Open-Faced Turkey Burgers

There is something about eating a burger with a knife and a fork that makes it seem more classy than something you would order at a burger dive. And who can resist the freshly made bread these turkey burgers sit on. This recipe will elevate your next backyard cookout.

The secret to creating open-faced burgers is topping them with delicious ingredients. And you don’t have to worry about cramming all those ingredients under another slice of bread. Get creative and try piling on your favorite seasonal vegetables, like grilled zucchini and asparagus.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 pound ground turkey
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 slices fresh bread, preferably homemade or from a local bakery
4 slices gouda cheese
arugula (or other seasonal vegetables) for topping

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Once butter has melted, add onion slices and sprinkle with sugar. Stirring occasionally, let the onions cook about 20 to 25 minutes, until caramelized and golden brown.
  2. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar and set aside.
  3. Form turkey into patties and season with salt and pepper. Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Grill burgers until they reach 165 degrees with a meat thermometer, which should take about 5 minutes per side. During the last three minutes of cooking, top each burger with a slice of cheese and allow to melt while burgers continue cooking.
  4. Grill bread slices for about a minute per side, until light brown grill marks appear. Spread each slice with balsamic mayonnaise. Top turkey burgers with caramelized onion and arugula.

Chicken and Cheese Ravioli

Homemade pasta is one of my favorite things to eat, and it is surprisingly simple to make. Many restaurants have gotten away from the art of making dough by hand and our culture has become accustom to the taste of store-bought pasta. I savor the practice of making pasta by hand, and it has become a favorite stay-home, date night activity. The experience of making the pasta together creates much anticipation for enjoying this delicious meal, and it tastes like takeout from a family-owned Italian restaurant.

With Italian music playing in the background and glasses of our favorite Pinot Noir in hand, my husband and I begin the process of creating pasta dough. We use this recipe for Food-Processor Pasta Dough from William Sonoma, and once it’s ready we roll the dough into thin strips with an old-fashioned style pasta machine just like the one pictured in the pasta recipe photo. One of us turns the dough crank and feeds the ball through the machine, while the other catches the flat sheet of pasta from the other side. We use a ravioli mold to create our stuffed pasta, but you can also make tortellini without any equipment.

Ingredients for Pasta Filling:
1 large chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 (15 to 16 ounce) container of ricotta cheese
⅓ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Other Ingredients:
Pasta dough
1 (26 ounce) jar of marinara
Parmesan cheese for grating

Directions:

  1. Place chicken, ricotta and Asiago cheeses, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse, until chicken is finely chopped.
  2. Follow recipe for Food-Processor Pasta Dough and roll the pasta into thin sheets as directed in the recipe, but do not cut pasta. If you don’t have a pasta machine, you can use a rolling pin.
  3. To make ravioli, place a sheet of pasta dough over a ravioli mold and gently press down to add space for the filling. Use a spoon or small scoop and place an equal amount of filling into each square. Brush the edges of the dough with a small amount of water and top ravioli with another sheet of pasta dough. Gently roll over the top sheet of dough with a rolling pin to cut and seal the ravioli.
  4. To make tortellini, cut the sheets of pasta into 3 inch by 3 inch squares. Place your filling into each square and brush the edges of the dough with water. Fold into triangles and wrap the bottom two corners together to seal tightly in a kerchief shape.
  5. Heat marinara sauce and serve ravioli or tortellini with desired amount of sauce and grated Parmesan cheese.

Turkey Taco Soup

This soup is perfect for those chilly spring days when you want a fun and festive meal. The weather may not be warm enough to grill fajitas, but you can serve up a pitcher of margaritas and invite your friends over for a bowl of my Turkey Taco Soup. Don’t let the long ingredient list make you think this recipe is hard to make. It’s super simple, but instead of using a ranch seasoning packet that’s high in sodium, you create the flavor with ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry. Turkey and black beans are great lean protein choices for this dish. If you have farm-fresh canned tomatoes or summer corn stored in your freezer, this is a great use for those gems!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 medium jalapeños, seeded and finely diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (14.5 ounce) cans no salt added diced tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn
1 (14.5 ounce) can no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
6 ounces tomato paste
6 cups water
shredded cheddar cheese
light sour cream
scallions, sliced

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.
  2. Add turkey and cook, breaking up with a spatula. Add bell pepper and jalapeños and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and continue cooking for another minute.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, corn, beans, tomato paste and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Serve with cheese, sour cream and scallions as toppings.

Servings: 6

Mushroom and Black Bean Omelet

When I make my Sweet and Spicy Veggie Quesadilla, I don’t always make six servings, which means I have extra black beans and sautéed mushrooms on hand. That’s where the inspiration came from for this Mushroom and Black Bean Omelet. Treasure those leftovers and use a little creativity to transform them into a new delicious meal.

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals and I think weekday meals should be just as delicious as slowly savored weekend brunches. This recipe is fast and easy to make any day of the week. Create your own version by substituting the mushrooms and beans for last nights’ leftover vegetables, such as steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes.

Ingredients:
2 eggs
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon chipotle Chile powder
½ teaspoon butter
¼ cup black beans
¼ cup mushrooms, sautéed
¼ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
light sour cream and salsa for serving

Directions:

  1. Crack eggs in a small bowl. Season with salt, pepper and chipotle Chile powder and blend with a fork.
  2. Melt butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Pour eggs into skillet and lightly stir with a spatula, until the eggs start to come together. Use the spatula to start to loosen the edges of the omelet by gently peeling it away from the pan.
  3. When the eggs are almost set, add black beans, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese to one side. Fold omelet in half to cover ingredients. Cook for about a minute longer. Flip omelet and cook an additional minute, until outside is lightly browned and cheese has melted. Top with light sour cream and salsa before serving.

