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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. 

Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

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.

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 .

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.

Sheet Pan Mustard Salmon with Vegetables

Now you all know how very much I love a sheetpan meal. So very easy to prepare and cook and so delicious to eat. This is what I did. You can substitute sweet potatoes if you’d like. I used Broccolini but you can use regular broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus or any veggie you like.

I really slather on the mustard because I love the strong mustard flavor but feel free to add less or more depending on your own taste.

Enjoy!

*this recipe is for 2 people feel free to double up for more — there’s no exact science going on here so feel free to swap in or out what ingredients you prefer

Ingredients:

4 fingerling potatoes or any potatoes you’d like I used yukon gold this time because that’s what I had in the house

app. 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil in total but if you feel you need more– be my guest

Kosher Salt and black pepper to taste

2 Salmon Fillets or 1 piece of Salmon app. 1 lb. ( I used a 1/4 lb. for the two of us and had some left over)

3- 8 Tablespoons Maille Old Style Mustard — I just slathered the top of the salmon

1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes

small bunch of Broccolini or it’s equivalent for another vegetable

Directions:

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat to 400 degrees. I sprayed a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place potatoes in a bowl and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil and a little kosher salt and black pepper. Stir to coat and arrange the potatoes cut-side down . Bake for app. 15 minutes . Obviously yukon gold or sweet potatoes you’ll just arrange on baking sheet since you can’t do cut-side down.

Meanwhile pat salmon dry and brush with Mustard.

Toss the broccolini and cherry tomatoes in a clean mixing bowl with 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil and sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. If it doesn’t look like enough oil add a little bit.

After the initial 15 minutes, remove tray from oven and push potatoes to edges of pan, creating enough room for salmon in the center of baking sheet and arrange the broccolini and tomatoes around the salmon. Using tongs flip over potatoes to cook evenly .

Bake for about 15 minutes depending on the size and thickness of your salmon. If veggies are getting to burnt use tongs and remove and put on plate and cover with foil. It should only be a few more minutes for salmon to be done and I didn’t remove my broccolini because I like it charred.

If you don’t want potatoes you can just cook salmon and vegetables and use rice or nothing . It’s delicious and since I made a little extra salmon it was delicious the next day for lunch.

Easy Israeli Salad

This salad is so delicious and fresh and works so well with grilled chicken, fish or really any protein.

I just love it for lunch or dinner and it’s so easy that anyone can do it. Add in feta cheese, olives, or canned chick peas to add to this wonderful deliciousness.

Whatever and whenever you decide to serve this it will be most wonderful.

Just a word about making ahead… I chopped and diced all the vegetables and put in a bowl and put in the fridge. I juiced my lemon and had it set aside. Right before serving I added olive oil and lemon juice stirred it up well and tasted for salt and pepper.

If you add oil and lemon juice too soon it will be very soggy and I don’t like it that way at all. So just have it all ready to serve and add dressing right before.

Ingredients;

this is what I used feel free to substitute or add in whatever you’d like. ( Canned Chick Peas are also delicious in this) Olives, Scallions, Feta Cheese, whatever you feel like.

1 Large Seedless Cucumber or remove the seeds from a seeded one or just keep the seeds if you don’t care

1 box grape tomatoes halved

1 yellow pepper, diced or an orange one. I used orange and yellow about 1/2 and 1/2

1/2 cup diced red onion

2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley , chopped

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil– I used 3 but you can start with 2 add the salt and pepper and add for more flavor after

3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

In a large bowl, toss together all the vegetables. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and chopped parsley and mix thoroughly to coat.

Season with Salt and Pepper to your liking. Serve cold or at room temperature. I like it cold but it’s delicious either way.

Blueberry Banana Bundt Cake

I had rotten bananas and I had some blueberries and I had all the other ingredients for this delicious bundt cake in the house. It took about 20 minutes to prep and another 50 minutes in the oven and it’s going into the freezer for another time and place. I cut into it to taste it and will cut it into 4 sections and freeze it for when we come back this summer to Colorado. It freezes so well and the bananas were going in the garbage so there you have it –snacking cake for another time. You can freeze this cake up to 3 months, but make sure you wrap it up carefully and mark the date you freeze it on the bag. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon fine salt (table salt)

1/2 cup butter unsalted and softened

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs — room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 bananas mashed– very ripe black bananas

1 cup blueberries — rinsed and dried

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I spray a Bundt Pan with Bakers Aid Spray– you can use other sprays but I prefer this one for baking

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk. Set it aside

Cream Butter and Sugar in an Electric Mixer. Add eggs one at a time and the vanilla. Beat until well combined

Add the flour Mixture to the bowl and Combine until just mixed. Fold in the Blueberries and Bananas with a spatula

Pour the batter into the sprayed Bundt Pan

Bake for 50 minutes. Check with a cake tester or toothpick till it comes out clean.

