Cucumber Avocado Salad

Light and easy — Cucumbers and Avocado Salad with a light lime dressing. This side salad will disappear very quickly and you’ll be wanting more.

I made it without the green onion so feel free to add it or not it was just as yummy without. Just happen to have avocado and cucumber in the house and no green onion .

Ingredients:

2 English Cucumbers — I scoop out seeds and cut into 1/2 moon slices– Slice Cuke in 1/2 — scoop out seeds and slice

1 large avocado pitted, peeled and cut into chunks or slices whichever you prefer

*1/3 cup green onion , chopped

2 Tbsp. Lime Juice from 1 medium lime

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 tsp. Kosher Salt or Sea Salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

Directions:

In a medium sized salad type bowl, combine sliced cucumbers , avocado and if you’re adding green onions.

Drizzle with lime juice, olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. I sliced cucumbers and dressing earlier than right before I served it added the avocado so it wouldn’t brown. The lime juice should prevent it from turning brown though.

That’s it and very delicious side salad .

Chicken Fajitas on the Grill

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IMG_5593.JPG Wow–Fajitas on the Grill and the best part is there were no pots and pans to clean up! Cooked in Aluminum Foil Packs right on the grill! They’re called Hobo Packs.

Very quick prep and delicious ingredients. Feel free to substitute whatever peppers you would prefer. This is what I did.

You’ll need heavy-duty aluminum foil for the grill.

  • If you double up the recipe you’ll need more hobo packs and feel free to experiment with the ingredients. 

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Ingredients:

1 lb. chicken tenders–I cut them in 1/2 so they’re still thick enough that they don’t over-cook in the 15 minutes it takes to cook. If the pieces are too too thin they’ll over-cook. 

1 medium red onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick (approximately)

1 poblano chile or serrano chile whatever you can get. Stemmed and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips. I used both .

1 Red Bell Pepper–cut into strips lengthwise

1 Yellow Bell Pepper –cut into strips lengthwise

*you can really use any peppers that you’d like–these are the ones I used Shishito Peppers would be wonderful as well.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper- you’ll need to be fairly generous with the salt –I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill.

4 -6 fresh oregano sprigs–at least 1 in each packet–I used 2 in each packet.

1 lime, thinly sliced crosswise

Warm flour or corn tortillas, sour cream , guacamole and salsa and some hot sauce for serving. I used small tortillas but any kind will work out nicely. This is a very easy Summer Meal. I also like to serve with rice and beans.

Directions:

Cut up all the veggies, onions and chicken and light the grill, I had the grill turned up high , it should be medium to high. I put it to high to pre-heat and then lowered to a more medium – high, if you are unable to do this step just check on them after 12 minutes to make sure the bottom isn’t burning.

In a large bowl, toss the chicken, onion and all the peppers with the olive oil and cumin seeds. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss again. I like it to sit for about 15 minutes while grill is heating up. 

Arrange 4 14 inch sheets of heavy duty foil on a work surface ( see pics) app. 14 inches don’t get the ruler out you can   eyeball it, it needs to fit a pile of veggies and chicken. Last night I increased the chicken so we had about 6 packs.

Pile the chicken and veggies evenly on one 1/2 of each foil sheet and top with the oregano and lime slices. Fold the foil over the ingredients and pinch the edges to seal.

Place the foil packets on the grill, close the lid and cook over moderately high heat until the chicken is cooked through, anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes.

Open the packets and serve with warm flour fajitas, sour cream , guacamole, salsa and hot sauce.

*Packets can be made a night ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

I usually place all ingredients after cooking in a large serving dish/bowl and let everyone take for themselves.

Enjoy!

Rainbow Slaw–Homemade Cole Slaw

This couldn’t have been easier and it was very tasty and a definite switch up to store bought cole-slaw. I used about 1 1/2 bags of pre made cole- slaw found in the produce section of most markets . Whole Foods has a rainbow slaw which is a mix of different cabbages and it’s perfect. You may even be able to use 2 bags ( 12 oz. bags) but I started out with 1 and added another 1/2 . There are ingredients you can add which would give this some extra kick like jalapeno and that’s totally up to you. I have listed them below.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup lime juice — about 3 fresh limes — I use an electric juicer

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Honey

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

4 cups Slaw Mixture or 2 cups Red Cabbage and 2 cups White Cabbage — the bags are easy and readily available almost everywhere — if using 12 oz. bag use 1 -2 bags. If you can find 16 oz. bag that should be sufficient.

