Lemony Basil Pesto

Recipe excerpt from:
Everyday Celebrations from Scratch
by Maria Provenzano

Makes about 1 cup

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 heaping cups fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place the pine nuts in a shallow skillet over medium heat, tossing/stirring frequently. Toast until the nuts are fragrant and slightly brown. Be careful—this can happen quickly. Allow the pine nuts to cool. Place the Parmesan cheese, basil, cooled pine nuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, and garlic cloves into a food processor. Process all of the ingredients together for about 15 seconds. With the mixer running slowly, pour in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Process again to mix. If the pesto is too thick, add more olive oil. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 days.

Spa Citrus and Burrata Salad “Italiano”

Citrus Burrata Salad by Maria Provenzano

Recipe excerpt from:
Everyday Celebrations from Scratch
by Maria Provenzano

Serves 4

  • 2 grapefruit
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 (8 ounce) balls of burrata
  • 1/3 cup chopped mint
  • 1/3 cup chopped or torn basil
  • Edible flowers, optional
  • Olive Oil to taste
  • Honey to taste
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste, optional

Cut the grapefruit and oranges by cutting off the outer peel and the pith. Cut the fruit into about 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces, or segment the grapefruit and the oranges by using a knife to cut off the peel, then use a small sharp knife to cut between each segment to remove the pieces of the fruit. Whichever way you prefer. Place the burrata onto a platter and use your hands to break it up into smaller pieces around the platter. Place the cut grapefruit and oranges around the burrata.  Sprinkle the mint and basil over citrus and burrata. Place the edible flowers around the platter.  Lightly drizzle olive oil and honey over the top and then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste.  Adjust the flavors and add more of anything you like.

Peanut Beef Pad Thai

Lemon Brussel Sprout Salad by Jessica Formicola

Recipe excerpt from:
Beef It Up! – 50 Mouthwatering Recipes for Ground Beef, Steaks, Stews, Roasts, Ribs and More
by Jessica Formicola

When I tell you that you may never order Pad Thai at a restaurant again, I am not kidding. This recipe is that good and can be made with any protein, but obviously beef is my favorite. (Shrimp is a close second.) Many Pad Thai recipes call for tamarind paste, a slightly acidic and sweet ingredient that I don’t keep on hand because I don’t use it in any other recipes. My version skips the tamarind paste but provides just as much flavor.

Serves 4
Prep TIme: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes

  • 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 heaping tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 (14-ounce) package stir-fry rice noodles
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2pounds top sirloin, cut against the grain into thin 2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • 4 scallions, whites only, chopped
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  1. Whisk together the broth, sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce, and lime juice in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Cook the noodles according to package directions for al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Toss with 1 teaspoon of the oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  3. Season the beef with the salt. Heat another 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the beef on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate. Pour off any liquid and wipe the skillet with a paper towel.
  4. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the sugar snap peas and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper and carrots, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  5. Move the vegetables to one side of the skillet and crack the egg in the empty side. Using a spatula, scramble the egg right in the skillet until cooked, then mix it in with the vegetables. Return the beef to the skillet and pour the peanut sauce over the top. Toss in the rice noodles, coating all the ingredients well, and let everything heat through.
  6. Divide the Pad Thai among four serving bowls and top with the cilantro, peanuts, and scallions. Serve with lime wedges.

Cook’s Note: Fish sauce adds a deep umami flavor to many dishes. If you don’t have any in your pantry, you can use a little extra soy sauce instead.

Lemony Brussels Sprout Salad

Beef Pad Thai by Jessica Formicola

Recipe excerpt from:
Beef It Up! – 50 Mouthwatering Recipes for Ground Beef, Steaks, Stews, Roasts, Ribs and More
by Jessica Formicola

Not all salads start with lettuce or traditional leafy greens. Here the base is composed of crispy roasted Brussels sprouts, red potatoes, and onions. Topped with thinly sliced skirt steak and a tangy lemon-herb vinaigrette, it can be served as a small starter or an entire entrée.

Serves 4
Prep TIme: 15 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 large red potatoes, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound skirt steak
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3–4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Toss together the Brussels sprouts, potatoes, onion, and oil in a medium bowl. Scrape the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.
  3. Halfway through the vegetable cooking time, heat a large cast-iron pan or nonstick skillet
  4. over high heat. Season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides, then drop the steak in the pan, searing for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until just browned. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes. Slice into small strips.
  5. To assemble the salad, divide the roasted vegetables and the steak evenly among serving dishes. Top each dish with some Parmesan and 1 tablespoon lemon vinaigrette.

Lemon Vinaigrette

Makes 3/4 cup

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Combine the garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small food processor until mixed well. (Alternatively, finely mince the rosemary, sage, and thyme, then combine with the garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl.)
  2. Add the salt, pepper, mustard, sugar, and vinegar, and mix to create a paste. Whisk in the oil until emulsified.
  3. Set the vinaigrette aside for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week, and shake or stir well before serving.

Blooming Saffron or Saffron Tea

Saffron Tea and Simple Syrup

Recipe excerpt from:
Saffron
by Emily Brooke Sandor and Christina Xenos

Makes 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 ½ cup hot water
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads

Optional: honey for tea

  • Combine hot water and saffron threads and let steep for 10 minutes.
  • If serving as a tea, simply add honey to taste and serve. If using bloomed saffron for a recipe, pour saffron liquid into a glass jar, seal, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Store the jar of bloomed saffron in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Saffron Honey Simple Syrup

Saffron Tea and Simple Syrup

Recipe excerpt from:
Saffron
by Emily Brooke Sandor and Christina Xenos

Makes 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • ½ cup honey
  1. Combine water, sugar, and saffron threads over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the honey.
  3. Allow the mixture to steep in the pan for 10 minutes.
  4. Pour Saffron Honey Simple Syrup into a glass jar, seal, and allow syrup to cool to room temperature before using or storing.
  5. Store the jar of syrup in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Thai-Inspired Lettuce Wraps

Thai Inspired Lettuce Wraps by MJ Hong

Recipe excerpt from:
The One-Pan College Cookbook: 80 Easy Recipes for Quick, Good Food
by MJ Hong

Fresh and tangy flavors paired with crunchy vegetables make for a satisfying bite in these refreshing lettuce wraps. Use your favorite ground meat or omit it altogether and double up on the vegetables. You can also make this into a bowl and serve it over chopped fresh lettuce or cooked rice.

Serves 2
Prep TIme: 15 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound ground chicken, turkey, pork, or beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 carrot, diced or grated
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter or any nut butter
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Romaine or iceberg lettuce leaves
  1. In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the meat and cook, using a wooden spoon to break it up, for about 3 minutes, or until no longer pink.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, carrot, bell pepper, hoisin sauce, and peanut butter and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in the scallion, cilantro, and lime juice.
  4. To serve, separate the lettuce leaves and place on a plate. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the filling into the center of each leaf and eat taco-style.

REMIX TIP: For a Korean-inspired flavor, omit the hoisin sauce and peanut butter and instead add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. For spice, add 1 tablespoon of gochujang (Korean red chili paste).

Sheet Pan Chickpea and Broccoli Dinner

Sheet Pan Chickpea and Broccoli Dinner by Michelle Duidash

Recipe excerpt from:
Clean Eating Kitchen: The Low-Carb Mediterranean Cookbook
by Michelle Dudash

”You should make this for people,” my husband announced after eating my rendition of this dish. It’s easy to swap out different vegetables for whatever you have on hand, too. I have made this recipe with a variety of vegetable swaps depending on what I have on hand. My version here offers a Mediterranean flavor profile. We love them all.

  • 1 can (15-ounce) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small broccoli crown, chopped to the size of the chickpeas
  • 1 package (8-ounce) mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1⁄2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1⁄2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1⁄4 cup parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Diced avocado

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F convection.

Place the chickpeas, broccoli, mushrooms, red pepper, onion, garlic, liquid aminos, paprika, coriander, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and oil in a large bowl. Toss to coat everything evenly. Spread on a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Toss with two spatulas. Bake until the broccoli begins to brown, about 10 more minutes. Drizzle with the lemon juice and sprinkle with the parsley. Toss again.

Spoon into shallow bowls and top with the diced avocado.

