Broccoli Crunch Salad

July 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Taking a slight break from my emerging trends week. Hey, it’s a holiday. My mom asked me to make something with veggies for her birthday yesterday and I immediately thought of the broccoli crunch salad they make at Whole Foods. Partly because it has cashews in it which is my mom’s guilty pleasure, but mostly because it is an incredibly addicting crisp, sweet, delicious crunchy salad. Perfect for summer.

I scoured the internet to find the recipe but it seems like none is out there. I did find the list of ingredients provided by Whole Foods and I took on the rest. I made it once yesterday, and again today because we were supposed to save half for my aunt’s 4th of July party and well, that didn’t happen so here I am again making the recipe.  The recipe only takes about 15 minutes tops.

Broccoli, bacon bits, currants, golden raisins, and candied cashews in a honey-chipotle mayo dressing.

Cashews candy-ing on the stove. I remove them as soon as the sugar dissolves and they barely get that toasted look on the bottoms.

When chopping the broccoli I turned the head upside down and hacked fairly close to the head to get perfect bite-sized pieces.

For the recipe- I personally like my salad a little light on the dressing to balance out with the rest of the components. If you’re one of those people that likes the dressing to dominate the salad then I’d suggest doubling up. I got the best feedback from my two-year old nephew who, upon his first bite, actually did a little happy dance. Love it.

Broccoli Crunch Salad


  • 2 medium heads of fresh broccoli
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 strips turkey bacon
  • 2/3 cup roasted and salted cashews
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
  • 2 tsp honey


  1. Candy the cashews by cooking in a medium-sized skilled with sugar, dust with cayenne.
  2. Remove from heat and lay out on waxed paper to cool once sugar is dissolved and nuts are slightly browned.
  3. While the nuts cook, prepare the turkey bacon and allow to cool. 
  4. Wash and chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl.
  5. Once bacon has cooled, chop into small bits, set aside.
  6. In a separate bow, combine mayo, chipotle sauce, and honey.
  7. Stir dressing into broccoli, then add currants, raisins, bacon bits, and cashews.

Roasted beet salad with almond butter and gorgonzola pouches

July 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

I made a fantastic roasted beet salad for Father’s Day- the combination of flavors was unexpected but it turned out great! I tweaked a recipe I found on Epicurious by adding the “gorgonzola pouches”- a different way to incorporate the typical crouton and cheese.

For almond butter:
  • 1/2 cup toasted Marcona almonds
  • 1/2 garlic clove, chopped
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
For beet salad:
  • 1 1/2 pounds small (2-inch) beets, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for roasting
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives

For Gorgonzola pouches:

  • Frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • melted butter
  • 2 oz crumbled gorgonzola

Make gorgonzola pouches:

On a greased baking sheet, lay out one sheet of phyllo and brush with melted butter. Layer five more sheets and brush with melted butter between each sheet. Place 1-2 tablespoons cheese in the center and fold the corners in to make a pouch. Bake the pouches until corners are browned, about 7-10 minutes- you can throw them in the oven while the beets roast.

Make almond butter:
Grind almonds to a paste with garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cayenne in a food processor. With motor running, add just enough oil to make a silky paste. Season with salt.

Make beet salad:
Rub beets with olive oil, wrap in foil, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 60 minutes.

After beets have cooled you should be able to peel the skin off with your fingers. First slice horisonatally into rounds, then again into bite-sized wedges.

Whisk together vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl, then whisk in oil. Add shallot and chives and toss with beets.

Divide almond butter among 6 plates and top with beet salad. Put a gorgonzola pouch on each salad and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Pasta with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

April 23, 2010 § 1 Comment

This is my current go-to pasta dish because it is so fresh and delicious and yet takes less than 20 minutes to make. It is also really healthy- I can’t tell you how many calories because I live life according to Weight Watchers points but I can tell you it is five points and packed with fiber, yay! Wait- add two points for the honkin’ glass of red wine.

I started by roasting the red pepper and starting a pot of salted water to boil.

Roasting peppers is way easy- just preheat your broiler and set the oven rack close to the top, place a pepper half on a baking sheet, skin side up and spray with olive oil, then broil until it looks like this- black and bubbly. As soon as it’s ready, transfer to a bowl, cover and let it sit there for 5-10 minutes to cook some more.

