Fish Tacos with Purple Cabbage and Avocado Cream

With bright purple cabbage, one look at this dish is like sunshine on a rainy day. Filled with tender and flaky fish, crunchy cabbage and avocado cream, one bite of these tacos will have you reminiscing of ocean- or lake-front dining. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo by pairing these tacos with black beans, chips and salsa, and margaritas.

Ingredients:
4 cups purple cabbage, shredded
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
The juice of 2 limes, divided
salt
1 small avocado, pit removed
1 cup plain, light Greek yogurt
1 ½ pounds white fish like cod, haddock or halibut
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
12 flour or corn tortillas
⅓ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine cabbage, cilantro, half of the lime juice and a pinch of salt. Stir until evenly coated and set aside.
  2. With a spoon, scoop inside of avocado from the outer shell and place in a food processor. Add yogurt and a pinch salt, and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Prepare an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Brush fish with olive oil and season with chipotle pepper, black pepper and pinch of salt. Grill fish until opaque, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill and flake into large chunks with a fork. Drizzle fish with remaining lime juice.
  4. Place tortillas on the grill for about 30 seconds on each side, until light grill marks appear. Remove from grill and place an equal amount of fish in each tortilla. Top with cabbage, avocado cream and cojita cheese.

Servings: 6

Grilled Pineapple, Ham and Arugula Pizza

This pizza is the perfect use for leftover ham, and if you smoke your ham it is even better. The combination of salty ham with caramelized pineapple from the grill and spicy arugula is a new take on this Hawaiian classic. Grilling the thin pizza dough creates a crispy crust that is similar to a flatbread.

This is a great pizza to serve family or friends on a spring or summer patio night. For a real island experience while entertaining, welcome guests with an Aloha and a Mai Tai.

Ingredients:
½ fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 2 large pieces
1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough ball, about the size of a grapefruit
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 cup leftover ham, diced
¼ cup ricotta cheese
⅔ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups arugula

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. Brush pineapple with half of the olive oil on all sides. Grill directly over burner or charcoal until light brown grill marks appear, about 4 or 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill and dice after pineapple is cool enough to handle.
  3. Roll or stretch (I do a combination) the pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter.
  4. Place crust on the grill over indirect heat (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. Top cooked side of crust with remaining olive oil, spreading evenly. Add ham and pineapple in an even layer. Add dollops of ricotta and sprinkle shredded mozzarella.
  6. Return pizza to the grill and cook for about five minutes, until mozzarella cheese has melted and bottom of crust has light brown grill marks. Remove from grill, top with arugula, slice into 8 wedges and serve.

Kale, Apple and Cheddar Panini with Strawberry Jam

Sautéed kale is not just for side dishes. Give it a try as a sandwich base and you will forget all about lunch meat. This Kale, Apple and Cheddar Panini with Strawberry Jam is a hearty vegetarian sandwich with seasonal farm-fresh favorites. It is comfort food that packs a nutritious punch and takes less than 15 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients:
2 sub sandwich loaves (5 to 6 inches each), cut from a whole-wheat baguette
1 medium bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 small apple, cored and thinly sliced
2 slices white cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons strawberry jam

Directions:

  1. Preheat a panini maker to medium-high. Slice sandwich loaves in half and set aside.
  2. 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. Season with salt and pepper. Add balsamic vinegar and cook or another minute, tossing to evenly coat.
  3. Layer apple slices, kale and cheddar cheese on the bottom bread slices. Spread strawberry jam on the top bread slices. Stack together and place sandwiches in the panini maker, closing the top. Grill until the bread is crusty and golden and cheese has melted. Slice sandwiches in half and serve.

Note: If you do not have a panini maker, use a grill pan or skillet and flip the sandwich to grill both sides. Placing a heavy skillet on top of the sandwich will give you the panini effect.

Servings: 2

Grilled Pizza with Asparagus, Brie and Caramelized Onions

Nothing says spring like fresh asparagus, and warmer days inspire me to fire up the grill. With sweet caramelized onions, earthy asparagus and creamy brie, this is a unique take on a vegetarian pizza that celebrates the season. Make this meal a quick one to prepare on a busy night by caramelizing the onions and roasting the asparagus the night before. You’ll have a homemade pizza on the table in around 15 minutes.

Caramelized Onion Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons butter
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon sugar

Pizza Ingredients:
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 3 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough ball, about the size of a grapefruit
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 ounces brie, sliced

Directions:

  1. To make the caramelized onions. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet, 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. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over asparagus and toss with a spatula to evenly coat. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness, until slightly tender.
  3. Roll or stretch (I do a combination) 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.
  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. Remove crust from grill. Top cooked side of crust with remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil, spreading evenly. Add mozzarella cheese and top with roasted asparagus, caramelized onions and brie.
  5. Return pizza to the grill and cook for about five minutes, until mozzarella cheese has melted and bottom of crust has light brown grill marks. Remove from grill, slice into wedges and serve.

