Friday, May 22, 2015

Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

Paul could eat the same meal every day and be fine with it. Just watching him make the same old salad for his lunch bores me! I try to make him different dressings to change it up a little for him. He doesn't need to have it, but he loves that I do it. It's one of those wifey things that I try to do to brighten his day.

I think the last two weeks he has been having some variety of a honey mustard or caesar dressing. Again, I was getting bored for him! We had plethora of lemons so I figured I could make him a lemon dressing. I remembered, years back that I had a roasted lemon dressing at a restaurant and loved it. I was excited to finally make a new dressing for him! His favorite dressings have a little bit of a tang to them so I decided to keep the honey mustard taste, but have the real star be the lemons.

The next afternoon, I got a text saying that he loved the salad and asked if it was a new dressing ... like a new hairstyle, I was so happy that he noticed! The best part was, we had company coming for the weekend and I now had a fun new dressing to serve to them as well! It was a good day in the kitchen!

With fresh greens popping up in gardens everywhere, this makes the perfect complimentary dressing!


Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

Makes 1 cup

2 1/2 lemons
1/2 c olive oil
2 t dijon mustard
2 t honey or other sweetener
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t rice vinegar
1/2 t salt


Preheat oven for 375º.

Cut lemons in half and place them cut side down in a glass, oven safe dish. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until them are nicely browned.

Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

Let them cool for a bit. In a bowl squeeze all of the liquid out of them. Use a strainer so the seeds don't get in the bowl. Make sure you dump all of those yummy juices from the pan in there too!

Next, add your remaining ingredients and whisk until everything is incorporated.

Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Garden Fresh Chimichurri Sauce

I'm in food love. The end of last summer, my sister-in-law made the most unbelievable chimichurri sauce. I was dipping everything that I could find in it! Not only was it completely delicious, but she used mint. I don't know about you, but my mint plant is out of control every year and every year I'm trying to find things to do with it besides drinks. The problem is, I don't love mint that much!  Almost every time we got together, she had a batch of this sauce. Maybe mint is starting to grow on me ...

I always like putting a little chopped mint on my fruit salads. I love the little extra flavor that it gives the fruit. Recently, I hosted a baby shower and made a fruit salad. The mint in the garden is just starting to sprout so I sadly had to buy some. For me, mint is the hardest thing to buy because for six months out of the year, I can't seem to get rid of it!

After my salad, I still had plenty left in the container. After about 10 minutes of complaining that I just spent money on mint, I remembered my sister's chimichurri sauce. Any annoyance that I was carrying around was quickly whisked away as I rushed for the fridge to see what other herbs I had. I wanted to call her for the ingredients, but she was on her tropical honeymoon ... didn't think she'd want me to call her for this, but I couldn't wait. I would have to figure it out on my own.

I remembered that she used mint, parsley, cilantro, garlic and a little crushed red pepper and I went from there. I did use a little veggie broth instead of straight oil which many recipes use. Feel free to play around with the ratio that works for you. It was strictly personal preference not to do a 100% oil sauce. This was such a fun recipe to make. I was full by the time I got done making it. I couldn't stop myself from taste testing for salt and spices!

Garden Fresh Chimichurri Recipe

Garden Fresh Chimichurri Sauce

Makes 1 1/4 cups

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, packed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
4 cloves garlic
1 T fresh oregano leaves, packed (1 teaspoon of dried)
2/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c veggie broth
2 T lemon juice
1 T red wine vinegar
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper


Put all ingredients in your food processor or high speed blender and mix until it is a nice sauce with no chunks.

Garden Fresh Chimichurri Recipe

I have been putting this on EVERYTHING! Below is it pictured with some black bean and sweet potato empanadas but the house favorite has been putting it over Walnut Meatballs! I've used it as dressings on my salads and dipping my vegetables in. This chimichurri sauce is so versatile you can seriously use it for anything. I am so excited for my herbs to start growing because I'm pretty sure you will find this sauce in my refrigerator all summer long!

