Here’s something delicious for your next BBQ or picnic. Since there is no mayonnaise involved, it can be served cold or at room temperature, making it perfect for any feast, anywhere. Even at home, so don’t wait to try it.
Caramelized Onion Potato Salad
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons brown sugar, maple syrup, or preferred sweetener
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large red or yellow onions, sliced ¼ sliced
3 pounds yellow or red baby potatoes
½ cup lightly packed chopped fresh dill, about 6 sprigs
½ cup sliced green onions
¾ cup chopped dill pickles
Salt and pepper, to taste
In jar with tight fitting lid combine all dressing ingredients. Vigorously shake until combined. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onions. Cook, stirring every few minutes, for about 40 minutes (mine took longer) or until onions are very soft and deep golden brown. They should not be dry or crisp, but rather soft and almost jammy in texture. To achieve the soft, jamminess you may need to lower the temperature and add a little water. When finished, set aside to cool.
While onions are cooking, place potatoes in a large pot, cover them with water, and bring to boil with no lid, over medium-high heat, then lower to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until just tender when pricked with a fork.
Drain potatoes. Run some cold water over them to cool enough to handle. Cut them into bite-sized pieces. Place in large bowl.
To the potatoes add cooled caramelized onions, chopped dill, green onions, and chopped pickles. Salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.
“A picnic is a state of mind and can be made anywhere.”
Yep, the kind I love because I had the opportunity to do something good. I was in Mexico for another Hands of Mercy project to build a small house for a very deserving family. A mom and dad along with their daughter will have a safe place to live, thanks to a group of men, women, and children who put their time and money toward loving their neighbor. It’s always fun, sometimes challenging, and very rewarding. Something changes in your heart as you work side-by-side with someone to serve others, it makes the world a little bit better place to live. Check out Hands of Mercy here or read my other posts For Goodness Sake and Hope Under Construction to learn more about this great organization.
One thing that always takes place. . .
on these weekends is good food, and this weekend was no exception. The kitchen at Rancho Casitas, our home away from home in Mexico, comes alive as the teams return from working in the surrounding community. Chopping, good conversation, and laughter happen around the kitchen island as stories of the day are shared. Before the evening is over, we gathered for a meal of something delicious. But not just stomachs were filled with goodness, hearts and souls also overflowed with satisfaction that comes from a day well spent.
We need worship for our spirit, fellowship for our soul and committed subservience for our body. ~ Larry Norman
Joy, our wonderful hostess, had us prepare a salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocados which rounded out our meal of hot Italian sub sandwiches. Oh man, was it ever good. I hope you find it yummy, too.
Cucumber, Tomato, and Avocado Salad
1 pound grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cucumber, sliced and halved
½ medium red onion, sliced or diced
2 avocados, diced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Place tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, avocado, and cilantro in large bowl.
Combine olive oil and lemon juice, and pour over vegetables. Toss gently to combine. Add salt and pepper. Toss.
Note: There are other possibilities for this basic salad. I am omitting the avocado and cilantro tonight and tossing in some feta cheese to go with our Greek inspired dinner.
Recently, I joined a group of lovely ladies to celebrate a year well-lived.
They had just finished their session of serving the women at our church as group leaders for a Bible study. It was their turn to be served a little and just spend time together before the summer started. I was honored to provide a variety of quiches for their brunch. It was a wonderful morning where fellowship was the main event.
Fellowship is one of those words we don’t hear too much outside the church, but it goes on nearly everywhere we look. People coming together to be together is its loose definition. Dictionary.com calls it friendly relationship or companionship. It’s something that is essential to a good life. The problem is, it’s the first thing that gets thrown out of the schedule when life gets busy. We need to be intentional and make time to gather with our fellows, our friends, our chums and not let the demands of life be our only companions.
If fellowship is going to happen in our fast-paced world, we will need to be intention in our planning. Put fellowship on the calendar. Instead of viewing as another demand, protect it as a time of much needed refreshment.
We know that without food we would die. Without fellowship, life is not worth living.
For the brunch, I took a basic quiche recipe and then switched it up to create several different flavor profiles. I made them with a crust, but you can cook them without a crust for a grain-free version. I do it quite often with the Spinach and Feta version.
¾ cup half and half or heavy cream (Milk can be used or even a combination of cream and milk.
2 cups of cheese
1 medium onion, chopped and sautéed in a little butter
Salt and pepper
1 9” frozen deep dish pie crust.
Mix eggs, cream salt and pepper in a bowl.
Mix in sautéed onions and any additional ingredients*.
Pour into pie shell.
Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on it and if it begins to get too brown on top, cover with a sheet of aluminum foil to protect it. Check for doneness by inserting a knife in the center. If it comes out clean, it’s finished.
Bacon and Cheddar Quiche
2 cups cheddar
8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
Mushroom, Leek, and Prosciutto Quiche
2 tablespoons butter for sautéing
16 ounces mushrooms, washed, sliced and sautéed. Do small batches so they don’t get too soggy.
2 leeks, thinly sliced and sautéed.
2 cups Swiss cheese
8 slices prosciutto, chopped
Spinach and Feta Quiche
Olive oil for sautéing
6 cups baby spinach, sautéed until just wilted
2 cups crumbled feta cheese
The sky’s the limit with the types of quiche you can come up with. Here’s one I especially like.