Kosher Salt to taste — I think I used about 1/2 teaspoon

Freshly Ground Black Pepper — app. 1/4 tsp.

These are the additional ingredients which are your optional additions

  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion or 1 small shallot minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1 jalapeno , seeded and minced
  • sunflower seeds — sprinkle app. 1/4 cup for some extra added crunch

Directions:

In a large glass bowl, whisk lime juice, oil , honey, mustard and any other ingredients you may be adding. Add in the cabbage and if you’re using cilantro add that as well. Taste for Salt and Pepper and add that as well to your liking.

That’s it — Serve room temp. or make ahead and serve.

Potatoes , Peppers and Onions

What a perfect side dish — goes with any meats and or fish. I served it alongside humble turkey burgers and hamburgers and it was really delicious! I used whatever color peppers I had in the house and I used Yukon gold potatoes because that’s what I had on  hand. Perfect with some sausage as well. Did I mention super easy???? and all on one pan in the oven.

Ingredients:

app. 2 lbs Potatoes — I happen to have on hand Yukon Gold Potatoes but Russet Potatoes work well as well– any potatoes will work out — cut potatoes into app. 1″ chunks

1 medium yellow onion– cut into 1″ chunks

2 peppers — any color you like — I had orange and yellow on hand– cut into 1 ” chunks

1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher Salt — app. 2 teaspoons

Freshly Ground Black Pepper– app. 1 teaspoon

Garlic Powder — 1 teaspoon — if you prefer fresh garlic — use 2 garlic cloves minced

Directions:

*important to cut chunks of vegetables fairly uniformly so they cook the same

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

In a large bowl toss potatoes, onion and peppers with oil, salt , pepper and garlic

 Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet — I spray my baking sheet with cooking spray for an easy cleanup –spread out so peppers onions and potatoes have room to cook — don’t overcrowd as they will just steam and not slow roast

Roast for about 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown, I stirred halfway through cooking.

That’s it — super easy and super delicious.

Fresh Basil Pesto

photo 2 (6)

Chicken and Pesto on the Grill

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Pasta Pesto

The original recipe for this delicious pesto appeared back in May 2011 on Cooking with Candi.  Yummy Pesto was the title. This is the same recipe from my BFF Suki. I have tried many pesto sauces and this remains my absolute go to favorite. It is super easy and while the basil is abundant you should make it and freeze it. When you freeze the pesto in a container, pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top . I have it frozen for up to 3 months. I use it on chicken, pasta, and it’s wonderful as a spread. This recipe is good for 2 lbs. of pasta usually. So I use 1/2 and freeze the rest if it’s just the 2 of us.

Pesto Chicken on the Grill with Grilled Peppers and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

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Fresh Basil

If you are going to use on chicken , just brush on the chicken sprinkle a tiny bit of  kosher salt on it and  let it marinate for a few hours at least and it can be marinated  overnight in the refrigerator. Take it out of fridge and let it sit at room temp. before putting on the grill. That’s it!

*You’ll need a food processor

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh basil (washed)

1/2 cup romano cheese (grated)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese ( grated)

1/2 cup pignolli nuts or walnuts

1 cup extra virgin olive oil–use a good one

1 – 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter (it’s good if the butter is softened before adding) you can soften in microwave

4 cloves garlic – peeled and whole

freshly ground black pepper–to taste

*kosher salt to taste if you feel you need it after finished making pesto

Directions:

I put all ingredients except for olive oil in the food processor. Give it a few grinds using the blade attachment. Then I slowly add in the olive oil through the top of processor while it’s on. Beautiful green pesto! so easy. Taste for salt and pepper

Cook pasta and drain and add pesto. Done!

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and String Beans Sheet Pan

This is an easy dinner with perfectly seasoned roasted chicken with lemon flavor , potatoes and string beans all on one sheet pan. This recipe is good for 3-4 people depending on your eaters. Feel free to double up and make more and you can even use 2 sheet pans — just adjust oven racks accordingly.

