Thursday, August 23, 2012

On the Lighter Side

Wednesdays are my night. Hubby doesn't get home until late, so I get to make whatever I want for dinner. It's all about me - I like that! Another thing I like are avocados - I mean REALLY like! Unfortunately, I am the only one in my family that likes them so I dont eat them very often (sad face). This is partially because most of the things I eat them with only call for a few slices of avocado. The consequence of this is that the rest of the avocado turns into a black disgusting mess in my refrigerator before I get around to using it. Not this time though! I had seen recipes for avocado chicken salad floating around on the internet for some time and, since last night was my night, I finally made some for myself. I accompanied it with some fresh sliced garden tomatoes that I arranged on the plate like a carpaccio. WOW! Talk about a perfect light dinner for a warm end-of-summer night. This is definately going into the Wednesday night rotation!

Tomato Carpaccio with Avocado Chicken Salad

1 ripe avocado
1 can chicken meat or about 1 cup chopped, cooked chicken breast
1 Tbs red onion, copped fine
1 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
salt to taste
1 fresh, ripe tomato sliced thin

Arrange tomato slices in a layer on a plate, set aside

Place avocado meat in a bowl and mash with a fork
Add onion, cilantro and lemon and stir to combine
Salt to taste
Gently mix in chicken

Place chicken mixture in center of plate on top of tomatoes.


Quick, simple and delicious!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer Bounty!

Yes, I know it has been a while. As with every summer, this one has been crazy busy. I can't believe it's already August! However, being such, I am happy to report that my tomato plants have been producing like crazy. YAY! What I didn't realize in my haste to get everything planted this spring, is that I put in a few varieties that ripen to orange instead of red. I let a good number rot on the vine before I figured it out, LOL! Needless to say, I am on top of it now and these babies are fan-freaking-tastic! They are wonderfully sweet. Like candy on the vine. I rank them up there with my Brandywines, which are my all time favorite variety of tomato. With all these tomatoes at my disposal, I have been making a very simple pasta dish that my husband absolutely LOVES!  We have had it twice this week already. It is very quick and easy to make and you can add any fresh vegetables to it that you have at your disposal. This latest version we used yellow squash, which also helped make the sauce a lovely pale yellow-orange color. So delicious! Want to make it vegetarian - just leave out the chicken and add some white beans for protein.

Pasta with Fresh Tomato and Parmesan Sauce

1 pound pasta (any variety)
2 Tbs olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4C sweet onion, sliced thin
1 boneless, skinless, chicken breast, sliced thinly
1 yellow squash, julienned
1 qt cherry tomatoes or other fresh garden tomato (cored and chopped roughly)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup pasta water
3/4 -1 cup grated parmesan cheese
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Cook pasta in salted water until almost cooked through, reserve pasta water, drain and set aside
While past is cooking add oil, garlic, onion and tomato into a large, deep, skillet and saute.
When tomatoes look soft, mash with a potato masher to release juices.
Add chicken breast and continue to saute until chicken is no longer pink
Add squash and continue to saute until soft
Add chicken broth and pasta water to skillet
Add partially cooked pasta and let simmer until pasta is al dente adding additional broth or pasta water if needed
Add parmesan cheese and stir to incorporate.
Serve hot and enjoy!