This post goes out to one Katie Casey for leaving me a wedge of brie because she didn’t feel like bringing it home last time she was at my house. It also goes out to the Food Network Magazine that I got the idea from.
This recipe is another family classic from Mom, and any friend of mine I’ve had over the years has no doubt partaken of the ridiculous deliciousness that is buckle. It’s the best – it’s worth every fattening bite. I’m obsessed.
There are times to sub whole-wheat for white and cut the sugar in half. When you bff has a new baby and is struck with a vicious spinal headache so badly that she can’t sit up from her bed, it is not one of those times. It’s the time to make a muffin that could totally be frosted and served at birthday parties.
There have been burgers, there have been beers, and there’s still half a bag of kettle-cooked potato chips plaguing me in my pantry. Two people today told me they were ready for summer to end so they could get “back to routine”, and though my vote is for never ending summer, my diet needs to get back on track, and quickly.
Salads and soups are my go-tos when I need to lighten up. Grilled chicken and baby spinach are totally standard but with the simple additions of sweet pears and perfectly tangy blue cheese, this salad becomes a weeknight meal that literally brought a grin to my face all through dinner. This would work equally well for lunch as for dinner, for company or a simple party of two. It’s the perfect meal to clean up your diet though it tastes like you’re still enjoying a summertime splurge.
Grilled Pear and Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese
3 Chicken breast
Salt and pepper
2 large Bartlett pears, cut into ¼ inch slices
8 c. fresh baby spinach
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. champagne vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ c. crumbled blue cheese
1. Heat grill to medium and spray grates with nonstick spray.
2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and grill until cooked through, about five minutes per side.
3. When you flip the chicken, add the pears to the grill. Grill on both sides until grill marks appear.
4. Meanwhile, toss spinach with olive oil, vinegar, honey and mustard. Plate.
5. Divide chicken and pears between plates and top with cheese. Serve.
Moderate alcohol intake can absolutely be a part of healthy lifestyle – and thank goodness for that because summer barbeques wouldn’t be the same without a cold drink in hand. A light beer or a glass of wine is generally your best bet, whereas blended fruit cocktails can be loaded with sugar, clocking in upwards of 400 calories.
I’ve had a revelation! We should all eat like babies. Seriously, babies have wonderfully healthy diets. They don’t eat sugar, they enjoy small portions of high fat dairy, lean meat and fish, whole grains, and fruits and veggies. It’s seriously the way we all should eat! These muffins pass the baby health test (as well as the taste test), which means they are FANTASTIC for you. Yes YOU, not just your kids.
Lasagna is a dish that I struggle not to over eat. Instead of saying, “no honey, YOU should eat the last piece”, it’s more like, “LAY OFF I’M STARVING”. That definitely happened this time, but my lightened up version that replaced zucchini for the noddles allowed me to be more forthright with my over-eager seconds stealing.
Looking for a gluten-, sugar- and meat-free dish that’ll keep you full till morning? Keep reading. This meal came together for me in about a half an hour and made my taste buds spaz out. My husband found that he didn’t need to hit the ice cream as hard as he usually does post-vegetarian dinner, and we had those hearty beans to thank.
Two of my cousins, Claire and Kim, like to make my recipes which makes me SO happy! They’re also not shy about calling me while standing in grocery store aisles or their kitchens with urgent questions about ingredients and cooking techniques. To be honest, I LOVE this. It throws me back to teaching. If I could give all of you my number and be a hotline of sorts, I would do it. When Kim recently texted to ask if I had a potato salad recipe on the site, I faltered! Time to make potato salad.
The colors are Christmas in July but the flavors are pure summertime. With herb gardens generously yielding their bounty thanks to the buckets of rain we’ve been getting, jazzing up this basic pasta salad was a cinch.
This recipe was a staple in the high school kitchens where I worked and it was, without fail, a huge hit every semester. I reworked a few ingredients and it was high time, because the general idea here is incredible. You can use sugar cookie dough to make any size “crust”, from mini 2 inch bites to a full 12 inch pizza; you can experiment with various fruits and the decorating process will make you feel like you’re in an elementary school art class.
You might see this title and say to yourself, soup – in July? The amazing thing about cooking with seasonal produce is that the temperature doesn’t really matter.
This was EASY. And I mean it (Lindsay Ridell I really mean it). For summertime entertaining this is a no brainer. It serves 8-10 and can be made days in advance, not to mention it takes about twenty minutes of “effort time” to put together. And really, who doesn’t love ice cream desserts and peanut butter chocolate desserts (this checks both boxes).
Healthy yet somehow indulgent and addictive. I mean, vegetable indulgent, not chocolate cake indulgent. This would be a great rice salad to bring to even a potluck barbecue, as it’s gluten, dairy and egg free.
One of the first meals that I started to “play around with” in a no-recipe kind of way baked ziti. I realized that with pasta, cheese, sauce, and fix-ins you could absolutely make edible slash delicious dinners. I’d add meat and veggies to make the dish more substantial, and this was a pretty frequent meal in our house – until gluten free came on the scene. There’s been a lot more meat (thanks Costco) and I was starting to miss my Italian food.
Lemon Lush is a favorite dessert in my family. Every 4th of July this is served, and devoured, without fail. If you read the ingredients you’ll see packaged lemon pudding mix – you can trust that if I’m sharing a recipe with a pre-packaged mix the results had better be fantastic.
Do you know about frozen puff pastry? I love the stuff because the homemade version is really hard to make and not necessarily better tasting. I consistently keep a box of Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry in my freezer because truly, the possibilities are endless.
My friend Susan makes a vanilla layer cake – every time I eat it I check, just to make sure, that she’s using the boxed cake mix and hasn’t found the recipe I’m seeking. I want to make vanilla cake from scratch that I enjoy eating as much as boxed cake mix.
This dinner got great feedback – husband, preschooler and toddler all cleaned their plate (well, preschooler cleaned her plate after twenty minutes of sitting at the table alone after we’d long finished and only with the hopes of ice cream for dessert). Another bonus is that though I told my husband I needed twenty minutes of child distraction from him to get dinner together, I needed even less than that – quick, easy, healthy and crowd pleasing are my main goals these days.