Several years ago while planning my son’s wedding Sheena, his bride, my daughter Jaime, and I found ourselves wandering the aisles of our local craft store that specialized in wedding decor. As we wandered the aisles we oohed and aahed over the supplies picking out what we liked and wondering how we could use them to make centerpieces for the reception. Unbeknownst to us our crazy conversation was overheard by one of the floral designers. He approached us ready to give advice. He pointed out that we needed to consider not only the cost but the time it would take to put together the elaborate centerpieces we were imagining. When he found out we needed over 20 centerpieces he told us it would take forever and cost a small fortune if we included all the supplies he heard us mention. I mean we wanted ribbons, marbles, ferns, fresh flowers, in short all the bells and whistles. The best advice we got that day was KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid!
So what does this have to do with food? A lot! These days we’re bombarded with new culinary trends daily. That new sauce, new kitchen gadgets, exotic ingredients, and more; all of course designed to somehow make our lives better or easier, and our taste buds tingle. Well all that is all good and well, but sometimes we yearn for something simple and basic. And what can be more simple than a tomato salad?
This tomato salad is a no brainer. It requires 2 ingredients, 3 if you count the garnish. You don’t need fancy gadgets or fussy dressings. It’s simple, fresh, healthy, and absolutely delicious! Tomato Salad is perfect for those vine ripened summer tomatoes and those greenhouse tomatoes we find in the winter.
It’s a great starter with any meal or as a light lunch. Did I mention it takes less than 5 minutes to throw together? Perfect!
2 Ripe Tomatoes make sure they’re ripe but firm. You don’t want mushy overripe ones.
Blue Cheese Dressing and/or crumbled blue cheese
Fresh Parsley finely minced
Wash tomatoes and pat dry with a paper towel
Slice tomatoes into rounds crosswise
Arrange slices on to serving plate
Pour blue cheese dressing over tomato slices and/or crumble blue cheese over them
Sprinkle parsley over the blue cheese
You can make this in advance and store in the fridge until ready to serve
My husband announced last week that he would start his low carb diet on Monday. He does this to drop the few pounds he gained during a vacation. I think just about everyone I know comes home carrying a few extra pounds around their waist as souvenirs.
When my husband decides to go on one of these diets meal preparations can be challenging. I’m just glad he said low carb not no carb!
Here’s a chicken recipe using the garlic sauce I recently discovered how to make. The sauce is usually used as a dip or sauce over chicken shawarma or shish taouk, Middle Eastern dishes our family loves. I made a quart of this sauce which I keep in the fridge and I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate it in other dishes.
This Garlic Lemon Chicken is so easy to make, it takes less than half an hour to cook up. I served it with a nice salad, but you can serve it over pasta or rice with a simple veggie side dish.
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts – cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup flour
1 tbls. finely minced garlic
1 tbls. garlic powder
1 tbls. finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. ground white pepper
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tbls. olive oil
1 tbls. butter
1 can chicken broth
1/4 cup Garlic Sauce (click here for recipe)
1 tbls. corn starch
1/4 cup water
1. Combine flour, garlic (minced and powder), parsley, pepper, and salt in a small plate.
2. Pound chicken pieces with a kitchen mallet until they are very thin – about 1/4″.
3. Roll both sides of chicken pieces in flour mixture.
4. Heat olive oil in frying pan then melt butter in oil.
5. Cook floured chicken pieces in oil until done and golden brown in color. (about 7-8 minutes).
6. Remove cooked chicken from pan and set aside, but do not turn off heat.
7. Pour broth into pan and let boil.
8. Add Garlic Sauce to pan and stir until it dissolves.
9. Cut lemon in half – squeeze juice of one half into pan. Slice remaining half into thin circles and set aside.
10. Mix corn starch with water until corn starch is dissolved.
11. Slowly stir in starch mixture to pan. Sauce will slightly thicken.
12. Return cooked chicken to pan and cover with sauce.
13. Remove from heat and garnish with lemon slices.
As many folks know we host a barbecue every Sunday night for friends and relatives. I like to change it up every know and then by testing out different side dishes, sauces, and desserts; it keeps things interesting.
The other week I decided to dress up the steak. I’ve heard it said that adding any kind of sauce to a great cut of meat is an insult. I’d have to agree, we usually grill rib-eyes and top them off with sauteed mushrooms; but this time I thought I’d offer a different steak sauce on the side. Actually I didn’t dress up the steak, I spruced up the mushrooms with a bit of balsamic vinegar, it was delicious.
This sauce is so good you’ll want to grill an extra steak and make extra sauce just so you can have leftovers for lunch the next day!
Balsamic Vinegar & Mushroom Steak Sauce
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 tbls. finely minced garlic
1 tbls. finely minced onions
3 tbls. butter
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 can beef broth
1 tsp. corn starch
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Saute onions until they start to turn translucent.
3. Add garlic, saute until they start to brown.
4. Add sliced mushrooms; cook until the edges start to turn brown and mushrooms soften.
5. Add balsamic vinegar and 3/4 of the can of beef broth; reserve the rest for later.
6. Lower heat and simmer mushrooms until the liquid is reduced by a quarter or more. About 15 minutes. Stir constantly scrapping the bottom of the pan so keep sauce from burning.
7. Dissolve corn starch in the remaining beef broth and slowly stir in to the mushroom mixture. It should thicken slightly.
8. Remove from heat, pour into bowl or gravy boat. Garnish with parsley and serve.
This sauce is delicious! We had a lift over steak and some sauce which I placed together in an airtight plastic bowl and stored in the fridge. The steak marinated in the sauce overnight and made a tasty lunch the next day!