I recently made a special dinner for my father-in-law. Slow cooked brisket, challah with honey & a delicious compound butter, rosemary roasted potatoes, and this amazing spinach apple salad. This salad was truly the star of the show!
I love this basil pesto! It's super easy & it’s delicious on everything… steak, chicken, fish, pasta… everything. Here's how I make it.
This basil vinaigrette is delicious on everything… steak, chicken, salads, & even my favorite burrata.
Here's how I make it.
Here's a little patriotic inspired fruit salad. Super simple, and fun to eat. The kids will love it!
You can easily find star shaped cookie cutters in all sizes on Amazon or at a local craft store.
For the cheese, any firm white cheese will do: provolone, mozzarella, swiss, manchego, gouda, etc.
My favorite grapes to use with this salad are the cotton candy grapes. If you can find them, get them. They're so incredibly sweet!
Looking for nonalcoholic ways to celebrate, that are still festive & fun? I love adding fruit to my sparkling water. In our home, we call this "spa water," but it's just fruit in water. It isn't complicated, but it is beautiful, delicious, and a healthy alternative to sodas or cocktails.
As for the sparkling water, my favorites are Topo Chico and Perrier, but any will work.
Here are some fun combos that will leave you refreshed with no extra calories or fighting a hangover the next day…
Food makes me happy! But sometimes life gets busy and you need easy grab-n-go snacks that are healthy options and taste delicious. Here are my top 5 snacks from Costco.
When I'm grocery shopping I ALWAYS read the labels. Always. Just because something is marketed as "healthy" and "organic" doesn't mean it's good for you. In fact, I feel like most processed foods are big fat lies. I said what I said. Lies. Read the labels people. If there's a ton of ingredients that you can't pronounce, it's probably not that good for your body.
Now, if you're not worried about eating clean, unprocessed foods, no worries! These snacks are quick and easy for on the go snacking and taste delicious.
I watched the one and only Chef Thomas Keller make his famous Avocado Louis on Instagram, and let me tell you. When I say it looks like a piece of art, I mean, this thing looks like it belongs in the Louvre. It's gorgeous y'all! Chef Keller is simply masterful, and so inspiring to watch. Watching him create his Avocado Louis, with such care and precision inspired me to create this ribbon salad.
While my salad doesn't belong in an art gallery, it's sure to be a showstopper when you serve it to guests.
My weapon of choice to create the "ribbons" is a traditional vegetable peeler. It works best for me to get the perfect thin ribbon curl on the carrots and celery. For the cucumber and radishes, though, I prefer using the mandolin. I like them to be paper thin for this salad.
Place all of the veggies in an ice water bath before assembling the salad. This seems to help everything crisp up and assists in curling the "ribbons."
This salad is so good it deserves to be an entree. Or it's lovely with a nice steak or grilled chicken. I love it, and it couldn't be easier to prepare!
This is one of the only salads where I don't make my own dressing. Instead, I use Garlic Expressions. You can find it at Publix or online. It's delicious, and it's not full of thickeners, preservatives, or toxic chemicals found in most prepared salad dressings. It's American made, non-GMO, vegan, allergen free, gluten free.
I prefer to buy a wedge of blue cheese, and crumble it myself. It ALWAYS tastes better. When you buy pre-crumbled blue cheese it typically contains anti-caking agents... sounds delicious, huh? No thank you. I'll spend the extra 15 seconds and crumble my own cheese.
An Apple A Day
We almost always have Honeycrisp apples on hand. They're Big Strong Handsome's favorite, so that's what I buy. I think almost any sweet apple would be delicious in this salad, though. Fuji, Golden Delicious, Gala, they'd all be good.
Let's Get Nutty
Whole walnuts can be a little pricey, so you can always substitute whole walnuts with walnut pieces, or pecans. Whatever you prefer.
I made these adorable Grinch Fruit Skewers for my stepson’s elementary school Christmas celebration years ago. They were a hit with the kids and the parents loved them because it wasn’t packed with a ton of refined sugar.
WHAT YOU NEED
HOW TO DO IT
TIP: Make sure the fruit is dry before stacking it with the marshmallows.
To assemble a Grinch, place the items on the skewer in this order:
Large Marshmallow Half
Strawberry (Upside Down)
Viola! You just made yourself a Grinch. I paired these cuties with a simple baggie of rainbow colored fruit, and packaged them all in Christmas themed containers.
It doesn’t get any easier than this folks. Big Strong Handsome doesn’t typically eat white potatoes, but he’ll eat sweet potatoes and purple potatoes. So, roasted sweet potatoes is something I make almost every week.
This is a super simple way to prepare them, and they’re delicious every time.
I’ve done several different versions of this salad, and I love it every time. It’s delicious y’all.
If you like mozzarella cheese, you’ll love burrata. (I’m talking FRESH mozzarella, not the pre-shredded stuff in bag that’s coated in sawdust.) You can usually find burrata in the deli section of your grocery store, or wherever they sell the boujee cheeses. It’s basically just like fresh mozzarella, but the inside is deliciously creamy.
As a rule, I like to make my own salad dressings. I just feel better knowing exactly what’s in it. I usually just grab a mason jar, add 1 part fat (olive oil for a vinaigrette, sour cream or Greek yogurt for a creamy dressing), 1 part acid (vinegar or citrus juice), seasonings, and sometimes I add an emulsifier like Dijon mustard, or honey as a thickener. Put the lid on, shake it up, and viola. Salad dressing. Use what you need, then put the lid on and in the fridge it goes. Now you have homemade salad dressing in your fridge. Look at you!
If I’m getting hangry and don’t have a jar of my homemade dressing ready, I reach for Garlic Expressions vinaigrette. It’s non-GMO, allergen-free, gluten free, and only has a few ingredients. I use this as a salad dressing and a marinade for meat and veggies. It’s really good.
Note: Go light on the dressing for this salad. The burrata is so creamy it acts like a dressing itself. If you add too much dressing to the greens, you’ll just end up with a soggy mess.
Prosciutto is a wonderful addition to this salad. You can take it right out of the package, tear it into smaller pieces and add it to the salad, oooor you can be fancy and crisp it up in a pan. Heat a nonstick pan to medium heat, add the prosciutto and cook for 1-2 minutes per side. Then, drain it on a paper towel. After it cools down slightly, you can break it into smaller pieces and sprinkle them on your salad. Crispy prosciutto is like thin little heavenly pieces of bacon that melt in your mouth.
I’m telling you… you’re gonna love this salad.
These smoothie bowls are delicious, healthy, and have been the secret to beating my sweet tooth lately. We make them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and sometimes we make small ones for an after dinner snack.
I love fruit, so I top my blueberry smoothie bowls with lots of different fruits. Granola and dried coconut give it great texture, and a fun crunch. Big Strong Handsome is pretty picky when it comes to fruits and veggies, so I typically just put granola, dried coconut, or an apple on top of his.
TIP: If you’re worried it won’t be sweet enough for you, you can always add in some honey.
These are so good y’all. You’ve got to try it.
This is a super simple recipe, and one of my favorite ways to use leftover crab meat. When we have crab legs for dinner, we inevitably have a little bit of crab leftover. I crack open the leftover shells, clean all of the meat and store it in the fridge overnight. The next day… summer rolls baby!
Warning: This dipping sauce is addictive. You may want to make extra and store it in your fridge because it’s delicious on leftover chicken, shrimp, and veggies. It’s better than anything you’ll pour out of a jar. Promise.
If you want to make these even easier, pick up some prepared crab meat from the seafood section, and precut veggies from the produce section. Done and done.
These summer rolls not only look beautiful, they taste delicious, and they’re guilt free. For a vegan option, just leave out the crab meat.
This is a SUPER fast dinner, so here’s how I do it:
1 Set the table, because, duh… family dinners are the best. Get everything set so you’re ready to sit down and eat as soon as the scallops are finished cooking.
2 Make the salad. Mix everything in a big bowl. Then, spread it out on a big platter. Now, add your lemon wedges.
3 When your salad is plated and ready, start preparing the scallops. Remove the side muscle, pat them dry (like, really dry) with paper towels, line them up on a cutting board, and season them.
4 Now heat your pan. When it’s screamin’ hot, add the oil, then the scallops.
*It’s important that you let your pan get hot before adding the oil and begin cooking. You need the pan to be hot so it will sear the top of the scallop to a beautiful crispy golden brown. If your pan isn’t hot enough you’ll end up with a beige scallop, or you’ll leave it in the pan longer trying to get it brown and end up over cooking it. And let’s face it, an over cooked scallop is like chewing on an eraser. Yuck.
5 Cook, baby! Cook! This part goes fast. I typically make so many scallops for my crew that by the time I finish flipping them over, it’s time to take them out of the pan. So, if you’re doubling or tripling this recipe, move fast.
When the scallops are finished cooking, take them out of the pan and place them directly on top of your salad. Then walk that gorgeous platter of deliciousness over to the table and wait for the applause. (And the crowd goes wild!)
Now pat yourself on the back. You just made your family an AH-MAY-ZING dinner!
What in the world is a trough salad? I learned from the queen of trough salads herself, the fabulous Miss Katie Lee. A trough salad is basically a big ginormous salad that you eat right out of the big salad bowl. I’m not talking about a large bowl, I’m talking the big huge mixing bowl that you would typically serve everyone out of. Pile that sucker up with spinach, mixed greens, and a ton of fruits and veggies and viola. You just made yourself a trough salad. Now dig in, enjoy the deliciousness and feel guilt free.
PRO TIP: If your family isn’t laughing at you for the size of your bowl, you’re doing it wrong.
Here are a few of my trough salads:
*When I say 2 cups of greens, what I mean is, I reach in and grab 2 handfulls of greens. I’m not using measuring cups here.
My stepson requested poke bowls, so I created this recipe for a fun family dinner. A traditional poke bowl has diced raw fish, but we chose seared ahi tuna coated in everything bagel seasoning. This added a ton of flavor.
I like to take the tuna out of the fridge before I do anything else, just to knock the chill off of the meat. This allows for a more even cook on the tuna.
We chose some of our favorite toppings for our poke bowls, but you can use any toppings you like.
If slicing and dicing isn’t your thing, get some help from the grocery store and buy precut fruit and veggies. You can probably find a premade dressing for the rice noodles for an additional shortcut, but you’ll be missing out because this dressing is delicious.
I’ve made this salad several different ways, but this one is my favorite. The only thing I left out of the recipe that I always add, is cheese. Goat cheese is my favorite, but I’ve also used feta and cotija. Without the cheese, this salad is incredibly good for you and packed with nutrition. It checks all the boxes: vegetarian, vegan, paleo, keto, sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, blah, blah, blah. So if you’re trying to eat clean, this one’s for you.
I made this chocolate banana bread during COVID-19 quarantine, because apparently that’s what we were suppose to do during quarantine. Make bread.
My Big Strong Handsome is gluten free, so I have to get creative when I’m in the kitchen. This recipe was a big hit! He and my stepson devoured it in one night!
These taco bowls are guilt free comfort food! Well, that is if you don’t cover it in cheese and sour cream, which I’ve been known to do. Whoops!
This recipe, and most recipes, really, are all about “mise en place,” meaning everything in its place. This is a fancy way of saying get everything prepped and ready, then cook. It will make your life so much easier and you just might enjoy it. Pour yourself a glass of wine, put on some music, and get to chopping. It may even be a little therapeutic.
You can use almost any veggies in this dish, but I recommend sticking to onion, corn and some kind of pepper at the very least, then you can add on from there if you’re feeling creative. The more veggies, the better. Dice everything up the same size and set aside.
For the meat, I like to use an organic ground turkey and a medium to hot Italian sausage. Truthfully, any ground meat combo should work here. I like this particular combo because I get the nutrition from the turkey and the flavor from the sausage.
With the seasoning, you can simplify the whole dish and just use a packet of taco seasoning. I opt for the individual spices so we don’t end up with any sugar, preservatives or yucky chemicals.
For the sauce, again, you can take a shortcut here and use a big jar of taco seasoning, but the control freak in me prefers to use a simple tomato sauce with my seasonings. It’s delicious either way, but a little “cleaner” by creating your own sauce and seasoning.
"I am a firm believer in ALL THINGS IN BALANCE, and I try to apply it to all aspects of my life. Cause let’s be real y’all. None of us are perfect. Well, my Big Strong Handsome might be. He’s the most disciplined human I’ve ever known. So, for the rest of us let’s just try to keep things in balance. Some days will be working out, drinking plenty of water, and eating fruits and veggies. Other days might be pizza for breakfast, and consuming an entire block of cheese and a bottle of wine while binge watching the Real Housewives on Bravo. Pro tip: Robert Mondavi Private Selection Monterey Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet is a lovely every day wine to pair with an aged gouda. Throw in a few grapes and it’s basically a salad.
Wow. That went off the rails quickly. See what I mean? That’s why balance is important. When you have a day like that, you get up the next day and do better. How? You can start by simply "eating the rainbow."
I love making colorful fruit bowls! They’re beautiful, and let’s face it. When your food is beautiful, it’s just more fun to eat. For a delicious twist, add in Greek yogurt, nuts, honey, sea salt, or citrus zest.
TIP 1: When you get home from the grocery store, wash and cut up your produce. When you’re hungry it’s way too easy to grab a bag of chips, but if you have some fruit or veggies already cut up, it’s just as quick and easy.
TIP 2: Try to choose fruits that are in season so they’re more flavorful and more affordable.
TIP 3: Go for brightly colored, delicious, juicy fruits that are loaded with vitamins. If the good Lord made it, it’s good for your body. If it comes out of a can or a box, chances are it’s not that nutritious.