Dragonfly Home Recipes

Recipes, Photography, Musings

Month: June 2016

Cherry Berry Breakfast Jars

Tart, juicy cherries and sweet blueberries are layered with Greek yogurt, granola, and chia seeds to make a healthy, beautiful breakfast bursting with flavor.  Mason jars make this not only pretty (I love how they show the colorful layers), but they are also practical–just screw on the lid, put the jar(s) in the cooler, and you have a portable breakfast or snack.

cherry berry breakfast jars on porchSummer fruit really is a special treat. There is just nothing like being able to walk out the door and pick fruit right in your own yard, or pick it up from a nearby farm stand.  You can taste the bright sunshine in every bite, and something with that much fresh flavor and naturally bright color has to be loaded with beneficial nutrients!

I wanted to do a post in honor of our cherry trees this week, because they have given us such great fruit this season!  We planted them a few years ago as tiny little trees, and over time we have nursed them, protected them from hungry deer, and watched them grow.  This is the first summer we have been able to harvest more than a handful of cherries from them, and I am so excited about it! Tart cherries have been a favorite of mine since I was a child.  Lots of good childhood memories are mixed in with the pursuit of good cherries and cherry pies. To have them now growing in my own yard feels like a huge luxury, and I know how my dad would love it.

cherries in white bowl 3Our two cherry trees, though still not large, are just loaded with bright red tart cherries! So far, we have been eating them too quickly to make a pie filling, but these easy breakfast jars are perfect.  The sweetness of the blueberries helps balance the tart flavor of the cherries, and really, you could substitute any seasonal fruit if you don’t have cherries or blueberries.

cherries and berries 2This recipe is so simple, yet it is so delicious and so pretty that it is worth remembering and sharing.  My kids, who were definitely in a breakfast rut, have been loving these jars the past couple of mornings.  I think it has to do with the freshness of the fruit and the novelty of the layers instead of everything just mixed up in a bowl.  You can use your favorite yogurt and favorite granola, and sweeten it all with honey if you are using unsweetened yogurt.

cherry berry breakfast jar overview 2I hope you are all enjoying some summer air and summer fruit! We went camping last weekend, and it was just what we needed.  To be away from routines and to be surrounded by nature, getting back to the basics.  It felt like time kind of stood still for us for a couple of days, and we had some good family exploring new territory and sitting around the campfire, roasting marshmallows and listening to the fire crackle and pop.  The trees, the lakes, the fresh air and stars at night all soothed my soul.  And the juicy, tart cherries give vitality and hope.  I hope you are all having a good week! I am going to share this tasty recipe at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, where lots of great food bloggers gather to trade recipes and inspiration.cherry berry breakfast jars in hands 3cherry berry breakfast jars with stripescherry tree

Cherry Berry Breakfast Jars

  • Servings: 4 half-pint sized jars
  • Time: about 15 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh tart cherries, washed and pitted
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries, washed
  • 2 cups of Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups of your favorite granola
  • 1 teaspoon of chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of honey (use if your yogurt is unsweetened)
  • 4 half-pint sized mason jars

Directions:

Wash the fruit and remove the pits from the cherries.  Set out the yogurt, granola, chia seeds, and mason jars.  In each mason jar, spoon in a layer of yogurt, fruit, granola, and a 1/4 teaspoon of chia seeds. Repeat the layers.  Serve immediately or cover with the mason jar lids and refrigerate or take with you in a cooler.  Enjoy!

Lemon Tarragon Chicken

In this recipe, each chicken breast half is baked in its own foil packet with a lemon-tarragon sauce and sliced mushrooms: so flavorful and so moist! Serve this lemon tarragon chicken with potatoes, rice, or any type of grain, plus a vegetable or a salad, and you have a quick, delicious meal!

DSC_0976I have been making this recipe for many years.  In fact, I made it so often awhile back that I had to take a break from it for a time, and just tonight I made it again.  No wonder I used to make it so often! It is so tasty and so easy! It’s easy, but it tastes like something special.  I think it’s the baking of the chicken in the foil packet.  The foil keeps in all that moisture, and the lemon juice, olive oil, and tarragon blend together so nicely.  This recipe is very loosely adapted from a cookbook called 365 Ways to Cook Chicken by Cheryl Sedaker. Over the years I have tweaked it here and there to fit our tastes.

