, and pomegranate seeds.
  4. Top with goat cheese crumbles and almonds.

Suggestions:

Add protein to this salad to make it a complete meal! I’ve used grilled teriyaki pork loin but I think blackened chicken, salmon or even shrimp would pair nicely!

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Shrimp Fried Rice

Why order take out when you can make it (better) yourself at home?! This tasty shrimp fried rice is easy to make and satisfyingly delicious! If shrimp aren’t your thing, substitute with chicken or leave the protein out all together… it makes an excellent side dish!

Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • 1 1/2 cups white rice (I use Jasmati)
  • Kosher salt
  • cooking spray
  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb raw medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into thirds
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
  • 4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

IMG_3050

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized pot with a tight fitting lid, bring 2 1/4 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a bowl. Meanwhile, rinse and drain the rice. Once the water is boiling, add the rice, stir, cover and simmer for 12 – 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow 10 – 12 minutes for rice to steam. Fluff rice with a fork and transfer to a lightly greased cookie sheet. Spread out and allow to cool.IMG_3052
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tbsp of canola oil until glistening. Add the shrimp and stir fry over medium/high heat until pink and almost cooked through (approximately 3 minutes). Use a slotted spoon and remove shrimp and set aside. Drain any remaining juices.
  3. Add the rest of the oil (4 tbsp) to the wok and return to the heat. Once the oil glistens, add the beaten eggs and cook (scramble) over medium/high heat until almost done/dry.
  4. Add the rice, sugar, pepper, and a pinch of salt to the eggs and stir fry until rice is re-heated and incorporated.
  5. Add the shrimp, peas and carrots and soy sauce and stir fry until shrimp are fully cooked and veggies are heated and tender.
  6. Season to desired taste with additional salt, pepper and/or soy sauce.IMG_3056

*Originally adapted from Food and Wine

 

 

Corn and Blueberry Salad

This is a tasty summer salad that pairs well with everything from hot dogs and hamburgers, to ribs, pulled pork, tacos or carnitas! If you’re short on time, use left over corn on the cob or defrost a bag of frozen corn if you’re truly desperate! No matter how it comes together, it’s always a crowd favorite! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Feeds 6-8

  • 6 ears sweet corn, cooked and cut from the cob
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 small cucumber peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl combine cut corn, blueberries, cucumber, red onion, cilantro and jalapeño.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, honey, cumin and salt.
  3. Toss corn mixture with dressing to coat.
  4. Chill before serving, can be refrigerated up to 24 hours.

*Original recipe from Paula’s Pantry