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  1. Friday, July 19

    Blueberry Breakfast Salad and Why Alison Sweeney and I Should Be Besties

    A month or so ago, a company reached out to see if I could attend a fun event in Los Angeles, where I would have the chance to meet and interview Alison Sweeney. Because of the move I couldn’t go to the event. And then, the very day of that event, I received an email from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council to see if I would like to interview (you guessed it) Alison Sweeney! For real, the gods want us to be besties. Hopefully Alison gets the memo, too!

    blueberry breakfast salad | thisweekfordinner.com

    Our family loves blueberries, especially Miss Cate, so I was more than happy to work with the Blueberry Council and ask Alison a few questions! July is National Blueberry Month. (I think we should all eat lots of muffins to celebrate.) The council and Alison Sweeney are spreading the word about how dynamic blueberries are and how they can add energy and flavor to our daily routine. To find out more about these Little Blue Dynamos, click here to visit their website!

    blueberry breakfast salad | thisweekfordinner.com

    As I was poking around the blueberry website myself, I came across a recipe for a Blueberry Breakfast Salad. I was intrigued by the idea of getting greens into our breakfast routine and clicked through. The recipe for the salad dressing caught my eye and I knew I had to give it a try. People, this dressing is SO GOOD. The salad was good, too – I loved the sweet crunch of granola mixed in. However, the dressing is the real find here. It is surprisingly savory, with just a hint of sweetness from the blueberries. Nate and I had several salads this week! (See recipe below!)

    Back to my new best friend Alison. Here is our interview!

    Jane: What is your favorite savory dish that uses blueberries?

    Alison: Hands down – Blueberry Turkey Burgers! My kids love the tangy blueberry surprise, such a burst of flavor in the burger. Plus, you feel very “Master Chef” preparing them – blueberries are the secret ingredient!

    Jane: How do you fit in exercise as a busy, working mom? (I know that question seems so cliché, but I really am so curious what your techniques are!)

    Alison: You must make it a priority to take care of yourself. Put your workouts on the calendar to ensure you make time to work out. Sometimes I’ll have time for a quick run, other times I’ll be able to take a spin or yoga class. If I can’t work out, I make sure I adjust my nutrition accordingly.

    Jane: Kids will be kids…how do make sure they eat their healthy foods? (Again, sort of cliché, but would love your insight!)

    Alison: Getting my kids involved in the kitchen is really important to me because eating habits form at a young age. One of our favorite hot-summer-day activities is making smoothies. Not only are they nutritious, they’re also easy and fun. Here’s a quick and easy blueberry smoothie recipe we love.

    Here are a few more tips from Alison about kid-friendly recipes (something I am always thinking about!):

    Now, for real, go eat some muffins and put this recipe in your recipe box!

    blueberry breakfast salad | thisweekfordinner.com

     

    Blueberry Breakfast Salad
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Salad
    Ingredients
    • Mixed, torn salad greens: 2 pounds
    • Blueberry Vinaigrette: Recipe follows
    • Fresh blueberries: 4 cups
    • Fresh orange sections or canned mandarin oranges, drained: 4 cups
    • Granola : 2 cups
    Instructions
    1. Toss salad greens with 1½ cups of the Blueberry Vinaigrette. Divide the dressed greens among eight large plates. Arrange ½ cup orange sections and ½ cup blueberries on top of each salad. Sprinkle each salad with ¼ cup granola. Drizzle remaining dressing on top and serve immediately.

    Blueberry Vinaigrette
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Salad Dressing
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup olive oil
    • 1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons minced shallot
    • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
    • ½ teaspoon paprika
    Instructions
    1. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and process until mixture is smooth. Chill at least 30 minutes to blend flavors. Makes 2 cups.

    Please visit the Blueberry Council on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Pinterest for more inspiration and feel free to share how you plan to #BeDynamic this month!
    Thank you to the Blueberry Council for sponsoring this post. I was compensated for my work but, as always, all opinions are my own.


