Archive for the ‘Fruits’ Category

…is abundant this time of year, and our house is no exception.  We made Paula Deen’s cranberry salad earlier this week with a few tweaks and it was incredibly tasty!

For Paula’s salad you need:

  • 4-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 3-ounce package black cherry gelatin
  • 6 ounces dried cranberries, rinsed (we used fresh cranberries)
  • 1 cup broken pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Start by draining the pineapple and pouring the juice in a small saucepan.  Add 1/2 cup of hot water and bring the mixture to a boil.  Meanwhile, dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water.  Add it to the boiling liquids and let the mixture cool and begin to set.

Chop the cranberries in a food processor, then add them to the cooled gelatin mixture.  Stir in the pecans and sugar.  Pour the mixture into a small baking dish or mold and refrigerate until the salad is completely set.

When the salad has chilled, cut into squares and serve it up!

This is a delicious cranberry salad!  Using real cranberries adds a nice tart punch, so it isn’t too sweet, as cranberry salad can often be.  Give it a try for Thanksgiving this week!


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…is just around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited!  There is already a bit of crisp-cool in the air, and the days are indeed getting shorter.  The smell of warm apples and cinnamon always remind me of fall, and today, our home is filled with the smells of the season.  We made apple chips as a healthy work snack, and they are so delicious!

For this simple, wholesome snack you need:

  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 4 granny smith apples, thinly sliced

All you need to do is mix the cinnamon and sugar together, then toss the apples in.  The thinner you slice the apples, the better–they crisp up so nicely!

Line a few baking sheets (parchment paper works best, but aluminum is alright) and lay the coated apples out in a single layer.  Bake at 250 for 2 hours, until the slices are nice and crispy.

Absolutely delicious!  These are definitely a snack you can enjoy and feel good about!


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…typically uses tomatoes as its chief ingredient.  Several weeks ago, we made gazpacho for lunch and one of Schatzi’s coworkers took note of it.  She had seen a recipe for peach gazpacho, and thought he may be interested in giving it a try.  We whipped up a batch to eat for lunch this week, and are both total converts!  Although tomato gazpacho is indeed delicious, it doesn’t really hold a flame to the peach version.

For peach gazpacho you need:

  • 6 peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1 glove garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp. champagne vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • diced avocado, for garnish
  • cilantro, for garnish

Making gazpacho is pretty easy, aside from all the dicing and peeling!  Simply toss the peaches, cucumber, garlic, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in the food processor and pulse the ingredients to your desired consistency.  Personally, we like ours a bit on the thick and chunky side.

To serve, mix in the bell pepper, some cilantro, and avocado.

This stuff is delicious!!!  It is so soothing on a hot summer day.  Plus, gazpacho is naturally super-nutritious.  There really is no excuse not to try it!  Thanks for the recipe, Tracy!


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…is absolutely delicious–who doesn’t love coming home to a bowl of pasta, rich tomato sauce, meat, and cheese?!  However, in her recipe for summer ziti, RR raises a good point–traditional ziti isn’t exactly the best summertime meal.  So, she rewrites the dish so you (and your vegetarian friends!) can enjoy ziti goodness all year long!

For this delicious dinner you need:

  • 1 lb. ziti/penne rigate
  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and diced
  • 28 0z. can san marzano plum tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup basil, sliced
  • 4 sprigs fresh tarragon (leaves only)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-reggiano
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella

Start boiling a pot of water.  salt it, and cook the pasta for about 9 minutes.  Then, toss in the asparagus and peas and continue cooking everything for another couple of minutes.  Also, preheat the oven to 400.

Meanwhile, heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a big skillet over medium heat.  Cook the shallots and garlic until they are tender and fragrant, then stir in the tomatoes and mash them.  Also, if you have one, toss in a Parmigiano rind–it adds incredible, rich flavor to a sauce!  Always buy your Parmigiano with the rind still intact–it really is a better deal because you can cook with the rind and there’s often more cheese included in the weight when the cheese isn’t grated.  It’s a bit more work, but it’s worth it!

Season the sauce with some salt and pepper and let it cook for about 5 minutes.  Then, stir in the tarragon and basil and get it off the heat.

When the pasta and veggies are drained, add the ricotta and half of the Parmigiano to the pot.  Get everything well-incorporated.

Pour half of the tomato sauce in a baking dish.  Then, add the noodle mixture and the rest of the sauce.  Top the ziti with mozzarella and the rest of the Parmigiano.  Pop it into the oven until the cheese is brown and bubbly, about 12 minutes.

