Archive of ‘Veggies’ category

Chicken Milanese with Spicy Tomato Peach Salad

I find the best inspiration for cooking isn’t found in endless recipe searches on the Internet nor through a quick scroll through Pintrest. Going to the market and seeing what’s in season really gets my wheels turning. It’s like I’m a contestant on Chopped but without the stressful time limit. I have a few basic recipes in my head that I can alter to whatever I’m feeling for that day. I don’t need to get my Iphone greasy by trying to read a recipe as I go. This is cooking from the soul, my friends. (more…)

Chicken Milanese is an Italian classic that leaves you with a blank canvass with what to place next to it. To keep it on the lighter side, a salad seems to be the best option. I love combining sweet with savory so this Chicken Milanese with Spicy Tomato Peach Salad was a no brainer. Make sure your tomato and peach are perfectly ripe and you got yourself a show stopper. Spicy frisee pulls all of the elements together. Did I mention this is incredibly quick? Oh and butter.

Our chicken breasts are traditionally breaded and cooked in some olive oil and butter for good measure.

While our chicken cooks, our salad is combined. Capers are necessary here. Look at that cute peach peeking through. I’m soooooo glad it’s (almost) Summer!

I also pan-fried some prosciutto for one last crunch. So glad I did! A lot of people don’t enjoy prosciutto but when you fry it, its flavor changes. Check it out! I know there are a few more steps I didn’t picture but this recipe is very easy and ideal for a hectic week. Happy dinner or lunch making!

Crispy Kale Caesar

(more…)

Doesn’t food taste so much better when it’s pretty? This curly kale caesar kept making bedroom eyes at me with its adorable little curves and crannies that were just begging to be filled with a smoky, tangy caesar dressing and delicately topped with fresh parmesan curls. Placing this delicacy underneath the hot broiler was the least I could do and in return, it gave me a perfectly charred, slightly salty, cheesy appetizer with no fuss. Kale is perfect for this recipe because it holds up while being broiled. Romaine would have been nice too, but would need a different approach when preparing, such as cut into quarters instead of separating the individual leaves. I like to add a light sprinkling of smoked paprika to my dressing for an extra flavor element. We loved this “salad” as an introduction to our pizza dinner and cannot wait to give it another go! A fun little hint: instead of broiling your kale, you could also grill it after brushing it with the dressing. ‘Tis the season!

Look at those webs of cheese!

Herbed Feta Mini Peppers

The Winter time barely allows for anything fresh to pass through my pantry doors. Stuffing vine-ripened tomatoes is a dream when it’s the dead of winter and we still have a few months until those delicacies are back in season. Instead, I decided to stuff mini sweet peppers with an herbed feta mixture for a light appetizer. You only need a few to set off the hunger pains, as you wait for the main dish. Double the recipe for a party appetizer!

Fancy Sprouts

I need to get something off of my chest. I’m not a huge brussel sprout fan. Yes, I have tried cooking them smothered in bacon. Yes, I have tried braising them in a yummy mustard and white wine sauce. It doesn’t matter what yummy concoction brussel sprouts are a part of for me because I can always taste that bitter brussel sprout flavor. So I decided to amp up my sprout game, mainly because I need easy, pretty, yummy side dishes to serve in the winter time. Brussel sprouts are green so they trick me into thinking it’s Summer. Well played, brussels, well played… (more…)

At first, I wanted to call this dish Christmas Sprouts because they remind me of the perfect side dish to go with that Christmas beef tenderloin or honey-glazed ham. They also have green and red hues going on, making me feel extra Christmasy inside. Alas, I decided to keep it neutral. Not everyone is as obsessed with Christmas as me and I need to accept it’s only 11 short months away. So let me tell you about these sprouts. They are crispy, tangy, salty (in a very good way), briney, with a little bit of sweet. So much flavor going on but the sprouts aren’t being hidden, they are being elevated. Even if you aren’t a fan like me, try these! They won’t last long on your table! Onward!

We start with simple, yet stunning ingredients! Red bell pepper, minced garlic, capers, brussel sprouts, salami, and crumbled gorgonzola cheese. I think we are ready to start the easiest yet most beautiful side dish ever. Don’t you think?

