Sometimes a few fresh ingredients make the best dishes. Even though it’s technically not summer yet, it still feels like summer, and this Tomato, Cucumber & Mozzarella Salad is perfect with any sort of BBQ or grilled dish. This salad is simple, but so delicious, especially when your ingredients are fresh. A little Italian olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and cracked fresh pepper and this salad is good to go. Enjoy!
What is your favorite summer salad?
- 5 medium plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, and cut into small wedges
- 1/4 red onion, finely diced
- 1 Kirby cucumber, sliced
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, roughly chopped into chunks
- A generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, about 2 tablespoons
- A splash of balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt and cracker pepper for seasoning
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- Toss the tomato, onion, cucumber, and mozzarella with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season liberally with sea salt and pepper and top with fresh basil.
Yield: 4 servings
The weather has gotten cold here recently, so you know what that means… slow cooker soups and stews! I know I’m a broken record, but I can’t tell you enough how much I love my slow cooker (my hubby’s Grandma gave it to me for my bridal shower ). I try to make as many meals in it as I can since it saves me so much time and energy (and when I get home from work I usually have little of either!). I decided to make a comforting pot of Italian Wedding Soup. Italian wedding soup is not only hearty and delish, but it’s the perfect accompaniment to a crusty piece of bread. I made beef meatballs the night before and prepped the vegetables i.e. the onion and garlic. I like to keep my Italian Wedding Soup simple with onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, stock, arugula/spinach, and pastina. In the morning, all I had to do was empty the meatballs and veggies in the slow cooker and cover with some stock and seasoning. When I got home from work, I threw a pot of water on the stove to make my pastina. I never add my pasta to the crock pot; I always make them separately and combine them right before serving. This soup is warm and comforting. Definitely give it a try!
What is your favorite soup or stew to make when it’s cold outside?
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 egg
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- Pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Mix all ingredients and roll into 1-2” balls. Bake for 15-20 minutes turning them halfway through.
- Store in refrigerator until ready to add to slow cooker.
- Olive oil for sautéing
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound arugula, escarole or spinach
- 1 box Barilla Pastina
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
- In a large sauté pan, heat a few tbsp of olive oil over medium heat and add onion and red pepper flakes. Cook for 5 minutes, add the garlic, and cook for 2 more minutes. Set aside or store in the refrigerator until ready to add to slow cooker.
- Add the meatballs, vegetable mix, and arugula to the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour chicken stock over and add the bay leaf. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Meanwhile, boil water in a stock pot and cook Pastina according to directions. Drain and set aside.
- Remove the bay leaf from the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add Pastina to soup and serve immediately. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
While I was traveling for work several weeks ago, my husband sent me an email that had a link and the following message: “You should buy this.” When I opened up the link, it went to a book review of The Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Amy Traverso. The book recently came out in stores and must have caught my hubby’s attention (he knows me so well!). I instantly bought it and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s awesome!!!! Not only does it have amazing desserts, but it has some awesome appetizers, entrees, and side dishes as well. At the beginning, it also has an extensive list (with photos) of every single apple out there. If you want to know how tart an apple is, whether it’s good for apple sauce, how long its shelf life is, etc. this book will tell you.
Kudos to Amy Traverso for coming up with a wonderful cookbook that has beautiful photos and recipes and that showcases some of the various areas in the U.S. that are notorious for good apples (cough, cough… NYS!). I used her recipe to make this Sweet Potato, Apple & Ginger Soup served alongside an Apple Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich. My pics don’t do this dinner justice because it was dark and the hubby and I were starving. But take my word that both this soup and grilled cheese were amazing!!!!!!!
Sweet Potato Soup Ingredients:
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1/2 lb baby-cut carrots
- 2 large apples, unpeeled, cored & cut into cubes
- 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 inch-long piece of fresh ginger, cut into chunks
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup fresh apple cider
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes, carrots, and apples with 3 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Line a baking sheet with foil and roast vegetables and apples until tender, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil to a large stock pot and set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, bay leaf, remaining salt and pepper, and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the onions turn golden.
- Add the roasted vegetables, broth, and cider to the stock pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Season to taste and serve.
