Summertime Tomato, Avocado, Roasted Corn,Basil Pasta Salad is a salad bowl to behold! This salad is the perfect side or main dish for the height of summer’s flavorful bounty. In August, we can find all these ingredients readily available at the height of their freshness. This is what summer eating is all about, without a doubt!
My inspiration for this recipe came from Teighan Gerard, the spirited, adventurous, creative energy behind Half Baked Harvest. I’ve followed Teighan for several years now, and subscribe to her blog. Every Sunday she emails her subscribers her “Nine Favorite Things” post. There are even more great photos in the post of her family, her home in Colorado which is a converted barn. When I need a pick me up, I saunter on up to her blog and allow my eyes and brain to rest. Her food photography is absolutely stunning. This is one talented and down-to-earth young woman. Here’s a link to Teighan’s fabulous pasta recipe.
This is such a cinch to quickly put together, especially during these last sultry summer days. I had fresh ears of corn that I grilled in their husks. A lovely pint of fresh sweet cherry tomatoes. An avocado that had to be eaten – such a chore! A hunk of the sharpest cheddar cheese in the refrigerator. My basil produced very well this season, so I grabbed a bunch of that, too.
I think when you approach recipes like this one, feel free to transform it into anything you wish or have on hand. Here are a couple of change-ups you might enjoy:
A Tex-Mex version with a can of drained black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro with a dressing made with olive oil, lime juice, a squirt of sriracha mixed with a sprinkling of cumin;
A French-inspired version made with a couple of drained cans of tuna, chopped cornichons, finely diced red onion, and capers with a lemon/mayo/thyme based dressing;
Add a cup or two of diced cooked chicken to the original recipe for a great dinner salad.
Any way you decide, you’ll have a fabulous summer side or main dish salad.
Summertime Tomato, Avocado, Roasted Corn, Basil Pasta Salad
4 ears fresh corn, steamed or grilled in their husks.
2 cups or 1-pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 avocado, diced
Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente pasta.
While the pot of water is coming to a boil, start to make the salad dressing and prepare the vegetables.
In the bottom of a large salad bowl, mix together dressing ingredients: olive oil, parmesan or pecorino cheese, lemon juice, dijon mustard, red pepper flakes, salt and ground pepper. Whisk together until well combined and the dressing thickens a little. (Or put dressing ingredients in a pint canning jar and shake until mixed and slightly thickened.)
Add the chives to the dressing and whisk until distributed. Set salad bowl aside.
Cut corn kernels from the cob, set aside.
Cut tomatoes in half, set aside.
Dice avocado set aside.
Drain the cooked pasta and run under cool water to stop cooking. Shake the colander to release more water.
Add pasta to the salad bowl with dressing. Toss until dressing evenly coats the pasta.
Top pasta with corn, tomatoes, avocado, cheese, and basil. Toss until well combined.
Check for seasoning and serve!
I added more salt and pepper to the dressing. I added 1 teaspoon dijon mustard. If you have leftover cooked chicken, dice the meat and add to the salad for more of a dinner salad.
We all need a quick and easy meal like this one in our arsenal. And everyone likely has a pantry and freezer with the ingredient staples on hand. Easy Crustless Taco Pie is not only delicious but gluten-free, low carb and keto-friendly. And did I mention this taco pie is kid-friendly, too? A win-win in my book of tricks.
There’s nothing special that you need. Ground beef or ground turkey, eggs, cheddar cheese, taco seasoning are the staples here.
Serve with a dollop of full-fat sour cream (keto-friendly), guacamole, spicy salsa and a simple shredded lettuce salad on the side with diced tomatoes.
Here’s a tip! I like to buy ground beef in multi-pound packages from a big box store. The meat is usually leaner, 85-15% fat and I find it is cheaper per pound than buying ground meat in the grocery. When you make this recipe, why not brown 2-3 pounds at a time. Then separate the cooked meat into equal portions, load a freezer bag or two and store in the freezer. You’ll have cooked ground meat at the ready for another recipe Sloppy Joe’s or quick meat spaghetti sauce or tacos. Looking for even leaner meat? Use ground turkey instead. I’ve found ground turkey may be substituted for ground beef in most recipes.
