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
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.
Add quinoa and vegetable broth to a rice cooker and cook for 30 minutes.
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.
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.
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
Place burrata on a large serving platter, layering slices of watermelon and tomatoes around the cheese.
Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Remove crust from grill. Top cooked side of crust with remaining ⅓ cup peanut sauce, spreading evenly. Add chicken, carrots, cheese and cabbage mixture.
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.
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
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with oven-safe paper cups or coat with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.
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.
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.
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
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.
Meanwhile, place raisins in a small bowl. Add enough hot water to cover and set aside.
Crumble tofu in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, curry powder, salt and pepper.
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.
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.
Kebab Ingredients: 1 pound sirloin steak 2 medium zucchini or summer squash (or one of each) 1 small red onion 1 cup cherry tomatoes
If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 30 to 60 minutes before assembling to prevent charring.
In a small bowl, whisk together honey, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Spoon cabbage and scrambled egg mixture equally in four bowls, add toppings and serve.
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
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.
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.
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.
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, until wilted. Season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper.
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. Sprinkle bacon crumbles and serve.
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
Drain tuna and flake with a fork in a medium bowl.
Add yogurt, mayonnaise, olive tapenade and salt. Stir to evenly combine.
Use a small ice cream scoop or spoon to add dollops of tuna salad on each slice of cucumber.
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
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.
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
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.
Add walnuts, cotija cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil while processing until the ingredients are well blended.
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.
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
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.
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic scapes or green onion slices and sauté until lightly browned.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Heat panini press to medium-high heat. Spread 4 slices of bread with equal amounts of goat cheese and set aside.
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.
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.
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.
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
Peel and slice turnip and rutabaga. Steam the two root vegetables until tender.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Meanwhile, bring steak to room temperature and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Brush both sides of onion with olive oil.
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.
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.
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
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Top baguette slices with equal amounts of brie. Toast for five minutes, or until cheese is melted.
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.
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
Wash and tear lettuce leaves and place in a large bowl.
In a small jar with a lid, combine strawberry jam, champagne vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake until well combined.
Drizzle lettuce with strawberry champagne vinaigrette and top salad with an equal amount of strawberries, pecans and blue cheese.
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
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.
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 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.
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
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse and chop the shrimp. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach.
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.
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.
In a medium bowl, mash the sweet potato. Add shrimp and spinach mixture, feta cheese, salt and pepper. Stir to combine ingredients.
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.
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
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.
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.
Add mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth to the mixture and sauté until tender and browned, about 3 minutes.
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.
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.
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
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, oats, baking powder, mustard, salt and pepper.
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.
Fill muffin cups and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
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
This spread is a unique take on pimento and cheese made with piquante peppers, which give it a sweet heat kick. These cherry tomato shaped peppers are often labeled under the brand name Peppadew® and are commonly found in the olive bar section of grocery stores. A friend introduced me to the combination of cheese and sweet piquante peppers a few years ago, and I have been in love with this pairing since my first bite. Whole sweet piquante peppers make a lovely addition to cheese boards and compliment a wide variety of cheeses.
If you’re watching the big game this weekend, this is a great appetizer to serve along with your favorite beer.
Ingredients: 1 cup plain Greek yogurt 1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded ¾ cup mild whole sweet piquante peppers, chopped ¼ cup mayonnaise with olive oil ¼ teaspoon garlic powder Celery sticks or crackers for serving
Place the yogurt in a food processor. Add cheese, peppers, mayonnaise and garlic powder, and pulse until the cheese spread is well combined.
Chill for at least an hour or overnight. Serve with celery sticks or crackers.
Beets, with their ruby-red-jewel tone, make a colorful plate presentation during the grey winter season. You can cut back on the recipe time by roasting the beets the night before and assembling right before you are ready to enjoy. Leftovers are delicious served for lunch over leafy greens with balsamic vinaigrette.
Ingredients: 1 bunch beets, trimmed and scrubbed 1 cup water 4 to 5 ounces goat cheese ½ cup pecan halves, toasted 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze 2 tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for about 60 minutes. Remove from oven and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Unwrap and remove the skin from the beets with a small knife. You may want to wear gloves for this step as the beets will stain your hands pink. If not, the beet juice will wash off with soap and water. Slice the beets and arrange on a serving platter.
Heat 1 cup of water in the microwave or run hot tap water. With a clean knife, thinly slice goat cheese. Dip knife in water as needed between slicing to create smooth cuts. Place cheese on beet slices and top with pecans.
Drizzle with balsamic glaze and honey. Serve immediately.
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
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Sauté Swiss chard stems until tender, for three to four minutes.
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.
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.
Lettuce wraps are a creative way to enjoy fresh lettuces and they are also fun to make, eat and serve. I love dishes that you can dive in and assemble at the table as you share a meal with family or friends. This one is super fast and easy to make and a light meal to enjoy with a hot cup of asian tea.
Ingredients: 2 teaspoons canola oil 1 teaspoon sesame oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 pound ground chicken 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped 1 medium bell pepper (any color), chopped 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos 1 teaspoon sriracha 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger 1 head green leaf lettuce, leaves separated
Optional Ingredients: Handful of fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons Peanuts, chopped Brown rice, prepared
Add canola and sesame oils in a wok or large skillet and heat to medium-high temperature. Add garlic and cook for about a minute or until fragrant. Add chicken and break up with a spatula until it starts to brown.
Add carrots and bell pepper to wok or skillet and cook stirring frequently until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes.
In a small mason jar, combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, siracha and ginger. Shake until evenly combined and pour sauce over chicken and vegetables. Stir to evenly coat and cook for another minute or two.
Place chicken and vegetables on a serving platter along with lettuce leaves and sprinkle with peanuts and basil if using. Assemble wraps at the table and serve with brown rice if desired.
Pesto makes a great sauce for this quick vegetable “pasta” dish, topped with sautéed fragrant garlic, lean shrimp, nutritious spinach and nutty Parmesan cheese. I love big batches of homemade pesto when I have an abundance of basil in my container garden or CSA share. I freeze 1 tablespoon portions in mini-muffin tins to set and store in freezer safe containers to enjoy year round. Simply toss frozen pesto with warm spaghetti squash strands or pasta and stir as it melts and evenly coats.
Ingredients: 1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded 2 teaspoons olive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined 6 ounces or 2 cups tightly packed baby spinach leaves 2 tablespoons pesto Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Place a damp paper towel on the bottom of a microwavable dish and place squash cut side up. Microwave on high for 12 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Saute garlic until soft and fragrant, about a minute. Add shrimp and sauté for another minute, just until it they start turning pink. Add spinach, stirring to combine and continuing to cook for a couple of minutes until wilted.
Remove from microwave and when cool enough to touch, use a fork to remove the spaghetti squash strands into the dish. Add pesto and toss to evenly coat. Plate pesto spaghetti squash and top with shrimp and spinach. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve.
Tender cabbage coated in mildly spiced peanut sauce replaces noodles in this delicious Thai bowl. Carrots and bean sprouts add color and crunch to this veggie packed dish paired with your favorite protein. It is really quick to make and you can even turn this into a 10-minute meal if you grill your protein and make your sauce in advance. Leftovers are delicious the next day if you are lucky enough to have leftovers.
Ingredients: ½ cup light coconut milk 1 tablespoon red curry paste ¼ cup peanut butter 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos ½ lime, juiced 3 to 4 dashes of Sriracha hot chili sauce 2 large or 3 medium carrots 1 teaspoon sesame oil 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 medium head of cabbage, cored and finely shredded 2 green onions, thinly sliced 4 ounces bean sprouts Grilled chicken, shrimp or tofu Optional: chopped peanuts
In a blender or food processor, combine coconut milk, curry paste, peanut butter, soy sauce, juice from lime and Sriracha hot chili sauce. Process until smooth and creamy.
Trim and peel carrots. Cut carrots into noodles using a spiralizer and set aside.
In a wok or large skillet, heat sesame and canola oil over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and cook stirring frequently for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
Pour ⅓ cup sauce over cabbage and cook for an additional minute. Serve cabbage in bowls topped with carrots, green onions, bean sprouts and grilled chicken, shrimp or tofu. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and drizzle a little extra peanut sauce if desired.