Rice, Bean and Citrus Salad

16 05 2016

This tasty side dish was a brainchild of a bean and orange salad I’ve had at family parties over the summer. It’s light and refreshing, perfect to serve along with a big piece of meat like steak and surprisingly, it feeds a crowd!

Rice Bean and Citrus Salad

The following serves 6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat): 

  • 3 cups brown rice
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper, whatever color you have (I used yellow here)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cilantro
  • 4-5 nectarine/halo/cutie oranges, peeled and separated

Cook rice according to package directions. While the rice is still warm, mix in the lime zest and salt to taste.

Meanwhile, in a medium-large bowl, add the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. While whisking, stream in olive oil until thick and emulsified, just eyeball it.

Add the black beans, bell pepper, carrots, shallot and cilantro and toss well. Allow to sit in the dressing for a few minutes, then add in the rice and toss to combine.

You can leave this out covered at room temperature for a few hours until ready to serve. Before serving, add the orange segments and toss to combine. Note: the oranges are not in the picture above because I wasn’t ready to serve this at the time of photographing.





Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

21 06 2015

This pasta salad is light, fresh and super tasty – great for serving in the summer! I love taking ideas I see on in my fav cooking shows or magazines and making them my own. This recipe is a great example, thanks to the Food Network’s The Kitchen for the pineapple-zucchini salsa idea!

Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

The following serves 6-8 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and The Kitchen):

  • 2 small to medium-size zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 of a peeled and cored pineapple
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 lb gemelli pasta
  • 2 small to medium-size shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger (save yourself time and use it from the tube)
  • 2 tsp finely diced jalapeno or your favorite hot sauce, use more or less depending on how much spice you like
  • 6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Tbsp Champagne or Chardonnay Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro or mint
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium. Grill the pineapple and zucchini for a few minutes on each side until beginning to char. You still want the zucchini to have a little crunch. Remove from the grill and set aside. Once cool enough to handle, diced the pineapple and zucchini and add to a large bowl or casserole dish. Toss with the cucumber, and season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, whisk the shallots, ginger, jalapeno or hot sauce, oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add dressing to the pineapple-zucchini mixture and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Season with salt and cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and return to pan to cool slightly.

Add the slightly cooled pasta to the dressed pineapple-zucchini mixture. Add the cilantro or mint and toss everything well to combine. Season with a little more salt and pepper to taste if needed. You can also add more oil or vinegar if you’d like.

Store covered in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.





Banana Pudding Trifle

23 03 2015

I served this trifle at a dinner party this weekend and it was a nice success! It’s easy enough to whip up for a backyard party, but pretty enough to serve at the end of a nice Sunday supper too! Make it easier on yourself my doing the pudding and the whipped cream a day ahead, then on the day you’re serving, simply slice the bananas and assemble.

Banana Pudding Trifle

The following makes one large trifle, about 14-16 servings (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 2 boxes instant banana cream pudding
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cream of coconut
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
  • 3 large bananas, sliced
  • 1 box vanilla wafers

Whisk pudding mix and milk in a large bowl according to the package directions. Chill covered, following package directions, or overnight.

For the whipped cream, beat the heavy cream and the cream of coconut with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.

To build the trifle, assemble a layer of banana slices on the bottom of a trifle or large glass bowl. Top bananas with a layer of pudding, then a layer of wafers, then a layer of whipped cream. Repeat layering until you run out of ingredients, or fill the bowl, finishing with a layer of whipped cream. Top with shredded coconut and add a ring of wafers if you’d like to finish decorating (as shown above).

You’ll want to assemble the trifle at least a few hours before serving. Store covered in the fridge until ready to serve.





Fennel, Orange and Kalamata Olive Salad

4 08 2014

I’m not much of a fennel fan, but I really enjoy it in this dish! I had this salad at a party this summer and knew I’d replicate it once we got fennel in our Fresh Fork Market grab bag. And this past week we did….so, here’s the yummy salad! Fresh, delicious and crunchy, this salad is great as a side dish for dinner, or is a perfect addition to your picnic fare.

Fennel, Orange and Kalamata Olive Salad

The following serves 4 as a side salad (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • Handful of fennel fronds, chopped
  • Zest of 1 small orange
  • 2 oranges, peeled, separated and pits removed and sliced in bite size pieces – watch out for seeds
  • 1 heaping cup of pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup of oil from the olives, or olive oil
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • Small pinch of salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 2.5 ounces, or half a small container of organic arugula

Combine the fennel, fronds, orange zest, orange pieces, olives, oil, vinegar and salt and pepper in a medium-large bowl. Mix well and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Taste, and add more oil or vinegar to your liking if needed.

