Happy Labor Day! Hope you are having a relaxing day off from your usual labors.
I made Macaroni salad with a New Mexico twist yesterday. I wanted to use as much produce from my garden as possible. I found a recipe for Jalapeno Ranch Dressing from Closet Cooking, which was the perfect dressing for this salad.
I only used one jalapeno pepper in the dressing, which was great for us. Obviously, an extra pepper (or leaving in some seeds) would give you more heat. The jalapeno peppers and tomatoes came from our garden, the carrots, lime and onion from our harvest box.
We have only 2 patty pan squash plants in the garden, but we have had a nice supply of squash. They have mostly come from one of the plants, but the one I thought was dead actually came back to life and has produced a couple of nice squash.
This was another of my “make ahead” recipes. I made the stuffing on the weekend, and then stuffed the squash and baked them during the week. One of the nice things about this squash is that the skin is edible, too!
I love sweet potatoes, but they do take a fairly long time to cook. Too long to make them on a work night. I was searching for something to do with the sweet potatoes in our box, when I came across several different recipes for a southwest salad. I decided to do some prep ahead work over the weekend, so that I could get dinner ready quickly during the week. Since the salad required cooked and chilled foods, this became the ultimate opportunity to cook ingredients ahead and have a great dinner during the week.
The recipe I used for the dressing is adapted from this recipe from Hispanic Kitchen. It was less spicy than I anticipated, which was actually a good thing!
Peel sweet potatoes and cut lengthwise into ½ inch thick slices. Brush the sweet potatoes with ¼ cup of olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
Heat grill to medium heat. Grill sweet potatoes until cooked through, turning once. At the same time, grill the corn, turning frequently. This will take about 15 minutes.
Combine chili powder and 1 teaspoon of cumin. Rub over chicken breasts. Grill chicken breasts until cooked through, turning once. (About 10 minutes.)
Let sweet potatoes, corn, and chicken cool. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Thinly slice chicken.
While everything is cooling, make the dressing. Zest one of the limes, and juice both limes. In a blender, combine lime zest and juice, jalapeno pepper, garlic, cilantro, and remaining teaspoon of cumin. Blend until smooth. With blender running, drizzle in the remaining ¾ cup of olive oil.
The above steps can all be done ahead, with everything refrigerated until serving time.
Divide lettuce among plates. Top with tomato, cooked sweet potatoes, cooked corn, black beans, and sliced chicken. Drizzle dressing over.
I spent the end of last week nursing a cold. I don’t do sick well. Fortunately, my husband is patient, and can cook! I was feeling better yesterday, so we worked together, grilling a bunch of vegetables. I did the chopping and prepping, he did the grilling.
I used this basic recipe from the Food Network. This can be really flexible, use whatever vegetables are fresh and available. I made way too many vegetables, I probably could have fed 8 people with this platter!
Mother Nature teased us all weekend. We got the clouds, the cool temperatures, and the wind; but not a drop of rain. It is so dry going into our fire season (so sad that we consider fire a season).
I was glad to see arugula in our box this week. It was a little too tough to use for a salad, so I decided to use it in pasta instead. I found a recipe on Allrecipes.com, and decided to try a variation.
I love to combine vegetables with pasta! I used very little meat for this recipe; just enough to give the pasta a little meat flavor.