Roasted Garlic Avocado White Bean Dip

Roasted Garlic Avocado White Bean DipRecipes for white bean dip abound in cookbooks, magazines, and the food blogosphere, and it’s easy to see why.  White bean dips have huge appeal because they are healthier and lower in calories compared to appetizers made with cheese, cream cheese, pastry, bread, and nuts.  Still, I have found most white bean dips rather bland, consisting only of pureed white beans, garlic, olive oil, and lemon. However, with a few simple recipe tweaks I turned a basic, unexciting dip into a sensational, savory one.   Roasted Garlic White Bean Avocado Dip contains fresh basil, avocado, and roasted garlic –ingredients not commonly found in white bean dip, but ones that make this dip truly exceptional.   (more…)

Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw

Blue Cheese Broccoli SlawBlue Cheese Broccoli Slaw with Figs, Walnuts, and Crispy Prosciutto was inspired by the popular Blue Cheese Cole Slaw recipe by Ina Garten, a/k/a The Barefoot Contessa. Initially I planned to do a version of this recipe using homemade avocado mayonnaise but when I did a search on Google and Pinterest I saw that there were already tons of recipes out there for blue cheese cole slaw so I decided to create a broccoli slaw instead and compliment the wonderfully distinct flavor of blue cheese with dried mission figs, toasted walnuts, and crispy prosciutto. There’s no mayonnaise is this slaw; the dressing is made from olive oil, greek yogurt, blue cheese, and parmesan cheese. If you’re a fan of blue cheese you will love this dish! (more…)

Maple Sweetened Strawberry Ice Cream

Maple Sweetened Strawberry Ice CreamI’m sure I’m breaking some unwritten food blogging rule that says you shouldn’t post two similar recipes back to back, but earlier this week my refrigerator was overflowing with all the fresh strawberries I had picked, so rather than see them go bad I decided to make Maple Sweetened Strawberry Ice Cream and it came out so delicious that I just had to share!  I had an old recipe for homemade strawberry ice cream in my files that I dug out and I simply replaced the 1¼ cups of white granulated sugar it called for with ¾ cup of pure maple syrup.  Aside from being able to control/lessen the sweetness (most ice cream is way too sweet), an added benefit of using maple syrup was that the liquids did not need to be heated in order to dissolve the granulated sugar.  Since the maple syrup was already in liquid form it just needed to be combined with the strawberries/puree and other ingredients.  So, not only is Maple Sweetened Strawberry Ice Cream a tad healthier than your typical strawberry ice cream, it’s also a little easier to make. (more…)

Strawberry Chicken Pecan Salad

Strawberry Chicken Pecan SaladThe strawberry season is in full swing here in Massachusetts and my family and I have been enjoying its bounty.  We are blessed to live within a mile of two “pick you own” strawberry fields and have several other farm stands nearby that are bursting with fresh strawberries this time of year. I always make a point of trying at least one new recipe each year using fresh strawberries, and normally this includes some type of dessert, but strawberries are delicious in salads too, as I discovered when I made Strawberry Chicken Pecan Salad.  What makes this salad so exceptional is that it pairs fresh strawberries with other ingredients that highlight its flavor perfectly.  Maple syrup intensifies the berry flavor, balsamic vinegar adds a pleasant tartness, and salty feta helps to balance some of the sweetness.  The result is a salad where the essence of fresh strawberries really shines through. (more…)

Roasted Red Pepper Involtini

Roasted Red Pepper InvoltiniIf someone told you they had a recipe that was delicious, easy, elegant, colorful, low in calories, and required no cooking, you’d want to know about it pronto, right?  Well, here is that recipe – Roasted Red Pepper Involtini.  Sweet, smoky, roasted red peppers stuffed, roulade style, with prosciutto, mozzarella, and fresh basil, then cut into pieces called “involtini”, which, roughly translated means “a small bite of food” in Italian. (more…)

Pepita Quinoa Chia Bread

Pepita Quinoa Chia BreadPepita Quinoa Chia Bread is gluten-free, dairy free, and vegan, and unlike most of the mass produced gluten-free bread available in supermarkets, it’s high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats.  The texture and shape of this bread is similar to a quick bread.  It contains no yeast so there is no rising involved and the finished loaf is dense and moist in the middle, but there are no sweeteners in this recipe so it tastes more like a slice of whole grain bread with a nutty, earthy quality.  Pepita Quinoa Chia Bread is healthy, delicious and SO worth the effort required to make it. (more…)

Chicken Marsala with Peas and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Chicken Marsala with Peas and Sun Dried TomatoesChicken marsala is a delicious chicken entrée that has been around forever, but my two main gripes with the classic preparation are that it calls for dredging the chicken in flour, and produces a finished dish that is somewhat lacking in color.  Coating the chicken pieces in flour prior to sautéing them serves primarily to thicken the pan sauce, however, the dredging process can be messy and if you’re allergic or sensitive to gluten, even the small amount of flour used in a typical chicken marsala recipe can cause you problems.  Chicken Marsala with Peas and Sun Dried Tomatoes is a quick, lightened up version of classic chicken marsala that solves both of these issues.  Instead of flour, the pan sauce is thickened with a combination of crème fraîche and cornstarch, with peas and sun dried tomatoes providing a boost of color to the otherwise bland tones in the dish.   Best of all, this simple recipe takes only about 20 minutes to prepare making it a perfect meal for busy weeknights. (more…)

Bistro Carrot Salad

Bistro Carrot SaladThe French have an uncanny ability to make ordinary food taste sublime.  Nothing illustrates this point better than Bistro Carrot Salad – a dish of raw carrots that have been grated into short delicate strands, dotted with flecks of fresh chopped parsley, and then tossed in a basic lemon vinaigrette.  Grated carrot salads (carottes râpées) are a mainstay at bistros everywhere in France and are so prevalent that French home cooks probably don’t even reference a recipe when making them. (more…)

Oven Roasted Vegetable Platter

Oven Roasted Vegetable PlatterThis Oven Roasted Vegetable Platter is the answer to some of the difficulties you may have encountered if you’ve ever tried to cook a large quantity of vegetables on the grill.  I think everyone would agree that the perfect accompaniment to any type of meat or fish is a platter of grilled vegetables.  Grilled vegetables are heavenly with their gorgeous sear marks and slightly charred smoky taste, but cooking a variety of vegetables on the grill can be very time consuming.  You have to laboriously thread a zillion individual vegetable pieces onto skewers, or stand at the grill and flip that same number of vegetable pieces over for even cooking.  It’s certainly worth the effort if you have the time but if you’re busy preparing other dishes, this might not be the most practical cooking method.  Oven roasting is much easier.  You can use smaller vegetables if you want (i.e. grape tomatoes), and cut them into more manageable, bite size pieces, and you won’t have to stand patiently over an outdoor grill or get your kitchen all smoked up using a stove top grill pan. (more…)

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

DSC_0281-edited 1There are an endless number of ways to make chicken salad, however as with most classic recipes the simplest preparations are often the best. Aside from cooked chicken, all you need to make delicious chicken salad is high quality mayonnaise, lots of crunchy celery, a few scallions, and some seasonings.  Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad veers only slightly from this classic preparation.  It calls for avocado mayonnaise instead of mayonnaise made with vegetable oil or olive oil, and contains cranberries, walnuts, and orange zest – 3 foods that, on their own provide incredible flavor harmony, but when combined with the other ingredients is this dish make for a chicken salad symphony! (more…)

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