I had to share this recipe if only to show the beautiful rise from the eggs. Yes, the dish deflates a little while it cools. But look! Isn’t it pretty out of the oven?
You’re happy! Your kids are happy! Everyone’s happy!
Quick and Easy, Crustless Taco Pie - Gluten Free & Low Carb!
We all need a quick, simple, and easy meal like this one in our arsenal. And everyone likely has a pantry and freezer with the ingredient staples on hand. Quick and Easy Crustless Taco Pie is not only delicious but gluten-free and low carb. And did I mention kid friendly? A win-win in my book of tricks.
Recipe type: Quick Dinner
Taco Seasoning Make your own (below) or use a package of taco seasoning from the store.
In a small bowl combine:
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 Mexican oregano
¼ - ½ cayenne pepper, if desired
You'll have leftover Taco Seasoning. Place the remainder in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and store for another recipe.
For Meat Filling
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons taco seasoning, above
6 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream or half-n-half
4-6 oz shredded cheddar cheese, or Monterey Jack, or Monterey Pepper Jack depending on your pepper heat
Taco Pie Assembly
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Spray 9" pie dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a 12" skillet, brown ground meat over medium-high heat until cooked through and no pink is showing.
Add diced onion and minced garlic. Saute for 1 minute.
Add 3 Tablespoons (or one package) of taco seasoning to the browned meat. Continue to cook for 2 minutes until the mix becomes fragrant.
Spread the meat filling into the prepared pie dish.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream or half-n-half. Pour slowly over meat mixture in the pie pan.
Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the center has nicely risen and begins to brown. 30-40 minutes.
Remove taco pie to a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with accompaniments, if desired.
Orange Shrimp with Broccoli and Garlic is one of my favorite types of dishes. Crushed red pepper, orange zest, and garlic lend the simple sauce a bright delicious bite. And it’s so quick and easy! Orange Shrimp any time of the year but is a fabulous dish when your schedule is tight and fast food is not an option. You know, like during the holidays!
I always have a pound or two of raw shrimp (21-25 count) in the freezer. It’s handy for lots of quick meals like Shrimp Tacosor Shrimp Scampior Shrimp and Grits. Frozen shrimp don’t take long to defrost, either. Measure out what you need for your recipe. I use a scale for an accurate amount. Then I put them in a colander in the sink and run cool water over them until the shrimp are ready. I also use raw shrimp rather than cooked frozen ones, because raw shrimp will absorb all the lovely flavors either as they’re marinated or as you cook them. Garlic and lemon are two of my favorites, but you could use coriander, red pepper flakes, cumin or curry. Seriously delicious!
Here are a couple of things to remember when cooking raw shrimp:
Rinse shrimp after the shells and tails are removed. Remove the black vein at the top. Most frozen packed shrimp come deveined, but it’s a good idea to check anyway.
Once rinsed, place shrimp on a baking sheet lined with paper toweling. Use another layer to pat dry the top. Shrimp should be dried off to get a proper sear.
Don’t overcook your shrimp! It’s easy to do. Place shrimp in a hot pan with a little olive oil. As soon as they become translucent, turn them over to cook the other side. Really, 2-3 minutes per side is more than enough. You want a nice crunchy bite, not a rubbery one. It’s a texture thing.
Quick and light, Orange Shrimp with Broccoli and Garlic is perfect for an easy and informal dinner with a little citrus and spice. Yummy!
Recipe type: Main
1½ pound shrimp (21-25 count) peeled, deveined, and rinsed under cool water
3-4 cups fresh broccoli, separated into florets
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1½ Tablespoon granulated sugar
Zest of one orange
½ - 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how much spice you want, or leave it out
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Sliced green onion for garnish
Sesame seeds for garnish
3 cups Jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions
Line a sheet pan with a couple of layers of paper toweling. Place shrimp on the toweling in a single layer. Take another sheet of paper toweling and pat the shrimp dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil into the skillet. Add broccoli florets for 3-5 minutes until broccoli is tender. Remove broccoli from the skillet into a bowl or plate and set aside.
