Italian Stuffed Artichoke with a Garlic Cayenne Dip

Artichokes are abundant everywhere you go these days.  My favorite are the ones from our local Farmer’s Market.  You can taste the fresh quality and they are so much easier to cook than the store bought ones.

When I first starting eating these, my roommate in college introduced me to dipping them in butter.  While they tasted good dipped in butter, I can only imagine all of the calories and cholesterol my body was ingesting.  So I started using yogurt as a dipping base instead and I love it.  The yogurt dip is so easy to change the flavor profile and I can keep it as simple or complex as I am in the mood for.  This particular recipe, I kept it on the simple side with a little roasted garlic, cayenne, and salt mixed into the yogurt.

The traditional way of eating artichokes is by steaming them.  I could (and actually have) eaten many whole artichokes all by myself.  The husband used to eat them but eventually tired of steamed artichokes and stopped.  I really wanted to him to share my love for artichokes so I’ve been trying many other ways to cook them.  I’ve roasted (and burnt) them in the oven, stuffed them with various fillings that just didn’t hit the spot before I created this recipe.

All I can say is, you have got to try it!  Oh man am I excited to share this stuffed artichoke recipe.  Here are a couple of tips though when you are making these artichokes:

  • Get fresh artichokes from your local Farmer’s Market.  Trust me it makes a difference.  The time spent cooking, the quality in taste, and the ease of prepping the artichokes are worth it!
  • When you are prepping your artichoke, slice off the top quarter of the vegetable and make sure you trim off the ends of each leaf.  Using your hands, gently push apart the leaves to create a wider space in the center for the heart to hold more of the stuffing.
  • Put some muscle into removing the choke.  Having stretched the artichoke to be able to hold the filling, it will be easier to remove the choke and the hair-like filaments.


Well….. what is the stuffing?  Oh man, the most delicious and easiest to make.  I used:
red onion (the color comes out so pretty)
bread crumbs (a combination of Italian seasoned and panko)
garlic (of course!)
lemon juice
vegetable broth (though you could replace it with white wine – the taste would still be excellent)
Parmesan cheese
a hint of pepper

Because I am stuffing the artichoke, I also did a 2 step cook.  First, I par-steamed the artichoke while I made the stuffing, then I baked it all in the oven to finish cooking the artichoke and get that glorious color on the Parmesan cheese.

I really hope you get a chance to try this recipe out as it has become one of my favorites already!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this Italian Stuffed Artichoke with a Garlic Cayenne Dip.

Garden Fresh Balsamic Bruschetta

The sun is finally coming out, we are able to see friends and family after a long time, and I am ready to share apps around the table as I catch up with my loved ones.  Nothing says fun in the sun with loved ones like bruschetta.  Fresh tomatoes mixed with garlic, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and parmigiano reggiano served on garlic rubbed Italian bread.  Yep.  Count me in!

Growing up, I would order bruschetta every time we ate out at an Italian restaurant.  It still is one of my favorite appetizers.  I can name so many members of my family that also love it just as much as I do.  There was even a time when bruschetta was a given at any family gathering.  And rightly so.

Just a few ingredients that makes this recipe absolutely divine.

  • Tomatoes – crisp, juicy, sweet, red tomatoes are a must.  Try to avoid mushy and soft tomatoes as you’ll end up with more liquid and the chopped tomatoes won’t hold their shape.
  • Garlic – chopped in the bruschetta mix but I also use whole cloves to rub toasted bread to give it that extra zing in flavor
  • Basil – this sweet peppery herb adds the perfect burst of earthiness
  • Parmigiano reggiano – The earthy, sharp, nutty flavor is the perfect flavor to bring all of the different ingredients together
  • Balsamic Vinegar – this is my surprise ingredient that takes this bruschetta up a notch.  Each bite there’s just a hint of the tart, fruity liquid that makes you want to keep eating it.
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Italian Bread – toast these up a little then rub a fresh clove of garlic over it as they come out of the oven.


So, what are you waiting for?!  This is the perfect appetizer for a wine and cheese night (my favorite), for a gathering, or if you want to create a beautiful Italian dinner!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Rainbow Crunch Salad

Bright, crunchy, colorful and easy to assemble with a creamy coconut jalapeño dressing, this salad is a perfect addition to your meal.

Easy to make, this salad has plenty of texture, meets my rainbow requirements, and is quick to pull together for any meal.  A twist on the traditional slaw, the Rainbow Crunch Salad is a healthier version with a low cal coconut jalapeño dressing to finish off a delicious salad.

With school started, life still crazy between Covid, fires, and whatever else you want to throw in there, I want to keep it easy and quick for this salad.  Chopping the veggies doesn’t take very long and the Coconut Jalapeño dressing is blended in less than a minute.

Here’s what you need for the salad:

  • Red Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Colored Bell Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Edamame
  • Nuts

I’ve used this as a lunch meal, a side salad for fish and chicken dishes, or even a quick afternoon snack if I had some leftovers.

Try it out!  From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!

Tomato Avocado Cucumber Salad

Summer salads are my favorite.  Simple ones that take less than 10 minutes to make are even better.  Ok let’s be honest, pretty much any salad is my favorite.  They’re just so delicious and fun and contrary to popular belief, don’t have to be filled with just greens!
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When I started making this tomato avocado cucumber salad, it was originally for the girls so I can get them used to eating fresh uncooked veggies too and in salad form.  For them of course I did a simple dressing of oil, salt and pepper, and for the adults, I added a couple more ingredients to bring it to the next level.
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Just like the salad, the dressing is simple and I didn’t worry about making it separately.  I just added the dressing ingredients directly to the salad and gave it a good toss.  Saves me on an extra dish and also, worrying about the ratios of oil to acid.

What do I need for the DRESSING?
Olive Oil
Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Salt
Pepper
Red Chili Flakes

What do I need for the SALAD?
Tomatoes
Avocado
Cucumber
Red Onions
Oregano – lots of it
Basil – definitely tons of it

Ok I know what you’re probably thinking.  Lots of Basil and Oregano in the salad?  Have I lost it?  Actually, surprisingly no!  The peppery basil and the earthy oregano completely transform this dish!
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When I made this salad, it was supposed to be for a side and I actually ended up eating a little more than a side’s worth which left no room for dinner………

So it’s safe to say this salad can be a side or an entree!

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy this delicious salad!

Spinach Watermelon Salad with a Basil Vinaigrette

We’ve been doing some heavy eating lately so I decided to play around with some easy, simple salads.  I didn’t get past this one to try any others this week.  This Spinach Watermelon Salad is so good, I just want to eat it all the time!  The Basil Vinaigrette adds the perfect zing and hint of spice to bring it together perfectly.
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I love to cut up the watermelon and keep in the fridge so that it is nice and cold.  The cold sweet watermelon, crunchy spinach and onions, the salty feta…. yep, I want some now!
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This salad took less than 10 minutes to make (including the vinaigrette).  You absolutely have to try it out.  It’s amazing!
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From my kitchen to yours, I hope you eat this over and over again as much as I do!

Spiced Plum Crumble Bars

One of my very good friends, Diana, has a plum tree that produces an abundance of plums every year.  One of my favorite memories is when Sanaya was just over a year old, we had gone to her house and she let us pick plums in her backyard.  We had so many plums in our hands, I had walked away to put them in a basket.  When I came back, Sanaya had eaten half a plum (most of the juice was around her mouth and on her clothes) and was holding another she was getting ready to dive into.  It was one the best afternoons ever!
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We are a fruit loving family and we don’t discriminate (well, unless it’s mangoes – then everyone has to fend for themselves while I devour them).  At any given time, there’s always fresh fruit in the house and I love that my girls share mine and hubby’s love for them.  In honor of Diana’s plum tree (which I heard may not be around much longer and I almost cried), I got creative and added a little spice spin to these crumble bars.
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I love this recipe because it is so easy to come together.  For the filling, I stayed true to Salted Mint‘s filling.  I tried out a few different variations but I love this one the best because it is simple, adds the warmth of star anise and cinnamon and tastes amazing!
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For the crumble, I added hints of ginger and cardamom (I seriously felt like I could call this a Chai Spiced Plum Crumble because of the similar spices used). And the best is I can use the same mixture for the crust and crumble!
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For the oats, I used old fashioned oats and mixed it by hand.  You can absolutely pulse it in a food processor until you get a crumbly mixture.  Here is the food processor I love and use:

I don’t think anyone can stop eating just one bar!  These are so crumbly, flaky, sweet, tart, and have just a little hint of spice which just warms your insides up!

This recipe makes about 16 squares in a 8×8 baking pan.

Notes:
To store, place in a sealed container and keep in fridge for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 2 months.

Keep the skin on the plums!  I wasn’t sure about this when I first started experimenting but it just becomes a part of the jam and you can’t even notice it!
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From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these delicious plum crumble bars!

Microgreens Salad Yum

About a month back, we finally had a weekend free to take the girls to the Farmer’s Market which we’ve desperately missed during the winter months.  The girls love tasting all the fruit samples and of course stopping at the kettle corn stand, while I love to check out all the new produce and imagine different recipes I can create. Continue reading “Microgreens Salad Yum

Zucchini Corn Cakes on a bed of Grilled Peach and Pineapple Salsa

Phew! That’s a long name for sure.  And the name lives up to the punch that it packs!  We had a BBQ on the 4th and had plenty of food leftover.  I definitely didn’t want to eat the same stuff for the next few days so I figured, this is when I need to get creative and upcycle it. Continue reading “Zucchini Corn Cakes on a bed of Grilled Peach and Pineapple Salsa”

Grilled Pineapple Peach Salsa

I wanted to do something this Father’s Day and so instead of the typical “Best Dad Ever” shirts or another mug with pictures on it, I chose to create beautiful memories for the girls and their amazing Dad.  I took the family to go peach picking at a local farm one fine weekend and boy did the girls have fun!  We definitely made memories!  We also ended up with a ton of peaches because the girls had so much fun picking them right off the tree, they didn’t want to stop! Continue reading “Grilled Pineapple Peach Salsa”

Shrimp Ceviche

The husband is a big fan of seafood so I decided to surprise him with some shrimp ceviche today.  With a few changes on the classic recipe, here’s my version of shrimp ceviche.

Shrimp Ceviche

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh, raw shrimp
1 c lemon juice
1 large cucumber, deseeded, peeled and finely chopped
2 roma tomatoes, deseeded, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1-2 serrano peppers, finely chopped (how many you use depends on your spice level)
Salt to taste

Directions:

In a large bowl, pour 1/2 c lemon juice over shrimp and let rest for at least 15-20 minutes.

In another bowl, combine cucumber, onion, tomatoes, peppers, parsley and 1/2 c lemon juice and mix well.  Add veggie mix to shrimp then salt to taste.  Mix well.  Cover and let marinate in fridge for at least 1 hour so the flavors really sink in.  Serve with chips and Enjoy!