Fast and Fresh Fajita Salad


It’s almost summer and it’s hot. Who wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen?

Since we do not have central air-conditioning, my summer cooking has to be light and fast (for the sake of my sanity!).

Consequently, my go-to summer dishes are mostly salads.  This Chicken Fajita Salad is a favorite because it’s fresh, fast and, best of all, FILLING!

Chicken Fajita Salad

Let’s make this short and sweet, shall we?

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Serve fajita mixture over lettuce and top with whatever you like!

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Other good choices also include: Black Beans, Fresh Corn, Olives, Jalapeños, Tortilla Strips

Here’s to summer and simple summer cooking!

Have any great salad ideas to share?  I might need them!  🙂

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Chicken Fajita Recipe

Serves 4

*2 Tablespoons olive oil

*12 ounces uncooked chicken breast, sliced 1/2″ thick

*1 red bell pepper, julienned

*1 large clove of garlic, minced

*1 large green bell pepper, julienned

*1 large red bell pepper, julienned

*1 medium yellow onion, sliced

*1 Tablespoon chili powder

*1 teaspoon cumin

*1 teaspoon salt

*A few dashes of Liquid Smoke

*Pinch of red pepper flakes

*Juice of 1 lime

In a large wok or skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon oil over high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the chicken and minced garlic and season with the chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper flakes and Liquid Smoke.  Cook on one side for a minute.  Stir chicken around and cook another couple minutes until full cooked.  Transfer chicken to a large bowl.

In the same skillet, heat another Tablespoon of oil until hot.  Add peppers and onions and cook one minute without stirring.  After a minute, stir the veggies and allow to cook again without stirring.  (This will allow the veggies time to caramelize slightly.)  Cook to desired tenderness (3-5 minutes).  Add veggies to the chicken.

Toss chicken, peppers and onions with the juice of one lime.  Serve over greens or in warm flour tortillas.

Fish Tacos on the Grill


Is it just me or can you never have too many quick and healthy dinner ideas in your pocket?

A favorite of mine is fish tacos topped with pineapple-mango salsa.

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I just love how all of the different flavors blend together in this dish.  Who’d have thunk that fish would taste so good inside a corn tortilla?

Pair with a lightly dressed slaw, and you’ve got dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less. (Unless you plan on catching and cleaning the fish yourself.)

Fish Tacos with Pineapple Mango Salsa

Let’s start with the salsa so that the flavors have time to marry.

(You could also make this a day in advance.)

For the salsa, you will need:

*1 cup cilantro, rinsed and roughly chopped

*1 medium tomato, diced

*1 cup fresh pineapple, diced

*1 large jalapeno, small-diced

*1 large mango, peeled, seeded and diced

*1/4 cup red onion, small-diced

*1 teaspoon salt

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Combine all ingredients thoroughly and set aside.  Makes approximately 4 cups.

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Now for the tacos!

For the tacos, you will need:

*4  3-ounce Tilapia (or Cod or Swai) filets

*8-10 corn tortillas (depending on how many people you are serving; Dave and I eat about 2-3 each.)

*1 lime

*Olive oil

*Salt, cumin and chili powder

First, prep the grill if that’s how you choose to cook the fish.  (Otherwise, preheat oven to 415 F.)

Grab a long piece of foil and on half of it, arrange four Tilapia filets.

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Season both sides of the fish with a brush of olive oil mayo, a dash of cumin and chili powder, a pinch of salt and a squirt of lime juice.

Now fold the other side of the foil over the fish, fold up the edges and seal tightly.

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Next, brush tortillas on both sides with olive oil.

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Place foil packet on the hot grill (about 450 degrees), cover grill and cook for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove packet from heat and set aside.  Do not open the package just yet, however.

Allow the fish to “rest” while you heat the tortillas.

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Heat tortillas for 30 seconds on each side or until they are soft and pliable.  Transfer to a plate and cover with damp paper towels to maintain pliability.

Open foil packet, and flake fish using a fork.

Divide fish among the tortillas, top with salsa and serve immediately.

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Happy grilling, everyone!

Vietnamese Spring Rolls


Glad to be here Lori (and Lori’s readers)!

Even though an Idaho summer is probably not as hot as a Texas summer, I’m sure we all appreciate summer dinner ideas that do not involve turning on our ovens.

One of my favorite summer dishes is Vietnamese spring rolls.

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Unlike it’s fried relative, Vietnamese spring rolls are prepared with softened rice wrapper and filled with meat, vegetables and softened glass noodles.  (Though I prefer mine sans noodles.)

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You can find rice wrappers in the international food section of larger supermarkets.

As far as what combination of meat and veggies to use, the sky is the limit.  My favorite is crab, avocado, carrot and cilantro but you could also use lettuce, mushrooms, bean sprouts, etc.

And if you don’t already own a bottle of chili-garlic sauce, it’s what you’ve been missing all your life.

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This salty/spicy/tangy condiment really brightens up any Asian dish, especially dipping sauce!

So if the weather is creeping higher and higher where you live, grab some fresh ingredients and serve up some spring rolls tonight!

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Ingredients

(Makes 12 rolls)

*12 rice paper rounds

*4 cups simmering water

*2 medium ripe avocados, sliced

*1/2 a bunch of cilantro, rinsed and coarsely chopped

*4-5 scallions, green and white parts thinly sliced

*4 large carrots, peeled and grated

*2 cups shrimp or crab (optional for vegetarians)

*3 cups softened glass noodles (traditional but optional–They make the rolls too dry and chewy for my taste)

*Soy Sauce

*Chili-garlic sauce

*Fish sauce

For starters, I like to add some flavor to my crab and shrimp by tossing them in a tablespoon of chili garlic sauce and a splash of fish sauce.

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Next, set up all of your ingredients in an assembly line because once you soften a rice wrapper, it will get sticky very quickly.

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Pour water into a skillet and bring to a simmer.  Remove skillet from heat.

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Dip a wrapper into the water and allow it to soak for 10-15 seconds until it starts to soften a little.  Do not over-soak.

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Sprinkle a clean work surface with a teaspoon or so of water.  This will prevent the rice paper from sticking while you work.

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Place the wrapper on your work surface and add a few shrimp or a couple tablespoons of crab along the center.

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Layer on a couple tablespoons of carrot, a couple slices of avocado and a sprinkling of scallions and cilantro.

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To wrap, bring the bottom of the wrapper up and over the filling.

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Fold in the sides of the wrapper…

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…and roll the rest of the way up.

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For a dipping sauce, mix a couple tablespoons of chili garlic sauce with a few tablespoons of soy sauce or fish sauce along with a sprinkling of chopped scallions.

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Mmmm…don’t mind if I do.  Chomp!

Here’s to light and refreshing summer dinners!