After it is done (your water should be boiling so put in the pasta and set to 7-10 minutes or until it is to your preferred al dente) you should be able to pull off the blackened skin with your fingers. Do that, then cut the pepper into tiny chunks and mash with a potato masher or a fork to extract the juices.

Next, combine the peppers and pasta with the sour cream, cayenne, salt and pepper and presto!

Funny side note- I’m new to the whole food photography and being a perfectionist it took me forever to get the pictures right. I ended up having to pop the pasta in the microwave because it got too cold! I just finished eating said pasta and it was sooo good!


Serves one

  • 1 cup whole wheat pasta
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper
  • spray olive oil
  • 2 tbsp light sour cream
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. preheat the broiler to 550 degrees and move the rack closest to the top. Bring a pot of salted water to boiling
  2. on a baking sheet, set pepper skin side up and spray with olive oil
  3. broil the red pepper until skins turn black and bubble- about 10 minutes
  4. when water reaches boiling, add pasta and cook 7-10 minutes or until al dente
  5. after red peppers are done cooking, remove and immediately transfer to a bowl and cover for 10 minutes
  6. remove pepper skins with your hands, shop into small bits, then mash with a fork
  7. combine pepper, pasta, sour cream, cayenne, salt and pepper and enjoy!

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting (with directions on how to make a sugar-free version)

October 6, 2009 § Leave a comment

Fall is my favorite cooking season!! Pumpkin, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Cinnamon, don’t get me started. My grandmother has diabetes so I substituted sugar in both the cookie and frosting recipe with baking Splenda. They were good but had that saccharine sweet taste you only get from sugar-free food so I can’t wait to make them again with the real stuff. Oh and Grandma approved 🙂



for the cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the frosting

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies.
  4. For frosting, in a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar.

Wild Mushroom Pizza with Yukon Gold Potato, Arugula, and Rosemary

July 13, 2009 § 1 Comment

mushroom pizza

I came up with this recipe today! I was inspired by two pizzas at the trendy Tom Douglas restaurant Serious Pie, instead of replicating each one- I made a seriously healthy hybrid of the two. Serves two.


  • 10″ frozen pizza crust (I like Whole Foods’ Spelt Pizza)
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs truffle oil (optional)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 tbs fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs wild mushrooms (chantarelle, shitake, portabello), chopped
  • 1 cup arugula
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper


  1. preheat oven according to pizza crust instructions
  2. boil the potatoes until it is soft when pierced, remove and run under cold water until cool to touch
  3. Slice the potatoes crosswise into 1/4 inch medallions
  4. spray a pan with cooking spray and crisp potatoes on med heat, about 5 minutes. Add a dash of salt
  5. meanwhile in a larger pan sprayed with cooking spray, sautee garlic and mushrooms until tender, about 6 minutes
  6. spread olive oil on pizza crust, then follow with rosemary
  7. layer arugula, potato, and mushrooms on the pizza. drizzle with truffle oil and season with salt and pepper to taste
  8. bake according to pizza crust instructions

Penne alla Vodka recipe for the calorie conscious

July 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

penne alla vodka

Believe it or not I was able to take an already low-calorie dish from Weight Watchers and cut the points by over HALF by replacing the white pasta with wheat, and subbing out half of the heavy whipping cream for fat-free milk. The key to this recipe is serving it immediately from the pan- and the best part is it tastes like it is chock-full of fat. I like to add a couple dashes or two of Cayenne pepper (for those of you like me that are watching your girlish figure- spicy food is a great addition to food that will fill you up faster and increase metabolism.)


  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallot(s), minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
  • 2 tbsp parsley, fresh, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, or other coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 3 tbsp canned tomato paste
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste (for cooking pasta)
  • 20 leaves basil, fresh, cut into ribbons (chiffonade)
  • 12 oz cooked whole wheat pasta
  • 1/4 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
  • 1/4 cup(s) heavy whipping cream


  1. Heat a large skillet over a medium-low heat.
  2. Add butter, shallots and garlic; sauté until shallots start to caramelize, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add parsley, sea salt and pepper, stirring once or twice.
  4. Add tomato paste and mix to form a paste. Cook for about 5 minutes, moving paste around pan occasionally; add vodka. Scrap bottom of pan with a wooden spoon and cook for about 5 minutes more.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
  6. Add milk/cream to tomato sauce; reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3 minutes.
  7. Add pasta to sauce and mix to coat; top with basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

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