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The summer season means more barbeques.  While you might traditionally think burgers, hot dogs, or steaks when you think of grilling, don’t leave out fruit and veggies the next time you decide to cook out.  Most fruit and vegetables can be grilled, either directly on the grill itself, or by using grilling baskets for smaller or cut up produce  This week, I’ve collected a few of my favorite grill recipes I think are perfect for the season.  Check out the Fruits & Veggies–More Matters website for more ideas on grilling fruit and vegetables.


Like corn on the cob?  If so, you’ve got to try this recipe for Grilled Mexican Street Corn.  You’ll need six ears of shucked, yellow corn.  In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, chopped cilantro, minced garlic, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  Once your grill is heated, grill the corn so it is slightly charred on all sides.  Working with one cob at a time, brush each ear of corn with the mayonnaise mix so it is coated and then roll in finely crumbled Cotija cheese.  Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle corn with a little chili powder and more cilantro.  Serve with lime wedges if desired.


Courtesy of Cooking Classy


Using skewers are another great way to grill fruit and veggies like this recipe for Balsamic Garlic Grilled Mushroom Skewers.  You’ll need two pounds of white mushrooms, cut into 1/4 inch slices.  Marinate them in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, chopped garlic, chopped thyme, and black pepper for at least 30 minutes.  Skewer the mushrooms and grill over medium-high heat until tender and slightly charred.


Courtesy of Closet Cooking


Think about grilling your dessert, like this recipe for Grilled Pineapple with Honey Drizzle.  Slice a fresh pineapple into rounds and grill on medium heat about 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Combine honey and cinnamon and drizzle over grilled pineapple.  You’ve got a simple, yet delicious summer dessert.


Courtesy of My Kitchen Escapades


I’m back next Monday with some healthy flatbread recipes.


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Today is Memorial Day, the unofficial kick off to summer.  The season means lots of backyard barbeques, picnics, and pool parties.  One of the most popular side dishes at all these gatherings is pasta salad.  The traditional recipe typically involves a mayonnaise base, which adds calories.  I’m always wary of serving any mayo-based dishes outside since they can go bad easily.  I prefer to stick with an oil and vinegar base.  For this week’s blog I’ve gathered some pasta salad recipes that are lighter and include lots of healthy ingredients.


Orzo Pasta Salad has Greek influences.  You’ll need to cook fresh broccoli flowerets and set them aside.  Cook your orzo pasta and drain.  In a bowl combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Slowly whisk in olive oil. Add orzo, broccoli, chopped red bell pepper, chopped red onion, chopped parsley, and chickpeas to the dressing.  Toss to coat well and serve.


Courtesy of Girl Gone Gourmet


Lemony Artichoke Pasta Salad is another light summer side dish you’ll love.  Start by cooking gemelli pasta, drain, and set aside.  In a large pan, heat olive oil and saute chopped asparagus for 3 minutes.  Add in chopped garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  In a large bowl combine the pasta, the asparagus, chopped artichoke hearts, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  Drizzle with a vinaigrette made from olive oil, lemon juice, finely chopped basil leaves, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Toss to combine and sprinkle with a little more parmesan if desired.


lemony artichoke pasta salad
Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven


Strawberry Mozzarella Chicken Pasta Salad is one of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters featured Heathy Plate recipes.  The salad includes whole wheat penne pasta, cooked, chicken breast, fresh mozzarella, fresh spinach, fresh strawberries, and fresh basil.  The dressing is made by combining white grape juice, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Toss the dressing with the chicken, strawberries, mozzarella, and basil.  Serve on spinach.


Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters


Check back next week for some summertime grilling recipes.


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Fresh artichokes are underappreciated in my opinion.  I think it’s because so many folks are unsure how to prepare them.  I say this because spinach and artichoke dip is so hugely popular or menu items with artichokes are always a crowd pleaser.  It’s time to start adding artichokes to your menu rotation.  Not only are they delicious, they are also packed with nutrition.  Artichokes are cholesterol free, low in calories, fat free, low in sodium, a good source of dietary fiber, a good source of vitamin C, a good source of folate, and a good source of magnesium.  This week I’ve got some simple ways to prepare fresh artichokes.


Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has a great appetizer with this recipe for Artichokes with Lemon Dill Yogurt Dip.  You’ll cook four medium fresh artichokes (you can bake, boil, steam, or microwave them).  Then set them aside to cool.  Make your dip by combining the juice from one lemon, Greek yogurt, chopped fresh dill, salt, and pepper.  You’ll need to remove the choke, which is the center of the artichoke.  Fill the center of the veggie with dip and pull off the leaves and spread some of the dip and enjoy!


Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters


Garlic Rosemary Baked Artichokes are a super easy way to enjoy this veggie with lots of flavor.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Cut your artichokes in half and remove the choke.  Brush them with lemon juice to prevent browning and place in a casserole dish cut side up.  Drizzle olive oil over the artichokes, season with salt and pepper.  Slice garlic and lemons, then place over the artichokes.  Place fresh sprigs of rosemary in the dish.  Cover the dish with foil and back for 30 minutes until the artichokes have softened.  You can serve the artichokes with melted butter and stir in a few rosemary leaves for dipping.


Courtesy of The Brooklyn Cook


Grilled Artichokes is another terrific way to enjoy this veggie and perfect timing as we’re into the grilling season.  Cut the artichokes in half and remove the choke.  Boil or steam them for 20 minutes until softened.  Drain and then toss with olive oil and lemon juice, chopped garlic, and chopped fresh basil.  Warm your grill and heat them on each side until they are slightly charred.  You can eat them as is, or serve with a little aioli sauce for dipping.


Courtesy of Caroline’s Cooking


Check back next week when I’ll have some healthy pasta salad recipes for your Memorial Day celebrations.


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There’s still time to enjoy one of spring’s most popular veggies–asparagus.  Asparagus is available year round, but right now it’s at its peak of flavor and you’ll be able to get it at some great prices.  Adding it to your diet is a good nutritional choice as well since it’s fat free, sodium free, cholesterol free, low in calories, a good source of vitamin C, high in folate, and a good source of vitamin A.  I’ve collected three very different ways to enjoy this vegetable, but all are equally delicious.


Let’s start with Balsamic Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes.  Roasting asparagus enhances the natural sweetness of the veggie, so you’ll want to opt for this cooking choice when you can.  Add one pound of asparagus (with the tough end pieces snapped off) and two cups of cherry tomatoes cut in half to a baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes until the asparagus begins to soften and browns a bit.  In the meantime, add 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar to a saucepan and heat until it begins to thicken.  Drizzle over the asparagus and tomatoes and serve warm.


Courtesy of Jo Cooks


Creamy Asparagus Risotto is a delicious side dish.  You’ll need a bunch of fresh asparagus, long grain white rice, chicken broth, diced onion, crushed garlic, half and half, grated parmesan cheese, olive oil, butter, fresh basil, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper.   Cooking times can vary for this dish depending on your brand of rice.  You’ll want to cook longer and add more liquid if needed.


Courtesy of Mom Endeavors


Asparagus Tomato and Feta Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette is a terrific side dish or light lunch.  Your salad base consists of cooked asparagus (make sure you don’t over cook them–they should be crisp-tender), halved grape tomatoes, toasted, chopped walnuts, and crumbled feta cheese.  A tangy vinaigrette is made by combining balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.


Courtesy of Cooking Classy


Check back next week when I’ll have some ideas for cooking with artichokes.


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May is Salad Month!  Many times we think of salads as something that accompany your meals or as a lighter fare.  In reality, a well designed salad can be a hearty meal in itself. For this week’s blog I’m featuring recipes that do just that.


Turmeric Roasted Chickpea Carrot Salad with Apple Cider Tahini Dressing is a nourishing, plant-based main meal salad.  Put one can of drained chick peas and 8 sliced carrots into a bowl.  Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, ground turmeric, paprika, garlic salt, and pepper.  Toss together and lay flat on a greased baking sheet.  Bake in a 425 degree preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through.  Remove and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.  While the carrots are cooking you can make the dressing by blending together tahini or almond butter, apple cider vinegar, salt, maple syrup, almond milk, and a dash of cumin.  Place the carrots and chickpeas in a large bowl and drizzle on as much dressing as you desire, then toss.  Garnish with fresh parsley.