Enjoy!!

Sheet Pan Shrimp with Asparagus and Potatoes

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This dinner was just delicious.  I used under 8 size shrimp. What this means is that there were about 8 to a pound , so rather large and the cooking times were perfect for them. You will probably have to adjust your cooking time depending on the size of your shrimp. Obviously the larger shrimp took a little longer to cook. Timing will vary depending on your oven and the size of the shrimp you use.  The potatoes and asparagus times will remain pretty much the same. I just love cooking on one sheet in the oven! This recipe is a keeper and one I will re-visit often and maybe use different veggies, since I am the only one who ate the asparagus anyway.

Ingredients:

1 pound large shrimp ( anywhere from 8 – 16 count) is perfect – thawed, peeled and de-veined and leave the tails on

Extra – Virgin Olive Oil

3 cloves of garlic-minced

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes if you hate the spice you can omit it

2 Lemons, 1 for zest and juice of, the other 1 thinly sliced

1 lb. Asparagus-trimmed

1 lb. Fingerling Potatoes–halved lengthwise

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper–read directions for amounts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a large rimmed baking sheet for easy clean up

Place the shrimp in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil . Add in minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir to coat and set aside.

In another mixing bowl , toss the sliced potatoes with 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil. Season generously with Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper. Transfer Potatoes to the baking sheet in a single layer. Roast potatoes for anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes, or until they are almost tender.

While potatoes are roasting, toss asparagus with 1/2 Tbsp.of Olive Oil and season with Salt and Pepper,  Set aside

Now add 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice to bowl of shrimp and toss to coat. Season Shrimp pretty generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

After 20 minutes or so remove potatoes from the oven and add asparagus and lemon slices to baking sheet. Continue to roast potatoes and asparagus for another 10 minutes,  potatoes should be tender by now , pierce a potatoe with a fork to check for tenderness. If potatoes still need time you can leave them in for a few more minutes. Using a slotted spoon add shrimp to baking sheet and put back in the oven. Roast for another 10 minutes or until shrimp are pink-opaque and firm to touch. My shrimp took about 12 more minutes, this time will depend on your shrimp. I checked after 5 minutes and using tongs turned them over and continued cooking for another 7 more minutes.

When I removed from oven I sprinkled with lemon zest. Perfection on a plate!

*one added tip– after my shrimp is peeled and de-veined and before I am about to cook I always wrap my shrimp in some paper towels to dry them off. It helps with the oil and spices sticking to shrimp.

Lemon Orzo with Feta

I love this recipe from Ina Garten’s Modern Comfort Food Book.

This is a delicious side dish for Chicken , fish ,and meat. I particularly like it with Roast Chicken. In the photo I posted here I served it with onion crusted chicken, oven roasted string beans, and homemade cranberry sauce. It was sort of perfect.

Get a good block of Feta or buy the crumbled one . I diced up a block of Greek Feta Cheese and it was just perfect but a nice crumbled one would work equally as well.

If you compare my recipe to Ina Garten’s original recipe you’ll notice I have omitted the salt, it was too salty for me. I tasted for Salt and Pepper when finished and added a little bit to the orzo when I cooked it. Everyone has a different palate for Salt so my suggestion is to taste at the end and add then, this recipe is easy to add at the end. Same goes for pepper just add to your own taste. Feta was plenty salty.

Simple to make and Delicious to eat .

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 cup Orzo

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

2 Tablespoons Freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons good Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon minced fresh dill

1 cup small diced Feta ( try a good greek Feta ) or crumbled Feta Cheese

*kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste– see note above

Directions:

In a large saucepan , bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, and cook the orzo according to package directions al dente.

Once orzo is cooked and drained transfer to a bowl and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil , dill, fold in the feta and taste for salt and pepper. I added no salt but about 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. This is up to you . Serve hot or at room temperature .