Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bulgar with Shrimp, Spinach, Tomatoes, Feta and Mint

I buy shrimp at Costco and split it into 1/2 lb. packages to freeze. I was able to pick more tomatoes from my vines in spite of the cool wet weather we've been having. I have lots of fresh mint growing in the garden, and garlic that I harvested in the early summer.
I decided that would be a lovely combination over some bulgar with a little Feta sprinkled on top.
Bulgar is so quick and easy and I love the flavor and texture.

1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined. If you cut them in half it will seem like loads of shrimp.
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. butter (do not use margarine, the flavor will suffer.)
1 T. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup Bulgar
2 cups chicken broth, low-sodium, organic
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
About 6 oz. baby spinach, washed and stemmed
4 - 5 T. fresh mint, minced
1/2 - 3/4 cup feta, crumbled

Prepare all of your ingredients before beginning and it will go together very quickly.

In a 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat put bulgar, chicken broth and 1 T. butter and bring to a boil. When it begins to boil turn heat to simmer and set a timer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in a large saute pan set over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 T. butter with the olive oil and saute the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add shrimp and some salt and pepper. Saute the shrimp until just pink and set aside in a bowl to keep warm.

Add the spinach to the pan and toss until it begins to get limp, then add the tomatoes.

As soon as the timer for the bulgar goes off add the shrimp back into the pan with the spinach and sprinkle with half the mint.

Toss the bulgar with the rest of the mint.

To serve:
Put about 1/2 cup of bulgar on a plate with about a cup of the shrimp mixture, sprinkle with a little feta and serve.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tracey's French Style Potato Salad with Tarragon and Tomatoes

I was looking for a salad that would use some excess tomatoes and tarragon I had on hand. I was really hoping for a simple French style potato salad. Since I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for I made this one up. It turned out delicious so I thought I'd share it with you. The measurements are not exact so feel free to add more or less of the ingredients as your taste-buds dictate.
Note: I used a combination of sweet-100 cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes and Better Boy tomatoes and French Tarragon from my garden.

4 whole Yukon Gold potatoes, medium, cut into 6 pieces
3 quarts water, boiling
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons white wine vinegar, approx. or to taste
1 teaspoon dijon mustard, or to taste
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 small clove garlic, put through a garlic press
2-3 whole scallions, sliced or about 1/2 cup, including greens
1 1/2 - 2 cups tomato, 1" dice or if using cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2-3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped, or more to taste
1. Cover the potatoes with 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add a couple of tablespoons of salt to the water and turn to simmer. Simmer for 10-15 min. or until potatoes are just tender.

2. Meanwhile whisk the olive oil, vinegar, dijon mustard, pressed garlic and salt and pepper together well.

3. When the potatoes are done, drain them in a colander and pour into a large bowl. Pour the dressing over them and mix well but gently so you don't break up the potatoes. Let them sit until cool.

4. When the potatoes have cooled, slice the scallions, dice the tomatoes and chop the fresh tarragon leaves.
Mix into the cooled potatoes, adjust the salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

5. If you need to make this ahead of time you can put the dressed potatoes into the refrigerator covered for an hour or two. Remove from the fridge and bring back to room temperature before adding the other ingredients and serving.
Do not add the tomatoes, scallions and tarragon until just before serving.

My 3-qt All-Clad pan continued boiling even on simmer so I turned off the flame and timed the potatoes for 15 min. They came out perfect.

About 6 servings

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Caprese with Yellow Pear Tomatoes and Basil

Made a caprese salad using more of our bounty of Yellow Pear Tomatoes and some potted Basil.

2-3 cups yellow pear tomatoes or cherry tomatoes or a combination, sliced in half.

Couple handfuls of fresh basil, stacked and rolled into cigar shapes then sliced into strips.

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons very good extra-virgin olive oil, more or less to taste

salt and pepper to taste.

You can mix the mozzarella, basil, olive oil and salt and pepper together a little ahead of time if you like but don't put the tomatoes in until just before serving.

Note: Never refrigerate tomatoes as they will lose there flavor.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Yellow Pear Tomato Salad with Orzo and Basil

I have an overabundance of yellow pear tomatoes and needed to figure out a way to use some of them up. I came up with this and since my husband absolutely loved it I decided to post it. I hope you enjoy it as well.

