September 8, 2014

Chipotle Quinoa & Summer Harvest Salad with Smoked Gouda

I can never relate to the parent that says they're happy to shove their kids back on the school bus and get them out of their hair when school starts back up.  For me, it's a sad time.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited that my little sous chef is getting bigger and starting 4th grade, but I really do enjoy those precious moments of summer break with her each day!  If you haven't noticed, I've haven't posted a new recipe for nearly a month.  This is mainly because the last month of summer is always a super busy time for us.  Now that school has started and our schedules have become a lot more structured, I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things and start posting on a weekly basis again.

One of the things that has really kept us busy over the last month is processing harvested vegetables from the garden.  I had some green pepper, tomato, and corn that I needed to use up from all that harvesting, so I decided to make this warm, spicy quinoa salad with freshly harvested garden vegetables, topped with smoked gouda.  It's delicious, guilt-free and packed with flavor!  


Yields 3 servings

  • 1 c quinoa, rinsed and drained 
  • 2 c vegetable or chicken broth 
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil 
  • 1/2 c onion, diced 
  • 1/2 c green bell pepper, chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced 
  • 1 c tomatoes, chopped 
  • 1/2 c corn
  • 1 c mushrooms, chopped 
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice  
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder 
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped 
  • 3 oz smoked gouda cheese, shredded 
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste 


Add the broth and quinoa to a medium sauce pan.  Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.  Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Set aside.  

Meanwhile, heat the butter and avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and green pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute longer.  Stir in the tomato, corn, mushrooms, chipotle, lemon juice, chili powder, cumin and cilantro.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  

Spoon the cooked quinoa evenly in the bottom of 3 serving dishes.  Top evenly with the vegetable mixture.  Sprinkle gouda cheese over all.  Garnish with cilantro.  


August 14, 2014

Ham & Cheddar Breakfast Casserole w/ Green Pepper and Onion

Who doesn't love ham and cheese?!  With the weather cooling down some, I've been getting a little more guilt-free use out of my oven.  Organic eggs, fat-free milk, leftover ham, green pepper from the garden, and reduced fat cheddar cheese are used to make this tasty breakfast casserole.  It has a delicious crescent roll base that just puts it over the top!  It's perfect for company or a lazy weekend and ready in less than an hour.  Oh, and it's even better cold!  Happy Friday!

August 13, 2014

Lobster & Corn Salad Lettuce Wraps with Tarragon Mayonnaise

Exactly one week ago, on August 6th, I celebrated my 33rd fifth 29th birthday.  My husband and I called off work, and he had the entire day planned out, babysitting and all.  How exciting!  We started the day off at the Parc Bistro for brunch, where I enjoyed some amazing bouillabaisse, and he had the bourbon shrimp BLT.  Look at the evidence below - I'm turning my husband into a food blogger!  We then went for a couple's massage, had an appointment for a new tennis racquet fitting for me, had my favorite fish tacos for dinner, and played tennis with my new racquet.  Start to finish, it was a pretty amazing day!    

Well, that was last Wednesday.  Since it's still technically my birthday week (haha!), I thought I'd treat myself to a little lobster.  Okay, that was a pretty weak transition from my birthday to the recipe, but it's the best I could do!  We typically only indulge in lobster two-to-three times a year, usually when live lobster goes on sale for $6.99/lb.  I combined the steamed lobster with freshly picked corn and tomatoes from the garden along with a yummy tarragon mayonnaise.  After chilling it, I served it over romaine lettuce to make a lettuce wrap.  It's light, simple and delicious, and the tarragon mayonnaise doesn't overpower the beautiful flavor of the lobster.  

August 5, 2014

Red Snapper Tacos with Strawberry & Peach Salsa

My husband was out golfing and wasn't going to make it home in time for dinner, and my  little sous chef had some leftovers that she was looking forward to eating.  It was a very peculiar situation that I found myself in... but I wasn't about to complain!  I had the entire kitchen to myself.  No catering to everyone's individual tastes (not that I'm complaining - I love to oblige them).  Just me and my kitchen.  I have literally been craving fish tacos for weeks now, but I've been unsuccessful in convincing my family to indulge in them as frequently as I would like.  With a skip and a hop, I turned up some music, poured a glass of wine, and got to cooking.  I pan fried some delicious red snapper, spooned some beautiful Strawberry & Peach Salsa on top, and cradled all that goodness in a whole wheat tortilla.  Life is good.

