Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Category Archives: Salads

Shrimp & Macaroni Salad

This is my all time favorite macaroni salad, and my family would agree with me.  It’s simple and easy to throw together and I make it often in the warm weather months.

The shrimp I use in this dish are the “tiny” version found in a can.  Before you cover your eyes and run away from that idea I promise you they work and they work well.  I’ve tried it with fresh shrimp and frozen tiny shrimp and just was not happy with the results.  The canned “tiny” version is what works best and I’ve never had anyone who has tried it tell me they didn’t love this salad.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

SHRIMP & MACARONI SALAD:

  • 8 oz. Elbow Macaroni (or any small pasta)
  • 2 Stalks Celery, diced
  • 1 Small Onion, diced
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 Cans “Tiny” Shrimp, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 – 1 Cup Mayonnaise (Use the good stuff!)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the macaroni.  Cook until just done.  When done, drain and rinse with cool water and set to the side.

Dice the celery and the onion and grate the carrot and set to the side.

Drain and rinse the shrimp and set to the side.

In a large bowl add the macaroni, celery, onion, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, garlic powder and the grated carrot.  Mix well and add more mayonnaise if needed.  Once mixed, add the two cans of shrimp and fold in.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two before serving. 

Stir well before serving and enjoy!

 

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Parmesan Couscous Salad

This was my lunch the other day and it was just what I was craving.  Simple, tasty, and something you can do with whatever you choose.  There are no measurements for this dish because it’s pretty much just a catch-all for whatever fresh produce you have on hand and want to throw in and mix up.  Simple!

PARMESAN COUSCOUS SALAD:

  • (1) 5.9 oz. Box Near East Parmesan Instant Couscous prepared according to package directions making sure to use the olive oil and not butter when preparing.
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon (or a whole lemon if you are a lemon lover like me)
  • 1/2 seeded, peeled and diced cucumber
  • 8 to 9 Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
  • Couple tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley
  • Handful or two of torn baby spinach leaves
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

After cooking the couscous according to the package directions, fluff with a fork and then refrigerate until cool.

Add couscous to a large bowl, add in all remaining ingredients and mix together.  Serve immediately.

You can switch this up with some lime juice and fresh cilantro. 

Add some vinegar in place of the lemon and top with some feta cheese. 

The possibilities are endless. 

Enjoy!

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Bernadette’s Texas Caviar

I don’t know the true origins of this dish as I’ve never researched it.  Did it originate in Texas or is that just a name for a dish similar in other areas, but called something different in each region?  I know I’ve had something similar when I was in Mexico, and something similar in my area, and I’ve seen it called everything from Bean Salsa, Bean Caviar, Bean Salad and, of course, Texas Caviar. 

Wherever the name originated from, I’m not concerned.  The only thing that concerns me is that it’s delicious.  Period.

I’ve seen it made with corn, celery, green bell pepper, tomatoes, and a number of other ingredients. 

This version is one friend’s of ours made recently and I just loved it.  If she had a blog I’d send you over to it, but she doesn’t so I can’t.  I did ask her for her recipe and I’ll share that with you today.  I’ve seen recipes for it made with bottled Italian dressing, but was intrigued when she told me she makes her own, which she cooks and than cools.  I think it’s this dressing that makes the difference in her dish.  I can eat it by the bowl, with some tortilla chips, on top of chicken or fish and any other way you can think of .

It’s simple and most definitely even better a day or two after you make it.  You can add to it whatever you like.  

Texas Caviar:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Can Black Eyed Peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

In a small pot, heat the sugar, vinegar and oil.  Bring to a rapid boil and remove from heat.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl add all remaining ingredients.  Pour the cooled vinegar mixture over the top and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least several hours before you plan to serve it or overnight is even better.

Enjoy!

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Potato Salad

There are probably a million recipes for potato salad and I’m sure this is one of them.  What can’t you throw in potato salad.  I can tell you one thing that is never being added to my potato salad, an ingredient common in most potato salads.  Can you guess what that is?  For those who know me you have probably guessed it already. 

Eggs.

Nope. Ain’t happening.  I hate getting all ready to sink my teeth into some potato salad only to find out there are eggs in it. 

Actually, I do cook with eggs all the time.  But in their natural state they scare me.  Seriously.  It’s a texture thing, folks.  That’s all I can tell you.

I won’t eat clams either for the same reason. 

But this ain’t about clams and their ain’t no clams in this potato salad either.   I’m rambling now, so I’m going to move on and just tell what actually is in this potato salad.

Potatoes, bacon, red onion, mayonnaise, celery, carrots and mayonnaise.   Hellmann’s mayonnaise.  There really is no other mayonnaise out there to use in salads. 

Of course you can use whatever mayonnaise you want.   Just don’t invite me over for dinner.  You would have lost me already at the eggs, but the mayonnaise would have put me over the top. 

Truth be told, I really don’t measure out anything when I’m making potato salad.  I do it pretty much just by sight and taste alone but since I should show an actual recipe, I’ll do my best to estimate what I used for this one.  Feel free to omit or use whatever you want.  Mix, taste, add what you need and taste again.  It’s really the only way to make this.

