I can’t believe it’s Memorial Day weekend already!
a) because this school year just went by so incredibly fast, and
b) because it’s gloomy, cold, and raw out there today! It feels more like early March than like the unofficial kickoff of summer.
Well, hopefully it’s nicer wherever you are, and if not, maybe this riff on potato salad, that ultimate summer barbecue staple side dish, will put you in a sunny mood.
Making your own potato salad is not hard. Once the potatoes are boiled, it’s just a matter of throwing in your ingredients! My mom’s traditional potato salad, which I adore, is made with vinegar, mayo, onion, celery, hard-boiled egg, and spices. But for this recipe, I decided to mix up the flavors a bit, and trim some of the fat!
I’ve used plain Chobani 2% Greek yogurt, in place of the mayo. It’s so super creamy and rich tasting, you’d swear it was sour cream! And when I think of sour cream and potatoes, my mind goes right to that favorite guilty pleasure: Loaded Baked Potatoes. With the addition of some crumbled bacon, broccoli, shredded cheddar, and scallions, you get all that delicious flavor with a whole lot less fat, and more protien to boot!
1 bunch (about 8) scallions, roughly chopped, green part only
1 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
1 cup low-fat Greek-style yogurt
additional salt & pepper (optional) to taste
Cover the potatoes in cold, salted water, and bring to a boil. Boil until fork-tender, about 20-25 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and chop them coarsely. Place the warm potatoes in a large bowl and sprinkle with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
Slice the bacon and place it in a cold pan. Cook over a medium low heat until the fat has rendered and it’s brown and crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.
Add the bacon, broccoli, scallions, cheese, and yogurt to the potatoes and toss to coat.
Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
Are you ready for summer? Personally, I am super-psyched for warm sunny days, swimming, walking the boards, and long, lazy barbecues on the patio! This dish will definitely be on the menu, once the sun comes out from hiding!
Hi, friends! It’s been a while since I’ve posted…. sorry about that! Mr. Allie and I took the kiddos to Disney for a week! It was so much fun and so exhausting! Lol. We had four days just outside of Orlando (one day per park: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom), and then two days were dedicated to travel. It was a fabulous trip and we did it on a tight budget. I’m thinking about maybe devoting a post to it if you think that’d be interesting??? We know lots of people who do Disney pretty frequently, and they plan everything to the nth degree, but the idea of that just totally freaked us out! This was only my second time there since I was a kid, and I just had no idea where to begin. Mr. Allie and I kept remarking to each other that it felt like such a rite of passage for us to be there with our children. I think we may have been more excited about it than the kids were! After having been there, and experienced what it was all about, we now know how we’d maybe do things differently, that is, plan it a little more. Not that we had a bad time or anything! It was truly a blast and the only possible improvement would have been to do less backtracking around/walking and riding more rides!
I had every intention of coming home and jumping right back on the blog train, but once we settled back in and unpacked/washed everything, I decided to take a little time just to recharge my batteries. I think I really needed it! Just before we left I was feeling like I was spinning my wheels, but over the last week I’ve gained a lot of clarity and a lot of inspiration.
One of the main sources of inspiration came from the folks at Chobani. Shortly after we arrived home, we received a shipment that contained mass quantities of Chobani Greek Style Yogurt! I’ve loved Chobani for a while now, and have used in it lots of recipes. But now that my fridge is bursting with the stuff, I knew I needed to come up with some more great ways to use it.
I make oven fries all the time, and I especially love to do them with sweet potatoes! They are super-nutritious (read more about that here) but I particularly love them for their flavor. I always prefer to pair them with more savory flavors, to contrast with their natural sweetness.
If you toss the sweet potato fries with some heart-healthy extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle them with sea salt, and roast them on a lined baking sheet, they come out so crispy-caramelized and roasty!
They are perfect for dunking in this flavorful horseradish dijon dipping sauce! I also add a little garlic powder and agave nectar, to fat-free Greek-style yogurt, along with a big bunch of fresh chives.
I just love how that sharp flavor plays against the caramelly sweet potato!
