We go through a lot of pesto pasta here at our table. The pre-schooler and baby both love it and I appreciate it for variety. I smeared some on some puff pastry with cheese for this instant appetizer knowing it would be a hit!
Pesto Puff Pastry Twists
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted in the refrigerator for ~8 hours or overnight
3 tablespoons pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella & asiago
1/2 cup tomato sauce
Roll out the puff pastry sheet.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (or as the puff pastry package suggests).
Spread the pesto across the whole sheet, all the way to the edges.
Sprinkle the cheese on top, all the way to the edges.
Slice with a pizza cutter into 1 1/2 inch strips. Hold from the ends and twist around. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking sheet. (Add the cheese that falls out back into a crack.)
Bake for 10-15 minutes.
Let cool 5 minutes.
Serve with tomato sauce to dip. Enjoy!
These were a fun appetizer and could even be a meal of their own! Serve them as an app, alongside soup or pasta or with salad. These are a great use for a smaller amount of leftover pesto. These take so little hands-on time!
This slaw screams SUMMER. All caps screaming! At first it was whispering summer, but I tweaked it and then the flavor was really pumped up. I put the slaw onto fish tacos but will make again just as a side slaw. It would be great with pulled pork or burgers- on them or alongside them! It has an ideal mix of creaminess and brightness.
12 oz (bag) shredded cabbage/broccoli slaw
1/3 cup mayo
1/4 cup lemonade
1 teaspoon lemonade drink powder mix
1 teaspoon lemon juice
zest from 1/2 lemon
Mix & enjoy!
I used a single serving lemonade mix, like what to mix into a 16-oz bottle. One teaspoon of the powder went into the slaw then I mixed the rest with ~10 oz of water to make (strong) lemonade to add some into the slaw. The lemon juice served as my acid where I’d normally use vinegar. The lemonade mix sweetened where sugar would normally be.
The little guy ate his slaw separately from his taco, but Mr. J and I put it right on it. We don’t make tons of fish at home but frozen breaded fish pieces are super quick and are a crowd-pleaser inside a taco!
Anything inside puff pastry is delicious (and easy) but broccoli and cheddar are such an ideal match. I roasted the broccoli for those delicious roasty bits with some gooey cheddar. Yum. These were some lunches for me and I think they’d be a good brunch addition or a heavy app.
Broccoli & Cheddar Pinwheels
1 sheet of puff pastry (sold in a tube by crescent rolls or folded frozen by pie crust)
1 large broccoli head
~1/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 teaspoon Mushroom Umami seasoning (optional)
Salt & pepper
(Defrost the puff pastry if frozen, or open to get to room temperature if using refrigerated dough)
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Chop the broccoli into florets. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for ~10-15 minutes- until a little brown and toasted and cooked through.
While the broccoli roasts, roll out the dough. Spread cream cheese onto the dough, sprinkle cheddar on top, and add broccoli. Sprinkle with umami seasoning (if using).
Roll up keeping the roll really compact.
Cut into 2 inch slices using a sharp or serrated knife to not squish the roll too much.
Place onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or start with the timing and temperature on the package. Add more time if needed to cook to golden brown.
I loved these. The roasty broccoli is perfect and gives a nuttiness. They puff a bit while baking but aren’t enormous. I packed 2 to be lunch at work with some salad. Do not pack if microwaving these beauties. That would destroy all the crunch and microwaved broccoli is not good. Broccoli and cheddar puff pastry pinwheels neeeed to be baked or toasted to warm up. These could easily be dinner alongside something else or these would be great as an appetizer too!
The little one munched these and then asked “what is it”? Crispy rice patties were such a fun side dish, and became a perfect dish to prep in advance! I saw Catherine McCord make a really plain crispy rice cakes on an Instagram story but I see her website has some fun flavors in these rice cakes. I wanted mine to really highlight some herbs and cheese. The herbs are going bananas out back so I put ‘em to work!
Crispy Herbed Rice Patties with Cheese
1 cup brown rice, cooked
3/4 cup smoked gouda
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
Add together the rice, eggs, cheeses, and herbs, with salt and pepper.
Mix well until well incorporated.
Form into patties and fry in a shallow pan of oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side OR heavily spray a pan and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
These would be great in lots of flavors. Maybe next time I’ll have to include some bacon and top them with an egg!
I loved these! I was prepping them in advance so I undercooked most of them and popped them into the toaster oven to warm and toast for dinner. They were a hit! Of course I cooked the rice in my pressure cooker- hello 15 minute brown rice! I pan fried a few and they stayed together! Woohoo! I also put some into a whoopie pie pan and baked them. Both methods worked so well! I’d skip frying them next time
I could eat this one weekly. This salad has all the things: Nutty cracked wheat! Creamy avocado! Juicy peach! Peppery arugula! Crunchy pistachio! Do you know Simply Savory by Kate? You should! She made these curried pistachio and added them to a salad with peaches and avocado. Yum! I took a variation on it.
I tossed mine all together with a touch of honey mustard dressing and grilled sausages on top. LOVED it. This would be a really great use of a leftover grain. It would pack well if the nuts and peach were separate until serving.
Peach, Avocado, and Pistachio Salad (for 2-3)
1 cup cracked wheat (or lentils/farro/brown rice/Israeli couscous/quinoa/etc)
1 1/2 cup water or broth
2 sweet Italian sausage links
2 cups arugula
2 tablespoons honey mustard dressing
1/3 cup pistachios
Cook the cracked wheat (or other grain) with the water or broth. (I cooked the cracked wheat that morning and refrigerated for the day.)
Grill the sausages.
Chop the peach, avocado, and arugula and mix together with the cracked wheat and dressing. Then top with the pistachios.
