Spontaneous Success!

Let me start by admitting that I did not plan for this one. Aldi had a sale on mangoes last week, so I violated grocery shopping rule #1 (STICK TO THE LIST!) and put one in the cart. I had no idea what I’d do with it, but 69-cent mangoes are not to be passed up.

Not only did I go off-list at the grocery store, but I also slacked off on the meal planning for the week. I put the fun important things down (dinner with friends Monday night and tacos with friends on Friday night), but that left me with three dinner-less days, and man cannot (or should not) live on Christmas cookies alone. (Not that we aren’t giving it our best shot… 😉 )  And then Andy went on a last-minute work trip, which kind of killed the meal-planning motivation. I would just scrounge up something with what was in the house.

Hmm. One mango. Roughly half of a head of Napa cabbage from our last CSA share (Don’t be grossed out by that. I promise it was still good. Those produce saver bags are AMAZING.) Limes. Onions. Hmm.

Smitten Kitchen to the rescue again! This slaw was incredibly addicting. It was sweet (from the mango), sour (from the lime) and spicy (not sure if it was the red pepper flakes or my red onion) all at the same time. I subbed green pepper for the red pepper (because that’s what I had in the fridge). I didn’t have mint or cashews, so I toasted some almonds and chopped up some cilantro instead.

I was going to cook some shrimp to go with it, but, as I said before, my motivation was dwindling. Plus, I was kind of going to town on the slaw, so I decided to make a meal out of just that. And then I ate the rest for lunch the next day. Like I said, addicting. Good thing Andy was gone so I didn’t have to share. 😉


Cabbage & Mango Slaw

1 pound of Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1-2 mangoes, thinly sliced (Deb’s recipe calls for 2 mangoes. I only had one on hand, but I would definitely go for 2. More mango is never a bad thing.) 
1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced
1/3 of a large red onion, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Combine the cabbage, mangoes, green pepper and red onion in a large bowl.

Whisk the lime juice, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and oil together in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and add the cilantro to the bowl. Toss the salad a few times to make sure the dressing is well-distributed.

Just before serving, sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Click here for a printable version.

Sunshine in a Bowl

I’m almost afraid to say it, but I think spring may finally be making its way to Wisconsin! Just this morning, I discovered our daffodils poking up out of the ground, and it even looks like our garlic experiment is working out! (I will be thrilled if the garlic cloves we tucked into the garden last fall actually grow into full heads of their own!) I even went barefoot (in the driveway) today – something that hasn’t happened since, oh, probably September.

After months of snow and polar-vortex temperatures, any sign of spring is more than welcome. Even if that sign is just a bowl full of bright, happy mango chunks. I made this salsa a few weeks ago, when we were still covered in snow and feeling insanely jealous of everyone who was planning trips for spring break. It’s ridiculously easy – chop, mix, eat. We enjoyed it on our favorite pork chops, and it took our rice from average to “I’ll have some more of that.” And now that I think about it, I’m sure this would be equally tasty with grilled fish, shrimp or chicken as well. Things to keep in mind now that our grill isn’t covered by several feet of snow. 🙂



Editor’s Note: I’m guessing on the measurements here, since I made this up on the fly and didn’t bother getting out the measuring cups. Feel free to add more (or less) or something as it suits you! 

Simple Mango Salsa

1 mango, diced small
1/3 cup diced green pepper
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced jalapeno pepper, seeds removed if you don’t like too much heat
juice of one lime
small handful of cilantro, chopped
coarse salt

In a small bowl, combine the mango, green pepper, jalapeno and onions. Add the lime juice and stir until the ingredients are fully coated. Add the cilantro and season to taste with salt.

Serve over pork chops, chicken, fish or rice. Store leftover salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

A Beth’s Blue Plate Original

Click here for a printable version.

Coming to a Taco Night Near You

I’ve talked about our taco nights before. It’s one of our favorite events. And yes, taco night is an event.

There’s the meat. The guac (my favorite!). The cheese. The refried beans. (Because without refried beans, you can’t create a massive double-decker, crunchy shell inside of a soft shell taco.) And of course, the company. Taco night is more than just good food; it’s an evening with some of our favorite people.

And now… there’s this salsa as well. It looks more like a fruit salad than any salsa I’ve ever seen (which explains why Andy enjoyed it), and the flavor, well, let’s just say that I polished off the leftovers all by myself. For dinner.