Even if we weren’t coming up Cinco de Mayo, I think I’d still want to be eating something Mexican-y this week. Something about this time of year, with the warmer temperatures beckoning al fresco dining, I just can’t help but crave the intensity of those kinds of flavors.
This is not the kind of Shrimp Cocktail that typically comes to my mind. And it’s not really the kind of Mexican food that comes to my mind, either!
About ten years ago I enjoyed the trip of a lifetime, to Cancun in January (!). It was glorious! We stayed in a beautiful resort, where a sliding glass door led us from our suite right onto the white, sandy beach. There were wild peacocks roaming the gardens. And in the afternoons, we’d wander over to the pool deck and order lunch while basking in the warm sunshine. This dish quickly became my favorite, and once I had discovered it, I had to have it every last day we spent on that amazing tropical island.
I was so thrilled when, years later, I came across the recipe in my local newspaper!
It comes together in a heartbeat and it can totally be made ahead. In fact, it gets even better as it sits.
It’s meant to be an appetizer but once I have it in front of me, I lose all self control and make a meal out of it. Mr. Allie and I often enjoy it as a light supper.
Do you guys remember a whiiiiiiiiiiile back when I posted a two-fer recipe for roast chicken? Both of those recipes are phenomenal, btw, and if you are looking for a great way to gather friends and/or family around the supper table, roast chicken is IT!
A-henny-who, at this time of year I am always in the market for something light, cool, and refreshing, and kinda healthy, for lunch or for a light dinner. With my oldest now in tee-ball, it’s nice to have something we can pack up and eat at the game, or just quickly stuff in our faces after we get home.
So, I thought it might be nice to share a kind of offshoot recipe, inspired by my “Faraway Place” chicken, in cold salad form!
If you’ve ever enjoyed curried chicken salad, then you’d probably like this one too. It’s similar in that it has that earthy spice flavor, but in this preparation it’s even more pronounced. Rather than using a pre-made spice blend (such as curry powder), this dressing relies on a mixture of individual dried spices and fresh herbs. And, it’s lower in fat and calories, with mayonnaise being replaced by low fat, high protien Greek-style yogurt.
That being said, again I must now give a disclaimer: I am not Indian. I am no expert on Indian cooking. I did not grow up eating Indian food. Even now, as an adult, I do not eat much Indian food (there just aren’t a whole lot of Indian restaurants in my neck of the woods;)). I first discovered what I’ve titled “Faraway Place” chicken in a local publication a few years back. Unfortunately, the author was not cited, so I am unable to credit him or her. It was not titled “Tandoori Chicken.” I did not know what it was, or where in the world it was from, until I googled the ingredients! So, as you can see, I make no claims that this recipe is authentic in any way. I just know it’s really tasty, and different, and the flavors are super exciting!
Start with some cooked chicken. You could use a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket, or just some leftover cooked chicken, or, I just poached up a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in simmering, salted water, for about 30 minutes, or until no longer pink inside. You can dice the chicken, or try this fabulous method, which works perfectly and I am totally in love with.
In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, agave, lemon juice & zest, ginger, and spices.
Add in the chicken, almonds, raisins, and parsley, and toss to coat.
Serve in lettuce cups, whole wheat wraps, or on a croissant.
There are any number of ways this can be served: on a croissant, in a lettuce wrap, in a whole wheat tortilla wrap, or straight outta the ol’ mason jar if you are on the go.
Garlicky yogurt, spiked with bright citrus, warm paprika and ginger, and earthy cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric, contrasted with crunchy almonds and sweet raisins, with a fresh hit of verdant parsley! No matter how you slice it, this chicken salad is like no other! So light and healthy, and full of such interesting and complex flavor!
I’m so very pleased that the temperatures are finally warming up, after an unusually and interminably raw March…!
I’m also so very pleased to bring you this lovely salad recipe, perfect for a bright Spring day, featuring “petit pois!” I love petit pois, almost as much as I love saying “petit pois…,” …like “PEH-tee PWAH.”
And yes, I am a huge dork.
