Charcuterie Plate

Everyone needs to have a recipe in their back pocket that is elegant and beautiful when entertaining. In my case, I prefer something like this charcuterie plate. It’s not really a “recipe”, in the strictest sense of the word, but I don’t really enjoy constraints in case you haven’t noticed. So allow me to share my guide to building this gorgeous platter. It features my homemade pimento cheese as well as the ricotta crostini I shared this week. There are times when I enjoy making something visually beautiful to eat, it stimulates my creative side and brings me happiness in a way that simply filling my belly cannot. I try and make my charcuterie platter with plenty of bright, beautiful veggies and serve some seed or whole grain crackers instead of only white. I find the options are endless and the flavor combinations much more interesting to my taste buds when I add fresh elements to a charcuterie plate. I love the bright colors of cucumbers, tomatoes and cherries and sprigs of herbs; all fantastic options for the conscientious eater. My guests love it because it looks and tastes amazing and I can rest easy and enjoy myself knowing that I have many wholesome options before me. Sometimes the extra effort it takes to make something beautiful is just as enjoyable as actually eating the food. You are in charge of what you put in your body and can have fun entertaining without getting off track! Below are the different […]

Roasted Spatchcocked Chicken

  So the big question is what is a spatchcocked chicken??  Well, it is a way of cooking chicken by removing the backbone from neck to tail and flattening out the chicken so it cooks in half the time and also cooks evenly.  Basically you are butterflying the chicken! There are so many ways you can prepare this chicken and many different seasonings you can use as well.  I am using some Chimichurri because I find when I make chimichurri I tend to have lots of leftovers so using it as a marinade is a great way of not wasting one bit of this delicious sauce.    Ingredients: 1 whole chicken Salt & Pepper 1 cup Chimichurri sauce or desired seasoning. (link) 1-pint cherry tomatoes   Directions: 1. To butterfly the chicken, take a pair of kitchen scissors and cut up on both sides of the backbone of the chicken to remove it.       2. Clip the chicken wings off as well. 3. Break the breastbone by pressing down the wings and flattening out the bird.     4. Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the chicken and then cover with chimichurri or desired seasoning.     5. Place chicken in a 9×13 baking dish, cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours. 6. Remove chicken from fridge about 15 minutes before roasting to get the chill off the meat.  It will cook much more evenly when not so cold. 7. Rub the bottom of a cast-iron skillet […]

Grilled Skirt Steak Platter

You all know how much I love grilling season! This might be the simplest marinade recipe of all time yet it is so incredibly delicious. My favorite way to serve this skirt steak is to make a big platter with tortillas, delicious salsa, guacamole, grilled spring onions and jalapenos. Everyone can make their own taco or just eat it smothered in guacamole or my tomato and red chili salsa. The presentation looks rustic and beautiful with the charred veggies and there are options for everyone’s taste. Mexican food is one of my favorite things to make! I just love the fresh flavors especially this time of year when all the veggies are in season. Skirt steak can tend to be a bit tough so a marinade really helps to break down the meat and then with just a quick sear on each side it turns out perfectly. I get my skirt steak from Riven Rock Farms, they have amazing pasture-raised meat that is not ridden with GMOs and their animals are healthy and humanely raised. They have incredibly high standards which means the meat I get from them is out of this world delicious. This marinade is the simplest but shockingly delicious. The original recipe comes from Rio Grande Cafe which is one of our favorite Tex- Mex restaurants in Washington DC. Our friends, David and Jackie were able to obtain their  secret and sweetly shared it with us! The pineapple juice has enzymes that not only help to tenderize […]

Simple Enchilada Casserole

   I love using my leftover Crockpot Carnitas to make a quick and easy enchilada casserole! This recipe is a great one to try when you still have a fair amount of shredded meat leftover and really is a completely new meal that your family will love! This recipe builds off my Crockpot Carnitas recipe, but you can also use shredded chicken, ground beef, or even black beans! Many of you have asked me how to use leftovers that taste good and hold up when reheated and this is the perfect solution.  Since I have a stocked pantry, I’m was able to grab some canned tomatoes and chili powder to make a quick sauce. Here is my stocked pantry list here if you want to see what I stock regularly. It is invaluable when it comes to repurposing leftovers! This was a recipe that my Mom made quite often and one that I made for my children. I am now passing it down to you!  ENJOY!!   Enchilada Sauce Ingredients:  1 28-ounce can whole, peeled San Marzano Tomatoes 2 T Chili Powder 1 tsp. Ancho Chili Powder ½ tsp. Garlic powder ½ tsp. Onion powder 1 tsp. Salt Pepper to taste   Directions: 1. In a blender, add tomatoes and all the seasonings.   2. Blend until smooth and set aside.     Enchilada Ingredients: 5 C leftover Carnitas, Mexican Shredded Beef or Grilled Chicken, chopped.  2 C Shredded Cheddar, pepper-jack or Mexican melting cheese 15 corn tortillas (or Siete tortillas for […]

Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Mango and Caramelized Kiwi Salsa

 In anticipation for spring, I am sharing these delicious fish tacos with you all! Although tomato salsa is my favorite, I like to make this mango salsa in the spring when mango and kiwi are in season.  The sweet element to this salsa really compliments the spicy seasoning on the fish. The cilantro lime slaw is a twist on my basic slaw recipe  and is a MUST to finish off these fish tacos.   My favorite fish to use is Wild Mahi Mahi but one tip to remember is that Mahi can become too “steaky” if overcooked so the key here is to just to saute’ until almost done. It will continue to cook for a few minutes once you remove it from the heat. Take a bite and just wait….tastes a bit like summer!!! You can almost imagine that the sun is shining and its 75 degrees outside. Enjoy!!   Ingredients:  For the Tacos: 1 lb. wild Mahi Mahi or other white flaky fish ¼ tsp. cumin ½ tsp. sea salt ¼ tsp. smoked paprika pinch of cayenne pinch of coriander ghee or olive oil 8 corn tortillas     For the Salsa: 1 ½ cups diced mango 2 kiwi sliced and caramelized 2 T red onion, finely chopped 2 T cilantro, chopped 2 T red bell pepper, chopped 1 jalapeno’, seeded and finely chopped pinch of chile de Arbol, crushed (I get this from the international store) or pinch of crushed red pepper sea salt juice of ½ a lime     For the Cilantro Lime Cole […]

Roasted Squash Lasagne Boats

  This recipe is a spin-off from a great recipe by Half Baked Harvest. I simplified the recipe and definitely made it my own. The great thing about any recipe is that you can easily tweak any one of them to suit your tastebuds! This is the perfect meal for a cold evening, and I didn’t even miss the pasta.   Ingredients: 1 spaghetti squash 3 T olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced 1 carrot, finely diced 4 cloves garlic 1 lb. ground pork, beef or lamb 1 24 oz. can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes 1 T tomato paste concentrate 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce 2 T chopped fresh oregano ¾ C whole milk ricotta cheese ¼ C shredded parmesan cheese ¼ C shredded mozzarella 2 T chopped fresh basil 4 slices smoked provolone cheese Salt and pepper     Directions to roast squash: 1. Preheat oven to 350. 2.  Slice off stem area. 3. Stand squash on the freshly cut end and using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half. 4. Scoop out the seeds. 5. Drizzle insides of the squash with 1 T olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 6. Put face down on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and puncture the entire surface with a fork. 7. Roast squash for 30 minutes or until it is easily punctured with a fork. 8. Set aside.    For the meat sauce:  1. In a large pan, heat about 1 Tablespoon of olive […]

Jerk Pork Lettuce Wraps w/ a honey chili sauce

Before summer is officially over, I thought I’d slip in another “summer recipe”, although, truth be told, we eat this all year around! These Jerk Pork Lettuce Wraps are very easy to make and can be made ahead of time in the crockpot. Also, they are gluten-free, Paleo, lowfat and sugar-free. The ingredients for these are simple and easy, I often have everything I need on hand and just need to buy the pork at the market when I’m there. Add this to one of your favorite, easy crockpot recipe files.  For this recipe I’m going to highlight a few little tips I have for cutting down on waste. Very little should be thrown away in my opinion and once you grow accustomed to this you never go back Ingredients: 1 pastured pork tenderloin ( I like to use the tenderloin since it doesn’t have that excess pork fat and also cooks fairly quickly) Jerk seasoning (You can make your own or buy this at Penzeys) Salt and pepper Ghee, coconut oil or rendered pork fat (since I buy clean pork, I save my bacon fat for sautéing. Again, waste nothing.) A bottle of beer, some white wine, chicken, beef or veggie stock (enough to deglaze the pan.) 1 large onion of any kind 8 large lettuce leaves (romaine, red leaf, or butter lettuce.) 1 TBS. Brown mustard (or any kind you might have.) 3 drops Sesame oil 1 TBS. Raw honey or coconut amino acids (the acids are a great exchange if you are eating Paleo or sugar-free) […]

