Quick and easy, but also hearty with plenty of protein and veggies– this meatless Brussels Sprout Fried Rice is a meal parents can feel good about serving, that everyone will love eating.
While a few simple alterations and ingredient swaps could have this Spinach, White Cheddar, Apple Salad showing up in it’s Fall Sunday best, this version still says Spring to me– so that’s what I’m rolling with. Crisp, sliced apples, walnuts, berries, and shredded sharp white cheddar on a bed of fresh baby spinach. A homemade honey vinaigrette is drizzled over top and it’s all lovingly tossed together at the supper table into a complete meal in your salad bowl.
Everywhere we go everything is decorated. And while there may be a whole spectrum of ‘holiday’ colors, red and green are by far the stars of this show. One thing I don’t see a lot of? Festive dishes.
Hold on, let me stop you right there. I’m not talking about the traditional holiday favorites. Or even all the cute ones made to look like Holiday favorites, like our Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread or our Christmas Tree Pancakes. Those are a given. I’m talking about ‘decorated’ festive dishes made specifically with Christmas colors in mind. My Mom used to say that at least half of her enjoyment in a dish wasn’t just taste or even presentation, but about the colors and whether or not they spoke to her. She loves a vibrant presentation, and I can honestly say that I’ve come to appreciate one as well.
Easy. Peasy. And, yes, cheesy. (Sorry, had to go there. The rhyme was just too tempting.) This 3 Cheese Gnocchi Mac & Cheese is straight-up comfort food at it’s best.
I could easily eat Greek (or Mediterranean flavored ) food all day, every day. Not even joking.
I have yet to come across another flavor pallet, that is not only bursting at the seams and win robust favors jam-packed into every single bite, but all-around pretty healthy as well.
(I’m sire they’re out there, I just haven’t fallen for em yet.)
Quiche for dinner, you say? But with all that egg-y ness how can it be? The salty feta, the tangy olives, the juicy, sun dried tomatoes, the marinated artichoke, and all the traditionally Greek seasoning palette make for a Mediterranean flavor fest in every bite.
The egg is just the glue that binds it all together, and it doesn’t detract or disappoint. Far from it. Somehow it manages to get even better with every bite.
1 pre-made Quiche/Pie Crust
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
a heaping 1/4 cup of Sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), roughly chopped
1/4 cup Kalamata Olives, or regular black olives, roughly chopped
1 cup Artichokes,marinated in oil, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup of milk
3 tbsp fresh Oregano, diced, or 3 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1. Unroll/roll out the people made pie crust and place it evenly into a 9 ” pie pan. Use your fingers to gently crimp the edges. This step is purely meant to be aesthetically pleasing, and totally optional!
2. In a medium-large skillet, add the olive oil over and heat over medium to medium high heat. Once hot, add in the diced onions and cook until they just start to turn translucent, or about 6 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and let them cook together for a few minutes longer. Remove the skillet from heat, add in the olives, artichokes stirring everything together, and let the mixture rest.
3. While the veggie mixture is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and spices. Add the cooked veggies to the prepared quiche crust. Top with the crumbled feta cheese.
4. Gently pour the egg mixture over top of the veggies, and don’t worry if it doesn’t quite completely cover everything or if it swamps the veggies, either way it will turn out fine.
5. Bake the quiche at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes to an hour, or until the top just starts to brown. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, everything is completely cooked through.
6. Remove the cooked quiche from the oven and let rest for a minute or two before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
Do you share our love of all things Greek? Or Mediterranean flavored? Here’s a few other ideas you might like:
I always find myself trying to keep things simple in the summer time. Maybe it’s the way everything seems to slow down, and for the most part, take a more leisurely pace. Of course, that could just be the heat. Or the fact that all the kids are home, and for people who don’t drive they sure do make a lot of plans to go all over the county, and everything takes us twice as long to get our little butts around to doing. And that we essentially throw our traditional school year schedules out the window. So yeah, summer meals. I’m in no rush, but everybody’s still got to eat.
In the evening’s, I’d much rather be sitting around outside with a good book, their play and laughter the perfect back ground music, than inside in the kitchen.
That’s where asparagus enters into our meal-time picture. Grilled with a little oil, salt, and pepper, asparagus makes for a simple summer side dish. Top that beautiful grilled green bounty with your favorite caesar dressing, croutons, and some shredded Parmesan cheese, and you’ve got a perfect meatless meal that’s filling without weighing you down, and ready in a breeze. Serve stalks as is, or chop them into quarters for a more traditional, ‘tossed-salad’ type dish.