Servings: 1

Chicken Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Pasta

This meal was inspired by a dish at one of my favorite Italian restaurants, where the noodles are made from scratch daily and you can taste the love and attention that went into creating the pasta from this family-owned establishment. At Carmelo’s Italian Restaurant in Wausau, WI they stuff their homemade shells with a similar combination of ingredients. While my take on their recipe is designed for a quick weeknight meal, when I have more time I switch out the store-bought noodles and make some from scratch just like they do at this charming local restaurant in Wisconsin. When preparing the meal with dry noodles, it works equally well with either large shells or manicotti. Pair this pasta well with your favorite red wine, and add some Italian music for a date night experience at home.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound mild Italian chicken sausage
1 (10.5 ounce) package large shells or manicotti noodles
2 cups frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 (26 ounce) jar marinara
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and spray a large rectangular baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute, until fragrant. Add Italian chicken sausage and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until browned. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain noodles and let cool.
  4. Place the spinach in a cloth towel and squeeze to remove water. In a large bowl combine Italian chicken sausage, spinach, ricotta cheese, nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Stir until well combined.
  5. If you are using manicotti noodles or shells that are more tubular, place mixture in large zip top bag. Cut a small slit in the corner of the bag. Pipe mixture into pasta and place in the baking dish. If your shells are more open, simply use a spoon to fill them before placing them in the baking dish.
  6. Cover stuffed pasta with marinara and bake for 25 minutes, until edges are brown and sauce is bubbly. Remove and top with Parmesan cheese. Continue baking for about 2 minutes, until cheese has melted.

Sweet and Spicy Veggie Quesadilla

Sweet potatoes may not be a common quesadilla ingredient, but this puree — combined with black beans, mushrooms and jalapeño pepper slices — results in a delicious medley that gives your taste buds a little heat and sweet.

I love a reason to have a glass of wine with dinner. The mushrooms need some cooking wine, so there is my rational for opening a bottle and enjoying a glass with my meal. Cheers to good food, good wine and a different take on veggie quesadillas.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (8 ounce) container white button mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup red wine (any varietal)
2 cups (1 recipe) Spicy Sweet Potato Puree
6 whole wheat tortillas
1 (15 ounce can) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
hot and sweet jalapeño pepper slices
light sour cream for serving

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes, until browned. Add red wine and cooking 4 to 5 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
  2. Spread ⅓ cup of sweet potato puree evenly on one side of tortilla. Top with ¼ cup black beans, ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons mushrooms and desired amount of jalapeño slices. Fold tortilla over, completely covering ingredients. Repeat to create 5 more quesadillas.
  3. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place two quesadillas in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes on one side, until golden brown. Flip quesadillas and cook for an 3 additional minutes. Continue cooking remaining quesadillas two at a time. Cut each into 4 wedges and serve with sour cream.

Servings: 6

Grilled Garlicky Shrimp and Sweet Potato Pizza

If you made my Spicy Sweet Potato Puree and have leftovers, this recipe will put them to good use. Don’t worry if you do not have leftovers, the puree is easy to make and will not add too much preparation to this easy recipe.

Pizza is one of my favorite foods and I love trying unique combinations like this one with sweet potatoes, spinach and shrimp, with a nice earthy balance of savory and sweet with a slight touch of heat.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ pound cooked frozen medium shrimp, defrosted, tail and peel removed
1 bunch or carton of fresh baby spinach
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pizza dough ball (about the size of a grapefruit)
¾ cup Spicy Sweet Potato Puree
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute, until fragrant. Add shrimp and spinach to skillet and sauté for about 3 minutes, until spinach has wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roll or stretch (I alternate rolling and stretching) the pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter.
  3. 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.
  4. Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel comes handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom of the crust.
  5. Remove crust from grill. Spread Spicy Sweet Potato Puree on top of the cooked side of the crust. Add shrimp and spinach mixture and top with mozzarella cheese.
  6. Return pizza to the grill and cook for about five minutes, until cheese has melted and bottom of crust has light brown grill marks. Remove from grill, slice and serve.

Servings: 4

Spicy Sweet Potato Puree

Chipotle chile pepper adds smokey heat, while the maple syrup amps up the sweetness in my Spicy Sweet Potato Puree. Add a pork chop and sautéed kale to turn this side into a meal.

I like to make a double or triple batch of this Spicy Sweet Potato Puree to freeze and have on hand for fast weeknight dinners. To avoid taking up too much storage space in your freezer, store the potatoes in zip-top bags and lay them flat. When you’re ready to serve them again, just defrost the bag in your refrigerator before heating.

Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons skim milk

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, add sweet potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender.
  2. Drain potatoes in a colander and return to saucepan. Reduce heat to low and mash sweet potatoes with a potato masher (for a more rustic version) or use a mixer (for a smooth, no-lump version). Add maple syrup, chipotle chile pepper, salt and milk. Stir to combine and cook for a minute or two, allowing flavors to meld.

Servings: 4

SLOW COOKER PINTO BEANS AND GREENS


Pinto beans and sautéed greens are two of my favorite southern sides, and they also make a great combination in this easy, no-fuss meal. This is a bowl of comfort food that will provide warmth on a cold winter night. Add a hot skillet of cornbread, just like your grandmother made, and you have a delicious meal that’s worth writing home about.

I used dried beans in this vegetarian meal that’s sure to please even the meat lovers in your life. Dried beans are a great bargain and you can control how much salt is added. Beans are an excellent source of plant protein, and also provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc. Kale is packed with vitamin A and C, and also a good source of calcium and potassium. Enjoy this nutritious bowl of goodness.

Ingredients:
1 cup dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
9 cups water, divided
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bunch kale
hot sauce or hot and sweet jalapeño slices


Directions:

  1. Soak dried beans in 5 cups of water overnight.
  2. Drain beans and place in a slow cooker. Add onion, jalapeño, garlic, salt and pepper. Add 4 cups water, turn to high heat and cook for 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Wash and chop kale, removing tough stems. Add kale to pinto beans, stirring to combine, and cook for an additional hour.
  4. Serve with cornbread and hot sauce or sweet jalapeño slices.

BLACK BEAN HUMMUS VEGETABLE WRAP

Beans and butternut squash are two of my favorite combinations, and they are bundled up in a wrap along with caramelized onions to create a healthy and comforting meal. Creamy black bean hummus adds lean protein to this vegetarian wrap and also helps hold it all together. My Black Bean Hummus recipe, which you can whip up in less than five minutes, is perfect for this dish. If you want to give new life to your leftovers for a different meal the next day, serve the squash and onions on top of a salad and enjoy the hummus as a side dish with tortilla or pita chips.

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squashed, peeled, seeded and cubed
1½ tablespoon olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tortillas
Black Bean Hummus
2 cups tightly packed spinach leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a half baking sheet, place butternut squash and drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat. Arrange squash in a single layer and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until tender and lightly brown, flipping with a spatula halfway through cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Once butter has melted, add onion slices and sprinkle with sugar. Stirring occasionally, let the onions cook about 20 to 25 minutes, until caramelized and golden brown.
  3. Spread a fourth of the black bean hummus on each tortilla and top with a fourth of the butternut squash and caramelized onions. Add ½ cup spinach to each tortilla, wrap tightly to secure vegetables and serve.

Servings: 4

Black Bean Hummus

Keep canned beans in your pantry and garlic and lemon in the fridge to make this a go-to dish when you want a delicious homemade snack. It is so easy to make and tastes much better than the store-bought variety. Serve it with carrots, celery, tortilla chips or whatever you like to dip. Make it a meal by spreading hummus in a wrap or on a slice of bread topped with your favorite roasted vegetables.

Ingredients:
1 (15 ounce) can no salt added black beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Rinse and drain beans.
  2. Fit a food processor with the steel blade. Add all ingredients in the food processor and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Servings: 4

Roasted Winter Vegetable Pizza

Sweet potato, turnips, turnip greens, leeks, thyme and sorghum compliment one another in this earthy pizza with a little sweet and a lot of savory in each bite. This pizza pairs well with a simple salad and a Pinot Noir from Oregon. Cheers to savoring the tastes of winter and enjoying healthy meals at home.

Ingredients:
1 medium leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 small turnip, peeled and diced
1½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon sorghum (or honey)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small bunch turnip greens, roughly chopped
1 tablespoons water
1 ball pizza dough
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. On a large baking sheet, combine leeks, sweet potatoes and turnip. Drizzle with olive oil, honey, thyme, salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat ½ tablespoon olive oil. Add turnip greens and water and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until greens have wilted.
  4. Roll the pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter.
  5. 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.
  6. Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel comes handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom of the crust.
  7. Remove crust from grill. Top cooked side of crust an even layer of roasted vegetables and turnip greens. Top with mozzarella cheese.
  8. Return pizza to the grill and cook for about five minutes, until cheese has melted and bottom of crust has light brown grill marks. Remove from grill, slice and serve.

Servings: 4

Sweet Potato and Kale Breakfast Hash

Vegetables and fried eggs are one of my favorite breakfast combination. My Sweet Potato and Kale Breakfast Hash includes sausage in the mix for a hardy breakfast that will fuel you up for a busy day. This is also an easy dish to make for brunch, and leftovers are great warmed up and topped with a freshly fried egg on weekday mornings. Enjoy with a glass of milk or a cup of joe.

Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
½ pound ground sausage
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
4 eggs, fried to desired preference

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat and arrange in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping with a spatula after 10 minutes.
  2. Crumble sausage in a large skillet, breaking it up with a spatula for about 5 to 6 minutes, until cooked through. Drain oil from skillet.
  3. Add kale to skillet with sausage and sauté until wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and stir to combine. Serve hash with fried egg on top.

Servings: 4

GRILLED HAWAIIAN BITES WITH TANGY MUSTARD AND CREAMY BBQ SAUCES

Grilling intensifies the delicious flavor of pineapple, adding an extra burst of caramelized sweetness. The deli ham and grilled bell pepper complement the sweet fruit, turning this appetizer into a sweet and salty snack on a stick. This is a great appetizer for game day, especially if you’re a Green Bay Packer fan and want to add a little green and gold to your plate. Leftovers make a wonderful salad topping, just add lettuce and your favorite dressing.

Ingredients:
1 medium pineapple
4 medium or 3 large bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
toothpicks
4 tablespoons mayonnaise, divided
4 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt, divided
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce

Directions:

  1. Trim and core pineapple, and slice into four large sections. Remove stem and seeds from the bell peppers and cut each into two halves. On a large platter, brush both sides of pineapple and bell pepper with olive oil.
  2. Heat a gas grill or prepare a charcoal grill to medium heat. Place pineapple and pepper on the grill and cook for four to five minutes per side, until produce is tender with lightly browned grill marks. Remove from grill and set aside until cool enough to touch.
  3. Lay ham flat on a cutting board and cut into 1 inch strips. Starting at one end, roll each piece into a tight roll. Cut pineapple and pepper into bite-size pieces.
  4. Prepare tangy mustard sauce by combining 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, yogurt and dijon mustard in a small bowl and stirring until well combined. Similarly, combine and stir the remaining mayonnaise and yogurt with the BBQ sauce to create the creamy BBQ sauce.
  5. Thread toothpicks with bell pepper, ham and pineapple. Serve with two dipping sauces.