Slice the sausages to serve on top. Sprinkle with a little salt & pepper.
This has everything. The grain makes it a filling dinner. I liked the stronger flavor of the greens since the peach is sweet and the arugula was creamy.
Mr. J wasn’t into pickles until he had a bread & butter sweet pickle a few years ago. Now he wonders where they had been his whole life! I mixed up this sweet pickle macaroni salad as a side dish using not only the pickles, but the pickle “juice” for the dressing. It was an easy side to prep the night before for a faster week-night meal.
Sweet Pickle Macaroni Salad (serves 4-6)
1/2 pound of pasta, macaroni or other short noodle
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 small shallot, diced
2-3 sprigs of green onion, diced
3-4 bread & butter pickles, chopped
1/2 cup pickle juice
1/2 green pepper
Boil salted water and add the pasta once it comes to a boil. Cook according to the package.
Mix together mayo, mustard, pickles, shallots, green onions, and pickle juice.
Stir well and toss with the cooled pasta.
When ready to serve, mix in the green pepper.
I almost mixed in a hard boiled egg, but ended up sending that as the little one’s lunch. This was good and the sweetness was good with a grilled dinner.
This broccoli salad is a staple with our fam and is over due to be blogged! It is crunchy the light dressing is just enough for the raw broccoli. It is still pretty good the following day, or easy enough to make just enough for a few servings…or a lot.
Broccoli Salad (serves ~6)
1-2 heads of broccoli (about 2-3 cups)
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2/3 cup raisins (or dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried cherries)
Chop the broccoli into bite size pieces.
Whisk together the dressing of mayo, sugar, and vinegar.
Mix together the broccoli, dressing, and raisins. Let it come together in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes, or 4 hours before serving.
I love this one. I used 1 1/2 broccoli heads and thought maybe there wasn’t going to be enough dressing, but it was perfect. Mr. J most often makes this and thought the ratio would be right. He advised it often looks like not enough but to toss it together and wait till dinner. (I do the same with pad thai and too much dressing isn’t great on that either!)
It is a good one to prep in advance, even if just mixing up the dressing and chopping the broccoli. I’m all about working to prep dinner in advance. I’d totally shake up the dressing and in the morning before heading to work.
The little one wanted to help so I was going to have him put the chopped broccoli into the container, but he was only in it for the snacks. He munched the broccoli & raisins and whisked the dressing with me. We got this from my mom and we keep it on a regular rotation through the summer.
Polenta is the ingredient I always forget will provide the variety to a weeknight meal we all need. Rice takes forever. Pasta seems overdone. Polenta? Yeah polenta cooks in just a few minutes. I like it soupy to be spoon-able. I used pre-cooked turkey meatballs, zucchini and a really quick sauce. Poof! Dinner!
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup dried polenta
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup gruyere cheese, shredded or chopped
1/2 cup milk
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the zucchini and tomato paste to cook for about 4 minutes.
Add in the meatballs, 1 cup of the broth, and salt & pepper. Bring to a low boil and cook for about 8 minutes until broth reduces a bit.
In a medium pot, add the polenta, butter, 1 cup of broth, 1 cup water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and stir in the milk and cheese.
Spoon polenta in to the bowls, then top with meatballs, zucchini, and the sauce.
Some of the most delicious things are not photogenic. This broccoli & cheddar risotto was so good but totally looks like rice-a-roni or something. I have looooved the pressure cooker and it is so great for risotto. It simmers opened for 4 minutes, then cooks for 6 minutes. Add a few minutes for getting to pressure and releasing the pressure. Done! Or, you could always make rice chop up some broccoli and add some cheese. Whatever works for you!
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 white onion
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 cup water or white wine
salt & pepper
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups shredded cheddar
Cook the risotto in a pot or in a pressure cooker, as you normally would: (Here’s my method via pressure cooker) or (Here’s my method in a pot).
I added in the broccoli to cook with the rice.
While is it hot, stir in the cheese.
At first I was disappointed the broccoli came apart, but then it was pretty great for a very evenly creamy bite. The texture was in the rice, and it was so unbelievably creamy. The little one was into it and it is still pretty addicting as leftovers!
You know when the all the stars align and your seemingly straightforward dinner wows you? This was that moment. I knew it was going to be good, and a nicely balanced meal, and pretty easy, but I didn’t really anticipate how much we’d all LOVE IT.
Excuse me while I pull out the ole soapbox. Get yourself a meat thermometer. Do not cook meat (especially pork!) without one. If you think you don’t love pork tenderloin then it miiiight be that you’ve only had it severely overcooked. Then it’s bland, boring, tough, and yuck.
Mr. J marinated the pork for flavors of honey and lime. Then while he grilled it to perfection, I made some rice with
peaches nectarines, lime juice, peach jam, red onion.
1 pork tenderloin
1/2 cup lime juice + 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup rice
1/4 red onion
~ 1 cup cilantro (1/2 bunch)
1/4 cup peach preserves
Marinade the pork in 1/2 cup lime juice, honey, & garlic powder for 4 hours refrigerated.
Get the rice cooking.
Grill flipping to cook each side. Grill to at least 145 degrees. Let it sit about 5 minutes after removing from the heat.
Chop the onion, nectarine, and cilantro and add into the cooked rice.
Add in 1 tablespoon lime juice and peach preserves. Mix well.
Slice the pork and serve with a sprinkle of cilantro over a bed of the rice.
We really did love this. I was so into the peaches with the pork with the onion. The babe couldn’t get enough pork. He had so much and just kept asking for more! Though, he wasn’t into it the next day as leftovers. He liked the rice being kind of sticky…it was much easier for him to spoon from his bowl.