Category Archives: Vegetables

Fiesta Night

Photo Jun 09, 7 06 48 PM INTRO FIESTA

Click on the photo to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to original size.

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to June!

Wow, the months are flying by? Why does it seem that every year goes by quicker and quicker the older we get, not like childhood when a year felt like an eternity?

In my home, June’s arrival means that Bob is ready for grilling. He makes sure the grill is spotless, and his grilling baskets and barbecue tools are ready to go.

This must be a guy thing because I never have the desire to stand in front of the grill watching my meal cook. Even though I cook every night and stand in front of the stove, the grill does not interest me.

The temperature reached 80 degrees and Bob said he was in the mood to grill steak for tacos, so he went to purchase some skirt steak and other ingredients I needed to complete this meal while I stayed home and started a marinade with oranges, limes, cumin, garlic and olive oil.

My marinades are always different depending on what I have in the house but I always try to get a citrus in the marinade.

Since this was the FIRST OFFICIAL grilling moment of 2018…

I decided to make this taco dinner into a Fiesta Night.

Photo Jun 09, 7 06 28 PM EXTRA

I have great dishes for this meal that are a combination of perfect Fiesta colors – red, yellow, blue and lime. This is a 10.5 inch ceramic plate that is dishwasher & microwave safe- always a plus. I picked them up last year at Dollar Tree when I was hosting a taco bar luncheon.

Photo Jun 09, 11 51 35 AM DINNER PLATE

I wanted to use all the colors from the dish for my tablescape, so I am starting out with one of the brightest tablecloths I own, a very bright lemon yellow.

Photo Jun 09, 10 33 52 AM TABLECLOTH

Another color in the plate is red and that will be the color of the napkins along with brown wooden napkin rings because I want to use my brown rattan chargers and the wooden napkin ring will look best.

These rattan chargers are my absolute favorite because they go with so many dinnerware patterns.

Photo Jun 07, 6 53 18 PM NAPKIN AND CHARGER

The flatware I am using is a set I don’t get to use very often. They are what I call, my “Cinco de Mayo” flatware because they have all the colors of a Mexican Fiesta –  lime, orange, navy, red and yellow.

Photo Jun 09, 11 48 28 AM FLATWARE

The glassware brings me right back to Dollar Tree. I went back to the store to purchase additional plates for the luncheon and these glasses were on the shelf just calling my name. This was a great find because they had all the colors of the dinner plate.

It is a 16 oz. glass with stripes of red, yellow, green and blue. Just perfect for what I needed.Photo Jun 08, 3 32 27 AM GLASSWARE

 

I had an acrylic pitcher from back in the day, that I keep on the patio table to hold fresh basil & lavender to repel mosquitoes ( a little tip from my Mom) and it matched perfectly. 

Photo Jun 08, 3 35 40 AM WATER PITCHER

Since this tablescape was spur of the moment, I had to think of what I already had on hand that I could use for a centerpiece and table accents. I had a box in the basement of the “Mexican” decorations that I used for the taco bar luncheon, so it was time to see what I could use again.

 I brought the box up and found a sombrero and maracas along with a bag of artificial red chili peppers.

Photo Jun 08, 1 48 32 AM SOMBRERO

Photo Jun 07, 6 50 48 PM MARACAS

Photo Jun 08, 1 51 44 AM CHILI PEPPERS

My next great find, which I honestly forgot I had was a Mexican serape table runner. I love this. It brings all the colors I am looking for together and captures that authentic Mexican feel.

I normally don’t use a table runner but this bright yellow tablecloth needed something extra.

Photo Jun 09, 10 34 46 AM TABLE RUNNER

You know by now how much I love to add salt and pepper shakers to my tablescapes to carry out the theme, so I went to my collection and took out the cacti set.

Photo Jun 08, 3 36 59 AM SALT AND PEPPER SHAKER

I thought that the tablescape needed a little accent of green and nature, so these succulents wrapped in burlap were added. (Of course they are artificial because I can kill a succulent- I definitely have a brown thumb. I killed the bamboo).

Photo Jun 08, 3 29 47 AM SUCCULENTS

My love of candles continues so I added a few to the table, Mason jar tea lights do the job.

Photo Jun 09, 2 38 46 PM CANDLES

Okay, we are on our way to a Mexican tablescape.

