#HotSummerEats: Sun-Dried Lentil and Couscous Salad, Barbecue Black Bean Quesadillas, and Some Reviews!

Today is the last day of #HotSummerEats! And because Ben and I spent the day painting our kitchen instead of blogging, I didn’t get part of this post up for Sunday like I planned. So to celebrate Monday, I have not just one but TWO recipes for you, plus reviews of other products from our wonderful #HotSummerEats sponsors. Ready? Let’s go!

Sun-Dried Lentil and Couscous Salad for #HotSummerEats | thepajamachef.com

Inside door number one we have this fabulous lentil and couscous salad! I love having recipes like this on hand to make that I can grab out of the fridge for lunches at work all week long. It’s truthfully been awhile since I’ve cooked couscous and when I first tasted this salad yesterday I wondered why the hiatus? Israeli couscous is so good!! It’s almost pasta, but not quite, so it pairs so well with lentils and any other veggies you want to throw in. This time, I used red and yellow bell peppers and some sun-dried tomatoes. Normally when I make salads like this, I make a vinaigrette as the sauce, but this time I took the easy way out and used this Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette from Out of the Weeds. You can WIN this in our #HotSummerEats giveaway, but you gotta act fast since it ends today! I don’t usually buy salad dressings because vinaigrettes are super easy to make, but sometimes it’s nice to let someone else do the work for you… especially when they use normal ingredients that you’d find in your pantry too! This vinaigrette is so fresh and adds a fun, light tomato flair to my lentil and couscous salad. If you can’t get this vinaigrette locally [or can’t wait until your online order arrives], you can use your favorite vinaigrette instead. :) I’m so glad I got to try this Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette! It’s flavorful, fresh, and perfect for anything from salads to meat marinades. Amazing!

Barbecue Black Bean Quesadillas for #HotSummerEats | thepajamachef.com

The next recipe I have to share with you involves black beans, barbecue sauce, and cheese. Now, that combo might seem a little weird. I mean… black beans and cheese I get, but barbecue sauce and black beans? Barbecue sauce and cheese? Just try it! It’s so good! But first the back story. Whenever I get home late from work or Bible study or anywhere really and need some dinner, quesadillas are my go-to… one of two kinds. Banana, peanut butter, and chocolate [arguably NOT the healthiest choice, I know… but delicious!] or black beans and cheese. I always have those ingredients on hand so it’s easy, filling, and delicious. Usually to season my bean and cheese quesadilla, I turn to salsa or taco seasoning. But since I live in Nashville and see people put barbecue sauce on anything and everything, I wondered how it would taste on beans. Like baked beans, kinda. Even though I don’t like baked beans…

Barbecue Black Bean Quesadillas for #HotSummerEats | thepajamachef.com

I received Southern Gold Barbecue Sauce from Voodoo Chef for #HotSummerEats and decided to try it out on a recent weeknight. Man! The barbecue sauce/black bean combo is great! It’s just like chicken, except not. Haha, I’m so eloquent right now. But really, this barbecue sauce is wonderful. It’s mustard based–sweet and tangy, with just a pinch of heat. I could eat that stuff by the spoonful, it’s that good. Just like I said with the vinaigrette, you SHOULD get it [or win it I hope!] but if you can’t feel free to sub regular barbecue sauce + mustard to make this quesadilla. This combo is where it’s at! :)

#HotSummerEats reviews on thepajamachef.comMan, I’ve already shared two great recipes. But now I have a few product reviews for you so keep on reading. :) I got to try Caribeque‘s Island Thyme spice rub. Ben was cooking the night we tried it, and he rubbed it on a pork tenderloin, then added some olive oil and panko bread crumbs and baked it until it was cooked through. WOW was this good! Seriously the best pork I’ve ever had. If it wasn’t raining I would have gotten some better pictures.

#HotSummerEats reviews on thepajamachef.com

The Island Thyme was tangy and full of lots of herbs. It had a little kick but not too much… made me feel like I was at a Caribbean restaurant instead of my own kitchen. :) I think it would also be wonderful on some roasted veggies. :) We enjoyed some dill and butter green beans and some sweet potato fries with the pork. I dipped my sweet potato fries in my new favorite ketchup… Chai Curry Chup by Intensity Academy. I know chai seasoning + ketchup + curry sounds weird, but it’s a totally addictive blend of sweet and hot and normal ketchup. It’s very hard to describe but it’s the best thing ever. Seriously the best product I tried as part of #HotSummerEats. Everything was good but this was phenomenal! On burger night a few weeks ago, I mixed the Chai Curry Chup with mayo as a burger topping and that was great too.