Servings: 4

Cauliflower and Mushroom Tacos

Make it a Meatless Monday with these hardy vegetarian tacos, stuffed with mildly spiced cauliflower and mushrooms and topped with sweet bell pepper sauce. This mostly hands-free meal is perfect for a busy week night, because you get 20 extra minutes to relax while dinner is roasting. Round out this meal with a side of pinto or black beans and Mexican hot chocolate for dessert. This is also a great make-ahead meal, especially if you are entertaining. Reheat the vegetables, make a pitcher of margaritas and you are ready to host book club.

Taco Ingredients:
1 small head cauliflower, roughly chopped into bite-size pieces
8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chipotle chili pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
8 soft flour tortillas

Roasted Sweet Pepper Sauce:
2 bell peppers (yellow, orange or red), seeded and cut in half
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt

Optional Taco Toppings:
grated smoked cheddar cheese
avocado slices
chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place cauliflower and mushrooms on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and add garlic to the tray. Season with cumin, chipotle chili pepper, salt and pepper, and toss with a spatula to evenly coat. Roast vegetables for 20 minutes.
  2. Place bell peppers on a baking tray, cut side down and roast for 20 minutes, until lightly charred. Place peppers in the bowl of a food processor with the chopping blade attached. Add cayenne pepper and salt, and pulse to chop until slightly smooth with fine chunks of pepper.
  3. Serve cauliflower and mushroom filling in tortillas and top with roasted sweet pepper sauce and optional taco toppings if desired.

Servings: 4

Bacon and Apple Peanut Butter Dip

The inspiration for this dish came from Old Bourbon County Kitchen, a restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky that serves a honey bourbon and sugar glazed bacon appetizer with peanut butter. My version is lighter, but still captures the wonderful combination of bacon and peanut butter. I know it sounds a little odd, but once you have tasted it you will forget all about peanut butter’s famous sidekick—jelly. Peanut butter and bacon is the new duo in town.

This appetizer is a perfect pairing with your favorite Kentucky bourbon. It brings out the whiskey’s sweet notes of vanilla, caramel and honey. Cheers to good bourbon, an appetizer your friends will love and adventurous food combinations.

Ingredients:
1 pound center cut bacon, cooked
1 large apple, sliced
2 tablespoons peanut butter
½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon skim milk

Directions:

  1. In a blender or food process, combine peanut butter, Greek yogurt, honey, vanilla and milk. Blend or process until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately with bacon and apple slices or refrigerating until ready to serve.

Seafood and Bean Stew with Pesto

Fish, shrimp, beans and pesto make the most delectable combination in this heavenly bowl of soup that will have you reaching for leftovers. Go ahead, it is comfort food with a conscience packed with three types of lean protein and juicy tomatoes. When basil is in season and my CSA box is full of this aromatic green goodness, I make batches of pesto and freeze tablespoon-size portions using mini-muffin tins. I store them in a freezer-safe container and enjoy during winter months in recipes like this. Don’t have fresh pesto on hand? Store-bought pesto will also work well and taste delicious in this dish.

Ingredients:
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
8 ounces any firm white fish, such as cod or halibut, cut into bite-size cubes
8 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp
1 (15 ounce) can no salt added cannellini beans
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons pesto

Directions:

  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until brown and crispy, stirring occasionally. Remove pancetta with a slotted spatula and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Add onion to the stock pot and sauté, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Add the tomatoes and vegetable broth to the stock pot and increase heat to medium high. Bring to a gentle boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low and add the fish and seafood to the soup. Cover and simmer for about five minutes.
  5. Remove lid and add beans, pancetta, salt, pepper and pesto to the soup, stirring to combine. Cook for two to three additional minutes and serve.

Servings: 4

Winter Vegetable Tacos

Say goodbye to the season on this last day of winter with my vegetarian tacos, featuring winter squash, a comfort food you can feel good about devouring. Butternut or kabocha squash make excellent choices, but any winter squash will work well paired with Tex-Mex spices and heart-healthy beans. Enjoy as a meal or serve as tapas for your next gathering. Leftovers are excellent the next day or could be transformed into a delicious salad served over your favorite leafy greens with a few crushed tortilla chips for a little crunch.

My slow and spicy pinto beans are a great option for these tacos if you make them in advance. If you are pressed for time, simply use no-salt-added canned pinto beans.

Taco Ingredients:
1 medium winter squash, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
2½ cups cooked pinto beans
1 lime
¼ cup chopped cilantro
12 soft corn tortilla shells

Topping Ingredients:
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
4 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place squash cubes on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Add chili powder, cumin and salt and toss to evenly coat. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping with a spatula halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, make smoky cream sauce by combining sour cream and yogurt in a small mixing bowl. Add smoked paprika and garlic, stirring until well mixed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Add beans to roasting pan with squash and toss to combine. Continue roasting for 5 more minutes, until beans are heated. Drizzle the juice of one lime and sprinkle cilantro over squash and bean mixture.
  4. Warm a couple of taco shells at a time in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds per side. Fill corn tortillas with an equal amount of squash and bean mixture and top with smokey cream sauce, avocado and cotija cheese.