Now to continue planning the meal …

 I plan on serving the skirt steak tacos with lots of standard taco toppings, red rice and something new for me, Mexican corn or Elote.

The Meal…

Skirt steak

Photo Jun 09, 10 08 09 AM SKIRT STEAK

Taco Toppings… tomatoes, lettuce, corn salsa, cheese, hot sauce and sour cream.

Photo Jun 04, 9 51 33 PM TOPPINGS

Red Rice– Bob and I both love rice so I always include red rice when I make a taco meal. This time I added a can of pinto beans.

(This Red Rice recipe will be at the end of the post).

Photo Jun 04, 9 17 27 PM RED RICE AND BEANS

 And now the Mexican Corn...I love to order this corn whenever I see it on a menu, so I had Bob buy some queso fresco cheese while he was shopping and I’ll give it a try.

The recipe doesn’t look difficult at all. The original recipe calls for cojita cheese but he couldn’t find that.

I topped it with a great seasoning blend that I bought in Trader Joe’s- Chili Lime.

Photo Jun 09, 2 38 32 PM CHILI LIME

(This Elote recipe will be at the end of the post).

Photo Jun 04, 9 16 06 PM MEXICAN CORN

When I was hosting the taco luncheon I decided to buy taco holders. All of the taco holders that I looked at in Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma were interlocking metal racks and I preferred individual holders.

I finally found some plastic taco holders that can be separated individually or clipped together and interlocked depending on how you were serving your meal. These holders are the best purchase for a taco night. 

There is no mess with tacos falling over and contents of your tacos spilling out and it looks cute on the plate. Plus it makes it much easier for your guests to handle.

 I think they are still available on Amazon.

Photo Jun 08, 3 21 09 AM TACO HOLDERS

I prefer using them separately but you can interlock as many as you want together.

Photo Jun 08, 3 22 48 AM DOUBLE TACO

DIANE’S NOTE:  

If you don’t want to purchase taco holders, you could also use an inverted muffin tin. Place the taco shells between the cups and they will stand up.

ff229ac352fa5e600d01032d66de9380 MUFFIN TACO HOLDER 2

OR an inverted cardboard egg carton.

e0e77e653a180e5c2c2a798c21d805d5 EGG CARTON TACO HOLDER 2

Not as decorative for a party as the store bought taco holder, but it will work.

Along with the tacos, you need taco toppings. And to serve your toppings, you need lots of bowls. I had previously purchased plastic molcajete serving bowls to hold the tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, sour cream and salsa. 

I served the toppings on a mango wood wine barrel tray. I like having the toppings all on one tray instead of scattered around the table. I think it looks much nicer.

Bob and I both don’t care for avocados, so you will never find guacamole as a topping for us. 

You will never see cilantro as part of our topping choices either.

We are part of the population that for us, cilantro tastes like soap. Since this is hereditary and we both carry the gene, our son doesn’t care for cilantro either.

Whenever we go out to a Mexican restaurant we can never eat the salsa and have to be very specific with the server to have cilantro omitted from our meal and substituted with parsley.

So, don’t get upset with cilantro haters, we’re not being fussy, it’s just in our DNA.

Photo Jun 08, 3 24 35 AM BOWLS

Photo Jun 08, 3 26 56 AM TRAY

I love using cast iron fajita skillets to serve steak. It keeps the meat warm and I love to hear the sizzle. I am ready to purchase an additional skillet just for grilled vegetables.

This particular skillet comes with a wood underliner hot plate and pot holder for the handle. You have to be very careful with cast iron because it gets so hot. I suggest you buy the pot holder.

Photo Jun 09, 9 41 38 AM FAJITA SKILLET

And now I have saved the best for last!

Individual servings of “Mexican Layered Dip” served in a mini margarita glass. It is the cutest appetizer.

I brought out a platter of these for my luncheon and they were a big hit. Served with tortilla chips and vegetable spears.

I am sure you have all seen a version of 7-layer dip, now you can customize your dip in a single serving.

 

Just layer your dip ingredients in the glass and add your toppings. I used “guacamole”, refried beans, sour cream, salsa and topped it with cheese, tomato, scallions, olives and a lime wedge. 

Ingredients are up to you. 

