‘Crispy Pork & Bok Choy Larb’

Recipe Courtesy of Real Simple Magazine

This modern version of a traditional Thai larb is utterly fantastic!  Cooked, ground pork is flavored with a mixture of lime juice, fish sauce, granulated sugar and crushed red pepper flakes and is served on top of a fresh salad made with baby bok choy, carrot ribbons, scallions, cilantro and a few hot chile peppers. The traditional way to serve larb is as a first course and in lettuce cups, so think of it as a entree version of larb, in salad form.  Very traditional in its flavorings, this lovely larb is finished off with roasted, salted peanuts for crunch.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/crispy-pork-bok-choy-larb)

Lemony Prosciutto-Asparagus Bundles

This simple side dish recipe works well not only with asparagus spears, but with thin, French green beans and even broccolini spears.  Simply wrap a bundle of vegetables with a thin slice of prosciutto or capicola ham.  Drizzle with olive oil, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and place on lemon slices on a baking sheet. Roast in a hot oven until the ham is crispy and the vegetables are still a bit crunchy, but just cooked through.  Such and elegant and easy appetizer idea, or even side dish to accompany just about any entree you have in mind.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

Harissa Meatloaf

Recipe Courtesy of www.SkinnyTaste.com

Harissa is a Tunisian chili pepper paste that adds just the right amount of heat and flavor to a variety of dishes.  Buy a jar and keep it in the fridge for a flavoring agent on roasted vegetables, a rub for a roast chicken, part of a skirt steak marinade, or even as a salad dressing component.  Here, the harissa paste is used as a way to liven up an everyday meatloaf.  Mixed together with the ground meat, onion, garlic, grated zucchini, breadcrumbs, and egg and sweet paprika, the harissa shines with its underlying spicy nature and bright red color.  Don’t close that jar of harissa just yet! The topping for the meatloaf is a combo of both ketchup and a touch more harissa paste to carry the Tunisian-theme through.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: https://www.skinnytaste.com/skillet-harissa-turkey-meatloaf/)

‘Chicken with Tarragon & Vermouth’

Recipe Courtesy of www.FineCooking.com

Fresh tarragon is not only a lovely flavor pairing for seafood, but also chicken. With its natural anise-flavor, a little goes a long way, and it can add a nice brightness to a simple dish like this one. I used thinly sliced chicken cutlets for this dish, and added some sliced garlic to the saute pan along with the minced shallots.  Other than those few ingredients, all you need are olive oil, butter, salt, pepper and either white wine or dry vermouth.  The olive oil is used to cook the chicken cutlets through, and the butter is used to create a beurre blanc-like sauce studded with the cooked alliums and fresh tarragon.  This sauce would really compliment seared scallops or pan-seared fish as well.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.finecooking.com/recipe/chicken-with-tarragon-vermouth)

‘Chickpea & Kale Curry’

Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

This colorful vegetarian curry combines both curry powder and ground ginger with coconut milk, lime juice, peanut butter and a variety of good-for-you veggies.  Garlic, onions, sweet peppers and Lacinato kale are paired with buttery, tender chickpeas which provide a protein-punch; another protein-packed item to serve with this quick-and-easy weeknight curry is cooked quinoa for serving.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/chickpea-and-kale-curry)

‘Baked Salmon & Creamy Orzo’

Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living Magazine

Another term for the creamy orzo featured in this recipe is orzotto.  Basically orzo pasta cooked with the risotto cooking method; instead of simply boiling the rice-shaped pasta until al dente, this recipe uses the natural starches in pasta to make a creamy sauce.  The orzo is first sauteed in a mixture of cooked bacon, celery and onions until lightly toasted and coated in the bacon grease; then it is covered with stock and cooked over low heat (stirring often) until the sauce is creamy and the pasta cooked ‘to the tooth.’  The flavorful bacony-orzotto alone is very tasty, but we’re not done yet! You top the pan of orzo with salmon fillets that have been flavored with ground coriander. The fish and orzo finish cooking in a hot oven, and it is all served with torn, bitter radicchio leaves for a bit of crunch and color.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: https://www.marthastewart.com/1524536/baked-salmon-and-creamy-orzo)

‘Lemony Zucchini Salad with Walnuts’

Recipe Courtesy of www.walnuts.org

If you are a fellow food magazine subscriber, you have probably noticed the enticing ads lately from the folks at the California walnut organization (www.walnuts.org).  Their ads feature enticing photos of recipes that use walnuts in a unique way.  With the current craze for spiralized vegetables as a low-carb and fun ingredient, I was excited to try this raw ‘zoodles’ salad recipe: raw zucchini noodles tossed together with a light lemon vinaigrette, buttery walnuts and cheese. (I used crumbled goat cheese instead of the suggested ricotta cheese, but I think feta would work well, too.) A sprinkling of fresh basil leaves for a fresh finish, this salad couldn’t be any easier to put together…and even easier to devour.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: https://walnuts.org/recipe/lemony-zucchini-salad-walnuts/)

‘Chicken with Broccolini and Farro-Beet Salad’

Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

This colorful, composed salad has a lot of moving parts—all of which are healthy and work well with the next ingredient on the list.  A perfect main course salad for the New Year; a time of year where a fresh start and healthier habits are on all of our minds.

The base of this main course salad is cooked pearled farro; a whole grain that is tender to-the-tooth and very versatile.  Here, the farro is tossed with roasted red beets, steamed broccolini, sliced sweet oranges, and pan-seared chicken breast slices seasoned with ground cumin and garlic powder.  And did I mention the tangy component of quick pickled red onions to round out the flavor profile? That, and a nice garlic and parsley sauce to compliment it all.  This is a plate that is packed with nutrients and a variety of textures; a healthy plate that everyone is sure to enjoy!

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/chicken-broccolini-and-farro-beet-salad)

‘Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins’

Recipe Courtesy of www.MarthaStewart.com

These super scrumptious muffins are as moist as can be and are chock full of healthy ingredients!  A mashed, ripe banana and grated zucchini make for a lovely crumb; both adding a moist texture to the batter and a touch of sweetness.  Note that I did sway from the original recipe in a few ways: first, I used whole wheat flour (in addition to the ground flaxseeds) as the base of the muffins, and second, I swapped in buttermilk for whole milk; lastly, I snuck in a teaspoon of matcha powder.  With the natural omega-3 power of the flaxseeds, the fiber-rich nature of the whole wheat flour, the hidden veggies, and the matcha powder for overall ‘punch’ of healthfulness, these muffins are hands down some of my favorites. And another great thing about them is that they freeze beautifully!

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: https://www.marthastewart.com/851872/zucchini-banana-and-flaxseed-muffins)

Classic Tiramisu

Not only one of our favorite desserts, a classic tiramisu is also one of the easiest to make and one of the most impressive.  The mention of tiramisu immediately brings on a chorus of ‘oohs and ahhs’ no matter the crowd.  Who can resist espresso-soaked cookies layered between a creamy and sweet mixture of cream and mascarpone cheese flavored with a touch of brandy and espresso powder, mini chocolate chips and a dusting of cocoa powder?  I know I can’t. And for a fun topping idea, you can always shave white or dark chocolate curls over it all, top it with more chocolate chips, or even fresh strawberries are a nice pairing. But my favorite topping are crunchy, chocolate-covered espresso beans.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)