I’ve eaten this salad three days in a row. Here’s why.
Unique texture, delicious taste, and high levels of vitamins and nutrients. You know I love versatility in dish, especially in a salad.
I am, indeed, a salad girl. It’s easy to be when cheese and bacon are involved, right? Well, it’s just as easy to categorize yourself a salad “person” when kale and Brussels sprouts are involved. Not only do both these veggies taste great, but they’re good for you and they stand up to many added toppings, ingredients, and variations (seeing a theme here?). Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. Brussels sprouts contain high levels of vitamin C and vitamin K.
This salad works well as a main dish for 2, serves 4-6 as a side, or can easily be doubled to serve a crowd. I may be eating it again tomorrow!
2 tbsp minced shallot
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp honey
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 large bunch (approx 3 cups) Lacinato kale, finely shredded
4 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled into bite sized pieces
First, make the dressing by combining minced shallot, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, olive oil, salt and a freshly cracked black pepper. I like to place the ingredients in a mason jar, secure the lid, and shake. Reserve dressing.
In a large bowl, combine shredded kale and Brussels sprouts. Note: I shred my veg in a food processor, but you could also finely chop by hand.
Toss the kale and Brussles sprouts with the reserved dressing. Use only as much dressing as you need to coat the kale and Brussles sprouts. Note: I used about 3/4 of the dressing.
Add almonds, Pecorino Romano cheese, and crumbled bacon. Toss again, adjust seasoning to taste, adding more dressing if needed.
Are you reluctantly saying goodbye to summer? Here’s my perception.
Whip up a large batch of homemade pesto. Then freeze it. IN ICE CUBE TRAYS!! (yes, that deserved the double exclamation point). We all love the smell and taste of fresh basil pesto. We need it during the non summer months. That said, here’s my quick tutorial for an effortless process to preserve the freshness of basil:
Fill an ice cube tray with pesto, about 2-3 tbsp per cube.
Cover tray with plastic wrap, being sure to press the plastic wrap against the pesto so it is touching the top layer. This reduces oxidation (dark green color). Allow pesto cubes to freeze completely, at least 2 hours or overnight.
Pop pesto cubes out of the tray and store in your freezer in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Add the pesto cubes to dishes throughout the winter for a fresh pop of flavor, or simply toss with pasta for an easy weeknight meal.
Preserving summer fresh ingredients helps me get through the extensively cold Midwestern winters. Eating a bowl of pasta with fresh homemade pesto in the middle of January. It’ll do good for for your soul.
Note: If you are going to toss with pasta, add a small amount of starchy pasta water to your frozen pesto before adding the pasta. The salty starchy water not only helps to thaw the frozen pesto, it helps glue the pasta and sauce together. Don’t forget to top with fresh parmesan cheese!
Don’t buy it. Make it yourself. More fun and flavor are to be had!
If you normally read something like the above in a food blog or publication and think to yourself, “sure, I should do that,” … but then, upon further and deeper thought, you say to yourself (honestly) … “Even though that looks great, in reality, I’m probably not going to make that any time soon,” … Let this blog post be the one to end that thought process.
You have friends or family over, you put out hummus, they love it, and you tell them you made it yourself.
You can easily dress this hummus up to look fancy. You can just as easily spoon it into a bowl and attack it with your dipping vessel of choice. Either way, It’s delicious and obviously better than anything you can buy in a store. Trust me. I wouldn’t let my Lebanese heritage down by steering you wrong on this one. You’re going to love both eating this delicious hummus and making it.
30 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 15oz cans)
A drizzle of olive oil, smoked paprika and fresh parsley, for garnish
First you want to peel your garbanzo beans. Take a garbanzo bean with the index finger and thumb and pressing slightly at the point closer to either edge of the garbanzo bean, squeeze into a bowl and discard the skin.
Reserve 15-20 garbanzo beans for garnish.
Add grabanzo beans, tahini paste, garlic cloves, lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, water, cumin and salt to a food processor. Blend for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides, and blend again for 1 minute or until smooth and cramy.
Taste for seasoning and consistency. Add additional salt, lemon juice, or water as you see fit.
Spread hummus on a serving plate. Drizzle with olive oil, top with reserved garbanzo beans, and sprinkle with smoked paprika and fresh parsley.
Serve with carrot sticks, pita or pita chips.
Note: Hummus can be stored in air-tight container in the refrigerated for up to 7 days.
Is it weird to coin a phrase referring to your style of cooking? Is it weird to coin a phrase on your own blog? Is it weird to coin a phrase using your own name? Is it weird that, when I asked myself these questions, I found none of the above weird? No to all.
To “Emilyize” a dish, is to pack the dish full of fresh, flavorful, and wholesome ingredients. Stuffed pepper soup was a recipe I stumbled upon a couple years ago. The idea of having a stuffed pepper without the hassle of preparing it was appealing to me. I just wish I would have thought of it first! I Emilyized this old recipe and made it my own.
As Autumn gently pokes her way through summer, you’ll be well fitted with a bowl of this stuffed pepper soup and plenty of easy Emilyized Autumn meals. Stay tuned!
2 tbsp, plus 2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 yellow bell peppers, chopped
2 lbs ground sirloin
1/2 lb sweet Italian pork sausage (Chicken sausage can also be used.)
28oz can chopped tomatoes
2 15oz cans tomato sauce
2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 rosemary sprig, left whole
kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste (I added 1/4 tsp)
1 head of napa cabbage (approximately 1 1/2 pounds), finely sliced
3 cups cooked long grain white or brown rice
fresh parsley, for garnish
sour cream, for garnish (optional)
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant. Add bell pepper and cook for 5-6 minutes until softened. Add Italian sausage and cook for 5 minutes until cooked through, breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Note: If you are using sausage links, remove casing.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add ground sirloin and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and cook 8-10 minutes until cooked through breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Drain any grease and add to stock pot.
To stock pot add chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, oregano, parsley, rosemary sprig, 2 tsp salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Once boiling, decrease heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Add napa cabbage, cook an additional 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
To serve, ladle soup into a bowl and top with 1/3 cup cooked rice, fresh parsley, and sour cream (optional).
I’m a pesto loving fool. I’m also a tomato loving fool. Thankfully, this dish has ’em both (plus super cool spiraled zucchini noodles). I’m a fool in love, and in this particular instance I’m referring to my dinner.
What do I love about this dish (other than the pesto and tomatoes?):
The harmonious balance of slightly chewy al dente pasta and crunchy veg achieved through the combination of pasta noodles and zucchini noodles.
The sweetness from the roasted garlic. Enough said.
The toppings. Shrimp, garlic and herb panko breadcrumbs, lemon zest, fresh basil, and the parmesan cheese.
Spiral that fresh zucchini and slice up those pretty multi colored cherry tomatoes. Tear up that fresh basil, and take in that delicious aroma from the roasted garlic. Lady Summer is still hanging around for a while, and she loves when you get a little foolhardy with her fresh ingredients … she told me so.
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
1/2 pound spaghetti (or 2 oz per person)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 small garlic clove, minced
A small pinch of Herbs de Provence (or dried oregano)
1 lb large (16-20 count) shrimp, shelled and deveined (Ask your butcher for them this way. If you have to devein your own shrimp, follow these steps.)
The zest from 1/2 of a lemon (approximately 1/2 tbsp)
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Reminder: If you haven’t already done so, roast your garlic now. This takes about 35 minutes!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Add the tomatoes to the sheet pan, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat, then spread out into a single even layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions until al dente. You want the pasta to be tender but slightly firm to the bite. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of starchy pasta water. Reserve pasta.
Meanwhile, add 1 teaspoon olive oil, panko bread crumbs, minced garlic, Herbs de Provence, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt to a small skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the breadcrumbs are toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat and reserve.
Combine roasted garlic, pesto, and a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water in a small boil. Stir to combine and reserve.
Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Add spiraled zucchini, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until zucchini is cooked through. (Note: Watch your spiraled zucchini carefully. You do not want it to overcook and become mushy. The goal is for it to retain a nice crunch.)
Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to another large skillet over medium high heat. Season shrimp with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and cook for 5 minutes until cooked through. Cover to keep warm and reserve.
Once spiraled zucchini is cooked through, add the cooked spaghetti and pesto mixture to the pan. Toss to coat and cook for 3 minutes. Add more pesto or pasta water if necessary. You want the spaghetti and zucchini to be coated with a nice layer of pesto.
Add the roasted tomatoes to the pan. Toss to combine and cook one additional minute. Sprinkle with half of the toasted bread crumbs, lemon zest, fresh basil, and reserved shrimp.
Transfer to a serving platter, or serve right out of the skillet. Serve with remaining bread crumbs and fresh parmesan cheese on the side.
It’s made up of pantry staples. It’s a whiz to throw together. It’s the first request from my sisters when they come visit. It’s GRANOLA. I can’t tell you how many requests I get to make granola. When my sisters came to visit a few weeks ago, this version made an appearance. A very short lived appearance … before being devoured.
Oats, almonds, cinnamon and a pinch of salt are combined then tossed with coconut oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Lastly, a simple baking process and addition of dried cranberries. The result is a perfectly crunchy, “un-sweet”, sweetened granola with a subtle maple flavor and a less-subtle nutty almond flavor.
