Chunky Chicken Chowder

Isn’t it so funny that at the end of summer when the temps dip just below 70 degrees for 10 minutes everyone pulls out sweaters and pumpkin everything?  And then in the Spring when the weather warms up just barely over 65 degrees everyone pulls out shorts and tank tops??  Well, we had one of those *barely* chilly days this week.  And I wanted soup.  Specifically, Chunky Chicken Chowder (say that ten times fast!).

(Do you remember this past Spring when I wanted summer and it just wouldn’t come?  This was the soup I made then.)

So this soup comes together really quickly and has lots of good, chunky bites to keep you full much longer than your typical broth-style soup.  My favorite part is that there are two different types of meat: chicken breast and chicken sausage.  The fun part is that there are many different flavors of chicken sausage so you can slightly change the flavor each time you make this!  For this recipe I used this all natural brand:

First, take a large soup pot and add olive oil to the bottom of the pan.  Start warming the oil while you chop the chicken breast into bite-sized chunks.  Season with salt and pepper before tossing into olive oil.  While these brown, cut up the chicken sausage into similar-sized chunks.  When the chicken breast has cooked on both sides, add chicken sausage to warm through.

Next, chop red (or yellow) pepper, onion and red potatoes.  Also, finely mince garlic.  Add these to the pot and stir with chicken and sausage.  Let the vegetables soften (about 5 minutes) and then add kidney beans.

Finally, add fire roasted tomatoes, red pepper flakes and chicken stock.

Bring all this to a boil and lower heat to a simmer (about 10-12 minutes) for potatoes to soften.  Serve with shredded cheese, a dollup of sour cream and tortilla chips on the side.

Chunky Chicken Chowder
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 oz. chicken sausage, chopped, flavor of your choice
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 6 small red potatoes, chopped
  • 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 t. hot sauce OR red pepper flakes
  • 15 oz. fire roasted chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Qt. chicken stock or broth
  • Garnish
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • tortilla chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat soup pot to medium high. Add olive oil.
  2. Chop chicken into bite-size pieces and season with salt and pepper. Saute chicken until cooked through.
  3. Dice chicken sausage and add to the pot. Next add garlic and let cook 2 minutes.
  4. Add peppers, onion and potatoes. Cook 5 minutes, then add red pepper flakes and fire roasted tomatoes.
  5. Finally, add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 10-12 minutes until potatoes are tender.
  6. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips and fresh cilantro if desired.
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http://www.thecomforttable.net/chunky-chicken-chowder/

What do you reach for first when the season turns?  What do you crave when it starts to get cold?

White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Admittedly, I come out of Labor Day weekend every year whining and moaning a bit.  I LOVE summer and am so SAD that it is over.  Here in Chicagoland, the Fall chill has already started.  This picture was taken this morning:

I have a love/hate relationship with this tree.  Twice a day I pass this tree to take my daughter to school and pick her up.  It is the same tree every year that starts to turn so early.  Just a couple of leaves on the top taunt me saying, “Say goodbye to summer, fall is already on its way!!”

But.  When I finally concede that summer is over, I really do love Fall.  I do!  The leaves changing in our area are truly beautiful and I enjoy cooler temperatures, wearing sweaters and scarves and sitting by the fireplace.  Living in south Florida for two years had me answering the common question “How can you handle living in that COLD?” to which I always replied “the same way you handle living in the oppressive heat of summer–inside!”

What I actually like about the cold, however, is that it gives you a good reason to slow down.  It gives you an excuse to snuggle up to a great movie or bundle under blankets and read a great book.  When I lived in Florida I felt like I didn’t have enough down time because my Midwest mentality says if the sun is shining, you better be outside taking advantage!

Fall means pumpkin spice for a lot of people.   I don’t really jump on board with pumpkin spice in my coffee.  But!  I will take a delicious slice of White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread with my coffee, thank you very much!  What a tasty way to ring in the new season!

If you would like the see the recipe and how to make it, hop over to Hannah’s blog alifetransformedblog.com!  Full details on how to make it (along with the recipe!) are at A Life Transformed today.

 

Butterscotch Apple Crisp

There is a great picture book list that comes from Sarah Mackenzie that I’m loving right now.  I have mentioned her here before, but she runs an organization called Read Aloud Revival, encouraging parents to build their family culture around books.  She sends you a list each month of her favorite themed books.  So this month it has been apples.  Who knew there would be so many books about apples? Well, we have been reading them.

