Kale and Berries Salad

An Instagram follower (you know who you are;) asked me to post this recipe, so here it is! It’s the perfect homage to summer!! Enjoy!

Ingredients: Feeds 2 – 4

  • 4 cups torn kale, ribs removed (I use organic red leaf)
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced or chopped almonds

Directions:

  1. In a large serving bowl, mix torn kale with lemon juice and salt. Massage kale with your hands to tenderize it.
  2. Drizzle massaged kale with olive oil and season with fresh cracked pepper.
  3. Toss kale with strawberries, blueberries, and pomegranate seeds.
  4. Top with goat cheese crumbles and almonds.

Suggestions:

Add protein to this salad to make it a complete meal! I’ve used grilled teriyaki pork loin but I think blackened chicken, salmon or even shrimp would pair nicely!

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Mediterranean Farro Salad

I love this salad! Mostly because it’s so versatile (see substitutions) but also because it’s a delicious crowd pleaser and can be made ahead. It’s the perfect side dish or can serve as a main if you add protein. So get to it and come up with your own flavor combo and let me know how it goes by posting your comments below! Cheers!!

Ingredients: Feeds 6-8

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked farro, rinsed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup packed flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup packed mint leaves, chopped
  • 4 oz haloumi cheese, cubed
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 pomegranate, seeded
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups baby arugula

Directions:

  1. Cook farro according to package directions and let cool. Toast pine nuts and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine grape tomatoes, parsley and mint. Add haloumi, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds and mix gently to incorporate.IMG_2983
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest and salt and pepper.
  4. Combine farro and tomato mixture with 2/3 of the dressing, tossing gently to coat.
  5. Pour the remaining dressing into the bottom of a large shallow serving bowl. Top with arugula.
  6. Layer the farro salad on top of the arugula.
  7. Chill* and toss before serving.

*Salad can chill overnight.

Substitutions:

The best part about this salad is making it your own! The original recipe was adapted from Food and Wine magazine but I change it up every time I make it!

  • barley or orzo for farro
  • walnuts or almonds for pine nuts
  • ricotta salata or feta for haloumi
  • grapes for grape tomatoes
  • blueberries/raspberries/strawberries for pomegranate seeds
  • add protein like grilled chicken, steak or fish for a complete meal

 

 

Farro Salad with Roasted Veggies and Grilled Chicken

This deliciously refreshing and filling salad is perfect for a weeknight when prep time is limited!  The veggies roast up in under 20 minutes and if you have the farro and grilled chicken on hand already, from start to finish you can be enjoying this healthy and hearty dish in 30 minutes or less! On the flip side, this is a great dish for a get together and if served family style, is sure to impress!!

Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 carrots, sliced on a bias
  • 2 shallots, quartered
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp tarragon vinegar
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • black pepper
  • 5 oz baby arugula (1 package)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked farro (approx 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 lbs grilled chicken, sliced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss asparagus, carrots and shallots in 2 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt.
  3. Roast the veggies in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet for 15-20 minutes or until they are tender.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the tarragon vinegar, parsley, lemon zest, a pinch of both black pepper and kosher salt, and remaining olive oil in a large bowl.
  5. Add arugula and cooked farro to the bowl and toss to coat.
  6. Divide the salad mixture among your plates. Top each with a serving of roasted veggies and slices of grilled chicken.
  7. Sprinkle each dish with chopped almonds and grated Parmesan.

Suggestions:

  • For a meatless meal, eliminate the grilled chicken! Farro provides ample fiber to this dish and will leave you feeling satisfied.
  • Or sub your favorite meat/protein for chicken; try grilled pork, steak or salmon filets.
  • Cook a large batch of farro ahead of time and keep it on hand for recipes like this.  It keeps well for 3-5 days in the fridge.
  • If you don’t have tarragon vinegar on hand, combine 2 tbsp white wine vinegar with 1 tbsp fresh chopped tarragon. You may wish to eliminate the parsley from the dressing and use it as a garnish if you go this route.

*Original recipe adapted from Cooking Light

 

Best Butternut Squash Soup

The added apple and cayenne pepper elevate the flavor and add a kick to this simple butternut squash soup!  It’s the perfect weeknight supper, paired with salad or sammies!  Start to finish, you can have it on the table in 40 minutes with only 10 minutes of active prep!

Ingredients: Feeds 4-6

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped (approx. 6-8 cups)
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped (I use Gala)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large dutch oven or enamel coated cast iron pot, sauté onion, celery and carrot in butter over medium heat until the onion is soft.
  2. Add the squash and apple, the cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne.  Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
  3. Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Simmer on low until veggies are tender.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove the soup from the heat.  Using an immersion blender, purée the soup to desired consistency.

Suggestions: 

  • Off heat, stir in sour cream to make it more creamy before you purée the soup.
  • Alternative spices include smoked paprika and/or cumin to give it a more middle eastern flair!
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche, parsley, cilantro or chives… and don’t forget the toasted pepitas!

* Adapted from Simply Recipes, Butternut Squash Apple Soup

 

Lighten Up, Chicken Salad

After watching an episode of Rachel Ray in a doctor’s waiting room, I was inspired to create my own version of her Mediterranean Chicken Salad which uses Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise as the binding ingredient.  This chicken salad is light on calories but full on flavor; a few that might even surprise you!  Lighten up and go for it!

Ingredients:

  • 1, 3-4 lb rotisserie chicken, picked and cubed
  • 1/2 cup low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup green grapes, sliced
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix using a rubber spatula.  Season with salt and pepper as desired!

Suggestions:

  • Add more yogurt if you like your chicken salad to be more moist.
  • Substitute red grapes for green grapes.
  • Try using pecans or even cashews, just remember to toast them first to release their natural oils and full flavors!
  • Spice it up a notch and add more sriracha!!

Corned Beef, Cabbage and Potato Pizza!?!

Took a chance on making this pizza for the first time on St. Patty’s Day!  Luckily, we were blown away by how tasty it was!  Almost everyone in attendance ranked it as their “favorite” food of the party!  It may sound like a weird combo of ingredients for a pizza but it is oh, so good!!!

Ingredients: Makes 2, 14 in pizzas

  • olive oil
  • 3 cups sliced green cabbage
  • 1 tbsp of pickling spice
  • 1 large potato sliced thin on a mandolin
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded not grated
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 packages of pre-made pizza dough at room temperature
  • flour for dusting
  • 6 – 8 oz of deli style Corned Beef, sliced thin

Directions:

  1. In an a skillet with a lid, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Add the sliced cabbage and sauté until wilted and caramelization begins.  Add enough water to cover the cabbage.  Add the pickling spice (tied in cheesecloth) and cover the skillet, allowing cabbage to braise until tender (approximately 20 minutes).  When fully cooked, drain water, remove spice pouch and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the potato, toss with a tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 475 for 10 – 12 minutes until the slices start to turn golden brown.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the 3 cheeses, set aside.
  4. With floured hands, carefully stretch each pizza dough ball into a 12-14 in pie.  You may need to also use a rolling pin on a floured surface to achieve the desired shape.  Place each pie on a greased cookie sheet or floured pizza stone.
  5. To assemble each pizza, begin by drizzling the dough with olive oil.  Next, add a thin layer of cheese, followed by a scattered layer of corned beef.  Sprinkle some more cheese before continuing to add the cabbage and the potato slices.  Finish with one more thin layer of cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh cracked pepper.
  6. Bake at 500 degrees for 12-15 minutes or desired doneness.

*Adapted from foodnetwork.com and Penguin Pizza, Boston, MA

Fabulous French Onion Soup

I woke up this morning to snow falling yet again… and the first thing I thought of was French Onion Soup!?  This is how my foodie mind works lol; the colder the weather, the greater my cravings for comfort foods like this rich, cheesy and flavorful classic!

Ingredients: 6 bowls of soup

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 4 small sprigs of fresh thyme
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 8 cups low sodium beef stock
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 8 oz of gruyere cheese, grated

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and a dash of salt and pepper.  Cook the onions until they soften and begin to caramelize (about 20 minutes).
  2. Add the wine and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow the alcohol to cook off, leaving the onions almost dry.
  3. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs.  Reduce heat to low and dust the onions with the flour.  Cook mixture for 5 minutes or so to allow the flour to incorporate.
  4. Add the beef stock, raise the heat and allow soup to simmer for 10 minutes.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Meanwhile, slice and toast the baguette under the broiler.  Place a toasted slice in the bottom of each bowl.
  6. Ladle the soup into each bowl.  Top with an additional toasted baguette slice (or two)!  Sprinkle with a small handful of gruyere cheese. Place the bowls of soup on a baking sheet and under the broiler for a few minutes allowing the cheese to bubble and begin to brown.
  7. Serve immediately, keeping in mind the bowls will be hot (and the soup will be delicious)!

Comments:

I chose to use Spanish onions because I love their sweetness.  And.. I went with a Pinot Noir because that’s my favorite kind of red and it’s what I opened and sipped while I cooked!  Feel free to follow your own tastebuds!

*Adapted from Tyler Florence