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Posts tagged “Goat Cheese

Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad

With Goat Cheese Crumbles and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese

It’s one of the last lazy summer Sundays we have left and I’m thinking about peaches. It’s that peachy time of year when you are assaulted with their beauty every time you walk into the store and you can’t help but put some in the shopping cart. And then I get home and wonder what to DO with them all!

So of course the first thing I must make is a good salad. Fresh seasonal fruit is so lovely in salad. Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles

Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles

and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • Mixed greens
  • Chicken (1 patty or breast per person)
  • Peaches (1 peach per person)
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Roasted, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette (recipe below)

First, make the dressing and set aside. Cook (or reheat) the chicken and chop into pieces.  (This is a good use for leftover chicken!) Make a good bed for your salad on a big salad plate or bowl.  Pit the peaches and cut into chunks. Tuck the chicken pieces and peach bits in and around the greens, sprinkle with goat cheese and pistachios, and drizzle with the dressing.

Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles

Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container. Before use, take it out of the fridge for a few minutes to let the olive oil “melt” again (it will solidify in the fridge) and shake well.

This is a #peachlove post.

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This recipe was also shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsRecipe of the Week, Fit & Fabulous FridaysSummer Salad Sundays and Scrumptious Sundays.

Chicken & Blueberry Salad

with Goat Cheese, Sweet Onions, Toasted Almonds and a Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

Blueberry Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese, Almonds & Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

I went to the kitchen the other day to find myself some lunch … started pulling things out of the fridge and this is what came of it. I made my daughter a pretty salad with just lettuce and strawberries too while I was at it. I cooked her up a piece of salmon too. I thought about putting some salmon on my salad, but decided that chicken would go better with the blueberries.

For the dressing, I decided on my Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette … I think you could probably make the dressing with blueberries in place of the cherries and it would go even better with this particular salad, but the cherry taste was quite nice on there too.

Blueberry Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese, Almonds & Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

Chicken & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese, Sweet Onions & Toasted Almonds

  • 1 hot, cooked chicken patty (or boneless chicken breast if you prefer) for each serving
  • Mixed greens
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Sweet onions, sliced thin
  • Almonds, lightly toasted
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (recipe below)
  • Violets or other edible flowers for garnish (optional)

Cook up your chicken. While that’s cooking, fill a salad bowl most of the way with greens. Top with as many blueberries as you desire, then sprinkle with sweet onions, almonds, and crumbles of goat cheese. Chop up and add the chicken, drizzle with the dressing, and  garnish with flowers just before serving.

Chicken & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese, Almonds & Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

This is the dressing I used in my Cherry Beef Salad. You can make it with blueberries in place of the cherries if you prefer.

  • 10 sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 cup Malbec (or other red wine)
  • 2 Tablespoons cherry (or berry) syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • a few fresh basil leaves
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • a few sprigs of fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional, but they add nutritional value and help thicken the dressing)

In a handi chopper, blender or food process, blend up all the ingredients well till the cherries and garlic are fully pureed. Store in a covered bottle in the fridge.

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sundays, Summer Salad Sundays, Manic Monday and Made it by Monday.

Pesto Shrimp Mini-Pizzas

with fresh grape tomatoes, goat cheese & pinons

Pesto Shrimp Mini Pizzas with Goat Cheese & Pinons

If I had to choose one favorite pizza topping, this would be it. Shrimp, pesto, and goat cheese with fresh tomato and pinons are such an elegant combination of flavors, and if you have pizza crusts (or english muffins!) and pesto on hand, they are so quick and simple to put together.

I made these little mini-pizza crusts for the party last weekend, but we didn’t actually eat them at the party. I served some to my friends at the “after-the-party” party, though, and they were very well received. And now my daughter is loving having the little mini-crusts on hand. I’ve made her mini-pizzas for dinner a couple times this week already. I think this mini pizza craze might become a regular thing at my house. They are even better than the individual-sized crusts I normally make because they’re minis! Small, bite-sized food is just so fun.

When the basil is rampant, I make pesto & freeze it so I always have some on hand. I pretty much always have some pizza crusts in the freezer too.

Pesto Shrimp Mini Pizzas with Grape Tomatoes, Goat Cheese & Pinons

Pesto Shrimp Mini Pizzas with Grape Tomatoes, Goat Cheese & Pinons

The great thing about these pizzas is you can pre-make everything and keep it in the freezer, so you can have little gourmet pizzas on the table in no time.

  • Pre-made mini pizza crusts (recipe below) or English muffins … or a regular-sized pizza crust if you want to make this as a bigger pizza. You could certainly do this as a grilled pizza too …
  • Pesto (my pesto recipe is here)
  • Crumbled goat cheese
  • Frozen, pre-cooked shrimp, thawed
  • Fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • Pinons (pine nuts)

Spread the pizza crusts with pesto and crumbled goat cheese. Top with lots of shrimp and mini tomato halves. Sprinkle with pinons. Bake at 400 for about 10 – 12 minutes or until the nuts are toasted and light brown and the pizzas are good and hot.

Pesto Shrimp Mini Pizzas with Tomato, Goat Cheese, and Pinons

Beer Pizza Crusts

  • 1 cup beer (I used Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat this time)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Put all ingredients into the bread machine and put it on the dough setting. When the dough is done, divide it into 24 balls of roughly equal size. I did this by cutting the dough in half, then cutting each one in half again, then each piece into three and then cutting each of those into half. Use cornmeal on your work surface to keep the balls from sticking. Shape each ball into a disc shape, set on a flat pizza peel or cutting board dusted with cornmeal, cover with a towel and let rest about 5 – 10 minutes. Then gently stretch each one into a slightly larger disc, cover and let rest until they have risen to the desired size. Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes or until a light golden brown in color. You can throw them in a bag and freeze them at this point and pull them out as needed for snacks or dinner.

This recipe was featured at Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen Seafood Frenzy Fridays.

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s TreasuresTastetastic Thursday, KM’s Seafood BloghopFoodie Fridays, and Manic Monday.

Mulberry, Goat Cheese & Avocado Salad

on Mixed Greens with Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Mulberry, Goat Cheese & Avocado Salad with Pinons & Goat Cheese

Hey guess what?  I’m guest posting on Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen today … it’s a yummy salad I made with my mulberries.

Mulberry, Goat Cheese & Avocado Salad on Mixed Greens with Pine Nuts & a Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Go on over to Carrie’s blog and check it out!

Mulberry, Goat Cheese & Avocado Salad on Mixed Greens with Pine Nuts & a Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysFoodie Friends Friday, EveryDay Mom’s Meals and Summer Salad Sunday.

Red, White, & Blueberry Salad

with Goat Cheese, Pinons, and a Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Dressing

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese & Toasted Pinons

My foodie friend Justine over at Full Belly Sisters has been making red, white and blue foods like crazy lately … which got me thinking … I need to make a red, white and blue salad! It’s been in my head for a week, waiting to come to life. I’m so glad I finally took time to make it today (even though my son was upset with me for making something for myself since we had agreed to go out for lunch today … hey, it’s just a salad!)

Besides being just the right colors for the 4th of July, it’s got just the right mix of sweet, creamy, tangy and crunchy to make a super-delicious salad. Tangy goat cheese pairs so well with berries, sweet onions kick up the flavor just slightly, the pinons add a soft crunch and a slight sweet nutty flavor, and the lime and ginger yogurt dressing takes it over the top.

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pinons

And you know what else? Before eating this salad, I felt tired and run down. But AFTER eating this delectable salad, my body felt so refreshed, revived, ready to go! Besides, all those gorgeous colors are a feast for the eyes …

Red, White & Blueberry Salad

with Goat Cheese, Pinons, and a Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Dressing

  • Mixed Greens
  • Fresh Strawberries, washed and sliced
  • Fresh Sweet Blueberries, washed
  • Sweet onion, sliced  and roughly chopped
  • Pinon nuts and/or almond slices, lightly toasted
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Salad Dressing (recipe below0
Fill the bowl most of the way full of mixed greens. Arrange/tuck a bunch of sliced strawberries and fresh whole blueberries amongst the greens, then sprinkle on the nuts and crumbles of goat cheese . Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pinons

Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

In a small bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together until they are well mixed. Keep any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

Red, White, and Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese & Toasted Pinons

By the way, Justine at Full Belly Sisters made a Red, White & Blue Salad too! Go check out her version.

This recipe was shared at Patriotic Potluck, Summer Salad SundaysScrumptious SundaysManic Mondays and Trick or Treat Tuesdays.

Rhubarb Salad with Gorgonzola & Goat Cheese

Rhubarb, Walnut, Goat Cheese & Gorgonzola Salad

Do you ever get bored with your ingredients? I asked my mom for some rhubarb because I wanted to make some rhubarb crisp and try chia seeds in place of the tapioca, but then that just didn’t sound good. I wanted to try something DIFFERENT with my rhubarb.

So the idea struck me … could you put rhubarb in a salad? Why not? I did a quick search on google and found a few different recipes for rhubarb salad. They all involved roasting the rhubarb in sugar or honey. Honey sounded better to me than sugar. I added some sweet onions and gorgonzola to the recipe to kick it up a bit, and a few chrysanthemum leaves to the greens to add that peppery taste and topped it off with a honey lemon ginger vinaigrette.

Rhubarb, Walnut, Goat Cheese & Gorgonzola Salad

Rhubarb Salad with Gorgonzola & Goat Cheese

Adapted from yumsugar. This amount of rhubarb is about right for a big one-person salad or two side salads.

  • Chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup rhubarb, washed and cut into chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • Mixed greens (throw in a few chrysanthemum greens if you happen to have an organic chrysanthemum plant about)
  • Sweet onion, sliced and quartered
  • Gorgonzola & goat cheese crumbles
  • Honey Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Spray a small baking sheet with cooking spray. Set the walnuts on the tray and toast in the oven on the bottom rack at 400 for about 5 minutes … or until they are fragrant and slightly browned. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Remove the walnuts from the baking sheet.

Mix the rhubarb with the honey and place it on the baking sheet. Bake at 450 on the top rack for about 5 minutes or until the rhubarb is just beginning to soften. Let the rhubarb sit for a few minutes in the fridge to cool.

Once the rhubarb has cooled a bit, fill your bowl most of the way with mixed greens, toss in the sweet onion and rhubarb, sprinkle with the cheeses and toasted walnuts and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Rhubarb, Walnut, Goat Cheese & Gorgonzola Salad

Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container. Before use, take it out of the fridge for a few minutes to let the olive oil “melt” again (it will solidify in the fridge) and shake well.

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyFit & Fabulous Fridays and Summer Salad Sundays.

Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

I was seriously craving spinach artichoke dip yesterday … but alas! I am all out of spinach. Hmm, but I have kale … and it occurred to me … why does spinach get all the attention? Shouldn’t kale get to play in the dip too?

I also had some salmon that we had barbecued the other night that needed using, so I threw that in the dip too. By this time, it was getting pretty tasty, so I skipped the artichokes altogether and threw it in the toaster oven to bake. It totally satisfied my craving, and then some. I’m kinda wishing I hadn’t eaten it all … I would really like some more now … these pictures are making me hungry!

I think this dip would be fantastic with shrimp or crab in place of the salmon …

Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

This makes a small portion, just right for 2 people snacking (or one hungry muncher). Double (or triple) the recipe if you are serving to several people.

  • 1 heaping up of kale leaves, chopped roughly (about 2 ribs of kale)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • Several sprigs of fresh dill
  • 3 Tablespoons white wine
  • 3/8 cup of salmon, flaked
  • 1/4 cup fat free plain greek yogurt (or more if you want a creamier dip … I like lots of “stuff” in my dips)
  • about 2 oz. of goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded Dubliner cheese (or parmesan)
  • A bit of shredded mozzarella or Italian blend, for the top


  1. Put the kale leaves, garlic, onion, and dill in a food processor or handi chopper and process till the kale is chopped into tiny bits.
  2. Heat a frying pan to medium heat, spray with cooking spray, then add the kale mixture and the wine. Stir it around a little and cover to cook for just a few minutes, then remove the cover and cook a minute longer to evaporate the moisture from the wine.
  3. Mix the kale mixture with the greek yogurt, salmon, goat cheese and shredded Dubliner cheese.  Put in a small casserole or oven-safe bowl and top with a little bit of shredded mozzarella cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and bubbly. Serve with chips, crusty slices of bread, or vegies for dipping.

Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondaysMakin’ you Crave Mondays and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.

Stella de Oro Salad with Cucumber, Pecans & 2 Cheeses

and a Tequila Lime Vinaigrette

Stella de Oro Day Lily Salad wtih Cucumber, Pecans and 2 Cheeses

Today I outsmarted the deer in our back yard. I ate the day lilies. The deer usually eat them before I even get to see them. For years I didn’t know I even had day lilies because the deer ate the blossoms before I ever saw them. says Stella de Oro day lilies are deer resistant. They obviously never met the deer that live here! … but once I tasted these luscious flowers, now I understand why my deer eat them. They’re delicious! They have a lightly sweet taste and they are CRUNCHY! Most flower petals are so delicate and thin they have almost no texture, but these! These were like having orange crunchy greens in my salad.

I did check before I tasted them to make sure they aren’t poisonous. I found a lot of conflicting information about asiatic and oriental lilies, but day lilies are definitely edible. I even found some nutrition facts. Also, I don’t use any herbicides or pesticides anywhere in my yard. If you are going to go picking your day lilies for food, I would recommend that you never use any sort of sprays anywhere near them. I wouldn’t go picking the ones in the park or the neighbor’s house, either … you never know what they’ve been sprayed with.

The blossoms of these day lilies only last a day, so I recommend picking them just before you plan to eat them. I expect different kinds of day lilies probably taste different–I can only vouch for the taste of the Stella de Oro lilies in my back yard. Other parts of the day lily plant are edible too … people often fry up the “pods” (blossoms) before they open and the roots can be eaten too, although I didn’t try that. I don’t expect I will get that many of them before the deer discover what they’ve been missing.

Day Lilies in Salad

Stella de Oro Salad with Cucumber, Toasted Pecans & Two Cheeses

  • Mixed greens
  • Cucumber, sliced and cut into triangles
  • Red onion slices
  • Several freshly picked day lily blossoms
  • Thinly sliced Dubliner cheese (or Parmesan or Romano)
  • Crumbled goat cheese
  • Toasted pecans
  • Tequila Lime Vinaigrette dressing (find the recipe below)
Fill your bowl 3/4 of the way with mixed greens. Add cucumber and red onion slices, then arrange the day lilies. You can separate the petals from the blossoms if you like, or leave the flowers whole. They are easier to eat if you separate them, though. I did a little of both before I took the pics, then pulled them apart as I ate them. Top with shards of the Dubliner cheese and  sprinkle with goat cheese and pecans. Drizzle with tequila lime vinaigrette and enjoy! (Recipe for the dressing is at the end of of my Basil Watermelon Salad post)

Stella de Oro Salad with Cucumber, Pecans, and Dubliner and Goat Cheese

Tequila Lime Vinaigrette

(from Cooking Light Magazine)

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • Dash of salt


  1. Toss all ingredients into a food processor and whir till blended. Or you can just whisk them all together in a bowl, but the food processor will chop up the cilantro really nicely. I used watermelon-infused tequila (made by soaking watermelon cubes in tequila for several  days). Cover and chill until ready to use.

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty Tuesdaysl, Cast Party Wednesday, Best Healthy Salad Recipes, and Summer Salad Sundays.

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower & Goat Cheese Gratin

{Guest Post from Ally’s Kitchen}

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower & Goat Cheese Gratin

I’m off on vacation, so I asked a few sweet foodie friends of mine to “blog-sit” while I’m gone. Today my sweet friend Ally from Ally’s Kitchen volunteered to “tend the kitchen” for me and share one of her Bohemian creations. I’ll let Ally introduce herself … she is one of the most amazing cooks I know! I love her Bohemian style … she is so creative and fun. She’s a ray of sunshine in the foodie world. You are going to love this gorgeous recipe she’s sharing today!

So here’s Ally!


Ally (a.k.a. Alice Phillips)

My cooking is a reflection of my life—where I came from, my DNA, my experiences, , my travels, my Croatian heritage, my adventurous spirit, and, of course, my humble background growing up in the hollers of West Virginia. ‘Bohemian Bold’ cuisine means taking peasant and everyday ingredients and transforming them into something chic and luxurious.

I was literally born a Cook, and I’ve been cooking since I was a kid.  But, my real passion for cooking, blogging, creating came after I finished raising my 3 sons, all now adults and paying their own taxes, and my 30+ years as a psychologist in private practice.  After appearing on Season 2 of Master Chef, I launched ‘What’s for Dinner? Ally’s Kitchen’ on Facebook and my website ‘Ally’s Kitchen’ at .

Life for me is like eating an orange—I want to suck out every drop of nectar and when that’s gone, I’ll zest the rind for more flavor.  My Bohemian Life is all about cooking and living adventurously!

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower & Goat Cheese Gratin

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower & Goat Cheese Gratin

What you need:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Canola cooking spray
  • Sea Salt/Pepper
  • 3 tbl butter
  • 2 tbl flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream  (microwave for 10-15 seconds to take off chill)
  • 1 cup milk (microwave for 10-15 seconds to take off chill)
  • 1/2 pound Pepper Jack cheese cut in small cubes
  • 1 1/2 cup (divided) grated asiago (or parmesan)
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, cut into small pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup chiffonade sliced green onions and tops (reserve ¼ cup for garnish)

What you do:

Preheat oven to 425. Place cauliflower on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Coat with cooking spray, salt and pepper.  Toss and cover well all pieces.  Place in preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Turn to broil for the last 5 minutes to get the pieces golden brown.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.  Over medium heat in a large skillet, melt the butter.  Blend in the flour making a paste and cook, stirring so as not to burn, for about 5 minutes. Slowly add in heavy cream stirring and blending.  Do the same with the milk.  Reduce heat to low and add the cheeses (1 cup of the asiago) stirring and allowing it all to melt.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place roasted cauliflower in a large mixing bowl.  Add green onions and toss.  Add creamy cheese mixture and blend well.  Pour into a cast iron skillet and bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven or until the top is golden brown.  Allow to rest about 10 minutes before serving.  (Now the longer you let it sit, the thicker the sauce becomes!)  Garnish with grated cheese and fresh green onions.

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower & Goat Cheese Gratin

Herbed Asparagus Quinoa Egg Ramekins

with Goat Cheese & Havarti

Herbed Asparagus Quinoa Egg Ramekins

I was wishing I had some hashbrowns this morning so I could make some hashbrown & asparagus egg cups with cheese … but I didn’t have any. No potatoes either. But I did have some cooked quinoa in my fridge … and quinoa is a very versatile ingredient.  So I decided to try my little breakfast cups with quinoa in them instead of hashbrowns. Although I really really love hashbrowns, I have to say the quinoa was marvelous, and just one of these little ramekins filled me up for quite a while.

Quinoa is a super-healthy grain about the size of a small couscous that has a great texture and a lot of protein and fiber in it … so it’s the perfect breakfast food because it will help keep you going strong for a long time.

Herbed Asparagus Quinoa Egg Ramekins

Herbed Asparagus Quinoa Egg Ramekins

with Goat Cheese and Havarti

Makes 2 small (3-inch diameter) ramekins, just perfect for two light eaters or one more hefty appetite. You will want to multiply the recipe if you have many mouths to feed!

  • Several asparagus spears (I think I used 5 or 6 spears about 6 inches long each)
  • 4 Tablespoons cooked quinoa
  • A few crumbles of goat cheese
  • A few tablespoons of shredded havarti cheese
  • Red onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • Mixed snipped fresh herbs: basil, terragon, dill, green onion, garlic scapes (or other fresh herbs! use what you’ve got!)


  1. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, then place the clean asparagus on the sheet. Spray the spears lightly with cooking spray, then sprinkle with Red Robin seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt. Bake at 350 for about 5 minutes or until the spears are crisp tender. Chop the spears into little chunks.
  2. Spray each ramekin with cooking spray, then put 2 tablespoons of cooked quinoa in each cup. Add a few goat cheese crumbles to each, then some red onion, a bunch of asparagus, and a bit of havarti on top.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk till smooth, and season with Red Robin Seasoning (or salt) and freshly ground pepper. Stir in a bunch of snipped fresh herbs.
  4. Pour half the egg mixture into each ramekin. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until the egg is set and the cheese is melted.
See the pretty little bits of quinoa in there? They add a lovely chewy almost-crunch to the dish. I think you’ll love it.

Herbed Asparagus Quinoa Egg Ramekins

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysDelicious Dish Tuesday, Cast Party Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.

Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Confetti Pizza

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Fiesta Pizza

Yesterday was another dance competition day. Dance competition days are always SO busy … I’m surprised I had time to do anything with food. But I did! While my daughter was getting ready, I had a little time to make myself some lunch. I pulled out a pizza crust from the freezer (one of my sunflower rosemary flatbreads) and started topping it. I went a little crazy with the toppings, but it was fun. And filling. And delicious. A fiesta on a pizza. I had to stop in the middle of it to go help my girl with her hair. Then I had to get my sewing machine out to fix the strap on her costume. But somehow I managed to get my belly happy and full before we left, and that was good.

I even found time to make lunch and a little food care package for my daughter to eat at the competition … they never seem to have any healthy food at dance competitions. I packed her a PB&J on a fresh bun, a package of strawberries and an apple … it was a VERY good thing to have along. Everyone else was eating greasy, over-salted popcorn, donuts, candy, soda and brownies — or fast food they ran out and bought. Some of these dancers were there for over 12 hours. Next time we decided we need to bring a cooler full of food so our kids have something good to eat.

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Confetti Pizza

Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Confetti Pizza

Makes one individual-sized pizza. If you want a bigger pizza, double the ‘sauce’

  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 of a ripe avocado
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of salsa
  • 1 pizza crust
  • Black beans, cooked
  • Corn, cooked
  • Red onions, thinly sliced
  • Finely chopped jalapeno (or bell pepper, chopped, if you don’t want it so spicy)
  • Chopped fresh tomato
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • A few slices of sharp cheddar cheese
  • Slices of avocado
  • Green onions, snipped


  1. In a small bowl, smash the avocado with a fork, then mix with the cream cheese and salsa. Spread it all over the pizza crust. If you have any left, use it as a dip with corn chips (oh SO good … Or you could just make extra for dip).
  2. Top with black beans, corn, red onions, jalapeno and tomato.
  3. Dot the pizza with goat cheese crumbles, then add bits of cheddar cheese here and there.
  4. Bake (on a pizza stone, if you have one) at 450 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the pizza is nice and hot all the way through and the cheddar cheese is melted.
  5. Top with slices of avocado and green onion … and cilantro, if you have it. I didn’t. I wanted some, but they were all out at the store.

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Confetti Pizza

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s Meals, Talent Show TuesdaysThursday’s Treasures and Recipe of the Week-Secret Ingredient: CornKatherine Martinelli’s Bean Blog Hop and Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.

Garlic Ranch Rosemary Potato Pizza with Goat Cheese

Garlic Ranch Rosemary Potato Pizza

There’s a local pub in town that serves Mashed Potato Pizza. It’s my favorite pizza ever. I have tried to duplicate it SO many times … and while I’ve come close, it’s just not the same when I try to duplicate it. So this time I decided I’m not going to try to re-create someone else’s potato pizza … I’m just going to make one of my own.

Duh! That was SO much better! For all those messages I post on facebook about “just be yourself”, you think I would have learned by now … I think this would be even prettier with purple potatoes … I think I may have to do this pizza again, in purple.

Garlic Ranch Rosemary Potato Pizza with Goat Cheese

Garlic Ranch Rosemary Potato Pizza with Goat Cheese

  • 1 – 3 yukon gold potatoes, sliced thin (I was making an individual pizza, so just one potato)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • Red Robin Seasoning (recipe here … or use your favorite seasoned salt)
  • 1 thin pizza crust (I used my Sunflower Rosemary Flatbread)
  • Some Skinny Garlic Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dip (recipe here)
  • Goat cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh rosemary leaves
  • Sliced green onion (optional)


  1. Slice your potatoes thin. If you have a mandolin or fancy shmancy potato slicer, that would work just perfect here!
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, onion powder and granulated garlic. Lightly brush both sides of the potato slices with the olive oil, sprinkle them with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) and grind a bit of pepper over them and set them on a baking tray sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes and flip the slices, then bake for 5 more minutes on the other side or until the potatoes are tender. If your slices are thinner than mine, it might not take as long … watch them!
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, whip up your garlic basil buttermilk ranch dip and spread it all over your crust. Serve the rest of the dip with vegies to tide over your hungry crowd while you’re finishing up the pizza.
  4. Turn the oven up to 425 F.
  5. Arrange the potato slices in a spiral pattern on the pizza crust and top with goat cheese crumbles and rosemary leaves.
  6. Bake on a pizza stone for about 10 minutes or until the goat cheese gets puffy and just a tiny bit browned on top.

Garlic Ranch Rosemary Potato Pizza with Goat Cheese

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysCast Party Wednesday Midweek FiestaTastetastic/It’s a Keeper ThursdaysFit & Fabulous Fridays Weekend Potluck, and Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.

Pineapple Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese & Walnuts

and a minted honey lime yogurt dressing

Pineapple Arugula Salad with Walnuts & Goat Cheese

This is a super simple salad, but these flavors together are just divine!

Pineapple Arugula Salad with Toasted Walnuts & Goat Cheese

  • Spinach Arugula Mix
  • Fresh pineapple chunks
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • Walnuts, toasted

Cover the plate/bowl with spinach & arugula. Arrange the other ingredients on top and drizzle with the honey lime yogurt dressing.

Pineapple Arugula Salad with Walnuts & Goat Cheese

Minted Honey Lime Yogurt Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint leaves (or if you have fresh, even better!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • Juice and zest from 1/2 a lime
Whisk together all ingredients and drizzle over the salad. I was making this dressing just for me so I made a small amount … if you’re making salad for multiple people, you probably want to double (or triple or quadruple) the recipe.

Pineapple Arugula Salad with Walnuts & Goat Cheese

This post is a #greenslove post, powered by Linky Tools.

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This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless MondaysTotally Tasty Tuesdays, Midweek Fiesta, and Tastetastic/It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Fit & Fabulous FridaysThese Chicks Cooked Whole Foods Recipe Swap and Nutritious & Delicious Potluck Party.

Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Mini-Pies {SRC Post}

Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Mini-Pies

This is a Secret Recipe Club post. If you haven’t heard of the Secret Recipe Club, it’s made up of a group of food bloggers. Each month every blogger in the club is “assigned” another participating food blogger to make a recipe from. You choose any recipe from the blog you are assigned, make or bake it, and blog about it, then everyone in your group posts their “secret recipes” on the same date and time. It’s really quite fun.

This month I was assigned Art from my Table. I was immediately intrigued by the name of the blog and excited to dig into Chellie’s recipes. She has such a variety of things to choose from! It took me a while to figure out what to make, but once I saw these little tarts, I was totally hooked.

I don’t make pastries or pies very often … wait, no, that’s not true … I don’t make pies or pastries AT ALL. Unless my dad is around to make the crust for me. I have a huge crust-phobia. But pumpkin, sage, and goat cheese? In a cute little bite? Seriously. That was totally something I had to try. And I really love that I can freeze the dough (and filling) for later, so I don’t have to make them all at once. I have instant impressive appetizers just waiting in my freezer! Next time I will crimp the edges better, though, because most of them opened up like an oyster shell peeking out at you. The crust turned out nice and flaky and tender, though … what was I so afraid of?

Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Mini-Pies

Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Mini-Pies

Recipe from Art from my Table

For the Dough:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3 tbs heavy cream or yogurt (more if needed … I used plain lowfat yogurt)


  1. Place flour, salt and butter in a big bowl. Work with your fingertips or with a pastry blender ‘til the mixture resembles coarse meal. You want to keep some visible pieces of butter
  2. Beat together egg and 3 tbsp of cream. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients.
  3. Using your fingertips, mix them smoothly by making circular movements. Don’t knead the dough.
  4. Keep mixing. The dough should come together quickly and if it doesn’t happen, add one more tablespoon of yogurt. (I did.) It was still crumbly, though, but it did form okay into a ball.
  5. Don’t worry about spots, visible pieces of butter and stripes of yogurt; they are a good sign. Press to form a ball, cover and keep in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Note: You can keep this dough in the freezer for about a month. Just place it in the fridge and let it defrost overnight before using.

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 small onion chopped
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tbs fresh sage chopped
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 oz goat cheese
Sauté chopped onions and garlic in olive oil. Add all ingredients, (except the goat cheese), mix well and let it cool completely before using. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Mini-Pies

How to assemble the little pies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F˚.
  2. Place dough in a floured surface and roll it out into a 1/8 inch thin layer. Using a 4 inch round cookie cutter cut the dough into circles. Place the pumpkin filling in the center of the circle, crumble or place a bit of cheese on top of the pumpkin filling and fold the dough over into a semicircle.
  3. Crimp down the edges and arrange in a baking sheet. Keep doing the same process until the dough is gone (or till you get tired of making them and then just freeze the rest of the dough and filling in separate containers for another time). It should make about 24 little pies.
  4. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame and poppy seeds, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until golden in color.
Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Mini-Pies

This recipe was also shared at Melt in your Mouth MondaysOld Fashioned Recipe ExchangeMidweek Fiesta, and Full Plate Thursday.

Taco Salad Inspirations

Taco Salad with Beef, Beans, Cheese, Bell Pepper, Onion and Vegie Corn Chips

Taco salads are one of my very favorite quick meals. I make them a LOT. I have photographed a few of them, meaning to share them with you, but never did … well today I’m going to show you a few of my taco salad meanderings. There have been many more, and there are still more brewing in my mind …

Taco Salad with Beef, Beans, Cheese, Bell Pepper, Onion and Vegie Corn Chips

All you need to make a scrumptious taco salad are a few of these things:

  • Lettuce: plain green leaf lettuce, iceberg or romaine, or a mix of greens.
  • Taco meat (or shredded chicken or pork or skip the meat and have a vegetarian taco salad!) … I usually use ground venison flavored up with taco seasoning mix because it’s easy, fast, and so gooood. Meat should be hot when adding to the salad.
  • Beans: in my world, beans are a MUST on a taco salad. Refried beans, black beans, or pinto beans (whole). Make sure they are hot when you put them on your salad.
  • Cheese: shredded Mexican blend, cheddar, goat cheese crumbles
  • Salsa! Oh you must have salsa or at least pico de gallo on a taco salad
  • Vegies: Chopped bell peppers, onions, corn, or other vegies
  • Chips: baked or fried. Store-bought or homemade. But you need tortilla chips of some kind for that crunch factor!
  • Cilantro: optional, but I do so love cilantro and it adds a little extra magic to a taco salad

Vegetarian Taco Salad with Goat Cheese

This one is a vegetarian version with a mound of refried beans and salsa in the middle, cilantro, goat cheese, shredded cheddar, red onions, and some Doritos my daughter didn’t finish. (I do try to avoid Doritos because I don’t like the extra preservatives, artificial color and other not-good-for-you things they put in them, but they ARE quite good on taco salads. I need to find a way to make my own nacho cheese doritos …)

Vegetarian Taco Salad with Doritos, Cilantro, & Goat Cheese

On those days when I can’t decide between a taco salad and nachos, I make a “nacho” salad … melt some cheese on the tortilla chips (with onions and chopped jalapenos, if you like), then arrange the chips around the bowl, like this:

Nacho Salad with Refried Beans, Taco Meat, Nachos, Onions, & Salsa

This nacho salad has a mound of hot refried beans in the middle, a drizzle of salsa, a sprinkle of taco meat and red onions, surrounded with melty nachos.

Nacho Salad with Refried Beans, Taco Meat, Nachos, Onions, & Salsa

This recipe was shared at It’s a Keeper ThursdaysFit and Fabulous FridaysKatherine Martinelli’s Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, and Weekend Potluck.

Shrimp, Basil & Bacon Stuffed Eggplant with 2 Cheeses

Shrimp, Basil, & Bacon-Stuffed Eggplant with Two Cheeses

My mom gave me one of her beautiful white eggplant. The first time she gave me one, my foodie sister was there and she looked at me and said, “the white ones are perfect for stuffing.” Ever since she said that, every white eggplant I meet seems to cry out to me to stuff it with all sorts of deliciousness.

One of my foodie friends suggested stuffing it with shrimp and bechamel sauce. I had fully intended to do that with this one, but I am feeling too lazy today to make a bechamel sauce. So I just did a quick sautee, swirled in some cheese and went with that. I didn’t have as much shrimp as I really wanted to use, but still it turned out lovely. Yes, a white wine bechamel sauce would be heavenly, with some freshly shredded parmesan and nutmeg. But not today.

Today is my lazy Sunday. And this was my lazy Sunday lunch. And it was beautiful and delicious, just like this.

Shrimp, Basil, and Bacon Stuffed Eggplant

If you’re wondering what those dark spots are, they are a couple basil flowers I tossed on just before I baked the eggplant. You might want to toss on the flowers (if you have them) AFTER you cook the stuffed eggplant. Just sayin’ …

Shrimp, Basil & Bacon Stuffed Eggplant with Swiss and Goat Cheese

  • 1 eggplant, about 6 inches long (so once you scoop out the inside, you have about 1 1/2 cups of eggplant–if you have a larger or smaller eggplant, just adjust the other ingredients up or down)
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped bell pepper
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of chopped shrimp (I only had 1/2 cup, but I really wanted more shrimp in this!)
  • 2 – 3 slices of lower-fat bacon, fried crisp, drained and chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 c. shredded swiss cheese (Asiago, Romano or Parmesan would be nice mixed in as well)
  • 1 oz. goat cheese
  • 2 -3 T. of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 -3 t. of fresh oregano leaves
  • Shredded swiss or parmesan cheese and/or breadcrumbs


  1. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and using a grapefruit spoon, scoop out the insides so you leave about 1/4 – 1/2 inch shell. Scooping out the flesh of the eggplant
  2. It should look something like this when you’re done: Scooped out Eggplant Shell
  3. Take the removed eggplant flesh and chop it up into small pieces.
  4. Heat a medium sized frying pan over medium high heat until it starts to warm. Spray lightly with cooking spray, then swirl around the olive oil in the heated pan. Add eggplant, onion, garlic, and bell pepper and sautee until the onions are soft and translucent.
  5. Add the shrimp, bacon, and tomato and sautee just about 3 minutes more.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses and herbs.
  7. Fill the scooped out eggplant shells with the lovely mixture you cooked up.
  8. Place the eggplant on a baking sheet and top with shredded cheese and/or breadcrumbs.
  9. Bake at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted or the breadcrumbs are lightly browned.
  10. Serve hot, with fresh basil leaves for garnish (and the basil flowers, if you happen to have some!)

This beautiful dish goes so well with a nice glass of  Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.

Shrimp, Basil, and Bacon Stuffed Eggplant with Swiss and Goat Cheese

By the way, stuffed eggplant are the perfect make-ahead convenience food! You can wrap them in plastic wrap or foil and freeze for later. When you need a quick meal, pull it out of the freezer, let it thaw for a while, then bake at 350 until it’s heated throughout. They microwave nicely, too, just make sure to cook them long enough to get the center good and hot.

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Eggplant Bloghop.

Turkey & Provolone with Pesto Cream on Focaccia

Smoked Turkey & Provolone on Focaccia with Pesto Cream

The other day I made Rosemary Tomato Focaccia, and having a wonderful flat-ish bread like that around just screams SANDWICH!

Focaccia makes such a beautiful gourmet sandwich. I threw this elegant sandwich together last night for dinner, and it was so good I had to have it again for lunch today.

It’s very simple to make. Just cut a wedge of your focaccia and slice it horizontally. Toast the bread lightly, then spread the bottom with Pesto Cream (recipe below).

Spread the bottom half of focaccia with Pesto Cream

Top with turkey and sliced onion. (I always use the preservative-free turkey meat. Tastes better and doesn’t have all those nasty chemicals!)

Top with turkey and onions

Then add a slice of provolone and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Broil until the provolone cheese is melted

Now add a couple slices of fresh, juicy tomato:

Add tomato slices on top of the provolone cheese

Then top with a tumble of organic greens and add the top of the focaccia:

Top with greens and the top half of the toasted focaccia

Time for lunch! :)

Turkey & Provolone Sandwich on Tomato Rosemary Focaccia with Pesto Cream

Pesto Cream

  • 2 oz. light cream cheese
  • 2 oz. greek yogurt
  • A spoonful of pesto
  • About 1 oz. goat cheese

Cream together all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Don’t worry about it too much if there are a few stubborn hunks of goat cheese that don’t want to mix in. Refrigerate leftovers for other sandwiches, a base for a yummy pizza, spread it on crackers or celery.

Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

The color of this soup turned out a little funny since I used yellow tomatoes … I think with red tomatoes it would be a much prettier orangey color. But the flavor is very delicate and earthy all in one. I loved how the cream made swirls in the soup when I added it–that didn’t quite come through in the pictures either. So just trust me that it was lovely, okay?

Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

Adapted from this recipe on


  • About 1/2 of a medium eggplant (1 c. after roasted peeled & chopped)
  • 3 – 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 of a large red (or white or yellow) onion, chopped
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped (about 1 c.) — or 1 c. canned tomatoes with juices
  • 1/2 T. fresh thyme or 1/2 t. dried
  • A few “leaves” of fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c. fat free half and half
  • Goat cheese crumbles


  1. To roast the vegies: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place eggplant slices, onion and garlic on large baking sheet. Brush vegetables with oil. Roast until vegetables are tender and brown in spots, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and chop into hunks.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the tomatoes by dipping them briefly in boiling water, then pulling the peel off. (It should pull off very easily.)
  3. Add the tomatoes (with juices!), roasted vegetables, thyme, and rosemary to a saucepan.
  4. Add the broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until onion is very tender, about 30 – 45 minutes. Cool slightly.
  5. Puree the soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
  6.  Stir in fat free half and half. Bring to simmer.
  7. Season soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls.
  8. Sprinkle with goat cheese; serve.
Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Pacific Natural Foods in your blog post.

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Eggplant Bloghop.

Herbed Harvest Vegetable, Bacon, & Goat Cheese Quiche

… with the simplest crust EVER … (and it’s healthy too!)

Herbed Harvest Vegetable, Bacon, and Goat Cheese Quiche

Have I mentioned that I am terrible at pie crusts? I hate making them … they always turn out ugly. Not at all light and flaky like dad’s crusts. And anyway they are NOT good for you.

One day many, many years ago I wanted to make a quiche, but I didn’t want to bother with a crust, and I really didn’t want to have to go to the store and buy one of those pre-made ones, but I thought: why not use a tortilla? That just might work …

And it did. It makes a lovely ruffled edge without you even having to mess with it. (I can’t do the edges very pretty on pie crusts either …) The only trick is you have to find a tortilla big enough and a pie pan small enough so the tortilla can make a good edge to hold in all the good stuff in the quiche.

By the way, you can use this tortilla crust for pies that only require one crust, too. Pumpkin pie does very well in a tortilla crust. I’ve not tried apple yet, but I think a dutch apple pie with streusel topping would be fantastic in a tortilla crust.

Herbed Harvest Vegetable, Bacon and Goat Cheese Quiche with the Simplest Crust ever

Herbed Harvest Vegatable, Bacon & Goat Cheese Quiche


  • 1 large tortilla (the biggest, healthiest tortilla you can find)
  • 1 c. peeled and chopped eggplant
  • 1 small potato, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 c.)
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. chopped zucchini or summer squash
  • 1/4 c. chopped red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 2 slices lower-fat bacon, cooked crisp, drained on a clean towel, then crumbled (or chopped)
  • About 1/3 c. shredded swiss cheese
  • About 1 oz. goat cheese crumbles
  • Fresh oregano, rosemary, and basil leaves
  • 3 eggs ( or 3/4 c. eggbeaters)
  • 1/4 c. buttermilk
  • 1/2 c. fat free half and half (or milk)
  • 1/2 t. Red Robin Seasoning
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A few red onion slices


Find a pie pan that fits your tortilla. You will probably have to go with a smaller pie pan in order to get a good edge. Spray the pie pan with cooking spray, and pat down the tortilla so the bottom is flat and it makes a good edge to hold the quiche.

Herbed Harvest Vegetable, Bacon and Goat Cheese Quiche

Put the eggplant and potato in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave about 30 seconds or until the vegies are slightly soft.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the tomatoes. Set several pretty slices aside for the top of the quiche and chop the rest.

Warm a saucepan over medium to medium high heat, spray lightly with cooking spray, then swirl around the olive oil to roughly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the eggplant, potato, zucchini, onion, and garlic and sautee until the onions are translucent and all the vegies are cooked through. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook a few more minutes.

Spread the vegies across the bottom of the tortilla crust, then sprinkle with bacon, then the swiss and goat cheeses.

Herbed Harvest Vegetable, Bacon, and Goat Cheese Quiche

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and half and half (or milk), Red Robin seasoning and freshly ground pepper until frothy. Pour the egg mixture over the vegies, bacon and cheese in the quiche.

Arrange the tomatoes and a few red onion slices on the top, then bake at 350 degrees for about 35 – 40 minutes or until the quiche is set. Let the quiche sit for about 10 minutes before you cut it.

Herbed Harvest Vegetable, Bacon and Goat Cheese Quiche with the Simplest Crust ever

Finally! the Perfect Spinach & Artichoke Dip … with Chardonnay Mushrooms

The Perfect Spinach Artichoke Dip

There are some recipes that just come to you in a sudden flash and the first time you make them they are absolutely fantabulous the very first time you make them.

There are others that take a lot of work, several iterations, sometimes months or even years to perfect. Your tasters get tired of tasting and you get tired of trying to find ways to reuse the “failures”. My Philly Cheesesteak French Dip recipe was one of those. I don’t know how many pounds of meat I went through before I got that one right! Each version was certainly edible, but not quite up to the flavor-filled goodness I wanted.

This dip recipe was another one of THOSE. I know there are plenty of spinach artichoke dips out there–and yes, I had one that I REALLY liked, but still it was laden with fat from all the cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise.  ( I tried some of the “light” versions and they just didn’t have the right creamy cheese-ilicious taste.) In fact, the health experts tell you that Spinach Artichoke Dip is one of the foods to AVOID at holiday parties because it’s one of the most fattening (and misleading!) appetizers that people serve at parties.

You don’t have to avoid this one. I admit, it still does have fat from the cheese, but I used small amounts of good strong flavorful cheeses, so you get the cheesey taste without as much fat.  And I added some cannellini beans–they add creaminess, protein, fiber, and flavor. I skipped the sour cream and used fat free greek yogurt instead. Oh, and I included the Chardonnay Mushrooms. They were just begging to join in the party.

And yes, they fit right in.

The Perfect Spinach Artichoke Dip

The Perfect Spinach Artichoke Dip (with Chardonnay Mushrooms)

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized onion
  • 1/3 c. Chardonnay mushrooms (recipe is here)
  • 1/2 of a 15-oz. can of canellini beans, drained (reserve the juice in case you need it for blending)
  • 1 c. cooked spinach (roughly … you can add more if you like!)
  • 3 oz. light cream cheese, softened
  • 6 oz. fat-free greek yogurt
  • 1/2 of a 15-oz. container of artichokes, chopped with a knife into small pieces
  • 1 T. loose blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 c. freshly shredded asiago cheese
  • 1/4 c. freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 2 oz. goat cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 c. light mayonnaise
For the top:
  • A bit of part-skim mozzarella cheese and a few chopped cherry tomatoes
  1. Toss the garlic, onion, and mushrooms in your handi chopper or food processor and process till they are just little pieces. Take them out and put them in the mixing bowl where you’ll be whooshing together your dip.
  2. Next take your spinach, put it in the processor to chop it up fine, then blot out the extra moisture with a clean towel. Add it to the bowl
  3. Now take the cannellini beans and process them in your food processor until they are a smooth soft paste. Add some liquid from the can if you need to. Pour the beans in your handy dandy mixing bowl.
  4. Now add all the other ingredients and mix them up with a spoon in the bowl until everything is nicely mixed.
  5. Pour your dip into a baking dish or casserole, top with a bit of shredded cheese and tomatoes to make it look pretty, then bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until it’s all hot and bubbly.
  6. Serve with bread, toasted tortillas, bagel chips, or vegies for dipping. Ordinary tortilla chips are not quite strong enough to stand up to this dish.

Another pretty way to serve this dip is in a bread bowl. Heat the dip, then pour into a hollowed out bread bowl with the chunks of bread for dipping. When I serve it this way, the entire thing usually gets eaten up, bowl and all!

The Realistic Nutritionist reminded me this morning that this dip also makes a great pizza!

This dip is totally addicting! If you bring it to a party, all your friends will totally love you … even more than they already do. Yes, really. Just make sure if you’re going to kiss any of them that they eat the dip too. ;)

The Perfect Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food.

This recipe was featured at Totally Tasty Tuesdays and shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Game Day Blog Hop and Fit & Fabulous Fridays: Superbowl Edition and Katherine Martinelli’s Skinny Bloghop.

Totally Tasty Tuesdays

Pesto Chicken Bacon Pizza with Asiago & Goat Cheese

Pesto-Chicken-Bacon-Pizza-with Asiago & Goat Cheese

Do you ever have leftover chicken that you just don’t feel like eating? I like to take things like that and transform them.

And one of my favorite food transformations is to make pizza. I make mini-pizza crusts ahead of time and freeze them just for times like this. Good thing I have plenty of pesto on hand too! And fun cheeses.

This one is really a good flavor combination.


Pesto Chicken Bacon Pizza with Asiago and Goat Cheese


  • Pizza Crust (homemade or store bought)
  • Pesto (I used Basil-Lime Pesto)
  • Leftover cooked chicken, shredded
  • Crumbled bacon (you don’t need much — I used about 1/2 a slice of bacon on my individual pizza)
  • Chopped onion
  • Freshly shredded Asiago Cheese
  • Goat cheese
  • Chopped tomato


Spread a thin layer of pesto on the crust. Top with chicken and bacon.

Making Pesto Chicken Bacon Pizza

Top with onions, then the shredded Asiago. Crumble some goat cheese over that. And then top it all with the chopped tomatoes (or halved cherry tomatoes).
Making Pesto Chicken Bacon Pizza

Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the cheeses are melty and the top is just lightly browned in a couple spots.

You can be chowing down on delicious gourmet pizza before the Domino’s Pizza guy would even be getting in his car!

Pesto Chicken Bacon Pizza with Asiago & Goat Cheese

A Simple Sunday Meal for a Very Tired Camper

Hummus Feta Tomato Goat Cheese Pinon Pita

We went camping at a folk festival this weekend. This is something I haven’t done in years, so I had forgotten what it’s like to live without computers, internet, blogging, twitter, facebook, electricity, hot water … even cell phone coverage was iffy and all our phones worked so hard trying to find a signal they all went dead. We were only there maybe 24 hours, but it feels much longer than that (and at the same time shorter? if that makes any sense), almost like we left the planet or entered a different dimension.

I remembered what it’s like to eat cold food out of the cooler, cook sausages and hot dogs on sticks over a hot fire, eat cereal out of a plastic cup, stay up late just talking by the fire, hike in the woods, stare up at the stars, heat water on a campstove for tea–and all of this was set to the beautiful sounds of some amazingly talented musicians singing late late into the night. We could hear them from our campsite. I have no idea how long they kept playing … they were still singing long after we crashed I bet.

We ate good of course …  we had Basil Lime pesto (my friend’s version!) over cold bowtie pasta, hummus with corn chips, the kids had hot dogs and the grownups had these lovely chicken sausages on these awesome bakery buns,  chocolate peanut butter muffins, fresh fruit, and one of the vendors was making stone-fired pizzas … and of course we made s’mores. We had fruit and tea, milk stout (my new favorite kind of beer!), water, juice, tea, Pinot Grigio … but no, there weren’t any fancy plates. No napkins even.

I saw wildflowers, amazing big oak trees, beautiful puffy white clouds, more stars than you can imagine.

Wildflower at the folk festival

There was a stick bug about 5 inches long … I’d never seen anything like it before! It was crazy, like something you would see only at a zoo.

Stick bug at the folk festival

And the forests called to us …

Forest path

Ah it was lovely! But back to reality.

We managed somehow to get home today around 4 pm. Even though I stayed up most the night, I woke at my normal time this morning, and there was much to do around the house when we got home. I did laundry, dishes, mowed the lawn, went grocery shopping … and all of this while I am dead tired from lack of sleep …

And now I’m hungry. But I have no energy to cook. Yet I want something civilized after the wilderness-eating.

Good thing I thought to pick up some salad greens and pita bread while we were at the grocery store. And I have the first fresh tomato of the season! And some hummus left as well. I was in dire need of something saladicious.

Pita with hummus, mixed greens, goat cheese, feta, tomato & toasted pinons

Pita with hummus, mixed greens, goat cheese, feta, tomato & toasted pinons

So here’s what you do to make one of these beauties:

  1. Take a whole wheat pita pocket and slice it in half.
  2. Spread the inside with hummus. (I used my basil-iferous hummus.)
  3. Add:
    • chopped vidalia onions
    • mixed greens
    • chopped fresh tomato
    • tomato-basil feta
    • toasted pinons (pine nuts)
    • crumbled goat cheese.
  4. Toss in some fresh basil leaves for good measure.
  5. Have a glass of good white wine on the side.
Pita with hummus, mixed greens, goat cheese, feta, tomato & toasted pinons

Ah! It’s good to be home! :)

Nutrition Information:

Assuming you use 1 T. of each type of cheese crumbles, 4 T. of hummus and 1 T. of pine nuts. You can put as many veggies as you want without really affecting the calories. Amazing, over 9 g of fiber plus over 14 grams of protein with only 349 calories!
Nutrition Information for Pita with hummus, mixed greens, goat cheese, feta, tomato & toasted pinons


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