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.