Photo Jun 09, 11 56 09 AM MARGARITA GLASS

Photo Jun 09, 8 15 13 PM DIP

Yes, I did say guacamole and I only used a little just for color and to give you a better idea of what the traditional finished product should look like- I didn’t eat it. 

I wish you could have all seen the surprised look on Bob’s face when one of the shopping list items was the “smallest container of guacamole he could find”.

 He is so used to my recipes and food experiments all these years, that he just goes along with everything and questions nothing –that man is an angel.  

Diane’s note, if you use guacamole, layer it on the bottom of the glass so it has the least exposure to air. Exposure to the air will make it turn brown. 

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I was looking at the cacti salt and pepper shakers and had a great idea.

I decided to make some candy covered cactus pretzel rods for the table. I had pretzel rods in the house and some leftover green candy melts from St Patrick’s Day and I have a basket of sprinkles in every color so this could come together quickly.

Just a little something extra for the table, served in a ceramic flower pot.

Photo Jun 09, 7 06 57 PM CACTUS PRETZEL RODS

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Place settingPhoto Jun 09, 11 55 01 AM - PLACE SETTING WITH TEXT

 

So that is our Mexican Fiesta

to welcome in the month of June and the grilling season.

 

I think we need a margarita and some churros and we will be all set.

Photo Jun 05, 12 05 47 AM TACO NIGHT

Photo Jun 09, 8 14 30 PM DIP AND CACTUS 2

I hope you can use some of the ideas that I shared today for your very own Mexican Fiesta.

Until my next post, “make every day a celebration!”

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog and please spread the word and ask your family and friends to become members to DishingwithDiane.com

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I LOVE hearing from you. 

Recipes…

Mexican Red Rice

(recipe courtesy of GeniusKitchen.com)

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet. Add the rice and stir over medium-high heat until rice is golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic and chopped onion, and sauté until the onion just begins to brown.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, chili powder and salt, lower heat and cover.
  4. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

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Elotes (or Mexican Grilled Corn)

adapted from Serious Eats

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 ears of corn
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup Mexican crema*
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese*
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 lime

*Author’s Note: If Mexican ingredients are hard to come by where you live, you can substitute sour cream for the Mexican crema. You can also substitute parmesan cheese for the cotija cheese in a pinch!

Instructions:

Grill the corn to your liking. I personally find it crunchier and more flavorful to take it off earlier, rather than later.

In a 9×13” baking dish, combine the mayo, Mexican cream, cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, minced garlic, and chili powder. Mix well.

Roll the grilled ears of corn in the creamy mixture, ensuring they are evenly coated on all sides.

Serve with lime wedges

Cooks Note: (optional)  I dusted the corn at the end with the Chili Lime Seasoning Blend from Trader Joe’s.

290xNxmexican-fiesta-party-games-1.png.pagespeed.ic.TQKJCL0RNp FIESTA 2

 

Stuffed Peppers with Rice and Beans

Photo Sep 07, 9 59 45 PM RICE AND BEAN STUFFED PEPPERS

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size).

Hi everyone. 

I just wanted to share a recipe with you that I put together last night.

It was very easy and came together fairly quickly in case you are looking for something to have for a school night. The rice can be made ahead of time.

As much as I love to cook, sometimes I just don’t know what to cook for dinner and I need a few changes from the usual favorites.

I had previously posted my traditional stuffed pepper recipe with ground beef on the blog (September 20, 2015); but for this recipe I changed the beef to black beans.

Very good for my vegetarian members too.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Have fun cooking and enjoy!

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

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Stuffed Peppers with Rice and Beans

Ingredients:

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 medium onion –sliced

3 garlic cloves –minced

5 bell peppers- whole

3 TBSP olive oil

2-3 cans “no salt” 8 oz. tomato sauce … (3 cans will make it juicier)

2 cups cooked brown rice – (follow package directions)

1 TBSP Italian seasoning

4 TBSP plus of grated cheese

8 oz. of shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Cut the tops from 5 green peppers; discard the seeds and the membranes
  • Dice the tops in pieces for the rice filling – set aside
  • Cook the whole green peppers, uncovered in boiling water for about 6 minutes; invert to drain well
  • Start to prepare the rice in either a steamer or stovetop
  • In another saucepan over medium low heat, add the olive oil
  • Allow the oil to heat up for a few minutes and then add the diced peppers and onions, a pinch of salt and cook for approx. 7 minutes stirring occasionally to soften
  • Add the minced garlic to the peppers and onions and cook for 1 more minute
  • Add the 2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained – cook 1 minute
  • Add the 2-3 cans of tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and 2 TBSP of grated cheese
  • Allow this to cook on a lower temperature for 15-20 minutes with the cover ON until the sauce is done
  • Add the cooked rice, mix well and add the remaining grated cheese
  • Stuff the peppers with this mixture and top with additional grated cheese and mozzarella cheese
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes to melt the cheese then serve

Depending on the size of your peppers, you will have leftover filling for a quick lunch the next day.

 

Next up, Cauliflower!

(Click on PHOTO to enlarge and then hit the back arrow to return to original size).

Hi everyone,

I am still searching for new recipes and I came across two recipes on Pinterest that I had to share.

I have already been through the kale phase of the culinary world with kale added to quiches, soups and kale chips and now I am moving on to the next trend, Cauliflower.

I have made cauliflower rice and cauliflower pizza crusts but I found two more recipes I think you will like.

photo-jan-23-2-13-11-pm-general-tso

The first recipe is “General Tso’s Cauliflower”

courtesy of the website, Delish.com

I am sure many of you have been to a Chinese restaurant and ordered General Tso’s chicken with it’s deep fried chicken and a sweet and spicy sauce, one of my favorites. Well, here is a new cauliflower version. Not fried, baked.

Ingredients

photo-jan-23-11-18-05-am-ingredients-cauli-tso

Step By Step…

photo-jan-23-11-29-05-am-cauliflower-1-use-withphoto-jan-23-11-32-16-am-dredge-2-use-withphoto-jan-23-1-01-09-pm-in-process-3-use-withphoto-jan-23-12-08-42-pm-step-4photo-jan-23-1-34-39-pm-step-5photo-jan-23-1-41-30-pm-step-6photo-jan-23-1-56-03-pm-step-7photo-jan-23-1-59-20-pm-step-8photo-jan-23-1-56-52-pm-step-9photo-jan-23-2-06-58-pm-step-10photo-jan-23-2-13-11-pm-step-11

To serve, I added rice, an egg roll and wonton soup.

photo-jan-23-2-34-08-pm-1-cauliflower-plated

General Tso’s Cauliflower

SERVES: 4 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. panko bread crumbs
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp. freshly grated ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 c. sweet chili sauce
  • 1/3 c. low-sodium soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Cooked rice, for serving
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Green onions, for garnish

COOKS NOTE: Of course I had to tweak something so I added bell pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400º. Dredge cauliflower in flour, milk, and bread crumbs and transfer to a baking sheet lined with a rack or a parchment paper. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Bake until deeply golden and crispy, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make sauce: In a small saucepan over low heat, heat oil. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant and softened, 2 minutes, then add sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, and lime juice. Simmer 5 minutes until thickened.
  4. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl and add sauce. Toss gently until completely coated.
  5. Serve over rice with sesame seeds and green onions.

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photo-jan-29-5-38-20-pm-cailiflower-tots

The second recipe is a cauliflower substitute for “tater tots”

Courtesy of the website,  Justataste.com

Who hasn’t at one time or another bought a frozen package of tater tots for your children?  I was guilty of that myself when my son was small and we had to get to soccer practice.

This recipe caught my eye because they are baked, not fried and only have FIVE ingredients. (Well, I added parsley, so I used six) Serve them with ketchup and you are all set.

Ingredients

photo-jan-29-3-01-52-pm-five-ingredients

Step By Step…

photo-jan-29-3-15-03-pm-step-1photo-jan-29-3-44-26-pm-step-2photo-jan-29-3-58-42-pm-step-3photo-jan-29-4-10-24-pm-step-4photo-jan-29-4-14-22-pm-step-5photo-jan-29-4-15-49-pm-step-6photo-jan-29-4-19-50-pm-step-7photo-jan-29-4-37-59-pm-step-8photo-jan-29-5-09-48-pm-step-9photo-jan-29-5-34-25-pm-step-10photo-jan-29-5-38-36-pm-ready-to-serve

