"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Publix's Watermelon Feta Salad

The other night, my friend Susan had us over for dinner.  One of the dishes she served was this wonderful watermelon salad.  I had seen several recipes for this recently, but wasn't sure if I was buying the whole idea of watermelon being a key part of a salad - I'm always a little wary of mixing sweet and savory items.  I was really impressed with this salad, though.  Susan told me the recipe was from Publix, so today I looked it up and made it myself.  It's so great and refreshing.  I'm sure I'll be eating it more throughout the summer!

Watermelon Feta Salad
Ingredients 4 oz feta cheese
2 lb watermelon slices (or quarters)
8 oz grape tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups arugula greens (about 5 oz)
1 cup sliced red onions

Cut feta and watermelon into small bite-size pieces.
Cut tomatoes in half.

Whisk oil, vinegar, and salt to blend; set aside. Place arugula, onions, and tomatoes in salad bowl.
Add vinaigrette; toss to coat. Add cheese and melon; serve.

CALORIES (per 1/4 recipe) 270kcal; FAT 17g; CHOL 25mg; SODIUM 470mg; CARB 26g; FIBER 3g; PROTEIN 7g; VIT A 50%; VIT C 60%; CALC 25%; IRON 8%

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Newly Weds to... Oldly Weds?

Kent and I celebrated 5 years of marriage this week!  I can't believe how quickly the time goes - it makes me feel old!  It also makes me feel like I need to change the name of my blog, but I just don't think I can bear to do it.  So, I guess we'll just have to keep trying to live like newlyweds!  We celebrated with a wonderful dinner at Cafe Dupont.  I had a great ribeye and definitely MUST recommend the beignets for dessert!  I keep meaning to post pictures from our big trip to Switzerland that we took in the Spring as an early marker of our anniversary.  Maybe I'll get around to it one of these days...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Taziki's Friday Special

I found this recipe recently, even though it had been publish in 2008 on AL.com.  I really wanted to make it since Taziki's Friday Special is one of my favorite lunch time items!  I figured that the owners had given AL.com a slightly different version of the recipe to print (a lot of folks don't like to give away all their secrets!) but this dish really did taste like it does at the restaurant!  This recipe is supposed to be enough for 6 people, so I cut down the chicken and pasta portions to 4 people so that Kent and I could eat it for leftovers one night - we still had plenty left over even after the 2nd day, but it doesn't last too long in the fridge.  To cook the chicken, I just sauteed three chicken breasts instead of grilling them, and the chicken was still great.  Be sure to get real feta; I accidentally got reduced fat, and it is not the same!!!  This would be a perfect dish for a luncheon, and I'll definitely be making it again!
Photo from AL.com

Taziki's Friday Special
3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
½ cup balsamic vinegar
Juice from one lemon
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 ½ cups blended olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cups mixed lettuces
1 ½ pounds penne pasta, cooked
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, grilled and cubed
2 cups feta cheese crumbled
3 tomatoes seeded and diced
1 handful fresh basil chopped
Flat or pita bread - toasted

To make vinaigrette: Mix thyme, shallots, balsamic vinegar, lemon, sugar, Dijon mustard. Slowly whisk in oil. Add salt and pepper.

Place about 1 cup mixed lettuces on each plate. Toss cooked pasta with 12 ounces (or to taste) vinaigrette.

Toss grilled chicken with 6 ounces vinaigrette.

Spoon approximately 3 cups pasta onto lettuce, then add chicken.

Top with diced tomato, feta cheese and fresh basil, to taste.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Alton Brown's Meatloaf

Kent tried Alton Brown's meatloaf recipe tonight, and we both really liked it.  Kent's been making this recipe for a long time but wanted to try something new.  They actually turned out pretty similarly - but I thought I would post it in case anyone is looking for something new.  It was really good!

Alton Brown's Meatloaf


  • 6 ounces garlic-flavored croutons
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and broken
  • 3 whole cloves garlic
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 18 ounces ground chuck
  • 18 ounces ground sirloin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup catsup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey


Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a food processor bowl, combine croutons, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and thyme. Pulse until the mixture is of a fine texture. Place this mixture into a large bowl. Combine the onion, carrot, garlic, and red pepper in the food processor bowl. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped, but not pureed. Combine the vegetable mixture, ground sirloin, and ground chuck with the bread crumb mixture. Season the meat mixture with the kosher salt. Add the egg and combine thoroughly, but avoid squeezing the meat.

Pack this mixture into a 10-inch loaf pan to mold the shape of the meatloaf. Onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, turn the meatloaf out of the pan onto the center of the tray. Insert a temperature probe at a 45 degree angle into the top of the meatloaf. Avoid touching the bottom of the tray with the probe. Set the probe for 155 degrees.

Combine the catsup, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and honey. Brush the glaze onto the meatloaf after it has been cooking for about 10 minutes.  Cook until it reaches 155 (it should take about 90 minutes).

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Caprese Pizza Dip - from Susan

Susan brought this wonderful dip to our Sunday School get-together this weekend!  We decided we liked it with tortilla chips, and it's best if it can be kept warm.  This would be a great appetizer for a Greek dinner, and the tomatoes make it perfect for summer-time!

(Photo from us-masala.blogspot.com)
Caprese Pizza Dip
1 pint/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temp
10 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup + 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup basil leaves, chopped roughly
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of dried oregano

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.   Place tomato halves on top.  Drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil and salt, then bake for 12 – 17 minutes.  Take out of the oven and set aside.  While tomatoes are roasting, mix softened cream cheese with mozzarella and ¼ cup parmesan.  Stir in fresh basil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper – mixing well to combine.  Place the tomatoes at the bottom of a baking dish, top it with the cheese mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining parmesan, drizzle 1 tbsp oil on top.  Bake for 20 – 22 minutes, or until top is golden and bubbly.  Serve immediately with crackers, chips, or toasted crusty bread.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hot Corn Dip - from BLC

My friend, BLC, of The Company She Keeps has made this recipe several of the times we've gotten together recently.  It's so good and always goes really fast!  This is a perfect appetizer to take to parties - so delicious!
Photo from bakedbree.com
Hot Corn Dip
(from Bakedbree.com)
  • 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • tomatoes
  • green onions
  • cilantro
  • tortilla chips
  1. Put the cream cheese, jalapeno, garlic powder, chipotle powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix together until well combined. Add the corn. Mix until everything is combined. Add 2 cups of the cheese and stir until combined.
  2. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Pour corn into pan and top with remaining cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and it is hot all the way through. Top with chopped tomatoes, sliced green onions, and cilantro. Serve with chips.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Enchilada Casserole

This recipe is from Birmingham's Junior League Cookbook, Tables of Content.  I tried this dish at a recent meeting and then made it for friends after they had a baby.  It's a great recipe to make and take since it's a whole meal in one dish.  It's also a really easy way to make Mexican food at home - and who doesn't love that?!

Enchilada Casserole
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (14-oz) can diced Mexican-style tomatoes
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
1 (4-oz) can diced green chiles
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon sugar
10 (6-in) corn tortillas, quartered
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2 cups (8-oz) shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream

Squeeze any excess moisture from the spinach.  Brown the ground beef with the onion, garlic, cumin, red pepper, salt, and black pepper in a skillet, stirring until the ground beef is crumbly; drain.  Stir in the spinach, undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles, lime juice, and sugar.  Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Dip the tortilla quarters in the melted butter.  Arrange 1/2 of the tortillas in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.  Spread with 1/2 of the ground beef mixture and sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese.  Layer with the remaining tortillas, sour cream, remaining ground beef mixture, and remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes.
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