  2. Wednesday, July 10

    Dole Taste of Spain Salad Summit

    One of my favorite places on earth is the coast between Big Sur and Monterey. When we lived in the Bay Area, the Monterey/Carmel area was our go-to weekend getaway spot and we have many fond family memories from those trips. Both towns are quaint and fun, but the coastline is what we really love. It is, quite simply, breathtaking. About a month or so ago I was invited by the team at Dole Salads to visit beautiful Carmel and attend the Taste of Spain Salad Summit with a great group of bloggers. Of course I had to go!

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com

    The trip was really wonderful. I had the chance to connect and re-connect with some really lovely bloggers (see list here!), the Dole Salads team was wonderful to work with, and it was very interesting getting a peak into how Dole produces their food (more on that in a moment). Dole put us up at the Carmel Valley Ranch hotel (which was AMAZING) and fed us an abundance of Spanish-inspired food. It was heavenly!

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com

    As I often mention, I am constantly thinking about how food production and food consumption impact Mother Earth. My new year’s resolution each year is always focused on that theme. When I say I’m constantly thinking about environmental issues, I’m not exaggerating. It’s maybe kind of an obsession.

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com

    Over the years we’ve modified and cut back on our meat consumption in order to make a positive environmental impact. As a result, I’m always on board with getting people to eat more fruits and vegetables, no matter where the produce comes from. Produce always requires less water and energy for production than meat does, so by eating more of those foods we are automatically using less valuable resources.

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com

    But I am still also concerned about industrialized farming and the increased use of monoculture over the past few decades. The concern with monoculture is that by growing one particular crop over a large area, the plants are more susceptible to disease, which in turns necessitates the use of pesticides (bad for our bodies and the environment) or GMO plants (which are engineered to be resistent to bugs – the jury is still out on the impact of GMOs on our health and the environment).

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com

    Needless to say, I was very happy that Dole invited me on the trip and I couldn’t wait to see their farms and talk with them about how Dole produces food.

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com | farmer

    We started our day driving to the beautiful Salinas Valley, where more than 80% of our country’s salad greens are grown. First we met one of the Dole growers (a.k.a. farmers). He was kind, humble and obviously loved his job. This particular farmer was growing iceberg lettuce. We learned that the crops are constantly rotated and that any food left behind during harvest is tilled back into the soil. We also learned the Dole does not use GMO plants but that they do use some pesticides. When we talked with the farmer about this, he mentioned how he lives on the farm and is raising his children there, so obviously he uses as little as he possibly can. He also said that if there was more business/demand for organic, he would gladly switch to that type of farming. It was really great meeting and talking with him and seeing the passion he has for his job.

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com | harvest

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com | harvest

     

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com | harvest

     

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com | harvest

    Once the lettuce is grown, Dole hires harvesters to pick the produce. The farmer actually has no part in the harvest of the food. His job is to grow the food and keep the soil healthy. We watched a crew of harvesters picking lettuce and sending it up the conveyer belt, to be delivered to the packaging plant nearby. There were tanks of chlorinated water nearby, which is sprayed on the lettuce was soon as it is harvested. (More on the chlorinated water in a moment!)

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com | packaging

    Once the lettuce reaches the packaging plant, it is washed several times (in chlorinated and non-chlorinated water), cut, and packaged in super duper high-tech packaging that is designed to keep the lettuce fresh.

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com | hairnets

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com

    My big takeaways were as follows:

