Chopped taco salad

Chopped taco salad
Chopped taco salad

I first made this taco salad for a potluck lunch at work last year — I wanted something that was easy to make and transport. But I liked it so much that it’s become a regular part of our dinner rotation. It’s easy to mix up a large bowlful (I serve the dressing on the side) and have several delicious meals.

Continue reading Chopped taco salad

Garden-fresh summer salad with oil and vinegar

Garden-fresh summer salad with oil and vinegar
Garden-fresh summer salad with oil and vinegar

By the time summer finally rolls around here in the Twin Cities, I’m craving fresh, delicious vegetables. One of my favorite — and easiest —  ways to eat them is in a big salad. The great thing about this type of salad is that you can vary the ingredients based on what veggies you have on hand, and you don’t need to measure anything. Sometimes I like to add some sort of cheese, but you could easily omit that to make it vegan.

Instead of making or buying dressing, I keep things light by drizzling oil and vinegar over the salad. My favorite combination right now is a peach balsamic vinegar with Arbequina olive oil — both from Fustini’s Oils and Vinegars (online store and several locations in Michigan).

Continue reading Garden-fresh summer salad with oil and vinegar

Cobb salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette

Cobb salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette
Cobb salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette

I’ve made Cobb salad several times this spring (and finally summer), and it’s a great main dish salad. Wikipedia tells me that the best way to remember the ingredients in Cobb salad is with the mnemonic EAT COBB: eggs, avocado, tomato, chicken, (green) onion, bacon, and blue cheese.  We ended up making a couple changes from that (like ham instead of bacon), but it’s still great!

The salad dressing for this recipe is also delicious. We haven’t been buying salad dressing at the store lately — most of it has high-fructose corn syrup in it, and if it doesn’t it’s simple enough to make myself. The fresh tang of the lemon makes this a great dressing for summer salads.

Continue reading Cobb salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette

Heirloom tomato pizza

Heirloom tomato pizza

Michael and I made this pizza for dinner Wednesday night, and decided that it was probably the best pizza we’ve ever made — though it’s definitely not the best picture I’ve ever taken. Regardless, we loved the combination of sweet heirloom tomatoes with fresh basil and carmelized onions. Yum!

Continue reading Heirloom tomato pizza

Middle-Eastern spiced beef koftas

Middle-Eastern spiced beef koftas
Middle-Eastern spiced beef koftas

I first shared this kofta recipe a couple summers ago, and since then, it’s become one of our favorites. These koftas are quick, delicious, and versatile — you can make them out of ground beef, lamb, or turkey.

I often serve them sandwich-style in pita pockets with cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta cheese, but you can also serve them over rice. I’ve also used this recipe to make burgers a couple times — it’s a delicious option if you’re looking for something a little different from a traditional hamburger!

Continue reading Middle-Eastern spiced beef koftas

Chilled Vietnamese noodle salad

Vietnamese noodle salad

It was hot and humid here in the twin cities today, so by the time we were thinking about making dinner, we knew we wanted something cold and refreshing. Michael suggested that we make a Vietnamese noodle salad similar to one that he tried at Bona last week. I checked out their menu online, and they describe the salad as follows:

Bún thit bò nướng: Barbecued beef spiced with lemon grass served with rice noodle, bean sprout, lettuce, cuumber, carrot, and peanut.

Though we didn’t have all of the ingredients to copy the dish, we made our own simple version of this delicious salad, and it was perfect for a hot summer evening.

Continue reading Chilled Vietnamese noodle salad

Lemon fluff — a delicious, light, and refreshing dessert

Lemon fluff

Michael and I made this simple and delicious lemon fluff dessert on Sunday afternoon. It’s a light dessert, so it’s the perfect end to a satisfying meal — and you won’t feel like you’re about to burst after you eat it. We used Michael’s mom’s recipe, which is just one of the delicious recipes in Michael’s family cookbook. We hope that you’ll make it one of your family recipes too!

Continue reading Lemon fluff — a delicious, light, and refreshing dessert

Green bean and red potato hot dish

Green bean and red potato hot dish

According to Minnesotans, this recipe would be considered “hot dish.” When I moved to Minnesota last year, I had no idea what “hot dish” was, but I soon found out that it was essentially a casserole — usually with a cream of mushroom or chicken soup. Michael made this green bean and red potato hot dish last week with the green beans that my parents gave us.

The verdict? Michael says it was one of the best “haaaaat dishes” he’s ever eaten. I, on the other hand, have never liked green beans all that much. But I liked this casserole too — especially the delicious red potato topping!

Continue reading Green bean and red potato hot dish

Garden-fresh polenta pizza with homemade pesto

Garden-fresh polenta pizza with homemade pesto

Michael went to the farmer’s market at the University of Minnesota this past week, and picked up some fresh veggies for our kitchen. While we didn’t have anything specific in mind to make, we figured we could cook something delicious with them. While browsing the internets, Michael found a polenta pizza recipe that looked good–but we didn’t have the ingredients it called for. So we made our own, substituting homemade pesto and grilled veggies as pizza toppings.

This polenta pizza recipe is chock-full of fresh garden veggies, and was as delicious as we had hoped. While it’s not difficult to make, it does take a bit of time, as the polenta crust needs to chill in the fridge before the pizza can be assembled.

Continue reading Garden-fresh polenta pizza with homemade pesto

Fresh blueberry pie

Fresh blueberry pie

This pie is brought to you by my parents, who drove to Minnesota for our wedding with a 5 quart pail of freshly-picked blueberries and the gift of a Kitchenaid stand mixer (thanks, mom and dad!).

I don’t have a lot to say about this pie, except that it’s delicious and fairly simple to make. I mixed the pie crust in the Kitchenaid, and then put the filling together while the dough was chilling in the fridge. This pie does need to cool for about 2 hours after baking, so it pays to plan ahead with this recipe.

Continue reading Fresh blueberry pie