Variations • If you don’t have a bell pepper on hand, I’ve swapped that with a large diced carrot—delish.

Total Prep and Cook Time: 1 Hour • Yield: 4 Servings

Per Serving: 183 Calories, 22 G Carbohydrate (6 G Fiber, 0 G Added Sugars, 16 G Net Carbs), 8 G Protein, 9 G Fat, 730 MG Sodium.

Mini Bell Peppers stuffed with Turkey and Pistachios

Mini Bell Peppers stuffed with Turkey and Pistachios by Michelle Dudash

Recipe excerpt from:
Clean Eating Kitchen: The Low-Carb Mediterranean Cookbook
by Michelle Dudash

I love those raw sweet mini bell peppers for snacking. Just wash and eat! They also look adorable stuffed with ground turkey and roasted as little appetizers. You can prep these a day in advance and pop them into the oven right before party time.

  • 1 (1-pound) bag mini bell peppers (about 16)
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey (93% lean)
  • 1⁄3 cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander (see Recipe Note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut off the tops of the peppers right between the straight sides and the rounded shoulders. Pull out the seeds and membranes using your fingers or dislodge with a paring knife. Poke a hole into the pointy tips of the peppers, making an air gap to allow for easier stuffing.

In a medium bowl, combine the turkey, pistachios (reserving 2 tablespoons for later), vinegar, cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, coriander, cinnamon, and pepper. Using a small spoon or butter knife, stuff the peppers with the turkey, leaving a nice rounded top protruding out a bit at the top of the peppers. Gently roll the meat ends of the peppers into the reserved pistachios. Place the peppers on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Bake until the largest peppers are blistered and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Suggestions and Variations
For a pepper-free version, you can shape the turkey into small patties and sauté in a bit of olive oil over medium heat.

Recipe Note
My preferred way to buy coriander is as whole seeds and then grinding only the amount I need in a mortar and pestle. It adds texture to the dish, where a fine powder can’t. And the aroma is dreamy. It’s one of my favorite spices, and I use it in Asian-style stir-fries, chili, and meat rubs.

Total prep and cook time: 30 minutes • Yield: 16 Servings, 1 Pepper Each

Per Serving: 57 Calories, 2 G Carbohydrate (1 G Fiber, 0 G Added Sugars, 1 G Net Carbs), 5 G Protein, 4 G Fat, 85 MG Sodium.

Zucchini And Corn Pancakes with Cilantro Crema

Zucchini And Corn Pancakes by Jonathan Bardzik

Recipe excerpt from:
Simple Summer: a recipe for joy and connection (Second Edition)
by Jonathan Bardzik

Serves 6

Zucchini and corn pancakes – think latkes – are sweet and savory, crisp on the outside and creamy inside with the corn kernels popping as you bite into them. The refreshing cilantro crema perfectly balances the warm, summery flavors of the pancakes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups grated zucchini, about 2 medium
  • 2 ears corn, kernels removed
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 2 tbs fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/4 tsp Spanish paprika*
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 3-4 tbs olive oil
  • Cream

*Spanish paprika has a wonderful smoky flavor. You can substitute Hungarian paprika.

Cilantro Crema:

  • 1 cup créme fraîche
  • 2 tbs cream or buttermilk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Directions:

Prepare zucchini: Place grated zucchini in colander, sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and leave for 15-20 minutes to drain. Wrap zucchini in a tea towel and squeeze out as much water as you can.

Make pancake batter: Place zucchini in large bowl with corn, egg, basil, garlic, parmesan, paprika, pepper and potato starch. Mix. If the batter is too dry, add a tablespoon or two of cream.

Make crema: place crème fraîche, cream, garlic and cilantro in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook pancakes: Cook over medium-low heat in 1/4 cup pancakes, turning once. The low heat allows the outsides to get crispy and brown, while the centers remain creamy.

Serve pancakes with cilantro crema and, if desired, a drizzle of honey over the top.

TIP: When first mixing the batter leave it a little dry. The zucchini will release some water while you make the crema.

TIP: The batter will seem a bit loose with the corn falling away. Never fear, just shape them into a pancake in the skillet and they will hold together with the right delicate texture when cooked