grilled cheese with roasted broccoli

grilled cheese with roasted broccoli

grilled cheese with roasted broccoliThis is the BEST grilled cheese sandwich EVER, at least that’s what Zoe and I said as we devoured this sandwich. Adding roasted broccoli to a grilled cheese sandwich is genius, as it adds an extra punch of flavor and texture, and honestly makes you feel less guilty about eating a grilled cheese.  As one of my readers Samantha says, “can’t go wrong with grilled cheese, but when you add a green- it takes it to a whole new level.”  Samantha, I totally agree with you girl!  Tossing some brocoli into a grilled cheese is also a great way to sneak some veggies into your little ones, so for those of you that have some picky veggie eaters, you may want to give this sandwich a try.  It’s kid approved in my house!

Grilled cheese sandwiches are a staple in this house.  We eat them for lunch all the time, as well as dinner.  Gilled cheese is just the perfect accompanyment to a creamy soup, and in the fall and winter we eat a LOT soup.  I’m lucky because I have one of the best grilled cheese makers, Zoe!  Zoe is a pro when it comes to making a killer grilled cheese, and I will show you her simple trick later in this post.  All you will need is a cast iron skillet and the lid of a pan.  Come on, let’s make up a grilled cheese sandwich!

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quinoa wrap with black beans, feta and avocado

quinoa wrap with black beans, feta and avocado

quinoa wrap with black beans, feta and avocadoSo, I have to tell you that I’m totally obsessed with this wrap, like when I say obsessed, I mean I’ve had this wrap for lunch everyday this past week as well as dinner on a few occasions,  and I’m still craving it.  I’m just as obsessed with this wrap as I was when I first tried my lacinato kale salad, and for those of you that know me or have been following me for a while, you know that is my all time favorite salad ever!  I would put this wrap right up there in the same ballpark as my lacinato salad, and that’s saying a lot.

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roasted sweet potato and farro salad

roasted sweet potato and farro salad

roasted sweet potato and farro saladOk, so I start my new job this week as the Director of Catering for Paradise Foods.  I’m going to be in charge of growing and running the catering division for all 3 stores.  It’s a huge job to undertake and I’m a bit nervous as it’s a bit like starting a new business, but I’m good at sales and I love working with people and food, so to me it’s a match made in heaven.  BTW, I’ll be working most of the time out of the Tiburon store, so if any of you see me, please say hi!  So, since I’m going to be working outside of the home, I’ve been looking for some new healthy lunch alternatives to bring into work.  The funny thing is, I’m working at an amazing grocery store with one of the best deli’s, sandwich and salad bars in Marin, so I don’t really need to bring my lunch in, but I’m on a bit of a budget now, so a brown bagged lunch is the way to go.

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acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and roasted almonds

acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and roasted almonds

acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and roasted almondsSome of you who have followed my blog from the beginning may recognize this recipe, as it’s one of the first ones I posted on the blog.  I decided to re-post it as I made a few changes to the recipe and updated all the photos, plus I feel like it’s a wonderful recipe to share with you all this time of year as acorn squash is in season and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  This is a great meatless alternative for Thanksgiving or you can serve these up as a healthy side dish.  You can even make these vegan by adding nutritional yeast in lieu of the feta.

I love this recipe and make it up quite often for lunch in the fall.  I say lunch because my kids are not fans of quinoa and squash, so I really can’t make this up for dinner as my kids would not be happy campers.  This is more of a “mommy and daddy” meal in my house.

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pasta with kale, lemon and toasted walnuts

pasta with kale, lemon and toasted walnuts

pasta with kale, lemon and toasted walnutsToday I’m giving you all a tasty, healthy, easy, family approved and under 30 minute weeknight pasta two ways (whew, that was a lot in one sentence).  I mean who doesn’t love that?  It’s actually the same recipe, but I’m using two different types of pastas as well as cheeses.  The family approved and kid friendly version uses regular spaghetti and grated parmesan.  The “mommy” and teenage (I say teenage because Zoe loves this version as well) version uses whole-wheat spaghetti and Pecorino Romano cheese.  Both ways are tasty, it’s just an individual preference.  I love both versions, but prefer the whole-wheat version because the pasta has a great nutty flavor and is a bit chewy, but chewy in a good way, and the Pecorino Romano cheese adds a bit of salty flavor to the whole-wheat pasta.

whole-wheat pasta with kale, lemon and toasted walnuts… 

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roasted red pepper panini with cilantro-lime mayo

roasted red pepper panini with cilantro-lime mayo

roasted red pepper panini with cilantro-lime mayoI just showed you all a post on how to roast red peppers, so I thought I would show a great way to make use of them, since you probably have a few extra ones lying around.  This is seriously one of my favorite vegeterian paninis, and now that red peppers are in season I find myself making this sandwich up all the time, yes all the time, because I’m addicted!  This panini is overloaded with flavor from the roasted red pepper, smashed avocado, juicy heirloom tomato and the cilantro-lime mayonnaise. It’s truly as satisfying as any panini made with meat, (ask my meat loving hubby) and it’s a great meatless Monday sandwich to pair with your favorite soup or salad.   Who knew that a veggie panini could  be so satisfying and taste so good :)

