Thai Marinated Cucumber Salad

This sweet and tangy salad is a perfect side dish all year around.  It is super easy to make and the flavors get even more delicious as it marinates.  Allowing it to marinate at least 10 minutes is key.  If possible, allow it to marinate over night as I think it is even better the 2nd day. 

 Makes: 4 Servings

Time: 20 minutes to overnight

  Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 2-inch Piece Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Small Bunch of Thai Basil (optional)

Instructions

1.Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and mince the garlic and ginger.  Trim off and discard the ends of the cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise and then again so that the cucumbers are spears.  Then cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Peel, halve and thinly slice the onion; place in a small bowl with the vinegar and set aside.

2. Assemble & marinate the cucumber salad:

In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, sesame oil, sugar, garlic and ginger, and as much of the onion-vinegar mixture as you’d like. Stir to thoroughly combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let marinate, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes.

3. Finish & serve your dish:

Transfer the marinated cucumber salad to a serving dish; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pick the Thai basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves and add to the salad just before serving.  Enjoy!

Blueberry, Feta and Carmelized Onion Flatbread

 
I recently went blueberry picking for the first time while visiting my sister and her family in VT over the summer.  We stumbled upon the Organic Sunshine Valley Berry Farm right off the Vermont Route 100.  They gave us  a blue bucket and pointed us to the rows of blueberries just ripe and ready for picking.

You may not know this but blueberries have several health benefits along with being a tasty treat.  They boost memory, support heart health and are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and fiber.  That little adventure to the Berry Farm inspired me to share one of my favorite pizza recipes that boasts beautiful and sweet blueberries.  This savory pizza is oh so good!  I often make it for special occasions during blueberry season because it both pretty and tasty.  But don’t feel you have to reserve it for just special times – It’s easy, has just a handful of ingredients, and is delicious too.

Blueberry, Feta and Carmelized Onion Flatbread

DFTSI Blueberry Feta and Onion PizzaIMG_3771

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 naan flatbreads
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • kosher salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • micro  greens or baby arugula

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the naan/flatbread on the baking sheet and lightly spray or brush with water. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium low heat. Add the onion and season with a pinch of salt to taste and red pepper flakes. Cook the onions until it is wilted, about 3-5 minutes and stir in the honey, and continue to cook a fe more minutes letting the onions caramelize. Remove from heat.
  • While the onions cook, stir the ricotta and feta cheese in a small bowl. Spread the ricotta mixture over the naan/flatbread, and top with the honey caramelized onions. Sprinkle the blueberries on top.
  • Place the naan pizzas into the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the blueberries are just about ready to burst, the cheese has softened, and the naan is toasted. Remove from oven, cut into squares or slices, sprinkle with arugula and enjoy immediately.
 
 

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

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This colorful side dish is packed with flavor and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cored, broken into large florets, florets sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 onion, peeled, thickly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow madras curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven, line baking pan with foil: Pre-heat oven to 425°F with a rack on the top third of the oven. Line a large rimmed baking with foil.

2. Whisk together garlic, lemon juice, oil, curry, cinnamon, salt: Put the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, curry powder, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk vigorously until well combined.

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3. Coat floret slices with curry mixture:  Add the cauliflower and onion slices to the bowl with the curry and toss to coat. Spread the cauliflower and onion slices on the baking sheet in a single layer.

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4. Roast in oven: Roast in oven at 425°F for 25 to 30 minutes until well browned. Check halfway through the cooking, and rotate the pan for more even cooking.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Source: Simply Recipes

Spicy Southwestern Salad

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spicy southwestern salad with avocado dressing


  • creds: pinch of yum
  • prep time: 15 mins
  • cook time: 20 mins
  • total time: 35 minutes
  • yield: 4 large salads

DESCRIPTION

This easy to prepare Spicy Southwestern Salad recipe has roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, lettuce, and creamy avocado dressing!


INGREDIENTS

FOR THE SALAD

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon each cumin and chili powder (plus a sprinkle of cayenne if you like it hot)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-ounce can sweet corn, rinsed and drained
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado (optional)
  • 1/2 a head of romaine lettuce, chopped

FOR THE CILANTRO DRESSING:

  • half an avocado
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a squeeze of lime juice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into bite-sized pieces. Mix the olive oil, cumin, and chili powder together in a small bowl. Brush mixture on sweet potatoes. Roast for 10 minutes. Stir or shake the pan. Turn heat up to 425, and roast for another 10-15 minutes. The sweet potatoes should be just barely roasty-brown on the outside.  cook another minute or two if needed.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, pulse all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until mostly smooth.
  3. Toss the beans, corn, lettuce, and sweet potatoes with the dressing. Serve with the other half of the avocado!

