Christmas Dinner…about a week late.

I’m such a slacker.  Finally, I am getting around to posting about my Christmas dinner.  A few side notes…my dad, sister, and brother-in-law are all vegetarians, so we do not have “traditional” holiday meals in my family.  Oh, we will have turkey for Thanksgiving, but there will also be a Quorn roast for the veggies.  I am so used to it now, it seems normal.

This year, we had lasagna rolls.  I have yet to make a Giada recipe that isn’t delicious and easy.  This recipe was no exception and there were raves all around.  I love this recipe because it is easy to adapt and I love the portion control that is built in.  I have never been able to get lasagna to taste the way I like making it the traditional way.  These lasagna rolls are not only easy, but they taste just perfect.  
I am also posting about the salad my mom made.  This poppyseed dressing is great and paired with sweet mandarin oranges and salty feta, it was the perfect accompaniment for this lasagna rolls.  
Mandarin Orange Poppyseed Salad
From Mom
1/2 c sugar
1 t salt
1 t prepared mustard
1/4 c vinegar
2/3 c salad oil
1 t poppy seeds
1 T grated white onion
salad greens
mandarin oranges
feta cheese
Mix all but last three ingredients in a saucepan and heat.  Do not boil.  Refrigerate and toss with greens, oranges and feta immediately before serving.

Day at the beach

First, there is no TWD here this week. I just couldn’t come up with a reason to make the Banded Ice Cream Torte chosen by Amy of Food, Family, and Fun. I am also not a huge ice cream fan. However, I have already made next weeks recipe…so stand by! :)

This is Black Bean Salad. I’m going to share the recipe with you. But first I want to share why I made it in the first place. We had a Family Day for work last week. What that means is we all gathered with our families and enjoyed some hamburgers, hot dogs, other yummy food, and a lot of fun.
The Family Day was held here, on Onslow Beach. It was a gorgeous, but windy day. Not too hot and lovely beach weather.
One of the perks of living so close to the beach is the fact that most social events take place at the beach. Not only did we have a pavilion, we also had a bouncy house and other things for the kids to play with (kids means actual children and Marines!)
That is me, throwing like a girl, and totally missing my target. What was my target? The dunk tank. But as you can see, I was already wet…there was a reason for that.
I had to get in the dunk tank. There was a fundraiser and I raised the third highest number of votes. That meant I had to spend five minutes in the dunk tank. A LONG five minutes.
And I got dunked…more than just once!
And being tall did nothing to help me…when the seat flipped, I was completely underwater. And it was cold!
But, I survived my five minutes and it was actually pretty fun!


I don’t think anyone like my salad though…

Black Bean Salad
Adapted from
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 15 oz cans whole kernel corn, drained
8 green onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/2 c Italian salad dressing
1/2 t garlic salt
In a large bowl, combine black beans, corn, green onions, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, avocado, tomatoes, lime juice, and Italian dressing. Season with garlic salt. Toss and chill before serving.

BB: Panzanella

I have been wanting to try to make panzanella for a while.  I am not sure when I first heard of this type of salad, but it sounded just my style.  All the yummy veggies of a garden salad, to include a vinaigrette and croutons, without the need for all of that pesky lettuce.  Sounds like my kind of salad!  When Melissa from It’s Melissa’s Kitchen chose Ina Garten’s Panzanella recipe for the Barefoot Bloggers, I was a bit excited to finally try it.  Of course, I waited until the last minute to make the salad, but I am so glad that I did!

Of course I altered the recipe a teeny bit.  First, I want to shop where Ina shops because she has ready access to some nice ingredients.  Us mere mortals have to settle for white wine vinegar when the recipe calls for champagne vinegar.  Also, I couldn’t find a loaf of French bread (don’t ask), so I got a loaf of artisan Rosemary Olive Oil bread.  I couldn’t have been happier with my modification on the bread.  That was some tasty loveliness!
All in all, this was an awesome recipe.  Watching Ina on TV, I have always been amazed at how delicious all of her food looks.  However, it always seemed a bit out of my reach.  I was intimidated.  But every recipe I have tried of hers has been delicious and not as difficult as I had made it out to be.  This recipe will be in constant rotation during the summer for me from now on!  Be sure to head over to the Barefoot Bloggers home and check out the blogroll to see what everyone else thought of this recipe!
From “Barefoot Contessa Parties” (p 102)
3 T good olive oil
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 t kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 T capers, drained
For the vinaigrette:
1 t finely minced garlic
1/2 t Dijon mustard
3 T Champagne vinegar
1/2 c good olive oil
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
Heat the oil in a large saute pan.  Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned.  Add more oil as needed.
For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers.  Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.  Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

California Scallop Salad

This is the last post in my “San Antonio” series of posts. My last night in San Antonio, we made this salad for dinner. It is actually a Weight Watchers recipe and it was really delicious. Basically, we sauteed some scallops and added them to chopped mango, red pepper, and avocado. Oh, and there was corn too. Dressed the salad in a mixture of fresh lemon and lime juices and topped to cilantro. There was a surprising amount of flavors going on in this salad and one that I will be making again!

Pineapple, Jicama and Avocado Salad

Sorry. This is the only picture I have of this salad. By the time I came up for breath, this is what I saw. It was that good. You have to try this salad. We cooked a lot this past weekend when I was in San Antonio. We made Snickerdoodle Muffins, Florida Pie, and Fish Tacos. This salad was the perfect accompaniment with the tacos.

First we had to gather all of the ingredients. What sparked this was a trip to the commissary and running across the jicama. Pam remembered she had this recipe and we went from there.
Almost as important as the ingredients is our little helper, Maya.

Nestled all lovely in the bowl is avocado, pineapple, jicama, red onion and cream cheese. Yum!

The vinaigrette is made from apple cider vinegar, olive oil, parsley, cilantro, and salt and pepper.

Toasting the pecans…toss it all together with the vinaigrette.

The recipe calls for the toss to be done lightly so that the cheese keeps its shape. The creaminess that the cream cheese provides is lovely.

My last morning in San Antonio, Jaida, Pam, and I went for breakfast on the Riverwalk at this restaurant.

My breakfast is on the right…chorizo and eggs. Pam got the same thing. Jaida’s breakfast is on the left…bacon, eggs, cheese, and potatoes. I would move to Texas right now for the homemade tortillas alone. SO GOOD!
Pineapple, Jicama and Avocada Salad
8 Servings
From: “Seasons of My Hear, A Culinary Journey Through Oaxaca, Mexico”
2 c cubed fresh pineapple, in 1/2 in pieces (reserve 1 to 2 T juice)
1 small/medium jicama (or apple, cucumber, or celery), peeled and cut into 1/2 in cubes
2 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 c vinegar (mixed fruit, pineapple, or apple cider vinegar is best)
1/4 c olive oil
4 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
4 sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c pecan halves, toasted
Place the pineapple, jicama, avocados and onion into a medium bowl. Cut the cream cheese into chunks and add to the mixture.
In a small bowl, mix the reserved pineapple juice, vinegar, oil, parsley and cilantro. Add salt and pepper. Toss the pecans into the salad. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss very lightly to keep the cheese in chunks. Serve immediately.