Ready to serve…

photo-jan-29-5-38-20-pm-cailiflower-tots

5-Ingredient Baked Cauliflower Tots

Yield: About 35 tots   Prep Time: 30 min   Cook Time: 45 min

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium heads cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup small diced onion
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely ground breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg

COOKS NOTE: I added some parsley to the mixture, next time I’ll try chives.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a nonstick baking sheet liberally with cooking spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets to the water and cook them just until fork tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Thoroughly drain the florets and transfer them to a food processor. Pulse the cauliflower for a few seconds just until it breaks down into small pieces (about the size of grains of rice). (Do not overmix the cauliflower or the mixture will be too wet to form.)
  3. Measure out 3 packed cups of the cauliflower and add it to a large bowl. (See Kelly’s Notes.) Stir in the diced onion, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, mixing until thoroughly combined. (The mixture should be roughly the consistency of mashed potatoes.) Using your hands, scoop up 1- to 2-tablespoons of the mixture and mold it into a tater tot shape. Place it on the prepared baking sheet and repeat the shaping process with the remainder of the mixture, spacing the tots about 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake the tots for about 20 minutes then flip them and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes until crisped. Remove and serve with ketchup, pesto, hummus or your preferred dipping sauce.
  5. Kelly’s Notes:
  6. The onion should to be cut small enough so that it’s not too chunky and can be easily mixed into the cauliflower mixture.
  1. Any extra puréed cauliflower can be turned into my go-to mashed potato substitute, Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Chives.

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I hope you look over both these recipes and give them a try if you’re looking for something different to serve.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

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Recipes – Lime Chicken & Potato, String Bean and Onion Salad

2015-06-11 22.34.02- LIME CHICKEN DAY 3

Well, I am here with two more quick Summer recipe from my files. 

The first recipe is for those of you who love chicken but want a new way to prepare it.

Lime Chicken 

A slight hint of lime and nice crispy skin.

Serve this dish with a salad, a few wedges of lime and you are all set.

The second recipe is for a cold Potato, String Bean and Red Onion salad. This is great for outdoor barbecues when you don’t want a salad with mayonnaise. The longer it sits, the better it tastes.

I hope you try both recipes this summer.

Recipes

Lime Chicken

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (approx.. 3 small limes) & the lime zest
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (or more to your liking)
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp. compound butter – any flavor

2 lbs of chicken WITH skin and bones (either 4 chicken breasts or 8 thighs)

Directions:

In a large bowl whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano and put all ingredients in a Ziploc bag.

Add cleaned chicken (WITH THE SKIN ON), seal the bag and turn to coat all the pieces.

Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator, turning once or twice for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Remove chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.

Arrange chicken pieces, skin side up (try not to crowd the pieces), on a broiler pan so the fat drips away from the chicken. If you don’t have a broiler pan a shallow baking pan can be used.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and roast in the upper third of the oven until just cooked through, 30 minutes.

Change the oven setting to broil and broil the chicken about 2 inches from the heat until the skin is crisp- approx. 2-3 minutes – Watch carefully so the chicken doesn’t burn.

In the meantime, melt 2 tbsp. of compound finishing butter and when the chicken comes out of the oven, glaze each piece.

*I buy finishing butter in “chipolte lime” flavor for a little spice but you can buy or make your own finishing butter in whatever flavor you prefer.

Adapted from Epicurious

Potato, String Bean and Onion Salad

Ingredients:

6-8 red bliss potatoes (depending on size)

1 lb. of string beans, trimmed (if the beans are long, halve them crosswise)

4 tablespoons of olive oil

4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp oregano

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Squirt of fresh lemon juice

Directions:

I steam my potatoes instead of boiling for 5 – 7 minutes and then add the string beans to the same steamer- just keep your eye on them and remove from the steamer as soon as they are tender.

(You can also boil the potatoes if you prefer in 2 quarts of salted water for 20 minutes. Add the beans and boil for 7 minutes longer, until the beans and potatoes are tender)

Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the onion, and the warm potatoes and string beans. Toss very gently to dress all the ingredients without breaking the potatoes. Add a squirt of lemon before serving. Adjust all the seasonings to your liking.

Have fun cooking this Summer!

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!

And send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Diane