6 servings

1 cup Orzo, dried, whole wheat
2 quarts Water, boiling
2 tbsp salt
¼ cup Olive Oil, good-quality extra virgin
1 whole Lemon, both juice and zest. Zest first and squeeze using a citrus press.
1 tsp Spanish Smoked Paprika
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
½ cup Fresh Basil Leaves, tightly packed. Washed and spun dry in a salad spinner then sliced into strips
2 cups Yellow Pear Tomatoes, sliced in half, or more if you like.

1.In a 4 quart pot: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, add 2 T. salt and the orzo and cook according to directions on the package, about 8 min.
2.Meanwhile: In a large bowl grate the zest of 1 lemon and using a citrus press juice the lemon (you should have about a 1/4 cup.). Add salt and pepper to taste and whisk to blend.
3.Holding the bowl in place with a rolled up towel: Whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream until well blended.
4.When orzo is done: Drain the orzo and pour the hot orzo into the dressing mixing well. Mix in the smoked paprika and let cool.
Do not substitute Hungarian Paprika for the Spanish Smoked Paprika. If you don't have Spanish Smoked just eliminate it from the recipe.
5.Just before serving: Slice up the tomatoes and basil and gently mix in. Adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Orzo with Shrimp, Spinach, Tomatoes, Olives and Feta

Had some shrimp I needed to use and came up with this.

  • 1 lb Orzo, Whole Wheat
  • 1 lb Shrimp, Peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp Spanish Paprika, Hot Smoked
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice, Juice of 1 lemon and the zest
  • ¼ cup olive oil, also some for sauteing the shrimp
  • 8 whole kalamata olives, quartered
  • 1 cup baby spinach, packed and chopped
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 6 ounces Greek Feta, crumbled

For the Shrimp: Mix the 1 tsp. Spanish hot smoked paprika and the 1/2 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Pat the shrimp dry and put them into a small bowl. With your fingers, evenly distribute the spice mixture onto the shrimp.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Pour in the shrimp and saute until pink and cooked through.
Remove from the pan and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boiling: Add 2 tbsp. salt and the Orzo and cook until just al dent, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile: Zest the lemon and measure about 3 tbsp. of juice into a large bowl. Whisk in the 1/4 cup of olive oil and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

When the orzo is done drain it into a fine mesh colander, shake out the excess water and dump it into the bowl with the dressing. Mix very thoroughly and add chopped spinach mixing well until spinach begins to wilt. Let cool.

When cool mix in shrimp with accumulated juices, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes and feta.
Adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve.

Can be refrigerated and served later.

Source: Tracey Adams | 8 servings

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Curried Chicken with Potatoes and Spinach

I had thawed a couple of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and wanted to make something a little different with them. After much searching on the Internet I decided to come up with my own recipe.

I'd bought some Vadouvan Curry Powder from Williams-Sonoma and wanted to try it out.
This is what I came up with. We liked it so much, I'm sure I'll be making it again really soon.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 whole chicken thighs, skinless, boneless
  • ½ cup yogurt, plain, whole milk
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne, or more to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 tbsp curry powder, Vadouvan from Williams-Sonoma
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder, or 1 clove minced fresh
  • 1 pound potatoes, Yukon Gold, cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 large Italian plum tomatoes, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1" chunks
  • 3-4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup yogurt, plain, whole milk
  • ¾ cup chicken broth, or as needed
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1.Chicken Thighs: Preheat oven to 500 degrees and line a baking sheet with nonstick foil.
In a medium-sized bowl put 1/2 cup yogurt, salt and pepper, and 1 tsp. curry powder. Coat chicken pieces and place on baking sheet.
Place baking sheet in lower center of oven and turn heat to 400 degrees.
Bake for 15 min. and turn, bake for another 15 min.
Remove to plate, cover and let cool enough to cut into bite-sized pieces without burning your fingers.
2.In a large skillet: Heat oil over medium heat. In hot oil cook curry powder until fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Stir in potatoes and onions mixing thoroughly. Cook until onions are transparent and potatoes begin to soften. Add chicken, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste and stir well to combine.
Add chicken broth as needed to keep the mixture from drying out too much.
3.Cover: Continue cooking stirring frequently until potatoes are tender. Add yogurt, tomatoes and spinach.
Simmer uncovered for about 10 more minutes or until spinach is cooked and tomatoes begin to soften.
4. I served it over brown basmati rice.

Nutrition facts do not include rice.

