Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

salsa

Rob loves snacking on chips and salsa, so when we bought a food processor the first thing he made was tomatillo avocado salsa. We loved it as the fresh ingredients make it stand out from store-bought dips. It’s the perfect combination of salsa and guacamole with just enough spice. Pair it with a refreshing margarita and you’ve got a flavorful fiesta!

Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked and sliced in half
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeño, deseeded and sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cilantro sprigs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F. On baking sheet covered with foil, place the tomatillo halves, seed-side down, jalapeño and garlic. Cook (or broil) for about 10 minutes, until tomatillos and softened and slightly charred. Let cool.
  2. Add tomatillos, garlic, jalapeño, onion, cilantro and scooped avocado to a food processor. Pulse until smooth.

 

Farm Fresh Caprese Salad

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One thing I miss about living in Washington is the variety of farms and fresh produce. There’s nothing better than a juicy Honeycrisp apple straight from the orchard in the fall. I was excited (and surprised) to hear about a farm here in Las Vegas where you can pick fruits and vegetables right from the source.

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Gilcrease Orchard offers a nice break from the brown, dry desert. It was fun to walk through the fields and orchard, looking for the freshest produce. We went home with some beautiful tomatoes. I will definitely be back in the fall when there are pumpkins and apple cider doughnuts!

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We decided to put the fresh tomatoes to good use and make a refreshing caprese salad. Since we had one tomato left from the grocery store, I used that, too. The difference between the tomatoes from the store and the farm was amazing! Physically, those from the farm were darker in color, juicier, softer and had more seeds. The store-bought tomato was easier to slice because it was firmer, but when it came to taste, it was kind of plain and watery. Lesson learned – farm fresh is much more flavorful! Even Rob, who is happy with non-organic produce from Walmart, was genuinely shocked at the difference. Because this salad is so simple, top-quality tomatoes and mozzarella are important and very noticeable.

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Farm Fresh Caprese Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • fine sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

On a large platter, evenly space out tomato slices. Top with mozzarella sliced and then basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and/or pepper.

Blueberry Beer & Cheese

20130818-204959.jpgForget wine and cheese pairings, I’ve discovered a delicious beer and cheese pairing! This Wild Blue beer has a light blueberry flavor, which is so tasty and refreshing – perfect for summer. Pair it with Blueberry Fayre cheese to keep with the fruity flavor. I recently discovered this creamy, sweet and fruity cheese and it is giving Brie some competition for being #1 on my list of favorite cheeses. Both the beer and cheese are amazing by themselves, but together it’s blueberry heaven. Best. Appetizer. Ever.

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Quick Pick: Brie & Balsamic Flatbread

brieBrie cheese makes everything better! This brie and balsamic flatbread caught my eye while walking down the frozen food aisle of Target. It is made with Brie cheese, a balsamic glaze, Italian cheese sauce and a wood-fired crust. It was rich in flavor and had the perfect thin crust that was both crispy and chewy.

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The flavorful flatbread is great by itself or with additional touches. Suggested pairings include a tart red or white wine and a salad of fresh arugula, thin-sliced pears and walnuts drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. I think it would also taste amazing if you topped the flatbread with arugula, pears and walnuts. Other tasty toppings could be sliced almonds, warm mango chutney or diced apples. Even though I loved it plain, I will definitely be giving these a try next time!

It’s quick and easy to “cook” up. Just bake at 425F for 9-11 minutes. It makes a great appetizer, side or meal!

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Cream Cheese and Chicken Taquitos

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With this heat wave in Las Vegas, I don’t even want to leave the comfort of our air-conditioned house to get food. And I love food. This recipe came about because I wanted to use up some of our leftover ingredients and not have to go to the grocery store. It turned out to be very tasty! The crispy tortilla with the creamy chicken filling is amazing. If you’re craving cheesy, crunchy Mexican food, but don’t want to hit up Azteca or Taco Bell, then definitely give these a try! It’s also nice that you can easily customize this recipe based on the ingredients you have or prefer. I used whole-wheat tortillas, but I’m sure flour would be great, too. Next time I want to add jalapeños, avocado, red bell peppers and/or black beans along with homemade guacamole for dipping!

Ingredients

  • 2 cooked shredded chicken breasts
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used leftover cream cheese mixed with ranch dressing mix from my jalapeño poppers and it was great!)
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 cup Mexican style shredded cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped spinach (remove stems!)
  • 6 (8-inch) whole-wheat tortillas
  • canola oil for frying

How to:

  • In a large bowl, mix together the shredded chicken, sour cream, cream cheese, salsa, spinach and cheese.
  • To fill the tortillas, take 3 heaping tablespoons of the chicken mixture and spread it out like a log towards one edge of the tortilla. Roll up and set it seam-side down. Repeat until you run out of mixture.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet on medium (you want it to generously cover the bottom of the pan). Cook tortillas two of three at a time. Flip them to brown each side. Let cool on paper towel to drain some of the grease.
  • Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, ranch dressing, etc. Enjoy!

taquitos 2

Homemade Jalapeño Poppers

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I have zero tolerance for spicy food and thought these were delicious! No need to fear the  jalapeño in this recipe! They make great appetizers and are crowd pleasers at any party!

Ingredients:

  • 10 jalapeños
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 oz packet of ranch salad dressing mix
  • 5 pieces of uncooked bacon

How to:

  • Cut jalapeños in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and membrane, which is where most of the spice comes from.
  • Mix together the cream cheese and dressing mix then spoon into halved jalapeños.
  • Cut bacon slices into thirds. Wrap around stuffed jalapeños and put a toothpick through it to hold in place.
  • Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes, until bacon is fully cooked.
  • Wait until the are cool enough to handle, then dig in!

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