Chicken, Mandarin, and Pecan Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

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We make a rotisserie chicken stretch into several meals at our house, and I am always trying new ways to use the “rest of the story” when I remove all the chicken bits from the bone. If time permits,  I also cook the bones and strain the broth to use in other ways. But I always pull the meat away, shredding or chopping as I go. Most of the time I have 3 two cup portions to use or freeze. This salad was a perfect lunch, using 2 cups of leftover shredded rotisserie chicken.  This makes 2 generous servings for a lunch entrée.

Chicken, Mandarin, and Pecan Salad

2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1  hard-boiled egg, peeled and sliced

3 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup chopped pecans

8-10 canned  mandarin orange slices

 

Creamy Lemon Dressing:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Combine all salad ingredients except oranges and toss. Drizzle with Creamy Lemon Dressing, then scatter mandarin slices on top.

Pasta Caprese

IMG_2752A combination of two of our favorite summer salads, Pasta Caprese is perfect for Sunday lunch after church, for taking to a potluck, or as a side to serve with grilled meats or fish. We make a wide variety of pasta salads using ingredients that are in the pantry or frig. An all time favorite is Caprese made with fresh garden tomatoes, basil, and a slice of whole milk Mozarella. For this bowl of combined flavors, I use canned tomatoes and grated Mozarella, but you could also chop fresh tomatoes and/or use little Mozarella balls to make it even better. This recipe makes a large amount. Can be made ahead.

Caprese Pasta Salad

1 pound tube pasta such as penne or gemelli

1 28 ounce can or box of diced tomatoes, drained (reserve liquid for later use)

2 cups shredded mozarella

fresh basil leaves , shredded (I used a large bunch, but add this to taste)

sea salt and pepper,

1 cup balsamic vinaigrette

Cook pasta to package directions, al dente. Drain past, add to large bowl, and add drained tomatoes, shredded basil, grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Toss and add balsamic vinaigrette

Mary Ann’s Oriental Ambrosia with Celery Seed Dressing

The ingredients for this recipe are too colorful to skip a photo this time. So I borrow this similar photo from Flickr user Ben Brown. Ingredients shown vary slightly from my recipe.

Oriental AmbrosiaToday is the first day of Spring and although I am still pretty much house bound I am watching the greening of our garden from my window, planning seed planting for someone else to do, and thinking of delicious salads we have enjoyed in the past.  This shrimp salad is a wonderful addition to your Easter buffet, and delicious for light meals through Spring and all summer long.  I first made it over 40 years ago when I was introduced to the flavor combination by a friend.

Mary Ann’s Oriental Shrimp Ambrosia

2 cups of peeled, cleaned, and cooked shrimp (fresh is best, but frozen works well)

1/2 cup toasted cashews

1 cup pineapple tidbits, drained

1 cup mandarin oranges, drained

1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained

4 cup torn romaine or butter lettuce

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1/4 cup chopped green peopper

1/4 cup coconut flakes

Place torn lettuce in large bowl.  Combine other ingredients and place on top. Serve with following dressing. If you prefer, set each ingredient out in a separate bowl and let those at your table choose and mix their own.  However, tossing everything together results in a beautiful, tasty combination!

Celery Seed Dressing

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon grated onion

1 cup salad oil

1 teaspoon celery seed

Combine first 4 ingredients in blender and mix. Add 1 cup oil gradually, until mixture thickens.  Add celery seed.

Mushroom Quiche

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Quiche is one of those versatile dishes that can be used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Add to that the fact that ingredients can be swapped out in any number of combinations. The base recipe is milk, cheese, and eggs.  Add your choice of chopped vegetables and/or a variety of meat or seafood.  Make your own crust or use a prepared pie crust. Substitute some or all of the milk with half and half or even heavy cream.

Mushroom Quiche

1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package)

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

5 cups sliced sliced mushrooms (I used Baby Bellas)

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg plus a pinch for topping

1 teaspoon dried thyme  (I use Penzey’s French Thyme)

1 1/2 cups grated Swiss or Fontina cheese (about 7 ounces)

preparation

Preheat oven to 450°F. Unroll crust completely. Press firmly onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch deep-dish pyrex pie dish. Bake until light golden brown, pressing on sides of crust with back of spoon if crust begins to slide down sides of dish, about 17 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Melt butter in heavy skillet.  Add mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown.

Whisk eggs,, milk,  salt,  pepper, and nutmeg in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina cheese and sautéed mushrooms, reserving remainder. Pour filling into crust. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the filling and dust with nutmeg.

Bake until  golden brown, and set in center, about 45 minutes. Cool for a few minutes, then cut into wedges.

 

 

The Egg and I

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Aren’t these lovely brown eggs a study in simple beauty?  Few things among our kitchen staples are such perfect food for any meal,  both as stand-alone dishes and as ingredients. I love to make omelets, souffles, meringues, and custards, and of course use them in baking.  But the ways I most often use the farm fresh eggs we buy from All We Need Farms in Needville, Texas,are really very simple and require mostly minutes to prepare. Some of the photographs here have appeared along with a recipe previously in Kitchen Keepers.

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The little red enameled cast iron skillet is perfect for a one dish meal:  sautéed spinach, onions, and red peppers with an egg poached on top.
014Quiche has so many possibilities!  Use bits of leftover vegetables, chop up garden fresh peppers and tomatoes, add your choice of ham, bacon, even shrimp!  Choose from your favorite cheeses, and season with fresh herbs or spices such as nutmeg and cayenne.  But the central ingredient is always the eggs!

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Marbled Tea Eggs were fun to make, and a special treat, but the most time-consuming of egg preparations featured here.

We like Eggs Benedict, which also has any number of variations.  Again, although ingredients such as the English Muffins, Canadian Bacon, and Hollandaise used may be switched out and exchanged, the poached eggs on top remain!

Joe has always liked his eggs broken into a buttered cast iron skillet, cooked briefly until the white begins to turn before I reduce the heat to low, sprinkle a few drops of water into the pan and cover it, then cook just until the yolks begin to set.  I am not sure what method this is called in egg cookery, but the finished product is a cross between poached and sunny side up!  Our family also likes eggs scrambled and cooked on very low heat in a little butter.  I like to stir these scrambled eggs with chopsticks, and remove from heat when they are still a tad underdone.  The residual heat finishes the cooking and the eggs are soft and silky.  Tobasco Sauce is always on the table when we have eggs!

What is your favorite way to use eggs?   Are there special condiments you always serve with them?