So, when we were invited to a cookout with friends for small group, my mind instantly jumped to apples.  Now, I’ll be honest, I usually don’t think of apple desserts as my favorite, but the first time I tried this?  It was fantastic.  Butterscotch Apple Crisp is not only perfect Fall treat to get you in the mood of the season, it has that *little something* different that makes it special.

The great thing about crisps?  They are quick and easy to assemble and even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!  Let me show you how quickly this comes together!

First, grab this handy contraption: the apple peeler-slicer-corer.

These are fairly inexpensive and are great for potatoes as well.  I have also made my own applesauce before and these make everything quicker.  Once you have your green apples peeled, sliced and cored, lay them into a baking dish.

Next, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Combine butterscotch chips, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in small bowl.  Sprinkle over the apple layer and bake for 20 minutes.

While this bakes, mix the topping.  Combine flour and brown sugar in a mixing bowl.  Cut in cold butter with flour and sugar mixture.  I use this tool to cut in the butter.  If you don’t have one, just use a couple of forks and mash the butter into the flour/sugar mixture until butter is the size of small peas.

Finally, stir in chopped pecans and rolled oats.  For a cleaner counter, I used this chopper to quickly chop all the pecans.  I love this tool to chop celery for chicken salad or onions because my husband really hates the smell of onion and this seems to contain it a bit.  Also great for herbs, or in my case, nuts.  {This recipe seems a bit fussy with all the gadgets, but I do think they make the recipe quicker.  I do have all these tools and do actually use them so I felt it was worth mentioning.}

After 20 minutes, sprinkle the oat/nut mixture over the apples and butterscotch chips.  Bake for an additional 30-40 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is lightly browned.  Cool slightly and serve warm with ice cream.  I hope you enjoy this delicious, warm Butterscotch Apple Crisp!

Butterscotch Apple Crisp
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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lb. tart apples, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 11 oz. pkg. butterscotch chips
  • 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • Topping
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick cold butter
  • 1 c. chopped pecans
  • 3/4 c. rolled oats

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice and thinly slice apples and lay in 9 x 13 baking dish.
  3. Combine butterscotch chips, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over the apples.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Mix flour and brown sugar for topping. Cut in cold butter until butter is the size of peas. Stir in nuts and oats and pour over apples.
  6. Bake for an additional 30-40 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is lightly browned.
  7. Cool slightly and serve warm with ice cream.
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http://www.thecomforttable.net/butterscotch-apple-crisp/

 

 

 

 

 

Greek Salad with Grilled Chicken

Do you ever do this?  Make a bunch of grilled chicken but feel at a loss for what to actually do with it?  Well, this very quickly assembled dinner is delicious!  Greek Salad with Grilled Chicken is a healthy, quick dinner that won’t leave you weighed down when you are finished.

One of the things that always helps is to quickly season the chicken before it goes on the grill.  Just a couple of spices and you can completely change the flavor of your entire meal.  You could also marinate your meat but sometimes I just want to sprinkle something and go.

My husband is in charge of the grill so while he does that I do the chopping.  Within just a few minutes I have all of dinner ready.  Though some of my kids are a little resistant to salad for a meal, they will eat nearly all of this separated onto their plates which makes it a win for me.

The other great part about this is that the marinade is also the dressing.  It simplifies everything and leaves you with fewer dishes to do.  To get started, preheat your grill.  Next, to a large bowl add olive oil, lemon, water, red wine vinegar, parsley, basil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.  Whisk these ingredients well and add half to the chicken in a zip top bag.  Reserve the remaining dressing for the salad.

Next, start to warm the grill as you just do a bit of chopping: chop up some Romaine lettuce, halve some cherry tomatoes, dice up an English cucumber (the long and skinny kind), slice a whole avocado, quarter a lemon and pull out a pint of feta cheese.

Place marinated chicken on the grill and discard marinade.  Grill until juices run clear and have good grill marks.  Be sure to let chicken rest for 5 minutes before cutting into it so juices can redistribute.  Slice chicken and add to salad.  Dress the salad and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Greek Salad with Grilled Chicken

If you would like, add 1/3 c. chopped and pitted Kalamata olives.