Grilled Caesar Asparagus
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing
shredded parmesan cheese
1. Toss the asparagus spears in the oil, salt and pepper them, to taste, and grill them over medium-high heat (turning once or twice) until crisp-tender and slightly charred.
2. Serve topped with the caesar dressing of your choice, croutons, Parmesan cheese, and another round of fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Enjoy!
Do you ever find yourself perusing Pinterest, or Facebook, or even sitting in a lobby flipping through a copy of Taste of Home only to see yet another salad ‘meal’ recipe and just keep flipping (or scrolling) because you just know either you’ll be the only one who likes it or it’s got a 50/50 shot at best? I can’t tell you how many times this has been me. If it’s been you too, then this is the salad recipe for you. This salad and dressing are packing the protein and the dressing is so yummy they’re not even gonna guess it’s got a good for em base.
Let the little bit of spice give ’em a kick in the pants. After all hasn’t Mom always told you to eat your greens? They’re good for you. Geez! Sorry. Seriously, sorry. Sometimes the mom in me just comes waltzing right on out and into my conversations. There’s really no stopping it. But back to topic. Healthy AND tasty.
This is a salad for the people. The people who love salad. The people who suffer through salad. And especially the people who take one look at a salad and stick there nose up in the air because a salad can’t possibly be a satisfying meal.
Give it a try, and tell me if it doesn’t leave em asking for more 🙂 Top it with tortilla strips or a few crushed tortilla chips for that crunchy piese de résistance. And then try to hide the smirk while you politely refrain from telling them ‘I told you so’. Nope, scratch that. You can totally smirk.
Southwestern Pepper Jack Salad with Creamy Avocado Salsa Dressing
For the Southwest Salad
1 head romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
1 cup of drained can corn or thawed frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup diced roma tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese, or more to taste
crispy tortilla strips or tortilla chips
For the Creamy Avocado Salsa Dressing
1 small avocado, peeled and sliced
1 small jalapeno, seeded, de-veined and roughly chopped, optional
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mild or medium salsa
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
juice from 1 lime
1/4 tsp salt
1/4- 1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
tiniest of dashes of cayenne pepper, optional
1. Add all of the Creamy Avocado Salad Dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, scraping the sides down as needed. If using it, add in the cayenne pepper before adding additional salt and pepper to taste. If your dressing is too thick, then add in a little extra milk and stir until you’re reached the desired consistency. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Add salad ingredients to a large bowl, except for the tortilla strips/chips, and toss to combine.
3. Toss the salad with the desired amount of dressing or drizzle dressing over individual servings, especially if you’re not planning to polish off the entire salad in one meal.
4. Garnish the salad, or servings, with tortilla strips, or tortilla chips and freshly cracked salt and pepper.
Are your hungry, hungry omnivores still looking for more protein and/or a denser dish? Serve it topped with grilled chicken strips and they’ll love it.
recipe adapted from Carlsbad Cravings
It was the day after Christmas, and all through the house children were playing with plenty of arguments over tv time and game systems for their parents to dowse.
The wrapping paper was all picked up and Santa’s supplies packed away with care, when I realized, ‘Oh, crap!’ Dinnertime soon would be there.
The sons’ were all asking, wondering what there was going to be to eat.
And this Mom had nothing. I’d never even thought to pull out any meat….
None. Nada. Zilch.
It was then that a little light from heaven shone down…right into my fridge. And my heart and belly (and my Mommy-conscience) leapt with joy! (Let’s be honest, what was I going to rhyme with Zilch or fridge?!)
Pasta with Cucumbers, Tomatoes and vinegrette dressing…maybe even a little Feta cheese.
An easy, meatless meal? Yes, please.
Oh, had I been craving some good pasta lately. And the lasagna I’d had for dinner on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas day still hadn’t cut it.
And thus to us, a new recipe was born.
Mediterranean Tortellini Pasta Salad
1 lb tortellini
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
For the Dressing
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper, to taste
Note: Serving a crowd? No worries! The recipe easily doubles. Just don’t cry any crocodile tears over the empty bowl that comes home and the fact that you have no leftovers to enjoy later on.
1. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Soak the onions in a bowl of clean, cold water. Drain after 5 minutes.
3. In a large bowl add the onion slices, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, cheese, and tortellini. Gently toss them together.
4. In a different bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Slowly add the olive oil and whisk everything together until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the tortellini salad and gently mix until everything’s nicely coated with the dressing. Serve this salad warm or at room temperature.