Servings: 6

Slow and Spicy Pinto Beans

Top these Slow and Spicy Pinto Beans with a little shredded mozzarella and you have the perfect side dish for your fish tacos or chicken enchiladas. They also make a great vegetarian protein for your main course. Try them in veggie tacos or simply add them to a cheese quesadilla or on top of a salad.

Dried beans are extremely simple to prepare and the slow cooker does most of the work in this dish. If you have leftovers they freeze well for a ready-to-eat protein on a busy night, just defrost and reheat.

Ingredients:
1 cup dry pinto beans
7½ cups of water, divided
2 garlic whole cloves
1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Wash and sort beans, removing any small stones, dirt or damaged beans. Place beans in a large stock pot and cover with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Allow beans to soak for up to 4 hours.
  2. Drain beans and place in a slow cooker set to high heat. Add garlic, chipotle chile pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and cayenne pepper to the beans and cover with 2½ cups of water.
  3. Cook for 4 hours, until beans are soft and tender. Discard garlic cloves and serve.

Servings: 6

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Frozen corn from last season’s harvest is a special treat to enjoy this time of year. It shines in my Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup, which also features delicate squash. A perfect blend of winter and summer produce to enjoy this time of year when drastic weather changes leave you sporting flip-flops one day and snow boots the next. This colorful bowl of produce will surely brighten your day regardless of the weather you are experiencing.

The ingredient list may look long, but the recipe is easy to prepare and is mostly hands-off. Topping your bowl with oven-baked tortilla strips elevates this simple bowl of soup to restaurant quality, but without extra the calories of fried tortillas.

Soup Ingredients:
1½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 small delicata squash, seeded and chopped, leaving the skin on
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 large jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ tablespoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¾ teaspoon salt
2 (14.5 ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups frozen yellow corn, defrosted
1 lime


Tortilla Strip Ingredients:
4 corn tortillas
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt

Optional Toppings:
Chopped cilantro
Diced avocado
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker and top with delicate squash, onion, jalapeño, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika and salt. Add tomatoes with their juice and chicken broth. Cover with lid and cook on high for one hour. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for five hours.
  2. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Place shredded chicken back in the slow cooker and add corn and lime juice. Stir to combine and continue cooking on low while you prepare the tortilla strips.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush both sides of each tortilla with olive oil and cut into ¼-inch thin strips. Place tortilla strips on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 12 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned.
  4. Serve soup topped with tortilla strips and optional toppings of choice.

Servings: 6

Butternut Squash Grilled Pizza with Blue Cheese and Bacon

I am one of those pumpkin-crazed people who embraces all things, from lattes to ravioli and lip balm to candles. Fall squash is also one of my favorite things to cook with and I enjoy it throughout the winter. I particularly love sweet and creamy butternut squash, which is the star of my grilled pizza. A touch of maple syrup enhances the sweetness of mashed butternut squash, which is smothered on top of the crust and topped with sharp blue cheese, crispy bacon and toasted pecans. Round out the meal with a salad, like spinach with apples or roasted beets.

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 teaspoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough ball (about the size of a grapefruit)
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
⅓ cup blue cheese crumbles
5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a small baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side up. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in the hollow of each squash. 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. Scoop inside flesh of squash from skin and place in a food processor or blender. Add maple syrup and puree until velvety smooth, without any lumps.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Spread a thick layer of butternut squash on top of the cooked side of the crust. Top with mozzarella, blue cheese, bacon and pecans. 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 into 8 wedges and serve.

BOURBON MAPLE PORK TENDERLOIN WITH GOAT CHEESE MASHED POTATOES

The aroma of grilled meat lofting in the air makes me hungry, even if I’ve already had a meal. Add a little bourbon, maple syrup and Dijon mustard in the mix, and the smell of your pork tenderloin on the grill may even bring your neighbors over for dinner. Paired with creamy goat cheese mashed potatoes, this recipe is simple enough for a throw-together meal and impressive enough to serve when entertaining. Doubling the recipe will give you more to pass around if you are serving a crowd. Add some grilled broccoli to round out this delicious meal and serve with your favorite bourbon of course.

Bourbon Maple Pork Tenderloin Ingredients:
1 whole pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons country Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Goat Cheese Mashed Potato Ingredients:
1 pound potatoes (about 2½ cups), diced and unpeeled
water
½ tablespoon butter
½ cup skim milk
4 ounces goat cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place pork on a large plate or platter and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, bourbon, mustard and rosemary. Reserve half of the glaze in a clean bowl and brush the pork with the other half of the glaze.
  2. Grill the pork tenderloin for 17 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally and brushing with the remaining glaze, until pork reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Place pork on a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil. Let the tenderloin rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to low heat. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender. Drain water and return to the stove over low heat. Add skim milk, butter, salt and pepper and mash with a potato masher while butter melts. Add goat cheese and use a hand-held mixer to whip potatoes on high until smooth and creamy.