Petit pois are just baby peas. I buy mine at the regular grocery store, in the frozen vegetables section. They are a little sweeter, and a little less starchy, than regular frozen peas, and I really like the way they give a little soft pop when you bite them.
This recipe starts off with a salmon filet, seasoned with salt and pepper, and roasted in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
While that is cooking, prepare the dressing. Plain greek-style yogurt, finely minced shallot, lemon juice and zest, and some chopped tarragon make a beautifully light yet creamy dressing…
After the salmon has cooked and cooled, flake it into chunks and toss it, along with the petit pois, to coat them in the dressing.
I served it over grilled bread…
It would also be perfect on a croissant, or a soft brioche roll…
At this time of year, this is the kind of food I want to eat at every meal! So light and fresh, and full of color! Just look at that corally salmon against those bright petit pois…
There is so much history and theology surrounding Passover, from plagues and persecution to sacrificial lambs and hopes for the return of a long-lost prophet. Truthfully, I’m nothing but a lowly shikse, who has had the pleasure of a bird’s eye view into her in-laws’ longstanding traditions, so I am not even going to attempt to give a true explanation, for fear that it would be woefully inadequate.
From what I have seen over the last ten years of being a part of a wonderfully close-knit and loving family (that means the world to me), is that this holiday/week-long observance of faith, history, and devotion to God seems to be one of the most important events on the Jewish calendar. And, from a food-nerd’s perspective, it mainly seems to be focused around NOT eating any leavened bread, and in particular, eating LOTS of matzo.
When I first started participating in my husband’s family’s Seder dinners, I didn’t quite get the second part of that. I was all, “How come you don’t just have an omelette for breakfast, instead of subbing matzo for a bagel? Why not just eat a salad for lunch, instead of pb&j on matzo? Can’t you just eat potatoes with your dinner, instead of replacing noodles with matzo kugel?” And, I’m sorry if this offends, but a cake made with matzo meal is just not the same…
I don’t know if anyone out there will disagree, but to me and my hubs, matzo just doesn’t hold a candle to actual bread products. And I think that right there, is the main thing about Passover. Giving up those deliciously satisfying bagels and cakes and cookies for an entire week, and subsisting on dry, flavorless crackers, is an act of devotion to God, and of respect to one’s ancestors. In a way, it’s kind of like Lent. I have a lot of respect for that. I cannot, however, show up at a family dinner bearing a dish that is not delicious. I’m sorry, I’m just not wired like that.
Like I had said, matzoh is extremely dry and has very little flavor. Imagine a saltine without the salt. It takes a lot to make it palatable enough that you’d want to eat a big ol’ hunk of it in casserole form.
I like to rely on copious amounts of veg and dairy products.
I don’t know anyone that doesn’t drool over hot spinach and artichoke dip, so this kugel is made in it’s image…
If you are bringing it to your Bubbe-in-law’s Seder, it can be made ahead! Just ask if you can warm it in her oven when you get to her house.
After the last few sweet posts, I thought I’d take a little departure today, and share something more savory!
I wish, wish, I was one of those people who could be happy as a lark just eating fruit and nuts and steamed fish all day long, but the truth is, if left to my own devices, my diet would consist of three major food groups:
I do my best to keep things balanced, but the truth is, I could eat potatoes EVERY DAY, and never get tired of them. Maybe it’s the Irish in me…
Well, this traditional Irish recipe has two of those bases covered, with a healthy dose of greens added in for good measure!
I like to start by peeling the potatoes and chunking them up. They go into a big pot of cold, salty water, and then on the stove to simmer until soft.
While that is going, crisp up some thick-cut bacon.
I cut the strips (or rashers, as they are called in Ireland) crosswise into little rectangles, and toss them into a cold pan, on medium-low heat. After a little while, all the fat will render off and the meat crisps up. Scoop the bits out with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towel.
Meanwhile, chop a bunch of kale into bite-sized pieces, and some scallions as well.
Pour off most of the bacon fat, and then in go the greens to soften up and mellow out.
By now the potatoes are probably good and ready to be mashed. I love using a ricer because it really keeps them nice and fluffy, and no lumps! I just rice them into the same pot they’ve boiled in, keeping a low flame under them to warm and dry them. Thin them a bit with warm milk and season them with some salt and pepper.
