Roasted Cauliflower and Spinach Salad

Roasting vegetables is so satisfying. It’s super easy to do and it changes the taste, texture, and look of the veggie to create a completely new version.

Sometimes I roast veggies without knowing what I’m going to do with them. In this case, I had a craving for cauliflower and bought a good looking bunch at the local market. After roasting them for 25 to 30 minutes, I scoured the refrigerator and pantry to see what else I had on hand. I ended up with this delightful spinach salad with carrots, dates, and pine nuts and a simple, homemade dressing.

So satisfying and so healthy.

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Roasted Cauliflower and Spinach Salad
Servings
2
Servings
2
Roasted Cauliflower and Spinach Salad
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Salad
Dressing
Servings:
Instructions
Roasted Cauliflower
  1. For the roasted cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, combine cauliflower, olive oil, and sea salt. Mix until cauliflower is coated. Line the baking pan with parchment paper and spread cauliflower pieces evenly across the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned and tender.
Salad
  1. In two bowls, divide the spinach, carrots, dates and pine nuts evenly. Top with roasted cauliflower.
Dressing
  1. In a jar with a lid, mix together the olive oil and vinegar. Add the salt and pepper, cover with the lid and shake well before serving.
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Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry

This ginger chicken stir-fry recipe with brown rice is a perfect combination of fresh vegetables and protein and provides everything you need for a truly healthy and satisfying meal—not to mention it’s delicious!

Chicken Stir Fry 2015

Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Rice
Stir-Fry
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a medium pot with steamer tray, steam broccoli just until tender and set aside.
  2. To make brown rice: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the brown rice, water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 45 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Set aside, covered, to steam for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Set aside.
  3. To make the stir-fry: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and swirl the pan to coat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes or until onions start to become translucent. Add chicken and tamari and cook for 4 to 6 minutes. Add carrots, peppers, snow peas and chicken broth. Cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Add broccoli, spinach and ginger and cook until spinach is wilted approximately 2 to 3 minutes or until chicken is done.
  4. Fluff the reserved rice with a fork and divide among 4 bowls. Spoon the stir-fry mixture over the rice and serve.
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Quinoa & Chickpea Salad

Sometimes the hardest part of preparing a lunch or dinner meal is figuring out what you’re in the mood for. When in doubt, my go-to is a quinoa bowl full of my favorite foods. In this case, I put together chickpeas, kidney beans, carrots, and celery. A simple combination that satisfies my craving for a healthy, filling lunch that keeps me happy all afternoon.

To top it off, I put together an easy dressing with ingredients I had on hand. I love balsamic vinegar and with a dash of salt, pepper and oregano, I was able to add just the right amount of flavor.

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Quinoa & Chickpea Salad
Servings
2
Servings
2
Quinoa & Chickpea Salad
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Salad
Dressing
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  2. Add the chickpeas, beans, carrots, celery, and sea salt to the quinoa and toss to mix.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, and oregano. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture and toss well to combine. The salad can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
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Roasted Vegetable Soup

I am always looking for different and creative ways to integrate vegetables into my family’s diet. (With a 6- and 8-year-old at home, I’ve discovered that I need to somehow keep veggies interesting). This Roasted Vegetable Soup recipe incorporates 8 fresh vegetables and simple herbs to create one amazing combination. Roasting the veggies before pureeing brings out their sweetness and intensifies their natural and delicious flavors.

I find that this soup hits the spot after a few weeks of indulging during the holidays. It’s a great recipe to take with you into the New Year!

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Roasted Vegetable Soup
Servings
4
Servings
4
Roasted Vegetable Soup
Servings
4
Servings
4
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the vegetables in ¼ x ¼ x 2 inch pieces and place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (Note: you will need several baking sheets to accommodate all the vegetables. The sweet potatoes often take longer than the other vegetable so make sure to place them on their own tray.)
  3. Roast the vegetable for approximately 25 minutes at 400 degrees, turning once. Increase temperature to 425 degrees and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  4. In a large saucepan, combine vegetable broth and roasted vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a high-speed blender and puree in batches. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Sprinkle with chopped basil and serve.
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Almond Crusted Chicken Breast

It’s sometimes challenging to get my young kids to eat a healthy chicken meal. Like most kids, they tend to prefer fried chicken nuggets; so when I place a standard grilled chicken breast on their plates, I brace myself for complaints. Having this in mind, I tasked myself with creating a delicious chicken recipe that the whole family will enjoy while still providing nutritional benefits.

This crispy almond crusted chicken uses a splash of extra-virgin olive oil (eliminating the need for butter or peanut oil) and skips the white flour that is standard in most recipes. The end result is a gluten-free, nutty-tasting chicken that’s awesome on its own or atop a bed of greens. Feel free to add your favorite veggies, squash, or grains to create a heartier meal.

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Almond Crusted Chicken Breast
Servings
4
Servings
4
Almond Crusted Chicken Breast
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, oat flour, paprika, onion powder, oregano, salt and garlic powder and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and set aside.
  3. Pound the chicken to an even thickness (about ½ inch) by placing the breasts between 2 plastic bags or sheets of plastic wrap and hitting the thick part of the chicken with a flat meat pounder or rolling pin.
  4. Dip the chicken breasts into the egg mixture. After dipping chicken into the egg, dip into the dry mixture so that it is evenly covered.
  5. In a deep skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Time will depend on the thickness of the chicken.
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Crave-Worthy Salmon Stir-Fry

I love the fresh flavors that come together in a stir-fry. In this particular version, I use salmon, broccoli, snow peas, carrots, water chestnuts, and spinach. But the beauty of stir-fry is that you can substitute nearly any vegetable for another. Shop your local farmers market for the season’s best and add or substitute as you please.

Salmon Stir Fry in Pot   Salmon Stir Fry 2 Forks

Salmon Stir-Fry
Servings
2
Servings
2
Salmon Stir-Fry
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Marinade
Stir-Fry
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine sesame oil, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper in a large glass bowl. Add the salmon to the mixture and let marinade for approximate 10 minutes.
  2. While the salmon is marinating, place a collapsible steamer in a wide saucepan with tight-fitting lid and add enough cold water to almost come up to the bottom of the steamer. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat to create a head of steam.
  3. Add the broccoli, snow peas, and carrots to the steamer. Cover the saucepan tightly again and lower the heat so the water simmers to maintain steam. Steam the vegetables until they are done to your liking. Using a potholder, grab the central stem and remove the steamer. Transfer the vegetables to a dish and set aside.
  4. Remove salmon from marinade (reserve the marinade) and cut into bite size pieces. In a large skillet or stir-fry pan, heat olive oil and reserved marinade on medium-high heat. Add salmon, water chestnuts, and tamari. Cook until salmon is partly done, approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Add steamed vegetables, spinach, and ¼ cup water to the skillet. Stir, cover, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
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Pardon the Interruption (I’ve been busy putting on the St. Pete Wine & Food Festival)

You may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet on the blog these past couple of months. My passion for food and the culinary arts combined with my love for producing large-scale events, inspired me to create the first annual St. Pete Wine & Food Festival. My goal was to highlight the emerging culinary scene in the Tampa Bay area, while creating a premier wine and food event like the city has never seen before.

The event was a huge success! We partnered with over 35 restaurants, 30 breweries, and 40 wineries to create a memorable four-day festival including a Charity Wine Pairing Dinner, a craft beer festival (BEER Night St. Pete), and two-day Grand Tasting.

The Grand Tastings featured some of the best food from local Tampa Bay area restaurants. The chef demos added a nice touch for the foodie, like me, who loves to cook. And the variety of wines from all over the world provided something for everyone. The culinary emergence is happening everywhere and it’s worth celebrating!

I am honored to work with the talented group of chefs, brewers, and vintners who helped bring this event to life. I hope you’ll consider joining me for the 2nd annual St. Pete Wine & Food Festival in 2016 (date to be announced soon). In the meantime, enjoy the photo highlights below.

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Kale & Quinoa Salad

This is a great salad for summer. With kale and quinoa as the base, add your favorite veggies (and, if you’d like, your choice of protein for a delicious salad that will keep you full, satisfied, and happy!

