Category Archives: Dressing/ Sauce/ Dip

Asian Bowl with Lollipop Lamb Chops

Recently, I received a wonderful surprise in the mail. New bottles of Gazebo Room Salad Dressing and Marinade. I immediately started thinking about the kinds of recipes I could create that incorporated the dressings. I didn’t want to just use them as a dressing on top of one of my regular salads. I wanted something new and exciting!

Bingo! I finally decided to make an Asian Bowl with Lollipop Lamb Chops. I topped the Asian bowl with Gazebo Room Asian Vinaigrette Salad Dressing and Marinade. Yes, that is a mouthful to say and a delicious mouthful to taste. If you like tangy salad dressings, I think you will like this Asian dressing. I just would not put a lot of this dressing on a salad. A little goes a long way with this dressing because it is so flavorful.

Now back to my Asian Bowl with Lollipop Lamb Chops. In my mind, this is a very simple dish to make and the Asian bowl is both colorful and nutritious. I kept it simple by combining just a few veggies, thin lo mein noodles and of course the lamb chops. I have to admit I developed this recipe based on the lamb chops. As I usually do on the weekends, I was perusing the meat aisle looking for something other than chicken. Remember, I have nothing against chicken. We just eat it often so I try to break up the week with another meat if possible so that we don’t grow feathers. I spied a lone package of lollipop lamb chops among the packages of bigger lamb chops and grabbed them before anyone else could. It is rare for me to find these little jewels so I was quite happy with this trip to the grocery store.

When I pulled the recipe together I wasn’t totally convinced hubby would be on board since I had never prepared a “bowl”. I wasn’t even sure he had heard of an Asian bowl but he surprised me and said “Sure, go for it”, which meant he was on board. Hubby did come into the kitchen a couple of times to see what I was doing and guided me on how he wanted me to “create” his bowl. Yeah, let’s just call him my assistant on this recipe. Anyway, we both enjoyed the final product. Hubby really enjoyed it because he ate the whole thing. Normally, he leaves a little food on his plate but not this time. All I saw were two chopsticks and lamb chop bones sitting at the bottom of his bowl. That is what I call a successful dish!

Asian Bowl with Lollipop Lamb Chops

Ingredients:

2 Roma tomatoes diced

2 scallions sliced

2 bunches romaine lettuce shredded or small Napa cabbage shredded

1 package (6 – 8) lollipop lamb chops

1 package thin lo mein noodles

1 small can water chestnuts drained

1 cup snow peas

1 cup shredded carrots

¼ cup crispy rice noodles

¼ cup Gazebo Room Asian Vinaigrette Salad Dressing and Marinade

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp minced fresh ginger

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp salt

½ tbsp black pepper

paprika

Season lamb chops with Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper and paprika. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a medium sized frying pan over medium high heat. Brown lamb chops on both sides approximately 3 – 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to drain.

Add snow peas, carrots and scallions to frying pan and saute until slightly softened but still has some crispness. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Build Salad:

Place lettuce in the bottom of the bowl. Arrange veggies around the bowl. Add lo mein noodles, water chestnuts and diced tomatoes. Place three lamb chops on one side of the bowl. Drizzle with dressing then sprinkle with rice noodles.

Enjoy!

 

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Salmon Patties

Back in the days when I was living with my parents we ate a lot of fish. Mostly, it was fish we caught during the year because my folks loved to fish on their days off. During the summer, when I was out of school, we would drive down state or over the state line to one of their favorite fishing holes. Perch, trout, catfish and something my mom called butter fish were usually the catch of the day. My parents loved to go deep sea fishing which required taking a chartered boat out for the day. I was too chicken to go on the boat so I would stay home and hope they caught a few flounder that day.

Thinking about those days and eating lots of fish reminded me that one of my favorite meals was salmon croquettes. At least that is what my mom called them. Not quite like chicken croquettes but more like a crab cake made with salmon. The salmon was delicious although I thought it was weird eating soft fish bones. Yeah, my mom used canned salmon like most folks back then. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against canned salmon. I made my first Salmon Patties (as I call them) using canned salmon. I never thought about using fresh cooked salmon for my mom’s version of salmon croquettes.

As I have developed my cooking chops and expanded my creativity, I decided fresh salmon was better than canned salmon. Of course, if I am in the mood for Salmon Patties and fresh salmon fillets are not available, bring on the canned salmon. Yup, I still keep a can in my pantry.

Remember, fresh is always best! However, whether you use fresh or canned salmon I can almost guarantee you will enjoy this very simple but flavorful dish.

