simple strawberry salad.

June 2, 2014 § 2 Comments

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I love a colorful salad!

I snapped these photos the other day on a whim. I wasn’t planning to blog about this salad, but this has become a go-to meal as of late. Light, easy, satisfying, somewhat healthy.  [As a rule, I only eat salads if they involve cheese.  And bacon.]

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So, I thought I’d share. The ingredients are all approximate; make it as large as you like. Feel free to leave out ingredients or swap in others.  This is what I did to make one salad.

What you need:

  • generous handful of fresh spinach
  • generous handful of romaine lettuce
  • tablespoon of goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1-2 cups strawberries, stems removed, roughly chopped into small pieces
  • 5-6 snap peas
  • 1-2 teaspoons of chopped pecans
  • 1 slice of bacon, chopped
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper

What to do:

Put the spinach and romaine in a large bowl, and toss to combine. Add the strawberries, snap peas, and goat cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk your lemon juice with the olive oil (using a fork) and season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad. Top with chopped pecans and bacon.

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Note: It doesn’t seem like a lot of dressing, but it goes far!

 

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lemony veggie pasta.

May 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

I love pasta dishes like this one: a light sauce of lemon juice and prepared pesto, an easy way to get your dose of broccoli (and asparagus, my favorite!), and an excuse to sprinkle on crumbled feta cheese.

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When I spotted this dish on Pinch of Yum, I knew I’d found a perfect “reset” dish for the week.  I made this on a Sunday evening, and it gave me & Ty enough for four dinners.  It reheats perfectly.

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I’ve been in need of a reset, in a lot of ways.  Sometimes stress and anxiety gets the better of me.  I often find myself so consumed with worry – of the littlest things to the largest of things, for my family and others in my life who are hurting  — that the days pass and I haven’t allowed myself to just breathe, relax, savor life in the moment.  Worry is my enemy, my biggest struggle.  Sometimes posting in this little blog seems silly.  But the truth is, looking at recipes, making grocery lists, taking dozens of photos:  That’s my therapy.

So let’s reset together.  Happy May!

Lemony Veggie Pasta

Recipe from Lindsay at Pinch of Yum, which some adaptations

What you need:

  • 1 box of your favorite penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup pesto (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 can, whole peeled tomatoes (like Contadina)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup feta
  • 1 bag of broccoli florets (or break down a large head of broccoli)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, stems trimmed

What to do:

Cook your pasta in a large pot according to the directions.  When the pasta has 2 minutes left to boil, add your broccoli and asparagus.  After 2 minutes, drain the pasta, broccoli, and asparagus, and return to the pot.  Keep the pot over medium high heat.

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Add the can of tomatoes and the garlic.  Saute for several minutes, then add the pesto.  Stir well.  Add the lemon juice, and toss.  Top each serving with feta.

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So quick and easy!  So many servings!  So good!

Extreme closeup action:

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baked tomatoes.

October 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

Baked tomatoes are one of my favorite dishes, especially in the summertime when homegrown tomatoes are abundant.  Over the weekend, we pulled the last two tomatoes from our garden (tear), and I decided to bake them.  Does this pretty much mean winter is on the way?  Don’t answer that.

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What you need for each tomato:

  • 2 tablespoons of Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese
  • A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 375.

Slice the top off of each tomato.  Scoop out the tomato pulp and seeds (sometimes I use a sharp knife to remove the center).  You’re just making some room for the filling!

Mix your bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a bowl.  Add your olive oil and stir.  The mixture will still be partially dry.

Place tomatoes in a glass baking dish.  Scoop two tablespoons of the mix into each tomato.  Sprinkle on a little extra cheese.

Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.

 

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Two tomatoes on a plate, just hangin’.

Mediterranean Baked Salmon

October 1, 2013 § 2 Comments

Last week, one of my longtime favorite food bloggers, Jenna of Eat, Live, Run, posted a recipe for Mediterranean Baked Salmon.  I don’t really care for salmon, but my boyfriend is a big fan.  This recipe looked too tasty not to try.  So I did!

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piping hot, fresh from the oven.

 

What you need:

  • 3/4 pound to 1 pound Alaskan salmon (mine had skin removed)
  • 3/4 C chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 C chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • A piece of parchment paper

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 375.  Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.  Put both pieces of salmon on the paper.  Spread your pesto sauce all over the salmon.   (I used Classico traditional basil pesto–it’s my favorite!)

 

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Prep your other ingredients, if you haven’t done so already:  chop your olives, red onion, and sun dried tomatoes.

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Layer on your toppings!  You can really use as much or as little of each topping as you’d like.  I really liked the flavor that the feta cheese added to the dish.  Bake the salmon, uncovered, in the oven at 375 for 30 minutes, until fully cooked.

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This is a totally simple meal!  And pretty easy to put together.  I served this over a bed of sautéed spinach, with some brown rice on the side.

slow cooker shredded beef with french fries.

September 23, 2013 § 1 Comment

I’m pretty excited to share this recipe for my shredded beef, which is my Mom’s.  Tender, juicy beef, in a delicious broth.  Serve it up over simple oven-baked french fries and you’ve got pure bliss.  I also credit this meal with preparing me and my boyfriend for our recent half marathon — it was an ideal protein and carb load two nights before the race.

Now, I realize photos of shredded beef aren’t the most appetizing (unless you are me and get really excited about meat).  But I promise this is a no-fail recipe & you will love it.

