Perfect for a light summer side salad, this Quinoa Cucumber Tomato Salad is not only incredibly easy to make, it’s super tasty! I love the slight crunch of the quinoa along with the fresh, crisp vegetables. And the simple lemon dressing pulls it all together wonderfully. This salad is a great way for me to get my kids to eat some vegetables and healthy whole grains – they love this dish. And any leftovers go great in their lunch boxes the next day. If you have a few Smart Points to spare, I suggest adding in some feta or goat cheese crumbles for an added kick of flavor. It’s sooooooo good! You could also top it with some grilled chicken, and/or add in some extra roasted veggies like bell peppers and zucchini, to make to a complete meal. This Quinoa Cucumber Tomato Salad works great at BBQ’s, potlucks, parties…you name it. It’s versatile, delicious, healthy, and just 5 Smart Points per serving.
Couscous is something that I don’t make often, but I do occasionally make a batch of couscous. I prefer quinoa (I like the flavor and it’s gluten free, unlike couscous), but my husband doesn’t like the flavor of quinoa. As a result, sometimes, I’ll put together one of my favorite quinoa recipes with couscous to make a treat for him. This one was perfect. All of the fresh vegetables are perfect for this recipe. The dressing is one that I adapted from a citrus salsa recipe for salmon. It’s light and refreshing, and perfect to mix with couscous (or quinoa). The fresh herbs are what make the dressing come alive, but they go perfectly with the fresh and juicy tomatoes. I like the scallion in here, although green onions will also work. I find scallions to be more mild than regular onions and a little sweeter. For me, it makes the flavor a little less powerful and tends to blend in with the rest of the flavors without being overpoweringly onion-y. If you like a little bit of zing with your foods, add a healthy dose or crushed red pepper flakes. I typically leave them out, since I find the flavors of the citrus, scallion and mint to be perfect, but it’s really personal preference. Couscous is quick and easy to cook, so I like to prepare the dressing ingredients while the couscous is cooking. You can also add some garden fresh veggies, oven roasted root veggies or a piece of grilled chicken breast to make this a full and satisfying meal.
Fresh strawberry muffins are one of my favorites. About a year ago, my mother-in-law gave me a recipe for fresh strawberry muffins that I fell in love with. They were so tender, delicious and moist. The fresh strawberries made them really tasty. My only problem with them was the fact that they were a little involved to make. The way to get them to turn out perfectly involved sifting dry ingredients, creaming butter and sugar, and so on. I’m someone who likes to toss baking recipes together all in one bowl, mix and be done. So I went on the search for a simple and delicious replacement for my favorite strawberry muffins. I found these blender muffins that were just perfect. Originally, they had bananas in the recipe, so I tried it without first and just added the strawberries. They’re OK that way, but the bananas add the extra moistness that they really needed to be tasty. Everything, except the fresh strawberries, gets tossed in the blender (or food processor), pureed and then fold in the strawberries. They’re ready to go in just a few minutes, and bake in a few more minutes. Fresh out of the oven they are just amazing. I’m really enjoying my new strawberry muffin recipe, especially since if I use gluten free oats, they’re gluten free, and have no need for me to adjust flours. They’re easy, tender, moist and really delicious. They’re perfect for breakfast or snack – whether they’re fresh and warm or leftover.
I love baked chicken. It’s so easy and simple, a great and healthy way to prepare chicken. As long as I don’t overbake it, then it’s juicy and moist. I like to check the local grocery ads, and stock up on chicken when it’s on sale (legs, thighs and breasts). That way I have some in the freezer and can just stick it in the oven for dinner that night. Citrus and chicken go so well together that I thought I would combine them with a little honey, some garlic and rosemary. I made a basting sauce with broth, lemon juice, honey, garlic and Italian seasoning. I added some extra cloves of garlic and sprigs of rosemary while baking the chicken. The end result was delicious. It was a little tart, garlicy and succulent. I will definitely be doing this again. Browning the chicken before baking it ensured the juices were sealed in during baking. The flavors of the lemon and garlic work so well with the juicy chicken. This is simple and delicious. Serve it with a salad or roasted vegetables to round out this fabulous chicken. [Read more…]
I’m so grateful that my kids love beans as much as they do. And this 13 Bean Soup Recipe gives me an opportunity to provide them with a healthy and delicious soup that is not only full of nutrients, protein, and fiber, but it’s just 5 Smart Points per serving – which is great for me! It’s also a really filling soup, so perfect for when you really need to satisfy your hunger without going through all your Points. This 13 Bean Soup is also incredibly easy to prepare. You can really use any dry bean mix that you like. I’m personally a fan of Bob’s Red Mill bean soup mix, so that’s what I use. It also freezes and reheats really nicely, so if you have any leftovers, it’s great for lunches or when you need a meal in a pinch.
I’ll admit I’m kind of addicted to Pinterest. As someone who not only write recipes and meal plans for a living, but also sews, quilts and knits, I can spend hours looking at projects and ideas. When I saw a recipe for peach dumplings, I just had to try it. I ended up combining several recipes, since I wanted to use fresh peaches, not canned peaches. I love how easy these were to make and they were so delicious! They’re a cute little dessert that goes so well with ice cream (at least for the family and friends). But they go just as well with a dab of fat free cool whip or a little non fat Greek yogurt. If you’re looking for a little twist, these can also be made with wonton wrappers, and be just as cute and delicious. Just be sure to keep an eye on them, since they may not take as long to bake. If using wonton wrappers, you should also brush them with a beaten egg white so they turn that beautiful golden brown. But no matter what you use for the wrapper, these are definitely keepers for my family, they’re so simple and elegant but incredibly delicious. [Read more…]
I have a few go-to breakfasts that I make on the weekend, and they’re usually a little more involved than my regular breakfasts. I love pancakes and hashbrowns with fried eggs. But probably my all time favorite breakfast is Dutch Babies. Growing up, I’m sure my mom made lots of different breakfasts on Saturday mornings, but the one I remember is Dutch Babies with fruit sauce. I loved it then, and I love it even more now. The part I really love about it now is how simple it is to put together. I like to set my oven to preheat itself about the time I know I need to get up. A hot oven is key to Dutch Babies, so this ensures that I don’t have to wait (and wait and wait) for my oven to finally get up to 400 degrees. I usually preheat it to about 425 or 450 degrees, so that when I open the door, there’s plenty of heat to ensure proper baking. Once your oven is preheated, they’re so easy to make! Just put everything in the blender, and you’re good to go! I typically serve mine with fruit sauce and some Greek yogurt.
Asian noodles are one of my favorite ways to whip together a quick lunch for myself when there aren’t any leftovers. I love the flavors of the soy sauce, chili sauce and sesame oil combined with the rich and spicy garlic. My favorite part of these noodles is how easy they are to put together. I used buckwheat noodles in this recipe, but you can use any type of noodle you want. I will frequently use a gluten free spaghetti noodle, because it’s what I have on hand. Add more of your favorite vegetables and even toss in some leftover chicken breast to add more protein to the dish. The dark noodles, bright and cute pepper rings and tender zucchini noodles are perfectly seasoned. It’s a delicious meal that’s ready in no time!
I was recently asked to design a recipe with frozen basil in it. I decided to go with classic clover rolls, and then add sundried tomatoes and basil to it. They were delicious! They were light and fluffy (provided you don’t over bake them like I did with my first batch), and had just the right blend of tomato and basil flavor. I find the sundried tomato flavor is often too strong when just mixed into salads and pastas, but with this, the basil seemed to temper it a bit. They were perfect with some spaghetti and a side salad. My original recipe used all purpose flour, but you can substitute whole wheat and get a little more fiber and whole grain nutrition in them. I’ve also made them with gluten free flour. They didn’t rise quite as well, so they were a little denser, but were still delicious. Give these clover rolls a try – you won’t be disappointed with their elegant flavor. [Read more…]
Salmon is one of my favorite meats. I really enjoy the flavor of salmon. It’s not as fishy as some types of fish and has a strong flavor that can be easily balanced with really delicious sauces. I like to serve my salmon with lemon, onions and dill or with a citrus salsa, but I thought I’d do something different. I didn’t want to just season the salmon with soy sauce, so I found a delicious glaze with orange juice and rice wine. Both the orange juice and rice wine helped to lighten the very strong flavor of the soy sauce. It was simple to make but really delicious. I decided to broil the salmon, since that was simple and quick. If you’re so inclined, you can make a second batch of sauce while the salmon is cooking to serve with the salmon. It’s delicious served with steamed rice, steamed or stir fried veggies and marinated cucumbers. [Read more…]
I’m not someone who loves sandwiches, but every once in a while, I get on a kick where I really like sandwiches and really want sandwiches. It’s nice to have some variety for sandwiches though. While I like turkey and swiss with tomatoes and lettuce, I thought I’d really change it up by trying a vegan sandwich that was completely different than my normal one. I think the keys were the hummus and the avocado. The beef hummus not only added a beautiful color to the sandwich, but it also served as the sandwich spread. The avocado added the right flavor and texture to the sandwich, as well as giving it a delicious moistness. While the serving size is only a half a sandwich, it’s easy to pair this with a side salad, a cup of soup or even just some fruit and nuts. It’s a perfect size to really hit the spot and satisfy your bread craving without going overboard. [Read more…]
These Country Potatoes make for a simple, minimalist side dish recipe that is fast and easy to cook, yet has the wonderfully distinct flavor of good old fashioned home cooking! A handful of ingredients are brought together in a perfect, hearty, comforting dish that pairs really well with steak, chicken or fish. In fact, they were so good that my family nearly gobbled them all up before I was able to snap a picture! I love that these potatoes cook up so quickly, and the flavor of all the vegetables aren’t overwhelmed with seasonings or sauces, allowing them to really shine. I’ve also served these as my take on breakfast potatoes a few times too, and they were a real treat alongside some turkey bacon and eggs. At just 5 Smart Points per serving, you’ll get a seriously satisfying side to your favorite main course, without going overboard.