My Heart Beets for You Risotto

I love a good vegetable pun and this one is perfect for Valentine’s Day. This is a delicious and easy meal to make for your sweetheart and it pairs well with an earthy Pinot Noir. Nothing says I love you like this bright and beautiful, heart-healthy meal.

Since garlic scapes are not in season in February, I use frozen pesto that I have stashed away for winter meals. If you don’t have garlic scape pesto, simply use any store-bought pesto and add some garlic to your dish when you are sautéing the onion.

Ingredients:
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup red wine
2 medium to large roasted beets, diced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon garlic scape pesto
Parmesan cheese, grated for serving

Directions:

  1. Warm vegetable broth in a small stock pot over low heat.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent.
  3. Add the rice and stir to combine with the onions. Add red wine and continue stirring until absorbed.
  4. Add a ladle full of broth, stirring constantly until absorbed. Continue, slowly adding broth and stirring for about 25 minutes, until all broth has been added and the rice is soft but still has a bite.
  5. Add diced beets, salt and pepper, stirring to combine until risotto is bright red in color. 
  6. Spread garlic scape pesto around the edge of the plate, making a full circle. Fill the center of the circle with risotto and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Fall Harvest Overnight Oats

I enjoy a healthy and hearty breakfast every morning, but busy mornings leave me with little time for food prep. Overnight oats are one of my favorite go-to meals for hurried weekdays. They are almost effortless to assemble the night before and in the morning you have a delicious breakfast just waiting for you to open and enjoy. Preparing this recipe in a mason jar makes it a great portable breakfast option.

Pureed butternut squash is a fresh alternative to cooking with canned pumpkin, and it is extremely easy to make. After roasting the squash, simply puree in a food processor. If you have extra on hand it freezes well for future use, saving even more time when making these nutritious Fall Harvest Overnight Oats.

Ingredients:
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup pureed butternut squash
½ cup skim milk or non-dairy milk of choice
¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt of choice
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. In a pint-sized mason jar, add all ingredients and gently stir to combine. Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy as a cold cereal for breakfast in the morning.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts

I love the way the leaves fall off Brussels sprouts when you quarter them, resembling flower petals and creating a beautiful centerpiece for your plate. This cooking method caramelizes the vegetable, bringing out its natural sweetness. If your family members don’t love Brussels sprouts, this recipe may just change their mind.

This dish is so simple and mostly hands off, which is why I love roasting vegetables. You can step outside and grill your favorite lean protein while your Brussels sprouts roast. Pair this side dish with grilled salmon, a simple salad, fresh whole grain bread and your favorite white wine for an elegant and easy stay-at-home, date-night meal.

Ingredients:
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1½ tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
⅓ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts and cut into quarters, keeping the leaves (or as I like to call them, petals) that fall off.
  2. Place Brussels sprouts on a large baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle minced garlic, salt and pepper on top and toss with a spatula to evenly coat.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through the cooking cycle. Brussels sprouts will be tender with dark brown outer leaves. Sprinkle with hazelnuts, toss and serve.

Delicata Squash Cheese Spread

Picky eaters will not even know they are eating a vegetable when they bite into this velvety cheese spread with a delicate taste of pumpkin pie. While pumpkin is all the craze, let us not forget about other varieties of winter squash that offer the same delicious taste of the season. If you are unable to find delicata squash, use any variety of locally grown squash. Delicata squash has a silky smooth texture when roasted and a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. If you want to enhance the nutty flavor and add a little more protein to your plate, top your toast with walnuts or pecans.

Ingredients:
1 medium delicata squash, cut in half and seeds removed
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, plus more for serving
8 ounces Neufchatel cheese, or reduced fat cream cheese, softened
Whole wheat toast

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place squash slices, skin side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut butter into six cubes and place three in each squash cavity. Drizzle each squash half with a tablespoon of maple syrup. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  3. Remove squash from oven and set aside until cool enough to touch. With a large spoon, remove the golden squash from the skin and place in a food processor. Add pumpkin pie spice and cream cheese. Process until smooth.
  4. Spread on whole wheat toast, top with a dash or two of pumpkin pie seasoning and serve.

Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Hash

Vegetables are one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast, but I had never thought about combining spaghetti squash with eggs until I had a similar dish for brunch at Posana in Asheville, NC. Their garden vegetable hash was superb and I enjoyed it on their dog-friendly patio where they even have a menu for fur babies. Back at home in my kitchen with my four-legged-boy, Rocco, beside me, I crafted my version with a light and creamy Dijon sauce in place of their leek vinaigrette.

This recipe is also a great one to make when serving breakfast for dinner. Looking for a grab-and-go breakfast option? Serve the hash in small containers and add boiled egg slices on top in place of the poached or fried eggs. Hope you enjoy this unique take on spaghetti squash and comment below to let me know about your favorite breakfast veggies.

