First course salad medley:  RED LEAF ORGANIC LETTUCE WITH FRESH ORGANIC BLUEBERRIES – CHOPPED AVOCADO – PECAN BITS – CHOPPED FRESH BARTLETT PEAR –– SHREDDED PARMESAN CHEESE IN A SALTED DRESSING OF RED WINE & EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

A fruit & nut combination, aided by avocado. . .

For 4:

–red leaf lettuce (6 leaves, broken apart, bite-sized)

–Bartlett pear (1, fresh, chopped)

–blueberries (fresh, one-half cup)

–avocado (1, fresh, chopped)

–pecan bits (one-quarter cup)

–shredded Parmesan cheese (one-quarter cup)

–salt (to taste)

–red wine (one-eighth cup)

–extra virgin olive oil (to taste)

1 – Wash, and then place all salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Stir together red wine and extra virgin olive oil, salt to taste, and then add to the ingredients.  Toss.

2 – Serve the salad chilled.

–salad inspired by C. Mabry, chef.

LIGHT PESTO SAUCE WITH FRESH BASIL – MINCED GARLIC – PINE NUTS – EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

Really delicious with chicken.  Must be made with fresh basil. . .

For 4:

–fresh basil (1 cup, packed leaves, then chopped)

–minced garlic (1 tablespoon)

–pine nuts (3 tablespoons)

–extra virgin olive oil (3 tablespoons)

–salt and pepper (to taste)

1 – Pick the basil just before preparing pesto, or keep it in water.  Place in a measuring cup, pack firmly, 1 cup.  Then chop the basil.

2 – Place chopped basil in a food processor.  Add minced garlic, and extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, and salt and pepper.  Pulse until relatively smooth.

3 – Serve room temperature.

–pesto sauce adapted from Edward Giobbi’s Eat Right, Eat Well—the Italian Way.

A Simple Side Dish:  MARINATED PEPPER – SALT BABY BELLA MUSHROOMS WITH WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE & EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

Note:  A recent research study out of China indicates that eating a serving of mushrooms twice a week will help to keep the mind keen.  This is an easy and flavorful way to enjoy mushrooms.

For 4:

–baby bella mushrooms (fresh, 8 to 10, chopped into 5 or 6 pieces each; the smaller the pieces, the more marinated flavor)

–Worcestershire sauce (bottled, one-third cup)

–salt and pepper

–extra virgin olive oil

1 – Place the chopped mushrooms in the Worcestershire sauce.  Season with salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil.  Marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator before microwaving.

2 – Microwave the mushrooms and sauce for 2 minutes on high.  Watch to be sure that sauce does not overflow; mushrooms can be microwaved on 50 percent power for 4 minutes.

3 – Serve the mushrooms and sauce hot.

–mushrooms inspired by C. Mabry, chef.

An Appetizer:  SESAME EGGPLANT DIP WITH SOY SAUCE – MINCED GARLIC – LEMON JUICE – RED WINE – EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

For 4:

–eggplant (fresh, medium size)

–soy sauce (3 tablespoons, bottled)

–minced garlic (bottled, 1 tablespoon)

–lemon juice (2 squirts, bottled)

–red wine (2 tablespoons)

–extra virgin olive oil (1 tablespoon)

–sesame seeds (2 tablespoons, bottled)

1 – Prick the eggplant all around, generously.  Place in the microwave, on an uncovered plate, and microwave for 5 minutes.  Turn over, and then microwave for 5 minutes more.  Let cool.  Then cut into 2 pieces, and rake out the pulp, discarding the skin.

2 – Criss-cross the pulp with a knife.  Then place in a mixing bowl.  Add soy sauce, minced garlic, lemon juice, red wine, sesame seeds, and extra virgin olive oil.  Stir well.

3 – Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.  Serve with crackers.

–eggplant dip inspired by Better Homes and Garden magazine.

SPICY STEAMED SALMON TOPPED BY PINEAPPLE CHUNKS – GREEN ONIONS – CAYENNE WITH A SAUCE OF BROWN SUGAR – MINCED GARLIC – PINEAPPLE JUICE ATOP JASMINE RICE

For 4:

–salmon (size of 4 decks of cards, 1 pound)

–pineapple chunks (half a medium can, drained)

–green onions (2 stalks, finely chopped)

–cayenne pepper (one-quarter teaspoon, bottled)

–brown sugar (6 heaping tablespoons, packaged)

–minced garlic (1 tablespoon, bottled)

–pineapple juice (from the can, one-quarter cup)

–salt and pepper

–olive oil

1 – Place the pineapple chunks, pineapple juice, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl.  Add minced garlic.  Stir well.  Set aside.

2 – Place the salmon in a covered baking dish.  Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Pour the sauce on top, placing some pineapple chunks on the salmon.  Finish with green onions and a few drops of olive oil.

3 – Microwave on high for 7 minutes.  Salmon should be flaky.

4 – Serve the salmon and sauce hot, atop jasmine rice.

–inspired by Gerri (chef) of the cooking blog, “Honey Seeking Mom.”

A Simple Dinner:  SMOKED SALMON NATURALLY WITH CHILLED SALAD OF AVOCADO – FRESH BASIL TOMATO – FETA IN BALSAMIC & EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL DRESSING

For 2:

–smoked salmon (packaged, ready-prepared)

–avocado (1, sliced)

–tomato (fresh, medium, sliced)

–feta cheese

–balsamic vinegar (bottled)

–extra virgin olive oil

–basil (fresh if possible)

–salt and pepper

1 – Slice the smoked salmon into two pieces.  That’s all to do!

2 – Cut apart an avocado and discard the pit.  Slice in horizontal strips, and place on a serving plate.  Slice a medium fresh tomato, and add to the plate.  Season with salt, pepper, and basil.  Sprinkle feta cheese over the avocado and tomato.  Season with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

3 – Serve the smoked salmon with the salad as a side.

–menu and salad original.

BASIL – TOMATO SALMON WITH TARRAGON – CHIVES – LEMON ZEST – CAYENNE IN MARINARA – ONION – SHERRY SAUCE

–salmon (size of 3 decks of cards, one-half pound)

–basil (fresh)

–tarragon, chives, lemon zest, cayenne pepper

–lemon juice (bottled)

–marinara sauce with basil (I used Newman’s Own)

–onion (one-half, sliced)

–sherry (cooking sherry is fine)

–salt and pepper

–olive oil

1 – Slice half an onion and place in a covered baking dish.  Add one-third bottle of marinara sauce/basil to the dish, along with a very small amount of sherry.  Stir.  Add a few drops of olive oil.  Microwave on high for 3 minutes.

2 – Place the salmon in the sauce/onions.  Drench in lemon juice.  Season with salt, pepper, fresh basil, tarragon, chives, lemon zest, and cayenne pepper (optional).  Add a few drops of olive oil.

3 – Microwave on high for 6 minutes (more because of the sauce).

4 – Serve the salmon and sauce hot, atop pasta if desired (recipe, see search box on this blog).

–salmon adapted from Wolfgang Puck’s web site.

MINT CHICKEN & ROMAINE SALAD WITH FRESH PEACH & VIDALIA ONION IN LIME – BALSAMIC – OLIVE OIL SAUCE

–4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips

–mint (fresh if possible)

–romaine lettuce

–peach (fresh, 1, medium)

–Vidalia onion (one-half)

–lime juice (bottled)

–balsamic vinegar

–extra virgin olive oil

1 – Place one-third cup of extra virgin olive oil in a small mixing bowl.  Add one-half sliced Vidalia onion.  Season the sauce with 2 tablespoons of lime juice and mint (to taste).  Add a few drops of balsamic vinegar.

2 – Place the chicken in a covered baking dish with a little water.  Pour one-half of the sauce on top of the chicken.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.

3 – Wash and dry 6 leaves of romaine hearts.  Place in a large mixing bowl.  Peel and chop 1 fresh peach.  Add the remaining sauce, and stir well.  If necessary, add additional extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

4 – Serve the chicken hot, with the salad as a side.  I also served lima beans and squash with onions and Bac’n pieces (recipes, see the search box).

–chicken and salad adapted from Real Simple magazine.

LEMON CHICKEN SALAD WITH CORIANDER – ONION – TOMATO & SEASONED WITH EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

–4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips

–lemon juice

–coriander (fresh if possible)

–onion (one-half, medium)

–Roma tomato (1, chopped)

–salt and pepper

–extra virgin olive oil

–olive oil (classic)

1 – Place the chicken in a covered baking dish with a little water.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil (classic).  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

2 – Slice half an onion, and place in a mixing bowl.  Chop 1 Roma tomato, season with salt, pepper, and coriander, and place in the bowl.  Squirt, to taste, lemon juice in the bowl.  Mince the chicken with a sharp knife, and add to the bowl.  Add extra virgin olive oil to taste.  Add more salt, pepper, and coriander if desired.  Stir, gently, but well.  Refrigerate until time for dinner.

3 – Serve the chicken salad cold, on an iceberg lettuce leaf.  I also served oven fried okra, lentil soup, and broccoli (recipes, see the search box).

–chicken salad adapted from Edward Giobbi’s Eat Right, Eat Well—the Italian Way.

PARSLEYED & BREADED GARLIC COD WITH MUSHROOMS IN BRANDY – WHITE WINE – BROTH SAUCE / CUT GREEN BEANS WITH PARMESAN / ROSEMARY GREAT NORTHERN BEAN SOUP WITH CAYENNE & BAY LEAVES ATOP GARLIC BREAD / BUTTERY LETTUCE SALAD WITH BLUEBERRIES – WALNUTS – PARMESAN IN BALSAMIC VINEGAR – EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL DRESSING  

–cod (size of 3 decks of cards, one-half pound)

–mushrooms (baby bellas, 6 to 8, sliced

–white wine (cooking wine is fine)

–salt and pepper

–olive oil

–parsley (fresh if possible)

–brandy (purchase a small, inexpensive bottle)

–chicken broth (non-fat, low sodium)

–plain breadcrumbs

–great Northern beans (dried; soak overnight)

–cayenne pepper

–rosemary (fresh if possible)

–garlic powder

–bay leaves

–garlic bread seasoned with olive oil

–cut green beans (frozen)

–Parmesan cheese

–buttery lettuce (half a package)

–blueberries (2 handfuls)

–walnuts (1 handful)

–balsamic vinegar

–extra virgin olive oil

1 – Place two thirds cup of great Northern beans in a slow cooker.  Add chicken broth to one-half inch above the beans.  Season with rosemary, 2 bay leaves, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  When finished, keep setting on warm until just before time to serve the soup.  (There is more preparation; see below.)

2 – Place sliced mushrooms in a covered baking dish with a small amount of brandy, white wine, and chicken broth.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Microwave on high for 3 minutes.  Place cod atop the mushrooms.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Sprinkle a small amount of plain breadcrumbs on top.  Add parsley as a garnish, plus a few more drops of olive oil.  Set aside.

3 – Place buttery lettuce, 2 handfuls of blueberries, 2 handful of walnuts, and a little Parmesan cheese in a mixing bowl.  Add balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to taste.  Stir well.

4 – Place 4 handfuls of cut green beans in a covered baking dish.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.  Microwave for 5 minutes on high.

5 – Take one-half beans from the slow cooker with a slotted spoon, placing the beans in a food processor.  Pulse until smooth.  Then add back to the slow cooker, just prior to serving.  Stir well.

6 – Prepare 2 slices of garlic bread with a generous sprinkling of garlic powder and a sprinkling of olive oil.  Microwave on high for 40 seconds.  Break apart the bread and place in the bottom of bowls intended for the soup.  Serve the soup atop the garlic bread.

7 – Microwave the cod for 6 minutes on high.

8 – Serve the salad as a first course, the soup as a second, and the cod, hot, with green beans as a third course.

–cod and bean soup adapted from Edward Giobbi’s Eat Right, Eat Well—the Italian Way; other recipes original.