Posts Tagged 'spinach'

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

Spinach & Mushroom Quesadilla _4082

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

Like most weekdays … it’s often a busy night with the kid’s sports practices so I often need a quick and easy option for supper.

Quesadillas are always a good option for a super fast dinner.  I always have tortillas and some type of cheese in my fridge.  They are a great way to use up leftover veggies.  If nothing fresh is in the fridge, grab some frozen spinach or corn or canned black beans. This recipe is from my cookbook Simply Grilling.  I love the smoky flavor a grill gives a quesadilla … but they can easily be made indoors on a grill pan or in a skillet.

Enjoy!

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

Cooking quesadillas on the grill gives them a deliciously smoky flavor.

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound white button mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, and sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bag (6-ounce) fresh baby spinach
8 fajita-size (6-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Vegetable oil, for the grates

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and set aside.

Return the skillet to the stove top and add the remaining olive oil. Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, until just wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Place 4 tortillas on a work surface. Evenly sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of the cheese, 1/4 of the spinach, and 1/4 of the mushrooms. Cover with the remaining tortillas.

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Place the quesadillas on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

To serve, cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve warm.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: The varieties of quesadillas that can be prepared are endless—the only requisite ingredient is cheese. Have fun experimenting with your favorite ingredients.

Grill Pan Friendly: This recipe can easily be made indoors on a grill pan or cast iron skillet.

Source: Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Nothing is more Southern than the combination of black-eyed peas and greens.  For a lighter version, I substituted tender baby spinach leaves for the traditional collard greens.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad
From Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
2 cans (15-ounces) black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
1 small garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bag (6 ounces) Baby Spinach salad blend, coarsely chopped

To make the Red Wine Vinaigrette: Place the vinegar in a small bowl.  Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare the salad: In a large salad bowl toss together the black-eyed peas, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, red onion, jalapeño, and garlic. Add the vinaigrette to taste and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the spinach among the plates.  Top with a generous spoonful of the black-eyed peas.  Serve immediately.

Makes 6 side salads

Tips: For an authentic Southern touch, add a dash of hot sauce to your black-eyed peas for a little extra zing.

This Black-Eyed Pea Salad also makes delish dip served with Fritos!

Flank Steak Roulade

I love dishes that look so much harder than they are to make!  When I serve them, my guests ooohhh and aaahhh over how impressed they are with my cooking skills.  Little did they know, the dish was so simple, my daughter could have assembled it!

My flank steak roulade is the perfect example of such a dish.  It makes a beautiful presentation at the table, has a delectable combination of flavors, and is a cinch to prepare!

Here’s the trick.  You take a flank steak and place it on a cutting board. Generously season it with salt and pepper to taste, layer your favorite filling ingredients, and then roll it up like a log.  Finally, I tie it up with cooking twine to ensure it holds it shape. That’s it. See, I told you it was simple!

I prefer to brown the roulade on all sides before placing it in the oven.  I think it adds flavor and texture to the meat.

For the filling, I like to use ingredients that add flavor, texture and color.  Vibrant spinach and roasted red peppers make a statement.  French fried onions add both flavor and texture to the mix.  Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese add creaminess.

Feel free to substitute ingredients that you have on hand. Sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sautéed mushrooms, goat cheese and fresh herbs are all delicious filling alternatives.  Worried about fat?  Omit the cheese.

This delicious dish that is much easier than it looks will definitely impress your company.

Enjoy!

Flank Steak Roulade

1 flank steak, pounded about 1/3-inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups fresh spinach
3/4 cup FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions
1/2 cup drained and diced roasted red peppers
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the flank steak on a cutting board.  Generously season with salt and pepper. Place the spinach in an even layer over the steak. Next layer the FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions, roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese on top of the spinach. Roll the steak tightly into a log.  Tie with kitchen twine every 2 inches along the length of the roll. Generously season the outside of the roulade with salt and pepper.

Place the oil in a large, oven-proof sauté pan and warm over medium-high heat until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Sear the roulade until well-browned on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place the roulade in the oven to finish cooking, about 20 to 25 minutes for medium. (If you like it more well done, leave it in longer.)

Let the roulade rest for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the kitchen twine. Slice into 1-inch thick slices and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

Cooking Tip: Be sure to let the roulade rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. This ensures a juicy steak.

Variations: For the filling, feel free to substitute ingredients that you have on hand. Sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sautéed mushrooms, goat cheese, and fresh herbs are all delicious filling alternatives.

Do Ahead: The roulade can be assembled and refrigerated one day in advance.

 

 

 

 

Watermelon and Arugula Salad

I don’t think any fruit says summer and back-yard barbecues like watermelon. I love, my kids love it … a juicy, refreshing slice of watermelon is just hands-down a quintessential favorite.

Most people only think of serving watermelons sliced  … but one of my favorite ways to enjoy this juicy treat is in a salad.  I just love the whole “savory versus sweet” thing that goes on when you match ripe, sweet fruits with savory ingredients.

For this salad, I toss watermelon with spicy arugula. I find that a flavorful green like arugula provides a great contrast to the sweet fruit.  (Spinach would be a good substitute if you can’t find arugula.)

In the South, we like to salt our watermelon slices. (Don’t make a face if you haven’t tried it!) The piquancy of the salt actually enhances the melon’s sweetness.  To get that same experience in this salad, I add crumbled Feta cheese.  This salty cheese works the same way Kosher salt would on a cold slice of watermelon. Yum!

So for the next time you buy a watermelon … think salad rather than slices.

Enjoy!

Watermelon and Arugula Salad
From Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1 small watermelon, seeded, rind removed, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 package (5 ounces) Baby Arugula salad blend
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

For the vinaigrette:

In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and red wine vinegar.  Slowly add the oil in a steady stream, whisking to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:

In a large salad bowl toss the salad blend, watermelon, feta cheese, and pine nuts. Add the vinaigrette to taste and gently toss.

Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.

Tip:  Add fresh mint leaves for an interesting zing to this refreshing salad.

Mixed Lettuces with Strawberries, Red Grapes, and Almonds

This is of my favorite salads.  It has the perfect combination of tastes and textures. I could wax poetic about how each element of the combination … the sweetness from the fruit, tartness from the lettuces, saltiness from the cheese, and crunch from the nuts … compliments the others.  But I will spare you the rhetoric and just tell you in plain terms … it’s darn good!

The Blush Wine Vinaigrette is my homemade version of Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette.  When I was writing my cookbook Simply Salads, I took some of my favorite store-bought dressings and did my best to imitate them. At times my kitchen resembled a strange sort of vinegar and oil laboratory! Some attempts worked; others didn’t.  But I am proud to say that I may even like my homemade version of this dressing better than the original. It’s brighter in flavor (thanks to the freshly squeezed lemon juice), has no preservatives or MSG, and costs so much less than the bottled original.

Hope this becomes one of your favorite salad combos too!

Enjoy!

Mixed Lettuces with Strawberries, Red Grapes, and Almonds
From my cookbook Simply Salads

For the Blush Wine Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1 bag (8 ounces) Mediterranean salad blend
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
2/3 cup red grapes, halved
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (preferably Maytag)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Blush Wine Vinaigrette:

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.  Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:

In a large salad bowl toss together the salad blend, strawberries, grapes, scallions, almond slices, and crumbled blue cheese. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.

Cooking Tip:  Mix and match this colorful salad using your favorite ingredients.  Try substituting spinach or using green grapes or dried cranberries. Goat cheese is also a nice substitute for the blue cheese.


Jennifer Chandler

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