Easy No-Knead Focaccia with Roasted Garlic and Dried Tomatoes

Easy No-Knead Focaccia with Roasted Garlic and Dried Tomatoes

Don’t be intimidated to make homemade focaccia! This recipe for easy no-knead focaccia with roasted garlic and tomatoes doesn’t take any special skills, just plenty of hands off time with the dough fermenting! I love it topped with homemade roasted garlic and store bought sun dried tomatoes. It gets a super crispy crust and chewy texture!

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Spaghetti with Tempeh Sausage Marinara and Artichokes

Spaghetti with Tempeh Sausage Marinara and Artichokes

This spaghetti with tempeh sausage marinara is a weeknight version of one of my favorite weekend dishes! It swaps crumbled tempeh seasoned with sage, fennel, basil and oregano for sausage to make it a vegetarian meal. Add artichokes for veggies and texture! This easy recipe takes less than 30 minutes hands on time!

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Vegetarian Polenta Lasagna with Kale, Butternut Squash & Mushrooms

Vegetarian Polenta Lasagna with Kale, Butternut Squash & Mushrooms

Inspired by my all time favorite vegetarian lasagna recipe, this weeknight friendly recipe for vegetarian polenta lasagna with kale, butternut squash and creminis is sure to become a new favorite! Use precooked lasagna rounds in place of lasagna noodles, which makes it gluten free too. Layered with caramelized fall vegetables, spicy arrabiata sauce, and lemony ricotta.

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Goat Cheese Polenta with Mushroom Chickpea Ragu

Goat Cheese Polenta with Mushroom Chickpea Ragu

Would you believe you can have this bowl of creamy goat cheese polenta with chickpea mushroom ragu on the table in less than 30 minutes! Made with instant polenta and an easy protein packed vegetarian ragu, this is some serious Italian comfort food!

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Easy Herbed Ricotta Fettuccine Recipe

Easy Herbed Ricotta Fettuccine Recipe

Is there anything more comforting than creamy pasta? Enjoy a bowl of comforting goodness in less than 15 minutes with this recipe for easy herbed ricotta fettuccine recipe, made with a simple no-cook sauce of ricotta blended with garlic, herbs and olive oil. Add your favorite seasonal vegetables to make it a meal!

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Citrus and Arugula Salad with Fennel and Marcona Almonds

Citrus and Arugula Salad with Fennel and Marcona Almonds

This citrus arugula salad with fennel and marcona almonds is a simple, seasonal salad for winter, perfect as a side dish or for topping with grilled shrimp or roasted fish as a main. It's packed with Mediterranean flavors from crunchy marcona almonds, fennel and kalamata olives. You'll love the simple sherry vinaigrette! 

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Tomato Basil Risotto with Prosciutto

Make this recipe for tomato basil risotto with prosciutto and get tips for making a creamy, dreamy Italian risotto! 

I couldn’t be more thrilled for this month’s Recipe Redux theme, recreating a favorite recipe from our travels.

When I went to Italy for the first time with my family back when I was in high school, each of us had a very specific dish that we were determined to discover the best possible version of. If we saw it on the menu, we would always get it, even if was a shared dish for the table, ordered solely for taste testing purposes. For my stepmom, it was spaghetti carbonara, lactose intolerance be damned! For my brother and dad, it was basically anything pork, including suckling pig, which was somewhat traumatic for me as I had just gotten out of my vegetarian phase. And for me, it was risotto.

The winner turned out to be a seafood risotto from Harry’s Bar in Venice. It was creamy and savory and rich and perfect. I must also give honorary mention to a squid ink risotto, also from a restaurant in Venice. It was so tasty the only thing that kept me from spending the rest of the night with a satisfied grin on my face was the fact that my mouth was turned jet black by the squid ink.

I used to make risotto pretty regularly at home until I started watching Top Chef. I feel like every time a chef makes an attempt at risotto, it turns into a miserable fail that gets them sent home! And if the nations top chefs can’t make a decent risotto, I know I sure as heck am failing at it.

