Category: Lunch

Broccoli, Kale and Blueberry Salad

Broccoli, Kale and Blueberry Salad
THIS!!! Not only beautiful, but a nutrition POWERHOUSE…

I love broccoli salad!  I love “THE” broccoli salad that you can buy in almost any deli you visit, you know the one with bacon, and nuts and craisins??  Seriously, what is not to love?  The one that is so good, but maybe not the best choice all the time. 

I really wanted to make a healthier version of that salad I love so much.  I wanted to replace the heavy dressing with a lighter vinaigrette, the bacon with a healthy fat and olives fit that bill, the crasins with antioxidant packed, sweet blueberries and some kale (because we really can’t get enough) for all of it’s wonderful nutritional value and it’s beautiful color. (more…)

Mixed Citrus Salad with Avocado, Pomegranate and Spicy, Roasted Chickpeas

Mixed Citrus Salad with Avocado, Pomegranate and Spicy, Roasted Chickpeas
LOOK AT THIS COLOR!!! Isn’t it just gorgeous? I had some of my favorite women over for a very early Christmas lunch and wanted to make them something that was packed with color, flavor and all kinds of nutrition and this salad was the creation…

‘Tis citrus season, friends….I like to think of it this way instead of ’tis flu season.   Citrus season is just beginning…it peaks right after the new year, so good news….you can make this beauty over and over for the next few months.  Mixed citrus salad with avocado, pomegranate and spicy, roasted chickpeas is light and refreshing, and is packed with fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants and phyochemicals….all warriors against that other season we are in (not to mention preventative measures against all kinds of other things that our bodies don’t want).  Did I mention it is absolutely stunning…a real show-stopper and EASY to make???  Let’s do this…to begin with, we will talk about roasting chickpeas….genius, I know!! (more…)

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Fresh Corn and Peppers

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Fresh Corn and Peppers

Quinoa salad with black beans, fresh corn and peppers is a perfect make-ahead meal or side that can be used in all kinds of combinations throughout the week.  I have served it will grilled salmon for dinner, with a sliced avocado for lunch or even as it is for a quick snack or light lunch. (more…)

Apple Wood Smoked Pulled Pork with Maple Chili Sauce

Apple Wood Smoked Pulled Pork with Maple Chili Sauce
Slow and steady on the grill over hot coals and apple wood chips…this is the perfect game day recipe….with leftovers to use throughout the week..(coleslaw and pickle comments)

THIS!!!!  Whether you are watching the game, planning a party or doing yard work and have time to tend to the grill (5-6 hours of time) this apple wood pulled pork with maple chili sauce is worth the 5-6 hours of on the grill time that it takes.  Prep is minimal, the pork shoulder roast is rubbed with spices, placed on the preheated grill and then cooked by simply turning every hour until the proper internal temperature is reached or for 5-6 hours.  We don’t have a smoker at our house, but it is simple to do on your grill by soaking the wood chips in water for at least an hour and then placing them on the hot coals halfway through cooking and allowing them to “smoke”= FLAVOR!!  Let us begin….   (more…)

Cabbage Slaw with Apples and Carrots

Cabbage Slaw with Apples and Carrots
This cabbage slaw with apples and carrots is the perfect Fall salad to accompany any grilled meats or just on it’s own…apples and carrots are used as a sweetener in this one, so no need for any sugar to be added..

This cabbage slaw with apples and carrots will be a recipe you are asked for over and over.  It is quick to make, is a perfect use of seasonal foods (cabbage, apples and carrots are all in season right now), and can be make up to a day in advance.  The apples and carrots are in peak season right now in fact and lend a natural sweetness to the slaw that negates the need for any additional sweetener.  Directions are SIMPLE…. (more…)

Vegetarian Chili with Fresh Sweet Corn


Fresh sweet corn, peppers, onions along with beans and tomatoes make this a bowl full of health...
Grab the last of the fresh sweet corn before it is gone…this recipe makes a ton, so you can put some of this freshness away in you freezer for those colder months ahead..

Look at these beautiful colors!!  The sweet corn, the peppers, the onions….you know something amazing is about to go down in your kitchen with an ingredient list that looks like this!  The air is getting cooler and that is a sure sign it is officially soup season.  Grab some of those peak veggies, especially the sweet corn from your local market ( and make a big, delicious batch of this vegetarian chili with fresh sweet corn to savor now or in the colder months that lie ahead.  This recipe makes a ton of chili, have it for dinner, pack it for lunches this week, share some with a neighbor and/or freeze it. Whatever your plans may be, this is a keeper….”a bowl full of health,” as I always tell my family.  Here’s how to make it…. (more…)

Roasted Tomato and Jalapeno Salsa with Fresh Cilantro

Roasted Tomato and Jalapeno Salsa with Fresh Cilantro

Friends, here is THE salsa recipe you will make going forward.   Roasted tomato and jalapeno salsa is everything we are looking for in a salsa, peak tomato flavor, perfect consistency and some heat.  BINGO!!   If you aren’t growing them, grab some of those late summer tomatoes from the farmers market and preserve this wonderful season…you will thank yourself all year long.  In fact, grab a bunch and make a big batch of roasted tomato marinara with fresh basil and Parmesan while you’r at it, get that recipe here . For a list of MN Farmers Markets, check out this website  Use roma tomatoes for this recipe, they have thicker walls and less juice as opposed to sandwich tomatoes.  This is easy and makes a ton, let’s go… (more…)

