Crispy, Oven Baked Green Bean Fries

Have you ever had the opposite of a picky eater? A kid who from the get-go has eaten their greens and loved them too? I’m talking one of their first foods being salad, and the less dressing the better. Son # 4 would eat green beans like they were French fries. Something I, obviously, encouraged. And then I got to thinking, why not? Let’s just roll with that.

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Pepperoni & Basil Tortellini Salad

Usually, I’d argue that this dish makes a perfect salad for Summer, whether it’s as a side dish or a meal itself. And it does. But when it’s unseasonably warm weather-wise on the home front and were less than two weeks away from Christmas, I’m not going to rant or rave. I mean I can’t actually do anything about it, so why not just go with it?

Tortellini & Pepperoni Pasta Salad 2

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French Onion Soup Casserole

Let me tell ya’ll about this here casserole. It’s not just any old ‘veggies in a dish with cheese’, anybody can do that. This one’s a game changer.

I love a good bowl of French Onion Soup, especially one topped with a sprinkling of croutons and melted Swiss cheese. But I’ve got a lot on my plate most day, so basically … ain’t nobody got time for that, at least not often.

<Enter this heaven-sent side dish>

For real though, like the name implies, this tastes just like the iconic soup, but it’s so much easier to make.

French Onion Soup Casserole

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Esquites ( Mexican Corn Salad )

Do you have a Mexican food stand at your local Farmers Market? Or a local food truck claiming authentic Mexican street fare? If the answer is yes to either of these, then you’ve probably come across this dish before. If not, you’re in for a treat.

The name literally means ‘toasted’ corn.

 Etiques (Mexican Corn Salad) 2

And it’s the smokey, sweet, spicy, and tangy off the cob cousin of elote (creamy, cheese coated corn on the cob), and it’s packin all those same feisty flavors. So, it does not disappoint.

Were just loving all these de-constructed versions of things recently, aren’t you? Convenience is priceless.

Even better this corn salad can be served hot or cold, so it’s perfect for a toasty, comforting side dish in the Winter months, and also easily adaptable for a cold corn salad to bring to any Summer barbecue.

Esquites ( Mexican Corn Salad )

Etiques (Mexican Corn Salad) 3

2 tbsp butter
2 cans corn, drained or 4 ears fresh corn cut off cob
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp Cojita cheese, finely crumbled (or shredded Mexican blend cheese)
1/8 tsp chili powder, to taste
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
    2. Add the corn to the pan and allow it to slightly char on the bottom of the pan, then give it a good stir and let it char one more time.
    3. Stir in the jalapeno and remove the skillet from heat.
    4. Transfer the corn mixture into a medium/large bowl and add in the mayonnaise, garlic, onions, cilantro, lime juice, cheese, chili powder and avocado.
    5. Gently stir everything together just until evenly incorporated.
    6. Serve immediately (warm) or cover and refrigerate, serving when chilled, your choice. Both ways are great.

Asian Cucumber Salad

We’re interrupting our regularly scheduled program. Ice Cream/Frozen Treat Week ( # 2 ) will return bright and early Monday morning. Until then, we’re going to leave you with these snack-tactic cucumber recipe. You’re not gonna want to miss it.

This quick and easy recipe makes the perfect summer side salad. Seriously. Even better? It only uses a few simple ingredients, but it’s chock full of crispy, crunchy cucumbers and packs a ton of flavor with just the right amount of kick. It’s a great addition to any end of summer bash.

Asian Cucumber Salad

  Asian Cucumber Salad

2 English cucumbers, finely sliced

3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil

dash of red pepper flakes

1-2 tbsp sesame seeds

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, oil, and red peppers flakes (if using) until evenly incorporated. Pour the dressing over the slo Ed cucumbers, tossing to coat. Let the cucumbers ‘marinate’, chilled, for about an hour.
  2. Before serving, sprinkle sesame seeds over top. Serve chilled, but the longer these sit they will eventually turn into Asian-flavored pickles 😉 We make sure to use them within 24 hours.

Mexican Street Fries with Salsa Ketchup

Today we’ve got another recipe with South of The Border flavors, but today’s isn’t quite as ‘authentic’ as our Papusas with Salsa Roja from last week.

 Mexican Street Fries & Salsa Ketchup 2

We love a good fry recipe. The crispier the better! And while I often use store bought frozen fries, I always keep a bag or two of a variety of potatoes on hand for those times when I’m craving a little something down-home and starchy, and I’ve got the time not only to make it from scratch, but also to do a little bit more.

These Mexican street fries fit the bill perfectly. Sliced thin, so they are extra crispy, and seasoned to fiesta-flavored perfection they’re the perfect embodiment of technique and flavor working hand in hand. Pair them with the salsa ketchup, for the perfect bit of heat and sweet.