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Ingredients

  • For the dressing/marinade
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. water
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 2 t. dried basil
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • 1 t. salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • For the salad
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 c. Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 large English cucumber, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • lemon wedges

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl and whisk well. Pour half into a zip top back with chicken breasts. Let marinate while the grill warms. Reserve remaining dressing for later.
  2. Chop Romaine lettuce and cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado and put on the salad.
  3. When chicken comes off the grill, let the meat rest for 5 minutes. Finally slice the meat and add to the salad. Pour remaining dressing over the top.
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http://www.thecomforttable.net/greek-chicken-grilled-chicken/

What is your go-to quick healthy dinner?  Do you have a favorite marinade or herb mix for chicken on the grill?

Balsamic and Herb Pork Tenderloin

Hey!  I hope you had a great weekend.  We are back at school full time around here and it has been an adjustment, to say the least.  I think we all forgot what our days looked like when my oldest was in school all day.  Our little buddy was pretty bummed out to lose his playmate.  As with all things back to school, though, we are back to the grind of planning menus and schedules.  Balsamic and Herb Tenderloin is such a great and simple choice when you need to make something quick!

Pork tenderloin is the best kind of pork.  Well, except maybe bacon and that may just be a tie because bacon is from heaven.  I’m certain of it.  But, pork tenderloin is delicious and simple yet nice enough to serve to guests and easy to prepare.  This comes together so quickly that the hardest part is deciding what to have with it!

To prepare, add the following ingredients to a zip top bag: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, salt and pepper.  Squish around the bag to make certain all ingredients are well mixed.  Add the pork tenderloin and marinate for about 30 minutes.

Next, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove meat from the marinade and discard marinade.  Season with salt and pepper and then heat a pan on the stove.  Sear pork on all sides (about 2 minutes).  Remove from pan and place in oven safe dish and finish in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  {I choose to move the pork to a new pan because the bottom of the pork gets too dark for my taste if I leave it in the pan from the stove.}

If you have a meat thermometer like this one, use it!  They are fairly inexpensive and you won’t regret having one at your next Thanksgiving dinner (for that reason alone it is worth the purchase!).  Perfect pork comes in at 140 degrees at the thickest part of the meat.  If you don’t like any pink, I would try no higher than 155 degrees.  After that, your meat will dry out and not taste as delicious as it could.


Yes, this meat did come all the way up to 140 degrees.

Let the meat rest for a good 5 minutes before slicing and serving.  We served this with steamed vegetables and roasted potatoes.  I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!  Also, worthy to note, my kids love this too!  Balsamic and Herb Pork Tenderloin is a great meal to add to your regular rotation.

Balsamic and Herb Pork Tenderloin
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 t. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1 T. fresh rosemary
  • 1 T. fresh thyme
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 2 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a zip top bag. Let the pork marinate for about 30-60 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Remove from bag and discard marinade. Season with salt and pepper and sear pork (about 2 minutes each side). Remove from pan and add to oven safe dish.
  4. Finish cooking pork in oven for 15-20 minutes until meat thermometer reads 140 degrees internal temperature at the thickest part of the meat.
  5. Let pork rest 5 minutes before slicing.
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http://www.thecomforttable.net/balsamic-herb-pork-tenderloin/

If you are looking for some other recipes, check here.

Greek Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burgers are not something I would ever choose on a menu.  I find them to be dry.  Bland.  But Greek Turkey Burgers, that is another thing entirely.

I’m not sure I had even tasted a turkey burger before marrying my husband.  But he convinced me that when you are craving a burger, sometimes a turkey burger can satisfy the craving for a lot less calories.  Adding the spinach didn’t get me all that excited at first but I also discovered later it adds some moisture to the meat.  And the burger has feta cheese.  Everything tastes better with feta cheese.  The lemon yogurt sauce on top makes this burger perfection.  To me, it just tastes like summer.

First, take your refrigerated ground turkey meat (I find room temperature makes it fall apart a little more) and frozen spinach, feta cheese, and dried oregano, dill, cumin, salt and pepper to a bowl.  Gently mix ingredients together until just combined.  Divide into four equal patties.  {Note: Sometimes I double this recipe and freeze the other half for next time.}

Lightly oil grill before placing burgers over medium heat.  Grill burgers 4-5 minutes per side until juices start to run clear.  Be sure to grill your buns so they are golden and crispy!

While the burgers cook, mix up the lemon yogurt sauce.  In small bowl, mix plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, dill, salt and pepper.  Keep in refrigerator until serving.

Finally, when the burgers are ready, start to assemble.  Place burger on grilled buns and top with lettuce, tomato, red onion and even cucumber!  Slather top bun with Lemon Yogurt sauce.  Greek Turkey Burgers with Lemon Yogurt sauce are a light and refreshing meal that is healthy, satisfying and a perfect meal to enjoy during the summer!



If you are looking for something to make as an easy side dish, consider making this!

1

Greek Turkey Burgers
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground turkey, cold not room temperature
  • 1/2 c. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 3/4 c. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3/4 t. dried dill
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • Lemon Yogurt Sauce
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. lemon zest
  • 1 t. dried dill
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • red onion
  • cucumber

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix ground turkey, spinach, feta cheese, oregano, dill, cumin, salt and pepper gently until just combined. Separate into four patties
  2. Lightly oil grill and add burgers, grilling 4-5 minutes per side until juices run clear. Be sure to grill buns at the end.
  3. While burgers cook, mix up greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, dill, salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.
  4. Add burgers to grilled buns, top with lettuce, tomato, red onion and cucumber and slather Lemon Yogurt sauce on top.
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http://www.thecomforttable.net/greek-turkey-burgers/

Please share your photos and comments when you try this Greek Turkey Burger recipe!

Perfect Crispy Grilled Wings

If I consider myself a dessert connoisseur (which I do), then my husband considers himself a connoisseur of chicken wings (which he does).  He has tried them every which way: grilled, fried, boneless, bone-in, dipped, seasoned, dry, sauced and broiled.  All of them.  Personally, I never knew there were so many ways to cook such a tiny piece of meat.  But, when you get married you learn all kinds of things.  Perfect Crispy Grilled Wings is one of the things he has perfected.

Asking my husband when he really likes to eat these wings his answer grows in excitement as he continues: “Oh, man I really love them right off the grill in the summer when it’s hot and gearing up for a Cubs game.  Oooh, but is there anything better than listening to the pregame for a Bears/Packers standoff and it’s getting chilly outside…trailing off…Agh!  But what about New Years Day!  All those college games all day and it is so fun pulling out the grill when it is freezing and…”  You see my point.  There simply is not a bad time to make these!

David’s choice: always grilled, never fried, bone-in, unsauced but seasoned with ranch on the side.  Let me share with you how he does it.

To make the marinade add fresh lime juice, water and beer to a plastic zip top bag.  Then add salt and pepper, Goya all-purpose seasoning and paprika.  Mix well.  Split the chicken wings and add to the marinade.  Keep in marinade for as long as possible, even a couple of hours.

Grill until wings are crispy and juicy, about 10 minutes each side.  Skin should be golden brown and juices run clear.

You could easily add these wings with this appetizer and have a pretty great menu going.  Add a cooler of drinks and you officially have a party on your hands!


And yes, this is also delicious with chicken legs as well.

Perfect Crispy Grilled Wings
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Ingredients

  • 3 lb. wings, separated
  • 1/4 c. fresh lime juice (could also use lemon)
  • 1/4 c. water or olive oil
  • 12 oz. bottle of beer (David's choice: always Miller Lite)
  • 1/2 T. Goya Adobo seasoning
  • 1/2 t. paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-6 dashes of Tabasco or Louisiana hot sauce (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut all wings in half.
  2. In gallon Ziploc bag, add remaining ingredients and mix well. Add wings to marinade and leave as long as possible, up to 4 hours.
  3. Grill for about 10 minutes each side until wings are golden and crispy. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing.
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http://www.thecomforttable.net/perfect-crispy-grilled-wings/

How do you like your wings?  Do you consider yourself a connoisseur of something?  What one food could you eat year round and enjoy equally?

Isla Coco

Hello, everyone!  I hope you had a great weekend!  We were thankful to celebrate new babies and long-time far away friends.  We even were able to slip in some good family time making s’mores in the backyard in our outdoor fireplace.  Hope you all have been checking of those last few items on your bucket list!