Garden Fresh Chimichurri Recipe

Monday, May 18, 2015

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

After long, busy weekends, a little tradition has been Sunday night pizza nights. We just sit around together, play on the floor with the kids and have pizza. It's easy throw together and I'm not spending a ton of time in the kitchen, making another mess to clean-up after. It's pure relax mode!

It was another busy weekend. It was only Saturday and I knew I was going to make a pizza on Sunday night. I was already excited about it. I even had pizza crusts in the freezer so the work was extremely minimal. It got to be Sunday night and I wanted more. I wanted a Cauliflower Pizza Crust. I couldn't shake the craving, but I didn't want to go to the store, sorry Cauliflower Pizza Crust ... you'll have to wait until another day.

I was rolling out the dough for a regular pizza crust, when I spotted my spaghetti squash on the counter. I've made spaghetti squash pizza crusts before and as the flavor is really good, they have been really soggy. Now that I have the method down for the Cauliflower Pizza Crust, I thought it must be the ticket for having a crispy spaghetti squash crust too ... squeeze squeeze and squeeze some more of the liquid out of the crust! Pure childhood excitement was pumping through my veins. I really wanted to make this crust!

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust


I explained to Paul that I really wanted to cook (luckily, he never opposes) and I threw the squash in the oven right away. I was going to use the same exact recipe as the Cauliflower Pizza Crust, but I didn't have any zucchini. I needed something to beef up the crust a bit and I definitely didn't want to run to the store and make this dinner go even longer! I decided to use my red quinoa. It has a great nutty flavor and I love the texture. It stays a bit crunchier than regular quinoa. I almost always have to have caramelized onions whenever I make squash. In my book, nothing goes better than caramelized onions and squash. Sorry peanut butter and jelly, but it's true!

I did have the change the method a bit and flip the crust, but the results were the same. We had a delicious and crispy gluten free crust. The kids gobbled it up so fast that Paul and I only had one slice!

I still love the Cauliflower Pizza Crust, but it's great to have an equally great alternative!


Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Makes 1 crust

1 spaghetti squash
1/4 c quinoa (I use red quinoa)
1/2 c water
1/4 c onions small diced
1/4 c cornmeal
1 egg
1/2 c parmesan, shredded
1/2 c mozzarella, shredded
1 t oregano
1/2 t garlic
1/2 t salt


Preheat oven for 375º.

Cut spaghetti squash in half. Fill a pan with a 1/2 inch of water and place the squash halves cut side down. Bake for 30 minutes or until soft. Let it cool and scrap the insides of squash out with a fork. It will look like long spaghetti noodles.

Turn the heat up to 400º once the spaghetti squash is out and put your pizza stone in to start heating it up.

While your squash is cooking, you can get the rest of your ingredients ready. First, cook your quinoa. Place the quinoa and water in a pot. Bring it to boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Once all the water is absorbed, the quinoa is done. I like using red quinoa for the recipe because it stays a bit firmer that white quinoa and I like the added texture in the crust. Both work fine.

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Saute the onions in a bit of oil on medium heat so they get to be a nice golden brown color.

Once the squash, quinoa and onions are ready.

First, you want to squeeze ALL of the liquid out of the squash. To really be effective, you want to use a thin towel or cheesecloth. It's too hard to squeeze it really dry with just your hands. Once dried, you should be left with about 3/4 of squash 'meat'.

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Then, place all ingredients into a bowl and well.

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Place a piece of sprayed parchment paper on your pizza stone and spread out the pizza crust. It should make about a 12" crust and be pretty thin.

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Bake the crust for 18 minutes. Take it out of the oven and flip it. It's super easy by picking up the parchment paper on both sides and flipping. You won't use the parchment paper again, it's just there to help flip. You should be able to see that crust is starting to brown nicely. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Then, top the pizza with the tastiest toppings you can think of. I love arugula, tomato, basil and parmesan a touch more mozzarella. Bake for another 8 minutes.

I let mine cool for a couple minutes before cutting to help it firm up a little more.

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

Crispy Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Pizza Crust

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