    • Safety is of the utmost importance to Dole. All along the process the food is kept safe with different rules and procedures, including hairnets for everyone at the farm!
    • Freshness is right up there with safety. From the way the food is handled to the packaging, every effort is made to deliver tasty, good-looking food to the consumer.
    • We asked specifically about the use of chlorinated water and were told that it is food-grade and used to keep the food safe. As a person who tries to eat produce as locally as possible and mostly organic, I must admit that the use of chlorinated water gave me pause. The thing is, there are a LOT of people to feed and we are demanding large amounts of the same types of foods, which necessitates these safety measures. I don’t think the chlorinated water used on this particular iceberg lettuce is necessarily hurting any of us on its own (and testing shows that it is safe), but I can’t help but wonder what the cumulative effect of all of the food we eat that is produced in this way has on our bodies and health, not to mention the environment. And I don’t know what the solution is. GMOs have not yet been proven to be harmful, but there are still big questions about their true impact. We know pesticides are no good, but if we aren’t using GMOs, we need the pesticides to produce large quantities of food. It really is a catch 22 and we just keep circling around and around. We need to feed people, that’s the bottom line. Right now, this is how it is done for the most part.
    • Dole tries to grow food as locally as possible. Obviously pineapples can’t be grown everywhere, but when they can,  Dole does grow food as close to the place where it will be bought as possible. Yes, it’s not true local farming, but it is a start and I appreciate a large corporation making that effort.
    • Dole also produces organic products. Let’s demand more of it so we can start to shift how our food is produced! We hold the keys to change!

    The trip provided a great deal of food for thought (pun intended!) for me. I’m really glad I had the chance to talk with Dole and see first-hand what they are all about. The company has a really positive vibe and I walked away from the weekend feeling good, even with the bigger questions about our food system bumping about my brain.

    dole taste of spain salad summit | thisweekfordinner.com

    Thank you to Dole for inviting me to attend the Taste of Spain Salad Summit. I am so happy they included me on the trip! Now, everyone go eat some salad!

    For Dole recipes and to enter the Taste of Spain giveaway (you could win a $40,000 trip to Spain!), please visit www.dolesalads.com.


  3. Monday, November 19

    {Thanksgiving Prep & Giveaway!} Beet and Carrot Salad

    Thanksgiving is all about rich, comforting foods. That’s one of the things I love about the holiday. That said, sometimes it’s nice to get a fresh salad on the table or some veggies that haven’t been drenched in butter, sugar, or both! Today I have a quick and easy salad recipe for you that offers that element of freshness but still has the Thanksgiving comfort of autumnal, root vegetables.

    Two weeks ago I ate at Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay for the first time. I ordered the clam chowder, of course! And it was amazing. Oh. Those. Clams. Anyway, my friend Mindy and I split a beet and carrot salad, to counteract the buttery, creamy soup we were going to be eating for dinner. The salad was great! The roasted carrots and beats were delicious served cold with fresh greens, creamy feta cheese and pistachios. The salad was tossed with a savory dressing, which balanced well with the sweetness of the vegetables.

    The very next day Libby’s asked if I would work with them to make a recipe using their canned sliced beets and sliced carrots. I responded with a big fat YES, knowing that I wanted to recreate the beet and carrot salad I had eaten the night before. The Thanksgiving salad stars were aligning! It’s a simple salad that’s full of flavor, and using Libby’s canned sliced carrots and sliced beets makes it quick and easy to throw together. Quick and easy are always welcome recipe attributes on Thanksgiving Day!

     

    Before we get to the salad, how about a giveaway? Okay? Okay!

     

    The randomly-selected winner of this giveaway will receive a KitchenAid 6-Qt. Slow Cooker along with an assortment of Libby’s fruits and vegetables, courtesy of Libby’s. For the record, this slow cooker is totally awesome. Four heat settings and all kinds of programming options? Totally jealous. Anyway, enough about me and my envy, here’s how you can enter!

     

    • Simply leave a comment to enter! If you’d like to share your favorite healthy Thanksgiving recipes in your comment, we’d love to hear your ideas, although it is not mandatory.
    • For additional entries you can “Like” Libby’s on Facebook and/or follow Libby’s on Twitter. Be sure to leave separate comments for each entry!
    • All comments must be added to this post by Midnight PT on Tuesday, November 27.
    Big thanks to Libby’s for an awesome giveaway! Good luck to all! And now for the salad!
    Beet and Carrot Salad
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Vegetable
    Ingredients
    • 1 5-ounce package mixed baby greens
    • 1 can Libby’s sliced carrots, drained
    • 1 can Libby’s sliced beets, drained and cut into bite-sized pieces
    • Shelled pistachios, amount to taste
    • Crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese, amount to taste
    • Your favorite savory oil and vinegar salad dressing (don’t use a sweet salad dressing)
    Instructions
    1. Mix everything together! Add salad dressing right before serving and toss.

  4. Tuesday, July 31

    Orzo Salad Yumminess

    My mother-in-law Pat made a super yummy orzo salad for us on the Cape last week. It was simple and oh-so-tasty. A definite keeper of a recipe and perfect for summertime!

    Pat said normally the feta is all mixed in, unlike what you see in the photo. But a certain brother-in-law of mine doesn’t like feta (what the what?!?!), so we sprinkled it on top so Cuyler could pick it out easily. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Pat’s a good mother-in-law.

    Happy Orzo salading!

    Orzo Salad Yumminess
     
    Adapted by Pat Maynard from a recipe from Jean Harford of Gregg Lake
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 8 ounces orzo, cooked and drained well
    • 1 small red pepper chopped
    • shaved carrots
    • parsley (and dill if desired)
    • 2-3 stalks celery, finely chopped
    • 1 cup black beans or chick peas, rinsed and well drained
    • 1 small can sweet corn, drained
    • ground black pepper
    • 8 – 10 sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped or sliced
    • ¼ cup feta, crumbled
    • ⅓-1/2 cup Greek salad dressing (Ken’s Steakhouse and Newman’s Own are great)
    Instructions
    1. Mix orzo with dressing once it has cooled a bit, breaking up any clumps. Refrigerate while you put together the other ingredients. Combine with orzo and refrigerate to combine flavors. Can adjust by taking away any of the above ingredients and adding others such as grape tomatoes, shrimp, cucumber,green onion or black olives.

     


  5. Thursday, July 5

    Oriental Chicken Salad #2

    Thought I’d share a quick salad favorite, since it’s summer and all.

    I have two Oriental chicken salads on my recipe list – one from my mother-in-law Pat that has been a go-to for years (Oriental Chicken Salad #1) and another that I got from my friend Brittany ages ago after eating it at a baby shower (Oriental Chicken Salad #2). They are both delish and easy! The thing I love about Brittany’s is the homemade dressing. It’s scrumptious. I also love the homemade fried wonton strips. This week I bought fried wontons and it just was not the same. Go for it, make the strips. You’ll thank me.

    Here’s the recipe! Enjoy!

    Oriental Chicken Salad #2
     
    From Brittany Reisenberg
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Salad, Poultry
    Ingredients
    • Dressing:
    • 1 cup oil (Jane note: I use canola oil)
    • 6 tablespoon sugar
    • 4 tablespoon soy sauce
    • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • 3 shots tobasco sauce
    • 2 tablespoon sesame seed
    • Salad:
    • 3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
    • 2 small heads iceberg lettuce, chopped (Jane note: I prefer two heads (or 1 if it’s really big) of romaine lettuce, chopped)
    • 4 green onions, chopped
    • 2 stalks celery, cut diagonally
    • 2 small cans mandarin oranges
    • 1 pkg fried wonton strips (see below for directions. you can also buy fried wonton strips, usually found in the produce section by all the salad toppers…that’s what I did this week, but the homemade ones are SO much better)
    Instructions
    1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Let sit for a few minutes.
    2. Mix salad ingredients. Toss with dressing. EAT! YUM!
    3. To make fried wonton strips – buy wonton wrappers in the produce section of the grocery store. Cut the wrapper squares into thirds to make strips. In large, deep frying pan with enough oil to cover the strips, cook on medium-high heat until strips are brown and bubbly, flipping once during cooking. As I recall, they cook quickly! Drain on paper towels.

     


  6. Thursday, October 13

    Chicken Satay, Peanut Sauce to die for, Thai Cucumber Salad and Thai Slaw Salad

    On Tuesday night, one of Cate’s former preschool teachers Ms. Erika brought us dinner. Erika loves to cook (in fact, she posts her menu on my blog every week!). A few days prior, she sent me an email with 6 different menu options, all of them completely delectable-sounding. Nate loves Thai food and anything with peanut sauce, so we picked the Thai-themed dinner. And I’m so glad we did…it was fantastic!

    For dinner Erika cooked up chicken satay with peanut sauce that was seriously AWESOME. (I’m super excited about the peanut sauce recipe because I’ve tried several different brands and recipes and could never find one I liked. Finally, we have a winner!) For side dishes she made jasmine rice, Thai cucumber salad and a Thai slaw, all of which were wonderful.

    For dessert Erika made pineapple satay with a coconut caramel sauce, which I will share with you tomorrow. You do not want to miss the coconut caramel sauce. It’s heaven.

    I don’t know if I’ll be able to survive life without my friends cooking dinner for us every night. It ROCKS.

    Of course I had Erika send me the recipes for everything she made. Enjoy!

    Chicken Satay
     
    Adapted from Vegetables on the Grill by Kelly McCune
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry
    Ingredients
    • Appx 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips that fit on a kebob stick
    • 4 tablespoons peanut oil
    • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemongrass
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1 tablespoon curry powder
    • ½ teaspoon minced dry red chili pepper (or a few shakes of chili powder)
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    Instructions
    1. In a food processor or blender, combine the oil, sherry, lemongrass, garlic, curry powder, chili pepper and brown sugar. Process until smooth. Pour mixture over chicken strips, toss gently to coat the pieces, and marinate for 1 hour or longer in the refrigerator.
    2. Soak 16 wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes. Carefully insert skewers into chicken lengthwise.
    3. Oil the grill. On a closed grill over medium hot coals, grill chicken, turning once until cooked through. Serve with peanut satay sauce.

    Peanut Satay Sauce
     
    Adapted from Vegetables on the Grill by Kelly McCune
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
    • ½ of a medium-sized white onion, minced
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 2 teaspoons curry powder
    • 1 cup canned coconut milk
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • ½ teaspoon minced dried red chili pepper
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh lemongrass (the tender inner stalks)
    • ½ cup unsalted crunchy peanut butter
    Instructions
    1. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic and lemongrass together until soft and the onion is transparent. Add the curry powder and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the coconut milk, soy sauce, brown sugar, dried chili pepper, lemongrass and peanut butter. Cook over very low heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

     

    Thai Cucumber Salad
     
    From Erika Bailey
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Salad
    Ingredients
    • 1 medium, unpeeled English cucumber, sliced
    • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons hot water
    • About ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion (to taste)
    • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cubed small
    • 1 small red chili pepper, seeded and sliced thin
    Instructions
    1. Arrange cucumber, onion and pepper in layers in serving bowl. Mix vinegar, sugar, salt and hot water until sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle carrots over cucumber mixture. Pour liquid over cucumbers, chill several hours then serve.

    Thai Slaw Salad
     
    From Rachael Ray
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Salad
    Ingredients
    • 1 (16 ounces) prepared shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix) from produce department
    • ¼ European seedless cucumber, sliced into thin sticks
    • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
    • 3 scallions, thinly sliced on bias
    • 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded
    • Sauce:
    • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • ¼ cup white distilled or rice wine vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons sugar or 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
    • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
    Instructions
    1. Combine vegetables in a bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a small plastic container and shake vigorously for 1 minute. Drizzle sauce over vegetables and toss to coat evenly. Let stand 10 minutes and re-toss before serving and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

     


  7. Friday, September 9

    Little Man Baby Shower…and DELICIOUS Recipes

    On Tuesday night my friends threw me a baby shower. Even though I told them not to. Because it’s my third child. But they insisted. Because we’re having a boy and we need boy things (which is true). And because they are great friends. And, I must admit, I’m so happy I gave into their shower entreaties. The party was beyond adorable, the food was amazing, and, most importantly, I got to spend an evening with a beautiful group of women I am so grateful to know and count as friends.

    But enough with the sappy stuff. I have to show you how ridiculously cute this shower was. I actually don’t have tons of pictures because it was dark, so they do not convey the total cuteness that was the shower. But believe me, everything looked fabulous.

    There were moustaches and bow ties all over the place.

    And the food. Ah, the food. Again, no great photos, but believe me when I tell you it was all beautiful and tasted even better than it looked.

    The inspiration for the Little Man Shower came from this blog post on ReMarkable Home. (If you click through, you can get the templates for everything and see how to put it all together!) Our friend Courtney discovered the post and shared it with my friend Natalee, who spearheaded my shower. Courtney is good at finding great stuff online. The girl has 53 boards on Pinterest, for Pete’s sake.

    Thank you to my wonderful friends Wendy, Amy, Mindy, Sarah, Natalee and Ana (and Angie, not pictured, who did the flowers). You ladies orchestrated an evening I will never forget and helped welcome Baby Boy Maynard into the world with style!

    Click more to see some fabulous recipes from the shower!

    (>> Find out more…)


  8. Thursday, July 21

    Watermelon Salad with Tomato and Cucumber

    Last Friday night I did something I haven’t done in a while…I actually picked up a magazine (in this case Martha Stewart Living) and read it cover to cover. And I’ve decided I should do that more often because I was inspired to make a fabulous dinner on Sunday night. Of course, by the end of preparing all the food my sciatic nerve was literally screaming at me and I hobbled around the rest of the night (yes, I’m officially a hobbling pregnant woman…no more heels for me, boo-hoo!), but our dinner was worth the pain.

    One of Sunday night’s creations was a Watermelon Salad with Tomato and Cucumber. There was a recipe for this salad featured in the magazine that involved making a fancy basil oil. I’m sure it’s wonderful, but I simplified things a bit in my preparation. I loved the salad – super easy to prepare and the oh-so-summery flavors all blended so nicely together. I wasn’t entirely sure what the girls would think. They love watermelon, and this savory twist on a favorite fruit seemed a bit risky. But I’ll tell you what…every person in the family happily gobbled down the salad! It was a great success! Will definitely be adding this salad to the rotation, at least during the summer when all of these lovely ingredients are fresh and in season!

    Watermelon Salad with Tomato and Cucumber
     
    Adapted from a recipe in the August 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish
    Ingredients
    • Half a watermelon, cubed (I know, so exact…my watermelon was medium in size)
    • 2-3 handfuls of small tomatoes, or 2-3 larger tomatoes sliced into wedges (I used a bunch of baby tomatoes we have growing on the back porch)
    • One cucumber, chopped into bite sized pieces
    • Olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons)
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Fresh Basil, about 5-10 leaves chopped
    • Original recipe calls for 4 oz crumbled goat cheese – I left this out because we were having another cheese-based side dish, but also I just wanted straight up produce in the salad. Commenter Jennifer below mentioned using Ricotta Salata instead of goat cheese and that is what I'm going to use from now on!
    Instructions
    1. Combine the watermelon, tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, just enough to cover the fruit and veggies. Sprinkle with the chopped basil, about ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat evenly and serve!


  9. Tuesday, June 21

    A Healthy Twist on Classic Potato Salad

    When I discovered my next Newman’s Own “Own It” recipe challenge with Martha’s Circle involved utilizing one of their salad dressings, I immediately knew what I was going to make. Back when I was first married and still learning how to cook, Nate’s Gram Maynard was the one to teach me how to make potato salad. I loved her potato salad. Simple and classic, it always hit the spot. Not too sweet and not filled with too many surprises. (I’m not a big fan of surprises in potato salad.)

    Gram had a trick, one that I have never forgotten and have always used since. Once the potatoes are cooked and cut, instead of using vinegar, she would toss the potatoes in Italian dressing. You get your vinegar in there, along with a bunch of built-in seasonings. It’s a genius idea that I absolutely love.

    Since I needed to also add a “twist” to my potato salad recipe, I decided to go for a healthy twist. In fact, I went for three healthy twists on this classic!

    1. Replace the bulk of the mayonnaise with fat-free yogurt…less fat and the health benefits of yogurt to boot!
    2. Leave the skins on the potatoes…that’s where are all the vitamins are!
    3. Throw in some cauliflower…easily hidden, most people won’t even know it’s there (Nate didn’t notice after eating a whole serving) and this nutrient-packed veggie adds an additional healthy kick to the salad.

    And guess what? This healthier version of the classic potato salad tastes just like…potato salad! Go figure. Seriously, it tasted just like the much less-healthy version I used to make. These twists are here to stay!

    Classic Potato Salad with a Healthy Twist
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 3 pounds potatoes of your choice (I used russet this time around)
    • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped small
    • 1½ cups cauliflower, chopped then steamed
    • ½ cup finely chopped sweet onion
    • ¼ – ½ cup Newman’s Own Lighten Up Italian Dressing
    • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
    • ⅔ cup fat-free strained Greek yogurt or other thick yogurt
    • ½ Tbsp. yellow mustard
    • ⅛ tsp. dry mustard
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • ¼ tsp. pepper
    • ¼ tsp. paprika
    Instructions
    1. Chop unpeeled potatoes into 1″ cubes. Add to a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and lightly boil 5-10 more minutes, until potatoes are easily pierced by a fork but not falling apart. Drain potatoes and put in refrigerator until cool. Feel free to fish out potato peels that have fallen off any potato pieces…some of them may do that after cooking.
    2. Mix together the potatoes, eggs, cauliflower and onion. Pour Italian dressing over the mixture and toss to cover.
    3. Mix together mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, dry mustard, salt, pepper and paprika. Add to potato mixture and stir to combine.
    4. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with paprika. Eat!

    P.S. Part of my participation in this project with Martha’s Circle was my recipe featured in a Newman’s Own advertorial in Everyday Food (kind of like the last recipe I did with them, which appeared in Martha Stewart Living).

    CHECK. IT. OUT. My name, blog, recipe and photo are on the inside front cover of the July issue of Everyday Food! Somebody pinch me! Get out there and get a copy for your scrapbook! 😉


  10. Tuesday, May 3

    Beets That Are Pure Gold + Roasted Beet Salad

    I’ve tried to convince you to like beets before, and I’m not going to stop until I get at least one of you beet haters on the beet bandwagon. As a beet convert myself, I know it’s possible. And, today, I’m going to make it even easier for the beet haters to give them another try.

    Here’s the secret: eat golden beets. I don’t even know where you can find them because I found them in my CSA bag the week before Easter. But all of you (beet haters and lovers alike!) should try to find fresh, in-season, golden beets sometime. The flavor is milder and, well, just plain yummy. (I think the food magazines are knocking on my door after that amazing description.)

    Before I get you thinking golden beets don’t taste like beets, they do. And, I’ll be straight with you…the non-beet lovers at the Easter feast did not gobble these beauties up. But the non-beet lovers did admit these beets are better than your average, run-of-the mill red beet. I consider that success.

    Plus, they’re gorgeous. Seriously. My camera ate them up almost as enthusiastically as I did.

    Roasted Beet Salad with Spinach and Goat Cheese
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
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    Author:
    Ingredients
    • - Beets (golden if you can find them)
    • - Spinach
    • - Goat cheese
    • - Your favorite salad dressing…Girard’s Champagne dressing is awesome with this salad
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the greens and ends off of the beets and wrap each beet in some foil. Place in a roasting pan. Roast 40-60 minutes, until beets are pierced easily with a sharp knife. Let cool a bit, then peel of the skins.
    2. Slice beets then top with spinach, crumbled goat cheese and salad dressing.