One of my most favorite ways to eat potato salad is wrapped up in a romaine lettuce leaf.  I love the creamy texture of the potatoes combined with the crispy crunch of the lettuce.  Perfect!

Potato Salad:

  • 5 Medium Russet Potatoes, peeled and boiled
  • 1/2 Small Red Onion, minced
  • 1-2 Stalks Celery, minced
  • 5 Pieces of Crisp Bacon, crumbled
  • 1 Small Carrot, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. Mrs. Dash
  • 1/4 tsp. Celery Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Yellow Mustard
  • 3/4 – 1 Cup HELLMANN’S Mayonnaise
  • Fresh Parsley, Chopped (*optional)

Boil a pot of water and salt it.  Add whole, peeled potatoes and simmer until potatoes are fork tender. 

Cook up your bacon until crisp and set to the side to cool. 

While your potatoes are cooking start chopping up your carrots, onion and celery.  Add your vegetables and all of your dry ingredients to a large bowl, leaving the mayonnaise and mustard to the side. 

Once potatoes are done, drain them in a colander and run them under cool water until they are cool to the touch. 

Drain potatoes and cup up in small or large chunks.  Sometimes I will cut up 3/4 of the potatoes and then cream the rest of them making the salad creamier. 

Add potatoes to your bowl.  Add the mayonnaise and mustard and mix well making sure it’s well combined.   Once mixed, crumble your bacon over the top and mix again just before serving. 

Place in a covered dish and refrigerate until ready. 

Enjoy!

Grilled Pizza

My mouth has been watering for a week for this grilled pizza.  My plan was to make these last weekend, but then we got hit with cold, rainy, damp weather, so I nixed the idea.

But this weekend it’s beautiful, hot, sunny and gorgeous out.  The perfect time to grill up some pizzas.

Our favorite pizza place serves what they call a “Bruschetta Pie”.  No sauce, but lots of Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh garlic, fresh mozzarella, and oil and vinegar.  It’s delicious.  We order it every few weeks.

As you all may know by now, I’m not a dough person.  I can’t get the hang of it and keep promising myself someday I’m going to become one of those people who just has magical fingers that works dough – any kind of dough – beautifully. 

Until I get there, I buy my pizza dough.  Our store had fresh pizza dough on sale last week for $1 for a fresh made pound.  I picked up a few, and after realizing last weekend was a no go on the grilling decided instead to throw them in the freezer for another time.  This was that time. 

First things first, either make your own dough or pick up some freshly made dough.  Pizza places will sometimes sell you theirs, but there are many grocery stores that make their own now as well.  I don’t recommend the canned stuff.  It’s just not natural.

Let that dough rise and do its thing. 

Get your grill nice and hot, and before you heat it, either spray it with some grilling spray (I used Pam for Grilling), or brush it with some olive oil.

While the grill is heating, slice up the tomatoes, basil, chopped garlic, and throw it all in a bowl.  Drizzle with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.  You can add any other spices you want.  Some italian blend seasoning would be great as well, along with some grated parmesan.

Work your dough out into the shape you prefer.  I made two pizzas out of the 1 pound ball I purchased, sliced it in half and stretched it out. I’m not particular about the shape, and in fact, I kind of like it to be a little out of shape. 

Once the grill is nice and hot (mine was at around 375) I placed the dough down.  Let it grill on one side before you add your toppings and get it nice, brown and crispy.

Now, on the side you just grilled it on, top it with your tomatoes, basil, garlic and the sliced mozzarella.  Sprinkle a little of the balsamic vinegar over the top and close the top of the grill.

Check it every few minutes, and make sure to peek underneath to make sure it’s not browning too much.  If you have hot spots on your grill, you may need to move the dough around to make sure it grills evenly.

Once it’s nice and crisp on the bottom, shut off the grill, close the top and let it sit for a few minutes for the cheese to really melt.  Take off the grill, cut that puppy up and gobble it down! 

I won’t embarrass myself and tell you how many pieces I ate.  I’ll just tell you it was D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S

Grilled Pizza:

Serves 4

  • 1 lb. Pizza Dough (freshly made or store bought)
  • 2 Large Roma Tomatoes, Sliced
  • 10 Basil Leaves, Sliced
  • 1-2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 8 0z. Ball Fresh Mozzarella
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil (I used light tasting)
  • 1 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning (optional)

Begin by either spraying your grill with a non-stick grill spray, or brush it with some olive oil. 

Turn on the grill and get it heated to around 375/400 degrees.

While the grill is heating, add your sliced tomatoes, basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic and spices to a large bowl, mix it well, and set to the side.

Take your dough and cut it in half.  Work each half into the desired shape and thickness you prefer.

Position both pieces of dough on the grill and allow to get crispy and brown on one side.  Move the dough around if necessary if you have hot spots on your grill so it will brown evenly without burning.

Once the dough is done on one side, flip it over and lay out your tomato mixture, place the slice mozzarella on the top and drizzle with a little of the oil and vinegar left in the bowl.

Grill until crispy.  Once done, turn off the grill, and close the top.  Allow the pizzas to sit for a few minutes in the warm grill to get the cheese nice and melted.

Remove, slice and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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