One bite, and you might just find yourself saying, ‘ole’!

Mexican Street Fries with Salsa Ketchup

Mexican Street Fries & Salsa Ketchup

2 medium russet potatoes, roughly 1 lb
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chipotle chili pepper, or sub a dash of cayenne

Salsa Ketchup

3 tbsp ketchup
3 tbsp salsa
hot sauce, to taste (optional)

mayonnaise (optional)

Directions

1.Cut the potatoes into thin fries, no wider than 1/4 inch.
2. Add all of the ingredients except the cut fries to a large bowl and stir together until evenly incorporated. Add the fries and gently toss until they’re evenly coated.
3. Spread  the seasoned potatoes out evenly over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Toss and stir the fries, making sure to keep them in a single layer, and return them to the oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes. If you like crispier fries, then place them under the broiler at this point, just until they’re sufficiently golden and crispy.
4. To make the ketchup, stir the ketchup and salsa together in a small bowl. Taste it, you can leave it as is or add more salsa for more of that ‘salsa’ flavor, or add more ketchup for more of a ‘ketchup’ taste. Add in the hot sauce, to taste. You can also add mayonnaise for a creamy version, a salsa ketchup fry sauce of sorts.

recipe adapted from Carlsbad Cravings

Grilled Caesar Asparagus

I always find myself trying to keep things simple in the summer time. Maybe it’s the way everything seems to slow down, and for the most part, take a more leisurely pace. Of course, that could just be the heat. Or the fact that all the kids are home, and for people who don’t drive they sure do make a lot of plans to go all over the county, and everything takes us twice as long to get our little butts around to doing. And that we essentially throw our traditional school year schedules out the window. So yeah, summer meals. I’m in no rush, but everybody’s still got to eat.

In the evening’s, I’d much rather be sitting around outside with a good book, their play and laughter the perfect back ground music, than inside in the kitchen.

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That’s where asparagus enters into our meal-time picture. Grilled with a little oil, salt, and pepper, asparagus makes for a simple summer side dish. Top that beautiful grilled green bounty with your favorite caesar dressing, croutons, and some shredded Parmesan cheese, and you’ve got a perfect meatless meal that’s filling without weighing you down, and ready in a breeze. Serve stalks as is, or chop them into quarters for a more traditional, ‘tossed-salad’ type dish.

Grilled Caesar Asparagus

1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing
croutons
shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Toss the asparagus spears in the oil, salt and pepper them, to taste, and grill them over medium-high heat (turning once or twice) until crisp-tender and slightly charred.
2. Serve topped with the caesar dressing of your choice, croutons, Parmesan cheese, and another round of fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Carrot Zucchini Feta Fritters

Fritters are such a wonderfully fun finger food. They make a great, not to mention satisfying, vegetarian main meal. They’re a great party food. Heck, they’re even great when taken on a picnic. Yes, my picnic baskets often include foods that are ‘out of the back’. Fried chicken and ham and cheese sandwiches are for sissys, my picnic needs some action. Flavor action to be specific, and these are packin it.

Carrot, Zucchini, Feta Fritters 2

Shredded carrot and zucchini, a handful of diced sweet peppers, and a little bit of batter, and you’ve got these lightly (pan)fried golden veggie patties that are too good to put down. Seriously, I need a reminder or something. A ribbon tied around my finger, a remembral, something. Sharing is caring and one serving, or two ‘patties’ IS enough. Serve these things with a little sauce of your choosing, but we’ve found they pair best for our palettes with plain, creamy yogurt for dipping. Want to really treat yourself? Serve em up hot with a mint yogurt sauce and prepare to be floored. As in your jaw is gonna drop, and you might need help picking it up off of the floor.

Carrot Zucchini Feta Fritters

Carrot, Zucchini, Feta Fritters

2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 eggs
5 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt, depending on how salty your feta is
5 tbsp crumbled feta
1/2 cup olive oil, for frying

Directions

1. Salt the zucchini and carrot with about roughly 1 teaspoon of salt and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
2. Take a handful of the veggies and remove the excess juice from them by ringing them out with your hands.
3. Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl.
4. To the eggs, add the flour, grated veggies, diced pepper, salt and feta in this order and stir together just until evenly combined.
5. Finally add in the baking powder and stir to combine.
6. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
7. Drop 1-2 tablespoons of the batter into the skillet. Drop as many mounds as your skillet can take.
8. Flatten slightly and fry 3 minutes on each side or until golden-brown and crispy.
9. Transfer them onto a paper towel to soak up any excess oil, and repeat with remaining batter.
10. Serve warm or cold, with yogurt.

recipe adapted from Give Recipe