Ahem. Moving on.

This one comes together pretty quickly, depending on how good you are with a knife. (And whether or not you slice part of your finger while chopping the mango. Details.) It’s bright and fresh, and since it’s good for you, well, then you can feel better about the extra cheese and sour cream that you’ve piled on your double-decker taco. 😀


Mango Pineapple Salsa

1 cup fresh pineapple, diced small
2 cups fresh mango, diced small
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped (I eyeballed this.)
Pinch of salt, to taste

In a large bowl, stir together all of the ingredients except the salt. Taste the salsa, then season with salt as needed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve with your favorite tortilla chips. (I’m thinking these would be a good chip choice.) 

From Brown Eyed Baker, who adapted it from Simply Recipes

Click here for a printable version.

Sweet Salsa

The more I cook, the more adventurous I get. Need proof? Look no further than here and here. Last week, I’d bought a mango (total impulse buy) without any real idea of what I was going to do with it. Well, a week had gone by, and this mango was at the peak of perfect. It needed using NOW. Not tomorrow, not sometime over the weekend, but NOW. Hmm. What was I going to do with the mango?

I didn’t have all of the stuff I needed for the mango salsa I normally make, and since we were having pork chops, I didn’t really think we needed another protein. I decided to throw caution to the wind and just wing it. Lucky for us, I managed to come up with a winner! (Like they say, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.) 

I would have added a little chopped jalapeno, but since I didn’t have one on hand, that didn’t happen. (Which Andy was A-OK with, by the way. He seems to think I’m out to see how much heat he can handle. No clue where he gets that idea.) If you have the pepper, go for it. Make it even if you don’t have a jalapeno. It’s that good.

Mango Blueberry Salsa

1 mango, diced into half-inch pieces
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped (pick your favorite, I used yellow because that’s what I had!) 
1 teaspoon jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (if using)
Juice of half a lime
1/4 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed (used the ones from this week’s CSA!) 
pinch of sea salt
3-4 basil leaves, sliced into thin strips

In a small bowl, combine the mango, pepper and onion. Add the lime juice and stir to combine. Add salt to taste and gently stir in the blueberries and basil. Let sit for 15-30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Serve over pork chops, chicken or fish. (Or, eat it straight from the bowl, like Andy did when I asked him to taste-test it.) Store leftover salsa in the fridge.

M is for… Mango!

Mango. It’s one of those exotic-sounding, tropical fruits. Not your average apple or banana. It’s also not one that I was really sure about at first. How do I know when it’s ripe? What should a “good” mango look/feel/smell like? Is it even possible to get “good” mango here in the middle of Wisconsin? Or is that like expecting to find good lobster here?

Finally, I just decided to go for it. And since all of the mangoes at the store looked the same, I just randomly selected a couple, brought them home, and stared at them some more. Now that I HAD the mangoes, what on earth was I going to do with them? Andy suggested that we just eat them. Perfectly good fruit, he said, is “ruined” by putting it in things. We should just enjoy the mangoes as God made them. (Translation: Don’t you dare mix them with black beans, cumin and garlic and serve it over quinoa.) 

Lucky for us, I didn’t listen. And we while we waited for the quinoa to finish cooking, we demolished half of the mango-black-bean goodness straight out of the bowl.

Even though I ran out of cilantro, it was still a super-tasty meatless Monday dinner!

Mango Black Bean Salsa with Quinoa

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup of mango, diced (this is usually less than one mango, so you can give the fruit-lovers in your household something to snack on while dinner is coming together) 
1/4 cup sweet bell pepper, diced (red, yellow, orange… pick your favorite color!)
2 tablespoons onion, chopped (red, green… again, pick your favorite) 
1/2 cup of corn
1/2 of a jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 cup water
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon cumin

In a medium bowl, combine the black beans, mango, onion, corn, cilantro and peppers. Stir in the olive oil, salt, cumin and garlic. Set aside for 20 minutes or so to let the flavors mingle. (I’m sure the flavor would be better the longer you let this sit, but as I’ve mentioned before, I have a patience problem. 20 minutes is about the end of my attention span at dinner time.) 

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, chicken broth, quinoa and cumin. Bring to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is done. Fluff with a fork.

Spoon the quinoa onto plates, and then top with the salsa. Extra salsa is great on chips, or straight from the bowl.

Adapted from Annie’s Eats