Shaved Pear Salad with Peach Mango Goat Cheese, Fresh Mint, Purple Basil and a White Balsamic Raspberry Vinaigrette

Shaved Pear Salad with Peach Mango Goat Cheese, Fresh Mint, Purple Basil and a White Balsamic Raspberry Vinaigrette

This is the perfect summer salad made up of sweet pears sliced paper thin, tangy peach and mango goat cheese, refreshing fresh herbs, and a slightly sweet, slightly tangy dressing of white balsamic and raspberries. To make the dressing, combine white balsamic raspberry blush vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon pepper sea salt seasoning and whisk. When shaving the pears, use a vegetable slicer at its 1/32″ setting for the perfect, paper thin slices. Julienne the mint and basil, add crumbled peach and mango goat cheese and drizzle the homemade dressing on top. Serve immediately.

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Grilled Halloumi and Watermelon Salad with Fresh Mint and Lemon Pepper Sea Salt

SAM_4940Halloumi cheese is perfect for summer cookouts and BBQ’s because of it’s high melting point, making it the perfect cheese to throw on the grill. Halloumi is a very salty cheese that pairs perfectly with watermelon and mint. Rosemary and basil are also great herbs to use with this salad. Throw in a couple twists from the lemon pepper sea salt grinder and you have the perfect side for your cookout. Enjoy!

Cucumber and Cashew Salad with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

Cucumber and Cashew Salad with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

Sometimes less is more, as is the case with this salad. Made with sweet grape tomatoes, crunchy cashews, crisp and refreshing cucumbers, tangy honey goat cheese, fresh ground lemon pepper seasonings and a fig balsamic drizzle. You can use whatever balsamic vinegar you can get your hands on, but a sweeter, lighter balsamic works best for this salad. (Make it vegan by omitting the goat cheese!)

What you will need:
cucumber
grape or cherry tomatoes
honey goat cheese (or any type of goat cheese, really)
cashews
lemon pepper sea salt grinder
balsamic vinegar

Slice the cucumbers and quarter them. Slice the grape tomatoes in half and place both ingredients on a plate or in a bowl. Add crumbled goat cheese and cashews, give the lemon pepper grinder a few twists and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve outdoors on a humid summer’s day with an ice cold martini.

Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque

IMG_6589Fresh rosemary, basil, and parsley along with fresh stalks of celery, onion, and garlic make this bisque one of the freshest, most fragrant tomato bisque’s you’ll ever eat. No broth is used in this recipe, just fresh ingredients, heavy whipping cream, and mozzarella cheese. This bisque is best when made with local tomatoes that are in season. If possible, buy your tomatoes from a local farmers market, but if that isn’t an option, vine ripened tomatoes from the grocery store will give you the best flavor when tomatoes are out of season. Makes 6-8 servings.

What you will need:
a food processor
butter (optional)
9-10 vine ripened tomatoes
3 celery stalks
1 red onion
5 garlic cloves
1 rosemary sprig
a handful of parsley
1 T Italian seasoning
1 T lemon pepper sea salt grinder
1 1/2 c chopped fresh basil
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 c mozzarella

Turn a large pot on low heat and start to melt the butter (you can leave the butter out if you want, but still turn the burner on to warm up the pot). In a food processor, combine 5-6 tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic cloves, fresh parsley, and fresh rosemary leaves and blend until smooth. Add to the pot. Meanwhile, chop the rest of the tomatoes into 1/2 inch chunks and add to the pot along with the Italian seasoning and lemon pepper seasoning and continue to cook on low heat for about 20 minutes. Then, add the fresh chopped basil, heavy whipping cream and mozzarella and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh scallions, croutons, or more cheese and serve.

Potato, Leek, and Kale Soup

Potato, Leek, and Kale Soup

This soup isn’t healthy in the least, and I make no apologies for it. The more butter, the merrier. And don’t forget the heavy whipping cream! This is an easy recipe to follow and can be on the table in about 35-40 minutes. Save it for those bitter cold winter days when all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch with a warm blanket. Makes about 6 servings.

What you will need:
3 large baking potatoes
lots and lots of butter. I didn’t measure here, so I’m assuming maybe 3 T? Maybe more??!
1 leek
1/2 a bunch of lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan or dinosaur kale)
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 packets of Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Mushroom Soup Mix
3 1/2- 4 c water
1 c potato flakes

In a pot, bring water to a boil. Dice the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and add them to the boiling water (cutting them into smaller pieces before boiling them cuts down on cooking time). Boil for about 15- 20 minutes, or until they are done. Meanwhile, in a separate large pot, melt butter over medium low heat. Chop the leeks and add them to the pot. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chop the kale into 1/8 inch pieces. Once the potatoes are done, drain and add them to the pot with the leeks, along with the kale, heavy whipping cream, water, and the packets of Lipton onion mushroom soup mix. Turn the heat up to medium, add the potato flakes and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes. Serve garnished with scallions.

Thai Ginger Peanut Soup (Vegan!)

Thai Ginger Peanut Soup (Vegan!)

This slightly spicy soup is bursting with flavor from Swanson’s Thai Ginger Broth, a hint of peanuts, almost 10 oz of mushrooms, chunks of tofu, and handfuls upon handfuls of spinach. And, it’s ridiculously easy to make! This soup is hearty and can be served as a main dish that’s ready in under 20 minutes! Makes about 6-8 servings.

What you will need:
oil for sauteing (I highly recommend coconut oil)
4 oz shittake mushrooms
32 oz carton of Swanson’s Thai Ginger Broth (kudos to Swanson for that one, by the way!)
3 well rounded spoonfuls of chunky peanut butter (not creamy!)
16 oz of Trader Joe’s super firm tofu (if you can find it. It goes above and beyond the calls of extra firm tofu. Trust me.)
3 oz enoki mushrooms
2 oz beech mushrooms
large handfuls of spinach (I used about 5)

In a medium or large pot, melt the coconut oil. Remove most of the stem from the shittake mushrooms and cut any of the larger mushrooms in half. Add them to the pot and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cut the tofu into small cubes and remove the woody ends of the enoki and beech mushrooms. Add the spoonfuls of peanut butter to the soup along with the tofu, enoki, and beech mushrooms. Then, start adding the handfuls of spinach, letting each handful wilt a little bit before adding the next, until you have your desired amount of spinach. Serve garnished with chopped peanuts or scallions.

Skillet Baked Eggs with Spinach and Goat Cheese

Skillet Baked Eggs with Spinach and Goat Cheese

This is an easy recipe that only involves 4 ingredients- butter, spinach, goat cheese and eggs. Of course you can add fresh herbs, hot sauce, onions, and all sorts of other veggies, but I felt like keeping it simple today. If you have a big appetite, you might be able to finish this yourself, but this meal is best when shared between two people.

This recipe can also be made without a cast iron skillet. Check out the * at the bottom of this recipe for instructions on how to use a frying pan in place of cast iron.

What you will need:
a cast iron skillet
butter for sauteing
handfuls of spinach
goat cheese
3 eggs (or more if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add spinach by the handfuls and stir until it starts to wilt, no longer then 3 or 4 minutes. Add crumbled goat cheese and then start to carefully crack the eggs into the skillet, making sure not to break the yolks. Transfer to the oven and cook until the egg white start to set, about 10-15 minutes.

*In a medium size frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add spinach by the handfuls and stir until it starts to wilt, no longer then 3 or 4 minutes. Add crumbled goat cheese and then start to carefully crack the eggs into the pan, making sure not to break the yolks. Cover with lid and continue to cook until the egg whites have set, about 4-6 minutes.

Sweet and Spicy Curried Tofu Taco Lettuce Wraps

Sweet and Spicy Curried Tofu Taco Lettuce Wraps

With ingredients like hot Jamaican yellow curry, cooling cucumber and mint tzatziki sauce, Asian slaw and sweet pineapple- these tacos are infused with flavor that’s bursting at the seams! And they’re gluten free! The Hot Jamaican Yellow Curry Hot Sauce used in this recipe from my good friend, Cowboy George, at Blaze Gourmet, will have you running home crying for yo momma. That’s where the fresh mint leaves and tzatziki come into play. Without them, you might really run home crying to yo momma.

Also, follow these tips on how to freeze and thaw tofu to achieve the best texture and flavor. Don’t skip this step. It’ll give you the best tasting tofu you’ve ever had!