One of my bucket list items is to enjoy a HOT summer.  Seems silly since I have no control over the weather, but summers are meant to be hot.  Thankfully, this summer has been a hot one and I have enjoyed every minute.  We have had a couple of summers in the past that barely break 75 degrees and it makes me so crabby!  When that happens, I don’t even want to put on the grill.  (Which is such a bummer because then we won’t have this!)  This is my favorite spot in the summer: hot sun, napping children, quiet, my book and a delicious, refreshing drink like this Isla Coco.

This drink is so refreshing and different from your average cold drink.  I love lemonade in the summer and that is nice and all.  But this, this is something different.  We actually had this drink on our honeymoon and I loved it instantly.  Often I describe it as the lighter version of a pina colada.  This non-alcoholic version only has two ingredients!

First, pour some of this cream of coconut into the bottom of a glass.

Add some ice, and then pour lemonade over top.  Stir well.

That’s it!  I do find that the cream of coconut does tend to settle when making this in a pitcher.  So, make a pitcher of lemonade and then just add the coconut for each glass.  If you are having a party, just put the coconut in a bunch of glasses ahead of time to prepare and then add ice and pour lemonade over the top.  Be sure to check out these Isla Cocos.  It wouldn’t be summer without them!  Hope you enjoy!

Serves One serving

Isla Coco

5 minPrep Time

5 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 2 T. cream of coconut (per glass)
  • 8 oz. prepared lemonade
  • ice

Instructions

  1. Pour cream of coconut in the bottom of a glass.
  2. Add ice, then pour lemonade over the top.
  3. Stir well and serve with a wedge of lemon for garnish.

Notes

Cream of coconut can be found with the other mix-ins in the same area as the hard alcohol. If you would like to serve this as an alcoholic beverage, it was originally served with gin, though you certainly could also use vodka. Finally, the cream of coconut does tend to settle so be sure to mix well and prepare each glass individually instead of in a pitcher.

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http://www.thecomforttable.net/isla-coco/

Do you have a favorite summer drink?  What is something that you must have or make for it to be “officially” summer?  Share your favorites in the comments.

 

Zucchini Tomato Bake

I hope you all had a great weekend!  I’m still trying to catch up on sleep from my Girls Weekend (which was perfect) and now I’m ready to jump back in with sharing some of my favorite recipes!  Enter: Zucchini Tomato Bake.  (If you would like to check out some of my other favorite summer recipes, stop over here.)

When I was visiting my parents a few weeks ago, I had the chance to go to the local farmer’s market in Holland, Michigan which is one of my favorite things to do in the summer.  It has grown to where college kids come play instruments and sing while locals wander the farm stands purchasing fresh fruits and veggies.  Also, the corner coffee shop posts up so you can grab a latte while wandering.  If you happen to linger too long, there are even food trucks selling food!  It is one of the highlights of summer for me.

While I was there, I was able to pick up some zucchini and summer squash.  This recipe has been a family favorite for a very long time.  This season is perfect for it because zucchini plants are exploding and offering lots of produce!  I know “zoodles” are the hot new thing, but check out this recipe.  You don’t need any special tools and it can be ready in under an hour!

First, slice zucchini and yellow squash into coins and layer into greased 9 x 13 glass pan.  Try to have similar size pieces so they all cook evenly.  I like the color of both, but if you only have zucchini, that is fine too.


Next, slice tomatoes and lay on top of the zucchini.  I believe these were Roma tomatoes, but beefsteak tomatoes would also be excellent.

Then sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over the top.  In a separate bowl mix together milk, eggs, Bisquick, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper.  Whisk until thoroughly mixed together and then pour over all in glass pan.

Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is golden on the edges and it is bubbling.

Zucchini Tomato Bake is light and delicious and a great way to serve veggies and use up the abundance from your garden.  We love to have this as a side at a cookout, but I have also served it as lighter option at brunch.  Be sure to give this dish a try,  I know you will love it!

Zucchini Tomato Bake

10 minPrep Time

45 minCook Time

55 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups zucchini (or combination of zucchini/yellow squash), cut into coins
  • 3 cups tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. Bisquick
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. cayenne
  • 1/8 t. pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice zucchini into coins and layer into greased glass 9 x 13 pan. Top with tomatoes. Finish with cheddar cheese.
  3. In separate bowl, add remaining ingredients and briskly whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour over veggies and cheese.
  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbling.
  5. Let cool slightly before serving.

Notes

Please don't leave out the cayenne pepper! I promise it isn't spicy at all, it just gives a slight peppery flavor.

