Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Smoky Sweet Potato Salad

This winter, Roy and I have been staying in one of the nicest RV "resorts" we have ever been in. The grounds are gorgeous and the sites are paved, spacious, and landscaped. It like going going to camp - there are so many activities that it's impossible to do everything that is offered. One pastime that everyone seems to partake in is eating! There are lots of pitch ins and opportunities for group dinners. This recipe was born out of the need to bring a dish to contribute to a gathering, and wanting to offer something different.  It's a great side to serve with grilled meat and for someone who avoids legumes, it is a good substitute for baked beans.

Ingredients and Directions for Smoky Sweet Potato Salad - Yields 8 Generous Servings

4 medium sized sweet potatoes
4 red radishes
3 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons diced red onion
1 tablespoon diced jalapeno pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder 

Wash, peel, and cube the potatoes. Fill a large soup pan about half way up with water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and let the water return to a boil. Cook for about 5 more minutes or until the cubes can be easily pierced with a fork but still feel fairly firm. Don't let them get mushy. Drain and allow to cool. I actually put them in the refrigerator for about a half hour.

While the potatoes are cooking, wash the radishes. Slice a couple and dice the other two. Set some of the sliced radishes aside for garnishing.

If you haven't already done so, slice the green onion, and dice the red onion and jalapeno pepper. 

When the potatoes have cooled, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and chili powder. 

Place the cooled sweet potatoes, radishes, red onion, green onions and jalapeno pepper in a large bowl. Gently mix in the dressing.  

Garnish with radish slices.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Orleans Style Shrimp

Any version of shrimp whether it's frozen, fresh, cooked or raw can be used in this recipe. Fresh shrimp is great, but for me, having a bag of those little guys - already cooked  or not - in my freezer has enabled me to put together a yummy dinner when time is short. I also like to buy bell peppers when they are on sale and freeze them sliced or diced, in Ziplock freezer bags. And these days bags of already diced onion, peppers, and celery are available. A meal can be ready in the time it takes to set the table and put together a salad while the veggies saute. Here I served this dish over riced cauliflower, but mashed cauliflower, rice or grits would also be nice. 

Orleans Style Shrimp - Serves Four


2 or 3 strips of bacon (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup of any or a combination of  red, yellow, or green bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, put through a press
1 (15 oz.) can of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (like Frank's)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 pound peeled shrimp, frozen or fresh, cooked or raw


If using, cook the bacon until crispy and set aside.

While bacon is cooking, if using frozen shrimp, put them large bowl of cool water so they can defrost.

Drain the bacon grease from the skillet and add vegetable oil, onion and diced pepper. Saute over medium low heat until tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and saute another 30 seconds. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, salt, pepper and thyme. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Rinse and drain shrimp.  Add the shrimp and continue to cook another 5 minutes. If using raw shrimp, make sure the shrimp turns opaque to ensure it is done.

Serve over rice, grits, mashed or riced cauliflower and crumble bacon (if using) on top.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Sunshine Spinach Salad

Years ago, Aunt Gayla brought a salad to a family holiday gathering. We all loved it so much that I tried to duplicate it and my attempts morphed into the spinach salad posted here. For a time, we ate it quite a lot; then we seemed to forget about it. Every now and then one of the girls will say, "Can you make that salad with the oranges and avocados in it when I come home?", and I wonder why I don't serve it more often. The dressing, which has Dijon mustard and a bit orange juice, seems to get in cahoots with the avocado slices and ends up coating the spinach in - family joke here - a "luxurious" way. Don't skip the step where the lemon is squeezed on the avocado because it just lends to the spectacular end result when everything is tossed together. This is truly a salad where the sum is greater than the parts! :) 

Ingredients for Four Servings

1 large bag baby spinach leaves ( 8 cups)
2 or 3 clementines or tangerines, depending on size
2 ripe avocados
1 small lemon
1 small red onion
1/2 chopped pecans
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoon country Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper


If they are not already washed, then rinse, drain and blot the spinach leaves dry with paper towels.

Peel clementines or tangerines and separate into sections.

Peel and pit avocado. Slice and squeeze the juice of the lemon over the avocado.

Peel and thinly slice the red onion.

Place the spinach leaves, clementine or tangerine sections, avocado slices, red onion slices, and chopped pecans in a large bowl.

In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, rice wine vinegar, orange juice, Dijon mustard, salt, garlic powder, and pepper.

Pour dressing over spinach and other ingredients and toss until the mixture is coated.

Divide between four serving plates. This is great served with salmon or chicken!