If you don’t have a rimmed sheet pan you can use a 13 x 9 baking dish.

We loved the flavors and the chicken cooked up perfectly . I used smallish thighs so it cooked perfectly in the time frame I wrote up. If you have larger thighs you’ll want to cook a little longer till meat thermometer reads 160- 165 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

5 small bone-in skin on chicken thighs — app. 2-3 lbs.

1 1/2 lbs. small potatoes ( I used a medley of colored potatoes) cut into bite-sized chunks — see pics. If you have a larger potato just cut into chunks– I used small ones so I cut in 1/2 and placed cut side down

1/4 cup Olive Oil and 1 Tablespoon for string beans

1 average size lemon zested and juiced

3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 average sized lemon sliced

6 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

1 small yellow onion cut into chunks — or 1/2 a large sized onion

3/4 lb. green string beans trimmed

Salt and Pepper for string beans

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

Spray a rimmed large baking sheet with cooking spray

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, rosemary , oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper

Pat chicken pieces dry first ( this is important for a crispy skin) Arrange chicken and potatoes on the prepped baking sheet. Pour the olive oil mixture over the chicken and potatoes and gently toss with clean hands. You can also place in a larger bowl and pour mixture over and coat chicken and potatoes.

Place potatoes cut side down, tuck the garlic cloves under the chicken pieces, place lemon slices and onions around the chicken

Roast in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.

While the chicken is in the oven, I prepped the green beans . Toss clean trimmed green beans with a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.

After the initial 20 minutes I added the green beans and roasted for an additional 20 minutes or until juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 160 – 165 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken. Veggies and potatoes should be tender.

*depending on the size of your chicken thighs it could take longer .

Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

Perfection on a plate .

Basic Corn Salad — Perfect Summer Side Dish

It’s Summer and the living is easy –and the corn is delicious.  There are times I buy fresh corn but don’t feel like serving it on the cob even though it is perfectly delicious this way. This corn salad is a suggestion for you as a side dish with very little ingredients and pretty much all corn. I like to serve as a side dish in the summer because it can be made ahead and served at room temperature. It’s a most perfect side dish. It doesn’t get more basic or easier than this recipe.  My absolute go-to summer side dish. Super Easy.

 

Enjoy the rest of the summer and keep on Cooking with Candi.

Ingredients:

5-6 ears of corn , shucked

1/2 cup small diced red onion

3 Tablespoons cider vinegar

3 Tablespoons good olive oil

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt – you can always add more salt after you finish and taste for salt

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper the same applies for the pepper as for the salt

app. 1/2 cup cut up fresh basil leaves–use as much or as little as you like –it adds wonderful flavor

*add a few small cut up grape tomatoes for another variety on this

Directions:

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for app. 3 minutes (just to let go of the starchiness) Drain and immerse in ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. When the corn cools down , cut the kernels off the cob , cutting close to the cob to get the whole kernel. I use a bundt pan to catch all the kernels.

Toss the corn kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

How simple and easy is this?IMG_5739

Michele’s Ramon Noodle Salad – Perfect Summer Salad

photoI have already posted my version of a Napa Noodle Salad, which we all love and totally enjoy all summer long. Here is a new spin on it which my friend Michele passed to me.  So whether you love the other one or never even tried it this one is definitely worth trying and will be a part of my Summer Salad Repertoire.  Thanks again Michele! And by the way Joel loved it, and it contains Broccoli Slaw!!!! this was a major shock for sure. Maybe the tide is turning? This is not vegetarian but my Napa Noodle Salad is so just substitute that dressing. Enjoy!

  • you can check out the other version of this salad and it’s listed as Napa Noodle Salad which is perfectly vegetarian

Ingredients:

1 cup of olive oil ( you can use a little less)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 – 3 packages slaw of any style or mix. Michele used 2 12 oz. bags broccoli slaw and one bag regular cole slaw (these bags of slaw are available in almost every supermarket now in the lettuce section) 3 bags will serve 12 nicely and there is enough dressing for 3 .

2 packages beef flavored Ramon noodle soup mix ( I know this is a bummer for the vegetarians out there

1/2 cup sunflower seed kernels

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 tbsp. soy sauce

Directions:

Prepare dressing by combining oil, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and two flavor packets from soup mix. Whisk well and chill. Make the dressing early in the day and whisk it a few times throughout the day.

