Caprese Panzanella Salad

Need a light, healthy, easy dish to bring to your next BBQ? This dish will be a hit on everyone’s palate! Buying ingredients that are already cut up, or the size you want them to be, makes this dish, and any, quicker to make. I used day old baguette slices to create my “croutons” for this salad. The best part about this recipe is that you can make as much or as little as you prefer of it, which is why the ingredients don’t have measurements.

Caprese Panzanella Salad

caprese panzanella salad

Ingredients

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mozzarella balls
  • Basil, chiffonade
  • Bread, any kind, cut in bite size pieces (It is best to use day old bread, or bread that is a little hard for this dish)
  • Italian dressing

Directions

Drain the mozzarella (if packed in water) and add them to a bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Chiffonade (or chop) the basil and add that to the bowl as well. Cut up bread into bite size pieces and add that into the bowl. Add just enough Italian Dressing to coat your salad. Toss and serve.

Advertisements

Creamy Avocado Pasta

I look forward to this dish every summer. It is my all-time favorite pasta! It combines my love for avocados and pasta into one fabulous dish. The summery freshness of this recipe gets me every time.

Creamy Avocado Pasta

creamy avocado pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • ~1/4 cup Fresh Basil
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.

3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately.

TIP: This dish does not reheat well (due to the avocado) and it may brown after a day in the fridge. However, this is a great dish to eat cold the next day.

Recipe Source: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/01/31/15-minute-creamy-avocado-pasta/

Lemon Cumin Chicken with Homemade Pesto

I love finding recipes that turn chicken into something spectacular. This dish does just that! The homemade pesto is so delicious, and what I love about pesto is you can use it on absolutely anything! I love to make pesto in abundance and use it throughout the week.

Lemon Cumin Chicken with Homemade Pesto

lemon cumin chicken with homemade pesto

Ingredients

Marinade:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Four 4- to 6-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
Pesto:
1 1/2 packed cups fresh mint leaves (about 1 large bunch)
1 packed cup baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Cook’s Note)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 a large lemon)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Vegetable oil cooking spray

Directions
For the marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper flakes until smooth. Add the chicken and toss until coated with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. (Can also be made in a resealable plastic bag.)

For the pesto: In a food processor, blend the mint, spinach, cheese, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper until chunky. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until smooth.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Spray the grill lightly with vegetable oil cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Grill the chicken until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Place on a platter and serve with the pesto.

Recipe source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/lemon-cumin-chicken-recipe.html

Whole Grain Spaghetti With Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms

This recipe takes a healthy vegetarian spin on your typical pasta dish. Adding my favorite brussels sprouts, and mushrooms create a yummy veggie meal! If you like brussels sprouts, this is just another great dish to use them in!

Whole Grain Spaghetti With Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms

whole grain spaghetti with brussels sprouts and mushrooms

Ingredients

Kosher salt
1 pound whole-grain or whole wheat spaghetti
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced (I used a food processor to chop up my brussels sprouts)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 pound mushrooms, such as cremini, button or shiitake, cleaned and chopped (I used a food processor for these also)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup creme fraiche, at room temperature (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup vegetable broth (I used chicken broth because I that is what I had on hand)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 large lemon)
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted*

Directions

*Cook’s Note: To toast the almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before using.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup cheese.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts, onions, mushrooms, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the creme fraiche, vegetable broth, lemon juice and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer and stir until the mixture forms a creamy sauce, about 2 minutes. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Pour the sauce over the pasta, add the almonds and toss until coated. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve.

Recipe source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/whole-grain-spaghetti-with-brussels-sprouts-and-mushrooms-recipe2.html

Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites

These are by far the best, yummiest, healthiest, easiest dessert/snack I have ever had! I always keep these in my freezer for a quick bite or for a guilt-free dessert. I am also a self-proclaimed chocoholic (my poison: dark chocolate). I usually don’t buy bananas because we don’t eat them often. But when we do I always end up using them in dessert!

Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites

frozen chocolate banana bites

Ingredients

2 large bananas
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (optional)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk or dark)
1-2 tbsp cup milk of choice

Directions

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper or parchment. Slice bananas into coins about 1/2 inch thick. Spread a tiny dollop of peanut butter on top of each one. In a small bowl, combine the chocolate chips and milk (­remember, less is more). Microwave in 15 second increments until you can whisk them together. You want it to be a dip-able consistency, not spreadable. Add a splash more milk if necessary. Dip the banana chunks using a fork as a little chocolate-coating forklift, dipping them into the melted chocolate. Place chocolate coated bananas on the prepared sheet and place in freezer until completely frozen (30 mins–1 hour). Remove frozen banana chunks from the sheet and store in a freezer container.

Recipe source: http://nomnomnomblog.com/2011/05/11/a-taste-of-summer-and-a-new-video/

Mediterranean Halibut Sandwich

One of my favorite home-made sandwiches so far! I made it on a weekend for lunch and it was so delish and really easy to make. It is basically an up-scale tuna salad sandwich! This recipe calls for halibut, but my local grocery store didn’t have halibut so I used Sole. I bet lump crab, or lobster would be another great substitute. It will pack great for my future summer picnics!

Mediterranean Halibut Sandwich

mediterranean halibut sandwich

Ingredients

Fish:
Cooking spray
1 (12-ounce) or 2 (6-ounce) center-cut halibut fillets, skinned (I used Sole)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Bread:
1 loaf ciabatta bread, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved (I used garlic infused olive oil instead of rubbing the garlic on after)
Filling:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon capers, drained
Zest of 1 large lemon
Juice of 1/2 of lemon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups arugula

Directions

For the fish: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a small baking sheet or glass baking dish with oil or cooking spray. Set aside.

Season the halibut on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place on the baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Bake until the fish is cooked through and the flesh flakes easily with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool completely, about 20 minutes.

For the bread: Preheat a grill pan or a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove some of the dough from the top half of the bread with a spoon. Brush the cut-sides of the bread with olive oil. Grill the bread until golden, 1 to 2 minutes, and rub the cooked surface with the cut side of the garlic if you didn’t use garlic infused olive oil.

For the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Using a fork, flake the cooked fish and add to the filling. Mix until incorporated. Place the filling on the bottom half of the bread. Top with arugula. Add the top half of the bread and cut into 4 equal-sized sandwiches.

Recipe Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/mediterranean-halibut-sandwiches-recipe.html