Courtesy of Cotter Crunch


Prawn Mango Avocado Salad with Noodles is a terrific no cook option for the warmer months.  Start by soaking vermicelli noodles in boiling water, per packet directions, drain, then set aside.  Create your dressing by combining sweet chili sauce, lime juice, olive oil, one minced clove of garlic, salt, pepper, chopped cilantro, and sugar in a bowl.  Whisk the ingredients together.  In another bowl, place 1 chopped avocado and 1 chopped mango.  Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the dressing over and toss gently.  On two plates, plates a few leaves of butter lettuce.  Divide the noodles between the two plates.  Spoon over the mango avocado mixture and then sprinkle on diced red onion.  Top with cooked prawns and spoon on remaining dressing.  Serve immediately.


Recipe Tin Eats


Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has a great Healthy Plates recipe …Blueberry and Chicken Pasta Salad with Field Greens that you’ve got to try. The salad consists of fresh blueberries, whole grain pasta, sliced chicken breast, field greens, chopped red onion, and chopped red bell pepper.  A tangy dressing is made by blending fresh blueberries with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, and salt.


Courtesy of Fruit & Veggies–More Matters


Check back next Monday when I’ll have some great ways to use asparagus.


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This coming weekend we celebrate Cinco de Mayo, which is one of my favorite food holidays given I love Mexican cuisine.  One popular choice is the burrito.  In contrast to the taco, which is folded around various fillings, the burrito is wrapped into a closed-end cylinder. Burritos are also sometimes covered in a sauce of varied spiciness.  For this week’s blog, I’ve collected a few burrito recipes you might want to try for this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration.


7 Layer Dip Burritos combine all those wonderful flavors of 7 layer dip rolled into one delicious bite.  Begin by heating two cans of refried beans and heat them in the microwave until hot.  Spread a layer of beans on a flour tortilla.  Next, add a layer of guacamole, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, light sour cream, chopped lettuce, and sliced olives.  Fold tortillas up, cut in half, and enjoy.


7 layer dip burrito
Courtesy of Six Sisters Stuff


Kale and Sweet Potato Burritos are healthy and filling.  Start by sauteeing garlic and onion in a little oil.  Add mustard powder, paprika, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, soy sauce, and fire roasted green chili peppers.  Add in one can each of black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans–mashing them with a spoon.  Add 1 and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and 4 and 1/2 cups mashed sweet potato to the mixture, stir and cook 3-4 minutes.  While this is cooking, saute 4 cups of kale with 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast and 5 drops of hot sauce until the kale has wilted.  Assemble the burritos by placing a tortilla on a plate and adding 1/2 cup of the sweet potato mixture and 1/4 cup of the kale.  Include a few slices of avocado, cilantro, and green onion, then tightly roll the burrito. Place seam side down in a casserole dish and drizzle with a burrito sauce if you choose.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.


Courtesy of Ceara’s Kitchen


Start your morning with a burrito!  These Black Bean Breakfast Burritos are packed with just the right stuff to keep you going.  Start by cooking grated potato and onion in some olive oil.  Add canned black beans and chili powder, slightly mashing some of the beans.  Transfer everything to a bowl and set aside.  In another bowl, whisk together 4 large eggs and add to skillet.  Scramble the eggs and add to the bowl with the bean mixture.  Divide the egg/bean mixture among 4 whole wheat tortillas and top with shredded cheese, avocado slices, and fresh cilantro.  Fold the tortilla over and fold ends up.  Serve warm with sour cream if desired.


Courtesy of Leelalicious


Check back next week for some great main meal salad recipes.


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Rhubarb is an early indicator of the spring season.  This veggies resembles celery, but has a tart flavor and is usually mistaken for a fruit because it’s traditionally used in sweet recipes with or in place of fruit.  Rhubarb is fat free. cholesterol free, low in calories, and sodium free.  If you’ve never tried rhubarb, now is the time to do so since it’s in season and at its peak of flavor.  Most folks only know of the typical rhubarb/strawberry pie, so I’ve pulled together a few recipes that use this veggie in different ways.


Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters


This Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie is a terrific breakfast option or afternoon snack.  You’ll combine 1/2 cup stewed rhubarb (to make this simply combine 4 cups chopped rhubarb, 1/3 cup water, and 1/4 cup maple syrup in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until tender.), 1/2 ripe banana, 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 teaspoon chia seeds, and 4 ice cubes in a blender until smooth.


Courtesy of Flavour and Savour


Rhubarb Chia Jam is delicious on toast or an English muffin.  You’ll need 1 pound of rhubarb, leafy stems removed, chopped into 1/4 in slices.  Combine the rhubarb in a pan with 3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar (your choice).  Cook over medium heat, stirring often until the rhubarb is mostly submerged in liquid. Reduce heat to medium low and add 2 tablespoons chia seeds.  Continue cooking while stirring frequently 30 minutes,  lower heat as necessary to prevent scorching.  Remove pan from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.  Let mixture cool and then cover and refrigerate.  The jam will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.


rhubarb chia jam
Courtesy of Cookie and Kate


Honey Roasted Rhubarb Power Greens salad is bursting with flavor and nutrition.  Start by tossing sliced rhubarb with honey and balsamic vinegar and then laying flat on a baking sheet.  Bake in a 450 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.  In the meantime, toss leafy greens (like kale, swiss chard, or spinach), 1 chopped shallot, and 1/2 cup shredded carrot together.  Divide into two bowls and place half the roasted rhubarb on top of each bowl.  Sprinkle on top of each: goat cheese crumbles, roasted sunflower seeds, salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.


Courtesy of Cotter Crunch


Check back next week for some burrito recipes, just in time for Cinco de Mayo.


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Today is National Mushroom Day and that’s reason to celebrate!  As nutritious as they are delicious, mushrooms are fat free, very low in sodium, cholesterol free, low in calories, high in Riboflavin, a good source of niacin, copper, and pantothenate.  While we usually think of mushrooms as a side dish or adding them to salads, they can also be featured as a main entrée.  This week, I’ve collected some main dish recipes that highlight mushrooms as the star.


Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Pasta is an easy dish to prepare on a busy weeknight.  Prepare 3/4 pound of whole wheat farfalle pasta according to package directions.  In the meantime, add 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and add 10 ounces of sliced white mushrooms, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 cup chopped shallots, and salt/pepper to taste.  Saute about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are tender.  Add 3 cups of baby spinach and cook until the spinach wilts.  Add 1/4 cup wine and cook about 2 minutes until liquid evaporates.  Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup half and half, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.  Serve with additional chopped parsley on top.


Courtesy of Spoonful of Flavor


Portobello Pot Roast is a delicious vegan alternative to the traditional recipe.  The meaty Portobello mushrooms, along with the potatoes and carrots will still give you that hearty, comfort food feeling you’re used to.  You’ll start this dish on the stovetop by sautéing the mushrooms in some wine.  Next, you’ll caramelize onions in wine and garlic, then remove the onions from the pan.  You’ll create a gravy by combining flour, sage, and basil together in a small bowl.  Slowly add to the pan you sautéed the onions in and add in vegetable broth, while stirring, until it makes a gravy.  Add potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to the gravy.  Finally, add the mushrooms and onions into the mixture and ladle into a ceramic or glass dish.  Cover and bake for one hour.  Serve hot.


Courtesy of A Virtual Vegan


Portobello Mushroom Pizza has all the great pizza flavor and is low carb!  The mushroom cap serves as the base of the pizza.  Heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Place a wire cooling rack on a baking sheet and place mushrooms top side down on the sheet.  Drizzle the caps with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle a handful of mozzarella on each cap and add a few slices of tomato, along with a bit of fresh basil.  Finish up with another sprinkling of fresh mozzarella.  Bake for 25 minutes until the mushrooms have softened and cheese has melted.


Courtesy of Life As A Strawberry


I’ll be back next week with a look at Rhubarb and how to use it in recipes.


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