June 29, 2012

Salsa Fresca

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On the other side of the country where my in-laws live, there's a little grocery store with THE BEST salsa fresca (also called pico de gallo). I'm talking scoop it in by the spoonful good! I'm not sure what their secret is, and I admit on numerous occasions I've envisioned breaking in to their kitchens just to catch a glimpse of the recipe. Well, since we moved far away (and probably for the best out of break-in reach) it was a no brainer that I had to try and recreate it in our own kitchen. Luckily, this comes pretty darn close!! In fact... my husband actually said it was better (whoa!)

You can enjoy salsa fresca as an appetizer with chips, on Mexican cuisine (tacos, burritos, nachos, tostadas), and I love it on scrambled eggs and breakfast burritos. The measurements below are mostly a guideline - you can increase or decrease individual ingredients to suit your taste. The salsa isn't spicy after removing the seeds and ribs from the jalapenos, but remember to be VERY careful when handling jalapenos or your hands may burn for hours afterwards. (I've learned this the hard way!) Wear gloves or handle them minimally after cutting and keep your hands away from your eyes until they're thoroughly washed.

For the tomato off-season, try this quick-n-easy restaurant-style salsa that we also love.


Vegan, gluten-free

Ingredients
4-5 ripe tomatoes
1/2 small onion
1 clove garlic
1-2 jalapeno peppers
6-10 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt

Directions
Finely chop tomatoes and onion. Scoop out/remove seeds and ribs from jalapenos (using caution) and finely chop.
Mince garlic and chop cilantro.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss. Season well with salt.
Let chill for a few hours before enjoying.

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Come join me on Instagram and share your creations! I love to see what you guys are cooking up! :)

June 26, 2012

Quinoa Fajita Burritos

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This is a recipe I'm revisiting from a couple months ago. The quality of pictures last time wasn't quite up to par (see what I mean?) and I was making a batch to freeze so I attempted to capture them a little better. I also added diced tomatoes this time around and opted for black beans instead of pinto, but both are great (though I'm usually partial to black beans). I had the intention of freezing them all, but of course... temptation struck and one less made the journey to the freezer :)

The burrito assembly line

Gluten-free (with corn or gluten-free tortillas)
Vegan (with dairy-free cheese, or omit cheese)

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 onion
2 bell peppers
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
8 tortillas
Shredded cheese

Directions
Cook quinoa according to package directions.
Meanwhile, thinly slice onion and bell pepper.
Saute onion and pepper with 2 tsp. taco seasoning and salt over med-high heat for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When quinoa finishes cooking, turn off heat. Add beans, diced tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning (more to taste) and combine.
Assemble the burritos: spoon the quinoa mixture, onion/pepper, cheese, and salsa onto tortillas. Roll up, tucking both sides.

If you like a crispier tortilla or grilled burrito, toss it on a grill pan for a few minutes on each side before serving. We love this!

To freeze: I tightly wrap burritos individually in foil, then place them all in a large ziploc bag.
To reheat: place in a 400 degree oven for 25-35 minutes or until heated through. Finish them up on the stove on a grill pan if you'd like. (Haven't tried microwaving, but that could work as well.)

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Ready for the freezer! (Except one little fella that didn't quick make it...)


Come join me on Instagram and share your creations! I love to see what you guys are cooking up! :)

June 19, 2012

Vegetable Panini

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My husband was craving a vegetable panini for lunch one beautiful, sunny afternoon so at his request I concocted this. We had so many leftover vegetables hanging around so it was perfect. We LOVED the flavor of this veggie combo and are craving it again already!

Vegan (with dairy-free cheese), gluten-free (with gluten-free bread)

Ingredients
Roasted red pepper
Zucchini
Mushroom
Roma tomato
Spinach
Onion
Fresh basil
Shredded mozzarella
Feta
Bread

Directions
Slice zucchini lengthwise in 1/4" thick strips. Saute zucchini and mushrooms in a pan over medium heat for a couple minutes until slightly softened.
On a griddle pan, assemble paninis keeping the heat turned off until it's assembled.
On a slice of bread add a thin layer of cheese. I use a mixture of mozzarella and feta.
Layer half the veggies, followed by a thin layer of mozzarella, the remaining veggies, and the last layer of mozzarella on top.
Tip: I layer it like this (cheese-veggies-cheese-veggies-cheese) when I have so many components because the cheese acts as a "glue" to hold it all together.
Top with a slice of bread and heat over medium heat until browned on both sides and cheese is melted.

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June 15, 2012

Friday Thoughts

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Just a quick post today! I came across a quote this past week and was so inspired by the words that I wanted to create a "poster" for it. :)

Wishing you all a happy, healthy weekend my friends!

June 14, 2012

Healthier Potato Salad

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Now that summer's upon us I've been wanting to experiment with healthier versions (no mayo) of the ever-popular potato salad. I saw this potato salad from Vegetarian Times and knew I had to give it a go! From the recipe, I subbed in greek yogurt and gold potatoes. Next I'll definitely be trying this Lemony Potato Salad from Leanne over at Around the Table. How good does that look!? Then I'd love to try one with a vinegar-based dressing. There are SO many great variations of potato salad out there - what's your favorite??