1 medium tomato, sliced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons dried basil
Fry tomato slices that have been lightly breaded in Italian breadcrumbs with extra dried basil. After pouring egg and cheese mixture in pie crust, arrange slices on top and sprinkle with additional cheese, and bake.
Please tell me your favorite creation. I would love to hear from you.
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Yesterday, I dumped some chicken tenders into the crock pot along with a cup of salsa and a small can of green enchilada sauce. My thought was to have it ready for dinner with some left for the next day. But later in the morning, an impromptu gathering started to bubble. Before I knew it, our supper for three quickly grew to a dinner party of fifteen.
Luckily, the salsa chicken would be ready to transform into an enchilada casserole, another simple dump recipe that takes just a few items from the pantry and fridge. Tortilla chips, black beans, corn, enchilada sauce, and cheese layered into a baking dish along with the chicken produced a pretty delicious entrée to feed a crowd. And guess what? We had leftovers, so I get to enjoy it again today.
I am giving you the amounts for a 9×9 casserole which will feed four to six. If you need to feed a crowd just adjust accordingly.
2 cups broken tortilla chips
2 cups cooked chicken, or your choice of any cooked meat
1 14.5 ounce black beans
1 14.5 ounce corn
1 19 ounce enchilada sauce, red or green
1 cup or more shredded Cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese
sliced green onion
Layer the ingredients into a lightly greased 9×9 casserole dish. I used garlic infused olive oil, and oh, man, did the kitchen smell good when the enchiladas were baking.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
I have to thank my sister, Jeannie, for suggesting this recipe. It’s one of her go-to recipes.
The first BBQ weekend of the summer is here and so I thought you might like and easy side dish to add to what is going on the grill. Marie, my daughter’s mother-in-law, has a version of Calico Beans that is much sought after at family gatherings and her pot usually goes home empty.
I actually grew up with a similar recipe. It was an easy week night meal that Mom could throw together in a flash. Like many of the recipes found on the internet, she used pork and beans. She cooked up onions and ground beef, then added the beans along with the catsup, mustard, and brown sugar and simmered everything a bit. I still make it occasionally when I want a taste from childhood.
4 ounces bacon, diced. You can use precooked if you like.
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion
2 14.5 ounce cans white beans, any variety [See notes]
1 14.5 ounce black beans
1 14.5 ounce kidney beans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup catsup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
Cook bacon until medium.
Stir in onions and cook until soft.
Add ground beef. Cook until no longer pink.
Dump bacon, onion, ground beef mixture in crock pot. Dump in the rest of the ingredients. Give it a stir.
Cook on low for 4 hours.
These beans can be put together in a freezer bag to make later. Just leave the ground beef in a chunk and break up after cooking in the crock pot. Omit the bacon. It can be added later in the cooking process. When ready to cook, dump in crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours.
This recipe can be made on the stove top from start to finish or poured in a casserole dish and baked for an hour or so, until bubbly and brown around the edges. Yum.
You can use any combination of beans that suits you.
I did not have a full 1/2 cup catsup so I used some mild salsa for the rest.
When I was growing up my mom used to make the most delicious chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. One of my most vivid memories is an image of one of her cookies. It was big as my hand and I felt so blessed (my adult thought about my feelings then) to have it.
The thing is, cookies aren’t a need. We indulge simply because we want to. The is just something about them when they come from an oven in someone’s kitchen. Store bought never quite invoke the same feeling of warmth and specialness. Homemade cookies are like a hug making life just a little sweeter. Everybody needs a little love now and then.
Life is better with fresh baked cookies.
Sadly, I don’t have my mom’s original recipe for her Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, but I have found one that everybody loves. Recently, I was told by a friend that she was dreaming about these cookies. You can make them with straight chocolate chips but I like to mix it up with some raisins and nuts. There is really no limitations on the mix-ins. Use your favorites. Enjoy!
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter, you can use unsalted but I prefer salted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chocolate chips, or a combination of chips, nuts, and/or dried fruit
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Beat together butter and sugars until smooth.
Add egg and egg yolk, and vanilla one at a time. Beat well after each addition.
Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until everything is completely incorporated.
Stir in oats until uniform.
Mix in chocolate chips or your own combination of yumminess.
Form small, walnut-sized balls of dough with hands or scoop. You can make bigger if you want a hand sized cookie. These days, I want several smaller ones. Hehe.
Drop balls/scoops of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet that has parchment paper or has been greased a bit with some butter.
Bake for 12 to 17 minutes. I live at 4000 feet above sea level, so my cookies took about 14 minutes.
Yield: Depends on the size. Walnut-sized dough balls yield about 4 dozen.
Here’s your Dumping Dinner for this week. Butter chicken or murgh makhani is an Indian dish of chicken in a mildly spiced curry sauce. It actually came to be in the 1950s because of leftovers. See story here. A few more than normal ingredients but only minimal chopping. It is delicious. Enjoy!
Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani
[No butter. Just yumminess.]
4-6 chicken breasts or thighs
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons Garam Marsala*
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Dump in one-gallon freezer. Seal and freeze.
To cook: 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high. When finished, remove meat slice or shread. Serve with sauce.
Meal Maker—Serve with brown rice and your choice of veggies. Garlic naan, Indian flatbread is a must. Yum!
*Garam Marsala is a blend of ground spices common in India, Pakistan, and other South Asia Cuisines. You can find it in the spice section of most grocery store or online. The following is a quick recipe that will do the trick.
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container.
Please leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been cooking up in your kitchen. I would love to hear.