Steak and Potato Salad with Blackberry Jam Vinaigrette

This is a salad for all the meat and potato lovers in your life, but it is light enough for those who prefer smaller portions of red meat. It’s the perfect meal for couples who enjoy cooking together, since some of the steps require you to be in the kitchen and the other half is prepared on the grill. Complete this stay-home, date-night meal with your favorite red wine and maybe a chocolate dessert.

Salad Ingredients:
16 ounces small potatoes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
8 fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for brushing onions
16 ounces sirloin steaks, well-trimmed
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon pepper, divided
1 large onion, peeled and sliced ½ inch thick
Spring mix lettuce
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
2 tablespoons blackberry jam, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place potatoes, tomatoes and sage leaves on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper and toss with a spatula to evenly coat. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside until sage leaves are cool enough to touch. Crumble sage leaves over roasted vegetables.
  2. Meanwhile, bring steak to room temperature and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Brush both sides of onion with olive oil.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat and cook steak to desired doneness. Place onions on the grill and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove both from grill and let rest for a few minutes. Carve steak into thin strips and separate onion rings when cool enough to touch.
  4. Combine dressing ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and shake well to combine. Add desired amount of lettuce to each plate and top with sliced steak, potatoes, tomatoes, onion rings and blue cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.

Servings: 4

From Scratch 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 From Scratch Turkey Taco Soup. Don’t let the “from scratch” or long ingredient list make you think this recipe is hard to make. It’s super simple, but instead of using a ranch seasoning packet, 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 and no-salt added tomatoes and frozen corn make this a low-sodium, heart healthy dish. If you have farm-fresh canned tomatoes or tomato juice on hand, 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
4 cups of tomato juice
3 cups water
shredded cheddar cheese, for serving
light sour cream, for serving
scallions, sliced for serving

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 juice 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

Barbecue Pork Nachos

Barbecue nachos are a game day favorite in my hometown of Memphis, Tenn., and they are about as popular as Elvis around my old stomping grounds. For my take on this southern classic, I recommend a tangy and slightly sweet sauce. I keep my pantry well stocked with my favorite barbecue sauces so I am ready for the Football World Series or any good sports event throughout the year. My Slow Cooker Drunken Pork recipe is great for this dish. Making the pork the day before turns this into an 8-minute recipe you can whip up during halftime, if you are willing to miss a few commercials. Cheers to enjoying these nachos with good friends and a frosty beverage as you watch the Battle of the Pigskin.

Ingredients:
4 ounces tortilla chips (about 56 chips)
2 cups pulled pork
½ cup barbecue sauce, divided
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 extra small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and diced

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler to high. Line one half-sheet baking pan with parchment paper or use a non-stick baking pan.
  2. Arrange tortilla chips across the pan and top with pork. Drizzle half of the barbecue sauce over the pork and chips and top with cheddar cheese, onion slices and jalapeño slices. Drizzle the remaining sauce on top of the nachos.
  3. Broil until heated through and cheese is melted, 5 to 6 minutes. Top with avocado and serve.

Servings: 4

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. It also makes a wonderful hearty appetizer for a crowd, and doubling the recipe will give you more to pass around. Serve this dish 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 medium heat. 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. Brush the pork with half of the glaze, reserving the rest.
  2. Grill the tenderloin for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Brush with remaining glaze and continue cooking 2 to 5 additional minutes, 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 to 10 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.

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

Kabob Ingredients:
¾ pound sirloin steak
1 medium summer squash
1 small red onion
1 pint 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: 3 to 4

Sausage and Eggplant Lasagna Rollups

Lasagna and eggplant parmesan are two of my favorite Italian dishes and this meal is the perfect blend of both. Ready in just a little over 30 minutes, it’s a fast take on lasagna that’s perfect for a busy weeknight meal. It’s excellent made with homemade marinara using farm-fresh tomatoes.

If you’re struggling with recipes that please the carb lovers and low-carb people in your life, this recipe is perfect for both. You can easily prepare whole wheat spaghetti or garlic bread on the side and give your dinner guests options.

