Garlic Scape Pesto

If you love garlic, you’ll love this take on a traditional pesto using garlic If you love garlic, you’ll love my take on a traditional pesto using garlic scapes instead of basil. For a quick dinner, add a couple of tablespoons pesto to cooked pasta and top with grilled or sautéed shrimp. Whip up a simple and delicious appetizer by spreading this pesto over baguettes slices and topping with sautéed mushrooms. Serve it up for breakfast in an omelet with black beans and spinach. The possibilities are endless and this pesto freezes well to use in future meals.

Ingredients:

10 garlic scapes
½ cup walnuts, toasted
⅓ cup cotija cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
freshly ground salt and pepper
⅓ cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Trim garlic scapes at the base of the bulb, discarding the tops. Roughly chop the long stems. Place garlic scapes in a food processor fitted with the metal blade.
  2. Add walnuts, cotija cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil while processing until the ingredients are well blended.
  3. Serve or freeze. To freeze, fill mini-muffin tin cups ¾ full and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour. Remove and store pesto in a freezer-safe container until ready to use.

Grilled Chicken and Cornbread Salad with Buttermilk Ranch

Move over croutons, cornbread tastes better with this hearty salad. Garlic lovers will love the sautéed garlic scapes along with tangy ranch, crunchy bacon and buttery lima beans. It’s a perfect meal to make with leftover cornbread and grilled chicken. If you have extra cornbread, store it in the freeze and defrost for future salads.

Salad Dressing Ingredients:
⅔ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic scapes or green onion
½ teaspoon dried dill
¼ teaspoon white pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt

Salad Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons garlic scapes or green onion, sliced
1 large head green leaf lettuce, leaves separated and torn
Cornbread, prepared
1¼ pound chicken breast, grilled
1½ cups lima beans, prepared from fresh, frozen or canned
8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, buttermilk, vinegar, garlic, green onion, dill, pepper and salt. Whisk until well combined. Cover and refrigerate salad dressing until ready to serve.
  2. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic scapes or green onion slices and sauté until lightly browned.
  3. Place an equal amount of lettuce on four plates and add a slice of cornbread in the middle. Top each plate with ¼ of chicken, lima beans, bacon and sautéed garlic scapes. Drizzle with ranch dressing and serve.

Servings: 4

Shrimp and Kale Quesadilla

Kale is one of my favorite vegetables, because it is so versatile and delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a quick meal with a Mexican twist, sautéed greens pair perfectly with pinto beans, fast-cooking shrimp and cotija cheese. If you’re not serving four, reheat kale mixture the next day and serve for breakfast with a fried egg on top. Add a warm corn tortilla to the bottom of the dish for a different take on huevos rancheros.

Ingredients:
1 bunch kale
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1 (15.5 ounce) can pinto beans
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
8 ounces raw peeled and deveined shrimp
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
4 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Remove stems from kale and roughly chop leaves. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add kale and water and sauté until wilted.
  2. Drain and rinse beans and add to the skillet with the kale. Add taco seasoning and stir to combine. Push the kale mixture to the edge of the skillet with a spatula and add shrimp the center of the skillet. Sauté until shrimp are pink and cooked through.
  3. Lay tortillas flat and add ¼ of kale, bean and shrimp mixture to one side of each tortilla. Top with 1 ounce of cotija cheese and fold in half.
  4. Lower heat to medium and place two quesadillas in the large skillet and cook for about three minutes on each side. Flip and continue cooking for another minute or two until both sides are golden brown. Continue cooking remaining quesadillas. Cut into four wedges and serve.

Servings: 4

Scrambled Eggs and Vegetable Panini

Eggs and vegetables are two of my favorite pairings and breakfast is one of my favorite meals, but this sandwich is not only delicious in the morning. It is also perfect for an easy weekend brunch with a Bloody Mary or for a quick dinner on a night when you would rather read a book than spend time in the kitchen. Spinach and swiss chard make great alternatives to kale and shiitake or white button mushrooms work well in place of the portabella. Enjoy your panini however you choose to make it and whatever time of day you decide to savor this meal.

Ingredients:
8 slices whole wheat bread
2 ounces herbed goat cheese
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 medium bunch kale, stems removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
4 eggs
2 teaspoons butter

Directions:

  1. Heat panini press to medium-high heat. Spread 4 slices of bread with equal amounts of goat cheese and set aside.
  2. Roughly chop kale leaves. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, until brown and tender. Add kale and water to the skillet and sauté for a couple of minutes, until greens are wilted. Add balsamic vinegar to the sautéed vegetables and cook for another minute. Season with half of the salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  3. Place eggs and remaining salt and pepper in a medium bowl and lightly beat. Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs and scramble.
  4. Place ¼ of scrambled eggs on top of the bread slice with goat cheese. Add ¼ of the kale and mushroom mixture on top of the eggs and top with a slice of bread. Working in batches, place two sandwiches on the panini press and heat for about 5 minutes, until cheese has melted and light brown grill marks appear on the sandwiches. Repeat and serve.

Servings: 4

Root Vegetable & Sausage Grilled Pizza

Sometimes we need to know someone is on our side, cheering for us to achieve our goals or just make it through a challenging season. You can let your family know your are rooting for them with a pizza featuring root vegetables. Serve up this Root Vegetable & Sausage Grilled Pizza for your next family night and finish the evening with fire roasted s’mores or a movie and popcorn.  

