Favorite Spring Recipes

Happy second day of spring! All I have been thinking about is flowers, hiking, kayaking and yummy summer food. These past few weeks have been super busy but I finally see a light at the end of the long tunnel. I feel like we have been going non stop since before the Christmas season and spring is going to be a time to veg and relax… well a little bit.

This past weekend we finally got to get out of the house and be outdoors. Saturday night we spent at Disneyland where they are right in the middle of featuring the Main Street Electrical Parade. If you live local, go check it out before it’s gone this June. It was a big throw back to my childhood. I remember seeing it in Disney World when I was a kid, and seeing the same parade, and floats as an adult was really cool and definitely gave me a whole other appreciation for this piece of Disney magic.

Sunday morning we woke up early and headed down to Newport Beach to do a little whale watching. More on that later but the being out on the water was definitely what the doctor ordered. And we even got to hang out with some grey whales and dolphins.

Now that spring is here, I’ve been craving lighter meals. There’s something about the nice weather that makes me want to eat lighter and healthier. So today I put together a list of my favorite food I have featured on my blog that remind me of summer. Enjoy! 

Cabbage, Spinach, Mozzarella Salad  Chicken Picatta

Grilled Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

Mediterranean Spaghetti

Homemade Bruschetta 

This weekend I’m working both days, but Sunday morning we are doing something that I have been looking forward to for a long time. Hints: we will be on the water and it involves an extremely oversized animal. Keep an eye out on Instastory to see what we are up to.

 

Grilled Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

Welp I did it kids! Actually I am kind of surprised how long it has taken me to pop this cherry. And even more surprised how I totally lost any bragging rights on this one. No, no friends, get your minds out of the gutters. I set off the smoke alarm in our apartment for the first time.

I mean, at our last apartment I set our entire grill on fire. A grill which was set under a tree, in Southern California, in a drought. Like that’s a good story. (FYI when making bacon wrapped asparagus, put some tin foil under the bacon to catch the grease. It catches on fire & makes really high flames. Woops)

Tonight was not such an exciting story. Chris & I were rushing dinner, settling on some leftovers & easy Trader Joe’s quick fixes before we headed to Starbucks to do some work. He was having some left over pasta & I was pan frying a Mahi Mahi burger to go on top of my salad when I looked up & the entire kitchen was filled with smoke. I ran to the window but it was too late. The damage was done.

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Such a bad, bad fail. I know, you don’t want to take any cooking advice from me anymore. But it’s okay, this salad has zero protein on it at all. That means no possibility of burning the house down over a simple little salad. But it sure is full of amazing flavors & veggies.

I am obsessed with weird veggies. I love any type of vegetable that 6 year olds, or my 30 year old boyfriend, would call icky or gross. Beets, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, cabbage and collard greens are just a few of my favs. And this salad has one of my favs featured right on top. Arugula, topped with goat cheese, almond shavings & amazing grilled beets. If you want, I guess you could throw on a juicy grilled chicken breast but you in no way need to. All you need to do is have some supervision while you grill the beets for 45 minutes then throw everything together & enjoy.

Even better, if you could get your hands on some of this amazing pomegranate balsamic dressing from Temecula Olive Oil Company you should. It adds an amazing sweet tang to the salad which is perfection. Try this amazing salad, full of flavor, & if you can handle pan frying a Mahi Mahi burger from TJs, throw it on top.

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1 medium beet
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups arugula
5 oz goat cheese
2 Tbsp sliced almonds
Black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp pomegranate balsamic
1 Tbsp olive oil (for dressing)

1. Pre-heat grill to medium high heat.
2. Wash beet thoroughly and pat dry. Place on the middle of a 12 x 12 inch square of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Loosely close tin foil around beet and cook on grill for 45 minutes on medium high heat. Once you can pierce the beet with a fork it is done.
4. Allow the beet to cool to touch. Using a paper towel, remove the outer skin of the beet. Cut into small bite size slices and place in refrigerator to cool.
4. Assemble salad with arugula, goat cheese crumbles, sliced almond. Top with grilled beet, black pepper, balsamic and olive oil.

Cabbage, Spinach, Mozzarella Salad

I am still stuffed after that Thanksgiving dinner. Saturday we had our late Thanksgiving dinner & we pigged out all night! We had stuffing, mashed potatoes, honey glazed carrots, cranberry sauce, & much more. Today I am still sitting in a food coma thinking about the amazing turkey we had.

We even attempted to make a pie from scratch. Just a side note: evaporated milk isn’t the same as condensed milk. No matter how lazy you are & no matter how badly you don’t want to go back to the store.

Anyway… now it’s Wednesday & all I should be eating is salads. We eat a lot of salads here in this house, but usually as a side or after dinner. This week, all the rules are out the window! I am planning on having tons of salads for lunches & dinners.

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I love throwing veggies together, with some great cheeses, & toppings to make new salads. The first time I put this salad together I literally opened the fridge & pull whatever was reaching it’s shelf life out. I had some left over coleslaw, mozzarella that I needed to eat or trash, & my chia seeds that live in my cheese drawer for life.

As long as the coleslaw sits overnight, enough liquid will form & no dressing will be needed. Healthy!! Here is the recipe for just one small salad, that is good enough to eat on it’s own.

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2 ½ cups baby spinach
2 oz mozzarella cheese
½ cup coleslaw
1 Tbsp chia seeds

Coleslaw Ingredients:
½ small head purple cabbage
½ cup mayonayze, sliced thin
2 carrots, shredded
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp pepper
1 Tbsp Dijon mayo

1. Mix all ingredients for cole slaw and allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Place a bed of baby spinach in bowl. Top with coleslaw.
3. Cut cheese into chunks and place on top of salad.
4. Sprinkle chia seeds and serve.

Taco Salad

The only thing missing from this recipe is my mom’s yellow Tupperware bowl. Growing up there were a few staple summer dishes my mom would make. They were in the fridge more often than not in case my friends or any of my brother or sisters friends stopped by. Taco salad was one of the essentials in our house and it was always in a big yellow bowl with a clear top.

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It super simple to make and can feed a whole lot of people which is perfect for a house of teenagers who have friends stopping by all of the time. You can really alter it however you’d like. Basically if it goes in a taco, you can throw it in the salad.

This past weekend we had Chris’s dad and his younger siblings down to our house. We went to Disneyland one day and the next day everyone spent the day at the pool while I went to work. Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to cook for everyone I made my taco salad so they would have something to eat with their hamburgers and hot dogs. Chris just had to pull it out of the fridge, pour some extra dressing on top and bring it down to the pool area.

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1 lb ground beef
1 package Taco mix
1 small red pepper
1 bag Cool Ranch Doritos
8 oz California French salad dressing
½ head iceberg lettuce
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Optional:
1 cup olives, halved
1 small onion
1 small carrot, shredded

1.  Cook meet until browned, drain and remove from pan.
2.  Add Taco seasoning and add a splash of water to smooth together seasoning and meat. Add cheese and refrigerate.
3.  Chop veggies and set aside. Chop lettuce.
4.  Open bag of chips and crunch chips to bite size pieces.
5.  Mix veggies and chips into bowl with meat and cheese.
6.  Mix in salad dressing.
7.  Can refrigerate after serving for up to 5 days. Before serving left overs, add about a tablespoon of more dressing.