Three Bean Salad

three bean salad

 

The perfect side for any picnic or BBQ is a THREE BEAN SALAD

It is made with ingredients that can be out without the danger of food poisoning so you don’t have to stress about getting it to refrigeration.

Ingredients:three bean salad ingredients

1 can green beans
1 can wax beans
1 can light kidney beans
1 med red onion sliced thin
1 green pepper sliced thin in rings

Dressing:
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 TBS fresh chopped parsley or 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
Pinch of oregano
Pinch of Thyme seed
Pinch of celery seed

You can add Garbanzo beans if you like many people do, I just don’t like them

Directions:

Drain green beans, wax beans and * light red kidney beans (if the sauce in the kidney beans is really thick I usually rinse them once with fresh cold water and drain.) Pour all into bowl which has a tight fitting cover and add
thinly sliced red onion and green pepper. Toss to combine set aside while you mix up the dressing.

In a jar with tight fitting lid pour all dressing ingredients in any order and then shake to blend. You can also blend dressing in your blender or in a bowl with a whisk. Once mixed, pour dressing over veggies in the bowl, toss together with dressing until all are covered.
Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours before serving.
If you like chick peas or lima beans you can add one of these to this salad.

 

TIP:

I use the light kidney beans because I have found that the dark beans have a tougher skin and I don’t like that in a salad. They are great in cooked recipes like chili but I like the lighter texture for a chilled salad.

To get really thin sliced onions I use my pampered chef mandolin with the cutting blade set close to the surface.cutting red onion with mandolin It will make your salad so much better as the thin onions really are able to absorb the dressing and they are flavorful and a delight to bite into.

 

 

until next time…    betti : )

Advertisements

Chicken for Summer Salads and Pastas

Dinners in the crockpot-to the Beach!

Dinners in the crockpot-to the Beach!

It’s summer and I find I try to think of all kinds of foods I can make for lunches and dinners that don’t require cutting on the oven. And chicken dishes always are a Main stay of our summer cuisine.

My family prefers white meat so most of my recipes are with chicken breasts. I buy bags of frozen boneless, skinless breasts. Sam’s, BJ’s, Costco or any of the Bulk Stores have a great selection. Otherwise I just pick it up on sale when I grocery shop. And if your family likes dark meat you can save a lot by buying whole chickens or mixed packages the meat is interchangeable in all of these recipes.

I like the frozen chicken because the flavor and quality seems to be consistent however don’t get me wrong if there is a big sale on fresh chicken I am there stocking up. That’s another thing I keep track of is the foods I use a lot and then I buy extra when they are on sale.**

So many recipes call for cooked chicken and now a days you can get all kinds of prepared chicken at a premium price so to save money and have cooked chicken on hand I will cook up a batch, bag it, and put it in the freezer. I will prepare the chicken many ways depending on how I plan to use it. For shredded chicken and for cut up I usually season it and throw it in the oven to bake. I season it with onion, garlic, celery salt, pepper, Montreal Chicken seasoning by McCormick, and Knorr’s chicken bouillon, which I buy in the GIANT jar at Walmart (so cheap).

**Always rinse your chicken with fresh water and pat dry before you cook it**

Here are three ways I prepare Chicken so I’ll have cooked chicken for recipes.

BOILING

If You Prefer To boil and Make Stock

Place chicken pieces or whole chicken in a large pot cover with water add seasonings (I use salt, garlic, parsley, poultry seasoning, dehydrated onion and some pepper) bring to boil turn down burner and let it simmer usually about and hour and a half till chicken is falling apart. Turn off heat remove chicken from the stock and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before you begin to pull it apart and shred or dice it. Use in chicken salad, chicken and broccoli wreath, individual chicken pot pies and a whole lot more.

Strain the stock and pour it into ice cube trays, freeze and then put in large zipper lock bag and return to freezer. Use these cubes of stock when recipe calls for chicken stock.

TO BAKE

For cut up chicken I use a shallow covered Corningware dish, pyrex, stoneware or other covered oven safe glass covered dish you may have. Rinse chicken and place in dish in a single layer. Sprinkle seasoning over each piece (I use McCormicks Chicken Montreal, a blend of garlic, onion salt, red pepper, orange peel, paprika, green bell peppers, lemon all in one or two shakes, some dehydrated onion, a little more garlic powder and a little extra virgin olive oil because the breasts are skinless)  on each piece. Bake in a 375° oven for 40 minutes.

For a little extra pizzazz I like to pour a little vermouth on each piece too.

Remove from oven let cool at least 15 minutes and then cut up and put away 1 cup portions in freezer bags.BAKER WITH CHICKEN

But for a whole chicken there is nothing better than a stoneware covered baker like this one from Pampered Chef. I Rub minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper with butter inside the chicken and then I season the outside with garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and dehydrated onion, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of Vermouth (optional) Cover and Bake for 1 hour. The result is Chicken like Arby’s rotisserie. Yummy.