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Shredded Beef

What you need:

  • 2 and a 1/2 pound boneless beef roast (preferably an English roast, rump roast, or eye of round roast)
  • 1 can French Onion soup (I used Progresso)
  • 2 tsp. beef bouillon granules
  • 1/2 C Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

What to do:

Using a fork, make a dozen or so tiny puncture holes on both sides of the beef roast.  This will help seal in the marinade.

Place your roast in a glass dish.

In a large bowl, blend your beef bouillon granules, Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, apple cider vinegar, and black pepper.  Pour this mixture over your beef.  Flip the roast over, and make sure both sides are coated with the marinade.  Place the roast in your slow cooker.  Then, pour the can of French Onion soup on top.

Slow cook your beef for 8 hours on low.

When the beef is done, remove the meat from the slow cooker and place in serving dish.  Pour the remaining broth out of the slow cooker into a gravy boat or bowl.

French Fries

What you need:

  • 2 pounds of Russet potatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 Ziploc freezer bag

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 375.

Peel your taters.  Rinse in cold water, then pat dry with a towel.  Using a very sharp knife, slice your potatoes into 1-inch strips.  Place the strips in the freezer bag.  Then, pour 1 tablespoon (or generous glug) of olive oil into the bag.  Drop in your minced garlic cloves.  Now, the fun part:  Seal your bag, then toss it around in your hands to coat all the potatoes with olive oil and garlic.  Pro tip:  If you do this the night before, you can keep the bag of potatoes in your fridge until you are ready to bake them.

When ready to bake your fries, first spray a baking sheet with Pam or non-stick spray.  Then, dump your bag of potato strips on the sheet.  Season liberally with pepper and sea salt.  Bake for 20 minutes, then remove sheet from oven and flip the fries with a spatula.  Bake for another 20 minutes.  If you’d like the fries to be extra crispy, broil them at a low heat for 10 minutes, or until you see the fries start to brown.

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We poured extra beef broth over the fries.  Ohsogood.

roasted sweet potato tacos.

September 19, 2013 § 1 Comment

It seemed like over the summer, i saw recipe after recipe for some variation of sweet potato tacos.  I decided to whip up some of my own, featuring roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, lime sour cream, guacamole, and feta, and was very very happy with the results.  All the ingredients come together really quickly, especially if you decide to roast your sweet potatoes ahead of time (or use leftovers).

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What you need (for approx. 8 tacos):

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 ears of corn, sliced off the cob
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • guacamole (optional)
  • feta cheese (optional)

What to do:

First, you need to roast your sweet potatoes.  Preheat your oven to 400.  While the oven is heating, peel and dice your potatoes into 1-inch cubes.  Put potatoes on a nonstick baking pan or cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, and season with cinnamon and sea salt.  Toss to coat.  Bake potatoes in the oven for 35-40 minutes.  (This can be done the day, or night, before.  Just keep the potatoes in a sealed container in your fridge.)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Drizzle with olive oil, and pour in your corn kernels.  Let the corn heat until it begins to brown.  Then toss in your black beans (which have already been rinsed and drained).   Add in 1 tablespoon of lime juice to the corn and black bean mixture.

Whip up a quick “lime sour cream” by putting 1 cup of sour cream in a small bowl and seasoning with sea salt and 1 tablespoon of lime juice.  Mix well.

When you are ready to put together your tacos, heat your corn tortillas on a grill pan until warmed.   Remove from the grill pan to a serving plate.  Place a spoonful of sweet potatoes in the center of the tortilla, followed by a spoonful of the corn and black bean mixture.  Add a dollop of the lime sour cream.  I also garnished my tacos with a spoonful of freshly made guacamole and a sprinkling of feta cheese.

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Time to take a big bite.

light & creamy potato soup.

September 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

I had been craving a potato soup, but wasn’t in the mood for anything too heavy.  I came across this recipe from Cooking Light magazine, which has a secret not-so-secret ingredient–roasted cauliflower!  This soup is really easy to put together after some quick slicing and dicing of your veggies.

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What you need:

  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 pounds Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 C low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut in florets (remove stalk)
  • 1 and 1/2 C 2% or whole milk (just don’t use skim)
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1 C sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4-5 slices of bacon (cooked till crispy then crumbled)

What to do:

First up:  You need to roast your cauliflower.

Preheat your oven to 450–you want it HOT.

Place your cauliflower florets on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then lightly salt and pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes, until the florets are browning.  Then, remove from the oven and let the tray cool on your counter.

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Step 2: While your cauliflower is roasting, cut up your bacon.  Remember, nice and crispy!

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Finally, in a large pot or a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Saute your onion, garlic, and thyme until onions begin to soften.  Then, add your potatoes, your bay leaf, and your chicken stock.  Let it come to a nice boil, then reduce the heat.  At this point, add your roasted cauliflower to the pot, and let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes.  Then, remove the pot from heat.

Now, it’s time to use my favorite appliance–the immersion blender.  Very carefully puree the soup mixture until smooth.  (If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could puree the mixture in batches in an upright blender.)

Before serving, season the soup with black pepper and 1/2 cup of sour cream.  Serve with a selection of garnishes–the bacon crumbles, chopped green onions, and sharp cheddar cheese.

This soup is an excellent make-ahead meal and keeps great in the fridge, along with the garnishes.  Perfect for busy week nights.

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Enjoy!

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