Do you ever feel like the forces of chaos have been unleashed into your life?  That’s how I have been feeling this week, and in times like that, it’s good to fall back on a meal that is reliable, comforting, and nourishing.  I can’t even quite explain what has been going on–I think it’s just a lot of little things happening all at once.  In any case, food is a constant, food is a comfort.  We all have to eat, no matter what is going on, or how crazy our days can become. If we can make eating enjoyable and restorative, then we are doing one important thing toward fostering a feeling of goodwill, toward building up rather than breaking down.  And if we can pick some flowers and put them in a vase, so much the better!

lemon chicken tarragon with linen 1One thing I love about this recipe is that there is minimal prep work, and then it bakes in the oven for twenty minutes.  During that twenty minutes this evening, I also put some asparagus, mixed with garlic and Parmesan cheese, in the oven to roast along with the chicken, and then threw together some mashed potatoes. It all came together pretty quickly, yet it tasted like a real meal that took lots of time to prepare.  Super-satisfying, yet easy on the one doing the cooking.

I hope you all have a great weekend! This is the perfect time to eat outdoors as much as possible, and don’t forget to marvel at all the beautiful flowers! I am adding this recipe to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Quinn @ dadwhats4dinner and Elaine @ Foodbod.lemon tarragon chicken in foilsweet peas in the window

Lemon Tarragon Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: about 15 minutes of prep time and about 20 minutes of baking time
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Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 teaspoons of lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, chopped onion, tarragon, salt, and lemon juice. Stir well.

Tear off four sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, about 12 by 18 inches.  Line them up on your counter. Place a chicken breast on the lower half of each piece of foil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Evenly top each piece with the mushroom slices.  Spoon the olive oil-lemon juice mixture evenly over each piece of chicken and mushrooms.

Fold the upper half of the foil down and seal it with the lower half. Make a series of locked folds all the way around the foil to seal each foil packet. Fold the edges for a tighter seal, while still allowing room for the heat to circulate and expand. Place the foil packets on a baking sheet and bake in your 450-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is done and no longer pink. Cut an X in the top of each foil packet, fold the foil back, and transfer the chicken and mushrooms to a plate.  Pour the remaining juices over the chicken, if desired. Serve with potatoes, rice, or a grain of your choice, plus a vegetable and/or salad. Enjoy!

 

 

Asparagus Potato Naan

Tender asparagus, thinly sliced baby potatoes, minced garlic, and Parmesan cheese on top of naan flatbread creates a quick, light meal or tasty appetizers.  Naan bread is endlessly versatile and can be the base for so many different types of flatbread pizzas.  This asparagus potato naan recipe features delicious, tender vegetables, and can be on your table in about 20 minutes.

asparagus potato naan on benchPotatoes and asparagus are not only in season right now, but they are also a great combination.  If you have never tried potatoes on flatbread, you should give it a try. The creaminess of cooked potatoes with melted cheese, all on top of a warm flatbread–it is delicious, especially when the tender-fresh crunch of asparagus is added.  While at first the thought of pairing of potatoes and flatbread may sound like a carb overload, it really isn’t in this case, since the naan flatbread is thin and the layer of potatoes is also thin.

DSC_0857This is a great summer meal when you are in a hurry and need to make something nourishing, or if you have guests over and want to serve them some fun, seasonal appetizers, out on the porch or deck, with a cold beverage and great conversation.  Can you tell I am wanting to invite some people over for dinner soon?  I am.  It has been a hectic spring, and we haven’t had much time to relax over our food and drinks.  Now the kids are out of school (as of today!) and their sports schedules are in somewhat of a lull for a month or so.  Our evenings and weekends are opening up.  It’s time to slow down and linger outside, letting conversations develop and quiet moments blossom.