What you will need:
oil for sauteing
1 lb extra firm tofu
1/2 c yellow curry sauce (I recommend Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce)
1/4 c Blaze Gourmet Hot Jamaican Curry Hot Sauce
Asian coleslaw (you can buy this prepackaged at just about any grocery store. Most of them already have the Asian slaw dressing included. If not, look for an Asian ginger salad dressing)
canned pineapple tidbits, drained

tzatziki sauce
red onion, sliced
fresh mint leaves
romaine lettuce leaves

First, follow these tips on how to freeze, thaw and drain tofu. Crumble the tofu into a scrambled egg consistency and fry in a greased frying pan over medium heat, letting the tofu get crispy on the outside. Mix the two different curry sauces in a bowl and add to the frying pan, making sure to coat every piece of tofu in the sauce. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, mix together the ingredients for the Asian slaw. Then, start filling your romaine lettuce leaves, starting with tzatziki, then the curried tofu, Asian slaw, red onion, pineapple tidbits, and mint leaves. Serve with tequila for your next Taco Tuesday night!

Pomegranate and Pistachio Kale Salad with a Honey Goat Cheese and Fig Balsamic Dressing

Pomegrantate and Pistachio Kale Salad with a Honey Goat Cheese Fig Balsamic Dressing

Start off the new year right with this colorful, easy to make, simple salad that’s rich with antioxidants and vitamins from chia seeds, pomegranate seeds and kale. An aged fig balsamic vinegar acts as the perfect base for the dressing, but any rich, flavorful balsamic vinegar will do. This salad will last for a couple of days in the fridge, too, so you can eat healthy all week!

What you will need:
The Dressing
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/8 c olive oil
2 oz honey goat cheese (if honey goat cheese isn’t readily available, add about a spoonful or less of honey to the dressing.)

juice of 1/2 lemon

The Salad
1 bunch of kale (about 1 lb)
seeds from 1/2 of a pomegranate
a few handfuls of pistachios (shells removed!)
a handful or two of chia seeds
2 oz honey goat cheese

In a small mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the salad dressing and whisk until the goat cheese is mixed in (there will be little pieces of goat cheese in the dressing and that’s fine). Chop kale into bite size pieces and add to a large mixing bowl. “Massage” the kale between your hands. This breaks down the cellulose wall making it less bitter and tough while making it easier to eat. A good 5 minute rubdown should do the trick. You can add the dressing before or right after this step, it just depends on how messy you want to get. Add the chia seeds, pomegranate seeds and pistachios and mix. Serve in a bowl with the remaining honey goat cheese crumbled on top.

Baked Eggs and Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy

Baked Eggs and Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy

This recipe may just be the beginning of an ongoing series called “Eggs in holes”. Yeah, I know it’s been done before, but seriously, eggs baked in holes are amazing! And the possibilities are pretty endless. This recipe is somewhat of a twist on eggs benedict, but without any frying, meat (obviously), or hollandaise sauce. And it’s actually half of the calories of eggs benedict, with about 8 grams of protein per serving. It’s very easy to make and won’t weigh you down like a breakfast fried in tons of butter and oil. Makes 8 servings.

You can also add a layer of cheese on top of the biscuit in this recipe. A slice of smoked cheddar is highly recommended (I bought smoked cheddar just for this recipe and forgot to add it. Sad face).

What you will need:
1 can of 8 large buttermilk biscuits (not the flaky ones)
8 eggs
3- 4 sweet bell peppers, depending on the size
1 can of mushroom bisque (Amy’s makes and amazing mushroom bisque that’s thick like gravy)
fresh rosemary (or other herbs of your choice)
scallions, diced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, cut peppers into rings that are about 1/2 inch thick. Make sure not too cut them too thin since they will be holding the egg on top of the biscuit. Flatten out biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet (if you’re adding cheese, now would be the time to do it), making them wide enough to fit the pepper rings on top of them, then press the pepper rings into the biscuits. Crack an egg into each pepper ring and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the eggs whites have turned white. In a sauce pan, heat the mushroom gravy while the eggs and biscuits are baking. Once the eggs and biscuits are done, smother them in gravy and top with fresh rosemary and scallions and serve.