Use the same skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Add minced garlic and let sizzle for 30 seconds or until garlic becomes fragrant. Add red pepper flakes, if using. Place shrimp in the skillet in a single layer. (You may have to cook in 2 batches.)
As soon as the shrimp becomes translucent, flip over the cook the other side. Total cooking time is 2-3 minutes per side, at most. Remove cooked shrimp and garlic, pepper flakes to bowl/plate with the broccoli.
Return the skillet to the stove. Add orange juice, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce until slightly thickened.
Mix 1 teaspoon cornstarch with 2 teaspoons cold water. Add to skillet and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce becomes shiny. Add orange zest.
Pour finished sauce over shrimp and broccoli. Garnish with sliced green onions and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve over cooked hot rice.
Starting with this recipe for Ina Garten’s Beef Bourguignon, I decided to create a new category I call Bucketlist. Mimi’s Bucketlist is a place for all the wonderful recipes I’ve collected over the years but never had the time or courage to try. This Mimi is retired so little time is no excuse. Now, I have to muster up the courage.
“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” Julia Child, “My Life in France”
Boeuf Bourguignon If you’ve ever watched the Nora Ephron film “Julie & Julia” you’ll remember the classic French stew that inspired Julie Powell to author her successful blog “The Julie/Julia Project: Nobody here but us servantless American cooks…”
I remember attempting this recipe once when I was in high school. I was a member of the French Club and our sponsors took us to the Chez Paul restaurant in Chicago. Tres chic. I ordered Duck L’Orange. Turtle soup sounded disgusting. I don’t remember what prompted me to try Beef Bourguignon in my mother’s humble kitchen or who’s recipe I used, but I do remember desperately wanting to try a dish that would reflect my newly acquired sophisticated side. And to cook with wine! It’s beef stew, right? How hard could it be? Well, my father liked it. He loved me. My early dish was an early failure, but I grew to learn to appreciate technique and to follow a recipe. There’s so much to learn from really good cooks. I know and have known several.
I carefully reviewed several recipes over time comparing them with Julia Child’s recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I settled on Ina Garten’s because it was easier. OMG, it was delicious! According to Julia, the stew only gets better a day later as the flavors mellow. Yep!
Ina flames her cooked vegetables with cognac before adding the meat. I’m sure it lends a great rich flavor. But when a pint of cognac was $35 at the grocery, I decided to skip that part.
I’ve thought about doing this in a crockpot but am voting against it. I don’t think the liquid will cook down and thicken as well. And I’m not sure about an Instsapot because I’m not an Instapot fan. But, if any of you try it and decide otherwise, I’d love to hear from you with your results.
Get out your Dutch oven and let’s make some!
“Carefully done and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.” Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Couldn’t agree more.
I bought a 2.5 lb chuck roast and cut it into cubes. I imagine you could use stew meat, but the chuck roast has more fat and renders down to tasty tender chunks while cooking in the oven. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a heavy 5-6 quart dutch oven over medium heat, brown the bacon until the fat renders and the bits are nicely browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Set aside. I used three slices of bacon and added 2 Tablespoons olive oil to make sure there was enough fat to brown the beef. (Ina calls for 1/2 pound of bacon. Julia used a 6-ounce chunk of bacon that she cut into lardons and boiled. Hmmm) Add the beef cubes in a single layer to the pot. Once the cubes are browned on all sides, remove them to the plate with the bacon. Repeat with another batch of meat until it’s all browned.
See all the beautiful brown bits in the bottom of the pot? Wow – that’s serious flavor!
Add onions to the pot. Toss so they’re covered with fat.
Add the carrots, 2 teaspoons salt and 1-2 teaspoons black pepper. Toss to distribute.
Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the onions are just browned.
Add garlic, stir, and cook for one minute longer or until the garlic becomes fragrant.
Add the meat, bacon and all the juices into the pot.
Add one bottle of red wine. I used pinot noir.
Add enough beef stock to just cover the meat.
Add thyme and/or a bay leaf.
Add 2 Tablespoons tomato paste.
Stir everything together and bring to a simmer.
Put on a tight-fitting lid. Place covered Dutch oven in a 250°F oven for 1 1/2 hours.
Enjoy the smells coming from the oven!
In the meantime . . . make a Beurre manié
Beurre manié is a fancy French name for butter kneaded with flour to be used as a soup or stew thickener. I’ve used this for years in soups, stews, even sauerkraut, and it works pretty well. Mash room temperature butter with flour, one Tablespoon at a time, until you have this lovely paste. When the beef bourguignon comes out of the oven, add the beurre manié and stir to incorporate.
Also – brown mushrooms in butter. Set aside.
To Finish: Remove the pot from the oven to the stovetop. Take off the lid.
Add beurre manié. Stir to incorporate.
Add pearl onions and mushrooms to the pot. Stir.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Serve!
I served mine alongside mashed potatoes, but you could substitute egg noodles or rice. Julia suggests boiled potatoes, buttered peas, or a green salad.
Ina serves hers on larges slices of toasted country or sourdough bread smeared with a fresh garlic clove. Kind of like a bruschetta.
I served warm thick slices of French bread for dunking. The sauce invites it.
"Carefully done and perfectly flavored, it is one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man." Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking I agree!
Author: Ina Garten
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 6 servings
¼ lb sliced bacon cut into strips
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2½ - 3 pounds chuck roast, but into 2" cubes
1 pound carrots, cut diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 750ml bottle full-bodied red wine, pinot noir or burgundy
2 cups beef broth
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf (optional)
4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
3 Tablespoons flour
12 oz package frozen onions
1 pound mushrooms thickly sliced or quartered
Preheat oven to 250F degrees
Cut chuck roast into 2" chunks. Place on baking sheet, pat dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a heavy 5-6 quart Dutch oven over medium heat, add 2 Tablespoons olive oil and bacon. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove crisp bacon to a plate.
Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil to the pot. In a single layer, add the beef cubes. Brown the meat on all sides. Cook in 2-3 batches until all the beef is cooked. Remove meat to the plate with bacon.
Add carrots and onions, one Tablespoon salt, and two teaspoons of black pepper to the pot. Stir and cook for 10-15 minutes until the onions are lightly browned.
Add garlic. Cook for one minute or until the garlic becomes fragrant
Put the beef, bacon and juices into the pot.
Add the bottle of red wine and beef stock.
Add the tomato paste and thyme and/or bay leaf.
Stir. Bring to a simmer. Place in oven for 1½ hours or until the meat and carrots are tender.
While the stew is cooking, mash 2 Tablespoons of butter together with 3 Tablespoons of flour - one Tablespoon at a time - to form a paste. Saute mushrooms in two Tablespoons butter until browned.
Remove stew from oven. Add butter/flour paste and mushrooms. Stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook, uncovered, on the stovetop for 15 minutes.
Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.
Serve with mashed potatoes, buttered noodles, boiled potatoes, buttered peas or a green salad. Warm crusty Frech bread is also great to soak up all the stew juices. Ina Garten toasts country or sourdough bread, rubs a garlic clove over the warm toasts, and serves the stew ladled over the bread.
This scrumptious cheesy and melty Quick & Easy Burrito Pie is guaranteed to become one of your family’s favorites. It’s everything I love in quick Mexican casserole dishes. Perfectly seasoned and loaded with ground beef, beans, and cheese. You can’t go wrong.
I used 10″ burrito-sized flour tortillas and a 10″ springform pan to build the pie. And you can make it vegetarian by omitting the ground beef and adding black and pinto beans. Or use ground turkey for a healthier meat option.
Serve in pie slices topped with guacamole, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, diced onion, sliced jalapenos and/or salsa. Maybe some sliced black olives and sliced green onions? How about some crumbled queso fresco? You know, all the yummy things you’d put on top of a burrito or taco.
Let’s make a burrito pie! Your people will love you. Guaranteed!?
Heat a 10-12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add one Tablespoon olive oil and the ground meat. Brown the meat and drain off fat. Return the meat to the skillet. Add chopped onion and saute until just wilted. Add one thinly sliced (slivered) or diced jalapeno pepper. You can substitute diced green or red bell pepper to make the dish less spicy. Add 1-2 cloves of minced garlic. Continue to saute just until the garlic becomes fragrant – 1 minute or so.
Add one can of petite diced tomatoes liquid and all and one package taco seasoning. Stir and simmer until the mixture is slightly thickened – 2-3 minutes. (I added one corn tortilla sliced into slivers to help thicken things up, but you don’t have to.)
Add one can of drained and rinsed beans – any beans you like – pinto, black, light red kidney beans. (If you’re going vegetarian, I’d use two cans of beans and skip the meat.) Stir and continue to heat through. Remove the meat mixture from the heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together one can cream of mushroom soup and 1/2 cup of sour cream. Set aside.
In another bowl, mix together the cheeses. I like using half shredded Mexican quesadilla cheese or Monterey Jack and half shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
Let’s put our burrito pie together! Shall we?
I used a 10″ springform pan and 10″ burrito-sized flour tortillas. The springform pan makes for easy assembly and serving once the pie is baked.
If you don’t have a springform pan, you can use a high-sided souffle dish or a 10″ pie pan.
Spray the bottom and sides of the pan with vegetable spray. Place a tortilla on the bottom. Top with 1/4 of the mushroom soup/sour cream mixture. Top that with 1/4 of the meat/bean mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the shredded cheese.
Repeat the layers three more times finishing with soup, meat, and cheese.
Place the springform pan on a baking sheet. I line my baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
Bake your burrito pie in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes or until the pie is hot and heated through. Remove pie from the oven onto a cooling rack.
Let it sit for 10 minutes to make it easier to slice.
And there you have it!
Cut into pie-shaped wedges and serve with the toppings you choose.
Once cooled to room temperature, your pie can be frozen then thawed and reheated.
I can’t wait to dig in!
Hot, melty, cheesy, and scrumptious Quick & Easy Burrito Pie. Serve with toppings like guacamole, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, diced onion, sliced jalapenos and/or salsa.
Recipe type: Main Dish, Quick Dish
Serves: 4-6 servings
4 - 10" burrito-sized flour tortillas
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1lb ground beef or turkey
½ - 1 onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, slivered or diced (May substitute diced green or red bell pepper.)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 15½ oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 package taco seasoning
1 - 15½ oz can pinto, black or light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup sour cream
3 cups total Mexican quesadilla cheese and sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a 10-12" skillet over medium-high heat add olive oil and ground meat. Brown and drain. Return meat to skillet.
Over medium heat, add onion, Cook until just wilted. Add peppers and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant - 1-2 minutes.
Add undrained canned tomatoes and taco seasoning. Stir and simmer until slightly thickened.
Add drained and rinsed beans. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes until mixture is thickened and heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine shredded cheeses. Set aside.
Spray a 10" springform pan with cooking spray.
Line the bottom with one tortilla. Top the tortilla with ¼ soup/sour cream mixture. Top that with ¼ meat/bean mixture. Top that with ¼ shredded cheese.
Repeat layers three times ending with shredded cheese.
Place springform pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the pie is bubbling and heated through.
Remove from oven onto a cooling rack and let sit for 10 minutes.
Remove the outer collar of the pan and cut into pie-shaped wedges.
Serve with any variety of toppings: guacamole, sour cream, extra shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced jalapenos or salsa, sliced black olives or green onions.
Feel free to make your burrito pie vegetarian by omitting the meat and adding another can of drained and rinsed beans. The springform pan makes this easy to assemble and to serve, but you could use a straight-sided souffle dish or a 10" pie pan.