Lottie’s Taco Salad

Always serve a crowd, always please a crowd…but go ahead and make extras, in case some “really hungry” guests need small bites before the entrees are served.

1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 head lettuce, chopped/shredded
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 bottle Italian dressing
2 cups grated medium cheddar cheese
1 bag cheese-flavored tortilla chips (crush some chips to garnish top)
Optional:  picante sauce, sour cream, drained canned red kidney beans, sliced black olives and sliced ripe avocados

Brown ground meat and then drain.  Add the tomato sauce, chili powder, worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper.  Let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes to develop flavors; set aside.   In a large bowl, toss together shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and Italian dressing.

Just before serving, spoon ground meat mixture on a large serving plate; cover with lettuce mixture.    Add dollops of picante sauce and sour cream on top, if desired. Sprinkle grated cheese and crushed tortilla chips on top.  Arrange kidney beans, black olives and avocado slices around the platter.  Serve with more tortilla chips (you sure can make homemade flour tortilla chips…lightly spray the tortillas with cooking oil spray, sprinkle just one side with little salt, cut them in wedges, spread in parchment-lined large baking tray and bake them at 350 F for about 8 to 10 minutes until crisp).


How ’bout a summer salad on a pizza (Summer Blue Crabby Pizza)

Dr. Mike Fenster, The Grassroot GourmetTM, shares his delicious pizza alternatives for summer, meaning adding fresh vegetables that are truly heart healthy additions.    It’s a unique way to enjoy a summer salad by putting it on a pizza.

“Summer is the perfect time to eat healthy by enjoying the bounty fresh produce available from local farmers.  Salads are an excellent source of good nutrition, light calories and a cool meal on a hot day. But let’s face it, after a while those salads begin to look and taste the same.  Take your favorite salad elements and combine them on a light crust you can make yourself.  Add in seasonal seafood like blue crab, grouper, shrimp, mahi-mahi, snapper, black sea bass or oysters and you have a total meal that is not only low in calorie but heart healthy.”

Eating fresh and natural foods is part of Dr. Mike’s Grassroots GourmetTM (GG) concept (and his forthcoming book titled Eating Well, Living Better: The Grassroots  Gourmet Guide to Good Healthy and Great Food – January 2012) that is derived from his beliefs and studies as a physician and as a chef that we are what we eat.   Grassroots Gourmet is his easy-to-follow guideline for navigating between deprivation and gastronomic gluttony and follows three basic principles, what Dr. Mike calls the Threefold Path of Be’s:

Be Aware and Avoid the Siren Call of Junk and Fast Food
Be Fresh – eat as much fresh and naturals foods as possible
Be On-Time and In Proportion

“There are so many ways to create tasty and fun summer pizzas.  You can combine your favorite vegetables into a spicy salsa and guacamole and top a pizza crust with fat free refried beans, melted cheese and chicken for a way south of the border Mexican-pizza. Or, if you have fired up the outdoor barbecue, grill up a lean steak, roast garden fresh tomatoes and pears,  and top with a nice blue cheese. You can even top a pizza crust with some vanilla yogurt, slices of fresh fruit a drizzle of honey and a dab of sweet whipped cream for a coolly refreshing dessert pizza.”

With Blue Crabs in season, Dr. Mike has developed this easy summer pizza.

Summer Blue Crabby Pizza
Serving size 1 – 5 oz slice (8 slices per pie); 120 Calories per serving; 3 g Total Fat; 15 g Carbohydrate

1 pizza crust, baked (see recipe below)
Avocado cucumber dressing (see recipe below)
8 oz fresh blue crab, jumbo lump***
1 pound small grape or pear tomatoes, roasted
4-6 oz mixed greens
2 Tbs toasted pine nuts
1 Tbs peppadew or piquant pepper, finely chopped
2 Tbs red onion, finely chopped

Remove the pizza crust from the oven and top with salad greens. Add all the ingredients and then drizzle with the avocado cucumber dressing. You can add any variety of additional fresh veggies and toppings you would like.

***Variation:  You can substitute Blue Crab with 8oz fresh Salmon grilled, baked or poached.  Calories change to 160 per slice and total fat is 6 grams per slice.

Avocado Cucumber Dressing

1 ½ cups Greek style yogurt
1 Tbs fresh thyme
1 Tbs fresh oregano
1 avocado, chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 medium cucumber, peeled seeded and chopped
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
1 tsp chile powder

Combine all the items in a food processor and pulse until well combined.

For a variation that makes the salmon pizza amazingly scrumptious, simply add 1 Tbs chopped dill to the dressing!

Pizza Dough Recipe

The crusts can be made ahead of time. You can bake them all at once and refrigerate or freeze them for later use. Likewise, the dough will keep in the refrigerator for several days if you want to bake the crusts up hot and fresh. Just remember to let the dough come up to room temperature and then sit an extra hour or two to rise before rolling out.

