Dinner With Friends

I recently had friends over for dinner and it was exceptionally exciting. Since one of our friends has dietary restrictions, we took full advantage of the foods he could eat. This was not as challenging as I thought it to be. Here was the menu:

Black bean & corn salsa
Stuffed peppers with chicken, quinoa and veggies
Granny Smith apples stuffed with brown sugar and pecans
Wine, lots and lots of wine!

The first thing to do is open a large bottle of inexpensive wine!

That’s our black bean & corn salsa in the background. I love this salsa because its quick and easy to prepare, its great as a dip, a side or even on a green salad!

Here are my sous chefs working away! It was so exciting to have everyone in the kitchen!

Our next task were the stuffed peppers. We stuffed them with chicken, artichokes, tomatoes, onion, garlic, lime juice, quinoa and basil. I had originally made the quinoa with chicken stock, but neglected to read the label! Scott couldn’t have anything in it!! Luckily, I had extra quinoa, so I made it again with water!

We had stuffed apples for dessert and they were crunchy and delicious! The juice from the apples and melted brown sugar made a sticky syrup!

   I love love love my dinner buddies!!

And this wine stopper of course!

Black Bean & Corn Salsa 

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1/4 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tomato, diced
juice from 2 limes
2 cloves minced garlic
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin
pinch of salt and pepper

Combine lime juice, garlic, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
Combine beans, corn, onion jalapeno, cilantro and tomato. Toss with dressing and serve with chips, or as a side. If you want a little more heat mix in 1 tbsp chipotles in adobo into the dressing.That night we omitted the olive juice and added lime zest for added flavor.

Chicken and Quinoa Stuffed
4 red peppers, tops and seeds removed
2 chicken breasts, diced. (I had grilled them earlier)
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
1 tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp lime juice
1 cup dried quinoa, cooked
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp basil
salt & pepper

Saute artichokes, peppers, garlic and onions in pan until golden. Add quinoa, cooked chicken and tomato and heat through. Add basil, lime juice, salt & pepper and mix to combine. Stuff into peppers and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until peppers are tender.

Baked Granny Smith Apples
3 Granny smith apples, shelved with core removed
1/2 cup diced pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together pecans, brown sugar and lemon juice and stuff apples. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

Herb and Panko Crusted Tilapia

Soooooo, the past few months have been full of KU Basketball, work and lots of baking! Now that spring is here, I have been taking every opportunity to be outside and make fresh and easy meals! I love cooking fish because its quick to prepare. This herb and panko crusted tilapia takes less than 10 minutes to prep and about 15 to bake!

Herb and Panko Crusted Tilapia

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs ( I used cilantro, dill and chives, but you can use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 cloves minced garlic
Salt & Pepper
Lemon Juice
2- 3 oz tilapia filets

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix herbs, panko, garlic salt and pepper in a bowl. Place tilapia in bowl and cover fish with crust. Drizzle olive oil in a baking dish and place fish in dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until fish is cooked.

I had small filets so it didn’t take long to cook. After baking, drizzle with lemon juice and serve! I like to serve it with roasted asparagus with lemon and garlic.

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic

This is my favorite go to veggie when asparagus is in season!

1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
zest and juice from one lemon
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss asparagus in lemon juice, zest, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender.

This is one of the many reasons why I love spring!!

Queso Fresco Salad and Two New Friends!

Caught in the act!I went to water my herbs and found these little critters having a nice breakfast! They were too cute to get rid of so I let them finish off the cilantro. I finally moved them when they had eaten the whole planter and were about to start on my basil!

Queso Fresco Salad

10 oz queso fresco, crumbled
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup diced jicama
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 chopped cilantro
Juice from one 1 lime
2 chipotles in adobo diced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together lime juice, chipotles, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Combine queso fresco, onion, tomato, jicama, cucumber and cilantro. Toss with dressing and serve with tortilla chips.