Ingredients:
1 medium spaghetti squash
16 ounces small potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 leek
1 bunch or 6 ounce bag of spinach
salt and pepper
½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
2 cloves minced garlic
4 eggs, poached or fried

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim the ends of the squash and slice in half. Remove the seeds and discard. Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the center of the oven until tender and squash flakes with a fork into noodles, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Roast until tender, for 25 to 30 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Remove vegetables from the oven and cover potatoes with aluminum foil to keep warm. Let spaghetti squash sit until cool enough to touch.
  4. Meanwhile, remove the dark green stalk from the leek, keeping the light green and white section. Wash the leek well to remove dirt in between the layers and thinly slice. Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek to the skillet and sauté until tender and fragrant, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach and sauté until wilted, for a couple more minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside on low heat to keep warm.
  5. In a small bowl, add yogurt, mustard and garlic and stir to combine, creating creamy garlic sauce.
  6. Use a fork to remove the strands of spaghetti squash by lightly raking across the inside surface. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add ¼ of squash, spinach and potatoes to each plate and serve with an egg on top and a dollop of creamy garlic sauce.

Servings: 4

Halibut with Tropical Salsa and Coconut Rice

I created this recipe while on vacation using fresh seafood from a coastal fish market. I have enjoyed this dish back at home with local bell peppers from my CSA share and the taste brings back wonderful memories from vacation. The tropical salsa and coconut rice also make a great pair for grilled pork chops and filet mignon if you want to serve a variety of options for your guests. Cheers to firing up the grill with your protein of choice as we enjoy the last couple of weeks of summer.

Ingredients:
2 cups white rice
2 (13.5 ounce) cans unsweetened, light coconut milk
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
1 lime
8 (4 to 6 ounce) halibut steaks or cod filets
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
3 small or 2 medium bell peppers, any color
1 pineapple, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped


Directions:

  1. Bring coconut milk to a boil, add rice and reduce to low heat. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until milk is absorbed and rice is tender. Add sugar and coconut flakes and stir to combine, allowing sugar to melt into the steamy rice.
  2. Meanwhile, zest lime with a citrus zester or microplane grater. Brush halibut or cod with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt, pepper and zest from lime. Set aside while preparing the tropical salsa.
  3. Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Remove seeds from bell pepper and slice in half. Brush pineapple and bell pepper with remaining olive oil. Grill produce until light grill marks appear on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from grill and set aside until cool enough to touch.
  4. Grill fish for about 4 minutes per side until the center is firm and opaque. Remove from the grill and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  5. Dice pineapple and bell pepper and place in a medium bowl. Juice lime over salsa and add cilantro and salt, stirring to combine. Serve fish over coconut rice and top with tropical salsa.

Servings: 8

Greek Chicken Salad Wraps

A salad you can hold in your hand is the perfect backyard grub to serve on a hot summer night. The fresh vegetables make a colorful presentation for this build-your-own dinner, and you can change or add more protein options by grilling pork or tofu along with your chicken. Grill your meat and slice your toppings in advance to have a meal you can serve in just a few minutes on a busy night or on an evening when you’d rather kick back and enjoy the sunshine.

Wrap Ingredients:
1 head romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
¼ cup pitted Greek olives, thinly sliced

Tzatziki Sauce Ingredients:
1 small cucumber, roughly chopped
1 cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Trim the bottom of the lettuce and separate leaves. Wash and set on a towel to dry.
  2. In a small bowl, combine oregano, garlic, nutmeg, salt, pepper and olive oil. Stir to combine and rub the mixture over chicken. Grill chicken breasts until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and thinly slice.
  3. Combine cucumber and yogurt in a small bowl. Zest and then juice lemon, adding 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice to the bowl. Add garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  4. Add lettuce leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta cheese and olives to a couple of large plates along with the Zatziki sauce, and serve buffet style.

Servings: 4

BKT Bites

Move over lettuce, sautéed kale is a new match for crispy bacon and juicy tomato slices. Served over toasted baguette slices, my BKT Bites make a hardy appetizer or light dinner. It’s an easy dish to make with two summer favorites from your farm share or local Farmers’ Market. This dish pairs well with an earthy Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley Oregon. Just make this simple recipe, open a bottle of vino and you are ready to entertain.

Ingredients:
1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more for serving
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ whole grain baguette, cut into ¼ inch slices
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
10 slices bacon, cooked to desired level of crispy

Directions:

  1. 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. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat broiler to high. Broil for about one to two minutes per side, until lightly browned on the edges.
  3. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar. Spread balsamic mayonnaise on baguette slices and top with bacon, kale and tomatoes. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top of the tomato slices and serve.

Servings: 4

Thai Chicken Cabbage Cups

Here is a delicious and nutritious meal you can eat with your hands. Small cabbage leaves make perfect cups for holding chicken and vegetables, and these are drizzled with my spicy Thai peanut sauce with just a touch of heat. The ingredients can be prepared in advanced and assembled when ready to eat, making this an excellent meal for busy nights or lunches on the go. If you have large cabbage leaves, just fold them like a burrito to create cabbage wraps.

