Bring on Spring (Salads) & Such

SNACKS

Easy Apple Applesauce Muffins  – Sweet, moist, and appley.  Yum.

DINNERS

Roasted Tomato Soup with Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches – This dinner option never gets old because it’s sooooo good.

Corn and Tomato Pizza With Cilantro and Goat Cheese – Hello old friend…sorry it’s been so long since we’ve enjoyed spending time eating you!  Seriously people…have you tried this yet?

Spiralized Zucchini “Zoodle” Salad With Tomatoes & Goat Cheese and Pan Seared Chicken Sausage – This is a room temperature salad that would be great for an office luncheon or picnic.  It’s also swell the next day when the flavors have really settled in and made themselves at home.

Greek Salad with Pan Seared Chicken – A super duper easy dinner option that could also work great for an office event too.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Easy Apple Applesauce Muffins

Adapted from Weelicious 

Dry Ingredients
1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon

Wet Ingredients
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. homemade buttermilk (see recipe below) or (alternative organic milk)
1/2 c. honey
1 large organic egg
1 t. organic vanilla extract

Stir In Ingredients
1 c. peeled and chopped organic apples (about 2 medium apples)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a muffin pan (alternative: silicone muffin cups).

In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  In a larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.  Very gently, stir in the apples.  Fill muffin containers ¾ full and bake approximately 15 minutes.

Muffin Tips:

  • Mix/stir as little as possible to create fluffy, moist muffins.
  • I don’t like the clean toothpick test for muffins because they are often overdone. Muffins continue to cook for a bit longer when removed from the oven.  Instead of the toothpick test, watch for them to begin releasing from the edge of the baking cup/tin (and look for a slightly golden color).
  • Once you’ve baked a few batches, you’ll begin to learn your oven’s ideal baking time.

Homemade Buttermilk

Ingredients
2 T. of white vinegar or lemon juice
1 c. organic milk

Directions: Stir together both ingredients in a small bowl and allow rest for 5 minutes.


Roasted Tomato Soup with Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Adapted from Food Network

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Ingredients
1 lb. vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered, & deseeded
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil (divided = 1 T, 2 T.)
Sea salt
1/2 c. fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced, optional (but oh so flavorful)
1 (28-ounce) can organic crushed or whole tomatoes (preferably, San Marzano)
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 loaf 100% whole grain sourdough bread, broken into bite sized pieces
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional topping)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle the tomatoes with 1 T. of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Toss the tomatoes with your hands to evenly cover with oil and salt. Roast in the oven (approximately 20 minutes) or until the edges are browning slightly.

In the meantime, heat a stock pot to medium heat. Add the remaining 2 T. of olive oil, fresh basil, and garlic. Sauté one minute, stirring constantly. Immediately add the canned tomatoes and water (refill the tomato can with water to get all of the tomato bits and juices). With a wooden spoon, break up the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Stir in the bread. Add the roasted tomatoes when done roasting (don’t forget to reserve a few for the grilled cheese sandwiches). Scrape the baking sheet to get all of the roasted bits and remaining oil. Allow the soup to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. (I like to use a hand held immersion blender to puree the soup just a bit).

Serve with a drizzle of the olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Tips:

  • Reserve a few roasted tomatoes for the Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • The original recipe calls for “day old” bread. This is not essential. You can use bread straight from the bread bag. It won’t impact the recipe in the least.

Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

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Ingredients
100% whole grain sourdough bread
Organic mozzarella cheese slices or shredded
organic tomatoes, very thinly sliced (alternative: several roasted tomatoes from the soup recipe)
fresh basil leaves

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Assemble the sandwiches as if you were making them for the traditional skillet version.

Sandwich order: bread, cheese, basil leaves, tomatoes, a bit more cheese, and bread. Place buttered side down on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately 8 to 10 minutes on each side. Check on the sandwiches a few minutes early to ensure the bread is not getting too dark.


Corn and Tomato Pizza With Cilantro and Goat Cheese

Adapted from Bev Cooks

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Dough
Trader Joe’s premade whole wheat dough, prepared per package directions

Pizza Toppings
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil)
1/2 red onion, chopped
2-3 NON GMO sweet corn ears, shucked and kernels removed (alternative: 2 c. frozen NON GMO sweet corn)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small pkg. organic cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 c. organic mozzarella, shredded
2 oz. goat cheese
Sea salt/black pepper, freshly ground
Tabasco style hot sauce, optional topping (recommended if you omit the jalapeno)

Directions: Preheat the oven to required pizza dough temperature.

