Category Archives: Dressings and Sauces

Watermelon, Chicken, bacon and Feta Salad, Tahini ranch dressing

Beautiful nutritious Salads is what summer is all about.  They are easy,  healthy and delicious and can serve as a meal or as a side. Fresh ingredients like, Watermelon, crispy greens, chicken, bacon and feta all join forces with fresh basil and mint for a quick and easy salad that’ll be sure to delight your family and friends.
Also, this happens to be the perfect food to take with you on a picnic, potluck or beach day.
Having a good list of go-to-salads will make your life so much easier this Summer. 
Some of my favorites salads for Summer are Quinoa Salad, Halloumi Peach salad, Greek salad, Elotes and pineapple salad, Peach Basil Shrimp Salad with Sweet Chili Vinaigrette and Bbq Honey Chicken Tenders Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing.
This watermelon, chicken,  bacon, and feta salad is what dreams are made of. The tahini ranch dressing may come as a surprise but there’s sweetness and nuttiness with a touch of “zing” from the lemon juice, so delicious.

INGREDIENTS

For the Chicken

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

For the Salad

  • 3 cups market greens
  • 1 cup diced watermelon
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 thinly sliced onion
  • 1-2 avocados sliced
  • ½ cup feta
  • Handful chopped pistachios
  • Fresh basil and mint
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

For the tahini ranch

  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine the vegetable oil with the seasoning. Place the chicken in a large zip top plastic bag and add the marinade, give the chicken a little massage and place it in the refrigerator to marinate for about an hour.

Heat a large skillet, remove the chicken from the marinade and cook the chicken for 6 minutes on each side depending on thickness,  until it is cooked thru. Remove the chicken from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes on a plate. Slice the chicken and set aside. Whisk the ingredients for the tahini ranch together.

On a large platter arrange the salad greens, top with the avocado,  cucumber,  watermelon,  feta, bacon, onion and chicken. Sprinkle with herbs and pistachios. Serve with tahini ranch.

Enjoy!

 

Roasted red bell pepper jam

Get ready for the new sauce of Summer ’22.
The perfect sauce for Mexican Corn Jalapeño Burger, Jamaican Jerk Chicken Kebabs, Beef burger filled with Onions and Crispy Bacon, Madras Salmon Burger, etc etc… basically all kinds of hamburgers, grilled meats, salmon, fish and sandwiches.
The jam is sweet, a little tangy because there is a little vinegar in there, and a hint of spice in the form of chili flakes. You can adjust that to your liking of course, but for us, 1/2 teaspoon is enough. This sauce will keep for about two weeks in the refrigerator,  you can also process the jars (canning) for a longer shelve life, but do consult a canning website or source for that procedure.
This roasted red bell pepper sauce takes five minutes to make and is so easy. I used a jar of roasted peppers like I did in my 5 minute Romesco Sauce, cheats version because, why not? Sometimes it’s okay to take a shortcut.

Makes 1 jar

INGREDIENTS:


1 jar of fire roasted red peppers, drained
80 grams of special jam sugar/gelling sugar
1/4 cup plain vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon table salt

INSTRUCTIONS:


Place all the ingredients in a blender.
Puree until smooth and transfer to a large pot.
Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until bubbly and slightly thickened.
Pour into sterile jar, let cool a bit with the lid off, for an hour or so.
Then close with a lid and keep in the refrigerator. Like I said earlier,  it’s good on everything.


Enjoy!

5 minute Romesco Sauce, cheats version

Romesco Sauce is a Spanish pepper and tomato based sauce from the region of Cataluña, that dates back to the 15 th century, thanks to Christopher Columbus who brought back the Romesco peppers from his travels in the America’s which are the base for this sauce.
You can find Romesco sauce everywhere in Spain, it’s very popular and can be eaten with everything from just bread to grilled fish, grilled meat or vegetables.

The original version is with dried peppers, almonds, some times hazelnuts as well, bread, garlic etc…
I have come up with a cheats version that can be done in 5 minutes and it is addictively delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

6 tbsp. Olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 jar roasted red bell peppers (15 oz. jar / 500 ml), drained
1/4 cup almond butter (the roasted kind)
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
1/3 cup parsley, roughly a handful
1-2 tsp. red wine vinegar
3/4 tsp. salt
fresh black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika (preferably the Spanish kind)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place the sun dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with very hot water. Let sit for five minutes then drain.
On medium heat, fry onion and garlic in two tablespoons of oil, until light golden and just soft. Let cool a bit.

In a food processor, add the pepper, the onions and garlic, almond butter, drained sun dried tomatoes, parsley, vinegar, salt, pepper, paprika and the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
Turn on the food processor and blend until smooth. That’s it!

I use only one teaspoon of vinegar but you can add more depending on how acidic you like it.

The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about five days in a glass container or jar, but I can assure you, you will be putting it on everything.

Enjoy!

Elotes and Pineapple Salad , Ensalada de Elotes con Piña

This is our favorite Summer Salad, Elotes Salad or Mexican Street corn Salad with pineapple. It’s basically Mexican Street Corn that you can eat with a spoon rather than digging into a whole corn on the cob covered with Cotija, paprika etc…which can be a challenge, except that I have added some grilled pineapple.
This is a great salad to serve at your next Barbeque, or as we like to do, add it to Tacos and even pile it high on Burgers. So SO good!
It’s very simple, you start by grilling corn and fresh pineapple and once they are cooled you cut off the kernels carefully with a sharp knife, then toss together with the pineapple chunks in a simple dressing.

Prep time : 15 min
Cooking time : 10 min
Serves : 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 ears of Corn
  • 1/3- 1/2 of a fresh pineapple, peeled and sliced thick-ish (see note*)
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 small red chili pepper, deseeded and chopped fine
  • ½ cup crumbled Cotija cheese (see note**)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro, more for on top

Dressing:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche
  • Juice of 1 lime, or more according to taste
  • A few dashes of Tabasco ( or Franks hot sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, more for on top
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat (an outdoor) grill or grill pan to medium heat. Clean your corn if necessary and rub all over with a little oil. Place on the grill and cook for about 10 minutes, turning every few minutes. Do the same with the Pineapple slices. Remove them once cooked from the grill and let them cool.
Meanwhile mix mayonnaise, crème fraiche, lime juice, tabasco and paprika together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Cut the kernels off the cob, and cut the pineapple slices into bite-size pieces
Get out a pretty bowl and combine everything… the corn, pineapple, onion, scallions, chili peppers, Cotija cheese, cilantro, and dressing. Reserve some cilantro and Cotija to sprinkle on top.

Enjoy!

* Any left-over Pineapple is great grilled and then served with ice-cream as a dessert.
** If you can’t find Cotija, I think that Feta resembles it most, it has a similar texture and taste.

If you make this Elotes salad, be sure to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and if you love it, pin it. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! @thecookingspoonblog or hashtag it #thecookingspoonblog