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July 2016

Mexican Chopped Salad with Spicy Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing

Mexican chicken salad spicy avocado dressing

In California, it’s quite common to find a little “south-of-the-border” influence in many of our recipes, as is the case with this Mexican themed chopped salad.  It is bursting with vibrant flavors and while perfect for lunch, it’s also hearty enough to serve for dinner.  Like most chopped salads, it’s fairly easy to throw together, especially when you use a store bought rotisserie chicken. Adding a few traditional Mexican flavors like chili powder, cilantro, lime – combined with the creamy avocado, pan roasted corn kernels, and crunchy romaine lettuce - this salad reaches a new level of taste satisfaction. 

Download Mexican Chopped Salad with Spicy Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing

Serves 4

For the dressing:

1 avocado

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro

¼ cup fresh lime juice (from 2 -3 limes)

½ cup olive oil

½-1 teaspoon hot sauce

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1. Cut avocado in half, remove pit, and scoop flesh into blender or bowl of food processor. Add remaining ingredients and process until creamy, about 30 seconds; set aside

For the salad

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup frozen corn

½ teaspoon chili powder

1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 (2-3 lb) rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded, meat shredded into bite size pieces

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped into bite size pieces

6 radishes, sliced thin

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add corn kernels and cook until golden and beginning to brown – 3-4 minutes. Add chili powder and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add shredded chicken, black beans, lettuce, radishes and toss gently to combine. Pour dressing over salad and toss to distribute evenly. Season with salt and ground pepper. Serve

July Fourth Berry Trifle

July 4th Trifle1a

July Fourth Berry Trifle


Trifles are such an easy dessert to throw together and great to serve during the summer when berries are at their peak. This version has a few extra steps, but makes a festive presentation for the 4th of July.


Makes enough for a 3-quart trifle dish 

Click here to  Download July Fourth Berry Trifle


1 Homemade Pound Cake or 2 Sara Lee frozen pound cakes (16 ounces each), thawed and edges trimmed

3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam

6 cups fresh blueberries or blackberries (or mixture)

4 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons orange juice  

4 tablespoons Grand Marnier

3 cups fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries (or mixture)

4 cups vanilla pudding, refrigerated until firm (homemade or Jell-O)

1 cup heavy cream

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

 For Homemade Vanilla Pudding:

(For a smooth pudding, it is important to pass the pudding through a fine-mesh strainer in order to remove any bits of cooked egg. )

¾ cup sugar

3 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon table salt

3 ½ cups half-and-half

3 large egg yolks

1tablespoon unsalted butter

1tablespoon vanilla extract  

1.    Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in the half-and-half and then the yolks.

 2.    Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking gently but constantly and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the pudding is thick and coats the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 minutes.

 3.    Strain the pudding through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, scraping the inside of the strainer with a rubber spatula to pass the pudding through. Stir the butter and vanilla into the pudding until the butter is melted. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

 For the stars:

 1.    Slice each cake lengthwise into 6 equal pieces. Spread 2 teaspoons jam each on 6 cake slices and top with remaining slices to create jam sandwiches. Using 2-inch star cookie cutter, cut out 3 stars from each sandwich. Chop remaining sandwich scraps into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

 For the berries:

 1.    Toss blueberries (or blackberries) with 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons orange juice and 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier in bowl. Set aside to macerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. In separate bowl, toss raspberries (or strawberries) with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons orange juice and 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier and let macerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.

For the Whipped Cream:

 1.    Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth.

 2.    In the bowl of a stand mixer, add cream and vanilla to chilled bowl. Beat on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue beating until beaters leave a trail, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly doubled in volume, about 20 seconds. Mix in cream cheese mixture and beat for another 15 seconds to for sorm stiff peaks.

 To assemble:

 1.    Arrange 7 star sandwiches upright around bottom of 3-quart trifle dish. Place 2 cups sandwich scraps in center of dish. Arrange 3 cups blueberries around stars, piling up blueberries so that they surround all edges of stars. Spread 2 cups custard in even layer on top of blueberry and cake layer.

 2.    Place 1 cup sandwich scraps on center of custard layer. Arrange 3 cups raspberries around perimeter of dish. Spread remaining custard in even layer on top of raspberries. Arrange 9 star sandwiches upright around perimeter of dish. Arrange remaining blueberries around stars and pile remaining raspberries in center of dish. Spoon whipped cream on top of raspberries and top with remaining stars and a few berries for garnish. 

Star cutouts

Trifle base