Light Fare for Summer Evenings

With the heat of summer, heavy foods lose some of their appeal. We naturally want lighter food. That’s what got me digging through a cookbook I picked up recently.

The Brand Name Light & Natural Cookbook is no light book. The one I picked up at a garage sale is a hardback and weighs about 5 pounds or so. Or at least it seems to.

I flipped to the salads section to see if there were any fresh new salads hiding there. And there were!

Black Bean Salad

3 cups black beans, cooked

2 cups corn, cooked

1/2 cup red onions, minced

1 cup red peppers, diced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup parsley

1 teaspoon chile peppers, crushed

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup flax seed oil

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine beans, corn, onions, red peppers, cilantro, parsley and chile peppers. Mix garlic, lime juice, oil, cumin, and sea salt. Pour dressing over salad and mix. Serves 7.

The recipe doesn’t specify, but canned black beans would work just fine here and make this salad very quick and easy.

Sesame Chicken Salad

3 cups cooked rice

2 cups cooked chicken breast, sliced

1/4 pound snow peas, sliced into strips

1 medium cucumber, cut into strips

1 medium red pepper, cut into strips

1/2 cup sliced green onion

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Sesame Dressing

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon peanut oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine all salad ingredients. Stir well then toss with dressing. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Serves 6.

Dressing: Combine all ingredients in jar. Cover tightly and shake vigorously. Yields 3/4 cup.

Waldorf Chicken Salad

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup salad oil

12 dried apricots, moist packed preferred

4 cups bite-size pieces cooked chicken

1 apple, cored and diced

1/4 cup diced celery

1/4 cup minced green onions

1/3 cup sliced toasted almonds

Stir together honey, mustard, poppy seeds, lemon peel, juice, and oil. Add apricots and let stand 30 minutes. Remove apricots and set them aside. Add chicken and toss lightly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve: Add apple, celery, green onions. and almonds to chicken mixture. Divide onto lettuce-lined plates and garnish with apricots. Serves 6.

 

Making May More Mexican

Ever since Cinco de Mayo, I’ve been feeling like having more Mexican food! I made my favorite, Queso Grande, for Cinco de Mayo and had delicious soft tacos at a friend’s house, but it somehow hasn’t been enough. So, I remembered that I picked up an old Mexican cookbook at a garage sale recently.

It’s called Favorite Mexican Cookin’ and it was published in Amarillo, Texas in 1972. I cracked it open looking for a new favorite dish. But, alas, many of the recipes are not very Mexican. They contain ingredients like crushed saltine crackers. Huh?

But I kept looking, and think I’ve found a couple to try. Both are served cold, so they will be great additions to my summer menu.

Pinto Bean Salad

2 15-ounce cans cooked pinto beans, drained

4 tablespoons hot chili sauce

1/4 cup chopped bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup pickle relish

1/4 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon piniento, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients then chill thoroughly. Serves 6 to 8.

The use of pickle relish as an ingredient should still disqualify this as an authentic Mexican recipe, I think, but it sounds like it may be tasty. Worth a try.

Here’s another recipe that’s a Mexican twist on an American favorite.

Mexican Cole Slaw

1 medium head cabbage

1 small can pinientos

1/2 cup chopped green onions

2 teaspoons chopped bell pepper

2 teaspoons hot chili sauce

Dressing:

2/3 cup salad oil

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

It is better to prepare slaw 3 or 4 days in advance. Combine dressing ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Pour immediately over cabbage, onions, pepper, pimiento and chili sauce. Slaw will keep for weeks.

I suspect that I will want to add a bit more sugar to this recipe because I like my cole slaw a little sweet.

I’m excited to try out some new Mexican recipes. These should be great side dishes when I make quesadillas, too. Ole!

For great quesadilla ideas check out 25 Quick & Easy Quesadilla Recipes available online for only $1.99 cents at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony or Smashwords.

The Summer Harvest Yet to Come

The Ranting Chef visited and liked our blog, so we decideed to take a gander at his blog. This delicious-looking shrimp and tomato salad recipe looked so good that we had to tell you about it.

With summer just around the corner, a new salad recipe is always welcome!

Click the link below to see the recipe with several photos. Yum.

The Summer Harvest Yet to Come.

Peanut Recipes from Oklahoma

Found an interesting old recipe book at an estate sale, “It’s Easy to be a ‘Gourmet’ with Peanuts.”

It doesn’t have a date on it, but looks to be from the 1950s. It says it is “brought to you by the 7,000 peanut growers of Oklahoma and their families.”

The cookbook is filled with recipes that use peanuts, from main dishes to soups, breads, cakes and more. Here are a couple of recipes from the Salads section.

Peanut-Carrot-Orange Salad

1 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrots

3/4 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts

1/3 cup raisins

Lemon juice, if desired

Mayonnaise, or any peanut butter salad dressing, as needed

2 oranges, cut in sections

Combine carrots, peanuts, and raisins with mayonnaise or peanut butter salad dressing to moisten. Add lemon juice to taste, if desired, Arrange on lettuce with orange sections around edge. Serves 4.

Never heard of peanut butter salad dressing? Here you go:

Quick Peanut Butter Dressing

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons peanut butter

Mix mayonnaise with lemon juice, sugar and peanut butter.

Or if you want to get fancy:

Peanut Butter Fruit Dressing

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup pineapple juice or pineapple-grapefruit blend

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons honey or sugar

Blend peanut butter with part of juices until smooth. Gradually add remaining juice, salt and honey, stirring until blended. Store in covered container in refrigerator. Makes 1 1/2 cups dressing. Excellent with fruit salad.

If you try and enjoy these recipes, say a word of thanks to the Oklahoma peanut growers!

Note: For those who enjoy historical recipes, check out “Carver’s Tomatoes” from Lakehouse publishing. It includes all 115 tomato recipes from George Washington Carver’s historic agriculatural bulletin – all updated for today’s cooks and kitchens. “Carver’s Tomatoes” is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Itunes, and Kobo for only $2.99.