Pork and Cashew Stir-Fry with Root Vegetables

Stir-fry dishes are great for introducing family and friends to vegetables they may not have tried before, like daikon radishes. This winter root vegetable is frequently used in Asian dishes and when cooked, it gains a sweetness that mellows out its peppery spice. This vegetable pairs well with sweet carrots and oranges in my quick stir fry.

Stir-fry recipes are excellent choices for nights when you want a homemade meal without spending too much time in the kitchen. If you prep the ingredients and cook the rice the night before, this meal can be made in less than 15 minutes. If you are making this meal for one and have leftovers, they are great for breakfast with a fried egg on top.


Ingredients
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 (6 ounce) center cut pork chop, cut into bite sized cubes
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 medium daikon radishes, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 medium navel oranges or 3 small mandarin oranges
½ cup unsalted cashews
Prepared brown rice


Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high-heat. Add garlic and ginger and heat for one minute, until fragrant. Add pork and cook for about 4 minutes, constantly stirring with a spatula to evenly brown all sides. Transfer pork to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  2. Add carrots, radishes, celery and soy sauce to the wok or skillet and sauté until tender but slightly crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Peel and separate oranges and slice each section in half, removing any seeds. Add oranges, cashews and pork to the vegetable mixture. Stir to combine and cook for another minute.
  4. Check seasoning and add a splash of extra soy sauce if needed. Serve with brown rice.

Servings: 2

Sausage, Kale and Smoked Gouda Frittata

Frittatas are one of my favorite one-pan meals to serve for breakfast, brunch or dinner. They are so versatile and can be made with any of your favorite vegetables, meats and cheeses. This one incorporates fresh kale, sausage and smoked gouda for a combination that will please both meat and vegetable lovers alike. It pairs well with homemade hash browns and orange juice.

Ingredients:
½ pound ground mild sausage
1 medium bunch kale, trimmed and chopped
6 eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup low-fat milk
¾ cup smoked gouda, shredded

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Heat an 8-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and cook sausage until browned. Drain grease from skillet and return to stovetop.
3. Add kale to skillet in two batches and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes total.
4. Beat eggs with a whisk in a medium bowl. Stir in salt, pepper, milk and gouda.
5. Pour egg mixture over kale and sausage and gently stir to evenly distribute. Let the eggs start to set for 1 to 2 minutes without stirring. Place skillet in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the eggs are set and the frittata is lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Servings: 4

Rosemary Roasted Radishes with Bacon

Radishes are a root vegetable you may not think of roasting, but be prepared to kick the potato, carrot, turnip and your other favorite root vegetables aside. I think radishes are meant to be roasted, which brings out a sweetness that mellows their peppery heat. Serve this earthy dish as an appetizer or side.

Ingredients
1 bunch watermelon radishes or red radishes, cut into thin slices
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon course sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place radishes in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary. Toss to evenly coat.
  2. Place radishes on a medium baking sheet and cook for about 20 minute, stirring occasionally.
  3. Top radishes with crumbled bacon and serve.


BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND MUSHROOM SOUP

Mushrooms, butternut squash and thyme were made to be eaten together and this winter soup captures their earthy flavors in every velvety bite. You can warm up with this bowl of soup on a cold day by the fire while reading a good book. Leftovers freeze well, just defrost in the refrigerator and warm up on the stovetop for a super fast meal.

Ingredients:
1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
8 ounces whole white mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
32 ounces low sodium vegetable broth
Sour cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a medium-sized baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side down. Roast until flesh is tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to touch. This step can be done several hours earlier or the day before.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and sauté until tender and lightly brown, about 20 minutes. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Place mushroom mixture in a blender or food processor. Add two cups of vegetable broth and puree until smooth. Add mushroom mixture to a large stock pot.
  4. Scoop flesh of butternut squash and puree in blender or food processor with remaining vegetable broth.
  5. Add squash mixture to stock pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a low simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed before serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Servings: 4

Bell Pepper Nachos

This low-carb take on nachos is a perfect way to use your late season bell peppers and tomatoes. Leave out the chicken and add another type of bean, like pinto, for a vegetarian version. I love to serve this delicious and nutritious meal on game days. Cheer on your team with this healthy dish and hopefully you can celebrate a win.

Ingredients:

4 large bell peppers

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup cooked chicken, shredded

1 (15 ounce) can, no-salt-added black beans

2 tomatoes, diced

¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 avocado, cubed

Sour cream for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to broil on high heat. Slice bell peppers into thin strips and place them in a baking dish. Broil for 5 minutes, flipping halfway through the cook time.
  2. Combine chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place chicken in a medium bowl and add seasoning mix. Drain and rinse beans, and add them to the bowl of chicken, stirring to combine.
  3. Remove bell peppers from the oven and top with chicken and beans, tomatoes and cheddar cheese. Broil for about 4 more minutes, until cheese is melted.
  4. Remove nachos from the oven, top with avocado and serve with dollops of sour cream.

Servings: 4

Fall Muffins with Pecan Sorghum Granola

Topped with Pecan Sorghum Granola, these pumpkin-like, mini-muffins make the perfect addition to a brunch spread and are also a great grab-and-go breakfast option for busy mornings. Pureed butternut squash and pumpkin pie spice deliver flavors of fall in a moist muffin that is not overly sweetened. If you manage not to eat them all within a few days, extras freeze well for a quick and delicious breakfast that is safely stored away for another day.

