Mexican Layered Salad

Make-Ahead_Mexican_SaladThis is a lovely salad, fit for a picnic, and if done properly, lasts a couple of extra days in the fridge. So leftovers are fine, as long as you follow the rules.

Additionally, there is another Mexican Layered salad that starts with a base of refried beans and was quite popular in the late 80′s. It is wonderful but is more of a dip than a true salad, and I’ll post that recipe another time.



  • 4 cups of assorted lettuce of your choice. It’s fine if it is a mix, or your own creation, and may include some red cabbage and grated carrot if you wish.
  • 1 can rinsed and very very well drained beans, such as pinto, red, black, or kidney.
  • 3 roma tomatoes, seeded, and chopped small, drained very well.
  • 4-6 scallions, chopped, including the green parts.
  • 1 1/2 c corn, canned, frozen and defrosted, or fresh
  • 2 avocados, diced and tossed gently with the juice of a lime.
  • 1 cup queso fresca cheese, crumbled, or of a similar type.
  • 1 c mayo
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 3 diced jalapeno’s (seeds removed if desired)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • juice of one lime with 1 tsp of zest
  • 1 tsp chipotle or milder chile powder as desired
  • pepper to taste, and salt
  • 6 oz of shredded cheese (cheddar, Monteray Jack or combo)
  • salsa chips or corn tortillas baked until chrispy and broken up into bits


  1. In a large bowl, layer in the order given all the ingredients until you get to the mayo.
  2. It is essential that you get everything as dry as possible, since this will allow the sealed salad to hold up for a couple of days in the fridge if you don’t eat it all on day one.
  3. The issue for the avocado is that it is in a flat layer that will be cut off from air, which is what discolors it. It must be well sealed in with the dressing.
  4. After layering everything, prepare the dressing
  5. Spread the dressing over the entire top making sure to seal around the edge completely.
  6. Cover with the shredded cheese, and then saran wrap the salad, leaving the chips to use as a garnish in a separate bowl.


NOTES: You could use other chiles in the dressing, and roast them ahead of you desire. In serving attempt to make sure that each serving has of all the ingredients.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Asian Pot Luck Salad

AsianPotluckThis salad, or a similar version can be found almost anywhere on the Internet.

It is nicely crunchy and has lots of interesting flavors that make it a great pot luck dish, or in a smaller version perfect for a grilling day.

Feel free to omit any of the extras if they aren’t to your liking.


  • 1 (16-ounce) bag coleslaw mix or about 3 cups of chopped cabbage with some slivered carrots and red slaw. Also feel free to add in some broccoli slaw as well. Half and half works well.
  • 1 (3-ounce) packages of ramen noodles, crumbled (you will not use the seasoning packet)
  • 1 cup shelled edamame (you could substitute any bean you like including garbanzos or peas)
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and julienned (or diced) (other fruit is also acceptable such as dried cranberries, or peaches or omit
  • 1/2 cup thinly-sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup thinly-sliced green onions (scallions)
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil (or any cooking oil)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • pinch of salt and black pepper
  • a dish of dry unsalted peanuts


  1. Crush and spread the ramen noodles on a cookie sheet and add the sliced almonds. Put in a 400º oven just until they start to brown, mix a bit, and leave a couple of minutes more. Remove and cool and place in a separate container.
  2. Place all the rest of the veggies into a large bowl.
  3. Mix the oil on down together in a separate bowl until emulsified.
  4. Dress the vegetables with the vinaigrette.
  5. Serve with the ramen noodles on the side along with the peanuts.


NOTES: I don’t recommend placing the ramen noodles in the salad unless you are fairly sure it will be eaten that day to keep the crunchiness intact. Others of course may want the ramen noodles softened up. I prefer to add them as a topping.

SOURCE: Adapted from a general recipe found everywhere.

Chocolate and Oatmeal Cookie Bars

I wanted something simple to fix for the 4th, and this easy cookie bar fit the bill. Just exactly what you would expect.

Fine as a snack and as you know of me, breakfast fare!


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2½ cups oats (not quick cooking)
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups pecans, chopped


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In an electric mixer cream butter and brown sugar together. Add eggs, and vanilla; mix well. Mix in flour, salt, and baking soda until well incorporated. Fold in oats, chocolate chips, and pecans.
  • Spread in to a 15×10 inch pan for thinner bars, or a 13×9 for thick bars.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes for thin, closer to 30-40 for thick.
  • Remove from the oven, and let cool before slicing.


NOTES: I would recommend the 15 x 10 size otherwise these get pretty tall.

Andouille and Skillet Potatoes with Chiles and Radicchio

skillet taters and kielbasaSo I was looking for something fairly fast, and very tasty, and I remembered this great potato side dish that turned out so well, and I thought, hey, add some Andouille sausage and it is a nice meat salad dish!

And so I did.

And it was.

And I came, I saw, and I conquered.

This was a real pleaser all the way around.





  1. Prepare as normal, adding the sausage at the end and warming through.
  2. Dress with the salad dressing while still warm.


NOTES: Other types of sausage can be used, as well as left over skirt steak, ham, pork roast. It works fine with any meat.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton


Chicken Fajita Kabobs

Chicken-Fajita-KabobsAfter two and half weeks of kitchen remodeling we are back in the kitchen and cooking once again.

This is a delightful and easy recipe that can be used in more than one way.

Hope you like it.



  • 1/2 cup packed coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1/3 cup lime juice from about 6 limes
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (or chicken breast)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large white onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes and separated into 3-layer segments
  • Wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes prior to use


  1. Place all the ingredients up to the chicken into a blender and whirr until smooth.
  2. Place chicken and the marinade in a plastic bag, seal and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to five.
  3. Arrange on skewers the chicken, sweet peppers and onion sections.
  4. Grill until meat is done and veggies are tender crisp.


NOTES: I served this with warmed flour tortillas and a “tomato salad of sliced cherry tomatoes, 2 chiles minced, 1/3 c chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, and about 1/8 c of olive oil, and slices of avocado. Made wonderful wraps.  You could also serve on a bed of rice with any other sides you might like, such as a Mexican slaw.

SOURCE: Adapted from Serious Eats


Best Damn Chicken Sandwich in Town

new_mexico_chicken_sandwich-thumb-646x430-137627Get ready for this, because it is utterly amazingly good.

We were eating a few weeks ago at a fairly high-end restaurant for lunch and I ordered a chicken sandwich. While the taste was fine, the meat was dry and too thick, and I realized I could do better.

And after looking at a few recipes, I developed my own version with the stuff I like, and it was, grand, if I do say so for myself.

So follow the rules, and I tell ya, you will not be disappointed.

Seriously, follow the rules, no exceptions (except for the sauce, which is a more personal taste and if you don’t like jalapeños, well you are a sad case, but leave ‘em out, and the cilantro too, but gosh that makes you a total wimp.).



  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 8 strips of bacon, cut in half and fried crisp
  • lettuce, crunchy iceberg is best
  • thinly sliced red onions (very thin)
  • panko crumbs
  • barbecue sauce or your favorite brand or recipe
  • 4 slices of provolone cheese
  • 1/2 c mayo
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • pepper to taste
  • 4 buns (your favorite type)


  1. Butterfly each breast half and then slice in half giving you 4 pieces.
  2. Prepare a bowl with warm water and about 1/2 c salt. Stir until salt has dissolved, and then place the fillets in the brine. Refrigerate for all long as 12 hours, but preferably around 4-6.
  3. When ready, dry off the fillets.
  4. Heat a fry pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  5. Paint one side of a fillet with barbecue sauce, press that side into a dish of panko crumbs (you can use others but I like the added crunch from these). Paint the other side and flip over and press more panko crumbs on the other side. Slide carefully into the hot pan. Do this with remaining fillets and brown the chicken on both sides.
  6. Remove to a rack and place in a preheated oven of 400° for about 20 minutes to finish cooking.
  7. When ready to finish dish, place a slice of provolone on each and shut off oven and let the cheese just melt.
  8. Meanwhile, combine the mayo, cilantro, jalapeño and pepper in a bowl and whisk until mixed.
  9. Place buns, cut side down in the fry pan and just brown a bit.
  10. Then assemble the sandwich and serve immediately.


NOTES: You could easily grill the chicken if you wish, and leave off the panko too with just the barbecue sauce. The point of the barbecue sauce however is to give a subtle sweet twang so don’t drown it in sauce. If you wish, you could make the sauce with mayo and some avocado and whirr it up in the blender. You could also caramelize the onions.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Sicilian Braised Chicken

chickensalamiThis is an utterly delightful dish, quite spicy, but not in a hot way.

It can be salty so I’ve adapted the recipe a bit to cut down on that, and hopefully preserve the individual flavors of the various ingredients.

You can make this with a whole chicken but I only used four thighs and cut down on the rest of the ingredients make it work.


  • 4 chicken thighs,
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  •  1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 rosemary branch, about 8 inches
  • 1 cups diced salami (see note)
  • 3/4 cup pitted green olives, rinsed and cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2  cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sear chicken in 2 batches until golden brown, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer cooked chicken to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or another large, shallow casserole.

2.  Add onions to skillet and cook in the rendered chicken fat until brown, stirring, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, fennel, rosemary branch,  oregano and red pepper flakes. Pour in wine and simmer to reduce, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring to incorporate, for another 2 minutes.

3.  Pour in chicken broth in batches and stir to incorporate. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in bay leaves and lemon juice.

4.  Pour sauce over the chicken in the baking dish and roast in the oven, basting every 30 minutes, until chicken is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.  About 30 minutes before dish is finished, add the salami and olives. Return to oven to heat through. Discard bay leaves and rosemary. Serve chicken warm, with plenty of sauce. Works well over noodles, rice or potatoes.


NOTES: Use the very best olives you can get. They will be less salty. The salami choice is up to you. A Genoa or Sopressata works well.

SOURCE: Adapted from a recipe by Don Link in the NYTimes