Roasted Vegetables and Saffron Rice with Peas and Cherries

The unexpected tang of the cherries, really brings this flavor profile up a notch!  Roasted Vegetables and Saffron Rice with Peas and Cherries.

  • Olive Oil
  • 6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 small golden pumpkins, halved, seeded and sliced into wedges (next time, I’ll peel them when they’re raw) You could completely omit this, or add any kind of hearty squash that you like.
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 large, sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 family size package of Vigo Saffron Rice (or whatever rice you like)
  • 1 small package of frozen Petit Peas, thawed
  • 1/2 package of frozen cherries, thawed (wish I’d had more, they really made the meal!)
  • Two big pinches of turmeric (optional, I’m trying to work more of this anti-inflammatory into our diet)
  • sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a lined baking sheet toss the potatoes, pumpkin, garlic, salt and olive oil – with clean hands and put into the preheated oven, for 40 minutes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, and Rice with Cherries and Peas from

Meanwhile, heat a large pot with a secure lid on med/high heat.  Add enough olive oil to saute onions and when it’s hot, add the onions. Cook until they start to caramelize.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, and Rice with Cherries and Peas from

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, and Rice with Cherries and Peas from

Add the rice package, and stir quickly until the rice starts to appear pearly.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, and Rice with Cherries and Peas from

Add four cups of water, bring to a boil, stir.  Lower the heat to low, put the lid on and allow to simmer for 25 minutes (or however long your rice says to cook for)

Remove the vegetables from the oven when they’re done, add them to the rice, with the turmeric,  stir gently. Then add the peas and cherries, stir again, gently. Serve.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, and Rice with Cherries and Peas at

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Easy Gazpacho

This was so good that I don’t even need to tell you that it’s vegan, healthy, gluten free,  and that the only carbs in it come from the veggies and fruit.  But it’s true, so I’ll tell you.  Do not miss this cool, summery, Easy Gazpacho!

  • 1/2 honeydew melon, peeled and very rough chopped
  • 2 red bell pepper very rough chopped
  • 11 (that’s what I had left) peppadew peppers
  • 1 large cucumber (I like the English cuke for this, skin on – but any really good cucumber will do) halved length wise, very rough chopped
  • 5 tomatoes seeded, very rough chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion peeled, very rough chopped
  • 2 cloves elephant garlic (or 4 regular), very rough chopped
  • 46(ish) oz. of good vegetable juice – check the ingredients list – we want this healthy and fresh!
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 big pinches of salt
  • lots of fresh cracked pepper (I like the mixed)

The best way to do this is with a food processor – Get it out, with the big bowl attachment and put a large pot with a lid on the stove.  You will not be heating this pot at any time. (I know, so easy, right?)

You’re going to want to do this in batches as the different textures of the produce will have different results and times in the processor.

Process the melon

Gazpacho from

until it’s in small chunks and transfer to the pot.

You can process the bell peppers with the peppadews and transfer, then the cucumber and transfer…

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The tomatoes and transfer…

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Then the onions and garlic and transfer…

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And add the vegetable juice, olive oil,  vinegar, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

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Cover and refrigerate, overnight to let the flavors blend.

Ladle some into a bowl and serve.

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Perfect with a salad on a hot summers day. Next time, I think I’d add some cilantro and sliced avocado before serving.  Surprisingly filling too.

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Spaghetti Squash and Veggies in Garlic and Oil

I was at a friend’s for dinner a few weeks ago and she made this wonderful stir fry, using spaghetti squash as the “noodle”.  I was so inspired and I had intended to copy her recipe as closely as possible, but then I wanted pasta really bad – and since we’re doing the low carb thing, I thought I’d make Spaghetti Squash and Veggies in Garlic and Oil, a more Italian inspired dish.  The market had these lovely, little squashes, smaller than I’d ever seen so I picked one up and used that.

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 head of broccoli, I use the florets as well as the stalks.  Using a peeler, peel away any tough outer skin and then slice the stalks into coins.
  • 1 small package of sugar snap peas and snow peas mixture, rinsed and trimmed
  • mushrooms (we had white, sliced)
  • olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a pinch of red pepper flake

The first thing we need to do is roast the squash.  The good news is that this can be done days ahead of time. Here’s another post for the squash if you need a more detailed instruction: Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca. This time, I preheated the oven to 400, sliced the squash in half, lengthwise and put the two pieces, insides down, on a baking sheet.  Roast for one hour, remove from the oven, allow to cool and scoop the insides out.  You can reserve the seeds for roasting, if you like. Scrape the insides apart to make the “noodles”, set aside. I’ve kept these for days in a covered container in the fridge and I’ve yet to see them go bad. Preheat the oven to 350, place the broccoli on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.  I really like broccoli roasted, you could steam it here as well. Heat a large pasta pot over med/high heat, add about 1/3 cup of olive oil and when it’s hot, add your sugar snaps and snow peas.  Allow to cook, stirring occasionally until the peas start to blister a bit.

Spaghetti Squash and Veggies in Garlic and Oil -

add the mushrooms and allow them to brown, stirring often.

Add the red pepper flake and garlic.  When the garlic is very fragrant, add the broccoli and spaghetti squash.  Toss to coat as much as possible.  If it looks too dry, it’s ok to add some more oil.

When you’re done tossing, add 1/2 cup of water and cover, allow the steam to build up and heat up the squash and broccoli.  If it looks too wet, allow the excess water to cook off – but toss it first, it may just need redistributing.

Plate and serve.

Spaghetti Squash and Veggies in Garlic and Oil -

You will not miss the pasta, I promise. Absolutely delicious.

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Asian Noodles with Vegetables

These are so simple, so delicious, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free. Yum. Asian Noodles with Vegetables.  Twenty minutes from fridge to table.

  • 3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 package of snow peas, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 package sugar snap peas, cleaned and trimmed
  • scallions, sliced
  • Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • two packages of rice noodles
  • freshly grated ginger and red pepper flake – I thought I had ginger, but didn’t and forgot the red pepper flake, but they would have been a wonderful addition!)
  • 2 cans sliced water chestnuts
  • Oil, I only had EVOO – it was fine.

All rice noodles are not created equal, read the directions for preparing yours – mine said to soak in cool water for 8-10 minutes and that’s what I did, but it wasn’t enough.  I thought they would become softer when they got thrown into the cooking but they didn’t.  I found an easy way to fix them though. I’ll walk you through it.  Here they are soaking.

Asian Noodles from

Chop up a whole mess of garlic.  This is 4 garlic cloves, but they were elephant garlic, I didn’t use all of it, but you could.   Set aside.

ricenoodles (1 of 8)

Asian Noodles from

Set a large pot with a tight fitting lid on med/high heat. Add enough oil to coat the pan and when it’s hot, add the snow and sugar snap peas.  Stirring often, get them nice and hot – keep the heat high so that they don’t get soggy.

Asian Noodles from

When they’re crisp tender, add the garlic (this is where I would have added the ginger and red pepper flake as well.

Asian Noodles from

Drain your noodles and shake them a bit to remove as much of the water as possible. Add the water chestnuts to the pot and stir to combine and warm them up.

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Add the noodles to the pan – At this point, I realized they weren’t quite cooked enough…

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So, I added about 3/4 cup of the tamari and 1/2 cup of water.  Cover and let the water steam the noodles. After about 5 minutes, remove the lid, allow any of the water to cook off if necessary and toss to combine all the flavors. If yours are soft enough, ignore this step and just toss to combine.

Plate, sprinkle some of the scallion on top and enjoy.

Asian Noodles from

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Grilled Salmon with Corn, Tomato, & Avocado Salsa

There are so many great things available in our co-op lately – that I really can’t seem to make a decision as to what I want each week.  This week, I got a ton of stuff, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, corn on the cob, cucumbers, avocados and more… I don’t want any of it to go bad, so I’m trying to combine as many ingredients as possible in each meal.  I bought some beautiful fish this week, too – so I decided to make Grilled Salmon with Corn, Tomato, & Avocado Salsa.  Here’s what we did:

  • 4 pieces of salmon
  • 6 ears of corn, cleaned
  • 5 super ripe tomatoes
  • 3 avocados
  • 1 lime
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Put up a big pot of water and when it starts to boil, put the corn in the water and turn it off.  The corn will be done in just a few minutes, but because it’s not boiling away, the time is more forgiving and it can sit a while if you get caught up in something else.  Remove from water and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, take the salmon out of the fridge, unwrap and pat down with a paper towel – you want the fish to be as dry as possible – I like to pat down the skin and flesh sides as that will help to crisp up the skin.  Allow the fish to sit out a little bit, just until it comes almost to room temperature.