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup low-fat milk
1 cup pureed butternut squash
¾ cup Pecan Sorghum Granola

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with oven-safe paper cups or coat with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt together.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil and eggs until the mixture turns light yellow and slightly frothy. Stir in the applesauce, milk and butternut squash. Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in small batches until combined.
  4. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle tops of batter with granola. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. When done, muffin tops will be golden brown and a toothpick will come out clean when inserted in the center.

Servings: 12

Fall Salad with Pecan Sorghum Granola

Granola on a salad sounds weird, but trust me it is delicious! The first granola-topped salad I ever tasted was amazingly delicious, made with pine nuts from the BlueFire Bar and Grill. With just one bite it fueled my curiosity to create my own nutty sweet salad topping. My version, Pecan Sorghum Granola, features seasonal pecans and whole grain oats that are lightly sweetened with sorghum, adding the perfect crunch to this fall salad with earthy, tender-roasted beets and mildly sweet acorn squash.

A simple vinaigrette is all you need for this flavorful salad bursting with color and nutrients. For some extra protein, top with grilled chicken or shrimp. Save cook time by using leftover roasted squash and beets from last night’s dinner and granola from breakfast for a salad you can throw together in about two minutes.

Salad Ingredients:
1 bunch beets, scrubbed
1 acorn squash or butternut squash
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 bunch or 6 ounce bag spinach
¾ cup Pecan Sorghum Granola
4 ounces goat cheese

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the skin on the beets and wrap each in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 35 to 55 minutes, depending on their size. Remove beets and set aside until cool enough to touch. With a small pairing knife, gently remove skin from the beets and chop into cubes.
  2. Meanwhile, peel squash and slice in half. Discard seeds and chop into cubes. Place on a baking sheet in an even layer and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast until tender, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  3. Combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a mason jar. Tightly secure the lid and shake until well combined.
  4. Create a bed of spinach on four plates and top with an equal amount of roasted beets and squash. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on each salad and sprinkle with my crunchy granola and a drizzle of vinaigrette.

Servings: 4

Pecan Sorghum Granola

Fresh fall pecans were the inspiration for my nutty and slightly sweetened granola. This protein-packed snack is made with only five ingredients and is so simple to prepare. In around 30 minutes, you can have a homemade treat that far exceeds the quality of the boxed varieties you’ll find on grocery store shelves. Enjoy straight off the baking sheet or make a parfait with Greek yogurt, diced apple or pear and granola. For some unique was to eat my Pecan Sorghum Granola, add as a crunchy topping for a fall salad or sprinkle on top of pumpkin muffins just before baking.

Ingredients:
2½ cups pecans
1½ cups old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons sorghum
1 tablespoon butter, melted
½ cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil or cover a medium baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine pecans and oats. In a small bowl, whisk together sorghum and butter and drizzle over pecan mixture. Stir until worked through.
  3. Place granola on the baking sheet, spreading it out and gently pressing into an even layer with your hands. Bake until golden brown and crunchy, for about 15 minutes. Use a spatula to flip pieces of granola over and continue cooking for 5 to 10 more minutes.
  4. Let cool completely. Then, break granola into small chunks. Add cranberries and toss to combine.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH BURGERS

Butternut squash adds a touch of sweetness to this vegetarian burger as it compliments the nutty chickpeas, toasted walnuts, fried sage leaves and blue cheese. This hearty burger pairs well with homemade french fries or a simple side salad.

Veggie burgers are so easy to make and these homemade patties taste a million times better than any of the frozen varieties. If you have never had a homemade vegetarian burger, you are in for a treat. And speaking of frozen patties, leftovers freeze well for a quick meal down the road.

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon butter
7 fresh sage leaves
1 (15.5 ounces) can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup quick cooking oats
½ cup walnuts, toasted
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 ounces crumbled feta or blue cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Spring mix lettuce, for serving
8 whole wheat buns

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a large baking sheet, add butternut squash and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to evenly coat before arranging squash in a single layer. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes until tender and lightly brown, flipping with a spatula halfway through cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add sage leaves and fry for about 30 seconds on each side. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. In a food processor, combine the squash, chickpeas, egg, garlic, oats, walnuts, salt and pepper. Crumble the fried sage leaves into the mixture. Pulse until thoroughly combined, and form into 8 patties.
  4. Spray a nonstick skillet, grill pan or griddle with cooking spray and heat to medium-high. Working in batches, cook the burgers for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Top with an equal amount of cheese crumbles after you flip the burger, this will allow time for just enough melting to keep the cheese in place.
  5. While butternut squash burgers cook, whisk together mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar. Set balsamic mayo aside until ready to serve.
  6. Serve butternut squash burgers on whole wheat buns spread with balsamic mayo and topped with desired amount of spring mix lettuce.

Serves: 8

Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Greens

Fall squash and greens are two of my seasonal favorites and this dish includes them both for a hearty vegetarian meal. Roasted Acorn Squash and Quinoa with Greens also makes an elegant side dish served with roasted pork tenderloin and a simple salad.

Roasting acorn squash makes the skin tender enough to eat and not having to peel the squash saves time in the kitchen. This recipe is pretty hands-off, giving you more time to relax while your nutritious dinner is cooking.

Ingredients:
1 medium acorn squash
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup quinoa
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 bunch kale or other greens
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Trim each half into thin wedges and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake until tender and golden brown, for about 45 minutes.
  2. Add quinoa and vegetable broth to a rice cooker and cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove stems from kale and roughly chop. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add kale and water. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until wilted.
  4. When quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and stir in kale, salt and pepper. Serve squash wedges on top of quinoa and top with crumbled goat cheese.

Note: If you do not have a rice cooker, follow the package instructions for preparing quinoa on the stove top.

WATERMELON, TOMATO AND BURRATA CHEESE

When I think of summer, watermelon and tomatoes immediately come to mind. They are two of my favorite seasonal foods and they compliment each other nicely in this appetizer with creamy and decadent burrata cheese. The outer layer of this cheese is fresh mozzarella, and when you slice it in half you will discover a luscious, creamy center made of mozzarella soaked in cream. It is the perfect cheese to pair with this summertime appetizer. This is a great last-minute dish for entertaining guests or taking to a potluck. Cheers to fresh and easy dishes and enjoying the final days of summer!

Ingredients:
burrata cheese
½ seedless watermelon, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon balsamic glaze

Directions:

  1. Place burrata on a large serving platter, layering slices of watermelon and tomatoes around the cheese.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.

Grilled Thai Chicken Pizza

If you’ve followed my blog for a while or had dinner at my house, you’ll know that grilled pizza is one of my favorite ways to make this popular pie. This technique takes homemade pizza to the next level, giving you a restaurant-quality meal at home. The thin and crispy grilled crust is similar to a flatbread and cooks so quickly it’s a great meal for busy nights or laid back evenings, giving you more time to relax after enjoying your delicious meal and company.

Pizzas are great for entertaining, and you can offer a variety of toppings or a build-your-own pizza station with individual sized crusts. Pair the pizza with your favorite vino and enjoy an adult version of a pizza party.

Ingredients:
½ cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon red curry paste
¼ cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 lime, halved and divided
3 to 4 dashes of sriracha hot chili sauce
1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
2 cups napa cabbage or green cabbage, shredded
1 small bell pepper (any color), diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 homemade or store bought pizza dough ball, about the size of a grapefruit
½ cup shredded carrots
shredded mozzarella cheese, desired amount

Directions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine coconut milk, curry paste, peanut butter, soy sauce, juice from ½ of lime and sriracha hot chili sauce. Process until smooth and creamy. In a small bowl, toss chicken in 3 tablespoons of peanut sauce until evenly coated. Reserve the remaining sauce.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cabbage, bell pepper, cilantro, sesame oil and juice from ½ of lime. Toss until combined and cabbage salad is evenly coated. Set salad aside until pizza is ready.
  3. Roll or stretch (I alternate rolling and stretching) the pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter.
  4. 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.
  5. Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel comes handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom of the crust.
  6. Remove crust from grill. Top cooked side of crust with remaining ⅓ cup peanut sauce, spreading evenly. Add chicken, carrots, cheese and cabbage mixture.
  7. Return pizza to the grill and cook for about five minutes, until cheese has melted and bottom of crust has light brown grill marks. Remove from grill, slice and serve.

Servings: 4

Zucchini Pecan Muffins

Zucchini is so versatile and using it in baked goods is just one way I like to cook with this beloved summer vegetable. Pecans add a nutty flavor, crunch and protein to this grab-and-go-breakfast. An ice cream scooper with a release lever works wonders to fill the cups without making a mess. When I have extra zucchini on hand, I like to double the batch and freeze these tasty treats for a quick reheat breakfast on a busy morning.

Ingredients:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 cups grated zucchini (1 large or 2 small)
½ cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with oven-safe paper cups or coat with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil and eggs until the mixture turns light yellow and slightly frothy. Stir in the applesauce and yogurt. Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in small batches until combined.
  4. Fold in the zucchini and pecans. Spoon mixture into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When done, tops will be golden brown and a toothpick will come out clean when inserted in the center.

Servings: 12

Curried Tofu Salad

Curry is one of my favorite ingredients to add to creamy salads like this one, and the first curried tofu salad I tasted was at the Good Foods Co-Op in Lexington, KY. After daydreaming about it so much, I had to create my take on the dish, accompanied with plump golden raisins, crunchy almonds and Greek yogurt. Enjoy my Curried Tofu Salad as a wrap with fresh lettuce or as a sandwich on whole wheat bread. Offering both bread and lettuce options and a few types of sandwich spreads is an easy way to entertain and delight your guests with a build-your-own lunch option. For the meat eaters in your life, chicken is a great substitution for the tofu in this dish.

Ingredients:
1 (16 ounce) block firm tofu
⅓ cup golden raisins
1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons curry powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup shredded carrots
¼ cup sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Place the block of tofu between a few layers of paper towels and place a heavy plate on top. Set aside for 10 to 20 minutes to press and absorb the water from the tofu.
  2. Meanwhile, place raisins in a small bowl. Add enough hot water to cover and set aside.
  3. Crumble tofu in a medium bowl.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, curry powder, salt and pepper.
  5. Drain water from raisins. Fold raisons, carrots, almonds and tofu into the yogurt mixture, stirring to evenly coat. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Servings: 4

SUMMER VEGGIE AND STEAK KEBABS

Summertime meals should be easy, delicious and fun to make. Nothing says fun like food on a stick, and the aroma of grilled kebabs will make everyone thrilled to eat their veggies. Light on the meat and heavy on the vegetables, my Summer Veggie and Steak Kebabs are a great way to use seasonal produce. Substitute the squash and tomatoes for zucchini and bell peppers or use all to add even more color your plate. Serve with whole grain rolls and a simple salad for a quick and well-rounded meal. Cheers to outdoor cooking and making simple meals with fresh produce.