Our sprouts are tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. We roast them to bring out their natural sweetness. A little sweetness never hurt nobody! I like to cut off the bottom stems altogether when I quarter them. Some leaves will fall but I like it that way!

As our brussels are cooking, we can move on to the other ingredients for a bit. We sauté the red pepper until soft then add our fragrant garlic and briney capers. You could totally pile this on a steak and call it a night but I promised you a side dish so a side dish you shall receive. Let’s keep moving!

Beautiful! These sprouts are ready to be spruced up another notch! You could collect the leaves and eat them as chips but I like the flavor and crunch they add to this dish! Rule number 1 of the kitchen: DO WHAT YOU WANT!

The salami strips are lightly fried in olive oil to make them crunchy! Also, pan frying them makes their flavor deepen past the saltiness we all know and love. These make a great snack, FYI! Set these aside to be used as the topping. Oh and don’t burn yourself!

And always serve your brussels on a pretty plate. Pretty plates make the world go round. You can quote me on that. Make these! Enjoy these! Happy sprouts making!

Late Summer Salad

I like to think that at the end of a season, a better one awaits. There shouldn’t be mourning from one season to another, for we don’t know what the new season might bring. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way but transitions can be tough. Along with a new season, uncertainty, insecurity, and fear are close behind. Luckily, for me, the only major transitions right now are the seasons changing and the company I work for is moving to a new location. Both transitions are very much welcomed but I know that’s a gift. Here’s to making the best of transitions. (more…)

Ok, enough with my philosophical rant. I guess that’s what happens when I blog right before bedtime. But seriously, I love the Autumn and all that it brings. Lately, it feels like Summer doesn’t want to let go and Autumn isn’t telling her she should. With that stubborn attitude comes confusion in the kitchen. Do I roast a chicken or make a fresh salad? Do I grill or throw together that pumpkin pasta I couldn’t resist just leaving alone on the shelf? I’m very confused but one thing I know is that it’s definitely not the time for chili just yet. This salad is for those of you, like me, who love the vibrant flavors of the Summer but long for the coziness of Fall. The fennel and apple make this salad super fresh and help balance the acidity of the vinaigrette. Plus, did I mention honeyed goat cheese? No? Honeyed goat cheese.

Here is our late harvest ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Extra virgin olive oil, red onion, apple, (I used Honeycrisp for a sweeter flavor but if tart is more your thing, Granny Smith will do just fine), fennel, lemon juice, arugula, dried cherries, shaved brussels sprouts, rosemary, Dijon, honeyed goat cheese, and apple cider vinegar.

I call this piece Controlled Chaos. We throw all of our ingredients that are not being used for the vinaigrette into a bowl. Save the goat cheese for last because it will dissolve if added in too soon. We admire this beauty and then move onto our vinaigrette.

Our vinaigrette is all sass. It’s tangy and with the rosemary, it has that subtle lemony herb flavor. We pour it over our greens and toss. Don’t add the goat cheese yet!

Sprinkle the goat cheese over individual servings or better yet, crumble the goat cheese and let your guests add it to their salad. It adds a wonderful sweetness that brings it all together. Side note: If you can’t find honeyed goat cheese, just add honey to your non-honeyed goat cheese. This isn’t a “good bye Summer” salad; it’s more of a “it’s been real Summer, now I’m going to hang with your friend Fall” kind of salad. Happy salad making!

Nectarine Avocado Fruit Salad

Isn’t it weird that this is considered a fruit salad? Avocado, tomatoes, nectarines. Not your grandmother’s ambrosia but it’s still fresh and delicious. This is to make up for the carb overload from last week. I love making a simple guacamole salad with avocado, red onion, tomato, lime juice, and sea salt. Sea salt is key when it comes to avocado and can really bring out it’s silky flavors.I decided to spruce up lime juice with adding a touch of honey and cilantro. Removing the onion and replacing it with sweetened, ripened nectarines really cuts through the fattiness of the avocado and the acidity of the tomato. Feta adds a salty finish. I ate this salad by itself for lunch but I don’t think anyone will be mad if you served this at your next cookout or party. ‘Tis the season for avocados. Don’t be afraid! (more…)

Let’s take it nice and easy. Here is our ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Cilantro, lime, nectarines, honey for my honey, feta, avocado, heirloom tomatoes.

We dice our avocado and nectarines. Throw them in a bowl with the tomatoes. I used heirloom tomatoes but any smallish tomato works! Why smallish tomatoes? Because they are adorable! We are halfway there!

In another bowl, we whisk our lime, honey, and cilantro together. If you don’t like cilantro, you could add mint or basil. Or you don’t have to add any herbs and keep it simple. I know this salad doesn’t scream simple so I thought I would look out for you. Insert winking face.

Take that sweet, citrusy dressing and pour it over the avocado salad. Add feta (if you wish) and sea salt. We must toss gently. Taste and see if you need more salt. The difference between a good dish and a great dish is the salt. That’s my 2 cents for the day.

I could have waited and put this in a nice bowl. I could have lounged on the couch as I daintily ate my fruit salad. I didn’t have patience. I took a fork and dove in. As should you! Happy salad making!

Sweet Red Pepper Coleslaw

I had some left over roasted peppers that have been staring me down every time I opened my fridge but guiltily, I closed the door. I didn’t know what to do with them and I didn’t want them to know it. Then, it hit me: when in doubt, make a sauce! If I blend the peppers, they will disappear and leave behind a nice flavor and beautiful color. I think they were happy to leave that cold fridge! Personify much? Moving on… (more…)

As you can probably tell, I like my coleslaw. There are so many variations, it literally makes me go crazy. I just think there are few things better than a hot/cold combination. Chicken, hot off the skillet, paired with a cooling, creamy slaw, like I did here. Or tangy, smokey slow-cooked barbecue topped with a sweet, crunchy coleslaw.
After making my Summer Peach Barbecue Sauce and realizing the intense smokey, slightly spicy flavor needed a sweet contrast, I turned to this guy.

Let’s check out our ingredient line up! I did my usual greek yogurt/mayo combo, which makes for a thinner dressing. If you want a thicker dressing, add more mayo than yogurt. Or go nuts and add all mayo and no yogurt. You know yourself. Do what you like! And whatever you do, don’t regret using mayo. Ever.

From Top Left to Right:Shredded green cabbage, red onion, honey, lemon, garlic, mayonnaise, greek yogurt, roasted red peppers, and white wine vinegar. And no, that’s not make believe vinegar, it’s really there!

Here comes the most exhausting part: throw everything, except for the cabbage and red onion, into the blender and… wait for it…blend! I also chose to throw some lime basil in there last minute. Look at those adorable little leaves! You could also do regular basil if you feel so inclined. Don’t forget to season! Blend first then taste to see how much you need to add.

Put your cabbage and red onion in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with the dressing. Look at that light pink color! Purdy!

Toss everything together! This is a yummy side dish to any cook out or BBQ and you don’t feel carb guilty eating it. If you make the dressing with all mayo, it can make a great sandwich spread if you have any left over! Happy slaw making!

Thai Marinated Chicken with a Mango Slaw

Something really weird has been happening to me as of late. I’m bored with everything I cook! I don’t even repeat recipes, like ever, and I still feel bored. Maybe it’s time for me to spread my little culinary wings and try something incredibly new. Whenever I feel home cook’s block, I try to look for something Asian. Asian flavors are the perfect balance of sweet and salty, savory and spicy. Plus, it makes me use ingredients I don’t normally run to day to day. I went through a stir-fry craze a few months back; eating it once to twice a week. It wore out its welcome real fast and I haven’t returned to the world of high heat skillets and soy sauce combos. (more…)

As I was menu planning for this week, I was desperately looking for some inspiration to get me out of my rut. I found this recipe and boy, did the wheels start turning. The recommended side for this dish is a mango slaw, made with fresh mangoes, red peppers, and cashews. I didn’t have fresh mangoes so I had to whip up my own mango slaw. Once I get my slippery hands on some mangoes, I might revisit that side dish. One thing to note, my husband absolutely despises eating any meat with their bones still in (now you can see how I get bored!). So instead of the chicken legs, I used chicken tenderloins and cooked them, in a skillet, over medium high heat for a few minutes. For the lovely marinade recipe, simply go here. Whichever cut of chicken you prefer, this Thai marinated chicken and mango slaw combo will brighten the darkest of bored eating days. Enjoy!

