Friday, September 13, 2013

Roasted Chipotle Salsa

Roasted Chipotle Salsa
I planted my garden a little late this year, so my tomatoes are just getting ripe now.  My husband loves tomatoes in any form, in any dish.  As for me, the ONE food I don’t like is plain raw tomatoes.  I keep them off my sandwiches and salads.  Every other preparation is fine with me – ketchup, tomato sauce, anything with cooked tomatoes – and especially salsa!  And while I like raw tomato salsas a lot, I like this Roasted Chipotle Salsa even better!
Chiptole peppers in adobo sauce are easy to find – just check your local grocery store in the “ethnic” aisle with all the other Mexican food.  They’re cheap, and they are nearly pickled in the adobo sauce, so once you open the little can, you can keep the rest of the peppers and sauce in a small container in your fridge for months.  (A little Ball jar, or leftover jelly jar, is perfect for this.)  Then, if you find you love the smoky, mild heat of chipotles, use some of the others in your jar to make this dinner salad.  If you can’t find fresh cilantro at your store, you can leave it out, but it really adds a burst of freshness to this spicy sauce!
This recipe made a little more than a cup for me.  That said, my husband and I ate it all in one night!  It was “taco” night at our house, but we were using lettuce leaves instead of taco shells.  Ground beef with onions, avocado slices, and this salsa – delish!
Roasted Chipotle Salsa
  • 3 regular-sized ripe tomatoes (around 1/2 pound, or a little more)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (or more if you like it spicy!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • small handful cilantro, about half a cup
  • 1/2 lime or lemon
  1. Preheat oven to Broil.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Slice the tomatoes in half, removing any core or stem you don’t like.  Slice the onion into rounds.  Peel and smash the garlic cloves.  Lay these out on the baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Season with salt.
  2. Broil the vegetables until they start turning brown and are very juicy – about 8-10 minutes, depending on your oven.  Remove from the oven.  Pour the vegetables and any juices into a food processor.  Add in the cumin, chipotle pepper, cilantro, and hit start.  Process for a few seconds, then squeeze in the lime juice.  Process again – leave it chunky!  Taste for seasoning – maybe more salt or lime?  Process again until you reach your desired consistency.  I like mine to still have some texture and not be a puree.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Tortilla chips, burritos, enchiladas – even over scrambled eggs – this stuff is yummy!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna Resize
This recipe came about, as many do, in my house:  I start with an ingredient and brainstorm what in the world I’m going to do with it.  I had a bag of summer squash from the farmer’s market – it was so inexpensive, I couldn’t pass it up.  But aside from making zucchini bread, I couldn’t think of how to use it.  That was when I stumbled upon a recipe for Homemade Ricotta, and it came to me:  Zucchini Lasagna!
The zucchini stands in for traditional noodles in this recipe, so if you are following a low-carb diet, or if you are avoiding gluten, you’re in luck!  If you are making ricotta, drain and squeeze it to keep any extra liquid out of the casserole.  Nobody likes a soggy lasagna!  Feel free to saute and add other veggies or herbs to the lasagna, too – baby spinach, bell peppers, black olives, or fresh basil would all be lovely!
This is a small casserole, so we ate it with a big salad for dinner.  You can easily double or quadruple this recipe to serve more people.  Hope you like it!
Zucchini Lasagna
  • 1 or 2 zucchinis or other summer squash, about 3/4 pound
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 pound sausage
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (I used fire-roasted canned tomatoes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian herbs, or oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Homemade Ricotta, or store-bought
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400*F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Chop the zucchini into thin coins – about 1/8″-thick.  Lay out on the baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes.  They don’t need to be cooked through at all – you just want to dry them out a little bit.  Remember, no one likes a soggy lasagna!
  2. While the zucchini is drying out, dice the onion, and mince the clove of garlic.  In a large pan, brown the sausage with the onion and garlic.  Drain any fat that accumulates.  Add in the drained tomatoes, oregano, and salt and pepper, and heat through.
  3. In a casserole dish, spray a little cooking spray so nothing sticks.  Layer half the zucchini slices to cover the bottom of the casserole dish.  Spread half the ricotta over the zucchini, then spread half the sausage mixture over the ricotta.  Repeat with the rest of the zucchini, then ricotta, then sausage.  Cover with the shredded mozzarella.
  4. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove lid and bake for another ten minutes, until the cheese is golden and melty.