Stir in the softened greens and the crispy bacon…
…and I just love this Kerrygold Dubliner cheese, which is produced in Ireland and has a lovely nutty-sweet flavor, which plays so nicely against the kale.
It’s not traditional to add cheese to Colcannon, but this little twist makes it especially delish!
Traditional or not, for me, potatoes+green onions+bacon+cheese = one happy lass!
Colcannon with Kale, Bacon, and Kerrygold Dubliner
Author: YinMom YangMom Allie
6 medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
8 thick-cut slices of smoked bacon, roughly chopped
1 large bunch of kale
1 bunch of scallions (green part only), coarsely chopped
5 ounces (or to taste) Kerrygold Dubliner cheese, shredded
warm milk, as needed
salt and pepper, to taste
salted butter, to taste
Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold, salted water and simmer.
Saute the bacon over medium-low heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
Drain off all but a tablespoon or so of bacon fat, and saute the kale, covered, over medium-low heat, until wilted and soft.
When the potatoes are fork-tender, drain and rice them into a pot over low heat.
Thin with warm milk.
Fold in the bacon, kale, scallions, and shredded cheese, and season with salt and butter.
Garnish with a pat of butter.
I’ve served this dish to my family every St. Patrick’s Day for the last three or so years, and there is just nothing more comforting than a warm, buttery bowl of Colcannon on a blustery March evening…!
Mr. Allie has been on a serious dinner-cooking streak lately! He’s on fire! Every night a fabulous meal materializes before my eyes…
This chick is not complaining, I assure you. Much as I love to cook, it’s soooo nice to have the pressure off! And, I still get plenty of opportunities to putter in my kitchen. The kiddies still need to eat, breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. (Many of Mr. Allie’s meals are not-so-kid-friendly. They are, however, extremely Mama-friendly, as evidenced by the extra few pounds I’ve packed on.)
So lately, my five-year-old has been way into soups. (How could anyone not be, at this time of year?) I’m so happy about this! It’s a great way for me to sneak in lots of good nutrition.
He recently got turned on to broccoli-cheese soup by my mom. HA-lelujah! He’s finally opened his mind to green foods!
This is not my mom’s recipe, so hopefully he’ll still go for it. It is super easy and comes together in minutes! I whipped it up for him while he was at half-day kindergarten! I’m really hoping he likes it, as it’s full of healthy veggies, protein, and calcium-rich dairy! Three things I always struggle to get into him.
Empty a carton of chicken (or vegetable) stock into a big pot, and dump a big bag of frozen broccoli florets into it. Get that on a medium-high heat to simmer.
While that is going, get a good quality cheese all shredded up. My son (and I!) really enjoy a good, extra-sharp cheddar.
When the broccoli is nice and tender, add the milk and cream.
Puree until you get the texture you are after. I like mostly smooth, with a few chunks of broccoli still remaining.
Place the pot back on the stove, and add in the cheese, a handful at a time, stirring gently after each addition, until all the cheese is melted and incorporated.
If you like a little extra protein and smokey flavor, you can make this Six-Ingredient Broccoli Cheese Soup, by adding a few handfuls of chopped, cooked ham, or crispy bacon.
¼ pound cooked ham or bacon, thinly sliced (optional)
In a large pot, simmer the chicken stock and broccoli until tender.
Add the milk and cream, and puree to desired consistency.
Add the cheese, a handful at a time, stirring after each addition, until melted and incorporated.
Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Garnish with ham or bacon, if desired.
Are you into soups lately too? I swear I could eat soup every day at this time of year… What’s your favorite kind? How about your kiddos? Has it taken them more than five years to take a bite of something green?
Hi, friends! …sorry for the long absence… After all the busy of the holiday season, a series of (minor) illnesses, and a week or so of immersing myself in house projects (I’ll fill you in on all that soon), I just felt like I needed to lay low for a bit. But, I didn’t forget about ya! And I made you a yummy snack!