#HotSummerEats reviews on thepajamachef.com

Last but not least I want to tell you about the unique line of salad dressings from T.Lish. So far I have only sampled one of the three I was sent, and I want to eat salad for every meal just to enjoy the sweet garlic dressing!

#HotSummerEats reviews on thepajamachef.com

This dressing tastes like something I’d make in my own kitchen–no preservatives, nothing fake. It’s just a really good salad dressing made with quality ingredients. Some of the other #HotSummerEats bloggers have used these dressings for pasta salad or marinades–find all the recipes here! I have plans to use the Asian Sesame in stir fry but it just hasn’t happened yet. Will report back when it does! :) My only complaint with this salad dressing is that it makes a mess when pouring it. Maybe we just got a bad bottle, but it did spill down the side quite a bit. That happens with my own dressings too, so no worries!

If you made it this far, you deserve a reward… so here are the recipes! :) :) Ha! Enjoy! Thanks for reading along with #HotSummerEats and thanks to Camilla for organizing and hosting this great event. Most of all, thank you to all our sponsors! You have helped make the event spicy, flavorful, and fun! I always LOVE getting to try new foods and finding new companies to support [and enjoy]. Hope you enjoyed it as well and be sure to enter the giveaway now!

Sun-Dried Lentil and Couscous Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 1/2 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers, diced small
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced small [drained if water/oil packed]
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs, chopped [I used dill, rosemary, and lemon thyme]
  • 1/3 cup Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette from Out of the Weeds [or another salad dressing of choice, or a mixture of pureed tomatoes, oil, vinegar, and herbs]
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, then add lentils and cook for 10 minutes. Add couscous and cook another 10 minutes or so, until lentils are cooked through–soft but not mushy, and couscous is cooked to al dente. Drain lentils and couscous and place in a medium bowl. Toss with peppers, tomatoes, and herbs. Drizzle vinaigrette over top, tossing until combined. Season with pepper and serve with Parmesan.

Barbecue Black Bean Quesadillas

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 10 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1/4 cup bell peppers, diced small
  • 1/4 cup Southern Gold Barbecue Sauce from Voodoo Chef [or 2 tablespoons of your favorite barbecue sauce + 1 tablespoon of your favorite mustard]

Directions:

Heat a large skillet or griddle pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray or grease with butter, then place one tortilla on the pan. Add half the cheese and allow to melt.

In a small bowl, stir together black beans, bell peppers, and barbecue sauce. Heat until warm in the microwave, about 45 seconds. Add half of mixture on top of cheese–just one side of the tortilla for easy folding.

When cheese has melted and tortilla is crispy to your liking, fold and transfer to plate. Repeat with additional ingredients, then serve, sliced, with additional barbecue sauce for dipping.

Check out other #HotSummerEats recipes at the link below:

Disclaimer: Thank you to Caribeque, Intensity Academy, Out of the Weeds, T.Lish, and Voodoo Chef for providing samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats recipes without additional compensation. I was not asked to provide positive feedback. All opinions are my own. Please check out Caribeque on Facebook here or here, Twitter, and Instagram here and here to learn more. Please check out Intensity Academy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to learn more. Please check out Out of the Weeds on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to learn more. Please check out T.Lish on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to learn more. Please check out Voodoo Chef on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.

#HotSummerEats: Cherry Chipotle Chicken Salad with Cherry Lime Salsa

Inspired by your favorite summer drink, this tangy sweet ‘n savory Cherry Lime Salsa is phenomenal with tortilla chips or atop a crunchy chicken salad. Salads in summer just taste better. Fresh ingredients, lots of textures, veggies, fruit… what’s not to love? This is a new favorite!

Cherry Chipotle Chicken Salad with Cherry Lime Salsa for #HotSummerEats | thepajamachef.com #salad #recipe #summer

Cherry Limeade is the quintessential summer drink, isn’t it? Whether you have a Sonic nearby or not, it just sounds like summer! Cherries, limes, sugar… mmm. This fantastic summer salad/salsa combo is inspired by the refreshing beverage and I’m sure you’re going to love it! Before I tell you all about it, can I let you in on a little secret? I don’t think I’ve ever had a whole Cherry Limeade of my own! Seriously. I think I just steal sips from Ben’s. :) But that’s okay, this salsa MORE than makes up for it. The salsa is incredibly simple–only three ingredients. Cherries, a lime, and some Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup. “No’chup” as Ben calls it is fantastic. I’ve been able to try a few flavors, and this one is amazing. It’s sweet and smoky with a hint of spice. Thanks, Erika, for your sponsorship! The salsa is sweet, smoky, and tangy all at once. I was sampling it with tortilla chips when I had a flashback to this BBQ chicken salad I made every other week last summer and decided to shake it up with some cherry chipotle flavors.

Cherry Chipotle Chicken Salad with Cherry Lime Salsa for #HotSummerEats | thepajamachef.com #salad #recipe #summer

The combination of crisp romaine, crunchy corn, and sweet tomatoes is awesome on its own. But add in that Cherry Lime Salsa and some chicken tossed in more of the Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup and you have a masterpiece! Admittedly, this salad is simple but it is very tasty and looks fancy to impress your friends and family. You can purchase Not Ketchup online or in select stores in CA, MI, and a few other states, but in a pinch I think you could get some of the same flavors with cherry jam and chipotle peppers. [Not Ketchup is awesome and I’d purchase it on my own for sure but I always like to give people options, ya know?!] This salad is full of all things delicious and I’m excited to eat the leftovers for lunch today!

Cherry Chipotle Chicken Salad with Cherry Lime Salsa for #HotSummerEats | thepajamachef.com #salad #recipe #summer

By the way, making this salsa was made a zillion times easier with the help of a cherry pitter. I received one as part of #HotSummerEats from Casabella and it’s quite easy to use. I highly recommend it and can’t wait to use it to make my first cherry pie later this summer. Thanks for the gift! :) You can win one and some great other prizes as part of #HotSummerEats this week. Go here for the giveaway! Good luck!

one year ago: Dark Chocolate Double Coconut Macaroons
two years ago: Blueberry Burgers

Cherry Chipotle Chicken Salad with Cherry Lime Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 15 minutes
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Ingredients:

for salsa

  • 1/2 pound cherries [approximately 1 1/2 cups]
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 3-4 tablespoons Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup

for salad

  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 3/4 cup Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup
  • 1 medium head romaine lettuce, torn
  • 1 cup corn [frozen or sliced off the cob]
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • crushed tortilla chips, for topping

Directions:

Wash and pit cherries, then slice into quarters and place in a bowl. Stir in zest and juice from 1  lime, then add 3 tablespoons Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup. Taste and add another tablespoon or so if desired. Set aside while preparing salad.

In a small bowl, stir together cooked, shredded chicken and Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup. Heat on the stove or in the microwave until warm. Divide lettuce, corn, and tomatoes between four plates or large bowls. Top with chicken, cherry lime salsa, and crushed tortilla chips. Enjoy!

For more delicious #HotSummerEats recipes, check out the link below!

Disclaimer: Thank you to Not Ketchup and Casabella for providing samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats recipes without additional compensation. I was not asked to provide positive feedback. All opinions are my own. Please check Not Ketchup out on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Google+, and Pinterest for more information on their products. You can also find Casabella on Twitter and Facebook to learn more.

 

#HotSummerEats: Southwestern Cilantro Mac and Cheese

An easy, creamy baked macaroni and cheese with corn and tomatoes… and a kick of Southwestern flair!

Southwest Cilantro Mac and Cheese for #HotSummerEats on thepajamachef.com

Welcome to day 1 of #HotSummerEats! Don’t forget to read all about the event and check out the giveaway here. There are lots of great items up for grabs and I’d love for my readers to win. :) </end plug> When I first started thinking about the concept of hot summer eats, barbecue foods were the first to come to mind. And thanks to the sweet lady who served as our cook in my sorority house in college [shout out to RV!], when I hear barbecue, I also think “mac and cheese.” She’d always serve BBQ chicken with mac and cheese, and that combo is fabulous!