So while this risotto may not please the judges on Top Chef, I personally was quite happy with how it turned out. To flavor the dish, I used prosciutto and halved heirloom cherry tomatoes briefly sautéed with fresh basil leaves and extra virgin olive oil. Here’s a few notes on how to make a maybe not Top Chef worthy, but totally passable and tasty risotto:

  • Use Arborio rice or some other type of short grain white rice, which is starchier and creates a creamier risotto. You may be tempted to swap in brown rice or another whole grain, like farro or barley. With the delicate flavors like tomato and basil, I think a whole grain would be overpowering, but for more “fall” or “winter” flavor risottos, brown rice is really tasty! Think chicken and wild mushroom risotto with peas. You’ll just want to double or triple the cooking time and have more stock on hand.
  • Use warm stock. If you add cold stock to the dish, it will cool everything down and slow the cooking process.
  • Don’t over, or under-stir your risotto. Stirring the risotto is necessary – the rice grains rub against each other which creates more starch and a creamy consistency. It also evenly distributes the liquid and prevents the bottom from burning. But there’s no need to stir constantly. You’ll be left with sore biceps and a gluey risotto. I give it a good stir when I add broth, let it simmer for a bit, and then give it another good stir before adding in more broth.
  • Add the vegetables after cooking the risotto. Other than the garlic and onions that flavor the dish, you’ll want to cook your vegetables in a separate pan and stir them into the fully cooked risotto, otherwise the veggies will get mushy and disintegrate.

Tomato Basil Risotto with Prosciutto

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, sliced
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup lightly packed basil leaves plus extra for serving
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat broth to a simmer in a pot on medium heat. Let it continue to simmer, turning down the heat if it starts to boil.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, pot on medium heat. Add prosciutto and cook until crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in rice and cook until rice smells slightly nutty, about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in white wine and stir until wine is mostly evaporated. Pour a ladle of hot broth into the rice, stir for a few seconds and let simmer until broth is mostly absorbed. When the risotto starts to look dry, repeat with more broth. Continue with remaining broth until risotto is creamy and tender with a bite (al dente).
  4. As the risotto is cooking, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add tomatoes and basil with a pinch of salt. Cook until tomatoes are tender, but not falling apart, about 5 minutes.
  5. When risotto is creamy and done, stir in tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve garnished with more parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Summer Spaghetti with Zoodles, Crispy Prosciutto and Garlic

Make the most of summer's bounty with this recipe for summer spaghetti, tossed with sauteed zoodles, burst cherry tomatoes, golden garlic and crispy prosciutto! 

Time for another round of Recipe Redux! This month's theme is Get Your Fruits and Veggies in Shape, all about trying creative cuts for fruits and veggies. I obviously went with zoodles, which I've been making on the reg since I was gifted a spiralizer for Christmas. In this recipe, I've tossed with whole grain spaghetti with briefly sauteed zoodles in a summery cherry tomato basil sauce infused with tons of garlic and crispy prosciutto.

Oh, and there's cheese. I love you too.

Veggies pretending to be other things has gotten quite popular lately. Certainly, I've been on board with the trend. It's a fun way to fit in more produce and experiment with different flavors and textures.

Buuuuut...I feel the need to clarify something.

Cauliflower is not rice. Zucchini is not pasta. Lettuce is not bread. Vegetables are not a substitute for carbohydrates.

Don't get me wrong. Zoodles are fun and I swear zucchini tastes better in noodle vs semi-circle form. And I adore cauliflower rice. Actually, I think I like it better than real rice...probably because I'm pretty miserable at cooking rice so that it's nice and fluffy.

But there's also a sinister side to the whole vegetables as other things trend. Rather than being a fun way to experiment with different ways of enjoying veggies, it's become a trendy and socially acceptable way to go low carb. Gone are the Atkins days of a giant hunk of meat and steamed veggies. Now you can have mashed "potatoes," "pizza," "pasta," and (gasp!), even "bread!"

Except it's not.

Zoodles are not pasta. There is an entire country that might kick your a** for claiming it to be so. Zoodles are really yummy briefly sauteed and tossed with actual pasta to add bulk and texture, like I did in this summer spaghetti recipe. They're also tasty in "noodle" soups, where they don't get gummy like pasta sometimes does. Zoodles left raw and topped with pasta sauce are awful. Just don't.

Cauliflower is not pizza. Cauliflower crust is really tasty, but nothing will compare to a thin, crispy pizza with a chewy crust and little spots of char from it's trip into a burning hot woodfire oven. But, it's still really really good, if not pizza, so feel free to try my Mexican inspired one, which still has carbs from a "sauce" of refried beans.

Cauliflower is also not rice. It's better than rice. Yeah, I said it. But you still need carbs with your meal, so top that cauliflower rice with beans or at the very least, have some fruit on the side.

Lettuce is not sandwich bread and it's most certainly not crispy crusted French baguette, savory garlic studded ciabatta or sweet and buttery Sally Lunn bread. It does make for a refreshing wrap for rich, Asian inspired fillings, like warm, soy marinated chicken and veggies or my bulgogi tofu meatballs, as long as you include some brown rice or rice noodles for carbs (and to soak up the delicious sauce).

If you want pizza, eat pizza. If you want bread, eat bread. If you want pasta, eat pasta.

And if you like, throw some zoodles into it.

Summer Spaghetti with Zoodles, Crispy Prosciutto and Garlic

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces whole grain spagehtti
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes (I used mini heirloom tomatoes), halved
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 8 oz mini fresh mozzarella balls, drained

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, cook until al dente. Reserve a little of the starchy pasta water (~ 1/2 cup) then drain and set pasta aside until ready to use.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add garlic, proscuitto and red pepper flakes. Cook until prosciutto is crispy and garlic is golden, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add zucchini and saute until crisp tender about 5-7 minutes. Add tomatoes and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Toss in pasta with the veggies and add a little starchy pasta water to make a sauce. Stir in basil. Season with just a little salt and black pepper. Toss in mozzarella and serve immediately.

Penne with Spinach, White Beans and Garlic Oil

Penne with Spinach, White Beans and Garlic Oil

Make this penne with spinach, white beans and garlic oil! It's made by tossing whole grain penne with white beans, spinach and the most delicious garlic oil that's made with anchovies as a secret ingredient, which packs a ton of flavor and a boost of omega 3 fats! Packed with fiber and protein so it's super filling! 

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Spaghetti with Spicy Meatballs

My trick for making the worlds best meatballs? A (no longer) secret blend of spices makes this recipe for spaghetti with spicy meatballs so delicious! 

Spaghetti and Spicy Meatballs

Fun fact - despite cooking almost exclusively vegetarian at home, I make the worlds best spaghetti and meatballs. True story. There was an awards ceremony and everything. I even have a trophy sitting on my mantle.

I kid, I kid. But seriously, I make pretty tasty spaghetti and meatballs. With other classic dishes I prepare again and again, I usually try a new recipe each time. But once I struck upon this recipe for spicy meatballs, I never looked back. Other than a few dalliances with vegetarian 'meatballs', I'll never stray from this recipe.

Spagetti and Spicy Meatballs

The secret is the spice mix - allspice, chile powder and a little cayenne for heat. It's pretty much perfect! It's recommended to do a blend of meats for meatballs, usually beef, pork and veal, but I usually just stick with beef or turkey for the ease of it.

If you feel like sending me flowers after tasting these meatballs, please email me for my address. Also, I like hydrangeas.

Spaghetti with Spicy Meatballs

Serves 4

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground beef, preferably grassfed (look for 85-15)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole grain panko
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Spaghetti: 

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
  • 28 ounce can pureed tomatoes
  • 8 ounces whole grain spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. Add panko and milk to a large bowl and mix together. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. To the breadcrumb mixture, add the ground beef, onion, garlic, egg, spices, salt and pepper. Using clean hands, mix to combine until well distributed. Form into 16-18 balls slightly smaller than a golfball and place on a plate. Refrigerate about 1 hour until ready to cook.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high. Add meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove meatballs to a plate and set aside until ready to use.
  4. Next, make the spaghetti. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
  5. Heat olive oil in a medium pot on medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and red pepper and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper and ay leaf and cook an additional 1minute or two. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Add meatballs to the sauce when simmering, cover and let cook about 10 minutes until flavors have melded and meatballs are cooked through.
  6. Divide spaghetti between bowls, top with 4 meatballs each and sauce. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese.

