Thursday, May 27, 2021

Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad

This easy, Italian salad features farro, a whole-grain hero. Mixed with roasted zucchini, peppers, and onion, and topped with a lemony dressing this salad pairs perfectly with any entrée.

Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad

Today's salad doubles as a side dish for any entrée.  The star of the dish is farro, a delightfully nutty grain that full of protein and fiber.  Use it as you would quinoa or rice.  When paired with perfectly roasted vegetables you have a winning combination.  This salad is best with a light dressing and my lemony vinaigrette brings a burst of brightness to the dish.  Top this off with some fresh herbs and a crumble of tangy feta and voila, a masterpiece is born!

This salad is served warm or at room temperate, however, it will keeps several days and will taste just a wonderful eaten cold.  This would be a great dish to serve during the summer grilling months.  Perfect for BBQs, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and even picnics in the park! Enjoy!

What Ingredients do I need?

  • farro
  • green onions
  • red bell pepper
  • orange bell pepper
  • zucchini
  • onion
  • parsley
  • feta cheese
  • lemon
  • garlic
  • olive oil

Substitutions and Variations

  • Try different roasted vegetables such as broccoli, summer squash, tomatoes, carrots, asparagus, or cauliflower
  • Leave out the cheese or use ricotta salata

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • This can be made ahead and served at room temperature
  • This salad will keep several days in the refrigerator

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Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad

serves 4

1 cup farro, 
2 green onions, sliced thin, whites and light green parts
1 1/2 bell peppers, orange and red cut into thin strips
2 zucchini, cut into chunks
1 small yellow onion, sliced
extra virgin olive oil to coat
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

For the Dressing:
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook farro according to package directions.

While farro is cooking make the dressing: Combine all the dressing ingredients, except parsley, in a bowl, and set aside.

When the farro is tender, drain and let cool a bit. Toss farro and dressing together, set aside to let the flavors combine.

Place vegetables on rimmed roasting pans so they fit in a single layer, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Roast until tender and beginning to brown, about 25 min.  Remove from the oven and toss with vegetables with the farro.  Add parsley and feta and serve.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Spring Fling: Pineapple Glazed Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Perfect for a celebration meal; juicy pork tenderloin is roasted to perfection and doused with a heavenly pineapple glaze that's a little sweet and a little spicy!

Pineapple Glazed Roasted Pork Tenderloin

We're coming to the end out of Spring Fling series but I still have a couple of wonderful recipes to post for you.  Today we're talking about a main dish.  One that is perfect for those celebration meals such as Mother's Day, Father's Day, Graduation, or for a springtime brunch!  Roasted pork tenderloin is such an elegant entree but no one has to know how easy it is to make.

Using a tender and lean cut of pork gives you a flavorful dish.  Roasting it makes it easy, you just brown it and throw it in a pan in the oven.  This one is topped with a sweet and spicy glaze that is made with crushed pineapple, pineapple jam, and spicy mustard.  It's hard to beat this meal and will surely be one of your go-to recipes!

What Ingredients do I need?

  • 2 pork tenderloins (3 lb total)
  • crushed pineapple
  • pineapple passion fruit preserves
  • white balsamic vinegar
  • spicy brown mustard
  • fresh thyme

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use fresh blackberries and blackberry jam for the glaze
  • Use regular balsamic vinegar 
  • Use creole mustard or stone ground mustard
  • Use different herbs such as marjoram or oregano
  • Other glazes: blueberry or apricot, fig would be wonderful

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Buy a package of 2 pork tenderloins if you can.  Each tenderloin will serve about 3 people.
  • Brown your meat in a skillet with oil to get a nice golden crust.
  • A sheet pan or a roasting pan are both great for roasting.
  • Heat the remaining glaze in a skillet and pour over pork once sliced.  Serve with any remaining glaze along side.
  • Bonne Maman makes a wonderful Pineapple Passion Fruit Preserve however, any pineapple preserve will work.

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Pineapple Glazed Roasted Pork Tenderloin

serves 6

2 (3 lb. total) pork tenderloins 
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 8oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup pineapple passion fruit preserves (such as Bonne Maman)
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove any silver skin from the pork tenderloins with a knife.  Sprinkle salt & pepper on both sides of the tenderloins.  Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Add the pork and brown each side, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove to a roasting pan.

In a medium bowl, combine pineapple, preserves, vinegar, and mustard.  Stir to combine.  Top pork with half of the mixture.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 145 - 150 degrees.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board.  Transfer any pan dripping back in to the skillet. 

Add remaining glaze mixture to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until thickened (stirring constantly), about 3-5 minutes.  

Slice pork and place on a platter.  Top with heated glaze.  Serve any remaining glaze in a bowl along with the pork.  

Monday, May 17, 2021

Spring Fling: Quinoa with Peas, Onion & Walnuts

A wonderful hot side dish filled with the superfood quinoa, fragrant onion, spring peas, and walnuts for crunch.  Add a sprinkle of lemon juice to brighten it up and you have one fantastic side dish that goes with any main course!

Quinoa with Peas, Onion & Walnuts

I have an easy hot side dish for you.  This quick dish can be made in under 30 minutes and will go with all kinds of main courses.  Perfect to go along with beef, chicken, fish, or pork, I served this along side a grilled flank steak with a southwestern flair.  

While this does take two pans this dish is simple to throw together.  It's filled with caramelized yellow onions for flavor and spring peas which you can buy frozen for a pop or green color and a veggie addition.  I've also added some walnuts for crunch, and then doused it with some lemon juice to brighten it all up.  This is a great dish that you will want to make over and over. 

What Ingredients do I need?

  • quinoa
  • peas
  • yellow onion
  • walnuts
  • garlic
  • lemon

Substitutions and Variations

  • Combinations: asparagus, mushroom, and green onions with pine nuts
  • red bell pepper, corn, and cilantro with pepitas
  • zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and basil with pine nuts

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • For more flavor cook the quinoa in chicken or vegetable broth
  • While the quinoa is cooking, cook your vegetables in a skillet, then add to the cooked quinoa

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Quinoa with Peas, Onion & Walnuts

serves 6

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
juice from 1/2 lemon

Bring water to boil in a large saucepan.  Add quinoa. Reduce heat and cover, simmering for 12-15 minutes until water is absorbed.  Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile in a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil.  When hot add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until tender and starting to brown.  About 8-10 minutes.  Add in the frozen peas and garlic.  Cook until heated through about 5 minutes.  Add the cooked quinoa to the skillet stirring to combine.  Add sat and pepper to taste.  Pour into a serving dish, add chopped walnuts and sprinkle with the juice of 1/2 a lemon.  Serve.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Spring Fling: Strawberry Cornmeal Skillet Cake

Juicy strawberries stud the golden top of this simple southern skillet cake.  It's made using one bowl and your cast iron skillet!

Strawberry Cornmeal Skillet Cake

I grew up eating my mom's cornbread which to people in the South shouldn't be sweet.    But when you use cornmeal in a cake, boy oh boy, that cake comes out with a wonderful texture and slighlty sweet.  This is my Strawberry Cornmeal Skillet Cake and it will be the cake of the summer!  This cake is slightly sweet, buttery and moist on the inside and has crispy edges from baking it in a cast iron skillet.  It's filled with strawberries, a little vanilla, and a little lemon zest.  You end up with a one layer cake that's the perfect little something to quench your sweet cravings.

This cake is perfect for Mother's Day.  You can serve it for dessert, brunch, or breakfast.  Serve it with a dusting of powdered sugar, whipped cream, or even ice cream for dessert to remember.  Oh, and did I mention that this cake is made in one bowl?  Yes, an electric mixer is not required.  The batter comes together easily and makes this cake a joy to make.  Be prepared to make this with different fruit all summer long.   Enjoy!

What Ingredients do I need?

  • butter
  • eggs
  • sour cream
  • vanilla
  • all purpose flour
  • yellow cornmeal
  • sugar
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • lemon zest
  • strawberries
  • Note:  you will need a 10" cast iron skillet for this recipe!

Substitutions and Variations

  • You can create variations by using different fruit.  Any berry or stone fruit would work perfectly.  
  • Use yogurt instead of the sour cream.  Make sure to add the baking soda.
  • Use orange zest instead of lemon for a different citrus spin.
  • Try adding chocolate chips instead of fruit.

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Cast iron skillets work best for this recipe as it will create the crispy bottom and edges that other oven-proof skillets won't.  
  • Use a 10" cast iron skillet for the best results.
  • Slicing the strawberries instead of chopping them creates a pretty look.
  • For an extra dash of sweetness sprinkle the top of the cake with sparkle or coarse sugar before placing it in the oven.
  • The batter should turn out thick.  Spread it evenly in the bottom of the pan.
  • Preheat your cast iron skillet along with the oven to create a sizzling environment for the cake.  It creates the crispy edges.

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  • Strawberry Cornmeal Skillet Cake

serves 8

9 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

Take a 10" cast iron skillet and place it in the oven.  Turn the oven on 350 degrees to preheat while the skillet is in the oven.

In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest.  Stir to combine and set aside.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter.  Microwave on high in 30 second intervals until melted.  Allow to cool 5 minutes.  Add in sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix to combine.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until mixed. The batter should be thick.

Remove the hot skillet from the oven and add 1 Tablespoon of butter to the bottom to melt.  Add 1/2 of the cake batter, spreading out in an even layer over the butter.  Add 1/2 of the strawberries on top of the batter.  Drop the remaining batter, by the spoonful, over the strawberries. You do not have to cover all areas.  Top with the remaining strawberries.

Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean when you test the center of the cake.  Allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  Cut and serve.


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