Apple Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature
- 4 slices sourdough bread
- 2 tsp whole-grain mustard
- 1 apple, peeled and sliced
- 4 ounces cheddar cheese thinly sliced
- Set a skillet over medium heat.
- Butter one side of the bread slice and lay butter side down. Spread mustard on two of the bread slices and divide up the apple slices between the two portions, laying on top of the mustard. Divide up the cheese slices and lay over the apples. Top the sandwiches with the two remaining slices, buttered-side-up.
- Lay the sandwiches on the skillet and cook until the bottom is browned, 3-4 minutes, then flip. Cook until the sandwiches are crisp, about 4-6 minutes more.
*The Apple Lover’s Cookbook
Cool weather for me means soups and stews! Broccoli soup is one of those classic soups that I love to make and love to dip bread in. I decided to make some savory monkey bread with oregano, garlic, and olive oil. The monkey bread came out soft and perfect for dipping in this creamy soup. The soup recipe is also easy and delicious; I added a bit more garlic and red pepper flakes since I love both those flavors. Melted cheese on top of the hot soup makes this dish perfect for a cool, fall day. Enjoy!
Broccoli Soup Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large white onion, chopped
- 3 small celery ribs, thinly sliced (1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into florets
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Shredded cheese, to melt over soup
- Bread for dipping
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, celery, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes.
- Add the broccoli and water to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender and puree until smooth. Season the soup with salt and pepper and sprinkle cheese over. Serve with bread.
*Adapted from Food and Wine
After traveling for work for 10 days and eating restaurant food every one of those days, my hubby asked me what I’d like to eat for my first dinner back. I told him “something healthy, like a big salad.” After eating a lot of good, but probably unhealthy food, I decided that I needed to detox my bod with some healthy greens and lean protein like chicken. My hubby is the best and made me this delicious Mango Chicken Salad. It was awesome, but instead of me talking about the salad (since I didn’t make it), I’d like to introduce my guest blogger… my hubby!
Hello Happy When Not Hungry readers! As my wife already mentioned, I decided to make her a healthy dinner after she’d been away for work. This salad is really easy to make and the ingredients are very simple. I got the idea from a recipe I found on Epicurious. The original recipe called for a couple of other ingredients, like shallots and watercrests, but since I couldn’t find those in the 10 minute dash I made around the supermarket before picking up my wife from the airport, I had to improvise.
I started off by seasoning the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. I cooked the chicken in a grill pan over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes on each side. Next, I chopped the mango, onions, and lettuce and mixed them together with the croutons. Finally, I prepared the vinaigrette using red-wine vinegar, olive oil, and dried thyme. Fresh thyme would certainly work better, but unfortunately our herb garden didn’t survive the DC heat wave. I drizzled the dressing over the salad, topped it with the grilled chicken, and let my wife enjoy her first home cooked meal in 10 days!
- 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 thin, boneless chicken breasts halves
- 1 head red leaf or green leaf lettuce, washed and patted dry
- 1 large mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into cubes
- 1/2 small red onion, sliced paper-thin
- Croutons for topping
- Whisk red wine vinegar, olive oil, and thyme in a small bowl to blend. Season dressing with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and add to hot grill pan. Cook on each side, about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to cutting board and cut crosswise into slices.
- In a large salad bowl, mix lettuce, mango, red onion, and croutons, and top with chicken. Drizzle with dressing and serve.
*Adapted from Epicurious
I bought these beautiful heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market and knew that I had to make Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes. My basil plants are growing like mad, so this was the perfect recipe to trim them down. I love fresh mozzarella and the combo of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella is so simple, but delicious. Definitely give this recipe a try!
- 4 heirloom tomatoes
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, packed
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Fresh cracked pepper and sea salt for seasoning
- Slice tomatoes into 1″ slices. Arrange tomatoes on a decorative plate.
- Slice mozzarella into 1″ slices. Arrange mozzarella slices on top of tomatoes.
- Reserve a couple basil leaves for decoration and set aside. Chop basil and scatter on top of tomatoes and mozzarella.
- Drizzle olive oil over the top and season with cracked pepper and sea salt.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been loving the gigantic watermelons that have been all over the grocery stores lately! I buy one of these monsters each week and have enough watermelon to bring for lunch everyday and to snack on at night. Seasonal watermelon is so delicious and healthy. Instead of just eating it as a snack, I decided to make a Watermelon Salad. This watermelon salad is amazing and I’ll tell you something crazy… there’s cayenne pepper in this recipe! You only add a pinch of cayenne pepper, but it gives the watermelon such an amazing flavor. I can’t even describe what the cayenne pepper does to the salad, but trust me, you’ll love it. When you try this salad you will be just as obsessed with it as I am. Give it a try!
- 8 cups seedless watermelon chunks
- Juice of 1 lime
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup mint leaves, torn
- Pinch of Sea salt
- In a large bowl, toss the watermelon with the lime juice and cayenne pepper.
- Fold in the mint leaves, season with salt, and serve.
*Adapted from Food & Wine
Guess what I did tonight? I went bowling at the White House!!! My hubby and I were invited by a friend who is on detail there. There were about 12 of us that went and it was definitely an amazing experience (a lot more fun than our usual Wii Bowling). Check out some of my photos.
Bowling was definitely a cool experience… now on to the food! Since strawberries are in season down here in the DC Metro Area, I decided to make this fresh and healthy Strawberry & Spinach Salad. This salad is so simple to make and so beautiful as well. I added a little red onion for extra flavor and some walnuts for crunch. The vinaigrette I used is really simple; I just whisk olive oil with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper. It’s simple, but that’s all you need for this flavorful and fresh salad. Enjoy and have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!!
- 4 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, washed and patted dry with paper towels
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 cup walnut halves
- 1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, halved
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper for seasoning
- In a medium-sized serving bowl, lightly toss spinach, onion, walnuts, and strawberries and set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper until combined. Pour dressing over salad and lightly toss until coated.
It’s almost Cinco de Mayo, so I wanted to share with you one of my sister’s recipes that my family loves! This Mexican Bean Salad is delicious and so easy to make. There’s no stove tops or ovens involved; all you do is throw the ingredients together and allow them to sit in your refrigerator so the flavors can blend. We’ve had this salad as a side dish numerous times with various entrees including shrimp kabobs, grilled chicken, etc. I love simple salads like this because they remind me of bbqs and summer. While DC has been a little too steamy for me as of late, I’m hoping that spring (i.e. 70’s) will decide to stay here for at least a few more weeks before the extreme humidity begins! What are your favorite recipes for Cinco de Mayo?
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can sweet corn, rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
- 1/2 cup sliced scallions/green onions
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 3 tbsp cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- In large bowl, mix salad ingredients and in another small bowl, mix dressing ingredients with wire whisk until blended.
- Pour dressing over salad; toss to mix. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to blend flavors.
*Adapted from Betty Crocker
I hope you had a wonderful weekend! My weekend was great, but always seems too short. 🙂 In my previous post, I talked about trying a yoga class. Well I tried a beginner/intermediate yoga class at my gym and it was great! I will definitely be going to a yoga class once a week now. I felt great after and can definitely see why so many people love yoga. Because I was feeling so great, I decided to buy some fresh whole wheat tortellini and make Sausage & Tortellini Soup. I love this soup because it’s not heavy and since spring is here (and since I was feeling so great from yoga), I thought it was all too appropriate for the beautiful weather we’ve been having. I love the flavors in this soup especially the addition of the fresh lemon juice – it reinforces that spring is finally here and also makes the soup taste great! Hope you had a great weekend – what do you like to do to relax and/or feel better?
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 Italian sausages, casings removed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans
- 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, with juice
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
- 9 oz tortellini, fresh or frozen
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- juice of 1 lemon
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
- In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook until brown.
- Add the onions to the pan and cook until soft, 5 minutes.
- Add in the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
- Add the beans, tomatoes, and oregano and stir to combine. Add the chicken stock, wine, and lemon juice and bring to a boil.
- Add the tortellini to the pot and cook according to the package directions, about 5 minutes. One minute before the tortellini is fully cooked, stir in the spinach.
- Remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with grated Parmesan as desired.