June 30, 2011

Cherry Mozzarella Ball and Tomato Salad

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Tonight was all about simplicity. We were making spice-breaded tilapia so I thought a complimenting light pairing would be a mozz and tomato salad.

With Paul being Mr. Italian, he loves his mozz and tomato combinations so I thought this would be a nice little treat as a appetizer/ side dish to dinner tonight. Plus, I used his Food Networks heart throb in the mix so how could he not love it.

The 
parmesan garlic vinaigrette I actually found at 
Target in Giada De Laurentiis' collections, which of course is Paul's favorite "cooking" star, and it is delicious and a perfect dressing to a salad such as this. 


Now although Giada makes some wonderful dishes... it's to my father and my boyfriends opinion that they 'lower the cooking counter' on Giada's show for EXTRA viewer ratings!!! Typical man... but still hysterical at the same time. But to set the record straight, Giada absolutely has the right mindset when it comes to certain blends and ingredients and she can whip together some great recipes.

This salad was delicious and of course refreshing and light, perfect!



Cherry Mozzarella Ball and Tomato Salad

Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

Ingredients
2 large ripe tomatoes, cubed
8 oz container cherry mozzarella balls
2 tbsp parmesan garlic vinaigrette
5 basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, optional

Combine tomato, mozzarella balls and chopped basil on a platter. Drizzle with vinaigrette dressing and toss.



Sprinkle with the salt and pepper if you would like. Serve immediately.



Enjoy!

June 29, 2011

Grape Agua Fresca with Fresh Mint

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The past couple of weeks has been a random break-up of hot muggy weather with scatter thunderstoms and rain. This doesn't exactly pose for the perfect summer weather, but then again being stuck in an office all day doesnt give me the freedom to be at the beach either so who am I to complain.

Last night I was woken up around 3am to a huge thunderstorm. I am a huge lover of thunderstorms because growing up my father and I would set up lawn chairs inside the garage with the bay door open and just sit and watch. There is something beautiful about a stormy sky and how the wind talks to you.


all freshly juiced grapes

I digress... so when I woke up this morning I felt very at peace and somewhat rejuviated from all the indulging I did this past weekend so I wanted to start off the morning right.It again was one of those muggy mornings so I wasn't in the mood for anything heavy to eat. Heavy foods don't pair well with hot sticky days so normally you would stik with cold cereal, fresh fruits and lots and lots of liquids. IDEA! I had a bundle of grapes in the fridge that I hadn't eaten and just by looking at they you knew they werent going to last another 3 days and before they went bad I had to eat them.

Never waist good food, especaially fresh grapes. yum.

So I decided to make a fresh agua fresca, fancy for fancy mexican water. There is soemthing wonderful about flavored water and even more so when you make it yourself with all natural ingredients. This water contains the vitamins and minerals from all that fruit in a glass of refreshing water and its tastes wonderful and naturally light and sweet... it's practiacally a superfood drink.

so refreshing
I do not like to add extra sugar or honey to my agua fresca as I think the fruits natural juices add just the perfect amount of sweetness. If you were interested in adding a sweeter touch you could add in a little simple syrup to each drink, adjusting the sweetness to your personal taste.

On a hot day instead of reaching for that terrbly unhealthy soda or sports drink, think about whatever fruits you have in the house and whip yourself up a refreshing and healthy fresca... you will not be diappointed.

Grape Agua Fresca with Fresh Mint
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

Ingredients

3 cups red seedless grapes
6-8 cups water
2-4 large fresh mint leaves
ice

Rinse grapes thouroughly and refridgerate for at least an hour.

Add your grapes into the juicer. If you do not have a juicer, put the grapes into a blender and puree, then strain through a sieve into a large pitcher.
juicers are the best!
(for a single serving)
Pour water into glasses 3/4 of the way full and top with your liquid grapes. Twist your mint leaf over the glass to release all the oils in the herb and drop into the glass.


Add ice and stir well. Serve well chilled. 