IN MY CROCKPOT

A crock pot is great for pre-cooking chicken. I will just throw some chicken in the crock pot in the morning and let it cook all day on low. I’ll set it on low and go!

4-5 lbs chicken breasts (or if your family likes dark meat you can use one whole chicken small enough to fit in your crock pot

1 cup chopped onion (may substitute dehydrated onion)

¼ cup chopped garlic 3 lg cloves (may use dried minced)

¼ cup apple cider vinegar I prefer using vermouth

1 T brown sugar (optional)

Layer chicken in the crock pot sprinkling each layer with the mixture of seasonings (I use McCormicks Chicken Montreal, a blend of garlic, onion salt, red pepper, orange peel, paprika, green bell peppers, lemon all in one or two shakes, some dehydrated onion, a little more garlic powder.)

Top with vinegar or wine (Vermouth) and cook on low heat 6-8 hours

Remove from crock pot, cool at least 15 minutes and then either shred or cut into pieces.

Pack in freezer bags and freeze to use in your recipes.

Making your own chicken that has been seasoned by you brings and unexpected deliciousness to recipes calling for cooked chicken. All the dishes I prepare seem to get more compliments. Just the other day I bought some chicken salad from Costco that they make from the leftover rotisserie chickens and my daughter said “mom this isn’t your chicken salad is it?” I asked why do you think it’s not mine and she replied, “it doesn’t have much flavor.”

Once you have made some ready made cooked chicken packets you are ready to tackle some recipes.

Try your home cooked chicken in

Chicken salad,

So refreshing and good for you!

So refreshing and good for you!

**SALES ON GROCERIES: Grocery stores always have great sales around holidays, prices on food are especially good around Thanksgiving and there are loads of coupons in the newspaper each Sunday if you still get the paper during the holidays. This is when I buy all my Stove Top stuffing mix for the next year (about 12 boxes) which is usually around $1.79 a box but during the holidays it’s around $ .78 a box, big saving. You can get a great deal on Bruce’s sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, fresh cranberries which I freeze, baking ingredients and canned cream soup. This past year I paid just $ .50 per can for cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup which is usually $1.19 on sale.

Are you a couponer? Did you know that many stores offer a site with coupons that you know are safe to download. Read my post:

Safe Sites for getting coupons on the internet!

Safe Sites for getting coupons on the internet!

check out ‘CAUTION! IS THAT COUPON SITE SAFE?’ for some safe couponing sites sponsored by your favorite stores.

Need some substitutions:

Dehydrated onion is under appreciated. How many times do you go to your pantry for an onion and it is all mushy. Well it happens to me more than I would like to admit. Dehydrated onions are great keep on hand. I can’t tell you how many times I have thrown away soggy onions so now I only buy onions if I am using them immediately and I use dehydrated in all of my cooking. My kids can’t believe they aren’t real. My trick is to give the onion a little time to hydrate I add it when I sauté the veggies just like I would if they were fresh. They will plump right up. I use them in mashed potatoes, pizza, omelette, scrambled eggs everything. It’s great. I have even added them when I am using real onions on a pot roast, or pork tenderloin, they add a much richer onion flavor which infuses the meat with the delicate onion flavor.

Don’t have sour cream or not on sale use cottage cheese instead blend to a smooth consistency in your blender

No buttermilk… add 1 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice into measure cup and add enough whole milk to make one cup now you have a cup of buttermilk for those pancakes you wanted to make, or that salad dressing.

Do you find you need lemon juice from time to time? Coca-Cola/Minute Maid makes a great frozen lemon juice it has great flavor and is real lemon juice. You buy it frozen and then you can keep it in the freezer and then refrigerator for a long time. And it’s great in the morning in your tea. more. . . . . . . . . . .

until later…      as always  betti : )

BACK TO THE TOP OF PAGE

 

Take a look at some of the recipes on the sight. Want to make it check out categories and choose your favorite to try…

CROCK POT ALL IN ONE SPAGHETTI, GARLIC BREAD, ROMAINE SALAD WITH HOMEMADE CROUTONS

 

It’s a beautiful day and we are off to the pool for the day. I was concerned about dinner but remembered I could make this delicious crockpot spaghetti. Saved again by my crockpot. Just in case you need a dinner that pretty much makes itself here ya go.  I included my recipe for homemade Good Season’s Italian Salad dressing and homemade croutons. Hope you try them. No preservatives or other added whatever.

 

whats 4 dinner

 

 

No Fuss - Crockpot Spaghetti.

No Fuss – Crockpot Spaghetti.