Ingredients:
1 medium turnip
1 medium rutabaga
¼ pound ground sausage, cooked
1 pizza crust
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
Garlic and fine herb gurney cheese, crumbled
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Peel and slice turnip and rutabaga. Steam the two root vegetables until tender. 
  2. Roll and stretch pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter. Prepare the grill for medium-high, indirect heat. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off and for a charcoal grill, place coals on one side and use the coal free side.
  3. Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel is handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom. Remove crust from the grill and place on a workable surface.
  4. Brush cooked side of crust with olive oil. Top with turnip and rutabaga and season vegetables with thyme, salt and pepper. Add sausage and desired amount of cheeses.
  5. Return pizza to the grill and continue cooking for about five minutes, until cheese has melted and light grill marks appear on the bottom of the crust. Remove from the grill, slice and serve.

Steak and Potato Salad with Blackberry Jam Vinaigrette

This is a salad for all the meat and potato lovers in your life, but it is light enough for those who prefer smaller portions of red meat. It’s the perfect meal for couples who enjoy cooking together, since some of the steps require you to be in the kitchen and the other half is prepared on the grill. Complete this stay-home, date-night meal with your favorite red wine and maybe a chocolate dessert.

Salad Ingredients:
16 ounces small potatoes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
8 fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for brushing onions
16 ounces sirloin steaks, well-trimmed
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon pepper, divided
1 large onion, peeled and sliced ½ inch thick
Spring mix lettuce
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
2 tablespoons blackberry jam, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place potatoes, tomatoes and sage leaves on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper and toss with a spatula to evenly coat. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside until sage leaves are cool enough to touch. Crumble sage leaves over roasted vegetables.
  2. Meanwhile, bring steak to room temperature and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Brush both sides of onion with olive oil.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat and cook steak to desired doneness. Place onions on the grill and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove both from grill and let rest for a few minutes. Carve steak into thin strips and separate onion rings when cool enough to touch.
  4. Combine dressing ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and shake well to combine. Add desired amount of lettuce to each plate and top with sliced steak, potatoes, tomatoes, onion rings and blue cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.

Servings: 4

Strawberry and Brie Toast

Spring is a wonderful time of year when flowers and trees are in bloom, grass is lush and green, and strawberries are in season. This appetizer features one of my favorite fruits in a savory fashion, using olive oil and red wine vinegar to compliment the sweet berries. This is one of my favorite appetizers, and I like to pair it with a rose and enjoy outdoors on the patio.

Ingredients:
½ whole grain baguette, cut into ¼ inch slices
6 ounces brie
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Top baguette slices with equal amounts of brie. Toast for five minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté strawberries for 2 to 3 minutes, or until warmed through. Remove from heat and drizzle berries with red wine vinegar.
  3. Top baguette slices with strawberries and serve.

Spring Salad with Strawberry Champagne Vinaigrette

What a glorious treat to receive fresh strawberries in my spring CSA share. Not only because they are beautiful and delicious, but because I know how much hard work and love the farmers put into growing them and protecting them during an up and down weather season. Thank you Sustainable Harvest Farm for all you do to provide produce for my family and many others.

This salad is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh strawberries. Serve it as a side salad or add grilled salmon or chicken for a main meal.

Ingredients:
1 head lettuce
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper
1 pint strawberries
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted
blue cheese crumbles for serving

Directions:

  1. Wash and tear lettuce leaves and place in a large bowl.
  2. In a small jar with a lid, combine strawberry jam, champagne vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake until well combined.
  3. Drizzle lettuce with strawberry champagne vinaigrette and top salad with an equal amount of strawberries, pecans and blue cheese.

Beet the Morning Blues Smoothie

For those of us who are blessed to be able to work from home during COVID-19, life during a pandemic can feel a little like you are stuck in the movie Groundhog Day. We repeat our new at-home routine every day, while the reality of this crisis can feel overwhelming. Giving my worries to God, spending time in prayer and reading the Bible has been the only thing to truly give me peace through this challenging time.

I also feel better when I eat a healthy diet, so continuing to add fruits and vegetables in my meals has been a priority. I was able to purchase some beautiful beets from a local farm and roasted a batch for my new Beet the Morning Blues Smoothie. I mean, how can you not have an extra pep in your step and a smile on your face after drinking something so colorful and delicious. If you don’t have fresh beets don’t worry, canned beets are a great substitute.

I hope you are all staying healthy and enjoying new recipes and cooking at home.

Ingredients:
⅓ cooked beets, peeled and sliced
⅓ banana slices, frozen
⅓ pineapple chunks, frozen
milk of choice
honey

Directions:

  1. Combine desired amount of beets, banana and pineapple in the blender. Cover with milk and add a drizzle of honey. Blend until smooth and frothy.

Charcuterie Board

It is impossible for me to indulge in a charcuterie board without reminiscing of wine country vacations with picnic lunches overlooking vineyards. If social distancing has you feeling bored at home and day dreaming about traveling, try creating a vacation-like experience at home with a decorative meat and cheese board and your favorite bottle of vino. 

Last month we spent a wonderful weekend with friends and enjoyed this beautiful and delicious board. This work of art was created by @Noel_Zoeller, also known as the Charcuterie Board Master. Noel shared his framework for achieving variety and balance, so follow his rule of threes and see where your creativity takes you.

Charcuterie Board Framework

  • 3 cheeses
  • 3 meats
  • 3 nuts
  • 3 vegetables
  • 3 fruits
  • 3 crackers or breads

Noel also recommends placing your cheeses on the board first and then building around them, placing complimentary items together. He says fresh herbs are perfect for decoration and elevating your board to the next level.

Cheers to experimenting with charcuterie boards and making the most of your time at home while keeping your family and community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.