Delicious Salmon

When the corn is cool enough to handle, take a sharp knife and remove the kernels.

Sweet, Local Corn

Chop the tomatoes, pretty small..

Juicy, Ripe Tomatoes

Add them to the corn, chop the avocado and squeeze the juice of the lime over everything.


Cover and set aside.

Heat a grill pan on med/high heat and brush some olive oil on the fish (skin side) – season with salt and pepper.  Put the fish on the grill skin side down and cook until the skin gets crispy (if the fish was too wet, the skin won’t get crispy, but that’s ok – turn when the color changes almost half way up the fish).

Grilling the Salmon

Flip and cook on the flesh side (just a couple of minutes).

Plate the fish, spoon some salsa – and we served it with a tossed salad.  Drizzle a little oil over the whole plate – salt and pepper to taste and voila!  Healthy, delicious, easy dinner!

Salmon Dinner

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranates

There are so many reasons to love Fall – two of them are Brussels sprouts and pomegranates. The combination of these two foods is remarkable.  Bitter earthy sprouts, with sweet, tart pomegranates are just made for each other and they’re so pretty.  The bright green against the ruby red – I just love this. And easy?  So easy.

  • a whole mess of Brussels sprouts (I think I had two pounds)
  • 2 pomegranates
  • a big glub of olive oil
  • Sea salt (kosher salt would be ok – but I love the Mediterranean sea salt)

Clean the sprouts well – they can be pretty dirty. Cut the sprouts in half and trim the hard stem part from the end. put on a sheet pan and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

For the pomegranates… well there are lots of ways that people tell you to prepare them.  This is my favorite.  When he mentions that you should score the pomegranate, take him at his word. If you cut too deep, rather than just scoring – you’ll make a mess.

Pick through to make sure you don’t have a lot of membrane and pour the seeds onto the sheet pan with the sprouts.  Pour a big glub of olive oil and a couple of big pinches of salt over everything and using your hands, toss well to make sure everything is coated.

Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranates

Cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the sprouts are tender enough to bite. We served them with roasted chicken breast that we browned in a pan on both sides for about 4 minutes per side and the roasted in the oven for the length of time that it took to get the veggies cooked – about 20-25 minutes.

The balance of flavors and the beautiful colors make this a very appetizing dish – I would say you could make this, not only for a weeknight dinner, but it would make a beautiful addition to a winter holiday meal.

Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranates with Roasted Chicken Breast

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Roasted Eggplant and Okra

This week the local co-op had eggplant and okra available and I knew I had to do something fabulous with them, so I made a roasted eggplant and okra with peppers and onions along side a grilled, local, grass fed, chemical and hormone free skirt steak and a tossed salad.  Simple, fast, healthy and delicious!

  • 2 lbs. eggplant (I had the long, slender, ichiban) halved and cut into 1/2 in. pieces
  • 2 lbs. okra cut into 1/2 in. pieces
  • a handful of small, sweet peppers, chopped into 1/2 in. pieces (or 2 bell peppers)
  • 2 med onions peeled and sliced into wedges
  • 5 cloves garlic peeled and diced
  • salt
  • olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400. Try to cut the eggplant, okra and onions into similarly sized pieces so that they cook evenly.  Put all the vegetables on a sheet pan, pour olive oil over all and salt.  Using your hands, toss to make sure that all the vegetables are coated.

Evenly chopped for even cooking times

Cook for 30-40 minutes or until the eggplant is soft.

Roasted eggplant and okra

Somewhere between summer and fall, this is a great option for all the vegetables in season right now.

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Grilled Fish with Black Bean Salsa

Have you ever craved cilantro?  I crave it a lot and I’m always looking for different ways to use it. This was fast, easy and delicious! I was afraid that adding the beans would make it to heavy, but the fish is so light and fresh that it was perfect.  I hope you enjoy this dish of grilled fish with black bean salsa.

  • 4 filets of trigger fish (any fish that you love, would be perfect)
  • 2 cucumbers peeled and diced
  • 5 tomatoes diced
  • 6 small sweet peppers (or one red, yellow or orange bell) seeded and diced
  • 2 small serrano peppers (or any of your favorite pepper with a little bit of heat) seeded and diced
  • 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 small bunch cilantro leaves chopped
  • big pinch of salt
  • juice of one lime
  • romain lettuce hearts (I used three)

Combine all ingredients from the cucumber to the lime. Cover and set aside.

The beginning of the salsa

Preheat the grill pan (or outdoor grill), score the skin of the filets to keep them from curling up and grill flesh side down for about 3 minutes or until you have nice grill marks, flip and grill on the other side until the fish is flaky

Serve the filet on a bed of chopped romaine, and top with salsa.  Tasty, healthy, easier than you can imagine.  You could substitute lots of different proteins, different vegetables, this is really versatile and really delicious.

Trigger Fish with Black Bean Salsa

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Sautéed Chicken Breast with a Fresh Tomato and Artichoke Heart Sauce

I picked up 3 lbs. of farm fresh tomatoes today and when I got home, I realized that i still had four of them left from last week.  I knew I needed to use them so I decided to make a fresh tomato sauce. I happened to have 2 boxes of frozen artichoke hearts, so they got added as well. Add a side salad and you have a very satisfying and delicious healthy, lower carb meal. The measurement aren’t very important and you could upsize or downsize this as you see fit.

  • 1 medium shallot chopped
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 pkg. frozen artichoke hearts, prepared via stove top or microwave cooking directions and set aside
  • 4 large tomatoes chopped
  • Sea (or Kosher) salt

Preheat the oven for 400.  Heat a saute pan to med/high heat – add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and when it ribbons, place the breasts, good side down into the pan.  You get the best brown on the first side, so I always like to cook the presenatation side first.

After about 4-5 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts, flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a foil lined sheet and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

About 5 minutes before the chicken is done, heat the same saute pan to med/high heat.  Add about a tablespoon more of the vegetable oil and then the shallot, and cook for a couple of minutes until it softens.

Add the tomatoes and a very big pinch of salt and cook the tomatoes down – they’ll start to release all their juice and soften. Don’t forget to scrape the chicken bits off the bottom of the pan at this point, they’ll come right up and add tons of flavor.

Add the artichoke hearts and saute until everything is hot.

Plate a chicken breast and spoon the sauce over the top.  Grind a little black pepper over everything.

Fresh and delicious – do not try to skip the salting step, it makes all the difference.  This was so easy and good and I could think of a million variations.  Maybe some parsley and lemon, or basil and garlic, or black olives and capers.  Tossed into some pasta would be wonderful…You could really eat this over fish too – Endless possibilities.

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Mustard Roasted Snapper and Oven Roasted Broccoli Greens

So, I went to get my fish for the weekend and my eggs and my co-op share and I wanted to make something like this recipe for mustard roasted fish from Ina Garten, but I also had broccoli greens and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with them.  I searched for some ideas and found and this recipe for roasting broccoli greens.

Of course, I wanted them to tie together somehow, so this is what I did:

  • 2 large red snapper filets
  • Broccoli greens (or any kind of greens, I think I had 1.5 lbs.)
  • about 3 tablespoons of dijon mustard
  • about 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • about 3 tablespoons of sour cream – I had no creme fraiche and didn’t feel like going out.
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 large shallot, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped

Preheat the oven to 425.  Wash your greens thouroghly.  These can be really dirty, so I soak, then rinse each leaf seperately to make sure they’re clean. Lay them out in a roasting dish – I needed two.

Sprinkle the garlic over the greens, then drizzle them with sesame oil and then a healthy glub of olive oil and soy sauce.  I didn’t really toss them, but I did move some of the leaves around so that the oil and garlic could drip down.

Put them in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.

On a foil lined sheet pan, layout the fish.

Liberally salt and pepper the filets.

Combine the mustards, sour cream. about a tablespoon of soy sauce, and the shallot, stir to combine and then spoon over the fish making sure to cover it really well.

Check on the greens and if they’re starting to look cooked and even crunchy, put the fish in and cook for about 10-12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily in the thickest part of the filet.

Plate a pile of the greens and lay a half of each filet on top.

The fish was so good that by the time I took this picture, my children had almost finished theirs!  They were so excited about how tasty it was.  Each bite was perfect… the tangy mustards, the sour cream and the little bite of shallot was so satisfying and delicious!

We’re still working on the love for greens in my house.  These were interesting.  Some were almost like chips, and others tasted like collards. I think I would chop them instead of leaving the leaves whole next time.  Really quite tasty, but definitely a bitter green – I was expecting more of a spring green. We’re going to work on the greens a bit, but I know we’re going to eat this mustard roasted fish quite often!

Serves 4.

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