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http://www.thecomforttable.net/zucchini-tomato-bake/

How do you like to use up zucchini from your garden?  What other vegetables or fruit do you grow in abundance?

Black Bean, Mango and Shrimp Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Happy Friday Friends!  I hope you have enjoyed your week and have fun plans for the weekend.  I get to meet up with my longest friend and have some good catch-up time which I’m so excited about!  But before I duck out for shopping and good food, I wanted to share this Black Bean, Mango and Shrimp Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette.  I wanted to save this recipe for later, but it is just too good to wait!

So, I have made a discovery about myself: in the summer, I want bright, colorful food.  I love to walk through a farmer’s market and see all the fresh produce.  They say you eat with your eyes first, right?  All the colors together makes it look so delicious!  (For example, this.)

In my humble opinion, no salad is really all that great without dressing.  This one, is lick-your-fingers good!  Fresh lime juice and honey are shaken with red wine vinegar and ground chipotle powder for a little kick.  A few more spices and it is ready to go!  It is fresh, a little sweet, a little heat and it completely makes the salad.  Trust me on this one, you have to make your own dressing (this one takes just a minute or two I promise!).

First, let’s just do a little chopping: orange (or red) pepper, 2 mangos, cilantro, grape tomatoes and 2 ears of corn (uncooked, kernels removed).  Add all of these to a large bowl with rinsed and drained black beans.

Next, let’s make the dressing.  To a jar or bowl, add the honey, fresh lime juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, chipotle powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Finally, mince one small shallot and add to the dressing.  Because I didn’t want the shallot to have a strong flavor, adding it to the dressing mellows the flavor even more.  Shake well and let sit.  If you used a bowl, whisk well and let set for a few minutes while the flavors come together.

Lastly, let’s roast the shrimp.  Very lightly toss raw shrimp in 2 tablespoons of the dressing.  Lay on baking sheet covered in foil and roast for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees.  They are done when they are curled, pink and opaque.  Remove from pan immediately and add to bowl with veggies.  Let cool and add remaining juices as well.  (My apologies for not getting a photo of this step!)

You can either serve this when the shrimp comes to room temperature or put in refrigerator for three hours.  Just before serving, toss all together with dressing and diced avocado.

As I sit here writing this I’m drooling just thinking about how perfect all these flavors are together.  My second (or maybe third) helping was today for lunch and I’m really wishing I’d just finished it.  You must run and make this as soon as possible!  Black Bean, Mango and Shrimp Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette is the perfect way to get the flavors of summer on your table.

Black Bean, Mango and Shrimp Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette
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Ingredients

  • 1 orange (or red) bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ears of corn (uncooked), kernels removed
  • 1/2 c. chopped cilantro
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 avocado, chopped*
  • 16 oz. raw shrimp (peeled and deveined), 20-30 ct.
  • For the dressing:
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 limes, juiced
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1/2-3/4 t. chipotle powder (1/2 is mild, 3/4 if you like a kick)
  • 3/4 t. ground cumin
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1/4 t. pepper

Instructions

  1. Start by chopping the pepper, tomatoes, mangoes, removing kernels from the corn and chopping the cilantro and adding to a large bowl. Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the chopped vegetables.
  2. Next, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar or separate bowl. Shake jar or whisk briskly and set aside.
  3. Line baking sheet with foil and gently toss shrimp with 2 T. of vinaigrette. Separate shrimp into single layer and roast in the oven from 8-10 minutes until shrimp are pink, curled and opaque. Remove from oven and add shrimp to bowl with vegetables. Pour juices in as well.
  4. When shrimp cool slightly, toss all with prepared dressing and a chopped avocado. Serve immediately.
  5. If preferred, chill in refrigerator for 3 hours.
  6. *Add dressing and avocado just before serving.

Notes

This was delicious on its own, but would be equally as good if you substituted the shrimp out with grilled chicken. I would use a bit of the dressing to marinate the chicken to give it the same flavor. Also, because of the citrus and acid in the dressing the avocado was still good the second day and dare I say even more delicious than the first. Hope you enjoy!

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http://www.thecomforttable.net/black-bean-mango-shrimp-salad-honey-lime-vinaigarette/

What are your favorite flavors of summer?  What is your favorite way to celebrate the season?  Be sure to share your thoughts below!