Soft Beef and Cheese Tacos
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 (15-oz.) jar salsa (I used Tostitos Chunky Salsa Medium)
2 cups fresh corn
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
½ cup of water
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4-6 medium flour tortillas, warmed
Sliced pickled jalapenos and sour cream, for serving
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook onion in oil until soft, 5 minutes. Add beef and cook until no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes more, then add salsa, corn, taco seasoning, and water. Simmer until reduced and thickened about 15 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Spoon mixture into warm flour tortilla and top with cheese. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds. Top with jalapenos and sour cream and fold in half. Serve with a green salad with a store-bought or homemade ranch dressing. Recipe below.
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 small clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
Pinch of onion powder
Pinch of paprika
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Combine the buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic, chopped herbs, onion powder, paprika, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Mix until well combined then cover and place into a refrigerator for at least 30 before serving so the flavors have time to mingle.
Salmon Souvlaki with Tzatziki
For 2 servings
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 minced garlic cloves, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, divided
12 oz skinless salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped ( about ¾ cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 scallions, finely chopped
Combine lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove, parsley, oregano, 1 tablespoon oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large shallow dish. Add salmon; toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place the finely chopped cucumber and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small colander and let drain for 30 minutes. Blot dry on a paper towel.
Combine yogurt, scallions, and cucumber in a medium bowl. Stir in dill, 1 minced garlic clove, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Refrigerate the tzatziki until ready to serve.
Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high.
Remove the salmon from the marinade and blot dry with a paper towel. Carefully thread the fish onto 2 metal or wooden skewers.
Grill the skewers until seared on the bottom, 5 minutes. Use potholders or oven mitts to turn the skewers over. Continue grilling, turning the skewers as needed, until the salmon is cooked in the center, 4-5 minutes.
Serve the salmon and tzatziki with pita bread.
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup of vegetable oil
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups torn romaine lettuce
1/4 of red onion, sliced
Half cucumber, sliced
1 tomato, diced
12 kalamata olives
4 pepperoncini peppers
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Pour all the dressing ingredients into a large jar and shake well.
Place the jar in the refrigerator for a few hours to blend flavors.
Combine the Greek salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Pour half of the dressing over salad and toss. Add more dressing if desired.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small country bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small clove garlic, grated
11/2 lbs ripe, meaty tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3-1/2 cups)
Half an English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon grated garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the bread preparation:
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread cubes and a sprinkle of salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
For the vinaigrette:
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
For the salad:
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, mint, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.
Italian Style Grilled Tuna
For 2-3 servings
12 oz fresh tuna fillets (albacore and yellowfin, 1/2-inch thick, cut into serving pieces
1/2 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 tablespoon each of coarse salt and coarse black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for coating the tuna
Combine the lemon zest, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Drizzle olive oil over the tuna fillet and rub the herb and garlic mixture into the fish, coating evenly on all sides. Let stand 10 minutes.
Heat an outdoor grill or a stovetop grill pan.
Grill tuna steaks 4-5 minutes on each side over medium-high heat. Serve with the salad.
On these hot summer days, grilling your dinner outside instead of heating up your kitchen is a much better plan. To make a successful meal on the grill, I have a few tips that I have learned over the years that I can share with you. I can not speak about charcoal grilling – only gas grilling- because that is what I use. Be sure to purchase a grill with several different burners – mine has three. That way you can create direct and indirect cooking which will prevent overcooking or burning your food. Have a good meat thermometer handy, also. Another tool I have recently started using is a grill mat that can withstand very high temperatures and prevents your food from burning. What is amazing is that you still get grill marks. Use this mat to cook delicate foods, such as seafood or small vegetables that might fall through the grate. Just wipe clean with a wet paper towel and you are set for the next grilling session. It is called the Kona Mat and use this link to find out more.
Using the direct and indirect grilling technique is important in producing good tasting food. To cook indirectly: On a gas grill, leave one burner off and place the meat on the grate directly over the cool burner. For a charcoal grill: pile all the coals along the sides of the grill and place the food in the center, away from the hot coals. Place a metal drip pan beneath the grate where the food will sit, to collect juices as it cooks.
|Direct Heat||Indirect Heat|
|Food placement||Above flames or coals||Adjacent to flames or coals|
|Temperature||500°F or higher||350°F to 400°F|
|Cooking Times||25 minutes or less||More than 25 minutes|
|What to grill?||Kabobs, tempeh, tofu, veggies, sausages, steaks, burgers and most seafood||Whole chicken or turkey, ribs, roasts or leg of lamb|
|Bonus!||Wood chips can be added to a charcoal grill for an extra smoky flavor|
Often a combination of both methods is used. For example, a 1-1/2-inch-thick steak, or bone-in chicken parts can be seared or browned over direct heat for a short period of time and moved to the indirect heat area to continue cooking internally without excess browning.
For a majority of cooks, grilling means cooking a hamburger or steak. But did you know that seafood and vegetables are transformed on the grill into special meals?
Coriander-Rubbed Red Snapper with Grilled Fennel And Plums
In this recipe, I used the Kona Mat to cook delicate seafood and fruit.
For 2 servings
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
12-13 oz red snapper fillet, skin removed
1 fennel bulb
2 medium plums
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 scallion, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fennel fronds
Preheat grill to medium-high with the BBQ mat on the grill.
Combine the spices in a small bowl and stir in the oil, honey, salt, and pepper.
