Tag Archives: olive oil

Fresh Corn & Tomato Salad

Today I have a quick and easy side dish for you. While other recipes are still waiting in line to get on the blog, this one I made just last week. I wanted to share it with all of you before fresh corn becomes too out of season. The good part about now is that fresh heirloom tomatoes are cropping up in supermarkets.

I’m sure you could use thawed frozen sweet corn in this recipe, but using fresh corn off the cob gives this salad a little something special.

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Sorry the picture isn’t fantastic, I was hungry! But I promise that it is delicious! You can even eat it as a light lunch. Add some of your favorite beans for a little protein kick.

If you don’t like goat cheese (which I know a lot of people don’t), feel free to add in fresh mozzarella pieces or leave out the cheese all together.

Fresh Corn & Tomato Salad
(Serves 4-6)

4 ears of sweet corn cut off the cob or thawed frozen sweet corn (about 2 cups)
1 lb. heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2″ chunks
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
5 basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

In a large bowl combine corn, tomatoes, onion, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Allow to sit for an hour in the fridge before serving.

Just before serving, add fresh basil. Mix well. Top with goat cheese and serve cold or at room temperature.

Easy enough, right?

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Getting Back on Track

Did anyone eat and drink as much as I did this weekend? No? Guess it was just in our household! It was my birthday this past Friday and I had visitors from Long Island – one of my best friends from college and her boyfriend. Whenever visitors come around do you find yourself eating a drinking more? Drinking including the BEST margaritas in the world? I will share the recipe eventually 🙂

First I’d like to let everyone know a few of the awesome home/kitchen/cooking related gifts I got because I’m excited about them. From my boyfriend a gift certificate to Home Depot (along with a part-shade plant) to start my shady garden on our balcony and a BB&B gift certificate to bulk up my kitchen supplies. Oh, and a Cooking for Friends cookbook from Williams-Sonoma I mentioned I wanted about 4 months ago! From my mom I got an herb garden she planted for me herself filled with my favorite herbs: basil, rosemary, cilantro and thyme 🙂

Also, I received an amazing little notebook from my friend from nursing school which includes some of her own favorite recipes, along with family member recipes (awesome, right?) A cookbook from my aunt which is one she bought when she first got married that has amazing classic desserts and things of the like. And I can’t forget about this sweeeet spoon holder from friends I met through Tim. Cooking + Owls = Love. (Did I ever mention I also have an owl apron?). People know me so well 🙂

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Enough about me rambling. The recipe I’d like to share with you today is a very nutritious and healthy pesto to go over your favorite whole grain pasta, along with some veggies. It’s delicious hot or cold. It’s good to eat when you’re trying to get back on track! Make a big batch to have to eat during the week. Feel free to add beans or chicken slices for some extra protein. Throw in whatever veggies you have on hand!

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Kale-Edamame Pesta Pasta with Green Veggies
(Serves 4-6)

1 lb. short pasta of your choosing
1 small zucchini, diced
10 asparagus stalks, chopped
2 c. washed, chopped kale (stems removed)
10-12 leaves basil
6 mint leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 c. shelled edamame, thawed
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta according to package directions in a large pot and cook to your desired doneness – I like al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a medium frying pan, splash a little olive oil in the pan. Throw in your zucchini and asparagus and any other veggies you like. Cook until just tender until starting to brown, about 10-12 minutes. Set aside.

When the pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of the salty, starchy water when you strain it. Place back into the pot (or a serving bowl if you want to be fancy) and add veggies. Keep off the heat.

In a blender or a food processor, add all the rest of the ingredients (kale, edamame, basil, mint, cheese, olive oil, walnuts, garlic). Puree until smooth, adding as much pasta water as you need to thin out the pesto to make a sauce. Use salt and pepper to taste. I’d say start out with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and go from there.

Add the pesto to the pasta and the veggies, stir to coat and serve hot or cold!

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Delicious Spring Salad

First off, I apologize for the lack of posts over the last week. Working 6/7 days is not conducive to blogging. Apparently it’s not conducive to my immune system either! So while I’m curled up in a blanket on the couch, I wanted to share a great recipe with you to kick off the start of spring.

It’s my barley salad with roasted beets and vegetables.

This salad is delicious hot or cold. I had it warm when it was finished because I couldn’t wait for it to cool off. Then I had it cold out of the fridge when it was leftovers!

The color of the finished product is fantastic. The beets turn the barley a deep pink – beautiful!

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I topped this salad with a bit of goat cheese, because I absolutely love the stuff. You can omit it, or maybe use gorgonzola if you prefer.

Always remember to get some help from the grocery store when you can. In this recipe, I used the prewashed, pretrimmed green beans in the produce section.

Barley Salad with Roasted Vegetables
(Serves 6-10 … depending if it’s a side or not)

1 c. barley, cooked according to package directions
1/2 bunch asparagus, about 8 stalks, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, cut into 1/2″-1″ chucks
1 c. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1/2-1″ chunks
3 medium-sized beets
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
4 oz. goat cheese (or the cheese of your choice), optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

First, cook your barley according to package directions. It takes awhile to cook!

Meanwhile, roast the beets – I have instructions from this post. I also have instructions how to peel there as well. Cut into 1/2-1″ chunks.

While the beets are roasting and the barley is cooking, chop up your veggies. Line a baking sheet with foil. Put your veggies on the sheet, overlapping as little as possible. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with S&P. Bake until the veggies become tender and start to brown. About 25-30 minutes.

In a large bowl, put your cooked barley, beet chunks, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. The beets turn the barley a pretty pink! See?

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Add the rest of your vegetables Stir to combine. Top with goat cheese before serving.

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Brussel Sprouts: Your New Favorite Vegetable

Why do I say that? Because who can resist a vegetable made with bacon? Unless you’re one of my friends who doesn’t like bacon *ahem* you know who you are.

This was my first attempt at brussel sprouts with bacon. Usually, I’d make them just with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. But I like to experiment with new things. And I love the salty meaty flavor bacon adds to dishes.

Remember that meatloaf I made? These sprouts were paired with it.

Now I know that these little cabbages have a bad rep. If you’re unsure if you like them or not, just give it a try. Especially if you love bacon.

You can get fresh brussel sprouts, chop of the ends a tad, take off the bad leaves, and cut in half. Or if you want to save time, just go for the frozen ones. Frozen vegetables are great to use. They’re flash frozen at the peak of freshness and in season all year round!

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Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
(Serves 4)

1 lb of fresh brussel sprouts, or the same weight frozen
4 slices of bacon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a dry frying pan over medium-high heat. Slice 4 slices of bacon into about 1/4 inch slices, width wise. (Tip: if you put the bacon in the freezer for about an hour it makes it easier to slice). Put in the frying pan and cook until just starting to get crispy, they’ll cook longer in the oven.

Prepare the fresh brussel sprouts as I mentioned above, wash and put into a baking sheet. Or just dump the frozen ones onto a baking sheet.

Pour the bacon and grease (if you’re ok with that!) over top of the brussel sprouts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the sprouts are nicely browned. Serve as a side dish or just to eat by themselves!

So what do you think? Will you give them a try?

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Easy Lunch for a Week

I’m a big fan of making large batches of meals and then using them throughout the week to have more time to relax. My first week of work I decided to make a large batch of pasta salad for lunches for the week. I’m not a huge sandwich person for lunches, unless it’s from a place like Jimmy John’s.

I was also at the time trying to figure out if I had some sort of wheat or oat allergy, so I picked up some quinoa pasta. You can use any type of your favorite short pasta for this dish. Also use any of your favorite vegetables. The ones I chose are just those that jumped out to me in the grocery store.

Don’t like chickpeas or black beans? Use whatever kinds of beans you like, or cook some chicken and dice it up.

You could also use this dish as a side to dinner. I liked it for lunch because it carries well since there’s no mayo in it. Of course, this means it’s super healthy! This pasta salad takes advantage of really fresh veggies, so it’s pretty guilt free 🙂

Garden Pasta Salad
(Serves 4-6)

8 oz of your favorite short pasta
1 15 oz can of black beans
1 15 oz can of chickpeas
4 small gourmet cucumbers or ½ of an English cucumber, diced
1 handful of grape tomatoes, quartered
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
½ c. diced carrots
¼ c. olive oil
½ lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
Any other veggies you like chopped into similar sizes: peppers, olives, radishes, mushrooms, etc.

Cook your pasta according to package directions in salted water to your desired doneness. I personally like my pasta al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, chop up all your veggies. In a large bowl, combine all of your veggies, beans, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Let sit. The salt will bring out all the juices of the vegetables and make a delicious coating for the pasta.

When the pasta is finished, strain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain all the excess water out, and add the pasta to your bowl of veggies.

Serve immediately or put into containers for lunch!

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Bread Is Just Another Utensil

I wanted something simple, delicious and classic to serve with my French onion chicken for dinner with the parents on Saturday. Something to sop up all the yummy juices.

The perfect choice: garlic bread.

I know it’s tempting to just grab a loaf of garlic bread out of the frozen section. But it’s so easy to make and you can control the kind of fat you are going to eat.

And look at this beautiful loaf of bread I got from the bakery section in my grocery store:

You can use olive oil, butter, or anything in between to make this. I have a butter that has olive oil in it for everyday use, so it’s a perfect choice for making garlic bread.

Feel free to play around with this recipe, adding more garlic, butter or spices to suit your tastes.

You can also mix up the garlic butter a couple days in advance. I made it the day before. The morning of I slathered it on the bread and just kept the loaf together in the bag until I was ready to serve it.

Check out a close up of all that garlic! I didn’t get a picture of the finished product, I had some hungry guests 🙂

Buttery Garlic Bread
(Serves 6-8)

1 crusty loaf of bread or French baguette
8 tbsp. (1/2 c. or 1 stick) butter with olive oil
4-5 large cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. dried oregano
4 sprigs thyme, leaves only
1/2 tsp. salt (1 tsp. if you use unsalted butter)
½ tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. red pepper flake

Mix together all ingredients. It’s easier if the butter is room temperature. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

When you’re ready, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice your loaf of bread in half. Divide the butter mixture in two. Using the back of a spoon or a butter knife, spread the butter all over the bread.

Place bread on a baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes. Then, put it under the broiler for a couple minutes to get the top a crusty golden brown. Watch it! It goes very quick! I almost burned mine….

Then, slice the bread up however you please, and serve.

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