Cantaloupe Prosciutto and Mozzarella Salad

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In the heart of  the wonderful summer heat and humidity, you are going to love this easy salad. It is sort of like a fruit and cheese tray, mixed up in salad form and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t love that.

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I am not even a huge cantaloupe fan but all the flavors in this salad were so wonderful together.

Plus: you just cut the cantaloupe,

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tear the prosciutto and mozzarella, then sprinkle the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and the basil. It is really that simple.

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Next time, I think I might go ahead and cut up the cantaloupe, so it is bite sized too.

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CANTALOUPE PROSCIUTTO AND MOZZARELLA SALAD

serves 4 (first course) serves 2 (main course)

ingredients: 

1/2  a cantaloupe, cut into large bite sized pieces

8 ounces of fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces

12, very thin slices, prosciutto

4 large basil leaves, “ribboned” (recipe called for mint)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons champagne vinegar

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

instructions and directions: 

divide cantaloupe, mozzarella and prosciutto amount plates. sprinkle with olive oil and vinegar, then with salt and pepper, to taste.

adapted from real simple

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Coney “Sauce” and The Weekend

I had one hell of a weekend. The kind that was so jam packed with fun that you wish all day Monday, you were still there.

I had cousin company in town and we started it off by taking them to our favorite local winery for lunch.

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We ate a picnic of BLT’s, my mom’s homemade pasta salad, fruit and brownies. And wine of course!  This time we had the Petite Noir, Firefly Rose and the Viognier. All delicious. It was perfect and the Tennessee weather couldn’t have been better.

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That night, we had a cookout/southern feast. On the menu were ribs, beer chicken, mac and cheese, squash casserole, greens and peach cobbler. We were stuffed to say the very least.

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Saturday the ladies went on a hike, complete with wildlife sightings!

While the fellas played golf.

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Saturday night we had appetizers at Edleys, while we waited for The Pharmacy to call us. For those of you that are local, you know this is a long wait.

Two hours later we got in 🙂

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The company is gone but the fun didn’t stop there. We grilled out again on Sunday and this time we were making hot dogs with Coney Sauce.

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I’ve discovered some great new, natural hot dogs from Applegate Farms that won’t make you feel guilty about eating hot dogs, plus they taste better!

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To me, there is nothing like a friendly grilled hot dog in the summer.

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You start out by sauteing your ground beef with a small diced onion. Then you just add the seasonings.

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This coney sauce doesn’t photograph very well, but it was easy to make. The hardest thing about it, is just letting it simmer for a long time, so that it continually gets better.

When the sauce is done, you just grill your dogs and cover them with your choice of toppings!

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CONEY SAUCE

covers 6-8 dogs (recipe easily doubles)

ingredients: 

1 pound ground beef (i used 90/10)

small yellow or white onion, finely diced
3/4 cup ketchup
1/8 cup mustard
1/8 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/2 cup water
salt and freshly ground pepper
instructions and directions: 
in a medium sauce pan or skillet over medium heat, saute ground beef and diced onion until beef is done and no longer pink. add remaining ingredients and simmer for 1-2 hours. season with salt and pepper.
if it gets too thick, you can add water a tablespoon at a time.

Summer Colorado Trip in Pictures (and a few words)

Visiting These Two 🙂

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Colorado Rockies Game

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Hanging Out

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Hiking

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Farmers Market Eating


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Eating Dinner Here

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Dinner Here

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Red Rocks. Avett Brothers. Old Crow.

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4th of July Recipe Ideas

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Here are a few crowd pleasing ideas if you need help with your 4th of July menu!

Have a safe and happy holiday.

Appetizers and Salad

BLT Salad

BLT Salad. Ripe tomatoes make this recipe the perfect way to start a meal!

buffalo dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like this dip. Tortilla chips and celery sticks will have people crowded around the bowl.

crostini

Salami Crostini. You can pick them up with your hands and they are ready for your party in 10 minutes.

