Summer Time Strawberry and Nut Salad with a Vanilla Bean Vinaigrette


This morning I woke up realizing “Today is the first day of my summer break! I am home… Well, that isn’t going to stop me.”  I got my chores done early, I made myself a glass of sweet tea, I suited up in my beach attire, and grabbed my sandchair….”WAIT…. no beach or ocean?….No worries”. I grabbed my Ipad, set up my sandchair in the middle of my patio, sweet tea in hand, chicklit beach book in the other and I was off to the “beach”!

 

 

“Except I don’t smell fresh ocean air. I smell the remnants of my dogs morning feeding that didn’t get picked up(if you know what I mean), and I don’t hear seagulls or waves crashing….WAIT!….I have Ambiance on my Ipad!… I hear waves and seagulls!! I have a sweet tea, a sandchair and a smutty book… Still no sand, but the bricks are hot and it’s a sunny day with a breeze…..EXCEPT… The neighbor kids are riding their bikes and ringing their bike bells yelling, “Shut up, I’m telling!”…NO!!…I am at the “beach”! I hear the waves and seagulls, I smell my suntan lotion, and I feel the heat of the sun…BEEP, BEEP, BEEP… What is that? Is that a delivery truck? ….DING, DING, DING….SHUT UP!!….I’M TELLING!!…MOM!!!……. What’s that odor? Oh yea….Stupid Dogs! …. OMG!!!…. Was that a frog that just hoped by my feet?…. MOM… I’M TELLING…. DING, DING, DING!!!

AWWWWWW……

OK….

I am not at the beach….I am on my patio, hearing sounds and smelling odors that do not resonate from the beach….BUT I am thinking of summer time recipes and most importantly recipes that are easy to put together, but really pack a punch of different flavors and “challenge” me to try different ingredients together!” 

This salad is your canvas. Add your own colors and make it your own!  It’s the delectable match. If you want, add some grilled chicken, steak or a fresh crab cake. It’s perfect!

PS….this dressing is to die for!!

Enjoy and Happy cooking,

Vonnie

Salad:

5-6 cups Mixed Greens of your liking

1 Pound strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced

1/2 cup nuts( almonds or macadamia nut work best) chopped  

1 handful of white chocolate shavings

Vanilla Bean Vinaigrette:

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. unsalted butter

2 1/2 oz. brown sugar

2 oz. honey

1 vanilla bean

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 oz. olive oil

Directions:

In a large serving bowl, place washed and spin-dried greens. Toss in sliced strawberries and chopped nuts. Meanwhile in a saucepan melt butter over medium-low heat and stir in brown sugar and honey. Split vanilla bean in half and core (use the pulp only). Transfer butter mixture and vanilla pulp to a blender. Add vanilla extract and pulse for 2 minutes. Slowly add olive oil, pulsing to incorporate. Return to saucepan and keep over low heat until ready to use.

  Dress salad with vinaigrette and top with white chocolate shavings and choice of meat if desired. 

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Seven Layer Meatless Tortilla Pie


I love this recipe! It’s a great dinner for your busy summer evenings.  It’s also super quick to assemble and so versatile. If you want you can add meat ground beef or turkey seasoned with some taco or fajita seasoning.  Grilled chicken, turkey, pork also seasoned and sliced thin works great. If you are going to add a meat layer, do so after spreading the beans on the tortilla. Top with cheese and continue with standard directions.  

This is a dinner that will please everyone in your family. I like to serve mine with shredded  lettuce and diced tomatoes. If you don’t want to use sour cream, for a dip or dressing to drizzle on top of the pie,  I mix some picante sauce and Ranch dressing together.

Enjoy and Happy cooking,
Vonnie                                                                                                

 

 

 
Ingredients:
2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
1 cup picante sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
2 small tomato, chopped
7 (8 inch) flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Optional toppings:

sour cream
green onions, chopped
black olives, sliced
jalapeno, sliced

Directions:
Mash pinto beans. Stir in 3/4 cup picante sauce and garlic powder.
Mix remaining picante sauce, cilantro, black beans and tomatoes.
Place 1 tortilla on baking sheet. Spread 3/4 cup pinto bean mixture over tortilla to within 1/2-inch of edge. (Add meat layer)  Top with 1/4 cup cheese. Top with 1 tortilla and 2/3 cup black bean mixture. Top with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layers twice more. Top with remaining tortilla and spread with remaining pinto bean mixture. Cover with foil.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes or until hot. Uncover. Top with remaining cheese. Cut into wedges. Serve with additional picante sauce, sprinkle with additional cilantro if desired, and optional toppings