 

 

 

ALL IN ONE EASY DOES IT SPAGHETTI
Create savory spaghetti in your slow cooker/crockpot. Add a loaf of garlic bread and a romaine salad and you have dinner tonight.

 
Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef, cooked and drained
1 lg can crushed tomatoes
1 lg can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups water
1 can (8 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 medium onion diced or 2 TBSP dried minced onion
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp pepper
1 package (7-12 ounces) spaghetti pasta dry, broken in half

Directions:

In a large skillet brown ground beef and drain.
Combine browned beef, tomatoes, water, mushrooms, onion and seasonings and pour all ingredients into your 5-qt. slow cooker/crockpot.

Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

One hour before serving, stir in dried spaghetti. Cover and cook on high 1 hour longer or until the spaghetti is tender.

To serve: Spoon portions into individual bowls and top with shredded mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan/Romano grated cheese. Add a loaf of garlic bread and a Romaine lettuce salad.

 

garlic bread,hot and crunchy...

garlic bread,hot and crunchy…

PERFECT GARLIC BREAD

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
2 TBSP Garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
1 loaf French or Italian Bread

2 TBSP grated parmesan/Romano cheese Blend if you want

Directions:

Use mixer and mix butter, garlic, parsley, and cheese until well blended just like you would if you were making compound butter.
Cut bread 3/4 of the way through into 1 inch slices
Spread garlic butter mixture  lightly on both sides of each slice.
Wrap loaf in aluminum foil

BAKE in 400° oven for 10 minutes until heated through open up foil and allow to bake additional 2-3 minutes to crisp outer crust.

 

Cool, fresh, refreshing.

Cool, fresh, refreshing.

ROMAINE SALAD

Ingredients:

2 heads romaine lettuce washed
1 medium red onion
1/2 pt. grape or cherry tomatoes or other small tomatoes
2 carrots or 8 baby carrots (2 per person)
1 cucumber

 

*Homemade Good Seasons Italian Dressing recipe below or Your favorite salad dressing
**Croutons store bought or homemade recipe below

Wash lettuce and spin in your salad spinner to dry. Tear lettuce into small bite size pieces. (Truthfully I cut my lettuce for salads because we are going to eat it right then so there is no time for rust to form so using a knife doesn’t matter and it is so much easier) Put the lettuce into your serving bowl.

Using a mandoline, or other slicer or a sharp knife slice the onion into thin slices.

I slice my cherry tomatoes because I feel it makes them easier to enjoy. I am not a fan of biting into a small tomato and having it explode in my mouth.

For the carrots I will shave them into the salad or sometimes run them through my salad shredder which by the way is very handy it shreds cheese like a charm. If using baby carrots you can leave them whole and allow 2 per person

Slice the cucumber pretty thin. Did you know the seeds of the cucumbers are what causes gas so I will slice my cucumbers horizontally in half and then using a spoon I scrape out all the seeds before I slice it.

Toss your salad ingredients in a large bowl and serve from the bowl or serve in individual salad bowls. If you like your salad a little wilted you can add the dressing in advance or provide the dressing at the table for people to add the amount they want.

TIP: Romaine lettuce provides so many more nutrients than iceberg lettuce and it really tastes good. It is not bitter as some people think. It has always been associated more with Ceasar Salad but I use often for most of my salads. If you really are pressed for time use a storebought package of pre-made romaine salad or the spring mix but be sure to wash in your salad spinner even if it says pre-washed.

*HOMEMADE GOOD SEASONS ITALIAN DRESSING CLONE

Copycat (Good Seasons) Italian Salad Dressing I love Good Seasons dressing. I use it for everything from dressing salads to marinating meat. I wanted a way to make it with my own ingredients to avoid any extra ingredients like the thickener and preservatives. After searching high and low I found a few different copycat recipes and through trial and error came up with this one.

Ingredients:

1 TBSP dehydrated minced onion (dehydrated onion flakes)
1 TBSP dehydrated minced garlic (granulated garlic)
2 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dehydrated sweet (bell) pepper flakes or crushed, see tip
1/4 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp paprika
1/16 tsp celery seed
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP water
2/3 cup salad oil

Directions:

Best done in your blender.
Pour into your blender onion, garlic, salt, sugar, pepper flakes, black pepper, mustard, paprika and celery seed until ground very fine.

Into a 2 cup screw top jar (large enough to leave
plenty of room for shaking) pour apple cider vinegar,
water and seasoning mixture; shake well;
add oil; shake well again.

Store in the refrigerator; shake thoroughly before
using.

Makes about 8 ozs. of dressing

TIP: Don’t have sweet pepper flakes? Walmart carries Caine’s dehydrated sweet pepper flakes. Other brands include McCormick, Mrs. Dash, Trader Joe’s

 

**HOMEMADE CROUTONS

...garlicky homemade croutons.