Dish out arugula and top with the fennel, oranges and olives.





Pretzel Brat-Mi

15 07 2014

I’m teaming up with Orlando Baking Company again, this time featuring recipes for their awesome pretzel buns! First up is this fun, party-worthy brat that’s a riff on a classic Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich.

The zing and crunch from the slaw cuts through the richness of the brat perfectly. Pair it with this sturdy and flavorful pretzel bun which has a bit of a sweet note on its own, for one delicious summer bite!

Enjoy these for dinner, or cut them in half and serve them as an appetizer at your next cookout!

Pretzel Brat-MiThe following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 4 Orlando Pretzel Hot Dog Buns
  • 4 turkey brats, you can use whatever you like or have such as pork or chicken brats
  • 1 bunch of cilantro leaves, about 1 cup packed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 candy onion stem chopped, or 1/2 cup of sliced green onions
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • Juice and zest of half a lime
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp habanero hot sauce, or whatever hot sauce you like (use less if you don’t like it as spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups matchstick carrots
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 4 green onions, sliced for garnish

Add cilantro, garlic, vinegar, lime juice and zest, hot sauce, kosher salt and olive oil to a food processor and process until smooth. Will make about 1 cup. Toss with carrots and cabbage. You can add more carrots or cabbage to adjust the amount of the sauce to your liking too. Store covered in the fridge.

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Add some water to a large skillet. Add the brats, cover and cook over medium-high heat until plump and partially cooked, just a few minutes. Remove brats from the water and pat to dry. Transfer brats to pre-heated grill to finish cooking through and to get a char on the outside. Grill a few minutes on all sides. Remove from the grill and allow to rest a few minutes.

Place brats on pretzel buns, top with slaw and garnish with green onion. Serve with more slaw on the side if you’d like.

* Buns received courtesy of Orlando Baking Company. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.





Grilled Pineapple and Red Pepper Salsa

14 07 2014

This is a super tasty and refreshing salsa, perfect to enjoy with friends and fam on a hot summer day! I know my fam gobbled it up at a picnic we had this past weekend! Bobby Flay’s grilled pineapple relish was my inspiration for this appetizer, well that, and all the pretty produce in my fridge. Don’t be afraid to play around with the fruit and veggies in this….it’s great to use what you have on hand!

Grilled Pineapple and Red Pepper Salsa

The following makes around 3 cups (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 2 cups grilled pineapple, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise, seeds and stem removed, grilled and chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2-3 medium radishes, chopped
  • 1/4 bunch of green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 3-4 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (use more or less to your liking)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp hot sauce (use more or less depending how spicy you want the salsa, I used a habanero hot sauce which is very spicy, so a little went a long way)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Tortilla chips, great with blue corn!

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Drizzle pineapple and red pepper with a little olive oil. Grill covered, until char marks start to form, a few minutes on all sides. Remove from the grill to a plate and set aside until cool enough to handle. Once cooled, chop pineapple and pepper. I grilled a whole cored pineapple and used what I thought would be enough in the salsa and saved the rest for another meal. You can adjust the amount of pineapple used in this salsa based on your preference.

Combine chopped pineapple, pepper, radishes, green onions and cilantro. Add the lime zest and juice, vinegar and hot sauce and stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning. I like the acid as it is, but if it’s too much you can add a little more hot sauce or add some olive oil. Season with salt to taste.

Store covered in the fridge until ready to serve. This salsa can be made a day in advance. Serve with multi-grain or blue corn tortilla chips.





Asian Lo Mein and Snow Pea Slaw

7 07 2014

Lots of great Fresh Fork Market veggies featured in tonight’s meatless Monday supper including snow peas, cabbage, kale, green onions and garlic scapes! I love quick Asian dinners like this that can also serve as a fab potluck or picnic item. You can save yourself time day-of by doing most of the prep ahead of time, like all the chopping and shredding that’s needed. If you have leftovers, be sure to enjoy them for lunch the next day!

Asian Lo Mein and Snow Pea Slaw

The following serves 4-6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and taste love & nourish):

  • 1 quart snow peas, ends snapped and string removed
  • 10 oz package lo mein
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice (about 1 really juice lime) and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger (save time, use the minced tube kind!)
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded kale
  • 1 cup shredded/matchstick carrots
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup almond slivers, toasted

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add snow peas and blanch for 1-2 minutes. Remove with a spider or small strainer and set aside. Make sure the water is still boiling and add the lo mein (the water will be green from the peas, but no worries that just adds flavor). Cook according to package instructions. Mine took 4 minutes. Drain and run cooked lo mein under cold water. Drain well.

