Olive Salad

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Olive Salad

I don’t know about you, but fresh salads in the summer are one of my favorite things. Now just because it isn’t that time of year just yet, doesn’t mean I have to live off of “comfy” foods that are usually associated with winter. This salad is super easy to prepare and a favorite of my family. If you’re having a party, the recipe can easily be doubled. Also, I usually slice the olives or even prepare the olive mixture a day before to save myself some time if I’m making a larger salad. It may seem like an unnecessary step, but it really does save time when you’re trying to get ready for a party!  Just do not slice the tomatoes ahead of time as they don’t hold up as well!

 

  • 1 cup pitted green and black olives, halved (or one can of each)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp mince garlic
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  1. Place balsamic vinegar (or vinaigrette if you don’t want it quite as strong) in a small saucepan over low heat and allow it to reduce by half.
  2. Allow vinegar to cool to room temperature.
  3. Slice olives in half lengthwise.
  4. Combine olives, parsley, capers, garlic, basil, and pepper in a large bowl.
  5. Pour olive oil over olive mixture and toss to coat well.
  6. Slice tomatoes and place on plate, slightly overlapping.
  7. Spoon olive mixture over the tomatoes and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar
  8. Serve immediately

 

 

Roasted Artichoke & Red Pepper Salad

Roasted Artichoke Salad

Roasted Artichoke & Red Pepper Salad

Roasted Artichoke & Red Pepper Salad

Okay- I’ll admit it. I kinda sorta maybe love watching cooking shows on TV. Doesn’t everyone? Ina Garten is one of my favorites to watch because her recipes are pretty simple yet incredibly delicious. (Oh and in case you are confused so far- Ina Garten is otherwise known by the name of her show- Barefoot Contessa.)  The following recipe is based on hers but with a few little twists based on my own family’s taste preferences.  The dressing is yummy and the hardest part the recipe. That being said, I tend to make the dressing the day before just to make my day a little easier if I’m cooking for a large crowd. It saves a ton of time and makes your day easier! Also- the dressing is OMG delicious on its own. My husband likes to take slices of Italian bread and coat it with the dressing before tossing it in the oven for a few minutes. Delish!

Dressing:

  • 1 1/2 minced shallot
  • juice of 1 fresh lemons
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2  tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place shallot, lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a food processor and process for a few seconds.
  2. Add the basil and process again for an additional 5-10 seconds
  3. Slowly add olive oil while your food processor is running (if you’re using one without a pour lid, just make sure you process the dressing for a few seconds after adding the dressing to mix it well.

Roasted Red peppers

  • 3-4 red peppers
  1. Preheat the oven to 450.
  2. Place red peppers on a sheet pan and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until peppers are charred on all sides
  3. Remove from oven and allow to steam. You can place them in a paper bag and seal closed for 10 minutes, or take a large bowl and use it to cover peppers on the counter.
  4. Carefully remove skin from peppers
  5. Slice peppers
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, minced
  • 1tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a large bowl, add extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. mix well
  3. Add artichokes to bowl and toss until well coated.
  4. Place artichokes on a sheet pan and place in the oven for 20 minutes. It is okay if they are touching, but make sure that there is only one layer of artichokes otherwise they will not roast evenly.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Place in a large bowl and toss with dressing to lightly coat artichokes
  7. add red peppers, red onion, parsley, vinegar, and red pepper flakes.
  8. Let dish rest for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to blend
  9. Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy!

xoxo

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

One of my friends asked which recipe was my “go-to” side dish when entertaining. She wanted something quick, easy, but that was going to impress her guests.  No problem! This caprese salad has always been a hit. Plus, there’s quick shortcut to this dish that I LOVE LOVE LOVE.

  • 1 container of grape or cherry tomatoes. Both work great!
  • 1 container of mozzarella bocconcini drained.  Just look by the mozzarella in your cheese department for the small balls of mozzarella. They are about 1/2 inch -1 inch round.
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme
  1. Combine extra virgin olive oil, oregano, parsley, salt, pepper, and thyme in a large bowl. Mix well
  2. Add mozzarella to completely coat. If you have time, allow mixture to marinate for a few hours with mozzarella
  3. Add tomatoes and toss.
  4. Serve immediately.

Okay ready for the easiest version ever? Most places will sell the mozzarella bocconcini already marinated in olive oil with all of these yummy spices. So grab yourself a large bowl. Empty the container of mozzarella and oil into the bowl, add tomatoes, toss gently, and serve. You’re done.

Enjoy!

xoxo

Honey Citrus Salad

honey citrus salad

honey citrus salad

Honey Citrus Salad

You can’t beat having fresh fruit available during the summer. It is one of the easiest snacks to grab on the go especially with the abundance of fresh fruit markets available during the summer months.  A fruit salad is an easy “go-to” treat to bring with for any summer party or even to keep on hand in your home!  The following recipe is super easy and quick to put together for those last minute parties or even for a snack for yourself. The dressing is easy to make and we keep it on hand in our refrigerator for a few days at a time since it keeps pretty well. I’m sure it would last longer than a few days but we’ve never made it past a week without running out!  All we have to do is grab a few handfuls of fruit and toss them with the dressing and you’re good to go! Now quick note- if you do not eat all of the salad in the first two days, things tend to get mushy and start to spoil. That is why we keep the dressing on hand and add it to fresh fruit as we need it!

Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup honey
  • zest of two limes
  • juice of two limes

Combine ingredients and mix well.  You can double this easily and save some for another day!

Salad

  • 2 cups strawberries- hulled & halved
  • 1 cup pineapple diced
  • 2 kiwis- sliced and quartered
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • mandarin oranges 12 oz

Combine fruit and toss with dressing. Add dressing slowly, making sure to cover fruit. If you add too much it will pool at the bottom of the bowl so be careful. Make sure to toss fruit before serving to allow juices to evenly disperse.

Enjoy!

xoxo

Sweet Irish Soda Bread

Sweet Irish Soda Bread

Sweet Irish Soda Bread

Okay I know it is not St. Paddy’s Day but this is one of my favorite recipes. I decided to make a batch this weekend because we are having a party at our house and wanted to have a homemade “sweets table” for our guests. Of course, I want it all gluten free for two reasons. First, and most importantly, I want to enjoy the treats and not worry about cross contamination! Secondly, I love proving to people that gluten free can be yummy. Now I wouldn’t necessarily do this for just any party, but some of the guests have celiac disease as well so I know that it will be appreciated by them! Oh and just a tip- if you decide to do bulk baking for parties or the holidays- Costco carries Namaste Perfect Blend Gluten Free Flour in HUGE bags. Woohoo!Soda bread is generally a “heavy bread” so this recipe works well gluten free since the flour usually tends to make things a bit heavier.

When you are ready to serve your bread, you can serve it with some butter as well. I usually heat it in the microwave for 10 seconds or so just to warm it up so the butter will melt. Clearly this won’t help your diet or healthy eating lifestyle, but sometimes you need to indulge!

Sweet Irish Soda Bread

  • 5 cups of flour
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 ½ cups raisins
  • 2 ½ cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour a large cake pan (I use a large sprinform pan as this recipe is pretty big, but I also use two small cake pans occasionally to make smaller loaves)
  3. In a large bowl, combine your gluten free flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add raisins and mix again. This will help break up the raisins a bit so they are not in huge clumps since they tend to stick together.
  5. Add softened butter, eggs, buttermilk, and heavy cream slowly until well incorporated. To make this easier you can mix the wet ingredients together and then slowly pour them into the wet ingredients while mixing. Be careful to not over mix!
  6. Pour into your floured pan.
  7. Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf. If you made smaller loaves make sure you start checking them around 45 minutes because they will take less time to cook!
  8. Allow the bread to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan. Ideally you would then let it finish cooling on a wire rack, but I’ll be honest. I tend to dig in right about… NOW.

Enjoy!

xoxo

Gluten Free Lemon- Blueberry Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Blueberry CakeI think it is fair to say that my husband has a bit of a sweet tooth. I tried a new recipe for a gluten free blueberry cake a few weeks ago and, apparently, it was so good that my husband actually asked me to make it again for him- gluten free and all. Yeah, my kitchen is pretty much 90% gluten free, but occasionally I do make gluten containing foods more so if we are entertaining and well, I’m on a budget. Granted it also helps with my diet because I’m not tempted to eat those yummy treats either!  However, this cake works wonderfully gluten free! Oh and I should warn you- the frosting is addictive. I had made a bit extra last time I made this cake and it didn’t go to waste! (It was great on fruit, but straight off the spoon was amazing too!)

Lemon-Blueberry Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 cups gluten free flour (our favorite is Namaste Perfect Blend)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Zest from ½ lemon
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Butter two 9 inch round baking pans and dust lightly with flour
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until well blended.
  4. Combine milk, sour cream, and lemon juice in a small bowl and allow to rest.
  5. In a separate large bowl, combine butter, sugar, and lemon zest until fluffy.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, into the butter mixture. Once well incorporated, add the lemon and vanilla extracts.
  7. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk. Repeat with the other half of the flour mixture and milk until well combined.
  8. Fold in blueberries.
  9. Divide batter into the two baking pans.
  10. Bake approximately 25 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean)
  11. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before inverting onto a rack to finish cooling.
  12. Frost with lemon cream cheese frosting.

Frosting

  • 16 oz cream cheese (2 packages)
  • 1 ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 4 ½ cups powdered sugar
  1. Using an electric mixer or a hand mixer, whip butter until fluffy.
  2. Add cream cheese and continue to whip until well blended.
  3. Add vanilla extract, lemon extract, and powdered sugar and blend until fluffy (this may take a bit so don’t be surprised if you’re still at it after a few minutes!
  4. Frost cake.
  5. Lick bowl. Seriously. It’s delicious.

Enjoy!

xoxo

Gluten free pumpkin pound cake

gluten free pumpkin pound cake

gluten free pumpkin pound cake

If you haven’t figured it out by now, my husband has a bit of a sweet tooth. In fact, he’s pretty much my go-to taste tester for these recipes because he is extremely picky when it comes to gluten free food. Now, a few weeks ago, he had a piece of pumpkin poundcake at his favorite coffee shop and kept talking about it. My mature response? Challenge accepted!

Pumpkin Pound Cake

  • 1 ¾ cups gluten free flour (again, Namaste Perfect Blend has been my go to choice)
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ½ cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 egg whites
  • 15oz canned pumpkin
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. In a bowl, combine your dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine sugar, yogurt, egg whites, and pumpkin.
  4. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients
  5. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 75 minutes. Make sure you double check with a tooth pick! Pound cakes are more dense and can take a bit longer to cook through!
  6. Allow cake to cool completely before coating with glaze.

Glaze

  • 1 egg white
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  1. Whisk egg white, vanilla, and 1 tbsp water
  2. slowly add powdered sugar to form a glaze. Slowly add the second tbsp of water if your glaze is too thick

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Maple Cupcakes

Pumpkins Spice Maple Cupcake

Given that it is that time of year again, my husband asked if I would bake a batch of pumpkin cupcakes for him. However, his new request was for a different frosting than I had used last time. His suggestion this round was for a maple frosting like he had seen at a coffee shop and was craving. Well, after a few tries at the frosting, I think we found a winner! I stuck with the same recipe I’ve used before for the cake, and I’m still a huge fan of using the gluten free yellow cake mixes. There’s no thinking involved in figuring out flour combinations so take advantage of it when you can!

Pumpkin Spice Cake:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (gluten free of course!)
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 15 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ tsp vanilla extract

If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand you can mix up a batch of your own! This will make 7 tsp of pumpkin pie spice so you will have a bit left over to use later!

  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line pans with your favorite cupcake liners
  3. Mix together cake mix, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon and set aside
  4. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, eggs, oil and vanilla extract until smooth
  5. Add cake mix/spice mixture slowly
  6. Fill cupcake liners to ¾ full and bake for 18-20 minutes. Keep a close eye on them though after 15 minutes to make sure they don’t burn!
  7. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting!

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened  (and no cheating with low fat versions here!)
  • 3 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1½  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½-¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 oz heavy whipping cream
  1. Beat cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar until smooth
  2. Add cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup
  3. Slowly add in heavy cream and continue to beat until stiff peaks begin to form
  4. Pipe onto cupcakes and enjoy!

enjoy!

XOXO

Gluten Free Shredded Chicken Chili

20140304-135807.jpgChili is a fabulous comfort food, and, if done right, it can be pretty healthy. This recipe does not have a lot of extras and is pretty filling- so long as you don’t add sour cream and cheese to it! I usually make a pretty big batch because it freezes well. If you want, you can allow the chili to cool and store it in small pyrex containers and freeze them in single or double serving sizes! It makes for quick and healthy “frozen dinners.”
  • 16oz can black beans
  • 16oz can kidney beans (use two cans of black beans and two of kidney beans if you want to make a vegetarian chili)
  • 8oz tomato sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 12oz corn
  • 28oz diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 2-3 chopped jalapeno or serrano peppers (depending on your desired level of heat!)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free taco seasoning (check it out here)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 32oz boneless chicken breasts
  1. Place chopped onions, peppers, corn, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, chili powder, and beans in a slow cooker and mix thoroughly.
  2. Place chicken breasts on top of mixture and cover pot.
  3. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or until chicken completely cooked.
  4. Remove chicken and shred into bite sized pieces.
  5. Add chicken back into slow cooker and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes to allow chicken to completely marinate.

You can top chili with cilantro, sour cream, or fresh queso fresco! Just be careful because the sour cream and cheese will add a lot of calories to your meal.  If you need to add a bit more bulk to your meal- try serving it on top of some rice! Delicious!

xoxo

Gluten Free Grown-Up Mac & Cheese

gluten free mac and cheeseMac and cheese was one of my favorite things to eat when I was growing up. I have to admit, I was a mac and cheese snob. That powdered cheese didn’t do it for me and I would ONLY eat the ones that came with the premade “gooey” cheese. Yeah- I know. Processed food is horrible, but at that time, I didn’t know any better.  That being said- I’m still a sucker for mac and cheese. Here is the recipe for my favorite homemade version. I refer to it as my “grown up mac and cheese” because of the various types of cheese added to it.  I usually make a little extra cheese when I’m making it and leave it in the refrigerator for a day or so- it’s great on nachos!

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup gluten free panko OR gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound gluten free elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat overn to 350 degrees
  2. In a small sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter.
  3. Add gluten free panko (or gluten free breadcrumbs) and coat it butter, cook until slightly browning, then set aside.
  4. Heat milk in a medium saucepan.
  5. In a large skillet, melt 8 tablespoons of butter and, once hot, add flower, stirring until well incorporated (about 1 minute)
  6. Add hot milk into flour-butter mixture. Whisk consistently until the mixture thickens.
  7. Remove from heat and add sea salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg
  8. Add cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan cheese to mixture. Add cheese slowly to allow it to incorporate into sauce.
  9. Boil macaroni according to directions on box. Make sure you stop cooking a few minutes before the recommended time as you want your noodles to be undercooked.
  10. Drain in colander and rinse with cool water.
  11. Add pasta to cheese mixture and place in a casserole dish
  12. Top with buttered panko/breadcrumbs
  13. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until slightly browned on top.
  14. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

 

Enjoy!

xoxo