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vegetarian banh mi sandwich with sriracha mayonnaise

vegetarian banh mi sandwich with sriracha mayonnaise

vegetarian banh mi sandwich with sriracha mayonnaiseI’m sure there are those of you that have never heard of a banh mi sandwich before, am I right?  You’re probably thinking what the heck is a banh mi sandwich.  Well, I didn’t know what one was either until this past spring when my friend Carolyn showed some photos on Instagram of her fixings for a banh mi sandwich.  Since then, I’ve seen these sandwiches popping up everywhere, it’s like my eyes were opened.  Banh mi is the perfect combination of french bread combined with Vietnamese ingredients like cilantro, pickled vegetables, and chilies.  Banh mi’s can be made with chicken, pork, beef, tofu, eggs and salmon and the sauces or spreads vary with each sandwich.  I chose to make a vegetarian version with roasted tofu from my miso kale salad recipe, and a sriracha mayonnaise sauce that our family loves.  This sriracha mayonnaise is also a great dip for fries, onion rings and as a topping for burgers.

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quinoa, tuna and corn salad

quinoa, corn and tuna salad

quinoa, corn and tuna saladQuinoa, quinoa, quinoa.  I’m sure you’re seeing that word everywhere these days and that some of you are tired of seeing recipes with quinoa, but here’s another recipe just incase you’re not tired of it yet.  I admit I did go on a hiatus from cold quinoa dishes for about a year, as I was tired of eating it day after day.  I discovered new and unique ways to enjoy quinoa like sautéed in a patty or cheesy cake, perfect for lunch or as a side dish to your favorite soup or salad.  I also discovered I liked quinoa in the morning mixed in with some steel-cut oats or quinoa flakes mixed with goji berries.  In fact I’m having a bowl of my 5 minute hot quinoa cereal as I type this post, so good!… 

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Israeli couscous salad

israeli couscous salad (1 of 1)

Israeli couscous salad I love it when I find new salads or summer side dishes that can be made ahead to marinate all day or made on the fly to eat up right then and there. This salad is one of those salads that tastes great either way. This is the perfect salad to bring to a potluck, picnic or to serve up in your own backyard. It’s full of summer flavor from the fresh mint, parsley and cherry tomatoes. We love pairing this salad with chicken drumsticks and one of my kale salads for a family backyard dinner. You can really make this a year round salad by adding seasonal ingredients to the mixture, like asparagus in the spring, cauliflower or broccoli in the winter.

I made this salad up last night to bring to my friend Yvonne’s house for a girls dinner. I paired it with my grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and my kid friendly caesar salad. It was the perfect throw together summer dinner because I made everything ahead of time. I made up the couscous salad earlier in the day, made the croutons and salad dressing for the caesar salad the night before and then threw everything together at Yvonne’s house come dinner.  If you get a bunch of great side dishes, you can make a meal out of them. Here’s a photo of our backyard picnic dinner.

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grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes

grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes

grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes (1 of 1) I’m sure you’ve all seen the cover for the July/August edition of Martha Stewart Living in either a book store or your grocery store. If you’ve seen it, then you know why I just had to run out and make up this bread. I opened up my mailbox last week and saw the cover showcasing this beautiful assortment of heirloom tomatoes on top of this toasted bread. I immediately went to the grocery store, bought me some heirlooms and made this up for lunch. I have to say that I was in food heaven. This bread is crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside from the juicy heirlooms and olive oil. The crunchy sea salt and fresh basil just give it another punch of flavor and texture. John and I split half a loaf up for lunch one day and paired it with my lacinato kale salad and drumsticks another night for dinner. I also brought this to a friend’s house and served it up as an appetizer. Let’s just say it was a hit with everyone. It’s truly the perfect summer bruschetta!

I cut Martha’s original recipe in half and only used the bottom half of the ciabatta bread instead of the whole loaf, (don’t fret, we used the other half for toast and jam the next morning) so feel free to double the quantities in the recipe if you’re serving a larger crowd.

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one-pan pasta

one-pan pasta

DSC_0027Isn’t this above picture just beautiful and doesn’t it make you want to try a batch of this pasta tonight?  I mean look at all of those fresh ingredients and all that color. I saw a photo similar to this in the most recent edition of Martha Stewart living and it looked so cool and challenging to me. I mean a one-pan pasta, who had ever heard of that (not me)? I seriously wondered how it was all going to work, and I have to say that I was a bit skeptical. I will also admit that the first time I made this pasta up, it didn’t turn out so great, as the pasta was overcooked. I was under the assumption that ALL of the water had to evaporate, so I cooked the pasta way too long and it was a bit over-done. We all really loved the flavors in this pasta though, so I vowed to try it again. Well, the second time around proved to be the charm. The pasta came out perfectly al dente and it created this thick creamy sauce that coated every strand of pasta.

This is the perfect weeknight throw together at the last minute sort of pasta. Literally, you throw all of the ingredients into one pan and cook away. Can it get any simpler than that?  I don’t think so. This pasta is fresh, healthy, full of flavor and a great meatless Monday pasta to add to your recipe box. It’s got the family seal approval in our house. There’s a bit of a kick in the pasta due to the red pepper flakes, so if you’re super sensitive to spicy things, then you might want to cut the 1/2 teaspoon down to a 1/4 teaspoon.  Eli could handle the spice though, so that should tell you something. Ok, let’s do what the Italians do and make up this one-pan pasta.

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