Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Greens

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

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

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

Directions:

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

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

WATERMELON, TOMATO AND BURRATA CHEESE

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

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

Directions:

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

Grilled Thai Chicken Pizza

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

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

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

Directions:

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

Servings: 4

Zucchini Pecan Muffins

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

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

Directions:

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

Servings: 12

Curried Tofu Salad

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

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

Directions:

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

Servings: 4

SUMMER VEGGIE AND STEAK KEBABS

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

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

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

Directions:

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

Servings: 4

CABBAGE AND EGG FIESTA BOWL

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

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

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

Toppings:
avocado slices
sour cream
cotija cheese, crumbled
salsa

Directions:

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

Servings: 4

Loaded Salmon Mashed Potatoes

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

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

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

Directions:

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

Servings: 4

Cucumber and Tuna Salad Bites

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

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

Directions:

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

Grilled Fish Tacos with Kohlrabi Slaw

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

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

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

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

Directions:

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

Servings: 4