In a medium/large skillet warmed to medium heat, add the olive oil and onion and jalapeno (if using). Sauté until onions are translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add the corn and sauté another 5 minutes. The next step happens quickly because you do not want to burn the garlic! Add the garlic, stirring constantly, allowing it to cook for about a minute or until you can really smell it. Immediately squeeze the lemon over the skillet.  Stir in the cilantro and the cherry tomatoes.  The heat will help the tomatoes to release their juices (about 5 minutes).

Remove from the heat. With the dough on the pizza stone or baking sheet, add a thin layer of mozzarella cheese, followed by the corn mixture. Crumble the goat cheese atop the pizza and add the remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake according to pizza crust directions. This is amazing – especially with a few drops of hot sauce on each slice!!!


Spiralized Zucchini “Zoodle” Salad With Tomatoes & Goat Cheese and Pan Seared Chicken Sausage

Adapted from Mama Balance

Salad Ingredients
3-4 organic zucchini, spiralized
1 pint organic grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ c. fresh organic basil, thinly sliced
1 T. sunflower seeds (alternative: pine nuts)
1.5 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Dressing Ingredients
2 T.  balsamic vinegar (alternative: red wine vinegar)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
½ t. sea salt, freshly ground
¼ t. black pepper, freshly ground
1/8 t. dried crushed red pepper, optional

Directions: Whisk together the dressing in a small bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, assemble the salad in the order listed.  Pour the salad dressing over the top.  Season with sea salt/pepper to taste.

[If pairing the salad with chicken sausage, set the salad aside or in the refrigerator.]

Pan sear the chicken sausage.  Serve alongside the salad.


Greek Salad with Pan Seared Chicken

Adapted from Katri

Salad Ingredients
1 pint of organic grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (Alternative: any organic tomato)
1 organic cucumber, chopped (skin on or off, up to you)
1 organic bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 c. Kalamata olives, halved
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing Ingredients
2 T. of fresh lemon juice (alternative: lime juice)
2 T. vinegar (red or white wine vinegar)
1 t. dried oregano
2 t. of dried parsley, optional
1 t. of sea salt
1/2 t. of freshly ground pepper
1/2 c. of extra virgin olive oil
4 drops organic stevia, optional

Directions: Stir together all ingredients for the dressing. Set aside. Add all veggies and cheese to a large serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the top, and gently stir. If you can wait, refrigerate this for at least 30 minutes. The flavors will marry and get happier the longer they hang out together.

While the salad flavors spend some time getting to know each other, pan sear the chicken.

Cleaned Up Monte Cristo & Butternut Squash Soup

SNACKS

Apple Applesauce Muffins – This is quite possibly one of the best apple muffin recipes.  Applesauce and diced apples make for a super moist and sweet muffin.  The subtle cinnamon and vanilla are delicious extras that can be included, or not.

DINNERS

One Skillet Chicken Fajitas – If this is not a staple recipe in your kitchen, it should be. Enough said 🙂

Butternut Squash Soup & Cleaned Up Monte Cristos – I used an alternative to a whole butternut squash – bagged, pre-cubed butternut squash.  This smooth and creamy soup, with hints of wintery seasonings, pairs beautifully with a fun spin on a Monte Cristo. Instead of deep frying, this cleaned up Cristo is prepared like a pan “grilled” cheese sandwich.

Corn and Tomato Pizza With Cilantro and Goat Cheese This a family requested favorite. It’s likely my daughter’s favorite pizza of all time!

White Bean Soup with Spinach and Leeks – One soup, two ways.  Day 1: prepare the soup per the recipe.  Day 2: throw the leftovers in a blender and puree.  It is equally delicious either way but presents like two completing different meals!  #doubledutysoup

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Easy Apple Applesauce Muffins

Adapted from Weelicious 

Dry Ingredients
1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon

Wet Ingredients
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. homemade buttermilk (see recipe below) or (alternative organic milk)
1/2 c. honey
1 large organic egg
1 t. organic vanilla extract
Stir In Ingredients
1 c. peeled and chopped organic apples (about 2 medium apples)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  I use silicone muffin cups. If using a metal muffin pan, lightly grease with a clean oil (ideas: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil).

In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  In a larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.  Very gently, stir in the apples.  Fill muffin containers ¾ full and bake approximately 15 minutes.