Marinade Ingredients:
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Kebab Ingredients:
1 pound sirloin steak
2 medium zucchini or summer squash (or one of each)
1 small red onion
1 cup cherry tomatoes

Directions:

  1. If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 30 to 60 minutes before assembling to prevent charring.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Cut the steak, squash and onion into bite-size pieces. Thread steak and veggies through skewers and set aside on a large platter or baking sheet. Brush the marinade evenly on the kebabs and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature.
  4. Prepare a grill to medium-high heat. Place the kebabs on the grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare.

Servings: 4

CABBAGE AND EGG FIESTA BOWL

Cabbage and egg may sound like an odd pairing, but this dynamic duo is unbelievably delicious. My Cabbage and Egg Fiesta Bowl is a tasty and unique way to enjoy cabbage for breakfast, topped with salsa, avocado, cotija cheese and sour cream. Served for brunch, this dish is best enjoyed with a spicy Bloody Mary.

For a fast weekday breakfast, sauté cabbage in advance and reheat with a quick scrambled egg. In less than five minutes, you can have a healthy breakfast that tastes like one you would enjoy on a lazy weekend.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small head cabbage, cored and shredded
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs

Toppings:
avocado slices
sour cream
cotija cheese, crumbled
salsa

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large non-stick skillet. Add cabbage, cumin, chili powder and salt. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
  2. Place cabbage in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk eggs in a small bowl, add to skillet and scramble, stirring slowly with a spatula until cooked through. Return cabbage to skillet and stir to combine.
  3. Spoon cabbage and scrambled egg mixture equally in four bowls, add toppings and serve.

Servings: 4

Loaded Salmon Mashed Potatoes

Enjoy the flavors of a stuffed baked potato with this dish, but with the velvety smoothness of mashed potatoes. These creamy spuds are topped with baked salmon, farm-fresh kale and crunchy bacon.

This meal has a beautiful plate presentation, perfect for entertaining. Turn it into an elegant appetizer by serving smaller portions in martini glasses. You could even make a mashed potato bar and let guests select from these topping and others, like pulled pork, roasted broccoli and smoked gouda.

Ingredients:
1 pound salmon filet, cut into 4 pieces
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon ground white pepper, divided
1 lemon
4 medium potatoes
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup skim or low-fat milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large bunch kale
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Season salmon with oregano, ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper and place in a baking dish. Zest and juice lemon, drizzling both evenly on top of salmon. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until salmon is cooked through.
  2. Leaving the skin on the potatoes, scrub well and cut into 2-inch pieces. Add potatoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes, until fork tender.
  3. Drain potatoes and return to the pot. Add butter, milk, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper and mash to combine. With a hand mixer, blend until velvety smooth.
  4. Remove stems from kale and roughly chop. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add kale and 2 tablespoons water. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until wilted. Season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper.
  5. Scoop the mashed potatoes onto four plates and top each with equal amounts of sautéed kale. Remove skin from salmon and add a slice on top of potatoes and kale. Top with bacon crumbles and serve.

Servings: 4

Cucumber and Tuna Salad Bites

This is my go-to, refreshing appetizer or patio lunch on a hot afternoon or evening. If you keep your pantry and fridge stocked with tuna, olive tapenade and yogurt, you can whip up a quick batch of these whenever you have fresh cucumbers in your CSA or growing in your garden. I have enjoyed many delicious cucumbers from Sustainable Harvest Farm in my weekly produce share this summer and this has been one of my favorite ways to enjoy them.

Ingredients:
1 (4 ounce) can solid white, no salt-added, Albacore tuna in water
2 tablespoons plain non-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive tapenade
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large cucumbers, sliced

Directions:

  1. Drain tuna and flake with a fork in a medium bowl.
  2. Add yogurt, mayonnaise, olive tapenade and salt. Stir to evenly combine.
  3. Use a small ice cream scoop or spoon to add dollops of tuna salad on each slice of cucumber.

Grilled Fish Tacos with Kohlrabi Slaw

Nothing reminds me of the beach more than grilled seafood, and this recipe will have you day dreaming about your last vacation. I added a refreshing and slightly crunchy kohlrabi slaw to these fish tacos, which was inspired by the beautiful purple produce that arrived in my farm share from Sustainable Harvest Farm. Pair this with your favorite tropical beverage as you bring the taste of the beach to your backyard. I like to enjoy mine with a mojito or margarita and start the meal with chips and salsa.

Kohlrabi Slaw Ingredients:
1 medium kohlrabi
2 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped
1 lime
1 tablespoon sorghum or honey
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Grilled Fish Taco Ingredients:
1 pound skinless mahi mahi filets
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
8 small wheat or corn tortillas
1 lime

Additional Topping:
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and cubed
Cotija cheese, crumbled
Sour cream

Directions:

  1. Peel and grate kohlrabi and place in a medium bowl. Add cilantro, juice from lime, sorghum, olive oil, chili powder and salt. Stir to evenly combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Place mahi mahi filets on a plate and brush with olive oil. In a small bowl, combine cumin, chili powder, white pepper and salt. Rub seasoning onto fish.
  3. Prepare an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Grill the fish for about five minutes and then carefully turn the fish over and cook for another five minutes, until flaky and cooked through.
  4. With a fork, flake fish into large chunks. Drizzle with juice from lime and serve in tortillas topped with kohlrabi slaw and additional toppings of choice.

Servings: 4

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.

Twice-Baked Shrimp Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

These twice-baked potatoes are the perfect balance of sweet and savory. I created this recipe, using leftover baked sweet potatoes, for a fast weeknight dinner for one (just double to serve two). It’s also a great meal for work week entertaining. Simply triple or quadruple the recipe and bake the potatoes the night before. The evening your guests arrive you will only need about 10 minutes to prepare your meal before baking. You can leave the stress at work and welcome your company with a cocktail as your dinner bakes. I like to pair this dish with a simple green salad, topped with fruit and nuts.

