Monday, July 16, 2012

Mary's (Lightened) Spinach Casserole


Recipe Notes
My aunt Mary has been making this creamed spinach casserole for decades.  I tried to lighten it up with half the original prescribed butter (originally it was 1 full stick) and light sour cream.  Serve this casserole with grilled steak and potatoes.

  • Two 10-oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 stick (4 tbsp.) butter
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 large can artichoke hearts
  • 1 pint light sour cream
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper

1.  Saute onion in butter.
2.  Combine onion with remaining ingredients.
3.  Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese on top.
4.  Bake 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serve hot.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers, Avocado, and Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

This salad is a good example of my problem with Pinterest.  Part of the reason I have not posted anything in awhile is that I've been experimenting - a lot - with Pinterest recipes.  They look great and always are "amazing" or "to die for" according to the blogger-turned-chef.  However, most have been a letdown either in terms of flavor or actual visual presentation when a simple home cook like myself tries the recipe at home.  As someone trying to give you some practical, quick recipes for busy worknights at home, I haven't wanted to waste your time with mediocre recipes.

This particular recipe (adapted from "Once Upon a Chef") is better than ok and worth mentioning, but it is not great.  According to the blogger who posted it, it's just about the best black bean salad this side of the Rio Grande.  I think that it's worth posting as a good summer side, but I'd rather have the Corn, Avocado, and Cilantro Salad that I posted last summer than this salad any day.  Corey and his dad both enjoyed it, so it's worth trying as long as you don't have super-lofty expectations of the result.


Recipe Notes
Make sure to get this salad started several hours in advance (if not the night before).

  • Two 15-oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 ears fresh cooked corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. miced shallots (approximately one medium shallot)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 tbsp. lime juice (fresh)
  • 1/2-3/4 c. fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 Hass avocados, diced
1.  Combine all ingredients through cilantro (omitting avocados).
2.  Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight.
3.  Dice avocados immediately before serving so that they won't turn brown in your salad.  Add avocados and mix gently.
4.  Garnish with additional cilantro and additional salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately with grilled chicken, grilled fish, steak, or burgers.