Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Balsamic, Cilantro-Lime, And Lemon Vinaigrette

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I used to think there was no way I could ever make my own dressing. I learned that’s so not true. Watching cooking shows and reading cookbooks taught me how easy to make your own vinaigrette. I thought I’d share my three favorites with you, Balsamic, Cilantro-Lime, And Lemon Vinaigrette.

I mix all the ingredients for the Balsamic and the Lemon, right in their own 8-ounce jelly jar. The Cilantro-Lime takes an additional step of first processing the cilantro leaves. It’s simpler, for this vinaigrette, to be made in the food processor and then transferred to a jelly jar.

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Agave nectar, honey, or granulated sugar are a few of the sweeteners you can use when making your own vinaigrettes.


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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Yields 8 to 10 ounces of vinaigrette
Equipment: Food processor, blender, or an immersion blender, four 8-ounce jelly jars, small bowl

Ingredients For Balsamic Vinaigrette:
Yields: 8 ounces
2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon of freshly grated garlic
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard (substitute spicy mustard)
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of Agave nectar (substitute honey)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup of good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Ingredients For Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:
10 ounces of vinaigrette
1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated
2 tablespoons of shallots, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons of Agave nectar (substitute granulated sugar)
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
1 cup of *E.V.O.O.

Ingredients For Lemon Vinaigrette:
Yields: 8 ounces of the vinaigrette
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice ( 3 juicy lemons)
2 tablespoons of shallot, minced ( optional)
1 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.

Directions For Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette:
Start by placing cilantro leaves into a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add 2 tablespoons of *E.V.O.O. (the remaining olive oil will be added through the feeding tube) and pulse the leaves until they’re finely minced. Remove the processed cilantro and transfer to a small bowl. Back in the food processor add the ginger, garlic, shallots, fresh lime juice, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, Agave nectar, and low sodium soy sauce. Pulse all the ingredients just enough to combine everything.

Once combined, add the processed cilantro leaves back into the food processor. Place the lid and feeding tube on. Turn the processor to the ON position and slowly add the remaining *E.V.O.O. through the feeding tube until combined. Remove the lid, add the red wine vinegar and using a spatula, stir once. This recipe yields 10 ounces of vinaigrette so you’ll need 2 jars. Transfer the vinaigrette to the jars, place the lids on tight and give a good couple of shakes to combine everything.

Directions For The  Balsamic And Lemon Vinaigrette:
Add all the ingredients for both of the vinaigrettes into their 8-ounce jelly jars. Finish with the *E.V.O.O. Place the lids tightly on the jars and shake really well.

1). I prefer my vinaigrette to be one part acid to two parts oil.
2). Place the dressing in the bottom of the bowl first. Right before serving the salad, add the lettuce/greens, toss to coat.
3). It’s important to wash and then dry the leaves really well so the dressing will adhere to the leaves.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

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Chunky Style Guacamole


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Tex-Mex wouldn’t be the same without some great Guacamole. My recipe has a secret ingredient that will make your Guacamole pop! I tell you about that in a minute.

I’m a fan of a Chunky Style Guacamole with rather than one that looks like it been purèed. I like it to have lots of texture. As the Guacamole sits, the lime juice starts to break down the chunks of avocado giving my Chunky Style Guacamole a mixture of textures, but it’s never completely smooth.

I have a some diced red onion, a minced Fresno chili, diced and seeded plum tomatoes, the juice of a lime, and a container of store-bought fresh salsa. Yep, that’s my secret ingredient. You can find this salsa in the refrigerated section of the produce department, at your local grocery store. I like the medium, it’s not too hot but still has a slight kick.

Salsa is really close to being a Pico de Gallo in the sense that it has small diced tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos, except that it also contains lime juice. I love to use fresh salsa as an ingredient, especially in guacamole. I also prefer my guacamole to be on the chunky side rather than completely smooth.

I prefer Haas avocados. They are super buttery in flavor. When I’m buying avocados, I hold them in the palm of my and squeeze gently. A ripe avocado should yield to, a firm, gentle pressure, but shouldn’t be overly soft or mushy. I look for ones where the skins have just turned brown in color, still pretty firm, yet have a slight give when you press on them.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

4 ripe Haas avocados, halved and pit removed (large dice)
1 seeded and minced Fresno chili (substitute jalapeno)
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup of fresh salsa, mild, medium, or hot, (substitute 1/3 cup seeded plum tomatoes, fine dice)
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper

Using a paring knife make slits in the flesh making sure not to go the way through the skin. I make a crisscross pattern and then scoop the flesh out with a spoon. Toss the chunks of avocado into a large mixing bowl. Add Kosher salt and black pepper. Next, add the diced onion, minced Fresno chili, cilantro, and lime juice. Using a hand-held sieve, drain the juice, as much as possible, from the salsa. Add the salsa to the rest of the ingredients. Mix gently to combine.

Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the guacamole. This will prevent air from getting to the avocados and causing the guacamole to turn brown.

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Chili Lime Spiced Chicken Burgers

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Chicken burgers are a great alternative to ground beef. Known to be a healthier option, they can be made using whatever flavors you like. Today I’m using a Chili Lime Spice Blend. Ground chicken acts as a blank canvas, these big bold flavors in this spice blend are perfect. These are my Chili Lime Spiced Chicken Burgers.

For my Jumbo-Style Heirloom Tomato Salsa just click on the link at the bottom of this post. It’s the perfect side for these delicious burgers.





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Chili Lime Spice Blend


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 12-inch cast-iron skillet, large mixing bowl, Chef’s knife

1 pound of ground chicken
2 tablespoons of Chili Lime Spice Rub
2 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
Canola oil
4 slices of Pepper Jack cheese
2 avocados, pit removed and sliced
2 limes juiced
4 bakery-style hamburger buns, buttered and toasted

Preheat oven to 250-degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl add the ground chicken, chili lime spice blend, freshly grated garlic, dried oregano, finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Using a fork combine the spices so it’s evenly distributed through the meat. Gently pat the meat down into the bowl. Score the meat across and up and down with your hands making four equal sections. This will help to ensure the patties are the same size. Take one of the sections in your hands and form a patty. Transfer the patty to a baking sheet pan. Repeat the process forming the remaining patties.

While the cast-iron skillet is heating up over medium heat, lightly brush both sides of the seasoned chicken patties, with Canola oil. Allow the skillet to get really hot.

Set the four patties in the skillet and don not touch them Cook for 7 minutes per side. Take a small knife making a small cut in the center of the patties, if the juices run clear and you see no pink in the center, they’re fully cooked.

Note: Cook time may vary depending on the thickness of the patties.

Transfer the four cooked chicken burgers to a rimmed baking sheet pan. Place a slice of cheese on each patty placing them into the preheated oven to melt the cheese.

While that’s happening, wipe the skillet out. The burner still set on medium, add two tablespoons of butter swirling the butter around to coat the skillet. Place 2 buns into the skillet to toast, 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat the process toasting the remaining buns.

On a large plate have your toppings ready.  Squeeze fresh lime juice over the avocado slices. This will prevent them from turning brown too quickly. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

I found some beautiful heirloom tomatoes, so I thought I’d make a Jumbo-Style Heirloom Tomato Salsa to have alongside my Chili Lime Spiced Chicken Burgers.

Jumbo Style Heirloom Tomato Salsa

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