Category Archives: Recipes

Summery Fish Tortillas

         Fish tacos have pretty much taken the world by storm in the last decade, but so far, I don’t know of anybody (besides me) who’s serving fish tortillas.
I think they’re a perfect summer dish—and pretty scrumptious to boot—
so if you’re looking for something a little different, try this:

Summery Fish Tortillas
(Makes 4 large tortillas)

Make cold slaw:
2 cups shredded cabbage and carrots (or cold slaw mix from store)
1 tablespoons Italian dressing (Wishbone or your favorite)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise  or aioli sauce (made by adding 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce to the mayonnaise and stirring)
2 tablespoons sugar (optional, but I think it really adds)
1/8 teaspoon Lawry’s (or your favorite) seasoning salt
Additional spices to taste: onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper  Add:
8 oz. diced, cooked Ahi tuna (could substitute tuna fish or chicken breast)
8 oz. halved grapes (could use 1 chopped mango or black cherries instead)                                                       Mix thoroughly.

Make the tortillas:
Divide the filling evenly onto 4 large flour tortilla wraps
Sprinkle each liberally with your favorite shredded cheeseMicrowave each tortilla open-faced for 40 seconds (until cheese is melting)  Fold into the traditional tortilla wrap and serve. In a way, it’s a quick, healthy meal in one, complete with protein, fruit, carbs, and veggies, but you can also serve it with sides, or eat two, (or save room for a little dessert…) depending on how hungry you are! When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:3-9)        (Thank you, Bob Hardee, for this last photo, which he took in Florida.)

 

Grilled Steak to Die For

With Father’s Day tomorrow, I was thinking it might be a good time to discuss grilling meat. We were visiting friends not too long ago when the husband mentioned that for Father’s Day all his kids were coming home, but that he would be manning the grill. “Go figure!” he grinned.

I’m sure he was delighted with the prospect of seeing his kids and grand kids, but it occurred to me that he might have preferred the prospect of sitting in a lawn chair sipping lemonade and watching his kids grill instead of continuing to be “the man of the hour.” So, if you have a father that you’ll be seeing this weekend at his home, and if you think he (or your mom) might be grilling, how about asking if they’d like a little help? It would be one great way to honor your father on his special day!

If you’ve never grilled steak, it’s really very simple, but there are a few tricks to optimize the flavor:1. Choose a good piece of meat. Frankly, for the first 40 years of our marriage, I felt blessed if we could afford chuck steak. Doubtless the favorite cuts are the most tender, but not everybody can afford a filet mignon or Porterhouse. If you’re a little more budget conscious, rib eyes are amazingly tender, and sirloins are great, but a good chuck steak works just fine. Avoid round steak, which is unbearably tough unless you slow roast it for a million hours.2. Tenderize your steak. I use Adolph’s meat tenderizer, but I’m sure there are other fine brands out there. Sprinkle liberally and then use a hand tenderizer (pictured above and available at kitchen supply stores)      to puncture the steak liberally on both sides. This helps soften the steak                                               and infuse the tenderizer.3. Marinate your steak with some type of oil and your favorite seasonings. The oil helps keep in moisture, and the seasonings (obviously) enhance the flavor. My favorites are Italian Wishbone, minced garlic, and a liberal sprinkling of Montreal Steak Seasoning. (I ran out of the steak seasoning just before needing it for this photo. 😦  Normally, I always keep one of every common cooking item in my storage pantry and buy a new one when I finish the old one so I’m never without, but this requires a little extra investment of cash and keeping close watch on the current shopping list.) 4. Gourmet chefs would doubtless recommend marinating the steak covered in your refrigerator for a few hours or over night, but even 15 minutes (not refrigerated) can make a distinct difference in taste. 5. Make your grill HOT and throw on your steak, searing it on each side for about one minute (to seal in the juices), and then turn the heat down to medium and cook it for another couple of minutes on each side. (Note: my beloved husband just took over as the grill master at our house again after a 40-year hiatus, and he’s lovin’ it! Working together is really fun!) 6. There’s a learning curve to figuring out when your steak is “just right.” If you’re not sure, test it by cutting into it. A medium rare steak is usually safe to eat and most tender, but if you like it more cooked, that’s your choice. Just know that the more cooked, the more dry and less tender.7. Serve it up sizzling hot. If it’s done, you can keep it for a few minutes in an iron skillet in your oven, but the steak will continue cooking even after it’s off the heat. Some people suggest letting the meat rest for a minute or two before cutting, but by the time we’ve thanked the Lord for our food, I figure it’s rested enough! 8. Serve it up with several healthy (yummy) sides, and enjoy!

