Home Cooking: 4 simple and fresh summer entrees
Our summers are short. Instead of spending time in the kitchen, get outdoors, take a hike, ride a bike or sit on the deck and enjoy a chilled beverage. When you’re ready to eat, these four entrees provide quick, easy and delicious options.
Chicken cobb salad
- 10-ounce bag of baby spinach
- 3 to 4 green onions, diced
- 4 pieces of bacon, fried until crisp
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 to 1 pound asparagus
- 1/4 pound feta or goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 pound uncooked chicken tenders (or leftovers from lemon rosemary roast chicken)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a sheet pan, place the asparagus and the chicken tenders. Drizzle both with a little extra-virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then chop the asparagus and the chicken into bite-size pieces.
While the chicken and vegetables are cooking, cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and fry.
In a large salad bowl, place a bed of baby spinach, then make lines of each of your salad ingredients: cheese, chicken, asparagus, tomatoes, bacon and green onions. Top with your favorite bottled ranch dressing or make a quick dressing. In a small glass jar add 1/4 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese, 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup of half-and-half or milk and salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Screw on the top and shake.
Southwestern sheet pan salmon and vegetables
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place your salmon fillets (or other fresh or frozen firm fish filet) onto a sheet pan lined with a silicone pad or parchment paper. Toss the vegetables you want to enjoy with your fish. I used broccoli and tomatoes, sprinkle extra-virgin olive oil over the fish and veggies, then sprinkle with your favorite Southwestern seasoning. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until the fish and vegetables are cooked through but not overdone.
One pot braised short ribs
During the weekly hike of the St. John’s Slo Pokes, Ted Mueller mentioned that he was making braised short ribs for dinner that evening. Knowing that Ted is an excellent cook, I begged for the recipe.
- 5 pounds beef short ribs
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 4 cups of beef stock
- 2 pounds baby carrots
- 1 medium leek, white part only cut into 1-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish
Sprinkle the short ribs with salt, pepper and 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch. (This forms a delicious crust on the beef as it browns and will help to thicken the braising liquid.)
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat on the stovetop, and add a swish of extra-virgin olive oil to lightly cover the bottom. Working in batches, brown the short ribs a few at a time, careful not to overcrowd.
Removed the beef from the pan and add the onion and garlic, sauteing until golden and softened. (Be careful not to burn the garlic.)
Deglaze the pot with red wine, scraping up the yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add in the tomato paste and beef stock. Then add back in the short ribs, cover the pot with a lid and place in the oven at 350 degrees to braise for two to two and a half hours until the beef is tender. Remove from oven, skim the fat and allow the meat to rest.
About 20 minutes before you remove the pan from the oven, cook the carrots in a pot of water until just tender, drain the water but keep the carrots in the pan, add a dollop of butter and saute with leeks until the leeks have softened. Serve the carrots and leeks alongside the short ribs
Slow cooker adaptation: After you brown the short ribs, add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for eight hours or high on four hours.
Lemon rosemary roast chicken
If you’ve read my column for a while, you know I can’t get enough of roast chicken, so here’s a quick, easy and delicious recipe.
- Whole chicken
- 1 butter stick
- Rosemary sprigs
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 garlic cloves
To begin, I like to spatchcock the chicken, which means I cut alongside the backbone so the chicken is flat in the baking pan. You get a more even roast this way.
Into my food processor goes a stick of butter, a few sprigs of Rosemary, the juice of half a lemon, two cloves of garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Process until the ingredients are minced and the butter forms a soft ball.
Gently lift the skin between the breast and put about 1 1/2 teaspoons of this flavorful butter into the pocket between skin and meat on each breast. Spread another 1 to 2 tablespoons all over the chicken. If there’s any left, use it for corn on the cob or other vegetables you want to roast to serve with dinner. It’s absolutely delicious.
Roast the chicken in a heated oven at 375 degrees for one hour to one hour and 15 minutes. If the skin does not reach the golden brown you want, turn on the broiler and that will do a nice job of crisping the skin. Let the bird rest for five to 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Home Cooking” publishes biweekly on Thursdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson taught herself to cook after college when she discovered dinner parties were a cure for loneliness. Her latest cookbook is “A Year in the Mountains Cookbook.” She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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