 

Here’s our ingredient line up for our mango slaw:

From Left to Right: fresh limes, thawed mango (I only had frozen for snacking, of course!), green onions, cilantro, mint, rice vinegar, mayo (just a tad), mango chutney, and crunchy broccoli slaw. Let’s take a minute and admire these outrageous colors. Thank you and continue.

Our dressing for the coleslaw comes first! In a bowl, whisk lime juice, rice vinegar, mayo, mango chutney, and a little bit of salt and pepper. We are looking for a few things here so give it a taste! This dressing can end up being pretty sweet so adjust according to your tastes. Add more of whatever you think the dressing needs. Also, if the dressing is too thick for you, add a bit more lime juice until it becomes the consistency you want. I would have a picture for you but to be honest, I couldn’t find a pretty picture of the white, clumpy (because of the yummy chutney) dressing. Moving on…

In a larger bowl, throw in your broccoli slaw, diced mango, chopped cilantro and mint, sliced green onions, and as many dashes of red pepper flake you can stand. Sweet and spicy, anyone? I should note that I am completely obsessed with broccoli slaw! But, if you want to substitute with the beloved cabbage combo, be my guest!

Pour the dressing over the bowl of slaw and mix thoroughly. Season with a pinch of salt. Although this recipe is for chicken, this slaw would go lovely with some grilled fish or pork as well.

I also ate this chicken with a sweet Thai chili sauce but totally missed the chance for a Sriracha take over. We are trying to watch our carbs so we ate this by itself. But I really wanted to eat this scrumptiousness stuffed in a warm tortilla. Could you do me a favor? Please, please, please eat this as a taco! A Thai taco! Do you really want anything else for dinner? Happy dinner making!

Balsamic Caesar Wedge Salad

Remember when eating salads meant you were on a diet? It didn’t matter what came on the salad, as long as it was a salad, you were eating healthy. I would be sitting there with my family and as they all ordered burgers and pasta, I would give a disappointed look to our waiter when he asked what I wanted to eat. “I’ll have the buffalo chicken salad with blue cheese dressing, I guess.” Wow! What a sacrifice! I was trying to lose weight and obviously choosing the calorie appropriate meal. I’ve come a long way in my salad eating repertoire and normally, I stick to the vinaigrettes. But when I’m craving something a little more decadent in a salad, I turn to this guy. I really enjoy salads in the summer: minimal cooking, crisp lettuce, a luscious dressing. This recipe is my favorite salad dressing. It’s a creamy Caesar, which I prefer over an oily one and it’s perfect for a weeknight meal or as a side dish. The iceberg wedge is drenched in tangy balsamic Caesar dressing and topped with crunchy, salty bacon. By roasting the tomatoes, their flavor is deeper and more sophisticated for a salad. Enjoy!

(more…)

Let’s check out our ingredient line up!

From Left to Right: Mayonnaise (always and forever), iceberg lettuce, greek yogurt, lemon, balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, bacon, anchovies, garlic, and tomatoes. I used heirloom but any smallish tomato works!

We begin with our tomatoes! Put them on a sheet pan and toss with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place them in the oven to roast for about 20-25 minutes. They will look like this gloriousness when they are done. Spell check didn’t like that I said gloriousness.

Next, we take our ingredients for the dressing: yogurt, mayo, balsamic, garlic (this is really garlicky so one clove might be your style), parmesan, anchovies, lemon, salt and pepper. And here comes the best part: we just throw it all into the blender! No pre-cutting or mincing! Genius! Just blend until smooth and creamy. I added some olive oil for flavor and to stretch the dressing a bit. Totally optional! Also, taste and adjust to what you like in a Caesar. Make sure you add plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

All we have left to do is assemble our salad! Put one of the wedges on a plate, drizzle with the dressing, top with crumbled bacon and roasted tomatoes. This salad is perfect along side grilled chicken or seared steak.

If you want to make this for a cookout this weekend, just put the dressing in a container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Easy peasy! I hope you guys have a great 4th of July; filled with good food, great company, and thankful reflections.