Thursday, April 26, 2012

Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers, Avocado, Jalepeno & Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

I saw this recipe on Pinterest, and it looked so good that I had to try it!  I tweaked it a bit, and below is my revised version.

  • 2 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 ears fresh corn, cooked, cooled and kernels cut off the cob, or 1-2 C frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots 
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ C extra virgin olive oil 
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest (be sure to zest limes before juicing them)
  • ¼  C chopped cilantro, plus more to garnish
  • 2 Hass avocados, diced
  • 1-3 fresh jalepenos, seeds and "white meat" removed, finely diced

  1. Combine all ingredients except avocados in a large bowl and mix well. 
  2. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. 
  3. Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. 
  4. Garnish with a few sprigs of freshly chopped cilantro if desired.  (I'm not a fan of cilantro, so I keep it to a minimum.) 
  5. Serve at cold or at room temperature.  It can easily be served as a dip or as a salad on a bed of Bibb or Butter Lettuce.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sicilian Casserole

Sicilian Casserole

My cousin, Nicole, asked me for a pasta and sausage casserole recipe this morning and said she couldn't find it on the blog.  I searched, and to my surprise, I never posted this!  I'm still searching for the picture since he made it the first time in the summer of 2010.  We froze one of the casseroles, and we had it for dinner on his first day of Kindergarten.  (Too bad I didn't realize it wasn't posted when Breckin made this LAST week.)

This was the first meal for our oldest son, Breckin, to cook by himself at age 6. It's not the healthiest meal that we eat, but everyone loves it.  It's a nice treat.  Our twins devour this dish and have since the first time they had it at age 1.  Enjoy!

Prep Time: 15 mins                             Total Time: 45 mins

1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed (I use half mild or sweet and half spicy)     
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped                                                             
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce                                                         
3/4 cup chicken stock (or water)
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning                                              
2 cups elbow macaroni (we actually use Gemelli instead of macaroni)
8 ounces cream cheese, cubed                                                          
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream                                                                             
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown sausage, onion and pepper in saucepan. Cook until sausage is done. Drain well.
  2. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, and dried Italian seasoning and stir well to blend.
  3. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on package. While pasta is cooking, combine cream cheese and milk in medium bowl. Cook in microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove from microwave and stir with wire whisk until sauce is smooth.
  5. Drain noodles and add to cream cheese sauce along with sour cream and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese; stir.
  6. In 2 quart casserole dish, place all of cream cheese mixture. Top with all of the sausage mixture and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until casserole is bubbly.

**To freeze, add 1 tablespoon cornstarch to the cream cheese sauce. Prepare casserole as directed, except instead of baking, chill in refrigerator. Wrap well and freeze up to 3 months.
To thaw and reheat, thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator.
Bake, covered, for 25-35 minutes 5 minutes longer until bubbly.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kentucky Derby Hat

So as much as I would love to afford Milli Starr to make a hat for me for the Kentucky Derby, I just don’t see that happening unless we are GOING to the actual derby.
I have this fab sun hat that I bought last year (that my husband thinks is ridiculous because of its size.)
I decided this hat could be temporarily dressed-up for the derby.  One flower I bought on a recent outing, a trip to Hobby Lobby for feathers and organza, and about 15 minutes of assembly, and I have a hat that I love for the party!