Burgers, Sandwiches and Sides

pancetta burgers

Pancetta Burgers with Beer Mustard. Nothing says summer like a big, spicy burger.

bbq

Slow Cooker BBQ. If you want bbq but you don’t know how to smoke a butt.

blt burger

BLT Burger. When you need more than just the bacon.

mac and cheese

Mac and Cheese. An all american classic.

A Little of This a Little of That

arugula flat bread

Prosciutto Flat Bread. Want a creative outdoor meal? Try Grilling this instead of baking!

kraut and kielbasa

Kraut and Kielbasa. If 4th of July isn’t the same to you without pickled cabbage.

Desserts

cheesecake

No Bake Cheesecake. Blueberries, Strawberries or Cherries would make this easy dessert a festive addition.

sock it to me

Sock It To Me Cake. A crowd favorite.

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Caper Tarter and The Weekend

This weekend I spent some time with this guy, my dad, while my mom was out of town. We lounged by the pool with beers and good conversation, had dinner and a bunch of laughs.

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Mid way through, we hopped over to Memphis for time with friends

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we enjoyed brunch here

But, more importantly to spend time helping support our friend Camille, as she fights a spunky and undaunted battle against cancer. The people who put on the “Teal for Camille”  fundraiser, did a wonderful job and raised thousands of dollars to help her. It was an inspiring weekend that was a great reminder of the kindness of others!

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(that’s Camille, in the teal 🙂 )

Then the craziest thing happened and July showed up.

Weeks with a holiday mid way through, always throw me for a loop. Salmon cakes are a light and easy and make meal time seamless.

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Making the cakes is simple and they come together quickly

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home made caper tarter is a delicious addition

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these cakes are pan sauteed and use very little olive oil

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i put mine on a bed of lettuce with a red wine vinaigrette

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i also had a request for one to be on a burger and it was awesome with lettuce and red onion

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Caper Tarter 

ingredients: 

1/2 pound salmon filet, skin removed and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup italian panko breadcrumbs, plus more for sprinkling

1/4 cup parsley, chopped (plus 1/2 a tablespoon)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

egg

salt

pepper

olive oil for sauteing

1/4 cup olive oil mayo

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 heaping teaspoon of capers, rinsed

juice of half a lemon

salt

pepper

buns (if using)

lettuce

red onion

instructions and directions: 

place half of the salmon cubes in a food processor with breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of parsley, garlic and egg. pulse the food processor until it has all blended together. Pour blended mixture into a medium sized bowl and add salmon cubes that were not blended. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 10 grinds of pepper. Add cayenne, if using.

With the mixture, make 2 large, 3 medium or 4 small patties. (I made large)

Meanwhile, mix together mayo, mustard, lemon juice, capers, 1/2 tablespoon of parsley, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Set aside.

Warm the olive oil in a skillet, over medium high heat. Sprinkle both sides of both cakes with additional bread crumbs and press on the cakes. Saute each cake about 4 minutes on both sides.

Serve on a burger with lettuce, red onion and caper tarter or on a salad.

Thai Pizza

If I really love a food, I am going to put it on a pizza. I’ve made all kinds of  pizza’s like Mexican Pizza, Cheeseburger Pizza, Chicken Fajita Pizza and even Philly Pizza. I like pizza. A lot.

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This pizza Blew. My. Mind.

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It has lots of great C ingredients: cheese, chicken, cashews and cilantro.

Top

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Roasted chicken (or a rotisserie) gives this pizza more sustenance but you could certainly go vegetarian and never miss it.

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The base, under the cheese, is a sweet chili sauce. (looks kind of slimy here, but it’s all good)

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I get mine from Trader Joes and love it.

Layer with:

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cheese, chicken ,

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and peppers, then bake.

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This pizza has a sauce that is super easy.

When the pizza gets out of the oven,

slice it,

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top it with cilantro, cashews, sauce and a squeeze of lime. Add a little sriracha, if you please .

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THAI PIZZA

ingredients: 

for the pizza: 

4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

1 pizza dough

2 cups cooked shredded chicken (roasted or rotisserie)

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup cashews or peanuts, roughly chopped

1 (8 ounce) block of mozzarella cheese

instructions and directions: 

heat oven to 350 degrees. spread dough evenly over a silpat on a cookie sheet. par bake for 7 minutes. remove from oven.

spread dough evenly with sweet chili sauce. spread with cheese and chicken. top that with red bell pepper.

bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese starts to get golden.

slice pizza and sprinkle with cilantro and cashews or peanuts. top with sauce and a squeeze of lime juice.

for the sauce: 

1/2 of a (13.5 ounce) can of coconut milk (regular or light will work fine)

2 tablespoons of red curry paste (i use Thai kitchen)

1/3 cup of  almond butter or natural peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

instructions and directions: 

mix all the ingredients in a small sauce pan. simmer over medium low,  until just bubbling for about 3 minutes, whisking the entire time! you don’t want it to burn to the bottom of the pan.

pour into a bowl and let cool for 15 minutes to thicken. spoon over pizza.

Italian One Pan Pasta and The Weekend

I hope your weekend was full of yummy things!

My weekend food coma began with with a trip to The Smiling Elephant with my ex co worker turned actual friend. It was Thai at its best (in Nashville at least) with company at its finest.

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Gai Yang

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Cashew Chicken

Saturday got off to a good start with the Franklin Farmers Market. If you are local and you haven’t been, you should check it out.  It’s a great place to bump in to people you’d be glad to see 😉

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under the pavilion

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produce vendors

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food trucks

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a lady with a parasol

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That night started off with a  delicious dinner at Fat Bottom Brewery.

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This place is becoming one of my staples. It has great beer (i like the Black Betty-Black IPA) and good fresh options for the munching.  (I do wish they had all their beers at one time)

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Sunday I packed up a cheese plate and  headed off to an outdoor concert here, to listen to a Beatles cover band.

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It was a great way to cap off the weekend and there was quite the suburban turnout.

Friday night was spent laying low. I know most of you have probably seen the Martha Stewart “One Pot Pasta” recipe flying around Pinterest and other blogs lately. If you’re like me though, you have wondered, does it actually work? So, in the spirit of easy Friday night meals, I decided to test it out. The verdict?

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 Yes! Yes it does!

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This pasta was pretty magical actually.

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You really just throw everything in. (I carefully placed everything in there all neat and pretty for you but next time I will just be throwing.)

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Once the water starts boiling, it is ready in 9 minutes.

No, way! YES.WAY.

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I bought one of the little organic basil plants at the grocery store. I know, I’m a sucker but I can’t grow basil to save my life and the plant lasts longer than the stems that are already cut.

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It seems to me that making it all in the same pan without draining the starchy liquid, made this recipe creamy and taste like it might be full of bad things. When in actuality, there isn’t anything bad in there at all.

The End.

Italian One Pot Pasta

ingredients:

12 ounces dried linguine

12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large

1 large yellow or white onion, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

4 1/2 cups water

Parmesan cheese, grated

instructions and directions: 

Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight/tall sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with oil and Parmesan.

White Bean and Arugula Salad

Do you have words that you think are fun to say? I do. Bumblebee, Purple, Piccadilly, Hippopotamus,  Kumquat and Arugula-just to name a few.

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This arugula salad couldn’t be easier or tastier and now it is fun to say too.  If it were any more fun to say, it would be  a Purple Arugula Salad with Kumquat Piccadilly Vinaigrette.  Instead it’s a White Bean and Arugula Salad with a Maple Lemon Vinaigrette. But it’s still easy.

With only 10 ingredients and nothing to cook, you’re ready in a snap.