We whipped up a fantastic fruit salad to go with our pasta.  In the summer, fruit salad is the simplest, most wonderful thing!  For this version, you need:

  • several handfuls green grapes
  • 1 package strawberries, sliced
  • several handfuls blueberries
  • 1 small package raspberries, sliced
  • zest/juice of 1 lemon
  • a few squirts maple syrup

After slicing the fruit, squeeze the lemon juice and zest over it.  Add a few squirts of maple syrup and stir everything to combine.  This is quite possibly my favorite fruit salad of this summer!

Serve up a plate of delicious pasta with the fruit salad alongside.

I am so excited that we will be having this meal several times for clearance dinners this week!  Every bite of it is just fantastic.


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…is absolutely luxurious!  Combine it with salmon and fruit salad and you have a fantastic summer meal to eat!

Make the fruit salad first.  You need:

  • 1 cup halved green grapes
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice/zest
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup toasted pistachios (we used almonds and pecans)

Mix the grapes, strawberries, and blueberries with the sugar, then stir in the lime juice and poppy seeds.  Let the salad sit for about half an hour to let the flavors combine and add the nuts.

For the salmon with herb butter you need:

  • 1/2 lb. unsalted butter at room temp.
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. scallions, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh dill, minced
  • 1 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice/zest
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 loaf bread, thinly sliced
  • 4 salmon fillets

Simply combine the butter and all of the spices and beat until creamy.  This butter is absolutely luxurious!

To prepare the salmon, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a nonstick skillet and cook it for about 3 minutes a side.  Then, slice the fillets as best you can.

To serve, spread some of the butter on a slice of bread and top it with the sliced salmon.  So easy, so delicious!!!

This meal is fabulous.  The flavors are so fresh and bright!  I can’t help but imagine Julia Child would love this French cuisine-inspired dinner, and that makes it taste all the better.


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…is quite possibly my favorite type of pasta–it is just so hearty, yet delicate.  We recently made roasted-pepper pasta salad from the latest issue of Food Network Magazine, and it is truly delicious and makes a perfect summertime meal.

For this savory pasta you need:

  • 12 oz. rigatoni
  • 2 bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 6 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • almonds
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 8 oz. mozzarella balls (bocconcini)
  • 1 bunch of basil leaves, torn
  • pepper

Preheat the broiler and start boiling some salted water.  Drop the pasta and cook it to al dente, then drain and rinse it in cold water.  Place the halved peppers cut side down on a foil-lined broiler pan along with the garlic.  Broil the veggies until they are charred, about 8 minutes.  Then, put the peppers in a bowl, cover with saran wrap, and let them cool for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a dry skillet over medium and toast the almonds until they are fragrant.  Shake the pan often, and chop the almonds when they are toasted.

Squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin onto a cutting board.  Add a pinch of salt and mash the garlic into a paste.

Peel the peppers and slice them into very thin strips.  Put them in a bowl along with the garlic paste and some olive oil.  Add in some lemon zest and the lemon’s juice along with the pasta, basil, almonds, pepper, and cheese.

On the side, we made a fantastic fruit salad.  Fruit is, without a doubt, one of the best parts of Summer.  We found amazing blueberries, raspberries, watermelon, and strawberries that were literally like candy!

Serve up a plate of pasta with some fruit salad alongside.

You must try this pasta–it is so good!!!!  It’s another great meal for Summertime, especially when paired with a wonderful fresh fruit salad.  We made this meal for the Fourth of July, and I can’t wait to make it again!


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…are currently very much in season, so a carton of them can almost always be found in my fridge!  This week, we decided to make a spinach and strawberry salad for our lunch.  Just the combination of spinach and strawberries is delicious, but this salad also uses a homemade strawberry vinaigrette that is literally perfect.

For a wonderfully refreshing salad you need:

  • 1 lb. strawberries
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. honey or blue agave syrup
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 12 oz. baby spinach
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Begin by dicing up your chicken and strawberries.

Then, puree 3/4 cup strawberries, the lime juice, honey, oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  You can use a food processor or blender.  Blend the mixture until it is smooth and set it aside.

Combine the spinach (I also threw in a bit of romaine), chicken, remaining strawberries, and walnuts in a bowl.

Mix the salad ingredients well, then pour the strawberry vinaigrette over and toss everything until the dressing is evenly distributed.

I toasted up some whole-wheat buns to serve alongside the salad.  absolutely delicious!

This is a fantastic lunch, and it would definitely be a great option for dinner in the summer.  The strawberry and lime flavors marry beautifully and are so refreshing.  Also, feta cheese makes a wonderful addition to this flavor palette. Bonus: this salad only has 220 calories!  Definite score!


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