It’s time to enjoy nature, including asparagus and potatoes, and soon the cherries and wild black raspberries growing right in our yard.  I just made the first strawberry shortcake of the season last night, and the strawberries were so fresh! Savoring the fruits and vegetables that are in season helps me feel like I am in the moment and experiencing life as it is unfolding.  Every last day of school since my kids have started school, I have felt emotional and bittersweet.  One era is ending as another is beginning.  Sometimes it can be hard to let things go, and sometimes we can’t wait to move on.  As I cannot believe how fast they are growing and sometimes want to slow time down, my kids are excited to move on to the next phase. Time passes regardless of how quickly or slowly we want it to go.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  This week’s Fiesta Friday is co-hosted by Lindy @ Love in the Kitchen and Liz @ spades, spatulas & spoons.   potatoes and asparagusasparagus potato naan on baking sheetasparagus potato naan white and green 2

Asparagus Potato Naan

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 20-25 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • 4-6 small potatoes (red or gold), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound of fresh asparagus, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 naan flatbreads (about 250 g or 8.8 oz in a package of 2)
  • about 1 cup of Parmesan cheese (other cheese can be used, if desired)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place the naan pieces on top of the parchment paper.

Wash the potatoes and asparagus.  Slice the potatoes very thinly.  Snap the tough ends off of the asparagus stalks and then chop the stalks into small pieces.  In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the sliced potatoes and toss gently for a couple of minutes, until the potatoes are just golden.  Remove from heat.

Pour the remaining olive oil into a shallow bowl.  Mince the garlic mix it in with the olive oil.  Brush the naan pieces with olive oil/garlic (with the bubbly side of the naan facing up).  Spread the potatoes in over the flatbread pieces in an even layer, then top with the chopped asparagus.  Sprinkle the cheese on top of the vegetables.  Place the baking sheet into your oven and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender and the cheese is melted.

Allow to cool slightly and slice into pieces. Enjoy!

asparagus and potato naan with dog

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp II

The bright, tart taste of rhubarb and the iconic, sweet taste of strawberries is a classic spring and summer combination. This strawberry rhubarb crisp gets some subtle variety with a splash of lime juice in the filling and chopped pistachios in the topping–a recipe that is high on flavor and relatively low on sugar.

You may be thinking, do we really need another recipe for strawberry rhubarb crisp?  Well, if you like making fruit crisps like I do, then the answer is yes!  I make crisps all summer long, and I rarely make them the same way twice.  There are endless variations on the basic theme, and the variations are what make fruit crisps fun and personalized.  You can tailor them to your own tastes, and they always taste best when they feature fresh, in-season fruit.  As much as I love rhubarb pies (I have made two already this month, thanks to a nice big armful of rhubarb from my aunt), crisps are easier and quicker to make.

strawberry rhubarb crisp and grassThis most recent version of strawberry rhubarb crisp is similar to one I posted about a year ago, but with the twist of added lime juice and chopped pistachios.  (I seem to be on a bit of a pistachio kick lately, as my last posted recipe contained them too). The lime juice just adds a bit more brightness to the fruit (which was very bright already!), and the chopped pistachios add texture a bit of saltiness, and protein.  I’m always looking for ways to add protein!  I also like this recipe because the topping is light on the flour, leaning more heavily on the old fashioned rolled oats, and as I mentioned above, not much sugar–just 1/4 to 1/3 cup of brown sugar.

With rhubarb season in full swing and strawberry season finally upon us, this is the perfect time to be making this type of dessert.  It’s so nice to see fresh strawberries, and the daylight lasting into the evening is beautiful.  Because the weather has been so dry lately, we have very few mosquitoes to contend with, so we can be outside in the evenings much more easily than we often can at this time of year.  To be able to walk outside in the evening, barefoot, with a bowl of warm strawberry rhubarb crisp in one hand and a spoon in the other, looking for a quiet place to sit and enjoy it–that is one of the joys and luxuries of summer.  I hope you are all having a great week!strawberry rhubarb crisp in handstrawberry rhubarb crisp outside DSC_0782 strawberries and rhubarb in green bowlI will share this recipe at Angie’s weekly Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Linda @ La Petite Paniere.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp II

  • Servings: about 6
  • Time: about 15 minutes prep time, plus about 45 minutes baking time
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh rhubarb, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of flour (I used all-purpose flour, but you can use any kind)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons of roasted, salted pistachios, shelled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup or 1/3 cup (depending on how sweet or tart you want it) of brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a 9-inch pie plate, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, lime juice, and flour.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, and pistachios.  With a fork or pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture forms crumbs about the size of peas.  Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the fruit.  Bake in your 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the fruit is bubbling.  Serve warm.  I like it just as it is, but you can serve it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if you wish. Enjoy!