Southwest Cilantro Mac and Cheese for #HotSummerEats on thepajamachef.com

There are several mac and cheese recipes that I love–a stovetop version and a baked version–but both can be kind of fussy and time consuming. In the summer, especially when preparing food for a party or barbecue, speed is imperative. So when I found a recipe for a baked mac and cheese dish that used sour cream and shredded cheese for the sauce, I was pumped! That is SO easy and sounded fabulous. I also stirred in some of my kitchen staples–canned tomatoes and frozen corn–to kick up this dish a notch.

Southwest Cilantro Mac and Cheese for #HotSummerEats on thepajamachef.com

For flavors, I used some Gourmet Garden stir-in pastes: cilantro and chili pepper. I’ve used these so much in the past and am so glad to say that they’re a sponsor of #HotSummerEats! They’re so easy and convenient to use, and add a ton of flavor in one easy package! The result? This mac and cheese was super cheesy, super flavorful, and super delicious! The easy sauce was just as tasty as some of its more fussy counterparts, though you do have to give it a good stir after baking to evenly distribute to cheese. Small problems though, when this dish is so good! I hope you love it as much as we do. :)

one year ago: Black Bean and Rice Soup
four years ago: Lemony Kale Pasta

Southwestern Cilantro Mac and Cheese

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 60 minutes
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adapted from Good Cheap Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta
  • 8 ounces Jalapeno Light Cheddar Cheese, cut into chunks [I used Cabot; a pepperjack would also work]
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded – divided
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 – 10 ounce can diced tomato and green chiles, drained
  • 1/2 cup corn, from an ear of cooked corn or frozen works too
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro Paste – from Gourmet Garden [or about 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro]
  • 2 tablespoons Chili Pepper Paste – from Gourmet Garden  [or other spice like red pepper flakes or hot sauce, to taste]
  • Lightly Dried Cilantro – from Gourmet Garden, for topping [or chopped fresh cilantro]

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees while a large pot of water comes to a boil. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook pasta until just under al dente, since it will cook further in the oven. In a large bowl, stir together Jalapeno cheese, half of the shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes, corn, cilantro, and chili pepper paste.

When pasta is done, drain and add pasta to the sauce in the bowl. Stir together to combine, then transfer to the baking dish. Note: there will not be tons of extra sauce, just enough to coat the noodles. Place in preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Stir pasta and sauce together in baking dish to recombine and then serve with additional cilantro.

For more #HotSummerEats recipes, click the link below:

Disclaimer: Thank you to Gourmet Garden for providing samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats recipes without additional compensation. I was not asked to provide positive feedback. All opinions are my own. Please check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for more information on their products.

 

SRC: Green Goddess Dressing

A creamy, tangy dressing filled with lots of fresh herbs and onions… green goddess dressing is divine! 

Hello, friends! What a week! We just moved and are getting settled in our new home. But I couldn’t miss out on the Secret Recipe Club this month so I made my recipe wayyy in advance. So unlike me. :) This month I was given Jenna’s blog, The Painted Apron. Jenna is a lovely woman who gets to divide her time between Birmingham and Orange Beach, Alabama. She loves her family [just browse her blog for adorable grandkid photos! Awww.], football, and hospitality. My husband was very sad to learn that she’s an Alabama fan and wants to say GO BUCKS! OH! He’s a major Ohio State fan and is still basking in the glow of Big Ten > SEC victory in the National Championship last January.

Green Goddess Dressing | thepajamachef.com #src #salad

All that aside, it was so fun to check out Jenna’s blog this month. Some of the recipes that caught my eye included: Creamy Corn Dip, Cranberry Salsa [must make at Christmas!], Cinnamon Roll & Sausage Breakfast Pudding [this would be an awesome dish to make while on vacation… we always stay in condos so low-prep recipes are great!], Apple Pear and Walnut Gorgonzola Galette, and Savory Apple Pie Quesadilla. I must have been in a fall mood when I browsed her blog, but I eventually settled on this great salad dressing. I know I’ll be able to enjoy it all summer long!

