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Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados

From Natalie:

I had been trying for months to get my God mother and a few cousins to my home for lunch.  It seemed, with crazy schedules, it was taking forever to make it happen.  We picked a date and made it work!  We had a wonderful afternoon.  I served this dish for lunch. I had seen a similar dish at a restaurant I had eaten at recently.  I made a few changes and liked this version better.  The girls loved it too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 4 oz. chopped walnuts
  • 1 whole avocado per guest
  • mixed greens
  • grape tomatoes
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • crazy salt
  • ground black pepper
  • garlic powder

(My husband, Bill, cooked the chicken for me on the rotisserie on the grill, seasoned with crazy salt, ground black pepper and garlic powder.  It was cooked perfectly!)

Cut off all of the meat from the chicken, dark and white, into cubes.  Add the mayonnaise (I used 1/2 cup of regular and 1/2 cup of Miracle Whip.  Some people don’t like Miracle Whip, but I think it adds a nice flavor).  Cube the apple and add that with the walnuts to the chicken. Toss.

Put the chicken salad into halved avocados. Each guest  should receive two stuffed halves.  The avocados that I used were very ripe so I left the bottom skin on.  If they are a little more firm, you can skin them entirely.

Toss the mixed greens with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and crazy salt.

For the presentation, I halved a couple of grape tomatoes on each plate, put a serving of the greens and placed the stuffed avocados on top.

Chill and serve.  Enjoy, we did!

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta Salad

From Natalie:

A great side for any summer meal!  This pasta salad is really easy and quite delicious.  It also keeps well in the refrigerator if you don’t eat it all at once!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box whole grain pasta (13.25 oz.)
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Green Olives
  • Cucumber
  • Red Onion
  • Lite Italian Dressing
  • 4 oz. Goat Cheese

Boil the pasta until tender (I like it a little al dente).  Add a little oil and salt to the water for taste and also so it does not get sticky.  Drain the pasta and add a little salad dressing (I used Lite Italian Dressing but you could also use olive oil with balsamic or red wine vinegar).  Toss the dressing with the pasta soon after it is drained so it does not get sticky.  I did not put strict measurements on the vegetables because it is really about individual taste.  I cut in small pieces about 8 grape tomatoes, 1/2 a cucumber, 2 large green olives and 1/3 of a red onion.

Toss again with more dressing and then add the goat cheese.

The pasta will absorb the dressing so you may want to add a little more and toss before you serve.

Enjoy!

LOBSTER SALAD

From a tiny BEACH kitchen: 

This wonderful lobster salad recipe comes from my Dad, John Hoss.  He serves it with crackers for an elegant appetizer.  Or simply tucks the lobster salad into a warm, toasted hot dog bun.  Hot or cold, lobster salad sandwiches are best served with Cape Cod potato chips.

I had the 2 beauties pictured above cooked at Brant Rock Fish Market.  I simply shucked the lobsters in my kitchen.  Yes, you can buy lobster meat already shucked – just bring your wallet – it costs a fortune!   Shucking a lobster  is really not all that hard.  However, I’ve been doing it all my life and so am probably biased.

For you virgin shuckers out there, simply follow the pictures below.

~ Sheryl

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 “chic” lobsters (weighing 1 pound each)
  • 1 TBSP Hellman mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper
  • Flatbread crackers or 2 hot dog buns

Shuck lobsters.  Dice into bite size pieces.  Combine with mayo.  Use just enough mayo to hold it all together.  You don’t want the lobster meat dripping with mayo.  Add fresh cracked pepper and salt.  Serve warm or chilled.  As Barefoot Contessa says, “How easy is THAT?”

Whole Cooked Lobster:

Getting the sweet lobster meat onto your fork may seem like a daunting challenge to some. There are 2 solutions to this; you can buy already shucked fresh lobster meat, or once you have cooked your lobster you can follow these simple steps:

Claws: Remove the lobster claws by twisting them from the body. Using a nutcracker, seafood shell cracker or pliers, crack the shells of the claws, and pull out the meat. Don’t forget to push the meat from the knuckles – some feel this is the sweetest part of the lobster.

Tail: Arch the back of the lobster until it cracks or twist the tail to separate it from the lobster’s body. Break off the tail flippers, insert a fork, and push the tail meat out in one large piece. Peel back the thin piece covering the tail and remove the anal cord.

