Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

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Not only is this dish DE-LISH, it is also a visually beautiful contribution to the menu. The burnt orange from the butternut squash and persimmon, combined with pomegranate, celery, and parsley make it an artistic winner at any meal. This Thanksgiving, I had a number of friends with dietary restrictions joining my family gathering, so I knew there would be a new variety of side dishes to try. Thank goodness I’m a foodie Instagram addict and found MindBodySoul’s awesome recipe reposted by Whole Foods. I was inspired and contributed something totally different from the other typical Thanksgiving dishes. Even the carnivores were impressed! Can’t wait to go round two with this recipe.

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Crazy Good Olive Tapenade

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Whoa. I mean, serious whoa. This stuff is so delicious, you’ll want to put it on everything. I first made it up as a dip, complete with warmed baguette, double creme brie and prosciutto, but it would also be awesome as a chicken marinade. However you dress it up, it’ll be a huge hit (I even converted a staunch anti-olive eater!). Find additional recipe ideas at the bottom of the post. Continue reading

Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs

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If you enjoy food porn as much as I do (obviously you do, because you follow this blog), I strongly recommend following Buzzfeed’s Tasty channel. In less than a minute a video, you quickly find inspiration for future meals, and perhaps a bit of a drooling session.

These meatballs are super delicious, and pretty fast to put together. If you happen to have any leftovers, toast up some sourdough bread, add a little Trader Joe’s cilantro salad dressing and have at it. Continue reading

Chard and Garbanzo Bean Salad

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For something with so few ingredients, it really packs a flavorful punch. I was so pleased to share this dish with a friend recently, and she gave me the best compliment of all: entire shock at how tasty it was! Let this be your meal’s main feature, or partner with roasted chicken or pork. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll be adding this salad to your cooking rotation tout suite! Continue reading

Smoky Brown Sugar-Crusted Salmon with Avocado Cream

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I am a huge salmon lover, but I can appreciate others are still warming up to it. For those people, I’m really excited to try this spicy salmon recipe! If you’ve tried it, let me know what you think!

The Dough Will Rise Again

A small miracle occurred in my kitchen last week: I cooked salmon. Salmon that was totally raw – not smoked, or preserved in any way. No one was holding a gun to my head, and I had purchased the fillet of my own free will. Even better, I actually thought the final product was GOOD, and not just in an “I will tolerate this food for the sake of my health” kind of way… but in an “I would willingly eat that again, even without the presence of a threat of bodily harm if I don’t” sort of way. This can mean only one thing: I am growing as a person. Next thing you know, I’ll be ordering raw oysters at restaurants! (No. No, I will not. I am growing as a person, not growing CRAZY.)

Smoky Brown Sugar-Crusted Salmon with Avocado Cream

In all seriousness, I’m not gonna pretend that I just lightly seasoned the salmon…

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Sausage and Veggie Pasta in Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce

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Yeah, you heard me.

Sometimes even when you need comfort food, some vegetables are in order, and that’s what I made for myself one fine evening. The base vodka cream sauce recipe (butter, yellow onions, heavy cream, vodka) can be used in multiple iterations, so try your hand at it and impress all your friends. Continue reading

Roasted Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad

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Inspired by the Picnic House‘s brown rice salad, this side dish is a big hit at potlucks, lunch and dinner side dishes. Happily, the recipe is simple, limited effort and absolutely delicious – hot or cold.

Roasted Vegetables and Brown Rice Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium skinned, cubed sweet potato
  • 2-3 carrots, quartered and cubed
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small flowerettes
  • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnut vinaigrette (I prefer Lucini, found at New Seasons)
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions

Most of the “work” for this dish is taken care of while the vegetables are roasting, which can be done the night before and then kept cool until serving. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss cauliflower, carrots and sweet potatoes with 2 tbs of olive oil, some salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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While the vegetable roast, warm over low heat the remaining tbs of olive oil in a pot, then add the brown rice and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add water and cook to package instructions (usually around 25 minutes).

Once the rice has finished, remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally to release the heat. If you would like this to be a warm salad, immediately start mixing together the roasted vegetables and rice, add hazelnuts, cilantro, and vinaigrette. For a cold salad, let the rice cool completely before adding all the ingredients together.

Yup, that’s pretty much it! You may like to add more salt and/or vinaigrette to the salad, but regardless, you won’t be disappointed in the outcome!

Leftover tip: heat the leftover salad over medium heat with just some water, then break an egg and scramble. Makes for an awesome breakfast!