What do you think about baking with yeast? Does it freak you out a little bit? I was always a little scared, y’know? It seems complicated. Like, what if I kill the yeast? Doesn’t it take a while with all the risings and stuff? How about kneading? Sounds hard.
Well, I do think that bread baking is a real art form. One that I definitely have not yet mastered. But, making pizza is super easy! And rewarding! And a great way to gently ease yourself into the wide world of yeast…
So, stick with me here for the (very) basics of yeast dough, we’ll end up with a great result, and then next time we bake together, we’ll take it to the next level with an awesomesauce treat for Valentine’s Day breakfast (wha? did somebody say homemade cinnamon rolls…?)
I love making my own pizza dough, it’s so easy! All the ingredients keep really well for a long time, and I always have them on hand in my pantry. I can whip this up whenever the urge strikes, and top it with whatever’s laying around in the fridge. The dough needs anywhere from 45 minutes on up to rise, so just make sure you allow yourself that down time.
Grab yourself a packet of instant dry yeast. I like the highly active kind. That just means it takes less time to proof. Proof means prove that it’s alive. More on that later.
Next you’ll need some warm water. The temperature of the water is kinda critical, but don’t be scared. If you can run a nice warm bath for a baby, without giving him a chill or scalding him, then you have this in the bag. Test the water with the inside of your wrist, where it’s really sensitive. It should feel warm, not hot.
Sweeten up the water for the yeasties. They like to eat, too, you know. You can use any form of sugar. Granulated, brown, honey, agave, whatever. On this day, I chose maple syrup. I thought it would work well with the onions and gruyere. (It did )
Now sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the warm, sweet water, and swirl it around. If you are using highly active yeast, you’ll start to notice things happening within about five minutes. Regular yeast may take ten or fifteen. What you are looking for is like a weird foam. That proves that the yeast is alive and eating. And burping (sorry).
Once you see that foam, you can go ahead and dump in the flour and set it on to mix. Use the dough hook attachment, and just leave it go for like five good minutes. This will knead the dough, and develop the glutens in the flour. In other words, it will help give it that stretchy-chewy quality.
Dribble in some olive oil and season it with salt.
Now make a nice bed for the dough, because it’s nap time. It needs a big bowl, all oily and slick, a warm place, and a damp towel. Nestle him in his bowl and smear some more olive oil over his surface. Drape the damp towel over the bowl and put it in a warm place. At this time of year, I often just use my oven. Not on, just inside the cold oven, which actually isn’t all that cold, because of the pilot light, which is always flickering a little bit, even when the oven is switched off.
Here is where I got my toppings made. I sliced up a whole bag of onions in my food processor. Dumped them in a big pot with some olive oil, red wine, worcestershire sauce, sherry vinegar, brown sugar, and salt and pep.
Left it go on medium-low, giving it a stir every now and then, for around an hour or so.
I also used my food processor to shred the gruyere. I hate dragging that thing out, so if I gotta do it, I make sure it gets plenty of use.
After a while, you can take a little peek under the towel. If the dough got all big and poufy, then you’re in business!
Crank the oven as high as it’ll go!
If I had a pizza stone, I’d use that, but I don’t, so I just use a cookie sheet. (I have plenty of those!) I smear a little olive oil over it first, and then dump out the spongy dough right in the middle. It will deflate, a lot. That’s cool, no worries. You want that for a nice thin crust.
Use your fingertips or knuckles to smoosh the dough all the way out, to cover the sheet. At first you may think that’ll never happen, but just keep at it! It will, I promise! It’s like magic.
Now work quickly to put the toppings on. If you dilly-dally, your dough will rise again, which is fine if you like a sicilian style pizza, but I like a thin crust.
Into the oven it goes, for about 15-20 minutes.
When it comes out, all sizzly and bubbly-brown, sprinkle on some freshly snipped chives. If you have a little truffle oil stash, I highly recommend you break it out, now. A little drizzle is all it takes to bring your French onion soup pizza to dizzying heights.
Tah-dah! I brought this to my neighbor’s house for a little shindig they were having, and he called it “the best part of the French onion soup!” He was so right on!