Broccoli Apple Salad

Does anyone else crave fresh produce in the summer? I’d blame it on pregnancy, but this happens every year. Farmers’ markets become crazy dangerous because I just want to buy everything.

Summer also makes me lazy, though. I can’t tell you how many times I end up cooking up those impulse farmers’ market just before they go bad. Salads like this that require no cooking are always my best bet.

To my surprise, the toddler really liked this too. I fully expected him to just pick out the cranberries and apples, but the dressing was just sweet enough that he would happily eat it all.

BroccoliAppleSalad

Broccoli Apple Salad
(from The Recipe Critic)
Serves 6-8 as a side

4 cups fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 large Gala apples, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

In a large bowl, toss together the broccoli, carrots, onions, apples, pecans and cranberries.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour over the broccoli mixture and toss until evenly coated.

Refrigerate until serving.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Baked Beans #CookoutWeek

One of the fun parts of #CookoutWeek has been getting acquainted with some of the sponsors. I got the opportunity to try out True Made Foods sauces and I’m a total convert.

If you haven’t heard of them, the gist is this: they infuse their sauces with vegetables and cut back on the sugar to make a product you can feel good about. Why am I so obsessed with this? I have a toddler that LOVES to dip anything and everything. If I can get some extra veggies in him while he slathers his dinner in ketchup, I’m all about it. This isn’t just a toddler ketchup, though – they’re really good and will easily please a more sophisticated palate. Wins all around.

I used two of the sauces they sent – the ketchup and the bbq sauce – to make up a batch of slow cooker baked beans. They were amazing. While most baked beans are loaded with sugar, these are pretty modest – but you don’t miss it at all. They’re full of flavor and a perfect accompaniment to any cookout.

CrockpotBakedBeans

Slow Cooker Barbecue Baked Beans
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 8-10 as a side

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 sweet onion, finely diced
1/2 cup True Made Foods Ketchup
1/2 cup True Made Foods Barbecue Sauce
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper

Add beans and onions to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients until well combined. Pour over beans and stir to combine.

Cook on low for 6 hours. Vent the lid for the last 15-20 minutes to thicken the sauce, if desired.

Italian-Parmesan Grilled Potatoes

I’m just starting to get back into some solid meal planning. Even though I’ve been feeling better for weeks, I haven’t been mentally ready to prep big meals more than once or twice a week. We’re on about week 3 of a real meal plan again and it feels good. Even if I’m mostly just doing main dishes and praying that the sides figure themselves out.

These delicious potatoes were mostly an after-thought. We were planning to make dinner on the grill and I decided to throw these on too instead of roasting them. The simple seasonings made them a breeze to throw together but they were still really good. And using a foil packet meant no dishes to clean up – always a plus!

ItalianParmGrilledPotatoes

Italian-Parmesan Grilled Potatoes
(adapted from Kraft)
Serves 4

4-5 red potatoes, cut into chunks
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. Italian dressing
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parsley, for garnish

Preheat the grill to medium heat.

In a medium bowl, toss together the potato chunks, olive oil and water. Transfer to a large sheet of foil and fold into a packet.

Grill the foil packet of potatoes for twenty minutes, turning halfway.

Once cooked, transfer to a bowl and toss with dressing, cheese, salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley and serve.

 

Sweet Potato Muffins

Every time I make a batch of muffins, I wonder why I don’t make them more often. And then we inhale them in about two days and I remember why they’re a “sometimes food.” Jake and I both loved these. I think he ate three the day I made them.

The recipe calls for canned sweet potatoes but next time I’d go for just mashed sweet potatoes. Also, the sugar can be reduced and the dates omitted if you like a less-sweet muffin.

SweetPotatoMuffins

Sweet Potato Muffins
(from The Homesick Texan Cookbook)
Makes 12

1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 15 oz. can sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
1 cup dates, chopped
1/2 cup pecans

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and prepare a muffin pan with liners or by greasing and flouring.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, vanilla and vegetable oil until well combined. Whisk in the sweet potatoes until evenly combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until everything is moistened. Fold in dates and pecans.

Divide between muffin wells and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Remove from pan and serve.

Hatch Chili Mac ‘n Cheese

For the first time since I started this blog, one of our local grocery stores stocked hatch chilies. I feel like I’ve been watching my more-Southern food blogger friends rave about them for years and could never participate in the hatch chili fun. So now that they’re here? I’m making hatch chili everything.

First up: mac n cheese. I really, really loved this. The roasted chilies paired really nicely with the jack cheese sauce. I had split this into two pans with intentions to freeze one for later – but it all got eaten before it made it to the freezer. Oops!

 

HatchMacNCheese

Hatch Chili Mac ‘n Cheese
(from Life’s Ambrosia)
Serves 6-8 as a side

5 hatch chilies
2 cups elbow macaroni
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 Tbsp. flour
2 cups whole milk
3 cups shredded jack cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. olive oil

On the grill, roast the chilies over high heat until charred and blistered. Transfer to a bowl. When cool enough to handle, peel the chilies, seed, remove the membrane and dice.

Cook macaroni according to package directions.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the diced onion and cook until nearly translucent. Whisk in flour until the mixture is a play dough consistency. Add milk, whisking constantly, and cook until starting to thicken, about a minute. Stir in cheeses and stir frequently until melted. Stir in cooked macaroni and diced chilies and season with salt to taste. Spread the macaroni in a greased baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine the panko and olive oil. Spread over the top of the macaroni.

Bake at 350F degrees until bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad

This weekend, Babywearing International of Central NJ celebrated their first anniversary of becoming a Babywearing International chapter. If there’s one thing that’s saved my sanity during the past year, it’s baby wearing. I feel incredibly fortunate to have found this community so early in motherhood and that my local chapter is so awesome.

Saturday’s celebration was a potluck picnic at a beautiful local park. This salad was my contribution to the feast. It’s something I’ve made before and have been meaning to make again since Jake is currently loving sweet potatoes and black beans. And this is one of the best potluck dishes I’ve found – it can be served warm, chilled or at room temperature and it’s gluten, nut and dairy free so it’s perfect for pretty much everyone.

Stuck with leftovers? It also makes an awesome burrito filling!

SweetPotatoBlackBeanSalad

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad
(slightly adapted from Beantown Baker)
Serves 10-12 as a side

3 Tbsp. olive oil
5 large sweet potatoes
3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Juice of 3 limes
Zest of 1 1/2 limes
1 tsp. salt, divided
Pinch or two cayenne
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cube into bite-size pieces. Toss with olive oil and 1/2 tsp. of salt and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, until tender but not smushing, tossing halfway through. Remove and let cool for five minutes.

While the sweet potatoes roast,  rinse and drain the black beans.

Whisk together lime juice, zest, remaining salt and cayenne in a large bowl. Toss with black beans and slightly-cooled sweet potatoes. Stir in cilantro.

Red, White & Blue Salad

We just finished up our annual June celebrating marathon. It always seems like everything happens this month and we end up over-indulging in party food. Rather than keep the trend going, I’m planning to make some really fresh, seasonal meals for the July 4th weekend, including this salad.

We’ve had really beautiful berries in the stores lately so this will be a perfect accompaniment to any grilled meal we cook up this weekend.

RedWhiteBlueSalad

Red, White & Blue Salad
(adapted slightly from Green Lite Bites)
Serves 4 as a side

8 oz. baby spinach
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup quartered strawberries
1/4 cup feta cheese
3-4 Tbsp. poppyseed dressing

In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and dressing until evenly coated. Toss in the berries and transfer to serving bowl. Top with feta. Serve immediately.

Cilantro-Lime Rice

I think pretty much every food blogger (and Chipotle fan) has already made this. Why did it take me so long? I’m super lazy about side dishes.

And, I ran across a version that used the rice cooker. Because, if we’re being honest, I suck at cooking rice any other way. This came out perfectly, though, and will definitely be in the regular rotation going forward!

CilantroLimeRice

Cilantro Lime Rice
(from Shari Blogs)
Serves 4

1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. canola oil, divided
Juice of 1/2 a lime
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

In a rice cooker, combine the rice, water, salt and 1 tsp. of canola oil.  Cook on the white rice cycle.

When done, stir in remaining canola oil, lime juice and cilantro. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Grilled Bread with Rosemary Dipping Sauce

As soon as warmer weather hits, I want to grill everything. I’m pretty sure that 90% of the recipes I’ve pulled out of magazines or bookmarked in the past month have been grilling-related. Besides just feeling summery, it generally means that Mark does more of the cooking and there are fewer dishes to wash – wins all around.

This was a great way to serve a loaf of Italian bread. I usually end up making garlic bread or just slicing and buttering – this was a nice, different treat. And with the fresh herbs starting to come out of the garden now, it’s especially perfect!

BreadRosemaryDip

Grilled Bread with Rosemary Dipping Sauce
(from Tastes Lovely)
Serves 6-8 as a side

1 loaf Italian bread, cut in half horizontally
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic

1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Cut the bread in half, horizontally and brush each cut side with olive oil. Grill on high for 2-3 minutes, until you have char marks. Remove from the grill and rub the cut side with the clove of garlic. Slide into strips

On a deep plate, stir together the olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary.  Add the balsamic vinegar.

Serve the bread along with the oil for dipping.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Salad Jar

While we’re really only a few days into October Unprocessed, I think I already found my favorite dish of the month. This salad is fantastic. I whipped it up on a day that baby boy was particularly needy so it literally took me all day to get it finished. When Mark walked in from work at 8 pm, he’s like, “Is that dinner?” and when I said, “No, its today’s lunch” he knew better than to ask too many questions (and graciously helped do the dishes when I finally finished). I had really thought about ditching these once lunch time passed and I didn’t have anything more than some burned sweet potato, but I’m really, really glad I didn’t.

Much like the oats I shared a few days ago, I suggest multiplying the recipe and making several at once – it’s just more efficient to cook a few days worth of sweet potatoes and quinoa in one shot if you’ll be eating this for several days.

QuinoaSalad

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Salad Jar
(from Popsugar Fitness)
Makes 1

1 small sweet potato, unpeeled, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup black beans
1/4 red pepper, diced
2 cups baby spinach
1 Tbsp. dried cranberries
1 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds

For the dressing:
1/4 cup mango, fresh or frozen
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. water

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Toss the diced sweet potato with the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the quinoa to a covered pot along with half a cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the water is all absorbed and the quinoa is tender.

Make the dressing: combine mango, vinegar and water in a blender and pulse until smooth.

Assemble the salad in a jar: Place the black beans at the bottom and then layer on the quinoa, dressing, red pepper, spinach, sweet potatoes, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.

Cover jar and refrigerate until ready to serve. When you’re ready to eat, shake the jar or dump it into a bowl and toss to combine.