Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cold Zucchini Cucumber Dill Soup

Friends, I am sharing one of my mom's famous recipe's with you today. Before she shared this recipe with me, she would visit in the summer time and bring a giant mason jar of this soup for our lunch. Only 95 calories per serving and it has no cream. We would end up drinking it out of a coffee mug for lunch, snacks, or dinner until it was gone. It's just that good.

My sweet husband helped me bring my favorite white table to our front porch where I have the best light. I dusted off my 50mm 1.4 lens and took the best pictures I've taken in months. Sometimes when you walk away from something for a bit, you realize whether it's right for you. I realized on this beautiful overcast day that this blog is a great joy to me, and I hope to bring you a couple more special recipes this summer. 

Cold Zucchini Cucumber Dill Soup
recipe yields 8 cups and serves 6. Only 95 calories per serving! 

4 Tbsp oil
2 cups (about 2 yellow onions), coarsely chopped
2 pounds zucchini, washed with ends removed, coarsely chopped
4 cups (2 cucumbers) washed, seeds removed, skin on, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
3 cups chicken broth (I use Better than Bouillon)
Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish - finely chopped cucumber, tomato, and a few sprigs of dill
  1. Cook onions in oil until soft. Add zucchini and cucumbers and cook for about 15 minutes until soft. Use medium heat and stir a few times, do not let them brown.
  2. Add broth and cook for 15 minutes more. Let it cool, then add the dill and process the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour in a bowl and refrigerate.
  3. Prior to serving, may add a dollop of sour cream if desired and garnish with cucumber, tomato, and dill sprigs.

Zesty Lime Shrimp & Avocado Salad

Summer has arrived, and with the heat comes simple fresh meals served with tart lemonade and buckets of beer. I adore summer evenings, sitting outside and watching the fireflies light up the yard, and nibbling on my favorite tomato basil mozzarella salad with a glass of crisp white wine and a chunk of fresh baguette. Summer is a season of simplicity, with days at the pool followed by evenings on the patio. Charlie checks out for bedtime at 730, and Josh and I move out to the deck to enjoy the evening hours. It's divine.
I've been fixing us my go-to summer salads, and tossing them with bright acidic dressings and freshly chopped herbs. This avocado shrimp salad is new to my summer repertoire, and pairs perfectly with a corona light and a few tortilla chips. 

Zesty Lime Shrimp & Avocado Salad
from Skinnytaste

1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 limes, juice of
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 lb jumbo cooked and peeled shrimp, chopped
1 medium tomato, diced
1 medium hass avocado, diced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced fine
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro

In a small bowl, combine the red onion, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let the onion marinate for 5 minutes to mellow the flavor. 

In a large bowl, combine chopped shrimp, avocado, tomato, and jalapeno. Add the red onion mixture and cilantro and gently toss. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip

 Somewhere along the way I embraced the mindset that dinner is supposed to be a sit down affair: one meat and two sides. Tilapia over quinoa with roasted veggies. Steak with roasted potatoes and asparagus. Pasta with a salad. I love to light tea candles, use real napkins, open a bottle of wine, and play a nice pandora station like Steely Dan or Dizzy Gillespie. This was the time in our lives we casually refer to as BC (Before Charlie). 

When you have a little baby that demands much attention, you can throw all dinner rules out the window! It's quite fun actually. A few of our new dinner favorites are gourmet popcorn, fresh market rotisserie chicken salad, chips and salsa, or Barbara's peanut butter puffins. Annie's shells and white cheddar mac & cheese pairs perfectly with a nice Cab. I know all the mom's out there are laughing because they can totally relate.
I can now thank one of my besties, Amy, for the inspiration for dip night. Tell me you would not love to have buffalo chicken dip for dinner with tons of celery and tortilla chips.  I'm pretty sure Josh was in dude heaven when I told him what I had in the crock pot. I'm not even going to feel guilty about it since this lightened up version is heavy on chicken and greek yogurt. It's thicker than most other chicken dips I've tried, so you can really get a good amount of dip on all your celery bites. I modified the original recipe and used more chicken (3 cups) and half the cream cheese - still delicious. 

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip

4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (room temp) - original recipe called for 1 package 
1 cup (0% fat) greek yogurt
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp dry ranch seasoning
2/3 cup Franks red hot sauce
2 to 3 cups cooked shredded chicken OR 1 large can of chicken

Put all ingredients in crockpot, set on low for 3-4 hours and stir every hour.

You can also set oven to 350 degrees, combine ingredients in glass baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.