It was a fabulous weekend at the beach, with plenty of fun in the sun.  Everyone in my family loves Caprese salad with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and home-grown basil.  With a little inspiration, we turned the salad into delicious grilled sandwiches.

I didn’t include amounts in the recipe below, but use your intuition and you won’t go wrong.  You do want to be sure to keep the grill on fairly low heat; the bottom of the bread burned in a few places which made for some crispy sandwiches.  Just enjoy them on the deck, and no one will have to clean up the crumbs!

These fancy grilled cheese sandwiches are perfect for either lunch or happy hour.  They were a great way to celebrate the true arrival of summer.

 

capreseonthegrill

 

Caprese Sandwiches on the Grill

Olive oil
Minced garlic
Italian bread, sliced
Tomatoes, sliced
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Basil Leaves
Balsamic Vinegar

Mix olive oil and minced garlic.  Brush one side of bread slices, and place facedown on grill.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, until just lightly browned.  Turn bread over, and place tomatoes and mozzarella on bread. Close grill cover, and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Place basil leaves on mozzarella.  Remove sandwiches from grill, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

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For those times when you want fajitas but don’t want to stand in front of the stove, this recipe from Budget Bytes is for you!  You mix your fajita ingredients, a blend of spices, and a bit of oil in a baking dish.  When it comes out of the oven, you give it a spritz of fresh lime juice.  It’s just like something you might get at your favorite Mexican restaurant.

The recipe is incredibly flexible; if you would like to make a vegetarian meal, just leave out the chicken.  I don’t like peppers, so I used a mix of 1 lb. chicken, 1 large onion, 1 large zucchini, and an 8 oz. package of sliced mushrooms.  I might even throw in some tomatoes next time.

The key to the flavor is the blend of spices including chili powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper.  I used an extra dash of cayenne so the mixture had some heat.  I served it on a whole grain tortilla with cheese, which cooled things down a bit.  This made lunches for the week, but would also be a good dish to serve for your next fiesta!

 

 

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Asparagus is here!  A sure sign of spring, even if there is still snow on the ground.  I was so excited that I went ahead and bought 2 bunches.

I had seen this recipe on Serious Eats, but I had to make things a little simpler.  This is really just like traditional egg salad, with over a cup of steamed asparagus mixed in.  There’s enough vegetable to provide some flavor and crunch (well, it would have been more crunchy if I didn’t overcook the asparagus like I always do!)  The dressing of mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar gives the salad some tang.

This makes a great spring lunch, and you’ll forget all about that white stuff that still litters the ground.

 

 

Asparagus and Egg Salad

5 medium eggs, boiled for 10 minutes, peeled and chopped
1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1″ pieces, and steamed
1/3 c. light mayonnaise
2 T mustard
2 T red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Place egg and asparagus in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, mustard, and red wine vinegar.  Mix dressing into eggs and asparagus.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve in pita, or on top of a green salad.

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I saw this recipe for Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken from Budget Bytes and was drooling.  The original recipe calls for using bone-in chicken and broiling it at the end, but I took the easy way out with boneless, skinless chicken thighs that were on sale.  At the end, I just shredded the chicken right in the pot.

This crockpot meal took less than 5 minutes to throw together, and made a great dinner served with a big salad and a dinner roll.  It also made a couple of lunches, served over steamed sugar snap peas.  There is a fairly spicy aftertaste from the serrano pepper; if you want a completely mild dish, leave the pepper out entirely.  If you want even more heat, chop it up and keep it in the crockpot when you shred the chicken at the end!  I liked this version, and am already anxious to make it again soon.

 

 

Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken

2 T brown sugar
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 T minced garlic
1 t ground ginger
1 t thyme
1 t allspice
1 T cinnamon
2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 serrano pepper, sliced

Mix sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, thyme, allspice, and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Place chicken in the bottom of the crockpot.  Pour spice mixture over chicken, and rub it in with your hands.  Place onion, orange, and pepper slices in crockpot, nestled between the chicken pieces.  Cook on High for 4 hours.

Remove orange and pepper slices.  Shred chicken with 2 forks.

-Lightly adapted from Budget Bytes

 

 

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I went back to the basics this week and made a fairly standard chicken salad.  I wasn’t going to blog about it, but it actually came out really good.  Sometimes it’s nice to appreciate the simple recipes!

I had some boneless, skinless, chicken on hand, which I simmered on the stove until done.  Then I let the chicken cool slightly, and shredded it with two forks.  I stored it in the refrigerator, and used it for a few purposes.  My favorite was this chicken salad, which I enjoyed on pita bread.

I liked the combination of flavors and textures with the chicken, celery and raisins.  There wasn’t a lot of mayonnaise, but just enough to hold it all together.  If you’re going to take this as a packed lunch, I recommend you bring the chicken salad in a container, and stuff the pita right before serving.  This keeps the pita nice and soft and makes a great sandwich!

 

 

Chicken Salad

3/4 c. shredded poached chicken
1 celery stalk, diced
2 T raisins
1 T light mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.

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