We tend to really switch our eating habits as soon as it starts to warm up.  I am a BIG fan of comfort food and/or anything I can possibly cook in my Le Creuset dutch oven!  But there really isn’t anything easier or yummier than grilled food in my opinion.  A friend recently asked what I like to cook once summer rolls around, so I thought I would share my top recipes with all of you too!

{via myrecipes.com}

Our very favorite…  Barbecue Roasted Salmon is a go to anytime of year.  During the summer however, I like to soak some cedar planks in water while the fish marinates and then grill the salmon on the planks instead of turning on the hot oven. This is a total winner! No joke…better than a restaurant. Definitely one for when you have company over for dinner.

{via instagram}

Another easy and oh so good recipe, Grilled Apricots with Arugala, Burrata and Country Ham.  I wing it a little more by sometimes using peaches or nectarines instead (whatever looks best at the store) and then I usually just drizzle good olive oil and balsamic on top. Oh and prosciutto…I always use prosciutto. Yum!

I’m married to a central Cali boy, so to say he loves artichokes is sort of an understatement.  This Grilled Artichokes with Creamy Champagne Vinaigrette recipe totally beats out any other way of cooking ‘chokes. Delicious!

 

 {via aphotographerscookbook.com}

I love making this dish when I really don’t feel like cooking or we’ve been at the beach all day and I’m absolutely beat. Roasted Shrimp with Orzo  is full of flavor and great to make for a large group of people!

And this one I’ve featured on the blog before, but Grilled Steak Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette is  SUCH a winner I had to share it again. My hubby demolishes this when I serve it and my kid actually likes it too and she doesn’t really like red meat or tomato!

 

{via Pinterest}

Oh and just a little something I pinned recently that has quickly become a morning staple in our house, this yummy Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie . Such a great post workout drink!

So, I hope I’ve given you some yummy new ideas for summertime eating! I’m sure I’ll be sharing more fun warm weather recipes in the next few weeks. 

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Weekday mornings are usually a crazy whirlwind.  I jump out of bed, after hitting the snooze on my iPhone twice and quickly go through my routine…..

Brush teeth and hair

Turn on kitchen lights and tv news softly (just to wake myself up more)

Run out to kitchen and start coffee

Feed all the pets

Make Ellie’s lunch (If I didn’t already do this the night before)

Start Ellie’s breakfast (More like assemble because she only wants cereal usually)

Go wake her up…throw off her covers, open roman shades, turn on light and then carry…yes carry her highness into the dining room for breakfast.

Then from there it’s a mad dash to clean up, get her dressed and packed up for school, get myself dressed (Thank God for workout clothes!), rush out the door and get her to school on time. If it’s a workout morning I sneak in a yogurt and/or banana before we leave.  But it’s the days I have just a little more time to myself after dropping her off that I relish.  It’s usually a day that I have lots of office work to get done and no client meetings. Those mornings I like to treat myself to a nicer breakfast. And this one fits the bill perfectly!

Serves 6

(I only used one egg and then adjusted the rest accordingly since I was the only one eating it)

Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

6 large eggs

2 bunches pencil thin asparagus

Canola oil

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

2 cups torn country bread

extra virgin olive oil

aged balsamic vinegar

fleur de sel

Poach eggs. Bring 6-8 inches of water to a boil in a deep saucepan. Prepare an ice bath.  Add the vinegar to the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Crack 1 egg into a small cup or ramekin. Using a wooden spoon, stir the water at the edges of the pan twice in a circular motion to get the water moving. Then add the egg to the center and simmer gently 1 1/2 minutes or until white is set but yolk is still runny. With a slotted spoon, transfer egg to ice bath. Skim off any foam that has risen to the top of water and repeat with remaining eggs, one at a time.

Peel or trim asparagus stalks if necessary. Spread asparagus out on a platter or baking sheet and drizzle generously with canola oil (I used olive oil) and season with salt and pepper. Grill asparagus on an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan. I used a cast iron skillet because I was only making it for myself and the skillet was easier to manage. It worked fine.  Cook 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side.

With the grill or pan still hot toast some of the torn country bread. This was very easy to do in the cast iron skillet. There was still oil at the bottom, so the large chunks just toasted off of that. Worked  great! Takes about 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Lower the cooked, poached eggs into the simmering water for about 30 seconds, just to reheat. Blot on paper towels after. Note..you can cook the asparagus first, then the eggs so that the eggs don’t get cold. This works if you are only making this for one or two people.

Arrange some asparagus on plate, then some prosciutto and croutons. Lay an egg on the asparagus then drizzle all with olive oil and balsamic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. SO GOOD!

 

 

There you have it. Super easy!  And it would also be a nice weekend breakfast. Of course the kids probably would want nothing to do with it. Their loss. Oh…and this is also a really nice light dinner.  It goes really well with a chilled white wine!

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It’s no secret that I LOVE summer!  My little girl and I share a July birthday and combined with all the beach days, bicycle rides, bbqs, ice cream cones and outdoor concerts…well it pretty much encompasses all the things I love in life.

As far as our dinners around here, I have definitely been switching things up and making my menus a bit more light and grill friendly.  This yummy recipe was an older one I stumbled across in my recipe folder filled with lots of handwritten recipes and torn out pages from magazines.  You will NOT be disappointed!  The hubby and I SCARFED up our food, it was that good.

To make it a little kid friendly I just sliced up the steak, made her a simple salad of lettuce, carrots and garbanzo beans on the side and added a slice of the DELICIOUS grilled ciabatta . She was happy!

So get all the ingredients before this weekend and make sure you don’t forget a nice bottle of wine to go with! This is perfect for a relaxing dinner on the patio.

Makes 4-6 Servings

40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound hanger, skirt, or flank steak

1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more

Freshly ground black pepper

1 medium tomato (about 6 ounces) halved

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 cup plus 5 teaspoons of olive oil, divided

4 spring onions or 6 scallions, bulbs halved, dark-green parts discarded

5 1/2- inch thick slices ciabatta

8 cups mixed summer lettuces (such as mizuna, baby mustard greens, and tatsoi) *I just used baby herb greens and it was great!*

3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into 1/2 inch strips

Preparation:

Season steaks with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper; set aside.  Grate cut sides of tomato on coarse holes of a box grater into a medium bowl down to the skin; discard skin. Add shallot and vinegar; whisk in 1/4 cup oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside. Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead.

Heat a gas grill to high.  Toss spring onions in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill onions until just tender, 2-3 minutes per side.  Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 2″ pieces.

Grill steak until seared and cooked to desired doneness, 3-5 minutes per side for medium rare, depending on steak’s thickness.  Transfer to a cutting board. Let rest, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make croutons.  Brush both sides of bread slices with remaining 4 teaspoons (or more) oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill bread until dark golden brown and nicely charred in spots, about 2 minutes per side.  Set toast aside until cool enough to handle, then break into roughly 1″ pieces.

Thinly slice steak against the grain.  Toss lettuces, basil, spring onions, croutons, and some of the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add steak and toss gently to coat.  Serve with remaining vinaigrette along side.

Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

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December 29, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

by Shelly

I had completely intended on posting one or two posts before Christmas hit.  But alas plans were a bit altered when I realized I had to get my butt in gear to host the holiday and I only had a few days to prep before the in laws came to visit.  Christmas came….we ate, we drank, we laughed, and lounged…a lot.  My tradition each holiday is to NOT make the same ol’ thing.  This years’ menu contenders were a hit and I may just have to put a few of the dishes on holiday rotation.

The Christmas Eve table setting…..

Unlike holidays’ past, I decided to take down the decorations and completely de-Christmasfy the house before New Years.  I am just done done done with jingle bells, reindeer, glitter, etc.  DONE!  I left a few wintery items up like the knit pillows and the Pendleton blankets on the sofas and chairs however.

Well with the cleaning out and lightening up of the house, I usually also feel the need to internally “clean house” and eat lighter. The rain has come back today in So Cal and this soup (recipe here) is just the thing to start eating healthy again after all the rich holiday foods.  Fresh chicken meatballs, spinach, a light broth….yum!

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The hot weather that has been plaguing the Southern California area this month is just about getting on my last nerve.  After a long sweltering summer, I would love for the weather to turn a little cooler so I can sport my new boots and make yummy comfort food.  But alas, I think it will be a few more weeks before we feel a significant change towards Fall.
Last Friday, was the annual school carnival at our kiddo’s school.  This is a huge fundraiser for the school and they hold a large bake sale as part of the fundraising efforts.  This gave me the perfect chance to try out a recipe I’ve had in my file for a while now.  I baked two batches for school and after treating myself with one of the cupcakes as reward for my hard work, I knew that weekend I would have to bake up another batch for the family.

THEY WERE SOOO GOOD!

I promise I won’t tell on you if you decide to have one with your morning coffee.

Of course I didn’t do that…

*wink wink*

but you can!

ha!

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