Nutrition Facts:

Servings: 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 189
Total Fat: 6.27g
Cholesterol: 14mg
Sodium: 144mg (the sodium will vary depending on how much salt you add.)
Total Carbs: 24.84g
Dietary Fiber: 3.53g
Sugars: 7.37g
Protein: 9.56g

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tracey's Vegetarian Chili

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp ancho chile powder, rounded (Williams-Sonoma brand)
½ tsp smoked serrano chili powder, or to taste (Williams-Sonoma brand)
1 tsp smoked spanish paprika, slightly rounded
1 tsp thyme, dried and crushed
1 ½ tsp oregano, dried and crushed
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup roasted corn, Trader Joe's Roasted Corn in the freezer section
2 cans black beans, 15 1/2 ounce cans
1 can crushed canned tomatoes, 15 1/2 ounce can
1 can Del Monte Diced Tomatoes in Juice, 15 1/2 ounce can
2 cups broth, or more if it needs it.
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1.Preheat oven to 350°.
2.In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and sprinkle with a little salt, cook stirring until translucent (about 2 min.) and add garlic, stirring frequently until garlic is fragrant and soft (about 2 more min.). Add cumin and chili powders along with salt and pepper and cook until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Add both cans of tomatoes, the thyme and oregano and the beans. Stir to mix and add 2 cups of broth.
3.Bring to a boil and add the zucchini. Turn off the stove, stir, cover and place on lower middle rack in oven. Set timer for 25 minutes. When timer goes off add the corn, mix well, return to oven and cook for another 5 minutes just to heat through.
4.Serve with cornbread.
Source: Tracey Adams (6 servings)

Pasta with Shrimp, Tomatoes, Spinach, Mushrooms and Zucchini

Last night was another late night for Chris so I wanted to fix something tasty and quick. I threw together an old standby for me with a little twist to make it interesting.
1 lb. lg. Shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut in half.
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
3 lg. ripe Roma Tomatoes, diced
2 cups Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
1 small Zucchini, diced
6 oz. pkg Baby Spinach
2 cups Penne Pasta, dry
2 tsp. Williams-Sonoma Vandouvan Curry powder or any mild curry powder
3 tbsp. Brown Cow Cream on Top Plain Yoghurt
Salt and Freshly ground pepper to taste.

Fill a large heavy pot with water and bring to a boil. Put the spinach in a colander in the sink.
Chop the tomatoes, peel and chop the garlic, slice the mushrooms and dice the zucchini.
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan until just shimmering and add shrimp, some salt and pepper, and 1/2 tsp. of the curry powder. Saute the shrimp, stirring frequently until just cooked, remove from pan and keep warm.
When water comes to a boil add 2 tbsp. salt and the pasta, set timer for whatever your package says (if it says 10-12 min. set the timer for 10 min.)
Add a little broth or white wine to the pan to deglaze it and add the garlic, sauteing until fragrant, about a minute, next saute the mushrooms until they begin to soften then add the zucchini and tomatoes sauteing until zucchini is tender.
By now the pasta should have only a minute or two left to cook. Turn off the heat under the tomato mixture and add the shrimp as well as the curry powder and the yoghurt. Stir until thoroughly combined.
Remove a cup of the hot pasta water and drain the pasta into the colander with the spinach. Shake it gently to remove most of the water then pour it back into the pasta pan. Using tongs or a pasta fork distribute the spinach through the pasta, add the tomato, shrimp mixture to the pan and stir until well mixed adding some of the pasta water if it seems dry.
Cover and let sit for 2-3 min. so the pasta can soak up some of the liquid. Adjust the seasonings and server.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Birthday Dinner at Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles

Last night Chris took me to dinner at Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles for a belated birthday dinner. It's our favorite restaurant. They grow all of their own produce organically and buy their meats and seafood locally. It's a little difficult to find the first time you go because it's down an alley but it's well worth it. They seem to be the exception that makes the rule when it comes to location being important.

Chef Julie is an artist and you'll never find the usual on her menu.

Last night Chris and I both chose the seared giant scallops with forbidden rice and fresh strawberries, macadamia nuts, liche nuts, kumquat and grilled bok choy, heaven. Each bite was an explosion of texture and flavor in the mouth. My husband and I shared the grilled romaine salad with feta and Spanish white anchovies, which was absolutely delicious. For desert we shared the Italian olive oil cake with blackberries.