Roasted Beet, Green Grape, Gorgonzola and Crispy Shallot Salad

Roasted Beet, Green Grape, Gorgonzola and Crispy Shallot Salad

I was lucky enough to find some chioggia beets at the farmers market recently and knew they would be a stunning presentation for a soon-to-come, hot date dinner.  I love incorporating vegetarian meals into the week for a number of reasons, but sometimes they are a little trickier for me to create.  Using beets as my main ingredient I thinking about their color, flavor and texture and how to perfectly compliment them with other fresh, flavorful ingredients.  This roasted beet, green grape and Gorgonzola salad with crispy shallots seemed like the perfect combination.  It is beautiful, it is light, it is nutrition-packed and with the perfect, creamy Gorgonzola it is a real treat.  It is the perfect hot date dinner for this summer weather we are having here in MN this week.   Make this salad your hot date dinner this week!!   (more…)

Shrimp and Potato Salad with Spicy Sausage and Arugula

Shrimp and Potatoes
Sweet. luscious jumbo shrimp are combined with spicy sausage, garden fresh, roasted potatoes and fresh arugula for this flavor packed dinner salad

I want to inspire all of you to consider the possibilities of starting a hot date dinner night at your house. I am going to start that inspiration with shrimp, it seems to be the perfect, celebratory ingredient after a long, BUSY week.  Hot date dinner has been one of the BEST things Tim and I have done together.  It is something we both look forward to, especially now that school is back in session and schedules are that much busier.  Hot date dinner allows us time to sit down and not only enjoy a fabulous meal, but, to re-connect after what has no doubt, been a crazy week.   Cooking at home means you control the ingredients so you can continue that healthy life-style you are working towards, you will no doubt save some money if you are used to going out more often and hello sweatpants!!!!!  Going forward, I will post a hot date dinner plan for you every Wednesday so you have time to prepare for the weekend or whatever night of the week works best for you and your family.  It is one my goals to become better at pairing wine, beer or even a specific cocktail with the meals I cook so learn along with me and let’s make this the year you, “slow down, cook and enjoy a meal with those you love.” (more…)

Cantaloupe, Cucumber, Radish and Mint Salad

Cantaloupe, Cucumber, Radish and Mint Salad with Lime-Honey Vinaigrette
Beautiful, Seasonal Ingredients..

This lovely, refreshing, cantaloupe, cucumber and radish salad came together in my head over a couple of days.  I had bought this beautiful melon and was thinking about it every time I walked past it on my counter.  Sure a tossed fruit salad always goes over well, but looking at other ingredients I had, I wanted to create something different.  I was craving something a bit more savory, with some crunch and cucumber and radishes seem to fit the bill perfectly.  Mint is plentiful in my gardens so I try to use it whenever possible and I knew this would work perfectly here as well.  To enhance the sweetness of the cantaloupe and really make the salad pop, I made a quick lime and honey vinaigrette to drizzle over the whole thing.  This is so delicious, so beautiful, and comes together just a few minutes.  It would be the perfect salad to eat any time of day.  Try this one, you won’t be disappointed!!  Follow along to see how it quickly comes together. (more…)

Grilled Salmon with Blueberry, Poppy Seed Slaw

Grilled Salmon with Blueberry, Poppy seed Slaw
1-1 1/2 bls of beautiful, wild-caught, sockeye salmon..
Grilled Salmon with Blueberry, Poppy Seed Slaw
Cut into portions for easier grilling..
Grilled Salmon with Blueberry, Poppy seed Slaw

Grilled (wild-caught) salmon, seriously,  I could eat this every day !!  Here in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN area we have lots of options when it comes to getting great fish.  I frequently shop at Coastal Seafood which has locations in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

I also find great selections of fish at my local co-op, Valley Natural Foods.

Finding fish that is raised in a sustainable way is very important.  What does this mean?  Sustainable seafood is seafood that is either caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term vitality of harvested species and the well-being of the oceans, as well as the livelihoods of fisheries-dependent communities.  No matter the source of your salmon, incorporate it as much as you can into your diet for it’s amazing nutritional value.  Salmon is an excellent source of high-quality protein and vitamins and minerals (including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12), but it is the content of omega-3 fatty acids (heart-healthy) that receives the most attention.  Stay tuned to for amazing recipes for this wonderful fish.  Here it is grilled with the simple addition of salt and pepper and served with a blueberry, poppy seed slaw.  Cheers!!

Grilled, Wild-Caught Salmon with Blueberry, Poppy Seed Slaw
Grilled, Wild-Caught Salmon with Blueberry, Poppy Seed Slaw..


1 side wild caught salmon, 1-11/2 bls (can be fillets as well)


Salt and freshly ground pepper

Blueberry and Poppy Seed Slaw (


Preheat grill over medium high heat.  Cut salmon into 4-6 equal portions.  I find this easier to grill, but go ahead and leave whole if that works best for you.  Drizzle filets with evoo (to prevent sticking) and season with salt and pepper.  Grill flesh side down 4-5 minutes to and flip for an additional 2-3 minutes. 

*NOTE* Do not try to move the fish before it is ready.  The filets should move with minimal effort (no sticking to the grill) when they are ready to flip.

Serve with Blueberry and Poppy Seed Slaw.  Enjoy!!

Makes 4-6 servings.

Grilled Chicken and Peaches with Corn and Tomato Salad

Grilled Chicken and Peach Salad
Fresh and grilled with a touch of sweet, a touch of sour and a touch of heat…perfection

WE HAVE ARRIVED….it is that time of the summer which is so bittersweet, we are past the halfway point (which in my mind is mid July), but fresh,  sweet corn is appearing everywhere!!  This grilled chicken and peach salad with corn and tomatoes is what summer should taste like.  This salad is so fresh!!  The char from the grill, the sweetness of the peaches, corn and tomatoes, the tang from the lime zest and juice and the heat from the cayenne make this one of the most delicious combinations I have ever tasted.   Not to mention, taking it over the top with the addition of some garden fresh torn mint.  Amazing friends, TRY THIS ONE!! (more…)