Before you’re ready to serve , crush the ramen noodles. Then combine slaws, seeds, almonds, and noodles.

Dress salad 10 minutes before serving. Put together the salad right before serving so everything stays crunchy.   Enjoy!

Blackberry Cobbler

before cobbler gets baked , with biscuit topping

before cobbler gets baked , with biscuit topping

finished product - Yum

finished product – Yum

photo (3) It’s Memorial Day Weekend again and it brings me to this delicious dessert filled with the most delicious in season blackberries.  I have posted numerous blueberry cobblers but this one has to be my personal favorite made with Blackberries.  It’s a real deal Old Fashioned Cobbler.  You can really make this with any fruit but I love Blackberries while they’re sweet, plump and delicious! Blueberries and Red Raspberries will also work  well. Or you can mix up the fruits!  I just love blackberries when they’re in season and can’t get enough of them so this time of year I go with just blackberries.

Enjoy and have a safe weekend and here’s to a much better summer than the last one.

Ingredients:

1 pound or about 3 1/2 – 4 cups blackberries , cleaned , rinsed and dried

1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar, I use regular granulated sugar for cobbler inside and on top I use turbinado sugar. 1/2 cup granulated sugar for inside cobbler and 1/4 cup turbinado sugar for topping

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup whole milk or you can use low-fat buttermilk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup boiling water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl I place the clean blackberries that I’ve washed and dried. I sprinkle them with the arrowroot and lemon juice and mix gently  Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, I sift the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the milk and butter. Stir until just combined, don’t over stir, it shouldn’t be smooth. Then by the mound-ful drop dough onto blackberries. I spread around a little bit but don’t completely cover the top of berries. ( see photo) the dough will spread a little once it’s baked.

Pour boiling water over the dough and fruit before you bake it. Sprinkle top with 1/4 turbinado sugar or regular sugar. Raw sugar or turbinado sugar makes it a little crunchier topping. I prefer it to regular sugar for a topping.

*if you are preparing in advance which is what I did today. Prepare up till the boiling water and sugar part. Refrigerate for up to 2 days , bring to room temperature then pour boiling water and top with sugar and bake. I baked for app. 45 minutes till dough gets browned and crackly looking and blackberries are bubbling. ( see photos)

Remove from oven and let sit but serve while it’s still warm with ice-cream for extra added deliciousness!

Happy Summer from my kitchen to yours.

Sheet Pan Cashew Chicken

This is one of those perfect sheet pan meals easy to assemble and delicious to eat. Although I usually make this recipe on the stove-top I decided to experiment with it in the oven and all on one pan. Since I used white meat chicken breasts I cooked for about 13 minutes because you want to make sure not to dry out the chicken which is pretty easy to do. You can use dark meat chicken — thighs ( skinless and boneless ) if you prefer . I may use them next time out. Just make sure you spray the sheet pan with cooking spray or you’ll have a hell of a time cleaning that pan. It’s very tasty served over any rice you’d like or no rice , I used brown rice this time.

I have to say this is a perfect any-night meal.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Soy Sauce

6 Tablespoons Honey

2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil

3 minced garlic cloves

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

2 Bell Peppers cut into chunks ( see pic) I used a Red and an Orange but you can use whatever colors you like

1 Red Onion, cut into chunks ( see pic)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks ( use thick breasts) or use boneless skinless thighs

1 cup cashews — I used roasted unsalted cashews don’t use salted ones you can also use raw unsalted cashews

Chopped fresh scallions and sesame seeds for topping — you can toast the sesame seeds in oven for about 7 minutes if you’d like or in a toaster oven — totally optional

*Rice — optional — any rice you like

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees

In a bowl , whisk together the soy sauce, honey, vinegar, sesame oil , garlic and ginger

Place the peppers and onions on sprayed rimmed baking sheet and pour 1/2 the sauce over it and mix it well.

Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

Place the chicken in a bowl with the remainder of the marinade.

After the first 15 minutes, remove baking sheet from the oven , move vegetables around so there is room for chicken , add the chicken and the cashews.

Roast until the chicken is cooked through– 12-15 minutes depending on the size of your chicken.

Toss everything together on the sheet before serving.

Serve over rice and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.