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Quarter the plums and slice half the fennel bulb into ½ inch slices, leaving the core on the bulb.
Drizzle the fennel slices and plum quarters with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Coat one side of the fish with half the coriander mixture and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Place the fish with the spice mixture side down and the fennel on the BBQ mat and grill for 5 minutes. Coat the fish with the spice mixture and turn it over. Turn the fennel over and place the plums on the mat. Grill for 5 minutes more. Place the grilled fennel and plums on a serving dish and drizzle the dressing over them. Serve the grilled salad on individual plates, cut the grilled fillet in half and place on top of the grilled fennel/plum mixture.
Avocado & Shrimp Chopped Salad
Garlic bread is a nice addition to go with this salad. Recipe below.
For 2 servings
5 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Big pinch cayenne pepper
8 oz raw shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
Juice of half a lime
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1 ear of corn, husked and cooked
4 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 celery stalk, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 slices crispy cooked bacon, diced
To prepare the dressing:
Place the apple cider vinegar, cilantro, dill, shallot, garlic, dry mustard, salt, and cayenne in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk and set aside for 15 minutes. Whisk in the oil and then the sour cream. Cover the dish and refrigerate until serving time.
To prepare shrimp:
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add one teaspoon of oil and swirl it in the pan. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink. Remove to a plate.
Cut the shrimp into thirds and place in a mixing bowl. Add the diced avocado, 2 teaspoons oil, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Toss gently. Cover and chill until serving time.
To prepare the salad:
Boil or microwave corn on the cob until tender, about 3 minutes. Cut the kernels off the cob and place in a salad bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
Add the bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes, celery, and bacon. Toss Add the shrimp and avocado, lettuce and dressing; gently toss to coat. Serve in individual salad bowls.
Cheesy Garlic Bread
6 thick slices sourdough or Italian bread
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 cup shredded Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese
Place the bread on a baking sheet. Preheat the broiler or toaster oven. Or heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine the butter with garlic; mix well. Spread the butter mixture on each piece of bread and sprinkle with cheese.
Toast in a toaster oven or broil under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown. Or bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Serve with the shrimp salad.
While many readers are experiencing spring at this time of year, here in the deep south it is summer – hot -90’s already! Here are some ideas for supper when it gets hot in your region.
Sliced Smoked Salmon
2 large slices of smoked salmon per person. Place the slices of salmon on a serving plate.
Sprinkle the salmon slices lightly with fresh lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper and chopped fresh dill.
Slice or cube a ripe cantaloupe and place in a serving bowl.
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus additional leaves for garnish
½ teaspoon black pepper
8 oz whole wheat penne pasta
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
½ cup shredded carrot
3 scallions, finely diced
½ cup finely chopped cucumber, peeled and seeded
Cook the penne in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain.
In a large casserole dish with a cover, mix together the dressing ingredients. Add the hot pasta and mix well. Stir in the vegetables. Cover the dish and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Just before serving, mix the salad again and garnish with parsley.
4 large eggs
2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 scallion, finely diced
1 tablespoon of finely diced celery
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Paprika, for garnish
Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with 1 1/2 inches of water above the eggs. Heat on high until the water begins to boil, then cover and turn off the heat. Let the eggs rest in the covered pan for 14 minutes, then place in a pan of ice water. under cold water
When cool carefully peel the eggs and gently dry them with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolks to a medium bowl, and place the whites on a serving platter. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise (only enough to bind the mixture), mustard, scallion, celery, and pepper, and mix well.
Evenly spoon heaping teaspoons of the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.
Two 10 oz,1 inch thick, grass-fed New York Strip Steaks
2 pats butter
Sauteed onions, recipe below
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
New York Strip Cooking Guide
1 in. thick
Rare 8-10 min.
Medium 10-12 min.
Well 12-14 min.
Combine the rub ingredients in a small dish.
Take the steaks out of the refrigerator and let them sit on a clean plate or pan for an hour before grilling. Room temperature meat will make for more even cooking.
Rub the steaks with olive oil and follow with the rub.
Preheat an outdoor grill on high for at least 15 minutes. Sear the steaks for 2 minutes for 1-inch-thick steaks. Turn steaks and sear the second side for 2 minutes. Move the steaks to a cooler medium heat to finish grilling according to your likeness. Remove the steaks to a serving platter and place a pat of butter on top. Let rest 5 minutes.
To cook on a stovetop grill: Heat a well-seasoned stovetop grill over a high setting. When hot add the steaks and sear on one side. Turn the heat down to medium and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Turn the steaks with tongs and turn up the heat to high. Be careful not to cut into the steaks while turning them so that you don’t lose any of the juices. Sear the second side of the steaks, then turn the heat to medium and cook for another 3 minutes to medium-rare. Add 2 to 3 minutes per side for more well-done steaks.
Top each steak with onions and serve.
For the onions
1 large sweet onion, cut into thick slices about 1/2″ thick
2 tablespoons salted butter
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the butter, and cook until the butter melts
Reduce the heat to its lowest setting, and add in the onion slices. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the onion is golden brown, stirring frequently. Set aside until the steak is cooked.
Mixed Spring Greens Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
6 cups spring mixed greens
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup homemade croutons
Ranch Dressing, recipe below
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
Toss the lettuce, carrots, bell pepper, celery, and onion together in a salad bowl. Mix in some of the dressing. Add the cheese and croutons with a little more dressing. Toss and serve immediately.
Homemade Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk well to combine. Transfer mixture to a mason jar for storage. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.