mixed greens salad with dijon champagne vinaigrette, toasted walnuts, and herbed goat cheese wrapped in basil leaves

via she likes to eat

a little over a year ago, my other half took me to a cooking class at whole foods for a birthday present. it was, truly, one of my favorite gifts he has ever given me.

we went together, after leaving the girls at home with my parents, and cooked an incredible menu with about 5 other couples. we laughed, ate well, drank good wine, and met new people while learning a few new things in the kitchen. for real, it was one of my favorite nights ever.

the menu included a wonderfully hearty beef stew with wild rice, a rustic berry tart, buttery biscuits, and this lovely salad. the whole technique with the goat cheese really intrigued me, as i had never seen it done before but thought was crazy brilliant. at our station we had a little bit of the goat cheese leftover after wrapping the rest in the basil leaves.. you can bet i ate that straight out of the bowl. and the dijon vinaigrette has become a staple in my house, one of my favorite basic vinaigrettes that can go on pretty much any salad.

mixed greens salad with champagne dijon vinaigrette, toasted walnuts, and herbed goat cheese wrapped in basil leaves
makes 6-8 salads

ingredients

6 cups mixed greens (i like to use a combo of bibb, romaine, and spinach), cleaned + rinsed

1/3 cup walnuts, toasted + chopped

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinaigrette

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tsp agave nectar, or honey

4 oz plain goat cheese, at room temperature

small bunch basil leaves (you’ll need about 8-10 large-sized leaves)

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped*

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped*

olive oil

coarse sea salt & freshly ground pepper

directions

1. in a small bowl, stir together the goat cheese, lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil. (if your goat cheese is harder, add a little more olive oil to soften.) add a small pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper – a couple twists of the grinder. mix well, cover with saran wrap, and place in fridge to chill.

2. preheat oven to 350. spread out walnuts on a dry cookie sheet. roast in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes. place on drying rack to fully cool.

3. in a mason jar, mix 3/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, dijon, agave/honey, and another small pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. shake vigorously until well incorporated.

4. after the goat cheese mixture has had at least 15-20 minutes to chill, remove from fridge. on a clean surface or cutting board, remove stems from basil leaves and roll each leaf out flat. place a bit of goat cheese mixture onto the base of each leaf, and then roll the leaf up, wrapping the goat cheese mixture completely with the leaf. once rolled, using a serrated or very sharp small knife, carefully (saw the knife gently back + forth as to not break the leaf) slice the rolled leaf into small sections (you should get about 3-4 slices per leaf.) continue until all basil leaves have been used and sliced.

5. in six or so salad bowls, begin to assemble the salads. first the greens, then the basil leaf/goat cheese slices, sprinkle with toasted walnuts, and drizzle generously with vinaigrette.

*i stress using fresh herbs here, if possible.

rosemary garlic hummus

rosemary garlic hummus via she likes to eat

thank you, lord, for hummus.
really. THANK YOU.

hummus is one of the rare things that is on the healthy side, and that everyone in my family loves.
i got a tough crowd, yo.
i usually buy the store-bought hummus since it’s everyone’s favorite but i have been wanting an outside-the-box recipe… one that’s not too wild (or the other 3 people around here would not eat it) but one that is different from your basic hummus. last week, i had some rosemary i was wanting to use up, so i played with it a little and well, THIS HUMMUS ROCKS. i seriously love this hummus. the garlic gives it a little kick, but without being spicy. and the rosemary is just so lovely – my hands smelled like it for a few hours afterwards. as with any hummus, it’s super easy to make and you can store it for a week or so in the fridge. this makes just enough for my family to snack on for a day or two, so if you are making it for a party or a crowd, go ahead and double this recipe.

rosemary garlic hummus
makes about 1 cup

ingredients

1 15-oz can garbanzo beans

1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil (depending on how thick you like your hummus), plus more for drizzling

3 cloves garlic, peeled and tiny brown ends cut off

juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 large sprig of rosemary (about 1 tbsp), not chopped

1/4 tsp coarse sea salt, heaping

freshly cracked pepper

directions

puree all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. put in serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil. serve with cut up veggies, pita chips, or our personal favorite, pretzel chips. will keep for about 7 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

spiced mixed nuts with brown sugar + rosemary butter

spiced mixed nuts with brown sugar + rosemary butter | via she likes to eat

for my family, fall is a big time of entertaining. there is a lot of football to be watched, and with the weather getting cooler, we have a tendency to often gather with friends to eat, play games outside, and then retire to the fire pit for s’mores. while i am cooking and guests are still arriving, i like to set out a little something for guests to snack on, and this is one of my favorites to put out. most people love nuts and this is a deliciously different way to serve them, instead of just plain ol’ poured-from-the-can-mixed-nuts. they are a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy. and the rosemary gives it an incredible flavor. if you and your guests don’t polish off the whole bowl in one night, they will keep for about 2 weeks in an airtight container.

spiced mixed nuts with brown sugar + rosemary butter
adapted from union square cafe’s bar nuts

ingredients

36 oz mixed nuts (i prefer a mixture of just pistachios, almonds, and cashews – or you can do a pre-mixed variety), lightly salted

4 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1/4 tsp cayenne (if there are no kids, and you like spicy, 1/2 tsp is recommended)

5 (level) tsp brown sugar

3 tbsp butter

directions

1. preheat the oven to 350.