Ingredients
2 lbs. potatoes (red, gold, or fingerling)
1/2 red onion
1 red bell pepper
3 celery stalks
1/2 cup greek or plain yogurt
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
2 tsp. olive oil

Directions
Dice red pepper, onion, and celery. Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces (about 1 inch).
Add potatoes to a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook 5-6 minutes until tender (not soft). 
Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine yogurt, mustard, and olive oil. 
Add bell pepper, onion, and celery. Stir to combine.
Drain potatoes, rinse with cold water, drain again. Add to the large bowl and stir to coat.
Salt/pepper to taste.
Can serve immediately or chill for a few hours.

June 12, 2012

Enchilada Nachos

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This was an awesome dinner while relaxing on the couch watching the NBA playoffs last week. Enchilada sauce provides a lot of flavor and is a great way to change up nachos.


Ingredients
15 oz. can refried beans
8 oz. enchilada sauce (more or less as preferred)
1/2 onion, diced
Shredded cheese
1/2 tsp. cumin
Tortilla chips
Additional toppings: tomatoes, lettuce/spinach, olives, corn, etc.

Directions
Preheat oven to 325.
Heat beans and cumin in a small saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes until softened.
Spread out tortilla chips on a large baking pan.
Add beans then enchilada sauce, reserving some sauce for drizzling before serving.
Sprinkle cheese and onions on top.
Bake 8-10 minutes.
Add additional toppings if desired, and drizzle more enchilada sauce on top.

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June 8, 2012

Ultimate Greek Salad

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I'm so excited to share this recipe! It's hands down one of our favorite summertime dishes, if not our favorite. I even went as far as dubbing it "ultimate" so you would know just how serious I am about it's utter deliciousness :) It's so simple to make and best enjoyed in the summer when veggies are at their peak. Fresh, ripe tomatoes are especially important for maximum flavor. Hope you love it too!

*See the updated recipe here!*


Gluten-free, vegan (omit feta)

Ingredients
4-5 ripe roma tomatoes
1 large red bell pepper
1 small red onion (or 1/2 large onion)
1 hothouse cucumber
15 oz. can garbanzo beans
1/2 cup feta, more to taste

{For the dressing}
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. oregano
Salt/pepper

Directions
Prepare the dressing: in a small bowl, combine vinegar, oregano, salt/pepper. Slowly add olive oil, whisking to combine. Set aside.
Rinse and drain beans. Dice tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, cucumber. Remove excess liquid from tomatoes.
Put vegetables and beans in a large bowl.
Toss dressing with salad. Add feta, lightly toss.
Best if refrigerated for an hour or two before serving (that is.... if you can wait that long. We never can.)

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June 6, 2012

French Bread Pizza

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Remember that insanely delicious marinara sauce from last week? It's baaack! I set aside some of the sauce to try on french bread pizza and it was awesome. We're huge fans of pizza in ANY form, so this was perfect for a fast, easy fix. You can always substitute store-bought marinara or other pizza sauce if you'd like and customize it with your own favorite toppings.


Ingredients
Marinara sauce
French bread loaf or baguette
Shredded mozzarella (or other cheese)
Basil, oregano
Olive oil
Any additional toppings you choose

Directions
Preheat oven to 375.
Cut bread in half, lengthwise. Place slices face up on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil.
Bake for about 8 minutes to crisp up the bread.
Remove from oven. Add sauce, cheese, herbs, and any additional toppings.
Return to oven for about 10-15 minutes, moving to the top rack and turning on the broiler for the last minute or so.

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June 4, 2012

Garlic-Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Ohhh fresh basil... how I missed you all winter! I love this simple, flavorful dressing so much that sometimes I'll make a salad just so I can have this dressing. YUM! This recipe yields about one cup but you can increase or decrease as needed. Just keep a ratio of three parts oil to one part vinegar.

Ingredients
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 cloves garlic
6 basil leaves
Salt/pepper to taste

Directions
Mince garlic and chiffonade basil.
In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, garlic, basil, and salt/pepper.
Slowly pour in olive oil, whisking to combine.
Add additional salt/pepper to taste if needed.

Note: you can cover and store in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days. The olive oil may solidify in the fridge, but setting it out at room temperature before using will return it to normal.

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June 1, 2012

Garlic Bread

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Homemade garlic bread is easy to make and so comforting. This recipe is a tad healthier, using a combination of olive oil and butter. We even like to replace the butter with olive oil altogether - can't even tell the difference! Fan of cheesy garlic bread? I usually top one of the halves with mozzarella - it's delicious both ways, and this way we don't have to choose. It'd be downright silly to forget the Marinara Sauce for dunking... it's a match made in heaven!


Vegan: omit cheese

Ingredients
1 loaf Ciabatta bread (or other Italian loaf)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter (I use vegan Earth Balance)
Dried basil for sprinkling
Dried oregano for sprinkling
Grated Parmesan-style cheese (vegetarian)
Mozzarella (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375.
Melt butter in the microwave. Then add olive oil and garlic, stir to combine.
Cut the bread loaf in half, lengthwise. Brush the mixture on top of each half of bread.
Sprinkle with basil and oregano.
Place halves back together, wrap in foil, and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove bread from oven and turn on the broiler.
Separate the halves and sprinkle parmesan on top (and also mozzarella if using).
Return to oven under broiler for a minute or two. Be sure to keep an eye on it!

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