Green Goddess Dressing | thepajamachef.com #src #salad

I’ve heard of Green Goddess Dressing before, but don’t really think I’ve ever had it before. Apparently it was concocted in the 1920s in San Francisco as part of a movie celebration. Fun! Truly, it reminds me of a more sophisticated version of ranch dressing. Creamy, herby, and tangy, this dressing is a fun creamy topping for salad. Traditionally, this dressing is made with sour cream and mayonnaise, but this time I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream because I had it on hand. We have enjoyed this dressing for the past two weeks on any and every salad we can find… but the first time, it was fabulous on a salad made up of red leaf lettuce, sauteed asparagus, sliced radishes, chickpeas, crumbled feta, and sliced hard boiled eggs. No matter how you serve it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did! Thanks, Jenna, for a great recipe. :)

one year ago: Tropical Cake Mix Cookies
two years ago: Sweet Potato and Kale Egg Bake
three years ago: Reese’s Blondie Pie
four years ago: Sweet Potato Waffles

Green Goddess Dressing

  • Servings: 1.5 cups
  • Time: 5 minutes
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from The Painted Apron

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil [or basil paste from Gourmet Garden]
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley [or parsley paste from Gourmet Garden]
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice [from about 2 lemons]
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • crudites or salad, for serving

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a jar or small bowl, then process with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve as a dressing or dip. I enjoyed my dressing with this Asparagus and Chickpea Salad from A Nutritionist Eats [ingredients: red or butter lettuce, sauteed asparagus, sliced radishes, chickpeas, crumbled feta, and sliced hard boiled eggs].

Dressing keeps well in the fridge for about a week. Enjoy!


Check out all the other delicious recipes made by my friends in the Secret Recipe Club this month!

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes

Cheesy chicken pasta with tangy and sweet sundried tomatoes.. this is pretty much my new favorite Italian dish! 

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes| a creamy, flavorful weeknight pasta dish that's fancy enough for company! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com

I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out how to tell you about this pasta, but it’s just so hard. It’s just so hard because it’s just so good! I mean, just look at the ingredients. What’s not to love? Cheese, chicken, tomatoes, pasta, half and half… simple, flavorful ingredients that always taste good–well, now they taste great together!

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes| a creamy, flavorful weeknight pasta dish that's fancy enough for company! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com

Truly, this pasta is the whole shebang… the whole package… everything you could ever love or want or need–and more! Besides being filled with delicious ingredients, it’s SO easy to make that it’s almost foolproof. If you can boil water you can make this delicious dish. I promise! Please make this creamy, cheesy, carby delight today. You won’t regret it! :)

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes| a creamy, flavorful weeknight pasta dish that's fancy enough for company! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Chocolate Baked Oatmeal
two years ago: Club Soda Waffles
three years ago: Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette 
four years ago: Salsas for Cinco de Mayo

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Print

from Julia’s Album

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ounces sundried tomatoes, either packed in oil or dried like the ones from Trader Joe’s, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil [drained from tomatoes or extra virgin olive oil + some Italian seasoning]
  • 1 pound chicken, sliced into thin, bite-sized pieces
  • paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
  • 8 ounces small-medium pasta [I used campanelle, but rotini or penne would be great]
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil [or more fresh basil]
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2-1 cup reserved pasta water

Directions:

If using sundried tomatoes in oil, drain oil and use 2 tablespoons for the first step. If not, disregard and use extra virgin olive oil plus a bit of Italian seasoning.

Set a large pot of water to boil for pasta and prepare according to package directions, reserving about 1 cup cooking water when finished.

In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, heat oil until glistening. Add chicken, then season with paprika on top side. Cook for one minute, then flip and season the other side with paprika. Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomatoes and garlic. Continue cooking for about 3-4 minutes until chicken is nearly fully cooked. Add half and half to the skillet and bring to a gentle boil. Then stir in cheese, continuing to stir until all cheese melts.

By this point, the pasta should be about done. Drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of cooking water.

Add about 1/2 cup of pasta water to chicken and sauce mixture in the skillet. Stir to incorporate, then season with basil and red pepper flakes. Taste and add more seasoning if desired, then fold in cooked pasta. Stir together well and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, then serve and enjoy!