Tri-Color ColeslawColeslaw is one of those things that is a “must-have” for a summer cookout buffet. Not only is it a great light and refreshing side dish, but it’s also a great addition to things – like barbecue sandwiches, burgers, or even tacos.

This recipe couldn’t be any more simple. I toss shredded red and green cabbage and carrots with a tangy dressing that comes together as quickly as it takes to combine everything. Let it sit for an hour to let the flavors mingle and you’ve got yourself a great slaw worthy of any summertime soiree.

It’s also a great base to add different flavor profiles. Sometimes I like to add a little chopped cilantro and chipotle, or sesame oil, peanuts, chopped cilantro and a bit of fish sauce for a Thai twist. The possibilities are endless, but this easy recipe is definitely the place to start!

Chicken Paillard with Tomato-Olive Salad

I don’t know about where you guys call home, but it’s definitely starting to warm up around here. I try to keep the A/C off as long as I can, have the windows open – we live in an old home that gets great cross-breezes. On those evenings a really light dinner is a welcome change, not to mention one that can be cooked outside on the grill, to not add any more unwanted heat to the house.

This is another recipe that I came across and tried in the second edition of the Sopranos cookbook. I can just envision Carm, Rosalie, and Adriana sitting around gabbing over something at Vesuvios eating something similar to this. It’s doesn’t really get simpler – basically, a grilled seasoned chicken breast that’s served with a quick salad tossed with a vinaigrette on top.

Figure-friendly, yet still tons of flavor and delicious. Fills you up without bogging you down. And, is super quick. All of those things are welcome in the summer months around here!

Chicken Paillards with Tomato-Olive Salad

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme or basil, chopped

For the salad:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and ground black pepper
6 cups salad greens
2 ripe medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup black olives(such as Gaeta or Kalamata), pitted and coarsely chopped

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Place a chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound the chicken until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with remaining chicken. Place the pieces in a bowl and toss them with the oil, thyme, salt, and pepper.

In a large salad bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the salad greens, tomatoes, and olives to the bowl on top of the dressing – but do not toss until ready to serve.

Place the chicken breasts on the grill and cook for about 7-9 minutes on each side, depending on their size. You want an internal temperature of 165 and the juices should be clear. Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes. You could also certainly cook the chicken breasts on a grill pan or skillet inside.

Arrange the chicken on plates. Toss the greens, tomatoes, and olives with the dressing. Place the salad on top of the chicken and serve immediately.

Source: barely adapted from Entertaining with the Sopranos

Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

Can you guys believe it’s already Memorial Day weekend? I am so thankful that summer is here! We spend a majority of our free time on the boat or at the beach in the summer months – a perk of be being sandwiched between the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. We also love to cook and enjoy meals outside when it’s warm, a tradition that the boys have loved. They’re always so excited to hear we’re going to have a “picnic dinner” in the backyard.

One dish that I find myself making again and again over the summer is this classic potato salad. It’s old school, but it’s the perfect balance of textures and flavors. Starchy potatoes, hard boiled egg, celery, and crunchy onions tossed in a dressing made of mayo, Dijon, and celery seed. Then, for my signature twist I like to add a bit of Old Bay on the top. Honestly, that’s actually my mom’s signature twist – this is her potato salad. And, her mom’s potato salad. But, I’ve adopted it as my own. The seafood seasoning mixture kicks plain old paprika to the curb!

Great to enjoy for a cookout, a potluck, a beach lunch, or a random picnic…anywhere, really. I love to enjoy leftovers for lunch as well. Try this one for your Memorial Day get together this year, and you won’t be sorry!

Source: adapted from my mom’s family recipe

 

Pork Egg Rolls

Homemade egg rolls were one of the first things I learned to make at home, thanks to my mother-in-law. She’d been making egg rolls for her hungry boys for years, and her teaching me the craft was time that we really enjoyed spending together when we were first getting to know each other…long before Jon and I were actually married!

I remember the process being kind of frustrating in the beginning – before I got the feel of rolling them correctly, and my knife skills weren’t really up to par (would take me 2 months to shred a head of cabbage!). But now after making them for a good 10 years, I can make a batch for an easy weeknight dinner with no problem. I usually go for the chicken version – which is the “OG” for us, but sometimes I like to switch it up with other meats…in this case, ground pork. Shrimp is also great!

They can be made and rolled a couple of hours in advance, but I wouldn’t recommend any longer than that – as the wrappers tend to dry out and rip. Also, a great shortcut with the veggies is to use a couple of bags of shredded coleslaw mix instead of shredding your own cabbage and carrots. Saves a little bit of legwork at least!

I like to serve them with some veggie fried rice, and plenty of Chinese hot mustard and sweet chili sauce for dipping. Once you’ve made and enjoyed them at home, every egg roll you’ll get from a Chinese restaurant will always pale in comparison. Just a forewarning! You’ll be making them for years to come.