Summer Succotash Pesto Orzo

I love a recipe that is just as delicious cold for leftovers as it was when it was first cooked, especially in the summer when I try to avoid heating up the kitchen as much as possible. This recipe combines so many delicious flavors. Sweet corn, zesty garlic pesto, lots of fresh summer veggies, lemon to brighten things up and a bit of Parmesan for a hearty touch. This is not your typical Succotash but includes a lot of the same flavors that makes for a substantial meatless meal when combined with Orzo. Everyone in my family dove in for seconds and we still had leftovers for lunch the next day!

Serves 6-8

 

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, diced small

4 ears corn, cut off cob

1 large zucchini, diced small

1 large yellow squash, diced small

16 oz fresh shelled peas

1/2 C carrot, diced small

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 T butter, divided

2 T olive oil

1 box orzo pasta

1 C pesto sauce (store bought -or- this is a great Pesto recipe)

1 handful basil leaves, rough chopped

1/4 C chopped chives

Juice of 1 lemon

Shaved Parmesan for topping

S&P TT

Directions:

Place a large pot filled with salted water on stove and bring to a boil. Cook orzo to box directions. Drain and return to cooled pot and add 2T olive oil. Stir to combine and let cool. Add pesto and stir through.

Sauté the onion and carrots on medium high heat in 2 T butter, 5-6 minutes. Add corn a  little salt and pepper and sauté 3-4 minutes. Remove corn mix from the pan and set aside. Put remaining butter in sauté pan and cook zucchini, squash and peas 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally but not continuously so the veggies brown a bit. Add garlic, a little more salt and pepper, stir and sauté 2-3 more minutes.

Mix all veggies with the pesto orzo, add the chopped basil and chives and squeeze lemon over top. Mix everything together and top with shaved Parmesan.

Enjoy!

Cheese Boards!

I LOVE a good cheese board. They make a beautiful display for any occasion and offer options for even the pickiest guest. I like to make sure to include a variety of cheeses, fruits, nuts, meats, dried fruit, veggies, olives, crackers, anything pickled, dips and always something sweet like honey or fig preserves. To make for an eye catching display make sure to cut your cheese selections into different sizes and shapes and fold your charcuterie into easy to grab pieces. For a larger group and a larger display I always pre-cut a majority of the cheese options to make for an easy pickup and eat situation. Edible flowers are a great way to add a pop of color if you can find them at your local grocery store. If you’re looking for an impressive way to host happy hour load up on all the ingredients, pre-cut everything and store it in zip top bags in the fridge and assemble your board(s) right before your guests arrive. Pop open some wine and enjoy your party without having to heat up your kitchen or keep up with food while you entertain!

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BBQ Chicken Baked Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is a play on stuffed BBQ baked potatoes that is such an easy week night meal. What is better than comfort food with a healthy-ish twist? The sweet potato has a deep caramelized flavor after baking that pairs perfectly with the sweet and smoky BBQ chicken. If you’re making them ahead of time prepare the potatoes and chicken and assemble them with everything except the cheese, sour cream and green onions. Throw them in the oven for 10 minutes to reheat and then top with the remaining ingredients. Swap the sour cream for plain Greek yogurt for even less guilt. Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 bottle marinade (I prefer Allegro, any smokey chicken marinade will do)
2 whole sweet potatoes
1 C good quality BBQ sauce (I like Stubbs Hickory Maple sauce)
2 T Olive Oil
1/4 C grated cheese
3. green onions, chopped
Sour Cream to top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375*. Wash and thoroughly dry whole sweet potatoes. Poke holes in the top of each sweet potato and place hole side up on a sheet pan. Bake approximately 1 hour (this will depend on the size of your sweet potatoes, larger sweet potatoes may take 15-20 extra minutes).

Heat large skillet to medium high heat. Add olive oil to coat pan. Sear chicken, 2-3 minutes per side until browned. Remove chicken and chop into small pieces. Turn pan down to low and add chopped chicken back into the pan along with the BBQ sauce. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes.

Cut a slit across the top of each potato and fill the potatoes with the BBQ chicken. Top with cheese, sour cream and green onions.

Pork Dumplings

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One of my favorite ways to entertain is to serve a full menu of appetizers, I find it’s a great way to make sure there is something for everyone! Dumplings are great bite sized appetizers that have become a birthday tradition around our house. This pork dumpling recipe is one of our favorites, makes a ton, and is great!

Recipe makes 50-60 dumplings

Ingredients:

Filling:

2 lbs ground pork

1 C cabbage, sliced thin, plus extra leaves for lining steamer

5 T soy sauce

2 T chili paste

2 T sesame oil

2 T rice vinegar

1 T cornstarch, plus more for dusting wrappers

1 T fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 T fish sauce

1/2 C chopped scallions (white and green portion)

1/4 C finely chopped shallots

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 egg whites

1 package dumpling or wonton wrappers, thawed

soy sauce for dipping

Directions:

 Assembling the dumplings:

In a large bowl mix all filling ingredients. Dust a full sized sheet pan with corn starch and set aside. Fill a small bowl or glass with water and set next to your work surface with a small pastry brush. Spread one layer of wonton wrappers out on your work surface and place a scoop of filling in the center of each wrapper. Dip your pastry brush in water and paint around the edges of each pork dollop to moisten the edges of each wonton wrapper. One at a time pick up the dumpling and fold in the edges of the wrapper to create a “beggars purse”. Once the sides of the wonton wrapper are folded and formed around the pork filling place the dumpling on the corn starch dusted sheet pan. Repeat until all dumplings are made and resting on the sheet pan ready to be steamed. At this point the dumplings can be covered and frozen for later steaming. Because the batch makes 4-5 dozen dumplings it’s a great recipe to split at this step and freeze half for later and enjoy half immediately.

