TOMATO ASPARAGUS FRITTATA

Frittatas are not only quick and easy to prepare, but they’re a tasty and fairly inexpensive meal–well, providing you don’t go all fancy and toss in caviar and smoked salmon and the like. Although this recipe makes four nice-sized servings, our abbreviated family of three (You know exactly what you’re missing, Junior!) worked its way through the entire dish. But then, Senior and Junior Too were hungrier than usual. Oh, to have their metabolism…

1 tbsp olive oil

2/3 cup red onion, minced

8 thin asparagus spears, chopped

8 eggs

sea salt

ground black pepper

1 tbsp parsley, divided

2 large tomatoes, diced and divided

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

1) Preheat broiler

2) Heat oil in large oven-safe skillet over medium heat; add onions and cook 5 minutes; add asparagus and cook 3 minutes

3) Meanwhile, beat eggs in medium-sized bowl and season with salt and pepper; add half the parsley

4) Pour egg mixture in pan over onions and asparagus; add half the tomatoes and stir gently; stand back and let frittata cook until eggs are almost set, about 5 minutes; remove from heat and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over top; place frittata under broiler and cook 3 minutes until cheese is melted and eggs are set and lightly browned; remove from oven

5) Top frittata with remaining tomatoes and parsley; serve with a lovely green salad

Servings: 4

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ASIAN CHICKEN-ASPARAGUS-SNAP PEA-NOODLE SOUP

Yes, soup in summer, but only if it’s relatively light and tastes as good as this Asian Chicken-Asparagus-Snap Pea-Noodle Soup–and the air conditioner is up and running, of course. To top off this tasty meal, sprinkle with cashews and sunflower seeds and those thumbs will definitely be up, up, up.

Asian Chicken-Asparagus-Snap Pea Noodle Soup1Asian Chicken-Asparagus-Snap Pea Noodle Soup2

8 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp Thai Chile sauce

juice of 1 lime

1 minced red chile, divided

4 oz rice sticks

8 asparagus spears, touch ends snapped off, cut into 1″ pieces

2 cups sugar snap peas, cut into 1″ pieces

1/2 cup corn (I used frozen)

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 cup cashew halves

3 tbsp sunflower seeds

3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

sea salt

ground black pepper

2 cups chopped spinach

1) To large soup pot, add chicken broth and heat over medium-high; add soy sauce, Thai Chile sauce, lime juice, half the minced red chile (reserving half for topping), and rice sticks; reduce heat to medium low and cook 5 minutes; add asparagus, sugar snap peas, and corn and cook 10 minutes

2) Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp olive oil (reserving 1 tbsp) to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat; add cashews and sunflower seeds and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes; transfer to a plate

3) To same skillet, add reserved 1 tbsp olive oil and heat over medium-high; add chicken, lightly season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often until just cooked through; remove from heat

4) Add chicken and spinach to soup, stir, and immediately remove from heat

5) Ladle soup into bowls and top with cashew-sunflower mix and reserved red chile; serve!

Servings: 6-8 dinner-sized portions

GRILLED TUNA STEAKS WITH ASPARAGUS AND TOMATO-BALSAMIC SAUCE

I’m not a fish fan, but if I’m going to eat it, tuna is one type of fish that sits well with me–especially paired with asparagus and a tomato-balsamic sauce that’s good all on its own (i.e. by the spoonful). Best of all, despite how gorgeous it presents, it doesn’t take much to pull it all together. Though I used a grill pan, you can certainly pop the asparagus and tuna on an outdoor grill if you want to keep your kitchen cool. Delish!

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Asparagus and Tomato-Balsamic Sauce

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tsp basil paste (in produce aisle and great for when you don’t have fresh basil; of course, you can always use fresh minced basil instead of paste)

2 tsp Thai Chili Sauce (I used Kikkoman brand)

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 cup finely chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp butter

16-20 spears asparagus, tough ends removed (gently bend and the tough ends will snap right off—toss ’em)

4 tuna steaks, about 3/4″ thick

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees (for warming)

2) To small bowl, add: 2 tbsp olive oil (reserving 1 tbsp), lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, basil paste, Thai Chili Sauce, and sea salt; mix well; stir in tomatoes and set aside

3) To large skillet (I used a grill pan) over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp reserved olive oil and butter; when butter melts, add asparagus and cook 5 minutes, turning often; remove from heat, place on oven-safe plate, and put in oven to keep warm

4) In same skillet (you may have to add a bit more oil and butter) over medium-high heat, cook tuna steaks 3-4 minutes each side until just done (mine was slightly pink in the very center); remove from heat

5) Divide asparagus spears between 4 plates and top with tuna steaks; give tomato-balsamic sauce a stir and pour over tuna steaks; serve immediately (perhaps with a side of cheesy ciabatta bread); enjoy!