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
2 cups any combination of vegetables, diced or shredded (such as bell pepper, cucumber, radishes or carrots)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small head cabbage, leaves separated
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
¼ cup unsalted chopped peanuts

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.
  2. Combine vegetables in a large bowl and squeeze the juice of the remaining lime half over the produce. Add cilantro and stir to evenly combine.
  3. Fill each cabbage leaf with an equal amounts of chicken and vegetables. Drizzle each cup with peanut sauce, top with peanuts and serve.

Servings: 4

Steak and Zoodles with Blue Cheese Sauce

Sautéed zucchini makes an excellent side dish for a steak topped with blue cheese butter, but this dish goes a step further by combining all of those delicious flavors. Steak and Zoodles with Blue Cheese Sauce is a perfect summer meal when you are in the mood to fire up the grill and use your farm-fresh zucchini. Zoodles, made from zucchini noodles, are as fun to make as they are to eat. There are a lot of vegetable spiralizers on the market now, and this kitchen gadget leads to endless possibilities for new takes on vegetables.

Ingredients:
4 medium zucchini
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups skim milk
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
¼ teaspoon white pepper
16 ounces sirloin steak, grilled to desired degree of doneness and thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Spiralize zucchini into thin noodles. Place in a colander over a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add flour and cook another minute. Gradually add the milk, whisking as the sauce thickens. Reduce heat to lowest setting and add blue cheese and white pepper. Whisk together until cheese has melted.
  3. Place zoodles in a tea towel and gently squeeze over bowl to remove excess water. Place zoodles in skillet with blue cheese sauce and gently combine with the sauce. Cook for about two minutes, until heated through.
  4. To serve, add zoodles with sauce to plates and top with with slices of steak.

Servings: 4

Sweet Potato and Kohlrabi “Fries” with Creamy Garlic Sauce

Oh, how American’s love French fries, myself included included. The crispy, greasy, fried potato is the perfect burger companion. For a healthy alternative that is just as satisfying, I’ve created an oven-baked version with sweet potato and kohlrabi and a creamy garlic sauce for dipping. The sweetness of the potato is a perfect balance for kohlrabi, which has a slight bitter taste. Enjoy as an appetizer or pair with a hamburger or your favorite sandwich for healthy pub grub at home.

Ingredients:
1 large sweet potato
1 large kohlrabi bulb
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
2 cloves minced garlic

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel sweet potato and kohlrabi and cut into fry shaped strips.
  2. Place sweet potato and kohlrabi strips in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat.
  3. Arrange vegetables in a single layer on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip with a spatula. Continue baking for 15 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.
  4. Meanwhile, add yogurt, mustard and garlic in a small bowl and stir to combine, creating a creamy garlic sauce for serving.

Servings: 4

Green Eggs Benedict with Hoecakes

Served over hoecakes, made from fresh ground cornmeal, this is a southern vegetarian version of Dr. Suess’ breakfast. Sautéed kale and a light avocado sauce give this traditional egg dish two shades of green and a healthy makeover. Create a make-your-own Eggs Benedict station for brunch guests by adding ham or smoked salmon as additional options. Pair with a fresh glass of orange juice, mimosa or Bloody Mary to finish out the meal.

Hoecake Ingredients:
¾ cup cornmeal
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
canola oil, for greasing the griddle

Green Eggs Benedict Ingredients:
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled
Juice of 1 small lemon
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
¾ cup water
a couple pinches of salt and pepper
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped, or 5 ounces baby kale
8 eggs, fried or poached

Directions:

  1. Prepare a griddle over medium heat. In a large bowl, make the hoecake batter by stirring together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Add the egg and buttermilk and whisk to combine.
  2. Lightly brush griddle with canola oil. Ladle the batter onto the griddle, working in batches to create 8 hoecakes. Cook until bubbles start to form on the top and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown and the center is cooked through. Place cooked hoecakes on a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the batter, adding remaining oil to the griddle as needed.
  3. Place avocado in a blender or food processor. Add lemon juice, 2 teaspoons canola oil, water and a pinch of salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, adding more water as needed to reach desired consistency.
  4. Heat remaining oil in a medium skillet and add kale leaves. Sauté until wilted, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Top each hoecake with sautéed kale and an egg. Drizzle with avocado sauce and serve.

Servings: 8

Sweet and Salty Peanut Butter Banana Cream

I love the occasional calorie splurge for ice cream, but most often I prefer more nutritious and lighter desserts. My Sweet and Salty Peanut Butter Banana Cream meets my regular sweet tooth criteria, while also delivering a decadent taste. A frozen treat that is reminiscent of peanut butter and vanilla ice cream with chunks of chocolate and bits of pretzels. This kid-friendly recipe is easy and fun to make, but plan in advance because the child in all of us may not want to wait an hour for freezing.

Ingredients:
3 bananas, sliced and frozen
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup peanut butter
⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
⅓ cup chopped pretzels
coconut flakes for serving

Directions:

  1. Combine bananas and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. The creamy mixture will resemble the texture of soft-serve ice cream. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue processing to reach this consistency.
  2. Add peanut butter and pulse gently to combine. Remove peanut butter banana cream and place in a freezer safe container. Stir in chocolate chips and pretzels.
  3. Cover and freeze for an hour. Serve in bowls or in a cone and top with coconut flakes.

Servings: 4

Shrimp and Vegetable Stir Fry

In less than 10 minutes, you can have a delicious plate of kohlrabi, bok choy, mushrooms and shrimp on the table with my easy stir fry recipe. Earthy mushrooms compliment the asian greens and kohlrabi in this low-sodium meal. For a vegetarian version, substitute tofu for the shrimp. For a gluten-free option or to amp up the veggies, go for cauliflower rice instead of brown rice. This meal for two can be doubled to serve four and if you can’t find kohlrabi with greens attached, just add more bok choy.

Ingredients:
1 medium kohlrabi bulb with leaves attached
1 medium or two small bok choy
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
3.5 ounces oyster mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces raw shrimp, defrosted if frozen
2 teaspoons coconut aminos (gluten-free choice) or low-sodium soy sauce
Brown rice, prepared

Directions:

  1. Remove leaves from kohlrabi bulb and roughly chop. Peel and dice kohlrabi bulb. Roughly chop bok choy, separating the light green stems from the darker top leaves. Set vegetables aside.
  2. Heat oils in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add kohlrabi bulb and bok choy stems and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, tossing with a spatula. Add kohlrabi and bok choy leaves and mushrooms. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, until vegetables are tender and leaves are wilted.
  3. Push vegetables to the sides of the wok or skillet and place shrimp in the middle. Cook for about three minutes, flipping to cook both sides until shrimp are pink.
  4. Add coconut aminos or soy sauce and stir to evenly coat and mix shrimp with vegetables. Serve over brown rice and sprinkle with a little more coconut aminos or low-sodium soy sauce if desired.

Servings: 2

FIVE-MINUTE BREAKFAST BOK CHOY

Vegetables are my favorite thing to eat for breakfast after my morning workout, and I love making fast meals like this one to fuel up for the day. Bok choy has a light and refreshing taste with leaves similar to spinach and stems like a cross between cabbage and iceberg lettuce. This superfood is super delicious and tastes excellent with brown rice, Asian flavors and fried eggs. Move over cereal, breakfast just got a lot more interesting. Go ahead and give veggies a try for your morning meal.

Ingredients:
2 baby bok choy bunches or 1 medium bunch bok choy
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Separate white stalks from bok choy and dice. Coarsely chop green bok choy leaves.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat coconut oil. Add bok choy and Chinese five-spice powder and sauté until stems are soft and leaves are wilted, about 4 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small non-stick skillet, fry two eggs.
  4. Add brown rice and soy sauce to bok choy and stir to combine, cooking for another minute. Serve eggs over bok choy rice mixture.

Servings: 2

Berry Breakfast Quinoa

Hearty quinoa with its nutty flavor compliments sweet berries and crunchy almonds in this breakfast bowl that will keep you satisfied all morning. Substitute the strawberries and blackberries for any seasonal berry in your region of the world. Quinoa is a complete protein, offering all of the essential amino acids, making it a great choice for vegetarians. It’s also an excellent whole grain option for those with celiac or gluten sensitivities since it’s naturally gluten-free.

I love to make a big batch of Berry Breakfast Quinoa on the weekend for a fast breakfast to just reheat on busy weekday mornings. A nutritious and delicious breakfast doesn’t have to be time-consuming.

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water, plus more for rinsing
⅓ cup dried cranberries
6 ounces strawberries
6 ounces blueberries
⅓ cup sliced blackberries
2 tablespoons sorghum or honey

Directions:

  1. Using a fine-mesh sieve, rinse quinoa with water.
  2. Combine quinoa, water and cranberries in a rice cooker and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Add berries, almonds and sorghum. Stir to combine and serve warm or chill and enjoy cold.

Servings: 4

Grilled Scallop Salad

Firing up the grill is one of my favorite activities. I love it even more when I can cook my entire meal over the grill in a matter of minutes. I know, lettuce is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cooking out. However, this sweet and smokey salad with grilled radishes and scallops may become your favorite go-to dish. In less than 15 minutes, you will have a delicious meal for two that is perfect for enjoying on your patio with your favorite white wine. Cheers to fast and healthy seasonal meals.

Salad Ingredients:
8 large scallops
1 bunch radishes, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
1 head romaine lettuce

Salad Dressing Ingredients:
Zest and juice of 1 navel orange
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Directions:

  1. Brush scallops and radishes with half the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and lemon zest. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Grill scallops and radishes for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until scallops are cooked through and radishes are slightly tender.
  2. Cut lettuce in half, leaving the core intact on both sides. Brush flat side with remaining olive oil. Place lettuce cut-side down on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes, until grill marks appear and lettuce is slightly wilted.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together salad dressing ingredients. Top each lettuce slice with half the scallops and radishes and drizzle with salad dressing.

Servings: 2

Sweet and Spicy Fruit Salad

The inspiration for this recipe came from a strawberry jalapeño jam, which is my new food obsession. The combination of sweet strawberries with a slight peppery heat is a perfect pairing that will delight your taste buds. I added a little citrus to my new favorite duo for a unique take on fruit salad that’s tangy, sweet and spicy all in one bite.

This is a wonderful use for spring strawberries and makes a simple but unique side dish or dessert. Pair it with grilled fish or chicken and fresh asparagus for a fast and delicious homemade meal, or liven up your next potluck with this sweet and spicy treat.

Ingredients:
1 pound strawberries
1 grapefruit
1 navel orange
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons hot and sweet jalapeño pepper slices, diced

Directions:

  1. Remove stems from strawberries and cut into quarters.
  2. Peel and roughly chop grapefruit and orange, removing any seeds.
  3. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, grapefruit and orange and drizzle with honey. Add jalapeños and gently toss to combine.

Quick Kale, Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and grits are one of my favorite southern duos. This dish is often prepared with heavy cream and can take some time to make with slow cooking grits. I created this lighter, quick-cooking version, which is ideal for evenings when you want a delicious homemade meal in less than 15 minutes. Fast meals like this one free up time to enjoy beautiful spring evenings. Cheers to spending less time in the kitchen, while still making delicious and nutritious meals.

Ingredients:
½ cup quick cooking grits
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ ground black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons half and half

Directions:

  1. Prepare grits according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute, until fragrant. Add kale and continue cooking for about 2 minutes, until wilted. Add bell pepper and stir to combine.
  3. Push kale and pepper mixture to the edges of the skillet, creating an empty space in the middle. Add shrimp to the center of the skillet and sprinkle with salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice. When shrimp becomes pink on the bottom, flip and continue cooking until both sides are pink and shrimp is cooked through. Stir vegetables and shrimp together to combine.
  4. When grits are done cooking, remove from heat and add grated parmesan cheese and half and half. Stir until cheese is melted and grits are thick and creamy. Add grits to dinner plates and top with shrimp and kale mixture.

Servings: 2

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Toast

If you know a local mushroom farmer or grow your own mushrooms, you are so lucky and I am a little jealous. I created this recipe when I had access to weekly fresh mushrooms at a Farmers’ Market when we lived in Wisconsin. Most Saturdays I would make this recipe as soon as I got home from the market and serve it with a fried egg for breakfast or side salad for lunch. I couldn’t wait to eat these mushrooms and this simple and quick dish made it possible to get them on my plate in about 15 minutes. The recipe quantities below make this a great appetizer for a small group, but just trim the amount back if you want to enjoy this as a meal for one or two.

Ingredients:
14 inch baguette
8 ounces shiitake or white button mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces goat cheese

Directions:

  1. Turn oven broil setting to low heat. Slice bread into about 16 pieces and place on a baking sheet. Set aside while preparing mushrooms.
  2. Remove stems from the mushrooms and gently wash the tops before thinly slicing. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for about four minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water and continue cooking for another 4 to 6 minutes, until tender and golden brown. Add thyme, salt and pepper to the mushrooms and stir to evenly coat.
  3. Broil baguette slides on each side for 1 to 2 minutes. Top with equal amounts of mushrooms and goat cheese and continue broiling for another 2 minutes until cheese is warm. Serve immediately.

Servings: 8 (2 slices as appetizer)

Grilled Tilapia and Field Pea Succotash

Growing up in the south, black-eyed peas were a staple in our house and they will always be one of my favorite vegetables. This dish brings back childhood memories of family potlucks with tables full of farm-fresh vegetables for supper and homemade pies for dessert. We might have had fried catfish with our field peas back then, but I’ve lighted things up with grilled tilapia. This succotash also pairs well with scallops, shrimp or any white fish of choice.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cups cooked black-eyed peas or field peas, drained
1 cup frozen corn
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
4 (6 ounce) tilapia fillets
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning

Directions:
  

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add onion and sauté until translucent and fragrant. Add garlic and bell pepper and continue cooking a few more minutes until tender.
  2. Add peas, corn, salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes, and reduce heat to low to keep succotash warm while grilling tilapia.
  3. Season tilapia fillets with lemon pepper seasoning and brush with remaining olive oil. Prepare grill for medium heat. Grill fish for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until fish flakes with a fork. Serve fish over succotash.

Servings: 4

Pantry Pasta

We all have those busy nights when the fridge is sparse and we don’t have time to pick up fresh ingredients for dinner. My Pantry Pasta dish is the perfect meal to make during those moments. It takes less than 15 minutes to prepare, giving you more time to relax at the end of the day.

For a fresh version of this recipe during summer months, replace the canned tomatoes with vine-ripened tomatoes fresh from the farm or your backyard. Cheers to making meals that are both healthy and convenient.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15.5 ounce) can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced and no-salt-added tomatoes
¼ cup red or white wine
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
½ pound whole wheat spaghetti noodles

Optional Ingredients for Serving:
Fresh basil, cut into ribbons
Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add beans, tomatoes with juices, wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about five minutes.
  3. Serve over spaghetti noodles. Top with basil and Parmesan cheese if desired.

Servings: 4

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

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.