 

This recipe is adapted from My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow

 

Asparagus Quinoa Salad

In this asparagus quinoa salad, fresh asparagus is roasted with pistachios and then mixed with quinoa and a homemade honey-garlic vinaigrette.  The result is a salad rich in superfoods, with lots of flavor and tons of nutrients.  It’s the perfect salad to take to a picnic, to enjoy with lunch, or to use as a side dish at dinner.  It’s light, while at the same time satisfying and filling.

DSC_0679I love how fluid recipes can be.  They are never exactly the same twice, and they bring with them stories, memories, and reminders of friends or family members who have shared or contributed to the recipes.  The same goes for sharing meals with others too.  We get ideas from one another and build on our conversations and memories.

asparagus quinoa salad 1Quinoa salad has been on my mind lately for a number of reasons.  My soccer mom/walking buddies have been making versions of it and we’ve been exchanging ideas, plus my mother is on a quinoa kick as well.  The other day when we were over at her house, she made some asparagus and quinoa separately, but they ended up getting mixed up on my plate, and they tasted great together.  I knew I wanted asparagus in my next quinoa salad.

DSC_0580

In addition to vegetables, one of my friends likes to put nuts in her quinoa salads. The only nuts I have in the house right now are pistachios. I thought those would be good with the asparagus too.  Little did I know that when I googled asparagus and pistachios, lots of recipes came up! Apparently I was not the only one who thought this would be a good combination.  The following asparagus quinoa salad recipe is very basic, and based loosely on a few different recipes I found, my own experience with asparagus and quinoa, plus input from friends and my mother.  That’s what I mean about recipes being so fluid.  They are influenced by those we talk with or read about, plus by what is in season, and what we have on hand.  They are like living, breathing entities sometimes, changing with the weather and the circumstances.

This asparagus quinoa salad is really satisfying.  The nutty flavor of the quinoa blends deliciously with the pistachios and asparagus, and the vinaigrette gives it just the right amount of sweetness and zing.  Feel free to add other vegetables you have in your kitchen, and if you are in a hurry, just add your favorite salad dressing instead of making it from scratch.  The versatility of quinoa is one of its strongest attributes, along with its huge health benefits. I plan to make versions of this salad all summer long, depending on which vegetables are in season.

I hope you all have a great weekend! The weather here has been gorgeous.  I can’t believe it’s already June.  The kids will be out of school soon.  It’s been a full few days around here, with a soccer tournament and a state track meet, along with end-of-the-school-year events and other gatherings too.  I have not had a chance to visit other blogs like is enjoy doing.  I hope to catch up on that this weekend.  At this time of the year, with the beautiful weather and flowers blooming, I always hear my grandpa’s voice quoting part of a James Russell Lowell poem: “And what is so rare as a day in June?  Then, if ever, come perfect days….” I hope you enjoy some beautiful June days.asparagus and pistachioschopped asparagusquinoa and asparagusThis recipe will be shared over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau and Aruna @ Aharam.

Asparagus Quinoa Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 30 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • about 1 pound (or one bunch) of asparagus
  • 1/2 cup of roasted and salted pistachios, shelled
  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked
  • a couple sprigs of fresh mint (optional)

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Remove the pistachios from their shells and measure them to 1/2 cup.  Wash the asparagus and snap off the tough ends.  Chop the asparagus into bite-sized pieces.  Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.  Spread the asparagus pieces and pistachios into a single layer on the baking sheet and gently toss with the olive oil.  Bake in your 400-degree oven for about 15 minutes, checking to see that the asparagus is tender, and removing it when the asparagus is just-tender.

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa in according to the package directions.  When the quinoa is done (expanded, tender and all the water is absorbed), transfer it to a large bowl and let it cool some.  When the asparagus is done, let it cool some as well.

While things are cooling, mix up the vinaigrette in a glass container.  Combine the olive oil, white wine vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and mined garlic, and stir well.  If you have a glass bottle with a screw top, combine the dressing in there and shake.

Then mix the asparagus/pistachio mixture with the quinoa in the bowl, and pour the vinaigrette in as well.  Stir gently but thoroughly to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.  Add some chopped fresh mint leaves if you wish.  Serve at room temperature.  Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator. Enjoy!