Man-O-Man, it's summertime and I am feeling ready to participate in some summer BBQ/Picnic/get-together fun. I feel like I have been a slacker lately and haven't really posted much. But I wanted to share one of my favorite "take to a pot-luck Summer picnic/BBQ" dishes. So here we go. It's called Curried Chicken Cashew Salad, and I have to credit my good friend Robin Olsen (not the Robin I knew in High School..Rebecca's sister..whom I would still count as a good friend, but my OTHER friend Robin!) She brought this salad to a party once, and when I tasted it, I thought I had died and gone to chicken salad heaven! I will post pictures of this sometime later, when I have made it (which I will soon!)

First you need the Ingredients: 3 Chicken Breasts, cooked and diced, 1 Cup of chopped celery, 1 Cup frozen peas, 3 Cups cooked white rice (or feel free to substitute in wild rice, or whatever you like...Robin uses a Costco rice blend of wheat, red, and wild rice), 1/3 Cup of chopped green onions, 2 Cups of dry roasted cashews, 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise, 1/2 tsp. curry powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, AND 1 1/2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice.

Basically, you mix the chicken, celery, peas, rice, green onions, and cashews together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise, curry powder, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Add the dressing to the chicken mix and Voila! You have super yummy chicken salad!

Oh man this one was fun, plus its pizza, who doesn't like pizza? So next time I make it I'm going to use my own wheat flour ground fresh by me. I chickened out this time and used all white store bought stuff. So Seen below is most of the ingredients. I try so hard to get all the attending parties out and lined up for a nice shot and I imagine its a little like trying to take a picture at the family reunion. the guy taking the photo is obviously not going to make it into the shot right. So lets see what I forgot. I don't see any cheese, thats kinda important for pizza. There was some water, thats ok to forget. What the heck is that weed looking thing in the corner? Thats actually fresh oregano from the garden. I have some awesome herbs growing in the garden this year, although the basil is not quite ready, bummer thats my favorite one. And actually when I went to make the sauce, it was also baby feeding time at our house an I opted to just sprinkle in the dry stuff instead of chopping fresh herbs. Sometimes its all about quick and easy.

Ok so I also stole my recipe off of the web for the crust. I have made pizza twice in the past month and used two kinds of crust recipes, and this one is the better one. So here it is.


* 2 1/2-3 cups flour
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 2 1/4 teaspoons fast rising yeast (or fast rise, 1 envelope)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup very warm water (120 to 130 degrees)
* 2 tablespoons oil

1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, and salt; blend well.

2. Gradually add water and oil to mixture. Blend at low speed until moistened, then beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. By hand, add 1 1/2 to 2 cupa flour until dough pulls away from sides of bowl.

3. On floured surface, knead in 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour until dough is smooth and elastic. Cover loosely with plastic and let rest in a warm place for about 15 minutes.

4. Press out dough onto (2) 12-inch pizza pans. Prick randomly with a fork. Let rest again in a warm place for 10-15 minutes.

5. Brush crusts lightly with oil then pre-bake them in a 450 degree oven for 5 minutes.

6. Top as desired, then bake again in 450 degree oven for 4-5 minutes, or until desired doneness.

So I followed the above recipe almost exactly and the crust was awesome! I suppose I could have made the crust more round, and if I still had a pizza stone, wouldn't that be something. Our pizza stone died a horrible fiery death about a year ago. I would tell you the whole story but its long. Basically it all happened out doors on the grill and it involved an entire tank of propane. That was one black pizza stone man! So now I use cookie sheets. I sprinkled one with corn meal and the other I put on parchment paper. The parchment paper was WAY better. no mess at all, and no sticking at all!

So I made up the recipe for the sauce and Im open to suggestions here. It was good but im sure it could be better. It was going to bee good with fresh herbs I suppose but oh well.

1 can of tomato sauce, heavily sprinkled with Oregano, Basil, Onion powder, and Garlic Powder.
spread it on the pizza dough thick after the 5 minute pre-bake, and then top with your favorite toppings
I topped with Tons of Mozzarella of course and then Mushrooms and spicy sausage (left over breakfast sausage) The second pizza had Ham and Pineapple. Guess what? the pizza was pretty dang good! the whole thing took a little longer than 1 hour! I cant wait till the girls are older and we can do this one together!

Do you love shrimp like I do? Then you will love this of course!
This one is a classic and of course its really quick and easy... for me anyways.
The ingredients - Shrimp (peeled and de-veined and raw), Garlic, Parmesan Cheese, Lemon Zest, Pasta, Olive Oil, White Wine Vinegar, Chicken Broth, and Salt and Pepper
The amount of the ingredients used as always depends on you, how many shrimp would you like in your pasta? How Garlicky do you like it? How Lemony? etc.
I cover the bottom of the pan with some Olive Oil and add 2-3 cloves fresh chopped Garlic. Let it cook for a good 30 seconds and add the shrimp.

The shrimp will be ready to flip over in about 15 -30 seconds depending on how hot your pan is. when they are turning pink, that is when its time. If you cook them too long they will be all rubbery, and thats just nasty!add about 1/4 cup of chicken stock, and a tablespoon or two of White wine vinegar, and let the shrimp get all happy for a minute or two in that. By the way you should have some pasta cooking on the side and it should be done by now and ready to go. If you don't have any chicken stock or white wine vinegar you can substitute some of the pasta water form your pasta and some apple juice or another kind of vinegar.

Add the pasta, I used Whole Wheat Spaghetti (Yum) and then add as much Parmesan cheese as you want, lemon zest, and salt and pepper.

Toss together and enjoy!

So I was craving some Mexican food the other day...
Of course down here in the South Mexican food doesn't really exist. There are some Mexican restaurants, however they leave quite a bit to be desired. So if you are from out West where the Mexican food is authentic, and you have been transplanted to where its not, then you just have to make your own. This is quick and easy, and cheap. Plus you can totally grow all this in your garden.

I used canned tomatoes because I don't have any from the garden yet, and when I do get some from the garden they taste so good, I choose other things to put them in.
So cut open a JalapeƱo and remove the seeds,or leave them in if your inclined to make the Salsa hotter. If you really want it hot use a Habanero pepper instead. Grab an onion, some garlic, some cilantro, and put it all into the food processor, or the blender, or use a knife to chop it up all small as you please. Open the tomato cans and drain all the juice. Add them to the processor, cut at least one lime in half preferably two or three and squeeze as much juice form them as you can into the mess, salt and pepper to taste and you have Salsa. What a crappy picture this is, I need to learn how to use the camera or something.
So what to do with all this salsa? Well you could just eat it on chips. Or you could make something else. I like to make guacamole. Cut open 3 or 4 avocados and squish them all up, minus the pits. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the salsa and whalla you have guacamole. Or make some fish tacos... Mmmm. thats what I did. Grilled up some Cod with a little honey and chili powder, added some cheese and salsa and wrapped the whole thing in a corn tortilla. cant forget the lime juice. Does it get any better than that. Well maybe it does, if your sitting on the beach in Mexico eating it!

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