I love versatile dishes. Maple Almond Granola fits that description as it wears many different hats. It’s a light yet filling breakfast. It’s a grab and go snack when on the trails. It’s a midnight craving buster. It’s a homemade treat to bring to a friend. Maple Almond Granola is something deliciously special … and it’s quite photogenic too!
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Combine melted coconut oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a small bowl. Stir to combine. (Note: Add brown sugar to the coconut oil when it is still warm. This helps to dissolve the brown sugar.)
Combine oats, almonds, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Mix to combine.
Add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well so all of the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.
Spread out evenly on the cookie sheet.
Bake for 45 minutes, stirring half way through.
Remove from oven, add dried cranberries, and toss to combine. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Note: Granola will last for 3 weeks in an airtight container. Serve with yogurt and fresh berries, in a bowl with milk, or as is to munch on as a snack.
Grub-alicious dunk-alicious snack food here. “Grub-alicious!” “Dunk-alicious!” Another sophisticated way to describe these bread twists is, “better than any bread stick I’ve ever had/will ever have again.”
Clearly, I’m passionate about my snack time. These beauties won’t disappoint. Perfect for kids and grown-up kids alike. All the little nooks and twists are coated in garlic oil and packed with parmesan cheese, Italian herbs, and spicy red pepper flakes. And, the red sauce … the perfect accompaniment.
Make some garlic oil, roll out your dough, slather with a combination of parmesan cheese, herbs and red pepper flakes, fold-cut-twist-bake, another layer of garlic oil, and another dousing of glorious cheese. I know it seems like a lot of steps, but it couldn’t be simpler. Bread sticks on steroids is what I have going on. Twisty-Cheesy-Herby-Spicy-Saucy-Dunkable!
A twist in one hand, a bowl of sauce in the other – go ahead, get dunking.
Garlic Herb Bread Twists with Parmesan Cheese Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, skins removed and crushed but mostly left whole
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 lb pizza dough (I used store-bought dough from Whole Foods Market)
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Note: You will need additional oil for greasing the baking sheet, and flour for rolling out the dough.
Easy Marinara Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Prepare marinara sauce. Heat olive oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the remainder of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until bread twists are ready.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly oil a large baking sheet.
Combine olive oil and garlic in a small saute pan. Cook for 12-15 minutes over low heat until garlic starts to brown and oil becomes infused. Stir occasionally to make sure garlic doesn’t burn. Be sure to turn garlic so it has a chance to toast on both sides. Remove from heat and reserve.
Stir together oregano, red pepper flakes, and parmesan in a small bowl. Set aside until you are ready to use.
Remove pizza dough from your refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. This will take about 30 minutes. Lightly flour a clean working surface and rolling pin. Roll out pizza dough into a 10 by 15 inch rectangle.
Sprinkle the top of the dough with half of the herb cheese mixture, then fold dough in half and roll lightly to form a 8 by 15 inch rectangle. Measurements do not have to be exact, but try to keep them close.
Cut lengthwise into 7 even strips with a pizza cutter or a sharp knife. Strips will be slightly less than 1 inch.
Twist each strip from both ends and place on baking sheet, arranging twists 1 inch apart. Brush twists with the garlic infused olive oil. You will use about half of the oil. Reserve the remaining oil.
Bake bread twists until golden, 20 to 25 minutes total. Turn the baking sheet half way through the cooking process to ensure even cooking.
Meanwhile, stir fresh parsley and basil into remaining herb cheese mixture.
When fully cooked, remove bread twists from the oven. Brush with remaining garlic oil (this will act as the glue), then sprinkle with the remaining cheese mixture.
With August approaching and temperatures rising, I’m getting use out of my crock pot. Sound like a strange concept? Allow me to explain.
The galley kitchen in my apartment heats up quickly when I’m using the oven. My solution to this issue is simple. Get porky perfection simmering away on the counter top! This results in my kitchen staying cool, my apartment permeating with sweet pork aromas, and summer on a bun awaiting my taste buds.
My pulled pork starts with a luxurious sauce. A great balance of smoke, sweetness, and spice … in harmony with a slight tang from the apple cider vinegar. Oh, how the pork cooks away in this smokey-sweet-spicy-tangy luxury. The sauce seasons the pork. The pork infuses the sauce with its juices. After cooking time is up, the pork is falling off the bone and liquid gold is begging to be reduced and tossed with the finished product.
