If you don’t like tined, pickled beets, don’t let this recipe put you off.  I don’t particularly care for them myself.  I believe that beets get along much better with the sweet side of things rather than the salty brine that usually accompanies them.  Fresh out of the garden (and free of brine), these bad boys get thrown in the oven (or on the grill) until tender and mixed with bright citrus and tangy feta cheese.  What more could mixed greens ask for?

5-6 beets
1 orange liqueur, peeled and cut into small segments
mixed greens
vinaigrette dressing
olive oil

In a 375F oven, roast the beets, drizzled with the olive oil for about an hour until fork tender. Let cool, peel, and cut into bit-size pieces. Mix with the orange segments, and the ratio of mixed greens and feta desired. Add a splash of your favorite vinaigrette and you have a bright and delicious salad.


The Red Pepper Sofrito turned out to be an amazing salad dressing.  With the roasted vegetables, I added sauteed shrimp to the mix to make this a more hearty meal.

6 plum tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 large zucchini, halved and sliced
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
kosher salt
ground black pepper
5 T. olive oil
4 portobello mushrooms, cut into 6 pieces each
1 T. balsamic vinegar
6 C. mixed lettuces
Sofrito vinaigrette

Heat the oven to 350F.  Place the tomatoes, zucchini, and bell pepper on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 T. of the olive oil.  Roast for about 35 min.  Add the mushrooms, the additional olive oil, and the balsamic to the rest of the veggies in the oven and bake for another 10 min.  Allow to cool slightly.

To serve, divide the lettuces among 6 plates.  Arrange the grilled vegetables over the top and drizzle with the vinaigrette.  Serve immediately.


1/2 cup of the original Sofrito recipe
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

For Mother’s Day, we had a BBQ with The Husband’s side of the family.  Carne Asada Tacos, Spanish Rice, and this salad made for an amazing pot-luck style dinner.  My soon-to-be sister-in-law made a wonderful key lime pie to top it all off.  Yum!

The salad itself was a great, easy side dish.  It was incredibly refreshing and was hearty enough to make me want to keep eating the leftovers for lunch for the next few days.   Our weather here might be keeping us on our toes, but as soon as it gets warm, this is definitely a must try.

2 ears fresh corn or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 red onion, diced
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad: Preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Peel back the corn husks. Remove the silks and replace the husks. Soak the corn in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain and place on the grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely and remove the husks. Using a sharp knife, remove the corn kernels. In a medium bowl, mix together the grilled corn, black beans, onion, garbanzo beans, bell pepper, and mango.

For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the lime zest, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, cilantro, and cumin. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well. Refrigerate for 1 hour, and toss again, before serving.

(adapted from Giada de Laurentiis)

So yes, this may not be everyone’s favorite, but I seriously LOVE this stuff.  I usually make a batch and eat the whole thing myself for lunches throughout the week at work.  It’s filling (thank you fiber), and tangy.  Think of it more like a veggie dip platter in a bowl (ooooo…now I’m thinking of all the other veggies that might like to join the party next time I make this…).

3/4 Cup Mayo (or plain yogurt)
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4-1/2 Cup Cider Vinegar (add to your desired taste)

5 Cups or 1 Head Broccoli, cleaned and chopped (raw)
1/2 Cup Honey Roasted Peanuts
1 1/2 Cup Chopped Red Onion
1/2 Cup Raisins (or Golden Raisins, or Dried Cranberries)

Mix first three ingredients into a smooth dressing with a whisk.  In a separate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients and pour dressing over.  Toss to coat and allow to rest in the fridge for about 30 min.  If you want to make this ahead of time, make sure to add the peanuts and raisins the same day you’ll be serving it or they’ll get mushy (yuck).  You can also add cooked, chopped bacon to this if you’re feeling especially indulgent.  Easy-peasy.

Lemon cucumber Salad

I was pulling a bunch of veggies out of the garden the other day and was trying to figure out what to make for lunch.  This was a great use of some of the things that I have in abundance right now.  The best part was it was really fresh, tasty, and fast!  I hope you enjoy.

Roasted Bell Peppers
Lemon Cucumbers

Vinaigrette of your choice

Chop as much as you’d like and dress right before eating.

Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes

I think this is my favorite pasta salad.  Although there was that one with the shrimp…and the one with the pesto….but this one is really great.  It’s packed with flavor and always seems to get made several times throughout the summer.  It’s from the Barefoot Contessa and can be made the night before (making putting together a meal nice and quick).  I’ve listed her recipe below.  The only things that I’ve changed are to make it all the more easy to throw together.  When I make the dressing I don’t puree it, but instead just mix up the wet ingredients and add the chunks of sun dried tomato and capers by themselves.  Also, as some of the ingredients can get a bit pricey, I usually double the amount of pasta to make it go a bit further.

1/2 pound fusilli (spirals) pasta
Kosher salt
Olive oil
1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
3/4 cup good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

For the dressing:


5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced
1 teaspoon capers, drained
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.

Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil, and toss well.

When I got home from work last night the last thing that I wanted to do was cook.  Now, as this was mainly that I wanted to be eating food right then and not making it, I was thrilled when I remembered that last night’s menu was fish and salad.  From the Barefoot Contessa’s new cookbook, this fish takes about 15 min to cook.  I was also excited to use the greens out of my vegetable garden that have been growing over the past few weeks.  Quick, easy, really tasty, and partially home grown– that’s my kind of meal.


4 (8-ounce) fish fillets such as red snapper (I used sole)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces creme fraiche
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons drained capers

“Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. (You can also use an ovenproof baking dish.) Place the fish fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Combine the creme fraiche, 2 mustards, shallots, capers, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure the fish is completely covered. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until it’s barely done. (The fish will flake easily at the thickest part when it’s done.) Be sure not to overcook it! Serve hot or at room temperature with the sauce from the pan spooned over the top.”

mustard fish2

Next Page »