Turkey and White Bean Chili

  This Turkey and White Bean Chili is one of my favorites and also happens to be the perfect way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey!  I have removed all the heavy cream from this recipe but I am using a special trick to get all the creaminess you would look for in white chili.  I also have added some anaheim chilis for a depth of flavor and enjoy adding toppings such as chopped green onion, toasted pumpkin seeds, some crumbled bacon, and maybe a bit of goat cheese. So delicious! Eat up!   Ingredients: 4 C shredded turkey (if using chicken,1 whole roasted chicken) 1 ½  32 oz. cartons of chicken stock 3 C cauliflower rice (1 bag of Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower rice) 1½ C yellow onion, chopped 2-4 oz. cans green chilies (or 1 C Anaheim chilies, chopped) 2 cloves garlic, minced 1-15 oz. can organic cannellini beans 1 C frozen corn  1  tsp. ground cumin 1  tsp. dried oregano ½ tsp. ground coriander Salt and pepper to taste Pinch of cayenne 2 T fresh lime juice (optional)     My favorite toppings: Chopped cilantro Chopped green onion Shredded cheese Crumbled goat cheese Toasted Pepitas Sliced jalapenos   Directions: 1. In a medium saucepan, add cauliflower rice and cover with chicken stock. (approx. 2 cups) 2. Simmer until cauliflower rice is soft and most of the chicken stock is absorbed. Cool slightly.     3. In a medium dutch oven, saute onions (and chili’s if using fresh […]

Chicken Masala

For me, Chicken Masala is perfect for this time of year, especially on Halloween night. I love being home then, making something so yummy with all these amazing smells wafting through the house. You can make it as spicy as you would like but it is not difficult to make and has a ton of flavor. Many recipes for Masala include heavy cream but since I don’t include much dairy in my diet, I added coconut milk and coconut cream instead. The coconut cream is absolutely divine. It still gives it that creamy texture that you would otherwise get from heavy cream but adds much more flavor. If you are not familiar with curries than this will be a great place to start! When choosing a curry powder you may want to start with a mild one unless you love some heat! Although it is not difficult to make a curry and Garam masala spice mixture from scratch, you can find excellent blends at Penzey’s spices. Here is the recipe for Garam masala for those who prefer to make their own. Garam Masala Ingredients: 3 tsp. ground cardamom 1 tsp. coriander 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. ground cloves 1 1/2 tsp. ground pepper 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg There will plenty of spice mixture for this recipe and some leftover for another day. Store it in an airtight container.   Chicken Masala Ingredients: 1 1/2 Tbs. coconut oil 1 large red onion, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 1 Tbs. finely grated ginger (you can […]

Crispy Pan Seared Salmon with a Lemon Butter Herb Sauce

  This is such a simple recipe and seriously will probably only take you 15 minutes to fix.  I love great tasting food but in my life, complicated is not welcome. Really good food doesn’t have to be difficult to make! With this recipe, the goal is crispy skin…that is why we will start by searing it skin down first and for a longer period of time. I amazed my husband with this one so I think you will find this to be a favorite recipe!!!     Ingredients: 4 wild-caught salmon fillets 1 T of Ghee Salt & pepper ¼ C butter (½ of a stick) Juice of 1 ½ lemons ¼ tsp lemon zest ⅓ C white wine…Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc  (you can also replace the wine with chicken stock and it tastes just as good) 1 tsp fresh lavender, finely chopped 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped 3 C fresh arugula   Directions: 1. Heat large skillet on medium-high.  Add ghee.      2. When the melted ghee is shimmering, you will know that it is ready for the salmon. 3. Salt and pepper the skin side of the filet and put the SKIN side down FIRST.     4. You will sear the salmon on this side for 5 minutes before flipping. 5. While the salmon is cooking on the skin side, salt and pepper the flesh side. 6. After 5 minutes have passed, flip salmon over to the flesh side and cook for only […]