My only regret is that I forgot to bring my camera.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Review of Women's Timberland PRO® 6-Inch TiTAN®Waterproof Rigmaster Safety Toe

Originally submitted at Timberland

Get geared up this season. Take a look at our Women's Timberland PRO® 6-Inch TiTAN® Waterproof Rigmaster Safety Toe. Crafted from waterproof full-grain leather, these super-durable 6-inch workboots are engineered specifically for the jobsite.

Most comfortable boots ever!
By Bikracer from Atascadero, CA on 5/11/2011
5out of 5
Sizing: Feels true to size
Width: Feels true to width
Pros: Comfortable, Stable, Durable, Good Cushioning
Best Uses: Work
Describe Yourself: Athletic, Comfort-oriented
The moment I got these boots in the mail I took them out of the box and tried them on. They were a perfect fit and not only that they were comfortable right out of the box. I wore them all day spreading mulch out in our up and down yard the very first day I got them.
I've never had a pair of boots that were comfortable with no break-in at all. They have a high-top which with all of the boots I have tried in the past was very painful, NOT with these boots. The cushioning is just right and in the right places as are the seams. No painful rubbing seams.
The footbed is a dream to walk around in, even on rocky terrain.
I LOVE these boots!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Whole Wheat Penne with Broccoli, Shrimp and Goat Cheese

This is one of my favorite quick meals.
Really, really yummy.

2 cups penne pasta, Whole Wheat
2 cups broccoli, florets
½ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (Use more if you like)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ tsp coriander, ground
¼ tsp cumin, ground
⅛ tsp chile powder, chipotle
2 ½ ounces goat cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring 4 quarts water to boil. When boiling add 1 tbsp. salt to water and pasta. Set timer for 9 or 10 minutes.
Mix the seasonings (except the salt and pepper) together in a small bowl.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil over med-high heat in a large skillet. Add broccoli and half the seasonings and toss to evenly coat. Sauté for about 5 minutes and add garlic. Toss to mix then add shrimp and sprinkle with the rest of the seasonings and salt and pepper to taste.
Lower heat enough to keep from burning the garlic and sauté while the pasta finishes cooking. Be careful not to overcook the pasta.
Scoop out 1/4 cup of the hot pasta water and quickly drain pasta. Return to pan and mix in the goat cheese and pasta water stirring until a creamy sauce forms. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if you like, and toss in the broccoli/shrimp mixture.
Let sit covered for 3 minutes and serve.

I used large shrimp from Costco so I cut them in half to make them bite-sized.

Source: Tracey Adams (Makes about 3 servings)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Chicken Sausage with Carrot, Peppers and English Peas

I had a carrot, a yellow bell pepper and more of those shelled English peas. Yesterday I bought some Chicken Sausage with Jalapeno that they occasionally sell at Spencer's Market here on the Central Coast. Not really in the mood to cook as I've been spreading mulch for the past couple of days and I'm feeling a little weary.
Served over whole brown rice and quinoa by "Seeds of Change" I happened to have in the pantry and a green salad these few ingredients became a pretty tasty and healthful meal.

Chicken Sausage with Carrot, Peppers and English Peas
3/4 lb. Chicken Jalapeno Sausage
1 tbsp Olive Oil
½ cup Chicken Broth
1 whole Carrots, diced into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3/4 c.)
1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper, diced
1 cup Shelled Peas
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 can Del Monte Diced Tomatoes in Juice
1 tsp Spanish Smoked Paprika
2 cups Brown Rice, cooked and hot or Seeds of Change Foods, Whole Brown Rice and Quinoa.

Heat heavy saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil. When the olive oil is shimmering add the sausage and brown on all sides.
Add chicken broth and braise until cooked through.
Remove from pan and slice into bite-sized chunks.

Add garlic to pan and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the carrots and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the peppers and saute another minute or so.
Add the sausage, tomatoes and smoked paprika. Stir to combine, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the carrots are just tender.

Remove the lid, add the peas stirring to combine and simmer uncovered for 1-2 minutes.
Serve over the brown rice with a tossed green salad.

Source: Tracey Adams (about 3 servings)
Note: It's important that you use regular Del Monte Diced Tomatoes in tomato juice. If you use low-sodium tomatoes you'll need to add salt to taste.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Whole Wheat Penne with Shrimp, Tomatoes, Spinach, Peas and Feta

Tonight for dinner I had some shrimp I'd bought at Costco as well as some baby spinach I needed to use up. This is what I came up with and it turned out so delicious I just had to share it.


