Monday, June 29, 2009

Walking Tacos

We just got back from camping on beautiful Sanibel Island in Sunny South Florida this weekend.

And I have to I know why people don't tent camp in South Florida in the summer.




But the beaches were BEAUTIFUL...the shelling was AWESOME...and Periwinkle Park, the only campground on either Sanibel or Captiva Islands, was PERFECT (my kids especially loved all the tropical birds on display...particularly "Fred", a Scarlet Macaw that talked and liked to whistle at Savannah every time she passed by...making her blush).

So, I thought in honor of our trip, and since it's been woefully long since I've posted on this site, I'd post a camping recipe. This is a tried and true recipe that is GREAT for Scout camp-outs...and works good for families, too...

and it's called...

Walking Tacos

2 pounds ground beef
2 packages taco seasoning
1 package ranch dressing powdered dressing mix/seasoning
chopped tomatoes
shredded lettuce
shredded cheese
a bag (or two) of Fritos
Ziploc baggies

1. Brown ground beef and prepare with taco seasoning as package directs. Add ranch dressing mix in at same time.

2. In a Ziploc baggie, add desired amount of Fritos, meat, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. Seal bag and mix lightly.

Now - you can do one of two things...

A. Pack Ziploc baggie in backpack and go on a hike. When you get hungry, open the bag and turn edges down, and eat STRAIGHT FROM THE BAG WITHOUT FORKS AND SPOONS...just eat.


B. Do the same thing...right there at your picnic table.

Sounds messy, right? It kinda is...but once your kids get the hang of it...its packing extra silverware, totally ecologically friendly, and REALLY YUMMY. Plus...there's something about eating food from a baggie without utensils that appeals to and men, that is...because men ARE kids...

Anyway - I only took a disposable camera on our trip, so I'll post pictures LATER...

until then...

enjoy your baggie of taco!!

courtesy me!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hearty Meatball Spinach Soup

I love to have soup all year round, but find that most people associate soups with the cooler seasons. It's totally understandable...soups are comforting, filling, and warm. They are a perfect fit for Autumn and Winter.

But there are GREAT soups for the Spring and Summer, too. Lighter, more refreshing soups than those generally reserved for colder weather. And they are not all chilled soups, don't get all freaked out about "yet-another-cold-cucumber-soup recipe".

Although the title says "hearty"...this soup is not "heavy"...which makes it PERFECT for summer. It's also a kid-pleaser because of the meatballs, and a mom-pleaser with all that healthy spinach!!

I doubled this and served it with LOTS of Saltine Crackers.
Bon Apatite!

Hearty Meatball Spinach Soup

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 tsp dried oregano leaves, divided
20 Saltine crackers, finely crushed
1 egg, beaten
1 TBS oil
2 cans beef broth
1 can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well-drained

1. Combine meat, 1/4 cup onions, 1/3 of garlic, and 1/2 tsp oregano in a large bowl. Add cracker crumbs and egg; mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls.

2. Cook and stir the remaining onions and garlic in hot oil in a Dutch Oven or large stockpot on medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes or until onions are tender. Add broth, tomatoes, spinach, and remaining oregano; bring to a boil. Add meatballs; cover. Simmer on low 20-25 minutes or until meatballs are done..

3. Serve with additional saltines.


Greek Spinach Salad with Tuna

Easy breezy for hot summer nights when you're too worn-out to cook...AND you get to use tuna!!! Hurray!!

(Seriously - its so easy that I almost feel stupid copying the recipe for it)

I didn't need to double...just add about half a recipes worth more, as I served it with lots of crusty garlic breadsticks.

Greek Spinach Salad with Tuna

6 cups baby spinach
2 cups grape tomatoes
1 large green pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup halved cucumber slices
1 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup Greek Vinaigrette dressing
1 pkg. crumbled feta cheese
2 cans albacore or chunk light tuna

1. Place spinach on a large serving platter or divide evenly among four salad plates; set aside.

2. Combine tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, and tuna in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat.

3. Spoon over spinach; sprinkle with cheese.


Hungarian-Spiced Skewers with Sour Cream

This recipe comes from my FAVORITE grilling cookbook EVER...aptly titled Grilling: Where There's Smoke There's Flavor by Eric Treuille & Birgit Erath. It's not too thick...has BEAUTIFUL pictures, and clean, concise instructions for all dishes, sides, and sauces. Check out this absolutely delicious gem that is so flavorful, you'll feel like your mouth is going to EXPLODE...

I doubled and served with grilled potato slices and and a Greek-inspired salad...

Hungarian Spiced Skewers with Sour Cream

1 lb ground chuck steak
1 onion, grated
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp ground caraway
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
Salt and Black Pepper to sprinkle
2/3 cup sour cream to serve
8 10-inch pre-soaked bamboo skewers

1. Place ground steak, onion, garlic, paprika, marjoram, caraway, pepper, and salt in a food processor; pulse until combined.

2. Divide into 8 equal-sized portions. With wet hands, mold each portion round a separate skewer, shaping into a sausage, about 8 inches long.

3. Grill over medium coals, turning every two minutes, until well-browned but still juicy and slightly pink inside, 8-10 minutes total.

4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve hot with sour cream.

courtesy Grilling: Where There's Smoke There's Flavor by Eric Treuille & Brigit Erath

Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Salad

The other day I was hanging out with my friend Melodee, and she mentioned that she was going to start her own recipe side-blog, too...which is GREAT. We were discussing dinner, and she mentioned that although she had known about Kraft Food and Family magazine and web-site for years, she had forgotten about it. I CONSTANTLY use recipes from the magazine and web-site, and she got inspired to check it out again. She said: "The thing I love about Kraft is that everything is so easy...and everything comes out tasting GREAT."

It's true. The recipes are simple, call for ingredients that are PROBABLY in your pantry already, and come out delish!!

And here's another one...perfect for summer...

I served this with vegetable kabobs drizzled in the same dressing I used for the's called Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan by Kraft...

(oh...and the recipe serves I tripled it)

Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Salad

2 slices Italian bread
1/4 cup Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan
2 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 TBS chopped fresh basil
4 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Brush bread slices with 1 TBS of the dressing. Brush chicken with 1 TBS of the dressing.

2. Grill chicken 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Meanwhile, grill bread slices 1 minute or until lightly toasted on both sides, turning over after 30 seconds.

3. Mix tomatoes, cheese, and basil; set aside. Toss spinach and onions with remaining 2 TBS dressing; spoon onto serving plate. Top with cooked chicken and the tomato mixture. Serve with bread.