Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad.

I found another gem at our new Fresh Thyme Farmers Market this week – beautiful fresh golden beets!

I love beets – red or gold – but since these are a little harder to find where I live, I was excited to get them.  Golden beets are slightly sweeter and a little less earthy than red beets.  I actually love the earthiness of red beets, but those that don’t might enjoy these.

I love beets hot or cold, plain or fancy, so I decided to make a bit of a fancier salad for our Sunday supper this past week.  Here is my recipe.  Hope you will give it a try.

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small gold or red fresh beets (or a combination of both), cooked* and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Small bunch of arugula or mixed greens of your choice
  • ¼ cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 small clementines or oranges
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a small skillet, heat pecans or walnuts until warm and beginning to toast.  Add maple syrup and cook and stir to coat.  Remove from heat.  Spread out on cutting board or parchment or waxed paper to cool.

Prepare dressing by squeezing juice of clementine or orange into a small bowl.  Drizzle and whisk in vinegar and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Place a small bunch of arugula or mixed greens on each of two salad plates.  Top each plate with equal portions of the cut-up beets, followed by clementine or orange slices, toasted candied pecans or walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese.  Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with additional coarse black pepper and salt to taste.

*To cook fresh beets, cut greens off top to about an inch from beet.  Place unpeeled fresh beets in a saucepan of water to cover and bring to a boil.  Boil for 20-40 minutes, depending on size, until beets are fork-tender.  (When you stab with a fork, the beet should slide right back off when done.) Drain under cold water and remove skin with paper towel.  Cool completely for salad.  Cut up after beets have cooled.

Enjoy!

Nothing beats a fresh beet!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips.

I’ve been trying to eat a bit healthier and make better food choices.

It’s hard.

While some people crave chocolate and sweets, I am a salty, savory girl.  I will take a crunchy pretzel or chip any day over a Hershey’s Kiss or cookie.

So when I heard about making homemade sweet potato chips, I had to try.

And HOORAY!  They totally satisfied my salty, crunchy chip-loving craving.

These are so easy to make, so delicious to eat, and healthy enough to not feel guilty!

The only tricky part is baking them long enough to get crispy without burning them.

This recipe is what works in my oven in my area.  I have an electric convection oven.  Your baking time may vary.  Just keep watching – and tasting – until you achieve your best results.

The batch pictured here is ONE sweet potato!

Here is how I made them:

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp. chili powder or dry rub or your favorite seasoning (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Thinly slice sweet potato with a mandoline slicer and layer on a baking stone or cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and combine to coat well.  Sprinkle with salt and seasoning.  Re-spread evenly on the baking sheet.

Bake 20 minutes.  Toss and flip slices.  Continue baking for 10 minutes.  Toss and flip slices.  Bake 10 more minutes or until edges are browned and chips become crisp.  Remove to paper towels to dry and drain off any excess oil.   Serve immediately and enjoy!

TIP:  Some type of mandoline slicer is really a must as well to get super thin, even slices.

Hope you enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S.  Do you see a familiar furry, four-legged friend in the first photo who also loves these sweet potato chips?  (Charlie says “Hi” and wants you to know how good these are!)

Easy Fresh Homemade Salsa

Easy Fresh Homemade Salsa.

I LOVE salsa!

And this time of year when tomato plants in our gardens are overflowing with more tomatoes than we can eat, it is the perfect time to make fresh salsa.

It is so easy to make and so healthy and versatile for snacking or cooking.  I love dipping tortilla chips in it for snack.  It is also my favorite baked potato topping.  Skip the butter and sour cream for me, and pile on the salsa!  Throw frozen skinless, boneless chicken breasts in a crockpot on low, top with a pint of salsa, and ignore it for 8 hours.  Return for a delicious, nutritous main course of Salsa Chicken.

There are gajillion ways to make salsa.  You can add corn and black beans for a heartier twist.  You can add chopped peaches or mango for a sweeter twist.  You can add jalapenos or your favorite spicy, hot peppers if heat is your style!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy salsa?

Here is how I made it this past weekend.

Fresh Homemade Salsa

  • Servings: approx. 6 cups
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 Ripe Tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 10 oz. can Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chiles
  • 1/2 Large Vidalia Sweet Onion, quartered
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • Fresh Cilantro (or dried) to taste
  • 3 green onions, cut into pieces
  • Juice of a fresh Lime
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Maldon Sea Salt Flakes or your favorite salt

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse several times until desired chopped consistency.  Serve immediately or store in a jar or airtight container in refrigerator for up to several weeks.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake

Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake.