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Roasted Red Peppers with Pesto and Goat Cheese

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8-12 baby red bell peppers (or a combination of red, yellow and orange)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons prepared pesto (I love using Kirklands from Costco)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 ounces goat cheese
  • fresh oregano (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice mini bell peppers in half and remove stem and seeds. Place in a large bowl (or large ziplock bag) and toss with pesto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar until peppers are completely covered.
  3. Line up peppers on a baking sheet and place into oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Take peppers out and carefully add crumbled goat cheese to insides of pepper halves.
  5. Place back into oven and bake for another 3-5 minutes or until goat cheese is melted.
  6. Optional: sprinkle chopped fresh oregano over peppers before serving.
  • Psst!  You can marinate and place peppers on a foil lined tray up to the night before if you want to shorten the preparation time right before serving.

Roasted Vegetable and Orzo Salad

Orzo Salad with Roasted VegtablesOrzo Salad with Roasted Vegetables

 

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo
  • 32 oz. Chicken Broth
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Finishing touches:
  • 4 green onions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. combine the chopped eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large baking sheet or jelly roll pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

While vegetables are cooking, bring salted chicken broth to a boil in a medium pot . Add orzo and  cook for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.

Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

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For the dressing, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature or refrigerate.

Just before serving, add the green onions, pine nuts, feta, and basil. Can be served at room temperature or refrigerated.

Enjoy!

Note: I adapted this delicious side dish recipe from Ina Garten.  I originally found it in my now dog-eared Barefoot Contessa Parties! recipe book.  I love almost every recipe in this publication.  Thank you Ina!

Psst! You can boil the orzo in water instead of chicken broth if you want to go vegetarian.

Homemade Yogurt Sauce / Tzatziki

Homemade Tzatziki
Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions: 

Wash produce (lemon and cucumber)

Grate the cucumber and squeeze out as much liquid as you can and set aside. This prevents your yogurt sauce from being to runny and watered down)

Cut 1/2 lemon into quarters

In a medium bowl, combine the drained cucumber, yogurt and the juice of 2 lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow flavors to mix.

Try it with Moroccan Lamb Meatballs, Curry Spiced Chicken Thighs, or Ras El Hanout Chicken Breasts below.

autumn gingerbread cakeletsCurry-Spiced ChickenChicken and tabouleh

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

DFTSI Roasted Cherry Tomatoes_5709Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I love roasted vegetables! It seams to bring out the sweetness and also carmelizes the outside.  These roasted tomatoes are super easy and delicious too.  You can easily double or triple the recipe if you are serving more people.

Serving: 2
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 15-20 minutes
Total Time 20-25 minutes

Ingredients
1 pint cherry tomatoes (Try the heirloom tomatoes if you like a variety of colors)
1-2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
4-5 large basil leaves cut into chiffonade (with scissors)

Instructions
1. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spread the tomatoes  on a cooking sheet with an edge (or jelly roll pan) lined with foil
3. Sprinkle with the olive oil and toss the tomatoes gently.  Sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper.
4. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the fresh basil and a little more salt to taste.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Pear Snack Bites

DFTSI Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Pear Bites_6428Sometimes you just need something sweet and crunchy. It’s tempting to reach for something pre-packaged that’s easy and tasty but makes you feel guilty right after you put it in your mouth.  Not these.  They are crunchy and satisfying while also being high in nutrition Get your snack fix with this easy to prepare treat that you can feel good about.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Servings:  2
Ingredients: 4
Calories: 200/serving

Ingredients

1 medium pear
4 Tablespoons  PB2 (Powdered Peanut Butter)
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons shredded coconut (I like it toasted)

Preparation

In a small bowl, mix PB2 with 2 Tablespoons of water.

Slice the pear into 8 -10 wedeges

Spread peanut butter mixture thinly onto pear wedges and place on either a serving platter or 2 individual salad plates.

Sprinkle with coconut and chocolate chips. Enjoy!

 

Roasted Garlic Green Beans

Easy Peasy Roasted Green Beans

2-4 servings
Time – 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash green beans, snap off the ends and place on a foil-lined pan.
Add olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper to the beans, toss gently and spread out on the pan.
Place in oven and roast for 20-25 minutes until crisp and tender.