August 4, 2014

Strawberry & Peach Salsa

This summery fruit salsa makes for an attractive and delicious garnish to grilled chicken, pork, and fish.  It's also good as a dip for tortilla chips.  Light, fresh, healthy, and easy to throw together - perfect for your summer festivities!  

July 31, 2014

Southwestern Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms for Breakfast

Organic heirloom tomatoes are given a Southwestern flare, stuffed in a hearty portobello mushroom, and topped with an egg.  It's a healthy and delicious vegetarian breakfast with a little bit of a spicy kick.  If you're not into the whole vegetarian thing, cooked bacon or ham are lovely additions.  Happy Friday!  

July 28, 2014

Skinny Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Mash Topping

Happy 600th recipe post to me!  My first recipe was in February of 2010, and I never would have imagined that my blog would come this far!  Thank you to all who have been following along in this exciting, tasty journey.  

When I was working on this blog post, I wasn't aware that this marked the 600th recipe.  I would have otherwise made something a little more "elaborate" to celebrate.  In any event, this is the one!  This shepherd's pie is "skinny" because I use creamy mashed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes for the topping.  I also used nonfat Greek yogurt, tomato paste, and some of the mashed cauliflower as thickening agents in place of flour.  The savory meat filling is cooked in a skillet, spooned into ramekins, topped with a creamy cauliflower mash topping, and then briefly broiled until bubbly.  Even though it's "skinny", it's delicious, full of flavor, and husband approved! 

July 22, 2014

Quick Shrimp & Vegetable Stir Fry with Jasmine Rice

I am obsessed with my griddle.  It was a gift from my lovely mother last Christmas, and I honestly don't know how I survived without it before!  This past spring and summer, I have literally cooked 90% of my meals on it.  I especially enjoy making stir fry on the griddle because there is much more cooking surface to work with.  In this stir fry, I used freshly picked organic zucchini from the garden, and all of the other ingredients used were organic, with the exception of the Jasmine rice.  I still have some left in my pantry from before we started switching to organic ingredients.  

This happens to be week 4 of switching to organic ingredients.  I've also made the switch to organic shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soap, etc., but I'll spare you the details since this is a food blog and all.  I'll admit, there have been times here and there that I've cheated for the sake of convenience.  I can't always drive 20 minutes to Wegmans when I run out of bread and my daughter wants a sandwich stat.  I guess that will all come with better planning on my part.  It has definitely been a fun learning experience.  We also still have more items in our fridge and pantry that we have to use up before we switch those over to organics, but I'm excited to see our progress thus far.  

July 16, 2014

Pan-seared Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

Mahi Mahi is one of my favorite fish to eat.  It's a hearty, yet delicate, mild-flavored fish with a slight sweetness to it.  In this recipe, I pan-seared it in a little butter and garlic, and then topped it with a fresh and crunchy homemade mango salsa.  Light, healthy, bursting with flavor, and ready in 20 minutes - yet another perfect summer dish!  

July 15, 2014

Our Favorite Guacamole

The first time I introduced my husband to guacamole, he was not a fan of it.  At.  All.  I, on the other hand, am a self-proclaimed guacamoholic.  It's very healthy, but I try hard not to overindulge because of the high calorie count.  A few years back, we fell in love with these beautiful salads at a local Mexican restaurant that included a little side of guacamole.  I don't know if it was because they used less lime than we were used to, but my husband was hooked... and so was my little sous chef!  This recipe is my copycat version, and it's pretty darn close.  It's delicious, creamy, and very easy to make.  We like our guacamole smooth and creamy with a few chunks here and there, but if you prefer it chunky, just mash less.  

Featured in: