Category Archives: Side Dishes

Italian Orzo Salad: The Summer of Salads continues

Rejoice!!!! Broccolini Season is upon us!!!! I had to grab some right away and then figure out what to make with it. We’re well into the Summer of Salads (#summerofsalads) and last week featured the broccolini!

(I love how it is described: “A delicious cross between broccoli and Chinese kale”)

Broccolini Glamour Shot!

Italian Orzo Salad

(makes 6 meal size servings)


8 oz (1/2 box) of Orzo, prepared according to package instructions (rinse after prepared to wash off excess starchiness, and also to help cool to room temp)

1 lb fresh broccolini

8oz container of small baby mozzarella, chopped into small pieces

2 cans of white beans (Great Northern or Cannelini), rinsed and drained

1 package baby spinach, cut into thin strips

1 pint grape tomatoes, seeded and quartered

1/3 cup olive oil (or a little more if needed to thin it out a bit)

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 tbsp shallot, finely minced

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper


1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a pinch of salt. Add broccolini and allow to boil for 2-4 minutes. Meanwhile prepare a large bowl of cold water with ice cubes. After broccolini has cooked, drain water from pot and put broccolini into the ice bath. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then lay out on paper towels to dry. Chop into small pieces, both head and stalk.

2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, shallot, parmesan, salt, and pepper.

3. In a large bowl, combine orzo, broccolini, mozzarella, beans, spinach, and tomatoes. Add dressing and toss until fully incorporated.

4. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate – enjoy for up to a week!


More summer recipes I’m loving!

I’m waiting for a recipe fail to happen soon because I feel like these past few weeks have been full of so many recipe wins! Here is what I’ve been loving so far this week:

Breakfast: Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffin

Lunch: Greek Farro Salad

Dinner: Zucchini Lasagna

Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins


(makes 10 large muffins – I wanted these to be breakfast worthy and filling, but smaller muffins would make a snack-sized serving)


1 15oz can of pumpkin puree

2 large eggs

1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

pinch of salt

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup coarsely ground oats (or oat flour – I used Scottish Oatmeal that was basically just a fine oatmeal)

2 tsp baking powder

Optional streusel topping

2 tbsp canola oil

2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup crushed pecan pieces


1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a muffin tin (or use liners).

2. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine pumpkin, eggs, sugar, syrup, extract, spices, and salt. Mix on medium until smooth.

3. In a separate bowl, mix oats, oat flour, and baking powder.

4. Slowly incorporate the dry mixture into the pumpkin mixture, mixing until just combined.

5. Fill muffin tin with heaping 1/4 cups of batter.

6. In a small bowl combine streusel topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly amongst muffins.

7. Bake 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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Nutritional Info:

Calories: 300, Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 20mg, Potassium: 90mg, Carb: 49g, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 20g, Protein: 8g, Vitamin A: 108%

Greek Farro Salad


(Makes 6 meal-sized servings)


8-9oz package of farro (1 1/2 cups), prepared according to package instructions and cooled to room temperature (Trader Joe’s has a great 10 minute Quick Farro)

1 large cucumber, diced

1 large zucchini, diced

1 cup (10-15) grape tomatoes, diced

1/2 of a large red onion, diced 2 15oz cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and dried*

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Red Wine Vinaigrette to taste (6tbsp is my suggestion)  Directions

1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl and add dressing to taste! Pretty darn easy!

*If you want to roast the garbanzo beans in the oven with some seasoning before adding them, that is a tasty option as well!


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Nutritional Info

Calories: 381, Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 660mg, Potassium: 220mg, Carb: 50g, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 16g 

Zucchini Lasagna

Recipe HERE

I can take no credit for this recipe — I saw a great Buzzfeed article a couple weeks ago and this recipe is a total winner. I kid you not, I have had this for dinner 6 out of the last 14 nights. It’s just so good! There are a lot of great recipes on this site that I can’t wait to try! Also, just a tip – we baked it in a glass square pan, it was easier to store the leftovers for a second night and easy reheating. Plus it can get a little liquidy during baking so the pan keeps it all in one place.

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Nutritional Info

Calories: 120, Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Sodium: 500mg, Carb: 10g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Protein: 9g

And there you have it! The recipes I am loving this week!

Summer Veggie Tostadas and a Cauliflower Black Bean Salad

Just wanted to share these great recipes I found (and only slightly modified to fit what I could find at the grocery store and/or had on hand) and had for dinner last night! And leftovers of tonight. These were so good!! Definitely going to repeat them very soon!


Summer Veggie Tostadas


2 teaspoons canola oil
10 ounces cooked chicken breast, cubed
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 large zucchini, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup salsa verde
4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
Cooking spray
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Fresh cilantro for topping, optional


Preheat broiler.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, corn, and zucchini to pan; sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
Add chicken and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Stir in salsa and stir until most of the liquid cooks off, about 2 minutes.

Working with 2 tortillas at a time, arrange tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet; lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon with 1/4 of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla; sprinkle each serving with 1/4 cup cheese. Broil an additional 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, chicken mixture, and cheese. Sprinkle each with cilantro if desired. Serve immediately.




Nutrition Facts

4 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 356.8

Total Fat 15.0 g

Saturated Fat 5.1 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1.6 g

Monounsaturated Fat 2.7 g

Cholesterol 68.9 mg

Sodium 931.3 mg

Potassium 271.6 mg

Total Carbohydrate 14.8 g

Dietary Fiber 17.9 g

Sugars 2.5 g

Protein 31.8 g

Vitamin A 8.3 %

Vitamin B-12 4.5 %

Vitamin B-6 23.5 %

Vitamin C 12.3 %

Calcium 31.0 %

Copper 2.7 %

Folate 5.0 %

Iron 9.0 %

Magnesium 8.6 %

Manganese 4.3 %

Niacin 43.2 %

Pantothenic Acid 7.1 %

Phosphorus 17.8 %

Riboflavin 6.0 %

Selenium 18.5 %

Cauliflower and Black Bean Salad


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 medium chopped onion
salt, to taste
1 green pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-site pieces
1 can of black beans rinsed and drained


1. In a pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and cumin together for 1 minute.
2. Add the onion and salt; sauté for 6 minutes.
3. Add the bell pepper, garlic, pepper flakes and cook 1 minute. Add the cauliflower and cover, cooking for 6 minutes.
4. Add black beans; heat for 1 minute.
5. Serve warm or store in the fridge till cool and serve cold.

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 4
Serving Size: 1 serving

Amount Per Serving

Calories 122.2

Total Fat 0.7 g

Saturated Fat 0.0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g

Cholesterol 0.0 mg

Sodium 384.4 mg

Potassium 346.5 mg

Total Carbohydrate 26.9 g

Dietary Fiber 7.5 g

Sugars 1.9 g

Protein 7.5 g

Vitamin A 2.3 %

Vitamin B-12 0.0 %

Vitamin B-6 14.6 %

Vitamin C 104.4 %

Calcium 7.3 %

Copper 3.9 %

Folate 13.9 %

Iron 14.4 %

Magnesium 4.7 %

Manganese 10.5 %

Niacin 3.1 %

Pantothenic Acid 5.6 %

Phosphorus 5.2 %



Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad Bowl

This past weekend was fully of trying new recipes for the week and they were all winners!! Love when that happens! Even though we had a snowy St Patrick’s Day (which was so beautiful), I know that spring is actually going to be here for real very soon, and that means summer and pool time is right around the corner — so it’s time to stop focusing on my sweater body and get serious about my bikini body again 🙂 Back to very seriously counting and tracking my calories consumed and burned each day and trying to stay focused and motivated.

Here is what we made for lunches this week:

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Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad Bowl

1 1/2 cup quinoa
3 cups water
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
2 bags broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
4 large celery stalks, chopped
4 cups shredded carrots
6 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles, plus more for garnish
4 green onions chopped, for garnish


1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup hot sauce (I recommend Franks)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1. In a medium pot, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, fluff the quinoa with a fork.

2. While the quinoa is cooking make the buffalo sauce dressing (and then start the chicken and broccoli). In a measuring cup or small bowl combine the olive oil, hot sauce, and seasoned salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

3. Heat a medium size skillet over medium high heat Add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the broccoli and celery for about 5 minutes (longer if using frozen). You want it to just start to soften, but still be crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the chicken to the same pan and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Add 1/4 cup or so of the buffalo sauce and cook until the chicken absorbs the sauce.

4. When the quinoa is ready add the chicken, broccoli/celery mixture, and blue cheese crumbles and mix to combine while adding in the remaining dressing. If serving immediatly, add in the carrots, shredded cabbage as well. Since I was taking this for lunch at work, I put the quinoa mixture in a container, and then put my cabbage with the green onions mixed in into a ziploc bag, and then had another baggie of the shredded carrots — that way I could reheat the quinoa mixture and add in the cold ingredients at the end (I have ended up serving the quinoa on top of a bed of the cabbage and carrot shreds.

Hope you enjoy!!

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For 8 servings:

Calories 380.7

Total Fat 14.5 g

Saturated Fat 3.6 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g

Monounsaturated Fat 6.6 g

Cholesterol 62.8 mg

Sodium 898.2 mg

Potassium 694.3 mg

Total Carbohydrate 33.9 g

Dietary Fiber 7.1 g

Sugars 3.6 g

Protein 30.3 g




Butternut squash apple soup

I had some apples left over from making a Biscoff apple pie a couple weeks ago so I desperately wanted to find a way to use them but not in something unhealthy where I’d think “I would’ve been better off just wasting them”. So I found a great soup recipe which I modified a little for what we had available and it was soup-er (ha. ha.) tasty!


2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large apples, cored and chopped
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly group black pepper
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups vegetable (or chicken broth)
3 – 3 ½ lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup milk or cream
2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Gruyere for topping


1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Then add the garlic, onion, apples, salt and pepper. Cook this for 7-8 minutes, or until onions are tender and become translucent.

2. Next add the flour, thyme and red pepper flakes and cook mixture for another minute.

3. Pour in the broth and add the squash pieces. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer, cover with lid, and cook until squash is tender (about 25 minutes).

4. Add milk, honey and nutmeg and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes more.

5. Keeping on the heat, use your immersion blender and puree soup until smooth.

6. Salt and pepper to taste. Give another stir and then transfer to bowls. Add a gruyere garnish if you like!






And we made a little bread/apple/gruyere toast to have alongside the soup.


Pumpkin Pasta and a Sweet potato hash!

I have been loving the crisp fall weather of this week! Definitely puts me in the mood for fall flavors!

Last night I came home from a great workout (ran to the gym, did Body Pump, then Zumba, and walked back home) and had a really yummy sweet potato hash. Sunday and Monday night we had a super super tasty pumpkin pasta. Loooove fall 🙂


Pumpkin Pasta


1 package pasta (we used pappardelle — even though it was like $8.50 at the grocery store, it was definitely worth it, it has such a great texture, shape, size, etc)
Olive oil
2 small shallots, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable broth
3/4 cup light cream
1 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 tsp plus a pinch of cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese (we had an Italian blend from Trader Joe’s on hand so use what you’ve got if you want)


1. Heat oil over medium heat in a sauce pot. Sauté the shallot until tender and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic and good for an additional 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients (except the pasta) and stir to combine. The sauce should simmer for about 10 minutes to allow it to thicken.
3. Prepare pasta per instructions. The pappardelle doesn’t take more than a few minutes so be almost ready to eat by the time you put it in.
4. We also tried our hands at frying sage leaves to put on top for a little flair and flavor — to do this, in a small skillet heat a small amount of oil (canola works great) and heat until rippling but not smoking, and add the sage leaves, frying until crisp.
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Sweet Potato Hash

This is a great dish for breakfast or dinner or both! A good paleo dish too. It could be vegetarian without the pancetta. I’ll looking forward to eating leftovers tonight!


3-4 tablespoons olive oil or butter for sauteeing
2 packages of diced pancetta (or bacon!)
2 small vidalia onion, diced small
2 small Macintosh apples, peeled and diced into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into larger cubes
kosher salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
4-6 large eggs (one per person)


1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Put a small amount of olive oil in the skillet and add the pancetta. Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until crisp. Once done, put onto a plate lined with a paper towel.

2. Next, put the onion in the skillet, adding a little salt and pepper. Sauté the onion for several minutes until translucent. Stir often to keep it cooking evenly.

3. Add the apple and cinnamon to the onion and stir to combine. Cook this for a few minutes – apple should begin to brown. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate.

4. Now add the sweet potatoes to the pan with a little more oil. Let then cook in a flat layer and begin to develop a crust. After a few minutes stir them to rearrange but maintaining a single flat layer. Add a little water occasionally to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Stir occasionally. Cool until tender to a fork, about 10-12 minutes.

5. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, add the apple and onion mixture and the pancetta back into the pan with the sweet potatoes and stir to combine.

6. While the hash is rewarming, prepare a small skillet on medium to medium-high heat with a little oil. Fry one egg at a time (should take less than a minute per egg)

7. Serve hash with egg on top

Serves 4-6


(We went the lazy man’s route for ingredients last night)








Pumpkin Hummus

It begins! My first pumpkin recipe of the season! I am doing a vendor table at my gym’s happy hour tonight with my Stella & Dot goodies and always like to make a little healthy treat to have out to entice people over from the wine tasting area 🙂 So I decided to make Pumpkin Butterscotch Granola Bars (recipe to follow in next post) and Pumpkin Hummus was a last minute impulse add on before I left work to go to the grocery store yesterday afternoon. Took a little freestyling with adding amounts a little at a time of each ingredient to get it to taste like I wanted but in the end it turned out awesome! I’m sure everyone would find a slightly different version that they like best, but I had a few hummus lover taste testers give it their stamp of approval as well!

I made a big batch, so half this for less:


-2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans) – keep about 1/4 of the liquid to add in with the beans
-1 cup pumpkin purée
-1/2 cup tahini (you are most likely to find this in the peanut butter aisle of the grocery store)
-2 tbsp minced garlic (I added a little more at the end)
-3-4 tbsp of fresh sage, finely chopped
-1/4 cup lemon juice (add to taste)
-salt to taste (about 1-1/2 tsp worked for me)


Put all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth. Taste as you go and adjust as needed. Then enjoy!!!