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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Summer Time Flowers And My Hanging Herb Garden

Hanging Herb Garden

My hanging herb garden is thriving! Summer Time Flowers And My Hanging Herb Garden are on the move.

Tarragon

Tarragon above I use in so many of my chicken and seafood dishes.

English Lavender

The Lavender above smells so good. I like adding the blooms to sugar. Lavender sugar makes a great gift.

Chive Flowers

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley is used in most of my dishes because of its great flavor.

Thyme

Above is my fresh Thyme. The lemony flavor is perfect for chicken.

Sweet Basil (2)

Sweet Basil with its lemony minty flavor goes with just about everything. I’d say, it’s the one herb I use the most.

Oregano

Above is my Oregano, a super-strong herb so you don’t need much. Great in Tex-Mex dishes.

Oregano

More Oregano! This is the Greek variety.

Sage

Sage is one of those herbs that reminds me of the holidays. A peppery-rosemary flavor that’s super earthy.

Mint

Above is my fresh Mint. Great for desserts, salads and so much more. Below are pictures of flowers from around my house.

Lavender

Lavender can be used in so many ways. I love making Lavender sugar.

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My bright red Gerberas are part of the daisy family.

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Perennials are great because they’re ever changing with each season.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Hibiscus bushes are perfect anywhere in your garden.

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One a year the Dragon Lilies bloom. Their vibrant orange color scream summertime is coming!

Rain Lillies

Rain Lilies are so beautiful. They seem to pop up everywhere in my garden.

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Sunflowers

Sunflowers are the meaning of summertime.

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Periwinkles look great in large pots.

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Hydrangeas are my favorite flower, NO question!

Hass Avocado Tree

My Hass Avocado tree is just finding its way. I’m talking 10 years before I’ll see any fruit.

Birdhouse

The Cardinals love their birdfeeder.

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My side garden has a variety of flowers and plants like my baby Fig Trees. Can you see them?

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Toasted Quinoa Salad

 

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I brought my Toasted Quinoa Salad to a graduation celebration and it was a hit! Something as simple as a salad, using a few fresh ingredients had friends asking me for this recipe. I knew I needed to post this recipe ASAP!

Sweet Basil (2)

Lemons

English Cucumbers

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Orange Bell Peppers

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes (add 5 minutes cooking time if you’re toasting the quinoa)
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 3-quart saucepot with a tight-fitting glass lid, mesh sieve, whisk, serving bowl

Ingredients:
1 12-ounce package (equivalent to 1 1/2 cups of uncooked quinoa)
3 cups of unsalted vegetable stock, HOT (substitute water or unsalted chicken broth)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 cups of feta cheese, diced
1 1/2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups of a hothouse (English) cucumber, diced
1/4 cup of fresh basil, Chiffonade style
2 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh Italian Parsley (dried 1 tablespoon)
zest of 1 lemon
1 lemon juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
*E.V.O.O.

Directions For Toasting And Cooking Quinoa:
Start by rinsing the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve.

Directions:
If you’ve never made quinoa, it’s really easy. First, you always want to do a quick rinse of the quinoa first. The outer coating is called saponin and it’s bitter. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for a few seconds.

In a large heavy bottom 3-quart saucepot on medium-low heat add (or leave) some water to the quinoa so that it’s moist, add the quinoa to the heated pan. Make sure not to overcrowd. using a whisk, quickly stir the quinoa around in the pan as it begins to toast.

Once the water is absorbed and the quinoa begins to pop, you’ll know it’s drying out. Continue whisking until the grains of quinoa begin to brown. The aroma will begin to smell nutty, around 5 minutes.

In another pot bring the 3 cups of vegetable stock up to a boil and salt. Pour the hot vegetable stock into the pot containing the quinoa. Give the quinoa a good stir, cover (with the glass lid). With the heat still on medium-low, simmer until all the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes, uncover and fluff with a fork.

While the quinoa is cooking (during the 15 to 20 minutes) dice the vegetables and feta, zest, and juice a lemon. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl. Add in the cooled cooked toasted quinoa, season with salt and pepper. Finish by adding in the chopped basil and parsley and toss. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Before serving my Toasted Quinoa Salad, I like to add a drizzle of really good *E.V.O.O.

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

 

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Cheese Ravioli Lasagna In A Tomato Basil Meat Sauce

Check out my new twist on a classic.

Let's Dish

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Is it crazy to imagine taking a classic dish like lasagna and shaking it up a bit, right? What about taking a little help from your local grocery store. A great start is by purchasing a really good jarred sauce and making it taste as if you made it from scratch. This sauce will taste likes its been simmering on the stove all day.

The other ingredient I’m going to be using for this dish is a good quality store-bought cheese ravioli. They’re found in the freezer section of the grocery store. My favorite is the mini cheese ravioli.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m utilizing each one of my fresh herbs, from my Organic Hanging Herb Garden and incorporating them into my dishes. I’m highlighting sweet basil in my Cheese Ravioli Lasagna In A Tomato Basil Meat Sauce.

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Sweet Basil (2)

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Tomato Basil Meat Sauce

Tomato Basil Meat Sauce

Cheese Ravioli

8 X 11 Baking Dish

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Cheese Ravioli Lasagna (3)

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 to 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 8 to 10 servings
Equipment: 1- 9 x 13 baking dish, 2 6-quart saucepots, colander, a rimmed baking sheet pan

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound lean ground sirloin
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-24 ounce jars of Rao’s Marinara Sauce, tomato basil variety
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup of unsalted beef broth
2-1 pound 6-ounce packages of frozen mini cheese ravioli
1 cup of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2cup of flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 packages of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated (substitute grated Parmesan)

Directions:
In a large pot over medium-high heat add olive. Add diced onions Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the ground sirloin, using a wooden spoon, break up the ground meat and cook until completely brown, about 10 minutes.

Next, add the beef broth and cook for another 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add in the two jars of tomato basil sauce. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and add the finely chopped fresh basil leaves, stir through.

While the sauce is simmering have a large pot of salted boiling water ready. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the ravioli from sticking. Let cook just under the required time on the package, about 5 minutes. They will continue their cooking during the baking process. Drain the ravioli into a colander. Rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process, then drain well.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

Start by ladling around 1 1/2 cups of the tomato basil sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Next, arrange the mini ravioli in the dish covering all of the sauce. Then add the 1 package of shredded Mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano covering all the ravioli. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the finely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley. Top with another layer of the tomato basil sauce. Repeat this process one more time. You want to the shredded Mozzarella and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano end up on top. Finally, sprinkle the rest of the finely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley over the cheese.

Spray the underside (dull side) of the foil with non- stick cooking spray and cover the dish tightly. This will prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil. Place the baking dish on top of a sheet pan. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 10 or until the top is golden brown.

Let the baking dish rest for at least 15 minutes to set, before cutting.  Serve with fresh basil leaves.

Note:
What’s great about this recipe is you can prepare everything in advance. All you need to do is to prepare the sauce and the cheese ravioli. Layer all the ingredients into the baking dish. Allow enough time for the dish to come to room temperature. Spray off the dull side of the foil with non-stick cooking spray before tightly wrapping the baking dish. That will prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil in the baking process.

Transfer the whole covered dish into the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake. I recommend no more than two days. If it’s been previously refrigerated, the baking time will vary (may take 45 to 50 minutes or until golden and bubbly).

My Organic Hanging Herb Garden

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