Tips:

  • Mix/stir as little as possible to create fluffy, moist muffins.
  • I don’t like the toothpick test for muffins as I find they are often overdone. Remember, they continue to cook a bit even when removed from the oven.  Instead, watch for them to begin to release from the edge of the baking cup/tin and for a slightly golden color.  Once you’ve baked a few batches, you’ll begin to learn your oven’s ideal baking time.

Homemade Buttermilk
2 T. of white vinegar or lemon juice
1 c. organic milk

Directions: Stir together both ingredients in a small bowl and allow rest for 5 minutes.


One Skillet Chicken Fajitas

 

Fajita Ingredients:
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 medium onion, sliced
2-3 large organic bell pepper, seeded/sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can organic fire roasted diced tomatoes OR (3-4 chopped medium, fresh tomatoes)
Note: if using fresh tomatoes, add ¼ c. of salsa
2 t. cumin
1 t. paprika
sea salt/pepper
whole wheat tortillas (idea: Ezekiel brand tortillas)

Optional Fajita Fillers:
canned organic black beans, drained & rinsed
organic shredded cheese
organic Greek yogurt or sour cream
salsa
avocado, sliced

Directions: Warm a non-stick skillet to medium heat. Season all sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. To the skillet, add the olive oil and chicken. Cook until the chicken is browned on all slides (about 5-6 minutes). Add onions and green peers, cooking until the peppers are softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute).  Immediately add all remaining ingredients. The tomatoes will sizzle in the skillet. Reduce heat to a simmer. Allow some liquid to cook out (about 10 minutes). Season with salt/pepper to taste. Serve fajita mixture with whole wheat tortillas and your favorite fajita fillers.


Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Monte Cristos

Adapted from Alton Brown and Clean Eating Magazine

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Note: I HATE this picture.  I could not make this meal look appetizing with my camera.  This makes me sooooo sad because it really is a delicious meal.  #badlighting #poorcameraskills

Directions: In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, sea salt/pepper, milk and cayenne.

Separate the turkey slices and sprinkle with oregano. Assemble the sandwiches: thin layer of Dijon mustard on each slice of bread, cheese slice, turkey, a layer spinach leaves, another slice of cheese, and bread.

Heat a large skillet to near medium heat.

Place sandwich on a slotted spatula.  Lower the sandwich into the egg mixture – deep enough that the egg mixture reaches one-half of the way up the slice of bread.  (Be careful that the egg mixture does NOT “enter” the interior of the sandwich).  Raise the sandwich from the egg mixture.

Place your hand on top of the sandwich.  Press down to compact the sandwich just a bit. Carefully and quickly invert the sandwich from the spatula to your hand.  Transfer the inverted sandwich from your hand to the spatula. Again, lower the sandwich into the egg mixture on the dry side to finish coating the sandwich.

Add olive oil or butter to the skillet     Prepare sandwich as you would any other pan “grilled” sandwich.


Corn and Tomato Pizza With Cilantro and Goat Cheese

Adapted from Bev Cooks

Dough
Trader Joe’s premade whole wheat dough, prepared per package directions

Pizza Toppings
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil)
1/2 red onion, chopped
2-3 NON GMO sweet corn ears, shucked and kernels removed (alternative: 2 c. frozen NON GMO sweet corn)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small pkg. organic cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 c. organic mozzarella, shredded
2 oz. goat cheese
Sea salt/black pepper, freshly ground
Tabasco style hot sauce, optional topping (recommended if you omit the jalapeno)

Directions: Preheat the oven to required pizza dough temperature.

In a medium/large skillet warmed to medium heat, add the olive oil and onion and jalapeno (if using). Sauté until onions are translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add the corn and sauté another 5 minutes. The next step happens quickly because you do not want to burn the garlic! Add the garlic, stirring constantly, allowing it to cook for about a minute or until you can really smell it. Immediately squeeze the lemon over the skillet.  Stir in the cilantro and the cherry tomatoes.  The heat will help the tomatoes to release their juices (about 5 minutes).

Remove from the heat. With the dough on the pizza stone or baking sheet, add a thin layer of mozzarella cheese, followed by the corn mixture. Crumble the goat cheese atop the pizza and add the remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake according to your pizza crust directions. This is amazing – especially with a few drops of hot sauce on each slice!!!


White Bean Soup with Spinach and Leeks

Adapted from Eat Good 4 Life


Ingredients
2 cans organic white beans, rinsed and drained
2 T. of olive oil
½ t. sea salt
½ t. freshly cracked pepper
1 bag frozen leeks, (alternative: 4 leeks, chopped into thinly sliced rings)
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. paprika
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 bay leaves
1/2 c. whole wheat couscous
4 c. fresh organic spinach leaves
Sea salt and pepper to taste
4-6 c. organic broth or stock (alternative: water)
Parmesan cheese, shaved (optional topping)

Directions: To a heated stock pot, add the olive oil.  Stir in the leeks, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika.  Saute leeks until softened (about 8 to 10 minutes).  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 – 2 minutes).  Add the beans, broth and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the couscous and cook another 5 minutes.  Stir in the spinach leaves.  Season to taste (another ½ t. sea salt or more is likely needed). Enjoy topped with grated Parmesan cheese. Refrigerate leftovers.

Day 2:  Puree soup leftovers in a blender.  If using a Vitamix, you can blend on high until steaming at the lid (or use the soup setting).  Otherwise, warm the soup on the stove top or microwave.

You Say Tomato, I Say Ricotta

SNACKS

Homemade Fig Newtons – Have you ever looked at all of the ingredients in a package of store bought fig newtons? It’ll blow your mind! (#junkgalore) Stop buying, make your own. Trust me, homemade takes the cake every.single.time. Check out the original recipe link for a picture. I forgot to snap a picture of my own.

DINNERS

Eggs, Avocados & Olive Oil Biscuits with Easy Oven Bacon – When my little one is asked about dinner, this is often her first request. She (and I) love eggs and avocados. Normally we put it on toast.  This past week, we shook things up and went with Olive Oil Drop Biscuits.  These biscuits ridiculously easy, fast, and delicious!

Corn and Tomato Pizza With Cilantro and Goat Cheese – Yes, you’ve seen this recipe here before…and you’ll see it again and again and again. It’s a family requested fave, and I’m happy to oblige.

Ricotta, Basil, and Tomato Salad, Potatoes Gremolata, and Pan Seared Chicken – An impromptu dinner with old friends happened this weekend. Rather than go out, we opted to have them over and stay in. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than sitting around a table with great friends, reminiscing over great food and enjoying a great bottle of wine (or two). What I had in the fridge and pantry was a hodgepodge of veggies and some leftover herbs.  However, when good quality cheese and olive oil are household stables, great things happen.  Ricotta replaced mozzarella for a caprese-like salad that was ever so creamy.  Basil gremolata with a hint of sea salt on roasted fingerling potatoes were a perfect combo of chewy with a slightly crunchy edge. All of this with pan seared chicken was definitely an easy and entertaining worthy meal.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Homemade Fig Newtons

Adapted from My Whole Food Life
2 c. white whole wheat flour OR (1 c. white whole wheat flour + 1 c. almond meal)
2 organic eggs OR 2 flax eggs (stir together 2 T. ground flax seed + 6 T. water in a small dish and allow to set 5 min.)
1/3 c. coconut oil, softened
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 t. baking powder
2 t. organic vanilla extract
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 T. organic milk (alternative: almond milk)
2 T. organic applesauce unsweetened
Directions: In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon).  In a larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, milk, applesauce).  Add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Stir until a dough form.  Form the sticky, wet dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour (or freeze for 15 minutes if time is limited).  While the dough is resting/cooling, prepare the fig filling (see recipe below).

Tip: If using almond meal, the dough will be exceptionally wet and somewhat tricky when working with it.  The almond meal substitution came out of desperation when I had once run out of flour.  We found the outcome less visually pleasing because the sticky dough was a bit unforgiving. However, it was still absolutely yummy with a bit of a grainier texture.  In our house, we don’t judge food based on looks.  This is where the “two bite rule” comes in handy.  We often discover that ugly food can be quite delicious 😉

Fig Filling
15-20 figs rough chopped w/ tough stems removed (Turkish Figs or Black Mission Figs)
1 T. maple syrup
2-3 T. water
Directions: To a food processor, layer ingredients in this order: maple syrup, water, and then the figs.  Pulse until a peanut butter consistency is achieved.  Stop and redistribute ingredients in the food processor, if needed while pulsing.

Preheat the dough to 350 degrees.