In a large bowl, whisk the soy sauce, lime juice and zest, ginger, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, olive oil and salt. Add the snow peas, cabbage (start with 2 cups, if you end up having enough dressing you can add the last cup), kale, carrots, green onions and garlic scapes to a large bowl. Mix well. Add the cooled lo mein and toss everything together, making sure the lo mein is coated in the dressing. Store in the fridge 20-30 minutes.

Mix well and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and almonds before serving.





Grilled Kale, Quinoa and Cherry Salad

2 07 2014

Tonight we enjoyed this fabulous quinoa salad featuring Fresh Fork Market kale and cucumber. Pick your protein and enjoy it warm, at room temp or even cold – it’s that versatile. Serve it as a side dish, a salad or even an appetizer, making it perfect for summer potlucks too! I’ll be sharing this with friends and fam this holiday weekend! 🙂

Grilled Kale, Quinoa and Cherry Salad

The following serves 4-6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and A Beautiful Mess):

  • 1 bunch organic kale, large stems cut away, washed and dried
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • Reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dark cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1 medium organic cucumber, cut in half, seeded and chopped
  • Chopped parsley
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sharp provolone cheese, shaved

Preheat grill to medium.

Drizzle kale with a little olive oil and season with salt to taste. Grill over medium heat, 1-2 minutes on each side until a little char starts to form. Remove from the grill and cool. Once cool enough to handle, slice or tear into small pieces. Discard stems.

Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Mine called for 1 cup dry quinoa to 2 cups water. To add some extra flavor, I used 1 cup chicken stock and 1 cup water. I recommend using the pre-rinsed kind of quinoa to save yourself time. Once cooked, allow quinoa to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the grilled kale, cooked quinoa, cherries, cucumber and parsley. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and garnish with sunflower seeds and shaved provolone. You can enjoy this salad warm, at room temperature or even cold.





Polenta Squares With Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil

15 06 2014

This is a unique, and tasty appetizer that I’m sure you won’t see at many parties! It’s perfect for summer picnics or potlucks because you serve it room temperature. You could also serve these polenta squares as a side dish, making this versatile too.

Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil

The following makes 12-16 squares (adapted from The Party Girl Cookbook):

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 6 oz. sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped (Don’t waste the oil, save it to use in something else!)
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Bring water to a boil in a large sauce pot over high heat. Add salt. Slowly add the cornmeal and whisk constantly. When the mixture boils (which will happen quickly and be careful, the mixture will be hot), reduce the heat to low and continue stirring (with a wooden spoon) until very thick, about 30 minutes.

Add the sun-dried tomatoes and basil and stir well. Pour the polenta into a square 2.5 quart casserole dish sprayed with non-stick spray, making sure to spread evenly. Chill in the fridge until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes until lightly browned. Cool to room temperature and cut into squares. You can get more squares if you go for smaller, bite-size pieces.

You can make this a day or two ahead of time and store covered in the fridge. Just bring to room temperature before serving.





Italian-Deli Pasta Salad

28 05 2014

Wish I could take credit for this quick pasta salad, but it’s all Food Network Magazine on this one. Love the idea of using a jar of giardiniera (Italian relish of pickled veggies) – so tasty and such a fast ingredient to use. I just so happen to have an extra jar in the pantry. So when I saw this in my #FNMag, I knew I had to whip this up for our Memorial Day cookout!

Italian-Deli Pasta Salad

The following serves 8 (adapted from Food Network Magazine):

  • 1 lb whole wheat pasta
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (original recipe called for mayo)
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 16 oz jar of giardiniera, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup diced provolone (I suggest sharp provolone)
  • 1 cup diced salami (about 3/4 of a pound) – take some help from your deli, ask them to cut quarter-inch slices rather than giving you a large chunk of salami, this will make your chopping at home much easier!
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse pasta under cold water to stop the cooking. Allow to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil and vinegar. Toss the dressing with the pasta, along with the chopped giardinera, provolone, salami, parsley and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This Girl’s time-saving prep tip: Save yourself time day-of, and make most of this salad a day in advance. Chop the giardiniera, cheese and salami and store in individual ziplock bags or containers in the fridge. Chop the parsley and basil and store together in a ziplock in the fridge. Finally, make the dressing and store that covered in the fridge. Then the next day, cook the pasta and mix everything together…now you’re good to go to your party in no time!