Monday, March 21, 2011

Potato Tomato and Bacon Salad, Some Homemade Dressings, Homemade Custard and a Hamburger Potato Casserole

We got home late last evening from a wonderful weekend away.  I had figured that we might be home late, and knew we would be too tired to really cook, so I had ready a package of minute sirlion steaks, and had my son bake a bunch of potatoes in the oven earlier in the week.  It took no time to grill the steak, and put together this tasty salad.  I used feta cheese, but I think it would be delicious with gorganzola or some other kind of bleu cheese also.

Baked Potato, Tomato and Bacon Salad
4 slices cooked bacon (I used turkey bacon left over) diced in small squares
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
4-5 potatoes that have been scrubbed, greased with Crisco and baked in foil for 1 hour.  Cool and dice
4 fresh tomatoes cut in wedges
1/4 C feta cheese crumbled
In a large bowl place salad ingredients.  Top with dressing and toss.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Mustard Viniagrette
2 T Mustard
1/3 C red wine vinegar
3 T olive oil
2 tsp grill seasoning
1 tsp dried basil
Whisk together until emulsified, and pour over above ingredients.

I am totally out of dressing for salads, so that is my restocking task today.  Often I make a quick oil and vinegar based dressing right before the meal, but I do like to put salad in Don's lunch, and so I need to have something on hand for that.  If you put the salad dressing in the bottom of the tupperware, a salad stored for lunch will stay fairly crisp, instead of putting the dressing on the top, and having the lettuce wilt. 

Ruby Dressing
1/4 C sugar or splenda
1/4 C cider vinegar
3 T catsup
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 medium onion
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
Chunk up the onion, and in a blender or with an immersion blender, combine the above ingredients.  Stream in 1/2 C oil and blend until smooth. 
This dressing is bold enough to serve with a steak salad.  It is also good served over spinach topped with hard boiled eggs and crumbled bacon. This also makes a good dipping sauce for kebabs. 

Orange Avocado Dressing
1/4 C red wine vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
juice from one lemon
juice from one medium orange
1 whole avocado chunked
1/4 C plain yogurt
1/8 tsp dry mustard
pinch of salt and ground pepper
In the blender, or a quart jar with an immersion blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.  Store covered in the refrigerator with a tight lid.  You can substitute mayo for the yogurt, and if you don't have, or like avocado, you could use zucchini, spinach or even cucumber. 

Tequila Lime Dressing for Fruit Salad
2 T good Tequila
juice from 2 limes and their zest
1 C fresh mint leaves chopped
1/4 C fresh basil (optional)
1/4 C agave nectar, or honey

Mix together dressing and top a salad of watermelon, honeydew melon, or cantaloupe.  You can make it with watermelon, and jicama peeled and cut into small dice.

I need to make snacks for Don's lunch and for the babies during the week.  This is one of my snacks for this week's lunches:

Vanilla Custard
1/4 C sugar or splenda
2 T cornstarch
1/4 T salt
1 raw egg
Mix together in a double boiler.  If you don't have one, place a glass or stainless steel bowl over your saucepan that you have 1 inch of water simmering in.    Gradually stir in 2 C of whole or 2 % milk with a whisk.  Cook over medium heat until mixture boils.  Let it boil 1 minute, and then add 1 T butter, and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and remove from the heat.  Let cool and cover top with a piece of saran right on the custard.  This keeps it from developing a pudding skin.

I lack any real motivation to cook today, as I am tired from my trip.  I love this easy casserole.  I have leftover mushroom gravy, so I will use that, but you could use a can of store bought mushroom soup instead.  I love that you don't have to brown the meat ahead of time in this casserole!

Hamburger Potato Casserole 
1 pound ground meat
1 large onion sliced
1 can/pint of green beans drained of their liquid
2 large potatoes scrubbed and sliced in thin slices
1 1/2 C gravy (I have mushroom) or 1 can cream of mushroom soup
salt and pepper to taste.

In the bottom of a 9x13 pan, or covered casserole, crumble raw burger and season with salt and pepper. Layer green beans, sliced potatoes and onion slices over the beef.  Top with mushroom gravy, and cover.  Bake at 375*F for one hour.   
You could make this with diced butternut squash, sliced eggplant, frozen peas and carrots, or a can of drained stewed tomatoes in place of the green beans. 


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