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Starred Recipes

3 Stars - A Family Favorite
2 Stars - Really Good, Will Make Again
1 Star - Good Recipe, Probably Won't Make Again

May 30, 2012

Fire Roasted Tomato and Pineapple Salsa

Sandy's Fire Roasted Tomato and Pineapple Salsa

I have a 10 year old who loves to be in the kitchen.
It is his personality to design his own recipes, and sees it as an utter lack of creativity to follow one created by someone else.
While sweet and cute and adorable, his need to always do it his way doesn't always serve him well in the kitchen.

But sometimes it does.  He actually has good cooking instincts.

This summer I'm asking him to practice following recipes, and then tweak them to make them his own.
I asked him to make this Salsa for me last night while I worked on dinner.  After resigning himself to the uncreative-task-at-hand, he got busy and loved every minute of it.

This is an absolutely fantastic salsa recipe.
I'll never buy jarred salsa again - unless I'm in a pinch.

This recipe comes from Sandy Thomas, Holistic Health Coach (  Many of you locals have heard me rave about Sandy's cooking classes I recently finished.  If you want more information on Sandy's services, please let me know!

Brennan only tweaked this recipe in one way - he added garlic.  I had jotted this down on the recipe during class - Sandy offered it as a good addition to her original recipe.  Brennan saw this as his opportunity to "tweak", and it worked beautifully.

Brennan started by chopping pineapple and then measuring out 1 cup of cilantro, showing lots of patience pulling the leaves off the stems (a few stems are OK since this will be blended).

Then he zested a lime (don't worry, I showed him how to flip the microplane over after this photo), and juiced it.  He then added salt, cumin, and garlic powder and blended it for 10 seconds.

Brennan then added a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and a can of mild Rotel. 
If you like a milder salsa you can use two cans of fire-roasted tomatoes instead of the Rotel. 
If you like it hotter, you can use the hot version of Rotel.

He pulsed the salsa 6 times to get it to the consistency he likes, and was ready to transfer it to a bowl.


Because the boys aren't tomato fans, they tend not to like salsas - what with the chunky tomatoes and all.  This salsa though - Brennan absolutely loved!

We decided to follow Sandy's advice and let the flavors "marry" overnight in the fridge.

Tonight we ate chips and salsa while playing a serious game of Apples to Apples (David stomped us).
The salsa was fantastic - and I watched (slightly amazed) that Thomas and Brennan gobbled it up.

I'm proud of Brennan for his creation, and I'm happy to have a delicious salsa recipe!

Double click to print as a 5x7 recipe card.

Buen Provecho!

Stir Fried Barley with Vegetables

Stir Fried Barley with Vegetables

May was a very busy month, and I did practically no "new" cooking.  Just stuck with old family favorites, and it was a nice change of pace.  But now I return to my new cookbooks and file folder filled with recipes I want to try out!

This recipe I cut off the back of the Bob's Red Mill Pearl Barley package!

I really like this brand, and I've mentioned it a few times before on this blog.  I've used all of their soup mixes I think.  Plus, I can buy this brand locally in a few stores - I usually purchase it at Kroger.

The original recipe did not include vegetables, except for a little onion.  I decided to add chopped carrots to the dish, and it was great.  Next time I will probably add broccoli or some other vegetable as well.  I modified the recipe from the original in a couple of other ways too.

It was a hit in our house (woo hoo!) and something I'm sure I'll return to again and again!

I started by heating olive oil in a skillet and cooking the onion, carrots, and crushed red pepper flakes for a couple of minutes.  David and I are not onion fans (surprisingly the boys are), but I know they are healthy and add great flavor.  A lot of times I just omit the onion in recipes, but I'm trying to control that impulse these days!

Once the vegetables were slightly cooked, I added in the butter and barley.

I had already soaked and cooked Pearl Barley, so I just pulled it from the fridge.
(If you are not familiar with soaking grains, I'm happy to share my experiences with you.  Just email or give me a call.)

I heated the barley through and incorporated it with the vegetables.

Then I added in the chopped basil, tomato paste, and chicken bouillon powder.
The original recipe suggested beef bouillon but I didn't have any. 
I think the basil, tomato, and bouillon add great flavor - you could use any variety that you have on hand.

Then I seasoned with a tiny bit of black pepper and Kosher salt, and served the dish warm.

And some leftover for me for lunch as well!

Double click to print as a 5x7 recipe card.


May 1, 2012

Asian Noodle Salad

Asian Noodle Salad

This recipe is inspired ny one I received from the chef who leads the Healthy Cooking classes I'm currently taking on Fridays. 
It sounded like a great recipe for our family tonight.
A big thank you to Sandy for a bunch of new recipes to try!

Like most recipes I make, I customized this one.
I used noodles and veggies that I had on hand.

I decided to use Mei Fun rice noodles that I had in the pantry since this was an Asian inspired dish.
The original recipe says that you could use spaghetti, or really any noodles.

Most rice noodles require soaking for a few minutes before boiling just like you would spaghetti, so I soaked it for about 3 minutes, drained it and put it in boiling water until done.

The results. 
I rinsed it in cold water and drained it very well.

While the noodles were cooking, I sliced up some vegetables I had on hand and sauteed them in olive and sesame oil until tender.  I seasoned with garlic powder and a little Kosher salt.

For this dish I sliced 2 carrots, 3 large napa cabbage leaves, 3 scallions, and half a bag of snow peas.

I tossed the noodles with Thai Peanut Sauce and mixed in the sauteed vegetables.
Then topped with chopped peanuts.

It was really good, and everyone asked that I add it to my list of recipes that we use again and again!

Double click to print as a 5x7 recipe card.