Spinach Apple Salad
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.
No drive through needed for this one! Here's my take on the fast food double cheeseburger. Ultra thin ground beef & melty American cheese piled high on a steamed bun. It’s burger perfection sure to satisfy your fast food cravings!
For the ground beef, I like to use a grass fed, hormone free, antibiotic free beef. Butcher Box, is the winner for me. It's delivered to my home each month, stored in the freezer and ready when I need it.
I feel like, for this, it just has to be melty American cheese. I know it's "fake cheese," but this is a sinful cheeseburger, not a salad, Karen. Just go with it.
Since I'm trying to mimic that uber satisfying fast food burger, I want a soft steamed bun. The baked fresh hamburger buns at the Publix deli work best for me.
This basil vinaigrette is delicious on everything… steak, chicken, salads, & even my favorite burrata.
Here's how I make it.
Here’s your shopping list & helpful tips to create the perfect picnic grazing boxes.
Flag Fruit Board
Red White & Blue Fruit Salad
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…
Not only is homemade pasta delicious, but it just might be a solution to your "gluten intolerance."
Big Strong Handsome has a gluten intolerance, and typically gets sick after eating foods with gluten. We've found, though, that the "cleaner" the food, the less he gets sick. I recommend finding a "clean" 00 flour and semolina flour that hasn't been processed to death or created with toxic chemicals. After eating my homemade pasta, the only side effect Big Strong Handsome had was a big smile on his face! That's right. No sickness. Turns out, it's not the gluten that causes the intolerance. It's the way we process and grow our food.
The first time we made it, we were all so excited. To make it extra fun, I decided to serve it as a tasting dinner with 3 different sauces: traditional tomato basil sauce, pesto, and a parmesan cream sauce. The favorite overall was hands down the parmesan cream sauce. And the ingredients are, are you ready for this...
Now, sometimes I take the time to make homemade tomato basil sauce, which is a pretty long process and usually involves a couple glasses of wine, and lots of Italian music. Other times, I reach for my favorite jarred sauces by Michaels of Brooklyn. They're so good y'all, and look at that ingredient list on the label! Yes! To make it even better, I can easily pick them up at Publix or order online.
If you're feeding a large group, like I sometimes do, you might want to serve your pasta with my delicious baked meatballs. It's the perfect pairing... other than a nice glass of cabernet sauvignon, of course.
Food Network recently showed us a grilled edible cheeseboard. Whaaaat? That's right. The entire board is edible. Beautiful AND delicious? Sign me up.
I had to try this out for myself, but I decided to put my own unique spin on it. The Food Network chefs created theirs with pizza dough, and I opted for a buttery, flaky puff pastry. After creating a board of my own, I think the Food Network chefs had it right. Pizza dough is the way to go here. The puff pastry I used was delicious, but not sturdy enough to support the cheese when eating. I also decided to bake it instead of grilling, and that worked fine for me.
Who's going to try this edible cheeseboard trend with me?
Pork Chops & Apples
This is a family dinner that I just completely made up this past fall. My family loved it so much, it makes it into our regular dinner rotation.
These pork chops are beautiful served over a bed of greens on a large platter. Or, call it a day and have them fix their plates at the stove! Dinner is served y'all!
I like to sear the pork chops so they're nice and golden brown on one side, then after I flip them I cover the pan with a lid so they cook more evenly inside.
Jen's Easy Birria Tacos
Have you ever made sushi at home? It's a lot of fun, the entire family can get involved, and it's easier than you think! Here's what you need:
Rice Wine Vinegar
Nori Seaweed Sheets
Bamboo Sushi Mat
Bowl of Water
Carrots, jullienne (or pre-cut matchsticks)
Avocado, thinly sliced
*Make the shrimp sauce. You'll love my recipe and it's way better than anything you can buy in the store.
For my son's 17th birthday, I decided to make him a confetti cake. Honestly, it's a lot easier than it looks y'all.
Try this one with your kiddos! Prepared pizza dough makes this quick, easy, and so much fun to create. This was a fun idea from my sister-in-law to keep my mind occupied away from the heaviness of Mother’s Day. It was a delicious snack with a glass of vino too! 😉
To create my easy focaccia garden I used:
Champagne Granita... one of my favorite ways to end a meal. It's the perfect dessert at the end of a nice meal. It's sweet, but not too sweet. It's light, and not heavy on your tummy. And it's beautiful.