I’ve been seeing pictures of stuffed squash blossoms in the foodie world for a few years now, and I’ve been intrigued. I love squash, but really had no idea what in the world they might taste like. It got me thinking though. Then a year or two ago, my Pinterest feed got flooded with tons of pictures and recipe ideas for stuffing zucchini. Now the wheels were really turning. So this summer when my mother-in-law planted a ton of squash, I kept my fingers crossed that I could
beg persuade her to let me have A LOT of the crop. And she did!
And then this happened.
Beautiful, fresh yellow squash stuffed with creamy pimento cheese and topped with crispy panko bread crumbs and parsley.
It’s one of the best ways to enjoy squash, well in our opinion at least. This dish works well as a side or even as a vegetarian main meal. Not a fan of yellow squash? Try using zucchini instead.
While this dish is a no-brainer for us in the summer with the influx of dirt cheap, and/or free, squash, it’s also become a holiday staple. It’s rich, it’s indulgent, and the combination is perfectly Southern.
If you were on the fence about what to make, or scrambling to find a last minute recipe for your familys’ Thanksgiving meal, this one’s sure to be a hit.
Pimento Cheese Stuffed Squash
recipe adapted from Spicy Southern Kitchen
4 medium squash or zucchini
pimento cheese, your favorite brand or homemade
⅓ cup panko crumbs
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp parsley flakes
1. Cut squash in half horizontally. Place squash in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam about 6 to 8 minutes, just until tender. Let cool and then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp.
2. Place squash, cut side up on a baking sheet.
3. Salt and pepper the squash.
4. Fill each squash cavity with pimento cheese.
5. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, butter, and parsley.
6. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of the ‘stuffed’ squash.
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until cheese is warm and melted.
8. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes to lightly brown the panko crumbs.
We all really like Chipotle. In fact, if we’re going to grab a bite somewhere, that’s probably where we will end up. Son # 1 even more than the rest of us. We find him wandering around the house daily, greeting us with ‘Yaaasss, Chipotle is my liiiiiiiiiiiiiffffffffffffe.’ The jury’s still out on if it’s because he’s morphing into a perpetually misunderstood 16 year old in a week, or if it’s just because he’s him. Either way, we can always agree on the fact that a Chipotle burrito is friggin’ delicious. Sometimes there are little hiccups in our plans to go ‘grab a bite’ though. The number one being the major bump in the road of having 4 hungry boys and only one income. So last week when son # 2 went a whole day without complaining about any chores, even helping out with extras, and then asked could we grab a burrito while we were out running errands did I let the piddly little issue of my budget get in my way? Of course not! Budget smudget. Okay, not really. It didn’t get in the way because we just took a different route. We came home, stuck our heads together and created our own version, full of copy-cat-ish Chipotle burrito love.
These are fantastic. Don’t let their humble appearance fool you, these could easily give Chipotle a run for their money! They are pretty spicy, but coming from someone who doesn’t like spicy food and loves these, I would say not too spicy. Feel free to dial down the heat though by using less of the spices. Or, if you’re
feeling brave really into spicy food and want to crank up the heat, splash some hot sauce onto the rice mixture, or you could sprinkle a few diced jalapeno peppers on top of the filling before rolling up the tortilla. Not feeling a burrito today? This rice/bean filling is just as good served as a hearty rice dish served alongside spicy, or fiesta-style, grilled chicken.
Spicy Rice & Bean Burritos
recipe adapted from A Bitchin Kitchen
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo, minced
2 tsp sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
1 tsp ground cumin
one large pinch of cayenne pepper
1/3 cup water
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup salsa
6 burrito-sized tortillas
8 oz shredded cheese, mexican blend, cheddar, or monterey jack
4 green onions, thinly sliced
fat-free Greek yogurt, or sour cream
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, chili powder, pepper, adobo sauce, cumin, and cayenne. Allow them to cook just until fragrant, only about 30-60 seconds. Add in the drained/rinsed beans and the water. Bring the filling to a simmer, and then lower the heat to medium-low and allow it to cook for 8 minutes, mashing the bean mixture slightly. Remove from heat, and stir in rice and salsa until everything is evenly combined.
2. Divide the mixture evenly among the center of each tortilla. Top the filling with cheese, lettuce, green onions, and greek yogurt as desired. Roll them up by folding over both side about 1 1/2 inches and then rolling up lengthwise to close/make the burrito, and serve!