(Here’s a playful contribution by Bob Hardee, who has a great sense of humor!)

For Garlic Lovers Only

Garlic “butter” is something we had at a restaurant years ago that I thought was going to be deadly, but it turned out to taste great. However, I would suggest taking seriously the old Italian adage: “Eat garlic as a family,” because—as Alan’s nose can always discern if I’ve eaten a great garlic whatever and he hasn’t—garlic stays on the breath for a very long time. I’m thinking that’s why it keeps vampires away. 🙂

Garlic spread

Use one entire bulb of garlic per person you intend to serve. Cut the top of the bulb so that the individual cloves are exposed. Fill a pan with enough water to steam the garlic without burning it (1 cup or a little less). Flip the bulbs over so that the opened cloves are exposed. Simmer, covered, for a half an hour. Turn off the heat. You can leave them in the pan to keep warm until you’re ready to serve them. I’m sorry I forgot to take a photo of what they look like once they’re served, but I just set them on the bread plate. The cloves of garlic become soft and can be squeezed out and spread on the bread like butter. One bulb can cover several pieces of bread. You can either butter the bread first and then add the garlic, or you can use the garlic as a butter replacement, although then I think it tastes better if you sprinkle on a little salt. At any rate, it’s a simple and fun way to dress up your bread, guaranteed to please garlic lovers and keep vampires at bay!

 

We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.” (Numbers 11:5-6).  When I was a kid, I couldn’t understand why the Israelites complained about not having onions and garlic, but now I understand. Many of the things in our lives that are not essential for our health are still very “tasty!”  Oh, to learn contentment with having our needs met, even if we can’t always have our wants met! Obviously, after the Israelites arrived in the Promised Land, they could plant abundant gardens again.

I hope you can afford a garlic bulb now and then…

Succulent Barbecued Ribs

One perennial summer favorite that is almost irresistibly good but can drive you crazy because it takes so long to cook is barbecued ribs. If you’re like me and try to cook them entirely on the grill, you end up running back and forth between the kitchen and grill so many times that it’s easy to forget and burn them at some point, or else it’s hard to prepare everything else to be done at the same time.  For me, the secret is in oven-roasting the meat until it’s tender, and then just finishing it off on the grill:

Succulent Barbecued Ribs
(Serves 4-8)

1. Wash ribs and place in roasting pan with 1 cup water in the bottom (to keep it from burning). Coat liberally with Montreal Steak Seasoning (or your favorite), pepper, and crushed garlic flakes. 2. Bake at 325°F. for 2 hours, until completely cooked through and tender (but hopefully not so cooked that the meat falls off the bones, at least not just yet). 3. Coat the top side with your favorite BBQ sauce. (We’ve been using Sweet Baby Ray’s lately, but there are many good choices out there, including making your own!) Gently lift the ribs out of the pan and onto a grill that’s been preheated (if on high, then turn down the heat to medium once the meat has seared for about 30 seconds), sauced side down. Coat the topside (which hasn’t yet been coated) and then close the cover. Grill for only 2-3 minutes (long enough to seal in the juices, sear it a touch for great flavor, and caramelize the sauce). Open the lid and gently turn over the ribs, using a large metal spatula (or two) to loosen the meat from the grill so you can flip them without everything falling apart. Close the lid and grill for another minute on the other side, turn off the heat, and let it continue to smoke for 2-5 minutes with the top closed. (Check so they don’t burn.) Cut them apart in one, two, or three rib chunks. (When Alan’s grilling, he cuts them apart first so there’s more sauce per square inch.)Serve with a few of your favorite sides. Last weekend I served redskin potato salad, cold slaw, asparagus, and watermelon, but when the weather’s cooler,more hot dishes like baked potatoes and sauteed cabbage work well. Although, with ribs almost anything works well! Happy June and happy grilling!  🙂

The earth is the Lord‘s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Psalm 24:1-5)

Summer Chicken Pasta Salad

Joel made us such a yummy pasta the other day that I asked him what recipe he used. He said he just made it up, and that he used to make it every once in a while when he lived in Boston and it was too hot to cook. So, if you’re looking for a cool dish for a hot night this summer, try this one:

Joel’s Chilled Chicken Pasta
(Serves 4-6)

Marinade:
1 pound boneless chicken (Joel used thighs, but breast meat or whatever works fine) in a dressing made of:
 lemon squeezed
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped thyme (can use crushed; fresh herbs are great if you have them, but if you have dried herbs from the seasoning rack, that works too)
1 pressed clove of garlic (not the whole bulb, just one section of it)
2 tablespoons olive oil

If you’re really ahead of the game, marinade the chicken in this mixture (covered) in the refrigerator overnight. If not, at least give it a few hours. Then, grill the chicken (or pan-fry).

Meanwhile:
Boil 1/2 pound radiatore (or other) pasta al dente with salt to taste.
Drain and chill.

Cube (or chop):
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 yellow pepper
1 small onion
1/4 cup chopped olives (green or black)
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese (or some type of hard, Italian cheese)

Mix these veggies with the cooled pasta and toss with:
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup fresh basil chopped
1/4 c. fresh Rosemary chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

To finish:
Cut grilled chicken into thinnish slices. Salt and pepper to taste. Place on top of salad. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!  🙂Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!” (Ecclesiastes 10:17).

 

Easy Caramel Sauce for Dipping Fruit

Serving fresh fruit for dessert in the summer is one of the best ways I can think of to promote healthy nutrition while still catering to the sweet teeth most of us inherited through no fault of our own but as part of our DNA. (Okay, so it’s really a learned behavior, but most of us have learned very well.) One way to dress up fruit for a special occasion is by serving dipping sauce. Melted chocolate or caramel are probably the two favorites.  A simple way to make caramel sauce is to boil together 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup butter, and 1 cup brown sugar (packed) for just a few minutes until the sugar completely dissolves and the sauce thickens. (This serves 4-8.)        An even easier way to serve one person is to place 9 caramels in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of milk or cream, and pop it in the microwave for a 45 seconds. Stir vigorously until smooth, and serve immediately! It goes great with apples, pears, and bananas…and probably any other type of fruit you like! Did I mention ice cream? No? That’s good, because even though it’s great on ice cream, that’s probably too fattening!

 My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off” (Proverbs 24:13-14).

Pumped Up Waldorf Salad

One of my favorite salads at the CMDA conference last week was a Waldorf salad with broccoli added. That (coupled with a video course I’m taking on optimizing brain fitness, where I was reminded yet again of the importance of eating many portions of fruits and veggies daily) got me thinking about how I might want to augment this perennial favorite into something especially delicious and nutritious that might make a good main course on a hot summer day. I tested it on my very discriminating fans (aka husband and youngest son), and it passed the taste test, so here it is:

Chicken and Kale Waldorf Salad
(serves 6)

12 oz canned chicken breast (You could also use tuna or salmon, or if you’re vegetarian, you could substitute tofu or cheese cubes)1 cup seedless grapes, sliced in half (could use apples or some combination) 2 stalks chopped celery
4 chopped fresh basil leaves (or 1 teaspoon crushed basil, but fresh is so much better. Think about starting a window herb garden on a sunny ledge in your home so you have a supply of fresh herbs. Doesn’t cost too much, and it really adds to the flavor.)
1/2 small onion chopped
1/2 red (orange, yellow, green…whatever) pepper chopped1 cup kale (torn into small pieces) 1 ear of (already cooked) corn. (Slice corn off the cob and break into chunks.)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or other favorite nuts or seeds)Mix everything together, and then add the seasonings:
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon Lawry seasoning salt (or whatever you like)
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (did all the halves get boring?)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup mayonnaise (or your favorite salad dressing)                  Can’t you just imagine feel how colorful, healthy and tasty this is??? Serve it on a leaf boat with some jazzy veggie soup and naan bread (or whatever). Voilà, you have all five of your fruits and veggies in one delicious meal! Of course, it your family are really hungry, hungry hippos like mine, you might need to serve apples with caramel sauce for dessert…but maybe that will be next Saturday’s recipe…   🙂

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness” (Psalm 143:10).