2 cups whole wheat penne
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut in half
2 large garlic, clove, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large tomato, diced (1 cup)
8 ounces fresh baby spinach, put into colander in sink
1 cup fresh peas*, shelled (optional)
1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika, rounded or to taste
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled, preferably sheeps milk
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped


1. Prep all ingredients  Have all ingredients ready to go before you begin cooking and everything will go much more smoothly. 
Peel and devein shrimp then cut them in half crosswise. Peel and chop garlic, chop tomato, chop parsley. Shell peas and measure out a cup. Dump baby spinach into colander.

2. Fill a 6-quart pot with water Bring to a boil. When boiling add a small handful of salt and the pasta*. Set timer for pasta and begin heating olive oil in a large nonstick wok shaped pan.

3. Season shrimp Dump smoked paprika, salt and pepper into bowl large enough to hold shrimp easily and mix together. Next add the shrimp and mix thoroughly until shrimp is evenly coated with seasoning.

4. Saute garlic in olive oil until fragrant and add shrimp. Saute until shrimp is cooked stirring constantly so that garlic doesn't burn. Add tomato and cook stirring until a sauce begins to form. When it does, turn off the heat and just leave the pan on the burner until you're ready to mix it with the pasta.

5. When there are 2 min. left on the timer for the pasta add the shelled raw peas to the pasta.
When the timer goes off dip a cup of the pasta water out (don't worry if you get some peas) and drain the pasta into the colander with the baby spinach.

6. Tip the colander until most of the water is drained and pour the mixture back into the pasta pot. Stir and break up the spinach (I use a pasta fork). Once it's broken up add the shrimp mixture and toss to distribute evenly. Next add the parsley and crumbled feta. Mix it up and put the lid back on the pot. Let stand for 3 min. and serve.
Servings: 4
Nutritional Values per serving:

Calories: 290kcal
Saturated fatty acids: 3.82g
Monounsaturated fatty acids: 5.86g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 1.00g
Total fat: 11.35g
Calories from fat: 102
Cholesterol: 39mg
Carbohydrate, by difference: 35.33g
Total dietary fiber: 2.80g
Protein: 11.22g

I use a gas stove so if you use an electric, do not leave the shrimp mixture on the burner once it is finished cooking.

*I bought shelled English Peas in a bag from Trader Joe's.

*I have found that whole wheat pasta is best if cooked for the lesser amount of time. If the package says 10-12 min. boil it for 10 min. and it will be perfect.

Source: Tracey Adams

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mixed Grains and Lentils Stew with Turkey Kielbasa

It's been raining a lot this winter so I've made a lot of soups and stews. This is one of my favorites. I had a package of "Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley" and wanted to use it in something healthful and comforting. I decided to make a lentil and turkey kielbasa stew with it since I had all the necessary items on hand.
Here is the recipe I came up with. I think it turned out rather well.
Mixed Grains and Lentils Stew with Turkey Kielbasa
Photo by Tracey Adams
Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley is a mixture of parboiled long grain brown rice, black barley and daikon radish seeds. It gives a lovely texture to the stew and tastes great too.

5 cups chicken broth, non-fat, low-sodium
1 can tomato, Del Monte Organic Diced
1 cup green lentils, dried
1/2 cup Trader Joe's Rice Medley, raw
2 cloves garlic, large, chopped
2 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
1/2 whole turkey kielbasa, sliced in half lengthwise then into 1/2 inch pieces
cooking spray
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
1. Prep: Chop all vegetables.
2. Saute: Spray a large 6 quart stockpot with cooking spray and heat over medium heat until just beginning to smoke.
Add onions and sprinkle with salt. Saute until just beginning to sweat and add carrots and peppers. Stir that around for about 5 minutes and add the garlic sauteing until fragrant, about minute.
3. Add: Broth and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the lentils, kielbasa and rice medley.
4. Simmer: Simmer for 30 minutes or until rice medley and lentils are done.
5. Serve

Cincinnati Chili the easy way

One of my husband Chris's favorite meals is Cincinnati Chili 3-way. As we don't live in Ohio I make it here at home. True Cincinnati Chili can only be gotten at Skyline Chili so I mail order the seasoning packets. Just add tomato paste, water and ground meat. I don't eat red meat so I make ours with ground turkey. Simmer it on the stove uncovered for about 3 hours stirring occasionally, boil some spaghetti, grate some cheddar cheese and yum, enjoy.