I made this fresca again when I got home this afternoon in a huge bottle and once the family came home... the bottle was empty. Bad thing it was all gone but good thing it was so delicious that everyone enjoyed it.
all gone....
...but I always snag the last glass :)
Enjoy!

June 27, 2011

Summer Squash Casserole over Arugala Salad

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I just had a wonderful fun-filled weekend with my novio (spanish for boyfriend, when we are feeling fancy) and friends. Fun-filled included a suprise trip into NYC for dinner on the town and Wicked on broadway all thanks to my amazing stud. What a charmer.

Paul and I haven't had a lot of time to spend together these days as we are both always running around so busy with deadlines, work and plans so he decided to book a date night for the two of us and we hopped on a train to the Big Apple and spend the evening together.

Ahhhh so romantic I know....

Now I had no idea what he had in mind for the night except that he said I would be extremely impressed with him and all his thoughtfulness and planning. I was. Wicked is one of my all-time favorite broadway shows and for him (a mans-man whose never seen any musical) this was a big deal and a very selfless surprise for me. We walked around the city, grabed some drinks and dinner and then off to the show with raisonettes in hand. It was a wonderful night.

After our tirelessly-sectacular trip we finished off the weekend at a good friends engagement party with games, laughs, drinks and good ol'fashion barbicue.

While all these lavished good times were being had, my healthy eating had definatly taken back seat prority this weekend but not to fret, I am back for a lean-mean healthier side of eating. Again with the summer squash I know but how can I help it when the colors are so bright and beautiful. There are so many ways that you can cut up and add in these veggies to either create or add to an excellent meal but it always brings that fresh summer feeling to each dish every time.

I put together a layered casserole and served it over a bed of arugala salad sprinkled with a little extra parmesean... delightful! A very hearty salad with bursts of bright colors and soft flavors that marry so complimetary. This is a perfect starter salad or alongside a lean cut of steak for dinner.




Warm Summer Squash and Arugula Salad 

Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

Ingredients

2 Yellow Summer squash
2 Zucchini squash
2 shallots, minced
Chopped herbs (I used basil and mint)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh lemon juice
Grated parmesan cheese
Salt
pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Thinly slice the yellow squash and the zucchini lengthwise (a mandoline works best if you have one); arrange a few slices on a plate in a single layer. Sprinkle with minced shallots, garlic and chopped mixed herbs, drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.



Repeat to make about 4 thick layers. Top with extra olive oil and lots of grated Romano parmesan cheese.


Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until squash is softened and the parmesan start to look a little brown.



Serve summer squash over a bed of arugala lettuce and serve. Add additional parmesan cheese if desired.


Great Night!
Enjoy!

June 23, 2011

Jalapeno Limeade Cocktail

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So needless to day this week has been a rainy drag, although beautiful with all the scattered thunderstorms... I am a sucker for thunder and lighting as long as it's not my beachy weekend. Well tonight we got to pick up a little summer fun even though the weather wasn't cooperating because we are stopping over a friends after work for a few cocktails to catch up.

After last nights jalapeno chicken I had so many left over jalapenos that I was dying to use in something today. 

There is something about the heat and taste of a jalapeno that makes me crave just a little more heat in everything I make.

Anyways, I have started to make a lot of simple syrups this summer and it's my year end goal to learn how to jar almost anything I want to... but starting small with simple syrups was my way of testing the waters without wasting a ton of delicious ingredients because I messed up. So my simple syrup has finally come to a heated spicy one which I am so excited about.

I love this recipe because the heat is cut ever so slightly but the sugar and when mixed with the organic fresh lime juice this drink becomes very cool and refreshing.

And remember, you can always make this drink to your liking. This time around I used 2 large jalapenos and a splash of soda and we were in love. Perfect for a sunny day on the deck or just gathering with friends in the rain.

Sun or no sun... here's to summer, Cheers! 


Jalapeno Lemonade Recipe
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

Ingredients
1 cup pure lime juice
5 cups water

1 cup Tequila
soda water, optional


for jalapeno simple syrup
1 jalapenos, chopped
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
pinch salt

Place the chopped jalapenos and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Continue boiling till about half the water has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Then add sugar and salt and stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer just until sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Let the syrup cool for about 5 minutes.





Place a strainer over a pitcher. Pour the jalapeno sugar syrup, lime juice and 6 cups water through the strainer into the pitcher. 




Stir well. Serve chilled over ice cubes.

If you would like a little fizz to your drink, pour your glass with ice and limeade stopping about 2 inches before the rim and top with soda water.
yum yum, we enjoyed!
Enjoy!

June 22, 2011

Jalapeno and Garlic Marinated Chicken with Lemon

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Back on the wagon to healthy, healthy eating! With party after picnic after wedding we have somewhat gotten caught up in indulging in all this wonderfully prepared and catered food (to which I MUST try and replicate as best I can) and have lost a little bit of the healthy lifestyle we have been trying to stick to.

Who doesn’t fall off the track a little… come on, its only human.

So tonight I wanted to go back to the basics with meat and veggies. I picked up some really nice organic chicken thighs and wings and my idea was a nice heavy garlic base with a little spice for a few ingredient/ high flavor chicken marinade.

This marinade came out light but with a lot of taste. The garlic oil really sunk into the meat making the chicken extra moist and juicy and the added flavors of the lemon and jalapenos really jumped the flavoring up a notch.

Healthy and delicious... just how I like it.





Jalapeno and Garlic Marinated Chicken with Lemon
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

Ingredients 
1/2 cup garlic oil with some added cloves
3 large jalapenos, thinly diced (and seeded for less heat if too spicy)
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
2 pkg. skin on organic chicken wings

1 pkg. skin on organic chicken thighs
coarse salt and ground pepper

In large plastic container combine garlic oil and cloves, jalapenos, lemon juice, parsley and chicken. Shake to coat and refridgerate for 30 mins (or up to overnight if you are preping for the following day).





Preheat oven to 450'. Transfer garlic cloves, lemons and chicken to roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and roast until skin is golden and chicken is cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes.




very tender and juicy



Enjoy!

June 21, 2011

Mini Cucumber Sandwiches on Rye

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Continuing on with girl’s day/night, I threw together these little sandwiches to continue our celebration.

Drinking champagne, getting our nails done and treating ourselves to a little berry fruit salad and cucumber sandwiches while chatting it up about how excited we were for our girlfriends big day being here already was just the start to our day. It seemed like months that she was planning and the excitedment was building up but her day was finally here and everything was coming together beautifully.

I make these little bites for occasions such as this, where us girls get together and food isn’t really expected but being the hungry girl that I am, I always come prepared with a little snack that everyone can enjoy and hold you over till either lunchtime or in our case this weekend, the rehearsal dinner we had that night.

The coolness of the cucumber atop the soft spread and hearty bread makes these little sandwiches very addictive without over filling.

We even shared (like good girls do) with the salon manager and a few customers that were waiting their turn in the chair and for all who snagged a bite I recieved nothing but raving compliments on how tastey they were.

How better to spend an afternoon with your best girlfriends than getting manicure/pedicures with cucumber sandwiches and sipping champagne. 


Lovely! 





Mini Cucumber Sandwiches on Rye
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

Ingredients
1 package cream cheese
1 package ranch salad dressing mix
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into disks
1 package rye cocktail bread, the sm party sandwich size
dill, for garnish

Combine cream cheese and salad dressing mix in a medium bowl. Spread small amount of the cheese mixture onto each slice of bread. 


Place one cucumber slice on top of each cream cheese bread slice and dash/sprinkle dill on top of each sandwich for garnish.




 
Wedding Days
…And for those of you that are keeping up, my best friend’s wedding was absolutely amazing.

We had beautiful skies, bocce and cigars and of course the most breath-taking bride.
The stunning bride





Love her





The most beautiful view on the water to walk down the isle 
A perfect night... and very hot band!
and of course Paul and I had a great time!
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. C… I love you both! Xoxo

Enjoy!