Salmon Patties

Ingredients:

3 baked salmon fillets

5 dashes hot sauce

1 egg

1 scallion diced

½ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup panko bread crumbs

1 tbsp half and half

½ tsp brown mustard

½ tsp dried dill

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

¼ tsp old bay seasoning

Lightly beat egg with half and half then set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Place salmon in a large bowl and flake with a fork. Add bread crumbs, scallions, seasonings and egg mixture. Mix together well then form into patties. Place no more than 4 patties in the skillet to prefer crowding. Brown on both sides until golden then remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Serve with Seafood Sauce shown below.

Seafood Sauce:

3 tbsp sour cream

2 tbsp fresh hot salsa

¼ tsp dried dill

¼ tsp Adobo

¼ old bay seasoning

pinch seasoned salt

pinch of black pepper

Mix well. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Simple Slaw

With the warm weather rolling in to say for a while, I thought it was time for me to create a few light dishes for the blog. Simple Slaw is just that …. simple. No fuss. No cooking over a hot stove. This recipe is as I said, just simple to prepare.

Summertime is my second favorite time of the year. My favorite time of year is fall because I love wearing sweaters and fall weather allows me to do that. Summertime, is the other favorite because I don’t have to wear a coat and I can wear sandals instead of shoes. I am a southern girl at heart so wearing shoes is the last thing I want to do in the summer. Plus, summertime forces me to paint my toenails to add that cute factor to the sandals. In the winter, what’s the point of painting your toenails if nobody can see how cute they are. Some may say “well why not paint them for hubby”? To that I say, he barely sees my toes in the house since we all wear socks to walk on the hardwood floors. Besides, winter is cold and you need to wear socks. But, I digress. Back to summertime and recipes.

Simple Slaw pairs well with just about any entree. I have prepared it with steak and potatoes as well as with hot dogs and baked beans. I think this would be a great dish to take to a picnic or barbeque because it travels well. There is no concern about mayo in the dressing so the slaw will keep much longer if sitting out. I know I have said this on a few occasions and I will say it again, colorful dishes are important to me. Besides the wonderful smell of food, the appearance of food helps to make a meal taste delicious. We first eat with our eyes then with our tongues. So the beautiful bright orange of the carrots and the deep purple of the cabbage will entice you to want to dig in. Go on. Try it! I am sure you will enjoy this light summertime dish.

Simple Slaw

Ingredients:

1 8oz pkg red cabbage shredded

1 8oz pkg carrots shredded

¼ cup golden raisins

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

¼ tsp parsley chopped or dried

¼ tsp cilantro

Dressing:

¼ cup Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing and Marinade

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp sour cream

½ tbsp spicy brown mustard

Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine red cabbage, carrots, raisins and seasonings into a large bowl. Pour dressing over slaw and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and allow flavors to marinate for 30 minutes. Stir again prior to serving.

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Panzanella Salad

I had never heard of a Panzanella Salad until I saw a cooking challenge on television. The amateur chef was Italian and decided to make a Panzanella Salad because ingredients were limited and time was short. After all, it was a challenge.

Salads in general don’t take long to pull together and Panzanella Salad fits that bill. The most time consuming part of making this salad is crisping up the bread cubes. Of course, if you are really short on time you could use prepared toasted bread cubes or even croutons. In a pinch use whatever is quick. I like crisping up my own bread cubes because I like to use different types of bread when making this salad. Ciabatta, sour dough bread or even a french baguette are a few of my favorites. One day I want to try and use cornbread but I am afraid it may come out mushy. I will let you know once I figure it out.

I took a few liberties with my version of Panzanella Salad by adding vegetables not included in the traditional versions (there are many versions of the traditional salad in the universe). The straight forward version does not use peppers or meat. I wanted the salad to be colorful since we often eat with our eyes. My family and I are meat eaters. Plain and simple. We love veggies and can go a few days without eating meat but we always go back to eating fish, fowl, pork and sometimes beef. I offer no apologies to my vegetarian friends. Adding meat is optional.

Like I always say …. make this recipe your own. I did!

Panzanella Salad

Ingredients:

2 – 3 cups cubed ciabatta, sour dough bread or french baguette

3 pearl tomatoes cut into wedges

3 slices prosciutto torn into pieces (optional)

1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half

1 English cucumber

3 oz fresh mozzarella torn into pieces

3 oz fresh feta cubed

½ red pepper seeded and cut into chunks

½ yellow pepper seeded and cut into chunks

½ orange pepper seeded and cut into chunks

½ cup kalamata olives pitted

¼ cup red onion thinly sliced

¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese (garnish)

4 tbsp olive oil

Dressing:

½ cup olive oil

½ cup red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic minced

1tsp salt

1 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp dried basil

½ tsp Dijon mustard

½ tsp ground black pepper

pinch red pepper flakes

Place ingredients into a small jar and shake to blend. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bread cubes and allow to crisp up but not toast. Shake and toss the bread cubes to make sure they do not burn. Let cool and set aside.