I've also made this with strawberries and grapefruit instead of lemon, but they're all delicious. Peach would also be really refreshing, like a bellini slushy!
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."
Blue Cheese Apple Walnut Salad
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.
Simple Arugula Salad
Cuban Pork Tenderloin
Who doesn't love a good Cuban sandwich? They're so delicious, and such a treat! I wanted a way for us to enjoy the same flavors at home, without the bread, and of course, a quick way to make it for busy weeknight family dinners. So here's my Cuban Pork Tenderloin.
The trickiest part of this recipe is flattening out the pork tenderloins, but once I got over trying to make it perfect, it became a whole lot easier. I try my best to delicately filet it out with long, shallow cuts down the length of the tenderloin, but I inevitably get distracted with other things around the house demanding my attention. So I typically end up kind of hacking at this thing and end up with weird little grooves all along the inside of it, but you know what... it doesn't matter. Nobody sees that part! So as long as you can get it flat-ish... you're good.
You don't need 30 different herbs and spices to season this with either. Konriko Dry Mojo seasoning is everything! It has the perfect spice blend, without any preservatives or other yucky stuff.
I've found that prosciutto works best. Now, that might be because I secretly think I should be the matriarch of a big Italian family with a brother Pauly, an Uncle Jimmy that's an attorney, a cousin Mikey that "knows a guy," and there has to be an Isabella that still lives in Naples, Italy. I digress. I've tried rosemary ham and regular deli ham, but I really prefer the flavor and texture of the prosciutto.
You can use the baby dill pickles like I did, or longer pickle spears. Slices or whole pickles, though, don't really work for me on this recipe.
The yellow rice I made with organic brown jasmine rice and a few shakes turmeric, garlic powder, paprika, and salt. It was delicious. No yellow number 5 here!
The next time I make this, I think I might slather the outside of the tenderloin roll with mustard as well, and then wrap it in even more prosciutto!
When you're putting away your leftovers, put them directly into meal planning containers. That way, you have easy grab-n-go lunches or quick dinners for busy weeknights.
Shrimp, yum yum, bang bang, boom boom… whatever you call it… sauce. It’s delicious, it’s easy to make, and it’s a great way to dress up a lot of dishes. My family loves it on my Easy Fried Rice, grilled shrimp, or chicken.
I love making homemade sauces for my family so I can control the ingredients, bump up the flavor, and limit the amount of chemicals going in our bodies.
Easy Fried Rice
Have leftover rice? Fried rice!
Want an easy make ahead meal prep idea? Fried rice!
My boys love it when I make fried rice. It’s extremely filling and one of those comfort meals that just leaves you feeling happy.
With my recipe, you can use white rice, brown rice, sushi rice, jasmine rice… use whatever rice you have in the pantry or leftover from another meal.
You can pretty much use any veggies you like for this. I’ve used Publix Mixed Vegetables, leftover grilled vegetables, Japanese blend frozen vegetables, etc. So just use whatever makes your little heart happy.
You can add the eggs 2 different ways.
I really like the flavor of Kinkoman’s Organic Soy Sauce. It just tastes better to me, but you can use any soy sauce you like. To add some brightness to the dish, I like to splash a little rice wine vinegar over the rice. You can get fancy and add a little sprinkle of ground ginger, turmeric, onion powder, and garlic powder, or you can just keep it simple with soy sauce and a splash of rice wine vinegar.
Seared chicken is delicious with the fried rice. I season it with a little ground ginger, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and sear on each side for about 6 minutes. You can mix the chicken into the rice, serve it separately, or leave it out all together for a vegetarian version. Skirt steak or shrimp would also be great!
Ultimate Cheese Fondue
Here’s a few tips for my ultimate cheese fondue!
I like to grate the cheese ahead of time, so I’m not in a panic trying to get everything done right before serving. Food prep is everything.
Use a microplane grater or rasp for the garlic. This way, you’re guaranteed not to have any hunks of garlic in your fondue.
You can use any dry white wine, but I always seem to have Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay on hand, so that’s what I use.
For the nutmeg, I REALLY prefer to buy it whole and grate it myself with a microplane grater. If you don’t already have one, you can typically pick one up at the grocery store, or you can find one like this on Amazon.
If you’re cooking your dippers, make sure you don’t overcook them. Nobody likes a floppy dipper.
That’s it! That’s all my tips! Now go fondue it!