Ingredients:
12 frozen medium peeled and cooked shrimp, defrosted
½ cup frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium sweet potato, baked
2 tablespoons feta cheese crumbles
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse and chop the shrimp. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for about one minute, or until fragrant. Add shrimp and spinach and cook for another minute to allow flavors to meld.
  3. Slice baked sweet potatoes in half and carefully scoop out the inside of the potato with a large spoon, leaving a small rim of potato lining the skin to keep it intact.
  4. In a medium bowl, mash the sweet potato. Add shrimp and spinach mixture, feta cheese, salt and pepper. Stir to combine ingredients.
  5. With a large spoon, evenly fill the empty potato skins with the sweet potato, shrimp and spinach mixture. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle with smoked paprika. Bake for 20 minutes.

Note: Leftovers make a great breakfast topped with a fried egg.

Servings: 1

Italian Vegetable and Lentil Soup

Cold winter nights call for warm bowls of soup and this one is packed with vegetables and lentils and a dash of crispy, salty pancetta. Cooked with a Parmesan rind, this soup captures the sharp and nutty flavors of the cheese in every bite. If you are planning the perfect cozy night at home, enjoy a bowl of this delicious soup with your family and end the night with a mug of hot cocoa and good book by the fire. Cheers to nutritious comfort food and warm evenings at home this winter.

Ingredients:
4 ounces pancetta
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
32 ounces low sodium vegetable broth, divided
1 cup lentils (any color)
1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 Parmesan rind (cut from a wedge of cheese)
5 ounces baby spinach or 1 bunch spinach, chopped
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:

  1. In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, cook pancetta until brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove pancetta and place on a paper-towel lined plate. Drain all but about 2 teaspoons of pancetta drippings from the pot.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, carrots and celery to the stock pot. Sauté until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth to the mixture and sauté until tender and browned, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add lentils, tomatoes with their juices, the remaining vegetable broth, rosemary, bay leaf, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese rind to the stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until lentils are tender.
  5. Add spinach and pancetta to the soup and cook for another minute or two, stirring until spinach is wilted. Serve in bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Servings: 4

SAVORY SWEET POTATO MUFFINS WITH SAUSAGE

Not your traditional muffin, this savory version is packed with mashed sweet potatoes, hearty oats and maple breakfast sausage. Enjoy these warm muffins with a cup of coffee or hot tea to fuel up on a chilly winter morning. Getting an early start to your day? Pair a muffin with a boiled egg for a packable, on-the-go breakfast. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freeze for up to three months and reheat when ready to serve.

Ingredients:
1¼ cups whole wheat flour
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1½ cups mashed sweet potatoes
2 large eggs
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ pound maple breakfast sausage, cooked and drained

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, oats, baking powder, mustard, salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, milk and maple syrup. Gradually add dry ingredients to the bowl of sweet potato mixture, stirring to combine. Fold in sausage.
  4. Fill muffin cups and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Servings: 12

SORGHUM ROASTED ACORN SQUASH

Roasted acorn squash, drizzled with sorghum enhances the flavor of this sweet vegetable. Top it off with a quick sorghum yogurt that turns tangy plain yogurt into a candy-like cream. This versatile dish goes well as a side, desert, snack or breakfast.

While sorghum is widely available in the southern United States, other readers may not have access. Honey or molasses are good substitutes, but sorghum has a luscious sweetness that is crave worthy. When enjoying this dish, go ahead and eat the skin of the squash. Roasting the squash will leave you with a tender green exterior that is edible and nutritious.

Roasted Acorn Squash Ingredients:
2 small acorn squash, quartered and seeded
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sorghum

Sorghum Yogurt Ingredients:
1 (17.6 ounce) container plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons sorghum

Toppings:
Toasted Pecans
Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place squash wedges, skin side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle with salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  2. Cut butter into 8 small pieces and place one in the center of each squash wedge. Drizzle equally with sorghum. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine yogurt and sorghum in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Chill until ready to serve.
  4. Remove squash from oven and serve with a dollop of sorghum yogurt, toasted pecans and a dash of cinnamon.

Servings: 8

Salmon with Swiss Chard Cauliflower Rice

Rainbow Swiss chard is such a beautiful vegetable that adds a delightful splash of color to your plate. I love this slightly sweet and mildly bitter leafy green, which tastes similar to beet greens and spinach. I have combined this with my favorite grilled fish for a meal that takes less than 30 minutes to make. Pair this with your favorite white wine for a romantic dinner.

Cauliflower rice is a brilliant idea for gluten-free rice, and I love how it is now available in the freezer section of most grocery stores. It’s also really easy to make with farm-fresh cauliflower, and I have included directions in the note below.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch rainbow Swiss chard, ribs removed and chopped, leaves roughly chopped
1 pound cauliflower rice
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary, divided
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound salmon filet

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Sauté Swiss chard stems until tender, for three to four minutes.
  2. Add Swiss chard leaves, cauliflower rice, ½ tablespoon rosemary, and ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook until leaves are wilted and cauliflower is tender. Stir in grated parmesan cheese and cook for another minute, until melted.
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and brush the grill grate lightly with oil. Season salmon with remaining rosemary, salt and pepper. Grill one side of salmon for 4 to 5 minutes, flip and cook the other side for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, until fish is cooked through. Serve on a large platter over Swiss chard cauliflower rice.

Note: To make your own cauliflower rice all you need is a head of cauliflower and a food processor. Simply wash and remove stems, cut into small florets and pulse until finely chopped and cauliflower resembles rice.

Servings: 4