Body: Unhinge the back shell from the lobster’s body. You’ll see a green area (called the “tomalley”) that is considered a delicacy by some, and the coral-colored “roe” which is also edible.

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Crack the lobster’s body by pulling it apart sideways. Lobster meat can be found in the four pockets where the larger legs attach. There is also a small bit of meat in each of the walking legs.

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Antipasto Salad

From Rita:

This antipasto salad could be a meal in itself.  Many times I have happily sat down to an antipasto platter! For the celebration dinner, I prepared this a little differently.  This recipe will serves 8 generously.

  • 3  Romaine hearts chopped
  • 8 ounces salami cut into small cubes ( ask the deli man to cut you a thick slice)
  • 24 pitted Kalamata olives, halved ( supermarket olive bar)
  • 24 large pitted green olives, halved (supermarket olive bar)
  • 8 ounces provolone cheese, sliced into srtips
  • 1 large jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained well
  • 1 16oz. jar marinated assorted veggies, drained well and roughly chopped
  • 1 120z. jar roasted red peppers,drained,  patted dry, and roughly chopped
Your dressing could be your favorite bottled Italian or you could make your own by using extra virgin olive oil with balsamic vinegar or with red wine vinegar.  Equal parts will work to keep it simple.   Do not dress the salad until you are ready to serve so it remains crisp.
 
 
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Mixed Grille Dinner

From Rita:

An evening of mixed grill has been a long time favorite of mine.  Although I am trying to eat more vegetarian these days, every once in a while I break out and enjoy a taste of all these lovely things at one sitting.  To have guests to enjoy this with makes it special.   This was my evening dinner party and we all had fun tasting all the different flavors.

The key to enjoying this meal is to have bites of all the offerings so you are not stuffed and have had a fun time enjoying all the flavors. There you have it…. A complete meal with each item complimenting the next.  A great time was had by all and why not?

THE MEAT SOURCES:

1. I opted for apple chicken sausage and oven roasted them at 375 degrees on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil until they were browned beautifully.  I accompanied them with jarred sliced hot cherry peppers.  A super combination that you need to taste to believe.

2. In the same oven on another cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil I roasted the chicken drumsticks.  They were seasoned with salt, pepper,  garlic powder, oregano and fresh lemon juice.

3.  Petite filets of sirloin was the real meat lovers part of the mixed grill.  Rubbed with olive oil and seasoned simply with a little salt and pepper and grilled to perfection.

THE SIDES:

BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES

I scrubbed these sweet potatoes really clean.  Leaving the skins on, I sliced them into a french fry size, placed them in a bowl and drizzled them with olive oil.  The spices were salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Place them on a non-stick foil lined baking sheet in a 400 degree oven, turning them periodically for approximately 35 minutes.

BABY ORGANIC KALE:

You can find this in some markets.  The brand is Olivia’s and I find her organics are always fresh and wonderful.  Simply wash and pick through them for any that may be yellowing. I spin them till they are dry leaving only traces of water.  Place a fry pan over med-high heat and add a little olive oil and as much garlic as you feel you would like.  I used jarred garlic as the taste is sweeter and not to strong as to not over power the baby kale’s flavor.  Stir fry till wilted which happens very quickly so this should be done at the very last minute before dinner is served.

THE APPETIZER:

First a healthy appetizer of sliced cucumber with a dollop of roasted red pepper hummus and topped with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt and fresh cracked pepper.

THE SALAD:

 Next  is a very simple salad made with sliced garden tomatoes, crumbled feta, fresh basil leaves from the plant outside my door (makes a world of difference) and a few Kalamata olives.  I always dress this salad with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Tossed Salad with White Beans and Tuna

From Rita:

I believe that many of us on these hot summer nights would love to have a refreshing salad that can be made into a meal.  It is key that the salad ingredients all jive.   By that I mean that they compliment each other.  I have made this salad so many times through the years I thought would share it with all of you.  It travels well in a cooler in a seal tight container and needs the lightest of dressing to bring it all together.

