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.
Enjoy my Cucumber and Tuna Salad Bites as a refreshing appetizer, picnic dinner or light afternoon lunch. 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 our weekly produce share this summer and this has been one of my favorite ways to enjoy them.
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.
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.
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.
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, drizzle with salsa and serve.
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.
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, finely chopped
1 cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
Trim the bottom of the lettuce and separate leaves. Wash and set on a towel to dry.
In a small bowl, combine oregano, garlic, nutmeg, salt, pepper and olive oil. Stir to combine and brush mixture over chicken. Grill chicken breasts until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and thinly slice.
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.
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.
This pizza tastes like buffalo wings and cheese pizza had a baby. When it is game day and you can’t decide which of your favorite appetizers to serve, just combine them into one delicious pizza. My grilled pizza tastes more like a flatbread with a thin crispy crust and it is really quick to make. You’ll have a meal on the table in less than 20 minutes, leaving you more time to cheer on your baseball team on TV or get your family ready to head out to the little league game.
½ tablespoon butter
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon onion powder
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 medium chicken breast, cooked and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons corneal
1 homemade or store bought pizza dough ball, about the size of a grapefruit
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
2 celery sticks, trimmed and thinly sliced
Add butter and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When butter has melted, whisk in the brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, honey, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to simmer and stir occasionally until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat, add chicken to the saucepan and stir to coat.
Sprinkle cornmeal over a large cutting board or flat working surface. Use a rolling pin to roll or your hands 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.
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 of the crust. Remove crust from grill. Top cooked side of crust with chicken and buffalo sauce. Add cheeses and top with celery slices.
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 into 8 wedges and serve.
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.
14 inch baguette
8 ounces shiitake 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
Turn oven broil setting to low heat. Slice bread into about 16 pieces and place on a baking sheet. Set aside while preparing mushrooms.
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.
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.
Grab a graham cracker and enjoy my dessert dip made with seasonal strawberries, melted chocolate and neufchâtel cream cheese. This pretty pink dish would be an excellent addition to your Easter dessert table or baby shower spread. Planning a gender reveal party? Make a blue version with blueberries and white chocolate chips. Whether you’re serving it at a get-together or snacking at home, you’ll have a tasty treat ready in less than 10 minutes.
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 ounces neufchâtel cream cheese
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 pint strawberries, divided
Graham crackers for serving
Melt chocolate in a small sauce pan over low heat. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade add cream cheese and powdered sugar. Puree until smooth.
Remove stems and hulls from strawberries. Slice ⅔ of strawberries and finely chop ⅓ of the pint. Add the sliced strawberries and melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and puree until smooth.
Place mixture in a serving bowl and top with finely chopped strawberries. Serve with graham crackers.