Prefer meatless? Here's three veggie meatballs for you to try! 

Zucchini Chickpea Balls with Chopped Greek Salad
Zucchini Chickpea Balls with Chopped Greek Salad
Lentil Meatballs with Lemony Pesto
Lentil Meatballs with Lemony Pesto
Bulgogi Tofu Mealball Lettuce Wraps
Bulgogi Tofu Mealball Lettuce Wraps

Gazpacho Pasta Salad

This whole grain gazpacho pasta salad is packed with cucumbers, tomatoes and is the perfect make ahead lunch for back to school time. 

I was asked to participate in the #PastaFits campaign as part of my work with Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I was compensated for my time. Thanks for supporting the brands that help make Avocado A Day Nutrition possible! 

Hey guys! Excited to bring you the first of a 3-post collaboration with Pasta Fits! If you glance at my archives (or in my cabinet for that matter), you'd quickly see that I'm a big fan of pasta. Like, huge.

The theme for the first month of #PastaFits is back to school. Whether you have kids or not, September seems to be that time of the year when many start to settle down from a summer full of indulgence with healthier goals in mind. Of course, the holidays are right around the corner, making this month critical for establishing and solidifying healthier habits to take you through the smorgasbord coming straight at ya in November.

A great goal to start with is planning and preparing a healthy lunch on the weekend. Spend just 30 minutes prepping a big batch of whole grain based salad and you've got a third of your meals covered. BAM.

If you're looking for a family friendly salad to last all week, look no further than pasta salad. I mean, who doesn't like pasta? No really, who? I'm curious to know if there is one single person. My hypothesis is that every single human being who has ever experienced pasta loves it, but I could be wrong. Probably not though.

Sadly, there's a much larger number of people who absolutely love pasta who don't eat it because they think it's unhealthy. Ain't that a shame. First of all, there's always room for foods that bring you joy. But also, pasta is perfectly nutritious. My top choice is 100% whole grain, which is made with all whole grain flour. Whole grains are great for all sorts of things - cholesterol, weight management, keeping you full, and keeping your blood sugar steady.

Guess what else is good for blood sugar control? Pasta salad! Really! Studies have shown that cooking and cooling pasta helps lower the glycemic index even further. Once the starches in pasta are cooled, they turn into something called resistant starch. Similar to fiber, resistant starch doesn't break down into glucose, or sugar. This also means you absorb less calories and it feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut.

Another thing to love about pasta salad: it's an easy way to use up leftovers. As I learned this weekend hanging out with mostly parents, not wasting leftovers is a constant battle parents go through. Simply add leftover vegetables or proteins to this salad which bulks it up throughout the week. Garbanzo beans, other cheeses, broccoli, carrots, peppers, and zucchini would all be tasty tossed in here.

Gazpacho Pasta Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces 100% whole grain penne
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • pine of red chili flakes
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and diced small
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped small
  • 1/4 cup black olives, chopped
  • 1 8 ounce ball of mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. While pasta is cooking, add canned tomatoes, basil, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, chili flakes and sugar to a food processor. Blend until pureed. Season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Place diced vegetables, olives and cheese in a large bowl. Add dressing. When cooled a bit, add pasta and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Will last 5 days in the fridge.

More delicious pasta dinners that show how #PastaFits:

Spaghetti with Tempeh Sausage Marinara and Artichokes
Spaghetti with Tempeh Sausage Marinara and Artichokes
Pasta with Creamy Sage Pumpkin Sauce, Cremini Mushrooms and Peas
Pasta with Creamy Sage Pumpkin Sauce, Cremini Mushrooms and Peas
Spaghetti with Clam and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Braised Kale
Spaghetti with Clam and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Braised Kale

Spaghetti with Roasted Red Pepper and Clam Sauce and Braised Kale

Upgrade classic spaghetti in clam sauce with this veggie packed version with braised kale and roasted red pepper sauce. 