Cut cucumber in half and scoop out the center then cut the cucumber into chunks. Place vegetables in a large bowl. Add prosciutto, feta, mozzarella cheese pieces and bread cubes. Shake dressing then pour over salad and gently toss to combine all the ingredients. Set salad aside for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours so that the flavors blend together. Sprinkle with shaved parmesan cheese for garnish.

 

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Garlic BBQ Chicken Wings

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I am going to admit something to the world. I prefer to take the easy way out when it comes to frying chicken. Chicken wings and specifically chicken wingettes are the easiest pieces to fry if you are frying chicken. Wingettes are already cut into pieces and do not need a lot of cleaning. Other parts of the chicken like the breast and thigh need tender loving care to make sure you get most of the fat and other questionable things off of the chicken. Drumsticks are not hard to clean but they take longer to cook than wings. So yes, I can be a little lazy when it comes to frying chicken. That being said I do love fried chicken and don’t mind frying up a batch of wings for the family any day of the week.

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I came up with my Garlic BBG Chicken Wing recipe after watching a food show that showed the cook adding garlic to a butter sauce then pouring it over fried chicken wings. I liked the idea of adding garlic and butter to a BBQ sauce then pouring it over fried chicken wings instead of a plain butter sauce. The result was quite tasty and since I baked the wings after frying them and drenching them in BBQ sauce there was a nice little char to the wing.

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This recipe is simple because you can use whatever flavor BBQ sauce you like the best. If you want something a little sweet but spicy, try Stubbs Sweet Heat BBQ sauce. The sauce has a nice tang and you can feel a subtle heat in the back of your throat as you eat. Adding the garlic just added another wonderful level of flavor to the wings. There are so many different flavors of sauce that will work well with this recipe. Start out by experimenting with your favorite BBQ sauce then go from there. I am 99% sure you will enjoy these wings no matter what sauce you decide to use.

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Garlic BBQ Chicken Wings

Ingredients:

1 jar Stubbs Sweet Heat Bar-B-Que Sauce

2 pkgs chicken wingettes washed

2 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp salt

½ tbsp black pepper

frying olive oil or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl season chicken with salt and black pepper. Add oil to a dutch oven or large heavy pot (about half way up the side of the pot. Turn heat to medium high until oil begins to smoke slightly. If you are brave, flick a drop of water into the pot. If it sizzles the oil is hot.

Cook chicken wings in batches (8 – 10 pieces each time) until they are crispy. Drain on paper towels.

In a medium sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes then add BBQ sauce. Stir to mix butter, garlic and sauce. Reduce heat to low to keep warm while cooking chicken.

Add chicken and sauce to a large container with a top. Shake to coat the chicken wings. Spread chicken out on a foil lined baking pan. Bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes.

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Guacamole

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My hubby has been trying to get me to make Guacamole for years. He has even brought home recipes from co-workers who he said made “the best” guacamole for office parties. To say I was intimidated by his “the best” statement would be an understatement. My past attempts at making Guacamole never quite hit the mark. It was either too lemony, too salty, too garlicky or too yuck!

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Yep, I don’t mind saying I made some terrible Guacamole in my earlier days of cooking. Now? Now, I can say I have finally pulled together a recipe that is simple and full of flavor. Keeping it simple is the key to making Guacamole. Having only a few ingredients and seasonings helps to keep the avocado the star of the recipe. After all, it is not really Guacamole without the avocado.

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Speaking of avocado, did you know that avocados are rich in fiber with about 10 grams in a medium-sized avocado. One of the things I love about avocados is that they are versatile. I use them in salads, toppings for my tacos and tostadas or in spreads or dips. I think some folks even use avocados as a hair conditioner and as a facial mask to improve their complexion. I would rather eat avocados than wear them.

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So, for anyone out there that has been intimidated by the idea of making good Guacamole try my version. I no longer feel like a wimp and neither will you.

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Guacamole

Ingredients:

1 small container of fresh salsa drained

4 ripe avocados cubed

1 4oz can of jalapenos drained

½ tsp cilantro

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp salt

¼ cup olive oil

Dressing:

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, salt, black pepper, cilantro and garlic powder.

Place drained salsa in a medium-sized bowl. Pour lime juice over salsa and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Add avocado and jalapenos to the salsa. Pour dressing mixture over avocado. Gently toss salsa and avocado together. Let chill at least 15 to 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve with tortilla chips or thin slices of french bread.

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Queso Fundido

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Tortillas are a staple in my kitchen.  Between making chicken burritos, breakfast burritos , tortilla chips and soft tacos as a quick meal I make sure I always have tortillas on hand.  I was searching for a new way to use tortillas when I just happen to come across a delicious looking Mexican dish that included tortillas.  I had never heard of Queso Fundido which means “melted cheese”.  I discovered that Queso Fundido is actually a very popular dish even in the states.