Once the dough is cooled and ready to be rolled out, with flour dusted hands, turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface.  Using a flour dusted rolling pin, roll out the dough (checking often that it is not sticking) into a rectangular shape between 1/4 and 1/8 inch thick.  Spread the fig filling over 1/2 of the dough.  Fold the uncovered portion of the dough on top of the fig filling covered portion.  Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 2′ squares.  Bake the squares on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone for 12 to 15 minutes, or until slightly golden.  Enjoy!


Eggs, Avocados, & Olive Oil Drop Biscuits with Easy Oven Bacon

Adapted from A La Graham

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This meal requires a bit of commentary to help ensure the steps are timed right.  The bacon is prepared for baking (line baking sheet with foil & lay out the individual bacon slices).  Similarly, the biscuits are prepared and ready to pop in the oven, when it’s time.  Once these both are in the oven (which does not happen simultaneously – keep reading below), the avocados and eggs are prepared.

This meal starts with a cold oven.  The bacon goes in the cold oven, and then it’s turned on and begins to heat.  When the oven reaches full temperature, the biscuits go in the oven.  When the biscuits are done, your bacon will most likely be done too. (An exception would be for those who desire exceptionally crispy bacon. In that case, the bacon may need to remain in the oven a few minutes longer than the biscuits).

Easy Oven Bacon            
6 slices, preservative free bacon
Directions: Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the bacon on the baking sheet in a single layer. Place the bacon in a cold oven (note: the oven is NOT preheated). Heat the 450 degrees. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on your preferred doneness. It’s soooo easy this way, and there is no mess!

Biscuits (this recipe can be doubled)
1 c. whole white wheat flour
1.5 t. baking powder
.5 t. sea salt
1 T. local honey (alternative: 6 drops of organic stevia), optional
¼ c. olive oil
½ c. milk
Directions: In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk and olive oil (add the sweetener now, if using it). Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined. Use large serving spoons or a large scooper to “drop” the biscuits on a baking sheet. Once the oven reaches 450 degrees, bake for  for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until slightly golden.

While the biscuits are baking, prepare the avocados and eggs.

Avocado Mixture
2 avocados, mashed
Lemon juice
Sea salt/pepper, not optional
6 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
Organic tomato, sliced (optional)

Eggs – prepped to your preference (I whisk eggs with a splash of milk and sea salt/pepper)
Directions: Half the avocados, remove the seeds, and scoop the goodness into a small bowl. With a fork, mash the avocado. Season with salt/pepper and add a squeeze of lemon (note: lemon keeps the avocado from browning). Stir once more.

Cook the eggs as desired.  I typically scramble the eggs for a week night meal.  However, sunny side up (AKA “dippy eggs” in my house) is also popular.  The warm, but still liquid yolk, adds richness to each bite!

Assembly

Start with an upside down biscuit (the flat surface is key). Next, comes a healthy slathering of avocado mixture. Finally, top with eggs, pressing the eggs into the avocado to help them “stick” to the biscuit. Finish with a dash or two of Tobasco style hot sauce, if you’re feeling daring.  It really adds a great additional layer of flavor.


Corn and Tomato Pizza With Cilantro and Goat Cheese

Adapted from Bev Cooks


Dough
Trader Joe’s premade whole wheat dough, prepared per package directions

Pizza Toppings
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil)
1/2 red onion, chopped
2-3 NON GMO sweet corn ears, shucked and kernels removed (alternative: 2 c. frozen NON GMO sweet corn)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small pkg. organic cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 c. organic mozzarella, shredded
2 oz. goat cheese
Sea salt/black pepper, freshly ground
Tabasco style hot sauce, optional topping (recommended if you omit the jalapeno)
Directions: Preheat the oven to required pizza dough temperature. In a medium/large skillet warmed to medium heat, add the olive oil and onion and jalapeno (if using). Sauté until onions are translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add the corn and sauté another 5 minutes. The next step happens quickly because you do not want to burn the garlic! Add the garlic, stirring constantly, allow it to cook until for about a minute or until you can really smell it. Immediately squeeze the lemon over the skillet and add the cilantro. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and allow the heat to release their juices (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat. With the dough on the pizza stone or baking sheet, add a thin layer of mozzarella cheese, followed by the corn mixture. Crumble the goat cheese atop the pizza and add the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake according to your pizza crust directions. This is amazing – especially with a few drops of hot sauce on each slice!!!


Ricotta, Basil, and Tomato Salad, Potatoes Gremolata, and Pan Seared Chicken

Adapted from Farm Flavor 

 

Ricotta Basil and Tomato Salad
4 organic ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 ½ c. organic whole milk ricotta
⅓ c. organic basil, thinly sliced (check out this how-to chiffonade video)
1 t. orange zest (optional)
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
⅓ c. white wine vinegar (alternative: red wine vinegar)
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Directions: In a glass jar with a lid, add the dressing ingredients (olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper) and shake vigorously. Set aside. Arrange the tomatoes in a circular platter on a serving dish. Dollop (is that a verb?) the ricotta evenly on the tomatoes. Next, sprinkle the basil and orange zest on the top. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Refrigerate any dressing leftovers. Enjoy!

Potatoes Gremolata
Basil Gremolata
1/2 t. sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. fresh basil, finely chopped
Zest from 1 lemon
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1 pint organic fingerling potatoes (AKA la ratte)
Directions: In a food processor, combine salt, garlic, basil, lemon zest, and olive oil. Pulse until combined. Add mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese.  Set aside.

Boil potatoes in salted water until soft. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a single layer of the potatoes.

Gently smash the potatoes with a meat tenderizer or bottom of a glass. Don’t be too rough.  The desired outcome is an intact, but smashed potato. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Place potatoes in the oven. [Begin pan searing chicken now].  Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes before carefully flipping them over with a spatula.  Roast another 10-15 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven, and immediately spoon the gremolata mixture on the tops of the potatoes.

Serve with pan seared organic chicken breasts.

Community Supported Agriculture = Fresh Summer Meals

On the Menu This Week:

SNACKS

  1. Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. Not Quite Caprese Salad

DINNERS

  1. Quick Cucumber, Dill, Feta, & Avocado Salad with Grilled Chicken
  2. Corn and Tomato Pizza With Cilantro and Goat Cheese
  3. Sweet Corn With Beets and Basil With Grilled Chicken Sausage
  4. Cilantro Quinoa Turkey Burgers with Balsamic Watermelon Salad
  5. Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Bacon

As I mentioned before, I’m playing with the formatting on We Eat For Real. I like things organized and simplified.

SNACK NOTES:

Zucchini and tomatoes continue to come in each week from my CSA (Lazy Eight Stock Farm).  While they are typcially what you might think of for snacks, they definitely can be…  Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies are fab! They are cake-like and chocolatey. They do not have a zucchiniey [yes, I made up that word] flavor. If your family will freak with flecks of green, peel the zucchini before pureeing. While they lose some nutritional value without the peel, the flesh still packs a nutritional punch. You win some, you lose some!

I dream of Italy, often. So when I have fresh tomatoes and basil (but no Mozzarella), I make Not Quite Caprese Salads. It’s definitely reminiscent of a Caprese Salad and hits the spot on any summer day. It’s great midday snack, lunch item, or dinner side dish too.

DINNER NOTES:

Two meals repeats because the family requested them – Corn and Tomato Pizza with Cilantro and Goat Cheese and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. These are tried and true winners. I’ve entertained with this pizza several times too.  The pancakes would make a great Sunday brunch menu item. Pancakes for brunches are perfect because you can make several batches and keep them warm in the oven (200 degrees) until guests are ready to eat. The Balsamic Watermelon Salad has been seen on We Eat For Real before but with chicken. This week, it served as a salad to go with burgers. If you haven’t jumped on the watermelon and feta salad train yet…toot toot, get on board! What are you waiting for??

I gotta be honest; I stretched myself and the hubby this week with the Sweet Corn with Beets and Basil recipe. Beets prepared using the boiling method is typically something I bypass and never look back. When I came across this recipe, I thought that the flavor combination of basil and sweet corn could work if I added some goat cheese. I was right, if I do say so myself! This dish was “slammin,” to quote my family when something is delicious. The only reason there were any leftovers was because I made a small container for lunch prior to serving 😉

I’m happy to have found the Cilantro Quinoa Turkey Burger recipe.  Great flavor and with just three ingredients, they are ready in no time. Do these burgers a solid and slather on some mashed avocado. Make it even better with sliced tomatoes and red onions. My seven year old at a one-half of burger with all of the toppings and then asked for the other half. (That rarely happens with burgers). Try them with whole wheat pita pockets for something different too!

Quick Cucumber, Dill, Feta, & Avocado Salad with Grilled Chicken is a great summer dinner option that is ready in a flash. It would be great for a summer dinner party. It’s creamy, tangy, and crunchy flavor and textures are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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