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Steaming:

Fill your base pot with a couple inches of water and bring to a boil. Line the bamboo steamer with cabbage leaves and place the steamer on top of the pot of boiling water. Leave for 3-4 minutes, enough time for the cabbage to wilt a bit for easier placement of dumplings. Place dumplings directly on the cabbage leaves to prevent sticking and making sure not to over crowd the steamer. Cover with the steamer top and steam for 7-10 minutes until pork is cooked fully through (if you froze the dumplings do not thaw, place them directly in the steamer from the freezer and steam for 11-13 minutes). Continue in batches until all dumplings are steamed. Serve with soy sauce and enjoy!

Veggie Coconut Curry

This is a great, healthy weeknight meal that can be thrown together pretty quickly. If you have limited time buy pre-cut mushrooms, carrots, cabbage and broccoli for less prep and cleanup. I like to use veggie or chicken stock as the cooking liquid in the rice for a little more flavor. This is one of those dishes that is endlessly riffable (I know that’s not a real word, but aca-scuse me). Hate mushrooms? Change them up for diced zucchini. For a little protein add chicken, use shredded rotisserie if you’re short on time. Curry is a go to at our house because it is one of those dishes that is excellent re-heated for an easy work lunch the next day. Enjoy!

 

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

2T butter

2T Olive Oil

1 medium yellow onion, medium dice

1C Sliced baby Bella mushrooms

1C broccoli florets

1 jalapeño, sliced thin (less if you’re sensitive to spice)

1C Sliced carrots

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2C shredded cabbage

2T tomato paste

3T red curry paste

1T sriracha sauce

2C Chicken or veggie stock

1 can coconut milk (lite can be substituted)

Salt and Pepper TT

Basmati or Jasmine Rice prepared according to package directions

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1T oil and 1T butter followed by the diced onion. Season with a little salt and pepper and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir to coat, sauté 2-3 more minutes until mushrooms begin to brown. Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic. Remove the mushrooms and onion mix and set aside on a plate. Add remaining oil and butter to the pan followed by the carrots, jalapeños and broccoli. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Pour 1/3C of the chicken stock in the pan and allow to simmer 2-3 min while liquid reduces. Remove the carrot and broccoli mix and set aside with the mushrooms and onions. Add curry paste, tomato paste and sriracha to pan then whisk in chicken stock a little at a time until combined. Pour coconut milk into the curry and stock mixture and whisk until blended. Season TT with salt and pepper. Simmer 4-5 minutes to reduce a bit. Add all sautéed veggies and shredded cabbage to the skillet of sauce and combine. Simmer 3-4 minutes to let all flavors combine. Serve over rice. Enjoy!

Tip: Serve this over sautéed riced cauliflower or zoodles for a low carb option.

Spaghetti Squash Taco Bake

img_0574-1Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

1 large spaghetti squash

1 lb grass fed ground beef (I like 90/10)

1/4C chopped white onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 1/2C roasted corn cut off cob (or 1 can corn drained)

1 14oz can fire roasted tomatoes

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2C shredded cheese (Mexican or Pepper Jack)

1 T olive oil

2T chopped cilantro

2 T taco seasoning

S&P

Avocado for garnish

Lime wedges to garnish

Salsa to top

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400*. Cut spaghetti squash and scoop out seeds. Season with Salt and place face down on baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour at 400* depending on size.

While squash bakes: Preheat a heavy bottom skillet on medium high heat. Pour oil into pan and then add beef. Break up beef while browning. When beef is about half way through cooking add taco seasoning, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook through and then move browned meat to a plate. Turn pan down to medium heat and add in beans, roasted tomatoes, corn, S&P to taste. Sauté until liquid from tomatoes cooks off (6-8 min). Turn off heat.

When squash is done remove from oven and use fork to scrape across the short side of each half to shred into long strands. Scoop one half of squash into 8 x 8 baking dish. Next top with layer of half the bean and corn mix. Follow with half the beef and then half the cheese. Repeat the layers (squash -> corn/beans -> beef -> cheese). Sprinkle top with cilantro and place back in 400* oven for 8-10 minutes.

Serve with lime wedge, avocado slices, salsa and a sprinkle of cilantro (if you like the stuff).

English Muffin Avocado Toasts

english muffin avocado toast

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

4 English muffins

3 small ripe avocados, lightly mashed

2 vine ripe tomatoes, sliced

2 eggs

2 T butter

4 T crumbled Cotija cheese

Balsamic Glaze

Salt & Pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place small skillet on medium low heat. Melt butter in skillet and use pastry brush to lightly brush each English muffin half with butter. Toast English muffins in toaster oven or on a baking sheet in the oven to desired crispiness. While the muffins are toasting scramble the eggs in the remaining melted butter over medium low heat. I prefer a larger curd so I stir less frequently, if you like a smaller curd stir frequently while eggs cook. Set eggs aside when cooked. Top each English muffin with mashed avocado. Sprinkle avocado with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Top half of the English muffins with eggs and the remaining 4 English muffins with tomatoes. Sprinkle all with Cotija cheese and additional salt and pepper. Drizzle balsamic glaze over the tomato and avocado topped English muffins. Enjoy!

*English muffins can be substituted with any bread of your choice. Brioche is especially delicious, if you’re on a health kick Ezekiel bread is a great substitute that is loaded with nutrients.