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Kale & Quinoa Salad
Servings
2
Servings
2
Kale & Quinoa Salad
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Salad
Dressing
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine quinoa, water and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on low until water is absorbed (approximately 15 minutes). Remove from heat and keep covered.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and Dijon mustard and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine kale, carrots, tomato, cucumber, pepper and onion. Fold in the quinoa and gently stir.
  4. Split between two bowls, sprinkle with sliced almonds and drizzle with dressing.
  5. (Make 2 large (meal size) servings or 4 small servings )
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Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche

Years ago, before I had children (who are now 6 and 7), my husband and I would take our boat to a waterfront restaurant not far from our house. Although there are many waterfront restaurants to choose from (we live in Florida) we selected this particular restaurant because it had one of our favorite appetizers—shrimp ceviche served with tortilla chips. Although the restaurant no longer exists, this refreshing dish reminds me of the time we spent sitting on the restaurant dock drinking wine and enjoying this favorite appetizer.

Over the years, I’ve made some changes to the dish. The restaurant used baby shrimp but I found that I enjoy medium size shrimp that are chopped into smaller pieces rather than baby shrimp. I also added bay scallops to the recipe as the combination of shrimp and scallops ensures every bite is special.

If you want to do all the prep at once, do so, but just don’t combine the vegetables with the seafood until you’re ready to serve. I usually prep the seafood and while it’s in the refrigerator, I prep all the vegetables (except the avocado). I cover and store in the fridge until I’m ready to combine and serve. A little squeeze of fresh orange juice and the addition of avocado added immediately before serving and you have a perfectly healthy and crave-worthy dish.

In a glass or stainless steel bowl, stir together the lime juice, lemon juice, Add the shrimp and scallops, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours. Stir once or twice during chilling.

Citrus

When ready to serve, drain the shrimp and scallops. Add the tomato, cucumber, red onion, garlic, cilantro, Serrano chile, and salt and toss gently.

cevicheherbs

Just before serving, add the avocado and the juice of one orange and toss. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche
Servings
8(appetizer servings)
Servings
8(appetizer servings)
Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche
Servings
8(appetizer servings)
Servings
8(appetizer servings)
Ingredients
Servings: (appetizer servings)
Instructions
  1. In a glass or stainless steel bowl, stir together the lime juice, lemon juice, Add the shrimp and scallops, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours. Stir once or twice during chilling.
  2. When ready to serve, drain the shrimp and scallops. Add the tomato, cucumber, red onion, garlic, cilantro, Serrano chile, and salt and toss gently.
  3. Just before serving, add the avocado and the juice of one orange and toss. Serve with tortilla chips.
  4. (Note: this recipe can make 8 appetizer size portions or 4 main meal portions)
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Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Confession: I am not a huge fan of bell peppers; or at least I didn’t think I was. I typically avoid cooking with them or leave them untouched on my plate at a restaurant. But when a recent video shoot left me with a surplus of beautiful red and yellow peppers, I couldn’t let them go to waste. It was time to give them another go.

With quinoa as the base and the addition of a few veggies, almonds, cranberries, herbs, and spices, I was able to create a quick and easy stuffing for the bell peppers. The sweet taste and tender texture of the peppers balance the quinoa stuffing perfectly.

In “The Healthy You Diet“, I encourage readers to give new foods a try, even if they think they don’t like them. It was time I listened to my own advice. This recipe changed everything I previously thought about peppers, and instead of avoiding them I now crave them!

Bell Peppers Whole

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Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Servings
4
Servings
4
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the quinoa and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  3. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the carrots, and garlic, and cook stirring frequently for 1 minute. Add the reserved quinoa, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, almonds, and cranberries and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Set aside to let filling cool until slightly warm.
  4. Oil a 9x12 baking pan. Divide the quinoa mixture evenly among the bell peppers. Place the reserved top on each pepper and arrange them upright in the pan. Cover the peppers with foil and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until peppers are tender and filling is hot throughout. Transfer to plates and serve.
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