Ingredients:
2 large eggplant, trimmed and cut lengthwise into ¼ inch slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 cups good-quality marinara, divided
1 pound mild ground sausage
15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons fresh grated nutmeg
¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat the broiler to high and arrange half of the eggplant in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Brush both sides of eggplant with half of the olive oil and sprinkle with half of the salt and pepper. Broil for 5 to 6 minutes, until lightly browned, flipping halfway through cook time. Set aside until cool enough to touch. Repeat process with remaining eggplant. Turn off the broiler and heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook the sausage in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until browned and crumbly, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain grease from skillet and return to the stove top. Add 3 cups marinara to the sausage and stir to combine.
  3. Spread 1 cup marinara in the bottom of a large rectangular baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, basil and nutmeg. Top each eggplant slice with about a tablespoon of ricotta filling and spread it out evenly. Roll up the eggplant, starting with the shorter end and arrange seam side down in the prepared baking dish.
  4. Top eggplant rollups with sausage and marinara mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, until the sauce is warm and bubbly.

Servings: 6 to 8

Sweet Potato and Kale Breakfast Hash

Vegetables and sunny-side-up eggs are 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 small 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 halfway through cooking.
  2. Crumble sausage in a large skillet, breaking it up with a spatula for about 5 to 6 minutes, until cooked through. Drain sausage drippings 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

Pasta with Sausage and Butternut Squash Sauce

This velvety, butternut squash sauce is nutritious with a taste of decadence. Enjoy this guilt-free, creamy sauce topped with a little sausage or substitute toasted pecans for a vegetarian meal. Roasting the squash in advance makes this a quick meal to throw together for family or friends. When I have a lot of butternut squash in my CSA share, I like to roast up several batches to freeze for later use. Simply follow step one below and scoop the inside flesh from the squash. Store squash in zip-top bags and freeze until ready for use. Defrost squash in the refrigerator the day before preparing this recipe and you’ll have a homemade meal with farm-fresh ingredients on your table in less than 15 minutes.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 teaspoons butter
8 ounces any short whole grain pasta noodle, cooked according to package directions
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup skim or low-fat milk
½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ pound mild ground sausage
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a medium 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. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute, until fragrant, and combine with squash. Set skillet aside for later use.
  3. Add milk to food processor or blender and puree to create a smooth and creamy consistency. Pour butternut squash sauce into a medium sauce pan and warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally and careful not to boil. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low to keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the sausage in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until browned and crumbly, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the fat and set aside.
  5. Divide pasta on four plates and cover with equal amounts of sauce. Top with sausage and Parmesan cheese.

Servings: 4

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, which is much larger than the red radish and shaped similarly to a carrot, is frequently used in Asian dishes. When cooked, radishes gain a sweetness that mellows out their peppery spice. This veggie pairs well with sweet carrots and mandarin 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.
 
Ingredients
1 tablespoon sesame 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
1 large daikon radish, peeled and sliced
4 large celery ribs, trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 small seedless mandarin oranges
½ cup unsalted cashews
Prepared brown rice
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped


Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet. Add garlic and ginger and heat for one minute, until fragrant, about a minute. Add pork and cook for around 4 minutes, flipping 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 mandarin oranges and slice each section in half to make sure there are no seeds. Add oranges, cashews and pork to the vegetable mixture. Stir to combine and cook another minute or 2.
  4. Check seasoning and add a splash of extra soy sauce if needed. Serve with brown rice and top with fresh cilantro.

Servings: 2

Farm-Fresh Vegetable Beef Stew

My Farm-Fresh Vegetable Beef Stew is a bowl of comfort food that is good for your heart, body and soul. Use rainbow Swiss chard or substitute any dark leafy green. You can’t go wrong with any of these nutrient-dense choices. Dark leafy greens are low in calorie while high in several vitamins and minerals that support healthy blood pressure, vision and immune system.

This colorful bowl of vegetables may even brighten your mood on a grey and chilly day. Leftovers are delicious, so make this meal on the weekend for a quick weeknight supper, and grab a book to read by the fire while your stew simmers.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound beef stew meat
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
4 celery ribs, sliced
1 bunch rainbow Swiss chard, ribs removed and chopped, leaves roughly chopped
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, diced
1½ cups frozen corn
32 ounces low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large stock pot and add stew meat. Cook until brown on all sides, stirring occasionally. Remove beef and set aside.
  2. Add onion, carrots, celery and swiss chard ribs to the stock pot. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about five minutes.
  3. Return the beef to the pot and add potatoes, corn, vegetable broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Add swiss chard leaves and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Servings: 6