Servings: 4

STEAK-WRAPPED ASPARAGUS WITH CRAB AND LEMON SAUCE

My guys were in need of spoiling, so I served up two of their favorites: steak and crab–oh, and lemon! Though the asparagus was for me, from the cleanliness of my guys’ plates, I believe they enjoyed it as well.

Steak and Asparagus with Crab and Lemon Sauce

juice of 1 lemon

3/4 cup white cooking wine

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp butter

12 asparagus spears, tough ends cut away

1 lb top sirloin (though I think flank steak would have been easier to wrap), sliced into twelve 1/4″ thick strips (as long as possible)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

sea salt

ground black pepper

3 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

16 oz pre-cooked lump crabmeat

1 tbsp parsley, chopped

1) In small saucepan, whisk lemon juice, cooking wine, and cornstarch; add butter and heat over medium-high; stirring continuously, bring sauce to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce thickens; remove from heat and set aside

2) Bring large saucepan of water to a boil; add asparagus spears and cook 2 minutes; remove asparagus from water and set aside

3) Preheat broiler

4) Meanwhile, mix flour, salt, and pepper in shallow bowl; dredge steak strips in flour and wrap around asparagus spears

5) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add butter and olive oil; place steak-wrapped asparagus spears in skillet and cook 7-8 minutes, gently rolling to cook all sides; remove from skillet and place on baking sheet about 1″ apart; spread crabmeat down center of steak-wrapped asparagus spears and pour lemon sauce over crabmeat; broil in oven on rack 4″ from bottom 4-5 minutes until crabmeat is heated through; remove from oven and sprinkle parsley over top; serve to your spoiled loved ones

Servings: 4

GRILLED VEGGIE AND CHICKEN (OR NOT) SALAD

Though this salad is right up my alley, I wasn’t sure how well it would be received by my guys since a wide variety of veggies dominates its landscape, but the consensus was positive (yes, some veggies were scooted aside for me to pick at later). Want to go vegetarian all the way? Ditch the chicken.

4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped

2 cups baby spinach

3/4 lb asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces (tough ends trimmed)

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 cup chopped, sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained (NOTE: reserve oil for grilling)

1/2 cup matchstick carrots

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped

3 cups store-bought deli-roasted chicken, chopped

3/4 cup croutons

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced thin

1) Divide romaine lettuce between 4 plates; divide spinach between plates; set aside

2) In large bowl, combine: asparagus, corn, sun-dried tomatoes, carrots, and red and yellow bell peppers

3) To large grill pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp reserved olive oil (from sun-dried tomatoes); spoon veggies into grill pan (you may have to do this in 2 batches for even cooking); grill 4-5 minutes; remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes

4) Scatter chicken pieces over romaine and spinach, followed by warm grilled veggies, croutons, and avocado; serve iwth dressing of your choice and enjoy a wonderfully tasty meal

Servings: 4

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 06/12/12.

EGG BURRITO WITH ROASTED RED PEPPER AND ASPARAGUS

Scene: Grocery aisle trying to decide which size flour tortilla to toss in my cart. Distraction: New “Golden Blend” tortillas, a cross between flour and corn tortillas. Nutritional content: Not impressive. Decision: What the heck, give the hybrids a try. Verdict: Impressive. Of course, what I stuffed into these tasty tortillas gets a lot of the credit. Wonderful!

Olive oil spray

4 corn-flour tortillas (I used “Golden Blend” brand, but you can use good old-fashioned flour tortillas, if you prefer)

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 cup diced onion

6 thin asparagus spears, chopped into 1″ pieces

1/2 cup matchstick carrots

1/4 cup sliced pepperoncini

3/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper (I used jarred)

1 large tomato, chopped

6 eggs

3 tbsp water

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2) Heat large skillet over medium heat; spray with olive oil and cook tortillas 1 minute each side; place on oven-safe plate in oven to keep warm

3) Using same skillet, increase heat to medium-high; add 1 tbsp olive oil; add onions and saute 5 minutes; add asparagus, carrots, and pepperoncini and saute 3 minutes; add roasted red pepper and tomato and saute 1-2 minutes; transfer veggies to oven-safe bowl and place in oven to keep warm

4) Lightly beat eggs with water, salt, and pepper

5) In large skillet over medium heat, heat remaining 1 tbsp olive oil; add egg mixture and scramble until just cooked; remove from heat

6) Assemble each burrito as follows: tortilla, eggs, veggies, mozzarella; roll up and serve

Servings: 4