This is NOT your momma’s zucchini bread recipe!

Are you overloaded with zucchini and looking for new recipes to use up the abundance you have this time of year?

You have to try this amazing cake!  A co-worker made this to share for a recent celebration at work, and I knew I had to make it.

I modified it slightly from the recipe he found at I Am Baker by cutting the frosting in half, and it was absolutely amazing.

Go bake this!

Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • Lemon Buttercream Frosting
    • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
    • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon (1 Tbsp)
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • Dash salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

Shred zucchini and spread out on a clean dish towel.  Roll up and squeeze gently to drain a bit of the excess water.  Set aside 2 cups of shredded zucchini.

Beat together eggs, oil, vanilla, sugar, and lemon zest with electric mixer.  Gently fold in the zucchini.

Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Stir until incorporated.  Gently fold in the blueberries.

Pour half of batter into each cake pan.

Bake approximately 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Prepare lemon butter cream frosting by beating butter, sugar, salt, lemon juice and vanilla with electric mixer until creamy.

Spread on top of each layer, leaving sides “naked.”

Decorate with additional fresh blueberries, lemon zest, zucchini blossoms, and powdered sugar if desired.

Refrigerate.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Roasted Spiral Butternut Squash “Noodles” with Garlic, Rosemary & Browned Butter

Roasted Spiral Butternut Squash “Noodles” with Garlic, Rosemary, and Browned Butter.

O. M. G!

Where have you been all my life spiralized butternut squash?

Many of us have been spiralizing our zucchini squash into beautiful noodles, but am I one of the last on the bandwagon for spiralized butternut squash??!!

So simple…
So quick…
So DELICIOUS!!!

I happened to come across a package of fresh spiral-cut butternut squash at my local Aldi Grocery Store recently.

I thought about pan frying it in butter and garlic, but then chose to roast it like I typically do with cut butternut squash, and WOWZIE PaZOWzie was I pleased!
And so was hubby!

What a quick, easy, delicious, and nutritous treat!

Here is the super simple, yet amazingly delicious way I prepared it.

Roasted Spiral Butternut Squash with Garlic, Rosemary, and Browned Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 10-oz package of prepared spiral cut butternut squash “noodles” (or spiral cut your own)
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter, browned
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. flaked sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Brown butter in skillet.  Watch closely so it doesn’t burn.  Once browned, remove from heat and stir in garlic.

Spread spiral-cut butternut squash “noodles” onto a stoneware bar pan or your favorite shallow baking pan.

Sprinkle with salt.  Drizzle with garlic-enhanced browned butter.  Top with minced rosemary.  Toss to coat all.

Roast for 7-9 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, & Feta Cheese Pizza

Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Feta Cheese Pizza.

I am always looking for new ways to enjoy butternut squash, so I did a quick search and found a variety of pizzas using butternut squash.  Yum!

The one I found that had the flavors I love (and ingredients I had on hand), called for mashing the butternut squash as the “sauce” on the pizza, but I prefer the taste of cubed and roasted butternut squash, so I changed it up.

Each roasted chunk gets a bit browned and even a bit crispy on the outside corners, but is soft and sweet and tender on the inside.   I prefer that texture to mashed.

And I might just possibly eat anything with caramelized onions on top.  Just saying…

Add feta cheese – and SCORE!

We had this for dinner with a tossed green salad.

If you are looking for a new twist on pizza or a meatless meal, this may just be the ticket!

Here is how I made it.  Hope you will give it a try.

Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Feta Cheese Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp brown sugar, divided
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Pizza dough or Pillsbury crescent roll tube

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place cubed butternut squash on stoneware baking pan or baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp brown sugar, salt and pepper.  Roast approximately 20 minutes, turning once midway through roasting, until slightly browned and tender.

While squash is roasting, saute onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp. butter, salt and pepper over medium heat until onions begin to caramelize, approximately 10-15 minutes.  Add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Bake pizza crust five minutes short of done on a round baking stone.  Remove from oven, and layer butternut squash cubes, caramelized onions, and feta cheese on crust.  Return to oven for 5-10 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Herb and Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Herb and Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash.

Simple.
Healthy.
Amazingly Delicious!

I thought I was going to make something a bit more extravagant when I decided to roast some spaghetti squash by simply drizzling with olive oil, sprinkling with coarse ground pepper and salt, and topping with some garlic cloves and fresh herbs.

But when it came out of the oven looking like this….

And I took a teensy taste when scraping the flesh with a fork….

I ended up eating an entire half for my lunch!