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Arugula is such a nice lettuce for salad and has a slightly peppery taste.

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Throw all the salad components into a bowl.

The white beans give the salad a creaminess. The red onion adds a crunch and the capers give a zing of saltiness.

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The vinaigrette is simple but has a brightness from the lemon and some sugar from the syrup.

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Toss everything together to coat.

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You could top this salad with lots of different proteins. I picked a crab cake (the Harris Teeter seafood department makes great ones) this night, but I have eaten it with a steak, chicken and pork tenderloin before. You could serve it alone or as a side too. It is a very versatile concoction.

WHITE BEAN AND ARUGULA SALAD

ingredients: 

5 ounce container of arugula

1 (15 ounce) can of cannellini beans

1/2 of a small red onion, very thinly sliced

3 tablespoons of capers, rinsed and drained

the juice of 1 large lemon (3 TBSP)

1 tablespoon real maple syrup

1 teaspoon lemon zest

3 tablespoons of olive oil

salt

fresh pepper

instructions and directions: 

in a large bowl, toss together: arugula, onion, beans and capers.

in a small bowl, whisk together: lemon juice, zest, syrup and oil. season with salt and pepper.

drizzle over salad and toss to combine. serve chilled.

from giada delaurentis

BLT Chicken Burgers-A Heartier Take on a Classic

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I have to work every day, since I am not independently wealthy. This is naturally a bummer but during the summer, when the days are longer and time is meant to be spent outside, I have a habit, in the evenings,  of pretending I am on vacation or that it is actually Saturday.

This means doing things like hiking,  going to the pool for the afternoon on Tuesday or finding a patio with refreshing libations.

Wake up, go to work, vacation, repeat. It helps my life feel less monotonous.

I will say though, that my summer world, sort of pushes back dinner time, since I can’t start cooking until the tropical paradise charade for the day, has ended.

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This recipe recently helped me  get food on the table in a hurry, which helps in my summer goal of having dinner ready before 9 🙂 Yes, 9. A goal I sometimes fall short of.

Give me a break. I’m on vacation.

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the sauce

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tomato topping

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onion rolls

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chicken burgers

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a heartier take on a classic

BLT Chicken Burgers

ingredients: 

1 pound ground chicken

1/2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

15 twists of freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup fresh parsley, divided

1/3 cup mayo

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon cavendar’s Greek seasoning

4 onion rolls, warmed for serving

8 pieces of bacon, cooked to be crispy

tomato, for topping

lettuce, for topping

instructions and directions: 

Heat grill to medium high.

In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, garlic, cheddar, 1/2 of the parsley, salt and pepper. Shape mixture into 4 patties.

In a small bowl, combine mayo, lemon juice and the other half of the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook burgers on the grill for 5-6 minutes per side or until burgers are cooked through and juices are clear.

Smear mayo mixture on the warm buns and layer with  burger, bacon, lettuce and tomato.

adapted from sunset

Grilled Sirloin with Anchovy Butter

Another weekend of fun has come and gone but not without some evidence in photos.

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Here is Friday night’s view at the vineyard.  This wine was great too. My very technical review of it was that it was dry and fruity, without being sweet.

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The night involved swings

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and a picnic of  “to go”  salads…..

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pizza………

and sushi

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On Sunday night I had my parents over for dinner and fired up the grill.

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Speaking of grills, we made Grilled Sirloin with Anchovy Butter a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it.

I know that you are probably running away from the computer right now because I said “anchovy”. Don’t be a wuss, you’ll love it.

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the recipe suggested this side dish, so I tried it too

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In addition to the broccoli, I made spicy sweet potato wedges

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The anchovy butter was really savory and couldn’t have been easier to make

 

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 a perfect medium rare

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you just slice the filet and drizzle with the butter!

I got this idea from an old Cooking Light magazine. I didn’t change a thing and I made the broccoli that goes with it. Follow this link for the recipe!