The beautiful color and crunch in this sandwich comes from delicious coleslaw. My advice for the slaw is to shred the cabbage and carrot yourself. Don’t mess with the pre shredded bag of coleslaw from the grocery store. This little extra bit of effort put into the slaw makes an incredible difference. Creamy but not overly saturated, tangy, and very fresh. This slaw marries beautifully and deliciously with the pulled pork.
Look at these pictures. You know you’re ready for summertime crock potting.
Pulled Pork Ingredients:
1 onion, halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you want it spicy)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 pound bone-in pork shoulder, cut into pieces to fit into your crock pot
20 slider buns
Buttermilk Coleslaw Ingredients:
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded (I used a mandolin)
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded (I used a mandolin)
3 carrots, peeled and grated
5 spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic clove, finely minced
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp celery seed
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
In a 6-quart slow cooker, stir together onion, garlic, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, smoked paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Heat a large skillet over high heat and add oil. Season the pork with the salt and pepper. Add pork to the skillet and sear for 4-5 minutes on each side until a nice crust forms.
Add pork to the slow cooker, turning to coat completely with the sauce. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours, or until pork is very tender.
Remove the pork from the crock pot and transfer to a cutting board. Remove and discard the bone and fat cap. Using 2 forks, shred the pork (I like to leave some small chunks to add a bit of texture to the final product). Remove and discard any additional fat you discover while shredding.
Transfer the sauce and cooking liquid from the crock pot to a medium stovetop pot. Allow the sauce to settle for a minute and skim any grease off the top of the sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat and allow sauce to reduce by half. This should take about 20 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, skim any additional grease off the top. Once sauce is fully reduced and skimmed, add the meat to the pot and toss to allow the pork to soak up the yummy sauce. At this point, the pork is ready to serve. You could also transfer the pulled pork back to the crock pot on the “keep warm” setting until you are ready to serve.
Meanwhile, prepare the buttermilk coleslaw. Combine green cabbage, red cabbage, carrot and spring onion in a large bowl. Combine buttermilk, mayonnaise, garlic, apple cider vinegar, sugar, celery seed, salt and pepper in a separate bowl; mix well. Toss the coleslaw mixture with the dressing. (Note: I did not use all of the dressing; add only as much as you need to lightly coat the coleslaw.) You can prepare the coleslaw mixture and dressing several hours before serving the sliders. Keep refrigerated separately. Coleslaw should be tossed with the dressing just before serving.
Build your slider: Toast your buns, top with a generous amount of pulled pork and a scoop of coleslaw. Hot sauce, extra bbq sauce, or pickles are optional.
Aside from having a name that sounds like the title of an old Grateful Dead concert tour, these turkey taco zucchini (or “Zuk” if you love abbreviating like I do) boats are fun and oh so tasty.
Weeknight summer dinners are all about simplicity, beauty, and the use of the freshest ingredients. Zucchini is so plentiful this time of year, so I can’t resist incorporating it into many of my meals. Obviously, zucchini is the star of this dish. Simply hollow out the zucchini using a small spoon, stuff it with an incredibly tasty turkey taco filling, top with cheese, and cook until bubbly perfection occurs. The end result is perfectly cooked zucchini and an explosion of southwestern flavors. You won’t miss the tortilla one bit.
If you’re looking for a way to shake up taco night, look no further. Hop aboard the zuk-boat, and enjoy this summer weeknight gem of dinner. Healthy, delicious, pretty, and fun.
4 zucchini, medium sized
1/2 cup prepared salsa
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground turkey, I used 96% lean
15 oz can finely dices tomatoes
Juice of 1/2 lime
A small handful of cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green chilies (I used half of a 4 oz can, use the entire can if you like it spicy)
2 tbsp taco seasoning
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese
Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, hollow out the center of the zucchini halves leaving 1/4 inch border. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini into small pieces and reserve 1/2 of a cup to add to the taco filling. Discard the rest or save to use in another recipe. Place the reserved zucchini into the center of a paper towel and squeeze any excess water out of it. Reserve zucchini.
Spoon salsa into a large baking dish and place zucchini halves on top, hollowed side up. Reserve prepared baking dish.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add onion and red bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add ground turkey and cook for 5 minutes, breaking turkey into bite sized pieces. Once turkey is browned, add reserved zucchini flesh, tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, greed chilies, taco seasoning, cumin, dried oregano, smoked paprika, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Allow mixture to cool slightly.
Fill the reserved zucchini boats with the taco filling mixture. Pack as much as you can into each zucchini boat, for me that was about 1/2 cup.
Top each zucchini half with 1 tbsp of cheese (I used a shredded monterey jack mixture) and bake, covered, for 35-40 minutes until zucchini is cooked through. Remove cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes.