Mango Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Mango Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

This salad has it all; sweet, salty, cheesy, and all delicious. Mango, blue cheese and broccoli are some of my favorite foods, but never in a million years would I think of combining them. Ever. But somehow, it totally works. The flavor combinations definitely make for a very unique meal.

I definitely plan on making this salad again, but next time I think I might add a couple of other things to make it even better. Adding some toasted cashews or almonds would add a great crunch to the salad. I could also imagine substituting the chicken for shrimp (maybe even coconut shrimp for more of a tropical twist).

Mango Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Mango Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
Inspired by Better Homes & Gardens.

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the Salad:

  • 6 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 mango, pitted, peeled, and cut up
  • 12 ounces chicken breast
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets

For the Vinaigrette:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Season to taste and set aside.

For the Salad:

  1. On a serving platter place romaine lettuce. Top with blueberries and mango; set aside.
  2. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. In a large skillet cook chicken in 1 tablespoon of the butter with minced garlic over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once. Transfer to a cutting board; slice. Allow to cool slight and arrange atop salad.
  3. In the same skillet cook broccoli in the remaining tablespoon garlic butter over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes until tender. Place atop salad.
  4. Drizzle salad with blue cheese vinaigrette. If desired, sprinkle with blue cheese.

Zucchini Noodles with Cilantro Pesto & Halloumi AND a Giveaway!

Zucchini Noodles with Cilantro Pesto & Halloumi

Disclosure: The Veggetti®, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by Ontel. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I have wanted to get a spiralizer for a while now, but the cost, size and valuable kitchen storage space it would take up always prevented me. Enter the Veggetti! The Veggetti is a handheld device that quickly turns your veggies into veggie noodles. Veggie noodles offer not only a healthier, lower-carb alternative to regular pasta, but a gluten free one too. The Veggetti is also quick and easy to use and it’s dishwasher safe, which makes clean up a breeze.

I have used my Veggetti with zucchini, squash, potatoes, and carrots. All of them worked out perfectly, except for the carrots. I think the carrots I tried to use were too narrow. So far I am really impressed by how easy the Veggetti is to use, how sturdy it is and how small it is. It fits perfectly in a kitchen drawer. The only downside I have found, and it’s kind of a silly one, is how insanely long the noodles are. I would definitely recommend cutting them up once you are done spiralizing them.

If you would like to get your own Veggetti® , you can go here to learn more at www.getveggetti.com OR you can enter my giveaway! One reader will win a Veggetti of their very own – plus a $25 Visa Gift Card to stock their vegetable crisper!

TO ENTER: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Zucchini Noodles with Cilantro Pesto & Halloumi

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 pack of halloumi cut into slices
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
For the Cilantro Pesto:
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds
  • 4+ garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese (or parmesan), grated
  • 1 bunch cilantro, with most of the stem removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
  • 1 generous pinch red chili flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Use the Veggetti to spiralize the zucchini and squash and set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add halloumi and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side. Place on a paper towel to drain.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini noodles with as much cilantro pesto as you like and the rest of the ingredients, except the halloumi. Divide between two plates and top with halloumi and serve.
  4. For the Pesto
  5. Place the almonds in a food processor until they are finely ground. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

Delica’s Wasabi Potato Salad

Delica's Wasabi Potato Salad

So, I briefly mentioned yesterday, I am moving to the other side of the country in 27 oh, so short days. I’ve been hell bent on getting in as many of my favorite summer things, California things, and summery California as possible. I have lists of food, shops, cities, friends, beaches, parks, drinks and many more random things.

A couple of weekends ago I got to cross a whole bunch of things off my list with a trip up to San Francisco. There were friends and food and shopping and pugs and crafts and it was glorious. Apart from the fact that many of my best friends live in San Francisco now, it’s always been one of my favorite cities. There is so much to do and see and, most importantly, eat! This salad is inspired by one I had at Delica many, many trips ago. Delica is a great Japanese deli and sushi bar in the Ferry Building. And while a Japanese deli might seem like the last place you would find an amazing potato salad, trust me they definitely know what they are doing.

I will admit, I have met very few potatoes I haven’t liked (I am 100% Irish, it’s pure genetics), but potato salads wade into a tricky gray area. A great potato salad is a thing of delicious beauty, but it is so, so easy for a potato salad to go horribly wrong very easily. Delica’s potato salad is so different than any other potato salad. First, the wasabi! I love wasabi and even though I have added I have used horseradish in potato salads before, I never thought of using wasabi. It’s a great flavorful addition. I might be strange in the fact that I always mix my summer barbecue side salads together. That potato salad and green salad will soon become one on my plate, so I absolutely love that Delica’s potato salad already has romaine lettuce and snap peas and other traditional green salad staples in the potato salad itself. If you are looking for a totally different and delicious potato salad recipe, I suggest you start here!

 

Delica’s Wasabi Potato Salad

  • 1 pound Yukon gold or yellow potatoes
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (you can use mayo or sour cream as well or a combo)
  • 2+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons wasabi paste (or more if you like it with a kick!)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup edamame beans, fresh or thawed
  • 1 handful snap peas, trimmed and halved
  • 2 romaine hearts, chopped

 

  1. Wash and peel potatoes. Cut into 1″ cubes.
  2. Put potatoes into a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until you can insert a fork and easily remove it (about 10-15 minutes). Don’t overcook! Drain potatoes and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, garlic, wasabi paste, and salt.
  4. Toss with edamame, snap peas, and romaine hearts with the yogurt. Fold in the potatoes and gently stir until combined.
  5. Cover and chill before serving.

Tomato Basil Spread

Basil Tomato Spread

A few weeks ago I was up visiting my best friends and her husband and pugs in San Francisco. They have the cutest farmers’ market right around the corner from them on the weekends and we took a visit before I had to head home. One of the stalls (Hummus Heaven) was selling absolutely delicious hummus and pita chips. They also had some incredible dips and spreads. I fell in love with the tomato basil spread. It was light, tangy, garlicky and fresh. It was delicious with pita chips, but I also used it for dipping veggies, crackers and as a sandwich spread. All wining combinations.

Since I (tragically) have no clue when my next visit to San Francisco will be, I decided I needed to attempt to recreate it. I will say that the original was a little more creamy (almost mayo/aioli like), but I wasn’t really in the mood to keep adding oil or mayo to get mine to the same consistency. I thought that some greek yogurt might take it more in that direction, but it didn’t. It did help it make it more like a dip or sandwich spread, which was perfect for me. I did save a little of the original to do a side by side taste test and that my version is  just as good as the original, if not a little bit better.

Tomato Basil Spread

  • 4+ cloves garlic
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
  • 10-15 basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, plain
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine until desired consistency is reached (I did mine so it was very smooth).

 

Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Goat Cheese & Gluten Free Focaccia

Oven Roasted Tomatoes with Goat Cheese & Gluten Free Focaccia

Summer seems to be flying by and I feel like the end of it, is unfortunately in sight. This week I want to share recipes that feature some of my favorite summer produce so everyone can get as much tasty enjoyment out of the month or so we have left.

Oven roasted tomatoes became one of my favorite things this summer and if I can keep some around long enough (most are consumed via fork straight from pan), this is one of my favorite ways to eat them. I know turning on the oven in the middle of summer is something only crazy person would do, but just trust me, it’s worth it. Plus, you are turning on the oven so low, you won’t be able to notice any big temperature change. I promise!

I cannot even begin to describe how incredibly delicious these tomatoes are. I used cherry tomatoes in this particular instance, but I’ve used just about every tomato imaginable and they are all just as amazing. I served these with softened goat cheese and gluten-free focaccia, but the possibilities are endless. I’ve used them on salads, in a caprese salad, the top of soups, crackers and, as I already mentioned, my favorite method with a fork straight from the pan.

One minor note, if you are using larger tomatoes: cut the tomatoes in half first, remove the stem (if desired) and place them cut side down on the pan when you go to roast them.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Goat Cheese & Gluten Free Focaccia

  • around 1-1.5 pounds cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 8-10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4-8 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
  1. Heat oven to 225F.
  2. Pour the olive oil into a shallow baking dish or pan and add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the tomatoes with the oil and seasonings in the dish.
  4. Bake for two hours, or until the tomatoes are completely softened and wilted, and start to wrinkle. Depending on the tomatoes, they may take longer to cook.

 

 

Fiesta Bean Salad

Fiesta Bean Salad

It’s that time of year again… Fiesta! I haven’t blogged for a couple months, but I’m now in my final stretch living in California (for a while at least), so I figure I might as well enjoy and share as much of the Golden State as I can! Fiesta is a truly unique Santa Barbara tradition. Officially 90 years strong as of this Wednesday. It’s a unique blend of culture, history, food, music, dance and booze. Basically the world’s best combination in my opinion. This week I’m going to share some of my favorite, both new and old, Mexican inspired recipes.

Fiesta Bean Salad

I love this salad! It’s fast and easy. Light and fresh. And it makes a perfect alternative side dish to a Mexican meal instead of traditional black or pinto bean dishes. I had originally planned on serving this as a side dish with tequila lime chicken, but I was so hungry for lunch that I decided to skip the rest of the meal and just dig in. Excellent decision. If you wanted to add some more bulk to the salad, some chopped romaine would be great. If I had some cilantro on hand (my plants have refused to last longer than 5 days this summer!) or corn kernels (I can’t eat whole corn, but if you can), I know both would have made the best addition.

Fiesta Bean Salad
Adapted from Skinnytaste.

  • 2+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounce canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 1/2 jicama, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 ounces queso fresco (or feta), crumbled
  1. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, lime juice, oil, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt.
  2. Add the black beans, chickpeas, tomato, onion and jicama. When ready to eat, gently mix in avocado, sprinkle with queso fresco and serve right away.

 

 

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce

Asian Meatballs

I really like teriyaki sauce. I used to really like the one Soyaki from Trader Joe’s and while there are some gluten-free teriyaki sauces available, there aren’t any that aren’t too sweet and with the chunks of garlic and ginger. To remedy this random and very specific teriyaki craving, I decided to make my own! And as far as I can remember this was a pretty close replica of the teriyaki sauce I’ve been missing.

I also recommend baking your meatballs. Baking them makes way less of a mess to clean up and it’s healthier than frying them too.  I served my meatballs with brown rice and spinach sautéed with garlic. The teriyaki sauce was fantastic with the rice and spinach as well as the meatballs.

 

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce

Ingredients

For the Meatballs:
  • 1 1/4 pound extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 1+ teaspoon sriracha or asian chile sauce
  • 1 egg
For the Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup gluten free, low sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 3+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch knob of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon water

Instructions

For the Meatballs:
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine turkey, carrot, green onions, cilantro, breadcrumbs, chile sauce and egg. Gently mix to combine and form into 1 to 1 1/2 inch meatballs.
  3. Place meatballs on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.
For the Sauce:
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce, except for the cornstarch and last tablespoon of water, in a saucepan on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. When sugar is dissolved, mix 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water. Heat sauce on medium high heat and add cornstarch water mixture. Simmer until thickened

Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken (gluten free!)

Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken

My wonderful friend Andrea introduced me to this meal when I was visiting her and her husband in DC last summer. It was love at first bite. She also introduced me to my first food blog (Smitten Kitchen), so I really have a lot to thank her for. This recipe also happens to be from Smitten Kitchen (did everything just come full circle?).

This meal is one of my all-time favorite summer time dishes. The ingredient list and instructions might look a bit long and daunting, but once all the chopping and slicing is finished, it’s pretty easy to get together. I will be quite honest and admit there are a few things in here that I would never be caught eating by themselves (I’m looking at you cucumbers!), but put them all together with some peanut sauce, cilantro, and lime, it’s hard not to like everything in this meal.

Despite my reservations about cucumbers (and bell peppers too), I left the recipe nearly all the same, except for using chicken breasts and all gluten-free ingredients. I also used more cilantro than mint and basil, but that’s just because I love cilantro (I’m lukewarm on basil and barely acquaintances with mint). Luckily, just about everything in this recipe can be adjusted to every individual taste. When you serve this delicious meal up, it’s kind of like a noodle-taco bar scenario. Everything is prepared separately and you get to pick and choose what you do and don’t like, which makes it good for a small crowd. And I am happy to report that this meal is one that gets better with age. The leftovers are even better than the original meal!

Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken

Gluten Free Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Ingredients

For the Dipping sauce:
  • 6 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • Small Thai or Serrano chile, thinly sliced, to taste (jalapeño works too)
For the Peanut dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 9 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 one-and-a-half inch chunk ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch of cayenne
For the Chicken and noodle salad:
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6)
  • 8 ounces dried rice vermicelli or other rice noodles
  • 2 small cucumbers, cut in 1/4-inch half moons
  • 2 medium carrots, cut in thin julienne
  • Additional vegetables, as suggested above
  • Small handful basil or mint or cilantro sprigs, or your favorite of the three (torn or roughly chopped)
  • 4 or more scallions, slivered
  • 1/4 cup crushed or chopped roasted peanuts
  • Lime wedges (to serve)

Instructions

Make the dipping sauce:
    1. Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Leave to ripen for 15 minutes. Refrigerate any extra and use within a few days.
Make the peanut dressing:
    1. In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients to a smooth sauce, about the thickness of heavy cream. Pour into a serving bowl.
Marinate the chicken:
    1. Stir together 1/2 the dipping sauce and 1/3 the peanut dressing (you can eyeball this) in the bottom of a low-sided bowl or dish. Add the chicken to the mixture and toss to coat. Let marinate at least 15 minutes.
Cook the noodles:
    1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.
Cook the chicken:
    1. Grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, a stove-top grill pan, or run under the broiler until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Let cool slightly, then chop roughly into 3/4-inch pieces.
To serve:
  1. At this point, you can place everything on a large serving platter, with piles or small bowls for noodles, vegetables, chicken, the dressing and marinade and toppings (peanuts, herbs) and let your family and friends put it together in their own bowls as they wish.
  2. Or, you can assemble it for everyone as suggested:Toss vegetables with 1 tablespoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 to 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped chicken. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste (we wanted more). Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.

Gluten Free Drunken Shrimp with Veggie Fried Rice

Drunken Shrimp with Veggie Fried RIce

Sticking with this week’s loosely Asian inspired theme, this is a fairly quick , easy and very delicious recipe.

The shrimp stir-fry makes for a quick meal and is great for a weeknight meal. These shrimp are absolutely delicious. I thought the shrimp and their sauce was the perfect topping for the fried rice, but noodles or even a salad could work just as well. I used this recipe to clean out my vegetable door. I just used whatever I had on hand, but you can use any veggies you want.

Veggie Fried Rice

Gluten Free Drunken Shrimp with Veggie Fried Rice
Shrimp adapted from this recipe from Chow.

Ingredients

For the Rice:
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 large onion (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 white to clean out the fridge)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 10 green beans or snap peas, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2-3 Tablespoons gluten-free Tamari
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesames
For the Shrimp:
  • 3 Tablespoons low-sodium gluten-free Tamari sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed (seeded if you don’t like spice) and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layer removed and cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 cup vodka

Instructions

For the Rice:
  1. Preheat a large skillet or wok to medium heat. Add sesame oil. When oil is heated onion, garlic, bell peppers, peas and carrots and sauté until tender.
  2. Add the rice to the veggie mixture. Pour the soy sauce on top. Stir and fry the rice and veggie mixture until heated through and combined. Top chopped green onions and sesame seeds and serve.
For the Shrimp:
  1. Place the soy sauce, garlic, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, oil, and sugar in a shallow dish and stir to combine. Add the shrimp and lemongrass and stir to coat. Let marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over high heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp mixture and cook until the shrimp are bright pink, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully add the vodka. Return the pan to high heat and cook for 1 minute more or until the alcohol smell has dissipated. Remove the lemongrass pieces and serve the shrimp and sauce over rice.

Easy Vegetable Frittata

Easy Vegetable Frittata

This week I am sharing some of favorite brunch recipes. I absolutely love brunch and summer weekends seem to just demand them. These recipes don’t demand too much cook and can mostly be prepared ahead to time, which gives you more time to relax, enjoy your weekend and enjoy some extra mimosas with your friends.

This frittata is pretty much perfect if you ask me. It’s easy to make, it can help you clean out your vegetable drawer and it reheats wonderfully. I just used the vegetables I had on hand, but you can add just about anything you want to this frittata. Broccoli, bell peppers, jalapeños or fresh herbs, like basil or chives, would all be great additions.

Easy Vegetable Frittata

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 6+ large mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 tomatoes, chopped with seeds removed
  • 1 cup baby spinach, roughly torn or chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar)
  • 6 large eggs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking dish (I used a 9 inch pie dish).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until beginning to brown. Then add the green onions, mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and spinach. Sauté for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or just until the spinach is wilted. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, cheese, salt, and pepper.
  4. Finish cooking in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until the eggs have completely set in the center.