Cucumber Salad with Mint, Basil and Trader Joe’s EBTB Seasoning

Guys, I am so into mint and basil chopped up on and in everything (see: herbed turkey meatballs). One of my 2019 Bucket List items was finishing dishes with fresh herbs or lemon/lime, and I’ve been all over it all year, but especially so now that the weather has finally broken.

This time of year begs for fresh flavors, crisp veggies, and overall light and quick meals. Really, who wants to turn on the stove anyway?! And less time in the kitchen means more time outside, or at the beach, lake or pool. Sign me up!

Three Bean Dip Recipe

I can’t decide if this is a three bean dip or a three bean salsa – what do you guys think? Honestly, salsa to me needs tomatoes and there aren’t any tomatoes in this recipe – so we’re going with a dip! And this dip is so quick, so easy and is so versatile!

With Memorial Day Weekend quickly approaching (seriously, where has the time gone this year?!), I’ve been thinking more about quick and easy dishes for all the BBQs were planning to have this summer. We’ve spent time getting the yard ready for hosting and really can’t wait to have friends and family over all season long.

Cobb Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing Recipe

Don’t you find it so absolutely easy to fall into a salad rut? Especially if it’s something you have basically every day for lunch. How many times can you have chicken + lettuce + some kind of veg? Too many! So, I’m working in these cobb salads to help shake things up a bit. Plus, homemade ranch dressing doesn’t hurt either.

It’s all about the toppings with a good salad, isn’t it? For these, I just went with tomatoes, bacon, gorgonzola, hard boiled eggs, marinated grilled chicken and Trader Joe’s chili corn salsa (because I’m 100% obsessed with the stuff, but also because I forgot to buy an ear of corn). I’d also recommend throwing avocado slices on this guy, too!

Quick & Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

There are so many reasons I love warmer weather, but for sure I love the change of food. The things that are in season and the foods we start to crave as the temperatures rise changes so much, doesn’t it? There are two things that feel like the true start of the warmer months to me: a cheeseburger and a cold pasta salad. Today, we’re talking about a quick and easy pesto pasta salad with just a few ingredients and almost no effort.

If you entertain a lot during the summer months, or even go to friends’ and family a lot in the summer months, a solid pasta salad is perfect to have in your back pocket. With the right ingredients a pasta salad can be so refreshing and the perfect side dish for grilling.

Burrata & Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Anytime I share a salad “recipe” I really question whether or not this can even be called a “recipe.” I mean, yes, there’s a list of ingredients and a “method,” and therefore it is, but really this is just some straight up #saladporn right now. I love burrata, and in fact I’ve tried on several occasions to make it and failed miserably. But guys. Let’s just put this shit on everything. On salads, sandwiches, on it’s own, on pasta, on pizza. It’s just so freaking good.

I think I love the creaminess of the burrata – doesn’t it just feel so decadent? Not to mention, it’s an excellent vehicle for salt, pepper and balsamic glaze. And for the people in your life that might not be huge fans of salad (looking at you, hubby), it seems that popping a nice ball of burrata on top will convert them – at least for that meal.

Smoked Salmon Niçoise Salad Recipe

Apparently I’m very much into salads the past few weeks! The idea for this one came out of thinking about a fun menu for a girls’ brunch and something that you could put on a huge platter for everyone to take for themselves. I do love a niçoise salad and thought that with a few tweaks, we could make it a solid brunch salad recipe.

A niçoise salad, originally from Nice, France, often includes tomatoes, eggs, olives, string beans, potatoes and tuna. Since the tomatoes aren’t great this time of year, I used fresh persian cucumbers that have a to-die-for crunch. They feel so fresh! Then, I made breakfast potatoes instead of just boiled potatoes, to really bring that brunch vibe to the plate.

I didn’t like the idea of tuna at a brunch, so smoked salmon is the obvious choice here! I topped the salmon with a bit of the Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning – it totally works for this. Very brunchy vibe.

Roasted Beet Salad with Pistachios & Goat Cheese

When I was a kid, I had such a thing for pickled beets. Sweet. Sour. Totally my jam. I still love some pickled beets, but I also really, really love roasted beets! They’re so good – a little meaty, a little earthy, just a hint of sweet and 100% satisfying.

As the weather has started to break, I’ve been very into salads. This one is just so simple, and you can roast beets to enjoy for the whole week. AND it’s elegant enough for entertaining – win win in my book.

I also think it’s very possible that I love beets because they make such a wonderful vehicle for salt. And y’all should know how much I love salt by now – I mean, I bring it back from every vacation we take! I love beets with a sel gris. It gives a little extra briney flavor that I just can’t get enough of. Plus, like the pistachios, it gives you a crunch to the buttery soft beets.

Dinner Salads with Marinated Chickpeas & Cilantro Vinaigrette

For some reason, when I think about dinner I rarely consider salads. I think I have this idea in my head that when I’m making dinner for my husband it has to be a “thing” and a salad isn’t a “thing.” I usually think of it as needing to make a protein and a vegetable – but hello! Dinner salads are a protein and a vegetable!

I made this salad to be served along side the Turkey & Candied Bacon Paninis from yesterday, so I opted to use marinated chickpeas instead of a steak, chicken or shrimp. You can totally add an animal or fish protein to this salad to up the ante for an actual dinner salad! You do you boo, right?!

It’s hard to keep things fresh and new, especially when you’re talking about weekday cooking. Usually, I go to my go-to vinaigrette recipe, but it really can get a little old. There’s only so many times I can eat salad without getting bored, let alone salad with the same mustard-vinegar-lemon-olive-oil combo. So, for this salad I whipped up a cilantro vinaigrette (which I served with roasted potatoes, too!) – and I’m a better woman for it.

An Easy Kale Salad for Christmas Eve

Getting the menu right for a holiday is all about balance. I try not to, for example, have too many carb-heavy dishes because you don’t want your guests to feel bloated. Plus, I’m really all about the sides. Plus, the sides can be so colorful! I love the sweetness and the crunchieness of this salad paired with the creamy bolognese pasta I’m serving up on Christmas Eve.

Can I let you guys in on a little secret? I don’t like kale. Well, I didn’t. And I was like, “you have to massage your kale? Too much work.” This coming from the girl who goes to 4 grocery stores every weekend just to shop for the week. I mean, really? So anyway, I made this salad, and I massaged the kale, because nobody has time for bitter kale, and I actually apparently really like it!

6 Things I Buy Every Week at the Grocery Store

Okay, this should probably be called “6 Things I Buy Every Week at the Grocery Store but Mostly Trader Joe’s.” Loving to cook, I rarely make the same exact thing every week, but I do have a few staples I can’t live without. And there’s something about those Trader Joe’s goodies that are just superior to basically all major chain things I buy!

I love these peppers, and they’re better priced than the peppers at our major chains. A roasted pepper is so versatile, too! Throw it into pasta salad, into an omelet, on a sandwich, in a salad, and even with meats and cheese for impromptu guests. We go through at least a jar a week.

Another TJ’s must have: low fat feta. I’m obsessed. Again, crumbled over eggs, in a salad, sprinkled into rice (with spinach, kalamata olives & lemon? mmhmm, yes please). It lasts forever, but in our house, it lasts about a week.

Artichoke hearts are another perfect pantry item – keep them around to throw on a meat and cheese plate with your roasted red peppers! Trader Joe’s has delicious artichokes (and awesome grilled ones that have so, so much flavor!). I’m partial to throwing these on a cold pasta salad, especially now in the summer months, my regular salad, baked with spinach and cheese over chicken….they do all the things!

Okay. Do y’all know the joy of this Herdez Guacamole Salsa? I am literally obsessed. On salad, on chicken, on steak, on sauteed veggies, on grilled veggies, on raw veggies, on tacos. Give me all the guacamole salsa! This is the one thing I absolutely have to go to the big chain grocer for each week. I will make a special trip just for this salsa when it runs out. You can find it in the Mexican section at the store.

I’m sure everyone buys some sort of greens every week. I actually get this spring mix at Costco. It lasts longer than the regular grocery store, is so super delicious, and is like $3.99 for the ginormous size. I have a salad most days for lunch, so we can easily go through 1-2 of these a week. But they last about 10 days! Especially if you do the paper-towel-on-top-of-the-greens trick. You know, to sop up all the condensation from the lid?

I l-0-v-e mustard. This mustard is the best, we go through a jar every 5 days, easily. I’ve even sauteed zucchini in this mustard! But really it’s the secret to my creamy vinaigrette dressing, and what I use to make a traditional vinaigrette, too (which I put on everything).

 

What are your go-tos each week that you have to have?