2. spread out nuts in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. roast for about 8-10 minutes, stopping about halfway through to stir the nuts a bit.

3. while the nuts are roasting, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. once completely melted, add in chopped rosemary, cayenne, and brown sugar. whisk well to incorporate. turn off the heat.

4. when the nuts are done roasting, pour them into a large bowl. toss well with the butter mixture. serve while still warm or at room temperature.

enjoy!

salt & vinegar kale chips

salt & vinegar kale chips via she likes to eat

yeah, that’s right. KALE CHIPS. and i’m super excited about them.

it’s pretty apparent that i’m totally turning into my mother.
i mean, the lady frequently wears a t-shirt that she bought from, where else, whole foods that says in big uppercase letters “KALE”. you know, like YALE.. get it? pretty sure it’s her favorite shirt.
for those of you who don’t know my mom, aka YaYa, aka The Mahm, she is a total hippie, living in the hippie capital of the south (austin texas) and to top it off, she’s an artist (no, i did not get any of her gifts in this department). she’s all over the coconut oil (don’t get her started, she’ll go on for days;) for every need possible, and she’s a really healthy eater. so you can imagine when i start making things in my kitchen LIKE KALE CHIPS, i kind of rise above myself in an out-of-body experience and think,
what. is. happening. here?
i’m turning into my mother. and i am 100% ok with that. actually i’m proud so say it:)

disclaimer:
be careful with these babies. they’re serious business.
i may or may not have eaten an entire pan in one sitting the last time i made these.

salt & vinegar kale chips
adapted via gimme some oven

ingredients

about 5 cups kale leaf pieces, ribs removed, washed & dried

2 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar

1/4 tsp sea salt

directions

1. preheat oven to 350. line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. place the prepped kale in a large bowl. drizzle in the olive oil, vinegar, and 1/8 tsp salt. mix with a hand or tongs to soften and combine. place leaves on the baking sheet in one layer without overlapping, but fairly close together (they will shrink as they are baked). sprinkle over top the remaining 1/8 tsp salt.

3. bake for about 8-10 minutes. remove from oven and let cool. (about 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven, i turn all the leaves over to help them dry out a bit and crisp up.)

enjoy!

monterey jack & goat cheese queso fundido with hatch green chile vinaigrette

monterey jack & goat cheese queso fundido with hatch green chile vinaigrette | via she likes to eat

these days, life is a little crazy.
we have two little ones and a very busy schedule. somehow we, well i, got away from one of my dearest loves: entertaining/taking care of people in our home. the house is often a mess and  i get stressed over the day and sometimes it’s just too much to handle making dinner and trying to clean the place. all that said, i am working on it. we are making plans and inviting people over to watch basketball games, tidying up as best we can while still knowing a little mess IS OKAY – a daily reminder of one of my favorite mantras, present over perfect (thanks to my friend shauna, who encourages so many with this quote + chapter from the lovely bread & wine).
and it sure makes it easy when i have something yummy ready in the kitchen that i am dying to share with someone.

this recipe is one of those things. although i could have easily taken it out of the oven, grabbed a bag of tortilla chips, walked back to my bedroom, locked the door, and eaten the entire thing all by mineself. and then licked the bowl wholeheartedly.

monterey jack & goat cheese queso fundido with hatch green chile vinaigrette
adapted from bobby flay

ingredients

for the vinaigrette:

one 4 oz can hatch green chiles, drained & chopped

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 tsp agave nectar

1/4 cup sunflower seed or grapeseed oil (or an oil with mild flavor)

for the queso:

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp all purpose flour

1 cup whole milk

4 cups grated monterey jack cheese (about 1 1/2 eight ounce blocks)

5 oz goat cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

sea salt & freshly ground pepper

blue corn tortilla chips, for serving

directions

1. to make the vinaigrette, combine the chiles, vinegar, garlic, agave, and oil, plus a good sized pinch of the cilantro in a blender and puree until smooth. season with salt & pepper.

2. to make the queso: melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. add the flour and cook, constantly whisking, about 1 minute. add the milk and cook, constantly whisking, until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. remove from heat and whisk in monterey jack, one handful at a time (don’t add the next handful until cheese has completely melted). add a scant 1/4 tsp salt, and a bit of pepper to taste.

3. turn on the broiler. scrape the melted cheese mixture into an 8 inch baking dish. scatter the crumbled goat cheese over the top, covering evenly. broil until golden brown in spots, about 5-7 minutes. remove from the oven and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, to allow the cheese to set. drizzle the vinaigrette over the top* and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. serve warm with tortilla chips.

*i drizzled about 1/2 of the vinaigrette just after it came out of the oven. as we ate, i drizzled more on top.

enjoy!

mediterranean bruschetta


i love bruschetta. LOVE. (yes, even though i am usually a tomato-hater. odd, isn’t it? )
and who doesn’t love a good, salty kalamata olive?
and possibly no (normal) human can turn down feta cheese.

i have this recipe that i jotted down years ago for mediterranean bruschetta (no clue where it came from). it involved canned tomatoes and a cup of mayonnaise. i so could NOT go there.
and it just didn’t sound that appetizing. but the name and most of the ingredients did.
i consider myself a big mediterranean food fan, so i figured i could tweak it a bit and make it awesome.

and i did, if i say so myself.
the first experience is the crunch of the bread, with it’s cheesy, garlicky flavor. then the topping floods your mouth with mediterranean flavors. it’s super fresh and light, then the saltiness of the feta and the kalamatas hits you. and the flavor in your mouth rounds out and finishes with the parsley.
quite likely one of the most perfect appetizers.
or snacks.
or dinners.
bruschetta for breakfast, anyone?

*recipe updated 7.10.13*

mediterranean bruschetta

ingredients

3 tbsp finely chopped parsley

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped

4 large roma tomatoes, seeded & chopped (*see tip below)

1 tsp italian seasoning

1/4 tsp pepper

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 skinny french or italian baguette, sliced 1/2 inch thick

parmesan cheese, freshly shredded

directions

1. in a medium-sized bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, feta, olive oil, oregano (or italian seasoning), pepper, and parsley. mix well. place in refrigerator to chill.

2. set the oven on broil.

3. place flatbread or baguette slices on a cookie sheet in a single layer. spread about 1/8 tsp of minced garlic on each slice and top with parmesan, about 1/2 tbsp or so. place under the broiler for about 1-2 minutes – watch them carefully – until the cheese is melted and the crusts of the bread are just starting to turn golden brown.

4. remove toasts from the oven and place on a serving platter. put bruschetta mixture into a serving bowl and serve alongside the toasts.

*tip on seeding the tomatoes:
use a grapefruit spoon! it makes it super easy – after you have cut the tomatoes in half, just scoop out all of the insides with the jagged spoon.

*note on ingredients:
if you are out of italian seasoning, you can sub dried oregano.

asian turkey meatballs

asian turkey meatballs | via she likes to eat

these little gems were a lovely surprise this week. i was skeptical, them coming – randomly – from the disney family website (i have NO earthly clue how i originally got this recipe, although i think the link was sent to me by a family member). i had read through the ingredients and the instructions and they sounded delicious. and they were. divine. they have all the flavors of a chinese dumpling and the sauce is heavenly.

the meatballs are served best over jasmine rice and a side of the sauce. it’s an easy meal and delightfully yummy.  also, the meatballs and the sauce save pretty well for a few days and are great reheated. oh and kiddos LOVE them. (both of the little shes are in a dipping phase right now – i know you mommies know what i’m talking about – so this was a HIT in the highchair this week.) these also freeze quite well, so they are a good option for make-ahead meals.

*updated march 2016
**to make whole30 friendly, see note at the bottom

asian turkey meatballs
makes about 2 dozen

ingredients

1 lb ground turkey (you can use lean or dark meat)

2 green onion stalks, finely chopped (or snipped with kitchen shears)

1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp soy sauce (or you can use liquid aminos)

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup ricotta cheese (not skim)

for dipping sauce:

6 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 cup soy sauce (or liquid aminos)

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger, heaping)

directions

1. preheat the oven to 400.

2. in a large bowl, mix together turkey, scallions, cilantro, oils, soy sauce, breadcrumbs, egg, and ricotta with your hands, then form meatballs by rolling 2 tablespoon-sized scoops between your palms.

3. arrange on a baking sheet covered with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper and bake for about 25 minutes, until browned on top and cooked through.

4. while the meatballs are in the oven, make the dipping sauce: in a small saucepan, stir the sauce ingredients together over medium low heat until the sugar has dissolved. simmer 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens a bit.

5. serve with jasmine rice + dipping sauce on the side.

**to make this recipe whole 30 friendly, make the following substitutions for the meatballs: sub coconut aminos for the soy sauce, replace panko breadcrumbs with guiltless superfoods’ 7 seed flour or raw almond flour, omit the ricotta cheese. then for the dipping sauce: sub pure date syrup (this one is my favorite and there is no added sugar) instead of brown sugar  (using 5-6 tbsp), and again subbing coconut aminos for the soy sauce. and don’t forget to skip the jasmine rice if you’re on whole30!