Making the decision to follow a plant-based diet opens you up to a ton of questions about your eating habits and nutrition. The most common question, as I’m sure any vegan or vegetarian can attest: how do you get enough protein? Considering the amount of protein in many plant based foods and the fact that the average meat-eating American is eating double the amount of protein they need, it’s kind of a moot point (or moo point, as I like to call it). Vegetarians and vegans are easily able to get enough protein without any more meal planning than the average meat-eater.

In general, moving towards a vegan or vegetarian pattern of eating naturally moves you towards a healthier, more plant focused pattern of eating. By eating more plants, aka natures multivitamin, you eat more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

There is one nutrient of concern however, and that’s B12. B12 is produced by certain strains of bacteria. No plant, animal or fungi are capable of producing it. It can only be obtained in animal foods and a few fermented foods. While vegetarians are able to get B12 from dairy and eggs, vegans are at especially high risk, although it should be noted, B12 deficiency is common in meat eaters and vegans alike. You can take a supplement, but there's controversy over the effectiveness of b12 supplements versus what's found in food.

So, that leads us to question #1. What does this have to do with Good Mood Food? B12 is one of the most important nutrients for brain health and the nervous system. Deficiency has been linked to cognitive decline, depression, fatigue and anxiety.

Now, my smart readers may be wondering what all this talk of vegan/vegetarian nutrition has to do with a recipe for pasta in clam sauce, which is clearly neither. Clams happen to be the best food source of vitamin b12 with a 3 ounce serving providing a whopping 1,500% daily needs. Because clams and other bivalves like mussels and oysters, do not have a central nervous system, there is a growing group of ethical vegans and vegetarians that will eat them. Also, although farming seafood is generally a environmentally harmful practice, clams, mussels and oysters help filter the water and keep it clean.

That said, the decision to go vegan or vegetarian for ethical reasons is a highly personal one and I'd never tell someone where they should draw the line. But it's important to know it's an option so you can make that decision for yourself.

Also, this pasta, it's really really yummy.

Growing up, we ate pasta with a garlicky clam sauce pretty frequently. Sure, it was packed wHoith B12, but it was also packed with white flour and what I presume was an hefty dose of butter. Mmm, but it was delicious (and still is when I recreate it with whole grain pasta and olive oil > butter).

However, I am a major supporter of vegetables in pasta, so when I stumbled across this recipe for spaghetti with clam sauce and roasted red peppers and greens, I had to have it. And it was so good, I had to share it with you!

Spaghetti with Clam Sauce and Braised Kale

Serves 4

Adapted from Food & Wine.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, 4 minced, 4 smashed and peeled
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 lb canned clams, drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved
  • 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/2 lb whole grain spaghetti
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot on medium high heat. Add minced garlic and saute 30 seconds until fragrant. Add white wine, 1/2 cup liquid from clams and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add to a blender with roasted red peppers and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to directions, drain and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sided skillet on medium high heat. Add crushed garlic and crushed red pepper and saute 30 seconds until fragrant. Add kale, 1/4 cup water, season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing frequently until wilted, about 10 minutes. Add a few more tablespoons of water as needed to wilt. Add roasted red pepper sauce, clams, spaghetti, lemon zest and juice and season with salt and pepper. Cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve.

Dark Cherry and Crispy Prosciutto Salad with Balsamic

Enjoy antioxidant rich cherries in this gorgeous seasonal salad of dark cherries and crispy prosciutto with balsamic vinaigrette.

I used to think I wasn't a fruit person. After each grocery trip, I would ambitiously fill my fruit basket...and a week later I hadn't made a dent. That was until I learned the gloriousness that is seasonal produce.

Living in South Carolina, of course I have to say peaches are my favorite. But I suppose if I'm being completely honest, it's cherries.

Clients often ask my choice for healthiest fruit and I always reply berries. However antioxidant rich cherries should be right up there with them! To learn more about the health benefits of cherries and get the recipe for this salad, head over to the Healthy Aperture blog!

Grilled Corn, Four Ways

Grilled corn is a summer staple in our kitchen. You'll love these four variations - garlic browned butter, curry yogurt, sriracha lime and miso

Summer corn is a bit of a religion in our house. Like tomatoes, it's one of those vegetables that should really only be consumed in season. If you've tasted fresh summer corn, just picked and straight off the cob, then you understand. After corn is picked, the natural sugars start to convert to starch and the corn loses it's sweetness. My husband's long commute to work takes him past acres of cornfields and each summer, he gives me daily updates on it's progress. As soon as it's ready, we eat grilled corn at least once a week. Something about those lightly charred, sweet kernels gets me!

Have you tried Mexican street corn? It's my absolute favorite way to eat it! But slathered with cheese, mayonnaise and crema, it's not exactly the most nutritious. When I got a shipment of Amaize sweet corn, I decided to play around and come up with some healthier grilled corn toppings. Between the flavor packed garnishes and naturally sweet Amaize corn, we were in heaven! My South Carolina friends can find Amaize corn at Food Lion through August. (Disclosure: This post was not compensated. I received samples of Amaize sweet corn, loved it and wanted to share with you fabulous readers!).

Sriracha-Lime Grilled Corn

Ingredients

  • 4 ears corn, husked
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • Lime, for serving
  • Sliced green onion, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill on medium-high. Place the corn directly on the grill and grill about 10 minutes total until charred on all sides.
  2. While corn is grilling, mix yogurt and sriracha. Slater over corn. Garnish with lime and green onion.

Miso Butter Grilled Corn

Ingredients

  • 4 ears corn, husked
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill on medium-high. Place the corn directly on the grill and grill about 10 minutes total until charred on all sides.
  2. While corn is grilling, warm butter, sesame oil and miso in a small skillet. Whisk together until combined. Serve corn drizzled with warm butter and garnished with sesame seeds.

Curry Yogurt Grilled Corn

Ingredients

  • 4 ears corn, husked
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • Cilantro, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill on medium-high. Place the corn directly on the grill and grill about 10 minutes total until charred on all sides.
  2. While corn is grilling, whisk together yogurt and curry. When corn is done, slather with curry yogurt and garnish with cilantro.

Garlic Browned Butter Grilled Corn

Ingredients

  • 4 ears corn, husked
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, preferably grassfed
  • Basil, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill on medium-high. Place the corn directly on the grill and grill about 10 minutes total until charred on all sides.
  2. While corn is grilling, warm butter and garlic together in a skillet on medium heat. When butter starts to smell nutty and garlicky, turn off heat and remove skillet from stove. Serve corn with garlic butter and sliced fresh basil.

Green Panzanzella

Try this hearty summer salad, green panzanella with cucumber, zucchini, feta and basil. 

Have you ever caught yourself eating a nice, light vegetable salad and thought to yourself, "Tasty, but you know would make this salad better? Big 'ole hunks of toasty, crusty, olive oily bread!"

If so, I think you'll like panzanella. Also, you're my kind of person.

Panzanella is a Tuscan salad, traditionally made with stale bread, tomatoes, onions, and lots of oil and vinegar dressing. It's the second most delicious thing you can make with fresh, heirloom tomatoes (the first most delicious is my chopped Caprese salad).

But as you can tell from the photos, there are no tomatoes in this panzanella. Our tomatoes are still green on the vine (who else started singing Strawberry Wine?), we've got a refrigerator full of zucchini and probably will for the next four months. That is, unless someone (ahem, Scott) forgets to weed the garden yet again.

So, as you can tell from my most recent postings, we've been eating a lotta zucchini around here. When you eat a lot of the same thing, it's easy to get bored. Keep things interesting by changing how you chop them. Instead of cutting cauliflower into florets, try cutting it into steaks. Rather than slicing cucumbers and peppers into slices for your salad, cut them into teeny tiny cubes, Israeli salad style. And for zucchini, try shredding, noodling or as in this salad, slicing paper thin with a mandolin. It completely changes the flavors and textures.

On a related note, have you seen the new vegetable butcher column on The Kitchn? I have learned SO much from it.

Anyway, back to this salad. Being a bread salad and all, as you can imagine it's an important ingredient. No, sandwich bread won't work here. Just don't. You'll definitely want to splurge on a nice, whole grain loaf with a good crust and chew. If you don't have a local bakery, I am a huge fan of Trader Joes whole wheat pane. If you're getting bread from the bakery, check the ingredients list. Most grocery store "multigrain" loaves are just white bread with a sprinkle of seeds and grains on the crust.

Green Panzanella

Serves 4-5

To help stale your bread, cut it into cubes and leave it out overnight. If making in advance, store bread and dressing separate from the salad and mix before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb day old crusty whole grain bread, cut into bite sized cubes
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 small Persian cucumbers
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray bread with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Toast for 10 minutes until lightly toasted and warm. Set aside to cool.
  3. While bread is toasting, using a mandoline, slice zucchini, cucumbers and red onion into paper thin rounds. Combine in a large bowl with cannelini beans and basil. Mix in the bread cubes.
  4. Mix olive oil and vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and toss to combine. Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving and up to an hour. Toss in feta right before serving.

Spaghetti with Jalapeno and Serrano Pesto

Jalapeno and serrano pesto is a spicy take on traditional pesto! Perfect for tossing with spaghetti, or save the leftovers as a sandwich spread or to drizzle over eggs. 

Spicy jalapeno and serrano pesto pasta has a kick!

We're back from Yellowstone! I'm not sure why that statement necessitated an exclamation mark, because it was one of the hardest vacations to return to the real world from. Even though we spent 12 hours (!!) exploring the park each day, I wish we had another week to see more of the backcountry.  It was one of the most incredible places I've ever visited.

So, today's recipe, which is not at all Yellowstone related.

When scanning a menu, there are a few ingredients where if I see them listed in a dish, there's no way I can resist. One is avocado (duh), another is sun-dried tomato (mmm), and of course cheese has to make the list (specifically brie, Roquefort, or feta - gah, I love cheese!). And last but not least, pesto. 

Pesto is a perfect blend of the most flavorful ingredients - fresh herbs, toasted nuts, parmesan cheese, extra-virgin olive oil and garlic. There's no way it won't turn out delicious!

I've made my own pesto since college, and in the last 5 (or is it 6?) years, I think I've tried every possible combination. Many times I'll simply throw together leftover herbs with a handful of whatever nuts I have on hand, oil, and garlic. 

Spicy jalapeno and serrano pesto! Perfect with pasta or dolloped over tacos!

I thought I had tried all the pesto the world had to offer. Then I saw this recipe from Mario Batalli. Toss with whole grain pasta and top with crispy breadcrumbs for this dish, then use leftovers to dress tacos, dollop over eggs, or in a sandwich to add kick. This recipe calls for a ridiculous amount of chilies. Don’t be afraid. The seeds contain most of the heat, so it’s not as spicy as you might expect.


Fettuccine with Jalapeno and Serrano Pesto

Adapted from Mario Batali Simple Family Meals.

Ingredients

  • 6 fresh jalapeno peppers, cored and seeded
  • 5 fresh serrano chiles, cored and seeded
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup blanched, sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb 100% whole grain fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, toasted

Instructions

  1. Place the jalapenos, serranos, red onion, almonds and 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil in the food processor. Process to a smooth puree then season with salt to taste.
  2. Cook the pasta in salted water according to package instructions until al dente and drain, reserving 1/2 cup starchy cooking water.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Add pesto and stir to combine with the garlic. Reduce heat to medium and simmer.
  4. Return drained pasta to the pot. Add 1 1/2 cups pesto and starchy cooking water and toss to combine. Pour into a serving dish and garnish with panko.

Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Roulades

Bored of the usual bland chicken breast for dinner? Try my elegant and easy pesto and sun-dried tomato chicken roulades, made with only four ingredients! 

What's a more ubiquitous healthy weeknight dinner than chicken? It's simple to prepare, lean, and family friendly. Too bad it's usually bland and totally boring.

When I ask new patients about prior attempts at changing their eating habits, they often reply that they tried to eat healthy, but found it boring. When I dig deeper, it's because they went on what I unaffectionately call the "Baked Chicken Diet." Basically they can't think of anything healthy to make, so they default to baked chicken and vegetables, night after night.

Hopefully through reading this blog you've already seen that eating healthy is more than baked chicken and steamed vegetables. But that doesn't mean you have to ditch the chicken. It's super versatile as a protein, taking on many different flavors and cooking methods. There's a reason you get 190,000,000 results when you google "chicken recipes."

Break out of the baked chicken rut and try my tips for making a chicken recipe you'll actually get excited about:

  • Keep the skin on.  We all know it's the best part, but did you know it only contributes a measly gram of saturated fat to each serving? If you've been passing over the much more juicy and flavorful dark meat in favor of lean and virtuous white meat, you'll be pleased to know this chicken thigh only contains an additional 1.5 grams saturated fat compared to an equal sized serving of chicken breast.
  • Try big, spicy flavors with your chicken, like harissa marinated chicken or jerk chicken.
  • I prefer chicken thighs, but if I'm going to use chicken breast, I often stew it, which keeps it from drying out. For a weeknight braise, make sure the sauce has plenty of flavorful ingredients, since it won't be cooking quite as long.
  • On Sunday, roast a whole chicken and use the leftovers for dishes like tacos, chicken salad or to stuff baked potatoes.  And don't forget to save the bones to make chicken soup!
  • Ground chicken breast can be terribly dry, but there is a simple (and healthy!) remedy. Mix in diced or shredded vegetables, such as onion, zucchini and carrot, which release moisture as they cook.
  • If preparing a simple chicken dish, spend a few minutes whipping up a standout sauce. Chimichurri, Asian dipping sauce, and tzatziki all come together in minutes.
  • Invest in a few interesting, high quality spice mixes or try making your own blends.

The chicken recipe I'm sharing today looks incredibly fancy, but it takes no time at all, and only four ingredients. It's actually one of the first chicken recipes I remember preparing in college, so you know it's simple! I've switched up this recipe in so many ways, swapping out the filling for whatever combination of ingredients I have on hand. I've done a version stuffed with dried figs and blue cheese and another with proscuitto and goat cheese - yum! This recipe hasn't failed me yet!

Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Roulades

Serves 4

In keeping with the theme of simplicity, I served this with spinach sauteed with garlic and onions and 100% whole grain orzo tossed with fresh herbs and parmesan.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken thighs, boneless and skinless.
  • Pesto
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & freshly cracked black pepper
  • Your choice of seasoning (I used lemon pepper)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. If the chicken thighs are thick, place them in a large ziptop back and pound lightly with a meat mallet to about 1/4 inch thickness. Lay flat on a cutting board, Add a thin layer of pesto over the meat, about 1/2 tablespoon each and top with a few sun-dried tomatoes. Wrap each piece of chicken up, as if you were wrapping sushi. Place, seam-side down in a baking dish, holding together with a toothpick if needed. Brush each chicken thigh lightly with olive oil. Season the outside with salt, pepper and seasoning.
  3. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20-25 minutes until browned and cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Slice each chicken thigh into 1-inch rounds and serve.

Black Pepper and Lemon Sauteed Vegetables with Farro

Black Pepper and Lemon Sauteed Vegetables with Farro

This black pepper and lemon sauteed vegetables with farro was a perfect, easy to prepare dinner after a long day! Gotta love anything this simple that's still packed with flavor! Just saute peppers, onions and mushrooms with lemon juice and pepper and serve over farro. You could serve it over any whole grain you like - quinoa, wheat berries, or whole grain couscous would soak up the sauce equally well.

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