This traditional four bean salad with a vinegar dressing is welcome at every cookout. I use stevia in place of sugar in the traditional recipe, making this a healthy side dish that goes perfect with all kinds of grilled meat.
RECIPE: Continue reading
Making mashed potatoes in an Instant Pot is a perfect way to quickly cook the potatoes, and free up a burner on the stove. Then you can mash and stir all of the good stuff directly into the potatoes in the Instant Pot. After preparing, you can leave them in the Instant Pot on the warm setting for several hours before serving. This is very helpful when preparing a big meal with lots of last minute cooking details.
Yukon gold are my preferred type of potatoes for making mashed potatoes. Russet potatoes are great for baking, but can make for mealy mashed potatoes.
I flavor my mashed potatoes with butter, milk, cream, sour cream, and garlic. You can use regular minced garlic in these potatoes (or leave out the garlic all together), but using roasted garlic makes them a million times better! Sometimes I add a little bit of fresh grated Parmesan cheese as well.
To keep your potatoes nice and hot, be sure to heat the butter, milk, and cream before mixing them into the mashed potatoes. I like my potatoes slightly whipped with a mixer to remove most of the lumps, but don’t overwhip them or they will become gummy.
Here is a tutorial for roasting large quantities of garlic:
I roast about 3 pounds of garlic at a time (on a day I can leave the windows open), then freeze it in several 1 cup containers. I always have one container in the refrigerator to use whenever a recipe calls for garlic.
A twist on a classic picnic salad. Made with a slightly lemony vinaigrette and garnished with feta cheese, this salad is great with grilled meats on hot summer days. And there is no cooking to heat up the kitchen.
I like to keep ingredients for this salad on hand for an easy to make last-minute side dish. Most of the ingredients are shelf-stable, and feta cheese stores really well in the freezer.
With tomato season in full swing here, this salad makes a frequent appearance at our dinner table. It is perfect for serving with just about any grilled meat or fish. It is also a great partner with soups, sandwiches, or quiche for a quick summer meal.
I love to use mini cucumbers in this salad, or the long seedless English cucumbers. The skins are thin and provide a great contrasting color and crunch to the salad. Regular cucumbers are often too seedy and have much tougher skins.
I usually serve the feta cheese on the side. It becomes mushy if left in the salad for too long.
Greek Tomato Cucumber Salad
3-4 tomatoes, chopped
4-6 mini cucumbers or 1 English seedless cucumber, chopped
½ red pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs fresh oregano, finely chopped (or ½ tsp dried)
½ tsp Greek seasoning
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Combine chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper, and onion. Stir together dressing ingredients. Pour over salad. Stir in feta just before serving (or serve feta on the side).
Serve right away or refrigerate.
Summer is in full swing, which means it is prime zucchini season. Pair this quiche with a salad for a perfect summer meal that can be eaten hot or cold.
For a perfectly browned crust, bake the quiche with a pie crust shield. It is easy to Make Your Own:
For a low carb version, just bake this quiche without a crust in an 8-inch square baking dish.
Some ideas for salads to serve alongside this quiche:
Chopped Caprese Salad
Greek Summer Salad
Chipotle Lime Quinoa Salad
Thai Cucumber Salad
Chopped Caprese Salad
Greek Summer Salad
Chipotle Lime Quinoa and White Bean Salad
Thai Cucumber Salad
Ham and Zucchini Quiche
Single pastry crust for 9” pie plate
1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground cayenne or Ancho chile pepper
1 Tbs butter
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped cooked ham
¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan
1 ½ cups shredded Swiss, cheddar, or Gruyere cheese
Preheat oven to 425°F. Prepare pastry crust and place in 9” pie plate (deep dish, if possible).
In a medium bowl, use a whisk to mix cream, eggs, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
Heat butter in a skillet. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add diced zucchini and cook until crisp-tender (about 3 minutes). Place vegetables in a mixing bowl and stir in diced ham. Cool slightly. Stir in shredded cheese. Spread filling evenly into unbaked crust. Pour egg mixture over filling. Use a spatula or fork to remove any large air pockets.
If desired, cover the crust of the quiche with a pie crust shield. Bake at 425°F for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake an additional 30 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to set at room temperature 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.
A Caprese Salad is the perfect accompaniment to grilled summer meats: chicken, steaks, pork, even hamburgers. Made with summer fresh tomatoes and basil, fresh mozzarella, and a reduced balsamic glaze, it just screams summer and healthy eating.
I like to make a “chopped” version of the salad with various cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella pearls. I drizzle this with some extra-virgin olive oil and serve the balsamic reduction on the side so that the tomatoes and cheese don’t soak up too much vinegar before serving.
I love these little “mozzarella pearls”. They are perfectly bite-sized:
If you are short on time, you can serve this with straight balsamic vinegar, but it is so worth the little time it takes to reduce the vinegar to a stronger syrupy consistency. I usually reduce an entire bottle of vinegar and then store the left-overs in the refrigerator. You can also infuse some delicious flavors into your reduction while you are at it, things like fresh herbs and garlic. Some people add additional honey or sweetener to the reduction, but I find balsamic vinegar to be plenty sweet without additional sweetener.
If you don’t want to do the chopped version of this salad, you can also make it in the more traditional format with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella:
Tomorrow we officially begin our summer break (after a final half-day of school). This salad will be a frequent side dish on our table.
Chopped Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup mozzarella pearls
¼ cup fresh basil, sliced in thin strips (chiffonade)
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
about ¼ cup Balsamic Reduction
Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil in a serving dish. Season with salt and pepper. Serve Balsamic Reduction on the side to be drizzled over salad just before eating.
1 (16 oz) bottle balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs honey, optional (I DO NOT add honey)
2 whole cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
1-2 sprigs of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano)
Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until vinegar reduces by about half and thickens to a thin syrup. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
Remove garlic, bay leaf, and herbs (strain if necessary). Cool. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Yield: about 1 cup glaze