¼ cup warm water (between 90 and 110 degrees F)
1 packet yeast
1 Tbs honey
16 ounces bread flour
4 oz whole wheat flour
4oz AP flour
1 tsp salt
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ cup cold water

Combine the yeast, warm water and honey in a bowl and allow the yeast to bloom. Place the flour, salt and olive oil in a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook. Add the bloomed yeast mixture. Slowly add the water and mix until the dough comes clean away from the bowl. Using the dough hook, mix an additional five minutes, then remove and divide into 2 to 4 dough bowls. Cover with a light coating of olive oil and loosely wrap in cling wrap and set aside in a warm area to proof for about 2 hours or until doubles in size.

Recipes  under  Copyright Michael Fenster and  Photos by Jennifer Fenster

To see cooking demonstrations with Michael Fenster and more recipes, visit http://www.WhatsCookingWithDoc.com.

Also thanks to Trina Kaye Organization for this press release.

Sarah’s Best-ever Potato Salad

Oh, May, oh my!  What a busy, crazy, fun-filled month this has been — and still a week to go before we say “Bye, May”.   With some days giving us in the Midwest a hint, a taste of what summer heat feels like, it is time to unveil summer salads I’ve been working on for days.  This post is all about my Best-ever Potato Salad, with lotsa bacon bites and nice balance of “sweet, salty, tangy and crunch” flavors, really outstanding.  I love potato salads but most recipes I tried were simply bland and a disappointment.   So I owe Roland Foods for letting me try a special Dijon mustard (Roland grained Dijon mustard with wine) that really made a big difference in my potato salad.

Sarah’s Best-ever Potato Salad
It really is best-ever, packed with all the goodness, freshness and deliciousness.

2 lb small red-skinned potatoes, cooked in skins in salted boiling water until just tender, peeled and  then diced (about 6 cups)
1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
1/2 package bacon, cooked with light brown sugar until crisp, drained and then sliced
5 large eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and chopped
1/2 medium green pepper, seeded and diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 lb carrots, peeled and diced
3 cans Vienna sausage, drained and chopped

1 cup mayonnaise (Regular Hellman’s, my only choice)
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup buttermilk (or whole milk with buttermilk powder)
2-3 tablespoons Roland Foods’ Grained Dijon Mustard with wine
4 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley

Garnish (optional):  snipped fresh dill

Add Italian salad dressing and lime juice to warm diced potatoes, tossing well.  Set aside to marinate.

Prepare dressing:  Whisk all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until blended.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Fold salad dressing along with the rest of salad ingredients to marinated potatoes.  Gently stir to evenly coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

1)  Don’t overcook potatoes.   Stick a fork in and if it gives and meets a little resistance, the potatoes are done.
2)   For perfect hard-boiled eggs, place eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let stand 15 to 20 minutes.  Peel and chop away.

Put Spring in Your Step with Snappy Dijon Mustard from Roland® Foods! (Dijon Mustard & Dijon Mustard Grained with Wine).

For 75 years Roland® has provided customers (yes, also Asian customers) with exceptional gourmet food (noodles, tempura mix, mustard, etc.).   Warmer weather and brighter skies spark the craving for something bright and pungent, from astringent Dijon to the more subtly flavored grained mustard. Manufactured in Dijon, France (as authentic Dijon must be), Roland® Dijon has a strong mustard flavor without the acidity of domestic Dijon mustards. Roland® Dijon is ground from brown mustard seeds, giving it a rich yellow color, satisfyingly thick consistency, and bright flavor.
As either a condiment or a cooking ingredient, Roland® Mustard brings a strong, bold flavor to any dish.

Mustard, Dijon Grained w/Wine
Roland Grained Dijon Mustard is made from the seed of mustard greens. With the grained dijon, not all of the seeds are ground into a powder before processing. A large portion of the seeds are left whole for added flavor and texture.

Roland® Mustard Condiment serving suggestions and cooking tips:
*Serve Dijon or Grain Mustard with olives, crackers and bread.
*Grain mustard is the perfect mustard for Cajun style sandwiches of pork, fish or pan-fried oyster.
*When adding mustard to a recipe, be sure to add it near the end of the cooking process.  Too much heat will make the mustard flavor weak and bitter.
*Mustard is an essential ingredient in sauces, from hollandaise to reduction sauces.
*Mustard added to a salad dressing will not only add a dash of spiciness to the salad, it will help to hold an emulsion in the dressing.
*Either smooth or grained mustard is a great addition to a marinade for meat or seafood.

Visit website for product info and recipes:  http://www.rolandfoods.com

This potato salad earned “yummy and delicious” ratings from my # 1 fan/critic, hubby Glenn, so I named this my best-ever, it is one easy-to-fix, “beat -the-heat” salad, try it soon!