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The “Fruits” of our Garden

It was an idea that I had been brewing all year – having a farm-to-table dinner with the bounties of the ranch. Boy, did we have fun!

We invited friends from our neighborhood to join us for the fixings. For two days before the party, we gathered and chopped fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

Our evening started with cherry tomatoes stuffed with mozzarella and basil and a charred corn and avacado dip. Baked potatoes and homemade bread (yup, Mom's recipe from my blog earlier this year) coupled with our grassfed beef smoked to perfection. One neighbor accepted a “throw down” challenge with the beef, and he and Kevin each prepared their prime rib and New York strip roasts with their own secret seasonings and techniques. Fresh corn on the cob was mouthwatering, and the watermelons were ready for the picking. We finished off our evening with apple crisp and strawberry rhubarb crisp. Many enjoyed our homemade wine with the meal.

I'd love to share one of the appetizer recipes – it's a hodge-podge of garden veggies that is light, colorful and healthy!

 

Charred Corn and Avacado Dip

2 ears of corn

2 avacados, diced

2 jalapeƱos, seeded and diced

1 red onion diced

A handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 can (or fresh cooked) black beans, drained and rinsed

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Remove the silks from the corn, soak in water for 10 minutes and then place corn on a hot grill for 10 minutes, rotating several times. Cool and remove the kernels from the cob. (note: I have made this several times when corn on the cob was not in season. I simply cooked the frozen or canned corn on the stove in a pan with a bit of EVOO).

Combine all of the remaining ingredients and refrigerate for one hour before serving.

Enjoy!

 

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A Special Dinner – Honey Baked Chicken

Everyone has a favorite dinner – one that they choose when it is a birthday or other special occasion. One of my favorite meals has always been chicken and dumplings….my mom could make the best dumplings. Light and fluffy – and when I would visit, she would inevitably make the special meal for me.

 

In our house, one of our favorites is a recipe of Honey Baked Chicken. Since the chicken bakes in a mixture of butter and honey along with some great spices and mustard, it is not a low-calorie meal. We simply choose to make it a few times a year – to celebrate a special day or get-together!

We start by peeling and slicing a few potatoes and placing them and four deboned, skinned chicken breasts into a baking pan.

 

Combine 1/4 cup of melted butter, 1/2 cup of honey, 1/8 cup of prepared mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder.

 

Pour this mixture over the chicken and potatoes and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Baste every 15 minutes or so which will keep the meat and potatoes tender and browned nicely.

Mmmmmm! Enjoy!

 

New England Baked Shrimp

When I get a “hankering” for some delicious seafood, my favorite way to prepare it is with the following recipe. Gone are the days in our household where deep fried shrimp is served. THIS recipe is not only delicious, it is quick and easy to prepare and has a low calorie count (190 calories per serving). It works on all kinds of white fish – halibut, cod, and mmmmm – walleye. Give it a try!

New England Baked Shrimp

2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

1/2 clove of garlic, crushed

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound fresh large shrimp

In a small saucepan, melt your butter and stir in the bread crumbs, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Remove from the burner and cool. Shell and devein your shrimp; cut through lengthwise until almost split. Flatten and place in a single layer in a medium sized baking pan. Spread each shrimp with a scant tablespoon of the crumb mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees until shrimp are tender.

The shrimp come out of the oven with a wonderful garlic, cheesy flavor with a slight breadcrumb coating and boy, they are good!


A couple of months ago, I read an article about bread crumbs. Yup – not all breadcrumbs are created equal!

I enjoy making my own bread, but there are times when you don't get to the end of loaf fast enough and the bread gets kind of dry. I just pop the slices on a cookie sheet and let them totally dry out, then hit then with a rolling pin to make my own bread crumbs. They are great for this recipe. The article I read on bread crumbs told me that the package you purchase in the store of your favorite bread crumbs is perhaps more than you bargained for. So, last time through the grocery store, I had to see for myself. Here is the list of ingredients on the back of one particular bread crumb container.

I will continue to use my “day old bread” for breadcrumbs. Who knew?