Ingredients:

  •  Mix of  a bit of Romaine, Iceberg, red cabbage ( whatever was left in the fridge or you could easily use a package of mixed greens from the market.)
  • chopped celery
  • chopped cucumber
  • chopped red pepper
  • sliced red onion
  • 1 can cannellini beans rinsed and drained really well
  • 1 can solid white tuna/or chunk light  whatever your preference
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
Layer all ingredients on a flat platter allowing each of them to be seen.  You may make this as large or as small a salad as you would like.  The top two layers are the cannellini beans and tuna.  You may also include shredded carrot and grape tomatoes if you like adding more colors and more flavors. Because of my Greek heritage I have added a bit of crumbled feta and a few chopped pitted Kalamata olives periodically and it is my favorite way to eat it.   This can be made ahead of time for dinner and wrapped tightly with saran wrap to keep it fresh.  Yummy and filling.  Give it a try!

Pickled Onion, Blue Cheese and Berry Salad

From Krisann:

This recipe was adapted from Cooking Light Magazine.  It is a super quick and easy delicious summer salad.  Please don’t substitute other greens for the baby mixed herb greens, the herbs really make the salad fabulous.  I would like to recognize  my son Kevin, who has recently taken up photography and is responsible for all my photos.  Nice job Kevin!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar, divided
  • 4 teaspoons agave nectar, divided
  • 2/3 cup thinly vertically sliced Vidalia onion
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 (4 ounce) packages baby mixed herb salad
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 (6 ounce) package fresh raspberries

Combine 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and 1 tablespoon agave in a small bowl.  Add onion; toss to coat.  Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, drain (I marinate for longer than 30 minutes, I think the onions taste better this way).

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, remaining 1 teaspoon agave, mustard, pepper, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Add salad greens; toss gently to coat.  Arrange about 1 cup salad on each of 8 plates.  Top each serving with about 1 tablespoon cheese, and about 6 raspberries.  Makes 8 servings.

Greek Lentil Salad

From Krisann:

This lentil salad is a staple in my refridgerator.  Sometimes, I have it with my meal in place of a starch.  Often times, I have it alone as lunch.  Either way, I think it is very yummy.  This can also be served with crostini or toasts as an appetizer.  One note, it does not look as pretty on the second day, but it tastes just as good.  If you are making this to bring to a party, don’t make it too much in advance.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pkg Trader Joe Lentils (these are found in the refridgerator section.  You can also use can lentils, but I like these ones better)
  • Grape tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 1/4 cup Scallions or red onion, chopped (red onions add nice color to this salad, but sometimes they are too strong, that is why I sometimes use scallions)
  • 1/2 English Seedless Cucumber (cut into small wedges)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Feta Cheese (I am very picky when it comes to feta cheese and will only use feta purchased from the greek international store in Brockton, MA called “Dondi” feta)
  • juice of 1 lemon 
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

Refreshing Mixed Greens, Strawberry & Kiwi Salad

From Natalie:

This salad receipe I made recently for a family party and it instantly became a huge hit.  I must give credit to Rita for sharing this one with the gang.  Rita helped me get the dressing combination perfect (originally, I had too much vinegar).    The photo shows how beautifully the color combinations look on a buffet table.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Package (approx. 6 oz.)  Mixed Greens
  • 1/2 lb.  Fresh Strawberries, sliced for the salad (plus an additional 1/3 cup strawberries to “mash” for the dressing)
  • 2 Kiwis, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 3 TBSP  Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Sugar
  • Feta Cheese, 1/2 cup, crumbled or diced  (buy imported, if you can find it.  It is the best!  We use “Doondis” feta)

For the Salad:

The listed ingredients above will make a salad large– enough to feed 4-6 people.  I made a huge salad for my family party and  had to triple the dressing (that is where I got myself into trouble and Rita bailed me out!)

Wash and spin, or,  hand dry the greens and lay on a pretty platter.  Slice the strawberries and kiwis to put on top of mixed greens.

Chop the walnuts until they are in small (but not tiny) pieces.  Put walnuts in a hot frying pan and toast.  Be careful not to burn the walnuts– when they start to give off an aroma, turn them over and off heat.  Layer toasted walnuts on top of fruit.

Sprinkle feta  cheese on top of the salad.  (use as much or as little as you like.  I like a lot!)

For the Dressing:

Combine 1/3 cup of mashed strawberries (a food processor does a nice mashing job).  Add the oil and vinegar.  Add the sugar and hand stir until the granules dissolve.

Pass the dressing to guests if you are seated for the meal; or place dressing in a pretty bowl beside the salad if you are serving a buffet.   Enjoy!

Note:  Please do not “dress” the platter of salad all at once.  The greens will quickly become soggy.  

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