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In most areas Queso Fundido is made as an appetizer but my research showed some folks like to turn it into a sandwich.  Since I was new to making the recipe I thought I had better stick to making it an appetizer.  There were so many different recipes out in the cooking sphere I decided to find a basic recipe then add my own little twist.  The standard ingredients for any Queso Fundido is spicy sausage, tomatoes and cheese.  After that you can add whatever seasonings you like.  Chorizo is the sausage of choice in most recipes because of the level of heat and spice.  If you are not into spicy sausage, you can still make this dish but use a milder Italian sausage.  Nobody will care.  Use whatever makes you happy.  But if you want the Queso Fundido to be authenic, use the chorizo.

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Be prepared for this dish to disappear quickly.  If you have cheese lovers in your house, they will definitely love Queso Fundido.  Serve it up while it is hot and bubbly along with warm tortillas.  Talk about Yummy!

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Queso Fundido

Ingredients:

1 pkg ground chorizo or spicy Italian sausage

6 flour tortillas

1 jalapeno seeded and chopped

1 clove garlic chopped

2 plum tomatoes seeded and chopped

2 cups mozzarella or Mexican cheese

¼ cup diced onion or scallions

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp cilantro chopped

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp ground cumin

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat olive oil in medium sized skillet. Brown chorizo until cooked and slightly crisp. Remove sausage from the pan and drain on paper towels. Add garlic, onions, jalapeno tomatoes and seasonings to the skillet. Stir to mix well. Reduce heat and cook for 3 – 5 minutes until veggies are soft. Add sausage to the mixture and stir to combine.

Spray a pie dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle ½ of the cheese in the bottom of the dish. Layer ½ of the chorizo and vegetable mixture over cheese. Sprinkle a little more cheese over the chorizo mixture then top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until cheese melts and dish is slightly browned and bubbly. Serve with warmed tortillas.

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Layered Bean Dip

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I have been in a Tex-Mex mood ever since my son said I needed some “diverse” recipes. My latest recipe is Layered Bean Dip. I tested this one on some Super Bowl fans to see how well it would go over at a party. Just in case it sat in the dish untouched I made a traditional dip as a backup. Well, the Layered Bean Dip went like hot cakes. By the time the Super Bowl was over there was only one small scoop of Layered Bean Dip left. My hubby ate that with his lunch the next day.

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I have to give credit to one of our good neighbors across the street for giving me the idea of making a Layered Bean Dip. She brought it over to a picnic a while ago and I never forgot how delicious if tasted. I just had to figure out how to create my own version. As with any recipe, all you need to do to make it your own is play with the ingredients. Experiment with the seasonings and see which flavors compliment each other.

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Layered Bean Dip can quickly become one of your signature dishes for parties or any time you want to treat yourself, family or friends.

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Layered Bean Dip

Ingredients:
1 16 oz can refried beans
1 16 oz jar salsa ( Serrano)
1 14 oz can black beans drained
1 small can black olives drained
8 oz sour cream
4 oz cream cheese
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup shredded taco or Mexican cheese
1 cup shredded lettuce
2 green onions sliced
½ cup fresh salsa
¼ cup pickled jalapeno peppers
½ tsp cumin
1 deep dish pie plate

Combine refried beans, taco seasoning and cumin. Spread refried beans evenly in the bottom of pie dish. Blend together sour cream and cream cheese until smooth. Spread over refried beans. Layer regular salsa, black beans, green onion, pickled jalapeno peppers, fresh salsa, lettuce, and cheese. Sprinkle with black olives. Chill for 1 hour or overnight.

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Yogurt Dressing and Dip

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I pulled together this yogurt dressing and dip as a topping for my Deli London Broil 2 for 1 recipe. I needed something creamy and zingy as the last layer of flavor added to the London broil. I decided to make a yogurt dressing rather than use mayonnaise or plain ol’ sour cream. But once I made the dressing my hubby decided to use it as a dip for chips while he waited for dinner.

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So now, I have a yogurt dressing recipe that can also be used as a dip. I love it when a recipe can be transformed and used in multiple ways. What better way to pair up a 2 for 1 recipe (Deli London Broil) than with another 2 for 1 recipe (yogurt dressing & dip). Fantastic!

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Yogurt Dressing & Dip

Ingredients:

1 cup Greek yogurt

½ cup sour cream

½ tsp salt

½ tsp seasoned salt

½ tsp cracked black pepper

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp cilantro

½ tsp basil

½ tsp dried dill

½ tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp parsley

1 tsp brown mustard

1 tsp green onion sliced (dark part)

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp Gazebo Room Greek marinade and salad dressing

2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese

1 tbsp horseradish

Dash of hot sauce

In a medium bowl mix all ingredients until well blended. Chill for 30 minutes.