…garlicky homemade croutons.

Making croutons is very easy.

Ingredients:

6 slices of bread, frozen
¼ cup olive oil I like extra virgin for everything
1 tsp dried crushed basil
1 tsp oregano
1-2 tsp garlic powder
Parmesan/Romano grated cheese to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

While bread is still whole, using a pastry brush (I prefer the silicone brushes) brush both sides of the bread with the oil.

Combine the seasonings and sprinkle over the bread slices sprinkling on both sides. If making cheesy croutons sprinkle with Parmesan/Romano grated cheese on both sides.

Cube bread while still frozen into desired size and spread in single layer onto a cookie sheet or stone.

Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes. Allow to cool. Place in an airtight container and these can be stored for up to weeks in this container.

–Alternate coating method. Cube the bread while still frozen. In a large bowl combine the oil, and seasoning and mix well. Toss the bread cubes into the bowl and stir the cubes until all the cubes are coated. If making cheesy croutons sprinkle Parmesan/Romano onto the cubes and toss. As above spread out on a cookie sheet or stone and bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes and allow to cool. Store in airtight container. Shelf life about a week.

TIP: Frozen bread is the secret to easy cutting of the bread into crouton size pieces. I typically will keep a large zip lock bag in my freezer and as bread is left over I will put it in this bag to keep until I make croutons.

 

…at the pool all day and still enjoying a dinner as good if not better than Olive Garden, he:) he:) he:) except of course that creamy, delicious raspberry cheesecake…oh wait I have that recipe, maybe next time.

until later… betti : )

CHICKEN SALAD IN A CANTALOUPE BOWL

 

School’s OUT for SUMMER you should have heard all the horn honking and kids screaming!!!

 

Hoo-ray!

Hoo-ray!

 

JUNE 13th  12:45 pm     It’s the last day of school and for us –  SUMMER has begun. Zacharay finished his last day of FIRST GRADE with an excellent report card. Now I am faced with what to do this SUMMER. I am going to work up a schedule this weekend. I will share it with you I have seen some really good ideas and have some of my own.

 

End of school party at the swimming pool so I am making a very light dinner. This recipe is the perfect thing to serve for a luncheon with the girls, or like I’m doing on a hot muggy night when a lot is going on and you want something light and refreshing.

 

Tonight we’re having

CHICKEN SALAD IN CANTALOUPE BOWL

So refreshing and good for you!

So refreshing and good for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To make this recipe you’ll need:
               Medium size bowl
               Sharp paring knife or V shape cutter
               Push out measure cup or regular measure cup
               Measuring spoons
Ingredients:

2 small ripe cantaloupeschicken-in-cantelope3
2 lg chicken breasts, skinless, boned, cooked and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion

Dressing:
1/2 cup light or regular mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 TBSP white wine vinegar
1 tsp tarragon
1/4 cup halved green seedless grapes
Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish:
4 TBSP slivered almonds
Romaine leaves washed and dried

Directions:

Rinse and pat dry veggies.

Mix dressing:  Stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, tarragon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a jar with a lid and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Wash the cantaloupe to avoid contamination with the insides when you cut through the skin. Cut each cantaloupe in half in a zig zag pattern.  (I use myV shaped cutter from Pampered Chef *see pictures below)  Scoop out the seeds and with a melon baller, scoop out some more of the flesh to make the bowls bigger (leave about 3/4″ of flesh in the cantaloupe. Save the little balls of melon and either add to the Chicken Salad or serve on the side. Wrap Plastic wrap over the open sides of the cantaloupe and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a medium bowl, mix chopped chicken, celery, green onion, green grapes and if you are adding the cantaloupe balls the reserved melon. Stir in the dressing and mix to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

To serve:

Spoon the chicken salad into the cantaloupe bowls, sprinkle each bowl with a tablespoon of slivered almonds. Serve on a leaf of Romaine lettuce. That is all there is to eat. And as you can see from the picture it is an awesome presentation for chicken salad, don’t ya think?

TIP:

I use this same process to make bowls for vanilla ice cream. My family loves this and I do too. Fruit and desert all in one. How clever. The kids eat it up and they’re getting all that fresh melon with their ice cream. Grownups love it too. I serve it at dinner parties and I sometimes pour Amaretta over the ice cream. Yummy.

We call it a MELON SUNDAE and it is scrumptious!

Everything I love about SUMMER!

Everything I love about SUMMER!

 

*V CUTTING TOOL from PAMPERED CHEF

v tool used to cut green pepper

v tool used to cut green pepper

cutting-cantaloupe-withvcutter1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

as always…until later.   betti  : )

 

ps  –   Today, June 13  is National Klutzes of America Day and to all the Klutzes including me I say

69045_633698386646712_576785482_n