I adore spaghetti squash, and have made it a number of ways that I’ve shared here:

Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Squash

Parmesan Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Italian Spaghetti Squash

But this super simple, quick and easy way is my new fave…..   at least for today!

Here is how I made it:

Herb & Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh Herbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut spaghetti squash in half, and scoop out seeds.  Place in cast iron skillet.  Drizzle liberally with extra virgin olive oil, toss garlic cloves and fresh herbs on top (I used fresh parsley and rosemary), and sprinkle liberally with fresh ground pepper and salt.

Roast for 45-55 minutes.

Remove from oven, and scrape flesh with fork to create spaghetti.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

The BEST Summer Sammie

Fresh Tomato and Basil Sandwich - Best Summer Sammie

Fresh Tomato and Basil Sandwich – Best Summer Sammie

The BEST Summer Sammie.

My tomatoes
are FINALLY
ripening!

We planted
a bit late
this year.

But
it was well worth
the wait.

I can now
eat my FAVORITE
summer sammie…

For breakfast,
lunch,
or dinner!

Fresh tomato slices,
fresh sweet basil,
and toasted ciabatta slathered with mayo.

Who needs a burger?
Who needs a dog?
When these rubies and golds have finally arrived!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

Zucchini Pizza Casserole.

Are you enjoying the abundance of garden fresh zucchini squash in new and creative ways?

There are oodles of zoodles.  There are breads and brownies.  There are soups and sticks,  fries and fritters  and frico.  There are even planks and boats.

Well – here’s one that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.  It is Hubby tested and two thumbs up approved here!

A version of this recipe was recently posted by a friend on Facebook in one of those hyperlapse videos that make everything look easy.  And in this case, it was!

This is a wonderfully delicious, cheesy, gluten-free, low-carb way to get your protein and veggies all in one wonderful casserole.

Serve it with a fresh green salad, and you will be all set.

We really, really, really loved this, and it made enough that we’ll be happily enjoying it for a few days!

Give it a try, and let me know if you like it as much as we did.

Zucchini Pizza Casserole*

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups shredded zucchini (do not peel)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15oz.) jar of your favorite pizza or tomato sauce
  • 1 medium sweet red, yellow, orange, or green pepper, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2-4 leaves fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place grated zucchini in a colander, sprinkle with about  1 tsp salt.  Let set for 10 minutes.  Squeeze out water.

In medium bowl, combine zucchini, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.  Mix well and press into a greased 13×9″ baking dish.  Top with half of the mozzarella cheese slices.  Bake for 20 minutes.

While that is baking, brown ground beef or turkey with onion and garlic, and salt and pepper in a large saucepan.  Add pizza or tomato sauce, and stir well.

Spoon meat mixture over top of baked zucchini mixture.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup cheddar, sliced mozzarella and chopped peppers.  Sprinkle with chopped basil.  Bake for 20 more minutes until browned and bubbly.

Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Slightly adapted from Taste of Home.

Zucchini & Broccoli Galette

Zucchini and Broccoli Galette.

So you know yesterday was #SneakSomeZucchiniIntoYourNeighborsPorchDay – right?

Of course you did!

So after picking three zucchinis from our garden, I snuck one to our neighbor on the right…

and one to our neighbor on the left.

Then I decided to use the third zucchini to make a revised version of Jenna from the Painted Apron’s recipe for Zucchini Galette.

Fresh zucchini, broccoli, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese all wrapped up in a golden, flaky crust……..

is surely a glorious way to celebrate this zucchini lover’s day!

How did you celebrate?

Zucchini & Broccoli Galette

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 tube Pillsbury Crescent rolls
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted*
  • 4 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and Pepper

Lay zucchini slices out on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.  Let sit for 15-30 minutes.  Pat dry, then turn over and repeat on new dry towels.  This will help remove some of the excess water that naturally occurs during cooking of zucchini.

Caramelize sliced onion by cooking over medium-high heat in 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and brown.  Add broccoli and  the other 1 Tbsp butter, and cook for 5 more minutes.  Lay out crescent roll triangles in a circle on a baking stone or baking sheet, pressing together and flattening with rolling pin. Squeeze out roasted garlic and spread over dough, leaving a 1 inch border.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese.  Top with 1/2 of onion and broccoli mixture and half of zucchini.  Repeat layers.  Top with cheese.  Fold dough up and over filling around the edge. Brush dough with an egg wash and bake at 375 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes or until golden and melted.  Cut into 6 wedges to serve.

*Roasted Garlic:  Cut top off top of garlic head exposing the cloves.  Place on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap up and bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 1 hour.  This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi