Best Ever Grape Salad

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone!!!

beautiful grapes.  This "salad" starts out as healthy.  ;-)
beautiful grapes. This “salad” starts out as healthy. 😉

Grapes are a big deal for New Year’s Eve here in Peru. They have a tradition where they eat grapes for every month of the year for good luck as the clock strikes 12. I don’t believe in this superstition, but I do not mind one bit the sale that they have for seedless grapes in the grocery stores!

This is one of Greg’s absolute favorite salads. Salad is a little misleading… it is definitely a dessert. 🙂

I first heard about this salad from a friend in my masters program back in Memphis, TN. She had told me that it makes a great potluck dish. Our supporting church at Cedar Lane made a cookbook for us before we left, and I was happy to see Evelyn Curlee’s recipe for this little gem. Thanks, Evelyn!

there's nothing like finding seedless grapes on sale (in green AND red) in AQP!!!
there’s nothing like finding seedless grapes on sale (in green AND red) in AQP!!!
It is so nice when I can just take a picture and not type all of this out.  :-)
It is so nice when I can just take a picture and not type all of this out. 🙂

It is a really easy salad to put together. So easy in fact, that my kids can help me. Even the two-year-old. 😉

Ana and Mags plucking the grapes from the vine
Ana and Mags plucking the grapes from the vine
Cohen aka Super Mixer
Cohen aka Super Mixer
the recipe says to add the grapes whole.  I like to cut each of them in half. (it is also easier for the kids to eat)
the recipe says to add the grapes whole. I like to cut each of them in half. (it is also easier for the kids to eat)
this is where the goodness comes in.  :-)
this is where the goodness comes in. 🙂
it says to leave it like this and chill...
it says to leave it like this and chill…
I like to go ahead and mix it all up.  Soooo delicious.
I like to go ahead and mix it all up. Soooo delicious.

And for the record, we don’t have sour cream here in Arequipa. I substitute natural yogurt, and it comes out just fine. I also scored on a 3 for 2 deal on Philadelphia Cream Cheese at the store too. Cheers to a cheaper New Year’s Eve Dessert!

Best Ever Grape Salad

Quinoa and Spinach Patties

I really like quinoa.  I am still searching for a good recipe to try for creamed quinoa (like the dish from Zig Zag and La Nueva Palomino).  If one of my recipe blogs that I follow features a quinoa recipe, I am usually a sucker to bookmark it and try it.  This year, one of our interns is a vegetarian, this recipe popped up one day, and I couldn’t resist adding it to my menu for the week.

I got some non-excited responses from Greg and the kids, but after lunch, the reaction changed.  It was a hit!  Even Manuela, who shared with me a month ago that she has never liked quinoa in her 50+ years of living here, liked it and asked for the recipe.  Success!

I will just post the link to the recipe: Quinoa and Spinach Patties

My patties looked exactly like the picture.  I used fresh spinach that I just steamed in hot water.  One note is to prepare the quinoa ahead of time (it is supposed to be cooled when you add it to the mix).  I bought the perfect-sized little wheat buns, added a slice of melted cheese and barbecue sauce, and we went to town.

She suggests serving it with an avocado salad.  I did just that.  I have no clue what salad recipe she uses, but here is the one we like here in Peru:

Avocado Salad

  • 1 large avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 small cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small block of mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

1.  Mix avocado, onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, and cheese in a small bowl.

2.  Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Quinoa and Spinach Patties

Tuna Cheese Melts and Tomato-Cucumber Mozzarella Salad

Furlough is right around the corner where we will be crossing hemispheres and entering into summer in the states.  I am so ready to see a hot summer day.  It has been four years!  The other night I was going through some old recipe books and I decided to dog-ear some pages.  Today's new recipes come from my Best of Taste of Home Volume 2 cookbook.

These two were featured separately, but I thought they went well together.  To me, this dish has “summer” all over it.

Growing up, tunafish sandwiches were one of my mom's favorite meals to feed five hungry kids on a hot summer day.  She could make a huge batch, we all loved it, and it was budget-friendly.  She prepared her tuna with mayo, sweet relish, and chopped boiled egg.  I still prepare my tuna salad like this, but I was happy to try a new recipe when I saw this idea for Tuna Cheese Melts.

Tuna Cheese Melts

Prep/Total Time: 25 minutes

  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 8 slices rye or white bread
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tuna, drained and flaked
  • 2 Tbs mayo
  • 4 slices process American cheese
  • butter, for grilling

In a small bowl, combine sour cream and garlic salt; spread on one side of each slice of bread.  In another bowl, combine tuna and mayo; spread on four slices of bread.  Top with cheese and remaining bread; gently press together.

Melt 2 Tbs butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add two sandwiches; toast sandwiches until bread is lightly browned on both sides and cheese is melted.  Repeat with remaining butter and sandwiches.  Yield: 4 servings

Tomato-Cucumber Mozzarella Salad

Prep/Total Time: 20 minutes plus chilling

  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 c thinly sliced onions
  • 12 pitted Greek olives, sliced
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbs minced fresh basil
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the first seven ingredients; shake well.

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, onions, olives, parsley and basil.  Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.  Just before serving, stir in cheese.  Serve with a slotted spoon.  Yield: 8 servings

zp8497586rq
Tuna Cheese Melts and Tomato-Cucumber Mozzarella Salad

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

this will definitely be made again in our home

I love barbecue.  I come from the South where pork barbecue rules, and I come from an area where it is normal to put a big helping of slaw on your sandwich.  So when I saw this recipe from the Pioneer Woman, BARBECUE CHICKEN SANDWICHES, I had to try it.  I can’t find good pulled pork here in Arequipa, and I just so happened to buy fresh jalapeños from my awesome vegetable vendor (they are rare to find here).

simmering the whole chicken pieces with whole garlic cloves, onion, and sauce
it was impossible to not cheat and eat a little before serving them on the rolls
cilantro and jalapeño greatly compliment the flavor of the barbecue
good, tasty wheat roll, generous heap of chicken, and slaw

If you like barbecue, and you can take a little heat, try this one out.  It seems like a fun summer meal (even though we are in our winter season).

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches